human rights

Kodak verses “The Bible”

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bible aids

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.

George Washington
The Bible was the first camera on the scene of “Time and Space and Matter creation”. I began to think about all the movies hollywood has produced to reflect other stories, but for the most part my inner being could only see the Bible as a reference point for those stories. I was hearing it loud and clear that my “Book” was the first poloroid and kodak camera of existance. I want to share my thoughts with the world this morning regarding this issue.

If you went to a primitive people with little or no education and with little or no knowledge of God,
how would you begin to teach them the way of salvation? What lessons would you begin with? What
teaching methods would you use? To make things even more difficult, imagine there was no Bible
available — not even one book of Scripture. What would you do in that situation? Then, as if you were
not facing enough problems, you are informed that there are over two million people to teach, they live
in a desert, and they are constantly on the move. “That’s impossible!” you exclaim. Well, as
Jesus said in another situation, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things
are possible” (Mark 10:27).

God faced this exact situation when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and were encamped in the
desert at the base of Mount Sinai. Two million displaced Israelites, mostly uneducated, spiritually
Egyptianized, and not one book of Scripture between them! Genesis had not even been written yet.
What was the Lord’s solution to this seeming impossibility? It was, “Let them make me a sanctuary;
that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). God started a building project. He ordered the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture to serve as a huge “visual aid.” Paul described these “holy places
made with hands” as “figures of the true” (Heb. 9:24), or “pictures of truth.” God pictured the truth to
preach the truth. This divine method of teaching is sometimes called “typology.” In this article, we will
look at four characteristics of typology, and in subsequent articles, we will look at the “types,” or the
pictures themselves.

Simple Pictures
If your young child asked you, “Daddy, what is a rocket?” you wouldn’t contact NASA and ask them
to send you the technical specifications of a rocket. No, you would sit down and draw a simple picture.
You show rather than tell. Your drawing does not say everything there is to say about a rocket, but it
does say something—something that is true, understandable, and memorable. By putting it in simple
picture form, you communicate truth in a far more effective way than all of NASA’s volumes would in
this situation.

When a young Israelite girl asked, “Daddy, what is God?” her father couldn’t pull out a catechism or a
systematic theology. They didn’t exist. No, her father would say something like, “Hannah, hold my
hand and I’ll take you through the camp to God’s tent, and I will show you what God is like.” There,
he would show rather than tell. God’s tent, the Tabernacle, did not say everything there was to say
about God, but it said something— something that was true, understandable, and memorable. It was
Israel’s first “Bible” and it showed them God and His way of salvation in a series of simple,
steppingstone pictures.

Important Pictures
When you pick up your newspaper, what do you read first? The most important stories are those with
major headlines and significant space is devoted to them throughout the newspaper. There are other
stories summarized in digest form on the sidebars. They too are important enough to be included in the
paper, but not as important as the main headline stories. Usually you read the main headline stories, the
ones with most space devoted to them. You trust the editor’s judgment on what is the most important

When we pick up our Bibles, while acknowledging that all its contents are important, we may also ask
what is especially important. One way of deciding this is by looking at how much space is allocated to
the various stories. For example, the creation of the world has about two chapters. That’s clearly
important. But, how many chapters are given to the Tabernacle? Half of Exodus and all of Leviticus
are devoted to it. And then, when the Tabernacle becomes more permanent in the form of the Temple,
even more chapters are given to it. What is the “Editor” saying to us? He is saying, “This is very, very,
very important. This is one of the chief ways I reveal Myself.” Indeed, God reveals far more of
Himself through the Tabernacle than through the creation. And, if we trust the “Editor,” our preaching
and witnessing would reflect that far more.

Theological Pictures
The main question the Israelite asked when looking at the Tabernacle was, “What does this teach me
about God?” The Tabernacle, its furniture, and rituals painted theological pictures (Heb. 8:5; 9:11).
These “figures of the true” or “pictures of truth” were God-centered. If your only Bible was the
Tabernacle, and you yearned to know about God, would you not have spent many hours in and around
it? Would you not have asked the priests who served there to instruct you and share with you the light
God had given them? Would you not have sought out the fellowship of like-minded seekers — and
“finders”— that they might do you good? Would you not have prayed to the Lord to open the eyes of
your understanding?

