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.

Newslinks 12/05/10

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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Global Church Leader Urges Koreas to Refrain from Use of Force
The United States and South Korea began naval exercises off the west coast of the peninsula Sunday to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive actions must stop.

Pakistan Gov’t Barred from Pardoning Christian on Death Row

2 Healthy Churches Merge for Bigger Impact in Ariz.

Religion Debate Pits Blair Against Hitchens

Don’t Do Christmas on Credit, Debt Charity Warns

Iraq Arrests 12 Suspected in Deadly Church Siege

Leak of State Dept Cables Could Impact Friends and Allies Around the World, White House Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Sunday’s release by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. State Department cables provides a glimpse into the world where views are delivered directly and sometimes bluntly, far removed from bland diplomatic statements reserved for the cameras. The cables reveal frank evaluations of a range of issues and political leaders, offered not just by American officials but also by their foreign interlocutors speaking on the assumption of confidentiality.

Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Might Shift Older Workers Onto Disability Rolls, Report Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Improvements in life expectancy have led to proposals to raise the earliest eligibility age for Social Security retirement benefits above 62, the full retirement age above 67, or both. But a recent government report found a downside to raising the retirement ages.

South Korea Warns North Korea of Retaliation As Naval Exercises Begin
(CNSNews.com)
– South Korean President Lee Myun-bak on Monday vowed strong retaliation against the Stalinist state in the event of any further provocation. He spoke a day after the United States and South Korea launched a four-day joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea. , the body of water located between China and the west coast of the Korean peninsula. China has complained about the U.S. Navy movements in its “exclusive economic zone.”

Alleged Christmas Tree Bomber Said He Wanted to Kill Americans While ‘They Were With Their Families Celebrating the Holidays,’ Says Affidavit
(CNSNews.com)
– Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, allegedly made the statement in a video- and audio-taped conversation he had with two undercover FBI agents on Aug. 19 of this year in a Portland, Ore., hotel room.

Security Situation Seen as ‘Bad’ by One in Five Afghans; 80 Percent Say Corruption Affects Daily Life
(CNSNews.com)
– “The number of Afghans rating their security situation as ‘bad’ is the highest since the nationwide survey began in September 2008,” the report stated. “This downward trend in security perception is likely due to the steady increase in total violence over the past nine months.”

Tea Party May Target Major Companies That Back Obama Agenda, Poll Shows
(CNSNews.com)
– The results of the survey led the pollster to conclude that Tea Partiers could “realistically” lead a boycott of such companies.

Obama’s Agriculture Dept. Has Hired Consulting Firm to Advise It on ‘Diversity
(CNSNews.com)
– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has “taken a number of actions to make his department more sensitive to civil rights issues,” The Hill newspaper reported on Monday.

Bush, Warren: It’s Not About You
Former President George W. Bush revealed on Monday that during his eight-year term, he had in tow the same words of wisdom that Pastor Rick Warren may be famous for: It’s not about you.

Catholic Bishops Back House Resolution to Protect Iraq’s Christians

Survey: Evangelicals Go Against the Tide on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Family Group Blasts Holiday Gift Certificates for Abortion

Man Without Limbs: Live Without Limits

Survey: 1 in 20 Christians Cite Accountability in Church

Mother of 13 Urges Adoption of HIV-Positive Children
Carolyn Twietmeyer, a suburban mother of 13 children – including six from Africa – has a message she wants to say on World AIDS Day: adopt HIV-positive kids.

Faith Leaders Back DREAM Act for Undocumented Youth

Christian Charity in India Educates Public on HIV and AIDS

Televangelist Admits Affair on TV

Christian Columnist: We’ve Won the War on Christmas

Pro-Family Groups Fight Against ‘Hate Group’ Label

Prison Ministry: Spiritual Revival Happening in Women’s Facilities
For unexplainable reasons, other than the Holy Spirit, women inmates are attending Bible meetings and coming to Christ like never before, a prison ministry reported.

Conservatives Warn: DADT Repeal Likely to Hurt Morale, Recruitment

Apple Urged to Restore Manhattan Declaration App

Kay Warren on HIV/AIDS: God Broke My Heart, Wiped Me Out

Poll: ‘Very Religious’ Americans Have Better Emotional Health

Wash. Football Player Flagged for Pointing to God

Drug Cartel-Related Murders Exceed 10,000 for Year So Far, According to a Mexican Newspaper Tally
(CNSNews.com)
– Cartel-related murders in Mexico’s drug war have surpassed 10,000 so far this year, according to a tally kept by the Mexican newspaper Reforma. That figure is about twice the overall number of U.S. military fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

November 2010 Was Deadliest November for U.S. Forces in 9-Year Afghan War
(CNSNews.com)
– At least 45 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan last month — up from the 17 killed in November 2009. That makes November 2010 the deadliest November since the war began more than nine years ago, according to CNSNews.com’s database. So far this year, 452 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, more than was killed in any previous year of the war.

Hoyer Supports ‘Disciplinary Action’ Against USDA Employees Who ‘Consciously’ Discriminated Against Black Farmers
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) voted in favor of the huge settlement for black farmers who were discriminated against by the Agriculture Department from 1981-1996, but when asked whether “disciplinary action” should be taken against any USDA employees, Hoyer said he didn’t know enough about the case to endorse any specific action. “It’s pretty amazing to me that you can have 94,000 people likely discriminated against and you can’t find one single individual responsible for $2.3 billion worth of discrimination,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNSNews.com Monday.

