One Single Vote

 

4d2660c72722dbea504db6b0882dd079-mediumThere’s more at stake for America today than probably any other day in my lifetime. It’s very rare that a president gets to make a Supreme Court nomination. Yet the president elected today will likely make three or four of those nominations, if time marches on. How much does that matter? More than you or I can imagine. Surely more than I want to contemplate if the Democratic party claims the White House. 

Because of one vote in the Court, Americans are allowed to exercise their religious freedom in the work place. You remember that case—the Hobby Lobby case. It’s been huge in the protection of the consciences of Bible-believing business owners. That case was won for Hobby Lobby by a margin of one vote. It was five to four. 

So was the voting in the Heller case. You know, that’s the one that struck down the prohibition of citizens in the District of Columbia owning handguns. It’s the one that protects your right to own a gun. Five to four. We were within one vote of losing the second amendment right to bear arms.  

It was five to four in the case that prevented the removal of crosses from public lands. Justice Kennedy stated the essence of that Supreme Court decision: “…the Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society.” But barely does it “not oblige”. Once again, one vote saved the day.

It was five to four in the case of Dale vs. Boy Scouts of America in which the Boy Scouts were protected from forced acceptance of homosexual leaders. One vote made the difference that day in the year 2000. (In 2015 the Boy Scouts of America ended their ban on gay leaders. But the ramifications for all associations/clubs would have been great, were it not for that one vote that effectively reversed the decision of the lower court.)

The tide will be turned in the Supreme Court today. In one direction or another, the course of our country will be set by the electorate will of the people. The Democratic party platform reads:

“We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion…”

It’s important to know that this statement is in the first line under the heading of “Appointing Justices”. It’s not even under “Reproductive Rights” or  “Abortion”. This platform would like to make it crystal clear that, of all of the various subjects of appeal heard by the Supreme Court, this is the one subject specifically chosen and lauded to be the litmus test for Court nominees should Hillary Clinton win the White House. Prospective justices will never be pro-life. The fate of millions of babies will effectively be decided today. 

On the other hand, here is a quote from the 2016 Republican platform. This is not found in any section about justices. It’s in a section called “The Fifth Amendment”—a portion of a larger section called “A Rebirth of the Constitution.” There are strong words therein—words that ignite hope in people like me who grieve over the 1.3 million still killed yearly in America. Here are a few of them:

The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. 

One platform will prevail. That’s right. It will not merely be a candidate which wins. It will be a platform. An ideology. A basis for court appointments and, ultimately, decisions that will bear on our ability as Christians to freely practice Christianity. I believe the goodness—even the vitality–of the republic hangs in the balance today. Oh, I know we will go on practicing Christianity whether it is legal to do so or not. I know we will be Christians even if persecution against Christians becomes a reality in America. I know our true citizenship is not registered in the republic of our birth, but in the monarchy of our second birth. Still, I love the gospel and I hope it can have free course in our United States throughout the lives of my grandchildren. I hope they can freely conduct business without spiritual compromise. I hope they can demand rights as parents over the decisions made by their minor children. I hope they can teach all of the counsel of God in America during their lifetimes—even the parts about homosexuality and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. (There’s some strong language in the platforms about that, too.)

Today is consequential to that end. Remember when you mark that ballot:  It’s a platform for which you vote…a platform that will permeate the decisions made in the most influential governing body in the United States of America. Let freedom ring for all of our children and grandchildren.14976545_954318208009_7911591685176512923_o

Nickelodeon: “Let’s Make History!”

 

 

UnknownWhat television station is available to 94.7 % of households in America with at least one television set?  What station airs programming specifically for preschool children from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm daily? It’s Nickelodeon, of course, and now, Nickelodeon has something else to “boast” about. They’ve introduced for America’s children, their first animated “gay married” couple. 

According to LifeSite news (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/nickelodeon-makes-history-with-first-cartoon-same-sex-married-couple), Lincoln Loud, an 11-year old from “The Loud House” even says, before opening the door for a friend who’s been invited for a sleepover, “Time to make history!” He then opens the door to a little boy and his two daddies, who then go about their business of fussing over the little boy’s health and safety. (Never mind about his or your children’s emotional and moral safety, of course. We’re way past that in cartoon land.)  

