God’s Will is the ONLY Will that Counts

In a debate in the House of Representatives over the misnamed “Equality Bill” concerning the rights of religious organizations and schools to teach the truth about gender dysphoria (transgendered), Rep. Greg Steube of Florida said “whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against Him and will inevitably bear the consequences.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler from New York, pushed back in response and said, “….God’s will is no concern of this Congress”.
 
Representative Steube was absolutely correct and I applaud him for being bold enough to make his statement in a world that is hostile to Christianity.  The response by Representative Nadler, though, puts that hostility on full display. I have said on many occasions that we would get to a place in our nation when, if a view or belief is gleaned from the Bible, that view would automatically be deemed null and void; discarded as antiquated and irrelevant.  Evidently, this is that time.
 
“The will of God is of no concern to this Congress.”  What a horrible indictment of the spiritual condition of our political representation and of our nation. To be brash and vain enough to make that statement publicly reveals a heart of evil and the fact that his belief has been apathetically accepted by so many Americans reveals a nation far, far away from God.  It’s only going to get worse.
 
To understand how far the current administration is going to go to push this transgender nonsense one only has to look at the appointment of a man who calls himself Rachel Levine to the position of federal assistant health secretary.  Keep in mind that his position is to help oversee health…including the mental health…of the people of our nation.  Rachel suffers from “gender dysphoria”, a mental health condition where he truly thinks he is a woman. Therefore, a person with mental health issues of his own is in a position of authority regarding the mental health of others. If ever there was a case of “putting the patients in charge of the asylum”, this is it.  Literally.
 
Continue to pray for our nation and especially pray that we can elect more Christians with the courage to stand up to this satanic darkness that is sweeping over this land.
 

Bro. Tony


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Was Jesus a Socialist?

We are hearing a lot of talk about something called democratic socialism and, of course, it didn’t take long before folks began invoking Jesus to bolster their claims.  I have seen several articles recently declaring that Jesus was a socialist. I find that most people of that inclination also say that abortion is doing the “Lord’s work”.  That’s another way of me saying that they have no idea what they are talking about.
 
Believe it or not, I have spent an awful lot of time studying Jesus. I have yet to find an incident where He said to take from those who have a lot and give it to those who don’t have as much.  Now, He did say that Christians should voluntarily help those in need.  But that is a huge difference.  He condemned greed but never said that every accumulated wealth was a product of greed and should be forcibly taken from the wealthy.
 
And, yes, the Bible did say that greed is a terrible thing.  1 Timothy 3:10 declares that the love of money (greed) is the root of evil.  Note that money isn’t the root; money is neutral.  It says that the love of money is the root. The desire for the material things, the power, and the influence of money can, and will, cause us to take our eyes off of God and His care for us.  Greed is absolutely against the purpose and character of our Lord.
 
We have to understand, however that the term “rich” is relative and that “greed” is matter of the heart, not the bank account.  Would you say that you are rich?  I certainly don’t see myself as rich.  If you asked someone in the slums of India, though, about my financial status they would tell you that I’m rich beyond imagination. If they rail against the rich, they would certainly include me.  What people mean, then, when they speak of the rich is that they mean those who are “richer than they are”.  When I hear a politician with several houses who vacation in luxurious locations speak of the evils of those who are rich it is just plain laughable. When they speak of the 1% of the people of our nation having such vast wealth do they not realize they, themselves, are probably among the 1% of the people of the world who would be touted as filthy rich? It’s hypocritical to the highest degree.
 
Are rich people greedy? I suppose that a huge number of rich people do, indeed, fall into that trap.  But greed is a condition of the heart.  A young person in college who calls out the rich for their greed can be just as greedy.  Often they are.  The desire for bigger, better, and more is greed, pure and simple.  A poor person can be just as greedy as a wealthy person, just not as successful in fulfilling that greedy nature.
 
Christians are held to a high standard of love and generosity, that is so very true. We are told to help those who are less fortunate and in need.  But we are never told to depend on the government to distribute our gifts to the needy.  They do an awful job of prioritizing true needs and often times subsidize un-Christian beliefs and practices.  Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates may be the richest men in the world, but I have no right to take some of their vast wealth and give it to causes I personally prefer.  If they were believers in Christ, I suspect they would spend their money differently.  They will answer to God for how they use their wealth.  As will I.
 

