Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion

May 22, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Authentic Religion
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

“Rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30)

“Nothing but leaves” (Mark 11:13)

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
(1 John 3:18).

“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1)

If we profess to have any religion at all, let us be careful that it is authentic.  I say it emphatically, and I repeat the saying: Let us be careful that our religion is authentic.

What do I mean when I use the word “authentic.”  I mean that which is genuine, and sincere, and honest, and thorough.  I mean that which is not inferior, and hollow, and formal, and false, and counterfeit, and sham, and nominal.  “Authentic” religion is not mere show, and pretense, and skin-deep feeling, and temporary profession, and works only on the outside.  It is something inward, solid, substantial, intrinsic, living, lasting.  We know the difference between counterfeit and authentic money–between solid gold and tinsel–between plated metal and silver–between authentic stone and plaster imitation.  Let us think of these things as we consider the subject of this paper.  What is the character of our religion?  Is it authentic?  It may be weak, and feeble, and mingled with many defects.  That is not the point before us today.  Is our religion authentic?  Is it true?

The times in which we live demand attention to this subject.  A want of authenticity is a striking feature of a vast amount of religion in the present day.  Poets have sometimes told us that the world has passed through four different states or conditions.  We have had a golden age, and a silver age, a brass age, and an iron age.  How far this is true, I do not stop to inquire.  But I fear there is little doubt as to the character of the age in which we live.  It is universally an age of cheap metal and alloy.  If we measure the religion of the age by its apparent quantity, there is much of it.  But if we measure it by its quality, there is indeed very little.  On every side we want MORE AUTHENTICITY. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion…

False Teachers

May 10, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With all of the different events taking place in the church and all of the men and women who claim to be preaching the gospel, a question arises. How do you know? How can you be sure that the man (or woman) that you are hearing speak is actually speaking the truth? Some talk about how they’ve heard from God and how God “told them” things. Others proclaim that the growth and size of their ministries is proof that God is “blessing” them. There are many “preachers” today, especially in America, and all of them profess to be Bible-believing, truth-preaching, Christians. But are they?

 In the New Testament, there are a number of passages of scripture that should give us pause before we go proclaiming that “Pastor so and so” is the next “up and coming” pastor. Unfortunately, a number of people in the church seem to go by appearance or charm. Others go by whether or not the one preaching agrees with what they already believe. We go by sound or size of the church or by popularity or by relevancy.

 So, how should Christians be testing their pastors/preachers and other people claiming to do the work of God?  Continue Reading False Teachers…

Do they apply?

March 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems that in the American church’s rush to appease the lost and the non believers (I was going to say pagans but that would probably offend someone), or their effort to bilk trusting, tested Christians of all the money they have by “sowing their seed”; the church has forgotten one of its greatest tools. Ok, I don’t think that they’ve forgotten it as much as they’ve tossed it aside for church growth plans and light-hearted, shallow events that bring people in based on their greed and have them leaving the same way (if they’re lucky). Now, any pastor can pick whatever they want to say and then go traipsing through the scriptures and cherry-pick whatever verses they want to support their “sermon”. To do this, of course, they have to twist the scriptures until they squeeze every last drop of life out of them; but the ends justifies the means even if the means completely destroys the foundation upon which the “sermon” should be built on.

This attitude bleeds to the flock of the “shepherd” over time until the entire group goes through the Bible picking out “life verses” and “claiming” specific verses as “theirs”. After awhile, the church is full of puffed up men and women who expect everything from God because they can string together a group of verses that have no real connection and then muster up their most faith filled voice to command Him to bring it to pass right now because they deserve it. Mix in the idea that we have to look blessed (whatever that looks like) and act blessed even if we don’t have two nickels to rub together and you’ve got a large portion of America’s churches.

So, what is this missing tool? What is the thing that would stop all of this nonsense? Hermeneutics. Continue Reading Do they apply?…

Is it not enough?

January 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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As I continue to hear about the church in America, I am struck by some things that I just don’t understand. I keep talking about the church “in America” because it looks different from the church outside the US. The problems that American churches face are nothing like the ones faced by the churches in other countries. While American churches worry about new “growth” methods and how to better entertain churchgoers, Christians in other countries are hiding in basements worshipping God with the single page of scripture that they’ve been able to smuggle with them. While American churches work on “branding strategies” and marketing efforts, Christians in other countries are dying just for naming the Name of Christ. Is it just me or is something out of whack here?

God has set aside His church to accomplish certain goals the way He wants them done. When the church fails to do this, they are in rebellion to God. I was reading in Numbers 16 this morning and it brought all this together. In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as well as 250 others go up before Moses and Aaron and express their anger and frustration. They accuse him of “exalting himself” as their leader when “all of the congregation is holy”. These men who accused Moses weren’t just any men though. They were men of renown, chosen from among the assembly. Korah was a son of Levi, the tribe who was set apart for service to the Lord as His portion. This wasn’t enough for them though. They wanted the same prestige that Moses had. They wanted the power that he had without the burden or the approval of the Lord. They felt that they should be just like the priesthood and decided to tell him boldly and arrogantly. They told Moses that he had “gone far enough” in exalting himself over the people.  Continue Reading Is it not enough?…

Wisdom for the nation

March 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Last week, I wrote about where our country is and why. I wrote about how the government has fallen away from the Constitution and now only serves itself, ignoring the people it supposedly represents. I ended with some ideas on what I would love to see happen and what I think could begin to fix the nation. After I posted that, I thought about a few more things.

 

Many people today talk about being Christian and show very little evidence for it. Many claim to believe in God, but they refuse to believe the Bible is His very Word. Along with them, the world mocks the Scriptures and says that they have no value other than some ethereal “good teachings”. This week, I wanted to look at some of the scriptures to show how they are pertinent to every situation, at any time, anywhere. Many of these verses are thousands of years old, and yet, they still hold more than “good teachings”. The main place I’m going to go this week is Proverbs. As you read this week’s blog, I ask that you contemplate the problems that our nation (and much of the rest of the world) is facing right now. Solomon wrote most of the proverbs in the Bible. Solomon is known as the wisest man who ever lived besides Christ. During his reign as king of Israel, the people were at peace and they flourished and grew. It seems to be simple logic to look at what Solomon did/believed and see if we can’t do the same. It must be made clear though: Solomon’s wisdom was God-given and did not come from any man (1 Kings 3:3-10). To understand the proverbs, we must first know their purpose:

 

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7)

 

The purpose of the proverbs is to understand wisdom, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice, and equity. They also give prudence to the naïve, knowledge and discretion to the youth, and increase the learning of the wise man. But, Solomon makes a caveat to all of this in verse 7. The proverbs are only helpful to those who fear (revere) God. The wisdom that Solomon is sharing is from Him and it is only through a correct view of God Himself that this wisdom will make sense:

 

Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:2-6)

 

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:19-24)

 

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

 

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

 

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. (Proverbs 15:33)

 

 

The proverbs are filled with examples of those who follow wisdom and her teachings and those who don’t. For those who refuse to listen to wisdom, the consequences are severe:

 

“Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.” (Wisdom speaking – Proverbs 1:24-29)

 

Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs. (Proverbs 19:2)

 

But for those who will listen to the wisdom of God and be obedient to it, there are much different results:

 

Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:20-23)

 

“But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33)

 

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. (Proverbs 3:13-18)

 

“Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.” (Proverbs 4:5-9)

 

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice.  By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly.” (Proverbs 8:12-16)

 

The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)

 

By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

 

In my opinion, these examples alone should be enough for our nation to begin to radically restructure our lives to turn back to God. But, for the sake of those skeptics who mock the Lord and see faith in Him as a “crutch”, let’s look at some other things that the proverbs touch on.

