Archive | October, 2017

Thanks To Martin Luther, You Can (And Should) Read Your Bible

31 Oct

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On this day in 1517, Martin Luther famously nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and changed the world.

Luther was a monk in the Catholic Church who came to the realization that the church was teaching lies.

Up until that point the Catholic Church was the only game in town. Moreover, the leaders of the church did not allow their members to read the Bible for themselves. So everyone was at the mercy of the church, depending on them to teach them the truth.

The problem was, they were not because they weren’t reading it either so their teachings had evolved into a bunch of lies.

The Catholic Church had turned God’s free offer of forgiveness into a revenue-generating scam by selling “indulgences” – selling forgiveness to people who were duped into paying for it.

God’s forgiveness is not for sale. It is a free, no-strings-attached gift to the entire human race that is offered through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the only way to have one’s sins forgiven.

Five hundred years later, the Catholic Church is still teaching the same old lies. This is not only sad. It is tragic.

Too many people have been duped into thinking they can buy forgiveness like a loaf of bread. Or that they can work for it. Or that Mary answers prayers. Or that confession to a priest absolves sin.

None of those things are true. Neither are lots of other things the Catholic Church teaches, like the rosary and infant baptism.

All the millions and millions of people who believed these lies – and those who continue to believe them today – will tragically end up in hell.

One of the benefits of Martin Luther’s bravery in standing up to the politically powerful Catholic Church was that the Bible was soon printed (in German) and made available to the masses. Printing into other languages soon followed.

Several years ago I was in a weekly Bible study with a woman who was a Catholic. It was very unusual for a Catholic to be in a Bible study. I remember this woman telling us that she was afraid that her priest would find out that she was studying the Bible for herself.

Centuries after Luther, the monolithic Catholic Church continues to instill fear into their members so they will blindly submit to their leadership – leadership that feeds them lies that send them to hell.

God never intended the Bible to be read only by a select few. He intended everyone to read it – including you.

Pick one up and read it. You can read a printed copy or one online or even on an app.

Just like Martin Luther, you’ll probably be surprised as to what it says – and does not say.

And the truth it contains, if you believe it and obey it, will secure your eternity in heaven forever.

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Our “Goodness” Will Count For Nothing on Judgment Day

30 Oct

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Recently a video surfaced on the Internet showing off Apple’s new iPhone X. However, the phone was not yet commercially available. The video had been taken by Brooke Amelia Peterson, the daughter of one Apple’s iPhone employees who apparently had an advance copy of the phone.

After she posted her video to YouTube, it went viral. This didn’t sit too well with Apple, a company famous for its corporate secrecy.

Brooke’s father – Ken Bauer – was subsequently fired from his job for violating company policy. Her video was also removed.

Brooke then posted a follow-up video in which she announced her dad’s dismissal from Apple. In this second video she made the following statement:

“… it doesn’t matter how good of a person you are. If you break a rule they [Apple] just have no tolerance”.

Brooke apparently believes that her dad should not have been fired – even if he did break one of Apple’s well known rules – because he is a “good person”. Evidently, she believes that someone’s overall demeanor should override any “unlawful” activity they may engage in.

Apple can, of course, handle the situation as they see fit. If they wanted to overlook Bauer’s offense because he’s a nice guy, they could choose to do that.

Unfortunately, though, many people think just like Brooke does when it comes to God. And they couldn’t be more wrong.

Many people, if not most, think that if they are a good person they will go to heaven, even if they have broken some of God’s rules. Not only do they think they will go to heaven, they think they should go to heaven. But this is not true.

As God tells us in the Bible, good deeds do not make up for bad ones. Any sin that we commit – and we all commit lots of them every day – cannot be “undone” by doing something good. Not even by doing something really, really good.

There is no “undo” command when it comes to how God evaluates our behavior. Sin is a stain on our record that cannot be erased by anything we subsequently do, no matter how wonderful we think it may be.

Just like every crime committed in society needs to be paid for, every sin has a penalty too. We can either pay the penalty for our sins ourselves. Or we can allow someone else to pay it for us.

As the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, no one can pay the penalty for anyone else’s sins – no one can serve two eternal sentences.

This is why God paid the penalty on our behalf.

God came down from heaven and became a human being we call Jesus. He lived a completely perfect and sinless life, never breaking even one of God’s commands. He then died on the cross for a sin He didn’t commit – a sin, in fact, it was impossible for Him to commit.