Bro. Tony


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Christian, are you ready for persecution?

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also….They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” (Excerpts from John 15:18-21)
 
Did you ever, in your wildest imagination, think there would be a time in this great nation when someone could get fired for being a Christian?  No?  Me either.  But it has genuinely come to that.  Of course, no one would dare use “being a Christian” as the grounds for firing someone. Oh, no.  We live in a free country and freedom of religion is still recognized. Firing someone for being a Christian would certainly be overturned in a court of law.
 
But a person can, indeed, be fired for “hate speech”. You know, saying out loud that the Bible speaks against homosexuality, gender dysphoria, abortion, and such.  But wait…aren’t those things bed-rock, historical, doctrine of conservative Christianity? What a coincidence.
 

And there is the double whammy of actually voting for a party whose platform most aligned with those beliefs.  That would mean you voted for Donald Trump and you are, by default, a racist, homophobic, misogynist, hater of all things “progressive” and your voice should not be heard.  The media has coined a phrase and is identifying you as a “Christian nationalist” and a danger to a free country.

 
So, while you may never be fired, chastised, maligned, and harassed strictly for being a Christian, you certainly will be if you voice and/or live out your Christian beliefs.  They may call it “stamping out hate” but it is truly persecution of Christianity.  Are you really ready for persecution?
 

Bro. Tony


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What is “Conversion Therapy”? The church must pray!

There is a new term we, as Christians, need to be aware of:  “Conversion Therapy”.  What is that?  It is the term that homophiles and transgender sympathizers have coined to describe the practice of telling someone with homosexuality and/or gender dysphoria issues that they are neither healthy nor normal; that they have issues with which they need help.  There are already laws on the books in two states that address and forbid that.  But I’ll come back to that later.
 
I’ve always thought that Australia was a fairly conservative nation.  From many things I’ve read about their political ideology I thought them to have a good deal of common sense.  But now, I’m not so sure.  A bill has passed in the province of Victoria that would ban conversion therapy for those experiencing gender dysphoria….the belief that they are a sex other that their birth sex.  It will actually be against the law for parents to guide their children to understanding that their sex is determined by their DNA and physicality and to refuse them any drugs or surgeries that alter their sex.   What makes this bill even more terrifying is that there is no exemption for religious beliefs.  In fact, in many ways it seems to be pointed directly at churches.  It seeks to silence churches in every way…and get this….even praying!  I kid you not.  Here is the language that prohibits “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice”. Bear in mind that this applies even if the subject asked for such prayer. For such a prayer you can go to jail for 10 years or face an enormous fine.
 
Before you say that couldn’t happen here in our freedom-loving nation I’m going to take you back to the laws in two states.  Both California and New Jersey have laws that make it illegal to counsel someone with homosexual tendencies or practices unless you affirm their delusion.  A professional psychologist or psychiatrist cannot tell anyone that homosexual thoughts or behaviors are not natural, healthy, or that are wrong.  For the time being, I assume, preachers can still say from the pulpit that God created man and woman to have a special relationship with each other and forbids same-sex relationships.  But note I said, “for the time being”.  As so-called “hate speech” is silencing opposing views in the public sphere, it is surely heading to silencing religious beliefs, too.
 
If you want to know how the current administration feels about the situation, note that President Biden just nominated a man who thinks he is a woman to be his assistant secretary of health.  That includes mental as well as physical health.  Do you see a greater push in the transgender movement in national policy and law?  I try not to be a “fear monger” but looking at the law in Australia (folks I thought were somewhat rational and intelligent), the appointment of a person with the mental issues to a place of authority in our own nation, and the current laws regarding counseling in the two states already…..I’m fearful for another pushback against and marginalization of Christianity in our beloved United States.
 
Christian, this calls for even more intense prayer for our leaders in every aspect of government from local to national.  It calls for courage and conviction to speak Biblical truth no matter the consequences.
 
Are you ready to do that?
 

Bro. Tony


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A Naked Nation

I know that as a Christian, and especially a pastor, I should always measure my words and soften my tone when speaking on certain subjects so as not to cause people to automatically become defensive and thus not hear the truths I want to share.  I apologize if what I am about to say doesn’t seem to fit into that manner of speaking. But what I want to say is this:  America is, as we are apt to say down south, naked as a jay bird. You heard me right, bare-butt naked.
 
