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How should Christianity impact my life?  (Christian Walk - part 2 of 2)

 

Holiness?

 

 

Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President made some excellent observations. We have forgotten his words.

A man had deprived himself of the best in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible. When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key of your own heart, your own happiness and your own duty.  I am sorry for the men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and the pleasure.

What is holiness?  I believe it is a relentless pursuit of pleasing God and striving to do His will. We are holy in God’s eye once we have put our faith in Christ.  Nevertheless, once we are saved, Holiness is the goal of those "sold out" for Him.  We learn to try to please Him in this way.  One cannot approach godliness until one strives toward self-control and perseverance.   Perseverance requires time.  If God is going to give you eternity, doesn’t He deserve your time?  It is only borrowed from Him, anyway.  We must be strongly grounded in His word and continually pursuing Him.  We cannot expect holiness from simply by hearing sermons.

 

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1753:

The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but, if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produce any fruit.

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Holiness is a strange concept these days.  Even as I write this, with headphones on listening to a great choir singing hymns of Glory and Honor to God, I realize how much of the time I neglect to take opportunities to do this and to pray.  Once the CD ended, the television in the background was more prominent and a commercial was blaring, noticeable only after the great hymn, The Doxology ended.  What a contrast.

Psalms 46:10 " Be still , and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

In this day, how can we pursue holiness?  We have 3 children. School events, church events (yes, even church), sports and entertainment eat up all the time.  Is there room to develop a relationship with out Almighty God?  The more appropriate question is – do you love Him enough?

Matthew 6: 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

One of our treasures is time.  I know how busy I am.  I know that we tend to make time for those things we want to do.  If we are dealing with time as a treasure, if we love God, shouldn’t we spend time with Him and doing His will?

I honestly believe Satan is enjoying our lack of time, if he isn’t actively trying to keep us so busy that we neglect the most important thing in our lives.  At times in my life when prayer makes up such a precious, important aspect, my perspective is clearer and I have more peace and less nervousness.  This is echoed in accounts from those being persecuted.  Many are imprisoned in horrible conditions and tortured yet they have great peace as time is spent in communion with the LORD.  Time with the Lord allows for an appropriate perspective and clear judgement.

How many spend more time running and exercising than time in prayer and study?   Both are training.  One is more important.  One lasts for eternity.   One postpones death for only a short period of time (if it works).  As a missionary once said – `He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to save what he cannot lose’.

 

 

Judgement

I see three forms of judgement from God.

The first is that of primarily judging primarily His people when they strayed from His will.  Our country was founded on His principles and therefore we consider ourselves His people.  Our currency says "In God We Trust".  We are held to a higher standard.  When He judged the Israelites in the past, they were taken into slavery by other nations and various other troubles befell them.  God’s purpose was to end their waywardness and to draw them back to trusting and following Him.

The second is like what occurred to Sodom and Gomorrah as God totally destroyed those cities in an instant!  Similarly He destroyed the world with the flood and will destroy the world once more with fire.

2 Peter 3:7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire , being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

This may be imminent!  In those some judgements He utterly destroyed those who were wicked, including the majority of those living at the time.

The third is the judgement after death.  We will face His Almighty Presence and will not have a defense, aside from Christ.

 

Why do we deserve God’s Judgement?

 Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you . 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

The first type judgement is the form our country should be wishing for so we can repent and seek Him.,  it is already falling on us.  Divorce is tearing families apart.  Our choice to divorce the mate we stood in front of Almighty God and the world and swore we wouldn’t leave until death deserves judgement!!  Children have no strong role models today as their fathers and mothers are not together.  They are not kept in line at home (as is near impossible with only one parent raising the child, as tough as it is) so how can we expect them to develop appropriately?  Children killing at schools.  God’s plan was for a husband and wife to commit to each other and their offspring.  Consequences fall when we stray from His plan.

Who gets an abortion?  Those who, even though pregnant, would rather not deal with children. The medical reasoning for the life of the mother is extremely rare and generally not a viable reason.  All reasons are selfish, putting your own desires ahead of your son/daughter.  Even with rape, the being formed is due love and nourishing although the father may be evil.  Is it the child’s fault?  Pregnancies secondary to rape are allowed by God and therefore we should not destroy God’s creation.  Ethyl Waters, a wonderful lady who died a few years ago, was conceived from a rape.  Many more individuals had wonderful lives despite their beginning.  Our world would have suffered without her life.   Adoption is an option.  A holy perfect God cannot ignore murder.  His judgement is coming!  Christians not standing against such evil in a Christ-like manner will be accountable to God!

Abortion is selfishness. Christ tells us to ‘die to self’.  After making mistakes, generally due to sin, we do not want to bear the consequences of that sin and therefore, selfishly we abort individuals we do not know and who are dependent on us.

We must repent or suffer under God’s judgement.  God makes life.  We cannot.  We give ourselves way too much credit.  One act of sex is not equivalent to making life.  As a pathologist I have seen many aborted fetuses (generally from spontaneous abortions, we do not do abortion clinic work).  Even before 12 weeks these beings are clearly much more than "tissue".   A woman has a right to decide about her body up to when it affects another’s life.   She has no right to destroy what God is creating.  Once again, she is not capable of making a life.  We are only capable of some choices when we do allow ourselves procreation.  God still is in charge.  We are bearers of DNA but cannot produce life.

Abortion rights individuals are also often advocating this as a form of birth control to be useful in developing countries where there is starvation and other strife.  The idea that if someone is conceived, it is better for them to be aborted than to live a tough life.  This too is wrong.  That is an elitist, arrogant view that says ‘we know who would have a decent life'.

These individuals are selfish.  They do not like watching children starving on TV.   I don’t either. What is their approach?  Get rid of these children so we will not feel guilty living in luxury.  What would be the right approach?  Give up some of our luxury to allow their decent survival.  We have it all wrong.

I believe we owe so much to our founding fathers and all those who willingly risked and gave their lives to form and preserve our republic.  We owe them much, including our similar commitment to preserve those principles for which they gave their all. 

 

George Washington wrote to his troops:

The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage of this army, Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission, We have, therefore to resolve to conquer or die.

 

If they were willing to die for unborn millions who they would never see, how can we ‘choose’ to take away those lives these brave soldiers died for?   Soldier’s deaths lack meaning when we don’t embrace those values they died for such as caring for the weak. 

We have cheated those soldiers who, at young ages, died for this country. and yet we have failed miserably to maintain the values they died for.  We, even us Christians, have trampled on their graves.

Everyone is talking ‘Safe Sex’, which is a misnomer.  Why should we be in love with the condom? An article in the Journal AIDS Education and Prevention in 1996 found that of 652 sexually active subjects, 61% reported not having `safer sex’ with their last sexual partner.  Low perceived risk of HIV was the most common reason indicated by 62%, the subject "didn’t want to" use a condom in 19%, "couldn’t stop ourselves" in 15%, partner’s influence (15%) and alcohol or drug use in 11%.  Thirty-one percent indicated more than one reason for not having ‘safer sex’.

An article in the American Journal of Public Health (1997) indicates the rate of condom breakage at last intercourse was 3.4% and the rate of slippage was 1.1%.  A Swiss study in Archives of Sexual Behavior (1998) reported in a 6 month period, 92% (108 of 117) of the HIV infected study population reported sexual contacts and 26% had at least one unprotected event.  Among the 93 persons using condoms, 25% of the heterosexual and 10% of the homosexual participants reported breakage of the condom.

The most exciting truth is if one keeps himself/herself pure till marriage, the condom is not needed!

To test condoms, a water-leak test is used.  This test identifies holes as small as 10 microns.  The FDA has found a leak rate of 0.3%.  A sperm is at its widest point (its head) is 3 microns wide. Three heads could theoretically sit side by side in the smallest hole we can detect by the usual method.  To make matters worse, a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is 1000 Angstroms in size.  This is one thousandth of the size of the smallest hole detected, meaning thousands of HIV virus particles can theoretically easily cross through such a hole.

Luckily for us, the virus particles tend to be located within lymphocytes that are approximately 10 microns diameter.  Sure, a condom beats no protection but it is still lousy protection from a disease that has been uniformly fatal.  If AIDS becomes a disease that is not fatal with appropriate therapy (a point which has yet to be crossed), the medicines used to treat AIDS have horrible side effects.  HIV positivity will continue to be a horrible diagnosis.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (1997) found that since 1985 heterosexual couples in which one of the partners was infected with HIV, 19% of the female partners of HIV-infected men and 2.4% of male partners of HIV-infected women became infected.  This study excluded those who may have used IV drugs.  There were no seroconversions recently that possibly may be due to ‘safer sex’ but it may be more likely the result of lower titers of viral particles in the treated partners, a lack of incipient Sexually Transmitted Diseases and increased abstinence.

The authors found "No transmission occurred among the 25 percent of the couples who did not use condoms consistently at their last follow-up nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up."   Condoms beat nothing else, only if one wants to practice Russian roulette.

A pre-AIDS textbook on Public Health (Public Health; Administration and Practice) that was used in some graduate courses a few years ago has some tight, well-founded principles that have been forgotten today.  These principles are the foundation for public health policy.  Today we have abandoned them for political correctness, putting all of us at increased risk.  With HIV, it isn’t just to avoid a disease but it is to avoid an early, unavoidable death or severe illness.  Here are some excerpts.

In dealing with diseases of human beings, the most practical primary point of attack sometimes takes the form of reducing the communicability of those infected.  This may be accomplished by a combination of two control measures: (1) limitation of their movement and (2) treatment of their infection.  Limitation of human activity for public health purposes takes the form of isolation of those known to be infected and quarantine of those known or suspected to have been exposed to the risk of infection. Customarily the free movement of known infected individuals is restricted until clinical observation and/or laboratory tests indicate the absence of infectiousness. Quarantine for a disease generally has been extended over a time interval equal to the usual maximum incubation period of the disease…

These techniques, although of long historic standing, have never been too popular…

…Thus treatment of individuals with communicable diseases is primarily for the protection of contacts and of the community and secondarily for the benefit of the patient.

(Speaking of Legislation) It will suffice here to remind the reader of the folly, even in a democracy, of allowing individuals complete freedom of action.  In fact, individual freedom, in order truly to exist, must be limited to the right to engage in all activities except those that may be detrimental to the common welfare.  An individual infected with a disease transmissible to others must necessarily forfeit some personal freedom for the common good.

Those who cry out for their individual rights at the expense of the rest of us shows no love.  Love is a servant’s attitude and giving up your own desires to other’s well-being.  Therein lies much of the problem.  Many who brought in the disease and perpetuate it are exactly the ones who are too self-centered to stop the spread, showing their lack of concern for others.

