Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments - Conclusion:

When it comes to sin and the Ten Commandments, people all the time say something like this:
"I know what I'm doing. I'm a big boy! I can handle this. It won't cause me any problem. It won't have any impact on my future."
But those sound like famous last words, don't they? Those are the same things our kids say to us when they don't want to obey our rules. So, men think they can watch pornography without it ever affecting their marriage, or take lightly their responsibilities. They think they can get away with doing whatever they want without consequences. They are fools! And many a life has been devastated by it.

How many of us can say we have no regrets and no shame about some of the things we have done? But God knows all the things that will hurt us and cause our destruction, and He sets up rules to spare us from them. And He warns us about them. Yet, we speed right through the warnings thinking we are smarter than God. Oh, how we need help! Oh, how we need wisdom beyond ourselves. We need the rules of God. So, the next time you think of the Ten Commandments as a ball and chain, just remember what we've talked about in all these posts. Give obedience a chance.

Fist John 5:3-4 says,
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith."
Then Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Loving God means we do what He tells us. And that really should not be hard, because God doesn't ask us to anything that isn't good for us. Every child of God can obey. Oh, not ever perfectly, but we can obey. We can defeat sin and the lust of the flesh simply by trusting Christ to help us. As Jesus said in John 8, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments - Part Six

Last time, we made the point that the Ten Commandments were given to us by a God who was setting us free, not enslaving us. Most unregenerate men won't ever realize this. They will scoff at the idea. What the world always says about Christianity is this,
"Oh, you are all so straight-laced. You Christians Can't ever have any fun."
And they think that we are enslaved by the Law given by God.
"Your God is always saying, 'Don't, don't, don't! And you can't ever do anything fun. All the Bible is is a book filled with 'Dos' and Don'ts.'"
Instead of free men, they think we are the slaves.

Interestingly, Doug Wilson comments that all the freedom the world wants could be done in a six by eight foot prison cell. You can read pornography is a prison cell. You can smoke dope in a prison cell. You can be immoral in a prison cell. So, who is the slave here? It's not us in bondage, but them; because Christ has set us free. What they are doing is enslaving people in their own lusts - enslaving them in sin - all the while calling us slaves. And too many Christians buy that lie. They envy the world its sin.

We are the free ones. God freed us from the bondage of sin. That's what Romans chapter Six is all about. Romans 6:6 says,
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."
We used to be slaves. Now we are emancipated.

Then Romans 6:16-18 says:
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
God's law frees us. It frees us to live righteously. James even calls it the law of liberty in James 1:25,
"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
Don't get hung up that New Testament repeatedly says we are not under law but under grace. That doesn't mean we are lawless. On the contrary, As Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 9:21, we are "not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ." We aren't bound by the Old Testament ceremonial or sacrificial law. Christ came to fulfill the law and be our once and final sacrifice. But God certainly expects us to keep the moral commands of God that, yes, were repeated in the New Testament.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments - Part Five

Why would God give us rules like the Ten commandments? Well, doesn't every good father do that? We, as dads, are a lot wiser than our children. We've been around the block a time or two more. We know that there are some things in this sin-damaged and cursed world that are dangerous. There are things so devastatingly dangerous, so devastatingly shattering to our lives, that we want to protect our children from them. So we set rules.

What kind of rules do parents set? "Don' play in the road. Don't talk to strangers. Eat your vegetables. Don't wander out of sight. Stay out of the medicine cabinet." Do you see what I'm saying? We want to protect our kids.

God feels the same way, so He sets down rules - rules that, if we follow them, will give us a better life and protect us from the dangers that are out there. And who can doubt that, if we keep the Ten Commandments faithfully, our lives will be better? And like any good father, God will also set punishments if His kids disobey. That provides the incentive to stay on the straight and narrow way. This is why God gave us the Ten Commandments. They are God's loving rules to us as for protection - given to us because we are God's special children.

Israel was, according to the preamble of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-2, a special treasure to God. The verses say, "And God spoke all these words saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." God did something special for Israel. He personally rescued them out of miserable bondage in Egypt, and He is now establishing a personal relationship with them as His special people.