Do you recall Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? A couple of tailors of unsavory character told the emperor that they would craft him a suit of clothes from a very special material; cloth that only special people could see.  If someone didn’t see the material it was because they were unworthy of their stature and/or just plain stupid.  The men pretended to hold up cloth and the emperor wouldn’t dare say he couldn’t see anything for fear of appearing the aforementioned appearance of stupidity.  He allowed them to go through the motions of dressing him in absolutely nothing and when they were through he told them it was the most beautiful suit he’d ever worn.  Oh, but it gets worse.
 
He then proceeds to parade down Main Street in pompous procession, displaying his wares for all to see.  The people, afraid of being maligned as coarse and stupid, applauded and shouted their gleeful approval of the emperor’s new clothes.  All went well until a child not yet versed in the truth-denying ways of frightened adults shouted to his mother “hey, ma! I can see his hoo ha.” (I paraphrase). The people, faced with the truth, agreed that the emperor was naked.  Too proud to admit his foolishness, the ruler continued his obscene stroll.
 
My point? Some years ago, someone began espousing the mantra that homosexual behavior was normal.  It wasn’t an emotional problem or a mental condition; it was just an alternative, but still natural, lifestyle. The media, for some reason rife with homophilia, began pushing that agenda and anyone who held a different opinion was publicly condemned as coarse and stupid. No one was allowed to tell the emperor that he was naked. Oh, but it got worse.
 
A celebrity decided he wanted to be a girl and so he began wearing women’s clothes and grew out his hair. Taking a witch’s brew of medicine that allowed him to grow breasts, he changed his name form Bruce to Caitlyn and the media went wild with adulation, calling him a hero.  Bruce is a nice guy and a wonderful athlete, but he lost the fries from his Happy Meal. However, Anyone who dared say he was “naked” was called ignorant, backward…..even a hater.  So for the most part America just remained silent.  That led directly to men and women being allowed to call themselves heretofore never known sexual designations such as bi-gendered, non-gendered, non-binary gendered, cisgendered, and I-haven’t-decided-yet gendered. But if anyone said they were “naked” the fury of the progressive better-than-you media fell heavy on their head. Places of supposedly higher education began insisting on people using newly invented pronouns to refer to people so as not to tell people they were “naked”. Oh, but it got worse.
 
I read an article, complete with nauseous photos, about pregnant men. Yep. Pregnant men.  I wish I was kidding. Pregnant women took their own unholy concoction of chemicals and grew facial hair and even (blecchhhhhh) chest hair and called themselves men. The writer of the article followed lockstep with other so-called journalists and continually referred to these women with the male pronouns of he, his, and him. Now, I know these guys and gals of the media went to some sort of college and didn’t just quit school in the 8th grade to go work in the cotton mills. They know better. They know that real science doesn’t support any of this insanity. Yet they still will not tell any of the poor, misguided people that they are “naked”. But, how can they? They would lose their jobs, as would any news writers, sports writers, athletes, celebrities, and not a few politicians.
 
And now an ordained minister closed his prayer to open Congress this year with the words “amen and awomen”.  So absurd.  So clueless. But the desire to appease everyone and to present himself as in sync with the current “woke” crowd ran roughshod over the commonest of senses.
 
I’m not being cruel and I’m not being hateful when I say it’s time to tell the emperor that he is not wearing any clothes. Regardless of the negative feedback and name-calling from the enablers of this madness we need to stand up and say, as the young child did, “Hey! We can see your hoo ha!”  Metaphorically, of course; I don’t want to see anyone’s hoo ha.
 

Bro. Tony


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God/Christian vs US Gov’t – Abortion

I listened to President Biden’s press secretary respond to a reporter’s question on the President’s stand on abortion.  She didn’t answer the question.  Rather, she just stated that President Biden was a devout Catholic and that he attended church.  First of all, the official doctrine of the Catholic Church is strongly anti-abortion.  So how does our President think he can claim to be devout?  I’ve read where he said he was “personally” opposed to abortion but believed in “a woman’s right to choose (to kill her baby in the womb)”. That mantra, spoken by many politicians and fence-straddling Christians alike, is the epitome of hypocrisy and a lie from the mouth of the devil, himself.  “Pro-choice” is not “anti-abortion”.
 
