Thursday, July 30, 2015

Planned Parenthood Has Been Exposed - The Scene Is Not a Pretty One

The major news story that the mainstream media simply is not getting concerns the videos that have surfaced where leaders of Planned Parenthood are shown in conversations dealing with the sale of fetal tissues and body parts after an abortion.  I have seen the videos on several websites and on Fox News and they are alarming - not just in the nature of the content (just think, a baby is aborted and then its parts sold as if it were just another side of beef going to the auction house), but the cavalier nature of those who are sharing the information (it is just as if it was "another day at the office" for them). 


Of course, Planned Parenthood immediately denied the claims and said that the videos were edited and not represent actually those conversations.  And then they made the claim that those fetal tissues and body parts were being put to good use by scientists in the hopes of finding something that will improve life.  Friends, this is called "the ends justify the means."  With that type of explanation, one can almost do anything and claim that it will help better someone. 


I highly recommend an article by Michael Brown and posted at the Townhall website on July 26.  The article is titled, "The Nazis, Medical Research and Planned Parenthood."  You can find the article at: www.townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2015/07/26/the-nazis-medical-research-and-planned-parenthood.  As I read this article I was reminded of what I have shared in so many previous blogs - if we fail to learn from history we are bound to repeat it.  The facts within this article stress exactly that point.  The author tells of the testimony of a Professor Doctor Julius Hallervorden during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war crimes.  Dr. Hallervorden was a famous neurologist who became head of the Neuropathology Department of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research in 1938.  "In order for Hallervorden to do his medical research, he needed brains to study, and in 1939, a tremendous opportunity presented itself to him.  'His work as a pathologist during the Third Reich put him in close proximity with the implementation of biologic solutions (i.e. euthanasia) targeting those individuals with significant intellectual or physical disabilities in chronic-care facilities.  The Nazi program of active euthanasia provided a scientific opportunity to gain quick access to pathologic materials.  This opportunity was recognized and used by Hallervorden to achieve personal scientific objectives and research efforts.'"  While on trial, Dr. Hallervorden, when asked if he knew he was using brains of human beings slaughtered by his fellow Nazis, replied, "Those brains offered wonderful material, of mentally poor, deformities and early children's diseases.  Of course I accepted the brains.  It really wasn't my concern where they came from and how they were brought to me."  In other words, "the end justified the means."  Friends, this is a challenging article.  I encourage you to link and read it. 


Then, just this morning, Brooke Carlucci had this article published on Townhall.com website.  It was titled, "Fmr. Planned Parenthood Director: Biz Is Making $100 to $200 Off Each Fetal Body Part."  You can find this article at: www.townhall.com/tipsheet/brookecarlucci/2015/07/29/shocking-fmr-planned-parenthood-director-biz-is-making.  The author cites Abby Johnson, who once served as the director of the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic - having now left that organization and is an outspoken activist for anti-abortion causes.  According to Ms. Johnson, Planned Parenthood sometimes charges between $100 to $200 a day for each fetal body part.  She said, "There is definitely money to be made and that's an issue with the current law.  If there's a loophole, Planned Parenthood will blow through it." 


And just think, you and I are paying hard-earned tax dollars so that this can continue happening.  Just as those hard-working German laborers paid taxes to their Nazi government, some of those funds went to help a Dr. Hallervorden with this "brain research" by causing the murders of literally hundreds of innocent human lives, so you and I are helping cause the murders of literally millions of innocent human lives.  Perhaps these investigative videos will begin to stir people's hearts as to what is really happening in the abortion business.  It is time for our government to get out of the abortion business.  It is time for Christians to rise up as one voice and defend the cause of those innocent human lives who have no voice. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Illgoical Thinking is Taking Over

So we are going to rewrite history because we do not like what has happened in the past.  Those men and women whom we have revered we come to find out were not as perfect as we thought they were.  So it is decided that we just need to scrub history to make it more appealing for our day.  Let me cite another case in point.  The article can be found at www,ctpost.com/news/article/Democrats-drop-Thomas-Jefferson-and-Andrew-Jackson-6400.   The article was written by Neil Vigdor.  Under pressure from the NAACP, the Connecticut state Democratic Party "will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery.  Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month's fatal shooting of nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston, SC. ... Democrats cited Jefferson and Jackson's ownership of slaves as a key factor in the decision, as well as Jackson's role in the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern U.S. in what was known as the Trail of Tears."  Nick Balletto, the Democratic party chair, said Jefferson was a great founding father, but had some issues.  "You can't change history, but you don't have to honor it," Balletto said.