He has now chosen us in the church to be Christ's special people, Christ's very bride. Israel and the church are God's special people. We are His because of something He did. With Israel, it was bringing them out of slavery in the land of Egypt by the passover event where the lamb was slain and the blood applied so that the death angel would pass over them as it took the firstborn in every Egyptian household. With the church, it was when God redeemed us out of slavery to sin by the death of His own dear Son, Jesus, on the cross of Calvary where He shed His blood for us to pay the penalty for our sin. We too, therefore, have a special relationship with God, and a special obligation to Him as His redeemed people.

Do you see? The Ten Commandments are set in the context of God bringing His people out of slavery, not leading them into slavery. God is leading them to freedom. The same is true for us. Jesus said in John 8:36, "Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Paul adds in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." We are free people whom God has given rules to live by, not to mnake us slaves, but to protect us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments - Part Four

The Ten Commandments were not punishment given to the people of Israel, but
God's love letter to them. That's been our point over the past few blogs. We ended the last blog by quoting the chapter just before God gave the Ten Commandments. We read from Exodus 19:3-6. In particular, I want to point out this thought: God said, "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to Myself." Whereas, God dealt harshly and in anger with the Egyptians, God acted in love toward the Israelites. Like an eagle, He swooped down and carried them away from their oppressors.

But what does God mean when He says, "I bore you on eagle's wings?" If you were a regular reader of Ranger Rick magazine, you'd understand. The mother eagle would make a huge nest high in the top of a tree - sometimes all of eight feet across. She would fill the nest with leaves and animal fur, and even her own down, so it would be nice and cozy for the little eagle - for awhile anyway. But when the time was right, she would make things very uncomfortable for little eagle.

The mother eagle would pick up her fledgling and carry him into the sky to dizzying heights. We're talking about nose-bleed elevation. Then she would drop him. Down, down, down he plummets. He's never flown before. Life has been comfortable, with every care met. But now there is nothing to keep him from smashing on the ground far below except his own two little untried wings, and he's never been to flight school. Surely this story is going to have a tragic ending, the little eagle thinks.

Well, not so fast. Mother eagle has been watching, and what does she do? Just before that little eagle crashes into the ground, she swoops down under him and catches him. "Oh, Thank God!" he shouts. Then his mother flies him back up to the stratosphere only to drop him all over again, and again, and again, until finally he gets it and takes off flying.

We too were headed for a crash. We were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). Then Christ swooped down to rescue us and give us new life and sustain us every day. Israel was the Old Testament example of that. They were dead as a nation, without hope in bondage in Egypt, when God rescued them, cared for them, and sustained them. And now, He has a plan to direct their steps, their conduct, as they learn to try out their new wings and live as His special people. So God gives them these rules.

Doesn't every good father do that? We, as dads, are a lot wiser than our children. We know there are some things in this sin damaged and cursed world that are so dangerous, so devastatingly shattering to our lives, that we want to protect our children from them. So we set rules. "Don't play in the road. Don't talk to strangers. Eat your vegetables. Stay out of the medicine cabinet." Do you see what I'm saying?

God feels the same way. He sets down rules that, if we follow them, will give us a better life and protect us from the dangers that are out there. And who can doubt that if we keep the Ten Commandments faithfully that our life would be better?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why We Study the Ten Commandments - Part Three

We've been stressing that we really need to know what God expects and what God demands of us. We as a nation need to know this if we are ever going to turn the faucet off again on the broken sewer line that is modern America. Think of what this country could be again if we only began to live by the Ten Commandments - if every day we would say,
"I will honor God and obey Him. I will be in church on Sunday to worship. I will honor god given authority. I will not murder or hate. I will not commit adultery or lust. I will not steal, lie, or cheat. I will not envy and covet."
Can you imagine what kind of a nation this would be if we all did that?

Do you see why we need the Ten Commandments? Can you see why we need to obey them? Can you see how that would transform our nation? We wouldn't need locks on our doors any more. We wouldn't need to worry about getting lost in our cities at night out of fear for our lives. Taxes would drop because we wouldn't have to keep our prisons open. Could you imagine if people really got serious and obeyed the Ten Commandments? But we need to know them in order to obey them.

