Wednesday, March 27, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

Our nation and the Supreme Court stand at and on a moral threshold. Should national surveys be the valid guideline for that which will be national law? Is there a ground for the human race being evaluated and granted legal rights solely on the basis of the physical with disregard for the spiritual definition of the human race? When was the decision made and accepted that we would become a secular society and culture while disregarding any and all spiritual and moral values? When did we decide that moral turpitude (vile, shameful, or base character; depravity; a vile or depraved act) would be and is preferable to God’s Laws and Biblical Standards? Is there a way by which decadence and moral abandonment can be averted and reversed?

WORLD Magazine has suggested one possibility: “The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has prepared…a guide to prayer this week, as Supreme Court Justices hear oral arguments concerning same-sex marriage cases. The Guide suggests different Prayers for each day, and the last is…Ask God to visit each of the Justices and speak His Words of comfort and conviction to them. Ask Him to bring someone into each of their lives who will remind them of their Accountability before God for their own souls and for the sake of the nation. Ask Him to work in a powerful way to bring to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ if they have never trusted Christ as their Savior. Ask Him to grant a…outpouring of His Spirit on each Justice so they may all be reminded of His Love, His Power, His Presence, and His Compassion. Ask Him to convince each Justice to uphold His (God’s) definition of marriage.”

Part of the societal dilemma is the vacillation within “The Church” (so-called). An example of this is a statement quoted in the Washington Post – December 2010 – where Sally Quinn wrote about the bent of an Episcopal Bishop. The summary of his remarks regarding Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19 - was: “Whatever else one makes of this story, it cannot be used to decry loving, committed, lifelong-intentioned, monogamous relationships between two people of the same gender. It is simply not about that kind of relationship. The story is about homosexual rape - and like any rape, it is an act of violence, not an act of sexuality. In short, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all references to it elsewhere in scripture, provide no guidance for modern day believers about the morality or immorality of same gender loving people. It simply does not offer an answer to the questions we are asking. (The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson is the IX Bishop of New Hampshire, in the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and a visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.)

One can only suppose that the Bishop and Ms. Quinn chose to ignore God’s Reason and Purpose in His decision toward the trends, questions and moral turpitude that resulted in His Judgments upon His Creation. There are at least two passages of the Holy Scriptures that the Bishop and Ms. Quinn ignored. The first passage is Genesis 6 as God observed the moral turpitude of that day. A summary is given in Genesis 6:5-8 (NLT), “Now the LORD observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart. And the LORD said: I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created. Yes, and I will destroy all the animals and birds, too. I am sorry I ever made them. But Noah found favor with the LORD.” The second passage is Romans 1:18-32 (NLT). A couple of thoughts from that passage are: “…God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves… they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused…So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies…they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved…God…abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done…”

This judgment of God can only be averted IF the human race begins to take a serious God seriously by turning to Him, repenting, seeking Him, forsaking their sinful ways and confessing their sins – God will show mercy and will forgive them and heal their land (See: II Chronicles 7:14). Consider these things with me.

Monday, March 25, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

The character of an individual is basic, vital and important. One would be served well if he/she was known as a person of virtue and integrity. It would be preferable to find one who has a strong moral persuasion and who is consistently principled in decisions that have impact upon self and others. Is it possible to find such a person? In the affairs of life, shouldn’t one be found as reliable and trustworthy? Is it too much to ask that a person stands for what is right and valid? Can one have confidence in another if that one rarely looks another in the eye when conversing and is vague and given to generalization rather than being direct and forthright? When a person talks about matters of urgency and import, shouldn’t we have the sense that what is being said is factual and reliable?

An illustration of the above was the vote of the United States Senate on a Budget Proposal – their first in more than four years. The Budget was approved very late at night (actually early morning) by the slimmest of margins – 50 to 49. The question is: Why was the vote so close? Why did some in the Majority Party vote in the negative? The analysis is that in the States they represent they are presently the minority party and they want to be re-elected for another term of office next year. If that analysis is true, then their vote was hypocritical. They did not vote out of conviction but out of convenience. Governments usually don’t operate by Biblical principles, ethics or scruples despite the fact that the oath of office once included “so help me God.” However, the secular government would do well to remind themselves of the words of Jesus in terms of one making or taking an oath. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus said: “…Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord…Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond that comes from the evil one.” On another occasion, Jesus said – John 8:44 – “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” One wonders what Jesus Christ might say to those who govern in this nation as well as in other nations. Jesus Christ is being denied and legislated against frequently by Local and National governing bodies. They do so without any fear of God and without any hesitance in terms of God’s Standards. Most are legislating out of Convenience rather than Conviction.

