For Which Good Deed Do Ye Stone Me?

While browsing the Voice of the Martyr newsroom, I ran across an article that was posted on February 29, 2008, entitled ‘JORDAN- Government Expels Christian Missionaries’ The article states “The government in Jordan has admitted it expelled missionaries for “illegal” activities. According to Compass Direct News, On February 20, Acting Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, told the Jordanian parliament that authorities had expelled missionaries operating ‘under the cover of doing illegal charitable work.’”

The reason for the expulsion could only be for one of two reasons. One for doing the charitable work or secondly for ministering the gospel while doing the charitable deeds. We might be able to learn from what we see when the Lord walked this sod.

When Christ became a man he made this statement….

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19

And that He did. He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and even the dead to live. For which of these deeds did they seek to kill Him? It was not for the charitable deeds that He performed that drove the people to give Him over to the cross, but the fact that those mighty deeds gave credence to the fact that He was Yeshua ha Massiach.

It’s not about the deed but the gospel. It’s not about the temporal, but the eternal.  Pray not only for our brothers and sisters in Jordan, but all of our brother and sisters that are faithfully carrying the Light of the gospel in the persecuted land.

malachi

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

In the second pastoral epistle to Timothy, the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy (a young pastor left to oversee the church in Ephesus), to be persistent in preaching the word of God. Be instant in season and out of season, for a time will come when those in the church will not endure sound teaching of God’s word, but will heap to themselves teachers who will tickle their ears. 2 Timothy 4:1-3

Involved in pasturing a church and having observed the operations of the church for some twenty-five years now, I have noticed how the church attendants often take on the spiritual demeanor of the pastor that stands in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday espousing whatever doctrine they propagate.

When the assembly takes in the ‘spiritual food’ fed to them from the pulpit the word takes on a personification, and that spirit akin to the doctrine of what is being preached. In some instances this is very good, especially when the word of God is the spiritual meat and the message is flavored with mercy and grace. Other times the results are not so good, at least in terms of “sound teaching”.

For the longest time I had difficulty understanding this picture. The photograph was taken at the ‘Steak Fry of Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on September 17, 2007 in Indianola, IA, while the National Anthem was being delivered. Time Magazine ran the photo in October 2007 without comment.

Photobucket

After hearing this week all that is come out with regard to the ‘message’ that has been preached by Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor of some twenty years, I am inclined to believe that the following truth not only applies to the spiritual realm but also to the political/secular. As Christ exhorted His disciples, “be careful what you hear and how you hear it“….

Senator Obama made the statement that he no longer wears a flag lapel pin.

The Illinois senator said “he stopped wearing the pin shortly after the attacks and instead hoped to show his patriotism by explaining his ideas to citizens“.Makes one wonder what affects Sunday after Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ and sitting under the tutelage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright has had on Senator Obama?

When the preacher diverts from the sound teaching of God’s word, there is no telling what spirit will be conjured up.

There are those in the church (and the world) today that seem to believe whatever anyone tells them, even a preacher. The church at Corinth was warned of a different gospel, a different Jesus and to guard against another spirit. Sounds like good advice for both the church and America.

malachi

We see things not as they are, but as we are.

Gov. Elliot Spitzer

Gov. Eliot Spitzer

I guess by now most everyone has heard the news on Gov. Spitzer in New York. It appears that when he was New York State Attorney General that he set his heart to clean up all the graft and corruption that had plagued the state of New York… nothing wrong with that until we see that things are not as one expected, at least looking at it from the perspective of the Governor.

Reminds me of a story that happened in the Bible.  King David was reigning over Israel and the scripture testifies that David was a mighty man and a man after God’s own heart. But sin was found in that same heart. He saw and desired a woman, the woman was the wife of another man, Uriah the Hittite. King David sent unto Bathsheba that he might sleep with her and from that point in the story, it goes down hill from here. The story ends up with Bathsheba pregnant and in order to cover his wicked deed, David ends up having Uriah set at the front in the heat of the battle where he is killed. He then takes Bathsheba to wife. So God sends the prophet Nathan the prophet of God to uncover David’s sin and bring the sin to light.

Consider Nathan’s meeting with King David taken from the scripture-

“And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”  2 Samuel 12:1-6

Now none of us would have any trouble seeing the fault of this rich man in taking this poor man’s one little ewe lamb… the only one that he had, and a pet at that. David had no trouble with seeing the fault of this rich man’s selfish error yet he could not discern the error of his own way in desiring and taking Bathsheba and having her husband set for the destruction.

I have found this to be true in all of our society and this appears to be what we see in the case of Governor Elliot Spitzer of New York, he has no trouble seeing the error and corruption of others but has no trouble overlooking the error of his own way. We see things not as they are, but the way we are.

