Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Abstinence Doesn’t Work?

I’m not trying to be intentionally belligerent or even snarky, but I keep hearing this phrase from many non-believers, liberals and even some Christians. They keep saying that “abstinence doesn’t work”. Really? How is that exactly? The only woman in history whom I have ever heard about becoming pregnant while abstaining from sex is Mary the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord. I know of no other instance of a woman abstaining from sex and still getting pregnant.

Perhaps I have missed something or some evidence that suggest that abstinence does not prevent pregnancy and if so, I hope someone enlightens me quickly, because I have been telling both of my daughters for years that abstinence does work in preventing unwanted pregnancy. I want to ensure that if I’m wrong, that I stop doing this.

The truth of the matter is what really doesn’t work is disobedience! The bottom line with this “abstinence not working” issue is that the proponents of this policy are either lying or incredibly deceived (most often by the lure of “convenience”). They won’t shout the truth: “Disobedience Doesn’t Work”. That is what our children should be hearing. This is what has led to the explosion of teen sex and teen pregnancy that the “non-abstinence” crowd is supposedly trying to prevent. The problem with this approach is that it requires a judgment on behavior. Especially our children’s behavior. A judgment that tells our kids – no, shouts to our kids – that disobedience is wrong. Rebellious behavior doesn’t work! But we can’t have that. Instead we “dumb down” our kids by suggesting that they are going to have sex anyway, so give them condoms and birth-control.

I liken this issue to the following verse of scripture that speaks to our responsibility as Christians even to our own children: But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. (Matthew 18:6-7 NIV) If you are a parent reading this post, are you doing the tempting with “practical” offers of condoms and birth control?

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Message of Life or Death

I received a very disturbing comment from a reader who is very angry at my recent posts regarding the current situation in the Middle East. My message regarding the sovereignty of God in the midst of the Arab-Israeli war was not well received by this reader:

Curse your God and his "scriptures". People are suffering and all you talk about is "God's will". The world will not stand by and watch as Israel rapes Gaza. Call me Satan if you will, for even though he does not exist as an entity, he exists in the minds of the angry; and we are growing stronger by the hour. Each drop of blood spilled fills our hatred until one day, the state of Israel will burn. - Anonymous
Now I must state unequivocally that no sane person can take any solace in the death and destruction of human life. A Palestinian life lost is no less valuable than an Israeli life lost. However the issue here (as always) is what is this issue within God’s context? God’s context is always life! Not death. This blog is about putting things that transpire in our world within the context of God. The issue however is that these messages will be received in one of two ways. Here’s how the Bible puts it: But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NLT)

Christ died for all Palestinians, just like He died for all Jews…and for every reader of this message for that matter. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Attacks Kills Civilians?

After months of seeing it’s civilians shelled by rocket attacks from the Palestinian terror group Hamas, Israel today decided that enough was enough and launched a massive aerial attack on Hamas controlled Gaza City (in southern Israel). The attack has drawn predictable criticism by the anti-Israel media from around the world, with the emphasis being on the “many civilians” that have been killed. Never mind the fact that Hamas has been firing their rockets randomly at targets in Israel including civilians for months, as well as the fact that Hamas cowardly bases it’s headquarters in the middle of large civilian population centers (next to women and children) to be shielded from possible attacks.

Any civilian casualties in the midst of war is regrettable, however what are we to make of God’s view regarding such casualties? The Bible is replete with examples of God actually ordering the destruction of “civilians” in the midst of military attacks ordered by Him. A few examples below:

Deuteronomy 2:31-34
The LORD said to me, "See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land." When Sihon and all his army came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz, the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors.

Deuteronomy 3:1-3
Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei. The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors.

Deuteronomy 20:13-15
When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

Judges 21:10
So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.

1 Samuel 15:1-3
Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "

Ezekiel 9:3-5
Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.

If you listened to the "learned" in our world, all war is to be condemned. That in and of itself may be true. However few wars are started without a reason. The real question is whether the reason for the war is justifiable. Throughout the scriptures above, our Lord God saw it necessary to destroy the people of nations or tribes that were hostile to his Jewish people. His decrees were direct and complete. In many cases “civilian” casualties were not His concern.

