Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Turmoil in the Middle East; Signs of the Return of the King

The situation in the Middle East is becoming more tense by the day.  Last weekend two rockets were launched from within the Gaza Strip headed for Tel Aviv, the largest city within Israel.  According to reports, Israel's Iron Dome defense system destroyed one of the incoming rockets, while the second landed harmlessly in a field.  Residents living in Tel Aviv heard the sirens and headed for the nearest shelters.  Having traveled through Tel Aviv on numerous occasions, I can only begin to imagine the confusion and chaos those sirens created. 

Within hours of their launching, Israel's IDF retaliated striking over 100 targets associated with Hamas within the Gaza Strip.  Later it was revealed that the two rockets launched from within the Gaza Strip had been fired in err.  One might have thought that the leadership of Hamas would have been more careful, knowing the retaliatory impact of Israel. 

To Israel's north more tunnels created by Hezbollah have been found.  Recently the leadership of Hezbollah has stated that they now possess rockets that can strike any city within Israel, including both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  Where did they get those rockets? you might ask.  They are a gift from the people of Iran who have as a stated goal the complete destruction of the nation of Israel.  As the Syrian Civil War appears to be in its waning days, it is clear that President Assad will be remaining in power.  That means that he will retain his support base from Moscow and Tehran.  Of course this will keep Israel on a high state of alert in the Golan Heights. 

Meanwhile, the nation of Israel is in the midst of a national campaign to determine which political party will retain power following the April 9 elections.  To further complicate the process, it appears that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be indicted for fraud and conspiracy charges. What will such an indictment have upon the Israeli voters on April 9?  Could there be a changing of the political guard in Israel?  If so, what will that look like? 

Following the April 9 elections, it appears that President Trump will introduce his "Deal of the Century" that will bring peace in the Middle East.  Much is unknown of this plan although some portions have been leaked to the press.  One such leak has to do with the Temple Mount and the change from a Jordanian authority to a Saudi Arabian authority over the Temple Mount.  Personally I wonder what impact this would have upon the Jewish access to the Temple Mount site.  Would the Saudi's grant Israel the right to build the third temple upon the Temple Mount?  Would the Jewish leaders build a temple next to the Dome of the Rock?  These are some of the many questions that would be reflected upon.  Another leak involved the separation of the Old City into two halves.  Again, having walked through the streets and alleys of the Old City many times and discovering how one quarter leads to another, I wonder how such a division would work. 

Let me be honest with you all.  I do not believe that there will be any peace-accord in the Middle East until the end of the age.  I read in Daniel 9:26-27 about a leader who is coming who will sign a peace agreement with the people of Israel.  This agreement will be the commencement of that period of time we know as the Tribulation.  That leader who will initiate this peace agreement will be the Antichrist.  Is President Trump's "Deal of the Century" that peace accord?  Probably not, but it might be the forerunner of such an accord. 

Anyway, I believe the world is literally rushing toward that one-world government.  The clamor among the political candidates in America is toward a progressive-socialistic government where the bureaucracy dictates what people earn.  There is no lack to their imagination as to how to spend other people's money: from free college tuition to a guaranteed job to free medical care.  Yet none of those things is truly free; someone has to pay for them.  There is an increased dialogue about implanting infrared digital chips in humans as a way to manage buying and selling.  John describes something very similar in Revelation 13.  Could those chips be the mark of the beast?  Interesting comparisons you have to admit.  I am preaching this Sunday on the discussion Jesus had with His disciples in answer to their question of how the world would end.  As I read and studied it was almost as if Jesus was peering into the 21st century.  The accuracy is electric.  Yes, the end is not far distant. 

These are days in which we need to keep our eyes focused upon the truths within the Word of God and also focused upon those things happening within our world.  The former will explain the significance of the later for us.  And we need to keep our ears attuned to the sounding of the trumpet.  In addition, we need to be busy working as the hands and feet of Jesus to help others to know the grace and love Jesus has for them.  Yes, the Kingdom is coming.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Worldwide Persecution of Christians; The Impact of Technology upon Teens

I apologize for not getting a blog written last week.  But Marlys and I had the opportunity of flying down to Phoenix where we met our daughter and grandson for some spring training.  What a delight to go from winter white to desert brown, from subzero nights to balmy sunshine, from the sound of snowmobiles to the crack of a bat.  Sort of rejuvenated our spirits.  Spent time in the Rangers, Cubs, and Padres camps.  Fun to see baseball once again. 

