If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Fellowship and Divison - part two

In part one of this two-part essay, we looked at the cost of koinonia (fellowship) with Jesus that Paul wrote of in 1 Corinthians 1:9. In part two we turn our attention to what he says about the sin of division in the family of God. You can find part one here:

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

Let me illustrate, from my own experience, Paul’s point about division in the Christian family.

In 1976 I’d been a Christian for four years – but I’d spent those years overseas in Japan where I was stationed with the Navy. So, my only exposure to Christians of different theological persuasions was at the interdenominational base chapel and at an interdenominational mission center a few blocks from the naval base. I had no idea that Christ’s body was so divided – until my discharge from the navy and our arrival in Springfield, Missouri where I attended Central Bible College – known in town as CBC. It was an Assemblies of God Bible college, Pentecostal in theology. In the same town was another Bible college, this one called Baptist Bible College, known as BBC. 

A few days after arriving in town, I needed an antibiotic prescription filled at a local pharmacy. I gave the druggist my name, address, and the school I attended – CBC – as my insurance provider. I returned later that day to pick up my prescription. The pharmacist confirmed my name, address, and insurance coverage by BBC.

When I told him I attended CBC, he blushed, and stuttered his apology. “I’m so sorry. I thought you’d told me you are a student at BBC.”

I shrugged my shoulders and told him it wasn’t a problem. I paid for my prescription and left the store wondering why he was so apologetic over a simple mistake. It was not until a few weeks later that I learned many students from each school had nothing good to say about each other.

The perplexing thing about that division in Springfield is this: Both groups believe God is eternal, that He is not a created Being, but has always existed as the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator God. Both groups believe Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. They believe Jesus was not a created being, but He is co-eternal and co-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Both groups believe Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, He lived a sinless life, He suffered and died a torturous and substitutionary death on the cross to pay for our sins. They believe He rose again on the third day from death, and that He is will return for His Church, which is His Body.

BOTH groups believe the essential truths leading to eternal life. Where Pentecostals and Baptists disagree, they disagree regarding things NOT essential to believe for salvation, such as “Is ‘speaking in tongues’ a gift of the Holy Spirit for today?” Or can a Christian lose his or her salvation? Believing or rejecting either of those doctrines has no effect whatever on the eternal destiny of the person. None.

Someone wisely said this about doctrines: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” Oh, that we in the church at Ashwood Meadows would take to heart the truth.

The Christians of Springfield, Missouri had such a sad reputation of mutual distrust for each that their non-Christlike attitude was well known in the town. What do you think the Lord Jesus Christ thought of their reputation? And what do you think He thinks of our reputation here, of our infighting, our backbiting? 

Let me tell you why I say that. God has given me the privilege these last four years to bring His word to every person at this 55+ community who will listen.

But I am so very sorry to say that I have heard from time to time that some Protestants in this community won't attend my studies or sermons because I am a Catholic. But on the other hand, there are Catholics in this community who do not attend because I sound too much like a Protestant.

But it’s worse even than that. I’ve also been told that some residents have actually persuaded others who USED TO attend Bible studies and sermons to stop attending because I do not teach what they consider true Christian theology.

Oh, how sad is that? God has sent me here to encourage the sorrowful, to bring hope to those losing hope, and to exhort everyone toward holiness without which, as the writer to the Hebrews warned, without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14). Yet because I do not belong to what some consider the correct church, they keep themselves away from the Word of God each week – and they persuade others to stay away as well.

How must the Lord Jesus feel because of our divisions?

Here is what Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:20-21 - “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

And what Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, he would have also written to the churches in Springfield, Missouri – AND to our little community as well: “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:14-17)

The Lord Jesus warned us in Matthew 12: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Matthew 12:25) Don’t you think Satan also knows that Scripture? And he has deftly used that principle of division since the first century.

The Holy Spirit wants to feed our spirits with His truth. But we cut off His voice when we spend our time biting and devouring one another, when we spend our time finding fault with one another, when we waste our time dismissing one another because they don’t believe as we believe.

Please, let’s focus our attention – whatever is our church label – let’s focus on winning the lost for Jesus Christ. And put into practice: In essentials – unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.

Time is too short to play church. If Jesus is not Lord of everything in our life, then He is not Lord at all. 

There are no half-way disciples.

