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Memorial Day and Love

Many will probably say that Memorial Day and Love don't go together.  What does fighting and dying have to do with love?  Is there any correlation or are Memorial Day and Love truly an oxymoron?  Jesus Christ said that Memorial Day and Love have something very much in common, although He did not call it Memorial Day.  In John 15:13 we read these words:  "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  This verse is on many tombstones of World War I.  Jesus commends those who are willing to give the "full duty," the ultimate sacrifice.  The soldier is willing to die to defend his friend.  They have trained together, ate together, and shared their stories together.  And in fighting, a soldier often gives his life for his friends.
      But what is even more amazing is the Jesus Christ was willing to lay down His life for us.  In Romans 5:7 we read  "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  8.  But God demonstrated His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
     So the challenge is this:  on this Memorial Day, thank a veteran for the job they have done and remember those who have died to keep us free.  Also thank God that He sent His Son to die for us while we were yet sinners and that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.
[This was previously posted for Memorial Day 2009]

Courage and Standing up for Biblical Truths

     What takes more courage?
A.  To be the first professional sports figure to come out of the closet and proclaim that he is gay?
B.  To proclaim the Biblical truth that homosexuality is evil?
     Ten years ago, the answer A would be the correct answer.  Unfortunately, we live in a land where evil is proclaimed to be good, and good is proclaimed to be evil.  Thus, when Jason Collins proclaimed that he was a homosexual, it was called "courageous."  The NBA commissioner said "We are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."  He even received a call of encouragement from President Obama.  Then President Obama said in a press conference:  "I had a chance to talk to him yesterday.  He seems like a terrific young man   I told him I couldn't be prouder... one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality.  Not just tolerance, but a recognition that they're fully a part of the American family. . . .  For I think a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model out there who's unafraid. . . We judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, not on their sexuality. I'm very proud of him."
     Dr. Ben Carson had been invited as the commencement speaker of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He then stated that that based on God's Word marriage is between a man and a woman.  It is not between man and man, man and boy, or man and beast.  The homosexual community immediately caused such an uproar that he was forced to withdraw from being the commencement speaker.  Nobody called his remarks "courageous" to stand up for the truth.  He did not receive a call from the Hopkins University and praised him for speaking the truth.  And President Obama certainly did not call him up and talk to him and then praise him to the sky. 
       Lord, forgive our nation for calling evil good, and good evil.

Pentecost

     Pentecost is another Christian holy day that has been ignored by the church.  This morning at the breakfast table I asked what was special about today.  One said that it was his sister's wedding anniversary.  True.  Another thought that it was V-E day.  Close, but that was 08 May.  But no one remembered that it was Pentecost. 
     Today we celebrate the Father sending the Holy Spirit to the earth in order that we may have a Counselor.  Jesus states that "It is for your good that I am going away [Ascension Day].  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."  John 16:7
Prayer:  Thank you Jesus for leaving us and sitting at the right hand of the Father to be our mediator and thank You for sending us the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

Film Reviews: 42 and the Great Gatsby

    My wife and I just saw 42 (my second time) and The Great Gatsby.  Both films are rated PG-13 but The Great Gatsby should have been rated R.  I rarely see films twice at the theater - and 42 is a film that should be seen twice.  Jackie Robinson is portrayed with all the racism of that era - both north and south of the Mason Dixon line.  The owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, portrayed by Harrison Ford, is a Christian and he wants a Christian to break through the race barrier.  He starts off by saying, "Jackie Robinson is a Methodist, I am a Methodist, God is a Methodist."  Then when interviewing Jackie Robinson, he says that like "our Savior" he wants someone to turn the other cheek.  He wants someone with the courage NOT to fight back.  Jackie Robinson is that player. 
        Of note, Leo Durocher is portrayed has having an affair with an actress.  He is banned from baseball for one year because of that.  Jackie Robinson meanwhile is chaste at his marriage.  Following the natural course of events, she then becomes pregnant.
      The Great Gatsby should have been rated R and is not a film worth seeing once, let alone twice.  In it we see adultery, womanizing, mistresses, drunkenness, gambling, houses of ill-repute, etc.  There is NO redeeming value.
Word of caution:  In 42 there are four "God damns," four "son of a b..," four "hell," and one crude word.  