I have had just about enough of this attempt of purging from history anything that might offend someone.  History is not perfect because history was made by imperfect people.  Yes, there were wrongs done.  But to scrub history of those wrongs and pretend that they never happened does not change history.  So Jefferson and Jackson are no longer champions of the Democratic party because they were slave holders.  How about George Washington - he was also a slave owner?  So, does Mount Rushmore get blasted into pieces because Washington and Jefferson are profiled there?  After all, their presence might create an offense to someone?  If that is the case, perhaps we need to scrub our money.  New nickels - after all, Jefferson has to go.  New quarters and dollar bills - after all, Washington has to go.  How about new half dollars - after all, some of us were offended by the immorality of JFK while he was in office.  In fact, while we are at it, perhaps Washington DC needs to be renamed.  Are you getting an idea of how senseless this cause is.  Friends, don't scrub history away - learn from its mistakes and successes. 

I also read an article that can be found at www.wnd.com/2015/07/house-slams-door-on-sanctuary-cities-Obama-vows-veto. According to Representative Steve King IR-IA), in 2011 25,000 criminal aliens had been arrested in the U.S. and released.  "So how many crimes committed?  I did the math, and it's 48,000," he said.  King went on, '"So the revelation is breathtaking in this nation all because we refuse to enforce the law.  And this Congress saw it coming,  I saw it 10 years ago.  All because of politics, they're pandering to people they know are law breakers..  This was 100 percent preventable."  This past Thursday, the House voted 241-179 to withhold certain federal law enforcement grants to cities that have policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants from deportation.  "The White House vowed Thursday to veto any bill that punishes sanctuary cities, and called instead for Congress to legalize illegal immigrants as the way to solve the problem of criminals who shouldn't be on the streets,"  Friends, think about that last statement.  The way to resolve the problem of illegals committing serious crimes is to grant them a path toward being legalized in this country.  So, a piece of paper in the hands of an illegal criminal suddenly causes him to cast aside his life of crime?  If you believe that, then you own some ocean-front property in the great state of Iowa.  Here is what the humanistic-secularist worldview refuses to understand: the heart of the problem of man is a problem of the heart.  It is not a problem with regard environment.  It is not a problem with regard to education.  It is not a problem with regard to being legal or illegal.  It is a problem of sin.  Government cannot solve the sin problem.  Sanctuary cities cannot solve the sin problem.  The EPA cannot solve the sin problem.  Only Jesus can solve the sin problem.  But, of course, humanists and secularists do not recognize a God.  Their only goal is to create the perfect world for the perfect man who resides within each one of us. 

Friends, we do live in a very convoluted world.  Its thinking is totally upside down,  Right thinking is now wrong thinking.  Wrong thinking is now right thinking.  The logical has now become the illogical.  The illogical has now become the logical.  To be sure - without Jesus, life is one big mess and getting messier.  I am glad I am anchored on the Rock.  I trust you are also.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learning from History: We Don't Do This Well

I have to admit, friends, that at times I just scratch my head and wonder if logical thinking exists anymore.  Or, are we so self-centered that we simply don't care?  I need to address the agreement that was reached between the P5+1 nations (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) and Iran.  The big winner - Iran.  The big losers - Israel, the Arab world, and the rest of the free world.  Suddenly, economic sanctions are lifted from Iran, sanctions that had brought the nation almost to its knees.  And what was given in return - it will be at least five years before Iran has a nuclear bomb.  Ah, you say, but there has to be verification that Iran is keeping its side of the agreement.  Friend, do you really expect Iran to be totally open with all its secrets?  Come now, before the ink was placed upon the paper, shouts of "Death to America" were heard up and down the streets of Tehran.  And, with that noise still ringing in their ears, John Kerry and the American delegation still signed this agreement.  It was as if the Iranians were saying, "Thank you for giving us the tools by which we can execute your death, America."  Where is the logic in what we did?  And, sadly, the American delegation never pressed for the release of the four Americans being held in Iranian prisons, including Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been tortured in an Iranian prison for three years because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  Our present administration really has a compassionate heart, doesn't it? 