Then while hanging on the cross in excruciating agony, He took on the wrath of God in our place as God abandoned Him, thereby paying the penalty for each and every sin mankind will ever commit.

Now, anyone who accepts Jesus’ death as the necessary and complete payment for their sins will be 100% forgiven by God. No questions. No strings attached.

This is the only way to have one’s sins forgiven and to see heaven. No one can atone for their owns sins. They can only be erased by Jesus.

Many people may take exception to this, but this is no different than how our own judicial system operates.

By all accounts, O.J. Simpson was a “good person”. He was affable. He did charity work. But none of that counted for anything – nor should it have – when it came to his legal issues.

Bernie Madoff ripped people off for millions of dollars. He also gave a lot of that money away to charities, not to mention did lots of good work before getting caught. But that didn’t matter – nor should it have – during his trial.

The guilt of these men – or anyone else – could not be – and should not have been – overlooked because of anything good that they did.

God works the exact same way. All sins – like all crimes – need to be atoned for. None can be overlooked. That would not be fair.

On judgment day each of the billions and billions of human beings who were ever born will stand trial before Jesus, our judge. Each of us will be guilty. There’ll be no doubt about that. We’ve all broken more rules than we can count.

At this trial, no one will have a chance to offer up a defense. None of our so-called “good deeds” will be presented as evidence because none of them will matter. All that will matter is that we’re guilty. And for our guilt, we’ll deserve to be separated from God forever (we call that hell).

But God, who loves everyone and wants everyone to be with Him in heaven, made a loophole.

Anyone who, during their lifetime on earth, repented of their sins and accepted God’s offer to forgive their sins through Jesus’ death will be spared. God will erase their sins because the payment for their wrongs will have already been made by Jesus on the cross.

Such people won’t just be declared “Not guilty”. They will be declared “Innocent”. It will be as if they never sinned even once in their life.

Brooke Amelia Peterson’s dad may be a good person. He may be the best guy in the world. But when it comes to judgment day he, like all of us, will be glaringly guilty. No amount of charity work or overall “niceness” will save anyone from hell.

The only thing that can save you is throwing yourself on God’s mercy and accepting the only method available to escape hell: Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.

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Sex Is Like Fire

29 Oct

It seems that every day we hear or read about a new sex-related crime.

Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein have apparently sexually harassed dozens of women in Hollywood.

Another story of a teacher having sex with a student (or students) comes out every few days.

Recently we’ve read about prison wardens having sexual relationships with inmates, and passengers masturbating on airplanes and even fondling people seated next to them.

Even more, our country has a porn epidemic. Many people, notably teenage boys, have developed a porn addiction. The easy availability of sexual imagery online is causing our young men grow up with a distorted view of women and sex. This leads them to commit sex crimes (although girls are not immune from porn addictions either).

As the number of sex crimes increases so does the country’s outrage at these incidents. Certainly, we should not tolerate this behavior. But we should not be at all surprised by it.

In the United States we “liberated” ourselves from the sexual restraints of previous generations by, among other things, legalizing pornography, and accepting sex before marriage. Sex is prevalent in our movies, music, and advertising – now more than ever. All of this goes against God’s commands.

God designed sex to be between one biological male and one biological female who are married to each other. Any other use of sex is sin. In the Bible God unashamedly and frequently warns us about misusing sex. There are very good reasons why He does so.

God created sex for the practical reason of populating the earth. But also, like everything else God created, such as sleeping and eating, sex has a spiritual aspect.

Marriage was designed by God to be symbolic of the union between Jesus and the Church – all the people who become part of God’s eternal family. The husband is analogous to Jesus and the wife is analogous to the Church.

Just like Jesus sacrificially loves the Church, husbands are to sacrificially love their wives. The wife should faithfully receive the love of her husband [Ephesians 5:22-32]. By obeying God’s marital roles, the husband and wife send the message of God’s sacrificial and complete love to the world around them.

Likewise, the husband and wife’s sexual relationship is a picture of the unity and joy we’ll have when we – all the people who believed in Jesus and make it to heaven – are united with Jesus in a relationship that will never end.

As an aside, this is why God commands us not to get divorced. Jesus will never “divorce” any of us. Since marriage is meant to be an expression of Jesus’ unbreakable relationship with all believers, divorce ruins that analogy and sends the wrong message to an unbelieving world.