Romans 1: 8 But for those who are self -seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

These same individuals put the blame on others for their own actions, often in direct defiance of Almighty God and his order.

These are the individuals who would have been treated as Typhoid Mary was years ago.   She was tracked down and quarantined as well as the public health workers could.   We have given up the rights of the masses outweighing the rights of a few individuals, thereby allowing for the epidemic numbers infected today.  Do we then deserve suffering from the illness as it extends into the general population?

The epidemiological elite continue to preach the condom despite its major shortcomings.   They assume we cannot and will not practice abstinence, the only way to truly protect yourself.  As true as that was until recently, it seems there may be an appropriate increase in abstinence.  We need our moral guide, God’s Word.

Evidence found in a recent study showed that people do consciously make decisions regarding sex.  When just over 60% fail to use a condom, only 15% used the excuse "couldn’t stop ourselves", further estimating approximately 9% of individuals who lack control.

Illegitimate births are high, much higher than were twenty few years ago.  OUR SAFE SEX MENTALITY IS A HORRIBLE MISTAKE.  God tells us to practice abstinence to protect us from these problems. We have proven Him right!

We have abandoned our proven principles of public health.  Our statistics show this truth.  Our Sin deserves, and is receiving judgement as we see the difficulties of our lives and health brought about by this lifestyle.  By simply tolerating sin we have allowed the illness to affect the general population.  By allowing this, we have heaped judgement on ourselves.  We deserve our punishment.

God judged the Israelites after they had won a great victory at Jericho.  Many Israelite soldiers died when they went up against a small town of Ai.  This occurred because ONE individual took some booty from Jericho when God had instructed otherwise.   How much more we deserve judgement – considering ourselves a "Christian" nation, leading the world the wrong direction and dismissing Almighty God as the source of our might.

The epidemiologists have crumbled to political pressure.  We have allowed those infected to continue to infect. The CDC says "Our nation is facing the most critical and devastating epidemic in recent history…HIV/AIDS is the second leading cause of death among adults ages 25-44." With improved therapy the number of cases of AIDS has slowed but the number of cases of HIV continues to climb!  An HIV positive woman in Nashville has claimed 50 "one night stands" to "get back at men". Our supposedly enlightened policies are destroying us.

Nobody keeps the Sabbath anymore, one of the Ten Commandments.  Why should we?   Today many churches have lost their zeal for the Lord (not true of many others).   We need to repent and return to God’s command.  This too was prophesied.

2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them

Who among us can say we keep God ahead of pleasure?

Depression is also epidemic.  Someone said "Misery comes from mirrors, Joy comes from windows".  This highlights the idea that if we seek to please others more than our own desires we will find true joy.  I believe this to be a subtle, paradoxical truth.  We who are trying to increase the pleasure in our lives miss out on this wonderful answer.

Let us not forget many are dying of religious persecution throughout the world today.   Those murdered simply refused to compromise.  Why are "Christians" in America willing to compromise when the persecution is so much less?

God doesn’t take His words lightly.  If we know we are sinning, we know through His Word that He cares.  He wants no one to perish but if we lack faith in salvation by Christ, He will condemn us.

Acts 13:38 "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: 41 "`Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish , for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'"

1John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God

When the going gets tough, those leaning on His Spirit will remain true.   Judgement is falling on all lacking the truth.

 

 

Perspective

 

I honestly was concerned with the last 2 presidential elections.  As Christians we cannot separate church and politics where the politics affect the faith.  We must pray for our president and others.  This is not negotiable.  Compromise is not wrong when it comes to picking out what features to purchase for your new car but it is wrong when it pertains to those values God cares enough to write down in the Bible.   Much of our government’s legislation does pertain to God’s issues. We are not worthy to be called "Christian" if we treat God’s issues as we do other legislation. God’s desires must come first.

Christ showed us how to not back down from political pressure.  All He had to do was to say He wasn’t the Christ.  He wouldn’t have been crucified. Thousands of other Christians have died simply for saying Christ was LORD.

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

How should we vote?  Let us explore the way Christians should vote.  Not just politically conservative Christians but anyone who does take up his cross and does not deny God’s word.  As Christians we must show faith in God and His word.   After all, without this faith there is no reason we should label ourselves as Christians.

Let’s illustrate.  I was asked to donate to a reelection campaign of a relatively conservative, Republican Senator who has a voting record favorable to medicine (which is my occupation).  This Senator has a lukewarm voting record when it comes to issues involving human rights and abortion.  (If you have some doubt regarding the issue of abortion as an important issue to God, please check out Dr. Alan Keyes’ web site for the clearest logical reasoning on this subject). The Senator does do ok on some issues.

We should chose not to give to this individual.  I chose to write him regarding pending votes, almost exclusively voicing my opinion on those items that deal with God’s values.  Here is my reasoning.

In the last Presidential election the Democratic candidate clearly took the wrong stand on homosexual rights, abortion, favoring China who persecute Christians and other issues.   I could not support him.  On the Republican side there was an excellent candidate during the primaries but Dole became the nominee.  His record is relatively good but he refused to stand tough against the above issues, despite blowing numerous chances, most notable in the debates.

But Dole was better than President Clinton!  My choice during the primary was Alan Keyes. Other candidates that seemed committed to God’s values were Rep. Dornan and Pat Buchanon, although moral issues did not seem to be most important to them.   Unfortunately no Democratic candidate espoused God’s values either.

Each of the three were either ignored, ostracized or shut out by the media.

It came time for the election.  Supposedly the only candidate that had a chance against President Clinton was Dole.  Supporting Dole was supporting the Republican agenda these days.  The main issue was financial posterity. To the Republican elite, abortion and homosexual rights were and are just other issues to trade votes with others as may be expedient.  There is no ‘higher ground’ of God’s issues to put first, ahead of others that may seem to make our lives better.

My father’s generation believed that compromise with politicians like Dole will, in a piecemeal fashion, help bring our values to the front. My belief is that has been tried for years and has been proven wrong as we descend into further godlessness.   Our country has been aimed in the wrong direction, despite the small step at a time, compromising approach. Don’t we know we would rather have the laws and governmental structure of the past?  Gridlock would have been the friend of the taxpayer.  Compromise hurts us in many ways but certainly is not tolerable for Christians from God’s issues' standpoint.

As I read the scripture I see God as all-powerful and just.  He will not compromise and needs and expects no compromise of His values.  His Word says enough.   If we compromise His values we will be in danger of His judgement (a place we really don’t want to be).  We should trust God to bless our decision to be unwilling to compromise His values.

So, on a practical basis, how do we do that with a corrupt government?

Many of my fellow Christians chose to vote and work for Dole as he was the only candidate who could ‘possibly win’ in the basically two-party system.  As I wonder how I can please God with my vote I realized this was much more important than simply an opinion of who may help us be more comfortable.

Shouldn’t we put God’s issues first??  What about a vote for Dole?   He compromises on these values.  The question is: Should we vote for President Clinton?  God forbid!  Character always counts.  If we cannot trust him to sell you a used car, how can we trust him for safe judgement over our nuclear weapons?

What other choices did we have?  Libertarians steer away from strictly moral issues.  There was a fellow named Howard Phillips running on the American Taxpayers Party, a group I really didn’t know much about.  Conventional thinking was- he didn’t have a chance, although he was on the ballot in 50 states.   Shouldn’t we vote for the lesser of the two evils (Dole had a chance, didn’t he?)?  There’s the dilemma.

In that setting, I should trust God and vote without compromise and I cast my vote for the best candidate that I could vote for, Howard Phillips.  In the worst case scenario, suppose the election results came down to my single vote between Dole and President Clinton?  If I did not compromise and voted for Phillips we would have President Clinton for 4 more years which did happen anyway.  That is horrible.   We will be paying for his decisions for years, if Christ tarries.

If Dole lost the election because of my vote and others like me, then possibly the Republicans will finally get the picture that candidates like Dole are barking up the wrong tree with the emphasis on economy, etc.

When economic wealth is gone, who will we be as a nation?  Our country will be an empty shell without a revival of moral values.  At such a time only those who put their trust in God will prosper.  Once our economy fails us, violence may well increase as the jobless rate increases and people without God have increasing anger.

We should be willingly spreading our wealth to those in need in the name of Christ with aid as we can.  We have more possessions than our parents yet we want more and give God less.  We have failed God.  Even our attitude toward Him is wrong.  It should not be ‘what He can do for us’ but ‘how can I serve Him best’?   An We do have responsibility to others and to God.  We have failed.

Atomic weapons in the hands of a terrorist or a ‘rogue nation’ may perform this function bring this country to our knees.  For many, death could come without time to think about it.  Miles of a city would be vaporized, especially us as fragile people.  It may occur "in the blink of an eye".

A current backpack atomic weapon (approximately 0.1 KT – as currently fitted in artillery shells) in the hands of a terrorist would level all brick, unreinforced buildings within 0.43 mi. Radioactivity will kill 50% of the people within 5-10 mi. of the blast, not counting those who die from the blast itself.  Wood buildings will ignite 0.24-0.34 mi. from the impact.

President Clinton has informed us that currently no Soviet or Chinese atomic weapons are pointed at the United States.  Not true, as we are now seeing more clearly.   What he didn’t say was that it would take 10 seconds to direct them to the predetermined targets and that in 1995 we were within 3 minutes of Mr. Yeltsin calling for an all-out retaliatory attack on the United States. This was because of a weather satellite that had been launched from Norway.

In 1965, a B-52 carrying 2 atomic bombs broke up in flight near Greensboro, North Carolina.  On one of the bombs 5 out of 6 safety switches failed leaving only one safety switch averting a horrible accident.

The Soviets have more than 20,000 nuclear weapons.  Their 550 KT ICBM’s will knock down unreinforced brick buildings for 3.5 miles radius.  It will cause wood buildings to incinerate for a 6-7 miles radius and the radiation will kill 50% of the people from 75-150 miles away.

Our world is much more unstable than any time in the past.  More have been killed in wars in this century than in all of the rest of the centuries combined.

Peace, peace but there is no peace.  Peace keeping FORCES. That is the same as a bully or a gangster, forcing ‘peace’ on their terms.

We have to straighten out our souls before we worry about our pocketbooks.  If the Republicans see moral values as the important issue, we may be rewarded with a stronger candidate next election.  This would be in contradistinction of the "Big tent" approach that failed.

