Remember When?

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons.

Me and Aaron20003

Everyone’s life is a story that could, and maybe should be told. However, not everyone takes the time to review and learn from their life. Many believe life is like an uncontrolled roller coaster; you just take it as it comes with no concern as to where it has been. In reality, God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time. When we find that purpose, and pursue it, is when we will be most satisfied.

God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time.

“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we, who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us, may be greatly encouraged.” [Hebrews 6:17-18 NIV]

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons. Perhaps the most important, to a follower of the Master, is to recall each and every time He intervened in our lives in an ‘other than every day’ happening. We see this in the way He taught the ancient Jews to remember those special events. He did so in two ways.

One way was to have them build an altar at a geographical location where He had intervened to rescue them, or show them something new in their lives. A second way was that God set aside ‘Holy Days,’ annual celebrations designed to remember Him and something specific He did for them, e.g. Passover, Firstfruits, etc.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” [Proverbs 16:9 NIV]

My wife and I can look back through the years and remember where God acted through certain extraordinary times or events, to take us into a deeper relationship with Him. We like to say we have built an altar there, at each of those points. One reason for that, we believe, is so that when we encounter something new that bodes of danger, uncertainty or fear, we can look to those altars, recall those previous times and events, and remember how God intervened in our life. Thus we will be reassured of His Trustworthiness to ‘”never leave us or forsake us.”

We know, we have complete assurance, that He will either

  1. walk with us through the new challenge,
  2. lift us out of the challenge, or
  3. take us home to be with Him.

Now that’s a win/win/win.

Becoming Overcomers

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us.

SatanIn today’s sophisticated, deluded culture, the devil is either a cartoon character, a suave charlatan that can give you everything you desire (for a price), or an incredibly powerful and evil being depicted in fictional venues as virtually unstoppable.

Christians need to understand that Satan is a real, yet created being. His powers are no greater than ours, just far more focused. He is not omnipresent, e.g. he can only be in one place at one time. He has an enormous number of demonic beings who do his bidding. These demons exercise great power because they know the Scriptures far better than most Christians. It is only natural that a soldier learn as much as possible about the enemy he faces in battle.

“You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe — and they shudder.” [James 2:19 HCSB]

The devil’s ability to delude so many in our culture rests in his careful reading of our strengths and weaknesses.

The devil’s ability to delude so many in our culture rests in his careful reading of our strengths and weaknesses. He works to move us to distraction, tempts us to seek personal satisfaction through things and stuff. The child of God who is committed to the Scripture and prayer will find the way to stay the course – with a life committed to serving our Master.

“For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5 HCSB]

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us. He gave His life for you and I.

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us. He gave His life for you and I. Can we not rally to, at the least, defeat Satan’s attempts to destroy our lives and those of our families? Our nation’s future depends on a reawakening to the truth of God’s Word and the simple fact that we have been bought with a price.

I would ask you to consider these words and, please, read the Bible passages. Then ask the Spirit of God to guide you in every endeavor with the wisdom of our Creator!

Read Psalm 81:13-14

“We must realize that it is not Satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him. To perfectly subdue the devil we must walk in the “shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1). Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God’s saints thrusts us into Christlikeness, where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds

God created everything. Even my furnace of affliction was created for His purposes!

Read Psalm 91:1-10

Read Psalm 92:14-15

God created everything. Even my furnace of affliction was created for His purposes!

“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” [Isaiah 54:17 NIV]

“In the battles of life, your peace is actually a weapon. Indeed, your confidence declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see, the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, He did not confront Satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed Satan, His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds

“”To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”” [Revelation 3:21-22 NKJV]

“Let us recall that the Lord delivered the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt so He could bring them into the Promised Land. Likewise, we are delivered out of sin, not that we might live for ourselves, but that we might come into Christlikeness. Our goals must align with God’s, for if our nature does not change, we will invariably find ourselves in the same problems that caused our difficulties in the first place.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds’

Read 1 John 3:8-9

Satan is not an equal power with God; he is a vanquished foe.

