Category Archives: Saving the Culture

Godly Zeal

Never be lacking in zeal; but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11, NIV)There are some questions that this appeal should stimulate us to ask. What does God mean by zeal and spiritual fervor? What kind of behavior characterizes this zeal? Would the appropriate expressions vary depending upon culture? In Romans 10:2, Paul writes that the Jews are “zealous for God.” Their zeal was commendable in that God was its object, but it was flawed because it was not based on a right knowledge about God’s way of salvation, as Paul proceeded to point out. Paul was referring to their zealousness in strictly observing the law. The Jews failure was that they pursued righteousness by works instead of faith. They were blinded by spiritual pride, thinking that they could attain right standing with God by their own effort and in doing so they stumbled over the stone, which is Jesus and His sacrifice. The modern Jew is much better off. Because of his inability to offer an appropriate sacrifice, he must rely upon God’s mercy. Yet modern Judaism still rejects the proper atonement for sin. True zeal for God is a product of repentance and godly sorrow and never results from pride, self righteousness or observing the law.

Jesus displayed zeal driving the merchants from the temple courts. This is the kind of zeal that the scripture encourages us to and yet how many modern Christians display this sort of zeal? When Christians disobey man’s laws in order to save children from being sacrificed in abortion mills, they are criticized even by the church. But, Christ and the Apostles disobeyed man’s laws in order to obey God on several occasions. There are Christians who are willing to pay severe consequences for obeying God and leaders in the church condemn them for it.

There are numerous examples in scripture of the zeal that characterized the Old Testament saints. Phinehas, the priest, was rewarded by God with a covenant of a lasting priesthood because of his zeal for the Lord. He led the Levites in executing the Israelites who were involved in sexual immorality and Baal worship with Moabite women. It is noteworthy that Phinehas also was allowed into the Promised Land with Joshua and Caleb after the previous generation died in the wilderness because of their unbelief. He later became the custodian of the Ark at Bethel. Both Zadok and Ezra, descendants of Phinehas, were known for their zeal in leading the people in renewal. The Psalmist tells us that Phinehas’ faith was “credited to him as righteousness.” Thus he was identified with Abraham as an inheritor of God’s covenant promises. His zealous deeds are attributed to his faith. His actions were not motivated by a self-righteous determination to enforce human ordinances. They were a product of his faith in God’s purpose to raise up a nation of people that would represent Him before all of the world.

Jehu was another who was commended by the Lord for his zeal. He was responsible for killing Jezebel and Ahab’s sons in accordance with the prophetic word of the Lord spoken through Elijah. He was not timid about proclaiming his “zeal for the Lord” before killing the ministers of Baal. The Lord commended Jehu for his zeal: “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation” (2Kings 10:30, NIV)

Romans 12:11 admonishes us that our zeal should be an expression of service to the Lord. Our fervor should not be expressed in a carnal manner. Any zealous behavior for our own cause would be sin. We must be zealous for God’s cause, not our own. Our zeal should accomplish God’s clearly expressed will as defined in scripture. It is God’s will “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” We also know that it is God’s will for “everyone to come to repentance.” We need to make sure that our behavior glorifies God and remains in accord with all of His precepts, taking the entire revelation of scripture into account. In doing so we must be mindful that the greater and newer revelation of the New Covenant interprets the Old Covenant. As such, we no longer have permission from God to kill the prophets of Baal with the sword. But, while we are not free to duplicate the specific actions of Old Covenant zealots such a Phinehas and Jehu, we are exhorted to emulate their passion for God’s cause in ways that are consistent with the New Covenant.

What are appropriate expressions of zeal under the New Covenant? Working for the cause of justice is an appropriate expression of zeal for God. The movement to abolish slavery in the U.S. grew out of the heightened moral consciousness that occurred during the revivals of the Second Great Awakening. Charles Finney hated slavery with a passion and insisted that it was impossible to be on the right side of God and still endorse slavery. When he accepted the position of president at Oberlin College, he did so on the condition that the school be thoroughly integrated. The efforts of Christians to correct the injustice of slavery even led some to civil disobedience. Perhaps the best example of compassion and godly zeal in this effort is the underground railway that delivered slaves to freedom. Perhaps the best example of ungodly zeal is the efforts of John Browne which led to taking of human life without civil authority.

Undoubtedly, the most analogous social evil that we face today is the sin of abortion. I do not intend to argue the point that it is a sin. The word of God is clear to those who would have their eyes opened to it. Much of the work done to right this injustice displays godly zeal. The crisis pregnancy and adoption services that have developed are a clear example of Christian love in action. Unfortunately, most of the political lobbying efforts that have taken place have produced little if any fruit. Christians have spent millions of dollars and hours in massive efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade and we are no closer than we were in 1973 when it was ruled upon. One of the most zealous and fruitful activities that believers have undertaken has been castigated by numerous outspoken leaders in the church as a bad witness and worse, as sinful behavior. I speak of the efforts of Operation Rescue.

