Five Essential Beliefs for a Peaceful Heart

If you’re a Christian, God alone is in charge of your life. He’s your security. And He’s never been out of control over His creation for one fraction of a second since the beginning of time. He hasn’t lost one measure of His power or might. He’s just as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all loving today as He was at the dawn of man. 

Though we may not always understand His purposes, understanding the ways of God always leads to an understanding that He’ll act in a way that brings about eternal blessings for His children. Through the years, I’ve discovered five essential beliefs for a peaceful heart. I challenge you to take a long, hard look at what you believe about God. Your peace is determined by the degree to which these truths are embedded in your soul.

Belief 1: God is absolutely sovereign.

Recognizing and accepting the truth that God is sovereign over everything is vital for your inner peace. This means that nothing related to you is beyond His watchful eye and loving care. (Colossians 1:17)

Belief 2: God is your provider.

From cover to cover, the Bible has a clear message that God is the One who provides for all your needs. No need is too massive, problematic, or severe for Jesus to meet it. The Bible tells us, “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).

Belief 3: God made you the way you are for a purpose.

There are many things about your life in which you have no control. Accept those things as part of the way God created you. Your race, culture, language, nationality, sex, and many attributes of your physical being are God’s “choices.” He also gave you talents, aptitudes, intelligence, personality, and spiritual gifts that, taken as a whole, make you a unique person on this earth to fulfill the plan He has for you. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Belief 4: God has a place where you truly belong.

God created you for fellowship with Himself and others. Trust Him to help you gain a strong sense of belonging to Him and to provide for you a “family” of fellow believers to whom you can belong. Then, as you grow in Him, reach out to others. (1 Peter 2:9).

Belief 5: God has a plan for your fulfillment.

For real inner peace, a person needs to know that he or she is competent, able, capable, and skilled at doing something. There’s a wonderful sense of peace that comes when you know you’re capable of putting in a good performance or doing a good job. (Ephesians 2:10)

When you accept these five essential beliefs at the core of your being and trust that God is working in you and on your behalf, inner peace will truly be yours.

The Gay Supremacy Act Undermines the Rights of Minority Groups, Like Christians

ncdailygazette.com


The hypocrisy of the left couldn’t be more obvious as they attempt to push through a massive bill that would do the very thing they claim they are trying to eliminate–it would undermine the rights of minority groups. H.R.5, dubbed by the left as The Equality Act, should rightfully be renamed the Gay Supremacy Act instead.

The purpose of the bill is to make it illegal for minority Christian and conservative groups to hold to their sincere religious beliefs–a guaranteed right in the Constitution–and undermine protections for these groups. The bill argues that homosexuals and other sexually perverse people and their allies are a minority group and are disproportionately discriminated against in the public square.

This is simply false. Gays are among the most celebrated group in this perverse society and while most Americans don’t self-identify as LGBTQ, support for them has hit record highs. 67 percent of Americans now support gay marriage despite the fact that such a perverse thing is destructive to society.

On the other hand, Christians, particularly, conservative, Bible-believing Christians, are clearly in the minority. Conservatives who hold to a biblical worldview are enslaved to “Cancel Culture” and cannot voice their opinion on these issues without facing severe repercussions.

Christians are being fired for speaking biblical truth on sexual morality, even outside of the workplace. Conservative websites are being dropped by hosting providers and pushed off of social media platforms by Big Tech. This is not disputable–this is not happening to homosexuals. It’s happening to conservatives.

The claim that gays are discriminated against is simply absurd, Christians are the ones discriminated against. And Christians are in the minority as only 25 percent of Americans identify as Evangelical Christians and only a fraction of those would be conservative.

This bill only solidifies the hypocrisy of the left in their hatred of conservatives and justifies their oppression against minorities. They do not serve the American people and they certainly do not serve God–they serve Satan.

The Equality Act is a Dangerous Threat to Our Nation.

FROM THE DESK OF FRANKLIN GRAHAM

We Cannot Remain Silent!

The Equality Act is a dangerous threat to our nation.