Listen to what God told Obadiah to tell Edom because they watched as invaders over took Jerusalem:  “On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.” (Obadiah 1:11 NIV)  Did you hear that? The people of Edom saw something happen that they knew to be wrong and they did nothing to prevent it.  The Lord said that the day they did that, they were like the invaders, just as bad….just as guilty.  By trying to remain neutral, they were guilty of destroying Jerusalem.  Not kind of like them or somewhat like them, but exactly like them.
 
There is no neutrality in the issue of abortion.  If you say you believe abortion to be wrong but allow it to be done, you are deceiving yourself.  As the old saying goes you are trying to “have your cake and eat it too”!  When you say you are “pro-choice” you are “pro-abortion”. You are allowing it to happen and you are doing nothing about it and you are “like one of them (abortionists)”.
 
We need to push back on the false narrative that abortion is a “women’s health” issue.  Pregnancy is not a disease, malady, sickness, or injury.  Pregnancy is a woman carrying a living child inside her and the only health issue should be that she has access to nutritional food, vitamins, and medical care to insure she deliver a healthy baby.
 
Please understand that while abortion is a sin, it is a forgivable sin.  If you have had an abortion, God loves you and wants to forgive you.  Confess and repent and God will remove the stain of that sin as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12).  If you have been content to stand on the sidelines and watch while claiming to be “pro-choice”, the same goes for you.  God loves you and wants you to repent.
 
This president made alliances with far-left radicals who call for abortion on demand, for any reason, at any stage of life. I have seen them gloat over bills that allow abortion into the ninth month of pregnancy.  I hope that sickens you as much as it did me.  Christian, we must try to save the lives of innocent babies.  Let’s not stand by and have to answer to God for allowing the death of un-born children.
 
Bro. Tony

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Tell Someone About Jesus!

As I write this the news media are all gushing about the COVID-19 vaccine being shipped and available today.  The channel I usually watch talked with elected officials, doctors, and even a guy from UPS about how they would deliver it.  One correspondent gave a tour of a cargo plane that was similar to the one that would transport the vaccine.  It is major news.
 
To the talking heads that read the news stories to us this vaccine is “good news”.  Because they consider it good news, they are heralding it loudly and proudly.  This column isn’t about the vaccine.  It’s about something more important.  It’s about the true Good News:  Jesus was born in Bethlehem and salvation came into the world.  God, Himself, took on human form and walked among His creation.  He lived a perfect life and yet was crucified on the cross, shedding His blood for the remission of sin.  Folks…there is no better news than that!
 
Shouldn’t we herald that good news loudly and proudly?  What we celebrate at Christmas is the best news ever. I wonder how many of the 300,000+ people who died of COVID-19 complications died without knowing of Christ as their Savior. I wonder how many of them could have been reached if we had understood the urgency.  Perhaps that’s one of the problems we have with sharing the good news:  we don’t understand the urgency.  Hopefully, as we go through this epidemic, we will focus on how precious and fleeting life can be and better understand the urgency of spreading the true “good news”.
 
Look for opportunities…listen for opportunities…to tell someone about Jesus!
 

Bro. Tony


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Christmas Eve 2020 and the “Vaccine”

Next week we will have our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service and I hope that you are planning on attending. We will take every precaution to keep you safe including pre-packaged communion bread and juice along with social distancing.  Masks will be encouraged and our deacons will guide the seating as they have been doing on Sundays. This has always been a beautiful and meaningful service and we are determined not to let the virus rob us of this opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
 
Speaking of the virus, I want to address the vaccines…or rather the acceptance of the vaccines.  The vaccine has been described as everything from a Communist plot to implement socialism to the “mark of the beast”.  Can a Christian take the vaccine?  Should a Christian take it?  The first thing I would say is don’t panic.  A knee-jerk reaction can, and will, keep us from being truly informed.  Remain calm and do some serious study about the pros and cons; think clearly.
 