But now we are home and some news items, some of which you probably never heard from the mainstream media.  A week ago, Raymond Ibrahim published an article titled, "11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith."  It was published by the Middle East Forum and can be found at:  He writes, "Last year, Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era - and this year is expected to be worse: '4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons,' according to Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 of the top 50 nations where Christians are persecuted.  'On average, that's 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.'  Additionally, '2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned' in 2018, and '1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.'

"Whereas 215 million Christians faced persecutions in 2018, 245 million will suffer in 2019, according to Open Doors - a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith.  This means that '1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide.'

"One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the 'shocking reality of persecution against women.'  'In many places, they experience a "double persecution" - one for being a Christian and one for being a woman.  Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.'"

Ibrahim cites that the majority of the persecution of Christians comes from Muslim-dominated countries.  Seven of the top 10 in the World Watch List are Islamic countries.  Even in our country we are seeing the gradual escalation in the attacks upon Christians.  Businesses have been impacted, lawsuits have been issued, harassment has been experienced.  I recall the words from the pen of the Apostle John: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:19-20).  As we near the day of Christ's return, I believe that those who dare to stand upon God's truth will increasingly become the target of Satan's assaults.  Oh how we need to be fully clothed with the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

I was intrigued with an article written by Robin Smith and titled, "Many Teens Stressed, Depressed, Obsessed with Self."  You can find this article at:  I found this to be a fascinating and informative article.  Allow me to quote portions of it.  The author begins: "Inarguably, there is a rise in the incidence of depression, anxiety, serious mental illness diagnoses and, yes, suicide among teenagers and young adults.  Why?  There's no one cause and there are numerous risk factors.  Among those cited by the Mayo Clinic for both depression and anxiety, there are a few that deserve a bit of discussion.

"There are environmental factors that impact mental health.  Among those factors are parenting, specifically the presence of the father in the home.  Not having a dad in the home doesn't necessarily predispose anyone to mental illness.  But data is significant in volume and validity that children and students perform better in school when both parents are present in the home and have the long-term benefit of a more stable response to stress and traumatic experiences that, sadly, are relatively routine in life.  Other environmental factors include exposure to either repeated stress or abuse, specifically physical, sexual or emotional abuse, as well as trauma, but conditioning is absolutely part of how our bodies respond and react. 

"With reinforcement and repeated exposures, a behavior becomes 'normal.'  There was a day when face-to-face conversation was normal with social interaction involving eye contact and personal interaction.  Today, in the 'selfie' generation, it's more common and, yes, normal, to respond by emojis, texts, and photos posted in social media than to have the face-to-face stimulation and interaction of another human or group.  We've become beings that are driven by content nor reasoning and discussion. 

Now listen to what the author describes next.  I found this so revelatory.  "In this new normal of social media, absent physical presence and contact, several problems are inherent.  First, whether in anger, frustration or emphasis of point, statements and communications via a device are not filtered by human empathy or care.  There was a time that most would never dare say many of the things typed out in response via software platforms that safely distance individuals from personal accountability or thoughtfulness.

"Second, bullying, intimidation, and the declaration of false information as truth is not only easier, but a growing problem.  When looking at the instances of bullying that have led to teens committing suicide or engaging in self-destructive behavior, too often, the posse of the platforms of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are found as key ingredients, used to target and marginalize a person.  Again, these platforms permit a degree of distance that direct communication does not afford."

The author closes with these words: "As careers and professions demand more and more employment of high-tech touches, a deliberate effort must be made by all to establish that nothing replaces the impact of family, friends, and the community right around us.  We're seeing the deleterious long-term outcomes of kids with the inability to cope, to communicate and to deal with conflict due to the one-way communication of technology.  It's time to embrace more than just the 'selfie' approach to life and live it."