God recognized that theological truth in sentence form would be very difficult for the Israelites to
grasp. So, He gave them theological truth in sensory form. Every touch, sight, sound, smell, and even
taste conveyed truth about God’s character and, as we shall see in later articles, especially about the
truth of His mercy and grace. This is the most vital truth to grasp about the Tabernacle. It set forth in
picture form the only way of salvation. No Israelite was ever saved by making the Tabernacle, serving
in the Tabernacle, or trusting in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle never saved anyone. What it pictured

Prophetic Pictures
While the Tabernacle revealed much about God and His way of salvation, there was also an inbuilt
inadequacy. There was a divinely intended insufficiency in the Tabernacle and its service (Heb. 9:8).
God designed it in such a way that, while it taught much, it also taught that there was much more to
learn. The author of Hebrews highlights how the Tabernacle not only revealed God to the Israelites but
also created a longing and a hope for an even greater future revelation of God and His way of
salvation. Thus, the Tabernacle served the present but also pointed to the future. It pictured truth for
the present but also predicted more truth for the future. Wherever the Israelite looked in the
Tabernacle, his response would be, “That’s true, but there is a fuller revelation of that truth to come.
God has shown the way of salvation, but there is a more glorious manifestation of salvation to come.”
The psalmists and the prophets give insight into the thoughts and desires of the spiritual Israelites as
they meditate on the Tabernacle. Time and again, they take Tabernacle vocabulary on their lips and use
it to express hope that an even greater Tabernacle of God would yet appear. In this way, Messiahcentered
faith, hope, and expectation were cultivated. Eventually it was satisfied when “The Word was
made flesh and dwelt (literally, “tabernacled” or “tented”) among us…full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Israel camps

Now I want to look at the picture the movie “Knowing” depicts and how real it made my spirit feel the relevance to the “Bible”.

Nostradamus or Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) was a French astrologer and physician, who can predict the future. Some his predictions are fascinated people through many centuries. He was talented student with mathematical ability and a great love of astrology. His grandfathers, Pierre de Nostredame and Jean de Rémy, also noted that Nostradamus was remarkable in prophecy when he was young age. Everyday, both of them taught him in a wide range of subjects, including history, medicine, astrology, herbal folk medicine and classical literature.

Nostradamus and Prophecies

After events took place on the world, people found and compared them with the predictions of Nostradamus. People realized that they have coincidence amazingly. Here are some coincident predictions – which create many surprises for humankind:
■The death of Henry II
■The Great Fire of London
■French Revolution
■Louis Pasteur
■Charles De Gaulle
■The Atomic Bomb
■JFK & RFK Assassinations
■The Challenger explosion
■The death of Princess Diana
■The death of John F. Kennedy Jr.
■September 11th, 2001
■Another big earthquake???

There are some unintelligible things, which exist around us. In this world, sometimes, we need the support from mysterious people among thousand of people. Although we don’t know that the prophecies of prophet are right or not, everything also continues to come ahead. Time will prove the accuracy of these predictions. Don’t waste your time to expect the miracles from the sky. Let’s do everything you want and enjoy many surprises in your life!

The Bible is believed by many who are not sure they know they believe. I am confident of this one thing. That what my God saids and allowed His prophets to write inspired by “The Holy Spirit” is true. No man knows the hour or the time or day. Not even the Son of God. The bible is our road map to be prepared for that awful time and day. Live your life as if that day were upon you and you will be fine. Trust God to be Lord and All, except His Son and have life.

Iron Man – The Learning Curve

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When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.


I love superheroes.
My mom once told of the times I’d go out into the yard with a bath towel tied around my neck and would “fly” around the yard. And when I was a kid I read comic books about superheroes, watched TV shows and cartoons and went to the movies to watch them battle for truth, justice and the American way. In fact, I still do.

So, when a new movie comes out that retells one of those stories, I often buy a ticket, some popcorn, and sit down to enjoy myself.
This past month, there was a movie about a superhero in the theatres. Does anybody know who it was about? That’s right: Iron Man II. And ever since the release of the first of these two movies, I saw some Biblical themes that I wanted to explore for a sermon series.

For those of you not familiar with the “story” about Iron Man, it was a comic book series started by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics back in the 60’s. It was the story of a technological genius who’d been making weapons for the military but who began to realize that some of his weapons were being sold to bad guys.

Iron man’s suit wasn’t made of iron, but the image of an iron suit symbolized the virtual invulnerability of this hero to bullets, rockets and bombs big enough to level New York City. In his suit, Iron Man could fly, generate beams of energy and shoot his own array of bullets and rockets at the bad guys.

But, as with all movies about superheroes, one of the fun things is to watch how they go through the process of learning about their powers. There’s a learning curve they have go through to reach their full potential.

(Video of Iron Man I where he learns to use his suit. We began the presentation about an hour into the movie, where “Stark” suits up for his first flight, and ends where he crashes through 3 floors of his home onto one of his prized vehicles. It last about 3 or 4 minutes).

