Monthly Archives: June 2015

America – ready for burial

This blog excerpts the message I preached June 28.  If you don’t consider it rational, disregard it.  If you consider it rational, THINK about it.

Historical events of the past 50 years have spiritual meanings applicable to our day.  In June, 1967, Israeli armed forces entered and occupied the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple area.  No unbeliever, and few believers understood that as a fulfillment of Luke 21:24.

In 1989 and ensuring months, a delirium of freedom filled Eastern Europe.  The Berlin Wall fell, Soviet puppets vanished and nations whose identity had been buried for 70 years resurrected from the chaos.  Few Americans understood that God cast his judgment on Bolshevism.  Fewer still understood that America’s condemnation wouldn’t be far behind.  It’s been 26 years, and God’s judgment will soon fall on America.  That certainty looms in the decision of the Supreme Court that no state in the Union can prevent same-sex marriages.

That flagrant violation of God’s word is the final nail in America’s coffin.  All that awaits is our burial.  For the Supreme Court has shouted to God, “We, not You, rule.”  And that 61% of Americans support the Court’s decision proves that they shout to God, “Culture, not You, rules.”

The mental influence Christianity had over American morals for 170 years weakened in the years after WWII until, in the 1950’s, a nascent but powerful spiritual rebellion began.  It became clear in the early 1960’s and has since become a blizzard, a tsunami, a tornado, a hurricane of destructive humanism filling the land.

In 1857, the Dred Scott case offered the Supreme Court the last chance to peacefully put slavery into confinement, on its way to oblivion.  Under Chief Justice Taney, himself a member of a Maryland slave-owning family, decided “once a slave, always a slave.”  It took 600,000 soldiers’ lives to correct his moral mistake.

1918, God’s people worked on another moral crusade to help save America from drowning in liquor.  Prohibition failed.  We are still drowning in liquor.  In the 1970’s the Moral Majority tried a Political crusade to elect Christian legislators.  That failed.

What the liberal judges of the Supreme Court decided in June, 2015, is neither a moral nor a political mistake.  It is a spiritual catastrophe of the worst kind because it’s Satan’s effort to overthrow God’s eternal word!  It aims to obliterate every statement God made throughout the Bible about what constitutes acceptable sexuality and acceptable marriage.  It says that no Bible truth is sacrosanct and untouchable and permanent.  From this point on humanists will automatically think that WHATEVER they decide is right IS RIGHT, even if it’s WRONG.

In the past two weeks, the killing of worshipers in a South Carolina church has led to steps to remove a Confederate flag from the Charleston, South Carolina state house.  That corrects a Racist wrong.  But do not be deceived.  That isn’t the equivalent of the Supreme Court’s blasphemy of God’s Word.  For what the Court said is that God’s Word is Wrong and the Court’s decision is Right.

That is a first cousin to the unpardonable sin because it sees no difference between God’s eternal truth and humanity’s conclusions on morality.

The homosexuals have triumphed—short as their victory will be.  They claim that WRONG has RIGHTS, which collides with God’s warning that WRONG has only condemnation!

Christians, as God told Jeremiah in 7:16, 11:14, 14:11-12 and 15:1-2, do not pray for America.  God has determined our condemnation, and will judge this nation. We are too proud in our intellectual skills to consider how sinful we are:  an intellectual hubris exceeded only by our spiritual depravity.   Let God’s Judgment fall on America, including the church.  Revival may come then.  It will not come until judgment has fallen.

Let’s God’s judgment fall.  THAT is our only hope for revival.

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Belief – needed to prove its reality

Today’s blog excerpts points made on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015.  I trust readers will profit by it more than the congregation seemed to.  Three Old Testament men took action when God tested their faith, but only two in a positive way.

One, Abraham, Genesis 22:1-18.  He had waited for the promised son 25 years before seeing him born.  Then, within 12 years God ordered him executed on an altar atop Mt. Moriah.  Hebrews 11:17-19 says that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead.

To PROVE that, he had to raise his knife over his son’s heart ready to plunge it down and in, proving he intended to KILL him.  That action proved his faith.  He didn’t look for the ram in the thicket.  God provided the ram because Abraham would have sacrificed Isaac otherwise.

