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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Persecution Fridays: Pakistan

September 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Pakistan: Church Property Burned

On Sept. 19, Islamic extremists broke into the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Sharif Town, Karachi City, Pakistan, and set fire to Bibles, hymnals, a musical instrument and a table, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

The church, which is led by Pastors George Rakha and Peter Shahzad, was established six years ago and is actively involved in Muslim evangelism. “At 4 a.m., some fanatics broke the lock of the church door and entered the church,” VOM contacts reported. “They burned three crosses, nine Bibles, five books of worship songs, a table and a musical instrument Tabla [local drum].”

On Sept. 20, the Christian community displayed a banner protesting the burning of their Bibles. Christians believe this incident was a reaction to an American pastor’s widely publicized threat to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11. Christian leaders in the U.S. spoke out against the pastor’s plan to burn the Quran, and he ultimately decided against it. But it seems that no Muslim leaders spoke out against the actual burning of Bibles in Pakistan.

VOM encourages you to pray for believers in Pakistan who courageously live for Christ in the midst of opposition. Pray that believers’ testimonies and love for Christ will draw their Muslim neighbors into fellowship with Christ.

Newslinks 09/19/10

September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Stephen Hawking Takes on Sir Isaac Newton; Christians Respond
Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

12-Hour Prayer, Fasting Rally Hits Sacramento

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Newslinks 03/07/10

March 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Military leaders face grilling on gay ban lift
Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” makes sense or would be too disruptive.

Atheist sign = hate speech
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Oregon opens state’s largest abortuary
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Panel approves Bible classes for public schools
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Obama’s Envoy to Islamic Bloc Admits Controversial Statements About Supporter of Terror Group
(CNSNews.com)
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‘It’s About Jobs, Stupid!’ Says GOP Whip Cantor at CPAC
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(CNSNews.com)
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Rep. Pence: Stop Using Taxpayer Money to Fund Planned Parenthood
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Survey: Obama Support Down among Christians
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Investigators Arrest Two in Texas Church Arsons

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Wis. Presbytery Approves Ordination of Openly Gay Man

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FOTF President Pens Book on Real Strength

Breaking His Pledge? Obama Calls for Increasing Payroll Taxes on ‘Households’ Earning Less Than $250,000 A Year
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Obama’s Proposal Includes Individual Health Insurance Mandate
(CNSNews.com)
– The health care plan proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday includes an individual mandate requiring every American to have health insurance, despite concerns from Republican lawmakers and legal experts that the provision is not constitutional. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNSNews.com that he is not aware of any legal review of this question by the White House.

Obama Administration Sinking Millions Into Government-Run Health Care for Children
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Obama’s ‘New’ Health Care Plan Would Use Tax Dollars to Pay for Abortions
(CNSNews.com) –
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Majority of Americans: Business Leaders Make Better Decisions to Grow Economy Than Government
(CNSNews.com)
– A majority of Americans say business leaders make better economic decisions than the government can, according to a new poll. Respondents were asked: “Which will do more to help the U.S. economy — decisions made by government officials to help the economy grow or decisions made by U.S. business leaders to help their own businesses grow?”

College Professors Are More Likely to Believe ‘Ten Commandments are Irrelevant Today,’ New Study Says
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– Those who teach on American college campuses are more likely to agree with the statements “America corrupts otherwise good people” and “The Ten Commandments are irrelevant today,” according to a new study released Monday.

Pakistan Pressing U.S. to Turn Over Woman Convicted of Trying to Kill American Soldiers
(CNSNews.com)
– More than two weeks after a federal jury in New York convicted a Pakistani neuroscientist of attempting to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, the case continues to infuriate Muslims in her native country who view Aafia Siddiqui as the victim of U.S. injustice and anti-Muslim discrimination. Pakistan’s president has raised the matter with U.S. officials, saying the early repatriation of Siddiqui in line with a prisoners’ exchange treaty could help to improve the U.S. image in Pakistan.