Fellowship and Division - part one

This is part one of the message I preached at the 55+ community on Sept 15. You can find part two here.

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? (1 Corinthians 1:9-13)

Last week we looked at the first clause in verse 9: God is faithful. Today we turn our attention to the rest of this text, through verse 13. Let’s begin with the last part of verse nine: “[God] has called us into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ.”

The word Paul uses here and translated into the English, ‘fellowship’ is the Greek word, koinonia. First century Greek speakers understood koinonia to not simply mean ‘fellowship’ or friendship as 21st century speakers might understand the word, but koinonia can also mean by context a joint participation in some activity, an intimacy in an interaction and communion with each other.

In other words, Paul tells us that God has called us into an intimate, joint participation with Jesus in His work on planet earth. And we should spend time with this point because the New Testament Scriptures repeatedly tell us Koinonia, an intimate joint participation with Jesus, will cost us something.

That something is called, “obedience” – to go and to do and to be whatever it is that Jesus commands. What do I mean by that?

As always, let’s let Scripture define and clarify Scripture. Here is what the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Christians at Philippi about true discipleship: “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 2:7-11)

I hope you caught a sense of Paul’s emotion when he implores God to permit him to share in the koinonia – the fellowship, the intimacy, the joint participation – in Christ’s ongoing suffering?

Paul understood, as every Christian should understand, the privilege we have of koinonia with Christ and His work on earth must and will cost us something.

It cost Paul his well-respected position in his Jewish community. He further describes his own cross when he writes his second letter to the church at Corinth: “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I’ve been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure . . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:24-27)

Pope Francis recently said there are more martyrs in the church today than there were in the first centuries. According to Prisoner Alert, a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Christians are being persecuted for their faith in more than 40 nations around the world today. In many of these nations it is illegal to own a Bible, to share their faith in Christ, change their faith, or teach their children about Jesus. Those who commit such ‘crimes’ as they are called, face arrest, torture, and even death. 

Which brings us to what the Lord Jesus Himself said of fellowship with Him.  You’ll find this in Luke’s gospel 14:26-28 -- “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”

What does the Lord mean by ‘hating’ his parents, his wife, children, and so on? Jesus is NOT contradicting the rest of Scripture. So, as always, we will let Scripture clarify Scripture. As early as Genesis, God tells us a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

In the New Testament, Paul compares the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Jesus and His Bride, the Church.  One of the Ten Commandments requires us to “honor thy father and thy mother.”  The Psalmist tells us, “Children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3)  and Jesus said, “Permit the children to come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” (Mark 10:14)   and, “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were tied around his neck and he be tossed into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

So, what is Jesus saying about hating one’s family? It's this: “Unless your love for Me is so great that even your love for the closest members of your family is like hatred by comparison, you cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus is God almighty in the flesh of a man. And God has the absolute right to demand that his creatures honor Him above all else. Why? Not because He is an egotistical, arrogant self-centered bully. Those evils belong exclusively to the devil and his children. It’s because our Father in heaven desperately loves us, and He knows – because He created us, He should know – He knows that only by loving Him above all else can we experience the freedom that comes with being His child by faith and obedience to His commandment to love Him above all else.

That’s why the Lord also said in that Luke passage, “Count the cost of discipleship.” Are we willing to put Jesus above our wealth, our freedoms, and above the approval of our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, or anything and anyone else?

You may recall Jesus’ warned His disciples to “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17). He was referring to the story of Lot’s escape from Sodom before God destroyed it. As Lot, his wife and their two daughters left the town, Lot’s wife looked back toward the city and was turned into a pillar of salt.

What is implied in that text in Genesis – and seems confirmed in the context of Jesus’ words in Luke 17:32, Mrs. Lot looked back longingly toward her home, her family, her friends, her neighbors. She wanted them more than she wanted what God wanted for their lives.

We should be careful to remember her judgment. Before the Trumpet echoes throughout the halls of eternity, calling God’s children home, we must prepare ourselves NOW to NOT look back at what -- or who -- we leave behind. Koinonia with Christ costs us something. Sometimes it costs us our friends. Sometimes even members of our family.

Which brings us to the next part of Paul’s message to the church at Corinth in which he addresses the sin of division in the family of God. We will look at that subject in part two here.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Follow-on Question

Perhaps you remember the challenge the religious leaders  brought to Jesus.  You can find it in Luke 20. They said to Him: “By what authority do you do what you do? Tell us.”

