GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE

At the close of 2020 and the dawn of 2021, what is the condition of our hearts? Are we giving glorious praise to the Lord our Creator, knowing He is in charge and we’re in His hands … or are we, like the pagan world, grumbling and complaining about the world’s ills? God calls us to praise Him. Our choice is to obey or disobey. Let’s choose to obey.

  • Isaiah 12:5 (NCV): “Sing praise to the LORD, because he has done great things. Let all the world know what he has done.”
  • Psalm 69:30 (NKJV): “I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
  • Colossians 3:16 (ESV): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

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GUARDING OUR HEARTS

AS YEAR 2020 DRAWS TO A CLOSE, many people around the globe are hoping for a better tomorrow. No doubt, many believe God “owes” it to them after the crummy 2020 they’ve experienced. 

Are you one of them?

If so, on what do you base that hope? Is it your sense of balance, of fairness, that if the universe dumps on you one year, it should lift you up the next?

The truth is, God doesn’t “owe” us anything except what we deserve and that, according to His Word, is eternal punishment. Mercifully, God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

So, focus on this, if you would: God gracefully has given us so much to be thankful for, including forgiveness of sins and a promise of life in abundance.

Instead of grumbling about our fate, we should be on our knees giving God the praise, honor, and glory due Him.

We ought to praise our Lord!

SINGING BY A BONFIRE

IMAGINE THIS: IT’S A COLD NIGHT. Someone starts a bonfire in a nearby field. You run over and join the group. As you stand before the fire, your chest warms slightly, then more so, until eventually your chest is  burning up!

“YOU LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.”

REVELATION 2:4 (WEB)

You turn around, and your back, which had been cold, is now being warmed by the fire while your chest cools down. 

Walk away from the fire, and both your chest and your back cool down.

It’s the same when you walk away from the Lord, your passion cools down.

As the Bible says, “You left your first love.” — Revelation 2:4 (WEB) 

Isn’t that where most so-called Christians are, just lukewarm, casual, cultural Christians without a personal relationship with the Lord they claim to love and worship?

Let’s not be one of them.

STAYING IN PRAYER

THE REMEDY IS TO STAY IN PRAYER. Pray that the LORD will rekindle the fire in your heart, that He’ll move you closer to Him. Say, “LORD, fan the flames for me. I want to be hot with Your love all over.”

Make walking with the LORD your Number One priority for the day. Loving your wife or husband comes next. That leaves the rest of the numbers, from three on, to your children, your home, your job, your health, your ministry, your yard, your hobbies, and anything else you can list.

Once the priorities are set, you’ve built your house on solid ground.

He created us to worship Him.


HYMN OF PRAISE

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.”

— Revelation 4:11 (ESV)


The Lord commands us to bow down in worship. To honor Him. To adore Him. There’s no room in that command for grumbling. — Philippians 2:14 (NIV) 

The price was God Himself, in human form, dying on a Cross for our sins, for our debt, to reconcile the world to Himself. — 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NKJV)

ANCIENT HYMNS TO GOD

HOW DO WE LIFT OUR VOICES in song, as our Lord commands, instead of complaining about our lot as 2020 draws to a close?

Fortunately, the Bible tells us. (Are you surprised?) 

The psalms are rich with hymns to God, to His glory, His faithfulness, and His compassion.

Instead of marking the year’s change with a drunken chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” let’s pray with grateful hearts to God who loves us.

Let’s use His own words:


MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE TO THE LORD, ALL THE EARTH!

SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS! COME INTO HIS PRESENCE WITH SINGING!

KNOW THAT THE LORD, HE IS GOD! IT IS HE WHO MADE US, AND WE ARE HIS; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE.

ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING, AND HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE! GIVE THANKS TO HIM; BLESS HIS NAME.

FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER, AND HIS FAITHFULNESS TO ALL GENERATIONS.”

— Psalm 100 (ESV)

PRAYER

O GOD, OUR GOD, how majestic is Your name in all the  Earth.

O GOD, OUR HELP in Ages Past.

AMAZING GRACE, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

OUR LORD, through Your mercy, I am forgiven; through Your Love, I am redeemed; through Your grace, I am saved.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is our Lord God forever; He who was, who is, and who is to come, life without beginning and without end, from everlasting to everlasting. 

O GOD, YOU are the Alpha and the Omega.

TO YOU, O LORD, belong all the praise, honor, and glory.

HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

AMEN!

PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH … WITH LOVE (Part 2 of 2)

As more and more church leaders — pastors, theologians, teachers, and elders — are led astray from the Bible’s inerrant truth, faithful Christians must be made aware and corrected. However, we must do so with love and gentleness. If we are haughty or judgmental, our own sin will interfere with the message.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV): “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of G od may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV): “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV): “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

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(You can read Part 1 here)

SATAN INFILTRATES THE PULPIT

SATAN HAS INFILTRATED the pulpit of many so-called Christian churches, leading whole denominations to veer  away from preaching the Truth.

The shift from the church’s firm teaching of God’s Word as His truth, in keeping with the Bible’s claims for itself, takes place gradually.

Step-by-step, over time, the pulpit shifts from proclaiming God’s Word as “inerrant and infallible” to introducing “new” revelations into the sacred text, revelations deduced from recent revelation based on the reader’s “reasoning powers.”

A CASE STUDY

LET’S LOOK AT A recent example of a well-respected cleric in his denomination, who, driven to find Scriptural approval to support his beloved daughter’s homosexuality that included her same-sex marriage of 30 years, encouraged himself to believe in, and then teach others, false doctrine. 

