The Truth Matters

This ran at the Visalia Times Delta on Easter Weekend 2018.

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The truth is the most powerful thing in the world. And as Churchill rightly mused, the truth is always tightly encapsulated by a bodyguard of lies.

It is Easter.

The greatest truth in the history of the cosmos is that Jesus Christ created and redeemed mankind.

You will not find much truth in the torrent of the media, nor in the chaos of our culture. Science, equality, sexual freedom, social justice, personal autonomy, liberalism and politically correct dogma are just a few of the many bodyguards that deceive us and manufacture a perceived reality.

God has to use methods and people to reveal Himself and His truths and America was formed for that very reason.

Did you know that George Washington routinely rose and spent from 5 AM to 6 AM on his knees praying and reading the Bible? Did you know he practiced the very same routine in the evening at 9 PM?

Philadelphia was named the City of Brotherly Love for a specific purpose. William Penn wanted Christians of all denominations to work together everyday of the week to advance the, “Holy Experiment,” The experiment was that of personal, religious and economic freedom according to Biblical principles.

John Adams wrote this to his wife, Abigail;

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, nearly half (24) held seminary or Bible school degrees.

The end of our Declaration of Independence says this, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

In my Patriots Bible there are, at the very least, 100 quotes from the Founders, business leaders, educational leaders, clergy and a host of others that point to God and His Providence regarding the founding of our nation.

The germane issue here is that what Easter represents is a very strong indicator of our heritage. While America has its sins like every other nation, our heritage is not liberalism, abortion, pot smoking, godlessness, and the promotion of immoral behavior.

Liberalism comes along and profanes everything it touches. But our country is sacred. Our lives are sacred. Our sexuality is sacred.

Hopefully we can remember the sacredness of the important things this Easter.

Ron Hunnicutt

Visalia, CA

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Diabolical Liberals

This ran at the Visalia Times Delta in March of 2018.evil_eyes

The lawlessness of California is a malignant cancer.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears (heard) a case regarding the State of California and its attempt to force pro-life pregnancy centers to install large signs that promote abortion.

It is not enough that Planned Parenthood receives taxpayer funds to kill Americans in the womb and then sell the parts. Liberals are so rabid to kill absolutely all of the Americans they possibly can that California passed a bill in October of 2015 in an attempt to expand the carnage to pro life facilities.

Those who consider sexual freedom the highest value in the cosmos will no doubt be offended at my rhetoric. But progressives who think they are open-minded need to consider that abortion is as barbaric as any other wickedness that snuffs out lives. How is it possible that liberals are aghast at the slaughter in Florida but then clap and shout with delight for the very same carnage in the womb? Surely modern liberalism is a strong delusion.

Thou shall not murder. A five year old can understand that concept. But lawlessness dictates that Putin murders his political opponents and liberals pass laws to murder in the womb.

By the way, Roe vs. Wade is by no means settled law. God always has the last word on all matters.

California politicians will have to answer to God for this depravity.

 

Crushed

What is obvious is that I am suffering.

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What is not so obvious is that I am being crushed like grapes so that I might become like new wine.

But I am not a martyr.

And I am not anything special.

I am not anyone special.

And allowing for self-pity just leads to defeat and despair.

So, it is what it is.

Please Lord, crush me so that I might become like Jesus.

The Dysfunctional Mess Called Islam

Girl

I am compelled to say something about this picture and this girl. We cannot look in her eyes without tearing up ourselves. Islam hurts little girls. Islam sends young boys to their death by suicide bombing. Islam turns men into oppressors. Islam turns women into the oppressed. Sharia Law oppresses anywhere it is enforced.

I am always in favor of freedom of choice and freedom of religion. Yet the truth matters. The only reason liberalism is sympathetic to Islam is because liberalism says man is the center of all things which means liberalism rejects God’s authority and Christianity’s primacy… so that Liberalism is opposed to Christianity just like Islam is and so liberalism and Islam have a common enemy… which is very easy to see in our culture and our media.

So, this young girl is caught up in the total mess that is called Islam and its constant warfare and fighting. It is a very sad thing. We are fools if we do not realize the chaos, dysfunction and obvious pain that Islam brings to people and nations

The caption for this picture reads, “A displaced Iraqi girl, who fled her home, cries during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, near Badush, Iraq, March 16, 2017.

If you insist that Islam is a peaceful religion then tell my why Jihad is in the Koran, and why Sharia Law is in Koran, and why is kill the infidels in the Koran? Plus a whole host of other oppressive statements regarding Christians are in the Koran.

In the end this young girl’s tears tell the whole story.  She is innocent of all wrong-doing yet she suffers.

