Posted by Gary on May 5, 2011
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7 “When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I often find myself torn between my appreciation of a good movie and the danger of Hollywood’s false perfection. In our image driven culture it is important to remember that everything is not as it seems. Beyond imagery, the false perfection of words, relationships and love are also dangers for us if we are not discerning.
Remember that every time you are watching a movie, you are watching something that has been scripted. Sentences are said over and over so that the inflection and emotion is honed to have an effect. The actors have their faces perfected with make-up, scenes are shot over and over until they are “just right”. Those toting guns always make the impossible shot, glances are zoomed in upon, every kiss is at the height of passion.
Then you and I look at our lives and say, “Blah”. You look at your husband with his love handles or your wife whose hips have given way to four children and how can she compare with Hollywood’s perfect ones? By the way, if you want an idea of just how false imagery is, take a moment and view this compilation of Hollywood’s beauties and studs with and without make-up.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Gary on August 24, 2010
1 Timothy 2:11-15 “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”
I often wonder how Christian congregations who would not support or allow a homosexual to be their pastor are willing to allow women to be their pastors. If you were to ask such folk why they would oppose a homosexual in their pulpit they would quickly respond, “Because God has forbidden homosexuality” and they have answered rightly. God has also forbidden a woman to teach or have authority over a man, why isn’t there the same concern to obey God as He speaks about the roles of men and women?
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Gary on July 13, 2009
As one whose calling and work includes performing funerals, I have a vantaged place from which to view the thinking of society when it comes to the death of others. In recent years you may have noticed that funerals are less frequently referred to as "funerals" they are more and more frequently called "life celebrations." The thinking here isn’t hard to follow, "funeral" sounds negative and sad, "life celebration" sounds joyful and hopeful.
There are times when we can rightly call for celebration when a person dies, when and only when that person was in right standing with God through the merits and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. When a forgiven, redeemed sinner dies it is reason to celebrate, that person has gone into the presence of God:
Psalm 16:11 "In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
According to the Bible, God Himself celebrates when one who belongs to Him dies and is brought to heaven with Him:
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones."
Here painful honesty is required, an honesty that apart from enablement from God we will never apply. How many people are entering God’s presence when they die? How often do we truly have a right to call for celebration? Did you know, not many? "On what authority do you say this?" one might ask. On the authority of the Lord Jesus:
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
In twenty years of ministry and many funerals I can tell you that I can’t remember one time it being said of a person who died, "I don’t think they are in heaven." In virtually every case the declaration made of the deceased is that, "They are in a better place" or "They aren’t suffering anymore" or "God took them home". It doesn’t matter if the deceased never made any profession of faith in Christ or gave any indication of ever coming to repentance in their life. The base assumption is that essentially everyone goes to heaven, with every funeral we can rejoice. Oh, perhaps Hitler isn’t in heaven but beyond him virtually everyone else is in heaven.
Our calls for celebration without discretion flows from denial, a refusal to listen to the Son of God. Not many are going to heaven, only a few are finding the path to life.
How do we know if someone is in heaven? First, we cannot make the ultimate declaration in this matter can we? I do not mean it is impossible for a person to know they are going to heaven because Christ’s death insures that those who come to Him by faith will be saved. But even here we must be cautious…have you ever questioned whether or not you are truly in the faith?
2 Corinthians 13:5
"Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?"
If you have not tested your claim to heaven I would warn you that you are not standing on safe ground.
Posted by Gary on March 13, 2009
I wonder if we have any idea of the evil of the day in which we live? I assume that people who can be at ease while false gods are proclaimed and 42,000,000 infants are murdered each year can be numb to anything. This story comes out of North Carolina today of judge Ned Mangum who has decided that three children who are currently home schooled by their mother need to go to public school.
The parents of the children are in the midst of a divorce and the mother home schools the children. The children test two grades above their grade level and according the story, the father and court agree that the children have “thrived with home school”.
What is the issue? The children’s mother, Vanessa Mills teaches from the Bible. Vanessa’s curriculum includes: math, science, grammar, reading and music. The father has objected to their removal from public school since the mother started attending a church where all the children are home schooled and is concerned with the “religious-based science curriculum” taught to the children.