Again, he is doing so motivated by his love for his daughter, which is commendable, even though God’s Word tells us — and him — that anyone who loves son or daughter more than Jesus is not worthy of Jesus (Matt. 10:37 NIV).

A link to the article is here.

The man — described as a retired bishop in his denomination, which is a position of influence over the teaching of church pastors who in turn teach doctrine to their flock — has magnified his error by encouraging others under his authority to believe a falsehood.

 IN EDEN’S GARDEN

THIS FALSEHOOD IS NO DIFFERENT from the original lie described in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden.  There, the devil, disguised as a serpent, told Eve to disregard God’s law that anyone eating from the tree in the center of the garden would die. 

Eve was deceived and so ate from the tree. She gave some of the fruit to Adam, who disobeyed God by eating the fruit.

In so doing, Adam and Eve brought judgment on themselves and, by extension, to the rest of mankind. 

We continue to suffer from their sin because our own natures, according to God’s Word, are sinful from birth onward:

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (ESV): “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

FIRST, THOSE OF US who are pledged to follow sound doctrine must, with love and compassion, admonish those who are straying.

We need to tell them through the Holy Spirit, that they need to come back to the Word of God.

John MacArhur, in his book, Final Word: Why We Need the Bible, said this: “However, true biblical Christianity requires a denial of every worldly value and behavior, and Christians must be willing to make a commitment to the Word of God, with a full understanding of the implications of doing so.” (Kindle, p. 25)

We are told that Scripture is “God-breathed” and inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training others that each one of us will be equipped for every good deed.

That means we are to call our fallen brethren to repentance, not because we are holy and blameless, for we are not, but out of love and compassion for their souls and because their false testimony will lead others astray.

Second, we are to examine our own souls with the light of the Holy Spirit, to see where our own sin lies that we might root it out, all of this under the power and authority of God’s Spirit, not our own power.

Jesus instructed us to shine our light into the darkened world that others would see our good works and do what? Give the glory to the Father. Not to us, not to brag about ourselves, not to tout ourselves as holier than others, but to point to the Father, who alone is Good.

AVOID HARMING OTHERS

WE CAN DO SUCH HARM if we take our firm beliefs in God’s Holy Word and use it as a weapon to further our own agendas. We must guard against that. 

Just as we see those following apostasy down the road to ruin, so  we also are privy to following our own arrogance down a similar path.

Let’s be clear: Those who are teaching a false doctrine will not suddenly realize their faultiness and thank us for helping them out. Instead, they will point back to our own haughtiness, our self-righteousness, our judgmentalism as if our failings disqualify the truth of what we say.

Our sin will not disqualify the message, but it very well could disqualify us as proper messengers.

This burden should weigh heavily on our hearts. We should be burdened with the task of correcting those wallowing in doctrinal error, but in humility and weakness, we must ask Almighty God to direct our path so that we do not camouflage the message of Truth with our own sin in presenting the message.

POSTSCRIPT

SO, TO SUM, THERE IS a balance that must be struck between Truth and Love. Jesus did it perfectly. None of us can or will do it perfectly. Nevertheless, we must preach the Truth (“the message”) and present it with Love (“the method”). 

Failing to preach the Truth is not Love and cannot be confused with Love. We cannot allow those following a false teaching to believe God affirms their disobedient and deviant behavior. Neither can we interject our own sin by shining a light with a haughty, self-righteous attitude.

Yes, Jesus did it perfectly; let us imitate Him as best we can.

May God bless those who are following a false doctrine, even sincerely believing it to be true, but in so doing may He send messengers who with love and compassion can steer them back to the teaching of His Holy infallible and inerrant Word. 

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PRAYER

HOLY AND MIGHTY GOD, please forgive us who claim to belong to the body of Christ for our sin. While some in our midst teach, or practice, false doctrine, others of us fail to call them to account. 

MANY, EVEN IN the church, sin by following, promoting, or teaching false doctrine, especially in the area of sexual sin; while others of us sin in our pride, arrogance, and judgmental attitude when pointing it out, as though we, ourselves, are without sin. 

LORD, BECAUSE OF our sin, our message of repentance  often goes unheard. This allows those who practice sexual sin, whether same-sex or opposite-sex behavior, to continue in their deviant and disobedient actions because our testimony is tainted. Lord, only You can save Your children. Only You can calm the storm and right the ship. 

WE PRAY, LORD, that You will charge us who follow correct teaching to do so with humility and compassion and for those who promote and participate in a false doctrine to find a loving home within the body of Christ for them to return and to do so soon. 

LORD, WE LIFT this pray in the loving, holy, and just name of Jesus Christ. AMEN

PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH … WITH LOVE (Part 1 of 2)

The Bible—God’s Holy Word—reveals God’s Truth to mankind. While written by men, each word is inspired by God, according to its own claim, with more than 300 Old Testament prophesies already fulfilled. Its chief prophecy was the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. To thwart God’s plan to redeem mankind, Satan deceives and distorts God’s Word. Faithful Christians must be aware of that and must defend the Bible’s truth claims against false teaching.

2 Cor. 10:5 (NLT): “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

Titus 2:1 (NIV): You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

James 3:1 (NET): “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.

John 17:17 (NASB2020): “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

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 FIGHTING AGAINST FALSE TEACHING

THE BODY OF CHRIST is under assault. That assault naturally comes from outside the church as Satan tries to thwart God’s plan to redeem fallen mankind.

More dangerous, however, is the daily assault from within the church. That danger is “false doctrine,” being preached from the pulpits in many churches.

That false doctrine comes under the heading of “Jesus Is Love,” which is true, but the false message being preached is that “Love” fully describes Jesus, when He described Himself as “Holy.”