Iranians’ Support for Nuclear Program Cuts Across Political Lines
(CNSNews.com)
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Obama’s healthcare plan – ‘more of the same’
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Perspective: Planned Parenthood and children’s sexual rights
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In cahoots against abstinence
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Obama’s budget – contempt for the wealthy?
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Creation News: Design flaws in humans
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Pro-Life Groups Reject Obama’s Compromise Health Care Plan
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So. Baptists Called to Repent, Grip Reality of ‘Lostness’

Anglicans Propel Vision to Plant 1,000 Churches

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Top Protestant Bishop in Germany Caught Driving Drunk

Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-Lesbian Va. Mother

A Third of All U.S. Casualties in Eight-Year Afghan War Have Occurred Since Obama Ordered Escalation
(CNSNews.com)
– More than 300 U.S. soldiers have died in the war in Afghanistan since May 15, 2009, the day when the first major wave of new troops ordered by President Barack Obama arrived in the country. The 308 U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since then account for about a third of the total of 920 U.S. casualties in the eight-year war.

White House Spokesman ‘Not Sure’ If Obama’s Health Proposal Increases Taxes on Those Earning Less Than $250,000
(CNSNews.com)
– White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he was “not sure” if the new health care proposal President Barack Obama released on Monday calls for increasing the Medicare payroll tax on households earning less than $250,000 a year, which would be an apparent breach of the president’s pledge not to raise taxes on people earning less than that amount. “I’d have to look through the proposal,” said Gibbs. “I’m not sure that’s correct.”

House Republicans Gave Obama Their Health Care Proposals Weeks Ahead of Thursday’s Summit
(CNSNews.com)
– Weeks ahead of Thursday’s “bipartisan” meeting on health care reform, House Republicans offered their ideas to President Barack Obama in a booklet presented to the president during his visit to the Republican Party retreat in Baltimore on Jan. 29. The 27-page booklet includes proposals on health care as well as six other issues Republicans consider vital to America’s continued prosperity: jobs, fiscal responsibility, open government and transparency, energy, savings, national security and fiscal reform.

Fifteen Years With No Global Warming Doesn’t Mean There’s No Global Warming, Says EPA Chief
(CNSNews.com)
– Fifteen years with no statistically significant increase in global temperatures does not mean that the human race is not causing the climate to change, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.

White House Fails to Respond to Boehner’s Call for Resignation of Catholic-Bashing Obama Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House is not responding to questions about House Republican Leader John Boehner’s renewed call for the resignation of Harry Knox, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, who recently stood by his assertion that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.” Boehner said at a Feb. 3 press briefing that he believes Knox is an “anti-Catholic bigot” who should not be a presidential adviser.

Sen. Udall Sees China As Impetus for U.S. Cap-and-Trade Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) urged his fellow lawmakers to push ahead with “cap-and-trade” energy legislation and the creation of “green jobs,” saying that China is competition for the United States and does not “have to go through the democratic processes that we do.”

Criticism of Obama’s OIC Envoy Raises Questions About the Need for Such an Envoy
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s decision to appoint an envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has focused renewed attention on the Saudi-based body, and what role a U.S. envoy should play.

Small business odd man out in Reid’s bill
Senator Chuck Grassley says small businesses are the “job-creating machine” of the U.S. economy, yet the Senate majority leader’s jobs bill does not adequately help small businesses.

Grisly discovery at Penn. abortuary
State investigators have shut down a West Philadelphia abortion clinic for the second time in two days.

‘Virtual community’ for home schooling
The American Family Association has launched an online, virtual community for homeschool families.

PTC hopes to keep Stern off ‘Idol’
The PTC is asking the Fox Television Network to publicly state that shock-jock Howard Stern is not going to have a role on American Idol.

Feature: The cost of global-warming hysteria
Despite continuing Chicken Little-style cries of fear, the moral of the global-warming story remains the same: don’t believe everything you hear.

Judge Expected to Free Last 2 Baptist Volunteers from Jail
A Haiti judge is expected to free the last two American volunteers suspected of child kidnapping. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he would make his decision this week.

Ecumenical Head: Our Call Is to Carry the Cross

Multi-Site Churches Spreading in Post-Christian Europe

Report: U.S. Foreign Officers Need Religious Education

High Court Declines to Hear Ex-Lesbian Mother’s Appeal

Stephen Baldwin Fan Tries to ‘Restore’ Bankrupt Star

Healthcare summit in a ‘toxic’ setting
A healthcare reform expert says the White House and Democrats have created a “toxic” atmosphere in Washington for today’s healthcare summit by expressing their willingness to pursue the “nuclear option” to pass their healthcare legislation.

