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Archive for July, 2012

Brad Pitt is about to become the husband of Angelina Jolie.  Angelina Jolie is the daughter Jon Voight.  As we all know, Brad, Angelina, and Jon are well-known celebrities in Hollywood.

Academy-award winner Voight is more than just Angelina Jolie’s dad, he is a seasoned conservative voice in Hollywood.  So, when Brad Pitt’s mother spoke out against President Obama’s stance on gay “marriage” and abortion, Voight told FOX News that he agrees with his daughter’s soon-to-be mother-in-law.  “Good for her,” he said, for expressing those views.

Mrs. Pitt shared her perspective in a letter-to-the editor of her local paper, Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader.  She described the President as a “liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”  She said that fellow Christians should give “prayerful consideration” to supporting the presumptive GOP nominee whose morals, she said, contrast those of President Obama.  Quickly, Mrs. Pitt was labeled a  homophobe — all across Twitter-land.

Brad Pitt’s brother, Doug, came to his mother’s defense.  “There can be healthy discussions when people disagree with you.  The bad thing is when it turns to venom and negativity, and we don’t have that in our family.  It’s open discussion.  We can learn from each other . . ..”

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Mr. President, isn’t it your duty to do all you do in the best interests of the future of this country?  Aren’t children the greatest natural resource this country has?

Pentagon officials, isn’t it your duty to guard the citizens of this country from those who would bring harm to us?

School administrators, isn’t it your duty to respect the role of parents and instruct their children in ways that will build a vibrant and thriving society?

Then, why o why, do you celebrate gay pride?

There can be no pride in any behavior that endangers health, marriage, home and family, the nation’s security, or the lives of children — America’s greatest natural resource.

There can be no pride in immoral gay behavior any more than there can be pride in immoral heterosexual behavior.

In what way does “it’s my right,” “I’ll do as I please,” “I just have to be who I am” behavior help develop sound character in children?

Are those who insist on teaching “tolerance” for homosexual – or heterosexual – behavior to children K-12 interested in guarding the innocence and well-being of this nation’s sons and daughters?  Or are they more interested in some other agenda?

Mr. President, you have celebrated “gay pride.”  You see it as an expression of diversity.  At what price?

Pentagon officials, you have celebrated “gay pride.”  You see it as, well, I’m not sure how you see it.  I don’t know how messing around with issues of “sexuality” makes for a stronger national defense.

School officials, you have opened the door to ideologies and agendas that have nothing to do with nurturing stronger minds, healthier bodies, and hopeful futures.

It isn’t too late to apologize… and do better for the sake of the children.

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In Bible class, we’ve been studying history as revealed through Genesis.  Last Sunday, we considered the angel’s visit to Sodom and Gommorah.  They came to rescue Lot, the nephew of Abraham, before destroying the cities.  Why were these cities marked for destruction?  “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gommorah is great and their sin is very grave” (Genesis 19:20).  How grave was their sin?  Let me quote from verses 4-5: “. . . [T]he men of the city, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”  Know them?  Yes, like Adam “knew” or was “one with” his wife.  Except, in the case of all these men, there could never be a natural and “good fit.”

Lot, the husband and father of the one apparent believing family in Sodom, was so desperate to prevent the sin of sodomy upon his guests — God’s own angels — that he offered his daughters to the begging men.  For those who think this one through, I don’t need to say anymore.

It is a fact that archeologists and geologists have discovered the charred remains of Sodom and the surrounding cities.  I’ll leave it to you to believe — or doubt — that God really did destroy the cities.  I choose to take the author of Scripture at His word.  “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24).  When Lot gathered up his wife and daughters, his sons-in-laws thought he was jesting.  They didn’t take his warning seriously.  Martin Luther observed, “The nearer the world is to destruction, the smugger it is.”

Have we grown smug?  I think so.  Unbelievers completely disregard the reality of Sodom and its particular evil.  Christians who have been deceived by the world and their own weak flesh observe that what happened at Sodom was the lack of hospitality.  But, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I trust that Sodom was destroyed because the True God cannot remain patient with the distortion of His creation — or the idol worship of ourselves — forever.

