Compassion With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. — James 3:17

It is a righteous, good, loving and Christ-like thing to have compassion, to do what I can to help the victims of tragedy, to pray for them and their loved ones, that the LORD will comfort them, bring healing and peace to their lives, and most of all, that his presence in their lives would touch them in spite of their circumstances, and that they would ultimately be drawn to receive eternal salvation in Christ.

Yet there are other aspects to the murderous terrorist attacks in Paris. I believe the individuals who carried out these attacks — especially those who planned and organized them, and those who funded them — are enemies of God. I believe they hate God and hate the truth. If they loved the truth, they would be focused on proclaiming it. They would desire to spread the truth by winning over people’s minds, by showing them how the truth applies to everyone’s life in a very personal and real way.

But that is not the case with Islamic terrorists. They do not see their victims as innocents. They are actually following the Koran and Hadiths when they slaughter “infidels”. Those who refuse to acknowledge Allah and are not willing to live in subjection to Islamic law are considered lower than filthy vermin, deserving nothing less than extermination. And that is exactly what we see them doing, whether they are cutting off the heads of Christians, gunning down concert-goers or blowing up cafe patrons.

So, how should we as Christians respond to this threat? The reality is that right now, today, Christians are being oppressed, plundered, raped, tortured and killed by Islamic terrorists, simply because they refuse to recant their faith. Scripture teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. And also that our war is not against flesh and blood but against cosmic powers. So, is the proper Christian response supposed to be non-involvement or non-violent? Are we to humble ourselves before our enemies as lambs to the slaughter?

Because Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for all (2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:18), Romans 12:1 urges, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Our lives are to be our sacrifice, not our deaths. That is not to say that Christians are automatically protected from the hands of murderers, but it specifies that our sacrifice is living our life as an act of worship. We don’t have to be murdered in order for that to be the case. Martyrs are not living sacrifices.

The fact that we love our enemies and even pray for them (and have compassion on them, in light of the jeopardy they are in, as enemies of God), does not change the fact that they are still our enemies, and we still have to defend against them. Neither does the fact that Christians aren’t at war with flesh and blood mean that flesh and blood wars aren’t visited upon us. The reality is that people and nations do conduct wars against flesh and blood, and the armies involved do include many Christians.

The sixth commandment is, “Thou shalt not murder.” I do not believe that killing in combat is murder, nor that war is immoral. I disagree with those who claim that the sixth commandment means, “Thou shalt not kill,” or that war is by definition immoral. However, I respect the conviction of conscientious objectors who cannot in good conscience participate in combat. That said, I believe a Christian’s participation in or support of the military, while not a duty to his faith, is a duty to his nation. I believe that is an honorable duty, included under the heading of “Things rendered unto Caesar”.

To repeat my original point, yes, compassion is our proper response. But another element was introduced by the Presidential directive to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff at all federal government locations. That means our nation (not the Church, per se) stands in solidarity with France, that we not only share in their suffering and loss (indeed, there were Americans killed) but we stand with them against the forces responsible for those attacks. Lowering our flag says, “We are your allies. We are with you in this fight.”

So, as a Christian, Scripture directs me to have compassion on the victims, pray for them, and even pray for the salvation of the perpetrators. But as Americans, our nation is directed to support the military overthrow of Islamic terrorists. And I believe that to the best of our ability, Christians are to do both. Related to this is the mass exodus of Syrians trying to escape the carnage of the Islamic State. While Christians and other non-Muslims suffer the most from ISIS and other extremists*, there are huge waves of Muslim refugees seeking asylum in Europe.

*(There is a reason for this. Verse 29 of the 48th chapter of the Koran begins, “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…”)

Obama has stated it is “un-American” and “shameful” to give Christian refugees special consideration to be brought to the United States. This despite a growing number of European countries who are adopting such a policy, not to mention American governors who have said their States are eager to welcome Christian refugees but are concerned about the danger of terrorists among Muslim refugees.

Those who bother to look at a map of the Middle East can’t help but notice that Syria is surrounded by a plethora of Islamic or Islam-friendly nations. Why are the Muslim refugees not seeking asylum in those countries, hmm? Where’s that compassion we read about in Koran 48:29? In addition to being compassionate and gentle as doves, Christians are also supposed to be wise a serpents. This situation definitely calls for wisdom.

The President of France has declared that his country will attack the terrorists without mercy. Indeed, the history of Islamic extremists reveals that the only way to stop them is to totally crush them. This statement is not made out of hatred. It simply is a truth of history. They will not stop until they are utterly defeated. This is a military view, and a historical view. It is not because we are Christians that justifies fighting some kind of holy war. It is the simple fact that if non-Muslim nations hope to survive with their freedoms of religion and expression intact, they must defeat the Islamic militants whose goal is to kill, oppress and control us.

So, what should Christians do? We certainly should not be silent. We have a message to share with the world. That message is the truth of the gospel that needs to be proclaimed to an unbelieving world — most especially to Muslims, whose religion is leading them to death and darkness, hopelessness and hatred. But as Americans, we also need to recognize that unless we destroy those purveyors of death, they will destroy us. We can do that and remain compassionate. We don’t need to hate in order to fight our enemies. We just need the conviction to do that which is right and just.


Posted in Christian Attitudes, Middle East Policy, Terrorism, War | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Need A “Plan B”?

A long-time Christian friend sent out a concerned e-mail regarding the deadly geo-political situation in the Middle East, America’s complicit role in spreading moral depravity around the world,  Cycles of War, looming climate change and coming drastic food shortages.  He asked, “What is YOUR PLAN B?”

I am so glad he concluded, “God is in control.  Follow his lead.”  I need to remind myself of that fact when I become troubled by the outrageously lousy job our government is doing.  They major on the minors.  They make big plans and throw huge wads of financed debt at programs designed to save us from the sky that is supposedly falling, while increasingly assuming greater authority over every aspect of our personal lives.  In fact, the more socialist our government becomes, the more they play the role of God.

Where the original bottom line, as it is written in the Constitution, is that every State and citizen has the freedom to rely on God and live as he sees fit, now it’s the federal government that forces us to rely on it, and to live as they see fit.  After seeing how little an effect my efforts have made on the growth of big, central government, I’ve decided the best thing I can do now is trust God.

