Category Archives: Religious Liberty

Inheriting the Land

I have found myself reading Psalm 37 this past week. It has been very encouraging in the last week of the election. It begins by saying, “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” That in itself is worth a roll of Tums. But I have been drawn to the number of times this Psalm makes reference to inheriting the land. Five times in the NIV it uses this phrase. And I can’t help but think that is what is at stake in this election on November 6th. Someone is going to “inherit” the land and all that goes with it.

Listen to who will inherit the land: “Those who hope in the Lord” v.9. “The meek” v.11. “Those the Lord blesses” v.22. “The righteous” v.29. Those who “wait for the Lord and keep His way” v.34. It is clear that the wicked will be no more, their power will be broken, but the righteous will be delivered and saved.

We have a real hard time looking at the world in these terms. No one likes to refer to someone else as wicked. And honestly, apart from Jesus Christ, who can claim to be righteous? We just don’t talk like that and certainly don’t like to think we have to make choices between good and evil. We think that there is no black and white, just shades of grey. But the Bible doesn’t seem to have those hang ups. It has no problem calling things good or evil, black or white, righteous or wicked.

People on both sides of the issues agree that this election has starke contrasts. We are deciding between two completely different paths for the future of our land. Can I look at these paths and label one righteous and one wicked? Yes, I can. How can I? Is it based on my own preferences and opinions? Am I the final judge? No, not by a long shot. My opinions and preferences are simply mine and are not to be used to determine righteousness and wickedness. Then who gets to decide? What is the standard? Where is the scale to weigh these paths?

The Bible is the standard and the scale. And Jesus is the judge who gets to decide. So by looking into the Scriptures we should be able to determine which path is good and which path is wicked. But before we put these issues into the scale, we need to decide if we will abide by the outcome of God’s Word or rebel against it.

Facing us this election like never before are some clear cut issues. Your vote one way or the other will determine if people must violate their conscious and religious freedom and be forced to pay for abortions. Will marriage be redefined by the government? Will we continue to amass unstainable debt and pass it to our children and grandchildren? Will we continue to disregard the Lord in public life? To continue down this path is wicked. Not only is the future of our country at stake, this election will have eternal consequences.

There is a clear choice between good and evil this time around. I believe Mitt Romney is a choice for good. I’m not suggesting he is the “hope and change we need.” I don’t put my hope in a man and expect him to be my messiah. Jesus is all sufficient in that catagory. But what Romney stands for in this election is good in contrast to what our current president stands for. Never has the contrast been clearer. Which will you choose?

However the election turns out on November 6th, the truth remains: “The power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.” (v.17) I don’t know if November 6th will be a foretaste of the final victory this Psalm talks about or not. I pray that it will be. Regardless, how you vote on that day will be a good indicator what you might be inheriting on the Day that really matters.

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Freedom, Government, Religious Liberty

Inconceivable!

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya utters these great lines to Vescini as he continues to say “Inconceivable!” in one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. I can’t help but think the same thing is going on with the word “love”.

I ate lunch today (like I do most days) at Chick-fil-A. The place was packed. It took 20 minutes from the time I ordered to the time I received my food. There was no place to stand. The line was out the door and the drive through line wrapped the building through another parking lot and spilled onto the street. Yet whenever the manager would shout her appreciation for everyone’s patience, the place cheered.

Some folks think, because of the owner’s comments about the definition of marriage, that supporting Chick-Fil-A today is hateful and discriminatory. To oppose same-sex marriage is not loving in their view. I believe they think that because they don’t know what love is.

I know – how dare I write that! Saying someone doesn’t know what love means is so…unloving. Love is a many splended thing so I will not try and give an exhaustive list of everything that is love. (I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 13 if you haven’t attended a wedding recently to brush up a little.)

Perhaps it might be more palatable to say, “I believe they think that because they don’t know what love isn’t.” We’ll see. Either way I am with Inigo. Love doesn’t mean what they think it means.

Love is tolerance, liberals say. Love is unconditional acceptance of whatever behavior I feel like (at least when it comes to sex but not eating at certain fast food restaurants). Love accepts people for who they are. After all, God accepts me for who I am. God is love. And that is kinda close but misses the mark.

