Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Eyes of Jesus

We're always fascinated by looking into each other's eyes.  It's a lifelong, universal characteristic: so universal, in fact, that it's even shared by some members of the animal kingdom.  Lovers gaze longingly into each other's eyes.  Poker players study the eyes of their opponents.  And one of the most important biological determinants in human development is the amount of eye contact a baby has with its parents or caretakers.  "The eyes," it is said, "are the windows of the soul."  But when was the last time you gave any thought to the eyes of Jesus Christ?

You can't see them, of course; although one day you will, when you stand before Him to be judged.  But so far, very few people, numbering in the thousands, have had the privilege of looking into Jesus' eyes, when He was here on earth.  Throughout the history of art, countless painters have attempted to capture Jesus' eyes on canvas, or in a sketchpad: but who can really imagine what they were like?  No man or woman ever had eyes of such infinite wisdom, such astonishing compassion, or such perfect innocence - - - or, at times, of such sorrow, and occasionally anger. Who can imagine those eyes?  The greatest of Biblical painters (probably Rembrandt) could no more depict Jesus' eyes than a child with a box of Crayons - - - and the child might have a better idea of what they were like! We'll have to wait to actually see His eyes.





But if we can't see His eyes, we can consider, and know, what He sees with those eyes: and what He has seen, and will see.

The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen everything there is, from the tiniest sub-molecular structures to the farthest reaches of the universe, and seen these things in perfect detail - - - because He created them.  No electron microscope, no Hubble telescope, will ever see what Jesus has seen, and sees every moment.  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16-17). Not only do His eyes behold these things, but He actually holds them together on a moment-to-moment basis, in space-time reality: by him all things consist, or stay together.  Without the steadying hand of Jesus Christ, material reality would simply fall apart.

That's literally unimaginable to us; although, if we've been born again according to John 3:3-7, and received Christ by an act of the will, according to John 1:12, we know that we'll understand it someday.  Unlike Jesus, our vision is limited: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12). Someday, we will see as Jesus sees: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).

But the eyes of Jesus have seen more than that - - - and continue to see more than that.  He's seen man at his best, because He saw Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, before they sinned.  And He's seen man at his worst.  When the rebellious Israelites followed after false gods, and threw their babies into the molten arms of idols, Jesus Christ was watching.  When the Roman Catholic Church slaughtered the English martyrs like Tyndale (and millions of other Christians worldwide), Jesus saw it.  And when the Czars and the Nazis attempted to destroy the Jews, Jesus saw every moment of every atrocity.  And, just as He wept over Jerusalem, He probably wept then: after all, He cares. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).  He saw it all ... and remembers it all.


Those eyes, so unimaginably full of love and compassion, seeing all these things .... and seeing them still.  Because Jesus hasn't turned away; He still sees it all.  He sees every crooked politician .... and every hypocritical Christian.  He sees every proud, unapologetic sex pervert, and each of their perverse acts .... and He sees every adulterous or fornicating Christian, who have attempted to push Him aside for a few hours or years of pleasure.  He sees the persecution of His born again sons and daughters by régimes from Saudi Arabia to China .... and He sees the persecution of his chosen nation, Israel, by the Palestinians and their allies, even those in Washington, D.C.  And He sees His children going to church two or three times a week, then living like unsheeted Hell the rest of the week,  with their gossip and laziness and lack of love for God and one another.

Because the eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3). And the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chron. 16:9).  The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men (Psalm 11:4). Someone says, "That's not Jesus; Jesus is the Son of God.  That's the Father."  But this is a sub-Christian interpretation of the Bible.  "The Lord" is Jesus Christ. That's why He's called "the Lord Jesus Christ," and why the Bible says That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10, 11).  Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is the Lord is lost and damned, unless and until they change their belief. This isn't rocket science, or "one man's opinion;" this is the Trinity.

The eyes of Jesus are still watching.  They're watching everything that happens in every business, in every school, on every street, in every home, and everywhere else.


For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes (Jeremiah 16:17).  The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen the best and the worst, and continue to see the best (such as it is) and the worst.

