Persecution Fridays – Iran

July 22, 2011 at 9:38 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Life in Prison

In March 2009, Christian roommates Maryam Rustampoor, 29, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 32, were charged by the Iranian state with being “anti-government activists.” They spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison before being released in November 2009.

In the first interview since their release, the two discussed their life in prison with Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Iran…

Sermon Sunday – J. C. Philpot – Love in its Priceless Value and Unquenchable Strength

July 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Love in its Priceless Value and Unquenchable Strength

Preached at North Street Chapel, Stamford,
on August 31, 1862, by J. C. Philpot

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm– for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave– the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it– if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be despised.” Song of Solomon 8:6, 7

One of the surest marks of a new and heavenly birth is love; and one of the most certain evidences of alienation from the life of God is hatred. Do I speak thus decidedly merely as my own private opinion, which may be true or false, or do I utter it as a declaration in strict accordance with the oracles of God? What is the testimony of God himself on this point as revealed in the first Epistle of the beloved disciple? Does he not give love as an evidence of a new and heavenly birth? “Love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” (1 John 4:7.) And again “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” But what is also his testimony in respect of that counter-evidence which I have brought forward as a sure mark of alienation and death? “He that loves not his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14.) And this fatal mark, this death-spot, will stand against a man in spite of all his false light and all his false profession; for “He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now.”

But though love in the heart is a scriptural, and therefore infallible mark of a saving interest in the love and blood of the Lamb, and the sure fruit of a new and heavenly birth, yet the soul possessed of this indubitable evidence cannot always read the handwriting of God, though one might almost of it say, with this divine attestation in its behalf, that the Lord has himself “written the vision, and made it plain upon tables that he may run that reads it.”

Now there are several reasons why this evidence of grace is hidden in obscurity from the very eyes of its possessor.

1. Sometimes love both to the Lord and his people, for they rise and sink together, is in itself and to our apprehension very faint and feeble. It resembles in this the life of a babe that is ushered into the world in so feeble a state that it can hardly be pronounced whether it be alive or still-born. Or it may be compared, in this low condition, to a person taken out of the water, in whom for a time life seems as if extinct, and yet, by using due means, it may be and often is resuscitated. Thus the very feebleness of love, like the feebleness of life in a person drowned, obscures the evidence, though it does not destroy the reality of its existence.

2. Sometimes, again, love has to conflict with many corruptions. It is, in this state, like fire applied to damp stubble or weeds, as we see sometimes in the fields in autumn. When first lighted, and even for some time after, it often seems a matter of uncertainty whether the fire will be suffocated by the overlaying mass of weeds, or whether it will burn up brightly into a flame. So in the heart of the child of God, there is so much opposition to everything good; so many weeds of guilt, filth, and corruption seem to lie as a damp, wet mass over the life of God in the soul, and the smoke is so confusing and blinding, that he can at times hardly believe he has or ever had any true spiritual love either to the Lord or to his people.

3. Another reason is, that “the carnal mind” is still “enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Now as this carnal mind still continues in him unsubdued and unsubduable, its internal movements of enmity and rebellion hide or obscure the evidence that in the same bosom, in the new man of grace, there dwells heavenly love.

4. A fourth reason of the obscurity of this gracious evidence, not to mention others, is the presence of guilty fear; for where there is fear there is bondage, and where there is bondage there is torment; and this tormenting bondage, which can only be cast out by perfect love, seems to shut the eyes of the mind from seeing the faint spark of imperfect love which is in the heart in spite of the fear, the bondage, and the torment.

But though love in the heart of the child of God is often thus faint and feeble, though it has to struggle against so much opposition, and is so often damped by the corruptions incident to our fallen condition, through which, however, it strives to struggle, yet it is not the less love, and that, too, of a heavenly origin. As a proof that it is kindled by a divine hand and kept alight and alive by heavenly breath, we find that it is never extinguished in the heart to which it has been communicated, but goes on, like the smoking flax of which our Lord speaks, to burn, until at last it breaks forth into a bright and blessed flame; and then it is conspicuously manifested to itself and to others as the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

But while love is in this struggling state, seeking for some clear manifestation of its reality and power, and desiring, as true love ever must desire, the presence of him whom the soul loves, it will be venting itself from time to time in earnest breathings that the Lord would himself decide the doubtful case by shedding it abroad more fully in the heart; and thus, by some conspicuous display of his all-conquering grace, settle all the difficulty.

This breathing after some clear and conspicuous display of the Lord’s love seems to be very much to be the utterance of the Spouse in the words before us. Warmed and impelled by the gentle flame of love, she breaks forth– “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.” Her desire, as here thus passionately expressed, was to be blessed with nearness to the Lord Jesus Christ; to lie, so to speak, as warm and as close in his bosom as a seal which is worn next the breast; and not only so, but to have some conspicuous display of this love, by seeing and feeling herself borne as if on high by being bound upon his right arm, and there worn, forever worn, as a royal signet on a monarch’s hand– his jewel of ornament, his seal of authority, his ensign of power. She then goes on to explain, or rather to tell him, from the warmth of her own feelings, how strong love is. “Love,” she says, “is strong as death;” no, she adds, it is unquenchable, for “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” But tormented, as it were, with a fit of jealousy, which always is love’s sure accompaniment, she cries out. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave– the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.” Yet once more falling back upon the fountain of eternal love, whence she drew all her own affectionate warmth, and feeling what a priceless blessing the love of Christ is, she utters this expression of her sense of its sovereignty and unpurchasable nature– “If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly despised.”

In unfolding, however, the spiritual and experimental meaning of her warm and eloquent appeal to the Lord’s love and pity, I shall rather depart from the order of the words in which she uttered it and as I have thus far explained it, and shall bring before you spiritual love under four distinct aspects as they look out upon us in the text.

I. First, Love in its priceless value– “If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be despised.”

II. Secondly, Love in its unquenchable strength– “Love is strong as death.” “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”

III. Thirdly, Love in its cruel accompaniment– “Jealousy is cruel as the grave– the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.”

IV. Fourthly, Love in its sealed manifestation– “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.”

I. I have first, with God’s help and blessing, to show you Love in its PRICELESS VALUE. The Spouse declares, and, in declaring it, gives expression to a feeling to which all who know anything of love human or love divine will set their seal, that “if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be despised.”

A. Is this not true in HUMAN love? Can that be bought or sold, trucked away or exchanged, hawked about and haggled over at so much a pound, as so much saleable goods or merchandise? Is not love, even the faintest and feeblest that burns in a human heart, a possession so valuable and of a nature so peculiar that it cannot be purchased by any amount of earthly treasure?

1. Look, for instance, at wedded love. The foundation of all happiness in the married state must be mutual love between the husband and wife. For a woman, then, to sell herself for money to a man whom she does not love, or for a man to tie himself for life to a woman whom he dislikes or despises, for a little gold dust or a lump of thick clay, in what can such mercenary bargains end, and justly too, but mutual misery? Even with much mutual love, it is not always easy to bear with each other’s infirmities of temper, sickness, age, and other ills of life; but without love they must be an intolerable burden, especially when imagination paints what might, or would have been, the happy lot had another been the partner, and if grace is not at hand to furnish patience and submission to the present trial. But I am happy to say that I speak here not from experience, but from conjecture and observation.

2. Look, again, at the love which a mother bears to her babe. Is that a love to be bought or sold? Put into the poorest woman’s arms a nobleman’s heir– can she love it as she loves the offspring of her own womb? Why, the most miserable tramp that carries her crying babe under a cloak of rags loves it more than she would the heir of a noble, could the one be substituted for the other.

3. Nor is it less true of that sincere and hearty love which exists between friends who are warmly attached to each other upon any natural or spiritual ground; such love, I mean, as David speaks of in his funeral lament– “How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women!” (2 Sam. 1:26.) Is love like this to be bought or sold? All that Saul could have given David could not have purchased it. So we see, even of human love, that it is a treasure of such priceless value that it is not marketable; that it cannot be knocked down to the highest bidder, or purchased by all the gold in the mines of California or Australia.

B. But when turning our eyes from human we fix them on DIVINE love, then we seem to stand upon still safer, surer ground in pronouncing with the Bride, “If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be despised.” For what is the love spoken of here? We may view it chiefly as the love of Christ to his people; and of that love the apostle prays that the Ephesians might he “able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height! and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge.” Now a love which has breadths, and lengths, and depths, and heights, and when all these have been explored and measured, still “passes knowledge”– can such a love as this be purchased by any amount of worldly possession? If a man would give all the substance of his house for the love of Christ, would it not be utterly despised by him who is altogether lovely?

But to see the priceless value of this love, thus strongly and graphically expressed, let us glance at what it is in itself; and to do so more clearly, we will consider it under these two points of view– We will view it first, as love divine, that is, love as flowing eternally out of the bosom of the Son of God as God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the glorious Trinity; and then we will view it as love, we will not say human, but one peculiar to our blessed Lord, as uniting a sacred humanity with his own eternal Deity.

Now in the blessed Trinity, the mind and will, and therefore love of the three Persons in the Godhead must be one and the same, or else they would be divided in will and affection. The love, therefore, of God the Father, the love of God the Son, and the love of God the Holy Spirit toward the people of their eternal choice, must be one and the same, or there would be division in that essential attribute of the Godhead, love. In this point of view, the love of the Son to his people as God, is the same as the love of the Father and of the Holy Spirit– eternal, infinite, unchangeable.

But when we look at the love of Christ in a special manner as the love of him, who, in an incomprehensible yet most blessed manner, unites in one glorious Person Deity and humanity, then we come to a peculiar love; and this is the love of which our text speaks as unpurchased and unpurchasable.

C. But why should the love of Christ be of such priceless value? How and why should our blessed Lord love his people with a love so intense that if a man would give all the substance of his house for love like this, it would be utterly despised? To gain some clearer view of the heavenly mystery, let us look at some of its distinguishing features. The love spoken of is the love of Christ to his Church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25.)

1. The Church, was, however, given him by the Father, and thus we may say that he loves her as his Father’s peculiar and express GIFT. Thus the Lord addressed his heavenly Father in those touching words, “Yours they were, and you gave them to me. And all mine are yours and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them.” (John 17:6, 10.) Christ, then, loves the Church with conjugal love as being the special gift of his heavenly Father.

It was from all eternity the purpose of God the Father to glorify his dear Son, and to manifest him to all created intelligences both in heaven and in earth “as the brightness of his glory and the express image of his Person.” In accordance with this divine purpose, the Father determined to give him a people in whom he should be glorified, that every divine perfection might be brought to light, and shine conspicuously forth in the face of Jesus Christ. God being essentially invisible, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man has seen or can see,” his glorious, or to speak more correctly, his gracious perfections are invisible too. It is true that “his eternal power and Godhead,” as the apostle speaks, “are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Rom. 1:20); but those inner perfections, those tender and gracious attributes such as his mercy, pity, loving-kindness, goodness, and truth, could only be made known as revealed in the face of his dear Son. He therefore gave him a Church to be his spouse and bride; united her to him by eternal covenant; prepared for him a body which he should in due time assume; and thus by coming forth from the bosom of the Father as his own Son, taking our nature into union with his own divine Person, our blessed Lord reveals and reflects every perfection of the Godhead. I often bring these things before you with the desire and intention that you may be well established in the truth, and thus not fall a prey to every error and heresy which come flying abroad on the wings of novelty. Jesus then loves the Church with all the peculiar love of a Husband as a most precious gift of his heavenly Father, that he may be glorified in her, and she may be glorified in him, and thus an eternal revenue of glory arise to his God and her God.

2. But again, he loves the Church as his by PURCHASE. The Church sank in the Adam-fall in such depths of degradation and apostasy, such alienation from the life of God, such sin and guilt and misery as neither heart can conceive, nor tongue express. The image of God in which man had been created was completely marred and defaced; all will or power of recovery was utterly lost; and nothing seemed to await her but that flaming sword which should send body and soul to eternal destruction. Here, then, redemption was necessary, unless the Church should forever lie under the guilt of the fall, and the chosen spouse of Christ perish with the rest of Adam’s ruined race.

But who was able to redeem her? Whom would God accept as the Goel? What price would he require? We need not ask. The Goel, the next of kin, is the Lord who has taken her flesh and blood; the price he has paid not less than his own heart’s blood. And does not this make her doubly dear to the Lord, that as she was his by the Father’s gift, she became as if doubly, additionally his by his own purchase? She was to him a costly gift, for after he had received her he could not for his honor’s sake, his love’s sake, let her go; no, though to redeem her cost him the deepest agonies of body and soul, pangs of grief which made ministering angels wonder, and his pure body to sweat blood at every pore.