One other factor is vital at this point – the personal conscience of an individual. The conscience – “the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives…the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.” Can a person’s Conscience reach a point where it becomes dulled, indifferent and unconcerned regarding that which is an accepted moral compass? In terms of a religious foundation and conviction, The Apostle Paul notes in I Timothy 4:1-2, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” A “seared conscience” is one that has become cauterized and is no longer sensitive toward matters of right and wrong. A background for this text is Romans 2:14-16 where Paul wrote: “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” The thrust is that the Conscience will be reinvigorated and be vital in the crucial Day of Judgment – accusing or defending.

How is it with you? Are you known as a person of Conviction or Convenience? Are you known as one who wets his/her finger and extends it upward to determine which way the wind is blowing – and then – act accordingly? Or – are you known as one who is committed to the firm moral foundation of God’s Word, thus being a person of Conviction rather than one of Convenience? Consider these things with me!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

Polarization is a word that is used in several fields of study. As a result, it has various meanings and the context of the area dictates the definition. In the Cultural Dictionary,  Polarization has a particular definition, namely: “In politics, it is the grouping of opinions around two extremes.” We can readily see that in the government of the United States. There are Political Parties as well as sub-groups within those parties, such as – liberal or conservative or moderate. Among the more conservative are the “Blue Dog” Democrats and the “Tea Party” Republicans.

In the field of Science, Polarization has an entirely different classification and definition. In this area, it is defined as “the direction in which the electric field of an electro-magnetic wave points.” When it is considered in the area of Physics, the definition is “the process or phenomenon in which the waves of light or other electromagnetic radiation are restricted to certain directions of vibration, usually specified in terms of the electric field vector.”

The more pertinent consideration in this writing is to consider Polarization in terms of the narrower definition that states it as “a sharp division, as of a population group, into opposing factions.” Across the population in our nation and culture, there is a sharp divide that is taking place currently. It focuses on the classes and who should be taxed so that others can get their “fair share” (usually meaning entitlements and/or some form of redistribution of wealth gained from the “rich class”). We can see it almost constantly as a President blamed his predecessor for the recession; or the Minority Party stubbornly opposing the Majority will; or the Secret Service being the Cause of the White House Tours being suspended; etc. It is the old “blame game” that has gone on among siblings, children in the neighborhood, students in school, other employees in the work-place, other politicians in government. Few – if any – are welling to step forward and accept responsibility or blame.

Even sadder within our culture, is how this has infiltrated the religious community for several generations. Just ask yourself, “Why do church groups split?” The honest answer is that, more often than not, a power struggle emerges and the strong wills of people prevent any sound reason or reconciliation. The strong-willed assume a posture of “rule or ruin” and have little regard as it pertains to their conduct, ensuing action, or witness in the community. They want “their way” regardless of the cost. There is a denomination that split away from Group A, and formed Group B, which the following year split into Group C, and then twenty years later split again into Groups D-1 and D-2. There were always “reasons” given but the underlying issue was the “strong-willed” wanting “their way” regardless of the cost.

It is interesting to observe the Creation narrative in Genesis 3:1-15. God had created Man and Woman and placed them in a perfect environment with only one restriction – “Don’t eat any fruit from the Tree in the middle of the Garden.” The text states that “the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord had made.” He approaches Eve with an alternative to God’s decree – and – she succumbs. Not only that, but she makes the same offer to Adam – and – he succumbs. Why did they succumb? They came to realize that the fruit was “desirable for gaining wisdom.” And the first two actions that occur in their lives after they have succumbed is that (a) they realize they are naked, and (b) they decide to hide themselves for The Lord. When they are searched out and confronted by God in terms of what they have done, how do they respond? The “blame-game” begins. Adam responds: “The woman You put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Adam’s conclusion: “It’s Eve’s fault (or even more subtly, it’s God’s fault for putting that woman in the Garden with him).” Eve’s defense: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Her rational: “It’s the serpent’s fault (the creature You created).” The natural tendency seems to be ready to “blame” someone else – anyone else – rather than to accept personal responsibility for one’s actions and/or behavior. The beautiful message of the Lenten Season is that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God in Him. When we are reconciled, the cycle of blame is ended; condemnation is removed; and one is at peace with God. Consider these things with me.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


From My Perspective - - -

There are several instances of irrelevance in our culture. The political arena is a classic indicator of people who have learned political-speech but who find it difficult to state a direct answer to a particular issue or question. They give meaning to the hackneyed phrase: “they keep talking until they can think of something to say.” Part of what makes a politician come across as irrelevant includes: (a) his/her being in office for a prolonged period of time, and (b) a track record of having said one thing and compromising any reasonable principle just so they can “go along to get along.” Another area of irrelevance is the Media. News representatives no longer appear to be objective or willing to do investigative reporting. They have relegated themselves to the role of championing a point of view rather than delving into a matter and reporting facts and truth.

