Monday, April 02, 2007

No room for a Savior

2000 years ago, a Savior was born. God sent his only begotten Son to earth. He would live a life as we do, but would be crucified on a cross, being punished for sins he never committed. But, through his death and resurrection, we have been given a chance to reign with him one day, if we accept that free gift of grace through faith. Salvation is ours, if we want it.

Back then, there was no room at the Inn for Mary and Joseph when it came time for her to give birth. They were not treated as royalty. And, Joseph had a dream where the Lord sent an angel to him, and told him to get Mary and Jesus out of Bethlehem because King Herod was going to try and destroy him. So, again, they had to leave their home to protect our future Savior, until they heard the King was dead. Upon his death, they could again return to their home without worry.

This week, we are celebrating Passover. Easter, which many celebrate as Resurrection Sunday, comes next Sunday. That is the day that Jesus arose from the grave. But, so much has happened in the world since that day.

We have His Word in the form of the Bible. But, there are many trying to say the Bible is only another book of fiction – ‘nice stories, but truly fiction’. For, why would a ‘loving God’, as He is portrayed in scripture, let people die and not heal them all? Why would he let little children suffer, and babies be aborted? How could He stay quiet when thousands of people were killed in one morning? Where was He?

And, as Easter approaches, we have a man trying to prove that the tomb of Jesus was found with the bones of Jesus and ‘his supposed wife’, along with others. Those of us who hold that the Word of God is truth, know this could not be true, since the Word says he was crucified, laid in a tomb, and 3 days later, he was gone, with only the grave clothes remaining. And, according to the Word, Jesus was never married. He worked as a carpenter for 30 years and then began his public ministry, in which he stayed until he was crucified at the age of 33.

  • Matthew 28:6, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
Then there is the 'return of the secret Mark Gospel'. The debate begins again!
Ho-hum, you say? Isn’t it simply Easter season, when fresh Gnostic gospels or dubious ossuaries show up like spring daffodils?
Christianity is being ‘railroaded out of town’ by those that stick to ‘separation of church and state’. Christian clubs have to fight in order to be able to hold meetings in school. Children are told not to pray at school.
Author David Limbaugh, in “Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christians,” wrote how a judge threatened public school students, back in 1995, with arrest and incarceration for six months if they mentioned the name of Jesus.
Remember how protestors were allowed to paint the Capitol steps by the Capitol police? But, Christians are not allowed to kneel and pray.
The Christian Defense Coalition was sponsoring a public celebration of The Stations of the Cross when they were ordered to leave a public sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress while they were kneeling in prayer.

The group had been granted a permit by the United States Capitol Police and they were not blocking pedestrian traffic on the public sidewalk.
More and more, Christians are treated as though our faith is something of which we should be ashamed. Our mouths are being shut while perversion is being shown all over the television, allowed to be shown in art displays, and it is taking place on our public streets. Yet, the Christian population is the one that is being told they are wrong.

Just as it happened 2000 years ago, it’s happening today. People are too busy to bother with Jesus. Some feel that they live a ‘good life’ and they don’t need a ‘Savior’ to keep them straight. Life is supposed to be lived, not ‘depressed’, as some would see a life of holiness – living for the Lord.

As we approach Easter (Resurrection Sunday), it is my prayer that eyes will be opened to the real truth, that ears will hear what is being said, and lives will be changed. Too much is happening in the world today to shove the Word on a back shelf and not realize that the day of Jesus’ return is quickly approaching.
  • Luke 21:28, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
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jay said...

Hopefully this won't come off as too harsh, but as a Christian I feel it necessary to point out a few things. First and foremost any claim that Christianity cannot flourish in this country are blatantly false and no one is being 'railroaded out of town'. As Jesus taght us in Matt 6: 5-7, "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men...They have their reward."
Therefore, our current policy on school prayer is in keeping with Jesus' teachings and the Stations of the Cross shouldn't be on the sidewalk!
Browbeating people with your faith and then claiming persecution when they balk does not make for effective "Fishers of Men".
And other than abortion, I cannot find anything in the Conservative ideology that even remotely resembles Christ's teachings. Why don't Conservatives fight to have public displays of the Beatitudes? Why not have marches in the streets to change overly restrictive adoption policies? Why not wage war against the blatant corruption in the pharmacutical/healthcare industry? We'd all like to see abortion ended, but then what?
Feel free to e-mail me.

