Monthly Archives: June 2014

Don’t Pray For This People!

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. (Jeremiah 7:16)

The 238th anniversary of the birth of our nation quickly approaches, and I find my enthusiasm waning as the day draws near. Actually, it has been waning for quite some time now. Please do not misunderstand. I am about as patriotic as the next fellow, perhaps even more than most. Since the Obama Administration ascended to power, I have watched in amazement as the foundations of our nation crumble before our eyes and the Constitution systematically gets dismantled. Obama is not totally to blame. The foundations have been cracking for a long time now – removal of God’s Word and prayer from public schools, the wholesale ejection of God from the public square, the establishment of the Welfare State, the legalization of infanticide (abortion on demand legitimized by the pseudonym of Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice), the dissolution of the traditional nuclear family (husband, wife, offspring), and the acceptance of homosexual unions as equal to heterosexual marriages. But the downward pull of the vortex has increased with the rise of the current administration.

I find little for which to celebrate. Some would be quick to remind me that we are to pray “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2). That is true, and I believe we should, but even God has a limit as indicated by our starting verse. At that time, the people of Judah had fallen into idolatry. Whatever worship they did offer to God was substandard and merely rote ritualism. God was sick of it, and He told Jeremiah, “pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16). There comes a time when a people, as a nation, has so hardened their hearts against God that He will not even entertain an intercessory prayer for them. In fact to do so is to pray against God’s will. I think we have reached that point.

How can I be so sure about that? Romans 1:18-32 describes the downward spiral:

  1. They hold God’s truth in unrighteousness (v. 18)
  2. They reject the “clearly seen” natural revelation of God (vv. 19-20)
  3. They knew God but did not glorify Him as God (v. 21)
  4. Consequently their heart is darkened (v. 21)
  5. They profess themselves to be wise and become fools (v. 22, Psalm 14:1)
  6. They create gods of their own imagination (v. 23)
  7. God gives them over to physical perversions (v. 24)
  8. They turn God’s truth into a lie (v.25)
  9. They value the creation more than the Creator (v. 25)
  10. Consequently, God gives them over to sexual perversions – women with women and men with men (v. 26-27)
  11. As an additional consequence, God gives them over to “reprobate mind,” i.e. a mind that cannot think rationally (v. 28)
  12. They decline into a long list of increasing perversions (vv. 29-31)
  13. Finally they take joy in their perversion and encourage others accept their ways (v. 32)

Is that not the state of our nation? Think about our President praising a professional basketball player for “coming out” and expressing his homosexuality. Think about how he has stifled DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and has removed all restrictions from homosexuals serving in the military. Think about the culture of lies he has engendered in his administration: the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the Benghazi scandal, Fast and Furious, and on and on. Then we have the mainstream media that offers its support with silence and the entertainment industry that sings his praises as though there is something praiseworthy.

This Sunday morning, Todd Starnes, author of God Less America, spoke at our church. He points out many of the same things I have listed here, but he is far more optimistic than I. I do not believe there is any turning back for this nation. Someone will remind me that God said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Allow me to point out that the oft quoted verse is taken out of context. It is specific to the Jewish Temple, Jerusalem, and Israel, and it does not have a general application for the Church. The Church is NOT Israel even though some who preach “replacement theology” insist that it is. Let me also point out that God’s people, the Church, possess a heavenly citizenship, not an earthly one (Philippians 3:20 NASB). Our concern should not be for an earthly nation, but for a heavenly one. More often we are exhorted to be law-abiding citizens except for where a human law violates the Law of God (Acts 5:29). There is only one exhortation for us to pray for our leaders (cited above). Beyond that, may God’s “will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our nation has been judged. Should we pray for its healing against God’s will? Although it grieves me to say it, I think not.

What then are we to do? We should remain true to the faith. We must be bold in our witness. And we should never put more faith in our government than we do in God. Our citizenship, our loyalty, and our devotion must be to Christ above all else. Jesus Christ is Lord and our King!

For what it’s worth, Happy Independence Day!

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Proof of God

Big Bang or God?

Big Bang or God?