This article was arresting for me.  I remember  as a boy growing up that if you wanted to talk with your friends you did one of two things: you either picked up the phone, dialed their number, and talked with them over the phone, or you met them at the drugstore or ice cream shop where you talked and drank a "Green River" or a "cherry phosphate."  I looked back upon the past two weeks of my life and I cannot recall having a phone conversation.  I sent many emails and many texts - most of which were short.  Face-to-face conversations really are not very common today.  If this is what has happened to my generation, what has happened to that generation that has always lived with "high-tech?"  For them a conversation is done in 120 characters or less.  You say what you want to say without considering the person being talked about.  Life is not only about ourselves, but is to have its focus upon others. 

Technology is a great tool, but let us not forget that God has created each one of us to be within a community.  We are designed to be relational. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

More Signs of the Times to Ponder

It is not often that we can report on some good news, so will begin there with this blog.  I have been following the General Conference of the United Methodist Church which closed their meeting last night in St. Louis.  Of particular interest to me was the decision on whether to continue the policy regarding same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals that had been adopted in 1972.  This policy became known as the Traditional Plan.  Last night, by a vote of 438-384, the Conference affirmed that 1972 decision, stating that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."  Now the question will focus upon those United Methodist churches that have affirmed same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals.  Tom Berlin, who pastors a church in the Washington suburb of Herndon, Virginia, told Reuters that "with the new plan in place, some church members would risk losing their credentials to practice their belief in LGBT rights." 

Personally, I applaud the delegates who affirmed that same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals violates scriptural principles.  One wonders if this will cause a fracturing within the United Methodist Church.  As we witnessed a few years ago when the Anglican Church was debating a similar position, the strength of the African Church and their holding to traditional orthodoxy became evident.  It is not often that we witness "good news" in the debate between the Church and contemporary culture.  So, thank you delegates to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church for standing strongly upon biblical truth. 

This past Monday I read an article posted by the Jerusalem Post, one of the leading papers within Israel.  The article was written by Herb Keinon and can be found at:  The article begins, "If Jews are interested in establishing a Jewish community in Egypt, the government will build synagogues and other communal institutions, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told a US delegation during a two-hour meeting last week."

"President Sisi spoke fondly not only of Egypt's past vibrant Jewish community, but also said that should there be a resurgence of the Jewish community in Egypt, the government will provide every religious necessity required..."  The article continues "that Sisi also promised to clean up the ancient Bassatine Cemetery in Cairo, a cemetery dating back to the ninth century and believed to be the second-oldest Jewish cemetery in the world.  In December, Sisi also announced a multimillion dollar project to restore Jewish heritage sites in Egypt." 

As I was reading this article, my mind was drawn to those prophetic words from Isaiah as recorded for us in Isaiah 19:19-22, which reads, "In that day (a reference to the end times) there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border.  It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt.  When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.  So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD.  They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them.  The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them.  They will turn to the LORD and he will respond to their pleas and heal them."  Could this invitation by President Sisi to the Jews be a prelude to an even greater work that God is going to do in Egypt?  Could this invitation to the Jews be another sign that we are nearing the sounding of the trumpet?  I do not believe in coincidences.  I believe God is at work. 

On February 4, a meeting was held in Abu Dhabi that really "traveled under the radar screen" for many of us.  Yet this meeting held great prophetic significance.  At that meeting Pope Francis signed an historic interfaith covenant with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, one of the most important Imams within Sunni Islamic world.  The document includes this statement: "In the name of God and of everything stated thus far, Al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Muslims of the East and West, together with the Catholic Church and the Catholics of the East and West, declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path, mutual cooperation as the code of conduct, reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.  We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing."

Friends, this is not new thinking.  Pope John Paul II was committed to the creation of a "big tent" in which all the religions of the world could be gathered.  This would create some type of panacea for the world.  This one-world religion will happen.  A careful reading of Revelation 13 will reveal that truth.  It will be a religion that has bent backing and strong support of the Antichrist.  This is just another sign that the sounding of the trumpet is near.  One can only begin to ask this question: Is the false prophet alive today, and just who might he be?