‘Misleading’ Andy Griffith Ads Cost Taxpayers $3 Million, Gov’t Documents Show
(CNSNews.com)
– The federal government spent $3.1 million on TV ads in which actor Andy Griffith touts the new health care law, but a non-partisan watchdog group says those ads are misleading.

White House Deficit Commission Won’t Say If Federal Salaries Should Be Cut
(CNSNews.com)
– The co-chairs of the White House deficit commission said they support “at least” a freeze of federal employees’ salaries but declined to say whether they support a cut in federal salaries. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the year 2009 show that federal worker compensation including benefits averaged $123,049, which was more than double the private sector average (with benefits) of $61,051.

Now That Obama Administration Is Taking Terrorism ‘More Seriously,’ Airport Security ‘Significantly Improved’ This Christmas, Lawmaker Says
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said airport security has “significantly improved” since last year’s attempted Christmas bombing. “The federal government, Homeland Security and TSA have, I think, significantly improved since last Christmas, there’s more cohesion.”

Obama Administration Linking Arms Control Treaty With Russian Cooperation on Iran
(CNSNews.com)
– Pushing to get the New START arms reduction treaty through the lame-duck Senate, the Obama administration and Democrats are looking to pro-Israel organizations, arguing that delaying ratification will jeopardize Russian support for international pressure on Iran. Many conservatives, including some Jewish groups, have deep reservations about the negotiated treaty, including concerns that it will constrain U.S. missile defense options.

EPA Shifting Its Emphasis to ‘Sustainability’
(CNSNews.com)
– The Environmental Protection Agency, marking its 40th anniversary this week, has commissioned a National Research Council study that will help the agency “incorporate sustainability into the way the agency approaches environmental protection.” What does that mean? The EPA reaches all the way to Africa to provide an example.

‘Our Government Has a Role to Play’ in Reducing the Stigma of HIV/AIDS, Obama Says
(CNSNews.com)
– In a message marking World AIDS Day on Wednesday, President Obama urged the American people to “join in appropriate activities to remember the men, women, and children who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.” He reminded infected people that his new health care law will help them get “adequate health insurance coverage and quality care.”

Energy Secretary Bemoans ‘Downward’ Trend in Energy Budget
(CNSNews.com)
– Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the “downward” budget trend for research and development at the Department of Energy is “alarming.”

Full-Scale Replica of Noah’s Ark Coming to Ky. Theme Park
Noah may have taken 400 years to build the ark but investors of a new biblical theme park in northern Kentucky plan to replicate a full-scale model in under 36 months.

Former Daystar Employee Sues Evangelist Over Affair

Late-Term Abortionist Moves to Maryland

Obama to Receive Christmas Cards Urging Mideast Peace

Americans Prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Happy Holidays’

53rd Grammy Nominees for Gospel Music Announced

FCC Commissioner Wants to Test the ‘Public Value’ of Every Broadcast Station
(CNSNews.com)
– American journalism is in “grave peril,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says, and to bolster “traditional media,” he said the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a “public value test” of every broadcast station at relicensing time. In a speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism on Thursday, Copps also said station relicensing should happen every four years instead of the current eight.

British Christian Group Raises Concerns About Shari’a-Compliant Food
(CNSNews.com)
– A Christian organization in Britain has launched a petition campaign aimed at defending the right of those who do not want to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic law (shari’a). Operation Nehemiah argues that the mainstreaming of halal across the world constitutes part of a global Islamization drive. While Muslims should be free to follow their own religious practices, the group objects to non-Muslims having little or no choice in the matter.

Bachmann: ‘There Needs To Be an Insurrection’ Against GOP Leaders If They Don’t Hold Straight Vote to Repeal Obamacare
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), founder and chairman of the House Tea Party Caucus, told CNSNews.com that there will be an “insurrection” against the House Republican leadership if it does not hold an independent, straight up-or-down vote on repealing the entire Obamacare law that does not tie this repeal to other policy initiatives including any effort to “replace” elements of Obamacare with new federal health-care reforms.

Q&A With Michele Bachmann: Zero Out Funding For Obama’s Czars and Obamacare
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), founder and chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, told CNSNews.com this week that when Republicans take control of the House in January they should kill Obamacare by zeroing-out funding for it. They should also remove funding for the non-Senate-confirmed “czars” President Barack Obama has named to his administration. “That’s the beauty of conservatives winning in this election, because the House has the power of the purse and we can zero that out in our budget,” she said.

Pence, DeMint Push for Permanent Extension of Bush Tax Rates
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) renewed their call on Wednesday for making the current tax rates permanent before they automatically reset to 1990’s-era levels at year’s end. “Higher taxes aren’t going to get anybody hired,” Pence said. “Raising taxes on job creators won’t create any jobs. Raising taxes during the worst economy in 25 years is just a phenomenally bad idea.”
“Uncertainty is the enemy of our prosperity,” Pence said.

Napolitano Says Granting Legal Status to Some Illegal Aliens Improves Immigration Law Enforcement
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said granting legal status to illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military will help the country target criminal illegal immigrants. She said the U.S. should “prioritize our enforcement resources on removing dangerous criminal aliens” rather than wasting time and effort prosecuting young people “brought here through no fault of their own.”