But, why don't we? Is it because we look at them as this big, old list of horrendously restrictive rules written by some distant God out in heaven somewhere in space who is miserable and unhappy within Himself who wants to take it out on us and make sure we never have any fun either? Unfortunately, people look at God as just that. They think of Him as this cosmic killjoy who wants to keep us in a straight jacket and never wants to let us do any of the things that are fun and exciting. And if we step out of line, they think He's promised to zap us like a bug flying into one of those bug zappers.

How totally, totally wrong they are, and you are if you think that way. God is not a harsh old grandfather with a long white beard who doesn't want us to have any fun. That's not our God at all. On the contrary, the law was given to us by a God who loves us immensely. The commandments were given to us because keeping them is good for us. You really need to understand this. The commandments are almost a love letter from God to His people. They are a tender, heartfelt expression of God's love for us.

You can see this if you look at the chapter in Exodus before God gives the commandments. In Exodus 19:3-6, we can see exactly what God told Moses to say to the Israelites before He gave them the law. We read:
"And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak."
How's that for a statement? This was their first stop on their wilderness wanderings. The memory of recent events were vivid in their minds. Oh, they remembered being trapped in Egypt and worked to the bone. They remembered the crack of the whip and the sting on their backs. they remembered their baby boys being fed to the crocodiles. And they remembered God bringing them out of that. It was God who heard their cries of distress. It was God who came and rescued them in might and power - sending the ten plagues, parting the red sea, feeding them and watering them daily, leading them with a pillar of fire. "I swooped down like an eagle and rescued you," says God. "I did that for you."

So would the God who was moved to compassion after watching their misery for four hundred years now subject them to more misery by bullying and browbeating them with Draconian rules and regulations? NO! God continues to love them by giving them these rules. We'll talk more about that next time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments - Part Two

The trouble with mankind is that, on the one hand, we don't know who gets to set the rules; but, on the other, we all want to set our own rules. We all want to be able to do our own thing. We all want to be able to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong.

The other way people respond is to rely on the shifting sands of public opinion to determine moraltiy. Whatever the majority decides is right must be right. Except that kind of thinking by the majority in Nazi Germany led to the attempt to exterminate the Jewish race in the Holocost. Who could honestly think that was right? A majority can be very, very wrong, and yet we want them to decide moraltiy? How foolish!

When I was little, I knew exactly what was right and wrong. It was whatever my dad said. If I didn't follow his rules, I'd get clobbered; but I knew exactly what was expected of me. Shouldn't we want to know what God expects? Shouldn't we want to know what God's rules are?

When I go for a drive, I really like it when they put those helpful signs along the road that tell me what the speed limit is. I know that if I disobey those signs, the nice policeman may come along and give me a ticket and my insurance will go up. What I hate is when I am on a stretch of roaad where there are no signs, and I have no idea how fast I can get away with going (If you know what I mean). I really want to know what the rules are and who the authority is.

Well, in this universe, God is the authority. He created us, so He can decide. He can set the rules. His rules are summarized in the Ten Commandments. In these commandments we find an all encompassing statement touching virtually every part of our lives. They give us the parameters by which we are to live. They don't cover every detail, rather they summarize God's requirements for life. The first four deal with our relationship with God, and the last six deal with our relationship to our fellow man.

Even these were summarized by Jesus in Matthew 22: 35-40, when one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourswelf. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets."
The first commandment, loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, is a summation of the first four commandments; and loving your neighbor as yourself is a summation of the last six. And they are tied together. You will never be able to love your neighbor as yourself until you first love God with all your heart. So these two summarize the Big Ten, But they themselves are a summary of a Bible full of rules. The Old Testament has a total of 660 separate commands. Combined, they are called the Law.