3. But he loves the Church also as his by CONQUEST. She was surrounded by foes– sin, Satan, death, and hell; and all these arrayed in arms against her with deadly hatred and destructive force. But every one of those foes must be subdued before she could rise up into the enjoyment of his eternal love. Our Lord fought the bloody battle for her. He fought against sin and overcame it by the cross; he fought against Satan, and by death destroyed him who had the power of death; and when he went up on high stripped him and all his principalities and powers of their usurped dominion. He fought against death, and conquered the King of terrors by laying down his own life. He overcame the grave by lying in it; and vanquished hell by enduring its pangs on the tree. Thus the Church is his by fair conquest. He fought, he won, and she is the prize of the victory.

4. But she is his also by possession. He has redeemed her and bled for her; he has fought and conquered for her; and who shall say that he has not fairly won her? But to win is not to possess. It is in heavenly as in earthly courtship. To win the maid is not to possess the wife. If wooing wins the heart, marriage secures the hand. So with the Lord and his bride. He wins by conquest; he woos by grace; but he secures by possession; for when he reveals himself in his beauty and glory, he gains possession of every affection of the believing heart.

This, in a gracious sense, antedates the marriage, for that is not yet come, nor will until that great and glorious day when the sound shall be heard through the courts of heaven, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7.)

Love like this certainly must be of priceless value. For if the Son of God laid down his precious life to redeem her from the power of sin, death, and hell, she must be of unspeakable value in his eyes; and the love which carried him through all this scene of woe must indeed be, as the apostle speaks, “love that passes knowledge.” If, therefore, a man would give all the substance of his house for this love, it would be utterly despised. Does this not hold good even naturally? If a large estate, consisting of many thousand acres of land with a noble mansion upon it, were to be offered for sale in this neighborhood, and a man went into the auction-room and offered a hundred dollars for the whole estate, would he not be hissed and almost kicked out of the room as drunk or insane? At any rate, would not such an offer be “utterly despised” by the seller and by all who know anything of the value of the property? So we may say in a spiritual sense– if a man comes before the Lord and says, “What is this love of yours to be sold for? Here is my body– shall I give my body to be burnt? Will that buy it?” “No!” has not the Lord already decided this point by the declaration of the apostle, “Though I give my body to be burned and have not love, it profits me nothing?” “Shall I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, give all my property away in charity, go into a monastery, wear sackcloth, and be under strict rule of penance and silence all the rest of my life? Will not that buy this love?” “No!” the Lord still replies, “It profits nothing.” “It would be utterly despised!” “Shall I devote to obtain it every faculty of my mind and body, toil and toil after it night and day with a whole army of tears and cries– will not this help me to win at last this heavenly love?” “No!” says the Lord; “even that would be utterly despised.”

Not that any man really does this or attempts or means to do it, for all these exertions of the creature, could they be accomplished, would be not to win the love of Christ but to establish its own righteousness– and were a man to make such sacrifices out of a principle of love to the Lord, it would show that the Lord had touched his heart by his grace. But assuming that a man gave all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly despised.

D. But this will be still more plainly seen if we take a glance at its peculiar and wondrous character.

1. This love is INFINITE as being the love of an infinite God. But what is man? A finite creature at the best, even were he not a defiled, polluted worm of earth. Then all he can offer is the offering of a finite creature; and can infinite love be purchased by a finite price?

2. Again, man’s love is changeable. He cannot ensure, if he begins to love, that he will go on loving up to the end. Are there not a thousand objects to catch his roving affections, and have we not already had proof upon proof that human love is as fickle as the wind, and as changeable as the weather? Can he, then, buy IMMUTABLE love, by changeable love? To say the least of it, the love of Christ to his people is from everlasting to everlasting, and all that man’s love can be is just now and then a scrap of thought, or a struggling remnant of affection gathered up and thrown to the Lord as snatched from other objects and other purposes.

If man will, then, attempt such a barter, need he wonder if it “be utterly despised?” The Lord may well say to all such bargainers what he said of old to those who offered polluted bread upon his altar– “And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto your governor; will he be pleased with you, or accept your person? says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:8.) Try your bargains with your fellow-men. Offer an Australian miner a rusty nail for his golden nugget. Offer the jeweler a penny for a diamond.

3. But this love is PURE and HOLY, because it is the love of him who is, in his divine nature, “glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders,” and in his sacred humanity “a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” (Exod. 15:11; 1 Peter 1:19.) But at the very best, all man can give is love stained and polluted with indwelling corruption. May we not, then, well come to the conclusion that “if a man would give all the substance of his house for this love, it would be utterly despised?”

Who, then, is to have it? Who is to have any interest in, who is to win any possession of love like this? If it is beyond all price and all purchase, who of the sons of men can hope to possess it? To this we answer– it may be given as a gift which cannot be bought at a price. This is just the conclusion to which I wish to bring you, that being unpurchasable this love is a gift, sovereign, distinguishing, and free– sovereign in its source, distinguishing in its objects, free in its disposal.

II. But this description of the wondrous nature of the love of Christ brings us to our next point, which is to show Love in its unquenchable STRENGTH. “Love is strong as death;” “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”

By these two striking figures the Holy Spirit sets forth the strength of the love of Christ. We will look at them separately.

A. The first comparison is taken from the strength of DEATH.

1. TEMPORAL death. It is as if the blessed Spirit searched for a figure whereby to convey to our mind most strongly, clearly, and expressively the amazing strength of the love of Christ. How strong death is! How, like the scythe of the harvest-man, it never ceases swinging until it has mowed the whole crop down! How many generations, for instance, have lived in this ancient town since it was called by its present name! And where are they now? Mowed down by the strong arm of death. But not only here. Thousands, and millions, and myriads of millions have all fallen before this scythe since Adam fell. It will be too strong for every person here. You and I, and all who now breathe the vital air and tread this earthly ball, will sooner or later fall before this merciless, unsparing conqueror of the whole human race!

Youth is strong, but how much stronger death often is; for it mows down the young as well as the old. Health may be strong, but death is stronger still; for how often “One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well nourished, the very picture of good health.” (Job 21:23, 24.) Medicine is strong; and yet how, in spite of all the aids and appliances of the medical art, death goes on to seize victim after victim, and lays them in the grave. Resolutions are strong; but O how death sweeps away all resolutions with the chilling blast of his lips, and tramples down promises with his giant feet as the mower tramples down the weeds in the field as he mows down the grain before him.

Who was stronger than Samson? But death was stronger than he, yes, stronger than the pillars of the house of Dagon which he pulled down over his head. Who was wiser than Solomon? Yet all his wisdom saved him not from the grasp of death. Who lived longer than the antediluvians– some more than 800, some than 900 years? And yet, when we read the number of their years, it seems as if at the end of every verse which records their age, death tolled their funeral knell. “And he died”– “and he died”– “and he died!” falls with hollow sound on the ear.

Two only of all men since sin entered into the world, and death by sin, have escaped and proved stronger than he. One is Enoch, who “was translated that he should not see death, and was not found because God had took him away” (Heb. 11:5); and the other Elijah, who was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire.

How strong, then, that love must be which is as strong as death; yes, in a sense, stronger still, for our blessed Lord’s love was even stronger than death, for it was not overcome by it, but rather overcame it. No, he proved himself, as the Lord of life, not only stronger than death, but stronger than death’s Master, for “through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14.) On the cross he grappled with death, and by dying overcame him who had overcome all; and then rising triumphantly from the grave, proclaimed the victory won, of which he had spoken in anticipation– “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25, 26.) Thus the blessed Lord took the sting out of him who had stung all to death; and robbed him of his victory who, as the King of terrors, had erected his throne of conquest over slaughtered millions.

2. SPIRITUAL death. But there is another death over which the Lord’s love triumphed, for his love being “strong as death,” is stronger than all deaths, and that is, death in SIN– the alienation of fallen man from the life of God as the consequence of the fall. But how strong is that death! How death in sin, alienation from the life of God, holds thousands and tens of thousands in its fast embrace; and is so strong that nothing can break it up but the power of God, through our blessed Lord’s mediation, quickening the dead soul, and thus overcoming that death in sin which holds fast in chains all the human race.

3. ETERNAL death. But there is a third death– and his love is stronger than that also– I mean eternal death– what the scripture calls “the second death,” even full and final banishment from the presence of God into that dreary abode of everlasting woe “where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched.” But the love of Christ is stronger even than that, for he endured the wrath of God in his own Person on the tree, and by enduring the miseries of the second death under the hidings of his Father’s countenance, proved that love in his bosom was stronger than the very pangs of hell. How strong, then, must be that love which is stronger than temporal death, stronger than spiritual death, stronger than eternal death!

But by her description of love, “as strong as death,” we may understand the Bride to express the strength of her own love to the Lord as well as that of his to her, for she speaks of a peculiar quality of all love that is really divine. Now as her love is a reflection of his, as such it is of divine origin; for “love is of God” (1 John 4:7), and is “shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 5:5.) Her love, therefore, is strong as natural death, and we may say stronger, for death that will destroy the body cannot destroy the soul, nor the love of God which has been shed abroad in it. Yes, it is stronger than spiritual death, for it lives and loves in spite of it now; and than eternal death, for it will triumph over it in the resurrection morn.

B. But the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the Bride, uses another figure to set forth the insuperable strength of love divine. “Many WATERS cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”

Two ideas are, in fact, couched under these words. 1, That of fire, which many waters cannot quench; 2, Of life, which many floods cannot drown. Let us look at each separately.

Our blessed Lord came into this world on an errand of love. “Then said I, Lo! I come [in the volume of the book it is written of me”– the book written by the finger of eternal love] “to do your will, O God.” (Heb. 10:7.) But in the execution of this will he had to wade through deep waters. Hear his own dolorous cries as he waded through them, and well near sank under them! “Save me, O God; for the waters have come into my soul.” (Psalm. 69:1.) It was not an easy conquest that the Lord gained over sin, death, and hell. He had to endure what no heart can conceive or tongue express; for as the prophet speaks, “The Lord laid on him,” or, as we read in the margin, “made to meet on him,” “the iniquities of us all.” (Isa. 53:6.) Thus, as a mighty flood, all the iniquities of God’s people were made to meet on the head of Jesus. Here the innocent sufferer cried out, “All your waves and your billows have gone over me.” (Psalm. 42:7.)

But we will consider these “waters” a little more closely and distinctly.

1. First view the waters of affliction in which our blessed Lord had to wade, as it were, up to his very neck. From the manger to the cross, from Bethlehem to Calvary, what was our Lord’s life but a scene of constant affliction and sorrow? “He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Grief and our blessed Lord were intimate friends– bosom companions, never separated until the dying cry, “It is finished!” proclaimed to heaven and earth that the work of salvation being accomplished, grief was gone, and now nothing remained but “the joy set before him for which he endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Heb. 12:2.)

2. But view the expression, “waters,” as signifying opposition made to the flame of love, for the idea evidently is of water being naturally opposed to fire and used to quench it. The bride then seems to seek for a figure which shall express the insuperable strength of love against all opposition; and she therefore compares it to a hidden fire which burns and burns unquenched and unquenchable, whatever be the amount of water poured upon it. Thus the figure expresses the flame of holy love which burned in the heart of the Redeemer as unquenchable by any opposition made to it.

In this sense we may view the coldness, deadness, and unbelief of his people, as opposing the love of Christ. How soon is earthly love cooled by opposition! A little ingratitude, a few hard speeches, cold words or even cold looks, seem often almost sufficient to quench love that once shone warm and bright; and how often, too, even without these cold waters thrown upon it does it appear as if ready to die out of itself. But the love of Christ was unquenchable by all those waters. Not all the ingratitude, unbelief, or coldness of his people could quench his eternal love to them. He knew what the Church was in herself, and ever would be; how cold and wandering her affections, how roving her desires, how backsliding her heart! But all these waters could not extinguish his love. It still burnt as a holy flame in his bosom, unquenched, unquenchable.

But the words will apply also to her love as well as to his, for as many waters could not quench the love of Christ, so many waters cannot quench love to Christ. Her love, like his, has many waters cast upon it; sometimes from the world– that worldly multitude without and within, which is compared to “many waters” in the description of “the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet,” whose judgment John was called to see (Rev. 17:1); sometimes from the opposition in her carnal mind to all good, which as water to fire, is opposed to the holy flame of spiritual love which would burn in her bosom.