Complaint: Liberty U. engaged in ‘partisan politicking’
The IRS has been asked to investigate Liberty University for allegedly violating its tax-exempt status.

Muslim home schooling on the rise
A messianic Jewish leader sees pros and cons to Muslim children being home schooled.

From cyber-scared to cyber-savvy
A non-profit organization dedicated to keeping children safe online has launched a major initiative to get parents involved.

Faith, family films garner awards
The movies The Blind Side and Up have been recognized for their excellence by the Christian Film & Television Commission.

Obama Administration Did Not Consult Its Own Homeland Security Secretary Before Deciding to Try KSM in NYC
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was not consulted before the decision was made to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terror suspects in U.S. federal court in New York City. At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, she also said she has not taken part in discussions since that decision was made, including any on whether the trials should be moved to another location.

Obama Administration Using Accounting Gimmicks That Would Make Enron ‘Blush,’ Republican Lawmaker Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) says the Obama administration is using an accounting “gimmick” in its budget by not including the debt owed by mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Hensarling has co-sponsored a bill that would require President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget to include the liabilities of Fannie and Freddie in the national debt calculation.

Rep. Hoyer No Comment On Tax Hikes in Obama Health Plan, Calls Idea ‘A Suggestion’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would not say whether he supports a proposal from President Barack Obama to use certain tax increases to pay for health care reform. He described the idea as “a suggestion” at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

Rep. Hoyer Says No Set Deadline on Health Care Reform
(CNSNews.com)
– While Congress is scheduled to be in session for a month following Thursday’s bipartisan summit meeting on health care, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he can’t promise there will be any congressional action during that time. He described the Thursday’s summit as a conference.

Poll: 51 Percent of Americans More Afraid of Government Making Health-Care Decisions than Private Insurance Companies
(CNSNews.com)
– In a national telephone survey conducted last week, 1,000 likely voters were asked: “When it comes to health care decisions, who do you fear the most: the federal government or private insurance companies?” Fifty-one percent said the federal government, 39 percent said private insurance companies and 10 percent said they were not sure.

House Passes Bill That Would Create More Uncertainty for Insurance Industry
(CNSNews.com)
– By an overwhelming vote of 406-19, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would remove the longstanding federal anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill will provide more competition for the insurance industry. But one insurance industry trade group warned that the bill will have no practical effect, except to increase uncertainty – and litigation — for the insurance industry.

Sen. Specter and Sec. Clinton: Congressional Debate ‘Weakening’ America Abroad
(CNSNews.com)
– Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both said that partisan debate in Congress has hamstrung President Barack Obama’s foreign policy efforts, and weakened America abroad. Specter also said that Congress should “be backing up” Obama, rather than fighting over his policies and appointments.

Specter Suggests Oval Office Meeting between Obama, Syrians, and Israelis
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Wednesday suggested that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be invited to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama and the Israeli leadership. Specter also suggested that such a “nudge” might entice the Syrian dictator to return to peace negotiations with Israel.

Syria Seems to Ignore U.S. Calls to End Its ‘Troubling’ Relationship With Iran
(CNSNews.com)
– Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Damascus on Thursday, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told U.S. lawmakers that the Obama administration is urging Syria to move away from its “deeply troubling” relationship with Tehran. Meanwhile, press reports from Syria on Thursday quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that Arab nations will establish a Middle East “without Zionists and without colonialists.”

Killing Terrorists Should Not Be Condemned, Israeli Opposition Leader Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni wants the international community to stop criticizing the targeting of terrorists. ‘The fact that a terrorist was killed, and it doesn’t matter if it was in Dubai or Gaza, is good news to those fighting terrorism,’ she was quoted as saying.

SEIU Boss Open to Serving on Obama Deficit Reduction Commission, Supports More Deficit Spending
(CNSNews.com)
– Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern said he would be “honored” to serve on President Barack Obama’s proposed deficit reduction commission, after it was reported that the White House was considering him for the post. He went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for additional deficit spending to stimulate job creation.

