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Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool”.

In admonishing Israel for her sin, He extends an amazing three-part olive branch to the people:

• Repent of your sin and I will erase the stain of your sin.
• With that done we can re-establish our relationship.
• Then you and I can talk the situation over.

Imagine, The Great Creator is willing to discuss the issues of the day with His creation.

It boggles the imagination to think we have come to the point in American history when college campuses and in other major institutions those of us with Judeo-Christian traditions, values and a God-centered worldview are being censored and “canceled” from the public forum of ideas!

The precious right given under the first amendment to the constitution of free speech is being replaced by the Chinese and Russian approach to speech. Under those political systems, there is acceptable speech and unacceptable speech, and the government is the arbiter of what is acceptable!

If debate and discussion between man and God is promoted by God Himself what are secular progressives afraid of? Students at the university level have created safe spaces whereby they can avoid hearing ideas that may offend them. Consequently, the free speech of some is being over-run by the hurt or angry feelings of others.

In the 1960s as I was growing up secular liberals were protesting because profanity, vulgarity, and pornography had no place in main street America. They rallied under the banner of the first amendment’s protection of speech. When the supreme court eventually decided speech offensive to the traditional values of the majority was legal it opened the floodgates of depravity. But now 60 years later those same liberal folks are all in for banning, censoring, and canceling speech they don’t agree with.

Make no mistake, however, in my opinion, the real target and focus by government, social media, big business, big tech, and who knows who else stands in it shadows is directed on banning The Bible!!

Can you see a day when words in scripture will be judged “unacceptable”? Can you see the day when various doctrines will be deemed “offensive”? Let me give some examples:

“All have sinned”- offensive

“The only way to God is Jesus” – offensive

“Various sexual practices are sin” – offensive

“Hell is real” – offensive

Not only offensive they will be labeled “hate speech” politically incorrect and in time illegal!

Then we will be warned not to speak those words or teaching. We will not follow those because we have been given a command that spans 3,000 years – Psalm 107:2 “let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” That principle would be embraced some 2,700 years later in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution – December 15, 1791. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech…”

But I wonder- have we come to that moment in time where our country is operating as did the fascist of Europe and the communist of China and Russia where the right can be arbitrarily removed. The scripture makes it clear the freedom of speech is an unalienable right given to all by God our Creator.

Do elected officials, titans of big business, big tech, and wild-eyed extremists on social media now believe they alone have the authority to rip that right from our lips?

I think in their arrogant rebellion against the Lord…. They think they do. Unlike with God, however, there is Comeno reasoning with those in power.

Thoughtful observers of the current state of our nation, regardless of political ideology agree on this point – There is an atmosphere of bitter anger permeating the country. Of course, politicians and partisan pundits blame "the others" of being the angry ones.

What has led to this hostility? I believe the answer is complex-— I believe just about everything in our society has become politicized and polarized: the air we breathe, the climate, our beliefs and traditions, education, news, sports, skin color, gender and national origins.

People have become passionate about the issues of the day and the influencers who dominate the public airwaves throw fuel on these divergent passions emphasizing or demonizing those who hold opposing viewpoints.

One top social media executive giant is reported to believe the country is so polarized along political lines that we are literally in a second civil war! He is a Democrat who advocates drastic steps be taken to eliminate the Republican Party because he disagrees with their politics.

The anger of those on opposite ends of issues has led to ugly comments peppered throughout with obscenities, vulgarity, name-calling, demonizing, shaming, marginalizing, and shutting down honest, open debate.

Ironically, the God of the universe encourages debate: Isaiah 1:18, "Come now and let us reason together with the Lord…"

Todays’ white hot heated anger will not allow cooler heads to prevail as such truth and civility has become victims and when that happens the loss of freedom can't be far away.

God instructs a husband and wife: Ephesians4:26 "Be ye angry and sin not let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

Those two injunctions may seem mutually exclusive, but they are not. They are in fact the broad outlines of a process for heading off potentially overheated passions – not letting the sun go down on one’s anger advice to talk out issues and not letting them fester and grow as to bring closure to disagreements.

The verse also says we’re not victims of our anger – we have a measure of control over our thoughts and feelings. As hard, as it is to work out disagreements God tells us we have the capacity with His help to do just that! Working through angry feelings keeps them from degenerating into negative behaviors.

The angry hate fest we see happening before our very eyes and ears demonstrates the very real consequences of disregarding the wisdom and admonition of God’s Holy word: In giving permission to fridge base left or right public figures are opening a door to the hell of unbridled negative human behavior which God labels sin – we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn in or unmoved and apathetic to this latest downgrading of our traditional Biblical values.