(Again, some might say, "Aha!  There's a contradiction!  Doesn't the Bible say, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity? God is so holy that He can't even look at wickedness!"  Nice try, but you didn't finish the verse. The verse says, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? [Habakkuk 1:13].  The Prophet isn't making a doctrinal statement about what God can or can't do; he's expressing his own understanding of God's holiness, and asking, plaintively, "so why are You looking at them? Why are you letting them get away with it?"  As the prophets so often did [and as Job's comforters did], he's expressing his own view, and wondering why God doesn't conform to it.  There's no contradiction - - - and no "out" for someone who wants to think that God isn't watching!)

Jesus isn't just watching "the evil that men do," of course.  He sees every act of kindness; every sacrifice a father or mother makes for their child; every student who doesn't cheat in school; everyone who reaches out to help someone in need; and every Christian who is faithful in prayer and studying God's word and proclaiming the Gospel.  And He promises the Christian, in His word:  God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Hebrews 6:10). His eyes are watching it all.

He's watching me write this post ... and He's watching you read it.  And He'll be watching what we do an hour from now.

The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen it all, and are seeing it all at this moment.  And they'll see more: they'll see the sins and mistakes we make tomorrow ... and He'll be willing to forgive.  He'll see the heathen continue to rage against Him, and the people imagining so many vain things (Psalm 2:1). He'll see the continuing disintegration of decency and goodness in the world.  He'll continue to see His children reviled and persecuted; and He'll see the nations rise up (including the United States) to destroy His nation, Israel. And then, one day, He'll have seen enough of this world, and settle the accounts.

The Czars and the Nazis and the Popes and the Muslims; the teenaged fornicators and the adult, "respectable" whoremongers; the gossiping office worker and the schoolyard bully, and every other person who has ever lived, will stand before Him.  And that's when we'll see His eyes - - - as they look back at us in judgment.

For the majority of the human race, the results of that Judgment will be incomprehensibly horrible.  But for those who have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour, at a moment in time by an act of the will, there will be glory ahead - - - although even Christians may lose certain rewards, if they have lived for themselves.  But even then, they'll be saved - - - we'll be saved - - - because of the mercy of Jesus Christ, Who paid the price for our sins as His eyes beheld the men who tortured Him to death.

Those who have rejected Christ in this life will, after that, never see His eyes again.  But those who have accepted His offer of salvation will enjoy the love and mercy and even laughter shining in His eyes for all eternity.

What a Christ!

Friday, June 27, 2014

UPDATES: THE MERIAM IBRAHIM STORY

Although we continue to thank God that Meriam Ibraham's sentence of death has been overturned, a cruel and constantly changing story has been unfolding for the past few days.  After being released from prison, Meriam's Muslim brother betrayed her to the Islamic authorities, and she was detained at the airport while trying to legally leave the country with her family.  She has since been released again from detention, and currently is holed up in the American Embassy in Khartoum.  Only God knows what will happen next, but it is clear that Meriam's family will not truly be safe, from a human standpoint, until they are out of Africa and in America.  Christians are urged to continue in fervent prayer.  This blog will continue to provide links to the latest news accounts.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (Hebrews 13:3).


UPDATE, 1:00 p.m. GMT, 6.27: Still at the American Embassy in Khartoum, Meriam has issued her first public statement. 

UPDATE, 2:00 a.m. GMT, 6.27: According to The Guardian, Meriam and her family have been freed again, and have taken refuge in the American Embassy in Khartoum.  Details in link below.

UPDATE, 2:00 p.m GMT, 6.26: The game of cat-and mouse continues.  Latest reports are that Meriam and her family have been released again. Her estranged brother, a Muslim, is behind the recent developments. Details in links below. 

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m. GMT, 6.25: The latest word is that Meriam has been charged with "falsifying documents."  Details in the link below. 

UPDATE, 10:00 p.m. GMT, 6.24: According to the American State Department, Meriam and her family have been "detained, but not arrested." This is a fast-moving story, and it is to be hoped that Christians will continue to pray until the family is safe on American soil.

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m. GMT, 7.1: According to an interview in The Telegraph, Meriam's baby, born May 27, is suffering from unspecified disabilities because of the circumstances of her birth.  Meriam's legs were shackled during little Maya's delivery.  Details in first link below.