Germany’s First Female Protestant Head Resigns
Just months after becoming the first woman to lead the largest Protestant church body in Germany, Bishop Margot Kaessmann has resigned.

Campaign Gives Christians Megaphone to Support Gays

NCAA Removes Focus on the Family Ad from Site

Study: Belief in ‘Caring’ God Helps Relieve Depression

Pastor Breaks Islam Code for Christians

Christian Video Game Companies Left Behind Games, Digital Praise Announce Merger

Air Force Admits Conservative Leader was ‘Disinvited’ to Speak at Prayer Luncheon Because of His Views on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Air Force admits that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was “disinvited” from speaking at a national prayer luncheon held Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland because of the conservative leader’s views opposing President Obama’s efforts to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – the military policy on homosexuality. “The Chaplain’s Office retracted Mr. Perkins’ invitation after his recent public comments made many who planned to attend the event uncomfortable,” the Andrews base public affairs office said in a statement issued late Thursday.

First U.S. Envoy to the OIC Says the Position Does Have Value
(CNSNews.com)
– The first U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, appointed during the last year of President Bush’s second term, believes the post is a valuable one and that his successor, named by President Obama this month, will do a good job. Cumber defended the position, saying “the OIC is the only forum where the U.S. can simultaneously interact with 57 Muslim-majority nations on the host of issues involving the Muslim world and the U.S.”

Muslims Furious Over Israeli Decision to Highlight Ancient Link
(CNSNews.com)
– A decision by the Israeli government to include a location with an almost 4,000 year-old link to the origins of Judaism in a list of 150 national heritage sites has sparked an uproar among Muslims – and drawn the disapproval of the Obama administration. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted Thursday that the decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on the list would not in any way change the status quo at the site, which has long been shared by Jews and Muslims.

Swine Flu Casualties Far Below White House Projections, Latest Mortality Data Show
(CNSNews.com)
– New statistics on fatalities from the H1N1 flu strain show that it is no longer a “pandemic” in the United States, and that fatalities in America never came close to the levels projected by the White House last fall. Outbreaks in North and South America are now at a low-level, the World Health Organization said.

Polls: Americans More Concerned With Arrogant Politicians and Bad Bills Rather Than Bickering and Gridlock
(CNSNews.com)
– According to a new Zogby poll, Americans are more concerned about seeing bad bills passed than getting nothing done, and more annoyed by politicians who think they are smarter than Americans than partisan bickering.

McCain rips Obama for ‘unsavory dealmaking’
A tense exchange during Thursday’s healthcare summit in Washington had the feel of a presidential campaign.

Perspective – Oba-Kabuki: A box-office bomb
The Oba-Kabuki healthcare show at Blair House kicked off with a big lie on Thursday morning — and it all went downhill from there.

Submarine ban on females may take a dive
Military readiness watchdog Elaine Donnelly disagrees with the recent decision by the Department of the Navy to lift a decades-old policy that prohibits women from serving aboard Navy submarines.

Veteran sees invitation to prayer luncheon yanked
Tony Perkins, a pro-family leader and military veteran, has been “dis-invited” to speak at a luncheon at Andrews AFB after he criticized President Obama’s call for lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Teachers appeal mass firings
The entire staff of teachers fired in a radical attempt to improve one of the worst performing high schools in Rhode Island plans to appeal their dismissals to school authorities.
Barring Critic of Obama’s Gays-in-Military Policy From Prayer Meeting Is Attack on Free Speech, Conservatives Say
(CNSNews.com)
– Conservative leaders and members of Congress expressed outrage Friday that the Air Force had blacklisted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins from speaking at Andrews Air Force Base because of his position on the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNSNews.com that he’s “disappointed” the Air Force would “un-invite” Perkins because of his positions.

Napolitano: People From Countries Tied to Terrorism Could ‘Potentially’ Enter USA;  Reports Show Thousands Already Have
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told senators on Thursday it was a national security concern that people from countries with ties to terror could “potentially” gain entry into America by crossing the country’s southern border. Her remarks on “special interest” persons came after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked her about the ongoing violence in Mexico and the possibility of that violence spilling over into the United States.

Pence Says Obama Needs to Fire Catholic-Bashing Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says the time is “long overdue” for President Barack Obama to fire Harry Knox from the White House Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships because of the “vehement anti-Catholic statements” Knox has made.