I am writing to you about a very dangerous piece of legislation—the Equality Act. The Biden Administration has said they want to pass this within their first 100 days. I cannot say this more emphatically—for people, for businesses, and for ministries of faith, the Equality Act is a threat to life as we know it in our nation today. It’s a real game-changer.

The House has already passed this legislation one time previously, so it will likely pass in the House again before moving on to the Senate. We need you to contact your congressmember and U.S. senators and ask them to vote NO. I also encourage you to let the White House know about your strong opposition to this bill. The progressive Left is zealous about this issue and will pull out all the stops to try to make it the law of the land.

• The Equality Act designates schools, churches, and healthcare organizations as “public accommodations.” With this, schools, churches, and hospitals could be forced to accept the government’s beliefs and mandates about sexual orientation and gender identity. That would be highly intrusive and incredibly far-reaching. It will threaten everyday speech where people can be fined or lose their jobs for using the wrong name or pronouns.

• The Equality Act will legislate that we allow boys in girls’ sports, boys in girls’ locker rooms, men in women’s shelters, and men in women’s prisons. It will force teachers and students to publicly pretend that a biological male is a female. Schools will be encouraged or mandated to instruct first, second, and third graders that they can choose to be a boy or a girl, or neither, or both, making biological sex (and science) a relic of the past.

• The Equality Act will use the force of law across all 50 states to strip Christian and other religious ministries of their right to hire people of shared faith to pursue a shared mission. Can you imagine a Christian organization being forced to hire people hostile to its deeply held beliefs who have no passion for its beliefs, teachings, and mission? That doesn’t work.

• The Equality Act will strip health professionals of their rights of conscience. It will force doctors and medical professionals who long to do no harm to engage in gender transition treatments such as hormone-blocking, cross-sex hormones, or surgery. It is obvious that a Catholic or faith-based hospital should not have to perform gender transition surgeries that go entirely against all they believe.

• The Equality Act will be a tool used by the government to deny or threaten accreditation to religious colleges and universities if they do not satisfy the demands of the secular Left to apply sexual orientation and gender identity to dorms, sports, places of privacy, and even teachings. The Act could be used as a weapon to threaten the availability of federal student loans and grants to students at certain disfavored religious schools.

These are just a few examples. Friends, this is a pivotal time for our nation. The impact of this legislation is immense. We must not remain silent and accept what we know is wrong.

People of faith need to PRAY. Churches need to recognize the significance of this and pray corporately, asking for God’s intervention and mercy to extend the religious freedoms we have been blessed with for so long.

We also must get to work now, in these fleeting days before the Equality Act comes up for a vote again. As individuals, churches, and organizations, we need to let our representatives in the U.S. House and Senate know how important this is to us, and that we are asking them to vote an emphatic NO to the Equality Act.

Sincerely,

Franklin Graham

The Christian’s Duty to Obey and Disobey

Many Christians believe that we should submit to whatever our government says because God has established them per Romans 13. Therefore, we should not resist or disobey the government. But is that the correct biblical position? No, it is not. In fact, the Scriptures contain many instances of true believers defying the ‘governmental’ authorities. I will take a look at this in-depth. But, first, let’s take a look at Romans 13:1-2, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves…“. 

The general principle we derive from Romans 13 is that to submit to civil authority is to submit to God and not disobey any government requirement. This is consistent with the Old Testament. Consider Daniel 2:21 that says it is God who “removes kings and establishes kings.” Therefore, to submit to authority is to submit to God. So far, so good. However…

Resistance to ungodly leaders is biblical: Peter (Acts 5:29)

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men…” (Acts 5:29).

The apostles had been put in jail for healing people (Acts 5:16-18). An angel opened the prison gates and commanded the apostles to go to the temple to speak about the “message of this Life,” (v. 20). They did so (v. 21, 25) and were apprehended and brought before the religious council (v. 27). The council reminded the apostles that they had been given orders not to preach in Christ’s name (v. 28). But Peter answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” (v. 29). He disobeyed their command.