One final news item, and this one grieves my heart to report.  On Monday evening, within the sacred halls of the United States Senate, a vote was taken that stunned many of us.  A bill, sponsored by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, had been introduced.  Senator Sasse's bill would protect with full constitutional rights any child who survived an abortion.  In other words, this bill would protect a baby, a little boy or little girl.  Under Senate rules, it would take 60 votes to bring this bill forward for a vote.  You would have thought that 100 Senators would vote in favor of this bill.  But, 44 Senators actually voted against allowing this bill to be brought for a vote.  As Tony Perkins writes, "Last night on the Senate floor, we saw with gut-wrenching clarity what we really are: a nation where 44 of our most powerful men and women would order America to back away from a table where struggling newborns cry out for help.  It was the birth of a new extreme: Democrats for infanticide." ( Senator Sasse urged his colleagues to vote in favor of the bill: "We've heard speech after speech after speech that have nothing to do with what's actually in this bill.  I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that's already been born, that's outside the womb gasping for air.  That's the only thing that today's vote is actually about.  We're talking about babies that have already been born... We're not talking about Roe v. Wade." 

President Trump responded to the vote: "Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children.  The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don't mind executing babies AFTER birth.  This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress.  If there is one thing we should all agree on, it's protecting the lives of innocent babies." 

Tony Perkins continues, "These are not 'choices' writhing on a metal table.  They're not 'medical options' being thrown away in a heap of dirty towels.  These are innocent human beings, as real as any son or daughter smiling from the picture frames in Senate offices.  But in a party beholden to a powerful abortion lobby, only three Democrats - Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va), Doug Jones (Ala), and Bob Casey (Pa) - had the moral courage to say that infanticide is wrong.  The others, including all five Democratic 2020 hopefuls, are so committed to killing that they'll allow it after birth."

What a sad day for America!  Abortion is one thing, infanticide is another.  Both are morally reprehensible.  If Congress so quickly turns its back upon innocent children, one can only wonder what they will do when it comes time to turn its back upon the growing population of seniors.  It is just a small step from infanticide to euthanasia - a very small step. 

But all of these are signs that we are nearing the great staging of the rapture of the Church.  What a glorious day that will be.  Friends, keep looking up; yet also keep pressing forward with the business of the King. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dangers of Our Times

One of my favorite lines from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is this: "It is always winter and never Christmas" in the land of Narnia.  Looks like that now here in Minnesota.  Yesterday we set the record for most snowfall in the month of February - over 31 inches; it just doesn't want to quit snowing.  And we still have March to go.  The snow is piling up with mountains of snow gracing parking lots all over the metro area.  Yes, everything looks beautiful with its deep, white winter mantel.  The snow is a reminder to us of how cleansed we are when forgiven by God.  Praise God for that forgiveness.  But so many of us are ready for some green grass and blooming flowers.

Well, the 2020 presidential campaign is beginning to heat-up.  The Democratic field increases almost weekly.  As one surveys that field of candidates, one is hard-pressed to name one declared candidate who would be considered to be "mainstream."  The preponderance of candidates are leaning very much to the left, in fact, some of them dangerously so.  I was just reading this morning about Senator Bernie Sanders who recently announced his candidacy for 2020.  He will be running on a campaign theme of racial, social, and economic equality for all.  Yet, according to the news source, Senator Sanders and his wife own three homes, two in Vermont and a townhome in Washington DC.  So, I would like to ask Senator Sanders if he becomes the nominee, will he be selling his three homes and living in something more modest like the majority of Americans?  Then I read that Senator Elizabeth Warren has a net worth of $7.8 million.  Now I am not criticizing her net worth, yet she has consistently attacked those in the 1% who do not pay their "fair share" of taxes.  I would like to ask her if she is paying her "fair share" or if she employs the "loop holes" to benefit herself?  Oh the hypocrisy today, and sadly, it is not even disguised any longer.  It is blatant and open.  We are in for months of candidates advocating everything from free health care for all, to free college tuition, to a guaranteed job at a livable wage.  Those may sound very nice, but they are also excessively expensive.  Someone will have to pay the bill.  Now I wonder who that someone might be?  I look at one of those "someones" every morning in the mirror.  Yes, you and I will be paying the bill; more correctly stated - our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying the bill.  It will create a debt that will never be repaid - ever! 

