There is a great miracle that lies before us in this nation. I believe it is the greatest miracle God has performed in our history, though there have been many. The miracle is that there remains here, after over a hundred years of walking away from Him, a huge remnant. I have a friend who lives in Belgium. He made this statement to me several years ago: “We lost the Netherlands in one generation. You can put the total evangelical Christians here into one building.” When one considers the current spiritual deadness of other Western Civilization nations, once filled with Christianity, it is breath-taking that God has not done the same to us. After so many years of shaking our fist in His face, our churches, too, should be hollow shells and finding a true believer in the land a rarity. But that is not the case. Why not?
Because it is apparent that God is not finished with this nation.
And that, in my mind, is a miracle.
For despite His blessings, poured out so deeply upon us as, we now dance wickedly before Him with no shame.
And the only real response is confession and repentance. We cannot expect that from the unbeliever.
This must come from the remnant.
But to confess and repent, one must first be struck by the depth of our sin...and deeply so. This is difficult, especially in a Hollywood culture that rejects the word, fawning over each other, affirming one another, laughing even though the joke isn’t funny, gushing, smiling, singing and dancing, playing the music and ever the part, hiding a lonely, troubled soul behind make-up and giggles and social pretenses. To call something a sin is to bring the music and frolicking to an awkward stop, where the silence threatens to expose everything. That’s why the word is forbidden, because to speak it once is to speak it a thousand times, exposing not only our masks and increasing loneliness, but the nagging guilt that lies just below the surface and our desperate fight to keep it there.
But it must be spoken.
For to continue to live as if there is no sin, except the sin of saying there is, is to descend ever deeper into a selfish pit of horror from which there is no return.
Unless, however, we confess and repent.
And how are we to be moved to confession and repentance if we remain ignorant of the depth of our sin? If we continue to call evil good and good evil? If we increasingly reject a holy God and any notion of disobedience before His eyes?
Every year the President brings before us a “State of the Union”, but it isn’t the real state of our union, it is a calculated, politically posturing performance that seeks to keep the music and the dancing alive. It is both dishonest and deceiving.
I love this nation. It is filled not only with great beauty, from sea to shining sea, but with great people…good people, hard working people…people who care about right and wrong, people who strive to make a good home for their families and live in harmony with their neighbors and communities.
But the truth is, the state of our nation is not good. I have longed for a President who would stand in the House chamber and look the nation in the eye and speak the truth, though the truth is sobering. This is the state of our nation suffering the consequences of rejecting God:
Must we go on?
Unfortunately, yes, because the current ruling is yet another slap in the face of God. Despite the attempt to make it beautiful, we have blatantly defied His Word and His design for male and female, for the marriage covenant, and have now openly and arrogantly embraced that which is vile before His eyes.
We are a nation that forbids the word or the notion of sin.
Having rejected God, it is easy to do so.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that will h ealso reap.” (Gal 6:7)
If this is so, then it must also be true that whatever a nation sows, that will it also reap.
Do not be fooled, my brothers and sisters, by the seeming might and power of this nation, for she can fall in a day. Do not assess the security of America by the might of our armed forces or by the smallness or comparative lack of might in our external enemies. We are vulnerable and culpable from within and God can bring us down with one breath. It is not unrealistic or insane to think that were we able to see America through the eyes of God, we might be horrified to see that she hangs by the smallest of threads.
I have long shaken my head at the defiance of those described in Revelation 16, those upon whom the bowls of God’s wrath are poured, for, in the midst of the plagues, they still cursed God and it says of them:
“They did not repent of their sins.”
I could not imagine how a people could not be broken before Him under such horrible consequences. And, now, I see that we are not any different. For though we surely are increasingly under the plagues of our sin, we still shake our fist in His face.
And, yet, in the midst of this depravity…in the midst of a nation that mocks God…despite His deep blessings…we find He has left a huge remnant.
Now, it is entirely possible that this is not merely Strike Two. It is possible that this is actually Strike Three and we will sink so suddenly that the world will cry out much as they did for Babylon:
“Woe, woe, the great nation, America, the strong nation! For in one hour your judgment has come.”
