Devotions for Advent: Week 1, Friday Arab Spring, Occupy Movement, and Real Change

Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right. Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.”
Isaiah 29:17-24

 

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
Matthew 9:27-31

The Lord is the great reverser of fortunes. When the Lord comes things are turned upside down. Rather, they are turned right-side up. The deaf hear. The blind see. The meek rejoice. The poor boast. The ruthless, the scoffer, the persecutor, are all put to shame.

We are in a season of unrest. The Arab Spring has come and gone. Ruthless dictators have been deposed. In their place ruthless ideologues have taken power. The Occupy Movement has…moved? Reasoning that the best way to fight inefficiency in capitalism is to sit and do nothing for weeks on end. Reasoning that the greed of bankers should be overthrown and replaced with the bumbling of bureaucrats. Man seldom gets anything right and his attempts at repair usually serve to exacerbate the problem.

Jesus does all things well. When Jesus comes men stand in awe of the God of Israel. When Jesus comes men can only spread his fame.

 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

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Human Sacrifice in Uganda and an Even Greater Number of Atrocities in Another Nation

What year is this again? Yesterday I heard a chilling report on human sacrifice in Uganda. I heard it on a BBC  radio program. The BBC has been on this story for awhile. Here is a portion of the report that I heard.

(WARNING GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF UTTER WICKEDNESS)

 At our next meeting, Awali invited us into his shrine, which is traditionally built from mud bricks with a straw roof. Inside, the floor is littered with herbs, face masks, rattles and a machete.

The witch doctor explained that this meeting was to discuss the most powerful spell – the sacrifice of a child.

“There are two ways of doing this,” he said. “We can bury the child alive on your construction site, or we cut them in different places and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine.”

Awali grabbed his throat. “If it’s a male, the whole head is cut off and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site, and also bury the feet and the hands and put them all together in the hole.”

The attacks have created a climate of fear

Awali boasted he had sacrificed children many times before and knew what he was doing.

A local pastor explains the reason for such atrocity in Uganda:  “They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.”

It is estimated that well over 1,000 children have been sacrificed in the past several years. I cannot fathom the depravity of heart that would use the sacrifice of children to gain fortune, appease the gods. Hearing the report made me feel I was living in a different place, a different age.

But here, today, October 13, 2011,  in America 2,800 humans will be sacrificed to the gods Prosperity, Convenience, and Reputation.

 Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.

Forty percent of pregnancies among white women, 67% among blacks and 53% among Hispanics are unintended. In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred.

Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder– no end to the prey! Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. (Nahum 3:1; Isaiah 59:7; Ezekiel 23:37)

For more on human sacrifice in Uganda see this report.

For more on the even bloodthirstier nation of America see this one.

Are the Pro Choice agenda setters finally starting to get it?

This (Half Aborted)is a fascinating article from the pro choice set that clearly sets forth the moral evil inherent in all abortion. Tim Challies, prominent bloggger and conference speaker comments, “Articles like this are the reason I believe abortion will eventually become taboo in our society. The immorality of abortion is just too apparent and sooner or later people will have to come to terms with the reality of what it is.”

I do not share his optimism. As we talked about at Wednesday night Bible study, if people will not believe the Bible it does not matter what miraculous sign is given to them. It is clear that those on the pro-choice side of the argument have any interest in taking the Bible seriously. A pro-choice website named “Jezebel”? Really? What would happen if a pro-arab groub called itself Hitler’s Camp?

The quandaries, conundrums, and misgivings caused by “reduction” abortions may give a few pause to think. But I doubt it will do much more. More likely, pro-choicers will simply use it as a further-to-the-left boundary line to convince themselves they are not as bad as others. There are hints of it already in this article. “Yeah, I had an abortion. But at least I am not so heartless as to have a reduction. What fiend would do that?” But as the article demonstrated, the only difference in any abortion is the will-dead in sin-of the mother. A baby is a baby.

Read it. You may not find a better article to support the pro-life position.

David Tyree and the Anarchy of Gay Marriage

David Tyree, the New York Giant hero of Super Bowl 42, has ruffled some feathers. Fox reports, “Asked what he thought would happen if gay marriage was legalized across the US, Tyree said, ‘This will be the beginning of our country sliding toward, it’s a strong word, but anarchy.’”

Will gay marriage really lead to anarchy? Is David Tyree right?

Nope.

David Tyree is absolutely wrong.

Gay marriage will not lead to anarchy. Gay marriage is anarchy.

According to Paul, the embracing of homosexuality is the last step in a society’s rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18-28). Three times it is stated that God “gave them up;” and the last time God gives up is with those men and women who practice homosexuality.

In several places the Bible speaks of sin that is unpardonable, or leads to death. In each of those places, the individual is in view. But in Romans 1 we seem to have the unforgivable sin of society. When a people or nation protect, endorse, sanction, promote, embrace, encourage a homosexual lifestyle, it is the sign that God has given them up.

Does this mean things cannot get any worse? Does this mean that gay marriage is the greatest abomination that a people can commit? Quite the contrary, this means that things are actually going to get much worse. Romans 1:18-28 teaches that God gives up on the people who embrace this lifestyle. When God gives up, his Spirit stops striving against sin. He lets man have his own way. The voice of conscience is silenced.

How far is too far? Five states along with Washington D.C. have legalized gay marriage. The issue of legalization is in the legislature of New York and courts of California. Will God give up on America for the sin of just these few? Perhaps not (cf. Gen. 18:23-33). But to think gay marriage is a parochial problem is obviously wrong. The media- news, social, popular- are constantly pushing the issue. The issue is not going away until it is the law of the land.

