Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For Emily, Concerning My Forgiveness of My Daughter

How ultimately sad and perplexing it is for a young woman the same age as my daughter to be so cynical and confused over the sad truth about abortion, as well as the necessity for and exceeding blessing of forgiveness.  Emily, of course every abortion ends a precious life, created in the image of God.  Where did you ever get the notion that I consider the abortion that ended my grandchild's life as insignificant, not murderous and not sinful???  The killing of my own grandchild was excruciatingly painful for me, for it was a personal experience I will NEVER forget.  At the same time, how could you expect me to not forgive my own flesh and blood for the heinous act she committed against God???  But by the grace of God, there go I!  We are all commanded to forgive others, lest we will be in danger of losing the forgiveness of God.  At the same time I am devastated over the loss of my grandchild, a person I was robbed of knowing in this life, I will always love my daughter, come what may!!!  Would you prefer I had kicked her to the curb, when she most needed my love and nurturing?  She repented, returned home to Jesus and to me as the prodigal, leaving behind the darkness and bondage of sin that held her blind and deceived.  As Jesus did, I welcomed her home with open arms and a heart filled with gratefulness to God.  Our story shines with the glory of God's redemption and healing in the midst of deep pain and overwhelming sadness.   Sadly, you cannot, yet, understand the difference between loving the sinner while abhorring the sin.

"Jesus came to lay down His life so that the very ones who killed Him, who represented all of us, could be forgiven because of the price that He paid in the hell of a world that does not recognize His voice."  ~Ravi Zacharias

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abby Johnson's UNPLANNED

Hallelujah!!!  Another of Planned Barrenhood's finest, their superstar Abby Johnson, has come over to the "dark" side and joined pro-lifers!!! Her much-acclaimed book UNPLANNED is hot off the presses today and has already reached number 11 at Amazon this morning!!! Please purchase a copy to help put UNPLANNED at number one on all Best Seller lists!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blessings, Hugs and Happy New Year to all!

Blessings, Hugs and Happy New Year to all!

With the recent news report that monkeys have morals, supposedly further “evidence” that humans have evolved from them and that there is now conclusively no need for God, I write out of the awesome fear I have of my Almighty Creator, the holy fear He commands us all to have.  As the Bible declares, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  ~Psalm 111:10  I reiterate what I said last year, what a person believes about God is basic to everything else.  Like the slogan touted on buses around our nation's capital during the 2009 Christmas season, it's impossible to "just be good for goodness sake."  Only with Jesus living in us can anyone be good, for He is the only one infallible - the only one good.  The Lord said in Genesis 8:21, "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood."    Those in the postmodern church, whose leader is Brian McLaren, assert that a new kind of Christianity is needed.  Really?  Why?  What was so wrong with my grandparents’ church?  Attempting to portray half a Saviour, bringing only His love to the lost, hurting world, without at the same time illuminating His love with His truth, is the scheme afoot in the postmodern church.  Do you believe the Word of God or not?  

There are three absolute truths you absolutely need to believe if you're going to be a Biblical, Body of Christ, Christian:
1.  The Bible, in its entirety, is the true and inspired Word of God.
2.  God exists and is exactly as the Bible describes Him to be.
3.  Jesus is THE only way for us to get to be with His Father in heaven.

The Old Testament is specific in its predictions of Jesus.  It contains 332 specific predictions about the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Messiah - all made hundreds of years before His birth.  In 1958, a scientist named Peter Stoner looked at the probability that just 8 of the 332 predictions of the Messiah could've been coincidentally or accidentally fulfilled in one man, much less a man who actually proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah.  He looked at the probability of each of the eight individually, and then added up the probabilities for all eight.  His mathematical conclusion, verified by the American Scientific Affiliation, was that the chance of all eight being accidentally fulfilled in one man was 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.  Not much chance of it being coincidental, huh?  Even the lotto gives you better odds than that!  Take 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and lay them out across the state of Texas.  They would cover the entire land surface of the Lone Star State two feet deep.  Now mark one of these silver dollars - paint it red - and toss it into the stack.  Mix it up really well.  Finally, blindfold someone and tell her she can walk across the state as far as she wants, but then she's got to bend down and pick up just one silver dollar.  And it has to be the red one on the first try.  That's how likely it is that eight messianic prophecies could've been randomly fulfilled in anyone, much less the one who claimed He really was the Messiah.  Multiply this out to 332 Old Testament predictions that were precisely fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and what do you have?  You have proof of the divinity of Old Testament prophecy.  The Bible is the divine and true Word of God.  What it says is true.  How can I say that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to God? Because the Bible says so.  If you're going to make it out there as a Christian in this culture, you're going to have to believe with all your heart that the Bible is true.  Everything hinges upon it.

