Archive for August 17, 2012
Tags: Apostle Paul, Epistle to the Philippians, Francis Schaeffer, God, Jesu, Paul, Paul Harvey, Wisconsin
“Each man’s work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:13
If you live near a big city, no doubt you’ve been caught in the torturous experience of creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This can be particularly annoying if you are in a hurry to get somewhere—to say nothing of how revealing it can be about our true spiritual condition.
As a Christian, I have to admit that I don’t have enough gestures to express my true feelings when traffic gets really bad! So the only way to relieve the tension is to spend the time reading the interesting bumper stickers that reveal the political and personal irritations of the drivers nearby.
Among the more interesting ones: “As a matter of fact I do own the road!” and “If a woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in this SUV?” I particularly like the one that says, “You can’t scare me. I’ve got triplets!”
I’m reminded of Paul Harvey, who once reported seeing two bumper stickers on a car in Chicago: on one side, “Jesus is coming!” and on the other side of the bumper, an invitation by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to “Escape to Wisconsin!”
Well, Jesus is coming again, but when He does, no one will be able to escape to Wisconsin—or anywhere else for that matter. The most despicable pagans, the most vocal scoffers, the most intelligent deniers, the most thoughtful agnostics, and the most ardent atheists will not be able to find refuge. Instead, as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:10-11, they will join the great final worship service and, with all humanity, they too will bow their knees and confess with their mouths that Jesus is indeed the Lord. No doubt it will be a humbling and scary event for them.
For those of us who have been worshiping the worthy name of Jesus long before His return, it is good to know that. Though we have often been ridiculed for such a naïve and retro view of life, it’s reassuring to know we were right about Jesus all along!
But I need to add: though grace will prevail for those of us who have believed, and our sins and failures will be remembered no more, there is some jeopardy for us as well. The apostle Paul writes that we will be saved, but “with fire.” At His appearing, the flame of His glory will burn away all the wood, hay, and stubble from our lives, leaving only the gold, silver, and precious jewels. The wood, hay, and stubble, interestingly enough, is not necessarily our sins, but rather all we spent our time doing that had no use for eternity.
Francis Schaeffer used to talk about the tragedy of what he called “ash-heap Christians.” He was talking about those of us who had lived our lives for the fleeting pleasures and pursuits of earth-side stuff and gain. Think of standing there in His glorious presence knee-deep in ashes with nothing of eternal significance to present to Him. You’ll wish you could be in Wisconsin!
So, what have you done lately to make His return a happy event for you? Got any gold to offer Him when He appears? Believe me, seeing Him face-to-face after having lived a productive life for eternity’s gain will be lots better than seeing Wisconsin!
- How often do you consider the reality that Jesus could come back at any moment?
- How does that reality impact your task list for today? What should be added to your to-do list? What could be taken off the list?
- Take a minute to pray that God will bring some worthy investment options to mind—places for you to put your time and talents to good use for eternity. Then pick one of them and pursue it!
Tags: Christianity, God, Jesu, Jesus and the rich young man, Jesus Christ, Luke, Master, Religion and Spirituality
Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have . . . and come, follow Me.” Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.
Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Has He said something personally to me to which I have deliberately listened— not something I can explain for the sake of others, but something I have heard Him say directly to me? This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He did not go away as a defiant person, but as one who was sorrowful and discouraged. He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Him on that particular point? One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.
Tags: Amalek, Edom, Egypt, Esau, God, Israel, Jacob, Mount Zion
The book of Obadiah, which is all of one chapter, is a prophecy against Edom and describes her downfall at the End of Days. At the end of the book, a new world order is described in which the descendents of Esau, who rule with wickedness, will no longer have any effect on the world. He will be subjugated by those who govern from Zion — the descendants of Jacob, who rule with righteousness. Then, and only then, “the kingdom will be the Lord’s.”
From all the evil nations in the world, why is the defeat of Esau a pre-requisite for God’s dominion on earth? What is unique about this nation?
When the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt, they were invincible and God’s kingship was irrefutable. After all that He had done to Egypt, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about who was running the world. Then along came the nation of Amalek, who Scripture called “first among the nations” (Numbers 24:20). They had the dubious honor of being the first to challenge God’s authority and the first nation to try to destroy His children.
Amalek was defeated by Israel, but spiritual damage had been done. They doubted God’s kingship and planted the seeds of heresy for generations to come. Scripture tells us, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). In the original Hebrew, the word “throne” is missing one letter. The message is that until the people represented by Amalek — and everything they stands for — are defeated, God’s throne will remain incomplete. Until that time, there will always be doubt of God.
Now let’s connect the dots. Amalek was a grandson of Esau and the chief of the Edomite tribe. Amalek, Edom, and Esau are all one and the same. Obadiah’s prophesy makes perfect sense. The fall of Esau/Edom is the end of an epic battle between Amalek and God. Esau’s fall means the end of all questioning. The entire world will recognize the Lord our God, and His kingship will be complete.