French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville noted “America is great because America is good” Are we? In my heart, I want to believe there is a wide swath of middle Americans who are still trusting God and His word. But on America’s fringes, our reputation is in tatters!

Proverbs 11:11 “By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted but is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”

God admonishes that even our words have the power to destroy – tear apart a nation.

As Christians, we must bring salt and light to the conversation of the day.

Pray for our country – Christ alone is the answer – whatever the question may be!

We just celebrated April Fool’s Day, but let me propose something for you to think about that is not a joke…Hell will be full of believers.

"Believer" is an inadequate term to describe Christians because it doesn’t indicate the essence of a true Christian which is a "follower" of Jesus Christ. I believe in Satan, but I don't follow Him. James 2:19 says that demons “believe and tremble” at Jesus, but they don’t follow Him. Satan knows Jesus. He lived with Jesus in Heaven. He spoke to Him…and tempted Him. Satan is absolutely a “believer” in Jesus, but he’s not a “follower”.

The book of Revelation is clear about how things turn out in the future. As a result, I propose that when the following things occur, everyone will become an instant “believer”:

  • When Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, every knee will bow to King Jesus - everyone will believe then. 
  • After Jesus throws the Anti-Christ and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire, everyone will believe. 
  • After the Great White Throne Judgment when Jesus demonstrates authority over all lives, everyone will believe. 
  • After Jesus defeats Satan once and for all (after His Millennial reign and before His Eternal Reign), everyone will believe. 

Thus, my conclusion, that Hell will be full of “Believers”. 

There are several men and women who warm the pews every Sunday morning. By their regular attendance you would certainly think they are true Christians. But some of them never witnessed to anyone about Jesus, never repented of their sins, never gave tithes and offerings and never talked (prayed) to Him. These are commands that all Christians are given, but many Christians don’t obey these commands. Do you obey the commands of God? If not, then ask yourself, “Can you really be a true follower of Christ if you don’t obey His commands?”

Being religious is not enough. To be a true follower of Jesus, one must have a personal relationship with Him. A true follower would profess publicly that Jesus is his Lord and Savior…would surrender his life to Jesus as Lord…would long to know Him better (e.g. Bible Study)…would want to serve Him…would want to be obedient to Him…would allow Him to transform his life…would bear fruit for Him and glorify Him as described in John 5:5-8.

The Bible promises eternal salvation for everyone who requests forgiveness in Jesus’ name (Romans 10:13). The importance of Easter (Resurrection Day) is that Jesus satisfied His Father’s justice by dying on the cross for all of mankind’s sins. God will pardon everyone who has genuine faith in Jesus, and He makes each believer a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Abide: “to accept without objection” – “to continue in a Place (Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary)

Genesis 13:13 “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” In studying the scripture there is a principle called “The Law of First Mention.” Genesis 13:13 is the first mention of the word sinner(s) in the Bible. It references those abiding in the ancient city of Sodom. Sodom was one of the “cities of the plain” located somewhere around the Dead Sea. The city was infamous for its pagan worship and its depravity. Zondervan Bible Dictionary (M.C. Tenney) notes its name became synonymous with “vice, infamy, injustice, and judgement”.

As we live through a season of famous and powerful men being accused of sexual misconduct in varying degrees, it becomes increasingly apparent something is terribly wrong. How did we get to this place?

Truth be told, this is not a new place; it’s an old place. When God condemned the people of Sodom 4,000 years ago and labeled them sinners, the sin was sexual immorality and perversion. I Kings 14:24 informs that as the city of Sodom moved more and more away from the worship of Jehovah God they moved closer to the worship of man-made gods. The further away they drifted from God the deeper they sank into an immoral abyss. The obsession with sex and sexuality over time became how the people of Sodom identified themselves until the culture was completely immersed in finding new ways to satisfy an increasingly insatiable sexual appetite – nothing was out of bounds including violence and murder to achieve one’s lust. In that cultural climate, those who stood with Jehovah were the oddballs. Over time, however, their numbers diminished as they absorbed the norm in Sodom – “Everybody’s doing it”, “There are no rules except there are no rules” and “We are a sophisticated society living to assuage our desires.”

