Tuesday, January 27, 2015

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Seven decades ago today, Soviet forces were rolling through Poland, uncovering some of the worst inhumanities of the Third Reich and some of the greatest abuses of the Jewish people.  On January 27, 1945, they came into Auschwitz…a name that has become synonymous with evil and human suffering…where they liberated nearly 7,000 prisoners still in the camp.  Nazis had forced some 60,000 to march west just days earlier and the world would come to learn that at least 1.1 million people were killed there.

We should remember the Holocaust for its history.  Now seventy years distant, time has worked some of its effect.  The movies, the pictures and the stories have perhaps calloused us a bit to the great horror of this epochal nightmare.  We must work to make sure this history still haunts us and moves us to the resolve of “never again.”  Stories like those of today’s Washington Post are very helpful at achieving this goal.
The IHRA is also committed to this.  In reaffirming the Stockholm Declaration today, they declared:

The unprecedented character of the Holocaust will always hold universal meaning for us. We are committed to remembering and honouring its victims, to upholding the terrible truth of the Holocaust, to standing up against those who distort or deny it and to combatting anti-semitism, racism and prejudice…

We should remember the Holocaust for its anti-Semitism.  Adolf Hitler’s maniacal obsession in obliterating the Jewish race is instructive.  In the final days of Germany’s war effort, troop trains gave way to the trains carrying Jews to the gas chambers.  The nation of Iran, the Palestinian state and a multitude of terrorist organizations are committed to the deaths of Jewish persons and the destruction of the nation of Israel.  Stephen Spielberg, in his remarks today at the Auschwitz memorial said:

“If you are a Jew today, in fact if you are any person who believes in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, you know that like many other groups we’re once again facing the perennial demons of intolerance.”

We should remember the Holocaust for its spirit.   The spirit behind the Holocaust was hatred and violence.  And this spirit lives on and is too seldom checked.   Dr. Josef Mengele was the doctor who performed some of the worst experiments imaginable on human subjects at Auschwitz, most notably on identical twins.  Mengele was able to escape to South America where he lived in Argentina for its “no extradition” policy.  Mengele became an abortionist in Buenos Aires, transporting his violence towards Jews outside the womb to babies within the womb.  In America, 57,000,000 babies have been aborted since its legalization.  Our nation’s abortion chambers have turned out systematic death with such ruthless effectiveness that many of Hitler’s “Final Solution” Nazi planners would find impressive.

When several hundreds of people rioted in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the Grand Jury exoneration of Officer Darren Wilson, the national news media ran non-stop coverage.  When nearly a quarter of a million people marched peacefully in Washington DC at this past year’s March for Life, the national news media was silent. 

Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, have killed nearly 2,000 Christians and burned numerous churches in Nigeria with little resistance from the world.  And again.  We know more about the New England Patriots deflating their balls than the suffering of those Nigerian Christians. 

We definitely need to remember the Holocaust.  Let us remember the victims of one of the world's worst eras, and let us not forget that such evil continues. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Remembering Roe v. Wade

We remember it well.  The date is etched in every pro-life person's mind.  We know it as well as December 7, 1941 or 9/11.  January 22, 1973.  The day the Supreme Court of the United States offered its Roe v Wade decision and foisted upon America, abortion on demand.  They ignored history.  They ignored science.  They ignored morality.  And they ignored constitutional continuity.  They invented a new right.  The right to privacy.

Justice Byron White, one of two dissenting justices (William Rehnquist was the other) stated it well in his dissenting opinion:
"I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the court's judgment. The court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes."

Now, forty two years later, we have experienced over 57,000,000 deaths of unborn children as well as countless deaths of pregnant mothers at the hands of a greedy, profit-driven, money making abortion industry.  The mental anguish of women (and men) exploited by abortion and the subsequent culture of violence created by Roe is another telling hallmark of this heinous case.

Roe v. Wade made it legal to destroy a developing baby within the womb of its mother during all 9 months of pregnancy.  By sanctioning the legal killing of innocent babies, the Supreme Court also slaughtered the noble dignity of a once great nation. 