If every Christian would make such a stand for God, and vote for the most Godly candidate who supposedly didn’t have a chance, another small party could become big or a straying party may reverse itself.  Abraham Lincoln, who stood firm about God’s values, was a Republican when few thought the Republican party had a chance.   He surprisingly upset the Whigs and the Democrats, so it is possible that can be repeated and it is a conceivable outcome.  Jesse Ventura is another example.

As Christians, we are to pray for our elected officials and President Clinton is no exception.  We also should pray at times of decisions like the vote.  God placed this President Clinton in that office.  I believe we will see this as God’s choice to punish us for our turning away from Him.

Ezekial 7:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 4 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will surely repay you for your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 5 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Disaster! An unheard-of disaster is coming. 6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come! 7 Doom has come upon you--you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains. 8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 9 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow. 10 "The day is here! It has come! Doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed! 11 Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd--no wealth, nothing of value.

Isaiah 3: 9 The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom ; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.

It is simple.  By voting for the best candidate according to God’s principals I would have uncompromisingly done God’s will, at whatever expense there is to myself and my worldly understanding. I must trust God with the results of such a decision!  Lets explore possibilities.

John Quincy Adams (the 6th President of the United States) who reentered politics as a Congressman following his Presidency and was known as one adamantly opposed to slavery said "Duty is ours, results are God’s".   Winning was not the most important factor.  Pleasing God was.  He fought 'gag rules' against slavery in Congress when everyone told him he had no chance of winning.  He never let up.  He eventually won.  Even if he had not won, he would have pleased God, and really won.  We need that same attitude today.

Looking at this simple statement, either way the results turn out, God’s values win!!  Those who compromised their values and voted for Dole can see their vote was to further the complacency of the Republican party toward Christian values.   Republican leadership believes they already have our votes so they choose to go after other groups’ votes such as homosexual activists, etc. They count on the Christians who certainly don’t want a Clinton-like candidate.  Those who believe like I do and voted for Dole made exactly the same mistake of the years of my father’s as we see our country’s self destruction.

With a vote for Dole, Christians lost twice. First, he lost. Second, and more importantly, we voted for ‘business as usual and were not counted against both the Republicans and the Democrats, etc. Most importantly, if we choose the most God fearing candidate, we have, despite our possible peril, uncompromisingly chosen God over our own conventional wisdom and can be confident before Him and trust him for blessings, even if they seem unlikely.

Christians have never been politically correct.  There are thousands of people being martyred in the world who choose to stand with Christ and to die verses being set free.  They die simply because they refuse to deny Christ is Lord.  We have sold out too cheaply.  We won’t stand firm against much less persecution.   God knows the truth.

It is easy to erroneously consider ourselves as "Christians". Christ said:

Mark 8: 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Christ did not mix words. He also said we would be delivered up, persecuted and killed for His name.  Martyrs have done just that.  Are we willing?  This is a small account from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, The Fifth Persecution, Commencing with Severus, A.D. 192.

Perpetua, a married lady, of about twenty-two years. Those who suffered with her were, Felicitas, a married lady, big with child at the time of her being apprehended, and Revocatus, catechumen of Carthage, and a slave. The names of the other prisoners, destined to suffer upon this occasion, were Saturninus, Secundulus, and Satur. On the day appointed for their execution, they were

led to the amphitheater. Satur, Saturninus, and Revocatus were ordered to run the gauntlet between the hunters, or such as had the care of the wild beasts. The hunters being drawn up in two ranks, they ran between, and were severely lashed as they passed. Felicitas and Perpetua were stripped, in order to be thrown to a mad bull, which made his first attack upon Perpetua, and stunned

her; he then darted at Felicitas, and gored her dreadfully; but not killing them, the executioner did that office with a sword. Revocatus and Satur were destroyed by wild beasts; Saturninus was beheaded; and Secundulus died in prison. These executions were in the 205, on the eighth day of March.

Speratus and twelve others were likewise beheaded; as was Andocles in France. Asclepiades, bishop of Antioch, suffered many tortures, but his life was spared.

Cecilia, a young lady of good family in Rome, was married to a gentleman named Valerian. She converted her husband and brother, who were beheaded; and the maximus, or officer, who led them to execution, becoming their convert, suffered the same fate. The lady was placed naked in a scalding bath, and having continued there a considerable time, her head was struck off with a sword, A.D. 222.

Incredibly , there are more martyrs in this century than in any other.  Each with tales of similar torture, raping and killing of their family members.  Considerable persecution is occurring in China and numerous other countries.  As a Christian I must ask myself what I would choose to do if given the choice of a pardon by renouncing Christ as Lord or certain torture and death.  Today this decision is being considered by thousands of Christians in oppressive countries.  Christ asks for nothing less.   American Christians must repent.  We have sold out for much less.  God have mercy on us.

Gao Xiao Duan testified to The House Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights June 10, 1998.  She headed the Planned Birth Control Office in Yonghe Town since 1984 till this April 1998.  She discussed their policies on ABC’s Nightline but despite the outcry, President Clinton and Congress failed to act. 

In China, women are forced into abortions, even in the 9th month of pregnancy.  Newborns are poisoned.  Women are thrown in jail until they accept abortion or sterilization.  People who have an unauthorized child have their homes torn down, are fired from their jobs or are hit with huge fines.

"In the past decade, approximately two million people, mostly Christians, have been killed in Sudan," according to the relief group The Voice of the Martyrs.   Since 1991 Islamic law has been implemented and heavily forced on the people.   Trains of soldiers raid and loot villages, ripping children away from their parents.  Many children are sold into slavery.  Some know no other life than being owned by others.  Islamic militants cut off women’s breasts so that they are no longer able to feed their infants, who eventually die of starvation.

I hold the utmost appreciation to our founding fathers who approached government from the Christian perspective and would not compromise their religious views.  God blessed America due to this.

Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.

According to Christ, the harvest is ripe, waiting for workers to reap (Matthew 9:27).   There is some hope with the power of God’s Spirit and revival, such as occurred with the Stand in the Gap Assembly in Washington.  We are in a Spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood.  I believe the turmoil will be worldwide.   Our government is lost, without hope, outside a miracle. Our country had great beginnings.  These have become history.  Can we possibly return?  It is up to you.

On March 11, 1792, President George Washington wrote:

I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.

Abraham Lincoln said:

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.

 

 

Judgement

 

Our country is doing its best to deny God!!  We will regret this with no uncertainty.  He has warned us.  We have literally tons of Bibles that are unread in a nation with great literacy.  We ignore Him.  We make Him what we want Him to be, a foolish decision.

Romans 8: 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

God is withdrawing His blessing.  We do not deserve it.  We will (and are beginning to) taste His wrath.  AIDS and other sexually related diseases, rampant violence, murder and disarray of our schools and our streets.  He is giving us notice of the upcoming destruction and we deny it.  We erroneously think we can fix it on our own.

Matthew 17:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

We complain about the government getting bigger and bigger and out of control.  We need to blame ourselves for the troubles in our country.  We tolerate sin and/or participate in sin. Tolerance is not a biblical attribute.  Kindness and love are.   We elect compromising candidates. Each of us have a role to stand up without compromise and be counted for God!  Our vote and voice is our duty.

You decide.  God condemns homosexuality and murder.  We would rather be friends with China when it is well known they persecute Christians.

In March of 1996, police raided a church in Zhaosu County in Xinjiang Province.   Members were severely beaten and had boiling water thrown in their faces when they refused to comply with police orders.

Who do we serve?  God or money?

Matthew 6: 24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

We Christians are at fault for allowing a country started so well to descend so low.   We must each turn from our wicked ways.

Abraham Lincoln, in an 1863 Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day said:

…it is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

 

The Founding Fathers of the United States knew our form of government would be incapable of adequately governing a people who lack the willing restraint imposed by the Bible.

Ben Franklin in 1787 said "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters".

We, therefore, have given up the very central point of our government by excluding God from as many places as we can.  Currently a judge has placed some people "monitors" in a public school in Alabama in order to make sure no one prays.   I used to thank God I didn’t live in the Soviet Union but the differences between our two countries have closed.

We are not learning from history.  We have embraced the mindset of control of the KGB and the Gestapo of Adolph Hitler.  Our government is now paying for snitches against the citizens!  It is one thing to talk of free speech and it is another to allow it.  Christians are fair game.  This restraint is reserved almost exclusively toward this faith.  Weren’t the Christians the ones who opened the door for kindness and generosity to all mankind?  Weren’t we the ones who fought for others’ human rights?  Our country has decided that we should honor free trade over human rights.  We have sold out.  CEO’s and stockholders worship the dollar above what is right.  God will deal with us.

1John 2: 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world . If anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world --the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world . 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

Luke 21:10 Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Earthquakes are occurring almost daily.  We had thousands killed in New Guinea from an earthquake associated tidal wave, a major earthquake in Ecuador that same week and within a couple of weeks, minor earthquakes in California.  We face famine on television.  Pestilence's could well represent biological terrorism as is being warned about in the press.  We quit vaccinating for smallpox and therefore we are quite vulnerable to any unscrupulous group who chooses to expose others to this virus.   Anthrax spores scattered in the air can cause tremendous illness and death. HIV, Ebola, E.coli and others certainly qualify as pestilences.  We are knocking on the door of the end of time.  Are we ready?  Who among us can be counted with the Saints?

 

World

But…lets look at the whole picture... We can easily get so caught up in the U.S.’s (as well as our personal) problems that we lose sight of the real issue.   The real issue is individual repentance.  I am convinced our country is too far-gone.  The time is now for each person to choose.  The line is drawn in the sand.  How many will say -as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.   (Joshua 24:15)  It follows if individuals repent, the nation as a whole will too.

Yes, the world is a battleground for Christianity.  We are running, not walking, to global control.  The war in Kosovo makes this ever more clear.   Many of recent Executive Orders and treaties have given up our sovereign rights to the UN who will determine the way we should raise our children and undoubtedly will condemn Christianity for its exclusive nature (only one way…) to salvation.  Other actions are boldly jumping toward global control.

Well here we are at the end of the 20th century.  This is not to be an in-depth study but an overall impression of where we fit into the overall scheme of things.   Much of this is personal observation and although I believe the facts support much (if not all) of what I say, I can’t guarantee those things not expressly discussed in the Bible.

All we have to do is open our eyes to see prophecy all around us.  Back in the 1800’s theologians debated the possibility the Jewish people would literally occupy Jerusalem in the end days.  That seemed impossible.  World War II and the holocaust allowed their return, miraculously accomplishing what was predicted.  Put yourself in the pre-W.W.II time period and reasonable minds see no way that could be a literal occupation!  Never before has a dispersed nation returned to their home.   God’s hand is working.