Judge Mangum ruled that the children should be in public school. Really? Who is judge Mangum to decide what is best for someone else’s children? Who has custody of the children? Pay attention people, we are progressively heading into a system of power that will determine what your children should do and have even above your discretion as their parent.
According to Mrs. Mills, Judge Mangum decided:
“(it) would be a good opportunity for the children to be tested in the beliefs that I have taught them,”
Frightening. The powers that be have decided that someone else’s children are ready to have their beliefs tested. That sir, is not your decision to make regardless of the fact that the Godless system of power in place has told you that it is.
Many more things like this take place. In some states children can have abortions without notifying parents or receiving their consent (see list here). Who are parents that they should be allowed to know? Big brother is the leader now, not father and mother.
Ephesians 5:15-16 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Posted by Gary on November 28, 2008
Today is Black Friday, it is only 11:05 a.m. and already we have the report of a death and miscarriage at a Wal-Mart in Long Island. Shoppers intent on making sure that they would get what they wanted trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death and knocked down an expectant mother whose baby died as a result of the trampling. This from the news report:
"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back."
Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker.
"When the paramedics came, she said ‘I’m pregnant,’" Keyes said.
Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman:
"There’s nothing we can do. The baby is gone."
This of course is what has happened to us as a result of our rejection of God at the fall and since, we will worship someone or something and since the true God no longer resides in fallen man’s heart, fallen man replaces God with possessions which are our idols.
Do we expect that the people who made up this mob would loath themselves for being the cause of someone’s death to fulfill their lust for objects? What will run through their minds when they hand the highly coveted object to the gift recipient? What will they think when the coveted item is on a table in angarage sale for $3.00 dollars this summer? Will they remember that two people died for something they hope someone will take off their hands in about nine months because they can’t stand the clutter of such things?
Do you need any further proof that we are fallen and depraved? We love our objects so much, we will trample other people to death to have them. In Biblical, theological terms what you have just read about (in addition to murder) is covetousness:
Ephesians 5:5-6 “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Posted by Gary on October 24, 2008
Ephesians 5:11-14 “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(I normally do not comment on the actions and words of celebrities because most of them are not saved and there is no reason to expect from them anything other than sinful words and behavior, but because Bono claims Christ as Savior I write the following):
Earlier this week Bono addressed the CA Women’s conference speaking of the plight of children in Africa. Bono stated that men have developed an “ability” to live with the “absurdity” of what is happening to Africa’s children and then declared that “women haven’t”.
It is amazing to watch the blindness that veils the eyes of people who can on one hand see the value of some children’s lives and be concerned for their plight while supporting the ruthless murder of others. While I’m sure there were women in attendance who hold the lives of the unborn as sacred you can be sure that the overall majority in attendance here are ardent supporters of infant murder (Bono makes reference to the presence of the “Great Gloria Steinem”).
Women haven’t developed an ability to live with the absurdity of what is happening to children? First of all, absurdity will not suffice. Severing an infants limbs and vacuuming them out of the their mother’s womb or delivering them up to the head and then puncturing a hole at the base of their skull and suctioning out their brain is not absurd, it is murderous and wicked.
How could Bono say that women haven’t developed this ability to live with the plight of children when they murder 42 million of their own each year?
You know how this works don’t you? How does the devil blind us to the evil of our ways? He always gives us something good to do. Who isn’t for helping the orphaned, needy children of Africa? Yet it is this proper concern for some children that we use to justify our willing participation and support of the murder of other children. We must be good people, we care about the children in Africa!
It is really very scary. If you watch the video above (I suggest at least from the 7:30 mark on) you will hear the hush that falls over the room as Bono holds before us the plight of Africa’s children and urges us to action and yet how many children have had their lives ruthlessly ended by those sitting there listening?
What Bono did here was immoral and shameless. While speaking to a group of adoring women he referred to men as those who have “a penis but no conscience”. Bono brought an obligation on himself when he passed judgment on the consciences of some, his obligation at that point was to speak to all. How dare you Bono speak to an auditorium full of women who murder children and say nothing about their consciences. Yes, you were loved, you were the hero and you were false.
Bono near the conclusion stated:
“You do not have to explain to the women of America, the mothers of America, the value of a child’s life (pause) on far away shores, that I’m sure.”