Congressman: Close Tax-Funded Smithsonian Exhibit Despite Removal of Ant-Covered Jesus
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said that removing a video with images of ants swarming over Jesus Christ on a crucifix is a “positive” step, but he said there are other elements of the show that make it inappropriate for display in a federal institution where families come to see iconic works of arts such as the portraits of U.S. presidents.

Combat Troops’ Opposition Not an ‘Insurmountable Barrier’ to Letting Gays Serve in Military, Defense Secretary Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Although up to 60 percent of U.S. combat troops oppose the idea of homosexuals serving in the military, those concerns do not pose a ‘insurmountable barrier’ to repealing the statute, Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate panel on Dec. 2. Gates indicated that the combat troops’ negative response to repealing the law stems from their lack of experience in serving with homosexuals. “I couldn’t disagree more,” responded Sen. John McCain.

Congress Should Look At Reducing Federal Workforce ‘Across the Board,’ Republican Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday declined to say whether salaries of federal employees should be cut, but he did say that Congress needs to look at “a reduction of federal employees across the board.”

Leaked Cable May Prompt Iran to Demand Resignation of Nuclear Watchdog Chief
(CNSNews.com)
– Amid rumors that Iran will demand his resignation, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency denied any wrongdoing Thursday, following reports that leaked U.S. diplomatic cables indicated he sided with the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear standoff. Tehran has long accused International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano of lacking impartiality.

Church Planter Tackles Men Who Won’t Grow Up
A St. Louis pastor and respected church planter raised the alarm about a societal problem he calls “ban,” which are males that are not quite boys nor men in their maturity level.

Military Chiefs Ask Lawmakers to Delay DADT Repeal

Petition Asking Apple to Reinstate Christian App Gains Steam

Groups to Press Obama to Defend Iraqi Christians

Calif. Judge Refuses to Bow Out of Prop. 8 Appeals Panel

Wrong to Exclude God from Classroom, Says U.K. Think Tank

Newslinks 10/24/10

October 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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National Debt Increases for 53rd Straight Fiscal Year; Jumped $1.65 Trillion in FY 2010
(CNSNews.com)
– The national debt increased for the 53rd straight fiscal year in fiscal 2010, when it jumped $1.65 trillion, according to data posted online by the Bureau of the Public Debt and confirmed by a spokesperson for the agency. The bureau says its reporting of the federal debt at the end of each fiscal year (as posted here) states exactly to the penny the full and actual amount the U.S. government has borrowed as of that date.

Value-Added Tax Would Hurt Economy, Kill Jobs, Business Group Study Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– An economic analysis sponsored by the National Retail Federation shows that a Value-Added Tax would damage economic growth and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. The study showed that a large reduction in federal spending would be better for the economy. President Obama’s Fiscal Commission reportedly is considering a VAT as one option for reigning in out-of-control federal deficits.

Iran Elected to Chair OPEC Next Year; Dismisses Western Energy Sanctions as Ineffective
(CNSNews.com)
– For the first time since the Islamic revolution, Iran has been handed the rotating presidency of the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations. The move comes at a time when Western governments are seeking to target Iran’s energy sector over its nuclear programs. Iran is pushing for oil to be priced against a currency, or basket of currencies, other than the U.S. dollar. Continue Reading Newslinks 10/24/10…

Newslinks 09/26/10

September 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Values Voters Pick Mike Pence Over Huckabee for President
Social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit have crowned a new top contender for president, though the winner of this year’s straw poll only edged out last year’s by two points.

Anti-Poverty Groups Sound Off Ahead of High-Level MDG Summit

Pope Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Child Abuse

ELCA Receives 3 Lesbian Ministers

Few Americans Think Glenn Beck Is Fit to Head Religious Mov’t

Wheaton College Installs New President Continue Reading Newslinks 09/26/10…

Newslinks 09/19/10

September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Stephen Hawking Takes on Sir Isaac Newton; Christians Respond
Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

12-Hour Prayer, Fasting Rally Hits Sacramento

Emergency in Pakistan Will ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better’

Church Mourns Loss of U.S. Army Chaplain in Afghanistan

Poll: 2 in 3 New Yorkers Want Park51 Mosque Moved

Parliament of the World’s Religions Calls for 9/11 Solidarity Continue Reading Newslinks 09/19/10…

Newslinks 09/05/10

September 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Work of Humanitarian Agencies Praised on 5th Anniversary of Katrina
Five years after Hurricanes Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, survivors and those working on their behalf say work is far from finished.  increasing demand.

Disaffected Lutherans Constitute New Body

Presbyterian Court Rebukes Minister for Gay Weddings

D’Souza: Christians Need to Tackle Secular Culture from ‘Belly of Beast’

Beck: Most Americans Don’t Recognize Obama’s Christianity

Gov’t-Funded Study on Sex, Abstinence Released Following Protest Continue Reading Newslinks 09/05/10…

Newslinks 08/29/10

August 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Ministry Blasts ‘Gross Misrepresentation’ of Creation Museum
The Creation Museum issued a response this week refuting much of the critiques that were made in a recent LiveScience article, including the claim that non-Christians are unwelcome.