The stated purpose of rescues was to save children from death by abortion. They were never intended to be political protests, nor were they intended to forcibly stop anyone from committing a victimless sin. Had that been the case, as their detractors suggested, civil disobedience would not have been an appropriate Christian activity. Rescues were most often criticized by church leaders on the grounds that they violated biblical admonitions to obey civil authorities. But, biblical rationale for civil disobedience has been established by numerous well respected theologians. Jesus broke the civil law. Indeed, Peter said “We must obey God rather than men.” It is God’s commandment to love our neighbor that rescues attempt to obey. It is the same law that moved Corrie Ten Boom to disobey civil authorities when she risked her life to protect Jews from Nazi cruelty. God’s law requires action in loving our neighbor. “Faith without works is dead.” God’s word commands us to love in deed and not to close our heart to a brother in need.  God’s chosen fast requires setting the captives free. When civilian authorities tell us not to rescue our neighbor being sent to the slaughter, they command us not to love, to disobey God.

The only way that one could refute the biblical support for civil disobedience in this case is to close one’s mind to the reality that abortion results in a dead child. Rescues were fruitful. I bare testimony to that fact. I have seen children who are alive because someone blocked a door, granting the mother enough time to think about what she was doing and for God to change her heart. I have labored as a sidewalk counselor at rescues. Unfortunately the Rescue movement died for lack of support. Perhaps as a result, we now have a new breed of frustrated John Browne’s going around killing abortionists and attempting to justify their actions by pointing to God’s laws. Again, this is not godly zeal.

Picketing and public protesting are legitimate expressions of zeal when they are intended to correct injustice, as defined by God. The church has a responsibility to represent God to the world. We are commissioned as ambassadors of reconciliation. If all we do is love and serve, we fail to completely represent our King. It is our task to be a prophetic witness, to reveal sin which separates men from God. We are called to “expose deeds of darkness,” and to be a “light on a hill…the salt of the earth.” Speaking out against injustice is part of fulfilling this command.

Radical obedience and bravery in the face of great danger are marks of zeal for God that have characterized the heroes of our faith. Stephen bravely proclaiming the gospel in the face of death and Paul obediently going to Caesar are only two examples from scripture. Church history is full of accounts of martyrs who died for their obedience to Christ. For their zeal and self sacrifice valiant members of Operation Rescue suffered beatings and imprisonment at the hands of the state and scorn from the secular media. If that were not enough, they also had to endure criticism and rejection from the church. In truth, the zeal, faith and commitment which they displayed was a great testimony to God’s love and power. The days of Christian martyrs have not stopped.

Tireless and extraordinary work for the cause of the gospel is another expression of zeal for God. Certainly the Apostle Paul stands out as an example of such zeal. He was responsible for reaching most of the Roman world within fifteen years. He did this facing incredible resistance including imprisonment and numerous beatings and ultimately martyrdom. John Wesley displayed great zeal for the Lord in preaching the gospel. He traveled more than 200,000 miles, mostly on horseback, and preached over 50,000 sermons. Billy Graham has preached the gospel around the world for sixty-five years and according to Eerdmans’ Handbook To The History Of Christianity he “is undoubtedly the most successful Christian mass evangelist in history” with converts numbering millions. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is certainly another outstanding example of zealous service to others and to God.

In order to be zealous for God, we need the correct world view. Zeal flows from having a proper perspective. Having our hopes centered upon Christ and His kingdom will cause us to be “eager to do what is good.” Observance of God’s chosen fast as given to us in Isaiah 58 will guide us in our efforts to be zealous for God:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– When you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn, away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”(Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

Christians must be zealous in discharging the commission given to us by our Lord. Christ’s exhortation to the lukewarm Laodiceans was to “be earnest (Greek: Zelos) and repent.” Lost humanity will not believe our testimony unless it is accompanied by great zeal.

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Answers to the Most Common Objections to Privatizing Public Education

As I am working to restore the republic by dismantling public education I find many parents and teachers that are furious with our public education system. Most want to simply reform the system. I would caution them that the likelihood of success at reforming the system is small. Reformers have been working at it for half a century without much success. I would liken it to reforming federal spending. It’s too big. We’ve passed the tipping point. There are too many powerful entrenched interests opposing them including big government progressives, big union bosses and giant corporate moguls. They have billions of dollars to spend. I want people to consider a radical solution that could be achieved outside the normal political processes. It involves your choice in the limited time that may be available. I want to address the most common objections I hear to privatization.