See also:
Meriam Ibrahim: My baby is disabled because I gave birth with my legs chained  (The Telegraph)
Meriam Ibrahim speaks: Sudan apostasy woman freed again after death sentence is overturned  (The Independent)
Meriam Ibrahim freed again after rearrest at Sudan airport  (The Guardian)
Meriam Ibrahim and the Persecution of Christians  (The Wall Street Journal)

PETITION TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO RESCUE MERIAM'S FAMILY

Meriam Ibrahim's Brother Blocked Escape from Sudan to US: Report  (NBC News)
Meriam Ibrahim Reportedly Freed Again After Re-Arrest on “Forgery” Charges (LifeNews)
Another cruel twist of the knife: Sudanese mother Meriam Ibrahim faces SEVEN years in jail for trying to flee country hours after death sentence for 'marrying Christian was dropped' (Daily Mail)
Meriam Ibrahim Charged with Falsifying Documents, Can't Leave Sudan (Town Hall)
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim: Arrested, Released, Re-Arrested, Re-Released  (Breitbart)
Sudan death row case: US works for Meriam Ibrahim exit (BBC)
Released Sudanese Christian woman detained at airport  (CNN)
Ted Cruz Calls On Obama To Help Free Meriam Ibrahim  (Breitbart)
Sudan death row woman Meriam Ibrahim rearrested (The Guardian)
Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese apostasy woman detained at airport after release (The Independent)
Sudan re-arrests Christian woman Meriam Ibrahim after freeing her from death row (Sydney Morning Herald)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Victory! Meriam Ibrahim released!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow! Attorneys for Meriam Ibrahim, imprisoned for her faith in the Sudan, have announced that she has been released! Having very recently given birth to a baby girl, she and the baby, along with her 20 month old son (who was imprisoned with her), have now been freed, following an international outcry.  But make no mistake: it wasn't the outcry that saved her, nor was it the efforts of the Obama administration, which made no such efforts, despite the fact that her husband is an American citizen.  Meriam and her children have been freed by the mighty hand of the one true God, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who she and her husband worship and adore.

From Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel,  American Center for Law and Justice:

We are getting multiple reports from Sudan that Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for her Christian faith, has been freed from prison, along with her two young American children. 

Meriam, married to an American citizen, had been sentenced to flogging and death for “apostasy” – for allegedly converting from Islam to Christianity. In court when she was told she could save her life by recanting her Christian faith, she refused. 

She was forced to give birth to her American baby in prison. 

She has shown courage few of us can comprehend, and now – after your outcry – a different Sudanese court is reportedly ordering her release. 

With her attorney confirming her release, we're launching a new petition. Let's ask the Obama Administration to grant Meriam and her American children safe passage and immediate legal status in the United States. 

Sign our new petition: Bring Meriam and her American children home!

  
See also:
Meriam Ibrahim Goes Free, No Thanks to the U.S. (US News & World Report) 
Sudan announces release of Meriam Ibrahim from death row (The Guardian)
Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim, sentenced to death for being Christian, freed by court  (NY Daily News)
Khartoum appeal court cancels death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim (Sudan Tribune)
PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Smiling with immense relief, the Sudanese mother sentenced to hang for 'converting to Christianity' hours after she was freed following international outcry (Daily Mail)


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sodom, Gomorrah, and the United States of America

In what may be  the perfect symbol of what the United States has become, a "transgender" "priest" will be preaching today at the so-called National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.   Before commenting, here's the the bare-bones story from The Associated Press:

 Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, transgender priest, to preach at National Cathedral



WASHINGTON (AP) - - -  An openly transgender Episcopal priest is set to preach at Washington National Cathedral.

The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, will be a guest preacher on Sunday. He'll be the first openly transgender priest to preach from Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral. The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, will preside at the service. It's part of the cathedral's celebration of LGBT pride month.

The service will also include readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral, says he hopes Partridge's appearance "will send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community."

