Welcome to the NOVEMBER 2014 blog!
The Word for today
Words to remember on Election Day
“Make no mistake, [my] policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” – Barack Hussein Obama, suggesting that a vote for any Democrat in 2014 is a vote for his policies.
If we don’t vote, we will deserve exactly what we get.
How important are ethical leaders? Proverbs 29:12 tells us: “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked” (NIV84).
We will provide an addendum to the blog a few days after the election to share our thoughts…should anyone be interested.
Life in the 21st century
I had a power outage at my house this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad and my new surround sound music system were all shut down.
Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it off, it was raining outside so I couldn’t go for a walk, bike or run. The garage door opener needs electricity so I couldn’t go anywhere in the car.
I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needed power, so I sat and talked with my family for a few hours. They seem like nice people.
—Anonymous, could be almost anybody
Ashamed of His words
In an old Bible, I found the following words I had written some time ago. They were near Mark 8:31-38. I honestly don’t remember if they represent a thought I had while reading the passage or something someone pointed out that I thought was significant at the time.
Ashamed of His Words, I wrote in the margin. Peter had just rebuked Jesus for saying that He would suffer and be killed. Peter could not tolerate the thought of Jesus dying. He was among Christ’s disciples—should anyone try to take Him they would fight. They would protect Him. Peter was offended at the thought of His death. The whole idea shamed him. Jesus was Messiah. Jesus would restore Israel and kick out the Romans. But that was not the purpose of His coming—dying was. The cross represented shame and reproach—something Peter had no stomach for. When it came to the point of fulfillment, Peter was ashamed of Jesus and denied that he even knew Him.
Why do some men today compromise and deny the Apostolic message? One of the reasons may be that they are ashamed of Jesus’ words—words such as “I am the way.” Many “Christians” cannot bring themselves to affirm belief that Jesus is the only way. That seems to cut out one’s unbelieving friends. Those words often divide families, churches, and even communities.
Others are ashamed of Jesus’ words when He said, “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). They want to broaden the way to appear “loving” and “inclusive.” Popularity and a numerical following are more important than the presentation of truth.
Still others find it difficult to preach these words of Christ: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” The mental image of the cross is ugly and crude. It represents self-denial. The world is looking for affirmation and the accommodation of self rather than self-denial. To bear the signs of the cross in one’s life embarrasses them. The appearance of a dedicated Christian is shunned by many. They are willing to look and act like the world rather than be thought of as one in denial of carnal indulgence and self-aggrandizement.
After Jesus rebuked Peter for his attitude, which represented the voice of “Satan” and “the things of men” (v. 33), saying, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (v. 38). What a warning!
Based in part on that prospect, Paul made this commitment: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20). May our commitment match that of Paul’s.
The last bastion of privacy
A legal group that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith has sent letters to school districts in three states telling them to reject policies that would allow students to use restrooms reserved for the opposite sex. If our schools and our local governments continue to push for this kind of “freedom” for transgenders and homosexuals who “feel like someone else inside,” we must stand together against it. If we don’t, our children are at serious risk. Speak up! The time for silence is past. We oppose no one’s constitutional rights or freedoms, but those who have men’s bodies should use the men’s room, and those with women’s bodies should use the ladies’ room, regardless of their mental state. That is not rocket science, folks.
More reasons to mis-trust your government
Our government agencies gorge themselves on political pork—money consigned to projects that are basically personal favors for donors or particular entities in their constituency.
The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.” Surely that is worth a million.
As the U.S. war effort in the Middle East winds to a close, the military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment. The military has decided that it will simply destroy more than $7 billion worth of equipment rather than sell it or ship it back home.
The government is spending $325, 525 to find out why wives should calm down. Now there is a worthwhile project if I ever saw one. If your wife is angry with you and you don’t want her to stay that way, you might want to check out the findings of this government study.
The Fort Hood shooter continues to collect his government pay. While the families of the survivors and victims were fighting to receive military benefits, Major Nadal Hasan is cashing his paycheck. Since the shooting, Hasan has received over $278,000 in military benefits because the Military Code of Justice doesn’t allow a soldier to be suspended until they are found guilty.
Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund a YouTube TV show and cartoon series called “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming. The tab: $390,000.
Many other stupid expenditures could be listed. The pork barrel runneth over. Doesn’t that give you a good feeling every April 15?
Will their territorial/ideological expansion never cease?
In the sixth and seventh centuries, Islam soon swept over Persia, Syria, and much of North Africa. Within 100 years the Islamic Empire stretched from Spain to central Asia. Much of the Byzantine Empire was overrun by Islam and the East was cut off from the West. The Islamic tide was finally stopped by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. Constantinople successfully repulsed it in 672-678 and also in 717-718. That is history.
One wonders if history is still being written a hundred years from now whether it show that there arose another Charles Martel who resisted the mass murderers and motivated a young nation to stand its ground? Or will they write about a once-nice country, now flying the black flag of IS, whose president couldn’t make up his mind which side to take in a war marked by terror?
Should the White House be repainted…in soft yellow?
How long, O Lord?
New name for Ebola
Someone suggested that in case Ebola returns to America with those sent to W. Africa to help curb the spread of the disease, the CDC should designate the strain, “O’bola.” Why send thousands of our troops over there without a clear plan to bring them back without the risk of spreading it here?
Oh, you think that may have been the plan all along…to bring a new crisis to America to overshadow the one that popped up last week, which is drawing attention from the one before it, which was arranged to distract us from the previous one, which they hope will take our minds off the election? Nawwww….
