Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Monster Mess In The Middle-East

The current and ever-growing Islamic uprisings are in some ways very complicated to grasp and explain. But on the other hand they are quite simple at their core.

The serious Middle-East protests are not just about a rogue film that disgraced a world religion's primary prophet. That is only a symptom. For those working behind the scenes, that is little more than a very convenient excuse in order to stir up trouble and further their own twisted agenda.

 Iranian officials said they would hunt down those responsible for making the video that was seen widely on Youtube. The low-budget film entitled 'The Innocence of Muslims' depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, among other insulting claims. The man allegedly behind the obscure film has now been questioned by U.S. authorities in California.

At the same time, Christianity's primary figure, Jesus Christ, is maligned and disgraced everywhere, every day and in every way. And yet His most loyal followers don’t typically take to the streets to insight violence, destruction and even death.

The head of Christianity and Savior of mankind taught against senseless violence in no uncertain terms and for any cause. That is seen nowhere more clearly than through His own pointed words in Matthew 5:44. He stated, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." The terms He uttered there are certainly a far cry from what is being pushed and proclaimed through those fueling the dangerous terrorism and deceit that now circulates the globe.

But with that all being fairly obvious, there is something of absolute importance that may not be. The solution to this most difficult issue is not military force, verbal threats or diplomacy. The solution or this long-standing problem requires the internal changing of human hearts one by one. Simply stated, the ‘cure’ for the problem, at the ‘core’ of the problem, is opening the only ‘door’ that can solve the problem. That door is Jesus Christ. He alone can unlock and open up the spiritual blinders of any and every man and woman regardless of their current religious convictions or where they reside on planet earth.

The Apostle Paul related of this greatest of all potential truths in 2 Corinthians chapter five. In verse 17 he penned, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." A new internal heart can fully transform all inner ideas and ideals along with impacting all external actions – forever. A heat totally redesigned by the very One who made it, Jesus Christ, can alone deal with the cause and consequences of human sin. That includes all sin, whether it be as major as intentional violence, destruction and murder - or as seemingly minor as cheating on one's tax return.

It is through Christ that the real and lasting solution to the centuries-old problem in the middle-east, and anywhere else for that matter, is found. The Bible also instructs exactly how this spiritual and eternal fix can be applied and specifically by whom. Verses 18-20 continue on and declare, "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ."

While the world watches and wonders where the Middle-East chaos will take the inhabitants of earth, Christians have a distinct edge. For they alone have both the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) and the word of God. (Psalm 119:105) Not only are they forgiven of sin, they and comforted even in times of trouble, and also possess the one all-encompassing solution to the ills of an entire lost race in need of their Lord and Savior! The apostle described it well in 1 John 2:2. “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 

Bill Breckenridge

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Convention Highlights and Lowlights

Over the last few weeks the nation's Presidential candidates were offered up and scrutinized by the American voters at two party's national conventions. The first gathering occurred in the middle of hurricane Isaac which amazingly struck on the 7th anniversary of infamous Katrina. But Mitt Romney is now the official Republican candidate and will no doubt continue to run on his record as a super successful businessman at a time when the sagging economy could well make him very appealing

The convention proceeded as expected, with the possible exception of a brief and somewhat bizarre appearance of actor Clint Eastwood who spoke to an imaginary President Obama using an empty chair. The bit was quite clever and effective, however the famous actor used some rather crude and inappropriate comments during his few minutes on the GOP stage. Romney's closing speech again keyed on his plans to motivate and rescue the economy and assured voters of his conservative stance on the current hot moral issues.

Following the Republican gathering, it was the turn of the DNC. Mr. Obama, along with others in his party, tried to convince the nation that he is still the best alternative, despite a very difficult economy that shows no major signs of turning the corner. This may well be his biggest hurdle as revealed in the now famous and somewhat accurate statement, "It's the economy, stupid."

But there was something that occurred of rather large significance although perhaps still unknown to many who even watched one or both conventions. Apparently there was a prior decision by some of the DNC brass to do something that may not have been really well thought out. Or maybe it was? The party decided to remove any references to God in their official 2012 platform. When brought to the attention of the delegates a firestorm soon soon erupted. In stark contrast, the 2012 GOP platform mentions God 12 times.

But again, upon revealing what amounted to a god-less DNC document, there was a significant protest by some of their own - even in the party that has been far more liberal concerning the major moral and biblical issues in recent times. The objection to removing God resulted in multiple verbal votes in attempts by pro-God democrats to return the Creator - at least on some level. At first, a clear-cut decision could not be reached. Then eventually, after additional efforts, God was allowed back into party print. When the decision was announced it was literally booed on the floor by those who were still adamant about of wanting to leave God as a mere political memory. Either way, He was forced back into the platform after being invited to leave the nation's affairs alone.

Regardless of what any politician or party enacts, God is very outspoken about His mandatory involvement in this sphere. There is no question about His desire and ability to influence the lives and fate of any people. There are three verses in particular that reveal just how crucial He really is to the success of a nation and also his ability to rescue any people even after they have rejected Him and fallen on hard times.

Proverbs 14 clearly reveals what leads to true and lasting national prosperity. Verse 34 states, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." And as just mentioned, even when that biblical admonition has been bypassed, Scripture still offers hope when God is again given His rightful place of prominence. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 declares the primary condition for this aspect of healing, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." Finally, when any nation invites God back into their personal lives and national leadership, then the promise found in Psalm 144:15 becomes the inevitable result. "Happy are the people whose God is the LORD."

If the leadership in America excludes God, either in print or in practice, then no real healing or former greatness will likely be in her future. But if the nation's leaders, and those who pull the levers in November, can somehow see that all lasting solutions begin with a serious spiritual revival, then true hope and healing will remain. Only when that ensues will this "nation under God" again become a beacon of hope, prosper as before, and shine as a light for the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ.

God still can again bless America, but not until American begins to again bless God!

Pray "fervently" (James 5:16) for America and for her potential leadership. And pray "without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17) for the electorate to fully recognize that it is, first and foremost, godliness and biblical righteousness exalts a nation!

Bill Breckenridge