With Sodom in mind, I am going to do something I would prefer not doing.  Lest anyone think we have not fallen to the state of that historic city of Sodom, you might want to view for yourself the photos of the recent gay pride parade and festival in Philadelphia.  If you can bear it, take note of the involvement of children.

Truly, I am saddened, no, sickened to have to draw anyone’s attention to these photos.  But, our eyes must be open.  We must warn against anything that separates people from God.  We cannot simply turn our backs on each other.

Those who boast in their “gay pride” are real people.  Many of them are hurting people with stories that would break our hearts.  Some of them have been abused.  Some are confused.  And, yes, some have willingly chosen to mock their Creator.  As caring people who are called to follow Christ, we must see what is happening.  Such perversion of creation does not glorify God.  It cannot build a generation of hope.  We are needed to speak truth.  To stand against evil.  To love the repentant neighbor caught in sin. To gently lead out of sin to a new life in Christ.

So, view the following. Then decide where you will take your stand.  Will it be on His Word… or the word of the deceiver?

http://americansfortruth.com/2012/06/21/philadelphia-gay-pride-parade-and-festival-feature-lewd-acts-porn-booth-sadomasochists/#more-11937

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“It’s hard to imagine two stranger organizational bedfellows,” writes Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief of WORLD magazine (WORLD exclusive, July 14, 2012).  Olasky is referring to the partnership between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  The partnership is not only “strange” but unnatural because it attempts to blend two opposing worldviews.

Founded in 1942, the NAE is a pro-life, Christian organization of more than 40 denominations whose motto is: “Cooperation Without Compromise.”  The Campaign, founded in 1996, is a secular organization devoted to promoting contraceptive use by the unmarried.  “The National Campaign is zealous,” writes Olasky.  “When conservatives this year tried to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood and similar groups, the lead story on the Campaign’s newsletter began, ‘The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to increase teen and unplanned pregnancy.’”

Before Olasky’s article entitled “Strange Bedfellows” was published, I was aware that he was investigating a multi-year $1 million grant given by the Campaign to the NAE in 2008.  The Campaign itself, notes Olasky, has received grants from abortion advocates and contraception pushers.  For more details, I encourage you to read Olasky’s articles in WORLD (7-14-12, pp. 9-11, 88).

So, what’s going on here?  Why would pro-life Christians accept help from people who seek to promote contraceptive use by unmarried people?  Who advocate abortion?  I think it is because Christians have been deceived.  We have been deceived by one question: “Did God really say . . . ?”  (Do you hear that hissing sound?)  Did God really say that male and female are set apart for holy purpose?  That sex is not just something two people are going to participate in – married or not – because they can’t help it?

Once deceived, we believe the lie.  What is the lie?  That we are “sexual from birth.”

Olasky’s article exposes a problem.  Something goes awry whenever Christians accept help from those with an opposing worldview.  We become “strange bedfellows” with non-believing neighbors in the land whenever we “evolve” away from God’s Word.  In this case, the NAE is doing the very thing it says it will not do.  It is compromising Biblical faith in the area of sexuality, I think, for two reasons.

It appears that the NAE has determined for itself what is right and wrong.  It has aligned itself with false teachers.  When approached in the Garden by the serpent, a flattered Eve not only spoke for God, she added words of her own to His.  Putting ourselves in God’s place is dangerous.

Secondly, it appears that the NAE, having been deceived, now thinks itself wise.  Wisdom, however, does not come from the world, but through fear of God.  False wisdom believes the lie that we are “sexual from birth.”   Clinging to such “wisdom,” sexual promiscuity – with all of its consequences – increases.  Since we can’t help being the “sexual” beings we are, we’ll just have to rely on the corner drug store.  Deception leads us to rationalize.  Tempted to think that unmarried people will naturally exercise their sexuality, Christians are deceived into justifying provision for the “lesser of two evils.”  NAE President Leith Anderson responded to Olasky, saying, “The Church is understandably reluctant to recommend contraception for unmarried sexual partners, given that it cannot condone extramarital sex.  However, it is even more tragic when unmarried individuals compound one sin by conceiving and then destroying the precious gift of life.”  Many of us may agree with Anderson.