For anyone who is worried about the current state of the world, especially if they feel they must come up with a “plan B” to deal with any of the various doomsday scenarios, I offer this short Bible study that highlights where our hearts, heads and spirits should be.  The whole point of turning to Scripture is that it is from the very mouth of God.  If you are a professing Christian, yet question 2 Timothy 3:16, then you need to take a serious look at the genuineness of your faith.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

There is no need for a “plan B”. God’s plan is his will. Whatever that is, I want to be in it because I know it will not fail. In the big picture, which God sees, even if I don’t, I simply need to trust God.

Yes, we are to be good stewards of what God has given us. And in this evil world we are to be as wise as serpents. But steps we take regarding the physical aspect of our lives have a limited value.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” The same principle is seen in other physical disciplines, such as financial preparedness and self-sufficiency. However,

Luke 12:15 “…one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Luke 12:22-23 “And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.”

Luke 12:25-26 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?”

Luke 12:29-31 (also Matthew 6:31-33) “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Romans 8:6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Remember when Peter confronted Jesus, saying he should not suffer and die at the hands of the religious leaders? Peter was concerned for the physical well-being of Jesus, unaware of the purpose of God’s plan. Jesus reacted strongly to Peter’s concern, saying (in both Matthew and Mark), “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

It seems to me that Christians need to spiritually discern our “prime directive”, if you will. Is it self-preservation or assurance of provisions, safety, well-being? Having life-sustaining needs met is certainly important. God has clearly given us the task of working for our daily bread. And we are to do that responsibly and wisely. But our LORD, in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) has instructed us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him (Matthew 16:24). Part of following Jesus means sharing in his suffering (2 Corinthians 1:5). And, we are even to rejoice at our various trials (1 Peter 4:13; James 1:2).

Where do we draw the line between practical preparedness and being so worldly-minded we are no spiritual good? Many Christians are deeply motivated by the sense that the end is near, and that’s a good thing. But we should not be overly concerned about ourselves. The “prime directive” (Great Commission) is to make disciples of all nations. We are to be sharing the gospel, leading people to the Truth, to eternal life in Christ — whatever the cost. And that cost will be dear.

Revelation 13:7 tells us God will allow a beast to make war on the saints and to conquer them. Does “plan B” mean trying to avoid that? If it is God’s will for us to be killed and imprisoned (Revelation 13:10), then that is what will happen, regardless of anyone’s plan B. Remember the lesson Job learned about God’s sovereignty? Job was blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil, yet God allowed Satan to make him suffer greatly, despite the wealth of his possessions.

If God chooses to let us suffer, hope and pray we will find comfort in glorifying Christ. No “plan B” can do better than that.

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Politics Or Morals?

Certain “political” issues aren’t really political, as much as they are moral. Slavery was a huge issue in its day, with proponents defending their cause behind concepts such as economic need, property rights and State’s rights. But essentially, slavery is a moral issue. Does one human being have the right to “own” another, or deny another’s human rights? Even though this issue was settled a long time ago, slavery still persists, in one form or another. In Africa and Asia, household slaves are commonplace. And here in America the sexual slavery of minors, euphemistically called “human trafficking”, is a booming business. This is not generally considered a political issue, but a crime issue, because almost everyone agrees that it is morally wrong.

Political issues, by definition, are debatable. Moral issues are not. But in our lifetimes we have seen a definite change in moral attitudes. The persistent and aggressive political “gay agenda” of a very small minority (the most reliable studies show that homosexuals make up perhaps as much as 3% of the population) has influenced moral attitudes through legislation, law suits and school curricula by presenting homosexuality not as a moral aberration, as the Bible has taught for millennia, but as a legitimate, “alternate” lifestyle.

Supporters of the homosexual agenda have persuaded many, including lawmakers, that homosexuality is not a moral issue, but a political issue. Their hypocrisy of course, is that unlike other political issues, they do not consider the morality of homosexuality debatable. Whenever they hear an argument against homosexuality, based on Biblical morality, they call it hatred, bigotry, intolerance or ignorance. It is simply POLITICALLY incorrect to make a moral judgement against homosexuality, despite the fact that it is labeled an abomination in the Bible.

Another issue we have been forced to think of in terms of politics is abortion. Abortion is another euphemism. It means the murdering of pre-born human beings, and even new-born babies. The political issue is that some people demand the “choice” of not having a baby, by killing the baby they already have. But this essentially isn’t a political issue. It’s a moral issue. Does anyone have the right to kill an unwanted child?

Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Today in America, not too many seem to understand what freedom really is. As increasing numbers come to believe that freedom is being able to do whatever you want, our laws increasingly reflect a licentious attitude, and those of us who hold to traditional morals are becoming increasingly enslaved by the dictates of a powerful central government. Americans cannot be a virtuous people as long as something as basic as morals cannot be agreed upon.

The political structure of our nation was derived from and developed by Biblical moral values. And the mainstay of our moral character has always been freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The first amendment to the Constitution codifies that freedom as the “free exercise” of religion. The free exercise of religion does not simply mean the right to attend the church of your choice. It means we have the freedom to live out our lives as an expression of our faith, not just privately, but in the pubic square. Just as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association are designed for the purpose of social behavior, freedom of religion is a public right, not merely a private right.

Now, at a point where the very moral structure of our society is falling apart, the church needs to stand for God’s moral standards, so we can avert the disaster of total moral decay. Now is the time to be BIBLICALLY correct, not politically correct. Religious freedom will only restore the morals of our nation if it motivates us to speak out. Silence in the face of moral depravity is sin. This is particularly true in the church today, as many professing Christians are tacitly accepting the idea of same-sex marriage in contravention of the word of God.

Look at the example we have in Ezekiel 3:18

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

Because God is just, he most definitely will punish the wicked, and they will surely die. In the Ezekiel passage above, he’s already told the wicked, “You shall surely die.” The wages of sin is a done deal. Fooling yourself into thinking a sin isn’t a sin doesn’t “unearn” your wages. Everyone will be paid. Licentiousness is not freedom, nor does it lead to freedom. It is the “way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25).