“It would be impossible to accomplish.” True, through normal political/ legislative processes. Maybe not as impossible as overturning Common Core! The entire funding system is based upon daily attendance. A sizeable boycott (25%+) would bankrupt many school districts, thus forcing legislative relief which would trigger the debate. A large scale boycott would make enforcement of truancy laws impossible. Social media can be exploited to enable a boycott to go viral. Parents would not have to make immediate alternative plans. You could say that you were home schooling, do it in the evening or work with other parents. A viral boycott could shut the system down within a few months. There would be a transition phase where private alternatives would arise. There would be thousands of teachers seeking employment. There would be empty real estate available for lease at bargain prices.

I hear this objection: “Most people do not or cannot home school and cannot afford private school. What would happen to poor and inner city children?” Federal and state income and sales taxes could be reduced by eliminating education spending. Education spending is the largest budget item in most states. Total taxpayer investment in K-12 education in the United States for the 2004-05 school year is estimated to be $536 billion. Most property taxes could be cut by 60 – 75%. See: http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/school-finance

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

“Federal K-12 education spending—including spending in the Department of Education and other departments—has increased rapidly. Spending jumped from $12.5 billion in 1965 to $72.8 billion in 2008—a more than five-fold increase.”

See more at: http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/education/k-12-education-subsidies#sthash.OJihhsTC.dpuf

As property taxes are reduced, housing expense will be reduced. Even landlords are subject to competition. This would help pay for private education or make it possible for one parent to stay home to home school. The cost/ pupil in private education is less than a public education now. As competition and choice increased, private education costs would likely decline. Private schools and charities could offer scholarships for poor children who are committed to learning. Typically, especially in inner city schools, a number of students disrupt the learning environment because they have no interest in being educated and parents are either absent or disinterested. Too many kids aspire to a life of crime or dependency. Teachers and schools spend a disproportionate amount of time and money attempting to control/ educate these students to the detriment of other students. The success rate with these students is low. Many aspire to a life of crime and that is where many end up anyway. After all of the time and expense a large proportion of these end up incarcerated or on public assistance. In a private school, disruptive students and uncooperative parents would be expelled. We really don’t have much to lose by letting many of these kids go. Perhaps some will wise up through the school of hard knocks.

I hear teachers say that they would suffer pay reductions and many good quality teachers would quit. Teacher pay reductions would probably be temporary. As the number of private schools expanded dramatically, demand for quality teachers would increase proportionally. In a private environment teacher pay would be based more on performance than seniority. Privatization would eliminate much of the dead wood in the teacher corps. Teacher performance would be evaluated more by the teacher’s direct supervisor rather than some nameless bureaucrat and it would not be based upon some bogus standardized test. With reduced class sizes and fewer disruptive students, teachers would be able to focus on teaching. The job experience would be much more enjoyable. With privatization, there would be much more diversity in styles of teaching and curriculum as different schools sought to carve out their own niche. Teachers would have more of a say in developing curriculum and teaching methods. Teaching would be a more rewarding career in more ways than just money. Too many teachers today are burned out because of the system they are forced to work under. 10 years x $100,000. = $1,000,000. 25 years x $75,000. = $1,875,000.

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/536415279763727/

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We Need to Pray

Prayer is woefully lacking in the modern church. Few Christians have the kind of healthy devotional prayer life that brings them into a place of intimate communion with God on a daily basis. The pressures of daily life inhibit devotion. We appear to be Sunday believers. There has been an increased level of corporate intercessory prayer in the church, including city-wide and cross-congregational intercession. But, we have yet to reach the point that we are recognized by our love for one another. Rather than being known for our love and passion for Jesus Christ, we are more commonly known for our denominational differences. This is a stumbling block to the unbeliever. Jesus admitted that many would stumble over Him. I do not believe that He intended that people would stumble over the behavior of His church.

The revivals of the First and Second Great Awakening forever changed the culture of the Anglo-American world and laid a foundation of Christian values. Corporate prayer had a significant impact in birthing those revivals.

Prayer is one of the essential conditions of revival.  Almost every revival has been preceded by praying committed believers. The foundations of the First Great Awakening were laid by a group of Moravians who started a 24 hour a day prayer meeting that continued for 100 years beginning in 1724. It was missionaries from this same Moravian community that the Lord used to start John Wesley upon his journey to Christ. Moravians from Hernnhut were instrumental in leading Wesley to his own baptism of fire or second work of grace. It was Wesley’s preaching that fueled the Second Great Awakening.The 1857 revival in New York City began with a call to prayer by a single businessman and within six months more than 10,000 others were praying with him in various meetings around the city.