 

In today’s time, it has unfortunately become so common to hear about school shootings (like the recent ones in Germany) that we have become numb to those things. Add to this the out of control sexual activity, drinking/drug use, and the absolute lack of morality that our kids are being brought up in through public schools it is an utter catastrophe both for our society and for the church. Proverbs is something important for our children as well as for ourselves. If you teach your children to read a chapter of Proverbs a day (and repeat it every month) the wisdom they will come away with will keep them from many of the things that they will face. Solomon wrote down his wisdom to pass it along to his children. Look at some of the things that he said:

 

My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. (Proverbs 1:10-16)

 

My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:1-7)

 

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you. Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. (Proverbs 3:27-32)

 

Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:14-27)

 

My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol.

She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. (Proverbs 5:1-7)

 

Imagine if our children were taught this? What would our nation be like? If generation upon generation were to walk in the truth of Proverbs how great would it be? If they had a healthy reverence for God and obeyed Him imagine what it would be like? What if our children were able to pull this nation up from the dregs and move it forward because they stood on a sound and strong foundation based on Biblical truth? It would be amazing! It would be what it is supposed to be…

 

Throughout Proverbs, there is a comparison between the upright/righteous and the wicked/evil. The righteous are those who believe in God and fear Him. They are obedient to His Word and are willing to change themselves to fit it. The wicked are those who hate God and turn away from Him and His wisdom. They rebel against Him and live their lives the way they want to.

 

Pro 2:21-2 For the upright will live in the land And the blameless will remain in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous will be uprooted from it.

 

Pro 3:33-5 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.

 

 Pro 5:21-3 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

 

Pro 6:12-5 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

 

Pro 10:2-3 Ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness delivers from death. The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger, But He will reject the craving of the wicked.

 

Pro 10:6-7 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

 

Pro 10:9 He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

 

Pro 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

Pro 11:6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.

 

Pro 11:10-1 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.

 

 

Pro 11:18 The wicked earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

Pro 11:20 The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

 

Pro 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

Pro 12:7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand.

Pro 12:13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble.

 

Pro 13:5 A righteous man hates falsehood, But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.

 

Pro 14:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.

 

Pro 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.

 

Pro 15:8-9 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

 

Pro 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

 

Pro 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice.

 

Pro 16:28 A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.

 

Pro 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

 

Pro 17:26 It is also not good to fine the righteous, Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.

 

Pro 21:15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity.

 

Pro 21:21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor.

 

Pro 22:12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

 

Pro 24:1-2 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble.

 

Pro 26:24 He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart.

 

Pro 28:12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.

 

Pro 28:22 A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him.

 

Pro 28:28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.

 

Pro 29:2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

 

Pro 29:7 The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern.

 

Pro 29:16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall.

 

Proverbs also talks about lying and deceit and shows what God thinks about it. It also shows the results and problems that come from lying and deceit. Unfortunately, lying is so commonplace that it is an accepted and even encouraged part of many professions and life in general. Our lawyers, politicians, and (sadly) many preachers are seen as liars. This is a tragedy on many levels. First, it has obscures the truth and it causes a lack of trust that hurts marriages, families, and the infrastructure of our nation. If we can’t trust our family, friends, or leaders, then we are at a loss to build anything that lasts:

 

Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment.

 

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.

 

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.

 

Proverbs 14:25 A truthful witness saves lives, But he who utters lies is treacherous.

 

Proverbs 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

 

Proverbs 17:7 Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, Much less are lying lips to a prince.

 

Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.

 

Proverbs 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish.

 

Proverbs 19:22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

 

Proverbs 20:17 Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

 

Proverbs 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.

 

Proverbs 29:12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked.

 

As I said above, Proverbs touches on a number of things. It is a book of wisdom that all men, women, and children should be digging into every day. Another important thing that Proverbs touches on is a strong work ethic. Many times in his writings, Solomon condemns those who are lazy and will not work:

 

Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her vision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”–Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.

 

Proverbs 10:4-5 Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

 

Proverbs 12:11 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

 

Proverbs 14:23 In all labor there is Proverbsfit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.

 

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.

 

Proverbs 16:26 A worker’s appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on.

 

Proverbs 18:9 He also who is slack in his work Is brother to him who destroys.

 

Proverbs 19:15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.

 

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.

 

Proverbs 21:25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work;

 

Proverbs 28:19 He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

 

For those who say that this is not throughout scripture and that we have a responsibility to take care of those who can’t work, let me explain. I am not against taking care of those who can’t work. Like scripture, I’m against those who CAN work and refuse to do so. Unfortunately, our nation is filled with men and women who hold this view. I’ve heard stories of women who stand in line to pay for lobster and wine with food stamps and then pay for their cigarettes with a $100 bill. I’ve also heard of men who stand outside gas stations with signs that say they need help and then brag to the station’s owner that they are making $200-$300 a day. This is both angering and sad. Our nation used to be filled with men who took pride in being able to work honestly for the privilege to support their families. Now, we have greedy and dishonest men who will connive and deceive their way into money because they have no honor. I am going to say something that many will probably disagree with. I believe and agree with 2 Thessalonians 3:10:

 

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

 

If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Period. This is probably hard to swallow with the current job situation, but listen to what I’m saying. I am not against women working at a job. But, I think that if more women spent time at home with their kids, things would be better. The children would have someone there for them. I’ve actually heard stories of women who have lost their jobs and found the joys of motherhood through it. To be honest, the work done by women at home is more special, much harder, and extremely more lasting than the work that any man will do (other than teaching their kids the truth and disciplining them when necessary). All of this is supported many times in scripture including Proverbs 31. Instead of men dragging their feet and trying to chase after what they want, they should be doing whatever is necessary to provide for their family and take care of them. I also think that welfare is unnecessary. Again, hear me out. It is not the government’s job to give people handouts and bail them out of the situations they’ve gotten themselves into. It is the church’s job to help the widows, orphans, and those who need it. It is the church that should be taking the initiative to help those who are in need.

 

If our nation is going to be restored, it’s going to happen through hard work and diligence. Lazy, unmotivated people will not rebuild the nation, but that is what we are creating. We are teaching the next generations that they can expect everything to be handed to them by the government. This undermines the drive and resolve for people to strive for the best.

 

Leadership is another topic that Solomon touches on in the book of Proverbs:

 

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

 

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

 

Proverbs 13:23 Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, But it is swept away by injustice.

 

Proverbs 14:28 In a multitude of people is a king’s glory, But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.

Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

 

Proverbs 16:12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.

 

Proverbs 20:6 Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man?

 

Proverbs 20:18 Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance.

 

Proverbs 20:28 Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

 

Proverbs 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

 

Proverbs 24:6 For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in abundance of counselors there is victory.

 

Proverbs 24:24-5 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him; But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.

 

Proverbs 25:5 Take away the wicked before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness.

 

Proverbs 25:19 Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.

 

Proverbs 28:2 By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

 

Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But those who keep the law strive with them.

 

Proverbs 28:15-7 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will long his days. A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

 

Proverbs 29:4 The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

 

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.

 

 While Solomon mentions kings, the premises of the wisdom can be applied to the leader of any nation, king or otherwise. He shows how important it is for leaders to be upright and honest. They should rule in righteous and justice, but these things are defined the way God sees them and not the way that man does. They should remove treachery and deceit from them and their advisers. They should not oppress the people or act wickedly toward the righteous. Imagine what our nations would be like if their leaders would follow these precepts as they lead the nation. Their people would flourish and grow as the trust between them and their ruler grows. It would be something that changes our country.