Atomic warheads are everywhere!  The cold war allowed for expansion of our arsenals and now that it is over, Soviet soldiers who have been poorly paid and are actually hungry still have control over some of these weapons.  60 Minutes had a show on this issue.  Many of the Soviet’s backpack sized atomic bombs are missing.  China has essentially the same technologic blueprints as we do.  They have been known to sell weapons to the North Koreans. India and Pakistan both have atomic weapons and are fighting.

God’s prophecy indicates that the whole earth would be destroyed and all flesh would be destroyed if not for God’s intervention.  We are closer than ever and it could occur quickly in our time.

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

In an episode of "War and Civilization" on The Learning Channel, Walter Cronkite said that in the past, war was for taking something from someone else or for ideals.  Today it is due to hatred of one group to another. In the 20th Century war has claimed >120,000,000 lives.  This is more than in all of recorded history combined.  He states that the irony is for peace to stand a chance, it requires armies to police it.

John Keegan in the same documentary states that war can take one of 2 paths.  One is mass warfare and mass destruction.  The other is having an international authority to oversee the nations.  He further states: "If we are not optimistic, the alternative is bitter pessimism".

How can we say that we will fix things?  How can we think things are improving?   Enough with this ‘optimist verses pessimist’ misconception.   Although many who deny the obvious will consider me a pessimist, my contention is that I am the true optimist in that I have Hope in the One God of the Universe who loves me.  There is no, zero, none, other with which to be optimistic. God may choose to improve conditions, working through individuals and revival but The Book shows us what will ultimately occur. There will be an Armageddon. Let us postpone it by seeking God’s intervention today.

Those who consider themselves optimists and lack involvement by God are basing their belief on foolishness.  It is the same as building a castle in the sand.  Today we have so much proof with failed social programs, United Nations ‘peace’ and school violence and lack of education.  Yes, optimists of that viewpoint, are simply wrong.

We are oblivious to our extremely vulnerable place.  We are perfectly set up for "great distress".  The idea of the "Y2K" computer glitch that seems to have the most effect on the governmental and banking computers could cause all with funds tied to these sources to be in some degree of distress (minor or major).   We recently saw what happened when a single satellite went out.  We had major communication problems that could be rerouted relatively quick.  The Y2K problem has no good backup.  It may not, and probably will not be all some have cracked it up to be.  God’s judgement will fall on us more than it already has and there will be some "great distress" on our nation, without repentance.

Almost everyone has their savings and retirement money in the stock market (especially mutual funds).  If we have a major correction in the market or a crash, we will be extremely vulnerable. Once again God’s Word is prophetic.  Just 100 years ago no one could imagine all of us could be killed off.  Today it is common knowledge that we could easily use our weapons of mass destruction and kill all life many times over.   God’s Word is incredible.  When we least understand it we should trust it anyway.

Revelation 17: 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

As we put our soldiers in the UN ranks and have other country’s soldiers training on our soil we see increasing global control.  President Clinton would have been tried for treason a few years ago.  It isn’t that ‘one world government’ is inherently wrong (probably is) but it is evidence, again, of the final days and prophesies being fulfilled.

The world financial market is more important than ever before.  I cannot pick up a newspaper or watch CNN that doesn’t have prophecy being fulfilled or approaching fulfillment.  This is on the first pages!  It cannot be any clearer.

For example, (September 27, 1997) the Birmingham News had 3 articles that directly fit.   One was that the U.S. was upset with Netanyahu and his plans regarding Israel rebuilding in Palestinian areas.  On May 2, 1998 I watched CNN World Report for the first 20 minutes before they hit a topic that did not fit biblical prophecy perfectly.   There were numerous May Day riots in various countries with violence and armies called out.  The Euro-dollar takes us closer to a one world economy that sets us up for the events in Revelations.  Even the commercials were part of prophetic change, including one by Oracle software, a company that makes computer software geared at banking and governmental institutions on a global basis.  Again, earthquakes were reported.

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, "When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' 3 and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

Christ saw our lack of insight, he likened us to sheep.  We have not changed.   We think our world is improving when evidence points the other way.

Luke 21: 20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

Revelations 19: 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see the ‘New World Order’ turning on Israel, forcing the establishment of a Palestinian state.  These prophecies are probably directly related, as the end of time is imminent.  That day another report discussed an earthquake in Italy.

Matthew 24:5 For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Birth pains usually start slow and weak.  Before long they are much more frequent and stronger. Earthquakes, etc are occurring more and more often and are more and more intense, indicative of the later stages of pregnancy and therefore, of Christ’s return.

2Peter 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this `coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Ethnic turmoil is found in virtually every nation and refuses to cease.

Matthew 24: 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved

 

Christian Living

 

Money

1Timothy 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money , have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

As we see our society today, we see greed disguised as ‘success’ and money the supposed answer to our problems. Families have both parents working to make enough income to maintain a ‘normal’ lifestyle. Making a trip into virtually any other nation, especially the ‘third world’ nations reveal a normal lifestyle that is infinitely different from our own. We do not require all that we have.

Having comfort and some degree of financial security is not a bad goal until it becomes more important than God and His viewpoint. God wants us to want Him above all else. When we neglect to do this, He may reject us.

We are living in the most comfortable lifestyle of any people in history. Those with just modest income are light years ahead of their parents’ financial status and possessions. Why do we crave more?

We crave more because we were made this way, as part of our sinful nature. We crave more because we are self-centered. We crave more to show others our success.

This craving is an instrument God can use to mold us into a more Christ-like person. It is something Christians can overcome on a daily basis. We will always have this reappear in our thoughts and we must continue to fight the urges. Each time we win, with God’s help, we gain in our walk with Him.

As the scriptures above show, we should put our trust in God and give up trust in our possessions. God guarantees His blessings in these scriptures when we count on Him.

Consider the China ‘spying’ and the uproar over our nuclear secrets. Just as the 1Timothy verse shows, the love of money is the root of all evil. Who loves money in this example? Companies (such as Loral and Hughes) would rather risk our national security, in order to sell to the Chinese. Those CEO’s and others who gain increased stock options and income made that choice. The stockholders of these companies who choose to elect these individuals to their position made that choice. The mutual fund purchasers who really don’t know what companies their money is supporting made that choice.

It is all of us today. Oh, remember, it’s the economy stupid!

Let us not forget that our President also forged a relationship with those who would kick in dollars to the Democratic National Convention. This is in violation of one of the most basic election laws. It is, and has been, illegal to take money from a foreign nation for a campaign, as well it should be. In this setting, the love of money may mean death and destruction of ‘innocent’ people.

If one looks at the reasoning by the world population control people, and looks beneath the surface, there is a financial gain for their elitist view. The reasoning used for population control and abortion is, in the best sense, to keep our world’s population within a range that people can be supported by food. The government has long paid farmers to keep from planting crops, etc. At this point, our world could support all people with enough food to exterminate hunger. Distribution and production is a bigger problem, partially brought on by greed.

When we try to decrease the population of our own family or the world, it largely stems from a love of money and possessions, not altruism. When we see images of people starving on TV and charitable organizations asking for help, it is difficult to enjoy our supper in our air-conditioned house. This is difficult for all of us.

The solution we should apply is to give as much as we can to aid these individuals. They are real people with souls, needs and wants. They had a right to be born. They have the same God-given rights as our forefathers outlined (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). They need Christ, and many missionaries and Christians have sacrificed for them in the past and today. Those who advocate we should limit the reproductive capabilities of these people are exposing their selfish love of money and possessions over sharing with those in need.

If everyone was willing to give their share and the government stops wasting and taking enormous tax dollars, these individuals could survive. Don’t we care for them? Would we rather buy a new lake house and speedboat? That may not be a sin. Just food for thought. I say this not as one who has conquered this dilemma in my life but one struggling with exactly what does Christ want? It would not be surprising if everyone would give 10% (a tithe), that these people could be cared for well, although as Christ said, we will always have poor (probably because people are not willing to give).

Even though we can sit back and look at the ‘third world’ images and confidently say we would rather be dead than to live as some are living, that probably would not be their perspective. The life they may be leading may be rewarding to them and, in a way, it may be easier for them to be saved than for American Christians to be saved. Certainly possessions are not limiting their relationship with our God as possessions are limiting Americans’ relationship with God. Maybe they should send us missionaries.

In this day, we have chosen our own wants over having additional children. This, too, is a love of self. Americans today have wealth many times greater than our counterparts in other countries. It is difficult for the wealthy to be saved. May God help us to know what we should do in this day of wealth. We should love our neighbor as ourselves.

Matthew 19: 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self -indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. 7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

When we choose to not give a full tithe, we have chosen money ahead of God.  When we spend money on things of comfort rather than necessity haven’t we chosen the "love of money" over simply forwarding some of our entrusted funds to others as we can.  Giving to others in Christ’s name is an honor. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Where else do we spend money?

What about movies?  When was the last time you saw a movie that was of some value?   How many portray a series of anti-Christian values as if it is the way we should be?  Movies are full of divorce, sex outside of marriage and they glorify violence.   Should our hard-earned money be going to those who teach our society wrong?   How many people have died at least partially as a result of the killer spending time watching such movies glorifying violence and perversion.

There is in Hollywood a strong self-centered attitude.  Funding those individuals works against our efforts to better our society.  Our churches and our funds may be helping sponsor drug rehabilitation yet other money from our pockets help support this destructive lifestyle that is portrayed favorably in films.  We are fighting ourselves when we financially support the wrong things.

James 4:3 When you ask (God), you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

 

 

 

Sex

One of the most difficult and wonderful issues with which we, and others before us have struggled with is sex.  It is maligned throughout our society and in each of our minds.

We need to carefully consider God’s intentions and viewpoint of our sexuality.   As He stated from the beginning of time,

Genesis 2: 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

We need to look at the sexual experience from the view of the big picture that is purer than our simple viewpoint that is subjective.  Our error partially comes from the world’s and Satan’s influences in addition to our own selfish desires.  The above scripture is clearly God’s will and his perfect plan.  Once Satan entered the picture the plan became distorted.

Of all of God’s creations people represent the pinnacle of creation on earth.   As beautiful as flowers, butterflies, animals and the world are, thankfully, we are most incredible.  Shall we enjoy God’s wonderful gift?  Absolutely.   Satan wants control over sexuality and unfortunately Christians have given it to him.  Nudity and sexual acts do not represent evil.  We got that wrong in the Garden of Eden and we still err in this manner.

Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Not only do men perceive the beauty of the woman, we also have hormonal influences that increase the beauty and attractiveness of this wonderful creation.  God unashamedly made us that way.  We should approach sex with heartfelt appreciation to God and His wonderful plan.

