Wednesday, November 26, 2003

As we enter Thanksgiving in the morning it would be good to read again the MayFlower Compact.

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."

Here at the truths that brought the Pilgrims to America
1. They did this is in the name of God.
2. They did it for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.
3. Establish a colony based on just and and equal laws that worked for the general good of the colony.
4. They had great reverence for their king.

They established Plymouth on December 21, 1620. Their first year they planted 26 acres and nearly starved to death. As Governor Bradford reported, they gathered what they had the small harvest that they had. The Indians gave them some meat. They shared together the first thanksgiving in America. There was no feast and many were hungry.

The second year, knowing they had to go all out, but still under the obligation to practice communal agriculture, they doubled their first year’s production, and planted 60 acres. But that was no by means enough, they still were near starvation.

And so the third year, they switched to private agriculture, assigned each family its own property, made each responsible for itself. They planted 184 acres, tripled their best previous effort, and never went hungry again. William Bradford wrote: "Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise."

These early Americans were men and women of great faith, great courage, and great perseverance. May we remember this Thanksgiving that God has called us to be men and women of faith, courage, and great perseverance. When we walk long enough and see God faithful to His Word, then our thanksgivings will resound with real meaning. Thanksgiving has real meaning when we reflect on God's grace and provisions.
The apostle Paul states in his first letter to Timothy, "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men." Thanksgiving is a time that we give thanks to God for all his blessings that He has bestowed on us during the past year. But remember that true thanksgiving will also be made on behalf of all men. It is not just for the blessings in our family. It is thanksgiving for the President, Congress, for state leaders, and for city leaders. They are God's servants in providing a stable environment to live and raise our families.

They provide us the atmosphere in which to live a tranquil and quiet life. They provide us the opportunity to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. We have been called to be godly. The best way to achieve that is to pray for those in leadership positions and ask God to bless their work. We are not only to pray for them but also give thanks for their work. They provide us a safe place to live and to practice our faith.

This Thanksgiving, make sure to give thanks for those who allow you to live safely in the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I was reading the other day from Agustine's Confessions. I have started a new way of reading books. I keep one close by that I read for about 15 minutes each day. I stay with that book until I finish. The book I am working on now is Confessions.

In reading this way, I keep picking up good insights from great authors. In Book 10, Chapter 36, Augustine says, "And Thou knowest how far Thou hast already changed me, who first healedst me of the lust of vindicating myself, that so Thou mightest forgive all the rest of my iniquities, and heal all my infirmities, and redeem life from corruption, and crown me with mercy and pity, and satisfy my desire with good things: who didst curb my pride with Thy fear, and tame my neck to Thy yoke. And now I bear it and it is light unto me, because so hast Thou promised, and hast made it; and verily so it was, and I knew it not, when I feared to take it."

Notice the phrase "lust of vindicating myself." Proverbs 21:2 says, "Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord bweighs the hearts." One of the great hinderances to our spiritual walk is always having to vindicate our own actions. We easily will agree by saying "yes, but!" Immediately moving to the reason for our actions. I have spent the morning wondering how much spiritual progess can be made with a partial confession."

The apostle Paul says of himself, "I am the foremost of sinners." He does not justify himself, he does not blame his actions on others or the lack of opportunities. He knows that the problem is his own heart. One of the signs of grace at work within our lives is that we will be less likely to vindicate ourselves. In fact the more we walk with the Lord the more we will trust him to vindicate us and the more we will work to walk in a manner worthy of the calling.

John says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Lord please deliver us from the lust of vindicating ourselves!

Monday, November 17, 2003

On November 11, 2003 the Washington ran a story that was entitled, "A Scholar Confronts 'Ugly Face of America". The story was about Muzzafar Iqbal, a professor from Canada who is of Pakistani origin. He had been invited to be a part of a conference at Georgetown University in Washington D. C. for the Georgetown University's Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding. At the airport in Toronto, he ran into our immigration agents who wanted to fingerprint, photographed, and require that he keep us informed of all movements in our country. He balked at the requirements and said that he did not want to enter our country. He would not enter until the requirements are changed. Deneen L. Brown the author of the article implies that something is wrong with our system that will not allow this man into our country without fingers, photo, and information about where he is going.