Duke University study reveals how churches change
The October 27 edition of the Houston Chronicle quoted a study about the changing religious scene in America. Almost half of all churches now use drums in their worship. One fourth of all churches feature those who speak in tongues. Churches have a growing diversity in their membership and their worship is less structured. Catholics were the most formal.
Eleven percent of churches consist of all Anglos. Seven out of ten churches that are predominantly Caucasian also have African-American members. More than six out of ten had Hispanic members. Almost a fourth of the churches are independents with no organizational ties.
A big change was seen in the level of acceptance of homosexuals. Some churches give full membership to “all who are willing to confess Jesus as their Lord.” Many ministers in the Duke study feel that Jesus “is all about love,” and what is important is how Christ “showed up and interceded into the affairs of humanity [bringing] the disenfranchised into the faith.” Evidently, if someone demonstrates love in some way, they should be perceived as “saved.”
The times they are ’a-changing, but is the church obligated to conform to the culture? Or is it supposed to be the other way around?
(I often wonder…if it is becoming OK for gays and lesbians to be considered part of the church, is it now OK for heterosexuals to live together outside of marriage? Should fornication be removed from the English language?)
Will these scenes come to America?
An 80-year-old Iraqi Christian woman who remained in her village after most inhabitants fled an Islamic State onslaught recounted the moment the jihadists threatened to kill her for her faith.
The woman, identified by her first name only, Victoria, said that she realized the Islamic State group had taken over her town of Caramles when she went to church one morning as she does every day, but found it locked.
“Prayer sustained us,” Victoria said of the first four days after the Islamic State takeover when she and one of the other dozen Christians who stayed behind locked themselves in their home. When supplies ran low, the two neighbors, both elderly Christian women, went out in search of food.
“Inevitably they ran into IS [Islamic State] forces. Explaining their situation, they asked for help and to their surprise IS gave them water even after they refused a request to abandon their faith,” the Catholic Herald reported.
A short time later, the militants went searching for them in their homes and gathered them at St. Barbara’s shrine. “You must convert,” Victoria recalled the men telling the dozen Christians left in town. “Our faith can promise you Paradise.” Victoria and her neighbor Gazella said they would not convert.
“If you want to kill us for our faith then we are prepared to die here and now,” Victoria replied to the militants, as she later told the Catholic Herald.
Miraculously, the jihadists let the group—which included other elderly and ailing Christians—go free.
They are now sleeping on mattresses in temporary housing arranged by a church near the city of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Will such scenarios come to America? Surely they will.
Following the beheading of a Christian woman by an Oklahoma Muslim, President Obama sent a special emissary from the Department of Homeland Security to hand deliver a personal message which read: “Your service is a powerful example of the powerful roots of the Abrahamic faiths and how our communities can come together with shared peace with dignity and a sense of justice.”
The message made no appeal to urge Muslims to cry out against this violence. Last week, a man who claims to have attended the mosque said the “mosque will not promote terrorism or any kind of radical acts, but when they’re among friends and congregants only, they will promote the true teachings of Islam, which include the offer to non-Muslims—the choice rather that you must convert, live under Islamic rule, or be fought against. Jihad, for the sake of Allah.”
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, also alleged that he was taught at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City that suicide bombings against Israel are justified because it’s “the only weapon the Palestinians have, but do not mention this to the media because they would not understand.”
It is reported that children are being shot in the head if they will not deny Jesus. Some children have been beheaded and their heads placed on pikes and put in the public parks. (http://gnli.christianpost.com/video/isis-systematically-beheading-children-in-iraq-32988)
This reminds me of an inside joke…wink, wink. Muslims are instructed in the Qu’ran that it is fine to lie to non-Muslims in order to deceive the infidels when the end will favor Allah and assist Islam. In other words, say one thing and make everyone think we are really peace-loving folks so they will give us a pass that will allow us to continue to undermine the American system. Remember: the passages in the Qu’ran about peace were earlier statements that have been replaced by later “revelations” that are about violence, jihad and terror. We love all Muslims, regardless of their commitments. However, we also love Jesus and the American way of life.
Before You Say “I Do”
By J. R. Ensey
No one in your church should get married before asking themselves these twenty-five very important questions. This book has helped countless couples circumvent potential areas of trouble in their courtship and marriage. A wedding planner and other extras are included in the book.
AM Price $4.99
Does God Really Care…? by J. R. Ensey
This is actually two booklets in one (flip book), presenting a Christian perspective of I Corinthians 11, dealing with the hair question, and Deuteronomy 22:5, focusing on unisex clothing and cross-dressing. Perhaps no passages of biblical literature have been so attacked by modern change agents as these two. There must be a reason why! Inexpensive enough to give a copy to every woman in your congregation. AM Price $3.99
The Perils of Pluralism
by J. R. Ensey
The pluralistic trends changing the landscape of Christianity can also involve us. This book explores the parallels of pluralism in the world and in the church. The Oneness Pentecostal movement is being pressured toward ecumenism. Here are the positions that will help us overcome the temptation to surrender to that spirit.
AM Price $3.99
Grin and bear it
“It’s funny how President Obama is always talking about ‘I’ and ‘me’ whenever it makes him look good, but suddenly it’s ‘they’ and ‘we’ when mistakes are made. – Jonah Goldberg
The church can flush a degree of error and unchristian practices out of its system and keep moving along. But when it is invaded by enough heretical parasites, it will become sickly and lose its vitality. Leaders at every level must have the fortitude and foresight to deal with the issues while they are manageable, or else they can become so prominent as to hinder real progress, stifle evangelism, and alter our direction. The alternative is to stick our collective heads in the sand so we can deny that we see any problems or issues that need to be addressed. – JRE
This election will in part determine how the next two years will impact the future of America. Please vote!