The sexual pleasure derived from the physical union of a husband and wife’s earthly bodies is meant to remind them of the unity, fulfillment, and inexplicable pleasure they’ll experience in heaven. This is not to say that our relationship with Jesus will in any way be sexual – it will not. The Bible tells us there will no sex in heaven; sex will only exist on earth.

When we reduce sex to an act that simply seeks to satisfy one’s carnal desires we negate the message God wants to teach us through marriage and sex.

In the United States, and most of the world, we came to the wrong conclusion that God’s restraints on sex were puritanical and suppressive. This happened because people stopped reading their Bibles. Therefore they failed to learn and understand God’s purpose for limiting sex to a heterosexual marriage relationship. Instead of filling their minds with God’s truth, they filled it with Satan’s lies. And of course, that has lead to nothing but problems.

If we followed God’s rules on marriage and sex there’d be no STDs, or unwanted children, or abortions, or sex trafficking, or sexual assaults, or any of the other myriad problems in this world related to sex, of which there are many – including some murders. A great percentage of crimes that are committed can trace their origin to some sort of sexual issue.

Our country’s – and our world’s – rejection of God’s definition of sex is the cause of all these troubles. If we want to stop them we need do what God says – eliminate pornography, limit our sexual behavior to a heterosexual marital relationship, eliminate the overt sexuality in our entertainment and advertising, etc.

We can arrest all the sexual deviants we want. We can pass all the laws we want. We can express our outrage on Twitter all we want. But until and unless we do sex God’s way, we will continue to see an increase in sex-related crimes.

This is all just another example of how the decisions the human race makes – decisions we think will make life better – only makes life worse.

Sex can be a good thing. So can fire. But that can only be if they are used properly. When misused, they will lead to tragic problems.

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The US’s Deadly Embrace Of Satan & Sin

20 Oct

Recently, one of the branches of the public library in the city of Long Beach, California held a story-time hour for children. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it?

Storytime in libraries is as common and traditional as sliced bread. And who doesn’t support their taxes going to read stories to kids?

But actually, the guest of honor at this event was a demonic-themed drag queen. Yes, you read that right.

The event was part of an agenda being pushed by a group called The Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH). Yes – believe it or not – such a group exists. And it is nationwide. It has a location in San Francisco (of course), two in New York, and one in Los Angeles.

According to the DQSH website,

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.

Not surprisingly LGBTQ and satanic groups in the Long Beach area praised the event on social media. It was also promoted by the city of Long Beach itself.

It might be surprising to find out that the library was named after a former first lady. That is until you found out which one. The library is The Michelle Obama Public Library.

Keep in mind, reading the Bible to children in a school is illegal. Reading it to them in a library at taxpayer expense, if it is not illegal, would certainly be met with outrage by the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and every atheist and liberal within 3,000 miles. CNN would make it above-the-fold news on their website.

But it’s okay to have a man dressed as one of Satan’s female helpers read a socially-biased story about gender fluidity to children at taxpayer expense.

If anyone wonders why America is crashing and burning, look no further.

Rejecting the love of God as intolerant while promoting the sinful agenda of the LGBTQ community in the form of a satanic cross-dresser is as debauched as can be.

All of human history is the story of mankind rejecting God while trying to create a better planet. The problem is that God gave the human race utopia – the Garden of Eden – but we rejected it, thinking we could go it alone – without having to answer to a higher power.

That, however, is impossible. Without God life only deteriorates. This is why hell will be so indescribably horrific. God won’t be there. And since God is the only source of good, hell will be hell.

The state of affairs in the United States proves this. Over the past 80 years, this country has rejected God’s truth and has replaced it with our own definition of truth including:

  • Removal of the teaching of creationism from schools and replacing it with the teaching of the lie of evolution
  • Legalization of pornography, despite God’s clear and accurate warning that it is a sin and will ruin lives
  • Legalization of abortion, despite God’s commands not to kill anyone, including those who are weaker and defenseless
  • Rejection of God’s design for marriage to be between one biological male and one biological female and replacing it with same-sex marriage
  • Trading God’s invention of two genders, male and female, with innumerable, self-defined alternatives

The truly frightening part of all this is not only have we rejected God – that is scary in itself – but to fill the resulting void we’ve embraced Satan.

It should not go unnoticed that the more we reject God, the more Satan has permeated our society. Many of the most popular TV shows, books, movies, and video games in this country today have some association with death and the occult and – therefore – Satan.