It is possible that we may, in the near future, read Revelation 18 and see there the name of America in the place of Babylon. For certainly it is not a stretch to see how we have filled that role:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
Do not misunderstand. I don’t believe this passage was written directly about America. But the Scripture often presents to us specific instances that have multiple fulfillments. The principles and acts of God are not capricious and if He can bring judgment upon Babylon and bring her down in an hour, He can bring us down with a swiftness that will cause the world to shake its head in wonder. I know these kinds of words are foreign to us because we no longer have a healthy fear of God. We act as if there is no impunity, no accountability, no judgment. But, God will not be mocked. He may be patient for a while, and His patience may be naively taken as disinterest or unconcern…but He will not be mocked, as we are doing, without eventual consequences.
Why, I even ask myself, do you write such troubling words?
Because, my friends, I am absolutely convinced that the only response to the true state of this nation, and now this ruling, is sincere confession and deep repentance.
Ninevah was riding high and no doubt reveled in her seemingly lofty position. Assyria, at that time, was a world empire, rich and mighty. But…they were seeped in sin. And because of their wickedness, God was going to reduce them to rubble. When they were confronted with their sin, however, they confessed and repented. And the God who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”, relented from that judgment and certain disaster.
So, if it now takes us looking into the mirror to behold the reality of where we are as a nation, and to speak of the judgment that is overdue us, then let us look…let the words be spoken…let Him break our heart. Stop the music and the dancing and the preening and the self-exaltation…and look at the reality around us.
There will be no confession or repentance until we do.
So, it seems to me that there are two possibilities before us, the remnant:
My hope and my prayer is that it will be the latter. And, if so, then it is possible to think that God has kept such a large remnant here for this very hour.
When the fierce and merciless Assyrians had conquered nearly all of Israel, city after city, and now had Jerusalem surrounded, Sennacherib boldly taunted the Israelites, telling them that their situation was hopeless, to give up, that their God was clearly unable to save them. In the eyes of the world, it would have seemed hopeless. But King Hezekiah gathered the people and encouraged them. He said,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)
And Hezekiah, in the midst of the taunting from this most powerful enemy, tore his robes, humbled himself before the Lord and cried out to Him….and God miraculously spared the city and the nation. But before He did, He sent a message through Isaiah that is an amazing picture of how God sees these powerful forces in the world, that they are nothing in His sight. And then He said these wonderfully gracious words:
“And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this.” (2 Kings 19:30-31)
We are eerily in the same situation. There are evil forces that have captured our cities; they have captured our media; they have captured our schools and universities; they have captured the minds of our lawmakers, our executives, and our courts; they have captured some of our pulpits; and now they stand before us and taunt us to give up, to join the dance. And I know that many of us have begun to feel as if there is no hope. For many, this current ruling appears to be the last straw…strike three.
But are we to believe that the kingdom of darkness is greater than the Kingdom of Light? Are we to ever believe that God is unable to save, even in the midst of the fiery furnace? Yes, those three men did not know if God would spare them. But they remained steadfast and resolute that they would not bow the knee to the man who now acted as if he were a god.
And now, we too, have men who act as if they were gods. We have rulers and institutions who have cast out the true God and now declare right and wrong as they see fit. They mock the notion of sin and judgment. They say “we will save you” and yet they will do nothing of the sort. For this is a path that will eventually destroy us.
They want you to bow the knee. They want you to join the dance. They want you to sing their song.
But, we will not. The remnant of God cannot. We will stand, though we may be cut down. We will speak, though we may be forcibly silenced. We will act with love and grace and kindness and gentleness, but we will not bow the knee to the gods of this world.
Do not fall into the trap of the world that will make all of this look pretty and sweet and try to get you to dance and sing with them. Instead, we will begin with the confession of our personal and national sins before God as Daniel did. We will pray for our nation and for our “opponents”,
“that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim 2:25-26)
And may our kind and gracious God hear our prayers and our weeping before Him, and may He fill us with His Spirit that we may be able to stand in the difficult days ahead. May the “surviving remnant take root downward and bear fruit upward.”
May the zeal of the Lord do this.
Soli Deo Gloria…in all things and all circumstances.