The moral degeneration of America, which is nothing new, could not be more clearly illustrated than this.  What's infinitely more important is that America's utter and unapologetic contempt for God and His standards could not find more more perfect expression.
 .
The National Cathedral is a strange mixture of official government activity and the Episcopal Church. One would like to say that it is no more than simply another Episcopal Church building, but that would be historically inaccurate. Pierre L'Enfant's original plans for "the Federal City," in 1792, set aside a large plot of ground for "a great church for national purposes." In 1893, Congress granted a charter to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia, and the building has been operated by no other denomination, Protestant, Catholic, or Baptist, in the nation's history.  This unequivocally Episcopal edifice was dedicated, not by an Episcopal archbishop alone, but by President Teddy Roosevelt, in 1907, when the cornerstone was laid.  The erection of the National Cathedral has been designated by Congress as "a national house of prayer." Huh?  What about the liberals' beloved "separation of church and state?" Official state funerals have been held there for three Presidents, and memorial services for five others; but why?  Unless the men were Episcopalians, wouldn't their own churches have sufficed?  Even the sainted John F. Kennedy's funeral was held at St. Matthew's Cathedral, and that other American godling, Martin Luther King Jr., was sent to his reward from his own Baptist church in Atlanta.

Today's "sermon" by Ms. Partridge is not, of course, the first time that the National Cathedral has been the site of "gay" celebrations and commemorations.  In 2005, the cathedral hosted the "consecration" of Ms. Nancy Wilson (not to be confused with the jazz singer) as Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church, a homosexual denomination. But Cameron Partridge's ascension to the pulpit is the first time that a "transgendered" person has preached, if preaching it can be called, and the press is playing it up as a milestone comparable to Luther's posting of the 95 Theses.


Ms. Partidge (she declines to reveal her given name at birth), 41, claims that she wanted to be a priest as early as her teens.  She attended the upscale women's college Bryn Mawr, and decided to change her gender at age 28.  (Unless her chromosomes have been replaced, this has not been accomplished.)  In the "trans" community, actual surgery is not a requirement: if one claims to be a certain gender, then that is what they are.  We are blissfully ignorant as to Ms. Partridge's medical history, or her current anatomical structure, but she is married to another woman, and the couple have acquired several children.

Although Ms. Partridge will deliver the sermon, the service will be presided over by none other than Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Bishop in the Episcopal Church, now retired.  Robinson, who married and divorced a woman before "coming out," has since married and divorced another man.  These are the role models being held up by America as "religious leaders."  

With or without today's service, it becomes increasingly obvious with each passing day that America has rejected the God of the Bible and embraced the "culture" and folkways of Sodom and Gomorrah. This degenerate movement has reached warp speed with the administration of the current President of the United States, but of course cannot be blamed on him alone.  The American people, only 2 or 3% of whom are themselves "gay," elected and re-elected him knowing where he stood.  They may privately suffer from "homophobia," more accurately termed "homonausea," but, having abandoned God and the Bible, they simply don't care any more.

America is gone, and despite the cries of many "Tea Partiers" and evangelicals, she is not excluded from God's pronouncement: All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity (Isaiah 40:17).  

It remains for believers of the Bible to take this kind of story with a grain of salt, and look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28). 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Real Idolatry

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes God is other than He is - - - in itself a monstrous sin - - - and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God. "Thou thoughtest," said the Lord to the wicked man in the psalm, "that I was altogether such an one as thyself." Surely this must be a serious affront to the Most High God before whom cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth."

Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place. "When they knew God," wrote Paul, "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Then followed the worship of idols fashioned after the likeness of men and birds and beasts and creeping things. But this series of degrading acts began in the mind. Wrong ideas about God are only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.


- - - A. W. Tozer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Of Mice and Muslims

Here we go again.  With the unspeakably vile Mohammedan "religion" advancing throughout the world, as a feckless American President allows Iraq to fall to a group ("ISIS") that makes Al-Qaeda look "moderate," and as Muslims continue to escape the consequences of attacks on Americans and the imprisonment of Christians, what are the followers of Muhammad jabbering excitedly about today?

