Wednesday, June 18, 2014


            I was walking along the creek at my church a few weeks ago observing some of God’s wonderful creation. I watched a few frogs jump in, protecting their tadpoles from a newfound threat, I suppose. I watched a snake, well, snake its way downstream. I observed the flow of the creek, the structure of the banks, and the trees growing around it. But there was one thing on that particular day that got me thinking.
            As I walked the opposite way of the water, I came upon a wide spot in the creek. There, most of the water was nasty, with odd bubbles and a much darker tint. Stagnant water. I began to ponder the stagnant water (bear with me, I sound like a hippie) and how it relates to the Christian life.
            See, in the Christian life, we ought always to be moving forward. That is the natural progression of the water, and it should be our natural progression as we gain more knowledge of God and His Word and learn to love Him more. But that’s not always the case. Often, the Christian life becomes stagnant. What causes stagnation, and what are the consequences of it?
            I look at where the stagnant water ended. There were large clumps of grass (from mowing, I’d assume) that were damming up a good portion of the creek. Any time something is stagnant, there is a cause of it. When you look back to the source of the lack of movement, you’ll find the original problem that created a greater problem. In living for God, it is easy to put something ahead of Him that blocks us from moving forward for Him. This source problem could be sin: bitterness, contempt, jealousy, alcohol, drugs, pornography- you name it. Or it could be something good, such as various ministries that we attempt without God’s power and direction. Perhaps it is a lack of time spent with God. It all boils down to us thinking we can do something without God or without God seeing- pride. Either way, it is foolish and impossible.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” –John 15:5

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” –Proverbs 15:3

There is always something specific that is keeping even those most desirous of serving God from moving forward for Him. If there’s stagnation in your life, something is causing it.
            Have you noticed the difference in stagnant water from the rest of the water? Stagnant water is much murkier. Stagnation causes darkness and clouds out clarity. When your life is stagnant, it causes darkness. The clearness of God’s truth is shielded by a life and mind that is growing ever-darker. Instead of seeing what is around you, you now see it through a tint. Used to, things that were dark, things that seems wrong, were able to be seen for what they were. Now they appear to match everything around you. Things that are pure are harder to see. Even what is good has a dark layer around it. If your life is stagnant, you’re missing God’s clarity for your own darkness.

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” –I John 1:5-7

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” –John 3:18-21

            There is one final thing to realize about stagnation. As I continued to walk by the creek against the current, I saw that the stagnant water backed up for about 50 feet. I also noticed that, slowly but surely, more water was backing up. When the clumps of grass first fell in the creek, it would have seemed harmless. Sure, there’s something there to block part of the creek, but what’s the big deal? There’s a foot of water behind the grass: it’s not a problem. But then water continued to back up. And it will continue to back up. When the source of your stagnation first makes its presence known, it doesn’t seem like a problem. It’s only slowing forward progress a little bit. But the longer the problem is there, the more of a mess it makes. The murkier things get. No sin is harmless. (Because doing something “good” apart from God is also sinful.) It may seem that way at first, but the longer it’s there, the worse things get.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” –James 1:15

            So how do you correct stagnation? Simple. Go to the source. Not all the problems it has caused, but the source sin(s) that is causing the stagnation. And get it out of the way. Stop it at the source. When the source is freed, everything will begin to move forward again. As it should be. If you want to do things for God, as I trust we all do, you must be rid of stagnation. To be rid of stagnation, you must go back to the source of it.

“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” –Proverbs 24:16

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Bible on Graphic Imagery- Why Christians should be for its Use