Also, stop and think for a moment about what this agreement means to Israel and the other Arab nations in the Middle East.  For Israel, this was a stab in the heart of our relationship with them.  For years the Israelis have been warning about the consequences of having a nuclear Iran.  With the agreement now in place, it is as if we just stood there and laughed at Israel's warnings.  But this present American Administration has never had any intentions of supporting the people of Israel.  The signing of the Nuclear Treaty with Iran was just another confirmation of that lack of support.  And what are the Saudis and the Egyptians thinking?  If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, we need to be aggressive and get one as well.  The nuclear race has now begun in that one region of the world where the dangers associated with a nuclear race are the highest.  Pakistan already has a nuclear weapon.  Iran will soon have one - in spite of what the treaty states.  The Saudis and the Egyptians have no level of trust with their Shia neighbor, Iran.  Tensions in the Middle East have just heightened.  Will Israel now bomb the Iranian nuclear sites?  If they do, it won't be with American help, but might be from the Saudis and the Egyptians and perhaps even the Jordanians.  Wouldn't that be an unlikely coalition? 


Friends, the world has tried before to appease a bully on the block.  Back in 1938 France and Britain signed what is known as the Munich Agreement with Hitler allowing him to annex those German-speaking portions of Czechoslovakia.  The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, upon his return to London declared that "we have achieved peace for our time."  Yet, in less than a year, the world became embroiled in a war of horrific proportions. 


Our hope is that the United States Senate will vote to not-ratify this agreement.  It is bad for our country.  It is bad for the world.  It is bad for Israel.  The only winner is Iran's terrorist leadership and the American taxpayer will, in essence, be paying for state-sponsored terrorism around the globe.


Yesterday, I also read an article posted on the Fox News website.  It was authored by Todd Starnes and is titled, "Shock Video: Planned Parenthood sells dead baby body parts."  It can be found at: www.foxnews.com/us/2015/07/14/shock-video-planned-parenthood-sells-dead-baby-body-parts.  The video was difficult to watch.  "It purportedly shows a Planned Parenthood executive sipping a glass of wine in a Los Angeles restaurant while casually explaining how they sell body parts from aborted babies.  The undercover video was filmed in July 2014 by the Center for Medical Progress, an advocacy group that reports on medical ethics.  They dispatched two actors posing as representatives of a human biologics company to a business lunch with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services.  The video shows Nucatola describing in graphic detail how abortionists are able to harvest organs from aborted babies based on the parts that are needed."  Ms. Nucatola then tells how hearts, livers, and lungs are popular so the abortionists have learned how to abort the baby in such a way so that those parts are not damaged or destroyed.  "Dr. Russell Moore, the present of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, summed it up in one word - speechless.  'If this does not shock the conscience, what will?' Moore wrote online.  'It is  not only that infants, in their mother's wombs, are deprived of their lives, but also that their corpses are desecrated for profit.'"  Suddenly, abortions become a for-profit industry.  Will we soon pay mothers to abort those babies they carry in their wombs because there is a market for the organs of that unborn child?


Would you allow me to weigh in on the Confederate Flag issue?  First, let me state that I was not opposed to the removal of the Confederate Flag from the Capital grounds in Charleston, South Carolina.  I always wondered why it was flown.  But, I do have a problem with the growing ground-swell to remove anything that is identified with the Confederacy and the Civil War.  Suddenly, Robert E Lee is seen as the enemy again.  So is Stonewall Jackson.  And, poor Jefferson Davis.  Even here in Minnesota, there has been a call to remain Lake Calhoun, named after the South Carolina Senator John C Calhoun, one of the great slavery spokesmen of the early 19th century.  What comes next?  The removal of all the monuments to the Confederacy that dot our Civil War battle fields?  I can't imagine going to Gettysburg and not seeing the impressive Virginia monument that stands on Seminary Ridge.  Friends, the Civil War is a matter of history.  The NAACP and other groups can try to erase those reminders of it from our parks and public places, but its history can never be erased.  Friends, I have been a student of the American Civil War for decades.  I have found it to be one of the most complex times in our nation's history.  The Southern states seceded from the Union, not over the issue of slavery - in fact, only a small minority of southerners owned slaves - but over the issue of State's rights.  At that time, those States saw the encroachment of the Federal government upon what they considered to be matters to be decided by the States.  Slavery was a side-issue.  As Lincoln said, "If I can save the Union by freeing all the slaves, I will do it.  If I can save the Union by freeing some of the slaves, I will do it.  If I can save the Union by freeing none of the slaves, I will do it." 