C. But the Holy Spirit uses even a stronger term than waters to set forth the opposition made to the love of Christ. It is as though he would intensify the expression by bringing forward a figure of still deeper import. “Neither can the FLOODS drown it.” The idea expressed here is that of a life so strong that all the floods that swell and roar and rush tumultuously over it cannot drown it. There is life in love; an undying, indestructible life. Thus the eternal life of Christ was in his eternal love; and as this life could not die, this love could not be drowned. But look at the floods which swept over it!

1. View first the dreadful wrath of God which our blessed Lord had to endure in the garden. Hear him crying, “Let this cup pass from me,” as if it were filled with such intense bitterness that he shrank from it in dismay. Who can conceive the floods of intolerable wrath which burst, so to speak, upon his sacred head, when upon the cross, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, he had to endure the fury of God due to them all? Who can realize any just or adequate idea of the intolerable pangs of hell which those sins merited and which he endured; or the dreadful displeasure of God as manifested in the withdrawing from him of the light of that countenance, in which he had never before seen anything but ineffable complacency and infinite love? How the distress and agony endured by the blessed Lord are expressed by him in the words of that Psalm which so peculiarly sets forth his sufferings, “I sink in deep waters, where there is no standing– I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” (Psalm 69:2.) The “deep mire where there is no standing” is the same as “the horrible pit and miry clay” spoken of in Psalm 40, and signifies that overwhelming sense of the wrath of God under which he sank as into a deep and horrible pit of miry clay to which there was no bottom.

2. View, again, with me, SATAN flooding our blessed Lord with every kind of abominable temptation. We read of Jesus being “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15.) He must, then, have felt all the weight and power of the temptations of Satan in all points, as indeed we know he did in the wilderness. But though these floods rolled with dreadful weight over his soul, they did not and could not drown the life of his love.

3. But view also the floods of UNGODLY MEN which often make us afraid, but did not daunt his holy heart nor damp his blessed confidence. David, personating the Lord in his suffering character, says, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about– the snares of death confronted me.” (Psalm 18:4, 5.) But in this extremity he cried to the Lord and obtained deliverance– “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God– he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” (Verse 6.) So our blessed Redeemer, “when he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, was heard in that he feared” (Heb. 5:7); and thus these floods did not drown the life of love in his holy soul.

Nor can they drown the life of love in a believer’s heart. It is as true of the love of the Church to Christ as of the love of Christ to the Church, that many floods– floods of opposition, trial, temptation, inward and outward ungodliness– which would sweep away every vestige of earthly love, cannot quench the flame or drown the life of love that is really divine.

III. But we have now to view Love in its CRUEL ACCOMPANIMENT– “Jealousy is cruel as the grave– the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.”

A. Jealousy is for the most part the accompaniment of love; and the warmer the love, the hotter the jealousy. Where there is no love, there is no jealousy; but where love exists, jealousy is for the most part its invariable companion. As it is in human, so in divine love– jealousy is ever the accompaniment of love divine.

1. View it, then, first, as being in the very heart of Christ; for love being in the heart of Christ, jealousy will be there too. But in his case it is not mixed with sin and infirmity, as in us, but is a holy jealousy, which we may rather call zeal. Thus we read of the Lord being “clad with zeal as a cloak” (Isa. 59:17); and the Church asks him, “Where is your zeal and your strength?” (Isa. 63:15.) No, we find God speaking of himself, not only as zealous but jealous– “I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Exod. 20:5); he declares that “his people provoke him to jealousy” (Deut. 32:16); and that he “stirs up jealousy like a man of war.” (Isa. 42:13.) This zeal or jealousy our blessed Lord eminently felt. “Zeal for your house has consumed me!” (John 2:17.)

But this zeal or jealousy the Bride calls “cruel as the grave.” O how cruel the grave is, has been, and ever will be, as long as there is a grave left on earth to swallow up in its devouring throat the remains of a fondly loved object of affection! How cruel the grave seems to be that swallows up the beloved husband or the fond, affectionate wife; the blooming daughter in the flower of youth and beauty, or the brave, manly son in the very prime and vigor of life. How cruel the grave that often separates lovers when perhaps the wedding day has been fixed. All is fond anticipation, but death comes; the cruel grave opens its mouth, and the intended bride or bridegroom is stretched in that gloomy abode. O how cruel the grave is– sparing no age or sex, pitying no relationship, divorcing the tenderest ties, and triumphing over all the claims of human affection.

But jealousy is as cruel as this cruel grave. How can this be true? What cruelty can there be in jealousy comparable to the cruelty of the all-devouring grave? Its cruelty consists in this, that nothing but the removal of the rival can assuage its torments. “Jealousy,” says Solomon, “is the rage of a man; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” (Prov. 6:34.)

Take this feature then first as regards the Lord’s jealousy. There are rivals to the love of his heart– the world, sin, and self. The Lord’s jealousy, therefore, burns against them. Any favor shown to the rival is injustice to the true lover; jealousy, therefore, must and will put it out of the way. Thus if the Lord takes away from us any portion of this world’s good, strikes a deadly blow at our sins, or cuts off the right arm of self; it is but like a jealous lover stabbing a rival and letting out his heart’s blood on the pavement. Still, as coming in this severe way, the stroke seems cruel, though really dealt in mercy. Thus Job complained, “You have become cruel to me.” (Job 30:21.) So the Lord says, “I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one.” (Jer. 30:14.)

But there is something more said about this jealousy– “The coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.” What a tormenting passion is jealousy! tormenting to its miserable possessor, and tormenting to all within its reach and influence! A jealous wife! can there be a greater trial to a husband? How Abraham, how Jacob suffered under this house scourge, when Sarah was jealous of Hagar, and Rachel of Leah! And many a good man has had to endure almost a life of misery from the same cause, scarcely daring to look or speak for fear of this home torment. Truly “its coals are coals of fire which has a most vehement flame.”

But the jealousy in our text seems to be rather a godly jealousy, as the apostle speaks of himself– “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy.” (2 Cor. 11:2.) So sometimes a holy, godly jealousy burns very hot in a Christian’s bosom. “The coals thereof are coals of fire,” which has not an ordinary but “a vehement flame.” It is literally, in the original, “the flame of God;” that is, it is a flame which has God for its author and God for its end; and as such it will burn up everything contrary to God and godliness. If you love the Lord with any warmth of holy affection and godly jealousy, and are pining for some manifestation of his love, you will be jealous of everything which intercepts the beams of his favor; and your jealousy will burn with a vehement flame against everything which makes the Lord hide from you the light of his countenance.

If you loved a person very much, but were doing something which sadly grieved his heart, and he in consequence felt it necessary to carry himself coldly towards you, would you not put away that thing, whatever it were, which intercepted his love? It might cost you a great sacrifice, and there might be a hard struggle between the love of self and the love of the individual; but jealousy would come to your help, and with its vehement flame would burn up that which hindered the affection of the beloved object and intercepted its expression; and this in proportion to your love, for the more loved the object, the more vehement is the flame of jealousy to burn up everything which comes in the shape of a rival.

Don’t you think if a young woman was warmly attached to a young man and he to her, and he saw something in her which made him act coldly towards her, she would if she knew it avoid that conduct which damped or restrained his love? But suppose that she saw him inclined to pay attention to another, would not her jealousy make her still more decided to win back his affection at any cost or sacrifice? Thus though jealousy has its torments, it is not without its benefits.

So, though the Church here was languishing and complaining, yet the very expression of her jealousy, showed there was a depth of affection in her heart which could not be satisfied, but by some personal manifestation of the Lord’s presence and love. This made her jealous of all or any who were enjoying what she longed for.

Do you not sometimes feel the same? When, for instance, you learn that the Lord has blessed, say, a dear friend of yours, under some sermon which you heard too, and yet did not bless you; sent the word with power into his heart, and sent you home barren and wretched, was it not almost like Rachel looking at Leah with a fine babe in her arms and she a barren wife? What jealousy, with its coals of fire and its vehement flame, tormented your mind! But if it is all one to you whether you hear the word with power or not, if you can sit and sleep under a sermon with all the coolness possible, and never feel jealousy over yourself or jealous against another more favored than you, what does it show? That you have not a grain of love toward the blessed Lord– for had you a particle of love, you would have a grain of jealousy with it; and one grain of jealousy would burn like a live coal in your bosom, and make you dissatisfied with everything but the Lord’s presence and manifested blessing to your own soul.

IV. But time admonishes me to proceed to our fourth point, Love in its sealed manifestation“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.”

The Spouse could not be satisfied with knowing that love was strong as death, and being perfectly convinced that many waters could not quench it, nor all the floods drown it; still less could she be satisfied with cruel jealousy and being burnt and consumed in that most vehement flame. She wanted a sealed manifestation of this love to her soul, and therefore breaks out, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.”

In opening up these words, let me take a few scriptural illustrations to show the mind and meaning of the Spirit in using the figure of the SEAL.

A. In ancient times, pen, ink, and paper, such common implements with us, were little known. Seals, therefore, were much used for various purposes not now required, and being thus constantly needed, were often worn upon the wrist or finger. The Spouse, therefore, using the figure, begs of the Lord to “set her as a seal upon his HEART, and as a seal upon his arm,” that she might have those precious things revealed to her heart and conspicuously displayed, which are signified by her figurative language.

1. A seal in Scripture sometimes signifies a thing that is secret or hidden from view. Thus we read of a book that is “sealed,” which “men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I beg you; and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed.” (Isa. 29:11.) To understand this, we should bear in mind that books in ancient times were not divided into pages, but were written on a long continuous roll, and that when rolled up a seal was sometimes put on its end, of which the consequence was, that it could not be opened, and thus its contents were completely concealed, and the whole locked up under a seal of secrecy.

Thus the Lord’s love is a hidden, a secret love. Nor can this love be known, as being hidden in the bosom of Christ, until revealed to the soul; but when inwardly and experimentally revealed, then the seal is opened and the book read; and in that book every line is then seen to be dipped in blood and love.

2. But a seal also has another meaning in Scripture; it signifies what is secure as being closed up. “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” As water is very scarce and precious in the East, the proprietor of a well often secured it from being stolen by rolling a large stone to the mouth, and putting a seal upon it for surer preservation. Thus when Pilate told the Pharisees to secure the sepulcher of the Lord that the disciples might not steal his body away, “they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch.” (Matt. 27:66.) In that sense, therefore, sealing signifies security. Thus the Bride longed to see and feel her eternal security stamped on Christ’s heart and openly displayed on Christ’s arm.

3. In another sense the figure of a seal is used to mean ratification, attestation; as we ratify a deed by putting our seal to it. So we read of the “sealed evidence” of the purchase of the field, which Jeremiah in the prison bought of his uncle’s son. (Jer. 32:14.) This is spiritually the sealing “witness of the Spirit to our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16); and is spoken of by the apostle in these words– “In whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13.)

Now in these three senses, the Spouse cries, “Set me as a seal upon your heart.” The bride longed to be near to Christ’s heart, to have, as it were, her name deeply cut on his breast. There is an allusion here to the ephod of the High Priest under the law which was suspended on his shoulders by two onyx stones, bearing the names of the tribes of Israel, six on each stone. But besides this, he wore also a breastplate, in which there were twelve precious stones, four in a row, and on each, “like the engravings of a signet,” was cut the name of a tribe of Israel. (Exod. 28:11, 21.) So our great High Priest bears engraved on his heart the names of his dear people; and in allusion to this, the bride says, “Set me as a seal on your heart” that I may be presented before the throne as worn on your bosom before the Lord continually.

B. But she also says, “Set me as a seal upon your ARM.” The King’s seal was very precious in his eyes and those of his subjects. Thus, speaking of a wicked king of Israel, the Lord says, “Though Jehoiakin, the son of Jehoiakim, were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck you thence” (Jer. 22:24); and so again, “O Zerubbabel, my servant, I will make you as a signet” (Hagg. 2:23), that is as precious and valuable as a king’s seal. We may well understand that a signet in those days, being the king’s seal to ratify and attest every deed, was peculiarly valuable, as stamping it with royal authority, and without which it could not be valid. Thus Joseph had the King’s ring put on his hand, to stamp all his acts in the King’s name and by his authority. For the signet was usually worn on the arm as a kind of bracelet, that it might be more conspicuous than a ring on the finger.

Thus the bride says, “Set me as a seal upon your arm openly and visibly, that I may not only be borne on your bosom as a sweet pledge of love there, but worn on your arm as enjoying some conspicuous manifestation of your love.” Nothing, then, could satisfy her but these two choice blessings– the one inward, the other outward; the one in Christ’s heart, the other on Christ’s arm– love in all its secret reality, love in all its conspicuous manifestation.

