DEFINING MARRIAGE

May 16, 2012

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife, and the will become one flesh.”
(Genesis 2:24) 

I find it very interesting that President Obama came out in support of gay marriage the same week our nation celebrated Mother’s Day.  While most of our nation was celebrating family and motherhood, other forces in our nation were working overtime to destroy the family.

Let me be clear about this issue.  God defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24).  Anything outside of God’s design is simply not a marriage in God’s view.  I’d like to address the importance of this issue briefly from three perspectives…

A physical perspective – It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to figure out that God designed in nature for males and females of any species to join together and reproduce (Genesis 1:27-28).  The marriage relationship is the only natural means of procreation.  While it is not the only purpose, procreation is certainly one of God’s purposes for marriage.  Without it, the human race would simply pass into oblivion.

A societal perspective – The family is the basic building block of society.  Another one of God’s purposes for the family is passing on a godly heritage – faith, morals, and values (Deuteronomy 6:4-8).   This is best done in the context of family.  Moms and dads are both important in the psychological and emotional development of children.  Together, they instill in their children a balanced moral compass for life.  If the institution of marriage breaks down, society will ultimately deteriorate and self-destruct.

A spiritual perspective God clearly calls homosexuality sin (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-27).  In fact, any sexual relationship outside of God’s design for marriage – a union of one man and one woman – is considered by God to be immoral and sinful.  One cannot expect God’s blessing on their personal life when living in sin, nor can we expect God’s blessing on our nation while promoting sin.

But here’s the good news; and it is really good news.  While God hates sin; He loves sinners.  Because He is holy, God judges sin; but because God is gracious and merciful, He forgives sinners.  God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place.  When we turn to God in faith and repentance, He forgives our sin in Jesus Christ.  And when a nation turns back to God in repentance, God will restore that nation.  Let’s pray for revival in America!

Dear Heavenly Father,
You are a holy God.  Your ways are just.
You are also a loving God.  I praise you for your grace.
Thank you for forgiving my sin in Jesus Christ.
I pray that our nation will turn back to you!
I pray for revival in America!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

January 12, 2011

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
(James 1:2) 

When my own children were young, one of my favorite stories to read to them was entitled, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  It starts off like this…

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there’s gum in my hair.  And when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the skateboard, and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running.  And I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast Anthony found a Corvette Stingray car kit in his breakfast cereal box.  And Nick found a junior undercover agent code ring in his breakfast cereal box.  But in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal.  I think I’ll move to Australia.

And it only gets worse from there.  It was definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Do you ever have days like Alexander’s?  Does Australia sound pretty good to you at times?  But wait!  Australia is having horrible floods right now.  If you move there, your problems might go from bad to worse.  In fact, no matter where you go, you can’t escape trouble & trials.  

Here are a few facts of life from James 1:2-5…

  • Troubles are inevitable – You can’t escape them.  They’re a part of life!
  • Troubles are unpredictable – You never know when they’re going to sneak up on you!
  • Troubles are diverse – They come in all sizes and shapes.
  • Troubles are purposeful – God uses troubles & trials to build character!
  • Troubles are navigable – God promises help you navigate through them.

So, when you find yourself having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day; instead of moving to Australia, try calling on the resources of heaven.  God promises to give you His wisdom and His strength to face whatever comes your way!  

Dear Heavenly Father,
Life is tough.  Sometimes, Australia sounds pretty good.
Lord, I need your wisdom & your strength every day!
May your grace sustain me – even through the tough stuff!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


IT’S ALMOST OVER

October 27, 2010

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”
(Matthew 22:21) 

Election Day is almost here – just a few more days.  I’ll bet you’re ready for it to be over.  My guess is that you’re getting pretty tired of all the political advertisements on television and radio, the political signs posted all over the city, all the political mail, all the political robo-calls on your telephone, etc, etc.  And I’ll bet you’re even more fed-up with all the attacks, accusations, lies, and innuendos flying back-and-forth.  It’s pretty tough to sort out the truth from the lies and exaggerations.

So, what’s a Christian to do?  Should I vote or should I just give-up?  Should I even be concerned about politics?  I believe Jesus’ answer to the religious leaders about paying taxes sheds some light on the issue.  Granted, He was specifically addressing the issue of paying taxes.  But, I believe there’s a principle that applies to our attitude toward government in general.  We render unto God what is God’s – i.e. worship, prayer, faith, obedience, service, giving, etc.  We are also to render unto our civic authorities what is due them – taxes, obedience to the laws of the land, community service, and even voting. 