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?

malachi

Looking For A Church?

Belonging to the underground Faith Missions Church could cost one a whole lot!

I’ll bet you don’t see an influx in attendance at Easter and Christmas.

Article posted compliments of Journal Chrétien

“A Christian martyr is one who chooses to suffer death rather than to deny Christ or His work… sacrifices something very important to further the Kingdom of God… endures great suffering for Christian witness”. VOM

If we are not ready to die for Christ, do you think we will live for Him?

malachi

Perseverance and Purity Through Fire

I just finished reading the book ‘Tortured For Christ’. The author is Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs The book speaks of Wurmbrand’s 14 year stint in a Romanian underground prison cell and solitary confinement, enduring inhumane tortures because of his stand for the word of God and against communism. The circumstances of Richard Wurmbrand are not unique to his life in 1948, the life of believers throughout Asia, Africa and Europe today who live in the underground church find themselves in jeopardy of the same types of persecution, imprisonment and even death for the cause of their Lord.

I have received the monthly magazine ‘Voice of the Martyr for right at 3 years now. Never a month goes by that I don’t find myself amazed at two things; 1) the unwavering commitment of these persecuted brothers and sisters. 2) and at the same time such condemnation of the church we find so comfortly basking in the seeming blessing in America.

Brother Wurmbrand made the statement that “the underground church is a poor and suffering church, but it has no lukewarm members”. In America we find a church that is endued with much knowledge, rich, increased with goods and hath need of nothing, yet pews filled with lukewarm believers. Why the difference?

In Deuteronomy, the 8th chapter God instructs Moses to tell the nation Israel after having lead them with a strong-arm out of Egypt into the land that I promised your fathers:8:7-20 “For the LORD thy God bringeth you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God”.

Could it be that when the church is immersed in material blessings it chooses to forget God, while His church that is in the fire of persecution hangs their very testimony and life upon His faithfulness?

This book is a worthy read for all who profess this Christ. Click here for a free copy of ‘Tortured for Christ‘.

malachi

One’s Mouth Brings Forth One’s Heart

This is somewhat old news but I just ran across it and thought it worthy of consideration in light of the spiritual maturity of the church in America is today. Pray the church in America would return to the firm foundation of God’s word.

The following are blurbs from an interview between Joel Osteen and Wolf Blitzer in the ‘Situation Room’ back on November 9, 2007. You can read the entire RUSH TRANSCRIPTS http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0711/09/sitroom.02.html

Wolf Blitzer ask Osteen about the moral issues of abortion and gay rights. The question posed to Osteen was “do you get involved in trying to express your opinions on those sensitive issues?”

Osteen skirted the issue by responding, “You know, I would say this, Wolf, I don’t crusade against them or crusade to make my opinion known. Again, I feel like my calling is to bring hope and encouragement and teach people how to live their everyday lives. But I’m not for abortion and I don’t think homosexuality is God’s best but I just try to stay in my calling and the main thing is we’re for everybody to bring them hope and encouragement and not to exclude a certain group from our following.”

As a preacher of the gospel we should not be looking for man’s opinion, especially on doctrines that are black and white, no room for grey interpretation. Why not just expound the scripture? Preach the word. Be instant in season and out of season!

Wolf Blitzer followed Osteen’s answer with the following statement “Explain why you think homosexuality is not God’s best because homosexuals believe that was the way God created them. They were born this way to either love women or love men and they had no choice in the matter and this is simply the way, the way God created them.”

Joel Osteen’s response to Blitzer’s question “You know, Wolf I can’t say that I understand it all. I don’t. When I read things like that, I don’t know that I understand it all. I just go back to the foundation of my faith. It’s based on the truth that I found in the bible and I only see, you know, relationships between men and women is the way God created us to be. I’m not saying I condemn them. I’m not saying I understand it all, but I just, I have to say this is my core belief on the inside.”

I honestly feel that Joel Osteen has propagated his gospel of prosperity and blessing for so long that he could not muster the Spirit to say that ‘homosexuality’ is the fruit of sin and an abomination in the eyes of God. I am not really sure he understands- maybe what Christ was referring to when He said “leave them alone; the blind need leaders”. As a preacher of the gospel, and more importantly, a pastor, I am not sure which is the saddest, that he may not really understand the teaching of the scripture, or doesn’t feel the conviction to call sin, sin.

Wolf Blitzer continued his line of questioning, “And what about same-sex marriage or same-sex unions. If two men love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives with each other or two women love each other, should they get the benefits, the rights that heterosexual couples have?”

Osteen’s response, “You know, Wolf, I’m not up to speed on all that. I just – I don’t believe again that it’s God’s best for us to say that a marriage is between a man, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t know about all the technical issues. I’m certainly for everybody having a chance in life and being kind and respectful to everyone. But I just don’t know if I’m up to speed on it all.”