Now can you enter at all into the language of our text? Have you any of the feelings expressed in it? Have I given utterance this morning to any secret thoughts of your mind, any warm desires of your soul? If I have, may the Lord add the blessing.

Persecution Friday: Iran

February 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

 Iran: Seven Christians Released

Seven Iranian Christians were released from prison on bail on Saturday, Jan. 29. Four women were released from Tehran’s Evin prison, and two men and a woman were released in the city of Isfahan three days earlier. The seven spent one month in prison after being arrested along with 31 other Christians on Dec. 26, 2010. Some of the other 31 have since been released. All were arrested simply because they are Christians.

The seven reported they spent 34 days in solitary confinement and endured hours of interrogation. They were tortured psychologically. It is likely that the other 26 Christians still in prison are in solitary confinement and are also facing interrogation.

Two of those who remain in prison are Rasool and Maryam Abdolahi, whose arrests left their two children to live as orphans. While Maryam was able to call her children from prison, the traumatized children have not heard from their father in more than 34 days. All of the other prisoners were able to call their families. Church leaders are extremely worried about Rasool.

Iran Christians
21 of the 33 Christians arrested.
(click to enlarge)

At least 26 other Christians are still in prison, including Yousef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death for apostasy. Two couples, Vahik and Sonia Abrahamian and Srash and Arezoo Kermanjani, have been in prison in Hamadan for nearly four months. Two others, Mojtaba Keshavarz and Shahin Rostami, have been held in Arak for more than three months. Church members are concerned for their health. Sonia is suffering from the poor conditions in prison, and Shahin is diabetic.

The women released in Tehran were Ladan Nouri, Nasrin Hosseini-nia, Anahita Zare and Sara Akhavan. Sara Akhavan’s family gave up their trade license in exchange for her bail, and if authorities decide she has broken bail, the family’s livelihood will be gone. Sadly, the trade license was not valuable enough to secure bail for Sara’s sister, Leila, who remains in prison. Rafi Nadipoor, Basir Amini and Yasaman Yar-Ahmadi were released in Isfahan.

Continue to pray for Christians in Iran, who face extreme pressure under the government’s new policy of “religious cleansing.” “We felt [your] presence alongside us,” said an Iranian Christian who spent months in prison. “Don’t think that your prayers are unimportant.”

Why do you go to church?

December 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about something and anyone who reads this blog knows that it means trouble….

Over the past year, I’ve been looking for a church. I have been to a few churches and they’ve been full of nice people, and yet, I’ve not been able to find a church that has what I am looking for in a church. Let me state again, the churches that I’ve been to are full of very nice people, but it’s not enough. My search is especially frustrating because I live in the “Bible belt” of the United States. Here, there is a church on every street corner (this is almost literal). Here, going to church is a regular part of life. But, as I’ve studied scripture, I’ve noticed that the reason we go is very important. Even more important is what goes on there. Continue Reading Why do you go to church?…

Persecution Friday: Iran – Pastor Charged with Apostasy

November 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Iran: Pastor Charged—Apostasy

The Assize Court of the province of Gilan, in Iran, has officially charged Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani with denying that Mohammed was a prophet. The court stated that this resulted in apostasy because Nardarkhani believes in Jesus and has shared his faith with others, according to The Voice of the Martyrs.

The indictment, which was issued by a public prosecutor in the presence of a jury, stated, “He has frequently denied the prophet hood of the great prophet of Islam and the rule of the sacred religion of Islam. … He has proven his apostasy by organizing evangelistic meetings and inviting others to Christianity, establishing a house church, baptizing people, expressing his faith to others and denying Islamic values.”

According to court documents, when Pastor Youcef was asked about his faith, he told authorities, “Since I was born in a Muslim family, I was Muslim until I converted to Christianity at the age of 19.” He openly acknowledged accepting Jesus Christ. Continue Reading Persecution Friday: Iran – Pastor Charged with Apostasy…

Newslinks 05/30/10

May 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Palin supports Arizona crackdown on illegals
As calls spread for an economic boycott of Arizona, the state’s governor enlisted the help of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday to defend a new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Pro-life groups find useful tool in Obamacare
Pro-life proponents are using a provision in the new health reform law to limit abortion coverage by private insurers.

Birth rate drops, problems rise
According to newly released government statistics, the U.S. birth rate has dropped below replacement level.

Game-fixing charges
A Pennsylvania man is accused of trying to bribe referees to rig basketball games in favor of the church team he coached.

‘Cry of the Orphan’ Kicks Off 2010 Campaign
Americans nationwide will gather throughout this week to pray for the needs of the children, workers and families of the foster care system as pro-adoption ministries ban together to raise awareness of the orphan crisis.

Evangelicals Urge Caution in Probing Moroccan Crackdown

Appeals Court Refuses to Rehear Ky. Commandments Case

Atheist Groups Condemn Stealing of Mojave Cross

Judge Proposes June 16 for Date of Prop 8 Closing Arguments

Haggards Incorporate St. James Church in Colorado

Did White House jump the gun re: AZ law?
An immigration reform organization says the Obama administration clearly needs to have all its “ducks in a row” before talking about filing suit against Arizona’s new immigration enforcement bill.

Perspective: Stay classy, Mr. President
The practice of sowing division and discord while simultaneously condemning the sowing of division and discord has become the Obama way.

Bill could ENDA congressional careers
There is a slim possibility that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) could come up for a vote this week — perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

Perspective: Healing from homosexuality
The truth of homosexuality is that it is, like so many other things, a sin — and the truth about healing from homosexuality is that, like so many other sins, it can be done. I should know.

Shift in allegiance forecasts change in leadership
A Republican congressman who is running for a Senate seat to represent Kansas says the radical policies of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have been a wake-up call for the American people, who appear ready to elect Republicans this fall.

Pelosi to Aspiring Musicians: Quit Your Job, Taxpayers Will Cover Your Health Care
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that thanks to the new health-care reform law, musicians and other creative types could quit their jobs and focus on developing their talents because taxpayers would fund their health care coverage. “We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”

Kagan Helped Craft Clinton Strategy for Blocking Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
(CNSNews.com)
– Solicitor General Elena Kagan helped devise President Bill Clinton’s political strategy for sustaining his veto of the partial-birth abortion ban in 1997. As a result of Clinton’s successful veto that year, the ban was not enacted until 2003. Kagan co-wrote a May 13, 1997 memo urging Clinton to support two Democratic amendments that were being offered as substitutes for the partial-birth abortion ban and that were designed to give cover to Democrats who wanted to vote against the ban but be on record as in some way opposing late-term abortions.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Probes U.S. Contracts With Companies Doing Business With Iran
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– From 2005 to 2009, the Defense Department held $880 million worth of contracts with seven international corporations that do significant business with Iran in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) wants to know why.

Palin Says She Connects to ‘Tough, Gun-Toting, Pioneer Feminism’
(CNSNews.com)
– Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) said on Friday she feels a connection with what she called the “tough, gun-toting” Western feminism of Annie Oakley, which she contrasted with the feminism found in “the faculty lounge at some East Coast women’s college.”

Americans Under 30 Most Likely to Take Uncompromising Stand for Right to Life, Says Gallup Poll
(CNSNews.com)
– The pro-abortion left appears to be losing the battle for the heart and soul of the rising generation of Americans, according to new data released by the Gallup poll. Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket are now more likely than their elders to believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, and they generally oppose abortion in greater numbers than Baby Boomers.

L.A. Mayor: Illegal Immigration Adds to ‘Economic Might’ of Deficit-Ridden California
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told CNSNews.com Thursday that illegal immigration has not contributed to his city’s budget problems, but has added to the “economic might” of California.

Iran Agrees to Ship Its Nuclear Fuel to Turkey in Effort to Avoid U.N. Sanctions
(CNSNews.com)
– Trying to avoid a fourth round of U.N. sanctions, Iran on Monday signed a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey. The deal has some of the developing world’s most powerful nations rallying around Tehran, in a fresh challenge to the Obama administration’s claims to have achieved a unified international stance against Iran.

Thailand on Edge After Rebel General Dies
(CNSNews.com)
– Thailand’s turmoil looked set to deepen Monday after a renegade army general who sided with anti-government protestors died, four days after he was shot by an unidentified sniper. The incident sparked a new round of deadly violence in the once-stable Southeast Asian country, an important U.S. ally in the region.

Missionary released from Haitian jail
The last of 10 American missionaries detained while trying to take 33 children out of Haiti is free after being sentenced by a Haitian judge to jail time she already served.

Perspective: From Episcopal church to Islamic center
Where for more than 100 years a house of Christian worship stood, there now stands an Islamic Awareness Center – compliments of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

Congressman to resign over affair
Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder says he’ll resign from Congress effective Friday over an affair with a staffer.

Caner faces questions about Muslim past
The Southern Baptist minister who leads Liberty University’s seminary has sold thousands of books and toured the country as a former Muslim who discovered Jesus Christ. Now there are allegations he fabricated or embellished his past.

Feature: Home on the ‘Ranch’
Passing on godly principles to children who deserve a childhood – and introducing them to Jesus – is the purpose of Quinn’s Ranch in Alabama.

Conservative Anglicans Lament Ordination of 2nd Gay Bishop
The ordination of two women bishops, one of whom is a partnered lesbian, was a moment of celebration for some 3,000 Episcopalians gathered in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday. But for others, it was a moment of alienation and sorrow.

Poll: More Americans Say U.S. Morality Getting Worse

Southern Baptists Mark 3rd Year of Membership Decline

Baptist Megachurch Commits $115M for Massive Campus

Ex-Israeli Special Agent Confirms ‘Son of Hamas’ Story

Liberty U Bestows Honorary Degree on Glenn Beck

Obama Administration Commiserates With China About Human Rights Violations in Arizona
(CNSNews.com)
– In a “candid and constructive” human rights dialogue with Chinese officials last week, Obama administration officials brought up Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law, telling the Chinese Communists it was an example of a “troubling trend” in the United States and an indication of “discrimination or potential discrimination” in American society. Ironically, the State Department’s most recent report on human rights in China indicates that the government there restricts the internal travel of its own citizens.

White House: Kagan Broke No Law Restricting Military Recruiters at Harvard
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– The White House will not explore whether Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan violated the law when she did not allow military recruiters at Harvard Law School. A conservative advocacy group, however, says Kagan’s refusal to comply with federal law by cooperating with military recruiters at Harvard is reason enough for the Senate to reject her nomination as Supreme Court justice.

If Confirmed to Supreme Court, Kagan May Have To Recuse Herself in Health Care Cases
(CNSNews.com)
– If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan may have to recuse herself if the health care reform law comes before the high court. That’s because as solicitor general of the United States in the Obama administration, Kagan may have helped craft a legal defense of the law or given advice to Congress or the White House on how to draft the statute. Historically, Supreme Court justices recuse themselves from hearing cases in which they have previously been involved.

White House Health Czar Repeats False Claim of Lower Health Costs
(CNSNews.com)
– White House health care czar Nancy-Anne Deparle repeated the claim that the health care reform law signed by President Obama will result in lower health care costs despite a well-known government report to the contrary.

Kagan Advocated Campaign Restrictions While Serving as Clinton Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– Before arguing to uphold government restrictions on campaign speech as U.S. solicitor general, Elena Kagan had advocated such limits while serving in the Clinton administration.

Pelosi: Obama’s Budget a ‘Blueprint for Economic Stabilization’ for America, Designed To ‘Reduce the Deficit’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently said that President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2010 budget of $3.6 trillion was a “blueprint for economic stabilization for our country.” The Treasury Department, however, has reported that the United States posted a budget deficit for the month of April nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009.

Sen. Rockefeller Tells Neil Armstrong: ‘I Am a Substantial Skeptic of Human Spaceflight’ and America’s Drive to Explore is Not All ‘Glorious’
(CNSNews.com)
– Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-W.V.) says he is “a substantial skeptic of human spaceflight” and that not all outlets for American exploration are “glorious.”

Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan: Obama’s NASA Plan a ‘Blueprint for a Mission to Nowhere’
(CNSNews.com)
– Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13, and Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, have determined that President Barack Obama’s plan to cut funding for NASA’s Constellation manned space program is a “blueprint for a mission to nowhere” — a message Armstrong and Cernan pointedly delivered in person to a Senate committee last week.

