Tag Archives: Jesus

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 it 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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Not Even A Nobel Prize Winner Is A Good Person

24 Sep

In the U.S. athletes who make millions of dollars, live in mansions, drive luxury cars, have their asses kissed by the media, and accept praise and worship from fans, complain about the treatment they receive.

Meanwhile, real discrimination is happening elsewhere in the world, including Myanmar in southeast Asia where ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya – a Muslim group living in the northern part of the country – continues at the hands of the Buddhist majority.

Eerily similar to what happened in Bosnia 25 years ago, the Rohingya people are being exterminated simply because of who they are and what they believe.

The tragic irony of the situation there is that Myanmar’s leader is Aung San Suu Kyi who had been imprisoned for over 20 years by the country’s previous governments. The world clamored for her release for years and even awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize. Now she is complicit in the murder of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people simply because they practice a different religion than she and her Buddhist majority.

The hard truth is that no human being can bring peace and unity to the world, not even a Nobel Peace Prize winner. No matter how many man-made accolades are bestowed upon a person, the heart of each human being is filled with evil so strong no man can stop it.

“every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.”- Genesis 8:21

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” – Jeremiah 17:9

Unity is only available through Jesus.

Jesus is peace. Only He can destroy the wall that divides people and makes them hostile towards each other. As a well-known bumper sticker says: “Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace”.

The divisiveness, hate, and intolerance that is running rampant in our world is the direct result of praying to false gods and rejecting the true God – the God of the Bible. Without the true God in our life, we have no capability to love anyone but ourselves. Such pride leads to injustice in the form of expanding, unbridled sin.

There is a way to make the world better. But there is only one way. We need to humble ourselves and admit that we cannot achieve anything good apart from God. Then we need to turn to Him while willingly and obediently living life according to His design.

Unless we do our problems on this planet will only continue to multiply and the weak will continue to suffer at the hands of the wicked and powerful.

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The United States’ Government Needs More of God’s Influence, Not Less

17 Sep

Last week Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – California) made some curious comments regarding a Roman Catholic nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

In the hearing, Feinstein questioned whether the nominee’s Catholic background and beliefs would influence her decisions as a judge, should she be confirmed. Feinstein’s comments clearly implied that such an approach to jurisprudence would be unwelcome.

“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” the 84-year old Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”

Feinstein went on to question Barrett as to whether she could separate her religious beliefs from the law specifically as related to “women’s reproductive rights” – a euphemism for killing unborn children in the womb. In other words, Feinstein isn’t interested in what God has to say about abortion. She only wants a judge who will blindly continue this barbaric and selfish practice simply because previous human beings declared it legal.

After receiving much criticism from Catholics including Notre Dame University where Barrett is a law professor, Feinstein provided an explanation to “clarify” her remarks. Unfortunately, for Feinstein, her follow-up didn’t clarify anything and, in fact, only resulted in her receiving more criticism, as it was proven that she pulled comments out of context from an article Barrett wrote in 2005 to “prove” her concerns about Barrett.

Senator Feinstein, a very liberal Democrat from California who has served in Congress for almost 40 years, clearly does not believe that the Bible should influence leadership in this country. Instead, she believes that human beings should rely on their own wisdom when making decisions, in this case, legal decisions.

Nothing could be more dangerous to our society.

The problems in the United States are many. While we’ve always had problems, of course, there can be no doubt that they’ve multiplied enormously in recent years. The primary reason for this is precisely what Senator Feinstein espouses – our removal of God from our government and society and replacing Him with our own flawed human wisdom.

Relying on nothing but our own understanding can never solve our problems. It can only multiply them. Any so-called “solution” to a problem will either make it worse or will create more problems as a result.

Only God has the solutions to our problems. If we reject and ignore Him – which we’ve been doing for decades – we cannot be surprised when we see the problems in our country multiply. All we have to do is look at recent history to see convincing evidence of this.

What the United States needs, more than anything, is leadership that seeks to understand God’s will and then takes steps to implement it. We need leaders who admit to and understand the weakness of the human heart and the ineptness of the human mind, both of which God has warned us of repeatedly in the Bible.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” – Proverbs 14:12

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” – Proverbs 16:2

Human beings are incapable of implementing righteousness because our hearts are evil. Even when we do something that we can say is for the good of others, we are really doing it with selfish motives. Certainly, politicians are immensely guilty of this.