Conservative Lutherans to Form New Church Body in North America

Army Soldiers: Skipping Christian Concert Got Us Punished

Extremists Can Gain Ground Through Pakistan Flood Aid, Warns Group

Rapes of Christian Girls in Pakistan Reflect Hidden Trend

So. Baptist Pastor: We Have to Crucify Our Self-Righteousness Continue Reading Newslinks 08/29/10…

Newslinks 08/15/10

August 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Obama backs ‘gay’ group at U.N.
A homosexual activist group has side-stepped normal procedures to gain a non-government organization status at the United Nations.

GOP: Obama developing ‘backdoor amnesty plan’
The Obama administration is considering ways it could go around lawmakers to let illegal immigrants stay in the United States, according to an agency memo.

Another Democrat facing ethics charges
A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could be facing an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the midterm election outlook for the party as it battles to hold onto its majority.

Amish communities growing rapidly
A new study estimates the number of Amish in North America has doubled since 1992 and increased nearly 10 percent in the past two years alone.

Baptist World Alliance Confirms New President
Virginia native John Upton was elected Saturday to lead the Baptist World Alliance as its new president. The long-time Baptist succeeds David Coffey of the United Kingdom. Continue Reading Newslinks 08/15/10…

Newslinks 08/01/10

August 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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LCMS President Laments Churches’ Pro-Gay Directions
The outgoing president of the second largest Lutheran church body in America lamented the directions taken on matters of sexuality by some member churches of the Lutheran World Federation.

Lutheran World Federation Elects Palestinian Bishop as President

Orthodox Anglicans Urged to Hold Fast to Sound Teaching

Conservative Leaders Sound Off Against Kenya’s ‘Pro-Abortion’ Constitution

Thousands of Christian Zionists Gather to Support Israel

Government-Incited Gang in Vietnam Attacks House Church

Energy Department Official Can’t Say How Much Greenhouse Gas Is Generated on Capitol Hill
(CNSNews.com)
– At a House subcommittee hearing last week, an Energy Department official could not answer a question from a Republican lawmaker about how much pollution is emitted in the process of generating electricity for federal government operations in the nation’s capital. When CNSNews.com asked for the greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the federal government operations in Washington, D.C., a spokesperson for the Energy Department said that greenhouse gas emissions are not measured by regions, but by each agency nationwide. The spokesperson also said that in the future, greenhouse gas emissions will be collected by zip code.

Lockerbie Probe May Prove Uncomfortable for Obama Administration
(CNSNews.com)
– The four Democratic U.S. senators probing the early release of the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing believe there were links to a BP oil deal, but their inquiry may have the unintended consequence of raising questions about just how strongly the Obama administration opposed the Libyan’s release. Scottish government ministers, stung by accusations that they released Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi to ease a massive oil exploration contract in Libya, are pointing out that it is the U.S. government that is blocking the release of two documents relating to the decision.

U.S. Spent $314,613 Studying Increase in Family Violence After NFL Upset Losses
(CNSNews.com)
– The National Institutes of Health spent $314,613 over two years on a study that found family violence increases about three times as much on the Fourth of July as it does after the local NFL team suffers an “upset” loss. The researchers also determined that an “upset” loss by the local NFL home team was not linked to nearly as great an increase in family violence as were Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Sen. Baucus Won’t Say If Obama’s Controversial Recess-Appointee to Run Medicare Will Get Confirmation Hearing
(CNSNews.com)
– Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would not say whether Dr. Donald Berwick, who received a recess appointment to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would ever receive a Senate confirmation hearing in the committee that Baucus oversees, as the Constitution requires. On Capitol Hill last week, CNSNews.com asked Sen. Baucus, “Why didn’t you schedule a hearing for Dr. Berwick?”

Schumer’s New Campaign Finance Bill Preserves NRA Loophole
(CNSNews.com)
– An updated version of a campaign finance bill written by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) preserves a controversial loophole that would exempt the National Rifle Association from tough new disclosure and speech restrictions during election cycles. The new bill, an updated version of Schumer’s original DISCLOSE Act, was introduced on the Senate floor on July 21 without being referred to committee.

Massive US-South Korea Naval Maneuvers Held Amid North Korean Threats
(CNSNews.com)
– Despite characteristically belligerent rhetoric, there were no reports of North Korean troop movements or threatening behavior as South Korea and the United States continued large-scale naval exercises Monday aimed at deterring aggression by the isolated communist state. A statement by U.S. Army Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said the drills were “designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behavior must stop.”

ACLJ Asks Commission to Make N.Y. Building a Landmark to Keep 13-Story Mosque from Being Built at Ground Zero
(CNSNews.com)
– A conservative civil liberties group has formally requested landmark status for a building in lower Manhattan that an Islamic group wants to replace with a 13-story mosque and community center. The American Center for Law and Justice said it is “urging city officials to landmark the site because it stands as a symbol of America’s strength and survival in the face of brutal, sadistic terrorism.”

Rangel a liability to the party
An ethics watchdog organization believes Congressman Charles Rangel is becoming an increasing liability to the Democratic Party — thus the decision to file ethics charges against the veteran lawmaker.

AZ judge doesn’t ignore reality
Immigration reform activist Ira Mehlman is encouraged that the judge hearing challenges to Arizona’s immigration law has raised the realities of what’s happening in the state because of out-of-control illegal immigration there.

Students support prof’s conservative stand
Support is mounting for a University of Illinois professor who was fired for telling students in his Catholicism class that he agrees with the Catholic Church’s teaching against homosexuality.

Sex-ed program delayed, modified
Outrage from parents has apparently resulted in delaying the implementation of a proposed controversial sex-ed program in Montana.