However, that’s not the end of it. Because God is loving, he also loves those wicked people. So, to those of us who are watching and see these things happening, he gives us the job of warning them, of speaking the truth of their peril so that they might be snatched from the fire (Jude 1:23). It’s our job to tell them that if they stop sinning and turn to him (something called repentance), they will live. Our job isn’t so much to point out their sin. God’s already done that. John 16:8-11 confirms,

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

God’s done his job. But what about us? That job is to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and to stand for what is right (Ephesians 6:11). But our silence is a witness against us. In order for professing Christians to go along with immoral politics we have to deny the authority of Scripture, and that is exactly what is happening in the religion of Christianity today. We are denying the moral clarity of Scripture, while showing deference and respect to those who champion indecency.

The Supreme Court’s opinion, granting homosexuals the right to marry, created a breach in the moral ramparts that once kept our nation morally strong. That breach is allowing a flood of wickedness and injustice to inundate society and drown freedom. Christians are now being denied their right to freely exercise their religion. Courts are forcing Christians not just to accept the folly of others, but to participate in their wickedness, or go to jail and pay a fine.

There are plenty of examples in the Bible that should teach us to resist evil authorities. Bob Ellis has written an excellent article, Are Christians Commanded To Surrender To Evil? at This excerpt from his article includes both Biblical and historical examples of Christians opposing government authority when those authorities stood in opposition to God:

Peter and his fellow Christians didn’t meekly knuckle under when their leaders told them to stop doing what was right. Peter was far from the only Christian who resisted tyranny.

When the Egyptian pharaoh commanded Hebrew midwives to kill all male Hebrew children, the midwives did not obey “the law of the land.” Christians who believe Kim Davis should “submit to authority”: should the midwives have “submitted to government authority”?

When the king of Jericho told Rahab to turn over the Israeli spies, she did not “submit to government authority,” but instead disobeyed and did the right thing. Christians who think Kim Davis should surrender to perpetuate the evil that the Supreme Court dictates: should Rahab have obediently turned over the Israelis?

Elijah didn’t obey the evil king Ahab. Elijah confronted evil leaders, and was actually quite snarky about it sometimes.

When Queen Jezebel was executing God’s prophets, Obadiah disobeyed “the law of the land” and hid 100 of them from government authorities. Christians who think Kim Davis should bow before the altar of sodomy: did Obadiah displease God by disobeying government authorities?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to “obey the law of the land” when their ruler told them to bow down to evil edicts. Were their actions displeasing to God?

Neither did Daniel when his ruler told him not to do what is right. Was God angry with Daniel’s civil disobedience?

Stephen didn’t meekly comply when his rulers hammered him for standing up for what is right. Was Jesus upset that Stephen didn’t obey the rulers? (Somehow, I don’t think so.)

The Apostle Paul didn’t slink away in shame and shut up when evil rulers told him to. He was whipped, beaten and stoned by the authorities because he refused to obey them. In fact, Paul was known for having asserted the full legal rights he was entitled to under Roman law (should Christians do less than assert the protections afforded to us as citizens under the U.S. Constitution–especially when the assertion is not merely for personal privilege, but in defense of the rule of law itself?).

Indeed, many Christians of the New Testament era when the book of Romans was written, while the Roman Empire was trying to stamp out Christianity, refused to “obey the law of the land” and instead kept reading the Scriptures and meeting for church and worshiping God.

The Bible tells us that someday, a world leader will come onto the scene of history and demand that everyone worship him, but followers of Christ will disobey and refuse to worship him. Christians who think Kim Davis should bow before the throne of the Supreme Court and counterfeit marriage: will these Christians who will someday disobey “the law of the land” displease God by disobeying government authority?

Good people have been standing against evil edicts more recently, too.

Though slavery was legalized in many of the early United States, many Christians did not meekly comply with this evil edict from their government. They spoke out against it, and they worked against it, forming the abolitionist movement to rid our nation of that plague. They went on to form and work in the Underground Railroad, in contradiction to the “law of the land”) to get slaves into free territory and freedom. They weren’t content, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case that one man could be another man’s property, to meekly acquiesce to this tyranny as “the law of the land,” and neither did they cowardly say “The Supreme Court has spoken” and then stand by to allow slavery to continue unimpeded.

During World War II, many people helped European Jews to hide from and escape the Nazi terror. In doing so, they disobeyed their government. They did not submit to the governing authorities, and acted in rebellion to the government authorities which demanded that Jews be turned over to the government. Should the European Jews and those who helped shield them from the Nazi government have “submitted to authority”?

Rosa Parks decided one day that she’d had her fill of tyranny and no longer bowed her knee to immoral edicts. As Kim Davis refused to give in to immoral government edicts, so Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus. Should Rosa Parks have just shut up and done as she was told?

Rosa Parks was not alone in standing up to tyranny from government in that era, either. In his “letter from the Birmingham jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Perhaps we Christians need to be reminded that submission to God’s authority has preeminence over our duty to submit to our various human authorities. And now that we have been reminded, can we please get up off our rear ends, stand up and “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)?

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. — Luke 9:26

Posted in Christian Attitudes, Christian philosophy, Morals | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump And Arrogance

I hear the word arrogant being used to describe Donald Trump. Theoretically, we as responsible voters should be asking ourselves, “Do I want someone who is arrogant to be the President of the United States of America?” But such commentary isn’t so much substantive as it is simple political gamesmanship. It focuses on appearance and style, while in terms of meaningful commentary, is strained, mis-focused and irrelevant.

The first thing that comes to mind is the arrogance of our current sitting President, now serving his second term. This person has not only appeared arrogant to his political foes, but has proved his arrogance time and again, both by statements he has made in the capacity of his office and by actions he has taken in the performance of that office. Obama truly is arrogant. To get an accurate reading of Trump’s supposed arrogance, it should be compared to Obama’s.

Other icons of arrogance are Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. But the fact that they both exemplify arrogance doesn’t seem to be such a newsworthy item. After all, they are Democrats. They supposedly wear the mantle of guardians of the People. And if they go a little bit too far, that’s OK. That’s not arrogance, that’s more like royalty or even sainthood. But a Republican frontrunner? The main guy in an elitist party that hates poor people and only looks to make a profit on the backs of those they oppress — he’s the arrogant one.