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Following the lead of Disney  and Cartoon Network, who have already introduced gay married couples in children’s programming, Viacom owned Nickelodeon had already introduced a lesbian couple in online programming in the finale of “The Legend of Korra,” in 2014.

I can remember when moms used to be concerned about whether or not it was healthy for their children to watch Roadrunner blowing up Wiley Coyote all the time. I remember thinking “Those mothers need a nap.”

Well, I guess maybe so. But if we moms took a nap, then for sure, we needed to wake up a little bit sooner. Moms really do have something to worry about now. As Jeff Johnston, an analyst from Focus on the Family,  put it “…television shows, books, and movies with sexually-confusing messages … introduce children to falsehoods and immorality, and they create confusion and insecurity….Children are not equipped to handle these adult themes” (LifeSite News).

That’s an understatement. The damage is substantial and often permanent. Moms really can’t be too vigilant around children, especially preschoolers, and television. The toddler years are when they are forming their media habits and America’s eight-year-olds are now consuming eight hours per day of what’s mostly pop culture via the tv screen. It’s  no wonder we are suffering in huge ways from missing morals in America today.

I know. I know….”Television just reflects our ethics and morality…it doesn’t create them.”  Well,  that’s partly true, of course. Television both reflects and promotes the moral plunge of the populace. But two-year-olds are not morally depraved.  They are sponges soaking up the examples…through media and culture and, thankfully and primarily, through parents. So step up to the plate, moms. Take charge of the amount of time you let the world’s mentality influence your kids. And, just as importantly, take charge of the content of material your children are viewing through the magic window that’s above your fireplace or in your entertainment center. Time is short. Don’t let television be your babysitter. If you can’t control it, remove it (Matthew 5: 29,30). Let’s love our kids and grandkids enough to protect them, nurture them and point them to heaven.

(You can watch a preview of The Loud House sleepover episode here, but the preview ends just before the “history-making” door opens….http://www.nick.com/videos/clip/the-loud-house-109a-clip.html)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister to Sister: Black Lives Matter…There’s No Band-Aid

498484120_1280x720The irony of the Black Lives Matter movement lies in its consistent insistence to assign motives to policemen prior to any process of investigation. While it’s clearly wrong for a policeman to assume, without evidence, that a person of color is a criminal and to act on that assumption, it’s surely the same leap for people of color to assume that a policeman who is making a traffic stop is pulling a person over because he is black and not because he is violating a traffic ordinance.

A young black girl got into the car of a friend of mine recently. This friend has gone out of her way on multiple occasions to transport this young girl, whose family is unwilling or unable to provide transportation for her. The conversation, on this particular day, turned to law enforcement  officers. The young girl commented “I don’t like cops. They don’t like us. They just want to hurt my people, just because we’re black.”

Now the girl is just a young teen. She was, very likely, just spewing forth what she’d heard others say. Surely she didn’t realize, though, that she was saying it to the mother of a young man who puts on that uniform every morning and works diligently all day to protect the people of her city—to protect her. She didn’t know she was profiling. And there’s lot of profiling going on in the BLM movement.

The reason all human lives matter is because all souls matter for all of eternity. God is the soul-giver and He doesn’t make souls in colors or with bank accounts. When we come to understand that in each hoodie and in each uniform is a soul that will live in eternity in heaven or hell, we’re gaining ground toward peace; not because some aura of compassion comes over us when we attach a spiritual connotation to the people around us, but, rather, because when God is recognized as the Creator and Soul-giver, recognition of and respect for His inherent authority necessarily follows. His Word is the prescription for peace in our land. It both ordains and controls law enforcement agencies (Romans 13) and it instructs the citizenry in living with respect and deference to fellowmen. When we remove that Word from our society and make a mockery, on so many levels, of its precepts and authority, surely we should not be surprised when chaos ensues.

Are there thinking people who truly believe life’s better in America now that we’ve divorced ourselves from a national respect for the Word of God? Give me respect for the Word in our land any day and take me back to an era where children could safely ride their bikes all over their communities, where babies were safe in the wombs of their mothers, where fathers worked hard to provide for their families and mothers nurtured children in loving homes. Bring repentance to the hearts of those who have prejudice and malice, and a strong desire in the hearts of God’s people to bring souls to the Cross. The ground is level at the foot of the Cross. But the cross is not an invitation to a free-for-all. It’s for all, but it’s not free. The Cross is not a compromise with sin. It’s an ultimatum.