In Scripture, God uses Iron for a number of images. And amongst those images are the ideas that iron represents strength and endurance. As in our passage this morning:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

When we became Christians God placed within us the power of iron. Romans 8:11 tells us “… the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you”
The power the Spirit of God revealed when it raised Jesus from the dead is the very same power that lies inside of each of us who belong to Christ. God’s Spirit has placed iron in our souls. And that Spirit gives us the ability to be strong and endure many of the difficulties of life.

But Proverbs 27:17 implies that (even as God’s people) we don’t start out that way. We don’t automatically begin our walk with Christ knowing exactly how to utilize the power His Spirit places within us. We have a learning curve that we need to go thru…
… so that we can be sharpened
… so that we can be honed
… so that we can have all the qualities of iron we need in our lives.

So how do we do that?
How do we take that quality of iron God has placed inside us and make it all that it can be?

Proverbs 27 says that as iron sharpens iron… SO ONE MAN SHARPENS ANOTHER
As Christians we need someone to help us grow in our faith

And God teaches that to us from the outset of our Christianity.

In the Great Commission Jesus commands us to “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:19-20

Even when we become Christians, God set things up so that we would need another Christian there to guide us through the beginnings of our faith.

ILLUS: Our Southern Gospel Quartet took part in a gospel sing in another part of the state and we headlined for an excellent professional group from Ohio. This group did an excellent job of involving the audience in their singing and then they took a break. The lead singer began to talk to them about salvation and he asked them to all close their eyes and bow their heads and he asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to become Christians. One man raised his hand. The singer then informed the man that he should “ask Jesus into His heart” and led him in a “sinner’s prayer.” It was all very well done and very moving.
But there was one problem with all that.
There’s no sinner’s prayer in the Bible. Nowhere in God’s Word is anyone ever told to “ask Jesus into your heart.” It’s just not there.
I know it’s a popular thing to do in religious circles, and it has some significant advantages (for one thing, it’s easy and simple in its appeal). But if it’s not what the early church did, then there’s a problem here. And I can think of one grave disadvantage this sinner’s prayer has.

How many people does it take to “ask Jesus into your heart” (not biblical by the way)
JUST ONE = the pray-er.
How many people does it take to be baptized?
TWO – one to baptize, one to BE baptized.

The unbiblical practice of praying the prayer of salvation presumes converts will always have somebody there to teach them. But that doesn’t always happen! People who are led to believe praying to receive Jesus is Biblical often do so in their cars and homes where there is no Christian there to disciple them.
By contrast – the Biblical practice of baptism requires that the new Christian have someone else there with them – the person who baptizes them. And that person who baptizes them is expected by Christ to take responsibility for them & to teach them the basics of the faith. That’s what we’re taught in the Great Commission.

But even after baptism, God involves us with one another. That’s why Christ established the church. Ephesians 5:25-27 says it this way
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Jesus died for the church.
Jesus died to establish the body of believers you belong to.
Part of the reason He went to the cross was create an atmosphere where we could sharpen the iron in those who worship with us.

So, it’s not true that you can be just as good a Christian without going to church
You can’t simply say “Well, I’m there in Spirit… but I don’t have to be there in body and soul. ILLUS: It’s kind of like the true story of an incident that took place at a University. This university had a policy that if the professor was 10 minutes late for class… it was cancelled. But one day a professor put his hat on his desk and then went to the faculty room. He apparently lost track of time and when he arrived back at the class he was 10 minutes late and found it room empty.
He was furious.
When the class next met, he informed his students “When my hat is here, I’m here!”
His class learned their lesson well. The following day, the professor arrived at 9 a.m. and he was met by the sight of 25 hats on the desks – but no students. (Albert I. Raizman, Reader’s Digest 1/05 p. 54)

Their hats were there!
They were there in spirit… but not in body.
But they weren’t really in class.
They weren’t behaving as true students should.
They weren’t going to learn anything… because THEY WEREN’T there.

AND – as Christians – we’re not going to gain anything if we’re not together with the church!

So we need to BE in church. But even that’s not enough.
Have you ever known of a student who goes to class and doesn’t learn anything?
Of course you have. And similarly, a Christian can be in a church building but not get anything out of worship. That’s because Jesus designed the church to be a place…
… NOT where we GET something out of it
… but where PUT something into it.

Heb 10:24-25 instructs us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

You see – the purpose of church is to sharpen the iron that God has placed within us.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
That means that your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ NEED you.