Mice.  Specifically, Mickey Mouse. Herewith, the words of  Dr. Nabil Hammad of Saudi Arabia, three days ago.  But consider what follows, in the subsequent videos.

video

Although we sympathize with some of this lying dog's concerns about "moral values," he loses all credibility when assigning blame for the decline of decency to (of course!) the hated Zionists.  (The entire subject begs the question of what makes any follower of the pedophilic, incestuous, sex-crazed Muhammad qualified to discuss "morality," but that's a separate matter.)  What's interesting, in this discussion, is the enthusiasm of his Palestinian brothers in appropriating the image of Mickey Mouse, renamed "Farfour," as a noble martyr to Islam.  Perhaps Dr. Hammad would not find the following so objectionable:

video

Ah, Farfour!  Noble mouse champion of the star and crescent!  But wait ... mice are unclean, actual servants of Satan, according to the Hadiths and Muslim tradition.  Well, never mind: the Philistines will embrace Farfour as a martyr, anyway.  Anyone who knows any devoted Muslims knows that "Allah" isn't too choosy.

video 

Such is the face of Muslim "education" of their youngest children.  Even a beast as unclean as a mouse can be a martyr, provided he is zealous in his hatred of Jews and Christians.  Who said that the Muslim pedophiles were only interested in the bodies of children?  They want their minds, too.  Sex and death, whatever the age: that is what Islam has to offer, and all that it has ever had to offer.

Meanwhile, controversy has exploded once again, in Egypt, over a businessman who dared to post the following image on Twitter.  It is unknown whether said posting has caused any deaths yet, but it probably will.  That's Islam: any excuse, however flimsy, for hatred and slaughter.


And the West, "led" by America, does nothing .... except submit.  Readers of the Bible know that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day put an end to this nonsense, when He returns as God in the Flesh to rule the world.  If the Mohammedans are to have their day in the sun, they'd better enjoy it while they can.

 See also:
Mickey Mouse with beard cartoon enrages Egypt's Muslims  (The Telegraph) 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just thinking ...

Everybody asks the question, on a routine basis: "What do you think?"  A businessman makes a presentation to his boss, or two football coaches watch a kid trying out for the team, or a wife shows off a new dress to her husband, and the question is always, "What do you think?"  But that simple question, so easily answered in everyday situations, becomes much deeper when applied to our lives as a whole ... and to the thoughts of our hearts.  In a very real sense, the question has implications, practical implications, for the way we live our lives ... and our eternity. 
  ...
Two other questions follow in the wake of the first, when we examine our own lives and our own thought processes.   Not just, "What do you think?"  But also, "What do you think about?"  and, "What do you think of what you think?"  When you're alone, or when you're reacting to conditions and people around you, what do you think about?  Are you satisfied with those thoughts?  Do they seem appropriate to you?  Or do you get the nagging feeling that your thoughts or reactions are improper?  Or is it possible that, like so many people, you don't even think about it?  You don't question it? ....

This is not an abstract, fanciful subject.  The matter of a person's "thought life" can't be compartmentalized as "psychology" or "personality types" or "epistemology."  The very simple fact is that we're thinking creatures, and our thoughts, one way or another, determine our actions - - - even those secret thoughts that we never act upon. 
....
...
The Bible has a lot to say about our thoughts: our reasoning, our motivations, our fantasies, our dreams, and our discouragements.  God, Who originally made man in His own Image, is a thinking Being, not an amorphous "force," and He created us to be thinking creatures.  And God is very blunt about the importance of our thoughts.  Speaking of man - - - any man, or any woman - - - God says, as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).  In a very real sense, in God's sight, our thoughts don't merely determine our lives: our thoughts are our lives. 
 ....
That's not how we see it, of course.  We see our lives in terms of our actions, our words, our experiences; and those things are certainly important.  But that's not what defines us.  We're defined by our thoughts - - - and, after all, our thoughts are what determine those actions and words and experiences. 
.... 
Let's spice up this rather dry discussion with a very obvious example - - - one that drove the Pharisees crazy, and drives the "religious people" crazy even today.  With the exception of many Roman Catholics and some Buddhists and Hindus, nobody on earth thinks that sex, in itself, is "bad." Moral people (religious or not) believe that there are certain ethics involved, and, for Orthodox Jews and Christians, the marching orders are clear: sex is to be enjoyed, really enjoyed, within the context of the marriage bed.  Sex outside of marriage is off-limits, and sex before marriage is off-limits.  The Jews of Jesus' time spent hours discussing this subject.  Christians today spend hours talking about it.  Everybody talks about it, one way or another.