The Biblical principle is:  whenever we declare faith in God, expect to have him test it.  And when tested, God wants to lead faith to obedience, not to doubts, questions and defeats.

Two, Jonathan, I Samuel 14:1-12.  He expressed confidence that God could save Israel by many or by few, then proved he could be one of the few.  His danger-courting faith inspired his equally-courageous armor-bearer.

Two spiritual principles to remember.  First, we need to consider any person God puts into our life as the one he wants us to influence.  It may be an entirely different person than we expect.  No matter.  Seize the opportunity that person provides.  Second, we need to be the kind of person whose spiritual integrity precedes us and inspires reckless courage in them.

Jonathan went into action when the Philistine sentry invited them to “Come up.”  He didn’t turn to his armor-bearer to verify the reaction.  Nor did he seek a second sign.  He simply said to his youngster, “Climb up after me,” for I’m going to war in God’s name!

The spiritual principle is:  if we ever say we’ll obey God if such and such happens, or if we ask for a sign and he gives it, Do Not Delay To Obey!

Three, Gideon, in Judges 6:36-40.  He alone of the three couldn’t get evidence enough that God wanted him to defeat the Midianites.  After granting his requests for two signs, God granted him a third:  steal down and listen to their fear.

Unlike Abraham who had to sacrifice his son; unlike Jonathan who had to dare, Gideon’s faith flagged despite having only to surround the enemy camp, to shout a slogan, to break the jars revealing lighted torches and to blow those horns.  And watch God turn the camp against itself.

The Spiritual Principle is:  if God wants something done, and can find an Abraham or Jonathan who say, “Let’s do it”; or like Gideon who has to say later, “I didn’t believe I could do it,” he’ll use them.  For a simple reason:  whatever the conflict or enemy God’s people encounter, the battle is the Lord’s, not ours!  He alone gives the victory.  Which is why no one can ever boast of being the reason we succeed.

Scripture says that God tested Abraham, tested Israel and tested Jesus.  But what remained a test for Abraham and Jesus became a temptation to Israel because she failed the test into a temptation to disbelieve and disobey God.

God will test our faith:  maybe by not answering our prayer; by imposing a burden we don’t want to bear; by facing a challenge we want to avoid.  He never, never intends the test to become a temptation that causes us to lose faith in him.

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Counsel – with a reason

When T.V. star Freddie Prinze told fellow actors that he felt like taking his life, they responded, “Man, don’t talk that way.”  When a woman often told her husband she contemplated suicide, he reminded her that she had too much to live for.  The old song said, “Smile when your heart is aching, Smile even though it’s breaking.”

Well-intention good counsel, without substance.

The apostle Paul counseled the Philippians 4:4-7, not to be anxious—the basis of so much discouragement, disappointment, depression and the loss of interest in living.  Beyond the counsel, however, the apostle offered reasons WHY.

First, God IS and encourages us to seek him when any anxiety hits.  Thus, don’t “tough it out”, “be brave”, “meditate your way through it”, “have a hard workout”, etc.

Second, God unfailingly responds with his peace—what originates in him and therefore overcomes all that opposes us!  Not only so, that peace guards our hearts and minds.  An awesome promise.  Guards is a military term that refers to sentinels watching over sleeping troops.  Because they stand watch, others rest in peace.

Not only so, but God’s peace conquers both mind and heart.  We can most anytime decide we won’t worry about such and such—that’s our mental resolve.  Yet, perhaps within minutes, our emotions surface the problem and back the anxiety storms.

Not if we let God’s peace guard us.  He empowers the mind to resolve and quiets the emotional response that would weaken the resolve.  Getting God involved in life brings the conquest of fear, worry, guilt, etc. that would otherwise lead to anxiety and worry.  He won’t force his peace on us.  But he willingly and munificently grants his peace if we seek it through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

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Cross – has meaning everywhere, sometimes troubling

In A woman in Berlin, the anonymous author noted graves in Berlin that held high-ranking Nazi political and military leaders.  They had died by their own guns or poison.  Some had died known only by their last names.