Unruffled, Jesus turned the tables on them and said, “I will also ask you a question:  Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?”

The elders suddenly realized their precarious predicament. If they said John’s baptism and teaching were from God, then Jesus would ask the reasonable follow-on question, “Then why didn’t you believe him?”  But if they said John’s teaching was his own, or the teaching of others, the people would stone them because they held John to be God’s prophet.

I thought of that exchange when I read this morning St. Paul’s comment in the first chapter of his letter to the Galatians: "For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."

From time to time over the decades I’ve heard some pontificate about the great apostle, whether he got his religious philosophy from himself, or if he was a little ‘touched’ in the head. Maybe schizophrenic. Or bipolar.

I think we can expect Jesus to ask all of us some day the same question about Paul as He asked those in His day about John. 

We should be careful how we answer, because He will ask the same follow-on question.

Monday, September 9, 2019

God is Faithful, part two

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

God is faithful. That fundamental truth is the very root of our faith. If God is not faithful, then we are no more than walking shadows, and life is meaningless. 

Part one of my message to the 55+ community I visit each week looked at God’s faithfulness to His promise of salvation. Click this link to find part one.

Now we look at His faithfulness to His promise to never leave us, and to always forgive the penitent sinner.

Not only is God faithful to His promise of salvation, He is also faithful to walk with us, even through – especially through – the valley of the shadow of death. 

Those who have walked with the Lord for several decades have an advantage over youth. We know what it’s like to wait and wait – and wait – for God’s answer. We know what it is like to be lonely and scared. We know what it’s like to think we are on our own. 

Our advantage over those much younger – both in age and in faith – is we have life-experiences with God that enable us to look back over our years and thereby recognize how faithful God has been to us – even in our darkest hours. He’s never failed us. He has proven faithful to walk with us, and even when necessary to carry us on His shoulders when we hardly had strength any longer to even breathe. 

Hear God’s word to us through Isaiah: "Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you." (Isaiah 46:4) 

Even when we didn’t like His answers to some of our most desperate prayers, we can now in retrospect recognize His caress, His embrace, His kiss on our cheek, in and through those darkest hours. And also in retrospect, we know God did what was right when He said, ‘No’ to our prayers. 

This is so important a truth that we dare not gloss it. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). And because He loves us so very much, it ought to be unthinkable that He would ever leave us alone. That’s why I shudder and grit my teeth every year during Lent when congregations across the country sing that terrible song: You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley all by yourself. What terrible, faith-destroying, unbiblical prattle those lyrics spew. 

To say we walk alone through a lonesome valley is to call God a liar. We might FEEL alone, but we older Christians know we should never trust our FEELINGS. When our emotions or our health are at their lowest ebb, you can expect Satan to slip into our minds and use our emotions or poor health to confuse us, to trick us into believing God has left us. 

Talk about life-experiences, I experienced that demonic assault in January and February of this year. Please bear with me, those of you who have read of my story before, but that experience changed me. And I can't help but refer to it again in hopes that the Holy Spirit might use my experience to assure everyone of not only His constant watch-care over our lives, but also of His great mercy – that even when WE are faithless, HE remains faithful. 

After emergency surgery to stop the bleeding aneurysm from killing her, Nancy spent the next three weeks in the intensive care unit at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Florida. We’d traveled there to visit my mom’s grave. We never made it to the cemetery. 

After the ICU stay, Nancy spent another ten days in an acute rehabilitation hospital. We returned to Georgia after five weeks of nightmare.

I did not do that nightmare well. What was – and remains – most distressing for me is the disheartening recognition that during that time, what I have taught for 46 years about God’s faithfulness – I found myself losing trust in God. I half-expected God to pull the rug completely out from under me. I was in absolute turmoil. I’d never experienced anything like that in my entire 46 years of Christian life. I discovered I am not at all the mature Christian I thought I was. 

My faltering faith shocked and embarrassed me. 

Like Peter, who lived with the Lord for three years and who believed with all his being that he would never deny His Lord, I had lived with the Lord to that point for more than four decades and never would have believed I could be so weak, so faithless in my faith. 