 

Greed and wealth have been the focus of many Americans lately. Our leaders continue to pump money into a system that isn’t working. They flip-flop between the horrible catastrophe that we face and the encouraging outlook our nation sees from their senseless waste of our money. Many of the situations we now face are the direct result of greed and the desire for wealth. The CEOs of major companies are more concerned about themselves and the amount of money they can immediately gain then they are about their employees and their welfare. The government continues to throw money at these companies who in turn continue to waste it. The book of Proverbs talks about all of this:

 

 

Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

 

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it.

 

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

 

Proverbs 15:27 He who Proverbsfits illicitly troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live.

 

Proverbs 19:6 Many will seek the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

 

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.

 

Proverbs 22:22-3 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate; For the LORD will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.

 

Proverbs 22:26-7 Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take your bed from under you?

 

Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

 

This is just a small portion of the wisdom and knowledge that can be found in the Bible. If our nation and its leaders would apply the wisdom found in scripture to the different issues in their lives, as well as our nation, we would see drastic changes immediately happen in our country. If they would be examples to the people, teaching them about sacrifice, righteousness, and honor, it would help restore the people’s trust in them. See, America’s problem (and the problems of every other nation) result from sin and a lack of absolute morals. Without absolute morals, there is no guideline to know right from wrong and man is free to do whatever he deems right. This is exactly what is happening in our country as I type this. This is ridiculous. We continue to try to solve problems with “answers” that have already been proven not to work. The only answer the will work is the one that is consistently ignored. It is my prayer that our nation and its people will turn their eyes back to the Lord and trust in Him instead of man:

 

Proverbs 16:20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

 

Your thoughts?

The voice of change? (long)

January 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I realize that there won’t be many who read this and there probably won’t be many who agree either, but this is something that I feel I need to write. Our nation is fawning over its new president, but it seems that there are few people who are listening to what he actually says. Below is a transcript of the inaugural speech given by Barack Obama as well as my response.

 

My fellow citizens:

 

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

 

I wonder if president Obama really understands sacrifice? Does he understand our nation’s history (not the revised version) and the trials they went through to forge this nation? Does he really understand humility? This is the same man who wrote a “private” letter to his daughters that was somehow printed in national newspapers. He thanks the former president that he spent the last two years attacking and that he will again attack in this very speech. What is that all about? Is no one paying attention to the man and not just his words?

 

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

 

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

 

Obama talks about peace, prosperity, and storms. I wonder if he really understands. He talks about the skill and vision of those in “high office”, but when I look around, I see the skill, vision, and morality of the “high office” dwindling at an alarming rate. It is being replaced with shallow people in vacuous positions speaking empty words. I wonder if Obama was trying to subtly refer to himself and those he’s chosen to lead our nation. He claims that “We the People” have been “faithful to the ideals of our forbears”, but the majority of “the People” don’t have any inkling of what our forbears stood for. They don’t know the history of our nation, but have instead mired themselves up to their eyeballs in the revised fairy tale that has very little relation to reality. He says that we’ve remained true to our documents. Coming from someone who is supposed to be versed in Constitutional law, it seems that our new President hasn’t read the documents he’s talking about. Our founding fathers laid out a foundation based on God and morality. They set up the government of this country to be “by the People”. All our president has to do is look at what is going on in our nation (and be honest about the very things that he himself promotes and supports) to see that we’ve fallen away from both our nation’s documents and it’s scriptural foundation. Our judicial branch no longer upholds the law it creates it. The “People” have very little to say in the way our nation is run. President Obama needs to be a little more honest and a little less naïve (or deceitful)…

 

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

 

It would take a complete hermit or idiot to fail to see that we’re in a crisis. The problem is that while we’re in a crisis, no one seems to want to admit or express the reason we’re where we are. We are in the situation we’re in because of the sins of both nation as a whole, and the individual people in it. We are here because we’ve removed morality (Christian morality) from just about every aspect of America. We don’t teach our kids morality in schools, so they fornicate and have babies. Because we don’t teach them how precious life is, they can go down the street and kill the baby inside them. We give them ready-made excuses like they’re not ready or it would be burden to the child. If we really wanted to allow abortions, then why not be truthful about it? Allow the child to be born, clean it up, dress it in it’s first clothes, and then send the mom and/or dad into the room with a knife and tell them not to come out until they’ve aborted their baby. It’s really no different than what’s happening now, but at least this way the mom’s would be a little more honest… We neglect to teach our kids ethics or morality at home. Like the government, our response has become “throw money at it”. So we’ve created a generation of disrespectful, detached kids who are happier and feel more loved with their friends than with their families. We’ve created generations of “fathers” who can impregnate any number of women but have absolutely no idea of the responsibility they have to the lives they’ve helped bring about. We continue to promote “alternative lifestyles” like they are equal to what God has ordained. We have been everything BUT true to what our forbears believed! And we’re too prideful and self-righteous to admit it…

 

Our nation is at war because of what it once was, not because of what it is now. Those who hate us do so because of the Christian morals we used to have. We have fought the war against the “network of hatred” on foreign shores because we had experienced people leading us that knew that it is better to fight the war over there than it is to allow it to come over here. We no longer have that experience. Instead, we have a man who seems sympathetic to our enemies and is more than willing to sit down with them to talk. Our economy is badly weakened by greed – period. Obama seems to want to point the finger at the corporations (while still throwing them money) but I wonder if he includes the government in the “some” whose greed has caused us to be where we are. We wouldn’t need bailouts and stimulus packages if the government actually cared about, represented, and worked for the people who put them into office. Instead, they waste America’s money on ludicrous pork barrel agendas, rarely accomplish anything productive, and still manage to vote themselves a yearly raise in spite of the current economic problems. It is not our collective failure to make hard choices that has gotten us here. It is our failure to make right choices and respect God and His Word and live by it that has gotten us here. The choices really aren’t that hard, but to make them would have to mean choosing to sacrifice our greed and selfishness to see our country return to God. We shouldn’t be trying to prepare our nation for a “new age”. We should be repenting and return to doing what God says we should have been doing all along…

 

Many have lost homes, but it is their own fault. Many of the people who bought homes only to lose them knew they couldn’t afford them in the first place and so did the government. But, in our desire for everyone to live the “American dream”, the government completely botched the entire system and is now paying for it. Jobs have been lost because companies can’t afford the overhead to run their own businesses here anymore. The unions charge an outrageous amount. Businesses can find cheaper work overseas. It’s no one’s fault but our own… Healthcare is costly, but to be honest, I think that it is not the priority that people are making it. Our schools have failed since we’ve removed the Bible and morality from them. We no longer teach kids for them to succeed, we teach them so that our schools can get money. They are being taught by teachers who lack morality like they do. A growing number of teachers can’t pass their own subjects! The way we use energy is another red herring that we are spending too much time and money focusing on. I would love to see biofuels and “green energy”, but without morality in our country, it’s not really going to matter…

 

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

 

I disagree with the president that the “sapping of confidence” is less measurable. It is evident that many wonder about America’s decline, but what should we expect? They lack confidence in our nation because its leaders have consistently shown in recent years that they’re untrustworthy. Worse than that, the “leaders” of our nation have removed the only true hope that America has. They’ve helped mock the One who could heal our nation and they’ve taught generations to do the same. Why should Americans trust the empty words and promises of those who say they have their best interests at heart and then act in ways that show the opposite. The next generation is almost forced to “lower its sights” because our nation has trusted in a new “god”, money, and it’s prophet man. Without something greater than what our “leaders” currently offer us, we can do nothing but decline…

 

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

 

Duh. The challenges have always been real, but the plans offered to deal with them are fanciful and without any backbone or understanding. The challenges have also always been serious, at least to those truly concerned about our nation. To the rest, they’ve been nuisances, or hazy events on the edges of vision, or political “causes” used to increase one’s status or reputation. America’s problems have never been easily met. President Obama says they’ll be met and that’s what bothers me. They will be met by greedy, inexperienced, shallow men and women who hate God and His Son. They will be met with the best man has to offer and those efforts will ultimately fail. In the meantime, “the People” will be told how wonderfully things are going and, sadly, many will believe it.