The Civil War was the first great test of the United States Constitution.  Following the War of Independence, the Articles of Confederation were drawn up which basically described how 13 independent states could relate to one another.  Those Articles failed miserably, resulting in the Constitutional Convention of 1786-87 when a Constitution was written that united those 13 self-governing states into a real nation - a United States.  The secession of first South Carolina and then other Southern States was a declaration that "a Federal Government is not going to dictate to us how we, as South Carolinians, should conduct our affairs."  There was no provision in the Constitution for the secession of any state from the Union and the Tenth Amendment stipulates that the Federal government's limitation of powers is derived solely from those powers identified within the Constitution - all other powers are reserved for the state. 


Was there animosity between some white southerners and the blacks?  Absolutely.  Was this carried by soldiers during the War?  Absolutely, and surprisingly, by soldiers wearing both the gray and the blue.  Was there a plan for the reconciliation of the North with the South, with the whites and the blacks?  Yes, there was, best exemplified by perhaps the greatest speech any American has ever given - Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.  Lincoln had a vision for restoring our nation to wholeness.  Would his plan, with little initial support from Congress, even members within his own party, have been successful?  We can only guess.


Should Lake Calhoun be renamed?  Probably not.  Should all monuments honoring those who fought for the Confederacy be removed from public places?  Absolutely not.  Here we are - some 150 year removed from the end of the Civil War - and the emotions are as stirred now as they were before that war was fought.  Perhaps, instead of removing statues and monuments, we should sit down and have a dialogue about the causes of the Civil War and the consequences of that War.  We can learn more through dialogue than through demonstrations of anger.    

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Fallout Continues from the SCOTUS Ruling

The fallout from the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage continues.  The rhetoric has intensified as people begin to process exactly what that ruling means.  For example, some civilian court clerks are deciding that they cannot issue same-sex marriage licenses because of their religious convictions, so are quitting their jobs.  The following is an article from the July 3 issue of Tony Perkins' Washington Update.  The article is titled, "We Can Clerk It Out!"  "If you're wondering what could possibly stand between same-sex 'marriage' and America, try hundreds of county clerks.  Liberty Institute says 'hundreds' of emails are streaming in from local officials who refuse to issue licenses to gay couples or participate in the unions that violate their faith.  In Nebraska, a single clerk in Sioux County may be all it takes to trigger the state's first lawsuit.  'I must warn you that this issue is a high priority for the ACLU,' its attorneys threatened Michele Zimmerman, 'and we will consider legal action to enforce the law.'  The article cites a situation in Alabama: "Alabama has problems of its own, now that federal judges are trying to twist the arms of local courthouses.  In many areas, the state had stopped issuing licenses altogether.  But if that continues, the courts warn, more clerks face jail time, fines, and - as one LGBT activist promises - charges of contempt." 


Friends, the next battle in this war will be fought over what limitations, if any, can be created around the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which guarantees the freedom of religious expression and the freedom of speech.  To the secularist and the humanist, freedom of religious expression is permitted as long as it does not contradict what a secularist or humanist believes.  But, when there is a conflict, as in the case of same-sex marriage, then the freedom of religious expression must be reined in.  To put it another way, "I will tolerate your religious beliefs as long as they do not interfere with my beliefs.  But when there is a conflict, then your freedom to hold such beliefs vanishes." 


Here is a case that illustrates that point.  Again, I refer to an article published on July 7 by Tony Perkins' Washington Update.  The title is "Bakers Take Path of Yeast Resistance."  The story is of a Christian couple who operated a bakery in Oregon and who refused to provide a cake for a gay couple for their wedding.  The refusal was based upon their religious convictions.  Last week the Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry, Brad Avakian, issued a $135,000 judgment against Aaron and Melissa Klein.  Here is the issue: As a Christian businessman, let's take being a baker as an example, I do not have the right to refuse to sell you a donut because you are a gay or lesbian.  I may not approve of your lifestyle, but I need to serve you as a customer the same as I would anyone else who comes into my bakery.  However, if you ask me to create a cake or a pie or anything to help you celebrate a wedding to your partner, then you enter into a contractual agreement.  Here is where a person should be able to make a choice as to whether they want to enter into such a contract or not.  I can sell you a donut, but I cannot create a wedding cake for you.  This will be the next test within the Courts.  Are there any parameters around the First Amendment?  If there are, what are they and how are they to be defined?  Churches will want to pay particular attention to this debate because ultimately they will be impacted by whatever decision is reached.  To date, the Supreme Court has always sided with a strong interpretation of the First Amendment, but, as we have seen, the decisions of the Court seem to be somewhat arbitrary. 


