The First Thanksgiving

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and made the forest to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from the pestilence and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.  Now I, your magistrate do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of nine and twelve in the daytime on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth Rock, there to listen to ye Pastor and render Thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings.”
– Governor Bradford November 29, 1623

A Life Changer

“…or what fellowship has light with darkness?”     2 Corinthians 6:14

The church has been in bed with governments and politics since Constantine.  Possibly, it was appropriate for a time – for the church to gather herself by finding a bit of respite in this corrupt world.  However, maybe that time is coming to an end.  Governments and politics don’t change lives.  Only Jesus changes lives.  And because governments and politics are carnal by nature, they don’t agree with the gospel – they don’t agree with the church that Jesus is the only way to obtain true freedom and life.  Rather, they obscure this gospel truth, and by doing so, they oppose it.

Unborn Lives Matter

Our nation is going through massive social change.   Not one issue remains as critical and divisive as the unborn.  Going back to 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized the murder of these little ones, our nation has been in a continual battle between a culture of death and a culture of life.  The death toll is incredulous.  Over 54,000,000 abortions since 1973 – or a little over 1,000,000 per year.  These numbers are staggering and a numbing stab to the conscience, so you would hope.  It all means one thing:  Unborn lives do matter.

In our Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers declared:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In their wisdom, the writers of this declaration pronounced to the world that the people of this nascent nation, have a right to life –  a life that is “endowed by their Creator”.

There is no greater mandate for the value of life than from the Creator God of the universe.  The Psalmist praises this awesome truth:

13 For You formed my inward parts. You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I    will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;  16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;  And in Your book were all written  The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm  139: 13-16

So we must continue to intercede on their behalf.  We must never stop praying to the Lord on behalf of these precious unborn:

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.  Psalm 31: 15

 Even with the walls of resistance built high – we have a holy God in Heaven who loves these little ones more than any of us would ever know.  Let us always come before His throne of grace and mercy, and to pray for a changed America.  One that embraces and loves life –

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord

Jesus’ church is not dependent upon this country or any country.  Conversely, all sane countries are dependent upon Jesus’ church in order to remain sane, and to have a shot at   prosperous, life–giving cultures.  True peace comes only from Jesus Christ!

Look at a map of the world, and only in Christian countries is there a reasonable expectation of peaceful existence.  The rest are fraught with constant wars and strife and tensions that have the possibility of exploding at any moment.  And because of continued opposition to  the gospel in our country, we are headed in the same direction.

Because of our debt, if nothing else, the USA will probably soon become the most recent and best example of man being unable to govern himself.  It’s been a good try, a good experiment,  but when this country fails the entire world is going to be in a “world of hurt”.  I have no  doubt that revival will come – timing is the key – will it come before or during the chaos that is now upon us –

Grab onto the Rock and teach your loved ones to do likewise.

 

Gongs and Cymbals

1 Corinthians 13:1,  Berean Study Bible

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal.

The essence of being a child of God has much to do with us exhibiting and radiating his supernatural life, not just our old carnal lives.  Which also presents a serious problem – how does one tell the difference between God’s Spirit, containing his life, and ordinary emotionalism or giddiness that is common to carnal man?

There is no verbal or written answer to this question.  We must simply experience the difference over time, and come to know the difference.  Only then does God’s love become real to us, and the Bible more than just a rule book.  Without experiencing Jesus’ glory and his love for us, we are just gongs and cymbals, making a lot of noise and having no real affect on anyone.

If we can’t sense Jesus subjectively in both our public and private lives, how dry is that?  And what good is the gospel?  Again, just gongs and cymbals.  If we don’t know Jesus, and by that I mean if we don’t experience him, we have nothing.

But we can and do sense the Holy Spirit, frequently and consistently.  These experiences provide us with a growing relationship, and an expectation for more.  Along with a continuing deeper knowledge of his objective word, we gain the assurance we need about the reality of Jesus and the soundness of his gospel.

 

The Hypocrisy of Murder

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!    Isa 5:20

In America, we have fallen mightily.  We have turned our back on Jehovah God.  This is profoundly evident in our legal system.  Our courts have become weak and ineffective.

More and more, our judicial system protects and coddles violent offenders – those who rape and murder.  At the same time, innocent and defenseless life is destroyed – legalized murder put into law by our Supreme Court back in 1973.  Ironically, countless resources are utilized to preserve the life of those who are pronounced guilty – and sentenced to death.  Not only that, but the means used for their execution are debated in court – declared “cruel” and “inhumane”.  Lawyers argue against these remedies and a more than willing court takes pity on the condemned.  Justice is delayed.  Evil gets a pass.

God, thru His word, however, has preordained the fate of those who practice unspeakable evil.  He uses the authority of government to administer justice.

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;  for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.     Rom 13: 3-4

God’s word clearly condones the use of the death penalty.   To be duly administered by those who are in authority.  Yes, to you who do evil – be afraid.  An avenger will bring wrath!  Sadly, with such delays of justice a deterrent is removed.  A message goes out to those who would commit evil – their fear of authority is neutralized.   No deterrent leads to even more evil.

Continue to pray and ask the Lord for his wisdom and knowledge for those in positions to do what is right.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.        1 Tim 2:1-2

In A Place Called Heaven

With much sadness, I have learned today of the passing of little Charlie Gard.

I am sure many of you have followed the tragic life of this precious baby boy over the passing weeks.  It is a remarkable story of two battles.  Charlie’s mighty fight with his health – and his parents hard fought struggle to keep him alive.  And between them, they battled a political system which seemed immune to the crushing pain and heartache that his parents and loved ones had to cope with.

I don’t want to focus on all that transpired leading up the Charlie’s passing.  Rather, I want to shed light on some reassuring truth – truth that might somehow comfort Charlie’s grieving parents and family.  Truth that will give them all hope for the future.

Charlie has left his earthly home and now resides in a place called heaven.  It is a grand place.  Charlie is now free from all his pain and suffering.  He has taken on a heavenly body:

The bible tells us so:

“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”                                                                                  Rev 21:4

The bible also makes it very clear about the fate of our little ones who leave this earth all too soon. Some of them are Charlie’s age, some older, some younger – and some whose lives are snuffed out, even before birth.

Jesus speaks clearly about these little ones.  He declares to you and me –

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.            Luke 18:16

Yes, Charlie now resides in the kingdom of God.

In the Old Testament, King David lamented the death of his infant son.  But by steadfast faith in a loving God, he knew the eternal destiny of his child:

But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”                                        2 Sam 12:23

King David knew he would be reunited with him in heaven – and that he would go there to be with his son for eternity.

Jesus again proclaims a marvelous truth in the Gospels:

Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”                                        Mark 10:15

By faith, I can say with absolute certainty that Charlie Gard rests in the arms of Jesus in his new heavenly home.

Yes, I will mourn with Charlie’s parents.  We all should.  But I have a prayer for them and the others who are agonizing right now over the loss of Charlie.  My prayer is that the Lord would hold them close.  That He would pour out His peace, mercy and grace.  That the Spirit of God would open their hearts to the blessed hope of God’s word.  That they would cry out to Jesus. That they would confess Him as Lord and Saviour.  That today, like Charlie, they too would become a child of God.

And like Kind David, look forward to that blessed day when they will go to be with their son again – in a place called heaven.