So, what is my point? The fears and the doubts roiling in my heart about God’s faithfulness should have merited me His anger, His resentment, His dismissal of my soul from His presence.  How dare I, after 46 years of life-experience with Him, and with such a wealth of Bible knowledge as I have, how dare I succumb to the fears inspired by the devil himself?  How dare I not turn my heart toward God and say to Him, “Not my will, but Thine be done?” 

Yes, I was faithless. But our loving and merciful God is far more loving and merciful than I’d ever given Him credit for. Though I was faithless, God did not dismiss me. He did not resent me. He was not angry with me. He did not give me what I deserved. 

Christian, listen to me, please! This message is not about me. It’s about YOU, and what YOU can expect from our faithful Father – faithfulness in His love for you, even when you are without faith and hope and trust for Him. 

And to my final point about God’s faithfulness, let’s now look at God’s faithfulness to forgive the penitent sinner. 

The key word in that last statement is, of course, ‘penitent.’ That shouldn’t surprise any mature Christian. It only makes a mockery of God’s holiness and His justice when we tell Him we are sorry for our sins while we have no intention of even trying to change. St. Paul wrote to the church at Rome: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds.” (Romans 2:4-6) 

True repentance is born in the deepest recesses of the heart and always results in the sinner being mortified, embarrassed, and ashamed for having done what was done, or having neglected to do what should have been done. If we are NOT ashamed of our sin, then our repentance is insipid at best.

Yes, and yes again, God is faithful to His immutable promise to forgive the penitent sinner. How often will He forgive the truly penitent? I hope you know the answer to that question. Every time. 

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10) 

God is faithful to forgive the penitent sinner. I cannot overemphasize that glorious truth. Nevertheless, so many Christians live defeated lives because they cannot believe God is so faithful to forgive their sin. Most often, they either think they’ve committed the sin too many times for God to forgive them, or they think their sin was so egregious that God could never forgive them. 

I’ve quoted C. S. Lewis before about this subject, and it is good to do it again here: “I think that if God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal [a higher court] than Him.”

Let me say it kindly, but also unmistakably: How dare we sit in the corner nursing our guilty conscience when the faithful God has said to the penitent: I forgive you? 

As I close this second of my two-part message, I want to rehearse once more my points about God’s faithfulness. 

First: God is faithful about His promise of salvation to all who trust the Savior as their atonement for sins, and who live according to His commandments. (See the link to part one at the beginning of this essay). 

Next: God is faithful about His promise to always, always walk with us – yes, even to carry us on His shoulders day by day – and especially through the valley of the shadow of death. 

And finally (as if there could ever be a final word about God), He is faithful to forgive every and any sin brought to Him in honest and humble repentance. 

Christian, what are you struggling through? You can trust Him to be faithful.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Another Prodigal. The Same Appeal

I read this morning of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. The story reminded me of a conversation I had some time ago with a woman in her 60’s. She told me God would never forgive her. “You don’t know what I’ve done,” she said. I looked into her eyes and told her, “Yes, I do know what you’ve done.” Shock spread across her face. “I don’t know specifically what it was, but with the remorse you feel, I know it was something dreadful. Shameful. Condemnatory.” I added, “I know how you feel because I have also felt dread and shame about my own sins.” Then I reminded her of Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son. I paraphrased it for her, but you can read the text here: https://tinyurl.com/yyst7xdn I also reminded her of St. Paul who had the blood of Christian men and women dripping from his hands as he rode off to Damascus to decimate the believers there. You can read his testimony at this link: https://tinyurl.com/y23eek4c  And so I urged the remorseful woman – as I now urge everyone reading this who has ever thought God would not forgive whatever it is they’ve done – I urged her to return to her Father in heaven. As with the Prodigal, her heavenly Father right now scans the horizon, waiting to catch so much as a glimpse of her coming home. When He sees her, He will run to meet her, dress her in the best clothes, and have a long-overdue celebration for the one who was once lost, but is now found. Who was dead, but is now alive. Come, you who have read this far. Oh, won't you come home now?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Why Do We Miss It - one response