“Spiritual authority is not a tug-of-war on a horizontal plane; it is a vertical chain of command. Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He’s at the top. He has given His authority and power to His servants to be exercised in His name (Luke 10:17); we’re underneath Him. And Satan and his demons? They’re at the bottom, subject to the authority Christ has invested in us. They have no more right to rule your life than a buck private has to order a general to clean the latrine. Why, then, does the kingdom of darkness exert such negative influence in the world and in the lives of Christians? In a word, the lie.

Satan is not an equal power with God; he is a vanquished foe. But if he can deceive you into believing that he has more power and authority than you do, you will live as if he does!”

Neil Anderson, ‘The Bondage Breaker

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Read Psalm 33:20-22

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful Jesus Returnsand True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” [Revelation 19:11-16 NIV]

A Father’s Heart

simbaDuring this time of year – the Christmas Season – Christians and some non-Christians focus on the birth of the baby Jesus and all that surrounds that special event. While even some Christians only pay lip service to the real ‘reason for the season,’ no one can deny it has been commercialized and over developed to the point of distraction.

The passage in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:26-2:52) is the most detail we have describing the actual events surrounding the coming of Immanuel (God With Us). Nearly everything else has been developed by story-tellers, with some of it based on stories handed down and much of it based on historical assumptions. But Luke got it straight from Mary, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

It is a most incredulous story – that an Eternal, Omnipresent God would, or even could, squeeze Himself into the body of a tiny Baby. But, that’s what happened.

What I have been considering this season, though, has been God the Father’s role in this. Spiritual extrapolation tells us that God developed this perfect plan before time began. Let me put some flesh on this. Here is God the Father and His only Son – a beloved Son, part of the Holy Trinity – whom He loves with an eternal, everlasting love.

The Omniscient God knows that created man will allow sin into his life.  But because of His infinite love He sets down a plan that will allow redemption. Only, the thing is, there is no finite, created being or thing that is a worthy sacrifice for sinful man to find infinite forgiveness. There must be a finite sacrifice that will enter the finite world and provide infinite cleansing for all who believe.

So God must send His only Son, out of a Glorious Undefiled Heaven into this sin darkened cesspool. And the ultimate plan is for His Son to offer Himself up as the blood sacrifice necessary to satisfy the Just and Righteous God.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” [Romans 5:17 NIV]

As a finite man, a father, I cannot but believe that it broke the heart of God to send His Son on such a mission. And, how much more did it burden the heart of God that the very people His Son was sent to ransom, rejected Him and His message and violently murdered Him.

God loved the people of this world – you, me, Herod, Adolph Hitler – every human born since the Creation of Adam and Eve –  to such an extent that He was willing to sacrifice His Beloved Son for the singular purpose of redeeming mankind – to bring man back to his originally created status with God. If man would accept this gift from God.

He stood mute, the Righteous Judge, while His Son was nailed to a tree. He held back His Omnipotence, turned His back and placed all the sins of mankind on Him. We know and love that history. But let’s get back to The Nativity.

Once God had set this plan in place – before time – He was bound by His Eternal Perfection to complete it. The redemption of mankind, the salvation of all Creation, lay in the tiny hands of a vulnerable, peasant child in the care of a teenage peasant girl and a blue-collar builder from a nondescript rural village.

God the Father foretold this plan more than 700 years before the actual event -. His Father’s Heart, desiring to give peace and assurance to a troubled people!

How do you celebrate this most extraordinary event? Have you lost the significance of a new born baby’s cry in the village of Bethlehem, more than 2000 years ago? Is it lost in the screams of the vendors seeking to capitalize on a festival that has lost its meaning, or the cries of the wretched, deceived rabble who hearken to Satan’s lies that it is all a farce?

Get back to the Father! Re-read His Love Story to you in the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Matthew, Luke and John, and others. Mute out the noise and listen to that sweet baby’s cry in the night, the overwhelming joy of that new mother and father, and the exuberant wonder of those shepherds who were granted the first birth notice for Immanuel!