In many ways, we have accomplished much.  In my own state of Missouri, I remember occasionally picketing the abortion provider Planned Parenthood near 46th & Troost in Kansas City.  It no longer provides abortions.  Neither does Columbia; nor does Springfield.  Planned Parenthood of St. Louis if the only abortion provider in Missouri.  Just one clinic.  But one clinic too many.

Abortion is still a vibrant and functioning part of the American culture.  While most abortionists prefer to keep their trade rather private, there is still little shame on the part of many in advancing this barbarism.  The President didn't bat much of an eye in his State of Union speech on Tuesday with his smoke and mirror gobbledygook.

We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.

By "the healthcare she needs" the President means the Obamacare fiasco forcing religious entities as well as private citizens to pay for women's abortions.  And no, that is not a good thing.  It is not good for the developing baby or even the mental and physical health of the mother; it is not a good thing for person's of pro-life conscience, and it is not a good thing for our nation.

The Republican party, once the unashamed advocate for the unborn, abandoned this week, legislation that would have protected babies in the fifth to ninth months of development from the pain of an abortion.

So let us remember today.  Let us remember the decision that ended dignity in America.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

President Obama's State of the Union Address

Ok.  I confess.  I watched President Obama's State of the Union Address.  I knew it would be a colossal waste of time, as well as a stressful and blood-pressure altering event.  Nevertheless, I put my mind, my patriotism and my Christian/conservative values through it.

It was rather boring.

In raw terms of speeches, it simply missed the mark totally.  It lacked just about everything a good speech should have from passionate, engaging delivery to substantive issues.  His opening was confusing.  Never mind his revisionism of the past 15 years.  Sure, we've had some devastating events, but the past decade and a half weren't all bad.  But seriously, they "dawned with terror touching our shores"?  I thought Y2K was the beginning and that 9/11 would come 21 months later.  But I suppose I'm quibbling over what "dawn" actually entails.

"But tonight we turn the page", said the President. "Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999."  I'm not sure what reality he is living in, but nothing has changed for me, my family, nor my friends.  The President would later ask
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?
That sounds a lot like we haven't turned the page at all.  But what I'd really like to know is whether we will have an economy that gives to those who do nothing.  Whether illegal immigrants will continue to receive for free things my family cannot afford.  Whether those who choose not to work will receive benefits and entitlements at the expense of those who do work.

Additionally, the President's analogy taken from Rebekah Erler's letter that "we [Americans] are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times" is laughable.  We don't even all speak the same English language.

I suppose I've been so accustomed to the President's wealth distribution rhetoric that his vision of cheap child care and $0 tuition for community college didn't phase me (much).  And the closing of Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay prison)?  I thought he already promised he was closing it?  Albeit, it would be a huge mistake for our national security.  And that President seemed to know what the American people want and what they sent both Democrats and Republicans to Congress to do.  He seemed to forget that Americans sent Republicans to Congress in droves to stop him and his agenda.

One point did get my blood pumping just a bit.  The President scolded Congress
So let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.

As if the Keystone Pipeline bill would not be complex enough.  The President doesn't want a one-issue bill.  That would be too simplistic.  We could know who wants us dependent on foreign oil.  We could have a very focused debate on one issue.  But the President, who says he doesn't want politics as usual, wants politics as usual.  Create a massive bill with a massive pricetag that contains massive issues.

Let's hope the Republicans remember why they were given control of the Senate.  Of course, the best part about the evening was that we will only have to listen to one more State of the Union speech from Mr. Obama.

Monday, December 08, 2014

God Cares About Us

Most of us, from the world’s perspective are insignificant and unimportant.  But a great truth of Scripture and of this Christmas text is that there are no such persons with God.  With Him, every person is significant.  In His sight, you are important—you matter.  I am so thankful we have this Biblical record, this record that God spoke to shepherds.