Barbara said...

Jay, I don't know where you've been lately. But, Christians can't pray in school; yet, muslims are being given time to pray because it's part of their religious practice.

I'm not talking about trying to push people into Christianity (browbeating). I'm talking about the freedom to practice your religion is slowly but surely being eroded. Soon, if some have their way, you won't be able to call a sin a sin (homosexuality) in your own church because it will be considered a hate crime. Oh, I know some think things like this will never happen.

You mentioned Conservatives, so apparently you are a liberal. I don't think the Democrats have anything in remotely resembling Christ's teachings,either, do they? Aren't most of them saying there has to be a separation of church and state?

You'll never separate GOD and people, except to be a non-Christian. I know you can't take God out of a person's heart, but the world is trying to separate the Christians from the rest of the world.

When I was in school many years ago, you didn't see the problems with students you have now. You either respected your teachers, or you were in serious trouble. You didn't see gangs in schools, shootings, etc. The principal and teachers had control. AND, we had morning devotionals by a student. Now days, you have ZERO tolerance, and it has made things worse. I've seen some kids get away with terrible things because they are in the 'click', and other students being sent home for a torn pair of jeans. I'm straying, but what I'm trying to say, when students were told there would be no more prayer, no more Bible in school, the schools have gone down hill, no matter what you think.

And, Christians have set back and let all this happen. As for the Beatitudes, it wouldn't matter. The Commandments have been struck down for public display - they 'bother' people, being where they might actually glance and read them! In other words, we are a society ashamed of our GOD!

Well, I want to be in the number that isn't afraid to say I'm a Christian any place I happen to be. I might be found praying for the kids on the football or soccer fields in the stands. If more people were less afraid of what others might think of them and more about how God thinks of us, then this world might be a safer place to live.

Matt 6:5-7 is speaking of giving alms (making a show of giving). That's not what I'm talking about. I'm speaking of having a relationship with God and being able to be out in the open with your faith, not having to hide or be ashamed. In other words, don't act like a Christian on Sunday morning in Church, and then act like the rest of the world the rest of the time.

Anonymous said...

I believe that was a very good blog, Barbara. Nobody "claimed that Christianity cannot flourish in our country." And you were not "browbeating people with your faith.
Obscene parades, disorderly conduct, etc. are allowed, but not Christians praying. I don't believe they are praying to be seen, but for our country, which definitely needs it. Keep up the good work.


jay said...

I really don't see how you can say that Matt 6: 5-7 deals with alms. It very clearly states "prayer" and any student can pray at any time, in any school, in the manner set forth by our Savior in the above scripture. What they cannot do is proselytise which is really what is meant by "school prayer".

Re-enacting Christ's crucifixion in front of the Library of Congress is confrontational and turns off the very people that need to hear His message. Think about this: a person demands the Sacrament in a Catholic church without catechism or confession and then claims to have their freedom of religion taken away when refused. There are times, places and methods that are not appropriate for practicing one's religion. Again, what Jesus was teaching in the mentioned scripture.

And as far as Democrat vs. Republican, every attempt by our government to feed, clothe, and provide health care for the poor - a major tenet of Jesus' ministry - has been at the hands of a Democrat.

Again, I don't want to seem harsh or judgmental; I just wish Christians were known for what we're for instead of what we're against.

Lyn Perry said...

Barb, Provocative post! Thanks for your efforts. I'm participating in the Spring Meme at Thought Renewal and have included you as a link for Spring Thinking...thanks for all your work! Lyn

Maxine said...

You don't know me, but I have been observing your courage to speak on the things of God in a time when that is becoming increasingly unpopular. Everyone will not agree, but it is important that there still be a voice for right in this county. I'll be praying for your ministry here.
I wanted you to know that today I "tagged" you as a blog that has made me think. Visit over at my Nanna Reflections blog when you get a chance.

Barbara said...

Jay, I was thinking of the entire chapter, not just those 2 verses. Hypocrites will do things in order to be rewarded by man. A Christian should not try to be 'seen or heard', but do things for his fellowman, including prayer, without trying to build up self.

