No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Monday, November 23, 2009

God Does Judge

I was reading a commentary by WorldNet Daily's Joseph Farah earlier tonight, and it was a well written form of something that has been on my mind for quite a long time. You can read his column here. His article basically said that Government does not give rights (they are, as our Founding Fathers recognized, given by God) and that government can not, and should not condone sin. The fact that the homosexual lobby has been so successful in the past decade to not only push for tolerance, but for acceptance under threat of prosecution (through hate crimes legislation), is like a plumb line of how far America, and many other countries have drifted so far into immorality. Now, before I get called out as a homophobe or intolerant bigot, or whatever else, it's not only homosexuality which is such a rampant and public acceptance of sin in our society. It's all sexual sin- whether adultery, homosexuality, pornography, pedophilia, and the high numbers of kids having sex. All these things are rampant in our society, and it shows how far we have gone from God.

I find that for the homosexual issues, is that when Lawrence Vs Texas was big news, about allowing homosexuality to be legal in that state, the main question was what right does anyone have to go into a private bedroom and dictate what 2 consenting adults can do?
I can admit that's a fair question, and the answer is clearly- no one has that right. However- and that's a BIG however, when that practice steps out of the bounds of personal property and openly flaunts it in the public forum, and when it is forced by threats of law, that's when it no longer is private and only between 2 people.

Private sin- that is, the behavior between one person and God, is just that- between them and God. When the State, or Country government allows, promotes and affirms such as a special right, which is to be accepted - that makes it a national sin, no longer between one person and God but the whole society and God. When homosexuals have their "gay pride" parades, they openly flaunt and outrageously shove something the majority of society believe is abhorrent and sinful behavior. When homosexual groups go after churches and individuals because we oppose same sex marriage, it is no longer private. When these same groups trample the Constitutional will of the people of states, it is no longer private. It is now between the states and God.
It was interesting that while I was reading the commentary, the other big entertainment story of the day was Adam Lambert's performance at the American Music Awards. I don't watch TV much at all, but once in a while I still like to watch who is doing well in shows such as American Idol. I like music and appreciate talented regular folks and like to see those unknowns find a big break in shows such as Idol. For those of you who don't know who he is, Lambert was last year's runner up- a very talented guy, whom many thought would win.

Anyway, Lambert is gay. His performance at the AMC Awards was to put it mildly, a sort porn performance. Many of the comments were negative of his "show", and rightly so. This kind of act has no place on public TV, especially when teens and preteens across the country are watching. Some of the comments were not surprising (in our present society) positive, and those accused the negatives as being mean or bigoted. Most of those, and Lambert himself brought up the point that he's not the first to have a sexually provocative performance. One only has to see Madonna, Britney Spears and even lately Miley "Hanna Montana" Cyrus ( another Hollywood worldly and confused Christian) to see such sexually charged acts. They are right. There have been many- from the Madonna/Spears kiss, Madonna strutting around in pointy bras, Cyrus doing a pole dance and the famous "wardrobe malfunction" of Janet Jackson- not to mention Michael Jackson's seeming affliction which made him constantly grab his lower regions every other dance move.

My point here is not to dredge up all this porn- it's to show that our society is sick, but we have ignored our heavenly Healer!

When the very Church ordains openly gay clergy, that is between the church and God. God's Word clearly condemns homosexuality, and it also says that God does judge nations for sinful behavior. Farah points out in his article, what happens to a nation which is unrepentant of national sin (which always begins as personal sin)- He leaves the people to their own, gives them over to their sinful and destructive ways. When a nation forgets or ignores the Lord, that nation will fall into worse and worse public behavior until it ultimately destroys itself.

It is the same thing with all sexual sin. That's why it doesn't matter when people such as Adam Lambert and his fans claim that others have done it- so let him be. It doesn't make it right- and it was never right no matter who does it. When we have preachers in the church who are adulterers, such as Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, our churches are sick. When our church is sick, it's no wonder that our society is sick. Robinson is openly gay, but the other issue is that he was married, and pursued his homosexual relationship when he was married- that is adultery. We have men like Ted Haggard who had sexual relations outside of marriage. We have no real difference in the church divorce rates to the unchurched. Our kids are learning sex at younger and younger ages. Pornography is rampant. Pornography also knows no difference between Christian men and non believers. Porn is ruining families, harming children and even fracturing church homes. Pedophilia and crimes against children are growing to a daily occurrence. Abortion is a huge issue as more kids are allowed to kill their babies without parental knowledge, and in some cases, minors are victims of rape, but the rape is allowed to continue due to "privacy rights". Our nation is sick.

