What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.
An atheist state lawmaker in Arizona invoked astronomer Carl Sagan on Tuesday when he was tasked with giving the opening prayer for the state House of Representatives.
Democratic state Representative Juan Mendez began by asking members not to bow their heads, explaining that he had a “secular humanist tradition,” according to an account published by the Phoenix New Times.
“Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads,” the lawmaker said. “I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.”
“This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration,” he continued. “But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.”
The Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to end its controversial policy banning gay kids and teens from joining one of the nation’s most popular youth organizations, ditching membership guidelines that had roiled the group in recent years.
Over 61 percent of Scouting’s National Council of 1,400 delegates from across the country voted to lift the ban, BSA officials said. The final tally was 757 yes votes, to 475 no. The ban on gay leaders was not voted on and will remain in place.
“This resolution today dealt with youth. We have not changed our adult membership standards. They have served us well for the last 100 years. Those were not on the table,” said Tico Perez, BSA national commissioner.
The Catholic leader, who heads the 1.2 billion-strong Church, made his comments in the homily of his morning Mass in his residence, a daily event where he speaks without prepared comments.
He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists could be redeemed by Jesus.
“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.
“Just do good and we’ll find a meeting point,” the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: “But I don’t believe. I’m an atheist.”
Pope Francis’s comments are in marked contrast to his predecessor Benedict, who is reported to have left some non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.
The Message (MSG)
25 At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.
This book records the history of the nation of Israel for 305 years after the death of Joshua. Israel declined, backslid, and got away from God. And in this new study we will see many frightening parallels between Israel and America.
Israel was established by God Himself, and God gave Himself to them. He also gave them the law–the 10 commandments and the covenant. And He gave them Canaan, the best land of the earth at that time. And so God gave them the Lord, the law, and the land.
God only asked them for one thing in return–that they would love Him, obey Him, and serve Him. What did Israel do? They denied the Lord, they defied the law, and they defiled the land. So, God had to judge them.
The parallel with America is obvious and alarming. No nation has ever had a Christian beginning like the USA. We too have been given the Lord, the law, and a land, and we’ve denied Him, defied Him, and our land is being defiled.
1. America has denied the Lord.
The Lord is slowly but steadily being expelled from every public venue. It started in the public schools, and has spread to public places, court houses, our coins, our pledge of allegiance, and on and on to the point where today we are fighting battles about what we can even say in the church! It is no longer just about the separation of church and state but rather the separation of America from the God Who founded her and has so blessed her!
ill.–This last week a high school football team and its cheerleaders came under fire. The players and cheerleaders were all in agreement. They all wanted the team to enter the field, bursting thru a large paper banner with an inspirational Bible verse on it. It wasn’t school sanctioned, and no one involved had any problem with it … but guess who did have a problem? The ACLU! “The American Communist…ummm…Civil Liberties Union”. You could call them the Anti Christian Liberals Union. Actually, I don’t know why they aren’t called the UUUU, for they are Unamerican, uncivil, and unlibertarian!
The ACLU has been used by Satan as a tool for many years, tearing apart the God woven fabric of our society.
America has denied the Lord…
2. America has defied the law.
The Supreme Court says that it is against the law to display the 10 Commandments in a public place, [though their building displays them!] reasoning that if you display them people might ponder them and if so, they might obey them, and that would be a violation of the separation of church and state. We are doing just what Israel did. It is now the official position of our government that the 10 commandments are dangerous! Wouldn’t want kids in school to see ’thou shalt not kill’ because what if they obeyed it!
ladies, what if you broke down in the worst part of town and had to walk, after dark, to find help. While you walk a group of 4 men leave a house you are passing and begin walking just behind you. How do you feel? As you listen to what they are saying you notice they are talking about God, and have just left a Bible study session. You turn around and see they are all carrying Bibles. How do you feel now?
The new direction our once Christian nation is now going in is just foolish, and contrary to basic common sense. We don’t force our beliefs on anyone, but we have allowed the world to chip away at our core of morality.
Like Israel, we have denied the Lord, defied the law…
3. America has defiled the land.
We’ve done this in many ways, but perhaps the #1 way is found in the spilled blood of aborted babies.
God took away His glory from His people Israel when they did such things. And I believe He is in the process of removing Himself from the good old US of A. We need a national revival. We need a moral and spiritual awakening. I don’t know what it’s gonna take. If 9/11 wasn’t enough, what will be enough?
The book of Judges is the record of God raising up 13 men to deliver Israel from backsliding in order to bring about national revival.