The difference? “Holy” includes “Love,” but it also includes “Just.”

HOLINESS VERSUS SIN

A HOLY GOD cannot abide sin, and, yes, sin is real, and the Bible — God’s inspired and true Word — clearly spells out sin  as “actions, words, and thoughts that violate God’s commandments.”

Let’s examine some of the sins God names: drunkenness, slander, envy/jealousy, bearing false witness (lying), disrespect toward one’s parents, disobedience to governing authorities, and sexual sin.

Sexual sin, the Bible notes, covers sexual acts involving children; family members or close relatives; the neighbor, co-worker, or total strangers; and animals.

Then, there’s one more category, one that God highlights throughout the sacred text: physical relations with someone of the same sex.

Instead, God’s Word proclaims that proper sexual unions are confined to marriage partners, where one partner is male and one is female.

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION has been siphoned out of the list of biblically named vices and presented, even within some churches, as an alternate “life choice,” considered to be as valid a  choice as opposite-sex monogamy.

In fact, many churches are teaching that the body of Christ must accept and validate behavior that the Bible clearly labels “deviant” and “unnatural.”

Churches that do so are peddling the false doctrine that God will condone homosexual behavior because “God is love,” and He wants His creatures to be happy and connected physically and emotionally with “the one they love.”

Some churches even teach that God’s Word is not to be taken “literally” and, thus, can be revised by the reader, according to his reason and experiences.

However, the Bible warns teachers not to deviate from “sound doctrine” nor to teach a false message, one contrary to God’s clear teaching (Titus 2:1 NIV). In his letter to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul said those teaching a false message should be “accursed” (Galatians 1:9 NKJV).

This is God’s teaching about sexual sin, through Paul’s writing:

1 Thessalonians 4:3,8 (NLT): “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. … Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

LEADING CONGREGATIONS ASTRAY

HOW DO OTHERWISE well-meaning people go astray? How? Little by little, one step at a time … until the apostasy goes unnoticed. 

The apostasy starts in the pulpit and radiates out to encompass the congregation and, from there, spreads out to the community. 

The writer Brandon Medina, in his TheologyThink Tank article “Is the Bible the Literal Word of God?” poses the question rhetorically of whether anyone rationally believes the Bible is the “literal word of God.” He then says:

“This is a common refrain Bible-believing Christians hear, usually from the unsaved but increasingly from those even inside the church community: pastors, seminary teachers, and laypeople alike.”

Don’t miss that point: “Increasingly from those even inside the church community: pastors, seminary teachers, and laypeople alike.” 

Those “laypeople,” to be influential, are the elders, deacons, teachers, home group leaders, and other respected members of the local assembly. They may be the business leaders or other accomplished persons, at least by worldly standards. 

POSTSCRIPT

FOR THOSE WHO WANT to sound the alarm against false teaching, the Bible clearly says we must do so with love and gentleness, and for those of us who are not Jesus, that balance often is difficult (or nearly impossible) to do well. He did it perfectly; we’re called to imitate Him.

That makes it doubly important that we “pray in” so we’ll be connected to the Holy Spirit and then we can approach our brothers and sisters in an act of love.

May the Lord’s blessing rest upon those who obey His command to avoid sexual sin and may it rest upon those who, in love, speak the truth to those violating God’s order.

(Part 2 will be published after Christmas)

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PRAYER

HOLY AND MIGHTY GOD, please forgive us who claim to belong to the body of Christ for our sin. While some in our midst teach, or practice, false doctrine, others of us fail to call them to account. 

MANY, EVEN IN the church, sin by following, promoting, or teaching false doctrine, especially in the area of sexual sin; while others of us sin in our pride, arrogance, and judgmental attitude when pointing it out, as though we, ourselves, are without sin.

BECAUSE OF our sin, our message of repentance often goes unheard. This allows those who practice sexual sin, whether same-sex or opposite-sex behavior, to continue in their deviant and disobedient actions because our testimony is tainted. Lord, only You can save Your children. Only You can calm the storm and right the ship.

WE PRAY, LORD, that You will charge us who follow correct teaching to do so with humility and compassion and for those who promote and participate in a false doctrine to find a loving home within the body of Christ for them to return and to do so soon. 

LORD, WE LIFT this pray in the loving, holy, and just name of Jesus Christ. AMEN

MY WALK: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT

Sometimes, it’s good to be bold, to try something new, so writing about myself is my Christmas challenge to myself. This is not what I “do,” but it’s okay this time. We’ll see. Merry Christmas to everyone! God bless.

2 PETER 3:9 (NASB): “The LORD is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

JEREMIAH 29:13 (NKJV): “And you will seek Me and find Me, when  you search for Me with all your heart.”

JOHN 17:20 (ESV): “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”

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A CHRISTMAS TALE

“WHY DON’T YOU tell your readers something about your personal life?” my wife asked me recently. The question seemed innocent enough, but I scowled anyway.

“That’s not what I do,” I replied, sounding a bit more smug than I needed to be.

I thought quickly of some of the blogs I’ve read that I really found enjoyable, and many of them — gasp! — were personal columns.

“Mine have been more ‘teacherly,’” I continued. “You  know, the kind that give a message of encouragement for anyone. I don’t really want to share what I had for breakfast.”

Well, as I thought about it, another blogger, PK Adams, encouraged me further, so I’ll make the stab. Bear in mind, I’m of mixed opinion about this, but this is Christmas, and maybe this time, I could share just a slice of who I am.

HERE COMES THE DOG

AFTER A LIFETIME of “dog avoidance,” I’ve recently become the co-parent of a puppy Shih Tzu, possibly the cutest individual animal God ever created.