Also of concern to me is the continued assault upon the State of Israel and of Judaism itself.  In an article published by the group United with Israel (, Ira Stoll writes: "The New York Times is suddenly and retroactively blaming Israel for motivating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, without much evidence to support the claim. ...The Times reports, 'The suffering of the Palestinians has long been an animating cause for Al Qaeda, a stand-in for the victimization of Muslims at the hands of Western powers.  Biographies of Osama bin laden say that as an adolescent, he cried watching news coverage of displaced Palestinians who had been forced off their land."  Just as Hitler blamed the Jews for all the problems within 1930's Germany, so the New York Times is now saying that it was the Israelis who caused the attacks of September 11, 2001. 

Around the world we are seeing the rise of anti-Semitism.  We have watched the assaults upon the Jewish communities in Europe.  We have witnessed the increase hostilities toward Israel and the Jewish communities within the United Nations.  No other nation on the face of the globe has had as many negative resolutions hurled at it by the General Assembly and the Security Council as has Israel.  And now we have a strong anti-Semitic presence within our United States House of Representatives.  Sadly Ilhan Omar is from the State of Minnesota.  She is the first Somali representative ever elected to Congress.  I remember that fall during the campaign, many were concerned about her strong pro-Palestinian positions and her equally strong anti-Israel positions.  Once she was elected she did not waste any time in letting the world know that she was opposed to Israel.  She even tweeted that she believed that AIPAC had bought off many of those within Congress.  She quickly removed that tweet, but her bias was once again exposed. 

Friends, over the past few years I have read a lot about those days before World War II.  The parallels between our time and those days is shocking.  I strongly encourage you to read Erwin Lutzer's book titled, "When A Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany."  This is an excellent book for a group discussion.  With blame already being cast at the Jews, all it took was for the rise of a man to ignite that firestorm of anti-Semitism that resulted in the "final solution."  In many ways we are awaiting the rise of another "Hitler" who will do the same.  And, furthermore, we know that such a person will arise.  We know him via his biblical title, "The Antichrist." 

These are indeed very interesting and exciting days in which we are living.  But, for me, the excitement is predicated upon the foundation of knowing that Jesus Christ is going to return.  That God has a plan that He is overseeing through the affairs of this world.  That the King will soon come to claim His rightful throne in Jerusalem, ruling with a rod of truth and justice.  But, I have to admit that if I did not have that lens through which to view our world, I would be filled with utmost despair.  Oh the difference Jesus Christ brings!   

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

So Where Ae We Headed?

Last week Marlys and I were down in sunny Dallas sharing some time with our grandkids there.  What fun to sit beside their pool soaking in the sun!  Around us were the evidences that spring will soon be in Texas.  What an awakening as we flew back into Minneapolis to more snow and more cold.  I am beginning to understand the mindset of "snow birds."  So, in the midst of time in Texas, I did not get a blog written last week.  But I want to share some important news with you . 

When the Roe v Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court was enacted back on January 22, 1973, the lines were drawn concerning abortion.  How late into the pregnancy could an abortion be performed?  When would the developing baby reach the point of viability?  But the ultimate question was when does life truly begin?  For many life only begins when the baby is delivered and is outside of the womb.  For others, life begins when a fetal heartbeat can be heard.  For those of us who are followers of Christ, life begins the moment of conception.  Over the succeeding years, tens of millions of babies have been aborted - many of them for the reason of convenience. 