Will these vaccines be the fulfillment of the prophecy of the mark of the beast?  Well, of course that is possible.  But remember that this is not the first time the populous of our nation has been encouraged, even ordered, to take a vaccine.  I can well remember lining up at school to receive my polio vaccine and I still have the circular scar of my smallpox vaccination.  Our children have a record of necessary “shots” they must have before beginning school. What makes us more skeptical about this vaccine is the fact that we are skeptical about the virus, itself. Many feel it has been over-hyped and possibly used in order to force us to be vaccinated, therefore we are suspicious about motives.  I suppose that is human nature.
 
Honestly, I am more concerned with two things.  First, I have read that there is the possibility that fetal tissue from abortions were used in one or more of the vaccines.  For me, that’s a big ol’ no. There has to be options for Christians who choose to be vaccinated.  Next, of course, is the absence of long term studies.  Doctors say it is safe but let’s face it…no one knows the long term effects.
 

So, you may ask, what are you going to do Bro. Tony?  I’m going to practice caution and patience.  I’ll wait to pass judgement on the mark of the beast until I see how the failure to take the vaccine will impact my ability to “buy and sell” as described in Revelation. I’ll check into the fetal tissue situation, and I will not jump to the front of the line for the vaccine until I have some semblance of assurance that it won’t affect my health in some other way.


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The Christmas Season 2020

The Christmas season is upon us.  To be honest, it has been here for a few weeks already if we judge by the decorations in the yards and the music on the radio.  It seems people are ready to celebrate and, hopefully, put a strange year behind them.  Usually at this time of the year it is my job as a pastor to urge you to hold up on the secular aspect of Christmas and focus on the true meaning.  I’m going to approach it a little differently this year.
 
In these few weeks leading up to Christmas Day I want you to focus on the joyfulness, good will, happiness, and excitement of the normal secular aspects of the season.  Put up a sparkling tree, ride around and look at all the lights, roast chestnuts by an open fire, belt out “Frosty The Snowman” and “Jingle Bells”, and enjoy the festivities of Christmas. Go ahead…milk all the wonderful emotions you can from the things going on; the body and the mind needs it.
 
But, and I hope you saw this “but” coming, purposely carve out some quiet time each day and thank God for all He does and all He gives.  Spend that time contemplating on the goodness and grace that God shows you each and every day of your life.  Thank Him for His love that sent the Christ Child to that manger knowing that the end result of that birth was death on the cross.  And, as you spend that time each day with Him, ask Him for the opportunity to share the real meaning of Christmas with folks during those festive and fun times.
 
As we focus…purposely…each day on God it can, and will, multiply all the emotional aspects of our life we need at this time and allow us to really magnify the true meaning of the birth of our Savior.  And I believe that as we draw closer to God daily we will find that the real joy and excitement we are celebrating emanates from the One who came to save….not from twinkling lights and festive songs.  I want you to have a truly Merry Christmas!
 

Bro. Tony


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In All Things, Be Thankful

This may be an unusual Thanksgiving Day for many people. With the warnings about the COVID virus a lot of family events are being scaled back or even cancelled.   Remember, this is a change in the method of celebration but not of the celebration itself.  It is still a day set aside to give thanks to God. Recall what Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Is that a tough command? Is it a difficult verse to follow?  Not really.
 
You see, we are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances.  I wouldn’t dare tell you to give thanks that your family can’t get together like usual; that’s kind of a sad thing.  But I can tell you that, as you reflect on the goodness and mercy of God, you can find a lot of things to sincerely thank Him for on that day.   I’m not going to list a lot things because each of us have different things for which to be thankful. The key is to actively look for reasons to give thanks.
 
We, too often, take so many things for granted.  We are so blessed that we get used to it and therefore overlook it.  And sometimes, we come to the conclusion that we deserve some of the blessings we enjoy and quite frankly do not look on them as a blessing from God but, rather, as a payment we are due.  In other words…God owes us.  I heard a minister tell someone “God doesn’t owe us…He owns us”. Such a true statement.  Knowing that, we should be thankful for a lot of things.
 
Hopefully, your Thanksgiving Day plans with family and friends haven’t changed, but even if they have, recall all the things in life you have to be thankful for.  Put you mind on the goodness around you.  In whatever situation you find yourself in…give thanks to God!
 

Bro. Tony


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