Planned Parenthood

Outrage.  Vile.  Evil.  The terrible racist roots of Planned Parenthood aside (the extermination of African American babies within America – don’t take my word for it – go look up Margaret Sanger), the videos being released just keep showing the absolute depravity of this organization.

The subjects of the video are cold, heartless, callous individuals.  They joke about the deaths of babies.  They negotiate prices for parts of these corpses – nevermind that selling those parts (for profit or not) is wildly illegal.  The depths of these videos puts the top-to-bottom depravity of PP on full display.

As a Christian, a Christ follower, I am astonished at the absolute callousness of these videos.  I am shocked that such behavior is not only tolerated within PP, but also finds defenders on the outside.  I am shocked, but then I am also reminded that all sin and fall short of the glory and righteousness of God.  Evil resides in every human heart.  While the cry for justice is on our tongues, the prayer of redemption and grace for the men and women in these videos must be also.

I don’t know why, but the Book of Micah seems applicable in light of these terrible revelations.

The godly has perished from the earth,
    and there is no one upright among mankind;
they all lie in wait for blood,
    and each hunts the other with a net.
Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well;
    the prince and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul;
    thus they weave it together.
The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come;
    now their confusion is at hand.
Put no trust in a neighbor;
    have no confidence in a friend;
guard the doors of your mouth
    from her who lies in your arms;
for the son treats the father with contempt,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me.

Micah 7:2-7

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Deepest Darkness

By now everyone in America is aware of the tragic events in Charleston the other day.  Since and in the coming days we as a nation have choices to make.  We will choose to judge, hate, fear, legislate, and either draw closer to or push away others.  We will either fall victim to the fear of similar events in our own communities.  Churchgoers will look over their shoulders more often and watch outsiders critically out of fear.

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41;10

We have already seen politicians trying to leverage the blood of these men and women for their own particular myopic view of what’s wrong with this country – namely what they think is the over-proliferation of guns despite the statistics that demonstrably have proven that more guns has not led to more crime, but rather the marked decrease in violent crime.

Others will grab on to the killer’s racial motives and say that this is an example of the extreme racism prevalent within society.  They will say that this is a more common problem and that this particular tragedy is just the latest example of it.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

These knee-jerk reactions don’t capture the problem though, and it is the problem we all have.  We live in a world of darkness, of hate, of violence, of evil, and sin.  But, the good news is for all of us, and that is that the brightest light is possible from the deepest darkness.  It is in fact not only possible, for God uses evil for ultimate good.

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Psalm 139:11-12

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

The righteous man perishes,
    and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
    he enters into peace

Isaiah 57:1-2

While it is tragic that people had to lose their lives, we should rest assured that they died at peace righteous and redeemed.  What an evil men wrought God will turn into something beautiful – and I suspect that it will begin today, with love, not hate, politics, or legislation, in Charleston.  From deepest darkness the light of Christ shines brightest.

Pray for those left behind, thank God for the grace that covers us all, and praise Jesus for reaching though time and gathering all sin to himself so that all men, women, and children of all ages and all nations are redeemed in the Father’s sight – even the man holding the gun the other night.

A Prayer for My Country

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he chose for his inheritance.

Psalm 33:12

Why do people look for their salvation and safety with government instead of God?

The stories in the Bible have a common thread running through them…. and some of the most referenced stories often have hidden meaning and message buried beneath the surface, while others are right out in front.

Let’s talk a bit about faith this morning.  Faith is a firm belief and trust in something for which there is no proof.  When we turn to mankind, to government, for an answer to the problems of life, are we acting out of faith or fear?

When the giant Goliath taunted the Israelite army for weeks on end with no challengers, were the Israelites acting out of faith or fear?  Saul, the anointed king of the people was trained, armed, and a physical specimen, yet he cowered, and by his example all of the army did the same – none willing to challenge a single man and place his life in the Lord’s hands through faith.

It was God’s will through this lack of faith to demonstrate the power of faith.  A boy, the youngest born of a small family, a shepherd – not a soldier, was offended by the nature of the giant’s taunts and how none dared stand against him.  He did not put on the armor of man, but rather the armor of God.  He then stood in front of the evil of his time unafraid and unashamed of his faith.