God is love and He accepts us as we are – but He certainly doesn’t leave us that way. No loving parent accepts whatever behavior a child exhibits. While they love and accept the child, they correct the child and show them the proper behavior. Even if it is painful to them and the child. They do this BECAUSE they love the child. To accept “whatever” behavior is a clear sign, not of love, but of indifference and apathy. Yet that is what liberals mean when they say it is loving to accept behavior that God calls wrong. What they are saying (but don’t realize) is that they are more loving than God. The Bible is clear about marriage and sex. To ignore or cut out the parts of Scripture that are “offensive” and then claim to do it because they are loving is to claim they are more loving than God. They know better than God. They are more tolerant than His Word. That kind of pride and hubris ends poorly every time it is tried.

God gives us the boundaries because He loves us. It is like He is standing in the middle of the road holding a sign and screaming, “Turn around! The bridge is out!” That is love. Especially when people run Him over. And if we know the bridge is out and danger is ahead, is it more loving to say, “Stop!” or to tolerate and accept their decision to drive off the cliff?

I realize that some may think, “I guess that means we should stone to death children for disobeying their parents. Isn’t that what the Bible says to do?” It does say that, Leviticus 20:9. If you want to use that argument you should read all of chapter 20. There is plenty of stuff that requires the death penality. The truth is sin – any sin, all sin – brings the death penalty. Romans 6:23 tells us very clearly, “the wages of sin is death” and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) No one is righteous in God’s eyes. We’ve all sinned in some form or fashion and we all deserve to die.

“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because of Jesus’ death, our dealth penalty has been paid. That is love. Inconceivable love. So no, I don’t advocate fulfulling the law in Leviticus today because it has already been fulfilled in Jesus. The issue is whether or not you have received this gift of grace. If you do, you’ll experience transformation. This is the “God loves you too much to leave you the way you are” part. Romans 6 is a fantastic place to read about it.

I went back to Chick-Fil-A tonight about 9pm. The drive through line was still wrapped around the building and the wait for a milkshake was over 20 minutes. Inconceivable!

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Marriage, Religious Liberty

Appeal to Heaven

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare has left me, quite frankly, forlorn.  I feel like tearing my clothes and sitting in ashes as I watch personal freedom disappear.  The Supreme Court, being the highest court in the land is the final arbiter and what it says goes.  There is no other court in which to appeal.  Or is there?

I am reminded of a flag from the Revolutionary War.  It was flown by naval cruisers commissioned by George Washington in 1775.  It is a white flag with a green pine tree on it and the words, “Appeal to Heaven.”  It was and is a call to prayer.  If you know anything about the Revolutionary War and America’s Navy, you’ll understand why this was on the flag.  The modern day comparison of a British war ship and an American Cruiser would be like an M1 Abrams tank verses a pick-up truck with a machine gun mounted in the bed.  Appealing to Heaven was the only option for the American Patriots.

But it was the option that worked.  Our nation once again faces government oppression, this time in the name of “care”.  Now that the government is in charge of healthcare, do you think it will be long before they regulate what you eat, what you play, where you live, how many kids you can have and when you are too old to be affordable?  Already we get a glimpse of what is to come as New Yorkers are facing new laws about the size of soda they can buy.  Freedom is in danger and the appeals to the highest court in the land have failed.

But we would be mistaken and neglecting our heritage if we thought the Supreme Court had the final say.  There is a higher court still and you do not need a law pedigree to have your case heard in it.  Our forefathers were in the same position we face today.  They had exhausted their appeals to King George and Parliament and freedom had been denied them.  So they appealed to Heaven.  And Heaven heard their cry.

Now is the time for their descendants to cast their appeal heavenward and ask the Judge of Heaven and earth to deliver His children and restore their freedom.

Psalm 28

To you I call, O Lord my Rock;
    do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
    I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
    as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
    toward your Most Holy Place.

Do not drag me away with the wicked,
    with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
    but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
    and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
    and bring back upon them what they deserve.
Since they show no regard for the works of the Lord
    and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
    and never build them up again.

Praise be to the Lord,
    for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
    and I will give thanks to him in song.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
    a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
    be their shepherd and carry them forever.

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Filed under Freedom, Government, Prayer, Religious Liberty

Standing Firm: Marriage

This the last post of a 4 part series, Stand Firm.  I encourage you to check out It’s a Fight, True-ish Ain”t True, and Stand Firm as well.

 God’s battle plan for us is to stand firm.  That’s it.  We don’t have to burn books, attack our persecutors, or outwit our opponents.  That is because “the battle is not ours, but God’s.” (2 Chron 20:15).  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6).  It is His fight and His orders are for us to stand firm.  A quick scan shows at least 21 times in the New Testament that command is given.