One woman died jumping from a window to escape Russian rapists.  That lady had a make-shift cross on her grave.  When Anonymous saw the cross, her throat tensed, and revulsion choked her.  She couldn’t figure why the mere sight of a cross had such an impact, especially as she no longer considered herself a Christian.  She finally decided that each sighting resurrected visions of her as a seven year old.  A teacher had graphically and tearfully described the Savior’s passion.  Any remembrance of a Cross, any sighting of a Cross, retrieved those memories.  A Woman in Berlin, 157

 In reality, Christ’s Cross either comforts or terrifies us.  It either brings us hope or alarm.  We see it either as God’s power and wisdom, I Corinthians 1:24; or a needless stumbling block and foolishness, I Corinthians 1:23.

One or the other, but not a neutral factor in life and history!  Not something we can ignore as irrelevant.  It either reconciles us to God if accepted or damns us before God if rejected.  What gives us eternal delight or eternal misery.

The danger of the cross!  Embraced, it saves to the uttermost.  Shunned, it brings a thunderous punishment we would wish in vain to annihilate us.

History – not always saleable

A letter Einstein wrote to his sons in 1945 explaining the nexus between his theories and the atomic bomb sold for $420,000 by Calabasas-based Profiles in History.  An 1845 first edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven and Other Poems” sold for $221,000, and a “single leaf” from the first edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales sold for $6,875.  Still, six letters from novelist Harper Lee didn’t sell at a Christie’s auction.  Written between 1956 and 1961, they were considered a certainty at $150,000 and $250,000.  Nevertheless, bidding started at $80,000 and ceased at $90,000.  San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/13/15

God’s Holy Bible is incredibly valuable as an ancient manuscript.  Imagine what a single original tablet of God’s WORDS to Moses in Exodus 20 would bring!  Or an original chapter of Christ’s words in Matthew 5, or Paul’s words in I Corinthians 13.

As collector’s items.  As literary creations.  As attractions in a museum or university library.  How many would make pilgrimages just to gaze at them?  See the lines of people passing through to see the Dead Sea Scrolls as an example.  Or the many who pay to see replicas of King Tut’s tomb.

However, most of those who would spend colossal sums to own original Bible tablets or manuscripts as history—sacred history at that—have no interest in reading the message they contain.  And if few are interested in reading the Bible, fewer still are interested in trying to follow its teachings.  And ever so few zealously pursue discipleship to serve Jesus.

The real treasure of God’s word is its message.  From the GOD who Is. Who sent his only begotten Son as “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being….”  Hebrews 1:3.  That had never happened before.  It would never happen again.  It didn’t need repetition.  For Jesus perfectly fulfilled all that Law demanded and Grace expected.

Read God’s message.  Therein is the full, limitless, endless treasure no one can exhaust in this world.  Which will open all of God’s glory in the next.  Which will take eternity to explore.

Sin – breaking from is hard

The long-distance cattle drives from Texas to Missouri and Kansas railheads posed numerous and dangerous problems for the drovers.  The challenges began from the very first day on the trail.  The wild herd had to be carefully watched and guarded as it was “driven briskly” for enough days to break any desire to return home.  All hands in two shifts stood duty for the first nights on the trail.  They rode around the herd and its bed-ground from dusk to dawn.  Two drovers replaced the whole crew once the cattle became accustomed to the new habit.  Distant Horizon, p. 418.

Getting away from, leaving, abandoning, and otherwise departing from a sinful lifestyle once we accept Jesus as Savior AND Lord pose an ongoing problem for all disciples, but particularly for those new at the job.  The wise new Christian will be ruthless with, not forgiving of old bad habits from the first, knowing that however unwelcome to his new life they are, they are the comfortable behavior he has known.  More often than not, like wild cattle first on the trail, the new disciple will be tempted to break from the Savior’s discipline and return to Satan’s free-style life.

Here is where Christian leaders need to oversee, and be in touch with and aware of the new disciple’s challenges.  Leaving him unguarded exposes him to threats he has little or no skill in handling.  Keeping new members on a short life-leash, not at the end of a long one, helps them break with their past.  It helps them learn to say NO to temptation with an exclamation point, not a hyphen.  As they become accustomed to, and acquiescent in what Jesus demands of them, oversight can be reduced.  By that time, the new Christian can continue to strengthen his new life by helping another new Christian activate his.