Only within the confines of the plan of God, can we enjoy the fullness of the sexual experience. We cannot reach this relationship if we violate God’s law and His outlined plan in the Bible.  Satan has many well meaning Christians convinced various sexual acts or thoughts are sin, leaving ungodly people free reign as sexual advocates and Christians as losers.

God hates divorce and those making that decision will deal with Him on that decision.  God speaks of sexuality outside the confines of marriage (fornication).   God clearly is displeased with that.  He is against homosexuality in an absolutely strong way.  Homosexuals will answer to Him in the future.  We all will.  Shouldn’t we be concerned?

When Christians fail to warn the homosexuals in a loving manner that they will go to Hell if they do not repent (as with any sin), aren’t we causing them to stumble under the guise of ‘tolerance’? We contribute to their eternal destination in Hell unless we speak with love against their sin.  The same is true of heterosexual sin.

We are obsessed with sex.  Every magazine in the checkout aisle is loaded with articles on our favorite subject.  That is not necessarily bad but the articles unfortunately are uniformly written in that way.  Sex videotapes and magazines are now in ‘respectable’ stores, not just in the bad side of town.  Internet porn is extremely easy to obtain (even if you are trying to avoid it).  In the checkout aisle the magazines not only scream sexuality but also speak of sensuality.   Isn’t that a sin?

Ephesians 4: 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Our country is full of individuals who consider themselves Christians.  Why is pornographic industry flourishing?

The industry flourishes as we who call ourselves Christians are supporting them.   Why?

First off, God in His infinite wisdom made sex important in our minds. Second, unfortunately, the church has left individuals with very little support.  It is much easier for ‘religious’ people to simply consider sex as a ‘bad’ thing outside marriage, oversimplifying the issue to the parishioners’ detriment.   Third, the only individuals who pretend to lend support are those who glorify sin and evil and associate these items with sex.

What is the right answer?

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

The Holy Bible is our gold standard.  It is rather specific in the acts and thoughts God considers wrong.  Christ made it more clear in a sense, showing that the very want of illicit sex is sin as well.

Many well meaning Christians consider nudity for sale as sin.  Generally it is, especially how it is portrayed today.  Should it be? Isn’t nudity and sexuality God’s earthly creation?  I contend that the human body is at least as beautiful as is any of God’s creation and deserves our appreciation. Let us not forget who we can thank.  He deserves all the credit.  We should revere God for His loving kindness to us.  He allows us to have this wonderful relationship with each other.

It is wrong is for Christians to spend money we have under our control to support unmarried individuals engaging in sexual acts that God considers sin as it is outside the confines of marriage.  By rewarding sinful behavior with our dollars, aren’t we the ones causing others to stumble?

1 Corinthians 10: 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble , whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—

On the internet, if we find a ‘bargain’ of pornographic images and feel our small amount of money really won’t make a difference in the overall scheme of things, we have lied and deceived ourselves.  Furthermore we have helped cause others to sin.   Those who make films, those who are actors and actresses and those who work at strip joints largely do so to make money.  We have supported their sin and therefore caused them to sin!  How many of them portray appropriate sexual relations with a married partner?  This is also true of the sellers of sex, many whom pride themselves as being godless.

On the internet, pornographic pages delight themselves with terms like "nasty, naughty, lust, forbidden, etc".  They call what may be good, evil.  Common derogatory statements when genitalia are seen or discussed come from Satan.  What more could he ask for?  Wouldn’t he love to take that which is one of the most complex and wonderful creations of God and turn it over to his own devices?  As he succeeded at making sexuality evil then he has won much of the battle.

Isaiah 5: 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil , who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

We have a tightrope to walk, holding prayer and study of The Word as a balancing rod.   On one side one can fall into sin, on the other one can fall into legalism.   The tightrope itself is the Bible (God’s Word).  It is a straight and narrow path.

Many verses warn of the danger and sin of lust. Christ Himself warned that to lust is a sin equal to adultery.  It would be virtually impossible to find someone not guilty of that sin.  What is lust? A simple definition is the desire to have sexual relations with someone outside of your marriage relationship (similar to adultery).

We must not support those advocating and profiting from illicit sex.   Unfortunately, many Christians have handed over sex to those who mislead us. Much of the material displayed by pornographers exhibits individuals who are not married and may be depicting illicit acts such as gay behavior and pedophilia.   Christians should never want to support those who practice such evil and should actively avoid financing those individuals and companies.

Consider the internet.  If one goes to an ‘adult’ site one finds images, etc. that are quite inexpensive and readily available. If I believe the cost per year is so small my purchase really won’t matter, I have made a common mistake.  This is the reason we Christians are a large part of the problem.  Once we have transferred dollars from ourselves to the purveyors of this material we have supported the sin.

It is wrong when we cause someone else to sin or we lust toward others.  The pornographic movies showing physical details of lovemaking do not show a husband-wife relationship as God intended.  These movies glorify homosexuality, violence, sex with multiple partners, and unmarried individuals.

The rating systems mislead us.  Children look at the age levels for movies as rites of passage as they grow up, similar to getting a license to drive and the ability to drink alcohol.  What message are we sending them?  The message is that, as you mature, you should be partaking in these new levels.  To make matters worse, shows that portray sex outside of marriage or those which portray divorce as a norm do a tremendous amount of damage, even if there is no nudity. 

Despite this, nudity is often the reason for a higher rating.  Any behavior that falls outside God’s will that is either neutrally or favorably portrayed should be reason for more restrictive ratings.

With this reasoning. soap operas on TV would be some of the most restricted shows, provided the rating systems are there to protect our children.  TV talk shows are similar.  Not that nudity is necessary, but nudity in the right context is much improved over the portrayal of sinful lifestyles. By ratings that restrict such things, sexuality has become evil and nudity becomes Satan’s work, stolen from God.

I believe daytime TV, Jerry Springer and other talk shows and even the evening news have has done much more damage to us than pornography, as bad as that may be.  Much of these are showing the sex outside of marriage, violence and the combination of these that are somewhat less graphic but the moral content is virtually the same.

The viewer sees the content delivered in a sterile, often airbrushed way by the media and we begin to consider sin OK in our state of tolerance.  We should, and are currently suffering the consequences of this choice. God expects us to stand firm against these things.  We will be judged.

For example, consider the movie Notting Hill.  This movie has an actress falling in love with a bookstore owner in London.  One of the big crises was when the actress and the fellow were photographed in bed clothes by the paparazzi, potentially ruining her career.  The movie portrays the paparazzi as the bad people and the individuals (who happened to be in a sinful relationship) as good.  Sure, the invasion of privacy was unwelcome and wrong, but so was the other.  This is typical of Hollywood productions today.  We have been conditioned to think that heterosexual relations outside marriage is normal and not a sin, although our God would say otherwise.   Many who would condemn homosexual behavior would fail to consider the heterosexual behavior wrong.

Disney has chosen to depart from core biblical values and taken up the banner of homosexual rights.  This is one statement God makes regarding this particular sin –

Leviticus 20: 13 "`If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Why would we put our hard-earned dollars into such a company.  Disney has taken our trust and destroyed it as they have a humanistic viewpoint with some New Age mixed in.

I am not good enough to see that homosexuality is wrong.  Personally, it really doesn’t matter to me.  I must stand, however, against those things God considers sin.  I want to please Him and I ask Him to help me to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  I need to care for the unfortunate, deceived individuals practicing this destructive lifestyle.  Despite this, the homosexual lifestyle should be hated by all Christians, as we should hate divorce and heterosexual immorality.

Psalms 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

God also says not to put other gods before Him. If we find ourselves dwelling on sex, if we spend more time in pursuit of sex than God, then we have put another god before Him and have sinned.

Sex is thought to be addictive.  Is eating addictive?  Is breathing addictive?  It is a powerful influence in our lives and we can over-do it.  What we need to deal with is how much time is lost cultivating a relationship with God when we overemphasize sex or any other interests.

The publication Adult Video News reports that in the 4 months following January of 1998, 5 pornographic actors/actresses have been found HIV positive. These are generally young, beautiful individuals that have a devastating illness that ended their ‘career’ and will probably end their lives.   We who purchase their products are absolutely at blame for putting these individuals in such danger.  We have put our own pleasure ahead of their lives.   They too have put money ahead of God’s values and deserve some blame but where did the money come from? From Christians too!  We who consider ourselves worthy of Heaven!  May God have mercy on us.

 

The Adult Video News reported on one of an HIV positive porn star, Tricia Devereaux:

Mark Kernes writes in the 4/98 AVN about Devereaux: "At age 23, she's cute, enthusiastic, and almost every scene she's been in has been hot. She's also pretty bright. She's come into the office a couple of times, and we've sat and talked about the business, life, lovers… So it was with great sadness that I watched Tricia rise unsteadily from her seat at the Free Speech Coalition's talent meeting on February 4 and, choking back tears, begin to speak about the worst thing that can happen to the adult industry: Unchecked HIV infection."

Through a prior agreement between the World Modeling Agency and the Norton Clinic, World Modeling owner Jim South is automatically informed of the HIV status of actresses under contract to his agency, and it was South who first informed Devereaux that she might be HIV-positive.

"When Jim told me," Devereaux said, "I panicked and drove right down to the 10-Minute Test Center in Culver City, and they did another Eliza there, and it came out the same. At that point, I kind of fell into shock, I guess you could say. "That weekend I sort of just laid back and didn't do anything," she continued, "and then, the next week, I called; I had been [sexual] with one person in the last six months who's not talent. I called him, and he was just so upset for me, and he called me back a few days later and told me that he had gotten tested and he was negative. In a way, I was relieved, because it gave me a little bit more of a chance, because I was thinking, 'Well, I didn't think this was a false positive, but maybe it is now.'"

A subsequent positive PCR-DNA test, however, shattered her hopes, but as of this writing, Devereaux still doesn't know how she contracted the disease. Fortunately, Devereaux kept a database of everyone with whom she had worked since the beginning of her career, and this proved invaluable in contacting other performers who might have been exposed to the virus.

"I talked to Sharon Mitchell, and we agreed that I should go back approximately six months [but] I had just come back into the business five months beforehand. Luckily, I had gone out on the road featuring fairly often these past four months, and that meant I worked with a lot less people, because if I had been here, I could have easily done maybe ten more jobs during those past four months."

All those on Devereaux's list have been tested for HIV, but at press time, the results had not been publicly revealed.

 

Headlines (April 1998) read:

HIV Update: Kimberly Jade Is Fifth

Industry HIV Victim Since January 1

VAN NUYS The hopes of many in the adult video Industry that with the discovery of Marc Wallice’s HIV+ status, no new HIV cases would soon appear were shattered when vacationing actress Kimberly Jade tested positive for the disease in late May.