The men in blue are clearly a part of the Biblical  system of authority found in God’s Word. Christians in the first century church were called on to respect and obey civil authority even though their Roman government was oppressive and persecuted Christians. But when we estrange our government and our citizenry from the One who is at the top of the chain of command, all the links are weakened and governmental systems fail. The reason we can’t find the band-aid to put on the violence that’s erupting around our nation is because it’s really hard to find a band-aid when internal bleeding is quickly draining life away. Our nation, without any respect for truth and righteousness, is under cardiac arrest.

Sister to Sister Archives: You Just Can’t Appreciate Jesus Like I Do

Digital Rendering of a Woman with Headset

Things just aren’t like they used to be in reference to morality in our country today. Homosexual advocates have a champion of their cause sitting in the Oval Office. The icons of our teen girls are a sad lot of extremely immodest, fornicating, pro-choice, feminist and/or vulgar-mouthed screen stars. Television sit-coms would have us believe that there’s a homosexual man or woman living in every third household in America and that conversation is incomplete and flavorless without cursing and taking God’s name in vain. We kill 1.2 million of our innocents every year and we often pay for the murders with tax dollars. Our schools are battlefields in this culture war and, as a result, our kids are often safe from neither physical harm nor molestation of their values systems. There are many schools today which have outlawed student-led prayer through Christ and/or prayer around the flagpole, but which grant excuses from classes at certain times of the day so that Muslim children can pray toward Mecca. More and more, children need the solidity and emotional safety of parents who can always be depended on for real answers to social issues, for values that are unchanging, and for the provision of a real home; a haven where they can count on being protected physically and emotionally, but most of all spiritually.

And our own “Christian” teens are living in this moral vacuum. More and more of our children raised in “Christian” homes are coming of age and leaving home without the moral underpinnings that they need to make wise choices. Many have already made serious mistakes before high school or even middle school graduation. Our kids are experimenting with pornography, alcohol, and sex of various kinds during high school. They have often been indiscriminate in their television and movie viewing. They have allowed their minds to become subtly controlled by the materialism of television and the movies while becoming anesthetized to blatant sin. They’ve slowly come to laugh at what should make them, as Christians cry. They’ve incrementally given their real allegiance to the world while giving only a token Sunday/Wednesday nod to the things of God.

And then, with a little hope, thankfully, many find their way to the Christian university. At Freed Hardeman University, where my son and daughter have both attended, there are some amazing faculty members whose lives are wholly given to the Lord. There is a Bible faculty, on that campus which, in my opinion, is second to none in the world. And, many times, thank God, those students, who arrived as freshmen in a very weak spiritual condition, find themselves growing closer to God, wanting to know the freedom from guilt, and finding joy in heartfelt service to God. Sometimes these kids have the will to truly change during these college years and many of them will be faithful for the rest of their lives. Praise God.

But there is a sad phenomenon that sometimes occurs in this college scenario. Sometimes, those students who walked away from God during high school and became dangerously involved in alcohol abuse, sexual sin or pornography, etc., somehow feel that they have the spiritual edge over those kids who made the better choices in high school. You may be wondering, “Now where could she be going with this?” Let me explain.

More and more I am hearing college devo leaders say things like “If your life has never been totally messed up with sexual sin, then you can’t fully appreciate Christianity like I can.” Or, “I am not going to stand here and tell you that I have led a sexually pure life. You wouldn’t believe me if I did, since there probably aren’t two out of every ten people in this room who could say that. I’m going to tell you I’ve done about everything you’ve done, maybe as much as several of you put together and He still reached down for me.” Or, “I wouldn’t trade places with any of you out there who always walked the straight and narrow because I love the Jesus who came to the wide path and rescued me.” Or, “There may be those of you who think you made all the right choices through high school. You may have. But, if you did, I doubt you really know a lot about reaching the sinner with His forgiveness.”