 

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

 

President Obama has said that he was elected because America has “chosen hope over fear”, but what hope does he offer? Unless he’s the Messiah (like some profess him to be) his talk of hope is just another example of emotionally charged drivel. If the “hope” that Barack Obama offers is not that of repentance to God and salvation through Jesus Christ so that God will heal our land; then the President doesn’t know the meaning of hope. If we are “unified” for any purpose that is not solely focused on Christ, if we are not focused on our entire nation repenting in sackcloth and ashes, then we will not be unified. The conflict and discord our country faces have come from the fact that everyone is doing what is right is his or her own eyes. We have all gone our own way and, unfortunately, we’re just doing what comes natural to sinners. The president seems to imply that he can somehow erase the conflict and discord. I doubt it…

 

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

 

Who is proclaiming and end to petty grievances and false promises? The government? All of America? Forgive me for sounding skeptical Mr. President, but we’ve heard all this before from people that are much more qualified than you. Which “petty grievances, false promises, worn-out dogmas, and recriminations” are we ending? Could you be more specific? Are you including the newly made ones in this statement? It seems to me that our new president has his focus misplaced. It’s not about what’s strangling our politics. It’s about the sin that has strangled “the People”. Until this is changed, it doesn’t matter what kind of politics we have (like socialism) because it won’t fix the problem…

 

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

 

Up to this point, I’ve rolled my eyes a lot, but this angers me. I wonder if the president knows where his little snippet of scripture from. Ironically, it comes from 1 Corinthians 13. This is the “love” chapter. But, the love that Paul talks about is not the eros (physical) love. It’s not the “fuzzy feelings” love. It is the self-sacrificing, responsible love called agape. This love is more concerned about others than self. Obama calls us a young nation who needs to put away childish things. This sounds awfully funny coming from a man who is playing president and trying to talk tough and compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr. because he has no identity of his own. If Obama says we should put away childish things, then he should lead by example. He should stop acting like he knows what he’s doing. He should stop trying to sound intelligent and just admit that he’s in “above his pay grade”. He says that it’s time to reaffirm our enduring spirit. What enduring spirit? While I believe that there are those who have an enduring spirit, I believe many of them are the same people who saw the world wars… In our current time, if we aren’t instantly satisfied in our endeavors, we give up. How is this enduring?

 

He then says that we should choose our better history. How? You can’t choose history because it’s in the past. Unless of course he’s talking about the rewritten history of our nation and which is the best version. He then invokes God again, showing his misunderstanding. He says that all are equal, free, and deserve a “chance to pursue their full measure of happiness”. I disagree with this Mr. President. I agree, in one respect, that all are equal. We are all sinners who deserve to be sent to hell. But, we’re not all equal in the sense that those who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ will not go to hell. Second, we are not all free. Not one of us is free. The Bible calls us slaves and we serve one of two masters. We either serve sin or we serve God. Sadly, our nation continues to choose sin over God and I believe that the people that are coming to power in our country are part of His judgment and will encourage the nation’s sin even more. Finally, while I think that we have the opportunity to pursue happiness, that opportunity only extends as far as it doesn’t conflict with God’s law. If that pursuit of happiness includes something that God defines as sin or an abomination, then we have no “right” to pursue it although we have the ability to.

 

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

 

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

 

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

 

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

 

While I love my country, I’m honest enough to say that the greatness of our nation is not what it used to be. We can reaffirm it all we want, but that doesn’t make it true. Our nation was great because the men and women who lead our country were God-fearing and truly understood that God is the reason our nation was even in existence. Greatness is not a given but it is not earned either. God gives it. It is God who raises up kings and brings them low (Daniel 2:21), and He will NOT raise up a nation that so openly rebels against Him.

 

The president says that our “journey” has never been one of short cuts. I disagree. Maybe it wasn’t that way years ago, but today that’s all it’s about. In today’s American society, it’s all about getting everything we can as fast we can. It’s about finding the quickest way to fame, fortune, and your name in lights. I could use the president and his political career as an example of this. He says that our journey has not been the path for the faint-hearted who seek leisure, riches, and fame. Has the president been in hiding? I am truly amazed that he said this while a growing number of corporations are going under because their CEOs and other management have gotten a lion’s share of wealth on the backs of others. And, what’s worse is the government is bailing them out! The government is giving the CEOs more money to put in their pockets without any kind of accountability (which is something that will supposedly change…). Who is the president trying to fool?

 

He says that it is the doers, risk-takers, and makers that have carried us “up the long rugged path to prosperity and freedom”. Is the president that blind or is he just naïve? America as we know it today is neither prosperous nor free. Yes, there are people making money, but our nation has a debt that is trillions of dollars! It is close to the point where there is no way we will ever be able to pay it off! And yet, we seem to have billions of dollars for bailouts, etc. that will supposedly help us. Isn’t the mishandling and poor decision making concerning money one of the things that got us where we are to begin with? How is that going to help us? That’s the definition of insanity! America is no longer free either. The freedoms we once held dear are slowly fading away. They are being replaced by whatever the current government thinks will get them re-elected. Our American rights are no longer inalienable… To say that the people who came here to live did so for us is a farce and misrepresentation of the people. The people that founded our nation did so as a haven for Christians. They didn’t toil for us, they toiled because it was necessary. They understood Scripture, which says if you don’t work you don’t eat. Most today wouldn’t survive if that were implemented here. They were willing to accept the work and the toil because they could openly worship the Lord in a country that didn’t tell them how they could do it.

 

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

 

The men and women who built this nation saw America the way they did because they loved her. They struggled and sacrificed to make this nation what it was because they loved God. Today, those words mean nothing to most Americans. Many wouldn’t know struggle or sacrifice if they saw it. America was greater than individuals because those individuals held to Christian morals and knew that without God they would have nothing. No other religion could have done it. The people of our nation had a “better life” because they gave that life to the Lord in service, trust, and obedience.