It's not like you have a Bible full of rules and regulations and the Ten Commandments are another ten added to the others. They are a summary that contain all the commandments. The others explain the Ten, the Ten explain the Two. If you want to know how you can love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, you can look at the first four commands. If you want to know how you can love your neighbor as yourself, you can look at the last six commands. Do you see? If you really loved God most, you wouldn't make any idols to other gods. You wouldn't blaspheme His name. You would take time each week to devote to Him. Do you see? That's what loving God looks like. This is why we need the Ten Commandments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Study the Ten Commandments

We've begun a new series of sermons in our church on the Ten Commandments, but a lot of people ask, "Why study them? Why should we take the time to study something so outdated?" After all, everyone knows the Ten commandments, right? There is something about lying, and stealing, and . . .um, oh, yeah, thou shalt not kill. Let's see, that's three . . . Ah?

The Ten Commandments seem to be something we would assume most everyone would know - that everyone would want to know. Wouldn't people want to know what God expects from them? But sadly, that is not the case.

Our society has become so secularized, that we've believed the lie about our constitution (or should I say, misrepresentation) that there is a wall of separation between church and state. By that, they mean that the wall of separation was built to keep religion from messing around in people's lives and in governmental structures, not the other way around. As a result, we've pretty much banned the Ten Commandments from public life. They can no longer be posted in public buildings or school houses because somebody might (gasp!) actually be influenced by them and follow them.

As a result, although 97% of Americans claim to believe in the Ten Commandments, only 5% can name three or more of the commandments. Try it and see how you do. Sadly, they are not a part of most people's lives. We as a society are woefully ignorant of what God demands of us.

And that reflects in our behavior. How evident that is if we only read the daily newspapers or tune in to the news on our radios or TVs. We have become a society that is morally bankrupt, throwing off all moral restraint. We have a national epidemic of crime, AIDs, abortion, divorce, drugs, and pornography in this country - a country that was given birth on Christian principles. And people wonder why.

Yet, we as a people don't want anyone telling us what to do. We say,
"So what how we live our lives! What difference does it make if we don't keep our word? People will get over it. So what if we get our passion in someone else's bed. Our spouse needs to be more broadminded. We're entitled to some pleasure. So what if we're too focused on our work. No one has a right to tell us what to do."
And we can go on and on making our rationalizations. but we forget that God does have a right to tell us what to do because He made us. And God did tell us in the Ten commandments.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Last time, by way of illustrating Paul's statement, "For me to live is Christ," in Philippians 1:21, I told the story of St. Francis of Assisi. After he was converted, he began to love those things he once loathed, even lepers, and went out of his way to show them love for Christ's sake. What would cause him to do that? Christ living through him.

What else could explain the heroic acts of service and sacrifice that characterize Christians? What else can explain the myriad of martyrs for Christ down through history? In our flesh, how could we face the excruciating pain and degradation that this world's hatred piles upon us? We can't. We're too weak and sinful. But Christ can through us. Christ can empower us through His Holy spirit living within us so that we can do "all things through Christ who strengthens me"(Philippians 4:13).

Listen to the story of Perpetua. She was a noble woman, wealthy, well born, and a young mother in North Africa; but her Christian faith was outlawed in the third century Roman Empire. Emperor Septimus Severus had forbidden conversion to Christianity and required all citizens to offer sacrifices to him as a god. But she refused. Perpetua's father argued with her to abandon her Christian faith. He begged her not to throw away her life.

"Was it really such a bid deal," he asked, "to make such a small ceremonial sacrifice to the emperor?"

Perpetua pointed to a ceramic pitcher and asked, "Father, do you see this pitcher?"

"Yes, of course I see it," he replied.

"Can it really be called by any other name than what it is?" she asked.

"No," he answered.

"So I also cannot be called anything else than what I am, which is a Christian."

In her own diary, she wrote, "Enraged by my words, my father came at me as though to tear my eyes out."

On March 7, 203 AD, Perpetua and her servant were stripped naked and led into the amphitheater to face gruesome death. But even the bloodthirsty crowds couldn't stomach the sight. A medieval source book records the crowd's reaction:
"The people shuddered seeing one a tender girl, the other her breasts yet dropping from her late childbearing. So they were called back and clothed with loose robes."
The officials chose a bull for the execution. A bear kills too quickly, but a bull would gore repeatedly. Yet after a bloody mauling, the young women were torn, but not dead. The crowds cried, "Enough!"

