Our Hope on Nov. 4th

I am praying that on November 4th the cause of the unborn will be championed and we will have a candidate who will at all costs champion that cause. However, the reality is that things may go the other way on November 4th. If they do, what do we do as followers of Christ.

Psalm 146:3-5 says,

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no
When his breath departs, he returns to
the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

No matter what happens on November 4th, God will still be God and His Son will still be King of all the nations and He will still be our certain hope.

Remember these words of John Piper from a recent article as we approach election day and its outcome:

So it is with voting. We should do it. But only as if we were not doing it. Its outcomes do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t. Political life is for making much of Christ whether the world falls apart or holds together.

So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back. In the short run, Christians lose (Revelation 13:7). In the long run, we win (21:4).

So it is with voting. We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ
is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.

What's At Stake on Nov. 4th

The video below is very graphic and very hard to watch, but it needs to be watched by everyone in the nation. We need to be slapped in the face with what is at stake in this election on November 4th.

Tim Challies in an abortion related post, recently commented:

Abortion is so awful, so despicable, so abhorrent that I have to think it will, indeed, be abolished some day. It is my hope and even my conviction that we will someday regard it as we now regard slavery. We will shake our heads and wonder how we could ever have lived in such a society. Children will learn in school of society's ambivalence to so great an evil and express proper shock and disgust. And I hope and pray that Christians will lead this fight and ascribe all glory to God when the battle is finally won.


Don't Get Distracted!

If you watched the final debate this week, then you saw Senator Obama attempt to defend once again his voting against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act while serving in Illinois. Below, you will see his comments along with the facts about the issue from an article by Robert George and Yuval Levin. This excert is then followed by different posts from the blogosphere on Senator Obama and the issue of abortion.

I know the economy is a huge issue in the minds of the voters right now and so is national security and foreign policy and the socialist policies that Senator Obama would bring to our nation if he is elected President. (Don't believe the pundits--the polls are much closer than they keep telling us and with all the money Senator Obama is spending, he should have had clinched this thing weeks ago, but instead is only 6 points ahead after losing two points in the latest summary of polls). However, the biggest issue of this election is what it always has been and should be--the potential of putting a man in the office of President of the United States who is the most pro-abortion political candidate in the history of American politics and who voted against a bill that would have provided care for infants who survived an abortion, not to mention who says that the first thing he will do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (see below) which would essentially wipe out any gains that have been made in the pro-life movement and prevent any future steps to restrict abortion.

I encourage you to read the entirety of all the articles mentioned below, but here are the important excerpts. This man may be cool, but he is also deadly. God help us and have mercy on us if he becomes the next President of the United States and keeps his promises on this issue.

Here is Senator Obama's response in the debate Wednesday night concerning his vote against the Born Alive Infant bill:

''There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.''

Here are the facts from George and Levin's article:

Obama's case against the bill did not revolve around existing state law, as he seemed to suggest last night. The law Obama referred to in the debate was the Illinois abortion statute enacted in 1975. But at the time of the debate about the Born Alive Act, the Illinois Attorney General had publicly stated that he could not prosecute incidents such as those reported by nurses at Christ Hospital in Chicago and elsewhere (including a baby left to die in soiled linen closet) because the 1975 law was inadequate. It only protected ''viable'' infants-and left the determination of viability up to the ''medical judgment'' of the abortionist who had just failed to kill the baby in the womb. This provision of the law weakened the hand of prosecutors to the finishing point. That is why the Born Alive Act was necessary-and everybody knew it. Moreover, the Born Alive Act would have had the effect of at least ensuring comfort care to babies whose prospects for long-term survival were dim and who might therefore have been regarded as ''nonviable.'' As Obama and the other legislators knew, without the Born Alive Act these babies could continue to be treated as hospital refuse. That's how the dying baby that Nurse Jill Stanek found in the soiled linen closet got there.

Some of Senator Obama's supporters are now making one last, rather desperate-sounding attempt to defend his votes against protecting infants born alive after unsuccessful abortions. Their argument goes this way: Permitting children who survive attempted abortions to be abandoned is so heinous, so barbaric, that for someone to accuse Senator Obama, a decent man who is himself the father of two daughters, of supporting what amounts to legalized infanticide is too outrageous to merit an answer. There is a problem, though. In light of the documentary evidence that is now before the public, it is clear that the accusation against Senator Obama, however shocking, has the very considerable merit of being true.