When one kneels and prays,how do you find the 'crucifixion of Christ' in that? Different people have different convictions, and some feel it's their duty to stand up for things that perhaps you might not - like freedom of religion. Praying on a street corner doesn't mean that they are being hypocrites, but if they are just doing it to be seen by man, perhaps they are. Only God knows.

School prayer is not proselytizing. It's simply saying a prayer for God to help you through the day. I never saw or heard of any proselytizing when I was in school. All the kids took part in the morning devotionals (they got turns going on the intercom, if they wanted to), and nobody felt threatened.

"Think about this: a person demands the Sacrament in a Catholic church without catechism or confession and then claims to have their freedom of religion taken away when refused. There are times, places and methods that are not appropriate for practicing one's religion."

What does the above have to do with hypocrites on the street? Are you a Catholic? I believe the Bible says that when you partake of communion, you examine yourself, to see if you are worthy. It's not our place to refuse anyone communion with the Lord. It's not we who will suffer.

"And as far as Democrat vs. Republican, every attempt by our government to feed, clothe, and provide health care for the poor - a major tenet of Jesus' ministry - has been at the hands of a Democrat."

Should we say that the Democrats, who mostly are wealthy, and know nothing about an impoverished life, have a need to HELP the poor out of the taxpaper's pocket? They don't encourage those who are able to work to get a job, but they love to make them 'happy' with a welfare check each month. The welfare check is an enabler, and not a way to a better life. There's nothing wrong with helping the REALLY poor who need help and can't better themselves. But, most of those on welfare love the 'crutch' provided by the Democrats, as you said.

And, sure Hillary wants to give us 'socialized' healthcare! Why doesn't she want those people without insurance to get a job, get insurance through work, or a means of paying for private insurance? WE, who have good insurance don't need help from Hillary. The US doesn't need socialized health care; look at Canada. We just need politicians who really care for the people - not more who are out to farther themselves in the realm of power, and then do nothing for the people.

jay said...

I'm not Catholic; my point was that there are innapropriate ways of practicing one's religion - why else would anyone celebrate the Stations of the Cross in front of the Library of Congress other than to be "seen of men"?

I've wrestled with this but I'm just going to go ahead and say that you prove my point when you talk of practicing religion in school when you were growing up - i.e. I'm pretty sure there were no black children leading the devotions over the intercom so I'm thinking religion in school may not be the social panacea you think it is. I'm not accusing you or bringing that up for any other reason than to say that forced religion does not work.

Yes, thus far many attempts by g-ment to help the poor have been terrible, but to paint all needy with the same brush is disengenuous at best. But at least there have been attempts by Democrats of all income levels.

As far as health care, there are 45 million people in this country who would absolutely love to have their employer offer health insurance. We work just as hard as anyone else! Why do you think the only options are what we have now or socialized medicine? There may be some middle ground there, Barbara.

Again, none of this is to disparage your beliefs; I just think there might be a better public defenition of Christianity than homosexuality or Nativity scenes on the courthouse lawn. It truly bothers me that we fight for a tableau that isn't even biblicly accurate! There is no "inn" mentioned in the Bible but there are retired people being kicked to the curb by bancruptcy courts as "legacy costs" and thousands of un-aborted children waiting for adoption!

Remember Luke 6:46.

Barbara said...

Jay, I haven't figured out your beef yet. You have to be a liberal; otherwise, you wouldn't hit on the 'black kids' scenario' - or perhaps you are black.

For your information, there was no black kids in my school in the 40's, 5o's - I graduated in 1960. There were no blacks in my grown kids' school, either. They finished in 1986 and 1989. BUT, there were no blacks near, either. During my time, they had their own big schools.

But, if there had been, the devotions/prayers were done on a volunteer basis, and they could have, had they been there.

My grandkids have many black friends, many hispanic friends, german friends - you name it, and they are ALL treated equal. There is no race card played in their schools. In fact, one of the black boys placed high in the Senior MR of the HS this year in the pageant. HE is a football player and very well liked. And, another one led a prayer at a football function.

