What to do when you fall down in your run toward Jesus

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus…
–  Hebrews 12:1-2

Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
–  1 Corinthians 9:25

Eric Liddell
(2 min, 10 sec)

Heather Dorniden
(2 min, 48 sec)

God and Science

Our current secular age would have us think that science is entirely the province of secularists.  These two short videos from Hillsdale College give just a sample of the actual history of science – history that entire refutes that secular notion.

Science as a field of study is only possible because God has given us an ordered creation.  PBS and NPR would have us believe that science is no place for God.  Common sense – as well as history – tells us otherwise.

The first video lasts 1 min, 26 sec.  The second video lasts 1 min, 34 sec.

 

Abortion is only part of the ugliness in modern human procreation

The same spirit of secularism that is killing babies through abortion is creating them through commercial third-party reproduction.  While we’ve been focused on stopping abortion, assisted-reproductive technology (ART) has been expanding with practically no moral restraint.  It’s prostitution of the womb and it’s manufacturing babies to sell.  And, yes, it’s taking place right under our noses.

Jennifer Roback Morse helps shine some light on the madness that is ART.

(4 min read; 896 words)

Source: In An Industry That Makes People, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? | TheBlaze.com

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

I have not been surprised by the gushing and fawning over the entertainer known as “Prince” among worldly people.  We expect unbelievers to gush and fawn over the luminaries of pop culture, and to act as if their deaths are momentous historic milestones to be marked with sober reflections and pious praise.  For unbelievers, this life and its pleasures are all they have as a claim to significance.  What has surprised me is the gushing and fawning from Christians.

For example, I offer Denny Burk, conservative evangelical college professor, who at least has the common sense to feel a little sheepish about his devotion to the man:

I’m a huge fan of the artist formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”  His music was the soundtrack of about a decade of my young life. In some ways, that is a sad commentary because so much of what he sang about was foul and salacious.

Even more surprising is the lengths to which evangelical Christianity’s flagship magazine, Christianity Today, went to genuflect before Mr. Nelson’s entertainment career:

When word of Prince’s death hit yesterday, what followed was a connected string of remembrances. Over and over, certain words and phrases reappeared: magical, immortal, supernatural. Like the death of David Bowie just a few months ago, Prince Roger Nelson’s death was shocking because most assumed he was already immortal. And yet, he is gone, at the age of 57.

These are just the Christian writer’s first sixty words!  He goes on like this for almost 1,400 more!

At least Burk and Christianity Today made some use of the man’s full name, which is entirely appropriate when reflecting on a man’s life.  Even they, however, quickly reverted to the six-letter mononym, as if to talk about him in any other way would be sacrilegious.  I understand why the entertainer used a stage name – it created a sense of mystique and differentiation for him, as it did for Liberace and still does, I suppose, for Cher.  But his show is over.  We should respect him as a fellow human being, not grovel before an image he had been embellishing and projecting for the purpose of increasing his popularity.

Again, I’m talking about my being perplexed by Christians invoking these “worshipful” tones toward a man who 1) was not known for promoting the Lord Jesus, and 2) was known for promoting sensuality and sexuality.  This is what perplexes me.

What I am about to say next, I say to every Christian, and can be applied to any pop star.

If you mourn for Prince Rogers Nelson because he is a fellow human being worthy of our appreciation as a fellow human being, I understand.

If you mourn for him because you were friend or family to him, I understand.

If you mourn for him because you were the beneficiary of some act of kindness he bestowed on you or someone else, I understand.

If you mourn because he was a great entertainer and an extremely talented musician and singer, I only “sort of” understand.  But it’s not as though he was Mother Theresa feeding orphans in the slums of Calcutta.  Why talk about his work in the same reverential way?  Besides, there are other entertainers…and the world will always have its music.  Is music more important than righteousness?  Do you think Jesus is more impressed by a fancy guitar lick than by turning the other cheek?

If, however, you are a Christian and you mourn Nelson’s loss because of the “greatness” of his life and impact on our generation, then I am really perplexed.  I have to question how deeply the knowledge of Jesus Christ – and what He considered to qualify as “greatness” – has seeped into your consciousness.  Do you really take Jesus’ teachings to heart?