Interestingly, this is the only place in the Bible that records this story of the angelic interruption of shepherdly slumber.  We could go one of two ways with this and with all other such places in the Bible.  On one hand, we could believe that since it isn’t repeated, it isn’t that essential.  For instance, all four gospels record the crucifixion of Jesus.  We might be prone to lean toward a belief that the Bible would repeat what it wants us to grasp--that God is redundant with stubborn and dull sinners, not leaving them to catch on one hearing His important messages.  But that isn’t a healthy Biblical viewpoint, is it?  That belittles and devalues the Word of God.  It advances a notion that only a part of the Bible is really worth grasping, while others, though they are perhaps interesting and helpful, can generally be overlooked.

Perhaps you realize that only the gospels of Matthew and Luke give us anything at all on the birth of Jesus.  Mark begins with Jesus’ baptism, while John begins with Jesus’ pre-existence.  Why the Holy Spirit moved only within the heart of Dr. Luke to record this event I do not know.  I only know I am grateful that God has given us this passage.  God speaks to people the rest of society is prone to forget or ignore.

The Amherst, Massachusetts poet Emily Dickinson wrote in 1891, “I’m nobody!  Who are you?”  I wish she had known God better.  No one is a “nobody” with him.  Not Emily Dickinson.  Not shepherds abiding in the fields.  Not me and not you.  Jesus tells us “the very hairs on your head are numbered; don’t be afraid.  You are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

God cares about us.  It is why He sent Jesus.  Jesus would die on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven.  That’s how much God cares.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving: Come Into God's Presence

The upcoming Day of National Thanksgiving should not be taken lightly or routinely by the people of God.  If we are not careful, we will get pulled into a cultural viewpoint of the day and not fulfill one of our greatest privileges and responsibilities—that of giving thanks to God.

Psalm 95 exhorts us:

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

It is hard to differentiate between singing, praising, worshiping and giving thanks.  Theologians and Hebrew scholars would, no doubt, have a different viewpoint, but from my perspective of this particular psalm, they are all synonyms.  What I do wish we Christians would contemplate is that tiny, stubborn verb:  “come”. 

It is stated twice in these two verses, underscoring a need for movement from us toward God.  The psalmist implies we are not where we should be, so let us come into His presence.  Once you are in God’s presence, it’s fairly easy to sing to Him, to make a joyful noise to Him and to offer Him thanksgiving.  It is while there is distance between us and the Rock of our salvation that these things are difficult and intrusive.   And there is simply too much distance between the modern church and our God.  Psalm 95 will later call us “the sheep of His hand” and Isaiah 53:6 reminds us of a sad fact about God’s sheep—they stray.

The sad reality of this upcoming Thanksgiving is that the only difference between unbelievers and God’s people is that the Christians will pray before their meal.  For 120 seconds someone will “say grace”.  The other 23 hours and 58 minutes will be lived out just like every other American—with no notice of God and no acknowledgement of His blessings.

And that is why the Bible says “O come…come into His presence”.   Come.  It is such a beautiful word.

 It is what Jesus said to Peter one very early morning, probably around 4 a.m. after the disciples had spent a fearful night fighting for their lives on a storm-ravaged sea.   There was Jesus, the Eternal Creator, the Sovereign of the Seas, walking on top of the waves, subduing the laws of nature, drawing near to them and their boat of exhaustion.  “Do not fear” he said.  “It is I…come.” (Matthew 14:27-28).

And who could forget the invitation of Him who loves us that none other.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28).  Jesus is, of course, not talking about physical exhaustion, though some Thanksgiving Day chefs might take refuge in him after a long day of cooking.  There is nothing more exhausting than trying to make your life acceptable to God all on your own.

And that’s the heart of thanksgiving.  We aren’t alone.  God has been, is, and will be there for us.  He has provided for our spiritual salvation through Jesus Christ.  And, He has journeyed with the United States of America since the pilgrim landing of 1620.  Shouldn’t we as a nation, and particularly as Christians, give Him much thanks this Thanksgiving?