What’s wrong with this sort of message in a devotional talk? Well, I can think of some definite dangers. First, let’s take this sort of teaching to its natural conclusion. If I can eventually put the greatest appreciation of the Savior in my kids by encouraging them to participate in sin, then shouldn’t I just provide the alcohol for their high school parties? Shouldn’t I encourage fornication and experimentation with homosexuality, porn, vulgarity and lewdness? Shouldn’t I get the raunchiest forms of satellite TV and download the most explicit computer images for them to view? Second, there are many lifelong consequences that come with various forms of sin (even forgiven sin). You can think of lots of these off the top of your head. With fornication comes the fear of STDs and/or the effect that this behavior has on your later marriage.

With abortion comes the hauntings of guilt and the cry of the dead baby that you may hear for the rest of your life. With alcohol comes the possibility of alcoholism. With porn use comes the addiction you may have to fight till you die. The high school student who had the foresight, fortitude and faith to leave these sins alone should never be tauntingly stereotyped as the pharisaical, righteous one as I often hear in college circles. Third, It took a lot of courage and conviction to avoid the typical high school sins. It was not an accident that this purity of life was maintained. In fact, it was the same Christ who offered you His forgiveness that reigned in the heart of your friend there, as she worked so hard to never let King Jesus down. Did he ever need his forgiveness? Oh absolutely. Can she appreciate that forgiveness? Definitely. But he or she doesn’t have to walk away from the light to know the power of darkness. Fourth, we have to be really careful not to make a lifestyle of sin appealing to young people. Many—no, most young people who become enamored with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life during the very young teen years, do not emerge on the side of the Savior as adults. We are losing huge percentages of our kids as they experiment with the sins of the devil in high school. Parents and mentors who are really focused on eternity will do all that’s within their power to enable their kids to get in the safety of His will and to stay there every single day as they face the huge challenges of life in high school. Just one time, be on the receiving end of that phone call from a grief stricken parent informing you that a teen has been prematurely snatched from this life while under the influence of alcohol and you will desperately want your child to be among the number of pharisaical righteous ones on that college campus one day.

I understand that the one forgiven of much will love much (Luke 7:47). I know, from the life of Paul that the chief of sinners can be the most devoted to the cause (I Tim. 1:15). But there is a real sense in which each of is chief of sinners. There is a sense in which we all have obtained the ultimate forgiveness. We cannot afford to make the depth of depravity to which one has slipped the barometer of perceived spirituality. Let’s stop viewing those who remained faithful to God through what was arguably the most difficult years of life as some sort of self-righteous, sub-Christians. Let’s look to their examples and perhaps even to wisdom they gained for encouragement. I know many of these heroes. Among them are Joseph, Daniel, Samuel, Esther, Mary, the mother of the Lord and Timothy. And I know many of them who are now in college, as well. I can look at the short inexhaustive list above and know that God has a special place in his heart for those who stood relatively alone for truth and right in the high school years.

Looking Backward at Upward

13040922_10153452694836384_6312331184777460742_oDuring the last week, I’ve left my purse in a cart (or as my northern friends make fun of me for saying, I left it in a “buggy”) at Walmart, my father’s walker on his patio as I got him in the car during a near-monsoon, a traffic stop having been unable to produce evidence of insurance, the men’s room quickly when I realized I was in the wrong restroom and, quite obviously, my mind in some undisclosed location. It hasn’t been a pretty week, especially in view of the fact that I’ve been spending it trying to give my nonagenarian father short term memory tips, like coconut oil and making lists. It’s been the blind leading the blind. 

Maybe I could blame it on the fact that I can get pretty distracted from what I am doing by angry mothers and/or grandmothers…I mean when they become pretty irate (in their writing) with me because they think I should not try and discourage our sweet young girls from…say, going to dances, as I did in last Monday’s blog post. 