If you know much about my perspective on His teachings, you know that I believe every human being goes to heaven.  Therefore, Prince Rogers Nelson enjoys a place somewhere there.  And I am for this reason happy for him.  However, he did not achieve residence in heaven because of his career as an entertainer, but rather because of the magnanimous grace of the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.  And the same will go for you and me.

If anyone deserves gushing and fawning, it is the One who has made a place for everyone in heaven.  In fact, He deserves a glowing eulogy every day that we take a breath.

Raising Awareness

It seems that everyone is raising awareness of this or that cause these days.

Wikipedia defines the term “raising awareness” this way:

Consciousness raising (also called awareness raising) is a form of activism, popularized by United States feminists in the late 1960s. It often takes the form of a group of people attempting to focus the attention of a wider group of people on some cause or condition.

Of course, consciousness raising has gone way beyond feminism.  Outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins even says he wants to raise consciousness about atheism.  One area where raising consciousness has really taken root is with regard to diseases.  People wear pink ribbons to raise awareness of breast cancer.  Various colored-ribbons have been adopted to raise awareness of various other diseases.  Nor have consciousness-raising techniques been limited to ribbon wearing.  In 2014, it became all the rage for people to make a video of pouring a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness of the disease ALS.  (I had to look it up to find out the cause, so maybe it raised more awareness for buckets of ice water than it did for ALS.)

So, it seems we’re constantly having our consciousness raised for one thing or another.  Why then do people get so disturbed when someone tries to raise awareness of Jesus Christ?  It’s eerie how easily perturbed they are by any respectful mention of His name in a public setting.

What makes any reference to Jesus even more upsetting to people is when we talk about His having died for our sins.  It’s that “sin” aspect that really seems to distress them, for if Jesus is portrayed to them (as He is by some) as a wimpy do-gooder with no qualms about hedonism, they seem less bothered.  Yet if sin is a disease that kills people (and that is surely what Jesus believed), then why is raising awareness of it disallowed when raising awareness of other diseases (such as breast cancer and ALS) is so freely allowed and even welcomed?

Speaking about Mary, the angel told Joseph:

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
–  Matthew 1:21

Please think about this:  Why do so many people resist having their consciousness raised about Jesus Christ?  Didn’t your life become better once you stopped resisting the awareness of this Jesus about whom the angel spoke?

2016 HAS To Be Disturbing…Because 2015 Was

Peggy Noonan seems to have spoken for a lot of people in her Wall Street Journal column last week.  Here’s her title with its subtext:  “That Moment When 2016 Hits You: ‘I felt a wave of sadness,’ said one friend. This year’s politics have that effect on a lot of Americans.”  Here’s how she began the column:

Have you had your 2016 Moment? I think you probably have, or will.

The Moment is that sliver of time in which you fully realize something epochal is happening in politics, that there has never been a presidential year like 2016, and suddenly you are aware of it in a new, true and personal way. It tends to involve a poignant sense of dislocation, a knowledge that our politics have changed and won’t be going back.

And here’s how she ends it:

Because my country is in trouble.

Because I felt anguish at all the estrangements.

Because some things that shouldn’t have changed have changed.

Because too much is being lost. Because the great choice in a nation of 320 million may come down to Crazy Man versus Criminal.

And yes, I know this is all personal, and not column-ish.

But that was my Moment.

You’ll feel better the next day, I promise, but you won’t be able to tell yourself that this is history as usual anymore. This is big, what we’re living through.

Noonan and others consider 2016 a big deal, but don’t they realize that 2015 with its Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision was even bigger?  That court decision struck down a definition of marriage that had been standing throughout the entirety of human civilization.  Do people think that we’re going to choose to do  something profoundly irrational in one year and then in the next year everyone’s going to go back to being rational?  Something as fundamental to the human race as the family can’t be upset without upsetting every other realm of social relations – including politics.

Am I saying the primary voters have been making their choices about candidates with a consciousness of Obergefell v. Hodges?  No.  Every candidate in both parties has either agreed with the decision or capitulated to it.  Instead, I am saying that if people’s thinking has become irrational enough to either agree with this decision or else capitulate to it then that irrationality will show up in other decisions they make.

