Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Great Rainbow Controversy

I really find it ironic that the symbol that is currently used to show support for gay rights, is the very same symbol that God Almighty created in the sky as a reminder that He wouldn't allow the flood waters to cover the Earth again to rid it of sin. (Genesis 9:12-16)
Imagine, homosexuality was one of the rampant sins around the time of Noah and here we are now, having similar discussions about how to go about it.

As many of you know, the issue of gay marriage has come around in the news yet again. Most notably, in the Miss USA pageant.

I actually missed this, but I heard all about it the next day. I'm sure that this won't go away for a while. Let me summarize, Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked a question by Perez Hilton. For those who don't know who he is, he's a well known gay Hollywood insider. He asked Miss California her take on gay marriage, citing recent state laws accepting the practice as his base. She seemed to stumble, then she apparently spoke from her heart.
Her response was "marriage should be between a man and a woman." The response illicited some boos from the crowd, the scorn of Hilton on his blogs and maybe even cost her the crown. Miss North Carolina ended up winning the pageant.
Miss Prejean claims to be a Christian and defended her answer after the dust settled. I watched her say that she will pray for Hilton, even though he called her a number of vile names on TV and on the internet. It seems that she gave the current unpopular answer.
For the record, I'm proud of her for speaking her heart and not what cave into the pressure of winning a pageant. Her story is currently overshadowing the actual winner. In way, this public spat is a microcosm of the whole gay marriage issue in this nation as a whole.

Just this past week, New York's governor propose his own legislation for the approval of gay marriage. Advocates rejoiced because this is the first time in a very long time that the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly are democratic giving the proposal a good chance of passing and becoming state law.

For the second time in a month, the Lord woke me up out of my sound sleep and had me go into another room to pray in private. This issue is apparently something that He deems important and therefore it is important to me.

But what does the Lord have to say about homosexuality? Critics claim that because God is love, having two people love eachother, regardless of sexual orientation, is acceptable in His eyes. They couldn't be farther from the truth.

Yes, God is love. (I John 4:16) But He is also a just, jealous and vengeful God. (Isaiah 45:21; Exodus 34:14; Romans 12:19)

Let's examine a few passages in the Old Testament concerning homosexuality. Keep in mind, that was the Old Covenant. Jesus brought the New Covenant, which I'll explain later.

First we see how things were in Noah's day. God had no choice but to allow the flood waters come and wipe out the sinful people, save for Noah and his family, and of course the paired animals (female and male so they could repopulate, by the way.) God vowed never to allow that to happen again. (Genesis 9)

Not too long after that Abraham's brother Lot, who lived in Sodom, was greeted by two angels. They came from God to test the city and also to warn Lot of the impending judgement against Sodom and Gomorrah. Before they could deliver their message the two angels were met by the men of the town.
"...all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." (Genesis 19:4-5 NIV)
Lot's family was evacuated and fire rained down from heaven because the sin was so great. Sodom and Gomorrah was wiped from existence.

The laws in the book of Leviticus also addresses homosexuality. "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. " (Leviticus 20:13 NIV) The passage is layed out even more clearly in The Message: "If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. They must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths."

Pretty clear eh? As I said that was all under the Old Covenant. What does that mean? It means that the principles are the same, but the punishment was paid once and for all. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the world, so we don't have to. He shed His Holy blood, and in doing so created the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25) that would trump the Old Covenant. All of our sins were taken to the grave with His death, and were wiped away upon His resurrection, PRAISE GOD!

Does that mean that because Jesus paid the price, gays can still marry and be right with God? NOPE! But that goes for ALL sin.

The New Testament speaks about it, even after Jesus' perfect sacrifice. "Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God." (I Corinthians 6:9-10 New Living Translation)

The book of Romans, concerning Christians sinning says this: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!" (Romans 6:1-2) It goes on to remind us that we are DEAD to sin and no longer its slave.

Bottom line: Gay marriage is NOT OKAY with God! It is a sin and sin, by definition, is separation from God. Therefore it isn't something that we would want to be caught in when the Lord returns.

Marriage by definition, is the union consecrated by God between a MAN and a WOMAN. There isn't a gray area when it comes to this. Popular culture would have you believe otherwise, but just like Jesus, truth never is popular.