The spiritual seeds that Amalek planted thousands of years ago have sprung weeds everywhere. People of faith look forward to the time when the weeds of doubt will be replaced with seeds of faith, and the world is restored to the beautiful Garden of Eden that God intended all along.
Tags: Helen Gurley Brown, March for Life, Nellie Gray, Opposition to the legalization of abortion, roe v wade, United States, Wade, Washington DC
Written by Lisa Van Houten
This week saw the death of two women who were trailblazers in their distinct spheres of influence. Both of these women have also left behind two ongoing legacies. One was highly praised and eulogized by an adoring secular media. The other woman was hardly mentioned in the mainstream press (if at all) – other than on Christian and conservative news sites and blogs.
The former, glorified by secular elites, was Helen Gurley Brown who was described as the “pioneer” of the sexual revolution for women in the early 1960s and for decades following. Helen Gurley Brown authored “Sex and the Single Girl” in 1962 and went on to develop Cosmopolitan magazine for which she served as editor-in-chief for 32 years. She died Monday at the age of 90.
According to an NBC News report: “She was the first one to acknowledge that women were fooling around like crazy and that it was fun, that you should celebrate it and enjoy it, and that sometimes women were the aggressors, that women have a sex drive,” said Jill Herzig, editor-in-chief of Redbook magazine, who worked for Brown for three years starting in 1989.
NBC described Brown as “renowned as a kind of intellectual sexual vixen” who also “used her magazine and public persona to engage politically, supporting abortion rights …”
Indiana University researcher and author Debby Herbenick praised Helen Gurley Brown as one who pushed the concepts of “women’s power and agency, that women are able to own their own sexual bodies and look for sexual pleasures, and create the relationships that work for them.”
Helen Gurley Brown, praised as Liberator of Women, who used her magazine, Cosmopolitan, to “empower” women.
We at American Decency know a bit about Cosmopolitan and Brown’s legacy, as well. We have expended much effort over numerous years to encourage grocery stores not to place the magazine at checkouts (or to the very least cover it with blinders). Those efforts have garnered some success, but far less than we’d like. We have also encouraged you, our readers, to speak out where you shop, and we continue to urge you to do so!
It’s hard not to be aware of the sexually graphic headlines of Cosmo – they stare us in the face every week as we wait in line at the checkout. For example, cover headlines include: “Foreplay Men Crave – Touch His Secret Erotic Spot;” “21 Naughty Sex Tips – Tonight Treat Him to Some Boundary-Pushing Sex That Good Girls Only Dream of;” and “Sex Secrets – Arouse Him Like Crazy”. These headlines are explicit enough. I won’t give examples of the disgusting content of the articles. Suffice it to say, the magazine reads like a dirty sex manual, teaching young women to prostitute themselves for the pleasure of men.
Note those lurid headlines. How is that “liberating” or “empowering?” The focus is on pleasuring men – not “liberating” women! Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmo has never respected women; it demeans them. It doesn’t foster meaningful relationships; it cheapens them.
Basically, Cosmopolitan tells young women, ‘just let men use you and discard you.’ It teaches that their worth is based on their sex appeal and their purpose is to be nothing more than a sex toy.
This is the legacy of Helen Gurley Brown – teaching generations of women the lie that sex is meaningless and consequence-free – a legacy that will live on, even though its “pioneer” has passed. Millions of women have paid the emotional, physical, and spiritual price as they bought into that legacy and made it their own; and millions more will continue to do so.
Now to the other female pioneer who passed away this week at the age of 88 – Nellie Gray. Nellie Gray may not be a name instantly recognized by all Christians and pro-life people, but her legacy should be. Nellie Gray was the woman behind the largest annual pro-life demonstration in the country – the March for Life in Washington DC.
Grieved over the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Nellie Gray organized the first annual March for Life on the one-year anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. As The Christian Post reports: “Beginning in 1974, Gray arranged for people to participate in a peaceful protest. Twenty thousand people joined, according to the March for Life website. Each year, the crowd continued to grow and also attract a larger youthful following. The march, held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, now draws hundreds of thousands of participants.”
“It was an anniversary that broke Nellie Gray’s heart every year, and every day,” stated Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.
Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, issued this statement in tribute to Nellie Gray: “Nellie lived a life of heroic service to the unborn. Nellie will be remembered most for her passionate and ardent protection of every life, without exception.
“As we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the sad reality that 54 million babies have been lost to abortion in America, let us pay appropriate homage to Nellie by recommitting ourselves to do everything possible to protect and defend the unborn.”
Before her nearly 40 years in the pro-life movement, Nellie worked as an attorney for the federal government, serving for decades in the State Department and Labor Department.
Nellie Gray was a tireless advocate for the unborn, working right until her death for the protection of all life.
Father Pavone (quoted above) shared an email he received from Nellie just days before her death which was reprinted by The Christian Post. Nellie wrote: “… ProLife Americans want “no exception” because that is the right and only position to take for our beloved country. We cannot allow our country intentionally to kill even one preborn. We can stop this killing when all of us who say we are “prolife” become unified on the Life Principles – no exception-no compromise – and vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. We can do that! …”
The March for Life and the efforts to end the horrific practice of abortion will not end with the passing of Nellie Gray. March for Life organizers say they will march in Nellie’s honor next January (the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade) and will continue to do “everything possible to protect every preborn human person and to end the scourge of abortion in the United States.”