But a new "low" was made public in the state of Virginia.  Gary Bauer, in a posting at The Patriot Post website, shared portions of an interview between Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert and Delegate Kathy Tran, the author of a bill that would permit abortion up to the point of birth: "Under questioning from Del. Todd Gilbert (R), Tran acknowledged, 'I don't think we have a limit in the bill.'  Gilbert pressed further, asking Tran if a woman who was 'dilating' and about to give birth could still request an abortion.  Tran answered, 'My bill would allow that, yes.'"  (

When Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was asked about the bill - which was defeated, by the way - he argued, "If a mother is in labor ... the infant would be delivered.  The infant would be kept comfortable.  The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and mother." (

Friends, we have now reached the point in the abortion debate where we are sliding down the slippery slope toward infanticide - the willful murder of children outside of the womb.  This is what the ancient Romans did.  A child would be born.  He or she would then be brought to the father who would determine whether the child would be accepted or rejected.  If the father rejected the child, it would be left to die.  Perhaps there were any number of reasons why a baby would be rejected: the hair color was wrong, the ears were too big, it was a girl and not a boy. 

In his article, Gary Bauer asks this question: "Why stop at birth?  On what moral basis can the left say that if a mother gets depressed 24 hours later, she can't change her mind and be allowed to kill her baby then? ... If an abortion is okay after 20 weeks, why not when the mother is dilating and the baby is beginning to crown?  And there isn't much of a difference 24 hours later."

I had the privilege to share with a group of men this morning that I believed that our culture was descending rapidly into the quagmire of paganism.  If you read the descriptions of those Canaanite cultures that God instructed the people of Israel to completely destroy, and if one reads the account of Paul about the Roman culture in which he lived, there is great similarities with our culture today.  I believe we have advanced past the "post-Christian" culture to the "anti-Christian" culture. 

Yet, my friends, we should not despair.  It was in the midst of that depraved, pagan Roman culture that the Church grew so phenomenally.  And why was that?  I believe it was because Christians truly were set apart from that culture.  This has always been God's plan - to use a separated people to minister His truth into a pagan culture.  That was God's original design for Israel as they crossed the Jordan River into the land of the Canaanites.  That was God's original design for the Church.  But what happened to the people of Israel?  They compromised with the culture.  They adapted to the culture around them.  They absorbed that culture into their own.  As a consequence, their testimony became distorted and ineffective.  What has happened to the Church?  They have followed in the pattern of ancient Israel.  As a consequence, the Church has lost its distinctive edge. 

Is there still time for the Church to have another awakening?  Perhaps, but I believe that time is running out at a more rapid pace than we even imagine.  It is time for each one of us to shake off the apathy and spiritual drowsiness that have infected us.  It is time to go to war.  It is time to do what Jude declares: "snatch others from the fire and save them" (Jude 23). 

Another sign of the times is the increased focus upon the worship of planet earth.  This became evident these past few days with the increased publicity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "new green deal."  Within ten years, no more airline travel.  (I wonder how I will get tour groups to Israel then, pretty long bridge!)  Within ten years, no more meat.  (I had lunch this past week with a farmer and he said that I should enjoy that steak because cows will soon be no more).  Within ten years, no more gas-fired furnaces, no more backyard bar-b-ques, no more gas-powered cars.  Friends, it will take lots and lots of money to pay for all this.  And where will the money come from?  Yep, you guessed it: from your pockets and from mine, along with a rapidly escalating debt that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will inherit. 

Yes, this is an amazing planet that God has given to us.  But His instructions were NOT to worship it, but to superintend over it.  Can we and should we do a better job of superintending our planet?  Absolutely.  But when we worship our planet, then we have descended, once again, into paganism.  Friends, "green" is beautiful, and about this time of year here in Minnesota, "green" becomes something we long for.  "White" is good, but "green" is better! 

Friends, let's wake up because our Redemption is soon to arrive.  Are you ready for when that trumpet blows? 


Monday, January 28, 2019

Abortion - New York Got It Wrong

My blog is coming out earlier this week because its subject just cannot wait.  I want to share concerning the January 22, 2019 decision by the New York State Legislature concerning abortion.  As you know, January 22 was the 46th anniversary of the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.  Since that decision tens of millions of boys and girls have been aborted.  They were never given the opportunity of receiving any love from a mom or dad.  They never were given the privilege of getting a hug from a loving aunt or uncle.  They never played a game of baseball or played a trumpet.  They never had the opportunity to go to school.   Perhaps one of those aborted boys or girls was given the key to the prevention of cancer or heart disease.  We will never know because their lives were snuffed out before they were born. 

