Posts Tagged ‘Defending the Faith’
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
Following the announcement that NBA star Jason Collins had come out as a homosexual, ESPN commentator Chris Broussard declared on national television today that homosexuality is a sin against God, and that a person who willingly lives an unrepentant lifestyle cannot call themselves a Christian.
“I’m a Christian,” he began as he spoke on Outside the Lines along with LZ Granderson, an avowed homosexual. “I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin. I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is [sin] and LZ knows that.”
“Personally, I don’t think you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or [engage in] premarital sex between heterosexuals [as a Christian],” Broussard continued. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you will know them by their fruits. It says that it’s a sin, and if you’re living in unrepentant sin — whatever it may be, not just homosexuality — adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God.” Click here to read more and to watch a video of this.
LTRP Note: Every day, we receive letters, e-mails, and phone calls from believers around the world. So many of them are standing courageously for the faith, even in the midst of ridicule, loss of friends, and often church homes. Here is an ode written by one of them. It is dedicated to those believers who love the Lord and His Gospel message and believe it is worth defending:
Ode to the Watchers on the Wall…
They are the watchers. Tirelessly they stand on the wall and watch . . . sometimes blowing their horns to warn of danger and creeping dragons. The people shake their heads and just walk away . . . ”Don’t believe everything you see, foolish watcher!” they say, even though the watchers can see what they can’t. Foolishly, the people naively open the gates and welcome the dragons in now. Proudly they walk by flaunting their green guests. “See, this is a good guest,” they sneer, oblivious to the puff of smoke wafting behind them. The watchers know that it’s only because of their swords that the dragons don’t devour the whole village at once. Watchers are never well liked . . . they don’t apply for this job, but the King grants such a position only to those He chooses. They must accept the honor . . . it’s not that they are worthy, but they have each been rescued from the mouth of a fierce dragon . . . so they know the stench and recognize the sounds of a dragon . . . . and now they watch for them . . . because they owe their lives to the King and his family.
Written by Carla from BC, Canada
“Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 33: 2-9)
By Ted Kyle
From Ezekiel 9:4-5 comes this challenging report: “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity.”
If the reader’s first reaction is to think, “These are Old Testament words for a far-distant time and place; it means nothing to me,” I beg you to think again. The God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. His nature has not changed one iota. The Old and the New are related. Furthermore, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that “Now all these things (virtually the entire Old Testament) happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. We are not governed by Old Testament Law but we are supposed to learn from those hard-won lessons.
In Ezekiel’s vision, God commissioned the angelic beings who had charge of Jerusalem, including the Temple (Ez. 9:1), to sweep through the city and destroy most of the residents. They were to have no pity. They were to “slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women” (9:6). The only exceptions to this general slaughter were to be those who mourned because their city and nation were sliding ever deeper into sin.
Was this a warning vision or a prophetic vision? Probably both, in a general sense, for we know that God did ultimately use the Roman army to wreak His vengeance on the Jewish nation, and particularly Jerusalem, its capital city, where the slaughter was frightful. Included in the destruction was the Temple, which was burned and then enthusiastically demolished stone by stone, we are told, to recover the gold that had melted and run into the joints and crevices between the stones.
I greatly fear that God’s fulfillment of this vision will be reenacted in our country in our day, unless America turns back to God. We, as a nation, have already closed our schools, our courts, and our councils against God and have more and more declared Him either irrelevant or actually subversive. Meanwhile our churches, so many of them, are spiritually asleep and drifting further from the precepts and practices of God’s holy Word.
I believe Ezekiel’s vision also contains a pointed warning for the Church. Note the last part of 9:6: “ ‘And begin at my sanctuary.’ Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Verse 7 continues: “And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.”
Where would these angels of death find their first victims? Among the priests and Levites who served the Temple. And first among them would be the “ancient men,” the leaders. The application for the Church is so obvious it cries out for emphasis: God’s judgment will fall most heavily upon the pastors and elders who lead their flocks away from the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This, of course, is as it should be. God entrusted the Church with a leadership role: She is God’s ambassador to the world! (cf. Eph. 6:20). She is charged with staying true to the Bible. More, she must be vibrantly alive. She must be a beacon of faith, and a bastion of righteousness. In short, she must once again truly represent our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ!
Without this taking place, I fear God’s terrible judgment on America and the Church is inevitable.
The question remains: How much do we, as God’s children, care? Does the already deplorable and rapidly worsening spiritual condition of our country grieve us? The answer may tell us much about our own spiritual condition!