As far as health care, there are 45 million people in this country who would absolutely love to have their employer offer health insurance. We work just as hard as anyone else! Why do you think the only options are what we have now or socialized medicine? There may be some middle ground there, Barbara.

Are you speaking of yourself? Does that mean you are speaking black, or that you are poor? MANY people have to buy their OWN insurance, Jay. It's not just a chosen few. Lots of small companies don't provide insurance. AND, further more, if you are poor enough to qualify, then Hospitals have to give you free care. They aren't going to turn you down.

I definitely believe I hit a sore spot with you, Jay. I think, if you focused more one the aspect of serving God and thanking him for what you do have, you would have a better outlook on life. I have never set around and waited for anyone to hand me anything free. Besides, I don't want anything free.

AND, for your information, we ARE retired. And, my husband bought a big truck after being retired 6 years and went back to work. WHY? Because we knew life doesn't come to you on a silver platter, and WE don't want the government sticking their nose in our business OR out health care.

And, I hate to burst your bubble, Jay.

Luke 2:7, "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."

You need to re-examine your Bible - there is an INN mentioned.

jay said...

As I've said several times, my "beef" is that there is little of Christ's teachings in the ideology of the "Christian Right". I'm frustrated and angry that my religion has been hijacked by people who think going to church, fighting gay marriage, and praying in front of the Library of Congress is "serving God". Yes, you've definitely hit a sore spot!

I'm tired of having to explain that Jesus actually taught "that which you do to the least of my brethern, you do unto Me" and not "most of those on welfare love the crutch". People without insurance do not get free health care; hospitals have to treat the patient but they definitely get a bill and that bill is always higher than for someone who has insurance.

Do you not see the hypocrisy in "they had their own big schools"? Spending the entire day praying in a school that excludes anyone is worthless. I know things have changed but obviously the teachings of Jesus weren't sinking in back then and His message is not getting through today.

jay said...

This is what I'm talking about, Barbara.

Barbara said...

Jay, anyone might 'hijack' a religion, but nobody can steal your salvation.

I think those who really NEED help should be helped, but my point is that the majority of people on welfare are able-bodied people who could work. I see less fortunate people who try to make ends meet on whatever they can bring in. We have those in our church, which the church does help. I don't see them complaining.

There is no hypocrisy in 'they had their schools' - which they did. That was the law back then; it isn't now. So, why fuss about what we can't go back and undo or had no control over? By the way, nobody spent all day praying in a school. There was a morning devotion, period - done on volunteer basis.

Jay, people aren't perfect. That's why God sent Jesus to the world to save the imperfect people.

If you feel so convicted about the things you see happening, I suggest you try and change them. I still do not think that the whole of America needs GOVERNMENT run health care. The government has it's hand in too many things, as it is, in a person's life. Watch and see that the Christians aren't persecuted more and more as the next few years go by. Watch and see if we aren't quietened in our speech on things that God says is wrong. Watch and see that hate speech isn't incorporated in a way that makes the church a place where you can't even talk about sin. I know you may think that is far-fetched, but keep your eyes open; it's coming to us. But, hopefully, God will return for his faithful servants before it gets too bad.

jay said...

Barbara, I started this dialogue originally to point out that Christians "being railroaded out of town" while having prayer services in front of the Library of Congress is self-fulfilling prophecy and public prayer is against Jesus' teachings for exactly that reason, in my opinion.
I also tried to point out that in spite of your claims that society would be better off with religion in public schools, it didn't seem to prevent the injustice of segregation - separate schools being the very least of that evil. The hypocrisy comes from trying to sread the Word in a building closed to someone due to the color of their skin. I only brought it up to illustrate that fighting the injustice of segregation may have been a better manifestation of God's love than daily devotions over the intercom. And fighting for the disadvantaged today instead of for school prayer or against homosexuality may also be a better way to spread the Word.
At no point have I advocated g'ment run healthcare. In fact, I think we both agree that having Hillary leading the way on health care reform would be a disaster! Why can't we as Christians start applying pressure to the AMA to look at these problems BEFORE Hillary and Co.
Persecution is an awful strong word, Barbara, and I really don't see that in terms of Christianity in America now or in the future.
The Bible has alot to say on a variety of subjects, but I think we would be better Fishers of Men if we stayed more to the Word in red.