Now to get your blood boiling as parents.  The following was posted on July 2 on the Life News website.  It can be found at: www.lifenews.com/2015/07/02/schools-implant-iuds-in-girls-as-young-as-6th-grade-without-their-parents-knowing.  Let me quote from a portion of the article: "Middle and high school students can't get a Coca-Cola or a candy bar at 13 Seattle public schools, but they can get a taxpayer-funded intrauterine device (IUD) implanted without their parents' consent.  School-based health clinics in at least 13 Seattle-area public high schools and middle schools offer long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), including IUDs and hormonal implants, to students in sixth-grade and above at no cost, according to Washington State officials. ... The state and federally funded contraceptive services are made possible by 'Take Charge', a Washington State Medicaid program which provides free birth control to adults who are uninsured, lack contraceptive coverage, have an income at or below 260 percent of the Federal Poverty Level - or, in this case, to teens who don't want their parents to know they're on birth control. ... When asked if a sixth grader could get an IUD implanted without parental consent, 'Take Charge' told CNSNews.com: 'We encourage all 'Take Charge' providers to offer long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in their clinics.  A young person does not need parental consent to obtain a LARC or any other contraceptive method. ... If the young person is not choosing abstinence, she would be able to select a LARC and have it inserted without parental consent.'"  So, your child cannot purchase a Coke at school because of its high sugar content, but she can get have an IUD implanted without your even knowing it.  It is no wonder that private schools and Christian schools and home-schooling have exploded. 


I met with a group of men this morning around the breakfast table.  We talked about a lot of things going on in our world.  The bottom line conclusion was this: The Lord is still in control.  He is still the Sovereign One.  And He is coming back soon.  These are truths we need to affirm every Sunday when we meet for worship.  Let's sing songs that celebrate that our God is on the throne, that He still is reigning.  And let's sing songs that encourage us with the truth that He is coming.  Friends, if we don't celebrate that hope, then we will be filled with despair.  Yes, "our God reigns!"

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Sad Day for Marriage...But God Is Still on the Throne

By a 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court overturned a definition of marriage that has endured since, well since God gave the definition back in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve.  It is best stated in Genesis 2:24, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
Here is God's definition of marriage expressed very simply: one man plus one woman. 


As I have stated in previous blogs, God's definition of marriage has crossed cultural and racial and religious and even non-religious lines down through the millenniums since the creation of man.  Throughout our nation the majority of people, through public referendums, indicated that they believed in the traditional, biblical definition of marriage. 


Now, with a vote from a panel of nine judges who have no accountability to the American people at all - remember, the Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life - that definition has been changed.  Marriage will now be defined as the union of any parties who have bonded because of love.  In the immediate sense, the changed definition relates to same-sex marriage: a man with another man, a woman with another woman.  (By the way, in spite of what five Supreme Court Justices might say, God's opinion of same-sex marriage has not changed.  It is still an abomination to Him).  But, let us look down the road a little further.  Because of this ruling today, who can deny a pedophile who wants to marry a under-aged boy because he is in love?  Or, who can deny a brother from marrying his sister?  Or, who can say it would be wrong for a man to marry two or three wives at the same time?  Now, you will say, "Pastor Max, that won't happen!  We have statutes against incest.  We have laws against polygamy."  Yes, you are right...we do have such statutes and laws right now.  But up until a few hours ago, we also had a statute in many states that said that marriage was between a man and a woman.  Now that statute has been nullified, so who is to say that incest and polygamy laws would not be nullified in the future? 


We had already begun sliding down the slippery slope of immorality.  Now that sliding has just accelerated.  And I am fearful for how God will respond!  For, indeed He will respond!  He responded to the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah.  He responded to the immorality of Israel and Judah.  He responded to the immorality of the Roman Empire.  Oh, yes, God will respond.  It will eventually result in His judgment - perhaps as destructive as was His judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  Perhaps with the devastation of the exile both Israel and Judah experienced.  Perhaps with the crushing defeat at the hands of others as the Roman Empire experienced. 


I am reminded of those words from the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-32.  That little phrase, "and God gave them over" appears three times.  Before judgment comes, God may allow our nation to wallow in the slime we have created because we have turned our backs upon God.  It will a tragic time.