God’s word says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2Cor. 10:4-5) Our minds must be transformed to understand that we are waging a different kind of battle than what the world sees. That battle will be won by the Lord of Hosts. He will join the battle when we corporately humble ourselves and pray.

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What’s Wrong With Pre-marital Sex?

We have reaped the results of the sexual revolution that was encouraged by easy birth control, including elective abortion. The fruit of this revolution has been marriage and family breakdown, to the point that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce and 42% of children have no father in the home. This breakdown has and will have devastating consequences for society. As in a typical downward spiral, this bad experience with marriage has resulted in an increasing unwillingness to marry, further encouraging people to be sexually active outside marriage.

What does God say about sex outside marriage? How should Christians respond to non-Christians who ask the common question, “What’s wrong with sex before marriage?” We have to make it clear from the start that God, in love, has given us a good plan to enjoy sex. Unfortunately, some Christians have given the impression that all sex or any physical enjoyment is evil. We have to belay that notion, which really has more to do with early Greek pagan dualism than what God reveals in his Word, the Bible. The physical body is not evil. In fact, God says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Ps. 139:14) God created a physical universe, including sex, and He said it was all good. Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. They had no guilt attached to their sexuality. Jesus took upon Himself a physical body, thus revealing God’s plan to redeem the physical universe. The “kingdom to come” is not in heaven, but will be here on earth! The sexual urge is God-given. Pleasure is God’s idea, not the devil’s. One writer has likened sex to fire: it’s a very pleasing thing in the fireplace, but if you start a fire in the middle of the living room, you may burn the house down.

The Bible teaches that sexual intimacy should take place within the bounds of a covenant marriage.  In fact, in the Bible, sexual intimacy is revealed as a form of communication. When referring to married people having sex, it will often say that so and so “knew” their spouse. The Bible teaches that sex is much more than just a physical act.

Being equipped to answer someone about this question requires an understanding of what sex really is. Sex is not just a bodily function as with animals. Do you know what is wrong with most public school sex education programs? They start in science class by teaching that we are just animals that evolved, that we are not specially created in the image of God, with a spirit and that we are intended to be a reflection of our Creator. Once they have the children convinced that they are just animals whose lives have no special purpose, then they teach them all about sex as just another “natural” bodily function. So, why not indulge?

We are not like the animals. We are made in the image of God. We are spiritual creatures.  We have a soul. Sex is not just a physical act, but a life uniting act. 1Cor 6:16 says, “Do you not know that he who is joined to an harlot is one with her? For the two shall become one flesh, says the Lord.” God knows that sex must involve commitment to work properly. Therefore, His plan is that sex take place only in marriage.

That leads to the question of what is a marriage in God’s eyes. As described in God’s word, marriage is intended to be a life long covenant. A true biblical covenant is witnessed and confirmed in submission to God ordained authority, that is, the church and the state. A wedding is a public expression of commitment. Marriage is intended to be a reflection of God’s relationship with His people. It should be public and permanent. When Jesus spoke on marriage, He referred back to the creation account: “A man will leave his father and mother, cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) This creation account reveals an intended progression. Leaving comes first. It implies a public act of commitment first. Then there is uniting. This is more than just sex. It involves communion. Only then do the two become one. Marriage is God’s plan for commitment. It is not just a piece of paper as some so glibly state in seeking to dodge commitment. Life uniting intent is evidenced by marriage, not engagement.

God warns against distortions of His plan. God’s plan was distorted by sin, which affects every area of our lives, including sex. Adultery includes all rebellion against God. Spiritual adultery is the root of all sin. As the heart wanders from God, it will surely wander from the mate. Sinful sex is just a symptom of an adulteress heart. As the heart grows cold towards God, there remains a void which leads the sinner to start looking for something to replace God. This cycle leads to compulsions, addictions, and even demonic control.

What’s wrong with premarital sex between singles? The answer requires an understanding of what sex really is. Sex is a life uniting act. It unites body, soul and spirit. Without life uniting commitment, both parties get injured. Any dissociation of the physical from the spiritual aspects of sexual activity invariably leads to dissociation of sex and commitment. Sex outside of God’s plan in marriage brings physical and spiritual death. God is not a kill joy. He warns against premarital sex because it hurts people. People hurt themselves. Premarital sex destroys a person’s understanding of who they are. 1Cor. 6:18 says that a person who commits sexual immorality sins against their own body. Illicit sex destroys one’s understanding of what we are created for, to be the temple of God.