Below is President Obama's promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as President:

"We know that a woman's right to make a decision about how many children she wants to have and when— without government interference—is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country. . . . I have worked on this issue for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught constitutional law. . . So, you know where I stand. . . The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

Justin Taylor has given a good summary of what the Freedom of Choice Act is and what it will effectively do if passed. Here's a summary:

The 2007 version of FOCA (for the House bill, see H.R. 1964; for the Senate bill, see S. 1173) includes the following provision:

A government may not

(1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose –
(A) to bear a child;
(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

Section 6 adds: This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

So to summarize this act--which again, Barack Obama has promised to sign as his first order of business in the White House--abortion on demand will become codified, all regulations and restrictions will be stripped away, Christian hospitals and physicians will not have a choice regarding the performance of abortion (since their accrediting agencies are approved by the federal government), teenagers will not have to tell their parents about an abortion, and prolife taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions at any stage of the pregnancy for any reason.

Below is Randy Alcorn's take on this issue of Obama and abortion:

The blood of weak and needy unborn children is precious in God’s sight. Please don't tell me abortion isn't the only issue. Of course it isn't. Treatment of the Jews wasn’t the only issue in 1940 Germany. Buying, selling and owning black people wasn’t the only issue in the United States of 1850. Nonetheless, both were the dominant moral issues of their day. Make no mistake about it. In our own day if we support a candidate who defends abortion, who is dedicated to that cause, we are supporting the killing of children. Yes, even if he’s the coolest candidate to come along in decades.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. Obama standing in front of them and promising he's 100% on their side is the equivalent of a presidential candidate 160 years ago addressing an assembly of the owners of the slave ships, and saying, “If you elect me, the first thing I will do is sign an act that will insure slaves won’t be freed, and that nullifies any and all voter-approved state legislation that restricts slavery.” (And sadly, yes, even hearing this, some Christians would have campaigned for and voted for him.)

We may want to show the world that we Christians are cool enough to support the coolest political candidate who’s come along in decades. I really wanted to. But I just can’t get past child-killing. That's a price for coolness that's just too high.

Finally, Russell Moore recently gave what many in the blog world are calling a "must-listen to" message in chapel at Southern Seminary on the issue of abortion. You can find a link to that sermon here. Below is a good concluding excerpt:

There are churches, and there are pastors, and there are young evangelical leaders who are saying to us, ‘We ought not be single-issue evangelicals. We ought to be concerned about more issues than simply abortion.’ Which means that we ought to be willing to join ourselves and to vote for and to support candidates who will support legalized abortion, who will deny the personhood of children who are still in the womb, because we are able to support them on other issues . . . Many of them are in a desperate quest to say to their congregations and to people potentially in their congregations, ‘I’m not Jerry Falwell.’ And many of them believe that it is missional to speak to people while blunting or silencing a witness about the life of children so that you can reach them with the gospel. . . Some will tell us there are many other issues: economics, global warming—issues I’m very concerned about too. Previous generations have said that as well. Previous generations of preachers have stood in the pulpit and preached until they were red in the face about card-playing and movie-going and tax-policy and personal morality and tobacco-smoking and a thousand other issues, but would not speak to the fact that there were African-American brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus swinging in the trees! And there is judgment of God upon that. And there is here too.”

Church, don't be silent and ignore this. Speak and speak loudly with your vote.


The Greatest Way To Appreciate Your Pastor

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. In Thabiti Anyabwile's latest book What Is A Healthy Church Member he gives what I believe is the best way a church member can show appreciation to their pastor. It is what the Apostle John said he found no greater joy in--seeing believers walking in the truth. It is what I as a pastor long to see and find the most encouragement in my own pastoral ministry. I cannot tell you how much encouragement I have received over the last month by seeing evidences of the grace of God at work in the lives of our church members as the Spirit of God is applying the Word of God to their lives.

So do go out and buy your pastor a card that expresses your appreciation and whatever else God might lead you to do, but remember the most effective way you can appreciate your pastor and encourage him is by following these extremely accurate sentences:

Few things are more discouraging or dishonoring to such men than a congregation inattentive to the Word of God. Faithful men flourish at the fertile reception of the preached Word. They're made all the more bold when their people give ear to the Lord's voice and give evidence of being shaped by it. As church members, we can care for our pastors and teacher and help to prevent unnecessary discouragement and fatigue by cultivating the habit of expositional listening.