Our outline is best understood by an illustration of ’the family fortune.’ When a family becomes rich there are 3 stages which seem to always occur:
• The first generation generates the fortune.
• The second generation speculates their fortune, thru a series of compromises and foolish decisions.
• The third generation dissipates the fortune and it is gone.
That is exactly how it works with a nation. There is a generation that generates the freedom, then a generation that speculates it away, and finally, a generation that dissipates it until completely gone, and freedom is no more. If you don’t believe this, you need to study those nations that have forgotten God in history.
Generation – speculation – dissipation
What do we know about the generation of Israel that entered into the Promised Land? Under General Joshua Israel was given by God victory after victory. Walls came tumbling down, and kings were subdued. They won victories they never could have apart from the power of God.
And that’s just how it is with America. Go back to our first war, the Revolutionary War. Britain had more men, more money, better machinery…it was a truly a David and Goliath scenario but God was on our side and we won!
Patrick Henry gave the speech which sparked the revolution in 1775. He said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!”
It was ’game on.’ And we won that war, and George Washington became our first president. When he took office he placed his hand on the Holy Bible. He finished taking the oath and kissed the Bible. His first official act was to lead the entire congress in a 2 hour worship session. I wonder what the ACLU would have said about that.
In one of his inaugural addresses he said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” In plain English he said, it is God Who got us this far, and we had better not forget it!
Our founding fathers made it abundantly clear that this land was founded on God and the Bible. The Bible was the first and only book to be used in public schools for years.
Succeeding generations in Israel began to squander it all away.
2:1-2 God says, look at all I have done for you. I delivered you from slavery, fed you with manna, guided you and guarded you into the Promised Land. Now look at you…why have you done this?!
v. 7 The Joshua generation saw first hand the great works of God.
v. 10 What a sad verse! This means that the Joshua generation failed to pass their values on to their children. This has happened in America since 1960, and look where we are at today. Americans today are brainwashed by humanism, situational ethics, and relativism. We do not understand our moral foundations and the spiritual principles upon which this nation was founded. We are trying to rewrite history and remove God from our land.
The saddest verse in this book is the last one…
25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
They became a people with no absolutes…no standard to live by. Is that not the nation you and I live in today? Aren’t these parallels frightening?
Barna Research shows that 67% of Americans say there is no such thing as absolute truth. They say that right and wrong are not clear…what is wrong for you is not necessarily wrong for me. If that doesn’t scare you, consider that they did the same survey in evangelical churches like this one and among Sunday morning attendees 52% said the same thing! Imagine, Christians saying there’s no black and white, right and wrong!
Look how Israel got to this point. It was thru a series of compromises.
2:2a God had told them to drive the enemy out of the land, and further, not to have anything to do with them. They were to separate themselves from the world, just as we are supposed to do today.
1. The Canaanites that they feared.
1:19 They were afraid. They could have trusted in God and won, but they were afraid to try with those who were strong. They said, these people are impenetrable. We cannot conquer them. Therefore we might as well learn to accommodate them, surrender to them, and learn to live with them.
And there are some Canaanites that we are fearing in America today:
• Many of our leaders want to surrender in the war on terror. They say we are losing and we might as well quit trying to win. We need to sit down and negotiate with the terrorists, and stop trying to police the world. And in so doing we invite them to come to us.
• Many politicians today are calling for an end to the war on drugs. They say that we have lost, so we should surrender and legalize it. Because if we legalize it we can control it, they say. Yeah, just like we have full control over alcohol, right? Former Clinton Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders is a major proponent of this thinking. But trying to control drugs by legalizing them is like trying to control a fire with gasoline.
• Many parents are surrendering in the area of sexual promiscuity. They throw up their hands and say, well, you’re not gonna be good, so just be careful. Here, wear protection. Now what message does that send to a young person?
ill.–We are putting ambulances at the bottom of the cliff when we are supposed to be putting fences at the edge of the cliff!
It’s time we get back to confronting our culture with the truth of God and His Word. Young people, God wants you to be pure and chaste. He wants you to be a virgin when you get married, not passed around like a bottle of Gatorade in a football huddle!
We’ve become afraid of the confrontation, and way too sensitive about how we might offend someone who has gone too far. Well, whom shall I offend? Man, or God? The truth is offensive, but it is our only hope.
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
• We’ve become so politically correct about homosexuality that it has become wrong to say anything about it. We say we personally are against it, but leave it as a personal decision and ok in our society in spite of what God says and in spite of what always happens to a society when they go that route. And we give them more than just equal status, but exalted status! [special status-and that makes the rest of us be discriminated status!]