If you don’t get this sarcasm, let me clarify: Trump is not so arrogant. Trump exhibits strong leadership, which is so rare nowadays as to be unrecognizable when we see it. Strength in leadership is mistakenly seen as arrogance by people who are used to politically correct politicians who appear inoffensive, are willing to smile and say anything to keep people happily deceived, and yet all the while they are sneaking around stabbing people in the back. When you’re used to that kind of “leadership” you don’t know how to take it when a candidate actually stands for something and pulls no punches.

My dictionary defines arrogant as, “Overly convinced of one’s own importance; overbearingly proud, haughty.” The best leaders must be convinced of their own importance, but not overly so; proud, but not overbearingly proud. But frankly, I don’t think arrogance will be a determining factor in who is elected our next President. The main factor will be whose campaign gins up the most interest; which political machine will create the biggest draw. If you like a candidate, you will focus on their strengths; you see them as good at what they do. If you don’t like a candidate, you call them arrogant. Presidential elections are all about marketing — selling the public on the idea that one candidate offers better solutions than the others. The discussion of arrogance is simply a part of that selling process.

The American public has grown accustomed to pragmatic politicians. These are men and women who have convinced us that the solution to almost every human need is a government program. And because getting that job done is the most important thing, it doesn’t really matter how it’s done. This approach to government has done two things. It has brought us to the brink of financial ruin and it has thrown principles out the window.

Conservatives point to the Constitution as the blueprint of a government structure based on principles — principles that have largely been discarded or ignored by government, in favor of the discretion of our leaders. In essence, that is arrogance — putting personality-based pragmatism ahead of principles to which we should all be held accountable. If Donald Trump has done anything, he has forced a discussion — in both political debate and in media reporting — about the seriousness of illegal immigration. During the last Presidential election, that issue was placed on a back burner and hardly noticed. Trump has done this because he has not backed down one inch from his position after being attacked by almost everyone. That is strength of leadership, whether or not you like him or agree with him.

Illegal immigration is more than a simple political issue. Hopefully more Americans will come to see that in principle, only legal immigration to this nation is acceptable. Another principle I would like to see take hold is that our Constitution was never designed with a dominant central government in mind. With the exception of specifically enumerated powers, the Constitution confers most governing authority to the States and to the People. In principle, we are to be self-governing. The Constitution does not design the federal government to be the huge central government it has become. In principle, our very government defies the Constitution, and those in government have assumed an arrogance the constitution was designed to preclude in those who govern us.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or not, the real threat of arrogance won’t come from him. It will come from the fact that we have stopped discussing political concepts and have opted to discuss personalities instead. What do they look like? How do they act? What do they say? All style. No substance. I’d like to see political ideas really discussed. I’d like the national media to hold debates which include 3rd party candidates confronting the BIG TWO, to hear the principles those people really believe in. But national politics isn’t about ideas. It’s about power and money — the power of big political parties with big war chests. They want voters to be impressed with that power, so they don’t want to risk losing it by actually discussing political concepts.

In light of that power of the status quo, I respect Donald Trump for forcing them all to talk about things they would rather stay silent on.

Posted in Illegal_Immigration, Immigration, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Just For Fun

Things Undone

Perhaps you’ve noticed this. It isn’t rare. I’ve seen it in various places. A single leaf – it may be of a tree or small shrub – waving. It always catches my eye because the leaf seems to be moving by itself. The other leaves around it are still. But this leaf moves in rhythmic jerks, as if it is fluttering in a breeze intended for it alone.

When I was young I imagined an unseen spider of some unique specie tugging at the gossamer thread she had attached to the leaf, in some bizarre habit of luring prey or attracting a mate or perhaps warding off predators.

But I never actually took the time or made the effort to go as close as I could go, to see what I could see, to perhaps discover the mysterious cause of the solitary leaf movement. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was prevented by the fear of a spider. After all, curiosity killed the cat.

Then, as if avoiding a charge of cowardice, I considered alternate explanations to the spider hypothesis. Since we cannot see air currents, it is possible that some unique wind pattern may exist – some very small, lone eddy of air that remains for a time like a coin spinning on a table, only strong enough to affect a single leaf.

For the very reason that the movements of air cannot be seen, it would require technical knowledge and skills beyond my own to come up with an experiment to demonstrate such a theory. So, just as I did not go up close to see the spider, neither did I seek to prove or disprove the “tiny wind” possibility.

As my eyes have not been able to shed light on this mystery, the explanation remains unknown. Inevitably, I turn to supernatural possibilities. Almost embarrassed by its child-like qualities, my mind pictures an unseen spirit-being with nothing better to do than to stand next to some defenseless plant and incessantly flick one of its leaves with its finger.

If I don’t bother to think much about that particular explanation, it is because it seems nothing more than fantasy. It is like reading a bed-time story to children. It takes the cares of the day and sets them aside. It provides comfort and makes me smile. It allows me to close my eyes and go to sleep, so that I will grow up to be a big, strong, healthy man.

Once again, I have not sought to solve this mystery. I have simply said it may be this or it may be that.  Yet, I have left these things undone. It is too easy to justify my complacency. After all, it’s only a single leaf on a single plant in a single garden or in some insignificant woods. I imagine there are more important things. Aren’t there?

Posted in Just a thought | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Pope Said What?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church tradition is given authoritative standing alongside that of holy Scripture. I reject that precept. Since all authority has been given to Christ (Matthew 28:18) and he is called the Word (John 1:1), then the word of God alone is our authority for Biblical faith. Scholarly commentary (which might be viewed as tradition) can aid us in understanding Scripture, but ultimately the interpretation of Scripture is accomplished by the revealing work of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), not ourselves. We are not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Scripture alone is our authority for faith.

The following is from The Catechism of the Catholic Church

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Reference Note: 44 DV 9. Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions)

I have long considered this to be error. And I am content that the Holy Spirit will convict whom he will concerning the truth of God.

However, it will be noted that traditions, whether or not they are considered sacred, have beginnings and endings. As such, they are transient. The authority of church traditions carry their authority for a time, but then are no more. While the word of God stands forever (Luke 21:33). Because of this, we must always examine human traditions to see that they are consistent with the word of God.

