Christmas!

The message of Christ is rightfully embedded in the songs of Christmas, the message of the Gospel in the power of lyric and notes, proclaiming the magic and majesty of what was done for us.  Thank you Jesus!  Enjoy this version of O Holy Night by Martina McBride, and the blessings of Christ the Lord be with you all this Christmas as we wait in joyful anticipation for His Glorious Return!

 

Psalm 9:15

A blogging friend of mine from way back in the Xanga days shared this on her facebook.  Kelly Stevens shared this from an email she received from Calvary Chapel Phoenix, and this nailed it!  I hope y’all read and I’d love to read your thoughts on this as well.

Psalm 9:15

“The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;” Psalm 9:15a, NASB

I don’t know what better commentary there could be on the world right now than this verse. The nations have literally sunk into a pit! Our nation is far from what it was even fifteen years ago in terms of morality.

Television offers scores of channels which have desensitized us to violence and sexual immorality.

Life has been devalued to the point that late-term abortions are performed and it is now acceptable to kill a child while it’s being born.

It will not be long and the same devaluation of life that has been placed on the innocent unborn will be applied to the elderly and disabled.

While men and women gorge themselves on Internet pornography, family life has disintegrated to the point that over fifty percent of children live in homes without a father.

Without a moral compass, once righteous, free nations will lose political discernment and fall prey to the power of enemies hell-bent on their subjection or destruction.

Yet, those who dare raise a voice of warning or dissent are marginalized or demonized.

The Bible warns that the pit the nations have dug, they will fall into and this will be the undoing of our society.

There is a moral line, after which a civilization passes, that will cause it to self-destruct. We must realize God‘s judgment is often poured out silently. He gives a society over to its evil desires and it cannibalizes itself. It sinks down into the pit it has dug.

As the pit is dug deeper, the window of escape narrows until there is no possibility of turning back, in the will of God, consequences begin to march the society and/or the civilization to destruction.

What can we do? We can continue to make our voice heard and resist growing callous to sin. We must stay hot-hearted in our love and devotion to our Lord Jesus and take strong, courageous stands for the truth. We must gather together to pray. And we must pray, and when we have prayed, we must pray and pray more.

The Lord promises:

“…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Church and State

I find it strange that a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 would lead to the establishment clause, or the Separation of Church and State.  It was not an official document, it was a letter.  Much like the poem on the Statue of Liberty, somehow this became secular dogma.

Jefferson believed that our nation, unlike almost every other nation on earth, should not have an official church.  His intention was to assure the Baptists that as the Constitution states, they have freedom OF religion.  The government should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

To state that somehow Jefferson believed that faith was to be divorced from the person, or that public appeals to God were to be banished, is a gross misrepresentation.  He used an appeal to our common faith in the Declaration of Independence, a document which, unlike his letter, is a foundational document agreed upon by the Continental Congress.

The battle over the concept of Freedom OF Religion vs. Freedom FROM Religion rages today.  Does faith hold a place in public life?  If faith is real, it is part of who they are on every level.

A person can separate their civic duties from their religious convictions.  Any assumption otherwise, especially as people of faith and various denominations have demonstrated their civic convictions and abilities, reflects a tremendous bigotry.

It is these same bigots that scream the loudest about the separation of Church and State, who fight to remove God and faith from all public display.  They are the same who applaud loudest when Obama moved to directly attack the faith of Roman Catholics with the weight of Federal mandate.  The hypocrisy is glaringly clear.

Rick Santorum or any political figure can’t speak to his fellow believers on matters of a common faith without raising a red flag.  He can’t hold personal religious convictions without having his faith ridiculed and being declared unfit, not because of his political stances, but because of his faith.

However, Obama can sit in a church with a black Father Flannery and misquote Jesus’ teachings on gifts to make a case for taxes, and there is no issue.  He can directly attack fundamental beliefs of the largest religious denomination in the world, clearly violating the First Amendment and the separation of Church and State.

Hypocrisy!

Our government bends over backward to apologize to Muslims, the same who are now killing our soldiers, but attacking the faith of most Americans is a non-issue.  We can’t have the Ten Commandments displayed, or prayer in school, but we will consider Sharia Law, or allow Muslim prayer areas in public schools and universities.

Our media thinks twice before ridiculing Islam but regularly mocks Christianity.

83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, but they are to have no rights and be pushed out of the public arena?  Their psychology is to be questioned or their loyalty to our nation doubted.

We are told we are in the post-Christian era, that we are not a Christian nation.

I wonder what letter Jefferson would say today.  I’m sure this was not his intent.

 

Love, Heaven, and Hell

If you really love someone, does that mean that you force them to be with you?  If it is your mate, your friend, your family, or even your child, would it be right to force them to stay with you?  Can you force love?  Can you force a relationship?  As real as the connection is, as real as the love that you feel, if it is forced, it isn’t love.  There is no benefit, no real connection if there is no choice.  A spouse or loved one, if they chose to go, you let them go.  Your child, if an adult that desired to break bonds with you leaves no recourse but to let them go and hope they will come back.  My family will always be my family, but I cannot force a relationship that is rejected.  In fact, to force a relationship is to destroy any chance at a real relationship.  It is not love.  It is not even close.

Yet when people talk about God all that logic goes out the window.  Many people say God is love, therefore all must enter heaven, but does that make sense?  I have no doubt about God’s love, but does love force someone to stay with someone they want no part of?  Apart from choice is there meaning?  Does God deserve less than what we want within our own relationships or do we believe because He is God that somehow His forcing someone to spend eternity with Him would be right?

Who would reject heaven?  It seems illogical because it is, but people often make illogical choices.  It happens every day.

As much as heaven is perfect, would it be perfect for someone who wanted no part of God, who set their heart against Him?  Would it be right for God to force that person to share eternity with Him?

It is our choice, a choice that He has given us.  He does not wish that any should spend eternity apart from Him, but He does not force anyone to share eternity with Him.  To do otherwise would not be love.  As horrific as the thought of hell is, where is heaven for the person who rejects God?  Would it be with Him for all eternity?  There is no heaven apart from Him. Hell was not created for us.  In His love He created heaven for us.  Eternity apart from Him is not His will.  It is our choice.

How does a loving God send people to Hell?

He doesn’t…

loving relationship does not force an eternal bond upon someone who wants no part of that relationship.  Anything else isn’t love.  Anything else would not come from a loving God no matter how much He desires that relationship.

A Cowboy’s Prayer


A COWBOYS PRAYER

Oh Lord, I’ve never lived where churches grow.
I love creation better as it stood
That day You finished it so long ago
And looked upon Your work and called it good.

I know that others find You in the light
That’s sifted down through tinted window panes,
And yet I seem to feel You near tonight
In this dim, quiet starlight on the plains.

I thank You, Lord, that I am placed so well,
That You have made my freedom so complete;
That I’m no slave of whistle, clock or bell,
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.

Just let me live my life as I’ve begun
And give me work that’s open to the sky;
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun,
And I won’t ask a life that’s soft or high.

Let me be easy on the man that’s down;
Let me be square and generous with all.
I’m careless sometimes, Lord, when I’m in town,
But never let ’em say I’m mean or small!

Make me as big and open as the plains,
As honest as the hawse between my knees,
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains,
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze!

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.
You know about the reasons that are hid.
You understand the things that gall and fret;
You know me better than my mother did.

Just keep an eye on all that’s done and said
And right me, sometimes, when I turn aside,
And guide me on the long, dim, trail ahead
That stretches upward toward the Great Divide.

Charles Badger Clark