Righteous Anger and Suffering, A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I stumbled hard over the last two months.  Consider this my confession.

Romans 12 Ever burn with anger and frustration at the injustice of something or someone?  It’s a feeling that I have become very familiar with over the last 8 weeks or so.  I had gotten to the point of being so frustrated that the situation had consumed a large portion of my thought life. Planning what I would do, how I could be heard, how I could make it right.

Truth is, I have the ability to think about things and carry on entire conversations (arguments) in my mind – if this, then that. Like a chess players thinks 10-14 moves ahead.  I’m sure that you have this ability too.

When You Are Called Home

Called Home April 2014

Called home April, 2014

A dear brother and friend in Christ was just called home.  I heard the news this morning as I was preparing to head to church.  Matt was a good young man; he was 40 when he passed.  What made him good?  That’s just my opinion, my rating system.  He gave more than he took.

Matt was the leader of our small group.  He was responsible for leading 8 men and himself.  Leading a small group is akin to saying his job was to be “Christ like” to us and set an example. Matt gave all that he had to our group. He was and is an excellent example of a small group leader.

Each one of us has a day that we are going to be called home – to heaven or to hell (Ecclesiastes 3:2).  That’s true whether you believe it or not.  Everyone has to reconcile how they got here?  How were they born?  How did humanity start?  Even for the most ardent atheist you still have to explain how what you believe ever came from nothing.

Capital Punishment, A Biblical View Of The Death Penalty

Every now and then the topic of capital punishment, or the death penalty, becomes front and center in the public spotlight. These news stories are chosen because there is an angle, or twist, to the story that will serve the mainstream media’s objective to stop all capital punishment. Usually, it is a case where the circumstances are such that people who are undecided about the topic might be swayed to the anti-death penalty view that is being propagated by an ever growing amoral society. This nation has become so ‘nonjudgmental’, that sometimes people who cause the death of someone are not even punished at all! Perpetrators are pitied while victims and their families are forgotten. Christians can’t allow themselves to buy into this foolish thinking.

I can’t forget this one case about fifteen years ago. A person in Texas was executed for murdering a couple. There were no twists to this case; nothing iffy. Prior to the execution, the usual groups that decry capital punishment were there, speaking on behalf of the guilty. But what was unusual about this execution was the involvement of the religious community. Men such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were atypically calling for clemency. Why? Because the convicted person professed becoming a ‘born again Christian’ while awaiting execution.

The joy of one sinner repenting and being born again is one we all share, but this begs two questions. Should this affect our view of capital punishment? And does forgiveness by God mean the removal of consequences?

Christians must know God’s will in matters being debated in this country. If we don’t, who will speak up? We cannot expect a humanistic society to chance upon what is right. Civilization without God’s guidance would self-destruct.

Capital punishment bible flag and constitutionLong ago God observed, how great the wickedness of mankind was on the earth, and that every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time.  And He said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them” [Gen. 6:5, 13]. It was because of violence that God wiped out all life, saving only the lives in the ark. God did not want a repeat of the violence that characterized the former world. And when Noah left the ark, God made it very clear commanding, “Surely for your life blood I will demand a reckoning,” and “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man his blood shall be shed” [Gen. 9:5, 6]. This commandment was part of God’s ‘New World Order’ for the human race.

God said through Moses, ”You shall not take a ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, he shall surely be put to death.” “You shall not pollute the land, for blood pollutes the land and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it except by the blood of him who shed it” [Num. 35:31-33]. Today, our country/land  must be blood red.

Now then, a murderer can be forgiven. By confession and repentance, God will forgive. But the consequences don’t go away! David, when he turned to God asking forgiveness for murder, was told, “The Lord has put away your sin” [David being King could not be executed]. However, the punishment previously pronounced by Nathan was not rescinded; therefore David suffered the destruction of his immediate family, and the death of three of his sons [2 Sam. 12:9-ff]. The Bible teaches that a truly penitent person never complains about their punishment – never! As Paul said, “If I am an offender, or have done anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying” [Acts 25:11].