If there was ever an opportunity for a man of God to stand upon the unadulterated word of God, this was it. It would have been better for Joel Osteen not even to have appeared on the ‘Situation Room‘, than to have appeared as a representative of God’s Word and then not stand upon it. Jesus said it is a firm foundation and shall with stand any storm that life can throw at us; Matthew 7:24-29.…. even the situation room.

Appropriately Wolf Blitzer close the interview with this question, “Have you ever considered running for office?”

Joel Osteen, “No, sir, I haven’t. I have had people ask, but I just don’t feel like, you know, at this point that’s what I’m called to do. I just feel like you know I am doing what I was born to do right now.”

My Christian friends, we never have to feel ashamed that we can not stand upon the firm foundation of God’s word. The enemies of the cross would wish so.

malachi

Who Will Speak Up For You?

Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)
“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

Below is the chilling testimony of Jill L. Stanek before the House Judiciary Subcommittee speaking for the rights of children that are born alive. The testimony is graphic as is our nation’s sin against the innocent child made in the likeness of God. We shall not expect mercy for such atrocities…

Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN

 Hearing on H.R.4292, the ‘Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000’ House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution July 20,2000

I am a Registered Nurse who has worked in the Labor & Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, for the past five years. Christ Hospital performs abortions on women in their second or even third trimesters of pregnancy. Sometimes the babies being aborted are healthy, and sometimes they are not.

The method of abortion that Christ Hospital uses is called “induced labor abortion,” also now known as “live birth abortion.” This type of abortion can be performed different ways, but the goal always is to cause a pregnant woman’s cervix to open so that she will deliver a premature baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward. The way that induced abortion is most often executed at my hospital is by the physician inserting a medication called Cytotec into the birth canal close to the cervix. Cytotec irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open. When this occurs, the small, preterm baby drops out of the uterus, oftentimes alive. It is not uncommon for one of these live aborted babies to linger for an hour or two or even longer. One of them once lived for almost eight hours.

In the event that a baby is aborted alive, he or she receives no medical assessments or care but is only given what my hospital calls “comfort care.” “Comfort care” is defined as keeping the baby warm in a blanket until he or she dies, although even this minimal compassion is not always provided. It is not required that these babies be held during their short lives.

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Downs Syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about ½ pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

Other co-workers have told me many upsetting stories about live aborted babies whom they have cared for. I was told about an aborted baby who was supposed to have Spina bifida but was delivered with an intact spine. Another nurse is haunted by the memory of an aborted baby who came out weighing much more than expected ~ almost two pounds. She is haunted because she doesn’t know if she made a mistake by not getting that baby medical help. A Support Associate told me about a live aborted baby who was left to die on the counter of the Soiled Utility Room wrapped in a disposable towel. This baby was accidentally thrown into the garbage, and when they later were going through the trash to find the baby, the baby fell out of the towel and on to the floor.

I was recently told about a situation by a nurse who said, “I can’t stop thinking about it.” She had a patient who was 23+ weeks pregnant, and it did not look as if her baby would be able to continue to live inside of her. The baby was healthy and had up to a 39% chance of survival, according to national statistics. But the patient chose to abort. The baby was born alive. If the mother had wanted everything done for her baby, there would have been a neonatologist, pediatric resident, neonatal nurse, and respiratory therapist present for the delivery, and the baby would have been taken to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for specialized care. Instead, the only personnel present for this delivery were an obstetrical resident and my co-worker. After delivery the baby, who showed early signs of thriving, was merely wrapped in a blanket and kept in the Labor & Delivery Department until she died 2-1/2 hours later.

Something is very wrong with a legal system that says doctors are mandated to pronounce babies dead but are not mandated to assess babies for life and chances of survival. In other words, our laws currently say that babies have no rights to medical oversight until they are dead. We look the other way and pretend that these babies aren’t human while they’re alive but human only after they are dead. We issue these babies both birth and death certificates, but it is really only the death certificate that matters. No other children in America are medically abandoned like this.

Abortion is a cancer that is literally killing America. It is killing our children while it is killing our consciences. It began when we took God out of our decision-making and proclaimed that the little beings growing inside of women were “products of conception” and not little girls and little boys. Who should be surprised that we keep pushing the envelope so that now we are aborting these “products of conception” alive? I even work at a hospital named “Christ” that does this very thing! It is beyond me to comprehend that we’re doing what we’re doing now, and so I can’t even imagine what horrible ways we will think of next to torture our children. Please help put an end to this by proclaiming infants as American human being Homo sapiens with the same legal and medical rights that you and I big people have. Thank you.

Reference:Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN. Hearing on H.R. 4292, the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000” House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, July 20, 2000.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

malachi