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.
Allow me to coin a new phrase in this debate. I contend these assertions by same-sex marriage proponents and their resulting negative influences on some in the evangelical camp are what we might call a "Tokyo Rose Effect."
Near death experiences may be the cause for much speculation. However, the resurrection of Jesus, certainly the most attested historical event in human history, is proof there is life beyond the grave. What is more, it is a promise – a promise of the believer's own resurrection – a promise of eternal unspeakable joy for those who believe in Christ and follow Him all the way to the end.
The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11 is a historical narrative of the first recorded form of government gone awry. What are some of the principles in this account that forewarn us of the corruption of governments and their ultimate end?
Someone once said, "I don't understand Christianity. I don't understand electricity either, but I don't intend to sit in the dark until I do." That's a profound statement about the power of faith to transform a life. The intelligentsia typically renders such assertions as foolishness, but it's been God's plan through the ages.
North Carolina's new Voter ID law came under assault last week from Van Jones, a Democrat and host of CNN's "Crossfire." During the broadcast, which featured North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory as a guest, Jones said the new law was a means of rigging the state's election system and essentially suppressing the vote of African Americans, lower income people, and others who would vote against the state's Republican majority.
In an irony of ironies, during the week of Valentine's, two federal judges overturned the marriage protection amendments of Kentucky and Virginia, single-handedly redefining romance and marriage.
Last week, approximately 3 million people tuned into to watch the debate on evolution between Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," and Ken Ham of the Creation Museum. Ham did a stupendous job articulating the creationist view and contributed greatly to raising awareness to the legitimacy of its claims regarding origins.
Two Sundays past (January 19, 2014), in a sermon the media described as "fire and thunder,"  Rev. William Barber, head of the NC NAACP mounted the pulpit of Zion Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and began to excoriate all things political to the right.
In an article titled, "Christians and Alcohol," posted on January 9 in The Christian Post, Shane Vander Hart made the case for what he believes is the biblical teaching concerning alcohol use and abuse. Vander Hart's personal story of alcohol abuse during his days in college and his decision to quit after becoming a follower of Christ, was, in this author's estimation, where he should have stopped. The rest of his article, unfortunately, made the so-called case for imbibing responsibly.
The values Simon referenced were Christian values. He said, "Where is any debate, let alone recognition, that the bedrock, pro-faith and family values upon which America rests are under 'frightful assault,' and that, day-by-day, this nation is distancing itself from its Judeo-Christian roots?"  Simon passed away in 2000, but his words ring truer today than when first reported in the early nineties.
Another beloved television celebrity has "come out" and said to the world, "I am gay." This time its ABC's Good Morning America host, Robin Roberts. CNN says that Roberts has always been "open about her health battles, but she has not previously spoken publicly about her sexuality." The timing of Robert's announcement begs the question: Why now?
Few stories speak so succinctly to America and her current need than this one in Scripture. For a little more than five decades America has been spiritually in decline so that now we are facing judgment.
Pastors are supposed to help, not be helped. They are supposed to counsel, not be counselled. If something goes wrong in the preacher's life, surely he knows what to do. Besides that's his job. And so goes the thinking and unrealistic expectations that can ultimately lead to a breakdown – an emotional breakdown, a nervous breakdown, a mental breakdown, even a moral breakdown.
It's not very often we hear such stories about pastors. But these events, which took place within the last five weeks, show we are all susceptible to mental illness – even the preacher. I know. I've personally been in that dark place myself.