I don’t know Amy Coney Barrett. But if she knows her Bible and seeks to understand God’s will, then she is exactly the kind of leader the United States needs.

Senator Feinstein is not.

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There’ll Be No Excuses

16 Sep

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It seems that anytime Hilary Clinton has spoken over the past 10 months, she’s offered up a new excuse as to why she lost the presidential election last November. She’s blamed Russia, Bernie Sanders, sexism, and Fox News, among more than 50 others. She’s even blamed nebulous content farms in Macedonia.

I’m not sure about all that. But it seems to me that whenever we fail at something we have to take the blame for that failure ourselves. While the road to pursuing a goal is never easy, and there will be those who will stand in our way, it’s up to us to secure the outcome we desire.

Nowhere will that be more true than on Judgment Day.

Each of us will stand before God one day to give an account of the lives we lived here on earth. Everything that everyone has ever done has been recorded. At this final judgment of all mankind, God will open books containing a list of everyone’s deeds, whether good or evil [Revelation 20:12].

There will also be another book open (note, just one, not multiple like the books above) called the “Book of Life”. In it will be recorded all the people who, during their lifetime on earth, repented of their sins and accepted Jesus’ death as complete and final atonement for their sins. As a result, their sins will have been wiped from God’s record books and their name will have been written into the Book of Life.

Those who names are in this book will be declared “Not Guilty” by Jesus, our judge. And will enter into eternal bliss in heaven to be with Him forever.

Anyone whose name is not in the Book of Life will be cast away from God’s presence into hell for all eternity. There they will retain their sin nature and live amongst the billions and billions of other human beings who did likewise. For all eternity this massive amount of people will keep sinning, creating a never-ending life of misery for themselves and each other.

Note that during this judgment scene, none of the accused (that’s us) speak. No one will be asked to offer a defense. There’ll be no need. God has recorded everything we’ve been doing, saying, and thinking since the day we were born. He has it all written down.

If your name is not in the Book of Life you will have no choice but to take responsibility for your own decision while on this earth. You aren’t going to be able to blame the New York Times, or Joe Biden, or Fake News like Hilary Clinton.

Unlike Hilary, you’ll have to own up to your own failure – your failure to repent of your sins and accept God’s no-strings-attached offer of complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ. You won’t be able to blame your teachers. Or your parents. Or the government. Or some celebrity for giving you bad information.

When standing before God on Judgment Day there will be only brutal truth. There’ll be no excuses.

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God Gives Sinful Nations Bad Leaders

10 Sep

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Considered to be quite far from nuclear weapon capability just a few years ago, North Korea seems to be on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power, if they aren’t one already. The suddenness with which North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons has not gone unnoticed.

Investigators in Britain now suspect that North Korea was helped by Iran, who already has nuclear weapons technology.

This is all extremely interesting because just over 2 years ago, President Barak Obama gave $1,700,000,000 to Iran – that’s $1.7 billion, all cash, all at once – as compensation for the alleged fact that sanctions imposed against Iran by former President George W. Bush hurt Iran’s economy unfairly.

Coincidentally – or maybe not – North Korea’s nuclear program has made incredible strides in just the past couple of years.

Iran, which for decades has called for the destruction of the United States and Israel, developed nuclear technology in secret for years, violating international agreements.

Of course, Iran didn’t do this alone. They were openly aided by Russia, who helped design and build nuclear facilities in Iran. Not very convincingly, both countries insist that Iran’s nuclear installations are used to generate power, not weapons. But no one believes this.

Now it seems that Iran has found an ally in North Korea – a country which also wishes to see the United States wiped off the face of the earth.

If North Korea has nuclear weapons and uses them against the United States (or against any other country), fault will have to be placed right at the feet of Barak Obama and the leaders of the United States who sympathized with Iran – a sworn enemy of the United States – and foolishly approved the transfer of almost two billion dollars to this country which unabashedly spews hate.