It is God’s will that we live in a safe society. Paul, speaking about rulers and authority, wrote, “For it, [authority], is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is God’s minister to inflict wrath on the wrongdoer” [Rom. 13:4]. The sword is supposed to be a symbol of  harsh punishment, not probation and psychiatric counseling. Criminals are not afraid of the justice system today. Believe it or not, prison does not put fear in the worst criminals. And in some subcultures, it is a ‘rite of passage.’ In a country where the average time served for murder is 5.9 years, it is no wonder it is not safe out there.

Capital punishmentAll systems have flaws because we, being human, make mistakes. However, we should at least try to do things in a God-directed manner. The Bible, in the writings of Moses, has the most sensible rules for justice. Did you know that crimes against property or self were not punished as severely as now? Only crimes against persons were harshly punished. However, in today’s society, if someone steals a child they often serve less time than someone that steals money from a bank. Solomon, the king, saw and lamented the lack of justice in Israel. The prophets also complained about the injustices of their day.

It is not surprising that there are people who will oppose fair and just punishment, but God’s people should not be standing with them. We should know better. For you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, remind yourself of this, “Then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him. And He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’. Then He will say to those on the left, ‘Depart you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’.” Amen

Reader’s Digest – Why I Am Not Renewing My Subscription

Reader's Digest - Why I Am Not Renewing My Subscription This morning I sent this letter (via email) to Readers Digest.  Although I did it my self, I do hope you are moved to do the same thing.

We are choosing not to renew any of our subscriptions with Readers Digest. It is unfortunate as my family, as well as my parents’ families (on both my and my wife’s side), have always enjoyed reading Readers Digest from cover to cover.

Those subscriptions, as well as the ones we have given as gifts, will not be renewed.

Our reason is simple – as a business Readers Digest has decided to take a side in the culture war on homosexuality. I (we) no longer want to read another article promoting a lifestyle that is deadly and immoral. This issue can be looked at both from a religious perspective, as well as a secular (non-religious) perspective.

Religious – it’s immoral. It’s a sin against the Creator of the universe. Both the Old Testament and New Testament declare it to be sin.

Secular – it is against the principal tenant of natural selection (The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring). It is also one of the most destructive lifestyles (the CDC’s own statistics). The homosexual lifestyle does not provide the ideal environment for children; it provides a destructive unhealthy environment full of contradictions and unmet needs.

In both of the above ways many more reasons can be provided.

Readers Digest has had a disproportionate amount of articles celebrating, promoting and legitimizing the homosexual lifestyle. You have taken sides.

I do not expect those with different views in this great country to not be able to share them. Nor would I expect a secular, non-Godly business, like Readers Digest, to not have an article that mentions homosexuality. It’s part of being a free society.

I do not choose whom I will conduct business with by their religious beliefs, nor any other belief that is protected by our Constitution – i.e. a person’s view of homosexuality.

However, Readers Digest has crossed the line from being a magazine to being a pro-(particular) lifestyle magazine; therefore it is not for me or anyone else that is a Christian or knows the facts about homosexuality. Readers Digest is no longer for the general public, but for those that desire a radical change from not only religious beliefs about homosexuality, but also of basic scientific facts and natural selection.

Readers Digest is no longer a safe magazine to have around my house or business. Readers Digest is no longer a safe place to expose young and old minds to open thinking about life and what we all struggle with daily.

For my house and those that I purchase subscriptions for, we are choosing to spend our dollars elsewhere. I suspect that it is more of a disappointment to me than it is to you; although I wish that were not true. That alone, if true, speaks more about Readers Digest “agenda” than anything else I’ve said.

Life’s Instruction Manual

Life’s Instruction Manual

Do you read the instruction manual before using your new toy or setting up what you just bought?  Or perhaps you just dive in and see how it goes.  If you get stuck, then maybe, as a last resort, you’ll find the instructions, assuming you haven’t tossed them out.