So, if you’re dismayed by 2016, I understand.  But if you’re surprised by it, then you must have thought that 2015 was either the right decision about marriage or else that it was a wrong decision we could put behind us and return to normal.  Neither is true.

The key sentence in Peggy Noonan’s column, though she might not have realized it, was this one:

Because some things that shouldn’t have changed have changed.

We Dwell in a Fiery Furnance

We dwell in a fiery furnace, but we do not bow the knee.

Consider the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah – better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 3:1-30; the three having been previously mentioned in Daniel 1:1-20 and 2:48-49).  These three young men survived the fiery furnace because there stood in their midst a fourth “like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25 KJV).

There stands in our midst the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we shall not be burned…and not even the smell of smoke shall cling to our clothes (Daniel 3:27).

When the king of Babylon and his servants demand that we worship the image they have set up (Daniel 3:14-15), we respond:

“[W]e do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
–  Daniel 3:16-18

Open your eyes, O child of God, and recognize that we now live in Babylon, and that we are daily – and increasingly – being asked to worship falsehoods.  Rather, it is being demanded of us to worship falsehoods.  Yet the God of truth will be with us…if we will remain true to Him.

Though we dwell in a fiery furnace, we will not bow the knee.

We are not seeking religious liberty – we are seeking righteousness.

Christians and Christian organizations who are calling for “religious liberty” in our day are making a mistake.  It is a mistake for three reasons:

  1. Secular society is not going to grant us religious liberty.  They do not consider themselves religious and therefore they see no value in such a liberty.  Instead, they see religious liberty as a license to flaunt their secular values.  Their commitment to secular values will not allow them to grant religious liberty.  Religious liberty is a Judeo-Christian value; when society rejected Judeo-Christian values to pursue the Sexual Revolution they rejected the basis for religious liberty as well.
  2. Even if we were to be granted religious liberty on these issues, it would only open the door for government to equally support others religions – religions that sanction polygamy, beheading, and other abhorrent practices.
  3. By calling for religious liberty, we are changing the subject and putting the emphasis on our own welfare.  The problem with Obergefell v. Hodges is that it is bad public policy.  We should not be telling society, “As long as you leave us alone and don’t make us participate, we’ll shut up about it.”  We should love people enough to tell them it’s wrong even if they hate us for telling them (2 Corinthians 13:7).

Abortion is wrong.  We are not content with a religious liberty that allows us to avoid participation in an abortion (“We don’t smoke and we don’t chew, and we don’t go with boys who do”).  We will not make ourselves out to the victims because it is the babies who are the victims.  Rather, we will continue to maintain that abortion is wrong until the killing stops.  Likewise, we stand against every other practice of the Sexual Revolution, for they are all corruptions of decent human behavior and they all bring forth toxic consequences for any society that practices them – and especially societies that condone them.  (And how much more societies that celebrate them!)

I don’t say that Christians shouldn’t accept or benefit from religious liberty.  Where you can obtain it, take it.  But religious liberty is not what we seek, because that would be seeking to protect ourselves from the effects of persecution.  That is, it would be selfish of us.  Rather than seek relief for ourselves we should be seeking relief for the manifold victims of the sexual revolution, who are first and foremost children.

Eating food is pleasurable, but pleasure is not the purpose for which our Creator gave us the practice of eating.  Otherwise, bulimia would be a desirable behavior because it accepts the pleasure of eating while rejecting the nutritional purpose of eating .  Likewise, marital intimacy is pleasurable, but pleasure is not the purpose for which our Creator gave us the practice of marital intimacy.  The Sexual Revolution is an attempt to divorce the pleasures of marital relations from the responsibilities of marital relations.  What God has joined together cannot be put asunder without negative consequences.  We don’t want our government to grant us permission to skip the orgy that is the Sexual Revolution, we want them to stop promoting and celebrating it!  And we won’t be quiet until they do…regardless of the cost.

Our Lord suffered for us.  We will certainly not complain about having to suffer for Him.