So we see that the apostles resisted the religious authorities because God, through the angel, had commanded they preach the gospel. Let me remind you that Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19). He has commanded us all to preach the gospel. Doing so will sometimes mean that we do not submit to everything our government tells us to do or not do.

The Jewish Midwives disobeyed the order to kill male children (Exodus 1:15-17)

In the Old Testament, we see where the king of Egypt had ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill all male newborn babies. But, though the functioning’ civil government ‘required this, the people of God disobeyed.

Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live,” (Exodus 1:15–17). They disobeyed their government because murder is forbidden per God in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13). The midwives deliberately disobeyed the governing authority represented by the king of Egypt because it contradicted God’s law. (Though the Ten Commandments had not yet been written down, there were obvious laws in place against murder.)

This truth against murder applies to the issue of the secular abomination of abortion. Christians should resist and disobey any civil authorities in this matter and not just submit to it.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobeyed Nebuchadnezzar’s order to worship false gods (Daniel 3:14-18)

As is often the case, people in authority demand obedience. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobeyed the order to worship false gods. King Nebuchadnezzar then threatened to kill them. But, even in the face of death, they would not comply. Instead, they trusted in God. They knew there was no guarantee that He would deliver them. Yet, they were willing to face death rather than obey the civil authority and worship false gods in violation of Scripture. Take a look at what is recorded. 

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? “Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up,” (Daniel 3:14–18). 

As Christians, we cannot bow down and worship any false god. But, you might ask, “Where does the government demand us to worship a false god?” It doesn’t. Or does it? To worship is to give honor and glory to something and trust in it for deliverance from suffering, hunger, sickness, and more. Is it that much of a stretch to say that our government has become that which lessens our suffering, hunger, and sickness? I cannot help but wonder that far too many people put their hope and trust in the secular government rather than Christ to be their savior and provider. This is worth exploring, but for now, we must understand what Christ said. “…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s,” (Matthew 22:21).

Of course, our government does not actually force us to bow down before graven images and worship them under the penalty of death. But, our government pushes secularism, promotes the killing of the unborn, promotes homosexuality, and penalizes conservatives, especially Christians, who resist. Functionally, our government sometimes acts as though it is God with its demands of submission, obedience, and compliance. But, we must resist all that is ungodly in any government.

Christians disobeyed the Kings order to seize Paul (2 Corinthians 11:32-33)

In Damascus, the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands,” (2 Corinthians 11:32-33). Damascus is a city in Syria outside of Israel. An ethnarch is a ruler who someone from another country gives authority. Aretas was an Arabian King and the father-in-law of Herod Antipas. So, when Paul was in Damascus preaching about Jesus, the Jews there plotted to “do away with him,” (Acts 9:23). But, his disciples lowered him in a large basket through an opening in a wall so that he escaped (Acts 9:22–25).

We see here that a ruler, in concert with the Jews, sought to apprehend Paul. Instead of obeying the wishes of the civil magistrate, Paul’s disciples helped him escape. They did not submit to the governing authority because, again, it violated Scripture.

Does the word of God contradict itself?

In one sense, we are to obey the civil magistrates, but in another, we are not. The dividing line is simple. Whenever the government advocates something that is against Scripture, we are to disobey it. Our obligation is to follow God rather than man (Acts 5:29). 

Therefore, when any government advocates abortion, we are to resist it. When the state approves of homosexuality, we are to resist it. If the state approves of same-sex marriage, we are to resist it. This is significant, especially since the government is promoting and legislating ungodliness.

  • State-approved abortion 
    • Roe v. Wade: The Constitutional Right to Access Safe, Legal Abortion
    • Taxpayers subsidize roughly 24% of all abortion costs in the U.S.
    • State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid
  • State-approved homosexuality
    • The military holds an event marking gay pride. 
    • “Since 2012…the American government has spent more than $41 million specifically to promote gay rights globally,”
    • Final Rule to Revise the Definition of “Spouse” Under the FMLA
    • President Obama proclaims June 2016 as LGBTQ Pride month
  • State-approved Same-Sex Marriage
    • Federal Marriage Amendment to define marriage between one man and one woman fails to pass in U.S. Congress in 2015
    • Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Gay Marriage
    • Same-Sex Marriage Legalization by Country

Our Christian Duty

Our duty as Christians is to resist and even disobey ungodliness wherever it may be, even in our government. But this does not mean being violent. It does mean that we pray, vote, petition, and show our grievances in compliance with the laws of our land. We are not to be idle and passive. But, like the men and women of the Old Testament and apostles of the New, we are to do what is right in God’s eyes – which sometimes means disobeying the commands of our leaders.