Unfortunately, many people have already made the mistake of not following God’s plan and have been hurt. As believers, we need to make sure that people understand that the good news is that God has sent Jesus to restore us. He came to save us from sin. He didn’t come to condemn the world, but He brought forgiveness and healing, and the power to resist temptation.

We are not called as Christians to go about condemning pagans for their sins. As unbelievers come to know us and desire to have the spiritual peace that we know, they will ask about these difficult topics, such as pre-marital sex. When they ask, speak the truth in love. You must present both the law and the gospel. The good news is not good news until people know the truth and recognize their sinful condition. Only then can we offer forgiveness and grace.

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Thy Kingdom Come

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Mat 6:10)

The idea of God’s kingdom on earth is a classical Christian belief. Christians affirm this belief in the Apostles Creed: He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead”. In modern western Christian thinking the concept of salvation is usually confined to the spiritual realm. We usually think of salvation in terms of a personal relationship with Christ by faith. We rarely discuss the idea of a progressive fulfillment of the concept to the physical earthly realm. We tend to think of heaven as the goal. But, biblically speaking, salvation is the restoration of the entire creation. That restoration starts with the individual spirit, but it will progress to the entire physical creation. Biblical salvation ends with the physical realm; the restoration of Eden.

Restoration is not accomplished in a single moment.  Quoting George Ladd, “The Kingdom of God belongs to the age to come. Yet the age to come has overlapped with this present age. We may taste its powers [Lazarus] and thereby be delivered from this age and no longer live in conformity to it.” The focus of the modern western Church has changed. The common message is usually about how to escape hell and get to heaven. It shows up in how we evangelize.  We ask questions such as, “Are you going to heaven?” or  we invite people to come to Jesus and get healing, peace, prosperity or some other personal benefit. You don’t very often hear an evangelist say, “Come to Jesus and die to yourself.”  Most Christians are not expecting His imminent return and the establishment of an earthly Kingdom.

The hope of the early church was, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly, righteously and godly, in this present world, looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,….” (Tit 2:11-13) Jesus will rule on earth with His church. (Rev. 20:4-5; Zech 14:16) God created the earth for a dwelling place with man. His plans are not frustrated; He is not a loser; He doesn’t have a plan B.

God’s church will not be raptured away from this world in defeat.  God saves the best for last. The wedding in Cana was a type of the wedding of the bride to come. Just when we think that the wine is all gone, Jesus will perform His great miracle. He is the Creator and He is always doing something better. (Hag. 2:6-9)

But God’s people perish for lack of or a wrong vision. Our focus should be preparing for the Kingdom. Jesus will return when the gospel of the Kingdom is preached to the whole earth. (Mt. 24:14) Heaven will hold Him until He has made His enemies His footstool. (He. 10:12-13) Our part is to hasten the day of His coming. (2Peter 3:12)

How do we prepare the way? Do what Jesus told us to do. Make disciples, not converts, teaching them to obey the things that Jesus taught. (Mt. 28:19-20) Preach that the Kingdom is at hand and serve.  (Mt. 10:7-8) That requires being a preserving influence, being salt and light. We must be involved. It is disheartening to see so many Christians not involved in the battle. We are in a struggle for the culture and too many are silent. God has granted us a gift of having a voice in our civil government, but too many believe it is unspiritual to be involved in the fight. The kind of government we have will influence the kind of soil that we sow our seed in. The scriptures teach that God has prepared good works for you in advance. We are to expose darkness by turning on the light.

We must walk in true holiness, not phony legalism, loving God with all of our heart and loving our neighbor as our self. The task is attainable in this life by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Gal 5:16)

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God Has a Plan for World Peace!

This plan is outlined in a book. God is sending His Son to rule the earth and there will be peace on earth. Thus it was announced at His birth, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” [Luke 2:14] “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6] “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

God’s Son came to earth as a man. He lived a life without sin. He never hurt a soul. In fact, He healed many who were sick and even raised some that were dead. He comforted the poor and the oppressed. He gave hope to all. He willingly offered His life as a sacrifice for sin, that all mankind might be restored to right relationship with God their Creator.

Yes, it was humankind, in their sin and rebellion that chose to alienate themselves from God and the life that is in Him. And it is sin that causes war. It was sin and hatred that led a group of fanatics to kill thousands of innocent victims on Sept. 11, 2001. Unfortunately, those fanatics are not alone. There are thousands, if not millions of Muslims around the globe who share the same unjustified hatred (they will not be able to stand before God, Allah and justify themselves) and they are organized into terrorist groups which are dedicated to repeating the sinful acts witnessed by the world on 9/11.