 

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

 

Again, I have to disagree. We don’t continue the “journey” of our founders/builders. Honestly, I don’t even think we’re on the same page. Our nation is neither the most prosperous nor the most powerful. We have strong armies, sure, but armies alone don’t make a nation powerful. Our nation is filled with uneducated, immoral, unmotivated people in all levels of leadership. To say that our workers are no less productive is to ignore both the growing unemployment rate and the number of people who refuse to work. Our minds may be just as inventive, but they will not stay that way. We have multitudes of kids graduating high school who can’t even read the diploma they’ve been handed. There are clever people and inventors in America, but they aren’t enough. Our goods and services are mostly handled by the foreign countries we’ve outsourced the work to. Our companies are going out of business, people are losing their jobs and that diminishes capacity. Our president’s solution for the nation is to “remake” America. I don’t think that we need to remake America. We need to REPENT America! We don’t need to remake anything. What we need to do is return to the foundation our country was built on. All the emotional pep talk won’t fix the problem our country faces…

 

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

 

There is always work to be done! The state of the economy and other “issues” are just symptoms of a deeper problem. Without fixing the deeper problem, the symptoms will go away for a while, but they’ll be back. Obama wants to lay a new foundation. I believe that our nation needs to restore the foundation it already has. All the talk in the world about roads, grids, technology, and health care makes for a good speech but that’s all. Obama says that we’re going to do all these things, but how? Where will we get the money? And, how will doing any of these things fix America’s real problem – sin? I also can’t help but wonder what the president thinks that science’s “rightful place” is? Basically what he seems to be saying here is that we’ll be able to snap our fingers and science and technology will somehow save us. It’s done so well so far. It’s done some great things for us like medicine but it’s also done some really ridiculous things. It’s got full-grown men spending all their time listening into space for signs of life. It’s got millions of people believing a fairy tale that we somehow came from nothing billions of years ago when there is no proof of it. I hear what the president is saying and I can’t help but shake my head. All he needs is a couple of dragons and a princess in distress and he’ll have the makings of a great story. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he says it can/will happen, that doesn’t make it so, especially if God has decided something different…

 

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

 

I don’t just question the scale of ambitions I question the ambitions themselves. It seems that the president has forgotten what our country has already done. He seems to only know history as it’s been revised or made up. Our country doesn’t need imagination (wouldn’t that be a “childish thing” that we’re supposed to give up?). What our country needs is for its people, all of them, to take responsibility for it’s sin. We need our nation to own up to the fact that man’s ways don’t work, and realize that the only thing that can save us is God. The thing is, our “system” doesn’t need “big plans”. It only needs one plan.

 

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

 

What cynics is he talking about? If he’s talking about those who are cynical of him and his ideas, I have to ask him what he expects? I’m very cynical of him and his proposals because I don’t think that there is an ounce of truth to them. I see what he’s said and see it’s empty. It’s not about stale political arguments. The ground has not “shifted” beneath anyone. The problems we face today are the same problems we’ve always faced. What’s “shifted” is how we’ve dealt with them. Before, men and women used common sense to make decisions based on the Biblical principles our nation was built on. They took responsibility for their actions and made amends for their mistakes. Today, that doesn’t happen. There is no shame. No matter what is done, no one is ashamed. People buy houses they can’t afford, blame others for their mistakes, and kill their unborn children. The president says that it’s not about whether government is “too big or too small”, but I disagree. If the government is too big, then it’s no longer “by the People”, which would mean that we’re not staying “true to our founding documents”. What the president seems to gloss over is the fact that government isn’t working. It’s not providing jobs, it’s allowing companies to go elsewhere. The wages of many are below average because of the government. The government has tried and failed numerous times to “fix” things or “bail out” companies and it’s not worked. It’s manipulated situations (like real estate) and caused many of the crises we now face. But, like I’ve said already, even if the government could create “millions of jobs” at “decent wages”, or affordable health care, or “dignified retirement” (what exactly does that mean?), it’s not going to fix America.

 

The president continues to push programs, but they won’t work. They haven’t yet. He then says that those of “us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account”. Does this include the government? Will we finally get to see the government held accountable? He says that they will be held accountable to spend wisely. Really? Accountable to whom? Is this the end of pork barrel spending? Is it the end of automatic raises for members of congress? Does the government even know what it means to spend wisely? While this may sound good to some, it seems to me that, like a number of other things the president has said, he’s blowing smoke. He says they’re going to “reform bad habits” too. I think he’s lying. Look at his plans. He’s going to bail out companies who’ve shown they cannot handle money. Does that sound like a good habit? Does it sound like spending wisely? I don’t think so. Without a Biblical understanding, the country’s money problems will continue to grow. But they will pale in comparison to the other problems that we’ll face if we continue to rebel against God. If the president wants to reform things, then he’ll need to put prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments back into prominence. It will take a few generations of school kids to start showing, but it will work. The president also talks about “doing business in the light of day” and transparency. Does that mean that his life and the lives of those in Congress will be an open book? Does it mean that there will be no more secret meetings to try and pass legislation under the public’s radar? Obama wants to restore trust between the People and their government but it doesn’t make a difference what he says. Our nation is comprised of 85% Christians (I personally don’t think it’s that high) and yet the president is taking actions that go directly against what the majority of the nation professes to believe. How exactly does that earn our trust?

 

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

 

Again, we see that America’s “god” is money. The news has been dominated by the economy. I’m not sure I understand why the president is speaking about the market. Have a large number of people been arguing about it? How does the market “expand freedom”? I can’t help but wonder whose watchful eye the president is talking about? His? The person he put in charge (who had difficulties handling his own money)? Mr. Obama clearly doesn’t understand prosperity. The only way a nation can truly prosper is if it fears, reveres, and “favors” God. Scripture is filled with evidence of this. When Israel obeyed God, they prospered (just like He promised!). They were a righteous nation and God blessed them. When they disobeyed God, they suffered in many ways. You can see the same thing in America’s history. Our country was founded in 1776. For 187 years, our nation feared and revered God. The men and women who lead the nation obeyed Him and ordered their lives after His Word. God was first. He was obeyed and our nation was protected and prosperous. In 1963, God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were removed from our schools and many public places. In 36 years, our nation has fallen horribly from where it used to be. We lift up homosexuality as at least equal, if not better than, heterosexuality even though it’s an abomination to God and a sin. We promote the murder of unborn children by their moms as an issue of choice and rights, even though the rights of the child are completely ignored. We pay billions of dollars to produce and watch movies that are full of immorality, blasphemy, and rebellion against God. We continue to flounder and fall behind. The success of our economy has depended solely on our obedience to God, but that shouldn’t be our focus. Our focus should be on the fact that we’ve rebelled against God and that should grieve us. Unless we repent and return to God, we will continue to fall. The surest route to “our common good” is found in Scripture. Any other route is a detour and a lie.

 

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

 

I wonder who said that we have to choose between safety and ideals? In all honesty, our safety will be determined by our ideals. Our founding fathers were faced with perils we can’t imagine (yet), but there are two major differences between them and us. First, the majority of the problems they faced were due to a government that had too much hand in their personal lives. The problems they faced were not of their own making. Today, our problems are totally our own making. Second, the founding fathers trusted in God. They believed in Him and obeyed Him. They understood sacrifice because they understood the cross. They actually knew what agape meant. They “drafted a charter” to assure the rule of God’s law and the rights of man (even the unborn ones). Only the blood of those who understood what they did and believed the same way has expanded this charter. I disagree that the ideals the founding fathers still light the world. To be honest, I believe that they are dimming even in this nation. The ideals that the founding fathers held to were Christian ones. The majority of the world hates God and those who truly follow Him (although they seem to like the squishy compromisers). Even in America, where 85% are supposedly Christian, those ideals are hard to recognize in the “believers”. To make a blanket statement about peace and dignity seems a little proud and presumptuous (at least he’s consistent). America is not, and shouldn’t be, the friend of all those who seek peace for a very good reason. All who seek peace do not do so the same way. Muslims seek peace through the submission of all to the will of Allah. Are we ok with that? I fear that the majority might be, as long as it’s not Christianity… Others seek peace through the death of Christians. Are we friends to them? I wonder how many would still profess Christ if it came down to their lives? Also, the idea that we “are ready to lead once more” is ridiculous. Our nation can’t even handle the majority of the issues in our own borders, how can we lead other nations, especially when many of those nations already have a low view of America?