Remember, Scripture reveals that we are to “defend the rights of the afflicted and needy,” (Proverbs 31:9), “reprove the ruthless and defend the orphan,” (Isaiah 1:17), “do justice to the afflicted and destitute…and deliver them out of the hand of the wicked,” (Psalm 82:3-4). We are to have no other gods but the true and living God (Exodus 20:3). We are to resist the sin of abortion (Exodus 20:13; Psalm 82:3-4). We are to resist the rise and promotion of homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13; 2 Peter 2:6-9). We are to resist the redefinition of marriage to accommodate sin (Mark 10:6). Resistance is biblical when it means to defy the decrees, laws, and commands of the ungodly leaders above us ( Exodus 1:15-21; 1 Samuel 14:24, 43-46; Jeremiah 26:10-16; Daniel 3:14-18; Matthew 2:7-12; 2 Corinthians 11:32-33).

Yet, whenever possible, we are to be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18) and obey the civil authorities (Romans 13:1-4). But, we don’t submit to leadership if it means compromising the truth of God’s word. “We must obey God rather than man,” (Acts 5:29). 

The information contained in this message was obtained from the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.

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God and Government: What’s a Christian to do?

We now have a new President, Vice-President, administration, and Congress. Many believe that the election was stolen by corruption and fraud and now have an illegitimate leader. But, the fact remains that the election is over. The results have been certified. And, the oaths administered. Executive orders are flying out of the oval office. In my humble opinion, our Country is on a path to ruin. God has turned His back on the United States of America. 

I have written about how I believe it is impossible to be a Christian and support the Democrat Platform. Our new President is a Democrat and claims to be a Christian; however, he has decided to openly endorse and promote sin in direct opposition to God’s Word in just a matter of days. He has appointed at least one openly homosexual and at least one openly transsexual to prominent positions in his administration. He has signed executive orders to allow taxpayer money to pay for abortions here in the USA and worldwide. He did these things on the same day he attended a church service with the new VP and leaders of Congress. Many other immoral and sinful actions are coming soon. I am reminded of what the prophet Isaiah said, Isaiah 5:20-21 (ESV): “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! [21] Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” With the evil now openly flowing through the highest halls of government, what is the Christian to do? 

The Apostle Paul talks about our responsibility to the government in Romans 13. He tells us that those who have been justified by faith are obligated to be subject to human government. Actually, the obligation applies to everyone, but the apostle here is concerned primarily with believers. After the flood in Genesis, God established human government when He decreed, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed” (Gen. 9:6). That decree gave authority to men to judge criminal matters and to punish offenders. 

I admit that the Bible doesn’t say what I necessarily want it to say on this matter. I am not happy with the current situation in which we find ourselves. However, who am I to argue with God? Or, for that matter, who are you to argue with God? As Christians, we are to grow more Christlike, which means to be submissive to The Word of God, period. It makes no difference whether we agree with it, like it, or not. The Word is the final authority. The fact that Christians are citizens of Heaven (Phil. 3:20) does not exempt them from responsibility to human government.

In every ordered society, there must be authority and submission to that authority. Otherwise, you have a state of anarchy, and you cannot survive indefinitely under anarchy. Any government is better than no government. So God has instituted human government, and no government exists apart from His Will. This does not mean that He approves of all that human rulers do. He certainly disapproves of corruption, homosexuality, murder, and tyranny. But the fact remains that God appoints the authorities that exist. 