Napolitano Admits She Hasn’t Reviewed ‘In Detail’ Arizona Immigration Law She’s Criticized
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been a vocal critic of the new Arizona immigration law, told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Monday that she had not reviewed the law in detail, but nevertheless repeated criticism she made in April on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the law is a “bad law enforcement law.” Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder told a House panel he had not read the ten-page law, either.

Fuel Swap Deal Does Not Address Core Issues of Iranian Nuclear Dispute
(CNSNews.com)
– Heritage Foundation senior research fellow James Phillips said the Obama administration must reject and denounce the nuclear fuel swap agreement signed in Tehran on Monday “as yet another Iranian ploy to stall efforts to impose further sanctions, without addressing the core problem of Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.”

Turkey-Brazil-Iran Nuke Deal May Put More Pressure on Israel
(CNSNews.com)
– Following his success in helping to broker a nuclear fuel swap agreement with Iran, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will likely add to the pressure currently facing Israel over its undeclared nuclear arsenal, according to a leading Turkish commentator. Israel, which has yet to respond formally to the agreement signed in Tehran on Monday, has long been troubled by Ankara’s increasingly outspoken criticism of Israeli policies on one hand and its warming relations with Israel’s foes – including Iran, Syria and Hamas – on the other.

Haiti Convicts then Frees Jailed U.S. Volunteer
Laura Silsby, the leader of the ten U.S. volunteers accused of illegally taking dozens of children out of Haiti, was convicted Monday but then freed to return to the United States.

Prison Ministry: Supreme Court Ruling Gives Minors a Chance

Case Against ‘Homosexuality Is Sin’ Preacher Dropped

Mission Leader: Why So Few Christians in Japan?

Falwell: Measurements of Success in Ministry Are Messed Up

Indian Missionaries Call It a ‘Privilege’ to Suffer

American Idol Judge Ellen DeGeneres Asks Female Contestant to Sing Love Song to a Woman
(CNSNews.com)
– American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres picked a love song written to be sung by a man to a woman for contestant Crystal Bowersox–a single mom with a boyfriend–to perform on the show’s semifinal program on Tuesday night. The song, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” written by Paul McCartney and dedicated to his now-deceased wife Linda McCartney, includes the repeated lyric “baby, I’m a man” in the chorus.

Democrats’ See A ‘Significant Blow to the Republican Party’ in Tuesday’s Elections
(CNSNews.com)
– In their post-primary spin, Democrats say they won “the most significant election contest” of the day – the only race to pit a Republican against a Democrat. The Democrat Party’s main talking point: “If the GOP couldn’t win here, it’s not going to have an easy time netting the 40 House seats in November it needs to retake the House.”

McCain: ‘Insulting’ for Obama State Department to ‘Compare’ Arizona Anti-Immigration Law to China’s Human Rights ‘Abuses’
(CNSNews.com)
– Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it was “outrageous” for a top Obama administration State Department official to “compare” Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law with Communist China’s “human rights abuses.” He also told CNSNews.com that the official, who “did not read the law,” reflects “the liberal elite” that does not know the difference between “a state acting in a constitutional fashion and a regime that’s responsible for the deaths of millions of its citizens.”

McCain, Kyl Demand Top Obama State Dept. Official Retract Statement and Apologize for Likening AZ Immigration Law to Chinese Human Rights Violations
(CNSNews.com)
– Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) Tuesday called on the top Obama State Department official responsible for human rights issues to “retract and apologize” for telling officials of the Communist government of China that Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law is an example of a “troubling trend in our society” and for portraying Arizona as the moral equivalent of Communist China.

At Previous Human Rights Session, U.S. Responded ‘Forthrightly’ to China’s Concerns About U.S. Practices
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration’s approach to human rights dialogue with China – “an open discussion where you not only raise the other guy’s problems, but you raise your own” – appears to contrast to that of its predecessor. The latest controversy involving remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner has focused attention on a forum that has long been dogged by Beijing’s hypersensitivity to criticism of its rights record.

Obama Urged to Issue Executive Order on Human Right to Ensure U.S. Compliance With U.N. Treaties
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. State Department is asking state and local human rights commissions to help it prepare an obligatory report to the United Nations on how the U.S. is advancing the human rights set forth in various treaties. Those state and local groups are now pressing President Obama to issue an executive order establishing a domestic human rights infrastructure that would help the U.S. meet its obligations to “respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all.”

Hoyer: No Plans Yet by Democrats To End Fannie, Freddie Bailouts
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) could not say what action Democrats are planning to end the federal bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or when his party planned to take action. Hoyer, speaking to reporters on Tuesday at his weekly press briefing, said only that the House Financial Services Committee was “looking at” what to do with the failed mortgage giants that played a central role in the 2008 economic crisis.

Congress Pushing for Unilateral Gasoline Sanctions Against Iran Despite Progress at U.N.
(CNSNews.com)
– “It is my expectation that Congress will soon send its own strong, targeted Iran sanctions bill to President Obama’s desk,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), cosponsor of the Senate bill, said Congress would not “retreat” from its own sanctions initiative regardless of what the U.N. does.

Tuesday’s theme: Anti-DC, anti-establishment
With the electorate’s intense anger reverberating across the country, this is all but certain: It’s an anti-Washington, anti-establishment year. And candidates with ties to either better beware.

Incumbent Lincoln staggers to runoff
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln has failed to win the majority of votes in the Democratic primary. She now faces a three-week fight with Lt. Governor Bill halter for her party’s nomination.

Boycott target Movie Gallery shutting down
Movie Gallery — at one time the second largest video outlet chain in North America — is closing down. A pro-family group implies that informed consumers can take credit, at least in part, for shuttering a distributor of porn movies.

Quinlan: ‘Why does Pepsi fund hate?’
PFOX president Greg Quinlan raised some pointed questions at a recent PepsiCo shareholders meeting.

Perspective: The U.S. Dept. of Blame America First
Obama Democrats have now mastered the treacherous art of the pre-emptive global apology.

Pastors Challenged to Be Under-Rowers, Never Retire
Pastors are not called to be the captain of the ship, said Pastor Charles Swindoll. Rather, heir job is to hold an oar and row.

‘Secondary Disaster’ Concerns Raised as Haiti’s Hurricane Season Nears

3 Christian Relief Staff Abducted by Gunmen

Pakistani Official Fires 15 Christians Over Faith

Methodist Panel Wants to Nix Clergy Job Guarantees

Charter School Considers Appealing Decision on Religious Texts

Perspective: Anti-incumbency … or anti-liberalism?
The message is clear: Obama and the Democrats misread the 2008 elections — and now, thanks to the voters, they’re paying for it.

Playing politics with education standards
The Texas State Board of Education is getting closer to adopting new social studies guidelines for the classroom. But some liberal groups are not pleased with the conservative values added to the standards, and they want to delay the vote.

Does ObamaCare cross constitutional lines?
Another lawsuit has been filed in an effort to halt implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Preaching homosexuality as sin not against the law
Charges have been dropped against a British street preacher arrested for speaking against homosexuality in a public area.

Will Kagan submit to ‘hollow charade’?
As Republican senators continue their background investigation of Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a conservative critic says they need to be looking very carefully at some of her past statements.

Senate Democratic Whip Compares Sealing the Mexican Border to Trying to Keep Drugs Off of I-95
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the effort to secure the U.S.-Mexico border is like trying to guarantee that “no narcotics and no guns are going to pass illegally” along I-95, a major East Coast highway. “Imagine the challenge that would pose to any governmental unit trying to enforce it,” Durbin said.

Mexican President Denounces Arizona Law Despite Laws Against Illegal Immigration in His Own Country
(CNSNews.com)
– At a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized Arizona’s new law against illegal immigration. In Calderon’s Mexico, however, illegal immigration is punished with fines and deportations.

Obama Says Administration Taking ‘Very Close Look’ at Arizona’s Immigration Law for Civil Rights ‘Implications’
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama said his administration is taking a “very close look” at Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, examining it for any “implications, especially for civil rights.” He did not say whether he’s read the law.

Sestak Has ‘Moral Imperative’ to Answer Questions on White House Job Offer, GOP Congressman Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Fresh off his win over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak should still be obligated to answer questions about a job he says the White House offered to him if he agreed not to run against Specter in the primary, a leading House Republican said. “Could the reason why Congressman Joe Sestak refuses to name names is because the very people who tried to bribe him are now his benefactors?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement Wednesday.

Accused of Sinking South Korean Ship, North Korea Threatens ‘All-Out War’
(CNSNews.com)
– Tensions rose on the Korean peninsula Thursday after South Korea accused North Korea of torpedoing its warship in March, drawing a sharp response and threats of “all-out war” from Pyongyang. The U.S. and Japanese governments quickly voiced support for South Korea, with the White House condemning the North Korean “act of aggression.”

Ahead of White House Visit, Lebanese PM Meets With Syrian President, Seeks Talks With Hezbollah Leader
(CNSNews.com)
– Preparing for his first official visit to Washington next week, Lebanon’s U.S.-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri has held “coordination” talks with Syrian President Bashir Assad and reportedly plans to meet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The U.S. government has listed Hezbollah as a “foreign terrorist organization” since the FTO designation was first established in 1996.

Democratic Leader Hoyer Doesn’t Know Whether Obama Administration was Prepared for Oil Spill
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he did not know whether the Obama administration was prepared to combat the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Hoyer also said it was “accurate” that the federal government had not been properly checking up on British Petroleum and its oil rigs.

Jews for Jesus Founder Dies at Age 78
The founder of Jews for Jesus died Wednesday, leaving behind a pre-written message to members of the ministry.

Billy Graham Wants to Preach Again

Texas Board Expected to Vote on Social Studies Curriculum

FEMA Official Apologizes Over Faith-Based Shirts Request

Christians Upset Over UK’s First TV Abortion Ad

Ministry Leader Sees Answer to Thailand’s Woes in Greater Equality

Congress’ attitude re: families a ‘recipe for disaster’
A pro-family leader in Washington, DC, is expressing shock and disappointment at the news that a Republican congressman who championed conservative values was forced to resign because of an affair with a staff member.

Deportation not a ‘feasible’ fix, says Land
Conservative evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land says the issue of illegal immigration must be solved soon.

Asian majority a college crisis?
The University of California is proposing tinkering with admissions requirements because a large proportion of their students are Asian.

Mojave cross replaced, taken down
Authorities say a Mojave Desert cross that replaced the stolen one honoring America’s war dead was illegal, so it’s been taken down too.

Perspective: The shady ShoreBank bailout
Taxpayers may be on the hook for helping rescue a Chicago bank with Obama ties that is too politically connected to fail.

Democrats Have No Plan for Dealing with Fannie and Freddie; Ignore Republican Proposal
(CNSNews.com)
– House Democrats appear to have no plans for dealing with the failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite acting on dozens of other matters in the two months since Republicans proposed a way to rescue the two government-sponsored enterprises. So far, taxpayers have spent $145 billion to keep Fannie and Freddie solvent, and that tab is expected to go much higher.

Hoekstra: Resignation of Director of National Intelligence Results From ‘Obama Administration’s Rampant Politicization of National Security’
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, says the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is “a disturbing sign of the stranglehold the Obama White House has placed on America’s intelligence agencies.”

Gulf Spill Sparks Drilling Debate Along Party Lines But Gov’t Says Less Than 0.001% of Oil Spilled in Federal Waters Since 1980
(CNSNews.com)
– Congressional hearings on the Gulf oil spill reveal the political divide between pro-offshore drilling lawmakers and those who cite the accident as a reason to halt any expanded drilling in the Gulf. Government reports show that less than 0.001 percent of oil culled from rigs in federal waters has been spilled in the last 30 years.

As Sestak Repeats Charge of Job Offer, White House Still Ducks Detailed Answer
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, said again this week that the White House offered him a job to keep him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has declined to provide any response, other than to repeat that nothing “problematic” occurred.

Will the Obama Administration Accept China-Pakistan Nuclear Collaboration?
(CNSNews.com)
– Analysts in India and the U.S. are voicing concern that the Obama administration may tolerate a Chinese bid to build more nuclear power reactors in Pakistan, despite Islamabad’s poor non-proliferation record. The U.S. has been trying to win Beijing’s support for fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran.

Facebook Accused of Hurting Muslims With ‘Anti-Islamic Sentiments’
(CNSNews.com)
– The Facebook page at the center of angry protests in Pakistan because of depictions of Mohammed also has been blocked in Saudi Arabia, the latest development in a controversy first sparked almost five years ago by a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed.

Replacement Memorial Cross Torn Down
A cross similar to the one that was stolen nearly two weeks ago was mysteriously erected in the Mojave National Preserve but quickly removed after authorities said it was illegal.

