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Only Those Who Receive Love Can Give Love

10 Dec


So a donut shop in Portland, Maine – The Holy Donut- decided to help needy people in their town this Christmas. That is a nice thing to do and is pretty typical of businesses this time of year.

They asked their customers to donate items and to get them to do so, The Holy Donut offered them free donuts. So far so good.

The donut shop partnered with The Salvation Army USA to identify needy families who would be the recipient of this goodwill.

Then all hell broke loose.

The LGBTQ community in Portland (and around the country) pummelled the donut shop’s Facebook page with accusations that the shop was anti-gay and discriminating against the gay community. These people were upset at the donut shop working with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army was founded in the U.K. in 1865 as a Christian (Protestant) organization committed to helping those in need and less fortunate all over the world.

But because they do good in the name of Jesus, they are a target of militant LGBTQ bullies and so are any organizations that are associated with them.

To that end, the Holy Donut’s Facebook page got bombarded with an inordinate number of bad reviews as well as comments containing lies about the Salvation Army.

God calls His followers to do good in His name. To that end, there are thousands of Chrisitan charities around the world who are supported financially by millions of Christians (including myself) in obedient response to God’s command.

There are very few Muslim charities. Those that do exist serve essentially the Muslim community – they aren’t open to helping people of other religions – certainly not Jews.

There are virtually no Hindu charities as Hinduism is a fatalistic religion – they believe that people get what they deserve from their gods (aka “karma”) and therefore they should not be offered any outside assistance.

The two largest religions on the planet (by number of members) do very little to help others. Of all the world religions/faith systems, It is Christianity that does the most good around the world. And it does so because Christians worship a God who not only loves them but proved that love by coming to earth as a human being – Jesus – and dying for them so they could escape eternity in hell.

When you’ve been shown true love you want to express gratitude to the one who loves you. You do that, primarily, by showing the same love to others, including people in your own community and people you’ve never met on the other side of the globe regardless of who or what they are.

No one can love without first being loved. Likewise, you cannot love if you refuse to accept the love that another has for you. When you have no love for others, you can only love yourself. That leads to intolerance as you become entirely self-focused.

The LGBTQ community is completely self-absorbed. They’re filled with jealousy, selfishness, and hate for one simple reason: they have refused the love that God offers them. Hence they do not have – and cannot have – any love for anyone else except themselves.

The only way to love others is to first receive the love of God. God pours out His love on His children and He does so unceasingly. The word picture in the Bible is that of a cup being filled with water continuously so that it overflows, spilling the water it receives onto everything around it.

That is the love God has for His children. And that is the way – the only way – for love – true love – to spread around the world. Love starts with God. Wherefrom God is removed, there can be no love.

The answer for the LGBTQ community is not to bully those who do good in Jesus’ name. The answer for them is to humble themselves, acknowledge and repent of their sins (which aren’t limited to homosexuality), and to accept the free, no-strings-attached forgiveness God offers them.

This is the answer, in fact, for everyone.



“When Will This End?”

6 Nov


There was no shortage of comments from politicians after yesterday’s mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas which left over 25 people dead. These comments, on TV news programs and social media, offered prayers and condolences for the injured as well as our nation – pretty typical stuff that we’ve, sadly, become all to accustom to reading every few weeks in our country.

There were also comments like the one Senator Dianne Feinstein made in her official statement on the incident. The Democratic Senator from California asked, “When will this end?


The obvious political answer is when our leaders, including Ms. Feinstein who has served in Congress for 40 years, finally take action to reduce the availability of guns in this country instead of just talking about doing so.

While curtailing the accessibility of guns in this country through government legislation will reduce the number of incidents similar to what happened Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Columbine among too many other places, it will not eliminate it. Human beings cannot solve this problem.

The only answer to eliminating violence of any kind on our planet is for human beings to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Human beings are evil. Our propensity is to hurt other human beings. No one can look at the history of the human race and plausibly deny this. Moreover, God tells us this in the Bible.

Unfortunately, very few people even read a Bible anymore and even fewer believe what it says. Over the past several decades we’ve removed the Bible from our lives both physically and intellectually. We’ve decided that we – human beings – can fix our problems and make the world a better place without having to answer to a higher authority.

We could not be more wrong.

Over the past eighty years in the United States alone we’ve made it illegal to teach the Bible in school, made it illegal to pray in schools, we’ve rejected many of the instructions God has given us in the Bible by accepting, celebrating, and legalizing pornography, abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and gender fluidity.

During that same time period, we’ve undeniably seen our country’s morality, finances, security, civility, and healthiness (both physical and mental) decline. – a decline that has become more precipitous in more recent years. It will only gain traction if we don’t address the true underlying issue – we not capable of dealing with our troubles.

Human beings are not capable of fixing the problems we cause. Any “solution” that we come up with to fix a problem only creates more problems. This is because our so-called solutions don’t factor in the reason for all the evil that occurs on this planet – the human heart is wicked.

Again, God makes this clear in the Bible. Human beings, in and of their own efforts, do not have the capacity to bring about anything good. We can only make things worse, even when we intentionally try to make them better.

Despite the preponderance of evidence proving this, we stubbornly and arrogantly continue to insist to ourselves that we have the power to improve our welfare. In defiance of God, we continue to see ourselves as authoritative and capable of deciding what is best.