A unilateral decision not to fight did not prevent a madman like Hitler from murdering millions of innocents. In fact, those who sought to appease only prolonged and exacerbated the problem. It ended up costing the lives of thousands of brave young Americans who willingly died that people in foreign lands might live free from oppression.

Sin causes violence and war. The world is full of people who choose to steal, murder and rape. Could you imagine what would happen if we all chose to no longer fight such people and did away with all policemen?  As a man attacks you to rape you, do you think that he would stop if you told him that you were peaceful and didn’t want to hurt him?  Thank God, that there are police around to prevent such things and to imprison such people so that they won’t be able to hurt others.

In this age, God offers man the opportunity to reconcile with Him through the sacrifice of His own Son. We all have rebelled against Him; we’ve all sinned. God grants us free will, that we might choose to love Him and our fellow man. Without such freedom, there can be no love. So, in this age humankind is free to sin and there will be wars until the Prince of Peace comes to stop all wars. Until that day, we will need police and armies lest we all fall victim to the Hitlers and Husseins.

Jesus will return to earth one day to establish His government. That is why He taught His disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth…” That is why the political powers of His day wanted Him dead. Unfortunately, He will have to destroy those who will violently oppose Him, though He offers the only real hope for everlasting peace. That is why He said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” [Matthew 10:34] Peace was His mission, but He, knowing the sin that dwells in humans, knew that peace would not come without a struggle. Peace only comes after war destroys those who do not want peace! People will never stop fighting until the only righteous King comes to rule! “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” [Revelation 19:11-16]

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” [Revelation 11:15]

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Christian David, 1690-1722

from J. E. Hutton’s History of the Moravian Church

It is recorded in John Wesley’s ” Journal,”1 that when he paid his memorable visit to Herrnhut he was much impressed by the powerful sermons of a certain godly carpenter, who had preached in his day to the Eskimos in Greenland, and who showed a remarkable knowledge of divinity. It was Christian David, known to his friends as the “Servant of the Lord.” 

He was born on December 31st, 1690, at Senftleben, in Moravia; he was brought up in that old home of the Brethren; and yet, as far as records tell, he never heard in his youthful days of the Brethren who still held the fort in the old home of their fathers. He came of a Roman Catholic family, and was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. He sat at the feet of the parish priest, was devout at Mass, invoked his patron saint, St. Anthony, knelt down in awe before every image and picture of the Virgin, regarded Protestants as children of the devil, and grew up to man’s estate burning with Romish zeal, as he says, ” like a baking oven.” He began life as a shepherd; and his religion was tender and deep. As he tended his sheep in the lonesome fields, and rescued one from the jaws of a wolf, he thought how Christ, the Good Shepherd, had given His life for men; and as he sought his wandering sheep in the woods by night he thought how Christ sought sinners till he found them. And yet somehow he was not quite easy in his mind. For all his zeal and all his piety he was not sure that he himself had escaped the snare of the fowler. He turned first for guidance to some quiet Protestants was told by them, to his horror, that the Pope was Antichrist, that the worship of saints was a delusion, and that only through faith in Christ could his sins be forgiven. He was puzzled. As these Protestants were ready to suffer for their faith, he felt they must be sincere; and when some of them were cast into prison, he crept to the window of their cell and heard them sing in the gloaming. He read Lutheran books against the Papists, and Papist books against the Lutherans. He was now dissatisfied with both. He could see, he said, that the Papists were wrong, but that did not prove that the Lutherans were right; he could not understand what the Lutherans meant when they said that a man was justified by faith alone; and at last he lost his way so far in this famous theological fog that he hated and loathed the very name of Christ. He turned next for instruction to some Jews; and the Jews, of course, confirmed his doubts, threw scorn upon the whole New Testament, and endeavored to convince him that they alone were the true Israel of God. 

He turned next to the Bible, and the fog (1710) lifted a little. He read the Old Testament carefully through, to see if the prophecies there had been fulfilled; and, thereby, he arrived at the firm belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah. He then mastered the New Testament, and came to the equally firm conclusion that the Bible was the Word of God. 

And even yet he was not content. As long as he stayed in Catholic Moravia he would have to keep his new convictions a secret; and, longing to renounce the Church of Rome in public, he left Moravia, passed through Hungary and Silesia, and finally became a member of a Lutheran congregation at Berlin.