Pelosi Says She’s Running ‘Most Ethical’ Congress Ever, But Won’t Ask Rangel to Resign Chairmanship—For Now
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who pledged to run the most ethical Congress in history — noted that the ethics committee is looking into other issues involving Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), and she made it clear that she will wait for the outcome of those investigations before taking action against her colleague.

U.K. Conservatives See Lead Erode As Election Approaches
(CNSNews.com)
– The Conservative Party’s hopes of returning to power for the first time in 13 years took a blow Sunday with a poll giving it the narrowest lead over the ruling Labor Party in two years. The British election will feature live, televised U.S.-style leader debates, and it was reported last week that former White House communications director Anita Dunn has been hired to help Tory leader David Cameron prepare for the three 90-minute encounters.

In Continuing Defiance of U.S., Syrian President Meets With Leaders of Iran and Hezbollah
(CNSNews.com)
– After scorning the Obama administration’s appeals to move away from Iran, Syrian President Bashir Assad late last week disregarded another appeal from Washington by holding talks with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. As the administration prepares to send an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in five years, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate hearing last week that Assad’s close relationship with Iran and his support for Hezbollah in Lebanon were among the issues on which it was pressuring Assad.

Obama plan favors unionism
A union watchdog group believes an Obama administration plan for government contracting would be harmful to small businesses and lead to further compulsory unionism.

Perspective: We need green money, not green jobs
The beauty of the left is that facts will never get in the way of ideology. Take the “green jobs” movement, for example — one of Barack Obama’s babies.

Dissident Lutherans forming new denomination
A new Lutheran denomination is being formed for congregations opposed to the homosexual-friendly policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

NCAA nixes family ad, Focus ‘befuddled’
The NCAA has withdrawn Focus on the Family’s banner ad on its website, apparently because of the organization’s stance on homosexual relationships.

Perspective: Race-baiting the Super Bowl
The old adage says that religion and politics don’t mix. Someone needs to tell FOX Sports writer Jason Whitlock that sports and politics don’t either

Iraqi Christians Protest Killings
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians on Sunday protested against the recent flare up of violence against them in northern Iraq.

EU Moves to Protect Rights of Persecuted Christians

Lawsuit Settled; 77-Foot Cross to Go Up

Utah Bill Criminalizing Illegal Abortions Sparks Debate

Deceased Man Leaves $1.2M to Salvation Army

Shane Claiborne: Faith Not Excuse to Get into Heaven

ACORN workers cleared in NYC pimp video
ACORN employees caught on video advising a couple posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend to lie about her profession and launder her earnings did not commit a crime, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

HUD study – a ‘classic attempt’ to create a crisis
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is preparing a first-ever study of alleged housing discrimination against homosexuals.

Medicaid – the ‘ghetto of our healthcare system’
Healthcare reform expert Grace-Marie Turner warns that the healthcare legislation Democrats are pushing will be a major expansion of a welfare program that is already being administered poorly.

Perspective: Alice in healthcare
Nothing would lower costs medical costs more than having each patient pay those costs — and nothing is less likely to happen.

Fox anchor anchored in Jesus
Kelly Wright, an anchor with the Fox News Network, believes Jesus Christ is the only true hope for America.

White House Not Ready to Deny Democrat’s Claim That Administration Offered Him Taxpayer-Funded Job If He Wouldn’t Run Against Sen. Specter
(CNSNews.com)
– White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday he would have to “check on it” before he could deny Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) claim that the administration had offered him a high-ranking job in the administration in exchange for not mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who switched parties last year, briefly giving the Democrats a 60-vote majority in the Senate. “So, at this point, the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?” CNSNews.com asked Gibbs. “No. I think I said I would check on it, on the situation,” said Gibbs.

Mexican Drug Cartels Active Nationwide, Obama Administration Officials Say
(CNSNews.com)
– A senior Obama administration official said on Monday that Mexican drug cartels are being targeted inside the United States more than along the border with Mexico, echoing remarks last week by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that cartels are operating throughout the country. Assistant Secretary of State David Johnson made the remarks at a State Department press briefing when CNSNews.com asked if the plan to combat drug trafficking and money laundering around the world included dealing with Mexican drug cartels in the United States.