If every other way that people use to try to get to God is wrong, then what is the most loving and kind thing to do for them?  Is it to just let them go on living in ignorance and misery, even though you know they're wrong and you have the truth that would rescue them?  No, that is NOT love.  It's actually an act of love for a Christian to stand up and say, "You know what?  What you're doing and what you believe is wrong.”  Yes, it's narrow, and yes, it's intolerant, but it’s also the most loving thing you can do for them, and it’s what God requires of His disciples.  Herein lies the crux of the problem with the postmodern church, what they have dubbed the "Big Tent" - we cannot simply embrace all religions as if they are equal.  THEY ARE NOT!  All paths do NOT lead to heaven!  There is one narrow way, folks, and we are told by Jesus, "few there be that find it."  How sobering!  The heresy the postmodern church teaches sends people to hell!  That is NOT love!  That is NOT the Good News of Jesus Christ!  Here is what exemplary Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one who plotted to assassinate Hitler, said to such heresy, "The church has only one altar, the altar of the Almighty ... before which all creatures must kneel. Whoever seeks something other than this must keep away, he cannot join us in the house of God ... The church has only one pulpit, and from that pulpit, faith in God will be preached, and no other faith, and no other will than the will of God, however well-intentioned."  Jesus is the only way because he is the only medicine that can cure the spiritual disease that is killing us...sin (John 8:24).

God is love as the Bible declares, but He is also holy.  His holiness is the side many don’t like.  He is the divine Judge.  He points at sin and calls it evil.  And at the end of time, He will finally shut the door, and no one else will be allowed to enter the kingdom.  Those who rejected His holiness in life will not have their rebellion winked at and brushed aside.  They will go into hell for eternity.  You can't understand God without seeing both these attributes - love and holiness - constantly working together.  It was holiness that expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden, but love that even in that moment promised a redeemer (Genesis 3:15).  It was holiness that caused God to turn away from His own Son while Jesus hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world; but it was love that had sent Him there, love that held Him there, and love that raised Him from the grave. 

Many, such as Senator Ted Kennedy and Jim Wallis of Sojourners, live by what they've dubbed a social gospel.  Incomprehensibly, they even go so far so to attribute it to Matthew 25 from God's Holy Word.  Many believe if they simply: give the hungry, food; give the thirsty, drink; invite the stranger in; give clothes to the naked; look after the sick; and visit those in prison, they are good and will receive eternal life due to their own good deeds and innate goodness.  The Bible clearly refutes this position. Jesus in John 15 teaches, "I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."  That is precisely what most of Matthew 6 is about.  Jesus was contrasting the religious exhibitionism of the Pharisees with the authentic faith he had described in the Beatitudes. Faith has its primary impact on the heart of the believer.  The Pharisees' religion, by contrast, was mainly "to be seen" by others.  It is the very same contrast the apostle Paul often highlighted between authentic faith and a religion of mere works.  Because Pharisee-style religion is motivated mainly by a craving for the praise of men, it is inherently self-aggrandizing, making it the very antithesis of authentic charity. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'  

Of course, someone can perform good deeds without giving their heart, will and soul to Jesus and His authority.  Since God creates everyone in His image, there is beauty in one and all, whether they have accepted Jesus into their hearts and souls as Lord, Master and Saviour, or not.  Each of us is gifted by Him uniquely to display His characteristics in each one's distinct way.  However, the good deeds that are done without acknowledging Him and giving Him all the glory, will be worthless in God's sight. "We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith which is alone.  That is, we are saved, not by anything we do, but by grace.  Yet if we have truly understood and believed the gospel, it will change what we do and how we live.  Unlike cheap grace, which means going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn't really matter much how you live, anyone who truly understands how God's costly grace comes to us will have a changed life.  Costly grace changes you from the inside out.  Actions must follow what one believes, else one cannot claim to believe it." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer  When we live for Jesus, out of our faith in Him, we will do good works in His name.  Faith without works is dead.  But works without faith in the One who calls us to Him is for naught.  It will be burned up.  If we bring material bread to the hungry without, at the same time, bringing them the Bread of Life, it is not significant to God.  We must first give thanks and praise to the Maker of the bread, our Bread of Life.  We must bear witness to the fact that He is the giver of all gifts, including bread, and that without Him, there would be nothing to give the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.  Only because of Him do we even have life. Only because of Him do we have the hands, the feet, the mouth, the heart, the knowledge, and the compassion to reach out with eternal purpose to touch the life of another, to make a difference for good in this life, as well as a lasting difference in the next.  It all boils down to abiding in Him.  In Mark 9:41 Jesus says, "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."  "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  ~Galatians 5:1  We are free in Christ to do that which is right, to surrender all to Him, His will, His way.  We are not free to go back into bondage in Egypt, back into living for our own sinful will and way.  We are not free to take license in the freedom of Christ to live however we selfishly want to.
The postmodern church is more interested in group hugs, warm fuzzies, providing a shoulder to cry on when folks get "real" with each other, telling folks they're fine the way they are instead of preaching the truth, instead of showing lost, hurting people that Jesus can bring them victory in their pain, as well as save them from their sinful selves!  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs.  Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."  Words like diversity, pluralism and tolerance have anesthetized us to the reality of good and evil.  We’re called to love all men in the name of Jesus, not ignore their debauchery in the name of diversity.  Sin is a big deal to God.  So much so that He allowed Jesus to die on a cruel Roman cross to rescue us from its grip.  Tolerance is the cultivation of an attitude of indifference to things we see happening around us.  In the name of peace, we tolerate evil.  In the name of tolerance, we accept sin and call it free enterprise or freedom of sexual persuasion.  We dare not stand up for what we believe for fear of being labeled intolerant, hateful homophobes.   The humanitarian sentiment of the postmodern church makes them give that which is holy to the scornful and unbelieving.  As exemplary Bonhoeffer said, "Costly grace is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.  Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son:  'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.  The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.  Grace simply means discipleship."  