But the Lutherans seemed to him very stiff and cold. He was seeking for a pearl of great price, and so far he had failed to find it. He had failed to find it in the Church of Rome, failed to find it in the Scriptures, and failed to find it in the orthodox Protestants of Berlin. He had hoped to find himself in a goodly land, where men were godly and true; and he found that even the orthodox Protestants made mock of his pious endeavors. He left Berlin in disgust, and enlisted in the Prussian Army. He did not find much piety there. He served in the war 1715 against of Sweden, was present at the siege of Stralsund, thought soldiers no better than civilians, accepted his discharge with joy, and wandered around from town to town, like the old philosopher seeking an honest man. At last, however, he made his way to the town of Gorlitz, in Silesia (1717); and there he came into personal contact with two Pietist clergymen, Schafer and Schwedler. For the first time in his weary pilgrimage he met a pastor who was also a man. He fell ill of a dangerous disease; he could not stir hand or foot for twenty weeks; he was visited by Schwedler every day, and thus, through the gateway of human sympathy, he entered the kingdom of peace, and felt assured that all his sins were forgiven. He married a member of Schwedler’s Church, was admitted to the Church himself, and thus found, in Pietist circles, that very spirit of fellowship and help which Zinzendorf himself regarded as the greatest need of the Church. 

But now Christian David must show to others the treasure he had found for himself. For the next five years he made his home at Gorlitz; but, every now and then, at the risk of his life, he would take a trip to Moravia, and there tell his old Protestant friends the story of his newfound joy. He preached in a homely style; he had a great command of Scriptural language; he was addressing men who for many years had conned their Bibles in secret; and thus his preaching was like unto oil on smoldering fire, and stirred to vigorous life once more what had slumbered for a hundred years since the fatal Day of Blood. He tramped the valleys of Moravia; he was known as the Bush Preacher, and was talked of in every market place; the shepherds sang old Brethren’s hymns on the mountains; a new spirit breathed upon the old dead bones; and thus, through the message of this simple man, there began in Moravia a hot revival of Protestant zeal and hope. It was soon to lead to marvelous results. 

For the last three hundred and forty years there had been established in the neighborhood of Fulneck, in Moravia, a colony of Germans.2 They still spoke the German language; they lived in places bearing German names and bore German names themselves; they had used a German version of the Bible and a German edition of the Brethren’s Hymns; and thus, when David’s trumpet sounded, they were able to quit their long-loved homes and settle down in comfort on German soil. At Kunewalde3 dwelt the Schneiders and Nitschmanns; at Zauchtenthal the Stachs and Zeisbergers; at Sehlen the Jaeschkes and Neissers; and at Senftleben, David’s old home, the Grassmanns. For such men there was now no peace in their ancient home. Some were imprisoned; some were loaded with chains; some were yoked to the plough and made to work like horses; and some had to stand in wells of water until nearly frozen to death. And yet the star of hope still shone upon them. As the grand old patriarch, George Jaeschke, saw the angel of death draw near, he gathered his son and grandsons round his bed, and spoke in thrilling, prophetic words of the remnant that should yet be saved.

“It is true,” said he, ” that our liberties are gone, and that our descendants are giving way to a worldly spirit, so that the Papacy is devouring them. It may seem as though the final end of the Brethren’s Church had come. But, my beloved children, you will see a great deliverance. The remnant will be saved. How, I cannot say; but something tells me that an exodus will take place; and that a refuge will be offered in a country and on a spot where you will be able, without fear, to serve the Lord according to His holy Word.” 

The time of deliverance had come. As Christian David heard of the sufferings, which these men had now to endure, his blood boiled with anger. He resolved to go to their rescue. The path lay open. He had made many friends in Saxony. His friend Schafer introduced him to Rothe; Rothe introduced him to Zinzendorf; and Christian David asked the Count for permission to bring some persecuted Protestants from Moravia to find a refuge in Berthelsdorf. The conversation was momentous. The heart of the Count was touched. If these men, said he, were genuine martyrs, he would do his best to help them; and he promised David that if they came he would find them a place of abode. The joyful carpenter returned to Moravia, and told the news to the Neisser family at Sehlen. ” This,” said they, ” is God’s doing; this is a call from the Lord.” 

And so, at ten o’clock one night, there met May 27th at the house of Jacob Neisser, in Sehlen, a 1722 small band of emigrants. At the head of the band was Christian David; and the rest of the little group consisted of Augustin and Jacob Neisser, their wives and children, Martha Neisser, and Michael Jaeschke, a cousin of the family.4 We know but little about these humble folk; and we cannot be sure that they were all descendants of the old Church of the Brethren. Across the mountains they came, by winding and unknown paths. For the sake of their faith they left their goods and chattels behind; long and weary was the march; and at length, worn out and footsore, they arrived, with Christian David at their head, at Zinzendorf’s estate at Berthelsdorf. (June 8th)(1722)

The streams had met the new river was formed; and thus the course of Renewed Brethren’s History had begun.