You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.

1 Samuel 17:45-57

When did this country stop trusting God and start trusting man to provide for it?

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.

Exodus 14:13

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Could all of our past and current problems be a result of a collapse of faith in God and the prideful replacement of it by faith in man?

 

Euthanasia for children nears approval by Belgian Parliament; doctors to mass-euthanize children and Alzheimer’s patients

Euthanasia for children nears approval by Belgian Parliament; doctors to mass-euthanize children and Alzheimer’s patients.

This is flat out evil.  Pray for Europe…. this is reaching the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Lust and Power

If you’ve ever watched or read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lust for power is well imagined in the lust for the One Ring.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

The lust for the ring of power was great.  It was known to contain great power and endowed the bearer with magical abilities such as invisibility, unusually long life, and others, but at a great price.  It was a corrupting force.  Regardless of the intent of the person who possessed the ring, no matter how it was used, the ring only answered to the one who made it.

Let’s unpack the concept that Tolkien was trying to convey.  The first and most obvious layer is that power corrupts.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778

The lure of the power in the ring was impossible to resist.  Men would do anything to gain possession of that power – lie, cheat, steal, kill.

Take a look around at all disconcerting tyrannies that I have written extensively about to date.  Those tyrannies are either aimed at obtaining, preserving, or strengthening power.

Yesterday, May 30th, the NSA’s Utah Data Center went live.  The center has the capability to capture, record, and analyze every form of electronic communication in the domestic United States every single day.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded it’s mission from just protecting modes of travel to protecting and actively policing within the United States.

The warrantless wiretaps on the AP, the targeting of individual reporters such as James Rosen, the IRS’ unequal treatment of conservative, Tea Party, and Jewish groups are all methods being used to silence opposition and whistleblowers through intimidation.

More than 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.  The threat of removal of these programs ensures that dissension is unthinkable lest the life support that 128 million Americans rely on for subsistence be taken away.  These people have become serfs of the new feudal masters within the government (both elected and unelected).

Schools in Florida, under the guise of an insidious program called Common Core, scanned and retained the irises of school children for their “safety” and “security.”

These are just a few instances of huge power grabs, shows of naked force.  Each one by itself could be written off as nothing, an overreaction or overreach by overzealous bureaucrats, but together in concert they are much more.  They take on the mantle of a full blown tightening of the vise of tyranny on the citizens of the United States.

Now you might even be saying that I’m overreacting because I disagree with President Obama politically on nearly every issue, but it goes far beyond that.  I would disagree with these steps regardless of which party or President was in power at the time because I see these for the lure of power that they are and will be going forward.  That power becomes a drug for the person who wields it – they need it, and not to know that they have it, but they will need to exercise it in growing frequency in order to fulfill their craving for it.  The power will corrupt them.  Even if they began with the best of intentions, that power will destroy them.

The bureaucrats and politicians that come next will see the One Ring before them.  It will call to them, not with the clarion call of liberty, but with the sinister whisper of influence, authority, power, and strength, but those powers can only be wielded by the creator of the ring.

Who is the creator of the ring?

In Tolkien’s tale, Sauron, the Dark Lord, is the creator of the ring, but even he can be destroyed by it because he is ultimately dependent on it as well.  So did Sauron create the authority, power, and strength that were endowed into the ring or did he simply channel them there?  Let’s back this up to theology now… did Satan create the power that he yields?

The short answer is no.

God created Satan as Lucifer the angel.  Satan is dependent on God for his very existence.

One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.

Job 1:6

The authority, power, and strength that Satan holds were benefits of his created nature and were gifts of his position in the hierarchy of heaven.  It is Satan’s intent to disobey and rebel against God that corrupts those gifts.  Just as Satan rebels and corrupts those great and mighty gifts that God bestowed on him at his creation, the government – the politicians and bureaucrats, the authorities, the individual branches and big players have intents and purposes that run counter to the Constitutionally-directed role of the government and it’s relationship with the people altogether.  The small tyrannies summed together will corrupt even the best intended of those men and women because they will beg to be used… the temptation is too great.

THAT is why we rail against these overreaches.  THAT is why we sound the watchman’s call as the abuses and usurpations mount.