 

Answers When There Are No Answers: Las Vegas Massacre

If the media was not so deluded because they reject God and obsessed with attacking Trump then they would run Op-Ed pieces like this. Las Vegas

God wagers a great risk when He creates each and every human being. God refuses to violate our free will so the risk is that we will do significant evil instead of good. He also risks the fact that someone He created will never acknowledge His creating them nor the bridge that His Son provides.

And so we get both ends of the spectrum. A person like Mother Theresa chooses great good. And unfortunately a man chooses evil and the Las Vegas massacre happens.

Sin is a matter of violating the design and intentions of our Creator. God did not design one human being to take the life of other human beings in a wanton and malicious manner.

The Las Vegas massacre is a very nuanced matter. There are many factors to consider.

But in the mix is this axiom to behold, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,” which is a verse in Psalms in the Bible. And since these mass murders and terrorist attacks keep plaguing our country then that should give us great pause to consider why. It is false to say God would cause something like the Las Vegas massacre. But there is this dictum of God removing His hand of protection from a nation that has turned their back on Him. There is this deception and fatal consequence for a groupthink that supposes man can depend on his own righteousness, merit and self-sufficiency.

There is also this principle in the Bible, “yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” So if Stephen Paddock’s father chose the evil of robbing banks, broke out of prison, was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and had the diagnosis of psychopath, then we have a perfect and catastrophic storm brewing unless there is some sort of intervention.

Las Vegas and its surroundings are not known for producing specimens in right standing with God. So Las Vegas nurtures the son of a psychopath with the vices of gambling, “escorts” also known as prostitutes and alcohol. This elixir can produce nothing but evil.

As obnoxious and messy as they are, politics do matter, which is why we Christians keep proclaiming annoying but vital truths such as Second Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I am not saying Republicans have answers – they do not. I am saying God does. And modern liberalism is nothing but a strong delusion. Give no regard to the myopic subterfuge called “the separation of church and state” which is not in the Constitution. If you want answers that matter about the tragedy Las Vegas then ask the God of the Bible who gives wisdom to those who seek Him with all of their heart.

On Job and Suffering

I am not a theologian. The-Book-Of-Job

Job is a fascinating character on many, many levels.

His life was about 2100 years before Christ. That is to say Job lived his life without any revelation, as far as I can tell, of Christ.

And Job lived his life about 600 years before Moses. This means that Job did not have the Law  to guide him or give him direction.

So, Job lived a very close walk with God not having the law from Moses and long before Jesus came.

That is pretty amazing.

BTW – not saying that Job didn’t need Christ’s sacrifice – he did. He just lived before Christ’s sacrifice and needed it just as we all did and do.

But this is still amazing to me. And is might bring a bit more insight to Romans 1 which says God attributes are evident through nature and men are without excuse regarding God.

I would guess that God gave Job all of the wisdom that he needed to live a righteous life, but also Job had a heart that sought God.

It is pretty amazing what God said about Job in Job 1 saying he was, “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Here is a second point I learned about Job from Timothy Keller. Not sure I can explain it as well as Keller despite the fact that I have lived it. The idea is that some say Christians serve God, love God because of what they get out of it. And some of that it true. I don’t want to end up in hell… so I seek God. BTW – yes I am saved by grace alone. But at one point Job lost everything, his health, his children, much of his wealth all because God tested him and Satan attacked him. So at some point you could say why serve God anymore? Everything is lost. Which is why Job’s wife says, “Why don’t you just curse God and die?”

But is the midst of losing everything Job still says, “Though He slay me yet will I serve Him.” So a Christian can lose everything that the world values, and that we all value, but Christians still know that God is still sovereign, That God is still out Creator, that Christ still died to redeem us, and even if our only consolation is heaven some day it is still right and proper for us to serve God and honor Him. We don’t serve God because He is a vending machine… even though there are things I might want or need.

So let me apply this to my circumstances. I have a chronic illness. I cannot work. I cannot live the American dream. I can’t really be prosperous. I am dependent on many, many people to stay alive and survive. I would guess that at least half of the people in the Third World live a better life than I do. I am not sure such a comparison is appropriate but I am just trying to explain my situation.

But, because I cannot get healed, or live a prosperous life, or work – which most men find their purpose in, does that mean it is pretty much useless to seek God or try and serve Him? Well I have to serve God for who He is and not because of what He gives me. At some point I have to serve God for who He is and not what I get out of it. And that is real Christianity. Satan told God that Job just serves God for what Job gets out of it. But that is a lie. And Job proved it was a lie and Job proved God right.