Believers can live victoriously in a democracy, a constitutional monarchy, or even a totalitarian regime. No earthly government is any better than the men who comprise it. That is why none of our governments is perfect. The only ideal government is a beneficent monarchy with the Lord Jesus Christ as King. It is helpful to remember that Paul wrote this section on subjection to human government when the infamous Nero was Emperor. Those were dark days for Christians. Nero blamed them for a fire that destroyed half the city of Rome (and which he himself may have ordered). He caused some believers to be immersed in tar, then ignited as living torches to provide illumination for his orgies. Others were sewn up in animal skins, then thrown to ferocious dogs to be torn to pieces. 

And yet, it still holds that anyone who disobeys or rebels against the government is disobeying and rebelling against what God has ordained. Whoever resists lawful authority earns and deserves punishment.

There is an exception, of course. A Christian is not required to obey if the government orders him to sin or compromise his loyalty to Jesus Christ (Acts 5:29). No government has a right to command a person’s conscience. So there are times when a believer must, by obeying God, incur the wrath of man. In such cases, he must be prepared to pay the penalty without undue complaint. Under no circumstances should he rebel against the government or join in an attempt to overthrow it. We must find a way of maintaining our duty to God as well as being a good citizen. We have examples from David and Daniel. Regardless of what happens to us, as long as we are faithful to God, He will always be with us as He was in the Book of Daniel. Who can forget the fourth man in the furnace or who caused the lions to sleep?

Whether president, governor, mayor, or judge, the ruler is a minister of God in the sense that he is a servant and representative of the Lord. He may not know God personally, but he is still the Lord’s man officially. Thus David repeatedly referred to the wicked King Saul as the Lord’s anointed (1 Sam. 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 16, 23). Despite Saul’s repeated attempts on David’s life, the latter would not allow his men to harm the king. Why? Because Saul was the king, and as such, he was the Lord’s appointee.

As servants of God, rulers are expected to promote the good of the people: security, tranquility, and general welfare. If any man insists on breaking the law, he can expect to pay for it because the government has the authority to bring him to trial and punish him. In the expression he does not bear the sword in vain, we have a strong statement concerning the power which God vests in the government. The sword is not just an innocuous symbol of power; a scepter would have served that purpose. The sword seems to speak of the ultimate power of the ruler-that is, to inflict capital punishment. So it will not do to say that capital punishment was for the OT era only and not for the New. Here is a statement in the NT that implies that the government has the authority to take a capital offender’s life. People argue against this by quoting Exodus 20:13 in the KJV: “Thou shalt not kill.” But that commandment refers to murder, and capital punishment is not murder. The Hebrew word translated “kill” in the KJV means explicitly “murder” and is so translated in the NKJV: “You shall not murder.” Capital punishment was prescribed in the OT law as the required punishment for certain serious offenses. 

Again the apostle reminds us that the ruler is God’s minister, but this time he adds, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. In other words, in addition to being a minister of God to us for good, he also serves God by dispensing punishment to those who break the law. This means that we should be obedient subjects of the government for two reasons: the fear of punishment and the desire to maintain a good conscience. 

Christians must demonstrate a respectful fear of displeasing those who are charged with enforcing the laws. And they must show honor for the names and offices of all civil servants (even if they can’t always respect their personal lives). In this connection, Christians should never join in speaking in a derogatory way of the President. It is written, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people” (Acts 23:5). 

I must admit that I am the chiefest of sinners when it comes to this issue. I have not always followed the Word when it comes to how I behave towards the government. I must repent of my sins and do better. 

Scott Harris

Rampant Paranoia Within the (National Socialist) Democrat Politburo

As of the Monday prior to the Inauguration, if what is happening is a vision of things to come under the (National Socialist) Democrat Politburo and their leader, Sleepy Joe Biden, aka the illegitimate President of the United States. (I can hear the hypocritical howls now!)  Let’s start with the level of paranoia running rampant […]

Rampant Paranoia Within the (National Socialist) Democrat Politburo

Means of Grace

– Brad Anderson

In times of unrest and frenzy, we all tend to forget our grounding. Just yesterday I received a phone call at the church that our power bill was two months past due and our power was about to be turned off. Thankfully, not having any authority to pay the power bill and not being that reactionary of a person, I stepped back and consulted all the wisdom (people and resources) at my disposal in order not to pay the bill immediately over the phone. I called our treasurer and our treasurer called the power company. Easy enough.