 

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

 

The president talks about how others faced down communism while he tries to bring it into our borders! The things that our nations “faced down” were done because of the enduring convictions based on Christianity. Our “power” is nothing. It is more of a hindrance than a benefit. I say this because we look to our power as a nation as some sort of indication of how great we are. It supposedly represents how “great” we are. We have ignored the fact that it is God and He alone that gives us strength and protects us. Our power alone is worth nothing. It is God’s power that protects us. And if we continue to rebel against God, that power that once protected us will be brought to bear against us. Our power doesn’t grow because of anything that we do. God grows our power as we continue to humble ourselves before Him and to order our lives and our nation according to His Word. Also, our security comes from God. Our justness of cause is relative unless it’s based on Scripture. If it’s not, then justice will change depending on the whim of those in charge. For instance, it will soon be ok to kill your child because it’s an inconvenience, unless of course it’s already born (well, unless it’s just partially born). It will soon be ok to live a homosexual lifestyle. Many would see this as justice. It’s not, but that’s how many will see this.

 

I wonder what kind of force the president is talking about? And what example? The example of rebellion against God? How forceful can our example be when it diametrically opposes the will of God? I find it ironic that the president talks about humility here but has built his campaign on how he is the agent of change and will bring about the change that America needs. Is that humility? Is walking in humility telling someone that disagrees with you that you won and that will “trump him or her any day”? And who will restrain the president? “the People”? Will they be given the opportunity?

 

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

 

All you have to do is look at our recent history to see that we’ve failed to keep the legacy of those who have come before. We have not been guided by the principles of our forefathers because we’ve ignored them! He talks about greater cooperation and understanding between nations, but many of these nations want to see America destroyed. He talks about old friends and former foes, but what indication do we have that this will be the case? Many of our “old friends” have abandoned us in Iraq and many of our “former foes” still don’t hold us in high regard. Again, the president talks about the nuclear threat and global warming (which is still unproven and unlikely). But he has nothing to show that he’s able to handle these conflicts.

 

What really amazes me is what the president said next. He talks about how we won’t apologize for the way we live (even though it is a stench in God’s nostrils) nor waver in it’s defense. But how will we defend ourselves against God? What will we do when He has finally had enough? Where will the president and the government be when this happens? What kind of measures with they take against the God of the universe? Then, the president has the unmitigated gall to say that those who advance their aims by the slaughtering of innocents will be defeated. I think that the president is right, but I don’t think that he realizes that he’s talking about America… He says that our spirit is stronger, but is it really? We can’t even fight an ongoing war without a majority of people whining about it. We don’t have the spirit, the stomach, or the guts to follow through with what needs to be done and other countries know this. How we will defeat those who are doing the same thing we’re doing (on a lesser scale than we are) is beyond me. Many talk about our war losses. We’ve lost about 4,000 people in 5+ years in Iraq. We kill that many babies in a single day in America. If we’re talking about “innocents”, there can be no one more innocent…

 

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

 

We may have a “patchwork heritage” but until recently, we’ve not had a patchwork foundation. We were once built solely on Christian principles. Now, we’re trying to “remake” our foundation to include conflicting ideas. While we may be a nation of numerous religious and ethnic heritages, we are (by the founders view) a Christian nation. If we change this, then we are doomed. We may see things (inventions, etc.) from people of other religions, but we have been shaped by Christ and Christian doctrine. It is because we were founded on Christianity that other religions have been able to practice their belief system (or lack thereof) freely. No other belief allows this. During the civil war we were led by a president who fully stood firmly on Christian principles. We were still a country that feared God. We are that no longer. During the times of segregation, we still had leaders that feared God and followed Him. We have that no longer. What the president fails to understand is that “old hatreds” have never ceased and, according to Scripture, they won’t. He doesn’t seem to understand that the Bible has already dissolved the “lines of tribe” (although I’m not quite sure I understand the point that he’s trying to make with this statement) by claiming that we are “one blood” (Acts 17:26). And, if the president were to actually pay attention to himself and others on the planet, he would see that our “common humanity” has also been revealed. Scripture says that there is none that is good and that we are all sinners. This is our common humanity and the result of that “common humanity” is death and hell. America can only play a role in a “new era” of peace if it follows the Prince of Peace. This new era of peace will never be global and will not be easy. It will only be permanent when Christ returns to judge the world in righteousness and destroy the enemies of God. To think that we can somehow bring peace without God is a delusion of the highest order and one that the new president prides himself on. I wonder what role the president thinks that America should play to “usher in a new era of peace”?

 

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

 

I am not surprised at this statement at all. I would suspect that even though the president is trying to be all things to all people, he knows that this is a lie. There is nothing common between Islam and Christianity (although this may not be a problem with the America of today). Christians and Muslims don’t have mutual interest or respect for each other and Christian nations should hold the same view for Muslim ones. This will grate on the nerves of many people, but it’s the truth. I’ve already written about why Christianity and Islam are incompatible, but suffice it to say that there is no common ground between people who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and those who deny Him.

 

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

 

What does he mean when he says that the people will judge their leaders on “what you can build not what you destroy”? Those who sow conflict will not care how their people judge them. To point a finger at those who “cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent” when the leaders of this nation do the very same is hypocrisy. To say that they are on the wrong side of history doesn’t make any sense. Is there a side of history? Which side of history is the right one? The one that agrees with you? How does the president determine this? How is he sure that America isn’t on the “wrong side of history”? History is not the determining factor of wrong and right. History is (supposed to be) just a record of what man has already done. The determining factor of right and wrong is God’s truth. If you do not comply with God’s truth, then you are wrong. If you do, you are right. It’s that simple. Also, where is the line drawn that will decide when we “extend a hand” to those who cling to power? What will it take for us to reach out to them? How are we to recognize when they’ve unclenched their fists and who will decide what will be done with the relinquished power? Not only that, but how much silencing of dissention will be done in respect to our new president? How many will be viewed as racist for disagreeing with him?

 

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

 

Again, I can’t help but wonder why the people of “poor nations” would believe our offers of help when we can’t even help ourselves? Will we teach them to throw money at their problems even when they don’t have it? It’s great that we want to help those who some would consider poor, but unless we do it with the right attitude (the Christian one), it means nothing. What will we be feeding the hungry minds? Will it be the same poor material that our children are taught in public schools? Will we try to remove the scriptural foundation that other “poor” countries may have due to the work of Christian missionaries? I wonder whom the president is talking to when he talks about “indifference to suffering”? Unless I’m mistaken, Christians are still the ones who are doing the most to take care of those who are suffering inside and outside our borders. I adamantly disagree with the idea that we need to change with the world. We need to change when and how God tells us to. The world is not going to change that way. The world is not going to change according to God’s will and if we decide to change “with the world” instead of according to the will of God, we will suffer with the world. We need to stand for absolute truth and that’s something that the world will never accept.

 

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

 

The majority of those who lie in Arlington feared God and I believe that the majority of those who protect our nation today also fear God. They tell us that the only real sacrifice was seen on the cross, and those who have given their lives as sacrifices for our nation are just a reflection of that which was shown on the cross.

 

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

 

Jesus gave us the example of service when the Son of God knelt down before the sinful men He would eventually die for and washed their feet. This is service. When the One who had all authority disregarded His position and gave Himself for those who hated Him, it wasn’t about finding meaning in “something greater” because there was nothing greater. It was about self-sacrifice. It was about selflessness. Those who founded the nation didn’t have the “spirit of service” they had the Spirit of God. This is the Spirit that must inhabit us if we are to be anything other than more of the world.