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14 NIV]

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6 NIV]

“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” [Luke 1:38 NKJV]

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14 NIV]

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” [Luke 2:8-11 NIV]

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” [John 1:5 NIV]

The Cross and the Flag

Cross-Wooden-with-Draped-American-Flag

From before the founding of this great country Christians have fought and died in various campaigns, small and large, national and international, to repel enemies, secure freedom and thwart tyranny. The original settlers to the shores of this new world had no specific vision of what this could or would be; they simply sought a place where they could survive away from tyranny, establish a home, support themselves and worship God in freedom. They sought a place where no governing body could demand they worship and think as that government dictated.

Ultimately the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were framed by men who understood the price to be paid for the freedoms they sought, as well as the flag-raising-on-iwo-jima

responsibilities of every individual to protect and keep them.

While there are many and loud cries to the opposite, the records, writings and founding documents are clear that the American colonies were grounded and founded on Christian principles, as a nation where freedom of religion was a cornerstone. Thus, the Bible was and is to be held as a free and clear guide to the society in which we live. Over a period of less than 200 years the USA became the most dominant nation in the world, offering freedom to those who chose to integrate into this society, regardless of race, color or creed.

Unfortunately, the nation has been hijacked by people who disdain Christianity and who hate the idea that there is a God watching over us who does not approve their licentious lifestyle. The ones holding to this will tolerate any thing, except Christianity. They have adopted the humanist manifesto as their guide to life, believing the lie.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Christian who views this country as God’s promised land (perhaps not quite literally, but figuratively). If asked if the US is a Christian nation he would normally reply in the affirmative; as opposed to a nation founded on Christian principles and the Judeo-Christian ethic. This person would readily identify with the Cross of Christ draped with a US flag, as depicted in the illustration, seeing the two symbols as inextricably linked.

That particular depiction of the Cross of Christ is immediately viewed by most American Christians as a symbol of Christian patriotism.

I have made a case, in a previous post, that the church in the US has been infiltrated by humanism. This has never been more obvious than in the past 45 years. That there is “leaven in the dough” goes without saying. Though the amount varies significantly from denomination to denomination, individual to individual, it is obviously there. The evangelical movement was once a stalwart in advancing the cause of a conservative Biblical interpretation. However, as might be expected, as the culture pushed back against the beliefs of the evangelicals, many began to waver in the face of opposition. The most obvious problem has been that only a small percentage of Christians read the Bible or know what the Bible has to say. And, of those who do, there are many who want to disagree with some parts of the text. In so doing it becomes easy to interpret other parts in a way to diminish confrontation with the sin in our society.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.; Strength to Love (1963)

Abortion and the redefinition of marriage as anything other than one man and one woman are two glaring examples.

God’s extraordinary blessings on this nation are now viewed as ‘entitlements’.

Now, the flag of the United States of America, unfortunately, represents a pluralistic nation that refuses to honor, much less bow a knee to Almighty God. This great flag symbolizes a once great nation that has determined the murder of the unborn is a good thing, a mother’s right, and should be blessed by God, denying the most basic law of God regarding innocent life. This flag represents a nation of lawlessness, where reprobate minds, sitting on the highest court of the land, decide what is legal, based not on the Constitution, but on what the people want. This flag represents a nation that says marriage is defined to be whatever two (or more) individuals want it to be; thus destroying the basic foundation of our society – the family.

“The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocentblood, a heart that plots wickedschemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” [Psalm 6:16-19]

But what of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The cross represents one of the most horrific forms of execution ever devised. Jesus, falsely accused and convicted, suffered and died in a public execution on a cross outside of Jerusalem.Christ on the Cross_Rubens But, three days later, He was physically resurrected by the power of Almighty God, and, having conquered death, He finally and forever defeated Satan!

The empty Cross of Jesus Christ represents the sacrifice paid by the Son of God to redeem mankind (bring us back to our original status with Almighty God). It is an ‘immutable’ (unchanging) symbol of the Grace and Mercy of our Eternal, Just and Righteous God.

So, I must object to the profaning of what the Cross is and stands for by a flag that represents a nation becoming bereft of every vestige of that One who died for all mankind!