"She did not work with Marc Wallice, by the way. I think that’s what everyone needs to know here," said Miss Sharon Mitchell, testing coordinator for Protecting Adult Welfare. "She was coming back into the industry.

She had not had a PCR-DNA. Her last Eliza test was January 29, and it was still negative, and her Western Blot was positive on eight bands."

According to informed sources, the large number of reactive bands on Jade’s Western Blot test would suggest that Jade has had the disease for about six months.

"The beauty about this whole thing is, we have figured out a testing sequence that works," Mitchell rejoiced.  "We know how to protect our people." ((really?)- my comment)   Mitchell was referring to the current industry standard, which requires a PCR-DNA test every 27 days, and the fact that almost every performer will now ask to see his or her partner’s DNA test before a sex scene begins.

"As we all now know, Eliza tests are f……. worthless," Mitchell added. "Anything that you can get back in 10 minutes that’s supposed to tell you whether you have HIV antibodies, you don’t want to pay attention to; trust me."

The fallibility of Eliza tests was driven home more deeply when Mitchell obtained such a test, dated March 30, 1998, from actor Marc Wallice, who tested positive on a PCR-DNA test less than 30 days later.

"When we got the Marc Wallice results, it was the day of that talent meeting, April 29th, and he was positive by PCR-DNA," Mitchell recounted. "After an explosion of rumors on the Internet that Marc Wallice had knowledge that he had HIV for several years, and that he had been on everyone’s list, I looked back, and I found that indeed I had made an exception in Marc’s case, which was an error on my part, which is something I’ll never do again, obviously.

"I distinctly remember telling Marc several times to get tested for the Trish [Devereaux] thing. Her list actually went from 65 people down to none. I had pretty much everyone else’s test except for two people that slipped through at that time, one of which I doggedly pursued and found. She and Marc were the two that slipped through.

Marc told me, Yeah, I’m getting tested," and every time I would see him at Jim [South]"s, I’d say, By the way, you haven’t come in [to be tested].   Are you going elsewhere?" And he’d say, Yeah, I go to another clinic for my tests." I took that as an answer, and I took it as gospel, and the better part of the staff in the office here did too. He’s been around so long, he’s been a friend of mine for so many years, I thought, well, the guy is working for himself; that’s fine.""

But finally, the evidence pointing to Wallice as the likely source of infection became so great that Mitchell redoubled her efforts to have Wallice take a PCR-DNA test. She even had Elegant Angel’s Patrick Collins, who distributes Wallice’s video series Tails of Perversity, call Wallice from Hungary and insist that Wallice submit to follow-up blood tests after his HIV+ status had been established.

While Mitchell refuses to draw conclusions about the possibility of Wallice being "Patient Zero," Wallice’s May 6 Western Blot test revealed six positive bands and a viral load in excess of 100,000, the upper limit of the test’s capability. By comparison, Mitchell noted that one case that was "caught early" the victim was tested within one month after being infected had only two positive bands and a viral load of 5970, while Tricia Devereaux’s load was measured at about 8000.

Mitchell also noted that Wallice’s Eliza tests had never had a PCR-DNA test prior to April 29 all come from a clinic which she refused to name "on San Fernando Road in Burbank, California," which Wallice told her had been recommended to him by the late Cal Jammer.

Mitchell’s best information is that no other current performer obtains tests from that clinic. An inspection of the test carrying Wallice’s name, dated March 30, 1998, lists his age as 49. "If he’s 49, I’m 65," Mitchell snorted.

When contacted by AVN, Wallice refused to discuss his HIV status or anything relating to it.

Unfortunately, even with a sample of Wallice’s blood, it is impossible to determine scientifically if Wallice is indeed the person who transmitted the HIV virus to anyone else in the industry.

"There are only three strains of the virus known in the world," said Mitchell. "We’d be spending $5000 of the industry’s money to find out that everybody probably caught it in the United States. "Everybody wants a definitive answer," she continued, "but the only thing I can tell you is that Marc was on everybody"s [genealogy] from Barbara Doll, to Nena Cherry, Trish Devereaux, Brooke Ashley and Caroline."

But despite gossip in the Internet newsgroup rec.arts.movies.erotica, most rumors of certain actors" HIV+ status are false. "Mila is fine," replied Mitchell to questions about specific performers. "We get Mila rumors every month. We get Dave Hardman rumors every month. We get Earl Slate rumors every month. We get the jilted-husband-of-the-month who insists he’s HIV+ and wants to terrorize us. We tell him very nicely to come in and we’ll help him with his genealogy and we’ll help him find after-care, and they never come in."

However, Americans are not the only ones concerned about the deadly disease. "Patrick Collins is irate, because he’s in Hungary, and everyone in Hungary thinks the Americans are all infecting their women, and Patrick is getting the brunt of a lot of stuff that’s going on," Mitchell reported. "He was able to shoot, but with condoms, and the Hungarians are saying, Why are the Americans using condoms? They must be hiding something." He was just in the middle of it.

However, despite rumors spread by some European journalists, Mitchell doesn’t know of anyone spreading HIV from America to Hungary. She said, though, that many Europeans are now using condoms when shooting.  "HIV is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the  world," Mitchell concluded. "It’s at epidemic proportions in the United States at this time, and the fastest-growing group of people that are getting it are women between the ages of 18 and 38. You can try to witch-hunt, but the fact of the matter is that HIV is here to stay, and it’s something that we are prepared to deal with. What you as talent can do is, wherever you take your test, bring it in here every damn month so we can have it on file, so that in the event of something, we can notify you or notify the people that you work with."

Mark Kernes

 

(Copyright 1998 AVN Publications. All rights reserved.)

The above speaks volumes about the penalty of sin and those profiting from the ‘pornographic industry’.  The filmmakers consider ‘protection’ to be catching the occasional positive before it spreads too much.  By their means of 'protection', at least one person will become positive, implied by their testing requirement.  They do not stop their 'talent' from high risk behavior that they use to make money.  Do they really care for the individuals?   

The actors and actresses are expendable, to a degree.  They do not prevent someone from becoming positive by stopping their somewhat deadly occupation.  Instead they try to protect others from becoming positive. Someone will lose.  If they were not at risk, the testing would not be needed.

Why would you want to support this lifestyle?  Do you? Tricia’s and other’s blood is on the hands of anyone financially supporting this industry.  Is that what God wants?  Where is our outrage?

We are our brother’s keeper:

Genesis 8:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain , "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" 10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.

We have no excuse.  HIV is only one terrible consequence of this lifestyle.   Suicide is high.  If we as Christians really want to help out these individuals caught up in this way of living, we must avoid perpetuating it by making it less financially attractive and to be forthright with the truth.

I have heard interviews of multiple nude dancers who say they were in that job for the money.  ‘In a few years I will have made so much money, I can retire or buy a farm (or whatever)’, as they invariably explain.

Interviews with Hugh Hefner are interesting in that he feels he shows the models he cares, as becoming a Playboy Bunny is a stepping stone to success.  By success, he and most of the world, means making money and fame, simply by advocating and participating in a sinful lifestyle that may destroy their souls. 

Let us not fool ourselves.  I am not a better person than these individuals.   We need to pray for ourselves.  We need to pray for Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner and the whole 'industry' who may be separated from God in eternity.  We all, through God’s grace, could have a place in the Heavenly Kingdom, provided we repent and seek Him by faith in Christ.  That money you have control over may be the stumbling block that causes others to sin and possible eternity in Hell for them.

1 Timothy 6: 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money , have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Corinthians 10:32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

We cannot stop a bird from flying over our heads but we can keep a bird from building a nest in our hair.  When we see a beautiful woman/man and the bird of lust tries to land on your head, you cannot easily keep the bird away but you can keep the bird from making a nest on your head.

Next time you have a ‘lustful’ thought, think about how beautiful she/he is and how it would be a shame if she didn’t go to heaven.  Then think - how can I help her get to heaven?  This approach certainly diminishes the selfish interest in someone’s body.

People are beautiful in many ways.  With God’s help we will translate lustful thoughts to an appreciation of God’s love for allowing us such a gift as sexuality.   Yes, we should thank Him.

 

 

Marriage

Let us praise God all the time for His goodness to give us such a gift!  Let us cultivate our close relationship with our spouses, the only person God intends for us to be with in this way, intensifying the relationship with time, despite thick and thin.   By hanging on to the marriage vows, intimacy is increased.

God really does know what is best for us.  The only way we can experience an incredibly deep relationship with our spouse is to spend years together.  This includes inevitable arguments and ups and downs.  Many, many downs.  We still cannot quit.  This is God’s will. Downs are a real part of our lives.   King David spent a great deal of time depressed that helped him become the man God wanted him to be.  Life is there.  Don’t miss it.  Don’t quit a marriage when God considers that a sin. Blessings will happen to those that stick to it, despite what we predict or believe will happen.

The idea we shouldn’t have strife is wrong.  King David, again, had serious times of despair.  He gained from those experiences.  Strife is a series of trials to strengthen us.  If we overcome difficulties, our relationships with our spouses grow and the bond is so much more intense than when we first married.  There is only one way to experience this. It is to persevere, committed to the marriage vows.  The comfort and stability of knowing your spouse will not leave you.  To know you are pleasing God is easily worth the avoidance of infidelity.

Truly the only possible way to experience such closeness is to make one’s marriage a give and take, giving greater than taking and remaining committed - no matter what.   Those of us who fail to trust God in this will lose the most wonderful gift we have outside a relationship with His Son.

Incredible analogy- marriage.  The Bible likens God as the husband of His wife, Israel.  Christ is the husband to the Church.  God used the prophet Hosea to make a point with his interaction with a prostitute wife. Are there other lessons to be learned?

Let us look at the sexual experience between a husband and his wife.  It is quite common for the man to initiate sex and oftentimes for the woman to deny him sex as she may not have any interest in it.  This is an excellent analogy with our relationship with God (Christ).  He initiated a love and a yearning for closeness to us. He wants to satisfy us.  We often have excuses for developing this relationship!

If we have a pregnancy outside marriage we need to take responsibility for our actions, pick up the pieces and support and raise children in the way they should go. Men are responsible for pregnancy too.  We must stop divorce. Divorce is not an option.  We must not compromise God’s values.

 

 

FAMILY

I have learned from raising children.  We live in Alabama and rarely there are winter storm watches out.  There are many hills in this area of the state.   Winter storms (when they occur) usually contain some ice.  Couple this with a lack of snow removal equipment and we can be in some travelling difficulties rather quickly.  One evening my 12 yo son and I were going out to the store.