It was a scam. I’m glad I consulted the right people and resources. In a few short minutes the truth was known and we could move on with our day.

Those who trust in Jesus need to use the same non-panic inducing wisdom for daily, faithful living, and our God has given us his trustworthy, clear channels by which he pours his grace and favor: the means of grace. Charles Hodge defines the means of grace as “those institutions which God has ordained to be the ordinary channels of grace, i.e., of the supernaturalinfluences of the Holy Spirit, to the souls of men.” Supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on your very soul? Yes, that can happen.

While inward means are the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life for salvation (repentance and faith), the outward and ordinarymeans (WSC 88, WLC 154) “are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.” Scripturally, these means are communicated in the Great Commission in (Matthew 28:18-20) and traced back to the beginning of the church (Acts 2:42). 

These means are ordinary because they are the standard (ordinary does not mean boring!), God-appointed channels. These means are not given for the sake of novelty or occasional devotion, rather their intent is to be engaged on a regular basis to grow in true Grace—Christ himself. God is intentional in the ways he chooses to communicate to his people and save the lost. As Vos says, “Of course God could have made a plan to save sinners without the use of outward means of grace; but he has not chosen to do so, and so we must avail ourselves of the means which God has provided.” We are not to wait for a special feeling or prompting, rather we are to give ourselves eagerly and regularly. 

Ray Ortlund sums it up quite well: 

How do I, as a believer, access the grace of the Lord for my many needs? Where do I go, what do I do, to connect with the real help He gives to sinners and sufferers here in this world? I know I am saved by His grace alone. But Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ (Matt. 11:28-30).

Our gracious Lord is not playing ‘catch me if you can’ with us. He wants us to be sure of Him, come to him, and draw strength from Him so that we can live fully for Him. But He does not give Himself to us in any way we might devise. He has made Himself knowable and accessible in specific ways of His own wise choosing. His appointed avenues of blessing are the means of grace.

How many means of grace are there? Louis Berkhof limits his list of the means to those observances that would be administered by ordained clergy: the preached word and the sacraments. Wayne Grudem has an expansive list of eleven. He adds to the original four: worship, church discipline, giving, Spiritual gifts, fellowship, evangelism and personal ministry to individuals.  What Berkhof limits to those things administered by ordained clergy, Grudem prefers a significantly “everything under the sun” approach. Berkhof’s position is highly clerical—his list of means can only be executed by clergy. Charles Hodge saw the need to include prayer to the means of grace because it is intended to draw one close to God and makes one’s soul “holy and blessed.” 

One is in good company by sticking close to the catechisms with the word, sacraments, and prayer as the means of grace. Personally, I’m for expanding the list a little bit to include fellowship, discipleship, and worship. 

No matter your list, there is nothing spiritually healthy by ignoring the means of grace. By not sitting under the Word preached or reading Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), one cannot expect to hear from the Lord and know his desires. By not praying (1 Thess. 5:16-18) one cannot expect to know God’s presence. By not participating in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16), one cannot participate in the blood of Christ proclaiming his death until he comes again. By not being baptized one does not receive the initiatory sign and seal of belonging to the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). By being regularly absent from the assembly of God’s people (Heb. 10:25) one cannot expect the blessing of fellowship and worship. The inverse to all of these makes for a stronger connection with God and his people!

In the end, God’s blessing is not typically found in the strange and unusual. He gives us outward and ordinary ways to know and grow in him. In the best, worst, and frenzied of times, his means are there. May we go to them often.

The Real State of the Union, 2021

Within the next few weeks, the President of the USA will give Congress a State of the Union. No doubt, he will not tell the truth. So, I thought I would give you the real state of the union. 