What can we do?  First of all, we must continue to pray.  Let us never forget that prayer is a powerful weapon against evil.  Second, we must continue to show love to those with whom we disagree.  Those people need a Savior just as we did.  So, let us point them to Jesus.  Third, we must ask ourselves this question: "What does the Bible have to say?"  Church Boards, Pastoral groups will have to set aside time to study intensely that question.  What is your church's position?  How will your church continue to define marriage?  What will be your church's position with regard to the relationship between the state's definition of marriage and your church's definition?  Who will be able to use your church's facilities for a marriage ceremony?  Will your church still be available for use for a marriage ceremony?  Not easy questions to answer, but they have taken on a whole new meaning in the light of the decision reached today.


The Court's decision today was little more narrow than I had anticipated.  I had looked for a 7-2 vote, so, in essence, the Court was divided.  However, a divided Court did not remove a Sovereign God from His throne.  So we just need to keep looking to Him and trusting in Him and living for Him even if it will cost us some personal freedoms.  Friends, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Is the Time for God to Act Near?

In my devotions the other morning I was reading in the Book of Ezekiel.  I came across a passage that frightened me with its strong declaration from God.  It is found in the 24th chapter of that book.  When one reads this particular chapter, the focus is God's strong judgment that is coming against Jerusalem.  The judgment comes in the form of a parable that God instructs Ezekiel to proclaim to the people of Jerusalem: a parable about a cooking pot that is filled with choice pieces of meat and then placed on a cook stove and brought to a boil.  Then the pot is emptied and the empty pot is placed  back on the fire until it becomes a hot, glowing entity.  This parable is a picture of God's judgment coming upon the people of Jerusalem. 


For what does Jerusalem need judging?  As one reads the preceding chapters in Ezekiel, the primary cause of judgment is the people's spiritual adultery (read chapter 23).  In their abandonment of God, the people had resorted to every type of sexual deviation imaginable and worshiped at the altar of a god or goddess of adultery and violence.  Life had little value, for Ezekiel declares that the people even offered their own children to these gods and goddesses.  Sadly, in the very temple itself, spiritual prostitution was taking place with little regard. 


God had attempted to warn the people about their adulterous activities through prophet after prophet, but the people had failed to hear and to heed those warnings.  So, God says, through the prophet Ezekiel, "Now your impurity is lewdness.  Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided."  (Ezekiel 24:13).  In other words, God is saying that because the people failed to allow God to cleanse them voluntarily, they would become clean through an act of God. 


Next come those words that grabbed my heart.  "I the LORD have spoken.  The time has come for me to act.  I will not hold back: I will not have pity, nor will I relent.  You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD." (Ezekiel 24:14). 


I have to admit that as I read those words, my blood ran cold.  You understand that God had finally "had it" with Jerusalem.  There would be no more warnings.  There would only be judgment.  There would only be God's wrath.  God would not hold back. Jerusalem would experience the full measure of God's wrath.  Furthermore, God said that He would not change His mind.  And this wrath would be justified because of the people's conduct and actions.  I paused as I read those words as if the prophet himself was standing beside my chair looking over my should shaking his head and pointing his finger first at the text and then at the world around.  "The time has come for me to act."  I have often been heard to say, "If Jesus does not come soon, there might not be anything to come back for."  Have you ever felt that way?  Is God about ready to act against our nation?  We keep shaking our fist in His face with our increased immorality which has  become lewdness before God.  Will the impending Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage be that final act that will bring forth God's judgment?  I don't know.  And what form will this judgment take?  Again, I don't know.  But I do know that when God's judgment fell upon Jerusalem, a city and nation was totally destroyed to only rise from the ashes seventy years later, never resembling the nation that it had been. 


May I share with you one other passage from the pen of this same prophet.  It is found in Ezekiel 22:30-31 where Ezekiel proclaims the words from God: "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."  How sad!  God looked for one individual who would be willing to stand up and be counted, who would dare to go against the flow of the culture, who could dare to be like a Daniel.  And God found no one!  I don't know about you, but I want to be one of those who dare to stand in the gap.  I pray for God's boldness to dare to live a separated life for Jesus Christ.  I want others to see and to know that I am serving a powerful God.  I am going to dare to trust the Bible to be exactly what God said it is...His inspired Word.  I am going to dare to believe that the only salvation for this evil world is through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am going to dare to believe that a person truly discovers who he or she is when they have an encounter with the living God through His Son. 