The officials then sent the gladiators in to behead the women. But as they approached, these hard-hearted killers began to tremble. The first strike again did not kill, and it again sickened the crowds. Perpetua showed all of them mercy by clutching the gladiator's hand and guiding the sword to her neck for a killing blow.

What could give her and so many others such courage? What would allow them to make such a costly stand? It certainly isn't our own strength. But we can show that kind of courage if Christ lives through us. Those who simply play at their faith would never do that. For those Christian's who are content to simply go through some rituals.....they would never take a stand. For those who are content with tame religion, this kind of faith and sacrifice seem beyond imagining. For them almost any sacrifice is too much.

Way too many people see Christianity as no more than having to give up listening to certain music they like or having to wear ugly clothes. And they rebel at those sacrifices. But that isn't the Christianity that fired the heart of a Francis of Assisi or a Perpetua. A Christianity that worries about giving up a few sins isn't the Christianity that will sacrifice their lives for Christ. Only Christians who are transformed by Christ's indwelling presence do.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

To Live is Christ

Last time, I mentioned the verse in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." That verse is divided into two parts - living and dying. Today, we'll look at the first part of that verse, "to live is Christ." What does it mean? Obviously it means to live differently than if life was all about us. It means living with Christ at the center of our lives where everything we do is for Him.

But this means more than simply that Christ is the center of our lives, it means Christ is our life. Look at what Paul said in Galatians 2:20,
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
When Paul says that to live is Christ, he's not just saying that he lives for Christ, but literally that he lives Christ's life - that it is Christ that lives in and through him. As Christ lived through him, Paul's body became Christ's eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet - so Paul became the instrument by which Christ acted out His will. Even our wills become His, our minds become His. We are transformed more and more into the image of Christ. We become Christlike.

How else do you suppose God can transform our lives like He does? How else can he take us who are reprobate sinners and make us like Jesus? He does it as Christ lives through us. Christ comes to live within us, and He energizes us with His power and love. He literally lives through us.

St. Francis of Assisi is an example of a man transformed by Christ. Shortly after he trusted Christ, he sensed God telling him,
"Francis, all those things that you loved in the flesh you must now despise, and from those things that you formerly loathed you will drink great sweetness and immeasurable delight."
Later, as Francis rode his horse out of town, he saw what he once despised - a leper. "During my life of sin," Francis wrote, "Nothing disgusted me like seeing victims of leprosy." What would Francis do? Exuberant in his new found faith and with joy flooding his soul, and remembering that he was now in love with and even treasured those things he once loathed; Francis leaped from his horse, knelt before the leper, and proceeded to kiss those deformed, diseased hands that had probably not felt human touch in years. Then he pressed money into those hands.

But he didn't stop there. He jumped back on his horse and rode to the nearest leper colony, and, as he recounts it, "begged their pardon for so often having despised them." then he gave them each money. He wouldn't leave until he had kissed each one of them. Francis was a transformed man. He was no longer the same. Christ now lived in and through Francis.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Live or Die? It Doesn't Matter.

This week, one of the dear men of our church lingers at the point of death. It has caused me to ponder what happens when a person dies. But it isn't enough to ponder the imponderable from our own human perspective, we need to find the truth. That truth only comes from the one who is the author of life, but also the one who conquered death - Jesus Christ. So to find the truth, we look into the Word.

An obvious question is, "Is death a tragedy for a believer? Is it a gain or a loss?" In the book of Philippians, Paul argued that question with himself. He was under arrest for preaching the Gospel, and he faced the possibility of death by execution. Would he prefer to live? Would dying not actually be better? He didn't know. If he lived, he could go on serving God and preaching the Gospel. But if he died, he would be in heaven with the Savior he loved. The answer he found is in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." That's his final conclusion. As long as he lives, he will serve Christ. When he dies, Hallelujah! He will see Christ face to face in heaven forever. And that will be gain, he says. It will be so much better.