The Most Extreme Pro-Abortion Political Candidate In American History: Barack Obama

It amazes me how any "genuine" follower of Christ, whose heart truly has been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ can even consider voting for Barack Obama, much less actually do it. And yes, you should probably read into that comment that I doubt someone who could vote for Barack Obama is actually a follower of Christ, just as I seriously doubt if Barack Obama is a follower of Christ. And yes, Roland Martin, it is quite biblical to question someone else's profession of salvation. (I'll post on this later in the week--too tired to do it now and too distracted since the Red Sox just took another drubbing!)

Justin Taylor has a great post which links to a recent article by Robert P. George on Senator Obama being the most pro-abortion political candidate in American history. You can read the entire article here and I suggest you do, but the blurb below is a good snapshot and spot on.

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama’s America is one in which being human just isn’t enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama’s America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the laws. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: “that question is above my pay grade.” It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy—and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

In the end, the efforts of Obama’s apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn’t even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies.


The Chair of My Dreams

I have found the chair of my dreams! I cannot even find out how much this chair costs, which means it is outrageously expensive, but I can still dream!

"Our Heart, Our Desire"

I've been planning for the church's annual Lottie Moon International Missions emphasis today. I ran across this video of possibly my favorite "missions" song. May the Church cry out in tears to the Lord that this would be our heart and our desire and that He would quickly bring it about as He has promised.

A Good ? Amidst The Economic Crisis

The economic crisis our country and the world is facing is definitely the global issue of the day. Paul Brewster raises a good question for Christians to ask amidst this economic crisis. Maybe it's not a crisis at all, but an answer to prayer for which we should be thankful. You can read the entire article here, but here's the aforementioned question:

For years I have joined with other believers at Wednesday night prayer meetings, National Day of Prayer rallies and any number of other venues and prayed that God would revive the church in America. A question every Christian ought to be asking is: Could God be using these uncertain economic times as a wake-up call to see where our trust really lies? It does not take a perceptive soul to see that many American Christians are far more concerned about the collapse of their investment portfolios than they are about the spiritual collapse of the nation. One is suddenly a crisis to be fought off at all costs; the other has hardly elicited a yawn for decades.

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 13

Chapter 13 of Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart by John Ensor is "He Loves By Sacrificing...She, By Submitting." The chapter focuses on the primary responsibilities of husbands and wifes to each other--husbands loving by sacrificing for their wives and wives submitting to their husbands.

“God calls the man to love by sacrificing his immediate desires for those of her overall well-being and happiness. He calls the woman to submit her more immediate desires to his overall well-being and happiness. They are like two people running to get out of the rain and arriving together at the door. ‘You first.’ ‘No, you first.’”

“There is also a complementary way we submit to one another. In a marriage of two equals, the way a husband shows his reverent submission to Christ is in submitting to the burden of leadership. The way a wife shows here reverent submission to Christ is in respecting her husband’s obligation to lead and submitting to it in spite of his weakness and inadequacies.”

“Our part, as men in this, is to serve and sacrifice, not swagger and sound off.”


Divine Support

I read this prayer from the Valley of Vision this past Sunday morning before I preached. Very beautiful and very needed.

Thou art the blessed God, happy in Thyself, source of happiness in Thy creatures, my maker, benefactor, proprietor, upholder. Thou hast produced and sustained me, supported and indulged me, saved and kept me; Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.

May I live by Thee, live for Thee, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ; and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct grow hourly in my life. Let Thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience, and render my duty my delight. If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity, my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy, may I rejoice to suffer for Thy name.

Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country of everlasting delights, that paradise-land which is my true inheritance. Support me by the strength of heaven that I may never turn back, or desire false pleasures that will disappear into nothing. As I pursue my heavenly journey by Thy grace let me be known as a man with no aim but that of a burning desire for Thee, and the good and salvation of my fellow men.

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 12

Chapter 12 of Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart by John Ensor is entitled, "He Displays Integrity...She Inner Beauty." He addresses the importance of focusing on the inner qualities of godliness as men and women and looking for those qualities in your spouse to be.

“Pump iron if you wish, but pump integrity more.”

“Sisters, if the only charm you have is your physical appearance, beautiful as it may be, you are foolish and will come to rue the day you scoffed at the value of inner beauty. You will find a man for whom physical beauty is also the main thing. What then happens as you age? You will grow more insecure with every birthday. In vain you will subject yourself to chasing cosmetics like a dog chasing a meat wagon. You will become one of the empty, frighteningly sad women who submit to face lifts, breast surgery, and Botox injections (if you escape the deadly grip of anorexia). By midlife, you will be popping antidepressants.”