Have you ever wished that life came with an instruction manual? Well if you did, there is good news; we have one.  In fact, it covers every facet of life, and if followed guarantees a better, more enjoyable and peaceful life.

Why am I writing this post?  Well, it’s quite simple really; I’m watching something happen with my kids as it relates to reading instructions.  For whatever reason, I’ve always been one of those that has to read the instructions before setting something up.  Since my kids were born, the first thing we do is read the instructions.  At first it was a little hard for them as they wanted to tear right in, but after time, they began to see the benefit.  Things worked the first time.  They knew all of the features of the toy.  They didn’t miss out on anything.  They were, in fact, happier, and enjoyed whatever it was much more.

Here’s where I may loose some of you, as I’m about to bring up a word that turns many people off, so let me just ask you to keep reading till the end as there is a point in it for you. Before my oldest could speak, I’ve called God’s Bible, “Life’s Instruction Manual”.  They see mom and dad reading it and talking about it.  My kids have heard it as part of their vocabulary, and now are thinking of it as a resource, at least the oldest two are (the younger two haven’t started to read yet).  The Bible speaks a lot about wisdom and understanding, what it is and how to get it.  My kids picked up on that part of the “instruction book” and talk a lot about what they do and if it is wise or not.  Another example is when my oldest was scared and couldn’t sleep because of seeing something about earthquakes, she turned to the Bible and found peace.  They are also understanding that true love is not a feeling but a set of actions that you choose to do.  By making those choices you get the feeling.  There are many, many more examples that I could give you, but you get the idea.

As an adult, I am still amazed by how much about life is contained in the Bible. From relationships and marriage to creating a life plan, developing a successful career, how to handle money, even how to resolve conflicts between two friends.  The Bible is a complete instruction manual for successful living; ironically, even for those that don’t believe it was written by God.  What did I just say?  You heard me correctly, you don’t even have to believe that the Bible was the inspired writing of God to enjoy some of the benefits contained in the book. Truth is truth right? Or to put it another way, the laws of life and nature keep working even if you don’t believe in them, and that my friends is a big part of what the Bible is; a Book about how life and nature works.  Of course for the believer it’s also a Book about how life begins, ends and a possibility of an eternal future.  Both for adults and kids…

Mosque At Ground Zero

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Sometimes you come across someone that says everything you want to say on a particular subject.  Pat Condell posted just such a piece on Jihad Watch titled, “Pat Condell on Ground Zero mosque: ‘Is it possible to be astonished, but not surprised?’”.  I definitely suggest that you watch the video.

I would like to go on record and say I am against the mosque being built, and I am embarrassed at the comments of President Obama.   I did not vote for him and cannot wait for his removal from office, either by impeachment or on November 6, 2012.

More than 3000 men, women and children died on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Muslim terrorists.  For the Muslim extremist and the Muslim religion, 911 signifies perhaps their greatest achievement against freedom and democracy; the mosque would simply be their marker of their achievement into eternity.  It would also signify another disgraceful turning point for America.

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For I am dying

art by web-friend.com

For I am dying

Oh, if only I could return to the way that I was
where I was born from tyranny

I was created from one faith
and for the freedom of that faith

Now I am tired,
I have forgotten from where I have come
Nay, I seem to not even care from where I have come

But only if I could return to the days from afar
where freedom was true and faith was in the “I Am”

I remember the days when food was plenty, people were strong, and we walked with the Creator
Who gave us all things and wrapped us in His protection

But I have grown to not need the Creator
because I have decided I am better

For truth is no longer important and I have no need for faith,
I have no need for freedom

I have sold it all for gold and power and desire
I just want what I want as I die a slow death

I was once a Great, as proud as the eagle
I have sold it for the now, and tomorrow is no more

Should I get your pity if I cry out,
You that I have mocked?
But I have forgotten to Whom I should call

Perhaps I’ll just lie down and sleep and wait for nothing
My time may be done
since I gave it all up

by Richard M Hartian
further information on the author can be found at
www.hartian.com – About the author