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:14)

When someone asks, “What solid proof exists that there is a God who created everything?” that really is a foolish question. In order to “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Proverbs 26:5), one must respond with a similar question: “What solid evidence is there that everything resulted from the Big Bang?” The God denier will attempt to make a case for the Big Bang by citing scientific consensus, but if pressed hard enough, he will have to concede that there is no “solid evidence” for the Big Bang. Hopefully, that should level the playing field.

Neither divine creation, nor the Big Bang can be proven with “solid” evidence because there was no one around to witness either one. So, we have to start with what we can observe. That is what true science is all about anyway – making observations, predictions and experiments. We cannot observe what is in the past, therefore we cannot make predictions about it because we are living the results of the past, and we cannot perform experiments to produce similar results. So, neither creation nor the Big Bang can be proven scientifically.

We are left with only what we can see today. The science that we use today is empirical science, and it is responsible for our advances in technology and medicine, but it does not tell us anything about the past. What one believes about origins has absolutely nothing to do with how one conducts empirical science. A medical doctor can be an excellent neurosurgeon regardless of whether he is an evolutionist or a creationist. Take Dr. Benjamin Carson, for example. He is a creationist, but that has not prevented him from being one of the foremost pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. (See article by ICR: http://www.icr.org/article/benjamin-carson-pediatric-neurosurgeon-with-gifted/)

The discussion of origins, then, falls into the realm of philosophy (from the Greek meaning “the love of wisdom” or “knowledge”) or theology (i.e., the study of God). Dealing in that realm involves looking at the available evidence, like the human genome, the fossil record, archeological records, ancient historical records, the Bible, etc. The investigator must then interpret the evidence and make a determination about what it reveals. This is called forensic science, and it is very subjective depending on the investigator’s presuppositions. If the investigator is an evolutionist and believes the earth is 4.5 Billion years old, he will interpret the evidence one way. If the investigator is a creationist, he will interpret the evidence another way.

So, what does this say about God? Well, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) does a lot of scientific research on matters touching the Bible. ICR has highly qualified Ph.Ds. in micro-biology, physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, and geology. ICR’s research has disproven evolution in the fields of biology, geology and cosmology. All their findings are published on their website and can be searched at http://www.icr.org/home/search/.

So, if we have disproven the Big Bang and evolution – order out of chaos – then what is left? Everything we observe in our universe shows signs of “design.” Everything that exists is designed with a purpose. So what does design require? It requires a designer. And what does a designer require? A designer requires intelligence! Scientists have only probed the surface of the intelligence contained in DNA. DNA in a human being is the specific instructions that make you unique to every other human being in the world or that has ever lived. But writing the programming code that makes you YOU, requires intelligence.

When someone writes an email to me, I naturally assume that it was thought out and written by an intelligent human being. It never occurs to me that some disturbance in the cosmos – a solar flare or a super nova – assembled thousands of ones and zeroes in the internet cloud in the correct order to produce intelligent communication directed specifically to me in the form of an email. That is just as ridiculous as believing that all the design and order we observe in our universe was some random, mindless accident caused by an inexplicable Big Bang.

There is intelligence – super intelligence – behind all that we see and experience. For those who reject the idea of a supreme being – i.e. God – they have to attribute the design to some other intelligence, i.e., ancient aliens, or the seed of life arriving to this planet on an asteroid, or something like that. But then, if you follow that line of reasoning, where did they get their intelligence, and on and on ad infinitum? There is no satisfactory answer in that! So, now what?

The Bible says, “In the beginning, God …” (Genesis 1:1). When Moses asked God for His name, He said “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). In other words, what God was saying is that He is the “Ever-Existent-One.” He has always existed, even before time began. He has no beginning and no end. When you think of it logically, that is the only thing that really makes sense. You understand by experience that any created thing is always subordinate to its creator. Just think about that for a moment. Can you name anything created by man that is greater than man? Even the world’s greatest super computer is not greater than man, and it is subject to its designer and programmer. It cannot even begin to compare to its creator.