Since we live in a democratic society, we have the privilege of having a “say” in who will govern us.  So, I encourage you to read up, learn what you can about the candidates, and vote for those men and women whom you believe will best represent biblical values and principles. 

But, one word of caution – We dare not place too much trust in our government.  Our ultimate faith must be in God and God alone.  Government is not the answer to America’s economic, social, or moral problems.  Jesus Christ is the answer.  He is the only answer.  So as you vote this week, I encourage you to say a prayer for America at the same time.  Pray for revival!  Pray for godliness to once again reign throughout America.  May God bless American again!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for our great country.
You have truly blessed America.
I pray that revival might sweep through our country
and that You might bless America once again!
In Jesus name, Amen!


LOVE IS IN THE AIR

February 11, 2010

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…”
(Ecclesiastes 9:9)

Claudius was the Roman Emperor in the third century A.D.  He had a difficult time recruiting soldiers for the Roman army.  He believed the reason was that young men didn’t want to leave their wives or girlfriends to fight.  So Claudius outlawed all marriages and engagements in Rome for awhile in an effort to encourage men to join the army. 

St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during this time.  He thought the law forbidding marriage was preposterous and he refused to support it.  So, as tradition suggests, St. Valentine continued to marry young couples – secretly of course.  Eventually, Claudius discovered St. Valentine’s secret marriage ceremonies.  The Emperor arrested St. Valentine and threw him in jail.

While St. Valentine was imprisoned, many young people continued to visit him in jail.  They threw flowers and notes to him through his jailhouse window.  One young girl who visited him often was the jailer’s daughter.  She agreed that St. Valentine did the right thing by performing secret marriages.  She continued to visit St. Valentine until the day he was put to death. 

On the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D., St. Valentine wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter thanking her for her friendship and loyalty.  He signed it, “From your Valentine.” 

Thus began the tradition of valentine’s notes and cards.  Of course, Valentine’s Day has mushroomed into flowers, chocolates, jewelry, romantic dinners, and much more.  What a great tradition.  Let’s celebrate true friendship and love!

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your perfect plan –
a man and a woman, married, loving each other,
and passing that love on to their children.
And thank you for Your example of true love
in giving your Son, Jesus, to die for my sin.
I love You, Lord.  Amen


BEWARE OF TOLERANCE

December 3, 2009

“I have this against you:
You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.
By her teaching she misleads my servants…”
(Revelation 2:19)

We live in a world of political correctness.  And in the name of political correctness we are taught to be tolerant of everyone.  There’s one problem, though.  Our culture has redefined the word, tolerance.  In the past, Webster defined tolerance as “bearing with or putting up with someone or something not especially liked.”  And in that sense, the Bible encourages us to “bear with one another” in love.

But tolerance means something completely different today.  Most of the time you hear the tolerance doctrine taught in the world today, whether in schools or in the media, it means that we are to accept all values, beliefs, lifestyles and truth-claims as equal.  Spanish philosopher, Fernando Savitir put it this way, “Tolerance…means that all opinions are equal.  Each one has its point and there is no way to distinguish between them.”

Beware!  Jesus actually came down strongly on a church in Revelation for being “tolerant.”  They were tolerating a false-prophet in their midst who was teaching false truth-claims and leading people into immorality.  Jesus did not have very nice words to say about this false-prophet.  You can read it in Revelation 2:20-25.  Obviously Jesus was not worried about political correctness.  If He were here today in the flesh, He would be accused of intolerance

Here’s the catch:  when it comes to people, we are indeed to be loving and gracious toward others, bearing with things we don’t like.  But when it comes to truth and holiness, we dare not tolerate sin or compromise God’s holy standards.  God’s Word is our standard.  It is absolute truth!

Loving? – ALWAYS!   Tolerant of sin and unbiblical values? – NO!  It’s time for Christians today to stand up for truth and righteousness in America!

Heavenly Father,
You are absolute truth!  Your Word is true!
Thank-you for revealing Yourself and Your will to us.
Give me the courage to stand up for truth and righteousness.
At the same time, may I also reflect Your love and grace!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


GOD BLESS AMERICA

July 2, 2009

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…”
(Psalm 33:12)

This weekend, we celebrate Independence Day.  It was 233 years ago – July 4th, 1776 – that our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and declared our freedom from British rule.  Today, there is some debate whether America is a “Christian” nation or not.  But, it is an undeniable fact that our founding fathers believed in God and America was founded on Christian principles.  Take a look at a few quotes from some of the men who signed our Declaration of Independence… 

  • “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever….”  (Thomas Jefferson, author) 
  • “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” (John Hancock, first signer) 
  • “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”   (John Adams, signer) 
  • “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. (Benjamin Franklin, signer) 
  • “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Patrick Henry, signer) 

Of course, we are all familiar with the words in the opening of the Declaration of Independence itself, but take a look at the closing words, as well… 

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  (beginning) 
  • And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”  (closing)

The first President of the United States was a Christian, as well.  His words are a good reminder for all of us…

  • “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” (George Washington, first President.)