Are we trapped between a rock and a hard place?  What can we do?  I propose that we stop listening to false teachers.  We are not, first and foremost, sexual beings.  We are human beings called to live out our lives as male or female.  Although fallen from God’s perfect image, we are still created with His attributes, not the attributes of animals.  This is what our children need to hear.

The Christian community will better serve a modern culture by remembering how revolutionary we really are.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” by His will, not through sexual behavior.  This was a radical worldview for all the neighbors of the Israelites.  This is still a radical worldview in today’s society.  Historically, the Judeo-Christian view of human life, marriage, and procreative sex was a revolutionary idea that de-sexualized God and religion.  “I Am” stood in contrast to “gods” who engaged in sex with other gods and humans.  Judeo-Christianity introduced the concept of holiness.  It contrasted a life of purity with a life captive to sensuality.   It sanctified the procreative act of sex and connected men to wives, home and generational faithfulness.  “The sexual genie,” writes Dennis Prager, “was forced into the marital bottle.”

God’s own people have always been given opportunity to affect the culture.  But, considering ourselves wiser than God, we become foolish.  Foolish into captivity.  The Israelites were captive in Babylon for so long that generations forgot the Truth and became comfortable with their environment.  When the Israelites were told they could return to their homeland where they could rebuild Jerusalem, very few wanted to go back to “old ways.”  I fear we, too, have grown comfortable with our environment.  Deceived, we believe the lie… and cling to wrong identity

How many times have we told that we are “sexual” beings?  When does God define us that way?   He doesn’t.  Instead, God sets us apart as a people all His own.  We struggle with the “old man” in us, but our Baptism in Christ makes us new every morning. We are not bound by passions of ignorance, but called to reflect our Creator.  God is holy (not sexy) (1 Peter 1:14-16).  We are “His own possession” equipped to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you” (1 Peter 2:9).  We are strengthened to “abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against our souls” here on earth (2:11).  God warns us away from sensuality, but never does God tell His people to stop living their lives as male and female.

We want to make abortion unthinkable.  But, abortion – and new definitions of marriage and family — will always be thinkable for people who see themselves as “sexual from birth.”  Such deception brings us dangerously close to idolatry.  Exchanging the Truth for a lie, we worship the creature rather than the Creator.  At that moment, we are vulnerable to Satan, the world, and our own sensual flesh.

Sex does not have to dominate society.  God-ordained institutions of marriage and family can build a vibrant civilization.  The innocence of children can be guarded.  Men and women can complement one another.  It begins with fear of God rather than trust in fickle hearts and weak flesh.  Even in marriage, husbands and wives are called to more than a sexual relationship, but a partnership as good stewards over all that God has entrusted to them and a life that anticipates Jesus’ return.  Anticipating Jesus, men and women – married or not — do best to see themselves as God sees them.  To be distinctively different from the world.  To be vessels for honorable use.

Our purpose in this world flows from our identity as God’s holy people.  So, let us avoid “strange bedfellows” and affect the culture with true wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:5).

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Am I really a “victim of circumstances?”  Is it helpful to blame others for what might be wrong in my life?  Is it helpful to excuse my failures and faults by viewing them as “inherited traits”?  Am I a slave to wrong behavior?

No.

I look to the Law for my warning.  The Law of God’s Word explains my sinful condition.  It warns me away from wrong choices and behavior.  Then, when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged by my wrong choices, I look to the Gospel.  I see that change is possible in Christ.  I discover that the Holy Spirit enables me to modify my own character, tendencies and habits so that I can pass on to my children and grandchildren something better.  I take hope in the fact that doing good things — the things that please God — is transmissible.

It is easy to excuse my poor behavior by claiming that I’ve inherited a “bad” trait.  But, this is to say: I am a slave.  I have no opportunity to acquire freedom.  This is just who I am.

This is what Satan and the world would have me believe.  But, I don’t buy it.

It is true that under the Law of God I am chained to hopelessness because of my rebellious and sinful condition.  But, under the Gospel, my chains are broken.  I am set free in Jesus Christ to live differently.  To resist evil and do good.   To learn from mistakes and not repeat them.  To perhaps fail again but then, in Christ, start new every morning.

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