This is the time for all true believers to “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
Let your light shine as you weep for your country!
by Kevin Reeves
History is filled with stories of those who have stood for truth, many of whom gave their lives to defend the faith God had put in their hearts. History is also filled with those who tried to squelch that truth. In his riveting account of the Nazi empire, historian William L. Shirer meticulously documents the internal workings of a system that once threatened to take over the world. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a chilling account of the effects of mind-numbing propaganda.1 The endless barrage of misinformation, incredibly, molded a once-beaten and fragmented people into the icon of elitism, which culminated in grisly death camps and the cold-blooded murder of those deemed lesser humans. A firsthand witness and opponent of the Nazi regime, Shirer recounted instances of conversation with German people, when he dared contradict the ludicrous governmental and media declarations of ethnic, cultural, and military superiority. He was met with shocked silence or an amazed stare. He noted that to question the Nazi machine’s view of anything was considered blasphemy of the highest order. It dawned on him that the minds of many of the people had become so warped that they were no longer able to think for themselves or evaluate anything by a higher standard. Shirer observed that with the rise of the new German empire, the truth had become whatever Hitler and Goebbels said it was; they were the final arbiters of reality— spiritual and otherwise.
Some may think it is extreme to compare the spiritual deception and control tactics within the church today to that of the Nazi regime and the death camps, but we should remember that the church in Germany in the 1930s was very much like the church is today—having a head in the sand mentality about spiritual deception and turning religious leaders into super-human heroes who can do no wrong. Perhaps we are not all that different than Christians in Germany back then. We should not fool ourselves and think we would never be duped like that. The apostle Paul issued a warning to Christians:
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (I Cor. 10:11,12)
Despite all of this, there is hope in the Lord; He is “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11). And He promised to preserve His church, that true body of believers whom He calls the Bride of Christ. Praise His name—there is hope. When truth is challenged, mocked, and thrown against the wind, we can be sure, it will never be altered. And that Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
The Lord is calling His people out from the midst of the false, to adhere to His truth, no matter what the cost. Let us respond with joy and thankfulness, knowing His grace is sufficient to strengthen us and give us courage.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
(Excerpt from The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves, pp.214-215)
1. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster/Touchstone, 1959).
As many of you know, we have been featuring the music of Canadian song writer and singer, Trevor Baker. His music is a gift and a blessing to those who are contending for the faith. Below are the lyrics to his song, I Don’t Wanna Go Back. If you would like to hear 30 second clips of the album this song is from – Bring Me Back – click here.
I Don’t Wanna Go Back
What surrounds me tries to offer
What a man just can’t turn down
And says I’m no more than a pauper
If I don’t go right to town
But I’m looking for a treasure
That this earth cannot contain
And one day they’re going to know for certain
That my search was not in vain
Yes I’ll admit it used to twinkle
And fill my mind each waking hour
But in it all there was one wrinkle
That kinda’ made the whole thing sour
You could never get where you’re going
The line kept moving all the time
Just when you thought
You were going forward
You’d see the dust
And you were far behind
And I don’t wanna go back
On that endless track
‘Cause God filled in all the holes
And there ain’t nothin’ that I lack
No, I don’t have all their toys
My house is small, my car’s compact
But when it comes to livin’ free
I’m pretty sure I’ve found the knack
I’ve go a wife that’s such a vision
Two grown kids that honor God
If there’s something that I’m missin’
I wish you luck on your sales job
‘Cause I’ve lived like the other half does
When all I had was out of whack
If you could bottle what I’ve got going
I’d have the best stuff on the rack
I hear Heaven’s got some condos
And one incredible landlord
So when you’re talkin’ Vegas lottos
I just might yawn when I get bored
‘Cause I know just where they’re goin’
Yes, I recognize the plot
And my attention is now honed in
On a different kind of spot
By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
In the May 2011 print edition of Voice of the Martyrs, Director Tom White states, “I do not need to be shielded by a miserably comfortable religion, existing in what I call a numbed down Christianity. One current example of this dangerous numbing down of the Christian faith is the 2011 NIV Bible. It was written, it seems, by cowards for cowards. In Job, Amos, Psalms, Isaiah and Jeremiah, the translators have removed all 16 references to our greatest motive for evangelizing–the “shadow of death”–and replaced the phrase with “darkness.” 
Mr. White continues, “The words ‘shadow of death’ in the Old Testament are from the Hebrew word ’Tsalmaveth,’ which literally means the ‘grave’ or figuratively, ‘calamity.’ The grave has been artfully removed. Now Job in his struggles never has to face death. He only faces some kind of internal ‘darkness.’ Today he could simply get a prescription to avoid this challenge.”  Click here to read more and for footnote material.
The walls of the Discipleship Center in Suna, Kenya have begun to go up this week. Here is one of the first photos we got tonight from Pastor Achilla.
Note: This was sent to us today from a Lighthouse Trails reader. We know many of our readers truly are watchmen and watchwomen on the wall. This is an ode to those of you who defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ, speaking the truth in love, strength, and courage, by His grace.
by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.
“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ … I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” Ezekiel 33:6-7
“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.
If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not…. He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.
He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.
He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.
He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.
Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour.”
Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.
I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I shall walk aright.