Global Day of Prayer to Celebrate 10-Year History

Evangelicals: Let’s Talk about Sex to Reduce Abortions

Scientists Successfully ‘Boot Up’ Cell with Synthetic DNA

Conservative Anglicans in U.S., England Propose Clergy Swap

Seasoned Pastors Reveal Mistakes, Regrets in Ministry

TX adopts new social studies curriculum
Texas schoolchildren will be required to learn that the words “separation of church and state” aren’t in the Constitution and evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty under new social studies curriculum.

Perspective: Socialism’s not in the Bible
Having placed 50 percent of America’s economy under government control, the Obama administration is now angling for a tighter grip on the financial sector.

Will Pro-Life Caucus still be effective?
In the aftermath of passage of the healthcare reform bill, a question arises as to whether the House Pro-Life Caucus has meaning anymore.

Jews for Jesus founder dies
The founder of the group Jews for Jesus has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. Moishe Rosen was 78.

Pakistani gov’t ordered to block Facebook
A Pakistani court has ordered the government to block Facebook because of a page that encourages users to post images of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Christian Biochemist: First ‘Synthetic Cell’ Strengthens Case for Design
A biochemistry expert at the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe is among those hailing the recent creation of the first-ever “synthetic cell,” though not for the same reasons as most.

Conservative Watchdog Leader Issues Warning to Evangelical Groups

ACLJ Takes Up Case of 7th Grader Suspended for Wearing Rosary

Indiana Rep. Resigns After Affair Confession

Kagan Confirmation Hearings Set to Begin June 28

Rev. Wright: Obama Threw Me Under the Bus

Graduation-time controversies
A high school in Indiana has decided it will no longer screen graduation speeches, and a district in Connecticut is being challenged on its plan to hold graduation ceremonies in a church building.

‘Lesson 9’ deep-sixed
A lawsuit by a group of parents — and lots of complaints — has led to the removal of controversial pro-homosexual curriculum in a California school district.

Perspective: No more borders, please!
What do the state of Arizona and the Cincinnati Reds’ organization have in common? Both are simply doing their job to protect the innocent.

Kagan: Support unconstitutional measure for political gain
A leaked memo from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is raising eyebrows among pro-life groups.

Catholic bishops pull away from civil-rights group
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has withdrawn from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights following the latter’s published support for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who is pro-abortion.

‘Obama White House Is Admitting That Their Health Care Plan Will Ration Health Care,’ GOP Senator Says
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a strong supporter of the government-run health care system in Britain. In a 2009 interview about Comparative Effectiveness Research, Donald Berwick said, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care – the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” In choosing Berwick, the Obama administration is implicitly admitting that the health care law passed by the Democrats in March will lead to the rationing of health care, said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

Islamic Nations Praise Obama’s Outreach and U.S. Plans to Close ‘Islamophobia Prison’ at Guantanamo
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s Cairo speech to Muslims, his plan to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the dropping of language deemed offensive to Muslims are among the positive developments highlighted in the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s new report on “Islamophobia.” Areas requiring more work include winning the Obama administration over to the OIC-held position on the need for legal recourse to counter “religious defamation.”

Awlaki Not Among FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ Terrorists; No Reward Offered for His Capture
(CNSNews.com)
– Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Islamic cleric who in a new video clip urges Muslims to kill American civilians, does not appear on the FBI’s list of wanted terrorists and the government has yet to place a reward on his head. Likewise, no references to Awlaki could be found Monday on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

Brennan: U.S. Should Foster ‘Moderate Elements’ of the Terrorist Group Hezbollah
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser John Brennan called Hezbollah a “very interesting organization” in remarks last week at a Washington think tank, and he said the United States needs to “build up the more moderate elements” of Hezbollah, which the State Department has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

DEA: No Comment on Drug Cartel Obtaining Intelligence Reports That DEA Provided to High-Level Mexican Authorities
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency declined to comment on reports that a drug cartel from the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa had access to documents detailing Mexico’s counter-narcotics operations, including information that the DEA had provided to high-level officials in Mexico’s Public Safety Department.

Senate Passed Financial Bill Contains Debit Card Price Controls
(CNSNews.com)
– The recently passed financial regulatory bill contains a little-noticed provision allowing the government to set price controls on the fees banks charge retailers who accept debit cards.

FCC Says It Has ‘No Record’ of Any Communication to or from Its Chairman Mentioning Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Beck, Ingraham or Savage
(CNSNews.com)
– The Federal Communications Commission says it has “no records” of any communication either “to or from” its chairman that mentions Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham or Michael Savage. The FCC made the declaration in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by CNSNews.com that sought all its records reflecting communications from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski mentioning the popular radio hosts.

Senate Democrats Pass Bill Allowing Gov’t to Collect Addresses, ATM Records of Bank Customers
(CNSNews.com)
– Senate Democrats united to pass a financial regulatory bill that allows the government to collect data on any person operating in financial markets at any level. The bill would create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower it to gather the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and the amount of money kept in each customer’s account. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that Democrats who claim this new bureaucracy will protect consumers are misleading the public.

Rep. Kennedy Says Mexican President ‘Right On’ in Criticizing Arizona Immigration Law
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNSNews.com that Mexican President Felipe Calderon was wrong to criticize Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law, adding that Calderon had also “mischaracterized the law.” Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), however, said that Calderon was “right on” in criticizing the new law.

Obama’s Comment That Nations Are Defined by Bonds, Not Borders, Called ‘Wishful Thinking
(CNSNews.com)
– It is wishful thinking on the part of the president to imply that borders are no longer important, one policy analyst told CNSNews.com.

Study: Parenthood Does Not Make for Active Churchgoers
A new study debunks the common assumption that once a couple hits parenthood, they’ll put Sunday church services back on their calendar.

Gay Marriage Support Gains Slightly in U.S.

Rick Warren Tells Passive, Fake Christians to Find Another Church

Second Wave of Deportations Hits Foreign Christians in Morocco

Iran Acquits Two Female Converts of Apostasy

Pentecost Festival Draws Thousands to London

Gates will support proposed immediate ‘gay’ ban lift
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reluctantly supporting a White House-backed proposal in Congress that would immediately repeal the law banning homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

Study the Constitution – what a concept…
Defenders of the new social studies standards just passed by the Texas State Board of Education say it will encourage students to go back to the Constitution and First Amendment to learn about religious freedom.

Obama’s policies = ‘economic Armageddon’
After completing a research paper on President Obama’s economic policies, a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America concludes that they could be catastrophic for the nation.

Rifqa faces cancer treatment
A former Muslim who was pastor of a church in Columbus, Ohio, says 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary has told him she has a very aggressive form of uterine cancer.

School’s hands-off approach the right choice

An Indiana pro-family leader is applauding a high school for deciding it won’t screen speeches at its commencement ceremony.
Obama’s Nominee to Run Medicare: ‘Please Don’t Put Your Faith in Market Forces’
(CNSNews.com)
– Dr. Donald Berwick, nominated by President Barack Obama to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published an article in the British Medical Journal, advising leaders of Britain’s socialized health care system: “Please don’t put your faith in market forces.” The article, published in the July 26, 2008 issue of the BMJ, compared the U.S. health care system unfavorably to the British system, which Berwick said he was “romantic about.”

White House, Congressional Dems Reach Agreement to Force Vote on Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House and congressional Democratic leaders reached an agreement Monday night on a “compromise” that could force a vote within days on a bill to end the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on homosexuality — after the congressional elections. “Tonight, President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a back room deal that disregards the views of our troops and uses the military to advance the political agenda of a radical special interest group,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

New York Times’ Front Page Announces U.S. Expansion of ‘Secret Military Acts’ in Middle East
(CNSNews.com)
– The New York Times, giving America’s friends and foes a heads-up, reports that Gen. David Petraeus signed a “secret directive” in September authorizing “a broad expansion of secret military activity” in the Middle East.

Poll Finds 65 Percent of Texas Voters Still Support Off-Shore Drilling
(CNSNews.com)
– Nearly two-thirds of all Texans believe off-shore drilling should continue, despite the Gulf oil spill, according to a new poll. The poll places Texas voters in line with the national average of 64 percent of Americans who support offshore drilling, according to the Rasmussen Report.

Dave Matthews: ‘Too Bad If We Have To Pay a Little Extra Money for Gasoline’
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy award-winning musician Dave Matthews told CNSNews.com that higher energy prices are what “we have to do” to protect the environment. He also said although he admires the military, he would like to see it downsized.

Rocker Dave Matthews: ‘I Would Pack the Bags’ and Leave Afghanistan and Iraq
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy award-winning musician Dave Matthews told CNSNews.com that if he could, he “would pack the bags” and remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, adding that the ongoing wars there are a “big disappointment.” He also said there is enough evidence that “fighting for peace is a broken model.”

Despite U.S. Prodding, China Does Little More Than Call for Restraint on the Korean Peninsula
(CNSNews.com)
– As South Korea and the United States turn up the pressure on North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship, Kim Jong-il’s closest ally looks unwilling to do or say anything about the incident beyond its customary calls for calm. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Beijing for bilateral strategic and economic talks, urged China Monday to “work together” with the U.S. to address the “serious challenge provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship.”

Force-feeding the repeal
Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins is accusing President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders of making a backroom deal to force a vote on overturning the law on homosexuals serving in the military.

Perspective: The White House-Sestak stonewall
With three Democrats now implicating the president in dirty backroom schemes, “trust us” won’t cut it — and neither will “shut up and go away.”

White House ‘agitator’ sees dark days for Dems
A senior member of the White House press corps believes the Republican Party will take control of Congress in November and set about immediately to repeal “ObamaCare” — and that, the veteran journalist predicts, might not bode well for the president.

Christian faith – America’s historic backbone
The president of Westminster Theological Seminary believes the proclaimed “father” of the United States would be appalled at the direction the nation is headed.

National Guard to the border
An immigration reform organization is welcoming the Obama administration’s announcement to heed the call from desperate border states to dispatch thousands of National Guard troops to the southern border and help deal with the problem of illegal crossings into the U.S.

Will Graham Brings ‘Reality’ of Christ to Aussies
Third generation evangelist Will Graham has joined world-class entertainers and speakers in Australia to present the Gospel and “the reality of life.”

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Compromise Reached; Vote Expected Soon

Supreme Court to Hear Ariz. Christian School Case

Fund Shortage Threatens to Close L.A. Homeless Center

Minn. Church Takes First Step to Exit ELCA

Hindu Nationalists Plan ‘Religious Cleansing’ in Madhya Pradesh District

Rep. Hoyer: Obama Medicare Nominee Qualified, Rationing Already Happening
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the man nominated to run Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Berwick, is qualified to oversee the two massive government health care programs despite Berwick’s claim that the government must ration health care. Hoyer added that health care rationing is already happening in America — because not all Americans can afford it.

Boehner: Republicans ‘Committed to Repealing the Health Care Law’ If They Take Back House
(CNSNews.com)
– House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that the House Republican leadership is “committed to repealing the health care law” if Republicans win a majority in the House in the November elections. Boehner  also announced the launch of the House Republicans’ new Web site, AmericaSpeakingOut.com, where citizens can submit ideas for congressional Republicans to consider making part of their agenda.

Obama Should Visit U.S.-Mexico Border to See the Threat to Americans Firsthand, Republican Senators Say
(CNSNews.com)
– On the same day President Barack Obama announced he was ordering 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, two Republican senators from Arizona said it’s about time – and it’s too few troops.

International Community Has ‘Responsibility and Duty to Respond’ to Ship Sinking by North Korea, Clinton Says
(CNSNews.com)
– On Wednesday, one day after North Korea threatened to sever all remaining ties with South Korea, North Korea did not prevent South Korean employees from entering a joint industrial project that employs thousands of North Koreans. The Stalinist regime warned, however, that it would bar entry to South Koreans if Seoul resumes anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along their shared border, which South Korean President Lee Myun-bak has said he would do.

Suspected Terror Mastermind Free to Rail Against India and ‘Blasphemy’
(CNSNews.com)
– Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the Islamist leader released from house arrest by Pakistan’s highest court, remains one of that country’s most outspoken advocates of jihad against India, and he is now free to press his case that the U.N. should declare ‘blasphemy of prophets’ a capital offense.

Bill Requires Rhode Island to Pay Taxpayers Interest on Delayed Tax Refunds
(CNSNews.com)
– Several Rhode Island state congressmen have introduced a bill requiring the state to pay the same rate of interest after 60 days on tax refunds owed to taxpayers that the state assesses for overdue taxes.