Let me show you what it looks like to stand firm in our culture today. 

Marriage is the union between one man and one woman.  That truth is affirmed in Scriptures from the very beginning.  God creates the institution of marriage as the relational foundation for society in Genesis chapter 2.  Jesus affirms marriage by referring us back to God’s original intention for marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). Paul quotes the same passage and expounds on it by declaring that marriage represents the mystical union of Christ and the church.  (Ephesians 5:31-32).  Marriage is the union between husband and wife.

This is not my opinion.  I did not create marriage, it was not my idea.  It was here long before I got here and will be here long after I am gone.  It is God’s opinion.  The Scriptures are very clear on this.  And so I stand firm.  I choose God’s truth over “tolerance.”  What about you?

Now I know the slogans:  “Everyone has a right to love” (true-ish).  I love love.  Who doesn’t love love?  All you need is love.  But love and marriage are not the same thing.  Marriage has always been understood as a life-long bond between a woman and a man.  People may argue that the Bible has examples of men having multiple wives so the definition of one man-one woman doesn’t even work in the Scriptures.  Actually, find me an example in the Scriptures where a marriage with multiple partners worked out well.  Abraham, Jacob, and David (to name a few) all had family problems because they stepped outside of this definition of marriage.  Again, Jesus points us back to God’s intention for marriage in Matthew 19.

 Some argue, “But doesn’t everyone have the same right to be married?”  They sure do.  Everyone has the right to get married, so long as they marry one person of the opposite sex and are of legal age.  I don’t have a right to do otherwise either.

“Then why don’t we change those rights?”  The state does not grant human rights.  John F. Kennedy affirmed this truth, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”  Otherwise, the state could revoke them whenever the right becomes inconvenient to it.

Another slogan says, “I’m straight but I’m not narrow.”  This is to appeal to those who wish to be viewed as open-minded.  (Please see post, The Open-Minded Deception.)  Let me remind you of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

To redefine marriage is to go the way of the wide gate and broad road.  Destruction is the outcome.  Narrow is the road that leads to life.  Narrow is not a bad place to be at all according to Jesus.

Some readers may feel angry about what I have written.  And they may let me know it.  Some will tell me that they are saddened that I couldn’t be more accepting of others.  How disappointed they are that their minister isn’t more loving.  All I did was stand firm. 

When Paul commands us to stand firm in Ephesians 6, he goes on to tell us to put on the full armor of God.  Have you ever noticed that the armor of God is all defensive?  That’s because we are not attacking anyone.  I did not attack anyone in my defense of marriage.  Actually the armor comes with shoes of readiness to share the gospel of peace.  God loves everyone and does not want to see anyone perish but have everlasting life.  This gift is for everyone who hears it and turns to Jesus! 

If you are uneasy with this stand, then you are out of whack with the truth of God and you need to get that straightened out.  That uneasiness is the Sword of the Spirit at work.  The word of God is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It cuts to the heart and exposes our pride and prejudices.  It convicts us of where we are at crossways with God and His truth.

If you declare that Jesus is your Lord, Savior, and King, then you have to submit your opinion to the truth of the Word of God.  That is what it means to confess Jesus is Lord.  If I have opinions that are contrary to Scripture, I must change my mind.  If your opinion on this is contrary to scripture I am calling you to repent.  Change your mind and stand firm on the truth of God’s Word! 

One of the ways I am asking you to stand firm is to check out the Manhattan Declaration.  It is a public stand of Christians to defend the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty.  Sign it and share it with your friends.   It is a call of conscience for Christians.  I also encourage you to check out the National Organization for MarriageThis group is standing firm and offers great resources on this issue.

Jesus says in Luke 21:9, “By standing firm you will gain life.”   The reason we only have to stand firm is because the victory is already won. 

God is looking for men and women who will stand firm.  I would love to hear where you have stood firm in the faith.  Where is God calling you to stand firm on the Word of God?  I encourage you to put on the full armor of God and then stand.

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Discipleship, Marriage, Religious Liberty

Resources for the Sanctity of Marriage

If you haven’t heard of or read the Manhattan Declaration, I encourage you to do so.  If you are interested in defending religious liberty, and the sanctity of life and marriage I encourage you to sign it.  You can click here to go to their main website to learn about them.  You can click here to get articles, videos, and blogs with information on how to respond lovingly and Biblically to advocates of same-sex marriage.

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Filed under Beliefs, Church, Freedom, Government, Life, Marriage, Religious Liberty