Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snarlin' Arlen Switches Parties

Arlen Specter, senior senator from Pennsylvania, has announced he is changing his party affiliation from Republican, to Democrat. Surprise, surprise. Snarlin’ Arlen has been in conservative crosshairs virtually ever since he left the Democratic Party 44 years ago.

Most recently, he is facing Pennsylvania Republicans’ wrath over his vote in favor of the Obama “stimulus” package—one of only 3 Republicans to do so. He has been trailing Republican challenger Pat Toomey in GOP polls. Sensing defeat, Specter jumped ship to have a chance to salvage his 29 year liberal career in the Senate.

Writing for his organization’s blog, Lowman S. Henry, CEO of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, said: “Arlen Specter has acted more like a Democrat than a Republican for years. He is a large part of the reason why the GOP's brand identity became so blurred voters have abandoned it in droves…Arlen Specter never was, is not today, and never will be an ideological conservative.”

I blogged over two years ago about Specter’s pro-death, anti-life views. Specter had said: “I want to take abortion out of politics. I want to keep the Republican Party focused on the vital economic and foreign policy issues -- and leave moral issues such as abortion to the conscience of the individual.” I’m sorry, but economics and foreign policy issues aren’t quite as “vital” as protecting innocent human life.

The real story takes us back to 2004 when President Bush and then Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (who was very conservative) chose to back Specter in his primary run against Toomey in 2004. That was definitely a wrong decision. Now, Specter is showing his true, liberal colors at a time that could prove costly to conservatism.

Specter’s switch could give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If Al Franken prevails in his court case, Democrats will have 60 Senators.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dismal Circumstances

Life can give us some very unsettling and troublesome circumstances. With their backs against the Red Sea and nowhere to run, is it any wonder the people of Israel were afraid when they saw Pharoah’s army approaching to recapture and/or slaughter them?
And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)

Being in the belly of a great fish, was certainly a dismal circumstance, so much so it caused Jonah to cry before God “I am cast out of thy sight” (Jonah 2:4).

Jeremiah lamented “He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.” (Lamentations 3:2)

Psalm 31:22 is an insightful verse. David felt so alone, he was sure even God didn’t notice him: “…I am cut off from before thine eyes…” Interestingly, that statement of honest feeling is bracket by two other statements. First, “For I said in my haste…” David realized what he was feeling, wasn’t the true reality. In retrospect, he confessed he spoken “in my haste”. Then, “…nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” Even in the midst of a dark heart, David knew God WAS paying attention. The Creator was listening.

In chapter seven of his prophecy, Micah was overcome by the moral emptiness of his culture. “Woe is me…” “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men.” “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge…” “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother…” “they hunt every man his brother with a net…” His advice was “Trust ye not in a friend…” and his only hope was in God: “I will wait for the God of my salvation.”

One theme that emerges from those who faced dismal circumstances and a culture bereft of any goodness was that they all focused on God. Some way or another, they found a way to cast their gaze towards heaven’s Glory.

Charles Hadden Spurgeon advised:

Are you unable to sing the Lord's praises? Are there no mercies that you have experienced? Although you're gloomy now, can you forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you, and said, "Come unto me"? Can you remember that wonderful moment when He snapped your chains, dashed them to the earth, and said, "I came to break your bonds and set you free"?

Surely there are memorials along the way that haven't yet become overgrown with moss; let them remind you of His mercy toward you. Did you ever have a sickness like the one you have now? Didn't He restore you? Wasn't He with you? Were you ever poor before, and didn't He supply what you needed? Were you never in dire straights before, and didn't He deliver you?

Arise, go to the river of your experience, and pull up a few bulrushes, and let them become lining in the tiny boat in which your infant-faith may float safely on the stream. Don't forget what your God has done for you. Has the Lord never met with you on the mountain? Have you never been helped in time of need? No, I know you have. Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they will shine through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord until the new day breaks and the shadows flee away.

Can you find a way to get your focus on God? You had better, it may be the only way to survive your own present dismal circumstances.

Friday, April 24, 2009

God--Worthy of Reverence

A.W. Tozer, in his book Men Who Met God, said:
Mankind has succeeded quite well in reducing God to a pitiful nothing! The God of the modern context is no God at all. He is simply a glorified chairman of the board, a kind of big businessman dealing in souls. The God portrayed in much of our church life today commands very little respect. We must get back to the Bible and to the ministration of God's Spirit to regain a high and holy concept of God. Oh, this awesome, terrible God, the dread of Isaac! This God who made Isaiah cry out, "I am undone!" This God who drove Daniel to his knees in honor and respect. To know the Creator and the God of all the universe is to revere Him. It is to bow down before Him in wonder and awesome fear.

Psalm 95:6 says:
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.