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War – often has its basis years before

A Dutch slave ship delivered Africans to Virginia in 1619.  Though sold, they were considered more as indentured servants.  After their contract had been fulfilled, they were free, in common with indentured servants, and could purchase land and choose a career.

By the 1640’s perceptions in Virginia had changed.  Previous practices were forgotten and rejected.  Without legal warrant the “coastal plantations” installed the  duranta vita system of slaveryslaves for life, to serve the tobacco trade.  A Prisoner’s Duty, 60

That dreadful decisions took 220 years to produce war.  The guns at Sumter didn’t fire in Charleston, South Carolina till April 12, 1861.  But war began in Virginia in the 1640’s.

The shooting began in WWII September 1, 1939 when German troops dismantled border gates at the Polish frontier.  But the war began in the Rhineland, March, 1936, when Hitler ordered troops in and began its militarization, in defiance of the Versailles Treaty.  Of course the League of Nations denounced the move, but did NOTHING.  Britain and France denounced it but, not wanting to start a war, did NOTHING.  (Though Hitler, fearing a hostile reaction, warned his commanders to withdraw before any Allied response.)  Refusing to chance a small military engagement in September, 1938, the Allies guaranteed a colossal conflict 1939-1945.

Families and churches sometimes fight bitter verbal wars.  Before the conflicts break into the open, seething discontent has been simmering for months and years.

All of this explains why the Master’s counsel is so wise and useful.  “Settle matters quickly with your adversary….” Matthew 5:15.  Differences unrecognized or unresolved hardly ever “poof” away like fog before sunshine.  Without effort to diminish and eliminate them, they almost always linger until an opportune time to explode.

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Determination – the essence of discipleship

The city held a Summer Camp hosting kids from 4 years to high school.  A full schedule of activities ran from 9 AM – 3 PM, Monday through Friday.  The San Diego Union-Tribune photograph snapped a picture of a 7 year old cutie standing before a basketball hoop, round-ball in hand, taking her turn before three older boys.  She was the focus of determination:  head raised, eyes drilled above, her little tongue extended as a help.  She intended to make a shot during a game called “Knockout.”

I don’t know if she got the ball TO the standardized hoop, let alone IN the hoop.  But her eyes and mouth and tongue and grip on the ball told us that she intended to.  As a 7 year old, she could, and probably did fail, but not from lack of effort.

While a 7 year old may not make that basket, no mortal will ever grow into the colossal Christ-likeness he demands.  But we need the concentrated effort that TRIES!  The look of commitment fixed on Jesus, task in hand, totally involved in the effort.

The little girl may have had but one chance to continue competing in the game.  But Jesus gives every intentional believer repeated attempts to at least get closer to Christ-likeness.  Most importantly, he urges us to never let failure keep us from making another effort.

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Creation – look beyond to God

Thirteen San Diego County High School athletes/scholars were featured in the Union Tribune 6/9/15.  All of them planned on pursuing education in sports medicine, engineering, business, pre-med, etc.  Each held high GPA’s in preparation for their chosen careers.  None indicated an interest in pursuing educations preparing them for Christian service.  All want to work in fields that make daily life better.  Their careers also promise significant financial reward.

What one young man said intrigued me.  From a family of engineers and chemists, he’ll attend MIT to study physics and engineering.  He’s excited because every principle of physics learned will help him see “how the world works.”  Indeed, he already sees how “intricate and interesting” creation is.

That young man joins a lengthy list of engineers and physicists, some now in their 80’s and 90’s, who continue to be astounded by HOW creation works.  Not only they.  Mortals in every age have gazed into the sky, or burrowed into the earth; they’ve looked at stars above and seeds growing in the ground.  And they never ceased being amazed at creation.

The problem is:  wondering HOW creation works is as far as many secularists get.  They refuse to investigate the WHY of the HOW.  For that would necessarily lead them to wonder WHO could have been so WISE and POWERFUL to make creation work so well.