As a result of all this renunciation of God – renunciation caused by the arrogance and ignorance inherent in the human heart and mind – America is not only in a bad place, but a very dangerous place. Tragically, almost nobody realizes it.

The leaders of this country, those who have influenced them, and those who willingly follow them – are stupid, blind, and self-adoring. They think they are forward-looking and progressive. They think they are actually advancing society and making life better for themselves and future generations by embracing that which God says is sin. They could not be more wrong.

It cannot be doubted that America is in serious and accelerating decline. And we can clearly correlate that decline to the progressive abandonment of God and the accompanying acceptance of evil.

If we don’t soon repent and turn from our rampant and celebratory embracement of sin, our decline will be even further expedited, resulting in the annihilation of our country within the lifetime of some of those reading this.

There isn’t much time left to realize our mistake, change our minds, and turn back to the God who loves us and desires to be with us. We’re almost at the point of no return.

God has thus far demonstrated exceedingly unwarranted patience towards us. But He isn’t going to be tolerant with us forever.

 

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Suppressing Discomfort Brings Disaster

14 Oct

Recently a school district in Mississippi removed the classic novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” from their junior-high reading list. According to the school board president, Kenny Holloway, the reason for its removal was that “some of the book’s language makes people uncomfortable.”

The book, written in 1960, chronicles the lives of siblings Scout and Jem Finch as their lawyer father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town. Despite evidence that proves the man’s innocence, the all-white jury finds him guilty.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” was Harper Lee’s first novel. Critically acclaimed, the book garnered Lee the 1961 Pulitzer Prize. It has been widely read both in and out of the public school system across the United States since its publication.

The subject of racial inequality is understandably the cause of much discomfort. It’s undeniable that it exists in this country. But the idea that people – especially children on the verge of adulthood – should be shielded from uncomfortable subject matter is dangerous.

People who are willing to only hear what they want to hear have no chance of improving. Improvement can only come when one realizes they are not what they should be and then takes the steps to improve. Used properly, discomfort is a stimulus that motivates us to make changes that make lives better for ourselves and for others.

Over the past few decades the United States has become a pleasure-seeking culture. We only want to experience things and be told things that make us feel good. Hence, the explosive influence of sex into virtually every aspect of our lives. Anything that causes emotional distress is seen as bad and sometimes even criminal.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the efforts we’ve seen in recent years by special-interest groups and government to remove God and the Bible from our society.

The Bible – God’s word to mankind – calls every member of the human race a sinner. And a hypocrite. And a liar. And sexually immoral. And selfish. The list goes on.

But people don’t want to hear negative things about themselves. Instead, they only want to hear words that make them feel good, regardless of whether those words are true or not. They want to think they’re wonderful and good just as they are.

As a result of the discomfort caused by the Bible, we’ve been removing God from our country as fast as we can. In the past few decades we’ve removed the teaching of creationism from our schools. We’ve removed the Bible from schools. We’ve criminalized prayer in schools. We’ve removed monuments of the Ten Commandments from public places. We’ve even removed references to the role religion, specifically Christianity, played in the history of the United States.

But we’re not done yet. There are on-going efforts to further remove God from our culture including removing the words “In God we trust” from our money and coinage.

All because people are offended by God’s word.

Each of us can choose how we’ll react to any information we receive. This includes how we react to what God says. We can choose to reject His words, and even to fight against them. Or we can choose to see them for what they really are – the truth.

Suppressing or ignoring the truth, even if it makes you uncomfortable, is never an appropriate response. Doing so may make you feel better about yourself, but a comfortable feeling built solely on lies is a precarious place to be.

Even worse, you’re only delaying the moment when you have to finally admit the truth about yourself to yourself. The longer you delay, the more disastrous the consequences once you inevitably do admit it.

The Bible certainly does make people uncomfortable – much more so than “To Kill A Mockingbird”. C.S. Lewis, the English philosopher who went from being a staunch atheist to being one of Christianity’s most ardent apologists, famously said: “If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly do not recommend Christianity”.

God intentionally makes us uncomfortable for a reason. He wants us to know how broken we are. He wants us to realize that due to our brokenness – our sin – we’re headed for a horrific eternity in hell.

And He also wants us to know that He loves us has made a way for us to avoid such a fate.