Christians, like David Tyree, who think that gay marriage is the beginning of our country sliding toward anarchy, are well intentioned but naïve. Gay marriage is not the beginning of the slide, it is the thump at the bottom of the slide.

Only to find that the ladder back up has been taken away.

Is the Structure of the government of America biblical?

In a word, “no.”

The government of the universe is not democratic, not aristocratic, not republican, not constitutional, but monarchial. To God belongs the undivided legislative, judicial, and executive power. His sovereignty is original, eternal, unlimited, abundant in blessing. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:6).
Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics II, p. 616.

Now that is not to say that the government of the U.S. is unbiblical. To the extent that the government punishes wickedness and fosters righteousness; to the extent that it protects its citizens; to the extent that it promotes justice, kindness, and humility; to the extent that it does not interfere with Scriptural obedience to God and his word; the government of America is biblical. But all of this applies to the government of China and England just as well.

God has only ever chartered one political nation- and it was a monarchy. God only has one people who will inherit the earth- and it will be a monarchy. God does not rule by popularity, consensus, or compromise. Psalm 2:6, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

Should a Christian Sing “I’m Proud to Be an American (God Bless the U.S.A.)”?

A few weeks ago asked me what I thought about the Lee Greenwood song, “Proud to be an American.”  Particularly in reference to a church choir singing it.  There were the thoughts I shared.

Proud To Be An American
The sentiment of the title violates Jer. 9:23-24; 1 Cor. 1:31; 2 Cor. 10:17; Gal 6:14 which teach that the believer boasts only in the Lord and the cross of Christ. These Scriptures apply every time the chorus is sung, and the line later, “There’s pride in every American heart.”

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

This verse demonstrates that the author was not living a biblically obedient, Spirit filled life.  Obedient believers are to seek first God’s kingdom (Matt. 6:33); are not to labor for the food that perishes (John 6:27); or build their lives on wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:9-17).  An obedient Christian could not sing this lyric honestly because if he was living obediently nothing that he had worked for his whole life could ever be taken away!  I would think that a person who wanted to be obedient would not desire to sing this since it implies a life that is lived according to the world’s value system.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

Well I think there is enough in Scripture about sorcery, astrology, “fate” etc. to render “lucky stars” completely un-singable.  The veracity of the next-to-last line is certainly open for debate–especially internationally.  Since Americans are increasingly losing their “freedoms,”  the last line is simply untrue on the face of it.

And I’m proud to be an American, (see comments on title)
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

What I am about to say is certainly a sentiment that would make many angry and would be rejected by most, but only one Man ever died for my freedom:  Luke 4:18, 19; John 8:36; Rom. 8:2; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Gal. 5:1.  I have the only freedom that matters, and it was purchased for me by the eternal Son of God.  Does your freedom come from men or God?  I mean this verse is not even Constitutional: at least they recognized that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain rights!  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  That line is in the Declaration of Independence not Constitution, but you get the point.)

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA. (see comment on the end of song)

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart, (see comment on title)
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American, (see comment on title)
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.  (see comment on 1st refrain)

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

One has to wonder if “God bless the U.S.A.” is a line that is violating the 3rd commandment.  If God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5), how can he bless a person singing about being proud?  Considering the song as a whole, is this  the kind of attitude God blesses? I think it might be a little vain to invoke the name of God when the virtues that are extolled in the song include pride, materialism, fate, and militarism.

faux pax americana

Not that any evidence was needed, but two recent events have demonstrated the folly of President Bush’s foreign policy. The government’s responses to the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections, and to the legal decision to execute Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan clearly show to all who have eyes to see that the Bush doctrine is doomed to fail.

Anyone who says the victory of Hamas proves all Muslims are terrorists is grossly mistaken. It does say, however, that a majority of those people living in Palestine are not opposed to being led by a faction universally recognized as historically terrorist in nature. But if democracy in the Middle East is the great elixir, why has this legitimately elected government faced immediate ostracization? How can the administration claim that it wants to spread freedom and then penalize these people for using their freedom? Would it have been a more palatable decision for our State Department, if the Palestinians had continued their support of Fatah? Even the most patient of people eventually grow weary of graft, nepotism, and crony-ism. The Palestinians had a choice and made it democratically, and for that they are cut off from aid.

The administration faced a similar predicament in the case of Abdul Rahman. In our model country of freeing a land from tyranny to have democracy thrust upon it we had the case of a man tried in a court of law, found to be in transgression of the law, and sentenced according to the law. So on what basis could we feign outrage at the decision? We claim that democracy necessarily includes the notion of religious freedom. George Washington stated, “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.” Similarly, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Quotes like these are used by Christians to state that those who are not virtuous (i.e., infidels) cannot be trusted with democracy. What they (and Washington) fail to realize is that the Rahman decision was a completely virtuous one to the people of Afghanistan because it was in harmony with their standard of virtue: the Koran.

The American Empire has two options. First, stop all the disingenuous platitudes of bringing freedom to the Middle East and thereafter punishing freely made decisions. Just as many of the original laws and framework of American government were biblically derived, President Bush must come to grips with the fact that many of the laws and framework of Muslim-dominated governments will be derived from the Koran. If our intention is to bring democracy, we must be content with what that democracy decides. If this is unacceptable, there is only one other option (besides doing nothing at all). Our leaders must put away this whole notion of the “benevolent empire.” We should plainly state our demands at the beginning and forcefully bring our “enemies” into submission. Enough with the claims that we only want to spread freedom. Let us be plain in stating that we do not want freedom, but subservience. Let us state honestly, “You are free to do whatever we deem acceptable.” Let our government be either true to its words, or true to its intentions. For it is plain to see that at present it is true to neither.