The story does not tell us anything about Muzzafar Iqbal. So who is he?
1. He appears to be a member of the Pakistan Islamist organization Jamaat-e-Islami. He writes for their website. He wrote and article entitled "Routes of re-colonisation"
2. He wrote an article for entitled, "War Analysis: The fate of empire builders". In this article his hatred for the United States come through clearly.
3. In an article entitled "Defining the Islamic State" he calls United States, England, and Israel as the Great Axis of Evil.
4. He has a great hatred for Israel in an article that was written entitled, "Israel Has Transgressed All Bounds". He says, "These Jews are absolutely devoid of any respect for the faith and religion of others. But it should not surprise anyone, since they learn such abusive and dirty tricks from their own SCRIPTURES, which are filled with shameless stories of incest and pornography (Gen. 19:30-38, Gen. 38, 2 Samuel 11 etc.), and these Jews seem to be immensely affected by these Divine stories.]"

His real views are seen in an article entitled "O I See". He says, "It is also to be noted that in clear contradistinction to the propagators of this new brand of moderate Islam, there is no category of moderate Muslims in the Qurân. The Qurân only mentions three categories of people: the believers, the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Further, it says, "O you who believe, do not take the Kuffar as your allies in preference to the believers; do you want to place before God a manifest proof of your guilt?" (4:144). And if this were not enough of a proof for the hypocrisy of these propagators of a made-in-America Islam, then one should open the Noble Book of Allah and read what the Revealer of Islam has said about the killing of Muslims by the Muslims and pay heed to what awaits them before they send their troops to Iraq."

I do not understand a major newspaper trying to cover the real facts of a story. And making our own country look bad as it tries to protect its people from the dangers of Islam. But as I look at the real dangers that we face today, the words of the Psalmist become very important.

David says in Psalms 5 these words,
8 "O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
9 There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself.
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
10 Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You.

We will win the war against Islam by proclaiming the truths of God's Word. Jesus Christ is the only true way of salvation. As we stand boldy for the good news of the Lord Jesus, we will walk the narrow path and trust the Lord to take care of our enemies. Our enemies are real and dangerous, but our God is in control and He will accomplish His good will and purposes.

And I also pray that God would raise up good reporters who would tell the whole story! And I am grateful for an immigration worker who did his job correctly in an airport in Canada.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

This was taken word from word from Dr. George Grant's blog

An interdenominational pastoral association in New Hampshire has humbly offered the following set of resolutions to the church at large:

We, the Evangelical Ministers Fellowship of Strafford County, New Hampshire, in support of the many recently disenfranchised members of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, solemnly affirm the following, quoting from the Episcopalian New English Bible:

I. On Authority: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, . . . that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17

II. On Christ’s Representatives: “The bishop then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher,” I Timothy 3:2

III. On Righteousness: “and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:27

IV. On Penalties: “and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, having appointed them to serve as an example to future generations of the ungodly,” II Peter 2:6

V. On the Future: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, . . . thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-10

VI. On Christian Hope: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6

With a firm reliance on the protection of the Triune God, we, the undersigned members of the Evangelical Ministers Fellowship of Strafford County, New Hampshire, on the authority of the Holy Scriptures, grieve the planned consecration of V. Gene Robinson as Bishop in the Episcopal Church and commit to a posture of repentance before God. We pray for the many church members that will no longer have a true shepherd. May they hear the voice of the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep.

Pastor Owen Williams – Trinity Anglican Church, Rochester
Pastor Steve Poole – Grace Community Church, Rochester
Pastor Steve Spearing – Hope Community Church, Dover
Pastor Ed Whitman – First Congregational Church of Barrington
Pastor Dick Arnold – Nute Ridge Bible Chapel, Milton
Pastor Scott Littlefield – First Congregational Church of Barrington
Pastor Thomas F. Clark, III – Tri-City Covenant Church, Somersworth
Pastor Paul Johnson - Minister of the Gospel-Advent Christian Church
Pastor Christopher D. Tidwell - First Baptist Church - An Evangelical Free Church, Deerfield
Pastor David McKnight – Grace Community Church, Rochester
Pastor Wally Horton – Hope Chapel, Assembly of God
Pastor Glen Boardman – Grace Community Church, Rochester
Pastor Bernie Quinn – Grace Community Church, Rochester
Pastor Dave Blakney – Christian Worship Center, Barrington
Pastor Jim Guzofski – Christian Worship Center, Barrington
Pastor Terry Sharbaugh – Durham Evangelical Church, Durham
Sunday, November 2, 2003 was a tragic day for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in America. It was the day that the Reverend V. Gene Robinson was consecrated to be the Episcopal Bishop of New Hamphire. Gene Robinson is a practicing homosexual who was given the highest position in the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. The Episcopal church has been divided by this act of rebellion, but it continues to move forward.

