As our nation teeters on the edge of "the fiscal cliff," there are stark realities that come into view as we look down into the ravine. It's not a pretty sight to be sure. But it's not just what is seen in the ravine that is alarming....but also, what is not seen here on the cliff. As we gaze upon the current state of affairs, we find that our nation's leaders are without a reliable compass....specifically, a moral compass. No wonder we are lost and have come to this point on our journey together as Americans. No wonder we find ourselves in such a precarious position.
"If only people would start obeying the 10 Commandments, this world would be a much better place." That's true....but it's not as easy to pull off as it might appear at first blush.
What if I were to tell you that human reason, common sense, and an understanding of mathematics are all that are needed to recognize the authority of the Bible? Not faith....but common sense and rational evidence. Would that surprise you?
So is "grace" in the Bible God's unmerited love, mercy, and forgiveness for sinners on account of Christ? Or....is it those things, plus man's "grace-filled" works of obedience? Everything hinges on how a church defines the "grace" that is said to save us.
The period of the Reformation in the history of the Christian church marks a time of renewal and hope due to the basic message of Christianity....it is a message of God's grace and forgiveness which is freely given through faith in Christ....rather than something that is earned by man's efforts and works. Martin Luther was one of many people during that time some 500 years ago who came to understand that salvation is a free gift....and that the Gospel is a life-changing message.
Many people today are living in a fantasy world of their own making. They have seen some images online….or they have devised some grand scheme in their mind….or they are living in the trance which an illicit relationship produces....and they are charging ahead in pursuit of their fantasy. It drives them. It energizes them. But if it is outside of God's will for their life, it is going no place good.
How did it come to this? A non-discrimination policy at Evergreen State College in Washington is allowing a 45-year-old male student to expose himself inside a women's locker room. Never mind the fact that teenage girls and even young children have shared that locker room with him.
As Christians, it is our duty to pray for our president and for all those in positions of authority. (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4) As Christians, we obviously are deeply concerned about the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, and the moral necessity of paying off our national debt for the sake of future generations.
He said he was only joking. OK. So I guess Bill Maher thinks that if it's only a "joke," then it's OK to stereotype one particular race and slander every black person in America with his racist views. On HBO's Real Time, he recently said, "If you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea. Black people know who you are and they will come after you." But then he laughed and said he was kidding.
In addition to "Celebrity-in-Chief" and "Santa Claus-in-Chief," the Obama/Christie photo-op demonstrates that we have an "Opportunist-in-Chief." The president knows when to make an appearance which will benefit him personally. He knows when to put himself in the limelight....even if it means hanging out with a well-known Republican.
About 2000 years ago, the Son of God left the perfection of heaven and entered our storm-filled world. He came here to die. There upon the cross, Jesus endured the "hurricane" of God's wrath against sin. Yes....God hates sin that much....but He also loves us that much.
This is gut check time for the mainstream media. The facts about Benghazi are now irrefutable....and yet, we see little evidence of the liberal media establishment attacking this raw meat. This self-proclaimed watchdog has not so surprisingly turned into a helpless puppy when it comes to Behghazi. We now know that officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after the attack that an Islamic militant group claimed credit for the attack....and yet the administration spent the next two weeks pointing to a video as the cause of the attack.
When you were born, you already had the God-given inclinations to be a successful husband or a successful wife. God's design for marriage was ingrained in you. It was in your DNA before you could even speak a word. Unfortunately, you were also born with some "messed-up" desires, and so was I. Marriage seems tougher today than perhaps ever before, and man's sin is what messes up marital harmony. Sin messes with our mind....and with our choices....and with our everyday interactions with our spouse. But God will help anyone who looks to Him for healing of the heart....and for wisdom in marriage.
The news anchors of the mainstream media are a different breed than Matt Drudge. They simply push liberal policies. Matt, on the other hand, is passionate about getting us the whole story....rather than the liberal spin.
Could it really be that simple? Are the words "Save Me Jesus" enough to connect you to God and save your soul for eternity? Yes and no. "Yes"....if you mean it....and keep living everyday with that attitude....one of humility before God and a living relationship with the Lord.
The vice presidential debate in Kentucky definitely provided a teachable moment for parents all across the country. Parents of all political persuasions in our nation tend to teach their children that it is right to show respect to others....and wrong to constantly interrupt people while they are talking. Many liberals and conservatives alike were embarrassed for Joe Biden, and even appalled at his level of condescending behavior toward Paul Ryan. It gave parents an opportunity to teach their children what not to do when discussing opposing ideas with someone.
With the 2012 presidential election quickly approaching, many Americans will head to the polls this year with zeal and determination. But what if the election was not for the American presidency, but instead....what if the vote was for the "presidency of your soul?"
If Christianity involved nothing more than a person changing some of his habits, then I suppose it could probably be understood through common sense. But Christianity is a much deeper phenomenon. It goes to the core of your existence....what the Bible calls your "spirit" and your "inner being."
There are tremendous differences between "motivational speaking" and "biblical preaching." In America today, many churches offer one or the other. One approach leaves people "encouraged" in their emotions and in their "self-esteem." The other builds up Christians in the Gospel as the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to the hearts and minds of the hearers.
With all that you probably have going on in your life right now, why in the world should you give a hoot about whether or not your name is in heaven's reservation book? Well
Try admitting this to yourself: that you don't know for sure that Jesus is a fraud, and Christianity is false, and heaven and hell are mythical places, but not real places where people spend eternity. You are not 100 percent sure that there is nothing to it.
If we were to name some pastors in America who lead the way when it comes to encouraging Christians to seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the first person I think of is Jim Cymbala at The Brooklyn Tabernacle. His latest book, "Spirit Rising," is another home run where he lays out the path to greater effectiveness for Christ. I had the pleasure recently to sit down with Pastor Cymbala in his office and discuss the work of the Holy Spirit in the church today.
Sex is more than just a physical act. There is also a deep spiritual aspect to sex. But you probably knew that already, didn't you? Or at least you may have had an inkling of it in your soul.
A well-known television preacher was earnest in this recent plea to his viewers: "Give your seed an assignment." He compared the Father sending Jesus to earth with an assignment....to that of viewers sending money to his television ministry. The announcer then came on and encouraged viewers to "target your seed toward your greatest need." The announcer said that in response to their financial gift, the minister was believing God to give the donor "a life-changing creative idea, supernatural favor, and a debt canceling miracle." What a deal!
Every human being is influenced by spirits from a different world. Even those people who don't believe in spiritual beings are nevertheless under their control. The reality of the spirit world is not based on human reason. It is based on fact. It is what it is. The fact that it is invisible to the human eye does not make it any less real.