But also during the past week, I’ve been in deep conversation with a lovely young lady who is facing persecution in a university class because she calmly stands, but still stands with Romans one and other passages from the Word about homosexuality.  I’ve hosted in our home another university student who has, unlike her non-Christian parents, made the decision that she is serious about spiritual things and is planning to pursue a degree in Bible and devote her life to the spread of the gospel in whatever venue she can find. I’ve spoken with two sweet teens who, through the tears that the pain of an unfaithful loved one causes, have recommitted to doing whatever it takes to try and lovingly lead a sibling back to the Way. I spoke with some teen girls who traveled fourteen hours this weekend to be at a spiritually-building youth event. They did this while it was prom-weekend in their hometown. Here is a statement from one of those precious hearts: “They (the lessons heard at the youth event) have really impacted my life and I really needed to hear what (was said). I was ashamed of who I am (a Christian) at school, but now, tomorrow I will boldly go to school and not be ashamed to stand out.” I spoke with a millennial who is in a deep study of worship with a young man who is defending the use of instruments in our music in worship. I discussed with excited teens in Ohio the possibility of their hosting a purity event for teens in their area of the state. I’m working with a young millennial who, because she wants to be the best wife she can be, has humbly made tough decisions to be submissive in areas that have previously been very challenging for her. 

What I’m trying to say is this: My paragraph about young people who want to do the right thing is much longer than my paragraph about old people who want to discourage sweet millennials and the kids of Generation Z from staying out of the path of worldliness and relativism. While I realize that the world doesn’t turn around the lengths of my paragraphs and my own personal experiences, I find great comfort in seeing that the teens and twenty-somethings of many churches today are out-seeking, out-praying and out-teaching those who should be their mentors. It portends a stronger church in the next twenty years and it gives me a peace to know that these young people will be mentoring my grandchildren, who are babies now. I’m humbled and challenged by the faith I routinely see in God’s younger generation!

I needed the event that I attended this weekend. It was Upward and it was produced by and for teens in the church. The kids who hosted it are found online here: http://www.tomorrowschurchtoday.com. The site about the event itself is here: http://www.upwardteens.com. The take-homes of encouragement and zeal were not just for teens. This girls’ speaker was maybe the most blessed person there (and that’s saying a lot, because there were some pretty happy people there). The singing alone was phenomenal. If you want to really embolden and inspire some teens to serve out of conviction and not convenience, you should look into this program, for them, for next year. 

I’m really glad for great young people. After all, there are two millennials who will be choosing a nursing home soon for this distracted (…a kind way to put it) old woman. Kids, If you can’t find my insurance cards when that day comes, check the service desk at Walmart. They’ve been there more than once.

A MUST for Teen Boys and Dads/Mentors of Teen Boys!

Soldiers-7Register for this! I know there are lots of conflicts and just “stuff” the world puts in the way of amazing opportunities for His glory, but I would have LOVED it if a boy’s purity day had been a “thing” when my son was a teen. See, for too long, we expected our kids to make good choices…to build fences around their sexual purity…without really giving them much information about how to protect themselves against the barrage of dangerous messages and temptations the devil subtly places in their paths every day.  Sometimes we were embarrassed to talk about sex. Sometimes we were busy. And sometimes, we were just ignorant of what the devil was doing. But Satan was ramping up his game while we failed to put strategies in place for the purity of our kids. We just pretended they could come out on the good side of the devil’s tactics with little or no guidance.

Then we started getting it. Every now and then, we now hear about girls’  purity days. I’ve seen a lot of good come from them. I’ve seen moms and daughters start dialoguing together and setting loving systems of accountability in place. I’ve seen girls make commitments to be pure…commitments that they kept till they entered God-approved marriages. I’m watching these same girls, now moms themselves, do a much better job of addressing the practicalities of purity–modest dress, godly entertainment choices, computer protection, etc…–than did their mothers before them.

But somehow we still neglected to have similar opportunities for boys. Time and again,  I’ve had moms of boys ask about/request programs–purity days–for boys.  They are still almost unheard of and I cringe when I think about the good we could be doing with such events, even if it is a fraction of what we see resulting from similar girls’ programs.

I hope if you are “Mom” to a teen boy, you will think of how you might get him to this event at the West Huntsville church–with his father, with a buddy or with a whole group of buddies from your congregation or community. It won’t be a “girly” event. It will be about being real men of God–soldiers battling Satan– and shouldering individual responsibilities to counter the culture when it comes to morality. It will be invaluable sessions, including a question and answer session, fellowship/activity break-out times and lunch together. Free housing is available.

So register now. This day, April 30, 2016,  might just start a dialogue that will save your family a lot of heartache down the road as huge life decisions are made.  It might even help reserve  your son’s seat around the throne. Register here: http://seminar.westhuntsville.org.  And if you can’t do this, do something!  Statistically, he won’t be okay without help from you!