So, whatever or whoever got the cosmos going of necessity must be greater than all that exists. God says, “That is Me.” You can reject that, if you wish, but you would be hard pressed to prove it false because His creation is hard to refute. The Bible says that, “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:19-20, emphasis added). God’s creation proves that God exists. Furthermore, the Bible says that every human being has this knowledge deep within the core of their very being. Perhaps that is why the question of God comes up in the first place. Something inside every person tells them that God really does exist, but there exists another part that wants to suppress that knowledge, therefore they want “proof.” Everyone already has all the proof they need, and “they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). One just needs to move forward with the little knowledge of God that He has given. No one really needs “proof” of God.

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Father

Father

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.(Genesis 2:24)

From the very beginning, when God created the first couple, the design purposed the propagation of the human race. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, emphasis added). Note that God did not create Adam and Steve or Bev and Eve. Such a combination would not have yielded the desired effect that God purposed. The family unit and the survival of mankind demanded both a father and a mother.

God, in a very real sense, is the First Father and the Father of the human race – our Father. His love for His children – His creation – is first illustrated in the life of Abraham as he offers his only son in sacrifice to God (Genesis 22:1-18). Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob (Israel), Jacob the father of Judah, Judah the progenitor (father) of David, and David was the progenitor of the Lord Jesus Christ who would be the realization of the sacrifice portrayed by Abraham. The father is an important figure throughout Scripture and throughout history. In fact, God’s first “horizontal” commandment says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). Paul repeats this commandment in Ephesians 6:1-3.

Earthly parents are far from perfect, yet we have this assurance of our Heavenly Father, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10). “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Yet even in their imperfection, we are exhorted to listen to the counsel of our fathers: “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding” (Proverbs 4:1). My father was not perfect, yet “I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother” (Proverbs 4:3). My Heavenly Father, encourages, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 6:20). For “what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9-10). Human fathers may not always get it right, but any father who loves his child always has the best in mind for his children.

However, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother” (Proverbs 30:11). Indeed, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36, emphasis added). We may be experiencing that very thing now. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-3, emphasis added). This may be demonstrated in open rebellion or in passive aggressive behavior. Either way, the son has departed from the teachings of his father. To a father who loves his son, nothing can cause more heartache than a son who rejects his father’s teaching.

I am eternally grateful for my imperfect father, who despite his imperfections demonstrated (and still demonstrates) unwavering love for me. I learned much from my father – how to drive a car at the age of ten, how to throw a curve ball, how to work hard, how to respect authority, how to love. But the most important thing my father taught me was to love and trust God and to unquestionably trust in God’s Word. Those lessons have never failed me, and they are the lessons I would impart to my sons, who now have children of their own.

My pastor recently, in a Mother’s Day sermon, offered the following illustration. A prison warden thought it would be good to offer all inmates that wanted a Mother’s Day card with free postage to be sent to the prisoner’s mother. Without exception, every single inmate took him up on the offer. The warden was so impressed with the success of the exercise that he thought he would do the same for Father’s Day. To his surprise, not a single inmate took him up on the offer. Fathers are important, but even when our earthly fathers fail us, our Heavenly Father never, never fails us. He is “A father of the fatherless,” (Psalm 68:5).

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The New Chrisitian Divide – Cultral Christians Vs Practicing Christians

The New Chrisitian Divide – Cultral Christians Vs Practicing Christians.

Do you have what it takes to call yourself a Christian?

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Is the Law Sin?

The Law

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? (Romans 7:7)

In recent years I have heard Christians reject the Old Testament as if it no longer applies. One young man tattooed the inside of his left arm with: ουδεν αρα νυν κατακριμα τοις εν χριστω ιησου. In case you do not read Koine Greek, it says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NASB). This reading is translated from the liberal Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament. That text omits the phrase: μη κατα σαρκα περιπατουσιν αλλα κατα πνευμα – “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, KJV). This additional phrase is included in the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament from which the KJV is translated. (Bear with me; there is a point to this.) When I pointed out the biblical prohibition against tattoos (Leviticus 19:28) to this young man, a seminary student at the time, he lashed out at me pointing out that we are not under Law, but under Grace. Then when I pointed out the missing phrase in his tattoo, he lashed out against the King James Bible. Hmm! The missing phrase “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” suddenly takes on greater significance. Perhaps the compilers of the Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament did not like that phrase either.