• And now, something new, and never before considered in America. Socialism. Ignoring the plight of other countries who have tried it, we are beginning to slide down a dead end, one way, no U-turn street that leads from Capitalism upon which we were founded to socialism, communism, and becoming a nation with no wealth, no freedom, and no real reason to work for anything!
We are at the tail end of the speculation generation, and it’s getting scary!
The Canaanites that they feared…
2. The Canaanites that they favored.
1:28 They said, look, we can use these people. They made slaves of them, in spite of the fact that God said not to have anything to do with them. Sure they are wicked, but there’s some good can that come out of them.
What about America today? Legalized gambling, the lottery, and such things. Look at the gain we can find from something that many consider only to be bad. Why, we’ll build roads and schools, and generate lots of tax dollars! Isn’t it sad that our government has turned itself into a pimp? Think about it. A pimp puts women on street corners to lure in men, in order that he, the pimp, might profit from their vice. And our government now encourages its citizens to participate in a vice so they can profit. They say, look at the revenue we can generate!
It’s time we stop saying look at what we can gain and start asking, what might we lose by doing this?!
Now we’re turning to borrowing, and borrowing not just from banks, but from the world, especially China, who now owns us. What’s more, we’re borrowing from our children and future generations who will never be able to pay it back…but hey, that’s their problem!
If you disagree with me on this, that’s fine, but when you do, you are further illustrating just how far we have come from our founding generation!
Just like Israel, we are favoring the world. For the first time ever we have a president of the world, who apologizes for us, and is one of them. He’s a world citizen much more than an American. But once he works his miracles on us maybe he’ll finally be able to be proud to be one of us!
Canaanites that they feared, favored…
3. The Canaanites that they fellowshipped with.
1:32 Hey, these people aren’t that bad. They may worship different gods but they are good neighbors. We read on and find that Israel learned their wicked ways and entered into their idolatry, including the abortion like sacrificing of their children to Molech.
ill.–The cry of our day is, There’s nothing wrong with being gay. What they do is their business. I don’t see why they couldn’t be married or adopting children. And they should have rights of their own, after all, they most often make good neighbors…why can’t we all just get along?! I’ll tell you why we can’t get along, God says they are an abomination and will be our downfall as a society. If we tolerate it we are begging for His judgment. He’s done it before, and He’ll do it again! [Sodom]
God loves homosexuals and so should we. So we love them, not by accepting their sin, but by confronting it with the truth, the antidote which is their only hope and ours as well!
Israel ended up in the last verse of the book where every man did what was right in his own eyes…and God had to judge. The parallels today are paralyzing when I consider them.
Generation – speculation…
2:3 Thorns and snares. Can anyone say, “Illegal immigration?”
2:4 They wept because God was saying, I now lift my hand of protection off of you.
ill.– on 9/11 terrorists turned planes into missiles. The next day the late Dr. Jerry Falwell said, “We’d better realize that God is removing His protective hand from this nation.” And then he specifically cited our national sins of abortion and homosexuality. The liberal press absolutely crucified him. I’ve rarely seen such a vicious attack as he endured. But I believe he was right. And God is now using our current administration to give us what we have been asking for. It’s change, and we are finding out it is not change we can believe in.
Thorns and snares.
Do you realize that Revelation describes the downfall of a world power like America? It’s an economic disaster. Might that be us?
Some say arrogantly, “Would a loving God allow that?” If we ask for it! “Where was God when those students gunned down their classmates at Columbine?” I’ll tell you where He was, you expelled him in 1962! You threw out the Bible and prayer and said, God, you’re not welcome!
And now we’re in a new generation. Could this be the final generation in America? Our forefathers generated so much, our parents speculated it away. Are we the generation that will dissipate it until it is completely gone? We are one generation away from losing our country. This new series will continue thru Judges looking at the judgment we have been asking for.
Is there any hope? Where there’s God, there’s still hope!
2:16 God would always rather forgive than to judge…but if we insist, well, we should be afraid.
ill.–a benevolent gentleman during the civil war saw a young lady being auctioned off as a slave. He began to bid just above every bid he heard until he finally won the auction, paying a very high price. They say that after winning he began to walk away, and she followed him. He said, “Young lady, I bought you not to own you, but to set you free.” “Free?” she asked. “Yes, free to go wherever you want and do what you wish.” She replied, “Then I choose to go with you.”
After all God has done for America, how can we spit in His face as we are? We need to pray for national revival!
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