Please feel free to share this on your own online pages and elsewhere.
In my post earlier today titled, Why Do We Miss It? I asked how we (especially in the church) cannot recognize the evil that is slowly strangling the life out of America. A friend (who is only a few years older than I) just sent me an email. Here is part of what she wrote:
“In my only Biology class, our professor was bent on educating woefully ignorant students by showing embryos in graduated size jars (from pint to gallon sizes).  It happened that I was in that class with HS classmates of my daughter who had aborted at least one of their babies.  The pitiful girls sobbed and sobbed.  I knew it was because the deed was done and could not be undone. They had come to face the truth even before they were age 21.  . . .  That professor would have been terminated in today’s world.”
How I now wish – 52 years later – that I’d have had such a teacher in my high school biology class before I drove my girlfriend to the abortion clinic in 1967.
Ladies, if you are a mother with a baby in your womb – please. Don’t take its life. There are so many organizations and churches in your city that will help you. Reach out to them. You don’t want to regret 52 years from today what you could have avoided.
And men – I make the same appeal to you. I gave my girlfriend the choice – abort our baby or I was going to leave. Men – don’t do that to your child. You also will regret your wrong decision 52 years from today. Find help for the mother of your child. There’s plenty of it out there if you just look for it.
And yes, if that biology teacher did something like that today, he would certainly be terminated by most public schools and colleges. Most educators today are willfully complicit in the massacre of 3,000 pre-born babies every day – yes, every day in American abortion clinics.
And we really think God is ambivalent to the slaughter?
Please, moms and dads of pre-born babies, seek help. There is so much of it available to save your baby from death in your womb.

Why Do We Miss It?

During the Last Supper, (John 13) Jesus said one of the Twelve would betray Him. That confused the disciples. Who would do such a traitorous thing?

Jesus told them the person to whom He gives a morsel of food is the one. Thereupon He dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas. Verses 28-30 read this way:

"Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night."

How was it possible the disciples missed it? Perhaps because they couldn’t believe one of their number, one who’d lived with the Lord for three years, even worked miracles in His name along with the rest of the eleven – they couldn’t believe their ears or their eyes.

Today I read this section in Luke’s gospel: "And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? (Luke 12:54-56)

What are some of the signs of the times in which we live? And why do so many of Jesus’ disciples -- pastors and laity -- today miss it? Consider the epic and gravely serious cultural changes anyone over the age of 60 has witnessed in their lifetime – cultural changes that have resulted in the ruin of homes, families, and individuals.

In the 1950s it would have been unthinkable by virtually every American that in 2019 we would nonchalantly kill 3,000 babies every day in American abortion clinics. And not just kill them, but also sell their body parts for experimentation and research.
Think of it! None of us in the 1950s – just a few years after learning of the experiments the Nazis performed on men, women, and children in their concentration camps – none of us would have ever imagined Americans would do the same thing in our lifetime.

Since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to kill their children in the womb (and now, in states like New York, even after they are born) we have killed more than 56 million pre-born children?

Let that number sink in a moment. 56 million.

That’s the combined populations of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and New York! In your mind’s eye, wipe those states off the map. They no longer exist. We’ve slaughtered their populations in the womb.

Our deviant culture is so upside-down that if you mistreat a dog, you can go to jail. But if you kill your baby in an abortion clinic, you can get invited to some television show to brag about it.

In 1950 who would have imagined the US Supreme Court would give same-sex marriages legal status in our country – and that a growing number of lower courts throughout the nation would call it ‘hate speech’ to argue against same-sex unions?

In the same era, who would have believed that unmarried couples living and sleeping together would be the stuff of television sitcoms and Hollywood movies? Yet the supernatural enemy of the family has convinced most Americans that living together outside of marriage is as innocent a thing as strolling through the park on a Saturday afternoon.

Only a few years after we defeated Nazism – NAZI, as some of you might know, is an acronym for the German phrase: National ‘Socialist’ German Workers Party – in 1950, just after we defeated Nazism and were about to be embroiled in a decades-long cold war with the Union of Soviet ‘Socialist’ Republics (USSR), would any of us over the age of 60 believed it possible that in our lifetime we would actually VOTE socialists into our congress and state houses?

During the days of Daniel, the Babylonian king did not understand the handwriting on the wall that foretold Babylon’s impending destruction.

In similar fashion, why do so many Christian pastors and laity today not understand the handwriting on our National wall? I haven't a clue.  But, oh, Christian! Pray for open eyes! Pray for revival in our churches and our nation. Pray that, if only for the sake of the Ten – as Abraham prayed – for the sake of the Ten, God will hold off our justly deserved punishment.

God was not One to be mocked in the past. He is not One to be mocked today.