This past January 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act.  This bill was passed by a 92 to 47 majority in the New York House, and by a 38 to 24 vote in the New York Senate.  What does the Reproductive Health Act do?  The bill grants legality to an abortion even if it is just moments before the baby is to be born.  That's right!  A child in the womb can be aborted at any time prior to its birth.  And the killing of a child in the womb comes with no criminality associated with it at all.  As Stacey Lennox at The Resurgent wrote, "So in New York, no one can be prosecuted for the deliberate or accidental killing of an unborn child and health is so broadly defined as to make almost any issue sufficient for a woman to request an abortion.  ... New York just legalized Kermit Gosnell." (

New York just declared that a baby has absolutely no rights before it is born - not even the right to life itself.  There are hunting regulations in New York on deer, but no hunting regulations on babies. 

CBS New York reports, "Provisions in the bill include dropping most restrictions on abortion after 24 weeks, allowing midwives and nurse practitioners to perform abortions and ending criminal charges for harming children in the womb." (article cited above).  In other words, an abortion does not necessarily have to be performed by a licensed physician. 

But as much as I detested and was abhorred by the signing of the bill, it was the celebratory atmosphere afterwards that made me want to gag.  Governor Cuomo, upon signing the bill, said, "The Reproductive Health Act is a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values.  In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v Wade and women's reproductive rights, I promised that we would enact this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session - and we got it done.  I am directing that New York's landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow." (from article cited above.)

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue said, "This is not the passage of abortion rights, but the permission to commit infanticide and call it by another name.  An eight-pound baby can survive outside the womb with very little medical aid.  If this isn't demonic, the word has no meaning."
(article written by Tony Perkins,

Meanwhile, also on January 22, Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert stuck down Iowa's so called "fetal heartbeat" law.  Judge Huppert declared that Iowa's law, which was one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation, was unconstitutional.  Planned Parenthood of the Heartland immediately responded with praise for Judge Hubbert's actions: "Today's ruling is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion.  We are pleased that especially today, on the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe v Wade, abortion care was upheld as a safe and legal part of basic reproductive health care."  Personally, I prefer the opinion of Iowa's Governor Kim Reynolds who said, "I am incredibly disappointed in today's court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life."  And the Governor is absolutely correct.

Permit me to share with you one of the most powerful statements in the Bible concerning life as it develops within the womb.  Psalm 139 was written by David - when? the Bible does not tell us.  But I like to think that he wrote it as he watched his young son struggle with life before he was ushered into God's presence.  Listen to these amazing words from a dad:
     "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:13-17).

Friends, I believe what happened on January 22, 2019, will create a stench in the nostrils of God.  How can we point the finger of accusation at the pagans for offering their children as sacrifices to Molech and Chemosh and a host of other deities when we offer our children as sacrifices on the altar to convenience and self-centeredness? 

Are you angry at what happened?  Do we not affirm that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  I guess that affirmation does not apply to a baby growing in his or her mother's womb.  I guess that baby has no rights.  I guess that baby has no value.  But I am grateful that he or she does have eternal value to God. 

Friends, how we need to speak for those who have no voice - the children yet unborn.  How we need to plead their case so that they can be given the opportunity to live.  It is time that we get riled up and get into the fight.  The lives of the next generation are depending upon us for their very survival. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Anger of the Left Demonstrated Once Again

In last week's blog posting, I shared about how the Left is working diligently to dissuade Christians from being part of the political dialogue in America today.  Not only Christian values but Christians themselves are being assaulted.  This past weekend we witnessed a most blatant attack upon the wife of our Vice President simply because she had returned as a volunteer teacher to a private Christian school.