Our country’s biggest export around the world is Hollywood’s interpretation of life, love, right, wrong, people of faith and moral standards, as seen through the lens of a movie camera and projected on a bigger than life screen. The goal for all who view, to be seduced, to see things as men like Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen see them. These two are examples of men without a moral compass who along with the everyday drip, drip, drip of men in media, entertainment and politics that felt entitled, by virtue of their power and position, to take advantage of the women who stepped into their grip. Now women are speaking out! Why now?  Why not sooner when the events transpired? One answer might be because the “the Casting Couch” and the rights of the elite to abuse was without recourse or consequence. It was part of the Hollywood culture, accepted without objection by one and all! To quote N.Y.C. radio host Mark Simone (WOR Radio) “Everybody knew this was happening for years – Everybody knew about Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer. When the subject of Weinstein’s’ behavior came up in conversation, people laughed and said, “that’s just Harvey!”

Problem: Every American abides in this highly sexualized culture. It’s having an effect on all of us, especially our Youth! We have been drawn in by the delusion that sin has no consequences.

But the truth is, sin always has consequences: Numbers 32:23 “… behold, ye have sinned against the Lord:  and be sure your sin will find you out.”

For all the “famed”, “respected”, “entitled”, “hypocritical” individuals who are being “outed”, that day has come. But if we miss being outed in this life we will all be judged by a just and Holy God in the next.

There is, however, a prescription by which sin is forgiven and neutralized – God does not leave us to ourselves to become slaves to our passions. He has provided a way out:

  • Psalm 32:5 Acknowledge our sin
  • 1 John 1:9 Confess it to God – Ask His forgiveness
  • Psalm 38:18 Be sorry for your sin – Repent
  • Romans 6:6 Don’t cater to your sin
  • Hebrews 12:4 Resist! (with God’s help, fight back!)
  • Psalm 19:18 Don’t go there!

If we learn from these ugly, disturbing events and, as individuals and as a nation, repent, reject this cultural rot and turn to Christ as Savior, there is a way out of Sodom!

God will heal our land. If not, if we continue to close our ears and our minds to all His warnings, ours will be the same fate as was Sodom: we will burn in the fires of our own lusts…and ultimately in the fires of Hell!

Following the ouster of prayer in public schools in the 1960’s I don’t recall when secular forces began their quest to remove manger scenes from the public square. In their ignorant intolerance they used Thomas Jefferson’s * (whom they now decry!) letter of January 1, 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut containing the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state” reassuring the Baptist that the government hands were tied from interfering with or in any way controlling the affairs or decisions of the churches in America. They used the wall phrase as a shoehorn into the constitution to turn freedom of religion into freedom from religion (note Thomas Jefferson never signed the constitution nor was he present at the constitutional conventions of 1787).

Over time they accomplished their goal: no manger scenes on public land -eventually, that leached out into – no saying Merry Christmas, no singing Christmas carols at school, no Bible reading at school and no writing reports about one’s faith in Jesus Christ. No crosses at certain cemeteries – no Ten Commandments on the wall – no Ten Commandments at the Mall!

Well, they’ve just about run out of Christian traditions and symbols to tear down or cast aside, so now they’ve come for America’s history in the form of statues and monuments – to a certain segment of the population for whom nothing is sacred. NOTHING!! is scared, not even life in the womb, police on the street, marriage, history, tradition, the Bible, the Church – But there is a common denominator: once we reject God as the cornerstone of life there is a no solid foundation upon which to build a life, a family or a nation – we can’t simply blame a godless culture for the state in which we find our country in 2017.  Each of us has played a part in the secularization of America. We’ve done it through apathy, compromise, capitulation and a spirit of rebellion against God and His word.

Three thousand years ago that same spirit rose in Israel. The prophet Samuel made his two sons judges but they were corrupt and dishonest (some swamps never drain!). The people asked for a king claiming distrust of the establishment as their reason. Yet their own words betrayed their real motive. They wanted a king like all the other nations. The Lord then showed Samuel the true reason behind Israel’s desire for a king: I Samuel 8:7, “they have rejected me that I should not reign over them”. I need to look into my own heart and life to examine where I have pushed God out: is it my time, my priorities, my devotion to prayer, study and meditation on the word, my thoughts, attitudes, sin, my attendance at church, have I given into my fears, worries, anxieties, stresses, negativism or my own will? The list is long but I must ask as others have: Is it me, Lord?

God has given us the freedom to choose -  we can accept or reject Him, heed or disregard His word, follow His leading, or wander off on our own! But choices have consequences. Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in 1781 and I think they are even more applicable today “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my county when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever”

First “they” came for the manger…now what?

*All Jefferson quotations from America’s God and Country by Wm. J. Federer published by Fame Publishing.

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