Here’s me with our dog, named Gracie. I call her “Puppy,” and I’m totally in love with her.

She has taken over our home in quick order: watches TV with us, sleeps in our bed (oh, yes, that didn’t take her long), enjoys outdoor walks, chases leaves, barks at herons, loves to play “toss and retrieve,” and goes bonkers when another dog is around. 

My wife’s daughter has Gracie’s sister. The two dogs wrestle and bark and run rings around the room, like two crazed animals. They are adorable (but ours is cuter :-))

CAROLINA IN THE MORNING

NOTHING COULD BE FINER, as the song goes, than Carolina in the morning, and I can agree. Here’s the  view out our patio window as the Sun rises over the lagoon. 

I guess those are pine trees of some sort, but I don’t really know and in our five years of living here, haven’t bothered to ask anyone. They look strange to me, unlike the trees we saw up North that shed their leaves every autumn.

We moved to South Carolina from the Washington, DC, area to enjoy a warmer climate, lower taxes, and fewer traffic jams. Now that I see what it’s like, I kind of wish we had made the move earlier. Of course, there was that thing about our jobs, but … 

Although I’ve lived most of my life along the southern rim of the Great Lakes, Southeast New England, and DC, I love the “New South.” 

THEN THERE’S FLORIDA!

ONE YEAR AGO, we bought a condominium in South Florida, oceanside, partly as an investment,  partly to be near family, and partly because it’s a great place to be!

Here’s the view through our screened-in balcony overlooking a tributary of the Intercostal Waterway. I love to sit on the balcony early morning with my Bible downloaded onto my iPad, sip my fresh brewed coffee, and enjoy God’s Nature while I study God’s Word. 

Life is good! 

But there’s more, and I’m running out of space, so maybe there’s hope for another personal column. I didn’t get to talk about this blog … or blogs in general. That could be interesting.

We’ll see. 

ABOUT THOSE VERSES

I LOVE BASING my blog posts on Scripture. Usually, I select three verses that “work together,” at least as I believe the Holy Spirit guides me.  

I also love grabbing verses from different translations. Maybe it’s the academic in me, or the journalist, which is how I earned my living before journalism became corrupt and one-sided (oops, I digress). 

The three I chose for this piece are as close to “life verses” as I can get. Each tells of the Savior’s love for me (and all of us who know Him). They comfort me in knowing that my salvation is secure because He wants me to be with Him. (John 14:3)

Praise God! I am so blessed.

PRAYER

O LORD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, how grateful  we are that You’re a God who loves us, who cherishes us, and who literally would do anything — even sacrifice Your only Son — to reclaim us. We are blessed, indeed. Forgive us when we are disobedient, and guide us into Your loving arms, then empower us to share the message of redemption with those You put in our paths. In Jesus’ Name we pray. AMEN

GOD’S GOOD GIFTS TO US

God’s goodness overflows in our lives. Sometimes these gifts manifest themselves in saving us from the effect of our poor decisions; sometimes they are long in coming, almost as a “life achievement” award. Yet, also, we are taught by His Word that for many of us, our rewards will not be apparent in this world but, as Romans 8:28 assures us, they will be showered on us in glory. What we all assured of in this world is the Lord’s promise in John 10:10b that He came to give us life in abundance.

James 1:17a (NCV): “Every good action and every perfect gift is from God.”

John 3:27 (KJ2000): “John [the Baptist] answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.'”

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THE LORD’S BENEVOLENT HAND

THE OTHER DAY I nearly lost my left eye.

OIP.WTKqPq5kyy4FCViBQ1c-9QAAAAI bent over to pick up a dead leaf from one of our indoor plants and failed to see a stabilizer stick jutting up that struck my forehead.

Barely an inch from my eye.

Surely, God’s angels were watching over me.

That incident is not even the most dramatic one in the last few days affecting me or members of my family, but just one example in my life.

God is good to us, and we see reminders of that every day.

NOT PROSPERITY GOSPEL

LET’S NOT MISTAKE God’s good gifts for the so-called “Prosperity Gospel.” God’s Word promises He’ll go through our trials with us, not that we will skate through life without them.

However, each one of us can cite numerous examples where we experienced a “near miss,” something that easily could have turned into one of those tragedies we all read about and say, “Hope that doesn’t happen to me.”TRAFFIC_DRIVING

There are many times we’ve been saved from a car running a red light, a flying object that misses our face,  or a heavy object that falls harmlessly beside our foot.

Often for me, it has manifested itself in driving situations, where I’m about to turn into the passing lane and am alerted by my car’s alarm of an oncoming vehicle that I failed to see in the mirror. I immediately thank God for watching over me.

When turning left in front of oncoming traffic, I pray for patience so that I don’t end up scooting in front of a car, a car that I swear has just sped up, but allow myself to wait for a clearer path.

“Love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I recite the Fruit of the Spirit (Gals. 5:22-23 ESV) as a prayer, each time emphasizing the fourth word to restrain my impulses.

Not only in my own life, but how often has a loved one experienced God’s protective grace, and I don’t even know about it? If they don’t relate the story, I’ll never hear of it, but I still “know” that God’s protection abounds.

I did hear of one story. In July 2019, my daughter in Texas was struck by two cars — one from behind her and one from in front. While the car was a total wreck, she escaped with a concussion, and the children were unharmed.

I still thank the Lord for sparing their lives.

JESUS’ GREATEST SERMON

JESUS IN THE SERMON on the Mount tells us about God’s goodness … by contrasting His goodness with  man’s goodness.SERMON_ON_MOUNT

He tells a story of how mankind, being inherently evil, still has the capacity to do good things. He says a father, for example, will not give his son a stone if the child asks for bread, nor will he give the child a snake instead of a fish (Matt. 7:9-10).