So Paul asks an important question: “Is the Law Sin?” Judging from this seminary student’s reaction the answer must be, “Yes!” But what does Paul say? “God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7, emphasis added). So, where do we get the idea that we are to disregard the Law contained in the Old Testament? Jesus quoted from the Old Testament exclusively. Of course, that was all that existed at the time, but He never gave any indication that it no longer applied. In like manner, all the New Testament writers referred constantly to the Old Testament and never hinted that it was passé. In writing to Timothy, Paul affirms that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, emphasis added). When he penned these words, there was no New Testament, only the Old. Instead of rejecting the Law, Paul says that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12).

Salvation does not come through the keeping of the Law. That is impossible. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). We know that “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [of the law], lest any man should boast” (Ephesian 2:8-9, emphasis added). So, does the Law serve any purpose? Paul seems to think so. “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:13, emphasis added). The purpose of the law is to shine a spotlight on what is sin.

The Christian is saved by Grace, not by attempting to keep the Law (which is impossible to do), but the Law should be to the Christian a guide as to what God regards as sinful. God wants His children to be holy – set apart from the world, and the Law guides us to what pleases God. Can we keep the law flawlessly? Probably not, but we have the assurance that “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). But how can we confess, if we do not know that we sinned? The Law helps us see that.

That young seminary student thought his tattoo would be a great witnessing tool. I venture to say (although I do not know for sure) that his tattoo has not helped him lead a single person to Christ. Perhaps, if he had taken to heart the omitted qualifying phrase in Romans 8:1 – “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” – he would not have violated the commandment against tattoos. I do not question the young man’s salvation, and I fully understand his motive however misguided; but when Paul said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22), I doubt that he meant for us to go out and get tattoos in order to win over tattooed people.

Is the Law sin? No, but it serves to show us what sin is and what we should avoid. God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and He has always expected holiness from His people. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). The Law is not sin; it reveals sin. The Law should be heeded, not disregarded.

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Everyone’s A Slave

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

In America, at least for the moment, we consider ourselves to be a free people. After all, we have the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. While this may be true in a temporal, earthly sense, it is not so in an eternal, ethereal sense. We are all slaves to something.

Jesus simplifies the slave masters down to two in our verse above. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon was the Aramaic term meaning “riches” or “money,” but the term can be broadened to all the trappings of this world. Anything that demands your time and your devotion is your master. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16, emphasis added). Many, including Christians, deny that they are slaves to “sin” (i.e., Mammon), but they are self-deceived. This is very easy to prove. It always comes to a choice between the things of God or the things of this world. When confronted with the choice between going to church or Bible study (group or personal) and your favorite diversion, e.g., watching your favorite sports game, watching a favorite TV show or going to a movie, going fishing, boating, or camping, taking the kids to their soccer game, or dance recital, which one comes out on top? None of the things that I listed are necessarily sinful, except when given a superior position to the things of God. Of course, I could have listed really “sinful” choices, but Paul’s exhortation was given to Christians not to “heathen.” If Christians can be enslaved by the things of this world, how much more the non-Christian who is without the power of the Holy Spirit!

The Christian should be guided by a different standard. Paul says that the Christian, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants [slaves] of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). Being a “slave of righteousness” (i.e., slaves of God) for the Christian should not be a difficult task. If it is, that one should reevaluate his standing before God. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). Strange that Jesus should use a yoke as an illustration. Certainly the reader has seen pictures of yoke of oxen pulling a plow or a cart. The yoke that binds the two oxen together for the purpose of pulling a heavy load does not look “easy.” In training oxen to pull a load, a young, inexperienced ox is yoked to an older, experienced ox. The young ox will fight the load, but gradually learns from the older. In the interim, the older ox bears most of the load while the younger is learning. Jesus assures us that “[His] yoke is easy and [His] burden is light” because He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He bears the greater load, and as we learn from Him, our load becomes easier to bear; but He must be the Master.

Everyone is a slave to something. You have the choice of who will be master of your life.

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