Okay, we’ve made some observations about the Supreme Court ruling and we have issued a call to confession, repentance and prayer…now what?
Well, I would like to offer some practical actions for us to consider. And, since I have a great tendency to see all of the issues and problems around us in terms of where they fall in the social systems that God has created, I will offer my suggestions organized in that manner.
God and Man:
The biggest thing that is going on here is a cultural drive to do away with God and moral absolutes. It is easy to get caught up in this. It is easy to get caught up in how the media and Hollywood makes sin so acceptable...and so desirable. We need to remind ourselves that the biggest enemy we have is our own sinful nature. This is how it is described in Galatians 5:17
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
This is the battle we all face within. And when the culture around us begins to provoke and stimulate our sinful nature and even encourage and applaud it, then the battle becomes much more difficult…but not impossible…for the Spirit of God within you is greater than all of those that stand against you.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:4-6
It is very possible that this ruling is going to open up a very serious time for us. Justice Thomas, in his dissent, said that this ruling portends
…potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.
Justice Alito warned that the ruling
…will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy….I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.
The warnings from the dissenting justices cannot be ignored: we are in for a significant attack upon religious freedom. In fact, Justice Roberts stated it most starkly: that the ruling “creates serious questions about religious liberty”. Not “some” religious liberties, but “religious liberty”…period. We are going to come under immense pressure to conform, bow down, give up and give in.
But, if we are going to face persecution…if you are going to have to stand and lose your job or your business or your freedom or whatever else you hold dear in this life, it must always be placed in the perspective of your eternal relationship and reward of knowing Christ Jesus.
And nothing…nothing…can match that.
When you are tempted with the “peace” of simply going along;
When you are tempted by the easy way of the broad path;
When it seems that it is just easier to ignore it all…
or remain conveniently silent…
or withdraw into some form of self-centered, isolated Christianity;
When all of the escape options call you to deny what you know is true, then place those momentary pleasures or avoidance of difficulties on the scale against the eternal weight of knowing Him and His deep and steadfast love for you…and the things of this world will pale in comparison.
And, then, in the strength of His might, stand for righteousness…even if seems as if you must stand alone…stand.
For in reality you will not be alone. Not only will He be with you, but hopefully and prayerfully we are going to see the Body of Christ standing as well.
But our stand must always be with grace. The truth must always be spoken in love. We must show the world that disagreement is not hate and standing for moral truth is not bigotry. Though reviled, we will not revile in return. We will stand for truth, but we will do so in righteousness.
And through it all, He always remains faithful…always.
You need to have an open and honest discussion about this with your family. If you are a parent, you must recognize that your children are going to be confronted earlier and earlier in life. If they are in a state school, they will be, if not already, presented with a contrary message to a biblical worldview of sexuality. If they hold to a biblical perspective, as Alito said, they are going to be vilified. It is better if you have prepared them for this than letting them walk into the fire on their own with no tutoring. Help them understand that the world we live in is becoming more and more hostile to what we believe and that they are most likely going to find themselves in situations where they will be not only challenged, but also “approached”. The more our culture embraces homosexuality, the more we will see people drawn into it. The issue of bi-sexuality is going to be the major pressure your children will face. They don’t have to be homosexual, but they will find themselves increasingly in a world that will entice them to experiment with all forms of sexual expression. Heterosexuality is going to be portrayed as abnormal and bisexuality as normal. Miley Cyrus is promoting “gender fluidity”…meaning you should be able to move freely between all points on the sexual continuum. You and your family’s biblical view of human sexuality is going to be severely tested in all forms of media, music, video, TV, books, marketing, print and academic programs and projects. This is not meant to be overwhelming or depressing, but to be a realist and recognize your responsibility to prepare your family. Brothers and sisters have faced this in the past, and did so valiantly before God and man and we can do the same.