Evangelicals Hold First National Prayer Day for Creation
Evangelical leaders from several prominent organizations gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to pray, repent and sing about creation care.

Ariz. Pastor’s Worry: Criminalization of Ministry Work

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Deal Deemed ‘Political Charade’

Recovering Porn Addict: Lord Is Not Shocked by Our Humanity

Runaway Teen Convert Rifqa Bary Battles Cancer

Texas Lutheran University President Resigns

Vote pending on ‘political payoff’
A law firm that defends and promotes Christian heritage and moral values says May 27 could be the date when the greatest military in the world is sacrificed as a political payoff to homosexual activists.

SNAP disappointed by Vatican, DOJ
An Oregon man abused by a priest has sued the Vatican and is now trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case.

Another abortion bill vetoed
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry late Wednesday vetoed an abortion bill that would put strict limits on when private health insurers can cover the procedure.

The whistle is working
Operation Rescue’s whistleblower program is attracting helpful undercover information on abortion facilities.

‘Holy water’ accusation affects teachers

Some local ministers in Florida are coming to the defense of two teachers who have been removed from their classrooms and are under investigation for allegations they offended an atheist colleague.
Majority of Americans Believe Future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Should be Left Up to Military Commanders, Zogby Poll Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– Fifty-nine (59) percent of Americans think military leaders, rather than Congress, should be making the decision about the military policy on homosexuality, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Family Research Center…

Senate Leader Reid: Some Republicans Call Unemployed Americans ‘Bums’ and ‘Hobos’
(CNSNews.com) –
As the unemployment rate in the United States approaches 10 percent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that some “on the Republican side” have called out-of-work Americans “bums” and “hobos.” He also said the unemployed are people who legitimately “cannot find work for long periods of time,” and he disagreed with those who suggest that unemployment is a “never-ending issue.”…

‘Synthetic’ Cell Research Isn’t Frankenstein Science, but Raises Troubling Questions, Analysts Say
(CNSNews.com)
– The recent report that scientists have created a “synthetic cell” for the first time has raised several questions about the societal and ethical implications of such technology…

Biden: $787 Billion Stimulus Bill Created ‘New Ideas on How to Spend Government Money Wisely’
(CNSNews.com)
– Heading up a Middle Class Task Force roundtable discussion on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said that one of the benefits of the $787 billion stimulus package signed into law in February is that it has generated new ideas for dealing with economic problems, including unemployment…

Obama’s July 2011 Draw-Down Date for Afghanistan Sends Mixed Messages, Former Afghan Presidential Candidate Says
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate in the 2009 Afghan presidential election, said the July 2011 date set by President Barack Obama for U.S. troops to draw-down from Afghanistan is problematic because it creates a perception of mixed messages about U.S. commitment to the country…

Brennan Names Al Qaeda and Affiliates as the Enemy, Silent on Hezbollah, Others
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s counter terrorism advisor framed America’s enemy Wednesday as “al-Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates,” but said nothing about anti-U.S. Islamists not affiliated to the network led by Osama bin Laden…

Sebelius: Rationing Advocate is ‘Absolutely Right Leader At This Time’ to Run Medicare
(CNSNews.com)
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday that Dr. Donald Berwick, an advocate of health-care rationing nominated by President Barack Obama to run Medicare and Medicaid, is “absolutely the right leader at this time” to run the government’s largest health-care entitlement programs…

As Harvard Law Dean, Kagan Did Not Require Study of U.S. Constitutional Law But Did Require Study of International and Foreign Law
(CNSNews.com)
– Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, is best known for moving Harvard Law School away from the 100-year old “case-law method” of legal study…

Democrats’ War Funding Amendment Would Allow Homosexuals to Serve in Military
(CNSNews.com) –
Democrats in the both the House and Senate are trying to amend the 2011 war funding bill to allow gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve in the military, a move opposed by the heads of all four branches of the armed services…

Senate Considers Union Pension Bailout
(CNSNews.com)
– A Senate committee will consider on Thursday a bill introduced by Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) that critics say would create a taxpayer-backed bailout of multi-employer pension funds that are in critical financial condition…

Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman: ‘I Want To See A Little More Than 1,200’ National Guard Troops at Border
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, echoed the view of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday, telling CNSNews.com that the 1,200 National Guard troops President Barack Obama is deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border are not enough to secure the region…

National Security Strategy Coy About Darfur Crisis
(CNSNews.com)
– The conflict in Darfur was given short shrift in the Obama administration’s first National Security Strategy, with a single direct reference that lays no blame for the enduring crisis…

Congress bows to gay agenda, repeals DADT
Congress has given in to pressure from gay activists and the White House and voted to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. (See House vote)

Lifting of another ban sought
The FDA has launched the process to lift the 27-year-old ban that prevents homosexuals from donating blood.

Perspective: Play a fiddle, watch it burn
Homosexual activists and their allies (like Barney Frank) are muscling their agenda through Congress — with nary a peep from the nation’s conservative talking heads.

Nobama on Memorial Day
President Obama is under fire for deciding to skip the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus….
A Christian mother and author has written an open letter to the parents of Miley Cyrus about the career path the young star is on.

House Votes to Repeal DADT Despite Military Opinion
The U.S. House voted Thursday to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Anglican Head Reprimands U.S. Church over Lesbian Bishop

Jewish Group Condemns WCC ‘Anti-Israel’ Peace Week

Mosque Plan Near 9/11 Site Is ‘Indecent,’ Says Ex-Muslim

Megachurch Pastor Ed Young Recovering from Surgery

Trial over ‘Insulting Turkishness’ Again Yields No Evidence

Don’t ‘protect’ children from truth
A California bill opposing Christian ideals in social studies textbooks has passed a 6-2 vote and is making its way into the Senate.

Iowa’s same-sex union isn’t marriage
A report that homosexuals are streaming into Iowa to get married is not entirely accurate.

Kagan’s past still raising concerns
Americans United for Life is expressing fresh concern over President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

No Muslim prayer room
A German court says that a Berlin high school doesn’t have to provide a 16-year-old Muslim student with a private room to pray in during school hours.

The atheist and the Illinois cross
A Chicago-area atheist is unhappy that $20,000 in state money is going to an 11-story cross on southern Illinois’ highest point, and he wants the landmark’s overseers to give the money back, or be sued.

Another graduation prayer, another investigation
The ACLU of Montana is asking the state Board of Regents to investigate whether the invocation and benediction given during the Montana State University-Northern graduation ceremony unconstitutionally promoted Christianity.

Forum helps Christians vote biblically
A conservative activist says the tide on the West Coast may turn to favor conservative voters if they choose to vote in accordance with their values, and he is providing them a tool to utilize in the primary election.

Don’t ‘protect’ children from truth
A California bill opposing Christian ideals in social studies textbooks has passed a 6-2 vote and is making its way into the Senate.

Child’s trachea healed by adult stem cells
Adult stem cells, which do not involve the killing of a human embryo, have proven useful in yet another area of medical treatment.

Newslinks 04/18/08

April 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday’s Newslinks brought to you by

 

At Ease Tees

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041002.html

Report Reveals Komen Gave Over $700 Thousand to Planned Parenthood in One Year

According to a recent report from STOPP, various organizations affiliated with the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation gave over seven hundred thousand dollars to Planned Parenthood between April of 2005 and April of 2006. The report also expresses some surprise at the Foundation supporting PP due to the fact that both abortion and chemical contraception have been linked to breast cancer. For a foundation “dedicated to ending breast cancer” it seems a least a little odd that they would support things like abortion and chemical contraception. If they are truly against breast cancer, then shouldn’t they also be against those things that cause breast cancer? Why couldn’t that $700 thousand dollars have gone to the hospitals and other people that are actually trying to find cures for breast cancer?

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http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041003.html

Police Apologize After Driver of Truck with Graphic Abortion Images Ordered to Leave Town

In an incident that came close to mimicking an event from last November, a Truth Truck from Operation Rescue was forced out of the city because of the graphic images it displays of the victims of abortion. A Sgt. of the Olathe Police Department told the driver of the truck that he either had to “leave the city, cover it up, or be charged”. He was further told that if he were charged, the truck would probably be impounded. When the police chief found out about the incident, she put the Sgt. on administrative leave and personally apologized to both the driver and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue. She has also stated that she will be seeing to it that the officers of her department know what is protected under the first amendment and what isn’t. While this sounds like another case of a police officer who took the law into his own hands, I don’t know that for sure. What I do know is that the chief took the right action. I applaud the police chief for recognizing the truth of the situation and making immediate restitution to both the driver and Operation Rescue. I also am encouraged by the measures that she is planning to take to make sure that her officers know how better to handle a situation like this in the future!

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http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041007.html

Clinton Strengthens Homosexual, Anti-religious Links with Endorsement by Elton John

During a “party for a good friend”, Elton John spent time railing on Christianity and religion as a whole and promoting homosexuality. He gave a benefit concert for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on April 9th during which he stated that he believes Hillary trails in the polls because of America’s “hatred for women”. He also stated that he believes that “religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people” but “there are so many Christian people I know who are gay and love their religion”. If John had his way, he would ban religion completely because organized religion turns people into “hateful lemmings”. For someone who claims to be a Methodist, Mrs. Clinton is doing all that she can to prove otherwise. To have someone like Elton John endorse your campaign shows her true colors, regardless about what she says about her “faith”. It’s just another example of the doublespeak going on in both Democratic camps. They both talk about “faith” and how it strengthens them, but it’s not the Christian faith. If it truly were, they wouldn’t support many (if not most) of the things that they do. Elton John has tried to blame religion for the plight of the gay community. I wonder if he realizes that God’s wrath would be on anyone who is gay even if every Christian alive supported homosexuality? The standard for right and wrong is not set by man but by God. Any time we go against that standard, we are wrong, whether we think that it’s ok or not. There are many times in scripture where we see man doing something that was “right in his own eyes”. John also talks about the many Christians who are gay and “love their religion”. I hate to break it to you Elton; they may love their religion and even call themselves Christians, but it’s not the Christianity of the bible. It is a form of idolatry that comes from creating a “God” in their own image that likes the things that they like and hates the things they hate. As I’ve said many times before, God makes it very clear in both the OT and the NT that he sees homosexuality as an abomination. This judgment is from God and not His followers…John says that he would ban religion because it “doesn’t seem to work”, but I wonder if he’s actually tried real Christianity?

Related Articles:

 

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200804/POL20080415a.html

FEC Asked to Investigate Fundraising Concert for Hillary Clinton

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http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200804/CUL20080411b.html

‘Spanking’ Bill Is Government Intrusion, Conservatives Warn

A bill against spanking was put to vote on the 15th (as of now, I don’t know that it passed but seeing how there wasn’t a huge uproar I would assume that it didn’t…). The bill would identify parents as child abusers for using things like a stick, a rod, a switch, an electrical cord, an extension cord, a belt, a broom, or a shoe to discipline their children. The parents guilty of breaking this law would be subject to jail terms, “nonparental violence classes”, and could even be ordered by the court to stay away from the child. Those against the bill say that it is unnecessary because California already defines child abuse as a crime. They say that the bill is aimed at good parents who discipline their child occasionally and equates discipline with abuse. I’ve already written on this, but I think that it’s ideas like this that have helped put America where we are today. I think that children need MORE discipline. They have somehow become the leaders of families. They have been allowed to get away with murder (literally in some cases) by parents and government officials who don’t seem to understand the importance of discipline or who need something to fight for. I will be the first to say that I whoop my daughter and I use my hand. I haven’t seen the necessity to use a stick or anything else, but I wouldn’t be against using one if I felt it was necessary. I am not ashamed to say this because of what it’s done for my daughter. She is a well-mannered, respectful young woman who knows where the line is and what will happen when she crosses it. I don’t threaten her and I don’t “beat” her. I don’t have to. She knows that I’m serious about it, but she also knows why I do it. If my disciplining my child so that she respects authority and understands that there are consequences for her actions is abuse then call me an “abuser”. Looking at where our country is, there need to be a lot more “abusers” taking the time to teach their kids the truth instead of caving in to their every whim, letting them run the show, and giving our country a generation of kids who have no concern for how what they do affects others.