For this very reason, I am troubled by a recent statement attributed to the Pope, saying that the Koran and the Bible are the same. See the article and comments at

I am troubled by this for two reasons: first, there is no factual basis for the claim that the Bible and the Koran are the same or that Jehovah and Allah are just two names for the same Almighty God. It is no different from saying all religions are the same or that all gods are the same. Such a statement is made in ignorance of what the Bible and Koran teach, and comes from an emotional desire to overlook stark differences in an attempt to establish a “peaceful” relationship between disparate world views. Any such “peace” is false because it is based on a lie.

Secondly, whoever makes such a statement, whether or not it is the Pope, lifts himself above the authority of Scripture and lowers the status of the Holy Bible to the level of the Koran, which is not the inspired word of God.   Whoever places himself in the position of redefining Biblical authority according to church tradition, consensus, political correctness or any other human wisdom is rebelling against God’s sovereignty.

There are several Bible verses that speak to the sufficiency of God’s word, admonishing us to neither add to nor take away from what he has already revealed to us. 1 Corinthians 4:6 sums up this principle, instructing us, “not to go beyond what is written” (meaning what has been written in Scripture). That can only mean God’s word is the final word — not the Pope’s word, not the Church’s word — God’s word.

It’s amazing how many denominations, sects and cults ignore this Biblical principle, adding and taking away from the word of God to their hearts’ content. In every case their rationale is that they have received some special revelation that tells us what the Bible really means, that clarifies some previously misunderstood or distorted doctrine. In principle, this flies in the face of orthodoxy.

2 Timothy 2:2 lays out instructions for the teaching and discipling of believers. It says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

The first part of this verse speaks of “what you heard from me”. This was the gospel message. This verse is not speaking of theological doctrines that required further clarification or interpretation by church officers. Paul had already spoken to Timothy and he knew what that message was and what it meant. He needed no further explanation.

The second element of this verse is that the message Timothy had heard from Paul was not hidden. What Paul preached and taught was given in the presence of many witnesses. It was out in the open, obvious to everyone present. Many witnesses attested to it. They all knew what they had heard from Paul. The gospel of salvation in Christ was no longer the mystery it had been.

For Jesus had said, “For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” — Matthew 13:17. But now the mystery of the ages had been revealed for all to know. That which had been secret was no longer secret, but revealed to all humanity.

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” — 1 Corinthians 2:7

“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” — 1 Corinthians 2:10

“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” — 1 Corinthians 2:13

This “wisdom of God … taught by the Spirit interpreting spiritual truths” is what Paul is referring to by saying “what you heard from me”. The final element of 2 Timothy 2:2 is to entrust this wisdom of God to faithful men so that they in turn could pass it on to others, and so keep the message pure, untainted and constant for all future generations of believers. This is what we mean by orthodoxy.

Fundamental to orthodox Christianity are the tenets that God does not change and his word does not change. James 1:17 refers to God as “the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 tell us, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

Therefore, no man nor church tradition has the standing to take authority over Scripture. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) which means his gospel does not change. In Luke 24:27, speaking of Jesus, it says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”  This testifies to the fact that the Hebrew Bible reveals who Jesus is.

Only the Bible (both Old and New testaments) has revealed Jesus alone as the Savior of the world. Do not forget John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” The term “no one” is exclusive by definition. Yet that’s what Jesus said. The Koran’s so-called “veneration” of Jesus does not reveal who he is or what his gospel is. Only the Bible does that.

But if you are a Muslim, that is not the end of the story. Please know that Jesus personally invites you to become a child of God through faith in him. The gospel is that even though everyone is guilty of sin, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness, redemption and eternal life to anyone who receives him by faith.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” — Romans 3:23

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” — John 1:12

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

His personal offer to you is a standing invitation that he has continued to make throughout the ages:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20

This is not the Jesus of the Koran. This is God, the Son — Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, who is revealed in the Bible. His message is for you personally, and it is a message of hope and life.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:25-26

If you think for a moment that Allah offers this, or that an eternal loving relationship with God is offered in the Koran, you are wrong — dead wrong.

Posted in Allah and the Qur'an, Belief in God, Bible, Islam, The Koran | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Examining Invictus


by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.


This poem, often cited as an example of the power and ‘virtue’ of self-determination, expresses a worldview that is fairly popular in our time. It is a worldview based on the deceptive lie that each individual is his own highest authority. It precludes both accountability to and humility before an all-powerful God. It exalts rebellion against God by elevating pride of self to the utmost praise.

The first stanza declares, “my unconquerable soul”. So, where did this unconquerable soul come from? Who made it? None of that matters to the speaker. He simply finds himself in time and space and has the hubris to think of himself as a self-made man. He credits his soul as unconquerable, and takes the credit for himself.

He is surrounded by darkness. Why is that? Christians believe they are surrounded by light. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Yet the speaker is woefully unaware of this reality.

On the opposite side from life, this poem describes the world as a ‘night’, “black as the Pit from pole to pole”. The speaker does not see himself in light at all, nor does he acknowledge that light even exists or that he has the option of seeking light. He gives credit to “whatever gods may be” for the fact that in this world of darkness, he has only himself to depend on. This is the essence of agnostic noncommittal: giving lip service to the possibility of some undefined greater causal factor than the self, without any obligation to define what that may mean in the real world.

The tenor of this poem is one of self-dependent defiance. The second stanza speaks of “the fell clutch of circumstance” without any regard to cause and effect, or the principle that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, or the wisdom in learning that every act, decision and choice we make in life has consequences. It presents “circumstance” as a disembodied force randomly brutalizing its victims. The speaker of the poem has been wounded by “bludgeonings of chance”. To him, there is no reason for his suffering, and the only thing he takes away from his suffering is the pride of having stubbornly survived.

Surviving circumstances ignores the virtues of setting standards, goals, ethics, purpose or sharing anything with anyone. No relationship, no interaction other than that which is vaguely implied by “circumstance”, no loyalty to any group or any other social context is mentioned. Rather, it ennobles the survival of a lone warrior, not for any principle he has defended or for any foes he has vanquished – just that he has survived. It also ignores the future, for there is no promise of reward beyond a wounded, bloodied state.