Yes I struggle greatly but there is no other ballgame. Jesus is the way, the light and the truth. So if I do not serve God then I will serve something false.

I hope I explained that in a way that makes it real.

Let me try this. Jesus said that He came so I would have life and have it more abundantly. I can promise you that most people look at my life and say geez… I don’t want to have to live like that. Chronic, never ending health issues… please spare me. But I am with Job… I have to be. And he was a really great man, I am not, but still, Job’s conclusion is the correct one. Though He slay me, though I have a chronic illness, though someone has cancer, though the disasters of life hit very hard, yet God is still God, He still created me, and Jesus still died for me and has a claim on my life, so against all odds, against all adversities, against all struggles, against anything that comes at me in this life, still I will serve God. And that is the very end of the matter.

The Surprising Upsides to Suffering

I am completely humbled by this lady’s words. She gets it… far better than I do. So I am re-posting it here. There is no question in my mind that we Christians… some of us anyway (including me)… as well as many in our culture suffer this “ontological lightness” and so the distractions, the, “hollow entertainment” and the business of life keep us from the, “weighty things.” There is a purpose to my suffering… and yours. BTW – I substitute suffering for sadness because that is what identify with more.

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The Surprising Upside to Sadness

Catherine Morgan / May 6, 2017

Depression. Discouragement. Sorrow.

 

Too often we find ourselves here. Waves of emotions overcome when we least expect them. While I’ve learned a lot about choosing light, daring to hope, hard thanksgiving, and spiritual battle, there are lessons yet to learn.

 

The more I consider these emotions I’d rather not experience, the more I see multiple reasons that depression—yes, depression—has been a gift to me. Here are five.

  1. Sadness forces me to depend on Jesus.

I am far more aware of Christ, attentive to Christ, and thirsty for Christ when I am discouraged. Trapped in a rough patch, the psalmists’ words suddenly spring to life: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1). “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26).

Only when I thirst for Jesus do I bend low to drink his living water. And so, paradoxically, in sadness I find the key to joy, which otherwise I might blithely miss.

  1. Sadness gives me humility and empathy.

Depression has a way of humbling me like nothing else, as God protects me from my own ego. It’s hard to feel you’ve arrived when you struggle to even get out of bed. In these moments I need grace like I need water, a knowledge that keeps me face-planted before the cross—a posture infinitely preferable to the kind of humiliating crash that often flows from pride.

Empathy lets me see the world from a brokenhearted perspective—it lets me borrow broken eyes. Am I compassionate? It’s only because I so deeply need mercy. How can I withhold this gift I’ve received and need more of each day? I meet homeless families, unemployed immigrants, teen moms, couples mid-divorce, suicidal folks, jilted sweethearts. Every one has the same needs, the same sinful soul, the same shy beauty of God’s image imprinted on their heart. When I see them, I see me. God redeems my sadness as he turns my eyes outward and fills me with compassion.

  1. Sadness rescues me from silliness.

As my seminary-nerd husband would say, my depression rescues me from ontological lightness. It’s easy to exchange weighty things for hollow entertainment. Unchecked, it can lead someone through 30,000 days only to face eternity with empty pockets. Isn’t this the spirit of Ecclesiastes 7:2? “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

Joy is not inferior to gloom—emphatically it’s not—but it’s easy in all the levity to miss the grand epic as it unfolds. Like hobbits happy in the Shire while Sauron advances, we can forget the stakes—life is short, eternity beckons, souls hang in the balance. A healthy dose of sobriety helps me see the world as it is: cursed and lost, in need of a Redeemer.

  1. Sadness prepares me for future struggle.

How often does a rootless faith blow away in adversity? A quick survey of spiritual giants indicates they have this in common: They’ve suffered. In various ways, to various degrees, they’ve driven those roots down ever-deeper into the love of God, so that when the storms of persecution or tragedy arrive, they’re prepared. They know from repeated experience where to find living water in a drought.

  1. Sadness is God’s way of strengthening me.

Jesus, who holds the galaxies together by his power, demonstrated another kind of strength as he was stricken, smitten, and afflicted. And in his mercy, he lends us a measure of his strength when we suffer. When we’re weak in ourselves, we’re strong in him.

When I fall into the pit of despair, I’ve learned to look up, to seek light, to cry out for deliverance, to long for home. It’s a struggle I may face all my life. That’s okay. God is at work, and I can trust him.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet. 1:6–9)

Thank you, Jesus.

Catherine Morgan is a church planter’s wife in Aurora, Colorado, and the author of Thirty Thousand Days (Christian Focus). You can read more at her blog.