Remember Paul's situation? He is awaiting trial. He expects to be vindicated, but he isn't sure. Never-the-less, he trusts God. In Philippians 1:20, he says, "According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death." Paul knew God would get him out of his situation. It might be by life. He might be released from arrest. But, it might be by death. He might be executed. Either way, he is out of his trouble. But death for a believer is the ultimate release - the ultimate healing - and that is what Paul concludes is better.

Certainly, with Paul, we too can have confidence in God. Not that we can count on Him always doing things the way we would want. We would never choose to be executed. But God will always be there for us - always go through troubles with us. He will get us through somehow. Paul's confidence is in the fact that God is in control. The decision isn't in the hand of the Roman judge, the decision is in the hand of our sovereign God.

So Paul concludes that to live is Christ, and to die is better. Living is all about Christ. Dying only gives us more Christ. Therefore, dying must be better. Dr. William L. Pettingill used to say that the word translated as gain in the Greek language always mean more of the same thing. So if to live is Christ, to die means more Christ if it is gain. To die means, as a believer, we will never live apart from hHim again. To live in His presence is the ultimate gain.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Don't Believe in Science

A couple of days ago, Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee, made a statement that Republicans don't believe in science any more because they weren't buying into the Global Warming hype. I don't know about Republicans, but I for one don't. I don't believe in science. There, I've said it. And I speak as one who has a Bachelor's Degree in Zoology and post graduate work in Biological Sciences. I once believed everything they said. I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker (much to my embarrassment). But not any more. The truth is, I believe in "real" science. What I don't believe in is the way much of science is practiced today.

Why have I changed my mind about science? Because science has changed. Like much of our modern world, science has bought into the postmodern mindset. That is a mindset that has declared war on truth.

"Truth is whatever you believe."
"There is no absolute truth."
"If there were such a thing as absolute truth, how could we know what it is?"
"People who believe in absolute truth are dangerous."

These are the kinds of assertions that are made by postmodernists, even scientists who have a postmodern mindset. Postmodernists believe that truth is created, not discovered. They think that things like reason, rationality, and confidence in science are cultural biases. Therefore truth isn't the purpose of scientific study any more, the agenda is. Righting the wrongs becomes the goal of science even if it means manipulating the data to bolster the agenda.

The latest example of this is the "Global Warming" hysteria. When the pilfered e-mails were published, it showed our respected scientific community was guilty of hiding conflicting data, secrecy, and the intimidation of any opposing views or research. Now that they have been exposed for their hoax, rather than causing them to slink off into a corner in shame (as they would in any rational world); they become ever more shrill in their insistence that "Global Warming" is definitely real in spite of the evidence we can see and feel around us, and that immediate action must be taken to "save the world."

Anyone familiar with the creation-evolution debate has seen the similarity of the tactics since the days of Darwin- the evolutionists ignore or hide contrary evidence and intimidate the opposition. The movie by Ben Stein, "Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed," humorously documented the outrageous efforts to stifle free debate about the scientific evidence. For years, the evolutionists have presented pure fabrications and hoaxes as evidence for their "theory," and have been reluctant to pull the evidence even when the evidence has been proven false or proven a fabrication. This is why I don't believe in science.

When I look at the evidence, It cries out that this world was shaped by the global flood of Noah's day. You laugh? Think about it. If the global flood actually occurred, what evidence would it leave? Quoting Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, the evidence would be "billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water." Isn't that what you would expect from a global flood that is reported to have destroyed all that has breath not on the ark? Amazing, that is exactly what we see all around this globe. Yet this obvious explanation for the massive rocks layers laid down by water filled with the fossil record is thrown out.