The enemy is not just at the gates.

The enemy is now within the city walls.

If we do not stand and fight and defeat these self-obtained powers, then we will lose whatever scrap of liberty that we have left on this Earth except for the hope that we have in Christ.

If power corrupts, we must rid ourselves of it.  If we do not want a corrupt government controlling every step we take in our lives, we must disrupt and dismantle it’s power to do so or we will find ourselves prisoners in our own country.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Symptoms and Birthpains

I have struggled with speaking up on this issue.  My struggle was not one where I thought my positions were contrary to the Word of God.  It wasn’t because it was a difficult topic to address because if you have read this for any length of time, you’ll know that I am willing to say the harsh truth if necessary.  My struggle wasn’t with any person or group.  My struggle was with my own guilt – I am a sinner, and as I have written before, if you have broken God’s law once, you have broken all of it.

I hesitated to wade into this issue because I was clouded with anger over it, but I have recently realized that my angry was misplaced.  My anger was not wrong or sinful and I believe it was and is still a righteous anger.

What issue could have me so hesitant and angry all at once?

What issue would the world tell me I’m not allowed to have a valid opinion about because I lack the necessary anatomy to fully understand it from the right perspective?

Abortion.

Don’t stop reading now though. I am not going to wax for pages on this as others have already well-worn the Biblical arguments against it. I just want to ask a few simple questions.

Has abortion-on-demand had a cultural impact since it’s nationwide legalization and inception in the 1970s?

Has that impact been a cheapening of the value of life within our society?

Could that lessened value have a negative impact as the generation that is in the thirties or below have not known a country without such “convenience” at terminating life that does not fit into one’s “plans?”

Could that very loss of value that life has historically had within Western Civilization be the causal reason why men like Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen feel that they can get away with the wholesale slaughter of viable infants, including those born alive, not in an act of surgical birth control, but of mass murder of the worst degree – infanticide?

How can the world say that I cannot take a stand against evil – against murder?

How can I not burn with righteous anger as the horrors of the Gosnell abortion case came to light?

Now what should we do about it?

There are some that believe we should picket outside of abortion providers’ offices.

Some believe that we should fight this battle in the legislature and judiciary.

Some believe that we should fight this battle in the court of public opinion.

I believe that while those tactics have their valid places, they will not succeed in the face of one simple fact.  The houses of horror that they are designed to counter will not be swayed by such temporal, human weakness.

Are you ready for the answer?

I wasn’t.

Love.

Not human love though as our love is tainted with selfishness, pride, and jealousy.

We must ask God to pour into us His love.  We must shine the light of Christ, the infinite, forgiving, all-consuming love of our Creator and our Savior on these clinics, on these men and women corrupted by the pervasive evils that they perform day in and out at the behest of women that are afraid.  They fear the consequences of past actions. They fear future encumbrances because they believe that they are entitled to something, whatever it may be.

You cannot fight evil with evil. You can only fight it with love, specifically the pure love of God.  You cannot fight evil with man’s laws, man’s protests, man alone cannot stand against evil.  If man tries to fight evil by himself, he will be undone because you cannot fight evil without exposing it to good.  The only source of good is God.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:3-11

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a simple concept in and of itself.  Forgiveness implies the erasure of debt basically.  When someone wrongs you, they become indebted to you in order to make you whole again and correct the wrong.

Forgiveness implies that you count the debt fulfilled even without recompense (payment).

The last few weeks have been filled with heartache and bloodshed.  The terrible consequences of living in a fallen world echo throughout our civilization.  Despite all of our intrepidity poured into minimizing such horrors, they still occur.  Since shortly after the creation of mankind, man has shed man’s blood.  Disease takes the young and the elderly.  Accidents happen.  Atrocities occur.  Death, destruction, and evil overtake our personal worlds without warning.

Today, there are families walking about missing husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins, and close friends all because of our humanity.  That which sets us apart from a dog in the street, or a bird in the sky, that spark of the Divine that makes us unique with a power to create, conceive, invent, and to improve our own human condition can be harnessed for the worst of evils – to shoot, stab, bomb, abort, and destroy each other.

