A senator's soul arrived in heaven and was met by St. Peter at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," said St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
In his great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt.5:6). Bible commentator William Barclay once wrote that it is difficult for us to feel the full import of Christ's words in this text. Unlike the people living in Palestine at the time – people for whom hunger and thirst were a problem every day – few moderns living in a period of prosperity know anything about real hunger and thirst.
When the US Supreme Court on October 6th said it wouldn't take up any of the marriage cases on appeal, I expected that the legalization of same-sex marriage would arrive in North Carolina within days. It did.
Over five thousand years of history are abundantly clear, civilizations that turned from a strong marriage ethic, including Babylonian, Roman and Sumerian empires, began to experience demise shortly thereafter. It is not hyperbole to say nearly every social problem our nation currently struggles with can be traced to a break-down in family life.
It may come as a surprise for many, but just within the lifetime of most Americans, legal casino gambling existed in only two places in our nation: Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Starting in the 1990s, casinos began spreading across our country at break-neck speed. Today, at least 23 states have commercial casinos, a category that includes land-based, riverboat, dockside, and race track casinos. In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, nearly every adult lives within a relatively short distance to a casino.
Indeed. And GOP candidates currently campaigning for office – candidates from the political party whose convictions about most moral and theological issues are typically closer to orthodox Christian teaching – ought to take heed.
Like a phone call bypassing its connecting lines, there are many voices that ring out today in seemingly amazing and astonishing ways. We may find their words and the circumstances surrounding them quite alluring, remarkable, and unparalleled. Still, no matter the voices' agencies or channels, there is only one voice that can be trusted implicitly.
"Abortion would virtually disappear tomorrow if it were not for the willful violation of God's great charter of marriage and purity. The abortion problem begins with a rebellion that says, 'I will do as I please for pleasure. I reject the limits prescribed by God in favor of personal satisfaction."
During a recent Sunday morning worship service, I noticed something a little unsettling. Although the church I was attending was a more traditional congregation, the vast majority of parishioners were dressed casually. There was hardly a man in the sanctuary dressed in a suit, or coat and tie. The women were mostly in slacks or jeans; some were even in flip flops. I couldn't help but query, "Whatever happened to putting on your 'Sunday best'?"
On the first Monday in September (September 1), Labor Day, our nation will once again celebrate the dignity of labor. There will be parades, picnics, and various special observances. Politicians will make their speeches. This nation will, as it always has, recognize the importance of hard work.
Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft once said, "A measure of your insanity is the size of the gap between what you think you are and what you really are."  Certainly this is true. Still, it might also be said that the greatest measure of one's insanity is the size of the gap between who we think Christ is and who he really is.
It's clear that the Obamas want to affirm Islam in the plurality of religions that make up the tapestry of American democracy. But has Islam itself contributed to the establishment of democracy in America and the world?
In a recent editorial, the Raleigh News and Observer said that state attorney general Roy Cooper "made a sensible decision" to stop fighting several federal lawsuits that seek to overturn North Carolina's Marriage Protection Amendment. How tragic that our country has been so poisoned by progressive sentiment that a major media outlet in the Tar Heel state would applaud such a serious form of lawlessness.
What actually works is a form of prohibition. Don't misunderstand me; I'm not calling for a return to the kind of prohibition before 1933 in the United States. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that all forms of restrictive alcohol measures in state and federal law are an acknowledgement that alcohol is not an ordinary commodity. It poses a significant risk to the public's health and prohibitive determinations are necessary. This is especially true for those in their formative years.
The standoff has been somewhat surreal. At one point, Senate members walked out on the negotiations. When some lawmakers commented that it might take until Christmas to work out their differences, staffers hung Christmas wreaths and strung up holiday lights in between meetings.
Indeed, we have every reason to celebrate with fervor and frivolity. And, we should. It's our patriotic duty. Despite all of our afflictions, people still run to this country and not from it. Observing what's right about America can be a good step toward righting what's wrong.
Regarding the 10th Circuit ruling, dissenting Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. brought out an aspect to the legalization of same-sex marriage rarely mentioned. He said, "If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions – contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives – [it] turns the notion of a limited national government on its head."
I'm afraid too many Christians just look good on paper. We've failed to realize that no matter how else we may bear out our testimony for Christ, the absence of love nullifies it all. Love is greater than anything we can say, or anything we possess, or anything we might give away.
When I served as a pastor, I was privy to the incredible anguish of parents who lost a child in death. They tell me that there is no grief that's comparable. Although I have been spared of such sorrow, I do believe there is one that's near equal to it – the agony of raising a child right that turns out bad.
There is no greater indictment to a lack of love than indifference. Christians who treat the current degeneracy and depravity of our culture, the evil corruption in high places, the diminishing of religious liberties, in a tepid fashion, need a fire for God stocked in their souls.
Few people ever question why Western Civilization has experienced so much abundance in comparison to poorer nations around the world. The reason is inextricably connected to Christianity. The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). What individuals believe, what nations believe has everything to do with their essence and determines whether they grow, multiply, and succeed.
Scripture warns the church to beware of a similar "fifth column." The apostle Peter warned, "But there were false teachers among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privly shall bring in damnable heresies…" (2 Peter 2:1). Jude 4 reads, "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
When Keke was first married, she was an attractive young woman with beautiful chest-nut red hair. She was illiterate. While Beso made shoes, she worked her hands to the bone as a washerwoman, scrubbing floors, and doing the work of a seamstress. Within a three year period, she had three children and each of them died in infancy. At the age of 23, she had her fourth child, a son.
What is America's greatest need? The answer: The same as every other nation on the face of the earth. America needs divinely appointed messengers who will take the truth – the truth of Christ, the living Word, the truth of the Bible, the written Word – to the masses. Jesus admonished, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2)
That being said, Sabet rightly contends our history with alcohol and tobacco provides clear warnings against the legalization of marijuana. Not only are the total social costs associated with these two legal drugs roughly around $200 billion per substance – far outweighing any tax revenue collected from their use, but these licit drugs create huge corporations that have no incentive to curb use and continually seek profit at expense of the public's health. There is little reason to believe legal marijuana would be any different.