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http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Default.aspx?id=75547

New Mexico commission orders $6,000 fine for Christian beliefs

Elaine and John Huguenin, the couple that refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s “commitment ceremony” has been ordered by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission (NMHRC) to pay $6000 dollars in costs. They have appealed the decision and are awaiting the results. The Alliance Defense Fund, who defended the Huguenins, says that laws like this are being used as weapons against Christians in businesses and even in their churches to silence biblical beliefs. As also noted in the article, this squelches the right of free speech that the Huguenins have. They don’t lose any of their rights when they open a business and should be allowed to express their religious beliefs as they see fit in regards to that business. There is no reason that the “couple” couldn’t find someone else who would do it. It just seems like another attack by those in the homosexual community on the one group of people who seem consistent in their opinion of the gay lifestyle.

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http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=75585

Could the apostasy be upon us?

This is a column written by Steve Gallagher. In it he asks a very simple question. Is the apostasy here? He uses the movie “Time Changer” as an example. In the movie, a man from the late 1800’s is transported into present day America. He is then a witness to what is going on for five days. He sees the things that we have come to take for granted as they are and openly expresses disgust and revulsion at those things. In one instance, he is invited by other Christians to go see a movie and ends up running out of the theater because the actor took God’s name in vain and blasphemed! None of this seems to phase us anymore. We watch television and movies that contain blasphemy and filthy language, scantily clad women and men (unless they’re on prime time then they’re nude…), and situations that are openly against scripture and what we say we believe in. Mr. Gallagher asks some questions that I think we all should consider:

Why aren’t we more outraged when we hear actors take the Lord’s name in vain?
How can we look upon scantily clad girls on television without blushing?
Why do we permit TV to indoctrinate our children with the world’s values?

I think that Christians in America need to answer those questions because it will give us an idea of where our heart truly is…

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http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200804/NAT20080414b.html

Students Urged to Focus on Their ‘Carbon Footprints’

As National Environmental Education Week comes to a close, it’s interesting to see what our K-12 students spent time learning about. It seems that the kids learned about their “carbon footprint” and their impact on our environment. They spent the week studying how much carbon dioxide they are emitting when they travel, eat (insert your own joke here), when they are at home, when they use something, and when they throw something away. All of this was done in order to help us reach a “sustainable society” according the spokesperson Alexandra Cousteau. Why are we having kids do this? This is an example of why our kids are behind in school. We give them silly weeklong things to do to try and “educate” them instead of focusing on stuff they really need to learn. Was it necessary to have “EE Week”? Could it not have been done at home? Is teaching kids about their “carbon footprint” really going to help them or even stick with them? I know that this may seem crass and all, but how big do environmentalists think that the “carbon footprint” of 9/11 was? That’s how silly all of this is to me. I am all for us taking care of the Earth. God says that we are to be stewards of it. But when doing so becomes an idol and takes away from other, more important things, then it’s gone too far. Sadly, many Christians are jumping on the “go green” bandwagon and are concerned about their “carbon footprint”. Instead of teaching kids about their carbon footprint, why don’t we teach them to follow in the footprints of Christ? Why don’t we spend time to show them how He walked, why He walked, and the result that it had on individuals and entire nations? That will help them a whole lot more than teaching them how much gas they emit…

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http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080414/31933.htm

Obama, Clinton Face Deep Questions on God, Bible

Both of the Democratic candidates for president spent time this past Sunday fielding questions on faith and their beliefs.

Hillary Clinton was asked questions like:

1) Why does God allow people to suffer?

2) Does God want you to be president?

3) When do you believe life begins? And,

4) What or who do you depend on to do what is morally right?

Mrs. Clinton’s responses were:

1) “I don’t know. I can’t wait to ask Him”. (applause from the crowd). She also said that whatever reason suffering exists, it is a “call to action”.

2) “I don’t presume anything about God” (she then said that she tries to put her faith into action to help others everyday).

3) She believes the “potential” for life begins at conception, and noted that her denomination the United Methodist Church has struggled with this issue. But she contends that it’s not only about potential life, but the other lives involved and the government does not have the authority to make the decision on whether a mother should keep her child.

4) Mrs. Clinton said that her decision-making processes are rooted in prayer, contemplation, study, and advice from others, which is needed because she does not know the answers to many of the questions.

 

Mr. Obama’s questions were:

 

1) Does God intervene in history and punish or reward nations?

2) The second question was one about abortion that I don’t have…

3) Did God create the world in six 24 hour days?

4) The last question was one about his reaction to growing up in Muslim dominated Indonesia.

Mr. Obama’s responses were:

1) He believes that God does intervenes, but the concept is “too mysterious” for him to grasp. He said all he can do is try his best to be an instrument to do God’s will and apply what he believes is the core value – to be his brothers’ and sisters’ keeper – then he is moving God’s agenda forward, even though he doesn’t know what the “master plan” is.

2) He believes ( “absolutely”) that pro-choice and pro-life supporters can find common ground. He said pro-choice people must acknowledge there is a moral ground in the debate and that it is a heart-wrenching choice. Secondly, both sides must admit there can be people of “goodwill” that exist on both sides of the issue on abortion. He believes that ultimately it is up to the woman, her doctor, and her family to decide.

3) he does not believe that the universe was created in 24 hour day periods although he believes the Bible’s creation story is “fundamentally” true. He also added that he believes in evolution and that it is not incompatible with the Christian faith. Rather, as he knows more about science it strengthens his faith.

4) As a result of his experience, he says most Muslims are goodwilled, trying to raise their kids the best they can.

The commentators of the forum brought up how much the Democrats have tried to broaden their view and how evangelical Christians are looking deeper into social issues like Darfu, the environment, poverty, and AIDS.

Again I’m amazed at how carelessly and easily people will throw around Christian terms in order to get their way. The statements made by both candidates are both scary and insightful. They are scary because they don’t line up with scripture and are still believed by many to be biblical responses. They are insightful because anyone who spends the time in the Word that they should be will be able to see that what comes out of the mouths of the candidates gives us a truer picture of what they stand for. I would like to respond to the same questions posed to both candidates from what I know of scripture.

1) Why does God allow people to suffer?God allows people to suffer for many reasons. There are a few things that we need to understand first though. One, there is no one on the planet that is innocent or inherently good. We are born into sin and if left to our own devices will do evil. Much of the suffering of man comes from one main cause: SIN. It was Adam’s sin in the garden that caused us to be in the condition we are currently in. We are not where we are because of God’s doing. It was Adam’s choice. The fact that God allows us to suffer could be for many reasons including the testing of our faith, our rebellion to His Word, to get our attention…all of this are perfectly legitimate for God.

 

2) Does God want you to be president?

While I know what my opinion is, that’s all that it is. If God deems fit to put Hillary Clinton in as president, then that’s what He’ll do. I personally would see it as a punishment from God, but as I said before, that’s my opinion…

3) When do you believe life begins?

Life begins at conception. If we were to go by scripture, then it could start before that. God says that He knows us before we are born. If we are just a blob of tissue, then we have no identity. For us to be known by God, we have to have life…

4) What or who do you depend on to do what is morally right?

I depend on God and Him alone because I know that He is the only One that has the truth. If I were to depend on man or myself or “following my heart” I would find myself deep in darkness and sin.

1) Does God intervene in history and punish or reward nations?

This should be a question that anyone with any semblance of the Christian faith should know the answer to. From just a cursory glance of the Old Testament it should be clear that this is the case. There is absolutely no mystery about it. It also tells of the promise that God made that those who bless Israel would be blessed, and those who curse Israel would be cursed. It should be a warning for our nation…

2) The second question was one about abortion that I don’t have…

Without the question, I can’t give my own answer, but I will say that to say that there are “people of goodwill” on both sides of the issue seems ludicrous to me. This is about killing human beings legally. There are those that are for it and those that are against it. Which ones seem to bear goodwill?

3) Did God create the world in six 24 hour days?

Again, this should be a no-brainer. The fact that evolutionary thinking has permeated our culture makes this more difficult that it should be. The Bible says that God created the earth and everything in it in 6 24 hour days. Where’s the difficulty? The plainest reading of the Bible is the true one and there is no indication that this account of creation is anything but historical. To say that evolution is compatible with Christianity is to lack understanding about one or both. Evolution says that the sun came first, that plants came after the sun, and that man is at the very end of the timescale of the universe. The Bible says that the earth came before the sun, plants came before the sun, and man was created in the image of God at the beginning of a much shorter span of time. It can’t be both ways…

4) The last question was one about his reaction to growing up in Muslim dominated Indonesia.

This one I really can’t comment on other than to say that I hear what many Muslims say and see what they do and the two don’t line up…

The Christian faith isn’t about social issues, it’s about sin and judgment. It’s about the fact that man chose to disobey God and do things his own way. It’s about how God has every right to send each and everyone of us to hell and instead, He came down here to die in our place so that we might be restored to Him. That’s the Christian faith and anything else is weak at best and heresy at worst…

Related Articles:

 

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Headlines/Default.aspx?id=76013

Obama shares beliefs about Islam and evolution

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http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=75835

Minnesota allows Islamic school to operate on taxpayer monies

A school in suburban St. Paul serves Islamic permissible (halal) food, it students spent time performing various Muslim rituals, and are required to learn Arabic as a second language. The students study Islam and the buses don’t leave the schools until the Islamic studies are over. All of this is being funded by taxpayer dollars. Those against the school and it’s taxpayer funding say that the Minnesota department of Education is being PC about everything and giving liberties to the Islamic school that would never be allowed to Christians or Jews. The school also does not fly the American flag (it’s required by state law) because the school’s executive director says that he cannot operate the flagpole. I couldn’t help but laugh at that last part for two reasons. One, it’s got to be the lamest excuse that I’ve heard in a while for why someone can’t do something. Two, if it’s really true, then I am seriously concerned for the kids are learning! As stated, if this were a Christian school being funded with taxpayer dollars, the ACLU would be all over it and clamoring about “separation of church and state”. Seeing as how this school is not promoting Christian ideals (even though it’s a church) it is ok. I wonder if anyone knows what type of Islam the school adheres to? If they are giving a strict adherence to the Quran, then St. Paul could be the staging ground for terrorism…

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http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041501.html

“Truth Booth” Shows Fetal Development in Ohio Mall

Mall kiosks in Toledo and Cleveland are showing people the development of a fetus from 7 weeks until birth through 4-D ultrasound images. The kiosks also have booklets explaining the events. The kiosks are unmanned so that people “can debate the issue for themselves” and “just wander up to look at the images without being pressured”. A “truth booth” in New Jersey was unmanned but is now staffed in order to protect it from vandalism. I think that this is a great idea. Giving people education about life in the womb will definitely help to reach people. I only wish that the ones in Ohio were manned. I know that anti-abortionist can be “in your face” and there are many times and many issues when I feel that Christians need to be that way. The problem with not having someone there, at least to me, is this: What if you have a young pregnant girl who is considering having an abortion? She sees the video and that may be enough, but what if it’s not? What if she’s needs some biblical instruction? What if she needs encouraging? What if she needs to be saved? These are opportunities that are being missed by not having people there to man the kiosks…

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http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=76434

Deterioration of families now a ‘legitimate gov’t concern,’ says activist

According to a study released by four different groups, divorce and out-of-wedlock births are costing the US $112 billion dollars annually. The report says that the most accepted reason for “family fragmentation” is poverty. The study looked at a lot of factors including the increased ease of getting a divorce that started in the 1970s. The study only gives information on how families have been affected by divorce and OOW births but doesn’t give any solutions. Those involved in the study say that Americans need to “band together” to find solutions for the problems and strengthen marriages and families. They also say that lawmakers should set aside money for marriage strengthening programs. NOW it’s a legitimate concern? After how many years? Sheesh. This study is one of many that shows the crumbling of America’s foundation because of one overwhelming event that continues to happen. The people who ran the study say that we need to “band together” to strengthen marriages and families by letting the government develop programs. That’s a load of rubbish. Look at the many government programs we have now that don’t work at all! What America needs is the same thing that it’s needed for a long time. We need to return to the Judeo-Christian beliefs found in scripture! They say that we need to find ways to strengthen families and marriages. How do we do that? By understanding that a marriage consists of a covenant made by one man and one woman for life! This would immediately cut down on the number of problems that we have. Then, we can look in scripture and see that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). If God hates it, then we should too! After that, we could add the fact that sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, and fornication are sins and should be repented of and thrust from our nation. We could also add the fact that men are supposed to love their wives like Christ loves the church and give themselves for her. And that wives are supposed to respect their husbands (Eph. 5:22-33). These are the reasons that it is costing us this much money, and we are having so many hurt and families are being torn apart. We don’t need another government program. What we need is for Christians to start living like God has called us to and for our nation to return to it’s Christian roots. If we do that, then many things in this nation will turn around…


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