"Women and Children First"

   This cry from the decks of the Titanic is rarely heard today.  In the feminist view, women need not be protected.  They do not need doors opened for them - so chauvinistic.  They are equal to men.  Let them serve in combat.  No - they must serve in combat.  They are equal to men. 
    This false notion and blending of the sexes has one wondering.  Instead of protecting women, they were treated as garbage in the abortionist Gosnel's House of Horrors.  Women and children were being killed first.  There was no protection by the men. 
     Lord, forgive us of our sins.

Ascension Day

     Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter, when Christians celebrate Christ's entering heaven triumphantly.  This day is the least celebrated day of the church calendar.  At Christmas there are creche scenes everywhere and we have advent candles, advent wreathes, advent services, Christmas Eve services, cantatas, etc..  For the Holy Week we have children walking down the aisle with palms on Palm Sunday, a series of sermons on Christ's seven words from the cross, Passion plays, Maundy Thursday communion services,Good Friday services, and on Easter we have sunrise services.  In the commercial world we have bunnies and chocolate, new Easter dresses and mattress sales. 
     And then Ascension Day arrives and nary a peep from most pulpits.  Last year I was on  a field trip with my son, and I asked the leader if they were going to have an Ascension Day service.  He said he was not planning on one, but I was able to give an impromptu talk.  It was the first time all the students (except my son) had been to an Ascension Day service.  Most Presbyterian churches ignore it.  Even the Episcopal Church of Ascension here in Norfolk does not have Ascension Day service. 
     The Heidelberg Catechism has one Lord's Day and one question for Easter.  It has two Lord's Days and six questions dealing with the Ascension of Christ. 
     So celebrate today as Ascension Day.  Celebrate that Christ did not stay here on earth, but ascended into heaven to sit at God the Father's right hand and there to intercede for us.
     

Good Films

     My wife and I have been enjoying some great films from the 1920s-1950s, courtesy of Netflix.  Last night we watched Fritiz Lang's Man Hunt.  This fictional story takes place in 1939 and was produced in 1941.  A British citizen has an opportunity to kill Adolph Hitler, is caught, escapes and then is hunted down in England by the Nazis.
     There are two reasons we like these older films.
1.  The purity of the films.  During the entire film there was not a single offensive word. There was a total lack of blasphemy, cursing, swearing, and foul language.  Even 42 had some foul language.  There were no bawdy parts in the film.  For example, the main character has to hide in a prostitute's apartment.  However, she wears nice knee-length skirts and shows no cleavage.  When they retire for the night, she sleeps behind the curtain in a bed, and he sleeps on the sofa.  She cries, and he goes to comfort her.  He kisses her on the forehead, and then returns to the couch.  One of the clues that she is a prostitute is her repeated reference to gentlemen who have been with her and she recognizes one at such and such a corner.  But unlike films shown today, there is no sex.  Today, they would have slept together.  Here, she is a prostitute, but she is never shown in bed with anyone.
2.  The lack of explosions.  On Saturday I went to see 42.  Before the film began, there were commercials for the upcoming films.  Everyone of them had explosions, cars being overturned, machine guns blazing away, lots of people dying.  Here in this film, there was plenty of tension and suspense, but no explosions.  Two people were killed in the film, but only one was killed on the screen.  No close-ups of blood and gore.  It is so refreshing.

Honesty - Part II

     In my blog Honesty Part I, I posed the question why we can not be honest in sports.  A pitcher allows in lots of runs, and the manager and even the pitcher say he pitched pretty well. 
      In this blog, I want to proclaim something more importantly than baseball.  The church sometimes does not proclaim clearly that without Jesus Christ you are bound for hell for eternity.  In Acts 4:12 we read that "Salvation is found in no one else [Christ Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."  But some have no urgency to spread the gospel.  It is only through Christ Jesus that we can be saved.  But some want to work with Muslims and say that we all worship the same God.  Some want to say that belief in Christ is one way (of many) to salvation. 
    We must bold proclaim that Christ is the only way to salvation.  If you do not believe in Christ Jesus as your Savior, then you are destined for hell.  This is a life and death decision, but sometimes the church does not proclaim it boldly or urgently.
    So let us be honest and proclaim God's truth.

How much junk does a man need?

    Leo Tolstoy wrote a great short story "How much land does a man need?"  This is one of my three favorite short stories.  Within one one mile of our house, there are three stowage units.  These are not the simple one story ones - these are all three or four stories high.  So how much stuff (junk?) does a man need? 
    Christ said "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."  (Matthew 6:19-20)  Unfortunately, many Americans lay up "treasures" on earth.
     The challenge is to make sure our treasures are in heaven, not in a storehouse on earth.