The Catholic Church I grew up in in Charlottesville, VA, held an honest-to-goodness tent revival meeting this August.  Lives were changed and rearranged for Jesus Christ as folks from many denominations and differing worldviews gathered together to praise, worship and listen to the Gospel preached in its entirety.  They were not there for a riveting performance, or to be told they are fine the way they are.   They already knew they were living in rebellion towards God, seeking their own way.  In Matthew 9:11-13, Jesus' disciples were asked, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"  On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  He didn't tell the tax collectors and sinners that they were fine the way they were.  He didn't join them in their sin in an attempt to relate.  He wasn't down with how they were living.  He boldly declared that they needed His healing and His salvation.  Does that sound like a meek and mild Saviour?  Yes, He’s loving, gentle and forgiving, but He’s also a warrior who has zero tolerance for sin!  The people in attendance at The Church of the Incarnation, for the tent revival, were there to hear the Truth proclaimed!  

People calling themselves "Christians" have done terrible things.  But so have people who thought they were reasonable and logical, such as humanists and atheists.  Some would argue that the Christians doing terrible things did them in the name of God.  Obviously, they weren't really Christians, for their comportment clearly did not verify Christ's message.  Selfishness grows from the anarchy seed, the seed of the evil one. satan lashes out on the earth like a madman, setting tribes against each other in Africa. satan devastates many lives through starvation, alcoholism, substance abuse, pornography and children sold as sex slaves.  satan is at work in economic chaos around the world, and the corporate-driven greed of American executives.  satan is at work in the holocaust of violent, non-loving, disrespecting aborting of babies in the U.S. of A., the narcissism, materialism and elitism in America, and the self-absorption we wallow in when we do not ensure our next generation is brought up in a culture with edifying, wholesome values.  satan was behind the psychopathic deeds of Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao and Che.  After knowing the history of humankind, how could anyone ever choose to place so much faith in humans instead of in God???  

We seem to forget - perhaps more truthfully, we refuse to remember - that we are the ones who betrayed God, not vice versa.  We are the ones who listened to the lies of the evil one in the Garden; we chose to mistrust the heart of God.  Why, oh why do we have difficulty believing in the God who created the entire universe?  Why do we have trouble believing in the One who sent His only Son to save us from ourselves?  In the same way God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, so He has delivered us from eternal death to eternal life through His beloved Son.  He's delivered us from bondage to sin, bondage to narcissism, into fullness of life lived with and for Him.  If you are not living in touch with God, it is easy to blame Him or pass judgment on Him.  We experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow satan.  God is reaching out to rescue us.  He made nature to sing His praises, to declare His glory and to love Him.  He made humans with the ability to choose.  He could have ordered our obedience; instead He calls for our hearts.

I Corinthians 13:1-3 teaches us "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."  As is proclaimed in I John 4:8 "God is love," and until we surrender all authority over our lives to Him, we cannot truly love, and we cannot be truly good.  The old hymns and Scripture songs are fraught with powerful meaning.  Singing them instills peace, joy, comfort, strength and hope, as well as ensuring God's Holy Word will root deeply in one's heart.  My grandparents were blessed to hear fire and brimstone preaching, the truth of Jesus proclaimed.  They had the fear of God, unlike those in the postmodern church of today - the church that is supposedly so hip.  JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER.  All we need do is get back to His way, authentic Christianity, the Gospel of the Good News!  I pray your family will focus on the One who came to save us from ourselves, the One who made it possible for us to spend eternity in heaven with His Father, the One whose love for us, His arms opened wide, would have held Him on the cross.  True love will be against the world for the world, because true love knows what the world needs most. 

How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me
!!!                      ~Downhere