Perspective: Real change is possible
As long as there are Christians willing to consecrate themselves to God in prayer for the spiritual state of America, real change is possible.

Ted Haggard Aims for Simplicity with New Church
Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggard is done with the dark auditoriums, smoke machines, emotional hype and the dry professional preachers.

Megachurch Pastor Seeks 100,000 Christians to ‘Save America’

Traditional Marriage Group Goes on 23-City Campaign

German Christians Pray After Love Parade Tragedy

LWF President-Elect: Who Could Imagine the Holy Land without Christians?

Study: Few Americans Say Faith is Top Priority

Obama Won’t Speak In Person at Boy Scouts’ 100th Anniversary Celebration But Will Appear on ABC TV’s ‘The View’
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama, the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, will not speak in person before tens of thousands of boys gathered at the National Scout Jamboree in Virginia. However, the president is sending a videotaped message to the scouts to be played on Wednesday, the same day he will be in Manhattan to tape an appearance on ABC’s talk show “The View.”

Britain’s National Health Service, Praised by Obama’s Medicare Chief, to Undergo Cost-Cutting Overhaul
(CNSNews.com)
– Britain’s National Health Service, which rations basic health care services to control costs, will undergo major budget cuts and restructuring, ostensibly to make the government-run system less bureaucratic and more “bottom-up,” according to detailed news reports over the weekend from the United Kingdom. Dr. Donald Berwick, who recently received a recess-appointment to run the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in America, has praised Britain’s National Health Service, saying he loves the single-payer system.

U.S. Opposition to Release of Lockerbie Convict Was Clear and Consistent, State Department Says
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration has no plans to release any further correspondence with Scotland relating to the release of the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing. “Nothing more needs to be released,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told CNSNews on Monday, after the department made public the text of a letter sent to Scottish ministers eight days before Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was freed and flown home to Libya. Ahead of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the matter scheduled for Thursday, CNSNews asked Crowley whether a final, still-unreleased document would now be made available.

President Obama Once Again Makes Erroneous Claim That Foreign Entities Can Spend Unlimited Amounts in U.S. Elections
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama on Monday incorrectly stated that a landmark campaign-finance ruling allows foreign entities to pour money into U.S. elections. It’s the second time he’s made such a claim, and this time it happened while he was promoting the Democrats’ DISCLOSE Act in a Rose Garden speech. The Senate on Tuesday is taking up the legislation that would put strict new requirements on campaign advertising. The House already has passed a similar version of the bill.

Homeland Security Efforts to Combat Increase in Human Trafficking-Related Violence Along Border ‘Static,’ GAO Says
(CNSNews.com)
– In recent years there has been an increase in violence associated with human trafficking along the southwest border. Despite this, the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency’s investigative resources committed to alien smuggling in that area have remained “static,” according to a government audit.

Opposition Mounts Against ObamaCare Tax Provision
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Business advocates are hoping Congress scraps a tax provision in the health care overhaul law that they say is overly burdensome to smaller companies.

New Claims of ISI Terrorist Links Overshadow Pakistan’s Decision to Extend Army Chief’s Job
(CNSNews.com)
– The decision to extend the tenure of Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani comes at a time of renewed scrutiny into alleged collusion between the military intelligence agency, which Kayani oversaw from 2004-2007, and terrorists in Afghanistan. The move comes amid controversy over a cache of Afghanistan battlefield reports released by the whistleblower site, WikiLeaks, some of them describing collusion between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Former Surgeon General Koop Calls Kagan’s Alteration of ACOG’s Partial Birth Abortion Statement ‘Unethical’ and ‘Disgraceful’
(CNSNews.com)
– In an open letter delivered last week, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is urging senators to vote against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court, in light of her role in the alteration of a medical statement about partial-birth abortion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). “I was deeply disturbed to learn the Elena Kagan, the nominee for Supreme Court scheduled for a Senate committee vote next week, manipulated the medical policy statement on partial-birth abortion of a major medical organization, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in January 1997,” Koop wrote in his letter.

Washington State to Allow Pharmacies A Choice in Stocking ‘Morning-After Pill’
(CNSNews.com)
– Pharmacists in the State of Washington may soon be free to choose the medications they want to provide in their pharmacies after a lawsuit prompted the state’s pharmacy board to reevaluate the current regulations. Pharmacists in Washington currently are required to stock the “morning-after pill,” which is marketed as Plan B, regardless of any moral or ethical concerns they may have.

Ford alive because of bailouts?
While GM and Chrysler struggle financially, the other of the “Big Three” — the one that refused government bailout money — is doing fine.

GOP faction challenges military ban
A conservative military watchdog says a “gay Republican group” is attempting to use the courts to bring irreparable harm to the military.

AZ law simply good business practice
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently called the owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team to task for his opposition to the state’s tough immigration enforcement bill.

Praying pro-lifers see positive results
Pro-lifers who prayed at a well-publicized abortion clinic in Illinois are claiming success after a number of women chose life over abortion.

Perspective: Pornography and women
Dignity is not a quality most girls value — it’s not a quality they see held in high regard, or modeled by our female cultural icons.

‘No Leverage’ in Newt Gingrich’s Ground Zero Mosque Argument
Newt Gingrich offers a “provocative” argument about the proposed Ground Zero mosque and Saudi Arabia’s church building policy, but it has “no leverage,” said a religious freedom expert.