The Master uses the example to assure His listeners that, if earthly fathers can give good gifts to their children, surely a good and loving Heavenly Father would “give good things to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:11 ESV).

I’m often amazed at stories of Good Samaritans who quickly doff shoes and clothing to dive into a pool or lake or ocean to retrieve another person they may not even know, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. (Just Google, “Good Samaritan dies saving another person” to see numerous examples.)

GOD’S GOOD GIFTS

A SPIRIT-FILLED PASTOR in the DC area a few years ago related a story of how, when their  children were young, they would stop by the roadside on the way to the Washington Zoo to pray for a good parking spot.

When the congregation registered surprise, he said, “Oh, yeah! God loves to give His children good gifts, … and we managed to find some pretty good parking spots, too!”Meditation.Raised Hands

All good gifts come from the Father, but how often do most people think to ask God for help in their everyday lives, even when the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:17) exhorts us to stay in prayer throughout the day?

There are many times we can thank Him for His provision, like asking Him to bless the food we’re about to eat or help us find our car keys or pray that He’ll keep our dropped mobile phone from a cracked face.

While God is not a genie who grants our every wish, He is a personal God who created us to be in fellowship with Him and wants to provide for us.

Jesus said He came to the earth that we would “have life,  and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b NASB).

How sad for so many who cannot accept the existence of our Heavenly Father nor enjoy His loving goodness toward them.

When we stay in prayer all day, asking Him for favors, seeking forgiveness for something we’ve said, or asking Him to help us decide how to handle a thorny situation, we open the communication channels so God can speak to us … and that’s really the point of it all, isn’t it?

REJOICE IN THE LORD

THE APOSTLE PAUL exhorts us to “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NLT).

Nearly 1,000 years earlier, the psalmist gave us the same message: “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! … For the LORD is good.” (Psalm 100:1, 5a NKJV)

The Doxology, sung each week in many churches, says this: 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

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PRAYER

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OUR GOOD AND GRACIOUS HEAVENLY FATHER,  we thank you for Your loving kindness, Your mercy, and Your provision. Please forgive us when we take Your gifts for granted. Give us hearts that appreciate Your goodness. Praise the Lord! In Jesus name, AMEN

THE BODY OF CHRIST CONFRONTS A RIGGED ELECTION: WHAT NOW?

In light of what is likely to have been a rigged national election, what is the Bible-believing Christian — the true body of Christ — to do? How should we act? We are called by our Lord to witness for Him boldly. As citizens of Heaven, we must do that. However, we are also told to respect temporal leaders and pray for them, so we must do that, too. What happens when the church, itself, becomes the target?

Philippians 1:12-13 (CSB): “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ.”

Matthew 13:24-26 (NKJV): “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.’”

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“DARK WINTER” AHEAD

THE APPARENT VICTORS of the recent U.S. election for President and Vice President have promised a “very dark winter” is coming.

TWO CONCLUSIONS ARE EVIDENT.VOTING

FIRST CONCLUSION: The election results are highly suspect, leading 73 million Americans convinced the tabulation was fixed, and the election was stolen, meaning the “victors” are imposters.

SECOND CONCLUSION: The new administration will use the apparent “health crisis” as a pretext to implement draconian regulations over every area of our lives.

OBSERVATION: Polling shows that 99 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for the “losing” candidate, the incumbent President, not because of the individual’s personal qualities but because his policies were consistent with Christianity’s — and a well-ordered society’s — foundational values.

QUESTION RAISED: How do committed Christians, those who profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, react to the prospect of a rigged election giving sanction to strong foes of Christian values unfettered power to exert their will in response to a “crisis”? 

GLOOMY ASSESSMENT

GIVEN THE NATURE of the election’s outcome, credulity is stretched to the breaking point to believe the election was conducted “fair and square.”FRAUDULENT_MISREPRESENTATION

CONSIDER:

  • The apparent “victor” never campaigned,
  • The incumbent President increased his vote total by 10 million over the prior election, with the most votes of any sitting President in U.S. history,
  • Massive campaign to ensure one party casts its votes by mail-in ballot, which Democrats, like actor Rob Reiner, said would give them a landslide victory, 
  • The “victor” could not bring in with him one member of either the House or the Senate, while the apparent loser did,
  • Vote counting in several swing states stopped for three hours in the middle of the night while additional “ballots” were trucked in,
  • Credible reports were lodged, with supporting affidavits, of
    • Malfeasance in counting, with some voters being afforded an opportunity to fix or “cure” errors in their ballots, while others were not, 
    • Failure to account for different signatures on the ballot and envelope,
    • Numerous ballets counted in which the voters only chose a presidential candidate, ignoring down-ballot candidates,
    • Votes for the winning candidate run through the vote-tabulating machinery multiple times,
    • More people voting in a district than are registered,
    • Coding irregularities in the electronic systems used in some districts that reportedly switched votes cast for the losing candidate to be recorded for the victor.

This is the stuff of third-world banana republics. If the voting irregularities are not clearly identified and fixed before the off-year election in 2022, our republic may be irretrievably lost. 

Certainly, the era of two-party politics, as we have known it since the Republic’s beginning, will be damaged or even destroyed.