            It is rare for any social movement to be united. Look at Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois, and later Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactic vs. those of the Black Panthers. Look at any genocide, and there will be those who want to eliminate those perpetrating it and those who want to focus on helping those at risk. The pro-life movement, unfortunately, is not united either in all areas.
            One facet of this movement, the use of graphic images of abortion victims, gets a particularly bad rap from those on both sides. The pro-choice side obviously doesn’t want people to see the truth. The pro-life side has various reasons they will state of why the use of victim imagery is wrong or shouldn’t be used. I am not getting into reasoning I’ve heard nor why it is used; to do so I would have to plagiarize the work of people far more knowledgeable than me. I do, however, want to look at graphic imagery from a biblical perspectives.
            Before I begin, let me state that one does not have to a Christian or religious to be pro-life. Look up Secular Pro-Life and their reasoning behind their views. Nor does one have to go about victim imagery from a biblical view. Most arguments, in fact, have no religious backing, but instead look at the practical approach to its use and its success in past and current social movements. A good talk on these points was delivered by Stephanie Gray, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform:
            I appeal to a narrower group: the Christian who is opposed to the use of graphic images. I would hope that you realize that God is against baby killing (just look at what He did to those who sacrificed them), but what you may not realize is that He has long endorsed the use of graphic imagery, albeit in person (being that cameras are a more recent invention).
            “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.” (Joshua 7:25-26). After Achan caused the death of 36 Israelis and a collective sin to come upon the camp, Joshua, under God’s leadership, commanded that he, his family, and his possessions be stoned. Afterwards they were burnt and buried under a “great heap of stones”. This may not seem that graphic, but at the time of this writing, the heap was still there. Furthermore, it was in the Promised Land that Israel was living in. Hence, every time someone walked by, they would remember this (very graphic) punishment on Achan for his sin. And still underneath the stones was Achan and his family. The heap of stones is consistent with such uses in the Bible, as we will momentarily look at, and served as a grim reminder of the price of disobedience to God.
            “And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.” (Joshua 8:28-29). What’s more is that Joshua did this to multiple kings in the following chapters. This practice was not in the least called into correction by God. To show all who would see what happens when one stands against God and His people, the kings are hung not just to kill them, but are left there for the day (that’s graphic, if you follow). (And as the kings were to be seen of all Israel, I can guarantee there were kids that saw them.) Then they were put in front of their cities’ gates and buried underneath “a great heap of stones.” Those who didn’t see them on the tree would see the stones they were buried under, and both enemies of Israel and Israel themselves would remember the price of opposition to God.
            “Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled….And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.” (I Samuel 17:51, 54). There are a few things that must be recalled here. One, David had already been told he would be king, but it would be awhile before he would become king. Second, Jerusalem at this time was not under Israelite control. It had been unconquered in Joshua’s time and had given Israel problems since. Fear was not only struck into the Philistines by the beheading of their champion fighter, but David used it for a greater purpose. He took Goliath’s head to the gates of Jerusalem and left it there (in case you were wondering, that’s graphic). This way, David told the inhabitants of Jerusalem that they were next to be conquered. Sure enough, one of the first things David does as king is conquers Jerusalem. The reminder of the price of defying God and future warning to others is done graphically.
            “Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds. Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh. And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness? And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead. And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel. And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel. So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.” (Judges 19:22-20:11).
            After this, God Himself delivered Benjamin into the rest of Israel’s hand, and 25,000 thousand soldiers of Benjamin were killed. In addition, Israel killed all the men and animals of every city they came to and burned the cities.
            This is perhaps the most vivid use of graphic imagery in the Bible, and for a similar purpose to why it is used in the pro-life movement. (Realize I am not endorsing giving over one’s wife to these men.) The Levite man was stuck in a bad position, not because of who he was, but because of who the men of Gibeah were. There was a huge problem in the tribe of Benjamin, and that made serious problems for the rest of Israel. This went beyond his situation, it was the lifestyle of Benjamin. The problems were so grave that God allowed Israel to start a civil war with a tribe to eliminate the evil.
            Such as it is in America. There is a huge problem here. Twenty-nine hundred children are killed every day, legally. But what was the Levite’s response? He doesn’t go back to the other tribes and say, “Guys, there’s a huge problem here. Let me try to explain to you, without being too graphic and definitely without showing you the full reality of the problem, what is wrong.” No, he (in a most graphic fashion) cuts his concubine into twelve pieces and sends them to each tribe. Because he knew that this sin needed to be seen.
            And what was Israel’s response. Everyone who saw it said, “This is too graphic a method,” right? Not at all. They said, “There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.” They, having seen something so disgusting, took it for what it was. Then they rallied together, heard the details, and took action. This action was unified and swift. Because when we physically see the problem with an explanation behind it, it compels us to action. How can we not act seeing how barbaric a crime is being committed? Israel went out and fought the problem, and they defeated it. When we see the problem, God is with us to fight it.

            This has not at all exhausted the biblical use of graphic imagery. But hopefully the point has been made, that God allows and encourages its use so that other can be warned and mobilized because of the sin that has taken place. We need Christians mobilized to fight abortion. Show them what it is. We need people to be warned of how serious it is, and how evil it is. Show them why it is evil. It’s the logical thing to do, and it’s the biblical thing to do.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Slippery Slope of Gay Marriage