These all start out as a personal sin. What starts in a person's own life, their own heart, grows without repentance, and spreads into and affects the rest of society. We are seeing serious signs of being under judgement from God. I shudder to think of what else will come as our nation's sin waxes worse as the Lord leaves us to our own. I pray He will help us, but I can't blame Him if He doesn't.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Soft Talk in a Hard World

Joel Osteen, America's Prosperity Pastor has a new book called "It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor". You might be aware of his previous best seller, "Your Best Life Now". In that book he wrote about how God wants you to live the best life you can, full of prosperity and all good things for those faithful enough to promote positive thoughts and prayers. I never read the book. I won't be reading his latest one either. I do however have a set of tapes of Osteen, which my mother in law asked me to buy so she could hear him speak. She loves positive messages. I do too, when kept in proper perspective. I have to admit, Osteen is a great speaker, and he is up beat and leaves you feeling good. But, is that what God wants us to focus on?

The problem with Osteen and others is not that they are good at what they do, it is what they do with what they have been given. They have the knowlege of Christ in them, but they focus more on the world, and what we can achieve more than who Christ is, why He came and how He will come again. The problem is, that with all the feel good stuff, which is temporary, they leave out the "meat" or the nourishment which is designed to help us achieve that which will have eternal benifits. They fail to tell others about the Gospel of Christ.

With all the feel good messages, which is not all that bad, but these messages alone are sure to set immature Christians and others up for a disappointment, in their lives, but more importantly in their spirit as well. There are many people angry at God when things they pray for don't come their way. When these folks who buy the tapes, books and attend seminars and coffee cafe churches don't get what they believe is their best now, it's not necessarily the preacher who gets the criticism- it's with God that these folks focus on with doubt and disappointment.

Which brings me to the main point of Osteen's (and others' feel good) books. After millions of people purchased these books, believing that if they have enough faith in God, and that He wants us all to be happy and prosperous, when they "name and claim" what they want out of life, and when they see the prosperity that these preachers have, what happens when the economy collapses? What happens when these positive thinkers lose their job? Their homes and savings?
While some may blame God for not prospering them, or question Him for allowing their jobs and homes to be lost- many are left in a place where they shrug it off, go with the flow and try again- in their own efforts to pick up and start again. Then when Osteen writes another book- one which says "Gee, I'm sorry you lost your savings, but you can keep the faith a little while longer, and it will all come back tenfold or more- just like Job!"
If you only keep up the faith! You can still have happiness and prosperity now!!

Isn't that great! NOT. For those who question God in the "why's", it may drive them away from believing which will some day fall on these prosperity pastors when they come before Christ. It also makes it harder for those who are not big name, big budget mega church stars, those who are trying to show one soul at a time of the love of Christ through His salvation. People will be put off, with a "been there done that" type attitude and may never come to the true Grace of Christ.
For the rest- those who go with the flow until the next how to book comes out, they will continue in their worldly pursuits, while Osteen and others make a few more millions claiming things which God has never promised.

No where in the Bible will you find it that God's focus is on our happiness. No where will you find that He means for us to live our best now- focusing on worldly things such as enough money, a big house, nice cars and a vacation once or twice a year. Not that there is anything wrong with these things! It is where the pastors focus your thoughts- on stuff instead of salvation. Stuff is nice. I would love to have a nicer house without mouse holes, and I have to admit that air conditioning would be kind of nice in the hot Florida summers too- but my mind is not focused on these things anymore. My heart is in heaven, where Jesus has gone to prepare a room for me! I can be reassured that the room my Lord is preparing is nicer, and more incredible than any place I can imagine having here on earth! And I know there won't be any bugs or rodents there either!

Our family, and millions of others have gone through a lot these past few years. My family has gone through 3 major hurricanes, a wild fire and other things which over the past 5 years depleated much of what we were able to save. My husband has been out of work since January, and our savings is gone.

Where would I be if I had have listened to Osteen or others instead of listening to the Lord? For one, I would be in despair over what will happen to my family. I would be worried constantly over every bill and expense. I would be questioning God, instead of thanking Him. I would be looking to the government to save me, instead of my Lord sustaining me. I would have given up, you see, because if I had followed all these name it and claim it preachers- well, that would have convinced me that I lacked faith because the good stuff hasn't come, and in fact, things have gotten worse over the past few years.