The Christian believer, with the Hebrew believer, glories in the God of creation, Psalm 19:1 ff, not merely in his works.  When we hear thunder we marvel at the GOD of great noise.  When we see lightning strikes, we shudder at God’s majestic terror.

We want to know HIM who does such great things.  Like Madam Guyon, we want to know and possess GOD himself, not merely understand the works of God.  With the knowledge of God in Christ, we understand that creation desires, craves and longs for incineration, Romans 8:19-21, so it can be renewed in the new world.  With the apostle, we understand that creation is not a seamless succession of centuries from the beginning till now.  A great liquid cataclysm devastated the ancient earth, foreshadowing the fiery cataclysm to incinerate the present earth II Peter 3:1 ff.

Let all secularists content themselves with studying the phenomena of creation.  Believers satisfy themselves only with personally knowing the only God and Jesus Christ whom he sent.  They explain it all!

Homosexual – lobby has specific goals

As the nation’s legislators debated into the 1850’s, concessions by Northern and Southern politicians maintained an uneasy equilibrium.  However, even with the compromises—the Compromise of 1850 hoping to settle the issue of slavery once for all—the South maintained the advantage.

Northern politicians eyed their Southern counterparts with increasing dismay and irritation, but surrendered convictions rather than sunder the Union.  In succeeding administrations Southerners held the majority of defining Secretary positions.  And always, without fail, the South demanded acceptance of SLAVERY.  In turn the Northern legislators held their noses and passed the Fugitive Slave Act, granting free Southern slave hunters access to northern villages and cities.

In short, slavery made impossible the concessions politics demands to function.  The North kept shelving its principles to keep peace with the South.  The last principle they needed to sacrifice was to make slavery legal.  That would allow the penitentiary culture the right to spread wherever slave-owners demanded.  But do not think even that surrender to the South would have silenced the Southern clamor. No…they would be satisfied only when the existence of slavery was considered normal and acceptable—both LEGAL and uncriticized.

At that point Northern legislator slammed on the brakes.  They had given every concession to keep peace between the sections.  They wouldn’t agree to make slavery legal in all the states.  That’s why slavery proved the immoderately non-negotiable cause of the Civil War.

All European nations, and particularly Sodom-tolerating America, have become embroiled in the homosexual controversy.  State after American state, country after country, island-nation after island-nation, have agreed to grant legal protection to homosexual relationships.

That’s but the beginning for the homosexual lobby.  They not only want their lifestyle accepted as normal.  They want no one to disagree with it.  They specifically want no preaching against it, not even in worship services of churches committed to Jesus Christ’s Lordship.  And, more arrogantly still, they want all churches that publicly object to homosexual as a deviate sexuality to become converts  to homosexuality.

True…support for gay marriage in America has grown from non-existent in the late 1980’s to a clear majority just 25 years later.  How the mighty have fallen!  True…fewer and fewer voices are raised against it in pulpits, if for no other reason than preachers have “more important issues” to discuss.  True…continued success by the lobby in states, nations, and individuals makes their effort seem invincible.  True…TOLERANCE is the popular call today, not only of homosexuality but of drug use, alcohol abuse, pre-marital sex, adultery in marriage, and of Islam as an equal religious faith.  Let and let live, we say.  What’s right for you may be disagreeable to me, but you have an equal right to your opinion.

Those who digress from God’s word find GOD…the Gibraltar of INVINCIBLE Truth confronting them.  God does not rule at our pleasure and will not abdicate his throne at our command.  Pity no one who thinks his ton of opinion weighs heavier than God’s ounce of fact.  God will never forsake his truth just so we can be justified with our lie.

God never said political opinions were final, or science ever arrives at truth.  He did say that his word is truth, is eternal truth, is immovable, unchangeable truth.  And we only shatter ourselves by hurling ourselves against it.  Indeed, after we have flung our opinions against it, his TRUTH falls on us, pulverizing us!

It took four years of bloody war, and 600,000 soldiers’ lives, to eliminate slavery from America.  Only Gospel preaching leading to repentance will conquer homosexuality in America.