There are those reading this post who will wonder how we can worship a “loving” God who permits these events? The simple answer is God is sovereign. He created all things. He decrees the beginning and end of all things. If our world were not hostile to God and His Son Jesus Christ, I can guarantee you that the atrocities of war would be non-existent. I have yet to see an example where God decreed the senseless destruction of His people because they worshiped Him. The story here is if you are hostile to God; hostile to the people of God: beware.

Writers Note: Somewhat unrelated to this post, I'd like to call your attention to the last scripture noted above (Ezekiel 9:3-5). I believe it is a prophetic scripture that points to the continuous distinction (with life altering consequences) that God makes between believers and non-believers.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Should We Say “Merry Christmas”?

Should we say “Merry Christmas” or just “happy holidays”? This issue has grown in intensity in recent years as our culture has simply become more godless… in the name of so-called “inclusion”. The saying goes: there are so many different kinds of people in our culture that it is offensive to wish others a “Merry Christmas”. What if they are not Christian? It has gotten to the point that at my daughter’s school, the kids have become so programmed that it was rare that anyone wished each other a “Merry Christmas” as they left for the “winter break”. What a shame.

I was thinking the other day…are they going to start calling December 25th “Winter Day” or some such nonsense?

All I will point out is that Jesus himself said in the Bible: "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8 NIV); elsewhere Jesus also said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NIV)

As you ponder at the next opportunity whether you should bury the urge to say “Merry Christmas” for fear of offending someone, give thought to the implication of offending Jesus in the process. Perhaps you might remember these additional words that He spoke as well: I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 12:4-5 NIV)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Israel's Current Valley of Dry Bones

Anyone who has read my posts knows that I focus a lot on the nation of Israel. I do so because in view of biblical focus, Israel is the physical center of God’s world. It is where Christ our savior was sent to be born, live and die for our sins and where He will come to again and reign in his future earthly government: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end… (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV)

I found the following paragraph captured from the News From Jerusalem website very instructive about the condition of modern day Israel’s standing in our current world. It was written in the aftermath of the recent Mumbai India terrorist attacks that among other atrocities singled out an Israeli center for particular carnage, executing 6 Jewish employees in the process.
Six decades after the Holocaust, with official commemoration of the (Jewish) genocide now instated in many of the world’s Western democracies, much of the world is engaging in a more or less concerted effort to delegitimize, demonize, and destroy the Jewish state with tacit or active Western participation. Diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists, and others who protest that they favor the “two-state solution” while singling out Israel for obsessive condemnation are as much a part of this mechanism as the bloody terrorists who are forthright about their aims.
I believe modern day Israel is a living example of what happens to people when they knowingly reject Jesus Christ as their Lord. The biblical gospel books detail how Jesus came “to his own”, but his own “received him not”. Toward the end of his Human Life, Jesus said this about Israel’s future after their rejection of Him as their Messiah: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' (Matthew 23:37-39 NIV)

God will not tolerate his creation’s rejection of Him. He is a loving, patient and merciful God who means what He says and says what He means. Despite Christ’s warning and subsequent carrying out of his prophecy above, He always allows for our repentance and reconciliation to Him. In the Biblical Book of Ezekiel, this is how God describes His future plan for Israel despite their current Devil-inspired calamities: God grabbed me. God's Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun. He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "Master God, only you know that." He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!'"...Then God said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they're saying: 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there's nothing left of us.' "Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, 'God, the Master, says: I'll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I'll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you'll realize that I am God. I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize that I am God. I've said it and I'll do it. God's Decree.'" (Ezekiel 37:1-4 & 11-16 The Message Bible)

Israel is an object lesson to people who have been living their lives rejecting Jesus Christ as their savior (their Messiah). You will suffer for that rejection, however Jesus always is available for your redemption. All you have to do is ask. Israel will be redeemed. Sometime in the future they will ask, and their God will redeem them and welcome them back with open arms. Now that you know He will do the same for you? Will you ask?

Note: A simple prayer for salvation is at the top right of this page

A God who sends people to Hell?