This is the legacy that will live on long past the death of Nellie Gray.
While it is now up to their Creator to judge the works of these two women, The Bible does tell us in Matthew 7 “ by their fruits you will know them.” Both have left lasting legacies – one that cherished all life, and one that degraded it. One based on Truth, and one based on lies.
One day, each of us will come to the end of our days. What will be the legacy we leave behind?
Tags: God, Jews, John Mark, Passover, Peter, Rhoda, Saint Peter, Watchmen
Now about that time Herod, the king, began to persecute the members of the church; and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. When Herod saw that it pleased the Jews, he seized Peter also. This was during the feast of the unleavened bread. Therefore when he arrested Peter, he put him in prison, and gave him into the keeping of four bands of four soldiers each. And he planned to bring him out to the people after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison; but the members of the church prayed earnestly to God for him. On the very night before the day on which Herod meant to bring him up for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened to them with two chains. Watchmen were also on guard at the doors. All at once an angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. And he struck Peter on the side and awoke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” And Peter did so. The angel said to him, “Throw your coat around you, and follow me.” So Peter went out with him; and he did not know that what had been done by the angel was really true, but he thought he was dreaming. They went past the first and the second guards, and came to the iron gate that leads into the city; and it opened to them of itself.
They went out, and passed on through one street; and all at once the angel left him. When Peter found himself alone, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel, and saved me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jews were expecting he would do to me.” And after he had thought what to do, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Now many people had gathered together there for prayer. When he knocked at the door a girl named Rhoda came to answer. And hearing Peter’s voice, she was so glad that she forgot to open the door, but ran in, and told that Peter was standing outside. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she insisted that it was so.
They said, “It is his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking: and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. But he motioned to them with the hand to be silent, and told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. And he said, “Go and tell James and the other brothers.” Then he left the house and went to another place. Now as soon as it was morning, there was great excitement among the soldiers, as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had searched for him, and had failed to find him, he questioned the guards, and commanded that they should be executed.
Tags: Abraham, Benjamin, God, Israel, Jephthah, Lord, Psalm, Tabernacle
Amid the gross evils of this time, the people of Israel were very tenacious of their vows, which had been ratified in the presence of God, and under the solemn sanctions of the Tabernacle. Because they had sworn not to give their daughters in marriage to Benjamin, they had to devise an expedient to obtain wives for the six hundred who had escaped massacre, that the tribe should not become extinct.
The same spirit was manifested by Jephthah, when he said, “I have opened my mouth to the Lord; I cannot go back.” No doubt there was the implied conviction that God would avenge the violation of an oath solemnly taken in His name.
What new emphasis is added by this conception to the words of the Epistle to the Hebrews: “God, willing to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” Since He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, that He would bless and multiply Abraham and his seed. If then you are of the faith of faithful Abraham, you have the right to claim the fulfillment of God’s promise in this double aspect: He will bless and multiply. And it is impossible for Him to alter or fail in the word He hath spoken.
The Psalmist said that God’s statutes; i. e., the things which He established, were His songs. Surely we have every reason to sing, who know that the covenant of God’s love is as steadfast as His throne. Let us turn His statutes into songs. He has given us exceeding great and precious promises; and we can rejoice that “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” “The word of the Lord endureth forever.”
Tags: Christ, Criticism of Jesus, Good works, Gospel of Matthew, Jesu, Lord, Matt, Sermon on the Mount
A professional football player’s team was having a terrible season, losing week after week. A reporter asked him how he stayed motivated to play hard and give his best even though his team lost almost every game. He responded, “My dad is watching that game. My mom is watching that game. You better believe I’m going to do my best!” He recognized that there was more at stake than just winning or losing. People were watching, and that reality always drove him to do his best.
Jesus reminded us of this reality in the early portions of His Sermon on the Mount. We should live our lives with a recognition that what we do is observed by those around us—and this visible life makes a statement about our God. He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). How does the light of our lives shine? By bringing the heart and character of Christ into the situations that engage us every day. By showing compassion as He did for the marginalized or forgotten. By displaying concern for the Father’s name and reputation.
People are watching us. The question is, What do they see?
Tags: A. W. Tozer, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Evangelism, God, Lord, Religion & Spirituality
Forgiveness for the Past and Provision for the Present
. . . To offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him worst. Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it. He is concerned only with our escaping the consequences. The gospel then in practical application means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past. The heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and along with this has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man’s past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party. We must have courage to preach the whole message. By so doing we shall undoubtedly lose a few friends and make a number of enemies. But the true Christian will not grieve too much about that. He has enough to do to please his Lord and Savior and to be true to the souls of all men. That may well occupy him too completely to leave much time for regrets over the displeasure of misguided men.