ANTI-CHRISTIAN AGENDA

WHILE THIS GLOOMY assessment of a dark winter coming was based on reaching a total of 10 million American citizens having been diagnosed with Covid, the phrase could serve as watchwords for the draconian specter of intense and overreaching government regulation of nearly every facet of our lives the administration-in-waiting represents.LEGISLATION

As such, it is a pretext for the new administration’s real agenda

Headlines tell us that Biden/Harris promise a four-year reign of terror by promoting:

  • Abortion-on-demand  
    • Allowing babies that survived abortion to die naturally
    • Rescinding “freedom of conscience” exceptions allowing health care providers to avoid performing abortions
  • LGBTQ+ “rights” being ratified into law
    • Requiring churches to perform “marriages”
    • Requiring court clerks to issue “marriage” certificates
    • Requiring vendors to support “marriages”
    • Requiring employers and insurers to honor “marriages”
  • Roll-back of religious liberty
    • Stifling freedom of expression
    • Regulation of personal energy use
    • Socialized medicine (Medicare-for-all)
    • Tipping the election machinery to benefit themselves:
        • Eliminating the Senate filibuster
        • Adding 1 or 2 new “states”with assured Democrat Senators
        • Giving amnesty to millions of illegal residents, whose amnesty will be a “gift” from the Democrats
        • Packing the US Supreme Court to ensure a liberal “progressive” majority
        • Opening the borders to increase the flow of illegal immigrants-to-amnesty status
    • Increase in racial tension
    • Harassment and punishment of those working for, and those supporting, the former President.

DIVIDED_USAIn other words, “everything is on the table,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate’s minority leader, vowed. He said, if his party wins the two Georgia run-off elections on Jan. 5, 2021, Democrats will “change the world.” He later scaled it back to “change America.”

The phrase “never let a crisis go to waste,” used by many but popularized in the United States by left-wing activist Rahm Emmanuel, is the strategy governing the activities of the incoming Biden-Harris Administration.

The slang expression this scenario best fits is this: “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

JESUS IS SOVEREIGN

DESPITE THIS GRUESOME picture, there is no reason for committed Christians to despair, even in the midst of trials and tribulations, because our Lord Jesus is on the throne. He remains sovereign over all.

The Book of Revelation tells us that, in the end, Jesus wins, and his children will be victorious along with Him.

Revelation 15:4 (NKJV): “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi also sounded a note of pure optimism and hope:

Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV): “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

J3x.Turning From God-WorshipAs antipathy toward conservatives grows, especially those conservatives who are seen to be Christian, there could be a beneficial outcome to the Christian church, which has become too complacent in modern America. 

The fissures within denominations over doctrine, and the factions within non-denominational churches, could escalate as Bible-based members separate from the “cultural Christians” among them, just as in the Judgment Day, the wheat will be separated from the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30)

In some cases, the casual Christians could “wake up” to the challenges; while in other cases, they would melt away to join their unchurched neighbors. In either case, what is left could be a more vibrant, alive church of Christians committed to their faith. 

Paul, from a Roman prison, writes: 

Philippians 1:14 (ESV): “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

The faithful may well find themselves persecuted. What form that might take in the United States is yet to be determined, but, based on recent events, it certainly will entail branding, shaming, doxing, harassing at home or on the street or at restaurants, and even opposition at work.

Paul tells us: 

Philippians 1:29 (CSB): “For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

We need to stay in prayer (1 These. 5:17) and know that our Savior will be victorious:

Job 19:25 (NET):As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that as the last he will stand upon the earth.”

David Schopp, a member of Community Bible Church in Beaufort, SC, characterized our circumstances this way:

“Right now, we can feel like darkness is closing in all around us. The challenges we are facing just seem to keep coming.  The best way for us to do battle and shine our light in the darkness is on our knees.” — David Schopp, 12-10-2020

On our knees. Indeed.

The apostle Paul again:

Philippians 4:7 (CSB): “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”lone_cross

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PRAYER

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we find ourselves in a gruesome situation in the U.S. where an incoming administration may have gamed the system to win the election and then promises to oppose every foundational issue sacred to Christianity. We know You remain sovereign, and we are to pray for their faithfulness to Your design. Strengthen us, O Lord, to be bold in our witness for Christ, even in the midst of harassment and possible persecution. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN

CAN WE KNOW WE’LL GO TO HEAVEN?

Are you going to Heaven when you die? Polls show most people believe there is a Heaven and they’re on their way. Why? Because, they say, basically they are “good” people. But what does the Bible say about that? Pastor and author Author Randy Alcorn in a new tract explains that Heaven isn’t our “default destination” and that important changes must be made in our lives if we are to spend eternity with the Lord in His rest.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV): “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

2 Peter 2:9 (CEV): “This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the day of judgment.”

Revelation 22:17 (ESV): “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

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MISSING THE TRAIN TO HEAVEN

RECENTLY, I WAS DRIVING one of our church elders to Sunday morning services. He turned to me, his thumb and index finger nearly touching, and said words that still ring in my ears: “Ward, I came this close to spending eternity in Hell.”

HELL. HELL

What a terrifying thought. An eternity of darkness, aloneness. Fire. Worms. Without hope. Without love. Without end. It’ll be hellish. Really.

Yet, a recent poll showed that for every American who believes he or she is going to Hell, 120 believe they are going to Heaven. 

The Bible tells an entirely different story. It says a person must believe in Jesus Christ to enter Heaven. (A different standard applies to those who have not heard of Him.)

Unfortunately, that means that most of the self-described Heaven-bound are wrong.

In fact, the optimism expressed by most Americans, even those who do not profess to be Christian, stands in stark contrast to Jesus Christ’s own words: 

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV).

According to the Bible, most people are not going to Heaven.

They’re going to Hell.