Yes Bono, a great number of America’s women need to have the value of a child’s life explained to them and no group needed it explained to them more than the group you were speaking to and you said nothing. You as a false prophet deceived their consciences by assuring them that their hearts are good because they care about children who have escaped the womb and said nothing about those don’t. Why were you silent about them? What does this say about your male conscience?
I do not even know if Bono opposes abortion (the Christianity of our day allows the support of infant murder you know) but if he does I know why he did not condemn it here…because to have spoken truth on this occasion would have been to forfeit the love and adoration of his listeners. Bono would have moved from being an idolized rock star to God’s spokesmen. Instead of throwing bras at Bono they would have thrown rocks.
Ezekiel 3:17-18 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”
Posted by Gary on September 25, 2008
While we are so very concerned about our economy we are blind to the fact that in the ways that really matter we have already collapsed, blind America, your house is left desolate. We fear bankruptcy and do not see that we are already bankrupt. Our financial sickness is only an indicator of our spiritual sickness:
Revelation 3:17-18 "Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see."
If you can bring yourself to, read this story about a father who abandoned his nine children at a Nebraska hospital. This was possible through a Nebraska law which promises freedom from prosecution to parents and was initially intended to protect infants but was then changed to include children through their teens. This father abandoned nine children ages ranging from 1 to 17.
Now, let’s start the stream of all the reasons we should feel sorry for this father…this is where we are aren’t we? Every person’s situation is the exception, we have no right to expect anything from anyone.
It may be that these children are better off than being with a father who in the end will abandon but that does not negate the fact that our nation is increasingly a people who kill their children or abandon them, if not at hospitals then to the streets, gangs, hours of television and video games or to any relative who will carry our responsibility for us. After you get done saying all you might to exonerate this father imagine the hearts of these children as they watched their father walk out on them. It is in the hearts of children to love even scoundrels.
Nine young children, we grieve for you. There is One who will never abandon you, may you come to know the Father of fatherless:
Psalm 27:10 "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up."
Psalm 68:5 "A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation."
Posted by Gary on April 18, 2008
Ephesians 5:11-12 "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret."
We cannot battle every evil that takes place in the world but what lies nearest us becomes our duty when it comes to wrong and right. We have been concerned and write to oppose the potential death by starvation of a Delaware citizen, Lauren Richardson.
"What business is this of yours?" one might ask those of us who are concerned. "This is a private matter" is the mantra of those who seek to usher in a culture of death in our country to which we have a simple response, imposing death on someone is never a private matter. We are not islands to ourselves, we are all a part of the human race and what is done to one of us effects us all. Death for Lauren would be imposed for she is not terminal and needs no medical machinery to live, she only like you and me, needs food and water.
Those who insist that imposing death on ill and disabled people is a "private matter" need to have something explained to them. Even if it were documented that someone would want to be starved to death (which is not the case with Lauren) such a request forces us all into that person’s situation for by their request they are demanding that we (society) validate and make provision for their self imposed death. Imposing death is not the act of one person, it is the act of a society and some of us maintain and will never stop maintaining that imposing death on the ill and disabled, especially through the tragic vehicle of "substitute judgment" is immoral and unjust. Be very frightened that you live in a country where your life can be ended on the testimony of others while you are unable to speak for yourself.
Guardians and attorneys who seek to impose death through starvation and dehydration will thank us for our concern and then ask us to leave them alone to deal with the situation "privately". No, by imposing death on a fellow citizen you are attempting to force us all to join hands with you, to give our societal approval and consent. You cannot try to make us join hands with you and tell us to go away at the same time.
Of course the response from imposed death advocates to what I am saying is that this is all legal and as evidence of our depravity, it is. Owning slaves and forbidding women to vote was once legal also.
It seems that we are to accept that starving people to death is legal and are to be quiet and go our way, we will not, we cannot. Starving people to death is the act of a society that has lost its moral bearings, fear of God and appreciation of life. If privacy means that things like this can be done, there is no telling what will become possible and practice in our world.
Posted by Gary on March 17, 2008
Here is amazing frankness from a doctor concerning the issue of brain death and organ transplantation. Remember, Harvard gave us the brain death diagnosis in 1968:
It’s completely ethical to remove organs from patients we diagnose as brain dead," says Dr. Robert Truog, director of clinical ethics at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Children’s Hospital Boston. "It’s just ethical for reasons other than that we think they’re dead, because I don’t think they are."