Anglican Panel Rejects Proposal to Cut Episcopal Church

PC(USA) Pensions Board Proceeds Cautiously with Domestic Partner Benefits

Evangelicals Confront Western Europe’s Spiritual Malaise

U.S. Should Help N. Korean Orphans, Say Korean-Americans

Christian Nursing Student Nearly Dies from Assault in Pakistan

Biden Claims $600 Billion in Stimulus Funds Spent — ‘We’re Building a Government That Delivers More Bang for the Buck Than Ever Before’
(CNSNews.com)
– Vice President Joe Biden says “Americans deserve a government that actually works,” and he also assured liberals that the Obama administration is “trying to build a government that delivers much more bang for the buck than it ever has before.” In remarks on Tuesday, Biden said the government has spent $600 billion in economic stimulus funds — “and we’re seeing waste, fraud, and abuse claims at just about two-tenths of 1 percent of the entire amount of money spent.”

Hoyer Refuses to Rule Out Raising the Retirement Age to Address Social Security
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday would not rule out raising the retirement age in attempt to save Social Security. “What I have said, in a speech that was pretty specific, was that I think everything needs to be on the table,” Hoyer said.

EPA Puts ‘Environmental Justice’ Front and Center in Its Rulemaking Process
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a 55-page “guidance” to help its employees “advance environmental justice” for low-income and minority communities. “Achieving environmental justice is an Agency priority and should be factored into every decision,” the document says.

Progress Towards July 2011 Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan Mixed, U.S. Envoy Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, when questioned during a Senate panel hearing, indicated that the progress towards Obama’s July 2011 drawdown date is mixed, and he added that “there is no single answer yet to this extraordinarily complicated situation.”

Rep. Pence: Medicare Chief Berwick ‘Not Entitled to That Job,’ Must Explain Praise for UK ‘Socialist Health Care System’
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says he is concerned about the prospect of health care rationing following the recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to serve as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services. “I think it was wrong for the president to bypass the confirmation process at a time when the American people are so focused on legislation where the ink is barely dry,” Pence told CNSNews.com.

Democrat Postpones Senate Hearing on Lockerbie Controversy, After Key Witnesses Rebuff His Request to ‘Clear the Air’
(CNSNews.com)
– Accusing Scottish and British officials and BP executives of “stonewalling,” the Democratic senator who was to have chaired a hearing this week on the Lockerbie controversy announced Tuesday that it would be postponed. “We are at a place where no witnesses of consequence has the courage to step forward and clear the air,” Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey told reporters. With the key witnesses declining to attend, Tuesday’s postponement announcement was not unexpected.

Afghanistan Presses U.S. to Take Firmer Line With Pakistan Over Terror Links
(CNSNews.com)
– Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s national security council chided the U.S. government Tuesday for not taking a tougher line with Pakistan over its alleged collusion with terrorists operating in Afghanistan. The unauthorized leak of U.S. military documents revealing collaboration between members of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and the Taliban and other jihadist groups may slow down Karzai’s recent policy of seeking warmer relations with Islamabad.

Key cause of AIDS ‘off the table’
Pro-family activist Peter LaBarbera says an important aspect was missing from last week’s International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, when the Obama administration pledged the support of the U.S. in the global fight against AIDS.

Perspective: Hide-and-seek hypocrites
When a piece of legislation dubbed the “DISCLOSE Act” surfaces, the voter’s instinctive reaction should be: What are the politicians trying to hide now?

Seniors’ group blasting Berwick
A conservative alternative to AARP is speaking out against President Obama’s healthcare agenda and recent appointment to oversee Medicare and Medicaid.

Choi sees ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ at work
Elaine Donnelly thinks the U.S. military was extremely lenient in its treatment of an officer who engaged in radical homosexual activism before he was discharged for his sexual orientation.

Candidate criticized for remark about Islam
A Republican candidate for governor of Tennessee is being criticized by a Muslim rights group for questioning whether Islam is more of a cult than a religion.

Gospel Music Association Moves Dove Awards to Atlanta
The Gospel Music Association (GMA) said it was taking a “bold step” Tuesday in hosting the next Dove Awards in a place outside of Nashville for the first time.

LWF 11th Assembly Concludes with ‘Message’ to Churches

Report Reveals Ineffectiveness of Methodist Structures

Fla. Church Plans ‘Burn a Quran’ Day to Mark 9/11

ELCA Presiding Bishop Calls for Immigration Reform in Letter to Obama

Spain Orders Judge to Return Salary Over Gay Adoption Trial

Fed’s argument against AZ law ‘ludicrous’
An Arizona sheriff on the front lines in the battle against illegal immigration believes the Supreme Court will ultimately have to overturn Wednesday’s ruling that blocked implementation of most of the new state measure cracking down on those who are in the country illegally.

Conscience vs. creed
Some Democratic senators say they don’t feel a need to accept all of their churches’ teachings.

Court sides with university, ADF to appeal
Alliance Defense Fund will appeal the federal court decision that allows Eastern Michigan University to expel Christian student Julea Ward from the counseling program for not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable.

Perspective: Shirley Sherrod, quit while you’re ahead
Andrew Breitbart erred in not viewing Shirley Sherrod’s entire NAACP speech — but she shouldn’t be given a pass for her own past racist comments.