Why? Because it doesn't fit their atheistic presuppositions. The truth is, it is never a lack of proof that explains why men don't believe. They don't believe because of their wills. To acknowledge a creator God would force them to acknowledge that their creator has the right to demand certain behavior from them, and to judge them for their transgressions. Yet the evidence of God's creative hand is all around us (For documentation, see I haven't taken the time to provide that evidence to you, but you can easily find it if you are interested. But be warned, the evidence leads us to God. And the evidence will force you to make a decision about Him. The eternal consequences for that decision you will bear.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Disgust and Outrage

On Thursday, January 14th, the Bangor Daily News reported the conviction of a Maine man on manslaughter charges. He was convicted of shooting his partner during a homosexual orgy while they were playing Russian Roulette to increase their excitement. All three of the men involved in this incident had AIDS. My disgust and outrage is not at them, even though I find their behaviour to be disgusting. My disgust and outrage is with the Bangor Daily News who suppressed this story for months.

The Bangor Daily News seems to take great delight in splashing every horrid crime across its front page; and it supports every liberal agenda there is, not just in the editorials but the news articles with their biased slant. Yet this story, with all its bizarre and shocking details, went missing from the paper for months. Why?

Why did they suppress this story? It would have hurt one of their pet causes - homosexual rights - and especially the same-sex marriage debate going on in Maine. It seems, according to the Bangor Daily News, that the man found guilty of shooting his partner had testified before the state legislature at their hearings on the same-sex marriage bill the legislature was forcing upon the state. And this testimony was given just four days after the crime had been committed. That's right, after the crime had been committed. Apparently the Bangor Daily News didn't think that was relevant information in the debate, at least not relevant enough to tell us until now, long after the bill was passed and the the people's referendum overturned the bill.

All through the trial, according to the reports in the Bangor Daily News, the sexual practices of these men should not be considered. The issue was entirely a gun issue. Hogwash. They are right in the sense that no matter what their other activity, the use of a gun to play Russian Roulette was negligent. But, it is precisely their sexual practices that is the issue with homosexual rights.

Society has deemed that behaviour to be wrong. God has condemned it. Should we legalize it? Should we make discussion of this aberrant behavior off limits when we debate their "rights?" If the Bangor Daily News kept all the sensational crimes off its front page, I would applaud them. But for selectively suppressing this story for months because it would hurt their pet cause, I condemn them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going in Strength

The next verse I want to cover in Psalm 84 is verse 7, which says, "They go from strength to strength; every one of them appears before God in Zion." The question is, whose strength? The answer is found back in verse 5 where we are told that it is the strength of the Lord. Last time in this Psalm we were on a pilgrimage walking through a valley of weeping and desolation, only to find that God met us there and turned that valley into an oasis. Now we find that we can walk that valley in strength - but it is in the strength of the Lord. We don't have to do it on our own. And while our strength fails, His only increases.

Do you ever wonder if you are going to make it through the valley? I mean, living the Christian life is so tough. There are disappointments and difficulties aplenty. There is pain, sorrow, and hardship. Do you ever wonder if you can hang on and make it to heaven? This verse says there is no doubt about it. You will! You will, if your strength is in the Lord.

See how verse 7 ends? "Every one of them appears before God in Zion." This isn't talking about the Zion in Israel, but the heavenly Zion - the abode of God. This is the assurance, not that every human makes it heaven, but that every born again believer appears in heaven. This isn't talking some universalism drivel; that God will save everyone no matter how reprobate and blasphemous or whether they believe or not. This is perseverance of the Saints by the power of God. It is only believers that walk in the strength of the Lord.

"Well, I don't know, pastor," you might say. "I'm just not that strong." That's just the point. None of us are. We could never make it to heaven in our own strength. But we couldn't save ourselves either. We needed a savior. In the same way, we need the savior to keep us saved. Jesus can and Jesus will. We can trust that.

Do you remember what Jesus said in John 10:27-30?
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
What does Jesus give us? Eternal life; not some temporary respite to see if we can hold on. And whose strength is it anyway that keeps us? It is the combined strength of both Jesus and God the Father. And just how strong do you think God's hand is?

They both have their hands on you, clutching you tightly. Now how could you ever get out of there? How can anything pluck you out from between their hands? Nothing can! So what are you worried about? It is the strength of the Lord that saved us, and it is the strength of the Lord that keep us. It is God's strength that gets us through the valleys of weeping and desolation, and God's strength that keeps on getting us through all the way to that heavenly Zion.