First Lady Credits School Cafeteria Programs for Bolstering National Security
(CNSNews.com)
– First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday told a school nutrition conference that individuals who work in school cafeterias across the country not only educate and feed children, but help to strengthen national security.

Inhofe Ranked Most Conservative Senator, Sherrod Brown Most Liberal
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is the “most conservative” member of the Senate, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is the “most liberal,” according to National Journal magazine. The National Journal reached its conclusions by analyzing the votes of all the U.S. senators on economic, social and foreign policy issues in 2009.

Individual Mandate in President’s Health Care Plan Apparently Violates Obama’s Tax Pledge
(CNSNews.com)
– The Senate health care bill included a financial penalty for anyone who goes without health insurance coverage for any month of the year, and if President Obama’s bill does the same thing, it could violate his pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000 per year.

Only 34 Percent Support More Financial Regulations, Survey Shows
(CNSNews.com)
– Only 34 percent of Americans say the government should impose further regulations on the country’s financial industry, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey published on Feb. 26. The survey also revealed that a plurality – 47 percent – oppose more government regulation of banks and investment houses, a figure that has declined slightly from the 52 percent opposition observed in December 2009.

‘Descendants of Mohammed’ Confront Newspapers Over Cartoons, Demanding Apologies and Eyeing Lawsuits
(CNSNews.com)
– After securing an apology from one Danish newspaper for publishing a cartoon satirizing Mohammed, a Saudi lawyer now plans to confront another 15 newspapers, filing lawsuits against them if necessary. Faisal Yamani says he is acting on behalf of eight Muslim organizations representing “descendants of Mohammed.”

New Website to Give Citizens Cash Incentive to Hold Public Officials Accountable
(CNSNews.com)
– The new Web site, “ArroganceInOffice.com,” aims to generate tips from the public on displays of arrogance by elected public officials at all levels of government, with cash prizes to the best submitted examples.

Abortion Ban Does Not Mean More Maternal Deaths, Chilean Study Finds

(CNSNews.com)
– Initial findings by a biomedical researcher examining the drop in maternal deaths in the last 50 years in Chile challenges the claim made by global abortion lobbyists that broad abortion laws are necessary to guard women’s health. “This study provides evidence that the legal status of the therapeutic abortion is not related with maternal mortality reduction.

Stupak Rejects Hoyer’s New Claim That Senate Health Bill Bars Funding of Abortion
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), sponsor of the successful amendment to the House health care bill that prohibits federal funds from going to any health care plan that covers abortions, rejected the assertion made Tuesday by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that the Senate health care bill prohibits federal funding of abortion. This is important because President Obama’s current plan to enact health-care reform requires the House to pass the Senate bill, a bill that Stupak has said he will not support.

Justice Department Won’t Name the Attorneys Who Worked on Terror Cases Despite Request From GOP Senators
(CNSNews.com)
– After a conservative group posted a video on Tuesday calling for the Justice Department to release the names of department lawyers who previously worked on cases involving terror suspects, a DOJ spokesman responded with a statement that still does not name the attorneys. Republican lawmakers have raised conflict-of-interest concerns about lawyers who represented or advocated on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees before joining the Justice Department.

Sebelius Accuses GOP of Using ‘Politics of Obstruction’ on Health Care
(CNSNews.com)
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told physicians and others at the American Medical Association conference in Washington that President Barack Obama will not start from scratch on health care legislation and will “move forward” to get a bill passed. She said there was “overlap” of what Republicans and Democrats want in health care legislation, including the elimination of waste and fraud in the government-run Medicare and Medicaid programs, but Sebelius said Obama and Democrats are still dedicated to universal health care.

New Calls for Obama Administration to Add Venezuela to Terror-Sponsor List
(CNSNews.com)
– Accusations about links between the Venezuelan government and terrorists in Colombia and Spain add weight to calls to designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, a Latin American specialist said Tuesday. Heritage Foundation scholar Ray Walser was commenting on claims by a Spanish prosecuting judge that President Hugo Chavez’s government had assisted two terror groups that plotted to assassinate Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Obama Administration’s Stance on Falkland Islands Dispute Seen As Betrayal by Some in U.K.
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration’s decision to not to back Britain in its dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands has left British commentators pondering the state of the “special relationship.” Standing alongside Hillary Clinton in Buenos Aires on Monday, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner expressed the desire to negotiate with Britain over the islands. Clinton agreed with her host that the two countries should “sit down” and negotiate. She also did not rule out a U.S. role.