Friends, will you join me in standing in the gap?  God's judgment is soon to come and it will be devastating.  Let's continue sounding the warning so people will hear one last time that the only answer is found in Jesus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"I Am a Hobbit"

I am presently doing a lot of reading for a new class I will be teaching to some of the tenth grade students who attend our church this fall.  The class is on developing a Biblical Worldview.  So, I have been reading and taking notes, comparing the prevailing cultural worldview of humanism and secularism and the Biblical worldview.  I am amazed at the total lack of any foundation for humanism.  It is built upon a straw-man which has no strength.  You see, when you decide to intentionally take God and the presence of the supernatural away from culture, you are left with mere theories and speculations.  And I have found that it is never a good thing to base anything upon a mere theory or speculation.  And, one of the evidences of this lack of foundation is that there is so much room for inconsistencies.


Such an inconsistency has arisen to the surface these past few days.  The case involves a lady by the name of Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP.  She was born of Caucasian parents but identifies herself as being black.  She was asked by Matt Lauer, the host of NBC's "Today" Show, "Are you an African-American.?"  Her answer was, "I identify as black."  Ms. Dolezal claims that she began to identify as a black woman when she was five years of age.  She said that she chose a brown-colored crayon to draw herself rather than the standard peach-colored crayon that most white children use. 


Now, here is where I find the inconsistency in our cultural worldview today.  The media has a love affair with Bruce Jenner as he spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to become the "woman" he has always wanted to be.  He identified with being a woman.  So, his - or is it her? - picture is on the cover of leading magazines.  He  - or is it she? - is interviewed on national television.  Even ESPN wants to aware him - or is it her? - with an award for courage.  Bruce - or is it Caitlyn? - is elevated to the status of being a hero.  But, Ms. Dolezal is forced to defend herself before a tumultuous media simply because she wants to be black, but lives in a white body.  She said, in an interview on NBC's "Nightly News" last evening, that she had decided not to take any drugs or chemicals that might have discolored her skin.  So, she is a white woman even thought she wants be seen as being black.  So, it is okay for Bruce - or is it Caitlyn?, but not okay for Rachel.  Are you confused yet? 


Rush Limbaugh had some fun with this whole thing the other day on his radio program.  Now I am not a great fan of Rush Limbaugh, but I do believe he has his finger on the pulse of where our nation is going.  As many of you know, Rush is a big man.  So, he tells his radio audience that he now wants to be called "skinny" because he believes inside that that is what he is.  Suppose I wanted to let you know that I identify with being a Hobbit.  Would that make me a Hobbit?  No!  I might convince myself that I really was a Hobbit - of course I might need to grow my feet and find someway to increase hair-growth on those feet.  But, in reality, I am still who I am.  That is who God created me to be. 


Friends, if there is to be a consistency in this self-centered, sin-riddled culture in which we live, then we need to accept anyone as who they think they are.  Which, when you really think about it, becomes a scary thing.  Ms. Dolezal was born as a white-woman.  She may have very strong sympathies and passion for the black people she worked for and with, but she is white because that is the way God created her.  Bruce Jenner was born as a white-man.  He may have very strong sympathies and passion for the female sex, but he is a male because that is the way God created him. 


Why all this dissatisfaction with who we are?  The answer is found in the foundation of humanism - the prevailing worldview of today: Man is the center of his world; there is no God, therefore everything revolves around me and my happiness.  Friends, if God is missing the only anchor one has is to himself.  If I am out in a boat in a storm and I throw the anchor overboard, I certainly hope that it will catch something more significant and stronger than my boat.  I want a pretty solid rock.  But, take away the Rock, who is God Himself, and we are left to the whims of our own desires. 


Oh how it is time to return to the Scriptures and there discover that our significance as a human race is only found in the relationship we have with the living God. 


I have begun preaching a series through the Book of Ecclesiastes in my church.  This past Sunday we examined Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 where Solomon describes life as being meaningless, empty and boring; that true significance is only found in God.  I had a Dad approach me following one of the services and said that his young son, probably aged 7 or 8, had a question.  The young boy's question was: So, Pastor Max, what is the purpose for man?  Now, isn't that a great question for any of us to ask, but a marvelous question for a young boy to ask.  How would you have responded?  Well I shared with him and his Dad these words, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."  That statement from the Westminster Confession is truly amazing.  Man's significance - a young boy's significance - is found in a relationship with God.  Bruce Jenner never discovered that relationship.  Rachel Dolezal never discovered that relationship.  Have you?