The third stanza underscores the hopelessness of the speaker. His life now is characterized as wrath and tears, something we would normally hope to get beyond. For hope is what carries us through our struggles – hope for something better. This poem has no hope: “Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade”. Instead, of hope, the speaker defiantly tries to shake off despair by telling himself he is not afraid.

As honest as such a claim must be, it comes more from bravado than from a justified reason not to fear. The writer’s bravery was genuine, but in this poem, it is truncated from any context. His reason for being brave is not explained. It therefore gives his sentiment a two-dimensional feel. Why is he not afraid? Surely a reason must exist, but he does not provide one.

Nothing from the text gives a substantial reason for the speaker’s point of view, other than what might just be a passing mood. An existence described as “the menace of the years” without any anticipated reprieve — just “the Horror of the shade” — could only produce emptiness and despair. But despite this, the speaker is unafraid.

And yet, the final stanza admits that some authority, whether a person, group, nation or code, has made charges of wrongdoing, for which punishment is due (“How charged with punishments the scroll”). However, the speaker denies any accountability to such charges. His denial isn’t based on reason or hope, but on a sort of stubborn madness, which leads him to his ultimate delusion: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

If this were not a delusion, as master, he might give himself a better fate — a fate that involved getting out of the black pit he finds himself in and bringing himself into a place of light. As captain, he might marshal his forces and destroy the Horror, so that it would be no more. But these possibilities are not mentioned, nor are they even implied. The only “victory” of the speaker is that he refuses to bow his head, his control, his self.

While hyperbole is understandable in the context of poetic expression, it makes a poor justification for what is essentially the main point of this poem. The reality is that no one is the master of their fate nor the captain of their soul. Thinking it is so does not make it so. Yes, there are those who take responsibility for their lives, those who create their own opportunities, those who do not blame others for their lack of success. But eventually, everyone answers to some higher authority.

Anyone who claims to be the master of their fate, the captain of their soul is simply denying reality. If they believe that delusion, they are deceived. If they are trying to put on a strong front, they are lying. Ultimately, this means they deny the existence of a God to whom they will be held accountable.

Invictus places Self upon a pedestal. It is a godless credo that speaks of a type of human inspiration that rebels against the authority and standard of the Creator. In a word, it is pride — the very thing that leads to sin and separation from God.

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Walking By Faith

Can you see the future that is being built even now in the present?

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8

From Matthew 1:5&6, in the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, we read,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

King David is a well-known and important Old Testament figure because God promised to establish his kingdom forever:

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. – 2 Samuel 7:15

More than three centuries after the death of David, Ezekiel prophesied,

My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. – Ezekiel 37:24

This Messianic prophecy identifies the Messiah as a descendent of David, the significance of which is seen in phrases spoken at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem:

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! – Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew legally establishes him as the heir to the throne of David. It also honors forever the names of every individual who played a part in contributing to his family line. David is honored, of course, as is his father, Jesse and his grandfather, Obed. But while the emphasis in Biblical genealogies focuses primarily on fathers, special recognition is given to Obed’s mother, Ruth. Why is that?

Ruth was a Moabitess, of which Deuteronomy 23:3 says,

No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD.

Pretty strong words, directed at a group of obscene idolaters who had caused Israel to sin (See Numbers 25:1-18).

But Ruth had turned away from her Moabite gods. When her mother-in-law Naomi left Moab to return to Israel, she told Ruth, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15). But Ruth said, “…Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16b). This was a total repudiation of her Moabite identity and choosing instead to be Naomi’s daughter.

As a result of Ruth’s faithfulness and devotion to Naomi, Boaz chose to be the kinsman-redeemer and treat Ruth just as if she had been Naomi’s son’s Jewish widow, which led to the birth of Obed. This turn of events was significant enough to be recorded in Scripture, and Ruth’s name was significant enough to be given special attention in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

But while Naomi was still going through the heart-ache of losing her husband and both of her sons, she could not see the wonderful thing God was doing. She wasn’t aware of God’s directing hand bringing about something good. She was only aware of her personal losses. And she blamed God for what she was suffering.

In Ruth 1:20-21 Naomi said, “…the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty…the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me”.

Aren’t we all tempted to feel that way at times? Matthew 5:45 reminds us,

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

But for this very reason, God has given us promises:

I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

As much as we want to see God’s purposes realized, our walk with the Lord is not one of sight, but of faith. God’s purpose and plan will surely come about, but in his time, according to his sovereign will. So, we must remember that when we suffer, whether in body, in mind or in any of the many ways we suffer, that God is in control. We would do well to remember the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Sometimes all we know is that we are struggling against one problem or another. And at those times we need to remember that above it all, God is working out his glorious plan. High above our storm a bright and beautiful light is shining.

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:4- 7

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“God, Satan And Evil In The World”

From the Michael Savage Newsletter of May 26, 2015:

After a conversation with a caller about God, Satan and the evil in the world, Dr. Savage shared his personal religious views with his audience.

What is God waiting for?” Savage wondered.

Is He watching the world burn before He does anything?

If you want to bring up God and Satan, let’s go for it.

I’ve thought about it my whole life.

How does God permit a school bus full of Christian children to go off a cliff and all the children on the bus die?

Where was God?

How did God stand by while Jewish children were being tortured to death in front of their mothers and then thrown into an oven?

Where was God then?

I actually believe that God has no effect on a moment-by-moment basis or a person-by-person basis.

If I did, then I’d have to stop believing in God.

If I were to believe that God controlled everything on earth, then I’d have to believe that God is evil.

I believe God is not omnipotent. He is omnipresent.

That’s what saved me from atheism.


Savage’s “belief” in God is not really belief at all. It is a theory built upon, resting upon and supported by the foundation of his own intellectual prowess. His theory places God into a conceptual package that he is then able to manipulate. Rather than humbling himself to worship the perfect and infinite Creator, he gives his own understanding preeminence over God. He worships his own thought processes, because they have created “God” according to his expectations.

Man has been doing this ever since the Fall – the falling of Man from innocence into sin after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But prior to that loss of fellowship with God, Adam and Eve knew God. They walked and talked with him in Genesis 3. They didn’t need a belief system to relate to God.