Global-Warming Scientists ‘Need to Go Back to Square One,’ Rep. Barton Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Global warming has not met scientific criteria, and scientists need to find a theory that matches the facts, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said Tuesday at the U.S. “This whole theory of global warming is just that: It’s a theory. It’s based on models.”

Rep. Boehner Defends Sen. Bunning’s Reason for Blocking Benefits Extension As ‘Legitimate’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) defended Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) hold on a $10-billion extension in unemployment and other benefits, saying the senator has “a legitimate argument.” Democrats just passed pay-go legislation, and not even a week after the president signed it into law, they want to exempt the first bill that comes across the Senate floor,” Boehner said.

Judge rules against religious expression
A judge in Montana has ruled against a high school valedictorian who was not allowed to speak at her graduation ceremony because she wanted to give God credit for her success.

Mail delivery – time for open competition?
The U.S. Postal Service is making bleak predictions about its financial future, leaving many observers to wonder if a taxpayer bailout is in the offing since Congress sets many of the rules the agency operates under.

Rifqa’s immigration status tenuous
A former Muslim, now a Christian pastor, is concerned that 17-year-old Rifqa Bary could be deported back to Sri Lanka when she turns 18 if she is unable to get approved for permanent U.S. residency.

Chaplain Corps threatened by policy change
A pro-family leader and former military officer is very concerned about the future of the U.S. military Chaplain Corps if President Obama is successful in ending the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Parenting: Breaking the cycle of teen drug abuse
Don’t ever think that a treatment program or rehab is a “cure.” It’s just a fresh start down the road to recovery.

Luis Palau to Preach to 20,000 at Chinese Megachurch
American evangelist Luis Palau will preach to an overflow crowd of up to 20,000 people at a megachurch in mainland China this month.

High Court Denies Request to Block D.C. Gay Marriage

Shirley Dobson Dismissed from Lawsuit against National Prayer

Prominent Conservative Unseated in Texas Ed Board

Judge Urges Teen Convert, Muslim Parents to Reconcile

Human Rights Group Seeks Freedom for Converts to Worship in Muslim World

God of Islam is ‘biggest terrorist’
The son of a Hamas leader who helped Israel’s security forces kill and arrest members of the Islamic terrorist group says he’s not afraid to die. Mosab Yousef is now a convert to Christianity.

Wildmon steps down
Rev. Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association, has resigned as chairman following a lengthy illness — but he’s not setting aside his passion for families and the pro-family movement.

Bible Belt school policy under attack
A battle is brewing in a North Mississippi community over the upcoming high school prom.

Perspective: ‘Paygo means paygo’
In February, President Obama told Congress it must “pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.” All Sen. Jim Bunning did was hold fast to that.

Pastor predicts Obama’s first term will be his last
A conservative black pastor and activist believes President Barack Obama is on course to be a one-term president.

Dems Advance Obama’s Nominee for Justice Department Post, Despite GOP Opposition to Her Pro-Abortion, Anti-War Views
(CNSNews.com)
– The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 12-7 along party lines for the full Senate to cast an up-or-down vote on Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. Republicans say Johnsen’s past activism with liberal groups and her pro-abortion stance disqualify her for the post.

Geneva Summit Will Focus on Countries Mostly Ignored by UN Human Rights Body
(CNSNews.com)
– When the U.N. Human Rights Council continues its month-long session in Geneva on Monday, a coalition of human rights groups will hold a parallel event focusing on some of the items kept off the HRC agenda by its powerful members. The human rights of Iranians, Cubans, Tibetans, Uighurs and Burmese will be the focus of the two-day Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.

Congressmen Rally Public’s Support to Stop Prosecution of Navy SEALs
(CNSNews.com)
– Members of Congress – this time armed with more than 100,000 signatures – renewed their call for top Pentagon officials to drop charges against three Navy SEALs for allegedly mistreating an al Qaeda terrorist suspected of killing four Americans in Iraq. “They should not be court martialed but hailed as heroes for doing their job,” said Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) at an event outside the Capitol.