I thank God that I haven't fallen into the traps of pastors who ought to be showing people the way, the truth and the life, but I feel bad for those who have. I feel bad that there are so many millions of people who have been taught nothing except for what they can have now- but missing out on what they can have for eternity. This life is short. Some would use it as an excuse to live it up. But eternity will be so much longer than this life. Wouldn't you rather focus on what you can have in the long run?

Christ taught that His own would be persecuted as He was. He taught us that our real home is with Him in heaven and with our Father. He commands His own to go into the world, but not be a part of it- telling others about His grace and salvation. It's a shame that so many pastors who have been blessed with the chance to change the world by telling the world about Jesus, His death on the cross for all, and His resurrection - victory over death, so we can be with Him always, have ignored Him!His wish for us isn't that we have everything we want on this earth! He wants us to be obedient to Him so He can give us everything we need, and bless us with unimaginable things in our next life!

One last thing. I've noticed that in the past few years of things going wrong, have brought me closer to Him- to come to depend on Him, not myself. It has helped me to realize that everything He wants for me, and is willing to bless me with is found only in His Word. By reading the Bible every day, I am able to learn to hear Him, gain strength from him to sustain me through these times. And when times continue to get harder, I will have learned through Him to continue to lean on Him until some day I will be with Him and not have to worry anymore.

No prosperity pastor has taught me that. Only Jesus has taught me that. I pray that others will learn from the source of life and liberty- instead of reading about Him! I pray too, that these pastors will learn the errors of their way, repent and start using what God has given them to finally tell the whole truth, and not just the feel good junk food which keeps their own prosperity rolling as people lose faith in the One who really knows what prosperity it- the One who gave His life, so we could have our best life with Him!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Freedom leads to prosperity

I've found it interesting that while the world watches the party in Berlin on this 20th anniversary of the fall of not just the wall, but of communism, our own political leaders are doing everything they can to bring America under the old commie ideals. I thought I'd post some of Ronald Reagan's speech here for this anniversary. Due to it's length, I won't post the whole speech, but you can read the whole thing here.

While many worked hard and were passionate about bringing peace to the world, to those who lived under the iron fist, it brought so much to so many. That said, it is sad that peace has never been really achieved through human endeavors- there will some day be true and everlasting peace through Jesus Christ. So many people have given their lives to bring about something better for others, to follow the moral choice in which all can live in freedom from oppressive authorities- much like Jesus, who, maybe not in the world's view of freedom, offered Himself so all the world could be free, not just in this life, but for eternal life. I pray that you will take up Jesus on His offer, so that the excitement of those who were there 20 years ago, tearing a concrete wall, you can have that same excitement of an eternity of peace, fellowship and love of Christ!

Ronald Reagan:

Our gathering today is being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. I understand that it is being seen and heard as well in the East. To those listening throughout Eastern Europe, a special word: Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as to those standing here before me. For I join you, as I join your fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin. [There is only one Berlin.]
Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same--still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.
President von Weizsacker has said, "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed." Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph.
In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State--as you've been told--George Marshall announced the creation of what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."
In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. I was struck by the sign on a burnt-out, gutted structure that was being rebuilt. I understand that Berliners of my own generation can remember seeing signs like it dotted throughout the western sectors of the city. The sign read simply: "The Marshall Plan is helping here to strengthen the free world." A strong, free world in the West, that dream became real. Japan rose from ruin to become an economic giant. Italy, France, Belgium--virtually every nation in Western Europe saw political and economic rebirth; the European Community was founded.
In West Germany and here in Berlin, there took place an economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder. Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty--that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes. From 1950 to 1960 alone, the standard of living in West Germany and Berlin doubled.
Where four decades ago there was rubble, today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any city in Germany--busy office blocks, fine homes and apartments, proud avenues, and the spreading lawns of parkland. Where a city's culture seemed to have been destroyed, today there are two great universities, orchestras and an opera, countless theaters, and museums. Where there was want, today there's abundance--food, clothing, automobiles--the wonderful goods of the Ku'damm. From devastation, from utter ruin, you Berliners have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth. The Soviets may have had other plans. But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets didn't count on--Berliner Herz, Berliner Humor, ja, und Berliner Schnauze. [Berliner heart, Berliner humor, yes, and a Berliner Schnauze.]
In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: "We will bury you." But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.
And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.
Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

I applaud President Reagan's efforts, along with others who have promoted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which is in our own founding documents.

However, I say again, that humans may try, only One can give life, liberty and the pursuit- and our founders knew... from Almighty God, our Creator. Won't you trust in Jesus so you may receive the Blessings of true Peace and security?