The way God made for us is through the death of Jesus. As Jesus hung on the cross He became sin and took on the wrath due us because of our sin. As a result, everyone’s sin has been paid for. All you have to do is accept that payment.

If you do, then you are no longer seen as a sinner in God’s eyes. Instead, God will call you His son or daughter. And His heir. And His masterpiece. And blameless. And righteous. And holy. And beloved. And a citizen of heaven. The list goes on.

Telling ourselves lies will only lead to disaster. When it comes to lying to ourselves about our sinfulness, that disaster is eternal. We need to acknowledge what we are so we can change.

True change cannot happen without motivation. Our motivation to repent of our sins begins with being made uncomfortable by what we really are.

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Hate For Israel Directs World Policy

4 Oct

Alan Dershowitz has written a very compelling opinion piece for foxnews.com regarding the justification for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

He accurately and convincingly points out that there is a double-standard among the nations of the world as well as university students and faculty who oppose a Kurdish state being formed out of Iraq but who are vehemently vocal in their support of the establishment of a Palestinian state out of the land that is now Israel.

Mr. Deshowitz also states that “[t]he reason for this disparity has little to do with the merits of their respective cases and much to do with the countries from which they seek independence.”

He’s 100% correct. But he stops short of identifying the cause of this hypocrisy.

The reason why people are vehemently in favor of Palestinian independence from Israel – despite the Palestinians having much less of a case for their own state than do the Kurds – is simple. God tells us in the Bible exactly why such thinking exists.

The world hates Israel. It always has. And it always will.

God promised Abraham that He would create from him a great nation [Genesis 12:1-3]. Through His blessings and judgments upon this nation, God would reveal Himself to the world.

God also promised to some day raise up a Savior from this nation. That Savior would pay the ransom for the sins of the entire world [John 3:16; Acts 2:21].

That nation is Israel. That Savior is Jesus the Christ.

Jesus, who is God’s own Son, came from heaven to stand in the place of judgment for sinful people.

But the world does not recognize their sin. And hence, they don’t recognize their need for a Savior. So they reject Jesus, just as God tells us they would [Luke 20:9-19].

Through Jesus God exposes sin. But people don’t want their sin exposed. They love their wicked ways and hate God’s ways. They prefer to live in spiritual darkness than to be brought into the light of righteousness.

As such, anything that belongs to God is the enemy of the world, including Israel. Just as the world wants to eliminate God from their lives (and is rapidly doing so), the world desires to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

This is nothing new. The Philistines tried multiple times to kill the Jews but they failed. The Persians plotted to kill all the Jews about 2,500 years ago but Esther thwarted their plans. Hitler killed 6,000,000 Jews but still failed to achieve his ultimate goal to rid the planet of the Jewish people.

But they’re not done yet.

The Bible tells us that in the future every nation on earth will come together in one final attempt to eliminate Israel and the Jews from the planet. The unity the world has so desperately sought for thousands of generations will actually come to fruition.

The thing that will unite all the different nations, and races, and religions will be their common, rabid hate for God and their common, rabid love for sin.

But God also tells us that the nations will fail. Not only will they fail, but they will fail miraculously and stupendously while Israel remains unscathed [Zechariah 12].

The origin of this intense hatred of God and all things that belong to God is none other than Satan himself.

Satan is the ruler of this world [John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4]. It is he who unsuspectingly convinces the people of the world to oppose God just as Satan himself does [Matthew 16:23; Mark 4:3-16; Acts 13:8-10 et. al].

For thousands of years Satan has convinced unsuspecting billions that God is against them and that they know how to run their lives better than He. It first started in the Garden of Eden when Satan convinced Adam and Eve to make their own choices and reject God’s design for their lives.

Since that time Satan has influenced more and more people to reject God. With the advent of technology and mass communication, Satan’s influence is spreading faster than ever. The more hate people have for God the more hate they will have for Israel.

Mr. Dershowitz has correctly recognized the hate the world has for Israel and the hypocrisy generated as a result. But he mistakenly believes that morality plays no part in the existence of this situation.

On the contrary, it is the world’s lack of morality – their love of sin and their accompanying hate of God and all that God stands for – that motivates the double standard we see in the Kurdish and Palestinian independence movements as well as other attitudes the world expresses towards Israel.

Sadly, considering how rapidly and irrevocably the world’s moral standards are moving away from God, we can only conclude that the world’s detest of and opposition towards Israel will only increase accordingly.

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