The Bible repeatedly drives home the fact that we need to BE THERE for each other.
· 1Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “… encourage one another and build each other up…”
· Romans 15:1 says “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”
· Romans 12:15 says we should “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
· And Galatians 6:1-2 says “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.”

We need to be there for each other, because we NEED each other.
We’ll never attain the fullness of Christ until we understand that significant fact.

Years ago, when I read the King James Version of 2 Corinthians 3:18 I gained an interesting insight: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Glory to glory.
When I first read that verse an image came into my mind. I visualized a person on a staircase, climbing up into God’s presence… glory unto glory. Every step they took was an accomplishment. Every step they took brought them up higher… closer to God.

But that image also told me something about our responsibilities to each other.
· Some people are a several steps up the staircase.
· Some are on the first step or two.

Unfortunately there are those who look down on those on the lower steps and they wonder why all those other folks aren’t as spiritual as they are, or attend Sunday School as often as they do, or understand how to tithe like they do.

But that’s not how God wants us to look at other in the church. If others are lower down on the staircase than you are… your job is to help them up the stairs. God expects you and I to reach down and take them by the hand and encourage them. To urge them on to greater deeds of love and good works. God expects us to sharpen each other… to bring out the quality of iron that God has placed inside us.

In fact, this is so important to God… that’s He’s watching.
Hebrews 6:10 tells us “God… will not forget … the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

God’s watching… He takes this seriously
Back when He made a covenant with Abraham, He told him “I will bless those who bless you… and I will curse those who curse you.”

He was telling Abraham “I’m watching. I’m paying attention if others treat you well, or if they don’t.

And in the New Testament, God repeated this promise
In Matthew 10:42 Jesus said “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
What’s that mean? = I will bless those who bless My people

In 2 Thessalonians 1:6 Paul writes “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.”
What’s that mean? = I will curse those who curse you

And that’s easy to understand.
If you are nice to my kids… I’m inclined to be nice to you
But if you hurt one of my kids… you better look out!

Now that brings me to my last point. God expects us to be nice to each other, to build each other up. But that’s not always easy to do.
As one person said: “It’s easy to be an angel when nobody is ruffling your feathers.

It’s easy to be kind to other Christians when they’re doing things I agree with. When they’re not offending me. When they haven’t sinned against me… etc, etc.

But Jesus has a couple of rules about that

1. What if I’ve sinned against a brother/sister? What should I do? (go to them)
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Don’t even bother trying to offer a gift to God if your brother/ sister in Christ has been offended by you. Go make it right.

Now, what if a brother/sister sins against me?
What if they tick me off?
What does Jesus say I have to do?

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
You are to GO to them.
Not to argue with them/or beat them over the head with your Bible.
Your objective should be to win them over.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve sinned against them – or they’ve sinned against you – YOU have to go to them and get things right.
Because God wants us to sharpen each other… He wants us to help each other.

Now… how many of you agree with Jesus on this? (ask for a show of hands).
I’m glad you do.
But it’s one thing to SAY you agree with Jesus, it’s quite another to commit yourself to obeying Him in matters such as this. So what I’m going to ask you to do today is to make a vow before God. A vow is a very serious thing, and God will hold you accountable if you break it.
The vow I’m asking you to make today is that if another Christian offends you (preacher, elders, Sunday School teachers, fellow Christians of any stripe) that you will go to them and try to make it right. You’ll be vowing not to talk about them behind their backs or to convince others of how badly this person has mistreated you. You will go to them and try to win them over.
If you’re willing to make this vow today, I ask you to stand up where you are.
Make the heros confession and join the team that never will die, but live eternally.

America’s history is a weapon

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A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

John F. Kennedy


2007 $1 Washington coin reverse.
2007 $1 Washington coin reverse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America; the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”  A nation that guarantees “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  A “shining city” set on a hill with “equal justice under law.”  A “beacon of light” to all mankind.  The bastion of “freedom and democracy.”  “wind swept and God blessed” from “sea to shining sea.”

For over four centuries Americans have  professed and lived these values.  We’re a nation founded by people of virtue, honor, integrity and a deep and abiding love of God and appreciation for the sanctity of human life.  On the base of the Statue of Liberty are the words:
Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my light beside the golden door

America was the land the world envied and yearned to be a part of.  It was the great experiment in democracy that became the model of freedom for all the world to see.  America was in every sense of the word a land of opportunity and a “Culture of Life.”
It is only in a democracy where the citizens of a nation determine the level of national morality and the type of culture in which they wish to live.  They make this determination first in their own family, then their community and ultimately, through the ballot box, the entire nation.  A look back over the past forty years reveals a lot about the cultural changes Americans have chosen over the past two generations.