So people of God, we are being called to be the light shining in the darkness. We are the beacons that God has left behind to light the path back to Him. We need to pray! Pray for our lawmakers, that they hear the Lord's voice and obey it. And we need to pray for the people caught up in homosexuality. Pray that Jesus comes across their path and that they turn from their wicked ways.
Pray that we would be ready at all times to give testimony for Christ, just as Miss California did on an international stage in the face of fierce criticism.

We, like Jesus, should love the sinner but hate the sin. Again, that goes for every sin.

As I said earlier, God is just. At some point, His wrath will be released and when it does, there will be no pleading or excuses. Judgement Day will be here, and the wages of sin will be dealt with once and for all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Someone's TEA-d Off!

Don't Tread On Me! I saw numerous flags with this printed on it on Wednesday, April 15th. This was Tax Day for Americans. But it was also the same day many Americans came out, in unity, to show their displeasure with the way their government is heading.
Many of the things they were addressing included: paying high taxes only to watch their leaders flush them down the toilet with wasteful spending; the systematic stripping away of Constitutional Rights; and just plain disrespect from lawmakers who refuse to acknowledge that they are, BY LAW, beholden to the voters that they represent.
This symbolic protest was attended by many thousands of concerned citizens, Republican or Democrat, who wanted to voice their opposition to the current trend in America. I was at one of these "Tea Parties," though I was working of course in my role in the local media. I did my job, objectively. I was keeping an eye out for anything that betrayed the message that was supposed to be relayed. There wasn't any where I was. From what I could see, this was a peaceful protest.
I have to say that I was impressed by what I saw and heard. I took pride in the fact that there are a whole lot more people out there that feel the same way I do than the mainstream media cares to say.
So, let's get some things straight when it comes to the media. As a Christian and a conservative, in the media I am outnumbered incredibly. Most would agree that there is a definite slant to coverage. Certain major "news" networks aren't hiding it anymore. With the last Presidential election they showed their true colors and clearly backed one candidate over the other. That's their right, however when it comes to defaming the other view or even creating lies, you've crossed the line.
This brings me to the tea parties. Some of the news outlets, nationally and even locally, categorized the rallies as: "Anti-government, Anti-Obama, Anti-tax paying." The list goes on and on. This infuriates me, not because of my views, but because it is FALSE!!! I WAS THERE!
The tea parties were not organized by the GOP, if they were they were getting as much blame for the current mess as the Democrats. President Bush took flack as much as I heard the name of President Obama come under scrutiny. It wasn't a rally against government or the President, it was a rally against all those ideas that reject the United States Constitution and the rights contained therein.
That was the true meaning of the rally. I personally talked with people angry with both political parties. The system is broke, and people came out to voice their opposition.
But still, some people missed the whole point. This isn't about Democrat versus Republican, or right-wing versus left-wing, this is about RIGHT versus WRONG! The rallies were for ALL Americans, put on by Americans. Regardless of your party affiliation, you were represented.
Whatever side you claim to be on, remember this: For every right and left wing, there is a whole body that needs attention too. We are Americans! Let's stop the bickering and take a look at the big picture. We are one body!
I've said it before, if we don't watch out and be vigilant, what George Orwell wrote in the book 1984 will come to pass before our very eyes. It's already happening!
It's time to unite under One God and under the flag of Freedom. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let's make sure those words don't die while we bicker amongst ourselves.
Divide and Conquer: This is the most effective weapon the enemy uses against us. He's done it for thousands of years and is still using it now. Division! If an army is too tough to defeat as is, split it up and pick off the smaller parts before going in for the kill. A lot easier then, right?
Jesus Christ Himself said: "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." (Matthew 12:25 NIV)
Be proud America! Be proud of what you accomplished on Tax Day. You roared loudly and the enemy's gates shook. Do I advocate violence of any kind, absolutely not. But these peaceful protests showed what motivated Americans can do with a cause they can ALL get behind.
So, keep roaring: praying and believing and eventually the walls will come down, like they did in Jericho. (Joshua 6; Hebrews 11:30)
United We Stand, divided we fall!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It is Finished...Easter Sunday

While Jesus was crucified and hanging on the cross:

"Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:28-30 NIV)

What happened here? More than the mortal men and women watching that scene could see with their naked eyes. I discussed on the Good Friday post about Jesus paying the price for sin, for all of us forever, by dying on the cross. He traded places with man and went to the place of suffering and punishment instead of us! Jesus went to Hades. (Acts of the Apostles 1:31)

For three days, Jesus remained in Hades, tormented by the complete separation of God. Jesus, by dying on the cross and becoming sin for us, had to go to the place made for separation. He wasn't alone, there were others there paying their price for sin as well. And of course, Satan and his minions were present. The Savior Christ was defeated, and was now in prison.