Educator excellence – a fair expectation
A Christian educator is praising a decision by the Washington, DC, public school system to fire more than 240 teachers because of poor performance.

Free Enterprise — Not Government Oversight — Key to GM Turnaround, Say Company Officials
(CNSNews.com)
– Free enterprise and the American marketplace – not the guiding hand of government – have revitalized the beleaguered automaker General Motors, which expects to announce another profitable quarter, according to GM officials. President Barack Obama plans to visit a GM plant in Hamtramk, Michigan on July 30, and his administration is linking GM’s return to profitability with the bailout of the old GM the administration orchestrated last summer.

Republicans Say Obama’s Drilling Moratorium Could Have Taxpayers Picking Up Tab for More Unemployed Oil Workers
(CNSNews.com)
– Critics of the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling say it will put more workers on the unemployment rolls – at taxpayer expense — especially those in the Gulf region, which is struggling to recover from the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil leak. Marking the 100th day after the disaster on Wednesday, House Republicans held a press conference to denounce both the moratorium and Democrat-sponsored legislation arising from the oil spill.

Reid: Democrats’ Energy Bill Will Create Jobs and Lower Energy Costs for Consumers
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday the Senate’s energy bill is necessary for the “environment and for national security.” He also said the legislation will generate jobs and lower energy costs for consumers. But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee, indicated that the Senate’s energy bill will eliminate jobs by making Obama’s oil drilling moratorium permanent.

Michelle Obama’s Request for Birthday Wishes for Her Husband Links to Donation Page
(CNSNews.com)
– It seems like a nice gesture –- an e-mail message from a loving wife, urging thousands of people to join her in wishing her husband a happy 49th birthday by signing an electronic birthday card. But in Washington, D.C., nothing is that simple. The electronic card to Barack Obama also serves as a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Senators DeMint and Brownback Open to GOP Filibusters to Force Hearing on Medicare Chief
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) on Wednesday indicated that they are open to filibustering any and all legislation in the Senate until a confirmation hearing is held for Dr. Donald Berwick, who was recently recess-appointed by President Obama to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

GAO: Some Mexican Drug Traffickers ‘Specialize’ in Smuggling Aliens From Countries With Ties to Terrorism Into the U.S.
(CNSNews.com)
– Some Mexican drug-trafficking organizations are involved in smuggling potential terrorists across the southwestern border, according to the Government Accountability Office. “Aliens from countries of special interest to the United States such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan…illegally enter the United States” across the southwest border, the GAO’s Richard Stana said in a report issued July 22.

Dem Governors Condemn ‘Patchwork’ AZ Law; GOP Governors Hedge
(CNSNews.com)
– As a federal judge in Phoenix barred enforcement of major elements of Arizona’s immigration law Wednesday, Democratic governors continued to express their opposition to a “patchwork” of state laws, while GOP state executives were split on the issue.

Pro-Life Groups Seek Probe Into Kagan’s Clinton-Era Role in Partial Birth Abortion Debate
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– More than 30 pro-life organizations are calling on senators to investigate Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s record on partial-birth abortion while she served as a Clinton administration attorney. The pro-life groups are concerned about discrepancies between Kagan’s testimony before Congress and written documentation of her influence on medical organizations while advising President William J. Clinton on partial-birth abortion.

Tanker Incident Raises Concerns About Oil Transit Through Persian Gulf
(CNSNews.com)
– Mystery surrounds an incident in which a laden oil tanker was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday. Maritime and shipping officials are at odds over whether an intentional explosion or a freak wave hit the tanker. The incident again highlights the vulnerability of the world’s most important energy waterway, one which Iran has periodically threatened to block, in retaliation for international pressure over its nuclear program.

Japan Welcomes News That U..S Envoy Will Attend Hiroshima Commemoration for First Time
(CNSNews.com)
– The State Department announced that U.S. Ambassador John Roos would represent the U.S. at the August 6 event at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, “to express respect for all of the victims of World War II.” Asked why the gesture was being made at this time, spokesman Philip Crowley said, “At this particular point, we thought it was the right thing to do.” Japanese media attributed the decision to President Obama’s agenda of pursuing “a world without nuclear weapons.”

Faith Leaders Protest Arizona Immigration Law
Some religious leaders from Arizona and elsewhere are coordinating nationwide protests against the state’s new immigration law, which takes effect Thursday.

Mayors Urged to Resist Atheists’ Demands to Drop Invocations

Episcopal Head Talks Conflict, Diversity, Immigration

Fla. Megachurch Readies Oil Spill Kids for Back to School

Christian Relief Group: Kyrgyzstan in Turmoil

Pastor in Russian Republic of Dagestan Killed

Hoyer: Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts Equals a ‘Republican Tax Increase’ on Middle Class
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Wednesday that the expiration built into the Bush tax cuts is a “Republican tax increase” for “working Americans,” and that Democrats have “no intention” of allowing it to go into effect. “We’re going to act and make sure that the Republican phase out and increase in taxes does not end as they provided for in the laws they passed.”

Obama Administration Giving Millions to States to Build Their New Health Insurance Exchanges
(CNSNews.com)
– The Health and Human Services Department on Thursday moved ahead with its plans to establish “the health insurance marketplace of the future.” It announced “two key steps” – including $51 million in grant money — in its effort to “partner with states” in setting up the new health insurance exchanges.