THREE SCENES

IMAGINE THIS:

  • IT’S WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON — You’re at the grave site of a good friend who has BURIAL_SCENEsuccumbed to cancer. You cast your gaze to his survivors and notice his widow and daughter clutching each other through tears. You share their grief. You don’t know where your friend will end up, but you suspect from the way he lived and talked that God, salvation, and repentance were far from his mind. You’re terrified for him.
  • IT’S FRIDAY EVENING — You’re at a high school football game, and the home team is marching down the field toward the end zone. You look around at the stands. You know by sight most of the onlookers. They’re your neighbors and friends. On this Friday night, there’s not a single thought among them about  their eternal destiny. You don’t know where they’ll end up, but you suspect that, come Sunday morning, eternity will not be on their minds, either. You’re terrified for them.
  • IT’S SUNDAY MORNING — You’re at church, and the pastor is wrapping up his weekly altar call, and you look around the congregation. Nobody moves. They must all be saved! Well, maybe so. Wouldn’t that be wonderful! You don’t know their status, but you suspect that most of them think they’re saved or at least don’t need what the pastor is preaching. You’re terrified for them.

How do you handle the horrible thought that most of the people you meet and talk with each week — most of the people you know and most of the people you don’t know — are not on God’s saved list? Their names are not found in His Book of Life. HS_FOOTBALL

What do you do when you consider they have no clue what they’re missing?

DEFAULT DESTINATION

THE TRUTH IS, according to the Bible, we don’t automatically go to Heaven. 

In fact, our default destination is not Heaven — but Hell. Unless our sin problem is solved, we can’t enter Heaven. 

That’s the bad news.

Aahh, but there’s good news, too. In fact, it’s so good, it’s called “Good News”! 

Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, came to our rescue. At the Cross, He took on the Hell we deserve … so that, believing in Him, we can experience for eternity the Heaven we don’t deserve.

TWO DESTINATIONS

THERE ARE ONLY TWO possible destinations when we die: Heaven or Hell.

Can we really know in advance which one we’ll go to? Yes, we can.

The apostle John, one of the writers of the Bible, said this: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 ESV). image-17

How do we know? 

  • The Bible tells us that all of us, like our first parents, Adam and Eve, are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV).
  • Because of our sin, the Bible says, our default destination is Hell. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NASB).
  • Our sinful hearts make it difficult for us to chart a correct course on our own power. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12 ESV).

GOD’S PLAN

BUT GOD PROVIDED an escape clause. A way out. A get-out-of-jail-free card. 

Simply believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He came to die for sinful man, and that those who believe this … and call on His name … will be saved  from God’s wrath (Rom. 10:9-10, 13). image-2

When Christ died on the Cross for us, he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). 

In those days “It is finished” was commonly written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant “Paid in full.” Christ died so that the certificate of debt consisting of all our sins could once and for all be marked “Paid in full.”

What about those who don’t believe?

Jesus said that unless we believe He is the One who redeems mankind, we will die in our sins (John 8:24). 

REPENT OF SIN

ONLY WHEN OUR SINS are dealt with in Christ can we enter Heaven.

We cannot pay our own way, and contrary to popular opinion, there is only one way to get there.

  • Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NKJV). Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 CSB). 
  • To be forgiven, we must recognize and repent of our sins. Forgiveness is not automatic. It’s conditioned upon confession: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV). 
  • Christ offers to everyone the gifts of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. Jesus died on the Cross as the only One worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by the holiness of God: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
  • There’s no righteous deed we can do that will earn us a place in Heaven (Titus 3:5). We come to Christ empty-handed. We can take no credit for salvation. It is a gift from God: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9 NET). 

This gift cannot be worked for, earned, or achieved. It’s dependent solely on Christ’s generous sacrifice on our behalf.

CRITICAL DECISION

THIS IS THE MOST important decision of your life.

Far more important than who you’ll marry, or what career you’ll follow, or how many children you’ll have; more important than your next car or the house you buy or your dream vacation plans.

More important than anything else you can think of. 

It’s the decision of where you’ll spend eternity.image-26

Eternity is forever. Once it starts, there’s no turning back. No do-over. No second chance. No course correction. 

Now is the time to make things right with God:

  • Confess your sinfulness;
  • Accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf.

If you haven’t come to terms with your relationship with God, please pay special attention to the words that follow. Author and Pastor Randy Alcorn sums it this way:

“You are made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person, and heaven is the place. They are a package — they come together. You cannot get heaven without Jesus or Jesus without heaven. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near’ (Isaiah 55:6 ESV). For all eternity, you’ll be glad you did.”

[For more information on how Heaven isn’t our “default destination,” please see pastor and author Randy Alcorn‘s tract, “How Can We Know We’ll Go to Heaven?”]

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SAVING PRAYER

Here’s a prayer you can use if you want to confess your sins to God and receive His gift of eternal life … or substitute your own words, spoken from the heart.
May God bless you richly as you do.

O GOD, YOU KNOW ME, but I haven’t known You. I’ve come to realize I am a sinful man (woman), and I need a Savior. O God, thank You for the gift that Jesus Christ gave me when He took my sins to the Cross. I am sorry for my sin, and I repent of my sinful ways. O God, please send Your Holy Spirit into my heart to change me and redeem me and make me Yours for all eternity. I want to live for You and with You. In Jesus’ name I lift this prayer, knowing You will hear my plea. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness and Your gift of life. AMEN

THE WORLD’S HATRED OF CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS

Once again, we see the hatred and intolerance of the world toward the body of Christ. In New Jersey, a Christian woman who worked as a barista at Starbucks Coffee Shop said she was fired from her job when she refused to wear the company-sponsored “Pride” T-shirt, glorifying homosexuality. She said Jesus condemned the practice as being “unnatural.” The company’s official response was that the shirt reflected Starbucks’ commitment to “inclusion and diversity” and proclaimed the company “does not discriminate on the basis of religion.” Really?

Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV): “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!”

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV): “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Rom. 12:2 (CSB): “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

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“WE’RE ‘INCLUSIVE,’ SO YOU’RE FIRED!”

A RECENT ARTICLE in the New York Post reported that a Christian woman in New Jersey was fired from her job in August 2019 for refusing to wear a company-sponsored homosexual “Pride” T-shirt.

STARBUCKS_LES_PRIDE2019jpeg
Starbucks Pride T-Shirt 2019

The woman, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit  in November 2020, said she told her employers she wanted to follow the Bible’s teaching, which condemns homosexuality, but her employer said her position violated the company’s “core values.”

LoveAndGrace blogged last week about the world’s discrimination against Christians in the name of “inclusion.”

The woman, Betsy Freese, was employed by Starbucks Coffee Co. as a barista from December 2015 until her termination in August 2019. 

Freese charged that being forced to wear the T-shirt as a condition of employment was “tantamount to forced speech” because the Bible defines marriage as the permanent and monogamous union of one male and one female, a message counter to that proclaimed on the T-shirt.

She said store managers were aware of her religious beliefs because she regularly asked for time off on Sundays and certain evenings to attend church.

‘THEY KNEW MY BELIEFS’ 

WHILE FRESSE SAID the store’s managers knew of her religious beliefs, she was fired for refusing to wear the “Pride” shirt. 

The newspaper said the company told NBC News that the lawsuit was “without merit” and stated in the woman’s termination notice that the company’s corporate policy endorses the core values of “inclusion and diversity, and [that we] welcome and learn from people with different backgrounds and perspectives.”

(NBC further reported that in September, two workers at Kroger supermarket in Arkansas filed a similar lawsuit, claiming they were fired for refusing to wear a store apron with a rainbow heart emblem on it.image-20

(The plaintiffs, Brenda Lawson and Trudy Rickerd, maintained the logo was an endorsement of the LGBTQ community, which violated their belief “that homosexuality is a sin,” according to their complaint. After being disciplined for violating the store’s dress code, both Lawson and Rickerd were ultimately terminated.)

Starbucks further stated that it “does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.” The federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says it is unlawful for a place of employment to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

The newspaper article picked up by ChurchLeaders.com said that on Aug. 22, 2019, Fresse was told by a company district manager that she was being fired for “violating Starbucks’ ‘core values.’”

Fresse said in her lawsuit that “every Christian is called to love and treat everyone with respect and compassion” regardless of their religious or other beliefs. 

DEATH OF ‘ABSOLUTE TRUTHS’

WHAT IS HAPPENING is the “death of ‘absolute truth’” in a culture that elevates human reason and experience above God’s laws and His design for our lives.

This is the hallmark of the “postmodernist” thought process, where all values and goals are relative, without any being absolute or perfect. So, the thinking goes, what is true for you might not be true for me, and what is true for me might not be true for you.COFFEE.SHOP

It’s the theory behind several popular refrains: “Follow your bliss,” “Whatever floats your boat,” “Whatever works for you,” “Do what’s inside of you,” “You’re okay; I’m okay,” and “You do you, Bro; I’ll do me.”

In his article “Postmodernism,” in the creationist website, AnswersInGenesis.org., Dr. Carl J. Broggi concluded that in the postmodernist view of the world, “no one is really wrong except for those who hold to absolute truth.” Broggi is senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Beaufort, SC. 

“Because truth cannot absolutely be known in their religion, the highest virtue for the postmodern man is tolerance, but not as the word has traditionally been defined. In the past, when Americans used the term tolerance, it was understood to mean that everyone has a right to have their viewpoint respected,” Broggi writes.

He concludes: “‘Tolerance’ for the postmodernist is to be extended only to those who embrace a relativistic worldview. In practice, since postmodernism cannot possibly coexist with a worldview that embraces absolute truth, they are intolerant of those who do not agree, particularly Christians.”

Broggi says that what the world believes, according to its postmodernist viewpoint, is that “because Bible-believers insist their point of view concerning moral absolutes and salvation in Jesus Christ is correct and other views are aberrant, they [the Christians] should be defined as intolerant.”

POSTSCRIPT

THIS, IN FACT, is what we see. It is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. 

Look again at the text source for this article, particularly the verse from Isaiah 5:20, warning us against labeling as “good” or “benign”  those things that God calls “evil.”

J33.Suffering for the GospelOr consider 2 Timothy 4:3, where God says that men will “turn away” from the truth and follow falsehoods of their own design.

As they do so, the will run afoul of Romans 2:2, where God tells us not to be conformed to the world and its beliefs but that we should hold fast to that which is the “good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

That is what Betsy Fresse tried to so, at least according to the public record as explained in her lawsuit. It is a story of “inclusion” — which should mean embracing everyone — but always excludes the Bible-believing Christian because the Christian believer, unlike non-believers, embraces the truth that God has revealed — not man’s truth, but the Creator’s truth.

As Jesus termed it in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His crucifixion (John 17:17 NIV): 

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

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PRAYER

Our Heavenly Father, God of all Creation, Maker of Heaven  and Earth, You created man in Your image to reflect Your glory and to worship You. We OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAconfess, O Lord, that too many of us have been arrogant, prideful, and willful, ignoring You and Your design for our lives. Those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus repent of our sin, and we pray for those among us who are lost in spirit and destined for eternal separation from You. O Lord, burden our hearts to reach out to them and share with them the Truth of Your Word, the saving grace of Your love for us. In Jesus’ almighty and magnificent name we pray. AMEN