V. Gene Robinson was the Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire since 1988, where he coordinated the diocesan staff and ministry of the Office of the Bishop. Since 1983 he has served as Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Province of New England, and since 2001 on the Board of Trustees, General Theological Seminary.

On the Diocese of New Hampshire web site you can find the convictions of Gene Robinson.

He says in one section, "Because we live in a complex world, and because we don't ask our members to check their minds at the door, faithful Episcopalians will continue to disagree on whether abortion is a moral choice, whether dioceses should be forced to open their ordination processes to women, or whether faithful gay and lesbian relationships should be celebrated and not just tolerated. The particular answer to any of these questions is less important to me than how we as a Church deliberate about them. Are we prayerful about them, listening for God's voice instead of our own egos? Do we truly value the people who hold an opposing view, while disagreeing with their position? And most of all, can we continue to come to the communion rail, humbly receive the Body and Blood of Christ, respecting the dignity of those who disagree with us. I believe we can. And must."

Notice some of his statements:
1. The particular answer to any of these questions is less important to me than how we as a Church deliberate about them.
2. Are we prayer about them, listening for God's voice instead of our own egos?
3. Can we continue to come to the communion rail, humbly receive the Body and blood of Christ?

His statements have a ring of truth. But a false teacher will always carry much truth with error. I agree with Gene that it is important how we discuss the questions of our faith. But it is also critical to know that there are answers to the questions. And the answers are important because truth is truth. It does not change. Gene Robinson would like to ignore the answers to the questions, so that he can continue in his rebellion against the Lord.

The Word of God is clear on the subject of homosexuality. Romans 1:26 says For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Paul declares that the "gay life style" is one of degrading passions, a lifestyle that is unnatural, and one of indecents acts. Common sense alone would tell us that the lifestyle is wrong. But we have clear indication from God's Word that it wrong. In fact Paul concludes his statement by saying a time would come when this lifestyle would receive the due penalty of their error. God would bring judgment upon them for their rebellion.

Gene Robinson statement that we need to listen to God's voice immediately leads to the question, "Where do we receive truth from God?" Is it through impressions, feelings, dreams, or just the reasoning of man himself? There is not one of us who has not made decisions in life based on impressions, feelings, dreams, or our own reasoning. But the guide is not our impression, our feelings, or etc. Our guide is the sure Word of God. When our impressions and our feelings go against the revealed Word of God, then our impressions or feelings are wrong. No matter how strongly we may feel about something, Truth from God's Word is still truth. In fact Gene Robinson has stated that the Bible say that homosexuality is wrong. Gene just doesn't want to follow the Word of God.

Gene statement about coming to the Lord Supper table while engaged in a lifestyle of rebellion against God allows people to come. But Scripture is clear about the real and present danger of taking the Lord's Supper while in open rebellion. Paul calls us to examine our lives before we partake of the bread and the cup. Many in Corinth were sick and or had died because they came to the table of our Lord while in open rebellion. Gene Robinson is leading people to face the judgment of God.

In fact we have in Gene Robinson a classic example of false teacher. Peter says of the false teacher, "Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." (2 Peter 2:2-3).

The tragedy of all of this is that the Episcopal Church approved him. The downward spiral of the church in America grows stronger each day. How do we stem the tide that moves us to an abyss from which there is no recovery? Some will say do not worry about it, it will go away. No it will not!

This is just another step on the slippery slope to the destruction of the life that we know in America. the homosexual advance in the Episcopal Church will not be limited to the election of Bishop Robinson. The October 29, 2003 edition of The Washington Times reveals that the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C. plans to develop rites for homosexual "marriages" for his diocese. Bishop John B. Chane claims that a resolution passed during the recent Episcopal General Convention gives him permission to move in this direction.

We are called to take a stand. As Martin Luther, there are times that we say, "Here I stand, I can do no other." We are people of God's Word. May we proclaim it boldly with love, as we work to be salt and light in America and in the world.