I have written before about the importance of Godly men and women being willing to stand up and fight such evil over, and over, and over again.

My sons are not yet ready to stand and fight at four and just over one and a half.  In our household, I stand with my gaze fixed outward at the horizon – trying to discern and classify threats.  My wife does the same, but she also must look inward and remind me from time to time that there is little we can do against some threats, but come to our knees and pray.

There is one more thing we must do though.  Those that are hurting from loss and death are usually incapable of taking this step at first as the searing pain is too great, the anguish too fresh, but those of us detached from the situation personally must take up the mantle.

Despite all of the evils done, despite all of the losses taken and the pain caused… we must forgive.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his elder brother could never be sufficiently punished in this life to fill the void and pain caused in so many lives (or in our collective soul as Americans).  Even if Dzhokhar faces the death penalty and is ultimately killed for his role in the Boston attacks, his life does not equal the three innocents lost and the almost two hundred permanently changed by the evil action.

Must we accept evil in this world? Absolutely not.

Must we forgive the lost souls abducted into committing gross evils among us?  Absolutely.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

Dzhokhar is a lost soul, just as many others.  He is as much deserving of forgiveness and grace as me.  Will he face judgment for his actions?  Yes, but they will fall short of making those hurt or killed whole again, and that is why we must forgive and turn to God in prayer so that He may make us whole again as it is He who is uniquely able.

Victory! The Day of Redemption

I am overtaken.

I have nowhere to turn.

I am surrounded.

I cannot escape.

Here is where I will make my stand.

My armor feels heavy.

My sword is chipped and damaged.

My brow is covered with sweat.

I feel the warm seep of blood from somewhere on my chest where an arrow struck me.

I try to ignore the hot pain, but I grow weak as the life drains from the wound.

I try to avoid the attackers as they press.

There are too many.  They are too strong.

I am lost…. defeated.

I feel someone coming.

I feel hands beneath my arms, lifting my broken armor off.

My burden is lessening.

I can feel strength renewed in my arms.

My sword has been remade.

I look to my helper…

The Lion.

The Lamb.

He is Risen.

My enemy is falling back before His thunderous voice.

The tide has turned and they are fleeing before Him.

I look around and see that I am not surrounded by enemies, but warriors of light.

They answer to Him.

The enemy falls before them and Him.

The battle is won!

 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:18

I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

Revelation 6:2

Day of Affliction

Today is Good Friday.

Today is the day that we remember that a man walked the Earth and was punished, tortured, beaten, scourged, and nailed by his hands and feet to a rough-hewn log.

That man had committed no great evil, but yet he hung suspended over the crowd on a modest hill.

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

He was just a man, like me.  He walked, talked, befriended, ate, slept, had fears and doubts, and yet he was thrown down.  Shattered.  Crushed.  Buried.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

It was my inability to obey the law.  Every lie I told, I spoke against Him.  Every malicious thought targeted Him.  Every wrong, evil, regrettable thing ever done by me was against Him.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Even more so, not only as the target of my anger and sin, but He willfully replaced me in the cross-hairs of an Almighty God who cannot tolerate sin no matter how small or trivial.  My King stood there while I spat in His face and scourged his back with a whip and took the punishment that I deserved in addition to the punishment and insolence that I doled out.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer.

Isaiah 53

On this day, Christ reached forward and backward through time.  The battle was to take place there, on that rough-hewn log.  God would crush sin once and for all.  Christ hung, afflicted, because of me.  Christ took all of the world’s sin, past and present, on to Himself and offered Himself as the target of the wrath of God’s righteousness.

His love, His desire for my freedom from the terrible burden of blackening sin, His desire for me to return His love held Him there, not the nails.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:19

 

Define This

“Marriage is the purview of Almighty God alone, and thus it cannot change because He does not. Therefore, His standard will remain in effect for eternity, because He is God and we are not.”

Steve Deace

Mankind can not change marriage.  We only are capable of honoring God by following His design and purpose for marriage, or perverting and twisting that which is natural and right in the eyes of the Almighty.  There is no gray on this issue or any moral issue.  There is no equivocation.  There is right and wrong. Good and Evil. Godliness or sin.

If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

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