Rep. Boehner Rebuts House Speaker Pelosi’s Claim That Health Care Bill Doesn’t Fund Abortion
(CNSNews.com)
– “Under the Senate bill, everyone who buys a health policy at one of the so-called exchanges will pay a monthly abortion fee,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said on Thursday. “That goes into a fund to pay for elective abortions. Now, you can argue that this $1-per-month fee that everyone’s going to be charged isn’t a tax, but you try to explain that to the American people. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at her weekly briefing on Thursday, repeated her position that the Senate bill does not fund abortion.

Hatch: Biden Will ‘Go Down in History as a Real Dolt’ If He Overrules Senate Parliamentarian
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Vice President Joe Biden should not use his power as president of the Senate to overrule the Senate parliamentarian on the legitimacy of Democrats using a 51-vote majority to pass their health-care reform bill. Senate bills normally require at least 60 bills to pass.

Senate Republican Leader Won’t Say Whether Bunning Was Right or Wrong in Blocking Unemployment Extension Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wouldn’t say whether his fellow Republican colleague from Kentucky — Sen. Jim Bunning — was right or wrong in arguing that the $10 billion unemployment extension bill should not be passed unless it is paid for without adding to the national debt. “Well, we moved on to a new bill,” Sen. McConnell told CNSNews.com on Wednesday.

Hatch: Media ‘Suckered’ Into Believing Democrats’ ‘Whining and Moaning’ About GOP
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the Democrats had “no reason to gripe” over Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) delaying a vote on a benefits extension bill earlier this week because they have “59 votes on their side” and can basically do what they want in the Senate.

Churches Unveil Plan to Ease Plight of Black Men
Three historic black denominations on Wednesday unveiled a new national plan aimed at keeping their young males out of prison and in school and church.

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Introduced amid Opposition

Don Wildmon Resigns as AFA Chairman

Anglican Head Defends Uniqueness of Christ

Pastors Reveal ‘Aha!’ Moments in Ministry

Iranian Pastor Has Visible Marks of Torture, Says Wife

Is Obama buying votes?
A conservative congresswoman is calling for an independent investigation to determine whether President Obama is attempting to trade a federal judgeship for a vote in favor of his healthcare reform plan.

Perspective – The Obama way: Bluster, bully, bribe
Wherever did we get the impression that pay-for-play is the Obama way? Hmmm…let me count the ways.

Soldiers left out of policy change debate
A pro-family leader and former Marine says it will be up to people outside the military to voice concerns about the negative consequences of repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Perspective – Don’t ask, don’t bleed
What’s changed in the debate over the homosexualization of the U.S. military? In truth, the only thing that has changed — thank you, Mr. Obama — is politics.

Hobby Lobby – a heart for health
A Christian-owned national retailer has just opened a health clinic for its full-time employees.

MacArthur Tells Christians: Don’t Fornicate with the World
“The church, if it is to be anything, it is to be absolutely distinct from the culture, absolutely distinct from the world, absolutely distinct from unbelievers,” said prominent author and evangelical pastor John MacArthur.

Christian Youths ‘Cry Out’ for Persecuted Believers

Episcopal Clergy Permitted to Wed Gay Couples in D.C.

Okla. Schools Closer to Offering Bible Course

Washington Bishop: Religion Is Fault Line in Many Conflicts

UK Churches Campaign for Nuclear-Free World

Son says Billy Graham still writing, counseling
Rev. Billy Graham has retired from preaching, but the 91-year-old evangelist is still writing books and offering spiritual counsel to callers and visitors.

Homeless congregation serves others
Rescue Atlanta is a church that focuses on inner city residents and the homeless, and their approach is unique and effective.

Church services halted at public housing unit
A Dallas church that has held Sunday worship service at a public housing apartment complex for the elderly for 14 years has been ordered to stop.

Men filing more sexual harassment complaints
The number of sexual harassment claims filed by men doubled over the last decade.

Soros manipulates euro – is U.S. dollar next?
Jerome Corsi suspects left-wing billionaire George Soros is trying to manipulate the euro as part of his goal of establishing a one-world currency and a one-world government.


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