But the Pharisees saw only the act of illicit sex, be it fornication or adultery.  They defined improper sexual activity as something that two people did with their bodies.  But then Jesus came along, and upset the applecart - - - not only for the Pharisees, but for anyone who's ever experienced and savored a moment of lust.  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).  Jesus didn't downplay the significance of the act, but he got to the root of the matter: the thought.  And He even went so far as to say that, in God's sight, "mental adultery" is precisely as wicked and improper as physical adultery. With the exception of the physical consequences, it's the same thing.  Thus, the world is full of men and women who can be faithful to their spouses, or even remain virgins, but who, in God's sight, are adulterers and adulteresses. (Think of what this says about the business of pornography.)  Because God knows that as a man thinketh, so is he.  
....
peeping tom

But most folks don't see it the way God sees it - - - and don't want to.  It's too radical, too demanding, too inconvenient.  People sit back in their self-righteousness and say, "Well, I'm not so bad.  I never killed anybody!"  And Jesus comes along and upsets the applecart again:  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:21-22).  He equated anger and hate with physical murder.  And we can sense this, even if we're not "religious people."  Have you ever heard the expression, "She looked daggers at him with her eyes?"  Well, what do you think that means?  It means she was angry enough to kill!  And, according to Jesus....  
  ... 
There's an old maxim, quoted by preachers and non-preachers alike, that can scarcely be emphasized enough.  (Clichés often become clichés because they happen to be true.)  It concerns sowing and reaping.  "Sow a thought, and reap an action; sow an action, and reap a habit; sow a habit, and reap a character; sow a character, and reap a destiny."  Our acts, our habits, our characters, our destinies, all begin with our thoughts.   
....
I don't know what your "thought life" is like.  I don't know what you think about, in the privacy of your heart.  Neither does anyone else.  But I know what mine is like, and to be honest, it would make a vulture vomit. I read the Bible, any part of the Bible, and I react like Hamlet's mother: "Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul, And there I see such black and grained spots as will not leave their tinct."  I see God's holiness, and God's purity, and God's goodness, and I weep; as David says in Psalm 51, "I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." The sin that I committed with my body, or with my actions?  Sometimes; but, more often, the sins of my mind.  It may be, if you're honest with God and with yourself, that you feel the same way. 
 ....
worried woman

If you're a Christian, who has received Jesus Christ according to John 1:12, your "thought life" is eternally important, because your thoughts, and/or the actions they produce, will be weighed and evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  Your salvation won't be in jeopardy, but your rewards, or lack of rewards, will be decided.  (If you're not a Christian, then the issue, in this post, isn't your "thought life;" the issue is "What will you do with Jesus Christ?" Of course your mental processes are of critical importance, but your most pressing concern is to come to terms with your Creator.) And the Christian has access to two absolutely foolproof remedies for an inadequate or bad "thought life."
 ..
Maybe your thoughts are worldly: not necessarily sinful, but simply caught up in the affairs of this world: your job, your money, your entertainment, whatever.  In any case, you're not thinking about your Saviour, and His word, the Bible.  Or, perhaps you're plagued with really bad thoughts, thoughts that you know to be displeasing to God, thoughts that you wouldn't share with your closest friend.  In both cases, you have hope. 
 ....
First: Think about Jesus.  That sounds so simple, doesn't it?  But it's not.  We have too many other things that rush in and crowd our thinking, in addition to having an Enemy who wants us to think about anything but Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, that's the answer: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Think of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).  Think of what His eyes must have been like.  Think about Him protecting the adulterous woman, or talking to the Temple elders when He was just a Boy.  Better yet, get out your Bible and read about Him.  Read the Gospel of John, like you would read a novel or watch a movie, all at one sitting. (It can be read, by an "average" reader, in less than two hours.)  As the author Roy Hession has said, "It is enough to see Jesus, and to go on seeing Him."
  ...
Second: Instead of filling your mind with entertainment, or lust, or financial worries, or politics, think of something else.  What should that be?  Paul tells us:  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).  Are you troubled with thoughts of covetousness?  Think about charity, which simply means love in action.  Are you obsessed with politics?  Think of the perfect Reign of Christ, which is coming on earth in the future.  Are you introverted, and can't stop thinking about yourself?  Well, the answer is obvious: we're back to thinking about Jesus again!  Jesus is the Personification of all the things Paul mentioned.

