"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 14:35b

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Devaluing of Life and Death

Human value?
The news is rarely good, but this week’s escape of three women from a madman in Cleveland, Ohio, was certainly that. Shock and horror over their living conditions for the past ten years has permeated the psyche of the country. As it should. I mean, what kind of animal would do this? 

When you look at the sex trafficking business in this country and abroad, you see it’s not an isolated incident. Thousands of women are trapped in similar situations. Yet not much is mentioned in mainstream media about it until something like a daring escape by three women occurs.

While our country awaits a verdict in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial and whistleblowers testify before Congress about the terror attack on 9/11/12 at the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, I’ve pondered the moral and spiritual state of our society.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflected our country’s apathy on certain topics when she posed the following question during Congressional hearings regarding events surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012:

What difference does it make?

When the moral and spiritual compass of a country no longer values truth, nor reflects absolute right or wrong, it increasingly makes less difference to society. So when a terrorist asks a friend to dispose of incriminating evidence, is it such a far stretch to think the friend wouldn’t, when you look at their examples?

Yet, people seemed genuinely shocked by the aiding and abetting of Boston bombing terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by his friends after he committed an act of terrorism against the U.S. last month. I’m genuinely shocked by their surprise.

A mere forty years ago, our country was stunned by one political party bugging another party’s headquarters. The crime itself was petty, especially by our current standards, but the highest leader in our land, the one sworn to uphold the law, had broken the law by lying and covering up his administration’s involvement in the crime.

Our current administration finds itself in a similar situation, yet few journalists like Woodward and Bernstein exist. Those that do are on the reviled Fox News network. You know—the network that consistently gets awards for balance, yet outrage people for doing so. That network. They’ve been the lone wolf crying in the wilderness for truth and justice for Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Glen Doherty killed in a terror attack at the American embassy in Libya on September 11, 2012.

Last week, White House press secretary Jim Carney stated the Benghazi story was “old news.” Sorry, Mr. Carney, the story won’t go down in the annals of history until justice is brought to those who killed the Americans and those who covered it up.

And to Mrs. Clinton?

I’m pretty sure the four men’s families could answer your question.

Yet who cares? The mainstream media doesn’t. And it sure looks like mainstream America doesn’t. As disturbing is the trend that many people only recognize reality as what mainstream or social media deem important. If it’s not on Twitter or CNN, it either doesn’t exist or isn’t important.

Many folk’s appetites are satiated by glamour and entertainment news. Mainstream media devoted more time to the Jodi Arias verdict than the Benghazi hearings in Congress on Wednesday.

Another example is the coming out of NBA player Jason Collins.

According to CNSnews.com:

In the eight days since NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay, the news media have covered the story in 2,381 places. But in the first eight days of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” abortion business, the media covered the story in 115 places, meaning that Collins’ “gay” news received more than 1,970.4% more news coverage.
How did we get here?

The systematic watering down of values in this country is how we got here! We’ve reached the point where we create reality as we go. We redefine historic and biblical principles to suit our ever-changing spiritual and moral compasses. What constitutes marriage and life is a good place to look.

Since the beginning of time, marriage has been defined as the God-ordained union between a man and woman as a life covenant. In a relatively short period of time (one presidential administration), this has changed, and likely (unless the Supreme Court comes to its senses), will be redefined legally.

No more marriage absolutes. Once the historic definition of marriage is eradicated, anything and everything in the way of “unions” will be legally allowed.

And abortion? Another word for infanticide, in my opinion. The grisly trial of abortionist Gosnell in Philadelphia has hosted an empty media gallery. People are riveted to their TVs during sensationalized sexually detailed trials, yet they can’t stomach hearing about murders of infants. Dead babies with their spines cut and parts suctioned out makes people squeamish. We certainly can’t show that on the nightly news while people eat their dinner.


We’ll see when the verdict in the Gosnell trial is returned, if it gets the frenzied media coverage that the Jodi Arias verdict did.

Don’t be fooled into believing the Gosnell case is an isolated incident. It is more the norm than the exception as shown by the Live Action investigation. Three thousand babies a day die in this country from abortion, their blood soaks the ground, and their cries shut off in another room if they have the misfortune of being born alive—another thing we can thank people like our current POTUS for when he stood against protection for fetuses born alive while in the Illinois Senate:

Obama, Senate floor, 2002: [A]dding a – an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. … I think it’s important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births.
Obama, Senate floor, 2001: Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute. (FactCheck.Org)
The President delivered a speech to Planned Parenthood last week in which he ended with the words, “God Bless you.”



Even if Planned Parenthood hands out free contraceptive and performs mammograms and only aborts one innocent child a day—

It’s one death too many!

It’s still absolutely wrong.

All this points to the value system of our morally eroding society. But what about Christians? What is our role in this erosion?

Can a Christian support abortion in any instance? Or the dissolution of the sanctity of the God-given marriage covenant?

No. And for evil to succeed in this country, it has had the support of so-called Christian citizens. Sadly, many Christians don’t apply biblical absolutes to their lives. Scripture says you are known by your fruit. This could easily be translated into: 

       ·        What bothers you?
       ·         What keeps you awake at night?
       ·         What are you willing to speak out about or against?
       ·         What are you willing to be derided or persecuted for?

If you are able to rest your head on your pillow and sleep soundly each night while truth is redefined, biblical principles are trampled on, and thousands of babies are murdered legally each day…

Maybe the question shouldn’t be…

What’s wrong with our country?