God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for if they did, they would die. The liar Satan, of whom Jesus said was the father of lies (John 8:44) suggested to Eve that it was God who had lied:

You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:4-5

What makes Satan the king of liars is that he always sweetens his lies with a bit of truth tossed in, so that the unwary will swallow it whole. In Genesis 3:22 we read,

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

So, part of what Satan said was true. They had become like God in knowing good and evil. God cast them out of the garden so that they would not eat of the tree of life, thus they died as a result of their sin. Ever since then, humans have had the sinful propensity to place their own knowledge and understanding above the authority of God because in our own eyes we think of ourselves like God, knowing good and evil. “The fact of the matter” is that sin causes all humanity to be spiritually dead. When we sinned, we died a spiritual death.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! – Psalm 119:25

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

In his newsletter, Savage asks, “What is God waiting for?”, “Where was God?” He answers his own dilemma by concluding God is omnipresent but not omnipotent. This “belief” is based on his reasoning that if God was indeed all-powerful, he would have to be evil, since he allows horrible things to happen to innocent people. Such a conclusion is nothing more than a rationalization that allows one’s mind to feel secure in the lofty perch of an ego-centric worldview.

Doubters have posed this question forever: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But if this is a genuine question, then why do they reject the answer? The truth is that the answer can be found in the Bible, and scholars over the centuries have written volumes about it. It’s a question that has been answered, and answered well. The book of Job is an excellent study of the juxtaposition of human suffering and God’s sovereignty.

The issue with Savage and other doubters isn’t theological. It is their own lack of willingness to be held accountable to God’s authority. They readily reject any theological explanation that threatens the supremacy of their own thinking. Their self-vaunting pride restrains God at arm’s length. But Scripture teaches us to be humble before God:

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. – Psalm 25:9

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. – Proverbs 16:19

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. – James 4:10

Job’s story begins by describing him as blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil. Despite this, God allowed Satan to inflict grievous loss and suffering on him. Job considered his circumstances cruel and unjust because he had done nothing to deserve such anguish. He felt justified in demanding that God give him his “day in court” and recognize his “rights”.

Long story short, Job repented of his self-righteous pride, humbled himself before the LORD and worshipped him.

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. – Job 42:2

Translation: God is omnipotent. God’s omnipotence is not subject to our understanding or approval. He isn’t limited by any requirement or held to any standard other than his own. For he said to Moses,

I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. – Romans 9:15

God is God. We are not. This was the point when God said of Job, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2; 42:3). Human thinking is not capable of judging God. We understand neither his intentions nor his methods because they are beyond our capacity. We are finite. He is infinite.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

This is why believing in God is not a matter of intellectual understanding. Believing in God is a matter of putting your trust in the Almighty, the omnipotent Creator, our heavenly Father. He is beyond our comprehension, but not beyond being known. Just as a child can know his father yet not understand him, so too, we can know our heavenly Father and yet not be able to understand him.

The greater realization is that despite the fact that we are unable to understand God, he does completely understand us. He made us, he knows us inside and out, he knows our circumstances and he knows how we choose to live. He understands everything about us – intimately. Yet He still wants to restore a personal relationship with us.

Once we have that relationship and are children of God, we have the promise that regardless of what happens to us, our lives are in him, not in ourselves:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

We are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20); we are dead to sin but alive in Christ (Romans 6:11).

He doesn’t need us to understand him. He wants us to know him. He is not far off; he is not unknowable. In fact, Jesus preached “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). And he said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:7).  Read all of chapter 14.

Believing isn’t about what you think. It’s about what you are willing to put your trust in. Faith isn’t figuring something out, it’s acting on what you trust. If you can only trust or act on things you are able to understand, then your concept of God is pretty small and limited.

Yet, God is neither small nor limited. God is infinite, perfect and sovereign. He is not subject to any of our human limitations. The most astounding thing we can understand about God is that despite our sinfulness, he loves us so much that he maintains his offer to redeem us from death.

God offers to save us. The name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation.” That is why the angel told Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:20

God offers to draw us to himself. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:44

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

God offers to forgive us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

God offers to adopt us into his family. “But to all who did receive him [Jesus Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15

Jesus is calling,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. – Revelation 3:20

And for those who open the door and receive Christ, he will lift you up and exalt you with himself.

[He] “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6

Michael Savage, along with all the other human beings on the planet (more than seven and a quarter billion souls), is created with free will. He is free to hold any opinion he wants. But when we speak of “God, Satan and the evil in the world” there is only one truth, and that is not subject to opinion. God has revealed that truth to us in the Bible, in order that everyone may know it. It is not hidden. It does not require us to figure out what we should “believe” in.

What makes it difficult for many people today is that their world views structure their thinking around false assumptions that prevent them from discovering or even recognizing the truth. The paths and roadways of their minds will never lead to the truth – only to entertaining or comforting fantasies.

Savage is satisfied with his world view, but his concept of God is nothing more than an intellectual exercise. It fails to comprehend the depth of the spiritual realities of “God, Satan and evil in the world”. World views are like religions. People “believe” in them. But all world views are not equal. Don’t let your world view prevent you from knowing God. It’s not just about the knowledge of good and evil. It’s about the choice we make between life and death.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. – 1 Corinthians 2:14

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29






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If My People…

Many of us are familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14,

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Solomon had just completed the construction and dedication of the temple. God used the occasion to reaffirm his covenant with Israel, reminding them that there will be consequences for their response to his covenant commands – blessings for their obedience and curses for their disobedience.

A description of these blessings and curses is detailed in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy. But be forewarned: the curses are very unsettling to read. God fully explained them to Israel through Moses, before they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 11:26-28 he said,

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.

Ancient Israel’s history was characterized by cycles of sin. As long as Israel honored God and did as he commanded, their nation was blessed with abundance, peace and prominence among their neighboring nations. But repeatedly, they would get used to those blessings, take them for granted, forget to teach their children about God as the source of their blessings and begin to live in rebellion to his commands, even accepting the worship of false gods.

When this happened, God removed his blessings from them, and allowed them to suffer from famine, disease, warfare, poverty and all the curses he had told them about through Moses. But whenever they returned to God, changed their ways and began living in righteous obedience to his commands, he again would heal them of their curses and bless them with new blessings.

Sadly, even Solomon’s reign ended in disaster, leaving the once great nation splintered, weakened, and subjected to foreign conquest and the forced relocation of the people. The cycles of sin just wouldn’t stop.