Former Pres. Carter Admits His Wish to Re-Write New Testament

Has God appointed Jimmy Carter to revise and update the New Testament?!? After 2000 years, is it possible the devolved and corrupted wisdom of the humanist mind will finally get their way?

Probably NOT!

But the simple fact that Mr. Carter would reluctantly make such an admission of the truth of what is recorded in the Bible, and then turn around and readily admit his belief God got it wrong, is a perfect example of modern humanist belief that the Bible is not the Word of God.

–           –           –           –           –           –

From MEDIAite.com; by Alex Griswold; 7/7/2015

Former president Jimmy Carter has admitted that there is not a single verse in the gospels where Jesus approves of same-sex sexuality or same-sex marriage.

“Former president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday that he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, though he said that he doesn’t have ‘any verse in scripture’ to corroborate this notion.

“‘I believe he would. I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture…’ Carter responded when asked by HuffPo Live host Mark Lamont Hill whether Christ would embrace same-sex nuptials. ‘I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage, but I’m not – that’s just my own personal belief.’”

–           –           –           –           –           –

Well – he hedges a little, as a good humanist will do, to hide the fact of his disbelief in the Bible’s Truth.

Once again the former President, starved for publicity, verifies God’s Word:

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” [Proverbs 12:15]

Where Would We Be?

Post WWII generations have developed a strange double-mindedness. In the first place, the past is viewed as easier times, less stress, simpler lifestyles and peace in our land. A time we wish we could recreate. Radio, television and movie producers drill deep to find stories that link back to that period of time, while biasing them by what we think should, or could, have happened rather than the reality of what actually happened.

We forget the racial confrontations of the 50’s and 60’s, the era of horrific assassinations, and airline high-jacking’s that seemed to scream at us from the daily newspapers and nightly news programs.

Then, on the other hand, we are consumed with the products of technology that inundate our world of today. Each new advancement tries to draw us into its web. We must have the latest ‘this or that.’ Baby boomers have one view of all this; millennials have quite another. Boomers watched these developments come to pass. Millennials grew up with it as a way of life.

“My heart was restless until it found its rest in Thee” – Augustine of Hippo

So, what’s my point?

Before He returned to His rightful place with His Father God, Jesus laid out a simple plan. Go, make disciples, and baptize them. What tools, education, provision, etc, did He base this directive?

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [Mat 28:18 NIV]

ALL Authority! Over the earth! Over the entire universe! Every thing. Every person. Nothing more is needed.

After the “baptize them” is done, what happens? Why would such an important task as spreading God’s Good News to the whole world be handed off to mere mortals? The world these followers of The Way were reborn into was not pretty – and certainly not friendly to them.

With that same authority given Jesus, the Christian is imbued with power, by the Holy Spirit of Christ living within. Since the first century, through their living example of Jesus and their actions inspired by the Love of Jesus, followers of The Way have changed societies around the world.

No man made religion has had the profound effect that Christianity has had. Think about it. Jesus reestablished the position of the woman as He had originally created them – equal to man in every aspect of worth, yet different in purpose. Children, who were considered mere chattels, property, by the “highly intelligent” Greeks and Romans, as well as the previous civilizations (excepting the Jews), since the Great Flood, elevated to full personhood (from conception). First generation Christians began rescuing infants left to die of exposure by birth parents who decided they were not convenient, as well as the many sold into sex slavery in the pagan temples.

Slavery, a common and accepted fact of life, is an affront to God for the reasons stated above. Every human is equal in God’s eyes, and created higher than the animal kingdom. Christians, based on the Word of God found in the Jewish Scriptures and the words of Jesus began setting the slaves free by various mean (against the laws of the lands when necessary).

Because of their true hope in the resurrection, Christians served the sick during outbreaks of plagues

The bases of a free and democratic society did not even exist until Christianity and Christian writings permeated cultures.

Following the Protestant Reformation, and with the formation of city/state citadels grounded in Christian principals, knowledge exploded: science, industry, law, governance, the arts. All these areas advanced by extraordinary measure.