Maybe the question ought to be: What is right?
© Laura Hodges Poole 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Judgment That Leads to Revival

Guest blogger Pastor Mike Gonzalez shares a message today about God's impending judgment on our nation and the hope we have as Christians. Welcome, Mike!

Do you believe that God is capable of doing great and mighty things in our generation? Do you believe it’s possible that the LORD Himself could be raising up such godless people in our nation in order to bring a purifying judgment among His people?

In Habakkuk's day, God raised up the Chaldeans (the Babylonians), a ruthless, cruel and violent people in order to bring punishment and correction for the sins of His people in order to bring them back to a right standing with Him and revive them once again. Habakkuk had become discouraged that his prayers and cries to the LORD had not been answered concerning the wicked in the land, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery?” (Habakkuk 1:2-3a NLT).

Habakkuk was so overwhelmed with how unrighteous the land had become, “The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted” (Habakkuk 1:4).

Does this sound familiar? Think about how often we struggle with the injustice and perversion we see and hear about, not just on television, but from the mouths of our so called-religious and political leaders. Daily we’re shocked at how laws are being abused and enforced, and we seem to only shake our heads in frustration and disbelief with our usual complaint about these leaders. We sometimes feel powerless and confused as to what to do and many, even within the church, are giving up or becoming indifferent because of the level of wickedness in the land which is causing our love to grow cold (Matthew 24:12).

Notice the response of the LORD to Habakkuk, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets…For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay…the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (Habakkuk 2:2-4 NIV).

Did you catch that? The righteous will live by his faith! When God brings judgment in the land, as I believe He is doing with America and the Western church, we are not to complain or run to our own strength to seek deliverance, but rather we must cry out to the One who will not only bring promised judgment on all evildoers but is willing and able to bring revival to His people.

Habakkuk turned to God in prayer and said, LORD, I have heard the report about You; LORD, I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive [Your work] in these years (in our generation); make [it] known in these years (in our generation). In [Your] wrath remember mercy! (Habakkuk 3:2).

We must also trust in the Lord and cry out to Him to remember mercy in the midst of His wrath. God is able and willing to revive His people, but we must confess our sin and wait upon the LORD for His appointed time. It will be difficult, and many trials are ahead for the people of God. Persecution is coming. Economic disaster is looming over the horizon for our country and the world. Many are hopeless and falling away from faith, but the remnant people of God will be revived and will not fear because even “in a year of drought (we will never) fail to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8).

Let us put our confidence in the Lord whatever the circumstance or situation we face, and we will be able to say like Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength” (Habakkuk 3:17-19a).

Rejoicing for Revival,
Pastor Mike

Mike Gonzalez is the senior pastor at Columbia World Outreach Church in South Carolina. He is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Monday, March 4, 2013

How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

“We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it now, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep.” (How Do You Kill 11 Million People?)

Obviously, this title alludes to the Jews killed during World War II. Recent research indicates this number could be much higher. Although much genocide litters human history, the Holocaust draws certain connotations in our minds. 
Last spring, I read a blog review of “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews. Moved by the review and the premise behind the book, I left a comment to this effect. Despite the stack of unread books on my shelf, I intended to buy that book, sooner rather than later. And it would go to the top of the stack. A few days later, I received an email from the blog owner saying I had won the weekly blog giveaway. 
My prize? You guessed it. The book has 80 pages, and I read it in less than an hour. A simple concept doesn’t have to be wrapped in a lengthy expose. The book definitely lived up to my expectations.
Among the insight the author gives, he challenges the reader with the following:
·         Why do the ages of our world’s greatest civilizations average around two hundred years?

·         Why do these civilizations all seem to follow the same identifiable sequence—from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, and finally from dependence back into bondage?

·         The United States is the longest tenured government in the world.
So how do atrocities in history correlate to life in the 21st century? Are we doomed to repeat past mistakes by not learning from them? Certain mileposts would indicate so. 
When my daughter was little, she loved to say it was opposite day when I tried to get her to do something she didn’t want to do. We’ve slowly come to accept certain things in this country that are opposite to our belief system, while at the same time embracing the inane. 
You only have to look at our current social issues to draw the correlation between fallen civilizations and our current way of life. 
Three thousand babies are murdered legally each day in the United States. We look the other way when stories surface on corporations like Pepsi that test new products on aborted fetal cells. The revelation barely registered a blip on the media’s radar.
Yet we’re outraged when Starbucks’ use of dye obtained from crushed bugs surfaces. I mean, that’s really something to get upset about. Right
Compare the current political, social, and economic situation in the U.S. to a party on a frozen lake in rising temperatures. The party-goers are caught up in the revelry; they don’t hear the subtle cracking sound of ice melting. The cracking continues until it’s too late—the ice is separating under their feet.
The ice is cracking all around us, folks. We only have to look at history to see moral decline precedes economic decline when civilizations collapse. A solution exists, and we’re all part of it. Hope for our future begins with each individual putting down their drinks and walking off the ice before it’s too late. 
So how do you kill 11 million people? 
The answer is simpler than you could imagine, and it’s key to our hope as a nation. I’m not one to give away the major premise of a book, so you’ll have to read the book to discover it. It’s available on Amazon.com and other book outlets.
I’ll leave you with one final thought from the book, a quote of President James Garfield from his centennial address to Congress in 1876:
“Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.” Then he added, “If [one hundred years from now] the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”