Finally, when the survival of Israel as God’s people was at a low ebb, Christ came. But what did he do? Did he kick the Roman conquerors out of the Land? No. Did he reestablish the Kingdom of David? Not in an earthly sense, but from the throne of David, he established the kingdom of God, with a new covenant.

The Messiah first came to save his people, the Jews. And that was good news. But very soon, he made the same offer of salvation to all people. In John 10:16 Jesus said it this way,

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Those “other sheep” are the gentiles, and I’m one of those guys. But notice something very important: Jesus says, “there will be one flock, one shepherd.” That means the people of God, the people he refers to when he says, “my people who are called by my name”, consist of all – Jew or gentile – who have received Messiah (the Word) and believe in his name, as stated in John 1:12:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

God’s children are God’s Kingdom. That is why in Matthew 18:3 he said,

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

That’s what being born again is all about. As a child of God, you are one of God’s people. So when God refers to his people, if he is living in you, he’s talking about you. That means God’s promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not just for ancient Israel. It’s for all Christians today.

God’s People Are To Be Holy

Romans 8:9 tells us,

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

If we who belong to him have the Spirit of Christ, then we are to be a holy people. A consistent principle throughout both the old covenant and the new covenant is that God’s people are called to be holy. Leviticus 11:44 says,

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 quotes that very passage, saying,

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Holy means to be separated and set apart for God. From 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 we read,

…As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord…

Them” refers to idol worshippers, false religions.

America: Founded For The Furtherance Of Christianity

From the outset of the founding of the United States of America – from the first pilgrims, to the colonies, to the adoption of our constitution – this nation began as a haven for Christians, with governments and institutions designed to foster, teach and spread the Christian religion in a free, predominantly Christian society. This fact has been clearly documented in many sources.

Today, secularized attitudes try hard to hide the Christian roots of our history. Nevertheless, the reality of our Christian foundations is very discoverable. Two sources I often cite are: lessons 9 and 10 of The Truth Project, by Focus on the Family, and One Nation Under God, Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America, by Dr. David C. Gibbs, Jr.

Princeton’s founding statement of 1747 included, “Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” Noah Webster (1758-1843) said, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed.” Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) wrote, “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other.”

Ignorance abounds on this issue today. America was never designed to be so secular as to exclude the influence of Biblical religions. Equally, America was never designed to be a theocracy. Christians who want to enjoy the God-given right of the free exercise of religion don’t want anyone else to suffer under religious oppression. In the spirit of 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 our founders separated themselves from the oppression of official State religions in Europe because they wanted the freedom to worship as they chose, not as governments told them to. That separation of church and state meant to keep the government out of religious affairs, not to keep religious values out of government.

Accordingly, the Constitution was designed so that non-Christians are equally free to enjoy religious freedom. However, that freedom does not warrant the restructuring of moral norms, as is currently happening in the courts as a result of utilitarianism and positivism (relativistic philosophies of law). By using law to force moral change on society, the original purpose of America’s foundation – to create a safe haven for the free expression of the Christian religion – is thwarted.

Christianity, the Bible and the God of the Bible are being denied as authoritative sources for moral standards. Rather, the government and law is assuming the authority to set moral standards for society. When that happens, we are no longer a free country because Christians, other Bible believers and traditionalists will not be allowed the free exercise of their religion. They will be forced to accede to a State-mandated morality, which is tyranny, pure and simple.

The Free Exercise Of Religion Requires Moral Restraint.

The legal argument for gay marriage is perverted and unholy. There is nothing “equal” about homosexuals “marrying” one another. God has established marriage between a man and a woman. Homosexuals want to throw out God’s definition of marriage and redefine it to include them. In order to accomplish that, they disregard the fact that God calls homosexuality an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). Denying God’s absolute authority to call sin sin, they redefine homosexuality as an acceptable, “alternate” lifestyle.

Since God is holy, to treat his word so cavalierly is an assault on his holiness. And because we too are called to be holy, if the Supreme Court of our nation decides that the Constitution permits a powerful central government to stand in opposition to the will of holy God and force all its citizens to comply with immoral laws, then Christians must make a choice: either quietly go along with everyone else who is ignoring God, or be separate from them and be holy in all our conduct.

And how, exactly, do we do that? Will pastors be forced to perform wedding ceremonies for gays under fear of losing their positions? Will para-church ministries be forced to hire and work with people who do not share their values or beliefs? Will Christian business owners be forced to do business with and even hire individuals who flagrantly disregard Biblical morals?

These questions are not hypothetical. These kinds of situations are already happening. Christians right now are being denied their freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of association by their own State and federal governments. Here in California, State law illegally requires churches and other religious organizations to pay for abortion coverage in their insurance policies, in violation of the federal Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment.

Yet many Christians don’t say anything, for fear of losing their job or being sued. They cower behind the silent witness of “nice” masks. How will God react to this kind of go-along to get-along attitude? Some have said that America will reap God’s judgement and that we will suffer greatly for the sins of our nation. But even prior to God’s total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he told Abraham that if he found just ten righteous men in Sodom, he would spare the city (Genesis 18:32). So, if there remains only a remnant of righteous persons in America, we may escape total destruction.

Some Christians comfort themselves with the hope of a pre-tribulation rapture. But surely there is something more important than escaping tribulation. There are so many verses that give us hope, not the least of which is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). In anticipation of heavenly rewards (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23; Philippians 3:14, etc), shouldn’t God’s people be content to abide in Christ, regardless of what happens?

If God finds us not living as he commanded, even if he spares us from destruction, he will withhold his rewards and blessings from us. As in the days of the old covenant, there are blessings for the good that we do and curses for the evil that we do. Even Moses was denied the reward of entering the promised land because he “did not believe in me to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people” (Numbers 20:12).

God is still holy, and he still calls his people to be holy. What reward or blessing will God withhold from us if we, as the people of God allow unholiness to be the law of the land? As you pray for the Supreme Court to do the right thing, remember also to pray for God’s people. We, too, must do the right thing. The issue of what the body of Christ does has far greater implications than the issue of Man-made laws.

As Dr. Laura used to say, “Now go do the right thing”.

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