 

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

 

But whose faith are we talking about? The faith of the Jews? The faith of the Muslims? The “faith” of the atheists? Or is it the faith of the Biblical Christians? We cannot put our faith in the government. We must put our faith in the God of the Bible and in Him alone. It doesn’t matter how determined we are, if we are against God, we are wrong. The kindness that “takes in a stranger when the levees break” (?) and the selflessness that the president is talking about only come from a Christian worldview. Without the Christian worldview, you won’t have these things. Looking at our nation today, these things are fading and it’s because those who hate God are eroding the foundation that our nation was built on. Without restoring that foundation, we won’t have kindness, selflessness or anything else that we take for granted. It is not courage or willingness to nurture that decide our fate. What decides our fate is whether or not we will choose to fear, respect, and obey God. If we will choose to fear, respect, and obey God then He will keep His promise to protect and help us. He will deliver us from the trials and tribulations that we now face. If we choose not to fear, respect, and obey God then He will keep His promise to bring plagues, disease, and judgment to our nation. THAT is what decides our fate.

 

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

 

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

 

Our challenges are far from new. The “instruments” that we meet them with shouldn’t be either. If we truly want to overcome these challenges, then we will return to Scripture for our answers. I just realized that the president has only talked about meeting the challenges. Anyone can meet the challenges, but so what? The president says that the values of hard work, honesty, courage, fair play (who determines what is fair play?), tolerance (according to whose definition?), curiosity (?), loyalty (to whom?), and patriotism are old. This is somewhat confusing. What he is saying is that he wants a new America based on old Christian values. How exactly does this work? He says they are the truth. But, according to whom? How does he define tolerance? He says that our success depends on these values, but why doesn’t our success depend on the source of those values? He says that we must return to these truths, but how can we without returning to the source of these truths? The president says that a new era of responsibility is required of us. What does that mean? If he’s calling us to take responsibility for our actions then I agree. But how does he define the duties of each American? Where does he draw the line between the person and the government? He says that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit as giving our all to a difficult task. Is that so? Has the president never shared the gospel with someone? Has he never preached the truth of the gospel to someone else? I say that there is nothing so satisfying as preaching the truth and witnessing to someone who is lost. Again, I have to say, it doesn’t matter how much we “give our all” to a task. If the work that we give our all to is work that goes against God, then we may be satisfied in our sorry human emotion and think that it defines our character (which it does, but not how we think), but we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are what we are not. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are somehow accomplishing the things that are most uplifting and righteous because they feel good, when they are most reprehensible to the Lord that sees it all.

 

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

 

THIS is the source of our confidence? The source of whose confidence? It isn’t the source of my confidence. He says that the source of his confidence is that God has called him to shape an uncertain destiny. If he were a Biblical Christian, then the source of his confidence would be different. The source of confidence for a Christian is the fact that even though they are a filthy sinner they have been saved by a wonderful God who has every right to send them straight to hell but instead showed mercy to them and died for their sins. God doesn’t “call us to shape an uncertain destiny”. He calls us to repent of our sins before Him humbly. He commands us to tell others the same. God is the only one that shapes “destiny” and for Him it is not uncertain. The source of our confidence could also be the fact that while things are falling down around us (due to our rebellion against God) God is still willing to heal our land and restore us if we are willing to repent of our sins.

 

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

 

It was only a matter of time before the president played the race card. It’s great that men and women and children of every race and faith can join together in celebration, but it’s not the answer. It’s great that Barack Obama can take a “most sacred oath” when his father might not have been served at a local restaurant. But, what does this have to do with whether or not he will be able to lead the nation? What does this have to do with whether or not God will once again look on this nation with something other than anger and judgment? What does a number of different people that believe a number of different things coming together in celebration have to do with whether or not this nation will repent and turn back to God? Nothing.

 

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

 

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

 

If we’re going to remember who we are and how far we’ve traveled, then how about we remember it the way it actually happened? He compares himself to George Washington leading the nation back from the brink of destruction. George Washington was a great Christian man who took the Scripture seriously and ordered his life according to it. Washington’s hope was in Jesus Christ. That is why hope could survive. They came forth to meet the danger of the nation under the hand of God. They knew that they would win if God allowed it. The reason they were united is because they believed in the same God and had the same moral values. They held God in high esteem (like they should have) and they desired to “forge” a nation that was solely dependent on Him. I can’t help but ask why the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration should be marked as a day of remembrance? What makes his inauguration a special day of remembrance? I may be a little jaded but it sounds like the new president is saying that he is the standard bearer for leading us back to a new era… The problem is the new president is not a Christian and doesn’t hold to the same values as the founding fathers did. He doesn’t hold God in high esteem. He doesn’t fear God or obey Him. Why does he think that he will somehow change America for the best? Why does he think that God will use him to restore America when his life and values oppose Him? Unless the president repents and leads this nation to a place of repentance, he will be another in a long line of men who have tried to lead this nation under their own strength. He will be a carbon copy of the Bill Clintons and Jimmy Carters. He will be another man who will do nothing of any significance and America will have wasted another four years putting its hope in man instead of in God.

 

 

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

 

We have “common dangers” because we are a nation. We have a “winter of hardship” because we are sinful and rebellious toward God. The “timeless words” that we are urged to remember are those spoken by a God fearing man who knew that it was only on his knees in prayer that he could stand and lead our nation. It is an attitude long missing from our leadership and our nation at large. We are a nation of complacent sheep who love to be entertained. We have people who play sports, race cars, or pretend to be something other than what they are in movies that make millions of dollars while our nation’s economy continues to fail. We dole out unheard of amounts of money for “childish things” while the things that our country needs continue to go by the way side. We continue to shake our fist at God because He’s not blessing us, instead of weeping because He’s judging us. We look to weak-willed men who have little backbone and no faith to lead our nation back to where it once was when they don’t even know the way. Our country is filled with “Christians” and non-Christians who walk the broad path to destruction and ignore the few voices who still preach the truth. They block out the echoes of sins past by singing their “worship” and following their unimportant and sorry causes. They save animals while they kill their children. They support abominable lifestyles and can’t figure out why their sins are killing them. Our leaders are not leading. They are selfish, self-centered men and women who couldn’t make change for a dollar much less make change for a nation. They hide behind their sturdy oak doors so that the people they are supposed to care about can’t see their latest greed driven debacle. All the while they forget that their sins are laid out before the eyes of the just Judge.

 

There is very little that our nation has to be proud of anymore. We are rewriting our history to erase God at the whim of a few dysfunctional, attention-seeking atheists who have nothing better to do than ridicule and attack those they see as unreasonable and unintelligent. Our country is filled with “churches” that preach lies and deceit to their growing congregations. They entertain their attendees and feed them line after line of doctrines of demons to keep them coming back and giving money. They despise the gospel, mock the death of the One they call Lord, and ignore the warning that God has given them. They teach that all roads lead to heaven, even though the Bible says otherwise. We have little to be proud of, but we have a lot to be ashamed of.