You may find yourself in a church that is going to be targeted. You may be pressed to perform homosexual marriages or allow them to be held within your church. If your church opens its doors to other functions, then you will be vulnerable to either a lawsuit or governmental enforcement if you don’t allow homosexuals to use your facility. Don’t think that it won’t happen. If you are in a position of leadership, then you need to have the discussion and talk through what you as a church are going to do in the future regarding this issue and what you are willing to suffer in consequences of your stand. Churches will be targeted. If you are in a church that is going to cave on the issue, then you will have to make the decision of whether you will stay or go, tough as that sounds, but you must consider your own spiritual health and that of your family’s. Churches must be intentional about this. It is not going to go away.
You may be in a business that is going to be targeted as well, even if you aren’t a baker or florist. For example, how you refer to married couples in your policies or practice will present an opportunity to test your allegiance to the state’s position on homosexuality. If you have sent a gift of congratulations to a heterosexual employee’s wedding or supported it in any way, you may be targeted to do the same for a homosexual employee who is now getting married. This will place you in the position of having to show your support for homosexual marriage or pay the consequences. You need to objectively think through all of this while it is easier to do so and make any commitments now regarding how you will stand and how you will handle the consequences of your stand. You need to also reduce your vulnerability if you can. Don’t be unwise here. Don’t think it is more spiritual to provoke an attack. It is not a badge of courage to stand up in the battlefield and put a big red target on your chest and yell “Yoo-hoo! Over here!”. Pray for wisdom in how you go forward and get with other businessmen and women who share your worldview and develop wise strategy together. Use the community area of our website to do that. And, pray for those who are already under the gun because of this ruling. There are fellow believers who are county clerks all across the country who are faced with jail or the loss of their jobs because they are choosing to stand for their Christian convictions. Make no mistake, my friends, we are all in this together.
This is going to be the most important response that we as Christians are going to make. If the Lord allows us to produce the next DVD series: the Engagement, we are going to deal with His call for us to engage our neighbors. We have lost most of our ability to impact the culture around us in the public square. Sound bites might work in a culture that carries a biblical worldview. But in a culture that is now publicly agnostic or atheistic, you will not be afforded either the time or the favorability to present effectively on this or any other biblical issue. The Lord is increasingly cutting off all of our neo-Christian forms and practices and He is squeezing us into what He asked us to do from the start: engage our neighbors. And it is here that we will help others to know that our stand on this issue is not based upon hate or bigotry. We are fighting against the public and political embracing and condoning of sin, not against a person. The Lord has shown great love to us as sinners and we will do the same to those who live next door, regardless of what they are taken captive in. Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
I’m going to leave the topic of political action for the next and final post on this ruling. Even though we are being shut out of the public square, we have responsibilities within this sphere that we must consider and act upon. The issues before us are the result of a culture that has publicly rejected God and it is going to use the power of the state to force you to embrace and celebrate its position on homosexuality. But it is the immense size and power of the state that has become so ubiquitous that it now virtually controls every aspect of our lives. Fighting that will be tough, but I believe it is worth trying.
Soli Deo Gloria…in all things and all circumstances.
Amazon attempted to have a big sale event. They called it "Amazon Prime Day".
Although I wasn’t caught up in it, evidently a lot of people were. Amazon did a lot of advertising and marketing to promote it. The day has now come and gone and some people weren’t too thrilled with the event. Time posted an article titled, “Everybody Hates Amazon’s Prime Day Deals”, which wasn’t entirely true, for there were evidently a good number that chose to purchase items on sale. However, for many, it seems that it didn’t have enough “steals” for them to feel they had luckily “gotten away” with something fantastic and something of great valuable for less than a valuable price.
I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to this kind of thing, but there were so many comments by angry people that I thought it was quite telling of a culture that is miffed if their desires aren’t catered to…even if it means that a retailer must lose in the process.
I won’t bore you with all of the entitlement posts, but here is one that stuck out to me. It was written by “Casey” and this is what she angrily posted:
“Raise your hand if you feel like you have been personally victimized by Prime Day…”
How interesting! “Personally victimized by Amazon”...as if they had mugged her in a dark alley.
We are a culture that has granted great power to the “victim”…so much power that I believe people WANT to be a victim, maybe even seek ways to become a victim. Why? Because it gives you power. Possibly legal power to get compensated or rewarded or litigate some deal for yourself, but it also now brings personal power…prestige…significance…attention.