Friday, October 17, 2014

Houston Mayor Wants to Censor Pastor's Sermons

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is fulfilling Christians’ prophetic warnings of past years regarding homosexual political gains, categorizing denunciations of homosexual behavior as hate speech.  In an unbelieveable and outrageous power grab, Mayor Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, has demanded that pastors turn over copies of their sermons that deal with homosexuality.  And she has done so, via legal subpoenas. 

It is doubtful this breach of the American principles of separation between church and state and free speech will survive the legal challenges.  But it will not be the last challenge.  And slowly, but surely, Americans will cede ground on this pivotal issue.

Could we imagine Jonas Clark submitting his sermons against the Stamp Act to King George III?  Or asking permission to train militia? It was his house to which the patriot firebrands Samuel Adams and John Hancock had gone to discuss strategies for the Revolution.  That is where Paul Revere rode the night of April 18, 1775 to find them.  And it was many parishioners from Pastor Clark’s church who opposed the British regulars the next day at what history would call the Battle of Lexington.

What of the Reverend Dr. Mayhew and Reverend Dr. Cooper, who John Adams said were the “most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential [in the] awakening and revival of American principles and feeling.”?  Who could imagine them submitting manuscripts to that state for approval?

Or consider the Reverend John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg.  A devout pastor and ardent patriot.  He actually pastured two churches, an English speaking Episcopalian church and a German speaking Lutheran church.   He also served as a member of the Virginia legislature.   On January 24, 1776 Reverend Muhlenberg preached a sermon out of the book of Ecclesiastes, a time of peace and a time for war.  Afterwards, he flung off his clerical robe revealing his militia uniform and asked for men to follow him to war against the ‘tyrants’. He assembled 300 men from his church that became the 8th Virginia Regiment.

The power hungry lesbian mayor of Houston will lose her insane legal overreach.  But she has sounded the first shot in a long battle to silence Christ’s church on moral issues to which the state does not concur.  And judging from the measured, calculated response from the churches and Christians of Houston, the state will succeed.

Long gone is the view of Thomas Jefferson who said:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

The fight is on.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Feminist Father or Flaked Out Dad?

Perhaps you've seen this photo of a New Jersey dad's shirt?   His 20-year-old daughter was so giddy about her father's support that she posted the picture on Facebook this past Sunday.   And after a retweet by an Australian TV star, the photo went "viral" with some 34,000 likes and shares on FB and 190,000 shares on Tumblr.

So is she a heroine addict?  And the Dad is telling would-be suitors they need to be ok with her depressing her central nervous system?  And that he and they both should be ok with her collapsed veins, a heart lining and valves that are prone to infection, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease; as well as possible pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia?   Hey, it's her body....her rules!

Maybe Daddy is saying she'll be prone to go to bars and consume massive amounts of alcohol and the boy better shut up about her drinking too much...after all, what's a little cirrhosis of the liver, polyneuropathy, pancreatitis and skeletal fragility, anyway?  Her body....her rules.  And if she wants to destroy her body with alcohol abuse, let's all support her.

No, I have a feeling Dad would come unglued if his sweet little girl became an abuser of alcohol or drugs.   I'm quite sure he'd instigate a few rules over her body in an instant.

Actually, we know exactly what Dad is talking about.  He would never apply his asinine philosophy in any other area except the area of sexuality.   We are in the 21st century after all.   Dad has no right to tell his baby girl what she can and cannot do with her body in the area of sex.

But because Dads aren't telling, we see 116 million Americans infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases along with over 1 million abortions every year.

The Bible has a different approach about parental involvement in the life of their children.

Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way (s)he should go..."

And Deuteronomy 6:5-7 couldn't be more clear:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Fathers need to pass down their morals to their kids; and in particular, they need to be their daughters protector.  What testosteroned, sexually driven young man wouldn't think in a heartbeat he could put emotional pressure or physical intimidation on a daughter who had no protector at home.  It was her choice, after all.

I like this shirt a whole lot better.

Rules For Dating My Daughter shirt  t shirt Perfect Father's Gift