Some time in the mid-sixties during the Viet Nam War, drugs were introduced on the streets of our cities in large numbers.  It was not long until this addiction found its way into every community of our land.  As this addiction combined itself with the “sexual revolution”, “communes” and “free love” became a way of life for many.  We also learned the meaning of the word “overdosed.”  A culture of “love and free-living” resulted in a Culture of Death.
About the same time it was determined that prayer had no place in our public schools.  Children who were not taught moral values in the home would no longer be taught them in the schools of America and some who were taught these values at home had them challenged by their teachers, particularly in our colleges and universities.  God became an abstract being and the Bible was reduced to a book of common virtue.  The concept of eternal live and judgment has become a Culture of Death, in which existence ends at the grave.
In the early seventies another term found its way into the hearts and minds of America.  Abortion was determined to be the constitutional right of every young girl who had been released from the moral restraints that had been imposed on her parents. The unborn child was relegated to a non-human status, and could, therefore, be destroyed at the whelm of the parent.  The most dangerous place to live in America became the mother’s womb and to date over forty-five million children have been slaughtered in the name of a “woman’s right to choose.”  The sanctity of human life had become a Culture of Death.
Assisted Suicide and euthanasia found their way into acceptance by much of our population be the late seventies and early eighties.  This was done in the name of “death with dignity.”  The old, the infirm, the incapacitated, and yes, the inconvenient all became subject to legal extermination by one means or another.  The society which for generations had prided itself a protector of the weak, the disabled, and the infirm had become a Culture of Death.

By the early nineties we were introduced, compliments of the homosexual community, to a disease called Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome, or for short AIDS.  Through drug needle sharing and prostitution this disease found its way into the heterosexual community as well.  That which is called an “alternative lifestyle” has also become a “Culture of Death.”
By the year 2000 stem cell research was being promoted as a panacea of cures for all sorts of neurological damage and disease.  This research requires the destruction of embryonic human beings.  Nevertheless, American’s of every stripe are accepting this destruction of human life with no reluctance.  What was once legitimate scientific medical research has now become a Culture of Death.
Since the arriving of the pilgrims four hundred years ago, the traditional family has been the bedrock of American society.  Our government, our legal system and our churches were all designed to protect and promote the welfare of the family.  Today the traditional family is under attack as never before in our history.  The concept of one man, one woman, is being replaced by a system whereby any two or more individuals, regardless of sex, or age may join themselves together be recognized as a  family by our society.
When prayer was in our schools guns weren’t.  Today we are seeing a rash of young children bringing guns to school and shooting and killing their classmates and teachers.  What which was once a climate of education has become a Culture of Death.
Finally, to accommodate all of the above changes, every vestige of God and the Bible is being removed from our public square.  Our Pledge of Allegiance and National motto have been declared “unconstitutional” because they contain the word God.  The faith of our fathers in the blessings and protection of the God who has sustained this nation for over four hundred years is being replaced by a multi-cultural system which denies the God of Heaven yet recognizes and accepts every pagan god and pagan religion professed on these shores.

And what is the result of all these deviations from the American culture that was the light of the world?
As I look at the news on my TV tonight I hear about a pop star and icon for many of our youth who is on trial for sexually molesting a young boy.  I see the stars of baseball admitting to using steroid drugs to enhance their performance on the playing field while thousands of young aspiring athletics mimic these “heroes,” many at the cost of their lives.  America’s favorite pastime has also become a Culture of Death.

I see where nine people are murdered by a teenager who our Supreme Court has determined is mature enough to operate an automobile on our public streets but is too immature to be punished with his life if he chooses to take the life of nine others.
I see the story of a 46-year-old sexual predator, twice before tried and convicted, released to rape and murder a 9-year-old girl in Florida.

And, what is possibly the most heart wrenching story of all, a woman in Florida is being starved to death at the request of her husband, in the name of death with dignity, so he may receive the balance of her insurance settlement to support his girlfriend and their two children.  It is especially appalling that pollsters are telling us that most Americans support his position.
Our media takes great pride in keeping a running total of every single death taking place among our young men and women fighting to bring freedom to others, but where they when it comes to keeping a running count of the millions who have been slaughtered as a result of the cultural values which the same media has promoted?

The terrorist who seek the destruction of America are far less of a danger to our national welfare than the activist judges in the courts of America who have sanctioned, legalized, and promoted the values that have turned our nation into a Culture of Death.
What has happened to my America?  And what is more important, how long will the good people of America remain silent while these evils destroy the moral fabric of our nation today and our very existence tomorrow?

This is the question that our children and grandchildren will look back and ask.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14