All posts by John

Christian saved by grace through faith.

White House declares we need a “house built upon a rock”

Well if this statement doesn’t offer up a bit of confusion, as quotes taken out of context and used for convenience often do.  I’ll admit, this one (no pun intended) has me at a loss.  The White House, specifically the President, used a reference from the Bible in a speech made yesterday comparing the parable Jesus told of the wise man and foolish man building their houses on the rock and sand respectively.  Matthew 7:24-27 The comparison was made to our current economic crisis and needing a new foundation, or rock, upon which to build.  Now I haven’t felt led to say too much about the current administration, except when there is direct correlation to the Word or if certain policies violate biblical Christian values, but this falls into a category that pushes me over the edge and that’s taking the Bible out of context for convenience or to take the appearance of being “Christian.”  The problem is that the President does not understand the context of Jesus message of the rock.  It has absolutely nothing to do with economics, crisis, government, or otherwise.  The Rock is Jesus and His words as written in the Bible.  Now if this was the context on which the President was speaking, well then I’m all for it.  We as nation need nothing more than to return to our foundation of Jesus as our Rock, except as the speech continues we can see this was truly not the intent.

Now, there’s a parable at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that tells the story of two men.  The first built his house on a pile of sand, and it was soon destroyed when a storm hit.  But the second is known as the wise man, for when “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, it fell not:  for it was founded upon a rock.”

It was founded upon a rock.  We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand.  We must build our house upon a rock.  We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity — a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest; where we consume less at home and send more exports abroad.

It’s a foundation built upon five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century:  Number one, new rules for Wall Street that will reward drive and innovation, not reckless risk-taking — (applause); number two, new investments in education that will make our workforce more skilled and competitive — (applause); number three, new investments in renewable energy and technology that will create new jobs and new industries — (applause); number four, new investments in health care that will cut costs for families and businesses; and number five, new savings in our federal budget that will bring down the debt for future generations.  (Applause.) 

That’s the new foundation we must build.  That’s our house built upon a rock.  That must be our future — and my administration’s policies are designed to achieve that future.

I’m not sure what is scarier, the fact that the President goes to such great lengths to make his point, even referencing the Bible out of context or the fact that this reference  contradicts his earlier speeches and shows a complete misunderstanding of the Bible.  Just a few days ago we were reminded that the United States is not a nation of Christians, “One of the great strengths of the United States,” the President said, “is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values”, and now yesterday our leader misrepresents the Word of God, the Foundation of Christian Faith.  I’m sensing a pattern.

In March of 2008 we were given this jewel in response to the controversy on the Presidents stance on homosexual civil unions, “I think what you may be referring to, though, when you say controversies, probably has more to do with two issues, which is abortion and gay marriage, which has become, I think, how people measure faith in the evangelical community. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans,” Obama said.  I’m curious to know which part of Romans is obscure?  Perhaps Romans 12:2 is not clear, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Finally, let’s recall a presidential campaign speech from June 2006, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.” 

To this point, I’ve tried to remain politically neutral focusing solely on those issues that contradict the Bible.  But when a person, president or not, blatantly mocks the Bible, and consistently uses its references out of context for his/her own gain, then that person needs to be called out on it.  On a day when many Americans are standing up at Tea Parties against taxation and stimulus, Christians need to begin standing up for their beliefs and the truths in the Word of God.  Start standing up against those who would mock the Bible and throw its references around for talking points as though they were a text book.  Because as scripture tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1 and that Word is worth fighting for.

I Timothy 1:6-7 “Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.  They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

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Survey shows most U.S. “Christians” don’t believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit….um what?

Anyone else think enough is enough with the surveys that attempt to denigrate and destroy Christianity?  Yes I’m talking to you Barna Group.  Unless the results of these surveys are intending to bring glory to God and shine a light on our Savior Jesus Christ, then I say enough already.  These surveys continually focus on the negative of how few Christians there are now, or how many are moving from this denomination to that one, and now this: Most U.S. Christians don’t believe that Satan is a real being or that the Holy Spirit is a living entity.  Well I’ve got a news flash to those performing the survey, if these are your results, then the people you’re interviewing are not Christians!  The fact of the matter is that surveys are a cheap effective way to skew personal opinion in any direction you want.  It works the same in the political world as it does in the religious world. 

Here’s a quote, on the latest survey, from George Barna, founder of The Barna Group and author of books analyzing research concerning America’s faith, “Most Americans, even those who say they are Christian, have doubts about the intrusion of the supernatural into the natural world. Hollywood has made evil accessible and tame, making Satan and demons less worrisome than the Bible suggests they really are,” he said. “It’s hard for achievement-driven, self-reliant, independent people to believe that their lives can be impacted by unseen forces.”  Really?  Let me caveat that statement, “It’s hard for those who don’t believe that Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to die on the cross for our sins, raised again on the third day, and left us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to believe that their lives can be impacted by this great gift.”

The following qualifying statement was made regarding the survey, “The Barna report is based on telephone interviews for two surveys among people who described themselves as Christians. A total of 1,871 adults were randomly selected from across the 48 continental states, with the first 873 interviews conducted in January and February 2008, and the remaining 998 interviews conducted in November 2008.”  Here are the real results from this survey, that should make you stand up and take notice: those who describe themselves as Christians, specifically those who took part in this survey, are under a false assumption that they are a children of God.  I know you must be thinking how can I make such a claim, but it’s simple really.  The Bible tells us that Satan, or Lucifer, is not merely a manifestation of evil, but an actual being, or angel, that was cast out of heaven. Revelation 12:9, Job 1:7 To discount this truth is to deny the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

The second part of this survey, regarding the Holy Spirit, is the most important and discredits the entire survey.  A person cannot claim to be “Christian” and deny the existence of the Holy Spirit.  The Christian faith is built around the Trinitarian belief that God exists as 3 in 1 with His Son and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19 The Holy Spirit lives within everyone who has accepted Christ as their Savior.  In fact, Jesus himself says that He will send us the Holy Spirit in John 15:26, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

This survey can be summed up in one verse, one scripture of Truth that at the same time addresses both of these doubts that the so-called “Christians” are having.  In Matthew 4:1 scripture tells us, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”  If you doubt that any part of that verse is true, then you doubt the truths of the Bible.  In fact this survey should actually be titled, “Many Americans are Unsure of what it means to be a Christian, doubt beliefs”

“Test everything. Hold on to the good” I Thessalonians 5:21

Forgiveness

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21

 

What would be your response to this question of Peter’s?  Once?  Twice maybe, using the old adage, “burn me once shame on youe, burn me twice, shame you?”  Our society is one that’s not very forgiving.  It seems like we are quick to throw people under the bus, just to make a news headline, often resulting in ruining not only a person’s public life but destroying their home and personal life.  When someone falls, whether it is by sin, mistake, or “trespass” against us, why is everyone so quick to pick up a rock and lead the chants of “stone him!”  I want to challenge each person reading this, whose heart may have become hardened, or hurt so bad that they have yet to forgive that person in their life.  The Bible is emphatic in how it directs us to deal with forgiveness.  Not only does it say, “”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”, but it declares that our God is a God of forgiveness.   “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” Psalm 130:3-4 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18

Forgiveness isn’t a gift that we give to someone or something they have to earn, it should be inherent in our nature, just as it is in God’s.  So my challenge is this, find that person to whom you are holding on to that anger or hurt.  The person whom you said you would never forgive.  Reach out to them and forgive them.  Not only does this free you, but it releases them from the bondage that you’ve held them in.  Do it today.

Because just as Jesus replied to Peter’s question on how many times to forgive, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22 ESV