But what was the vision upon which the early English settlers and our country’s founders were challenged to begin this nation?

The basis of our culture, or any civilization, is built on some founding concepts that, over time are assumed to be fixed, unmovable, and unshakeable – set in stone. To be blunt, ours was founded on a rock solid Christian worldview.

And, as an experiment, it worked. The greatest nation in the history of civilization was created. With all the bumps and warts you would expect from fallen, sinful man, still God blessed the USA in extraordinary ways. I believe their belief in an Omnipotent, Omniscient God, His Living Word drawn from Scripture, coupled with their purpose to honor Him in the founding of this nation brought about the system of governing and of justice that set our trajectory for God’s blessings. The sacred position of the nuclear family – a father, a mother and their children – gave stability to the society.

Today the Biblical foundation through which we draw God’s wisdom, is being completely dismantled, stone by stone. And, the wheels are coming off. From the local city council chambers straight up to the White House, elected officials are either directly disparaging the Word of God, or, the Christians are caving to the peer pressure, fearful of the consequences of standing firm on their purported beliefs.

We look at the past 240 years and what our founders and those who followed accomplished, and we are told it is not good enough. We are told we must pattern our country after those Western European and Scandinavian nations which have totally rejected the Christian faith, adopted sexual licentiousness and are spiraling into debt and anarchy. These officials call themselves Progressives, giving the impression they lead us to progress into a ‘brave new world’ order. By rejecting the very foundation that gave us this great nation we seal our doom.

As I am writing this the Irish are celebrating the fact they are the first nation to legalize sodomite marriage. Somehow, were we able to peek into the Throne Room of Almighty God, I don’t believe we would see celebration.

Only a fool (in the Biblical sense) would swallow such swill!

“The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.” They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good.” [Psalm 14:1 HCSB]

God is already bringing judgment on our world. We see it daily in the news-weather devastation, nations on the verge of war, Russia rearming and grabbing land under a dictator, ISIS, Christian martyrs, gridlock in our legislature, activist judges dismantling our republic, greed unbridled, bribery and corruption at the highest levels, redefining marriage (an institution created by God). How can it be ignored!

Yet the delusion of those who reject the absolute truth of God’s Word runs rampant.

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned — those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.” [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 HCSB]

Let’s get back to the “All Authority” point again. As I continue to say – God is patient, not blind. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to live as a slave of my Master, regardless the status or situation of the nation of which I am a citizen. Jesus walked the dusty roads of Judea in complete submission to the will of God, in a nation occupied by a pagan Roman army and government.

“My soul follows hard after You: Your right hand upholds me.” [Psalm 63:8]

Where would we be – in the USA – in the world – devoid of the influence of Jesus, His Word and His followers?

Do we think it is where we want to be? That’s just delusional!

The Ratchet

The ratchet has revolutionized the world of hand tools. If you don’t know what a ratchet is – I’ll tell you. It is a rotating and locking mechanism which allows you to move forward but not back. In the case of a socket wrench – place the socket on the bolt head, set the wrench to loosen the bolt, and the ratchet locks and turns the bolt in one direction, then moves freely in the other, allowing you to reset in order to turn the bolt head again.

Why are we talking ratchets? Because the concept can be seen in everyday life in the creep of controversial social issues. And the majority of people – of all political and social stripes – don’t understand this and can’t see it. Therefore, radical changes take place, generally moving slowly, and, like a ratchet, always forward, never backwards.

People say they can’t understand how “such and such” happened until it is pointed out by a path of seemingly insignificant steps that very few people noticed. The ones who do notice, and cry out to beware, are many times ignored as fanatics, because the mainstreams of people grow weary of such discussions (‘crying wolf’, etc.)

And then, some see a change that they may not agree with; but they assume it is an isolated issue, fixed, no further concern needed. The proponents of that change, however, see these small steps as “beachheads” that they will never give up (the ratchet effect) and from which they will make further incursions (moving constantly forward).