Clearly, our founding fathers believed in God.  Clearly, America was founded on Christian principles.  As you celebrate the “fourth” this weekend; celebrate our Christian heritage, as well.  May God bless America!

 Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this great nation in which we live,
and for Your many blessings on America over the past 233 years.
We pray for revival in our nation!
May Your Holy Spirit draw us back to Yourself!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


WHAT AMERICA NEEDS MOST

April 15, 2009

“If my people who are called by my name,

will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,

then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

(II Chronicles 7:14)

 

What do we need most in America?  More corporate bailouts?  Another economic stimulus package?  More credit?  Tax relief?  Health care reform?  Public education reform?  A complete overhaul of our leadership in Washington?  A new political party?  Are any of these really the answer to America’s greatest need?  I don’t think so!

I believe our greatest need isn’t economic or political or even moral by itself. Our greatest need in America is spiritual.  Although our country was founded on a Judeo-Christian value system, we have strayed far from our roots.  What we need most in America is genuine revival!

But, what is revival?  There are a lot of misconceptions about revival floating around today.  But, the word comes from the Latin, “viva,” which means “life.”  Revival is a resurgence or renewal of life.  By definition, then, revival presupposes a spark of life to begin with.  In other words, “revival” is about God’s people.  It’s about a renewal of spiritual life in Christians, rather than evangelizing the lost.  That’s exactly what II Chronicles 7:14 implies – “If my people who are called by my name…”

According to that same verse, the result of revival is God’s healing of our land.  Isn’t that exactly what we want and need in America?  Absolutely!  But, did you catch the four prerequisites to God’s healing?  Those four prerequisites sum up genuine revival…

·         Humility

·         Prayer

·         Seeking God

·         Repentance

Wow!  Is it even possible?  Could we ever see genuine revival in America again?  Remember, nothing is impossible with God.  May it begin in each of us, myself included.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

We need revival in America.  May it begin with me.

I confess my own pride and selfishness, and my sin and disobedience.

Please plant within my heart a genuine desire for a deeper relationship with You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


NOW THAT THE ELECTION IS OVER!

November 6, 2008

The election is over.  We have a new President-elect.  Some people are elated with the prospect of change in our country.  Others are fearful of what that change may be.  Had the election gone the other way, the responses would have been similar, only reversed.  So, now what?  Where do we go from here?  I’d like to give you 3 key words to guide you in the days ahead…

(1)  TRUSTTrust the Lord.  The Bible tells us, “There is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)  God was not surprised by the outcome of the election.  In fact, He was in sovereign control of it.  But, we must remember that our trust is not in kings or presidents or human governments; but in the Lord Himself.  Keep your eyes fixed on God – He is in control!

(2)  PRAY – First, Pray for our new Leaders.  You may find this hard to believe, but God is not a Republican or a Democrat.  Whatever party our President and political leaders represent, God still wants us to pray for them.  “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority…” (I Timothy 2:1).  So, what should we pray for?  Here are a few suggestions…

  1. Pray for divine guidance (as our founding fathers prayed)
  2. Pray for our leaders’ hearts to turn to God
  3. Pray for righteousness to reign in our land.

Second, Pray for Revival!  The truth of the matter is that government is not the answer to our country’s problems, and Barack Obama is not the Messiah.  Jesus Christ is the Messiah & He is the only answer to man’s dilemma.  If we want our land truly healed, it will only come through a supernatural move of God’s Holy Spirit across America in response to God’s people crying out to Him in prayer and repentance.

  • “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”   (II Chronicles 7:14)

(3)  SHINE – Shine your Light!  It’s time for the Church in America to wake up.  It’s time for Christians in America to uncover their light and shine it brightly across this great country.  It’s time for God’s children to live out their Christian life & proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ like never before.

  • “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”   (Matthew 5:14-16)
  • “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”   (Romans 1:16)

My dear brothers & sisters in the Lord – It’s time for Christians to quit standing on the sidelines, get back in the game, and proclaim boldly the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is America’s only hope!