As we were going out there was a winter storm warning.  It was not quite freezing but in the low 30’s and raining.  I told him to take his coat and gloves.   As we were getting into the car.  I asked him where his coat was.  He said he didn’t get it, since we were getting in the car in the garage he reasoned there was only a short distance from the parking space to the store.  I told him to go get it.  Finally, he did get his coat.

On our way to the store I explained my reasoning.  The storm could come up quickly, we could be stuck on a hill and I would rather walk home than risk destroying the car if the hill is dangerous. What most concerned me was the possibility we see someone else who had run off into a ditch and may need some assistance.  We could not give much help to someone in that situation if he did not have a coat and gloves.

The reason I tell this story is simple.  In this illustration, I represented God and my son represented us.  God tells us what He wants us to do and we respond by disobedience, thinking we know what we are doing; when, in fact, His Word is right and protects us.

1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice , and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

It becomes obvious why God wants us to obey.  It is to best prepare us for life’s troubles and to show our love for Him.  If we obey, we have no worry of sexually transmitted diseases, alcoholism and drug abuse, or eternity in hell.  We are much more likely to live longer, more stable lives with a mate and family for companionship and help in the elder years.

Wouldn’t living life according to God’s prescription, as limiting as that may seem, be an incredibly peaceful and fulfilling experience?  It only seems limiting. In fact is is an interesting, sometimes exciting challenge.

We would not have to deal with all the inevitable associated problems of disobedience.   Too limiting?  Not if you are one of the many victims of crime and sexual promiscuity that is fallout from our ‘enlightened’ deception.

At Christmas one of my sons received a Nerf gun.  I told them not to shoot me after a few rounds of playful activity, knowing the action would irritate my wife soon.   I told them again and again (which goes against my 1 time rule but under the circumstances I thought it was appropriate). When he shot me again I started keeping the arrows and soon he was out.  He chose to wrestle with me to get them back.  I was clearly informing him to stop but he was caught up in the challenge.  I was quite disappointed that he would not listen to me.

During the scuffle he reached down and was trying to take my beeper as something to use for a trade.  He then broke my beeper’s belt clip and I did not realize it was broken till later when I was searching for it.  (It sure was hard to find another clip in Christmas traffic, etc.).

Why do I tell this?  In the analogy I again, imperfectly, represent God.  My son represents us. God gives us rules we should live by (stop shooting).  We continue to try Him with our disobedience to His Word (shoot arrows at Him).  We crucified His Son (broke the beeper).  As my son denied he broke it, we too deny we do those things yet we have still hurt God and clearly were responsible for His son’s death.   God has given us life and relationships in a manner allowing us to grow in Him.   When we see life full of examples we can learn from, if we take heed, we continue to grow for Him.  Then we hurt Him less.

Fallout surrounds us from today’s supposedly enlightened viewpoint.  We have the AIDS epidemic and STD’s at record highs.  The Luke passage (Luke 21:11) indicates pestilence in the end times as well.

Ezekial 28:23 I will send a plague upon her and make blood flow in her streets. The slain will fall within her, with the sword against her on every side. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

Unfortunately, we currently deserve the state we are in.  The violence and exclusion of Almighty God has consequences we are now beginning to see.  AIDS should be a wakeup call.  Simply following God’s direction would have avoided the epidemic with its untold pain, suffering, expense and death. AIDS is and was preventable.  Follow God’s Word, you almost assuredly would not get it.

We have allowed the lifestyle to continue, choosing not to treat this illness as a severe communicable disease and ignore lessons we have learned in epidemiology.  We have chosen political correctness over quarantine in the early days of the epidemic and we now have a much greater risk of contracting the disease.  By doing so, we too, bear the consequences of the illness going into the general population who lack the usual risk factors.

Why do we deny we are in judgement from God?  It is because we don’t want it to be so.  Because we don’t want Him to be like that.  We enjoy sin (including sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, greed, self-centeredness and drug /alcohol abuse).

As a pathologist I am troubled with the increasing incidence of abnormal pap smears.   The safe sex mentality is causing additional damage.

Human papillomavirus changes are in a large number of paps.  This virus is much smaller than the pore size of a condom.  This virus is a cause of dysplasia, a precancerous condition.  Thank goodness, developing cervical cancer is quite rare.   Although this virus cannot be cured, it usually is indolent and can be treated and sometimes disappears.

The incidence of ectopic pregnancy and infertility has increased with increasing pelvic inflammatory disease and chlamydia. One form of chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infectious disease and causes a silent infection that produces no symptoms.  This is particularly bad in the fallopian tubes that carry the egg to the uterus.  Due to scarring in the fallopian tube from a past infection (sometimes by chlamydia) the fertilized egg may implant in the tube instead of the inside of the uterus.  The woman may have great pain, internal bleeding and may die.  The fetus will die. By enlightening our view and allowing sex that God doesn’t allow, we have worsened our lives. Not all ectopic pregnancies are caused by this disorder, of course, but there is an increase in the incidence of ectopic pregnancies, at least partially attributable to increased chlamydia.

Success?  No.  The sexual revolution allows the spread of the human papillomavirus to move like a forest fire.  Not every lady with this virus gets it through promiscuity but a study done years ago found nuns virtually never develop cervical cancer.  In contrast, a recent study of a New England College found that approximately 60% of the female graduates are infected at some time during college.   Once again, God’s way direction one to have a spouse for life is shown to be worthy.  Those who have the virus are obligated to extra visits to their gynecologist and probably treatment.

I know no female who looks forward to visiting her gynecologist.  To be obligated to visit more often, with possibly biopsies and cervical surgery just shows the risk is not worth the short-term enjoyment.  The good news is – if you are a virgin marrying a virgin you do not need safe sex. You enjoy a much less worrisome sexual relationship with one who only you can interact with in such a way and each partner learns to satisfy the other best, better than any other person could. This requires years of a relationship with common experiences.  There is no need for the highly touted condom.   Condoms are often not used even when the partner is known to have AIDS!  Who wants them anyway?

 

Truth

John 18:37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate . Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth . Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." 38 "What is truth ?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release `the king of the Jews'?"

What is truth?

John 14: 6 Jesus answered, " I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Despite what some believe, absolute truth exists. God for example. He is or He isn’t. O.J. either killed them or not.

Isaiah 59: 8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace. 9 So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice , but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. 12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.

People have ignored the truth simply because we want to.  There are literally tons of Bibles available yet no one knows what they say.  How can we make the right decision without knowing the Word?

A clock that is 5 minutes off is much more dangerous than one that is 5 hours off.   This is a great example of our interaction with Satan. Satan is the great deceiver and will incite us to believe lies that are so close to being correct that we fall for them.  Often in movies and TV when someone evil is in a film, they are portrayed as individuals with ugly facial features, black hats or other traits that clearly look evil.   This is not how Satan appears to us most of the time.  Satan is intelligent enough to make himself and his evil attractive.

The clock that is 5 minutes off is only slightly wrong but you probably will not realize it was off yet you could easily miss your plane, etc.  If it is 5 hours off you easily realize it is wrong and avoid using it.  Satan will do his most damage with his deception based on evil that appears just slightly disagreeing with God’s plan.

This is part of the reason a show (such as soap operas, etc.) that may lack pornographic images but contain sin that is sugar-coated and may look enticing may actually be more harmful to us than what is undoubtedly wrong.

In the last days Paul predicted man would be-

2Timothy 2:7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

It is so easy to toss biblical teaching out.  That decision will be regretted throughout eternity.  So what if some parts of the Bible don’t make sense.   Actively study it and things will become clearer.  Once you know the Word and its meaning you will not be mislead by those who have been deceived.  You will be prepared for the rest of life on earth as well as eternity.

 

 

Love

Someone said that love equals discipline and self-control.  There is no room for irresponsible tolerance.  Which is true love?  Watching (tolerating) someone’s action that is sin in the eyes of our Almighty God and failing to point out this to the person.  Or, is it love to point out the sin in a caring way that may well save the person from eternity in Hell.  This is not make-believe.  Love occurs when you try to save someone from Hell.  We have insufficient love for others when we fail to attempt to rescue them.

1Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails… 3 And now these three remain: faith , hope and love . But the greatest of these is love .

As Christians we need to love our fellow man.  We are to die to self and pour out ourselves as offerings to others in Christ’s name.  This includes those who are deceived and hate us.  The homosexual activists are a prime example.   They cannot understand our love for them and intolerance of their lifestyle.   It is quite simple.  It is not love to stand by and fail to warn them of their pending condemnation.  This also goes for heterosexual fornication and divorce. Homosexuals are not the only sinners.  They need Christ as much as the rest of us.   For them, the deception is so deep that it becomes quite difficult to leave the sin.  That, too, is true of many of the other sins.

Do not be deceived.  God hates homosexuality.  As unpopular as it sounds, it is a sin and God warned of tolerating this.  AIDS really is a spin-off of this lifestyle and drug use in America.

Many confuse God’s love with alleviation of pain.  Some feel that because there is pain and suffering, a loving God cannot exist.  This is an unfortunately common deception.

If you were God and you wanted a close relationship with man, as He has shown Himself to, what would you do to facilitate such a relationship?  He could make us like the angels.  If that were the case, I do not believe their quality of love for God is the same as man’s.  As an angel you would be in God’s awesome presence much of the time.  There is no room for faith since they know the truth.

God feels it is important to have faith and to love Him without having first-hand knowledge of Him.  Those who develop a deep love for Him will please Him.  It is easy to be in awe of the beauty of the Grand Canyon when you are there and experiencing it.  How much more so if you were in God’s presence.  That is too easy.   It is harder to love God when we cannot experience Him in a first-hand way but He wants us to love Him in all circumstances.  Angel’s love for Him is meaningful to Him but wouldn’t our love for Him be more meaningful to Him since we have more of a choice?

If He wants us to love Him in that way, suffering on earth is an opportunity to please Him and to show our love for Him.  In addition, it is an excellent time to call us to Him.

During the Civil War, there was much suffering.  There was a Confederate Colonel Coleman who received a superficial wound near Fredericksburg under General Stonewall Jackson.  He was struck in the leg, just below the knee by a ball. He deemed the wound a slight one, and, refused to leave the field until by increasing faintness he was compelled to do so, but not until the victory had been decided by their side in the battle.

In the days before medicinal pain control, his wound eventually ‘assumed a threatening and dangerous character and had "virulent erysipelas" and he suffered intense agony.  He had profuse discharges from his wound with constant, severe pain such that his body became emaciated and "reduced to little more than a skeleton".  He endured with "marvelous patience and uncomplaining cheerfulness the most excruciating agonies of body".