Something happened after three days. God's Holy Spirit quickened and empowered Jesus. He was loose in the prison, and He was on a mission. The scriptures aren't very clear exactly what took place, but I'm willing to bet that the devil, Satan, never took a beating quite like he took that day.

Thus began the greatest prison break in history! Jesus emerged from the place of suffering and then EMPTIED IT! Then, after the three days had passed:

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Matthew 28:1-10 NIV)

HE IS ALIVE!!! The Man that knew no sin, and became sin for US, defeated the grave and was now the risen Savior. Jesus walked, talked and even ate with His disciples.

This is the true meaning of Easter. Jesus was crucified and died, then rose from the grave three days later. All for YOU! God wants you part of His family, that's why He sent Jesus to die on the cross.

Here's the rub, salvation is all up to you. You can choose to accept it or reject it, just as the people in Christ's time did. I wouldn't wait, time is short and His return to this Earth is imminent. It could happen at any time. Don't be left behind when the world gets turned on its head and hell is released.

Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior on today. Acknowledge the perfect sacrifice and live eternally!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It Is Finished...the Ultimate Sacrifice

The Ultimate Sacrifice...made for us!

"They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:28-54 NIV)

"Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:1-12 NIV)

So, what exactly happened on that fateful day so many hundreds of years ago? Was just a man put to death for Crimes, or was there more to the story? As you probably guessed, there was more that happened than a simple man being judged and subsequently executed for said crimes.

The first fact, already discussed in earlier posts: Jesus was the Word of God made flesh. (John 1:14) He was God, Himself. The second part of the Holy Trinity. He came as a servant and lived as and lived among men. He allowed Himself to be tried and convicted, and ultimately executed.

Why? Because He had to! For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness for our sins. (Hebrews 9) Man's sin was so great that a simple blood sacrifice of an animal would no longer do, there needed to be something more. Enter: Jesus!

God sent in His own Lamb for the sacrifice. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for all of our sins: past, present and future! He bore everything for us. Why did He do that? Simple, God loves us and doesn't want us to go to hell. Thats where the unredeemed will go without accepting His Son, it HAS to be that way. Sin has NO place in the presence of God Almighty, it CAN'T exist there.

Second fact: Jesus went to Hades! He HAD to. The scriptures tell us He became sin through the crucifixion. (2 Corinthians 5:21) If sin, by definition, is separation from God: then deductive reasoning concludes that Jesus died and went to be punished because He was sin. OUR sin! Hades was made for sin. Some sacrifice, the Man that knew NO sin becoming what He hates because He loves us so much. Deep, huh?

Bottom line: Good Friday is the day where we remember and recognize the Ultimate Sacrifice, the Perfect Sacrifice: the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But it didn't end there. We will discuss Easter on Sunday and what Jesus meant when He cried out "It is finished!" For all the tears of sadness flowing today, there will be more tears of joy for what happened on that Easter. Stay tuned!

God loves you very much, that's why we observe Good Friday. But where there's sorrow, there comes a hope. Meet that Hope and be saved today. (John 3:16)

Take a breath and remember

What a violent weekend! First there was the shooting rampage in Binghamton, New York that left a lot of families and a community grieving.

Then in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania three police officers gave the ultimate sacrifice while on duty.

Finally, in Washington State a man killed himself, but not before taking the life of his five children.

I'm sure that there were more acts of senseless violence that occurred, but these are just three that stood out among the news headlines.

Normally, I don't comment on happenings like this, but I feel compelled to say something. These are tragedies that shouldn't have ever happened. Lives lost for no more of a reason than someone being upset with something.

We need to pray for these families right now. The loss is almost too much to bear for these victims. They need to know that God has a plan for them and to yield themselves to Him for comfort.

What happened can never be changed and nothing but the Love and Grace of the Lord can fill the void that they most certainly feel inside of them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will make Himself known and minister to them.

Also, let us pray that events like the ones this weekend don't repeat themselves. Satan has taken enough blood, no more!