Human beings have usurped God’s right to decide what is right or wrong or to decide what is necessary or unnecessary, thinking we can do at least a good of a job as He can or even better. The truth is are ill-equipped to make important decisions.

Our desire to rely on ourselves instead of God is not based on any empirical evidence that we can actually do so. It is based on nothing but self-adoration. We think so highly of ourselves that we are blind to the reality of our own limitations and weaknesses.

The only way that trouble, including mass shootings, in our nation can be abated or even ended is for the residents of this country – each and every one – to humble himself or herself before God and seek His mercy. We must repent of our arrogance and our sin and cede control of our lives back to the God who created us and loves us and who wants the best for us.

Unlike other human beings, He is not only willing, but also able, to provide it.


Digital Communciation Is Controllable Communication

5 Nov


A few days ago, President Trump’s Twitter account was unavailable for 11 minutes. It turns out that one of Twitter’s employees, who apparently is not a Trump fan, deactivated the President’s account at the end of what was planned to be his last day with the company.

Regardless of what one thinks of Donald Trump, this event should cause everyone concern.

When computers began to become mainstream several decades ago, it was quickly realized that storing information “online” was much more convenient than storing it on paper. Online data storage provides the capacity for data sharing and allows for data to be easily backed up restored in the event of a data loss, among other benefits.

More recently, the invention and rapid acceptance of social media has created a world of digital communication. No longer do we write letters to each other or have phone calls. Instead, we communicate through texts and online postings.

At this point, our communication channels and data storage are almost entirely digital. Someday they will be 100% so. This is certainly very convenient. But it is also scary because a digital world is a controllable world.

Digitally storing and transmitting data creates the opportunity for it to be centrally regulated. It is possible, as was the case with this Twitter employee, for someone who has access to a communication channel to dictate who can use that channel and what information can pass through that channel.

Corporations do this all the time. When employees at most, if not all, major companies access the Internet they do not access it directly. They go through what is called a proxy server. This server, which is administered by an employee or small group of employees, is configured to prevent and allow only certain types of information to be sent out of and retrieved into the company’s internal network (the “Intranet”).

This is done to protect the company. Filters on the proxy server can prevent things like computer viruses from being installed on their computers. Most companies also use the filters to prevent employees from accessing certain websites including porn sites. They can even prevent certain types of email attachments from being sent outside of the company’s network to safeguard trade secrets and proprietary data.

In these cases, managing the digital communication channel is a good thing – doing so protects the company. But these filters can just as easily be used nefariously.

Many countries, primarily Muslim countries and China, similarly prevent their citizens from accessing certain websites, namely those related to the Bible or Christianity as well as social media sites where their citizens could learn about these things.

In doing so, these countries control what information their citizens have access to and thereby control their beliefs.

And while the countries that do this are not exactly known for freedom, it is not too far-fetched to imagine countries whose citizens are currently free to do the same thing someday.

We cannot deny that there is an ever-widening chasm in the United States between people on various fronts including race, religion, and political party. Socialism is rapidly gaining acceptance in our country, especially among young people who unquestionably have more arrogance and intolerance than previous generations. This is a deadly combination.

The belief that the general population should be ruled by an (allegedly) elite few as Socialism espouses, is the perfect breeding ground for information control. When people are so arrogant to think others should believe like they do and at the same time believe in centralized power, they will be intolerant towards information that does not align with their opinions.

As the spread of relativism and atheism spread around the globe, it is certainly foreseeable that countries all over the world someday prevent access to information about God and the Bible.

Those in power want stability so they can stay in power. As such they will always side with the majority. If the majority believe that a minority group – such as Christians – are a problem, those in power will restrict information to prevent the increase in membership of that minority group.

While such a tactic may have been next to impossible just a couple of decades ago, digital communications make it more than possible now. In fact, within the next couple of decades it is very likely.


Human Leadership Is Smoke & Mirrors

1 Nov


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the spire atop One World Trade Center to be lit red, white, and blue tonight “in honor of freedom and democracy” after the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan by an Islamic supporter of ISIS.

This useless act of symbolism accomplishes nothing. All it does is dupe those too ignorant enough to believe it does.

This is just another action by a politician to increase their own current popularity and secure a future legacy by doing something does not solve anything but gives the illusion that it will.

Only God can solve our problems. Until and unless we as a nation seek and obey God’s counsel, we’ll have more and more terrorist attacks in this country, not to mention more problems in general.

This includes electing leaders who stop using smoke and mirrors, admit to themselves they don’t have the capacity to address the ever-increasing issues our country deals with, and lead according to God’s commands.

Mr. Cuomo is not this kind of person. As an ardent supporter of murdering unborn children, the NY governor isn’t shy about thinking he knows better than God.

Such ignorance and arrogance is what leads to the kind of ideas that “address” problems by demanding lights atop a building be a certain color.

Human leaders can accomplish nothing. All they can do – and will do – is make things worse because their leadership is based on selfishness.

God is the only one who can truly lead us. In Him only must we put our trust.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save” – Psalm 146:3

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.” – 118:8




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

31 Oct


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.


Our “Goodness” Will Count For Nothing on Judgment Day

30 Oct


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.


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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