Dr. Robert Truog (Director of clinical ethics at Harvard Medical School)
You need to read the Boston Globe article from which this quote was taken you can find it here.
This is where things are going. We will eventually admit that people are not (and have not been) dead as their organs are removed but we will appeal to our (supposed) right to choose to end our life when we wish to therefore justifying the removal of our organs. Our pride will be our further undoing. We like nothing more than asserting that we have the right to kill our unborn offspring and to choose how and when our lives will end. This is all our attempt to be God.
Proverbs 8:1; 35-36 "Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice?…Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death."
Posted by Gary on December 18, 2007
New Jersey has passed legislation which will end the death penalty in the Garden State. Governor Jon Corzine immediately commuted the sentences of eight individuals to life sentences without parole. See stories here and here. A few thoughts…
Man always seems to think that he knows better than God. God has spoken clearly about what should happen to those who shed the blood of others and why:
Genesis 9:5-6 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.”
What makes murder evil and worthy of death is that it is the creature attacking the Creator, each of us bears God’s image and to kill someone is to attack the image of God in them. Many try to equate execution with the sin of murder, “It is the same thing” many claim. Apparently in the eyes of God it is not for He has forbidden one and commanded the other. One case is the death of someone innocent, the other is the death of someone guilty of something evil. Murder is a human being’s choice to kill another. Capital punishment on the other hand is government acting on the authority granted it by God (Romans 13) to act on God’s behalf to condemn certain acts of evil.
Many claim that the death penalty doesn’t work. What do we mean by work? Do we mean it doesn’t stop all murders? Well, the claim has never been made that it will end all murders. The only thing that will end all murders is the return of Christ and the end of this sinful age. The death penalty quite simply has to do with retribution. It is a statement by society that certain acts are so evil that they result in the forfeiture of life. Society must respond to such acts with an an act of justice. If others choose not to heed it, they will also suffer the consequence of their rebellion. Seem hardcore? I suppose it does. Murder and death are heavy things.
A commission whose work set the table for the death penalty ban wrote that the death penalty is, “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.” Standards of decency are evolving in our day, what a word choice… “evolving” meaning what? Do they mean that standards of decency are rising? Were you aware of that? You could have fooled me.
Governor Corzine made the following statement as a rationale for the death penalty ban:
“Society must ask…is it not morally superior to imprison 100 people for life than it is to execute all 100 when it’s probable we execute an innocent?”
I am only left to assume then that a time is coming when New Jersey will not imprison anyone at all. As standards of decency continue to rise we must then come to the place where we must not even be willing to imprison people out of the fear that we might imprison someone who is innocent.
Isn’t it amazing how concerned we can be about certain lives and cold, blooded murderers with others? Aren’t babies in the womb innocent? How is it that New Jersey and our nation as a whole permits murdering them? By the way, if even the chance of innocence means halting the death penalty then shouldn’t the uncertainty of when life begins keep us from allowing people to abort their children? A jury can be wrong about a conviction, isn’t it possible that the medical world could be wrong about when life begins?
I believe without any question that life begins at conception but can we not acknowledge that there is some dispute both in the world of medicine and law as to when life begins? If there is even a chance that this is life in the womb dare we allow it to be injected, dismembered, punctured and vacuumed out? Where O man is the consistency of your logic? Murderers must be dealt with humanely, but not unborn children.
Ezekiel 13:19 “…you have profaned Me to My people to put to death some who should not die and to keep others alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies.”‘
I am not bloodthirsty nor do I revel in the thought of anyone being put to death, yet some of life’s most tragic events are most necessary. The God who commanded the murderer to lose his life has said this:
Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”
Yet, God’s Word is full of accounts of God putting people to death for their wickedness and often using the agency of governing authority to fulfill His will.
Is it not a marvel as we watch the unraveling of our country take place before our very eyes that we would insist that we know better than God? Think of the murderous scenes just in the last year: Virginia Tech, the recent mall and church shootings out west,-45 murders per day in the U.S. Add to this the estimated 3,700 abortions per day in our country and what is left to be said? God’s ways are ignored while we perish.