But, by the grace of God, and through the power of God, get control of your thoughts .... or your thoughts will control you, as they do most people.  This is is so important that Paul alluded to it as one of the cornerstones of the Christian life: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).  Yes, presenting our bodies to God is fundamental; but we're transformed by the renewing of our minds.
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So .... what do you think?  And what do you think of what you think?  Are you satisfied with your thought life?  Or do some changes need to be made?  If they do, God has given us the tools to make the changes ... and He expects us to use them.

After all, when He hung on the cross, His "thought life" wasn't occupied with merely the agony and shame.  He was thinking of us.  That's why He was there!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Meriam Ibrahim: Sadism in the Sudan

This is not a new story. That's one reason it's so scandalous.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, is a Sudanese woman who was raised as a Christian.  Born to a Muslim father and an Eastern Orthodox Christian mother, her father abandoned the family when Meriam was a child, and she was brought up in her mother's Christian faith.  She has never professed any religion other than Christianity.  She is married to Daniel Wani, an American citizen who is also a Christian.  Mr. Wani's American citizenship has been acknowledged by Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the American State Department. Daniel is a victim of muscular dystrophy; according to Meriam's lawyer, he "totally depends on her for all details of his life, he cannot live without her." They are the parents of a 20 month old son, Martin. Meriam is a Medical Doctor.

Because the Sudan is ruled by Sharia law, Daniel and Meriam's marriage is not recognized as valid in that country, where the marriage of a Muslim to a Christian is regarded as apostasy.

But wait: Meriam is not a Muslim, either by upbringing or by profession.  She has chosen Christianity.  Never mind, say the authorities: her father was a Muslim, even if he abandoned his family, and therefore Meriam is, too.  Such is the reasoning of the followers of Islam, the most barbaric "religion" since Old Testament times.  Therefore, Meriam is, by law, an apostate from "the religion of peace."


Daniel and Meriam

On May 15, Meriam was sentenced to death by hanging, for the crime of apostasy from Islam.  She was given three days in which to renounce Christianity, and refused.  She was eight months pregnant at the time, and, since then, both she and her son Martin have been incarcerated at
Omdurman Federal Women's Prison.  Authorities graciously conceded that she could give birth to her baby, probably hoping to have another little Mohammedan in the world, before the sentence was carried out.  Prior to being hanged, Meriam is to receive 100 lashes, which is the punishment for adultery - - - "adultery," in this case, meaning marriage to a Christian.

She has been visited in prison by her husband, who reported that she was in shackles, despite her advanced pregnancy, and that her legs were badly swollen.  According to her lawyer, young Martin is also in poor health, as a result of confinement to such a filthy place.

On May 26, Meriam gave birth to a baby girl, Maya.  She was in shackles during the birth. The Sudanese government intends to carry out the execution (and lashing) after Maya is weaned. 

Protests have exploded around the world over the case, from liberals and conservatives alike: Amnesty International, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and others have registered outrage.  But not President Obama, who has been busy negotiating the release of Muslim terrorists from Guantanamo in exchange for an American deserter, who also happens to have converted to Islam. Never mind that Meriam's husband is an American citizen; Obama and his henchmen are more concerned with nurturing the advance of Islam than protecting the interests of Americans.  This is not opinion: this is what's happening.


Meriam and Maya

Here's another bit of Islamic sadism:  a Sudanese official announced, several days after Maya's birth, that the sentence had been overturned, and Meriam and her children would be released. Joy and relief were felt all over the world.  But not so fast: a day later, Sudanese officials said that this report had been erroneous, and the sentence stands.

This is Islam.  This is the religion of Muhammad.  And this is another example of the priorities of the Obama administration.  Christians everywhere should be in fervent prayer for this family, and even unbelievers should be outraged.  Such barbarity should not exist in the 21st century - - - or in any century.

See also:
Petition for release of Meriam Ibrahim
Sudanese woman facing death for apostasy gives birth (BBC) 
Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag (Wikipedia) 
Sudan apostasy case: Meriam Ibrahim must be released (Belfast Telegraph) 
Wife set to hang for marrying Christian U.S. citizen gives birth to baby girl in squalid jail (Counter Jihad Report)
Meriam Ibrahim, sentenced to die in Sudan over her Christianity, reportedly gives birth in jail (CBS News)
America must extract Meriam Ibrahim from Sudan (Fox News)