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Sowing and Reaping in America

Sowing and Reaping

This past spring, I helped an organic farmer friend plant his barley and oats here in Iowa. Last week, I helped him with the harvest. Lo and behold, we harvested oats and barley! Nature is funny that way. There are irreversible laws of nature. Jesus made reference to these natural laws in teaching broader principles about human behavior. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.” (Galatians 6:7, NKJV)  Hindus understand the application of “karma”.

 

This past week there were several disturbing events that would indicate that as a society we have sown some really rotten seed. First, there was the senseless murder of Australian college student Chris Lane in Oklahoma by three black thugs who claimed that they were bored (Don’t be misled by accounts that one of the perps is white as his father is black, making him as black as the President). Then, there was the beating death of 88 year old WWII vet, Delbert Belton, by two black thugs in Spokane. He was beaten with flashlights. So, following the logic of gun control proponents, we should now ban flashlights or have flashlight free zones. Lastly, right here in my own town, a 78 year old lady was punched out by a foreign student of the University of Iowa purportedly because he didn’t like her sign protesting Planned Parenthood. While this last account does not appear to have any racial overtones, it still highlights a prevailing intolerance for conservative thought in some communities as well as a feeling among some young people that defenseless old white folks are fair game for beatings. My own 88 year old mother-in-law died from injuries suffered when she was assaulted with a shopping cart at Walmart. This attitude toward the aged by the next generation does not bode well for old people as they prepare to face death panels in an era of tight budgets.

 

All of this incites a measure of fear in old folks like me. Are we really safe in our communities? Iowa City is a long way from Detroit, but we still have our share of angry young black men and gangs. It’s enough to convince me to carry a gun for protection. I’ve considered getting a permit to carry, but, I don’t want to be in some government database as having a gun. Why should I have to get a permit from the government to exercise my constitutional right? I wish Iowa would adopt an open carry law like Washington. Iowa is not a traditional open carry state, but no permit is required to open carry except when in vehicles or when inside city limits If more people walked around with holstered weapons like the old west settlers, I believe that there would be much less crime and violence. It’s too bad that old Delbert didn’t have a 45. A gun saved George Zimmerman’s life. That gangsta son of Obama’s probably would have killed him (There is some evidence that Trayvon’s real dad was a crip).

By now, some might suspect me of being a racist. I’ve realized that any criticism of the black community or Obama will generate the accusation. I want to encourage anyone thinking that way to abandon the emotional response and consider the facts. First, you cannot ignore the racial component to this week’s murders. One of Chris Lane’s killers, 15 year old James Edwards tweeted on August 13, “With my n***as when it’s time to start taken life’s.” Edwards also tweeted on Aug. 28, 90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM. Just because law enforcement refuses to recognize the racial component does not change the facts. Keep in mind that the “not guilty” verdict in the Zimmerman trial was reached on July 13. The verdict was followed by many threats of violence against white people from Martin supporters. Does anyone really believe that these outbursts of violence this week are occurring in a vacuum?  Blacks make up 13% of the population, but commit 39% of all violent crimes.

What are we sowing in our society, specifically within the black community, that is leading to this wanton violence? On Monday morning I was watching Fox News. Martha Mac Callum was shocked over the Lane shooting. She was dumbfounded about the root causes of such “heartless” killing. She interviewed a shrink who admitted that as a country we have lost our moral compass and life ethic (gee, that sounds like Bork), but his solution was more mental health funding! I messaged her on Facebook with this, wondering if there’s a connection:

                       

Of course, she did not respond. Here is what we are sowing: godless atheism and relative morality. In our post Christian culture, there is no established standard of morality. A society cannot sacrifice millions of children on the altar of convenience and think that they will not reap violence.

Specifically in the black community, for many God has been replaced by government as provider. The black community has been bamboozled by politicians buying their votes. An ethic of entitlement and dependency has destroyed the black family such that only 44% of black households are married couples. And how has government delivered? The black unemployment rate is twice as high as the white rate. The black teen unemployment rate is close to 40%. Poverty in black families is twice as high as white families (12 – 24%).  Government is not a dependable savior. Within this context of disappointment, maybe rage, black youths are deluged with a gangsta rap hip hop culture glorified by mass media and politicians. They are being taught to hate. And then they are being incited to violence by the race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who are getting rich off of the black angst. They are teaching black youth that they are victims as they drive away in their limos. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have enriched themselves while abetting the destruction of the community that they claim to represent. And the main stream press continues to hold them up as spokespersons. This is a crime!

We’ve sown empty promises, immorality, godlessness and violence. Don’t you get it, Martha?

 

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