 

It might seem that I don’t like America very much because of the things that I’ve said. On the contrary, it’s because I love my country that I’ve said the things that I have. Unless we start talking honestly, we will never begin to move in the right direction. I’m not proud of where my nation is today. This becomes even more profound when I look at where are nation started from. I still believe that we can see our nation change through repentance, but Barack Obama is not the one to do it. The only One that can help our nation now is God.  The president tells us to keep our eyes “fixed on the horizon”. The Bible says that we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The president tells us that God’s grace is on us, but the Bible says that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

 

I will pray for the president. I will do it not because I like him, or because I agree with anything he says, but because God tells me to. I pray that our nation would stop its decent into sin and darkness. I pray that we would start to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God and lift up the chains of our bondage to the Lord that He might, in His great and gracious mercy break those chains. I would rather have our children say that this generation was the one that turned fully and whole-heartedly back to the Lord. It is not about us and until America realizes that and understands that it only through God and Him alone that we will ever see our country truly change, we are only fooling ourselves. Jesus is our only hope…

Ten Commandments #10

October 13, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week will be the final part of our look at the Ten Commandments. Of course, we’ll be looking at the tenth commandment:

 

Exo 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

 

Coveting is lusting after something that belongs to someone else or something that you don’t have. It is not being content with what you have to the point of constantly thinking about the object and doing everything you can to get that thing.

 

Covetousness is a subtle sin that is often the basis of many other sins. Coveting after someone’s wife often leads to adultery. Coveting after something that someone else has can lead to theft. Coveting a lifestyle that goes against scripture can lead to idolatry. The problem with covetousness isn’t just the fact that it’s subtle (most of the time), it’s the fact that our “modern” society has been conditioned to think that covetousness is ok. Our advertising companies and media outlets make everything from TVs to movies to beauty to cars to houses things that we “can’t live without”. We are trained from a young age to not be happy with what we have. If we don’t have the newest, most up-to-date model car/computer/look, then we are “out of touch” and “behind the times”. Covetousness is basically the “grass is always greener” syndrome. We are driven by the technology and society to be instantly gratified. If we can’t get it now, then we get frustrated and mad. We can’t wait for anything anymore. Not only that, but in many churches the same thing is taught. More and more, “pastors” and “preachers” are telling their congregations that it is our “right” to be blessed. We should be healthy and wealthy and have more than enough. This is not only unscriptural, but it’s ridiculous…

Covetousness can be glaring at times and I think that the current situation in America is evidence of this. Today, many companies are being lead by men and women that don’t care anything about anyone other than themselves. They are in it to get the money and that’s all. There is no loyalty and no concern for others. CEOs are selling out their companies to get millions of dollars and don’t seem to give a rip about the people that are working for them. It’s becoming more and more common to hear things like this. The whole government bailout that just took place is based on covetousness. I am not an economic whiz and I’m not a big-money businessman, but it is my understanding that if you have a business and you don’t what needs to be done to make sure that your business stays afloat, it goes under. That’s it. No bailout. The US has just decided to pay 700 billion dollars to bailout the floundering economy. The funny thing is, I saw an article from Dave Ramsey that had a solution for the current problem that would only cost 50 billion dollars. While that is still a lot of money, it leads me to wonder something. If one Christian man can come up with a solution that only costs 50 billion dollars, then why can’t 100+ men and women who are leading our country do the same? What is that extra 650 billion dollars for? I can’t help but think that it will not be going to the things that it’s supposed to. I don’t think that any of the companies being bailed out by the government should be getting a cent. The reason is more than just the fact that it will be the American people that have to pay for it. The current situation that the US finds itself in is based on covetousness. The real estate problems are due to the fact that the government wanted to “make housing affordable”. What it did was to make it possible for people who couldn’t afford a house to buy one. That’s a great idea. The problem is that this made it possible for people who couldn’t pay for a house to get a house that was well over what they can pay. When the rates went up, they could no longer afford it. People coveted houses that were bigger and more expensive than they could get. That’s covetousness. It didn’t just happen with housing either. It’s happened with cars and other items. It happens with credit cards as well. People buy things they can’t afford on credit because they have to have it. Then, because of the interest rates, they end up paying three to five times as much for the next 5 to ten years. That’s covetousness.

 

So, what does God say about covetousness?

 

Eph 5:3  But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

Eph 5:4  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Eph 5:5  For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

 

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1Co 6:10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Covetousness is just as bad as any other sin and will be something that will send someone to hell just like adultery and thievery will. To stop the growing covetousness of our nation and our personal lives we need to have a biblical understanding that everything we have is given to us by God. We need to understand and be grateful for what we have. That doesn’t mean that we can’t want new things or that we can’t buy the newest, hottest things. What it means is that we cannot make those things so important to us that they become a “god”. We need to study the Word and teach our kids what the biblical point of view is and then live by it.

Ten Commandments #8

September 29, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week, we’ll be looking at the eighth commandment. This commandment is simple:

 

Exo 20:15  “You shall not steal.

 

Lev 19:11  ‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.

 

Obviously, God says that stealing is something that His people do not do.  So, what is theft? If you asked many people (although it seems to be less than it used to be), they would tell you that theft is taking something that belongs to someone else without their permission. The size of the item taken is irrelevant. The time that has elapsed between the present and the time of the act is also irrelevant.  Theft can also be the withholding of something. If you promise something and don’t provide it all, you are stealing (Ananias and Sapphira).

 

But, why do people steal from others? The main reason that people steal is greed. They see things that they want and will do whatever they need to do to get those things. It is greed that caused the debacle at Enron. It is greed that caused two teenage girls to steal money from a girl scout. Not everyone steals for greed though. Some people steal for the thrill of it. They love the “rush” they get from taking something and knowing that they may get caught. Others steal because they think that they deserve the things that they’ve taken from others, and they often think that the victims of their theft don’t deserve them. Still others steal because they think that they won’t get caught. They often delude themselves into thinking that they are smart enough to have planned for everything. What those people don’t realize is that even if man never solves the caper, God knows what they’ve done.

 

Theft has been happening for a long time. Examples of theft in scripture include: Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright and blessing (Genesis 25:31/Genesis 27), Rachel stealing the idols from her father’s house (Genesis 31:19), Achan stealing some of the things under the ban in Ai (Joshua 7:1), Ananias and Sapphira holding back some of the money from land they sold, even though they promised all of it (Acts 5).

 

Whether people rob a bank or “skim off the top” and change the books, theft is still happening today. People steal everything they can get their hands on. Money, cars, jewels, and even identities are being stolen on a daily basis. The news stations in cities around the world broadcast instances of theft almost everyday. The sad thing is that theft and other sins have become so commonplace that we often turn a blind eye to it and don’t give it a second thought. It seems that many people who steal today, don’t care or don’t know about the results that will occur when they steal. The civil consequences for stealing could be anything from community service to jail time, depending on the severity of the crime and the extenuating circumstances. The problem is that while most people realize that there are consequences, they don’t seem to understand that there are spiritual and eternal consequences that result from theft.

 

In the Old Testament, we see God making it clear what He thinks of theft:

 

Deu 24:7  “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.

 

Pro 29:24  He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing.

 

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1Co 6:10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

The Bible says that thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. It doesn’t differentiate between someone who steals a piece of candy and someone who steals a car. They are both thieves and will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they repent and put their trust in Jesus. So how do we stop thievery? The first thing that we need to do is to teach our kids that it is wrong, even when it is something small. We need to teach them what the scripture says about not only stealing, but also about all sin. We need to tell everyone about the truth of sin and what will happen if they commit sin. We need to stand up and be examples of the truth of scripture so that others will understand clearly and have no excuse. We cannot coddle those who are unsaved. We have to tell them the truth (that is love!) and help them understand. If they understand the truth, they will be open to the gospel and can receive the gift of salvation offered by Jesus.


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