"In the early stages of the disease he hoped and expected to recover.  He had much for which to live and few men could better enjoy or adorn life, or render it more useful than he."  He had decided he would work in the ministry.  He was in excruciating pain for 98 days as the infection spread through his body in the days before antibiotics.  He was said to borne all with patience, resignation, even cheerfulness.   He fixed his eye of faith on the bright home of Heaven.  At times he was more than patient; he was exultant and at times enraptured.

"’Why it is but a short trip,’ he said to his weeping friends, ‘It is only a little journey, and then safe and happy forever.  It is but a trip; we shall all meet again soon, and I want to start and be with Christ."

He said: "I had hoped to do good, living as a minister of the Gospel, but perhaps God will make my death a ministry for the conversion of those dear ones who are yet out of Christ. I may do more good by dying than by living".

Struggles have value as individuals are confronted with their own mortality.  How much more so the effect of a Christian dealing with such troubles in a positive manner.   Isn’t that what God wants?  Yes.  He wants us to be drawn closer to Him, no matter what it takes.

During the Civil War, a Southern Methodist bishop wrote "There is more prayer among the people generally than heretofore.  Prayer for the country and for brothers, sons and husbands, calls the people so often to the mercy-seat that it must almost necessarily increase the spirit of devotion among them.  Hence there is a good deal of religious feeling in our congregation.

In a publication, Christian Index it stated: "Unconverted young men have written home that they daily read their Bibles, and are seeking preparation for the judgement.  Some religious soldiers state that such is the pious influence in their companies, they believe themselves improved instead of injured by the camp (war).  O that this could be said of all!"

The Civil War itself, as horrible as it was, did just that. Entire platoons were baptized.  Northern and Southern troops had cease-fires at times to both meet for Sunday services and baptisms at the river.  How many of those troops, without the war, would have (like we) danced through life without the wake-up call from God, finding themselves in Hell.  We need reminders of our dying state.

 

 

Conclusions

Ecclesiastes 12: 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

As the thieves were being crucified with Christ, one asked the question I am asking of you today.

Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?

We all have sinned and are condemned by a Holy God. We will all die. We have no hope other than the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

On the one hand, it would be presumptuous to assume we are at the very end of time.   On the other, we have fulfilled almost all that has been prophesied and we have descended close to the bottom of godlessness.  We have no excuse.  Despite what the movie Armageddon implies, we will not escape the doom prophesied in the Bible.

Luke 21: 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Matthew 24:9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

What do we do?  Is this all doom and gloom?  No!  This is our hope of a better life and a better world as promised.  Don’t you want to be part of it?   This is between you and God.  God loves us and wants no one to perish but He cannot allow sin.  You are merely guessing, without supporting evidence, if you stray from Biblical truth.

On Judgement Day, God may well ask you why you should be saved from eternal damnation in Hell.  Christ is the only answer.  God could point out that He gave you plenty of opportunities to believe yet you chose not to believe the truth. Bibles are everywhere.  We can tell it is true from prophecies being fulfilled and our world around us.  The message is on TV and radio, in churches and freely given by caring Christians.  We have no excuse.

D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, once showed some students a half-filled glass of water.  He asked them what would be the best way to get the air out of the glass?   The answer was to fill the glass with water.  The point is that we should fill ourselves with God’s word and spirit and we will have no room for sinful things.

Matthew 24: 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Luke 21:25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 29 He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

God made us all capable of glorifying Him.  We should each do this.  I cannot sing well but I can turn up the radio hymns, open the windows and make a joyful noise to Him.  If I couldn’t use my voice I could write.  If I couldn’t write I might be able to dance.  If I simply exist as my only way of being, that in itself is glorifying to God!  Even though we may feel our lives are worth nothing, we exist!   God allows us to exist to glorify Him.

If an artist makes a beautiful piece, he cannot repair his car with it, may not be able to drink out of it, etc., BUT that art still pleases him!  If for no other reason than we are His creation, we are part of God's plan.  Even as ugly as some of us are, we can still glorify God.  Euthanasia is a slap in the face of God.  We will be punished.

On ABC’s Primetime Live (March 11, 1998) there was an interesting report regarding the difficult decisions accompanying the birth and lives of conjoined twins.  They highlighted some female twins that are 35 years old, conjoined at the head.  One has spina bifida and is in a cart while the other twin wheels her around with difficulty.   Undoubtedly a difficult life.  "Experts" would have (or did) tell their mother to have a "therapeutic abortion".  They might have been separated successfully – for one of the twins, likely killing the other twin.   As disturbing as it was to see them struggle, obviously NOT living anything like a ‘normal’ life, my convictions were strengthened watching these wonderful ladies. Here is a quote:

 

Dr. Nancy Smitherman (interviewing): It shocks some that Laurie and Reba can be happy, that they can see meaning in their lives.

Laurie Chappelle: This is---this was, God’s purpose.

Nancy Smitherman: And what is God’s purpose?

Laurie Chappelle: I don’t know. I mean, I guess to just show people that no matter which way you are, you can live a fulfilling life, and that, you know, people should not judge on what you look like, and they should judge on your character and what’s in your heart.

 

Well, now you have heard from real experts.  They are bringing glory to God.  Praise the LORD! He chose to make them in that manner and he knows better than we.

All we like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).  When sheep follow another unled sheep, they get into trouble.  We must follow our Shepherd’s guidance for our own well-being.  Unfortunately we tend to follow those who are incapable of leading well.  We have an elevated view of ourselves.  When we look at sheep and see how incredibly stupid they are, remember this is somewhat similar to God’s perspective when looking at us.  We repeatedly prove this when we fail to heed the Word of the Great Shepherd.

We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).  We many times choose other things to do rather than spend our time with Him in prayer, study and worship.   We would rather do our own thing, letting down our loving spouse (Christ).  He wants us to love Him, he wants us to want to be with Him, choosing Him over other loves.

He wants to be close and promises great things to those who persevere and yield to His will.  As a husband I know how much it hurts when I am rejected for some reason.   That is how Christ feels when we would rather do something other than seeking Him.   He will choose others if we choose not to be ready for His coming again (Matthew 25:1-13).

In the worst case, Hosea married a prostitute and even later he had to buy her back from her pimp.  God did the same for Israel and Christ continues to deal with us as individuals who dabble in the occult, New Age and secular philosophy, fortune tellers and pleasure other than seeking closeness to Him.  God paid for us to the pimp, Satan, with His son’s blood.  We continue to act as prostitutes, however.

It gives me great pleasure to find myself in a close relationship with my wife and to know we are walking through life close together.  I want all of her love.   Christ wants all of our love too.  He said that to the ‘rich young ruler’:

Mark 10: 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor , and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Another point to consider, it logically follows that if we give everything to God, we have given our political values to Him too.  There must be no separation of our faith and our politics.  They must be in line with Christ’s values or we have failed Him.  We will cower before God and try to explain our lack of faith in Him and our unwillingness to give Him everything.  As Christians we must be willing to give up absolutely everything for a close relationship with Christ.

Good works are thought by many to be enough for salvation.  It follows that Jesus Christ’s death and blood are not enough for salvation.  But, that is the ultimate sacrifice.  No one can top it, having God die for us!  If we choose to believe that because we are better than others, we will be in Heaven, we have declared Christ’s blood less important than our works and have offended God Himself.

It is a gift.  What have I got to give God that is better than His Son’s suffering and life?  I would give all I can ever earn for my son’s life.   His life is worth more than that too.  We therefore cannot repay God.  We must accept His gift and willingly accept restrictions He gave us that shows Him we appreciate the gift, or reject the gift and regret this decision for eternity in Hell.

For those of us who consider ourselves "Christian", where is our moral outrage? Love is to warn of the unavoidable truth, not to tolerate evil. We absolutely drive nails in the coffins of the unbelievers when we fail to warn. We are here to do God’s work as His servants. People are going to Hell. We must stand strong and in love.

Are you foolish enough to scoff?  There is no denying it, Hell will be full of individuals who choose to ignore or reject God’s Word.

Luke 16: 23 In hell , where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

Mark 9:43 … into hell , where the fire never goes out.

God’s judgement is here, and rightfully so!  We deserve punishment.  He cannot ignore the injustice to His people.  Maybe by our judgement on earth, some will repent and therefore avoid eternal judgement.  Praise Him!

How many spend more time running and exercising than time in prayer and study?   Both are training.  One is more important.  One lasts for eternity.   With exercise, one postpones death for only a short period of time (if it works).   As a missionary once said – `He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to save what he cannot lose’.

For us who considers ourselves as "Christian", we must not forget there is a price that accompanies that label.

Matthew 7: 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 "Not everyone who says to me, ` Lord , Lord ,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ` Lord , Lord , did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

We must constantly and honestly search ourselves for anything that interferes with the hope of our salvation. We must be assured of our relationship with God. Nothing is more important. We are at fault when children kill.   We have dropped the ball.  The world is full of evil.  Without God’s influence we find evil flourishing.  With God’s influence, evil is in check.   We let our guard down when they took prayer out of school.  We now are witnessing the inevitable response to that absence as children are shooting students and teachers.  It is up to the Christians to point out this fact. Individuals today are asking ‘why?’.  We who have the answers cannot stay silent.  God expects us to work to enlighten those who deny Him. 

WE HAVE NO CHOICE. WE MUST STAND FIRM WITHOUT COMPROMISE.  GOD’S JUDGEMENT AWAITS.

1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. 5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, " Peace and safety ," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark8: 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world , yet forfeit his soul?

 

In 1913 Woodrow Wilson made some more excellent observations. He said:

A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about…

The Bible…is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and needs of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation.

America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.

 

We need to read the Bible.  Many readable versions are available today such as the New International Version (NIV).  We need to pray.  We need to ask God’s forgiveness and His direction.  We must become responsible for our own actions.  If we have children we must sacrifice whatever it takes to care for them in a loving manner.  If we marry we must do our best to maintain a God fearing love for our spouses.  Divorce is not an option.  We must remember we will answer to Almighty God for our actions.

Almost assuredly some of the scriptures in this have surprised you.  Scripture is as alive and applies as much today as at any time in the past.  The Bible is full of these incredible verses, after all, it is God’s Word.  Should you expect less?

Jeremiah 13:16 Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom

Jeremiah 35: 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, "Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your fathers." But you have not paid attention or listened to me.

We are all sentenced to die (just like the thieves on the cross).  Christ is our only hope.  Now is the time.   There may be no other.

 

Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D.

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Copyright 1999  Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D.  All Rights Reserved.