            There’s been a huge push lately of the gay agenda. (This, at the expense of any truly tolerant person who disagrees- but that’s another story.) We are told this is the way it is. We’re told that times change and we shouldn’t be stuck in the past. We are even told that if we really want to follow the Bible, we should not eat pork and stone fornicators- this, under the apparent belief that we are all Jewish. But is believing that homosexuality is sinful and those practicing it should not get married really so backward? I’m here to say it is not. I do not hold people who are not Christians to Christian standards, however, Christian or not, there are very practical reasons to be against gay marriage. (I can hear the Homofascists screaming now.)
            Despite what scoffers say, the United States was founded on Christian principles. Leviticus 25:10 (yes, from that evil law) is on the Liberty Bell. The Bible and prayer were, for a couple centuries, in public schools and courthouses. The law itself, common law, is based off of, yes, Biblical law. The need for multiple witnesses was also found in the Bible. There is more evidence for this that I explained in a previous post (
            So why did a nation whose first settlers (apart from Native Americans, my politically correct friends) came for religious freedom, whose Bill of Rights guarantees it, founded on Christian principles? Belief in the God of the Bible was widespread then. Evolution didn’t yet exist. Those answers are explanatory in part, but perhaps not sufficient. Have we ever considered that we need the Bible in our country?
            Let me explain. Since the Bible and prayer were taken out of schools, teen pregnancy rates have increased dramatically. The age of sexual activity has decreased while the percentage has skyrocketed. The number of STDs among teens has increased exponentially compared to the growth in population. Single-mother homes, cohabitation, divorce rates, violent crime rates, and alcohol consumption have all increased. Even SAT scores have decreased.
            I am for freedom of conscience because it is a fact: no one can make another believe anything. That is why I am for religious freedom. But the Bible, aside from its most important job of showing man the way of redemption through Jesus Christ, is also a moral guide to people. You will scarcely find a founder of our nation, as well as a number of Court justices, that believed otherwise.
            When a moral guide is taken out of the equation, what is left? People deciding things for themselves. We may not realize it; who doesn’t consider themselves a moral person (apart from those who have realized their sinful condition through, alas, the Bible)? But if there is not an absolute moral guide- the Bible and our God-given consciences- there is no other option. Sure we can try to name something else. It’s what society feels is right. American society and many others feel it okay to kill unborn children. Canaanite and Aztec societies thought it fine to sacrifice their children. Nazi society felt it okay to kill those different than them. Do we want to leave things up to society? Do we want to leave morals up to laws that are written by society? Can morals change?
            No, morals must be absolute. We need something absolute, or else when the majority decides to change its mind, it can make whatever it feels acceptable “acceptable” in society.
            And when we realize this, along with the startling numbers when the Bible is eliminated from much of public, we see that homosexuality and the gay agenda is not the problem, but the consequence. The side effect to a very rotten illness in America- that there is no room for God, at least not the true God.
            What happens when we decide to go against absolute morals? Suddenly more and more becomes acceptable in our society. A while ago, it was taboo to be pregnant out of wedlock or to cohabitate. Now it is quite common. Homosexuality was nearly unthinkable- now there is an increasing push for not only allowing gays to be married, but to force everyone to condone it. Call me an old-fashioned Bible-thumper (please), but what it next?
            We’ve already seen the beginning of further movements down this slope. Pedophiles are now using the same tactics as the gay movement, looking for the same rights that homosexuals are seeking. It isn’t weird or wrong, it’s an “alternative lifestyle”. They’re not twisted, they’re “minor-attracted people.” B4U-Act says they are trying to “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.” Sound similar? The American Psychiatrists Association, which declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, issued a report over 15 years ago that said the “negative potential” of children having sex with adults is “overstated” and “the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.” And this agenda has been effective. Pedophilia is now a sexual orientation, receiving protection under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which the Obama administration naturally praised.
            “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality,” psychologist and former University of Montreal professor Van Gijsegham told Parliament. “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent….If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”­1
            When we begin to compromise absolute morals, there is no turning back. See cases in other countries of people marrying their pets, their cars, and a myriad of other things. We continue down the slippery slope.
            Without absolute morals, we are opened up to nothing more than relativism. If you do something I think is wrong, it doesn’t matter because we are both human, and there is nothing above us. What right do laws have to tell us we can’t steal? Or rape? Or murder? Want to beat your wife? What right do I have to tell you no? Want to walk into a school and shoot it up? Not my business. Kill those who disagree with you? I’ll live and let live.
            “That’s absurd,” you say. Exactly. We are not the decider of our own morals. The belief that we are puts us on the slippery slope to social anarchy. We must look to the absolute morals that God has placed us under. To truly live this, one must be born again into God’s family- you don’t have to look very far into my posts to find an explanation of that. But even if you choose to reject God, you’ll do society a favor by submitting to absolute morals instead of allowing an every-man-for-himself morality.