The United States is in turmoil. The people are divided. A new president-elect and vice-president-elect, who most certainly did not win the election fairly, have been certified. Progressive liberals have taken control of the Country and are actively doing everything they can to suppress the opposition. Corruption runs rampant throughout Congress as well as state legislatures. Activist Judges across the Country openly refuse to judge fair and impartial and legislate from the bench instead. The Supreme Court refuses to do its job. Groups like BLM and Antifa are called peaceful despite rioting, looting, terrorizing, and killing for months on end. Violent crime rates are increasing everywhere. The LGBTQ lifestyle is accepted as normal, and those that oppose it are marginalized. More than 61,500,000 babies have been murdered by abortion since 1973. The education system has been dumbed down exponentially. The greatest economy in history has been destroyed. We are more than $27,000,000,000,000,000 in debt and continue to increase the deficit without any regard for the consequences. We have not been debt-free since 1835 under President Andrew Jackson. The federal government has operated with a budget only twice in the last 15 years (2007, 2015). Whew! That’s a lot of stuff, and I’ve only scratched the surface. 

How did we get here? It didn’t happen overnight. It started more than 100 years ago with the progressive agenda. Those that adopted it knew it would take a long time to attain, so that’s how they planned. We have gotten here a little at a time. They have killed the Republic “with a thousand paper cuts.” Now that they have achieved victory, there is nothing to stop the rest of their agenda. Despite what the progressive liberals say, The United States of America was founded on Christian-Judeo principles. The Holy Bible, God’s inerrant, infallible Word, has the answer on how we got here. 

We are following in the path of former empires that destroyed themselves from the inside out. The Book of Romans gives us a picture of what started the downfall of that empire as well as what is happening to us. 

The Bible tells us in Romans 1:18-25 (ESV), “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools…[25] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”  

We have arrogantly substituted the truth about God with a lie. People have stifled the truth God naturally reveals to everyone in order to support their own self-centered way of living. This is sin, and God cannot tolerate sin because of His holy, perfect nature. He has designed the best way for people to live in harmony with him and with each other. He cannot ignore or condone willful rebellion. God’s justified anger has turned on the USA, which persists in going its own way. 

The Bible goes on the explain precisely what has happened to our Country. Romans 1:26-32 (ESV), “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. [28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [32] Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Who is to blame for this mess? We are. The Christians that make up the church. We sit comfortably in our padded pews and chairs while we listen to some sterilized sermonette nodding our heads and raising our hands in agreement. Then we leave and do nothing. We don’t bother to read the Bible for ourselves to see if we are being told the truth or not. We sit idly by while we allow politicians to lie and steal without any consequences (see my previous post). We sit idly by while our education system is dumbed down and history is rewritten. We don’t stand up to evil. Instead of calling on the name of Jesus to save us and guide us, we do nothing. 

We look down our noses at the heathen, considering ourselves more civilized, educated, and refined. We condemn others for their gross behavior, yet we are equally guilty, though perhaps in a more sophisticated way. We can see faults in others more readily than in ourselves. Things hideous and repulsive in the lives of others seem quite respectable in our own. But the fact that we can judge sins in others shows that we know the difference between right and wrong. If we know that it is wrong for someone to steal our property, then we know it is wrong for us to steal someone else’s property. The sins of church people are essentially the same as those of the heathen. Although a moralist may argue that he has not committed every sin in the book, we should remember the following facts:

  1. We are capable of committing them all.
  2. By breaking one commandment, we are guilty of all (James 2:10).
  3. We have committed sins of thought which we may never have committed in actual deed, and the Word forbids these. Jesus taught that the lustful look, for instance, is tantamount to adultery (Matthew 5:28).

So then, what is the Christian to do? We must live our lives according to the Bible’s teaching. If we did that, we would have the impact needed to save our Country and bring it back into submission under God. The Bible says, Colossians 3:1-25 (ESV), “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. [5] Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. [6] On account of these the wrath of God is coming. [7] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. [8] But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. [9] Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. [11] Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. [12] Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, [13] bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [14] And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. [15] And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. [18] Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. [20] Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. [21] Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. [22] Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. [23] Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, [24] knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. [25] For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters, we are the light in a darkened world. We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ to this world. It’s time we stood up for Him. Perhaps if we all did that, the next state of the union might be different. 

Scott Harris