Irrelevance is a basis for great concern when it is evidenced in religious groups and ministries so-called. One would think that if there was one place in the world where facts and truth would be found – it would be The Church. It is sad to observe how the Culture has infiltrated the “church” rather than The Church having infiltrated the culture. However, even in “The Church”, there is a marked increase in subjectivism and tolerance of things that are not in accord with the core values and principles of the Christian faith. Areas and things that the Scriptures clearly condemn one will find that “the church” now condones. Things like same-gender marriage; lack of clarity regarding abortion; allowing for common-law unions rather than marriage; diminishing of the faithful proclamation of the Gospel; an absence and a failure to implement and practice Acts 20:27, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Or, The Message Paraphrase of Acts 20:26-27 statement: “I've done my best for you, given you my all, held back nothing of God's will for you.” Is this the policy and practice of “the church” you attend? Are you being faithfully schooled in “the whole counsel of God”? Does your “church” act as though it believes “The Word of God is the only infallible rule for faith and practice?”

After a five year study, the Barna Group reported in November 2011: “one out of nine young people who grow up with a Christian background lose their faith in Christianity – a group described by the research team as Prodigals…More commonly, young Christians wander away from the institutional church – the pattern researchers labeled Nomads…Roughly four out of ten young Christians fall into this category…Another two out of ten young Christians were categorized as Exiles – those who feel lost between the ‘church culture’ and the society they feel called to influence…Overall, about three out of ten young people who grow up with a Christian background stay faithful to church and to faith throughout their transitions from the teen years through their twenties…” In a more recent study, it was reported that only 31 percent of those with some religious interest attend any “church” regularly, and with the Catholic Church it is 24 percent who regularly attend.

During this Lenten Season, a common message and theme regarding Jesus Christ – His Triumphal Entry; His Betrayal; His Trial and Mistreatment; His Death; His Resurrection - will be expressed in most churches. Paul’s summary of ministry purpose is given in I Corinthians 15:3-4, “I delivered to you first of all that which I received – that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” This is the message that should be – must be proclaimed throughout the year. The Church that is faithful in declaring “the whole counsel of God” will do so upon the foundation of I Corinthians 15. Anything short of that – or less than that – is irrelevant. The Church is not called to make people happy and/or comfortable. The task is to lead people into righteousness and holiness. There are not enough “churches” concerned with the relevance of God’s Word in all matters of faith and life. In wanting the “church” to grow in numbers, they have sacrificed the core values and foundational truths and have allowed themselves to become irrelevant. Consider these things with me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


From My Perspective - - - 

Do you ever have a sense that no matter what you attempt to do you seem to be on the losing side? Do you ever feel that you are part of a cruel culture that seems to be headed on a crash course with history and destiny? Do you ever think that no matter how generous you are and regardless of the good you try to do that reciprocally - you rarely experience similar treatment or consideration? There are times when it seems as though we are living in a “dog-eat-dog” world where the sense of equity, fairness, kindness and generosity are diminishing rapidly.

The words of Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5:7 - “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” - are so obviously ignored by a culture and generation that is becoming more and more both narcissistic and nihilistic.  Matthew 5:7-9 in The Message Paraphrase - “You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'careful,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.” A question one can ponder: In a cultural drift towards decadence and personal demands is there any room left for Mercy to emerge and for the Mercenary Mentality to decline?

On a website called The Mercenary Trader, Their posted motto is: “A Community Of Ruthless Profiteers.” Their Mercenary Creed is also posted (and explained): “1) Thou shalt heed the price action; 2) thou shalt respect the risk; 3) Monitor thy equity curve; 4) Thou shalt go for the jugular; 5) Thou shalt focus on making money; 6) Thou shalt go short as well as long; 7) To thine own self be true.” With regard to Creed 2, there is this statement of purpose given: “When I was a child, I traded as a child, not giving proper respect to risk. But now I am a Mercenary, and so now I trade like a Mercenary, giving risk its proper due. My trading capital is my life force; like an aviator’s fuel or an ocean diver’s air supply, I shall monitor it with passion and precision. First I shall survive, for only then can I thrive; as Sun Tzu instructed, I shall wait by the side of the river for the bodies of my enemies to float by. In respecting the risk, I shall continue on as my enemies falter… and in surviving my opportunities shall multiply.”

The above creed is a very different attitude and purpose than that shared in II Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV), “…we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.” At this moment in time, it appears that the days immediately ahead are trending toward being more bleak than bright. Our culture has grown more accustomed to things and personal possessions or assets. For us, it may mean greater difficulty to adjust to less.

Our perspective as a people has become too myopic. Rather than a broad perspective, we have allowed for a narrow focus. Other nations in our world have coped with less and considerable hardship. How far have the American Churches drifted from the Macedonian Churches and their commitment to a higher purpose and a greater good? How many churches are we aware of who live by the model of II Corinthians 8? As part of your thinking, consider the size of the Church Buildings and Complexes that have become part of the religious climate of our times, and the “bragging rights” that seem to come from what has been built? Were the buildings erected to the Glory of God alone, or subtly, to the praise that comes to man/men? Was this done on the basis of The Mercenary Creed or on the basis of The Beatitudes? Consider these things with me.