Tony Perkins wrote a scathing article against the Left and exonerating Karen Pence.  You can read the entire article at:  The author begins his article with these powerful, yet insightful words: "It was supposed to be a day celebrating religious freedom in America.  Instead, liberals decided to show everyone just how much our First Freedom is at risk.  For Christians, who've tried to warn people that these last several years were about a lot more than marriage, the attacks on Second Lady Karen Pence certainly seem to prove their point.  Three years after Obergefell, all of the lies about 'love' and 'tolerance' have been eclipsed by the court cases, articles, and editorial demonizing people of faith.  What Americans see now is the truth: the Left is coming for our freedom.  And they have no intention of letting up."

Note: You will remember that the Obergefell decision legalized same-sex marriage within our country.  It was one of those Supreme Court decisions, like Roe v Wade, that has left a dark stain upon our nation's moral structure. 

What did Karen Pence do that incurred the wrath and hate-filled speech from those on the Left?  Her crime was volunteering to teach art at Immanuel Christian School, a private Christian school.  Karen Pence said, "I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do.  I have missed teaching art, and it's great to return to the school where I taught art for 12 years."  This all sounds pretty innocent, doesn't it?  Why would anyone get all bent-out-of-shape?  Well, Immanuel Christian School has a policy of only condoning biblical marriage - that of one man to one woman.  Perkins quotes from CNN's Kate Bennett: "'So, lemme get this straight.  The second lady of the United States has chosen to work at a school that openly discriminates against LGBT adults and children?'"  He then quotes from Ben Shapiro, a conservative columnist: "'So, lemme get this straight.  You're a reporter but you've never heard of religious people before? BREAKIN: Pence's wife is working for a Christian school that requires that Christian students pledge to abide by Christian standards of sin that have not changed in 2,000 years.'"

Perkins continues: "There used to be a consensus in this country that religious liberty was for everyone.  When the Religious Freedom Restoration Act came before Congress, only three members voted against it.  Over time, some liberals tried to isolate faith - to churches, Christian schools, or family rooms.  You've heard me say before that the Left's hope is to quarantine religion within the four walls of the church.  Now, it's becoming clear - even that won't satisfy them."  He closes his article by quoting from Matt Walsh, a writer for the Daily Wire: "Suddenly, even Christianity behind closed doors, on private property, in a private school, is a target of outrage and scorn.  It was a lie all along.  They were never planning to stop outside the walls of our homes and our churches and our schools.  That's just what they said to lull us to sleep.  Now the next phase begins." 

As I shared with my congregation this past Sunday, we are going to see an acceleration of these attacks upon Christians in the marketplaces, especially those in the arena of politics and governmental service.  How we need to be prepared to "stand firm against the assaults of the evil one." 

I trust you have been paying attention to what is happening in the Middle East these past few weeks.  Given President Trump's statement that American troops will begin leaving Syria, it seems that Israel has stepped up its air assaults upon the Iranian backed Assad regime.  This past week Israel launched a series of day-time air raids targeting Iranian military depots outside of Damascus.  Israeli forces also discovered several more tunnels along the northern border with Lebanon that Hezbollah had dug for the purpose of invading Israel.  And the situation along the Israeli-Gazan border remains on high alert.  To make this even more complex, Israelis are in the midst of a national election.  Because the coalition Prime Minister Netanyahu had created crumbled, the Knesset (Israel's equivalent to our Congress) was dissolved and new elections were mandated for early in April.  Although, according to latest polling, Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading, there is much concern over a possible criminal indictment against him.  Israel continues to bear a careful watching as we await the trumpet to sound.

The political gridlock continues in Washington.  Even President Trump's State of the Union speech, scheduled for next Tuesday, is threatened to become one of the victims of this gridlock.  The philosophy of "I want it all" has contributed greatly to this gridlock.  Compromise?  No - I want what I want!  Sit down and have a civil conversation and negotiate?  No - I want what I want!  Our political parties have forgotten that governing is about providing for the betterment of America's citizens, not about improving the party.  And, sad to say, I do not believe this philosophy will change any time soon, if ever.  Just another reminder that we are getting closer to the return of the King.