All leaders are put in place by God [Daniel 2:21; John 19:11; Romans 13:1 et. al]. But that doesn’t mean that all such leaders are good. When nations turn away from God and instead put their trust in human beings, including elected officials or even in themselves, God will give those nations bad leaders in order to demonstrate to the people under such leadership that they should not place their trust in any human being, but in Him alone.

Those bad leaders will make awful decisions. Those awful decisions will lead to tragic consequences. We see this pattern throughout the Old Testament, notably in the books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles, where God raised up mostly terrible leaders in Israel and Judah in order to get those nations to repent of their sinful ways and turn back to Him.

Those tragic consequences don’t come unexpectedly. We can often, if not always, see them coming.

The United States can certainly see the threats from North Korea, Iran, and other countries. Those threats are real and their roots can be traced back to our sinful rejection of God and our willful and proud acceptance of sin.

Abortion. Pornography. Greed. Homosexuality. Same-sex marriage. Pride. Atheism. Teaching Evolution. Censoring God’s Word. The poor getting poorer. The list of sins the United States has committed is long and appalling.

When Israel fell deep into sin God warned that He would send other nations (e.g. Assyria and Babylon) to conquer them unless they repented. They didn’t. So He did. There’s no reason to expect God to work differently today.

God is not going to tolerate the ever expanding sin of the United States much longer. Unless we repent, change our ways, and return to Him, the days of the United States are numbered.

And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

It’s Not Global Warming; It’s Divine Warning

9 Sep

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 07.57.39One devastating hurricane has already hit a major population center in the United States (Houston is the 4th most populous city in the country and Texas is the 2nd most populous state) and three more are on their way to Florida, the US’s 4th most populous state (Jacksonville is the 12th largest city).

Aside from all the cheering for Hurricane Irma and José to destroy Mar-a-lago, the Internet is filled with those who self-assuredly claim that all these hurricanes are absolute proof of climate change.

Of course, 99.99999% of these people are not meteorologists. or even have any training related to meteorological science. They have no credentials at all to support their claims. All they’re doing is parroting a theory that has very little, if any, evidence because they don’t want to believe the truth.

The truth is people cannot control the weather. God controls the weather.

“Then He [Jesus] got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” – Matthew 8:26

“Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.” – Psalm 147:8

And God tells us that He will use weather, among other things, to get people’s attention when they stray from Him.

“I am going to shake the heavens and the earth” – Haggai 2:21

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” – Luke 21:25

And, of course, it makes sense that the further people move away from God the stronger these signs will need to become in order to have the effect God desires – to get us to repent and turn away from our sin and return to Him.

God can, and will, use hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, floods, etc to get people to realize how weak and feeble we are – to humble us and get us to give up our pride and self-reliance.

But the human race, as God predicted, will not listen. Instead of rightly attributing these increasingly powerful weather phenomena to God, they attribute them to themselves.

People actually think they can control the weather. It doesn’t get much more arrogant than that. Nor can there be a much bigger rejection of God.

The theory of climate change is a lie that was born out of man’s arrogance. Just like people thought they could outwit God by building a tower tall enough to protect them from a second flood (Genesis 11:1-9), people today believe they have more control over the weather than God.

Climate change advocates reject God’s power and sovereignty over their lives by replacing it with their own alleged power and sovereignty.

Unfortunately, when one rejects God’s authority, it means that one must also reject God’s love, mercy, and protection.

And this describes the United States perfectly. We have been pushing God out of our lives, both collectively and individually, for decades because we think that we can make our lives better by doing things our way and rejecting God’s design for our lives.

Clearly, that isn’t working out too well. So God sends us warnings in various forms, including the weather. And as we move further and further away from Him, He needs to increase the intensity of His warnings. This makes sense.

As difficult it may be for people to understand, devastating natural disasters are a sign of God’s love for us. God will literally move heaven and earth in order to destroy our pride and get us to turn to the One and Only answer to our problems and hope for our eternity – Jesus. He loves us too much not to.

God is omniscient – He sees the future. So He knows the destruction the human race is headed towards without Him. So He warns us. But He gives us the freedom to choose how we’ll respond.

Sadly, we are not heeding God’s warnings. Instead, we dig in our heels, cling to our own self-reliance and erroneous theories because we love ourselves above all else.

Unless we change and turn back to God, this won’t end well.

 

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