For the life of me I cannot imagine how anyone could feel “personally victimized” by a sale event that didn’t shower you with fantastic deals or steals.
Not only does this not seem right to me, but it feels like the attitude we are breeding in our people is destructive and debilitating, for it creates in us the kind of outlook that is far from that which is fruitful…it is one that assumes everyone else “owes” me and if I don’t get it, I’m then personally victimized and in desperate need of the system to compensate me for my deep and horrifying loss.
A far cry from the pioneer spirit that built this nation, no?
Baseball is a game of rules. But it is also a game of balance. If the pitching mound were 20 feet from the plate and the bases were 150 feet apart, the offense would never score. Keeping the proper “balance” between the power of the offense and defense in any major sport is critical. If one side gets too powerful, the rules must be changed to get it back in balance.
This is exactly the kind of problem we now face in our nation. And it is a serious one. The balance of power, necessary for a healthy republic, has become dangerously lop-sided and it is imperative that we act immediately to correct it.
The Founders were quite sensitive to this “balance” of power and how necessary it was for the Republic's success. Most people naturally think of the balance of power between the Legislative, Executive and the Judicial branches. But, if you read the arguments of that day, especially those between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, you will find at least two other balances of power they deemed critical for a healthy republic:
These were the “balances” that the Founders perceived would keep the Federal Government in check. It was the single fear they all had. And, they believed they had put in place enough balances to prevent that from happening. But, even though I am constantly amazed by their wisdom, they had no way of thinking that it would ever get this out of kilter.
And out of kilter it is.
I had originally done an assessment of these “balances”, listing specific breeches within each, but it got to be so heavy and never-ending, it soon became overwhelming and depressing. So, instead, because you should have no problem thinking of a multitude of these breeches, let’s just sit back and summarize what has happened to these balances:
Additionally, we are under an unimaginable debt of $127 trillion dollars in unfunded obligations. All of the wealth of all of the wealthy, if confiscated, wouldn’t even put a dent in that amount. It is unconscionable, yet the Federal Government continues to pile up more and more debt, with no regards to Constitutional bounds or budgetary laws. We are a Greece, waiting for one catastrophic event to topple it all.
And, the evidence is mounting that we are facing the very real possibility that the Federal Government will, with its unbridled power, soon severely curtail religious freedom in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling. Other freedoms have already dimmed and more are looking tenuous.
We have before us an ominous Federal Beast that must be reigned in.
How do we do that?
For the world, this was just another day of world politics.
For the United States, this was just another thumbing of the nose at the U.S. Constitution.
For the life of me, I can’t understand how we have allowed this to go on this long. For a lot of people in our nation, the Constitution is that strange thing radical, right wing fanatics keep dredging up, but, for them, it is just some dusty old document that…well who really cares about anyway?
In the proper perspective, the U.S. Constitution is the binding contract under which the States created the Federal Government, and under which the Federal Government is supposed to abide. It is The Law and The Rule of the United States…that’s all.
But, when governments are allowed to become powerful, unassailably powerful, they not only have an insatiable lust for more, but they are disdainful of anything that would dare limit or curtail that power or its growth.
That, of course, is exactly what the U.S. Constitution was all about. The greatest fear of the Founders was that the Federal Government might grow into a Beast. They thought they had prevented that through the severe limitations, and balances of power, written within this "Federal Contract". The Constitution represents, therefore, more than anything else, a barrier to the Federal Government getting out of hand. That is why it is now basically ignored...or twisted into unrecognizable latitudes.
This recent contempt of the U.S. Constitution by the President, who is bound under its authority to gain Congressional approval for treaties, is only one of a series of scornful actions by the Executive Branch, including the ubiquitous mass of Federal Agencies. But it isn’t limited to the Executive, for the Judicial Branch has been contemptuous as well and the Legislative Branch has, for years, ignored both its fiscal and punitive Constitutional responsibilities.
We have before us an unbridled Federal Beast that sees itself as accountable to no one.
It has mired us in a hopeless and increasing debt. It has rendered the States irrelevant. It is dimming the rights of the People.
It is a Beast that must be tamed and must be tamed now.
[see today’s Truth Observed: Taming the Federal Beast]