I want to begin this week with some good news. It seems that those stories don't occur as often as they should. The article titled, "Torte Reform? CA Baker Wins First-Ever Case", can be found at the Family Research Council website - www.frc.org. "Here are three words you don't usually see in the same sentence: 'religious liberty' and 'California.' But thanks to Superior Court Judge David Lampe, that's exactly what one Christian is celebrating in a battle over religious freedom and wedding cakes. For the first time ever, a court ruled in favor of the baker, Cathy Miller, for turning down an order for a same-sex wedding because her faith 'will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong.'
"Facing the loss of her bakery, she and the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund fought back. Although the odds were stacked against her, the law was not. In a powerful rebuke of the status quo, Judge Lampe rejected the Left's argument that personal offense trumps conscience. The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs` the State's interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,' Lampe wrote. 'The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.'
"Obviously, he explained, no one can refuse to sell something to a customer out of prejudice. But, he reminds everyone: 'The difference here is that the cake in question is not yet baked. The State is not petitioning the court to order defendents to sell cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of marital union her religion forbids... Such an order would be the stuff of tyranny.' What's more, he points out, Cathy - like the Kleins, Jack Phillips, and Barronelle Stutzman - not only offered the women something from her display case, but 'provided for an alternative means for potential customers to receive the product they desire through the services of another talent' by recommending another bakery."
Remember, this is a decision from a California judge! A judge who upholds the integrity of the Constitution, no less. A judge who is not swayed by the mass hysteria of our culture. A judge who was able to look at all the facts objectively. May there be more judges like him who are willing to stand up for the freedoms offered in the First Amendment. We need more judges like David Lampe within our judicial system.
Over the weekend tensions increased in the Middle East. An Iranian made drone launched from inside Syria, was shot down over Israeli airspace. Israeli fighter jets were scrambled and destroyed the base from which the drone had been sent. On the return flight a Syrian missile shot down one of the Israeli warplanes, but it was able to crash land within Israeli territory. In an article published by the World Israel News (WIN), Steve Leibowitz writes, "The decision by Iran to send a drone into Israeli airspace and the subsequent punishing air strikes by Israel targeting Iranian military facilities in Syria on Saturday amounted to a marked escalation in Iranian-Israeli confrontation. Indeed, it was the first direct military clash between the two nations, enemies since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. But neither side appears to want a full-scale war right now.
"Middle East analyst Amotz Asa-El told WIN, 'There is every reason to suspect that this drone was a premeditated act on the part of Iran. They want a confrontation in order to distract from their own domestic problems, including the acute economic chaos resulting in the recent upheaval and now the women's protests. A confrontation with Israel is a good distraction. Strategically, Iran is committed to "imperial Persian expansion," and that includes an overland corridor stretching from the Iranian border to the Syrian and Lebanese coasts. Israel's strategic interest is simply to keep the enemy far from the borders,' Asa-El said.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it this way: 'Israel wants peace, but we will continue to defend ourselves with determination against any attack on us and against any attempt by Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria or anywhere else. Our policy is absolutely clear: Israel will defend itself against any attempt to harm our sovereignty.'"
I am working on a message that I will be preaching later this spring from Ezekiel. As one focuses upon those nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39, it hardly escapes one attention that three of those nations cited by Ezekiel are presently within Syria: Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Is this just a coincidence? Or is this part of God's strategic plan? We know that the ultimate goal of the Iranians is the complete destruction of the State of Israel. Could the war that Ezekiel saw in his vision over twenty-six centuries ago be on the brink of becoming a reality? If it is then we know how that war will end for the text of Ezekiel 39 makes that very clear. Please don't take your eyes off what is happening in the Middle East. It truly is the key to understanding God's plans.
Next, I read a very interesting article from the Christian Post, written by Michael Gryboski, and titled, "Millennials Who Attended Evangelical Protestant Schools More Likely to Marry, Have Children: Study.: You can find this article at www.christianpost.com/news/millennials-who-attended-evangelical-protestant-schools-more-likely-marry-have-children-study-215814. Allow me to quote from this article: "Generation X and the millennial-aged adults who attended evangelical Protestant schools are more likely to get married and have children than their peers who attended public schools, according to a recent study. In research conducted by the Canada-based think tank Cardus that was released Tuesday (January 30), found that among young adults aged 24-39, 'EP schoolers are more likely to be married, and less likely to cohabit. By guiding graduates toward traditional marriage and family, evangelical Protestant schools may set up structural constraints and opportunities that encourage evangelical religious orientations and practices,' explained the report. The report also found that young adults educated at evangelical Protestant schools are more likely to read the Bible, attend worship, and pray that those who attended public schools."
One does not have to question the validity of these results. All one has to do is to look at what is happening within the modern school system. It is not important that our children understand their math tables, but it is important that our children understand that they don't have to be a boy or girl - they can be whatever gender they desire, and that desire can change from day to day. It is not important that our children understand the religious and historical framework upon which our nation was established. But it is important that our children understand that our Founding Fathers were white, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, Islamophobic men. Is it any wonder that our children are growing up confused as to what truth really is? Is it any wonder that they are turning away from the Church because even the church has watered down truth?
I need to share one final article that really got the blood-pressure to rise even higher. The article was posted on The Patriot Post website: www.patriotpost.us/articles/54055-eve-the-first-number-metoo.
The article was written by Thomas Gallatin on February 9. "This story highlights a classic example of how leftist feminist ideology attacks straw men by unabashedly distorting the facts. An article was recently published in The Forward and provocatively titled, 'The First Story in the Bible Was the First Case of #MeToo.' Written by Tamara Kolton, who identifies herself as a '47-year-old rabbi and psychologist,' she asserts that God perpetrated 'the first sexual assault of a woman.' She writes, 'The founding myth of Judeo-Christian religion, the story of Eve, granted generations of men permission to violate women. It teaches us that women are liars and sinners. Even if 'She' is telling the truth, she deserved it. God told her not to eat that apple, or wear that skirt, or go out after dark, or be pretty, or desirous, or in that bar or on that street or in that car or born a girl.'"
Have you ever heard anything so blasphemous as to accuse God for the attacks upon women, in fact, to accuse God of initiating that first assault upon a woman? But this happens whenever a person casts aside the belief in an inerrant, inspired, authoritative Word of God written through the power and influence of the Spirit of God. The Bible just becomes a series of myths and legends that have no moral authority at all. So, the #MeToo movement is all because of God's assault upon Eve there in the Garden. All I can say to Rabbi Kolton and to her kind is "Wow! You actually believe that!" How sad!
Friends, can it be much longer until the trumpet blows? I see how clearly the pieces are coming into better focus. It is time to "look up" because "our redemption soon draws near." Amen!