One such issue that most in the USA have grown weary of is the “abortion debate” (in the realm of our Creator God, Who values all life = an oxymoron). The vast – VAST – majority of Americans disagreed with the Roe vs Wade decision of 1973. This was a classic case of Supreme Court legislation, circumventing the legislative process established by our Founding Fathers, of government by the people and for the people.

Arguments have been put forward that such heinous disregard for human life would have a backlash in our culture. We see that today in the “throw-away children” and the blatant disrespect for life and property. Proponents of abortion rebut the pro-life argument by leveling a smokescreen regarding ‘when does life really begin’. That argument would have no credence with a people who believed in Almighty God and honored His Scriptures. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.” (Psalm 139:13-15a)  But the ‘beginning of life’ arguments went largely unchallenged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. World wars, incredible technological innovations, leaps in scientific discoveries, affluence and severe financial crises overshadowed these weighty cultural and theological debates. The Church universal lost its way; became enmeshed in social changes and politics that actually ran counter to everything in Scripture – especially the teachings of Jesus – and began to respond with man’s devices. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:5-8)  It abdicated its position as propagator of the gospel and defender of the orphan, widow, prisoner, slave, and outcast. No longer is God feared – and thus His Wisdom is not present in the “debate.” King Solomon warned, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10).

The ratchet of social change and anti-God teachings moved slowly, one small step at a time – always forward, never backward. The Church, having gone to sleep, was caught off guard when abortion was legalized. Today, ideas of euthanasia and infanticide are achieving stronger platforms. Winds of change, economic instability, debt crises all push people to cast aside these issues, saying we must focus on the “greater” problems facing us. Peter Singer, an Australian ethicist, just to name one, smiles and continues to “ratchet” forward, propagating arguments for “post-birth” abortion (infanticide), against animal cruelty (save the lab rats, abort the babies), and for euthanasia. The elite intelligentsia is groveling to get on-board with these ideas, while young idealists consider these thoughts to be the new wave of an evolving generation.

Another ratchet movement is the groundswell of support for homosexuality. For years the argument that homosexuals are born that way, a position soundly rejected up until the second half of the twentieth century, was pounded into our culture by intellectuals and liberal sociologists. The ratchet moved one notch forward; the argument gained momentum and the media took up the mantra; the ratchet clicked into another notch; same-sex marriage became the focus of the movement; the ratchet is moving forward again. Christians have been ‘cowed’ into remaining quiet.

However, transcendent above all this human wisdom, our immutable God seeks to refine a Church that will be salt and light in this world. Whether we want to admit it, a Sovereign God is in control and will not continue to bestow blessings on a people who reject Him, regardless of how many times we invoke “God Bless America”. We may cry and wring our hands, and get emotionally distraught over someone proposing infanticide to reduce medical costs and long-term care issues, but we will do nothing about it. We may “preach to the choir” our belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman – as God created it. The Church will preach fiery sermons and hold toothless “prayer” meetings inside our little cloisters, then go out in the world and blend in, ashamed of the gospel. Paul fought this same issue in a world increasingly hostile to followers of The Way, and said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16) Note that political debate, man’s laws and government intervention aren’t mentioned by Paul as relevant options.

The ratchet keeps moving forward – never reversing. We will not stop its progress through man’s power. We have a “ratchet buster” that can reverse any of these. And it would be well for us all if we remembered this in the current morass of political debate and culture wars.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging . . . “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:5-8).

This nation will not change by political debate or legislative intervention. We cannot focus on the symptoms. The root cause is a rebellion against our Creator God. We must be about our ministry of reconciliation. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus Christ), and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:19-22)

One final note. Many thousands of folks around this country have committed to pray for the US, the election process, our military personnel, the financial crisis, our governmental leaders (yes, that includes our President), and, of course, for REVIVAL, on a daily basis. It is a call to pray one minute in concert every day – at 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time (8:00pm central, etc, etc.). Of course, these prayers are ‘toothless’ without faith and trust in the One to whom we are praying, in full belief that He can change hearts. Please join this chorus of prayer, make the commitment to pray, and spread the word. God hears the prayers of a humble, contrite heart.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8