Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's The Little Sins That Often Bring Us Down

In the Christian walk it amazes me how well we handle the big issues.  For the most part the overwhelming majority of Christians do not rob banks, or snatch purses, or shoplift desirable items.  However, we rarely struggle over taking a pencil or paper pad from the office,  or taking a couple extra minutes on our break, justifying unauthorized lunch expense account purchases, and even giving less than our best to our mates and family.
It is the small sin that does you in.  Things like procrastination, apathy, half-truths.  There was a story  several years ago about some beached whales.  Scientists were puzzled over why these whales were beaching themselves.  It was discovered that these huge creatures were chasing minnows and simply beached themselves in the process and died.  It’s the little things that get you in your walk with Christ.  It’s the little things that eventually lead to the big things that seem to sink you.
In these last few days, we have witnessed the running aground of the cruise ship in Italy. It was just a small thing; they had passed that way before; several times before, and they had made it through. It seems from all reports that each time, they got a little closer to the reef. I am sure there were alarms that went off, maybe they were silenced so as not to be a nuisance. But whatever, they got a little to close and ripped open a hole in the bottom of the ship.
Many years ago, there was something similar that happened to a great ship that was invincible as they thought. They wanted to beat the ocean crossing record. Full steam ahead. All warnings went unheeded.
In a recent study of the great ship the RMS Titanic, scientists discovered the real reason for the unsinkable ship’s demise.  When they found the Titanic resting about 2.5 miles down on the bottom floor of the North Atlantic Ocean, they discovered that it was not a huge slice in the side of the ship that caused the Titanic to sink.  No, it was that the seams of the ship had popped apart opening the ship to the sea.  In a study made of the small rivets, it was discovered that they had been cast with a high residual of slag still in the iron.  Slag left in iron causes iron to become brittle at extreme temperatures.  When the great ship hit that iceberg, it was not that a hole was cut into the side of the ship, but that thousands of little rivets cracked under pressure.  
Christian, it is the small things that get us.  Solomon says, “Catch the foxes, the little foxes that are spoiling the vineyard,” (Song of Solomon 2:15).  It is the small sin that does you in.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tel Aviv by far favorite gay travel destination

This week in Israel Today, the city of Tel Aviv won the distinction as being by far the preferred travel destination by the global homosexual community, according to the gay travel website Gaycities.com.

A survey conducted by the website found that 43 percent of its readers rate Tel Aviv as the number one vacation spot for homosexual travelers. The next highest rated city was New York City with 14 percent of the vote.

The reason being that, "The democratic tradition of Israel [ensures that] the gay community enjoys political freedom as in no other Middle Eastern country."

By comparison with cities outside the Middle East, "rarely a month goes by that Tel Aviv isn't celebrating some musical or cultural event," and "huge dance parties" are a weekly occurrence.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai enthusiastically welcomed the survey results.

Luke 17:26-30 (KJV)
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 

How was it in the days of Noah? What does He have reference to?

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all [Luke 17:27].

What is wrong with these things? Marriage is not wrong -- it is right. What is wrong with eating and drinking? We must do this to live. Why does Jesus mention these things? Well, the generation of Noah was living as if God did not exist when judgment was imminent. Today men and women are eating and drinking (and not even marrying though living together), and they do not recognize that the judgment of God is out there in the future -- exactly when, we do not know.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all [Luke 17:28-29].

What a tremendous thing the Lord says at this juncture. Lot is altogether different from Noah; yet there are similarities. None in Sodom were panicking, selling out their property and getting out of town. The stock market did not collapse because Lot said that judgment was coming. They simply didn't believe it.
God would not destroy the city until Lot had been taken out of it. 

Neither will He bring the Great Tribulation upon this earth (which immediately precedes the coming of Christ to the earth) until He takes His own out of the world. It is interesting that He uses Lot as an example here, which He does not do in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. 

I believe reason is that in Matthew, He is answering their question about His coming to earth to establish His Kingdom. Here in Luke it is a wider subject. 

Sodom, because of her sin, stood on the brink of destruction, and the moment Lot left town, judgment fell. I believe that the minute believers leave this earth in the Rapture, the Great Tribulation will begin.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed [Luke 17:30].

By far the largest percentage of Israel's yearly tourism influx is made up of Christian pilgrims. They are coming to see the Holy Land, a place many hope and believe still holds to a more conservative lifestyle than the decadent ways of their home countries.

But current numbers suggest that the promotion of Israel as a gay travel destination has not hurt pilgrimage figures, so that approach to redefining Israel as a bastion of liberal sensibilities is expected to continue.

God has a people in the world today who are just like Lot in many respects. Although they have trusted Christ as Savior, they compromise with the world. Yet as believers they will be taken out of the world before the day of judgment comes. Today the world doesn't listen to the church. As in Lot's day, they think we are mocking.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Will America Decide in 2012?

Voters in Iowa will caucus today to select their choice for the 2012 presidential nominees. As the rest of the nation watches, Iowa's choice could help frame the debate for this election year.

And as the voters speak, others are weighing in on what they believe is the best direction for America's government and policy in 2012 and beyond. Over the weekend, The New York Times editorial page was one of those voices, yet again carrying the torch of the liberal, progressive movement. The Timesrevealed its dismal view of America and a call for more of the same policies that have left the country in an economic quagmire. "The way to revive sustainable growth is with more government aid to help create jobs, support demand and prevent foreclosures," the Times writes. "As things stand now, however, Washington will provide less help, not more, in 2012."

What the "Old Gray Lady" is referring to, of course, is push back from conservatives who do not see "more government" as the ultimate solution to America's problems. Instead, conservatives see the years of liberal big government policies, increased spending, growing deficits, and sprawling regulations as theroot of America's problems--and a contributing cause to continually high unemployment and economic stagnation. And when you ask voters what they think the government should do to solve the nation's economic problems, they overwhelmingly fall in the "less is more" camp.

Last week, Rasmussen reported that "Among all voters, 77% want the government to cut deficits, 71% think the government should cut spending, and 59% want the government to cut taxes." And as Heritage's Rob Bluey reports, new polling data shows that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire overwhelmingly believe the federal budget deficit is the most important economic issue facing the United States today.

The Times' message is worth noting not for the sake of amplification, but for examination. Theirs is the message the left will be carrying in 2012, from the halls of Congress to Main Street America. Thankfully, there is another policy direction America can take. In "Issues 2012: The Candidates Briefing Book," The Heritage Foundation lays out key issues and policy recommendations for candidates seeking elective office.

On the issue of budget and spending -- which is one of the many on top of voters' minds -- Heritage recommends cutting spending now and enacting spending caps, rejecting tax hikes and aggressively pursuing tax reform, empowering states and the private sector, and reforming the budget process. And with some 13.3 million Americans out of work, Heritage offersseveral policy recommendations for creating new jobs and getting the economy back on track, including ending any suggestion of higher tax rates, cutting the budget deficit, advancing free trade, and repealing Obamacare, among others. 

Today, America faces crushing debt, unsustainable entitlement programs, threats of even higher tax burdens, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and instability around the world. It is in the face of these challenges that voters in Iowa's caucuses will take the first step toward setting America's course for 2013. Should America continue enacting more of the same policies that have led to its current economic state, or should it adopt reforms to encourage growth and help guarantee a brighter, more secure future? Let the debate of ideas begin.