Obama, Who Ended D.C.’s Voucher Program, Talks About Improving Education for Children ‘Born in the Wrong Neighborhood’
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration is phasing out a program that allows underprivileged children to get scholarships to expensive private schools in Washington, D.C., such as Sidwell Friends, the school the Obama girls attend. Nevertheless, Obama on Thursday spoke about his “obligation to lift up every child” to help them achieve a quality education.

DNC Chair Kaine Complains of Media Effort to ‘Brand’ Sherrod, but Stops Short of Calling FoxNews ‘Racist’
(CNSNews.com)
– Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine refused Wednesday to say whether he agreed with former DNC Chairman Howard Dean that FoxNews “did something that was absolutely racist” by airing the Shirley Sherrod video and story. But Kaine also didn’t rule it out. Kaine told CNSNews.com at a news conference Wednesday, “It is outrageous that there was this effort to brand her and use her to suggest that she and others were being divisive.”

Administration Stresses Pakistani Cooperation, But Haqqani Threat Persists
(CNSNews.com)
– Administration officials and senior military officers are emphasizing that Pakistan’s cooperation in routing terrorists has improved significantly in the last 18 months, but the ongoing threats posed by the Taliban faction known as the Haqqani network shows there is a long way to go. Despite tens of thousands of leaked U.S. military documents alleging collaboration between members of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and terrorists fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, the administration insists Pakistan has changed direction.

Conservative Media Watchdog Issues Ethics Challenge to Washington Post
(CNSNews.com)
– Conservative media watchdog L. Brent Bozell III is calling on Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli to fully divulge the involvement of several Post employees with the controversial Journolist e-mail list. The association, he said, puts the paper’s credibility and impartiality in doubt.

NY Congressman Calls for Probe of Funding for Mosque Near Ground Zero and Its Promoter
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is calling for an investigation into the funding for a proposed Islamic community center at Ground Zero, as well as the imam who is promoting the project. “I think we should investigate the imam who is going to be at that mosque,” King said. “He is portrayed as being a moderate, a bridge builder. The fact is he was on television after 9/11 saying the U.S. brought this on themselves.”

No abortion funding – ‘an empty promise’
Irrespective of a presidential executive order and rule rewriting ordered by America’s Health and Human Services secretary, healthcare reform does provide for tax-funded abortions — so says a government report.

Perspective: The enablers of Charlie Rangel
Drain the swamp? Lead the most ethical Congress in history? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the world’s worst cleaning lady.

Obama’s ‘credibility gap’
President Obama recently spoke at a town hall meeting where he told his listeners that “things could be worse,” but a dean of a major university says he doesn’t understand how.

‘Modern family’ film not all right
Focus on the Family’s Plugged In is raising a warning flag about a movie called The Kids are All Right, which is making its way into American theatres.

Perspective: Knowing your enemy
Only three Americans doubt that terrorist acts plotted against Americans have been inspired by the Muslim call for jihad — unfortunately, they’re all in the White House.

GOP: Obama developing ‘backdoor amnesty plan’
The Obama administration is considering ways it could go around lawmakers to let illegal immigrants stay in the United States, according to an agency memo.

Another Democrat facing ethics charges
A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could be facing an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the midterm election outlook for the party as it battles to hold onto its majority.

Outrage over local salaries
Residents of a California city are outraged after learning of the high salaries their city council members make by working for a town where many live in poverty.

U.S. adoption market on the rise
Bethany Christian Services, the nation’s largest adoption agency, is reporting a higher interest in adoptions.

A papal first
Church officials say Catholics will have to pay admission of up to $39 to attend two of the public events in England to be led by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit in September.

‘Vampire’ Author Anne Rice ‘Quits’ Christianity
Interview with the Vampire author Anne Rice declared Wednesday that she “quit being Christian.”

Evangelical Body: Cancel ‘Burn a Quran’ Day

Baptists from 105 Countries Unite in Honolulu

House Bill Seeks to Permanently Ban Abortion Funding

Progressive Christian Weighs In on Influence of Religious Left

Suspected Islamists Shoot 5 Christians to Death in Pakistan

Newslinks 07/25/10

July 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Ahead of Key Kabul Meeting, Clinton Woos Pakistan With Aid, But Wants More Counter-Terror Measures
(CNSNews.com)
– Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plans to reconcile with elements among the Taliban will take center stage in Kabul Tuesday, when the world’s foreign ministers meet to discuss the country’s future…

Maryland Becomes Second State to Offer Federally Funded Abortions under Obamacare
(CNSNews.com)
– Maryland will join Pennsylvania as the second state to use federal tax dollars to pay for abortions under the new health care law signed by President Barack Obama in March, according to information released by Maryland’s State Health Insurance Plan…

New Regulations Outline Content, Transmission Standards for Every Americans’ Electronic Health Records
(CNSNews.com) – New regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday outline federal standards for the electronic health records that every American must have by 2014…

Obama to GOP: Restore Unemployment Benefits Now
Washington (AP) –
President Barack Obama took aim at Republican lawmakers Monday, accusing them of holding the public hostage to Washington politics by blocking extended unemployment benefits for millions of out of work Americans…

Pro-Lifers Win a Round in Health Care Overhaul
Washington (AP) –
Abortion foes have scored a victory and traditional allies of the Obama administration are grumbling about a decision to ban most abortion coverage in insurance pools for those unable to purchase health care on their own… Continue Reading Newslinks 07/25/10…

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