Thoughts to Ponder

National Tragedy

I am appalled like everyone else about the terrorist attacks which took so many lives. I applaud those brave firemen, police officers, EMS workers, and all the other rescue workers who have struggled tirelessly to help others. Many of which ended up giving their lives. We should pray for the families of all the victims.

I do however, want to say some things about this incident and our reaction to it. Some of my remarks may upset people. I don't mean to upset anyone, nor do I mean to take anything away from the heroes or victims in this incident. I just feel some things in my heart that I think need to be said.

America has been a country which has basked in the blessings of God. I believe we have enjoyed those blessings because we were founded as a Christian nation. I would have a hard time calling our nation a Christian nation any longer, however. That is what I want to address.

We mouth the words but for the most part that is all it is. (Isaiah 29:13 NIV) The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men."

I have been watching television just like everyone else and I have seen and heard things which appalled me. Of course I was appalled by the terrorist acts, but beyond that I was appalled by some of the things people were saying and doing.

A Senator recounted how one of his family members was in New York. While telling the story he mentioned that he and his wife were finally able to get in contact with his daughter. He made the statement, "Praise God, she is safe."

Now I am not trying to pick on him and therefore I am not going to say who it was, but he is a liberal and has voted for the liberal agenda for years. He has voted against integrity in our highest government office, by not supporting the Impeachment of our last corrupt President. He has voted against banning partial birth abortion, and the list goes on. Yet he says praise God... Yes I know I am being strong here, but the Bible tells us about people like this: (1 John 2:3-6 NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. As a nation we know how to talk the talk, but we don't walk the walk.

This brings me to 'real' Christians. Where have we been? We have stood silently by as the innocent have been killed by the millions. Yet we hold prayer meetings when several thousand are killed in a terrorist attack. I don't mean to belittle the horrendous act that took place just a few days ago. Nor do I mean to say that those lives were not precious. Even one life is precious, but where is the outcry for the millions who die "legally" each year in our country? In the city where I live most all churches had prayer meetings Tuesday evening after the attacks. Don't get me wrong, I think that was a great thing, but I have to wonder where they were last week?

I have been intimately involved in two of those churches in the past 10 years and in both I have been involved in an effort to get a prayer group/meeting started. Both churches loved the idea and supported it, yet only a handful of people showed up. Both churches have membership roles which number in the thousands, yet only a handful of people would come to pray. In both churches we went to the pastors and asked for their support. We got it in words, but in both churches while I was there, not one pastor ever showed up to pray with us. Not one, out of approximately 10 pastors in each church would take the time to come pray.

We have allowed the godless science of psychology into our churches. We not only let it in, we promote it. We no longer counsel people from God's word, we send them to "Christian counselors" knowing all the while that these counselors are trained in psychology. There is no such thing as Christian Psychology. There is only Christians who practice Psychology. That is like saying there is "Christian magic" just because some so called Christians practice magic. We need to wake up. God has something to say in this matter too: (Jeremiah 17:5-9 NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. {6} He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. {7} "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. {8} He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." {9} The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

God curses anyone who leans on man's wisdom, yet church after church send their flock to psychology which was invented by godless men, who denied God and denied every tenant of Christianity. How can our churches do this? How can we be so blind?

The church (by church I mean the Body of Christ) has compromised. Many denominations are ordaining openly homosexual pastors. Many denominations are sanctioning homosexual unions (I refuse to call that marriage). Seminaries are not teaching that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Many seminaries deny the literal interpretation of the Bible, including such fundamental items of faith as the virgin birth, sinless life of Jesus, and even the resurrection!

It should be obvious to anyone who knows God's word that if Jesus had a human father (meaning that Mary was not a virgin) then He could not die for our sins, He would have had His own sinful nature which would have merited death. Likewise if He did not live a sinless life, then He would have been unable to take our sins to the cross as the perfect Lamb of God. And finally Paul makes it clear that if Jesus was not resurrected we are all lost in our sins: (1 Corinthians 15:12-18 NIV) 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

These are not minor issues. Here is a news item from the Calvary Contender: 'MOTHER GOD' WORSHIPED AT CBF MEETING -- The 10th anniversary General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (liberal/moderate split-off of SBC) plunged into a heated debate over homosexuality. With songs and prayers to "Mother God," a Baptist Women in Ministry (auxiliary CBF group) breakfast was rife with stridently feminist God language (see 8/1 CC). The CBF promotes BWIM as a partner in missions and ministry and will give it $30,000 from its 2001-02 budget (8/01 Bapt. Banner). Division and apostasy are rampant in the CBF. (Calvary Contender - 15 September issue) Examples like this are all too easy to find.

This is a serious matter. We better wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die! Oh how our Savior must mourn over us. We hear things like this coming out of the mouths of today's teachers:

And so, sometimes out of ignorance or whatever it might be, they attempt to gratify and meet those needs the same way they did before they were saved, and therefore, you can't tell a carnal believer from a lost man.

As far as overt behavior is concerned, a carnal believer cannot be distinguished from an unbeliever.

... believers who lose or abandon their faith will retain their salvation...

We are told that we as believers can live as the world does and it is all covered by the blood of Jesus. No need to worry, no need to live a holy life, just enjoy your freedom. Show me that in the Bible. Anyone who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God knows that Scripture will never contradict Scripture, so how do these teachers explain the verse I quoted earlier? (1 John 2:3-6 NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. This passage is in no way ambiguous, it is very clear in what it says. But if you need at least two passages to convince you here is another: (Ephesians 5:1-7 NIV) Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children {2} and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. {3} But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. {4} Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. {5} For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. {6} Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. {7} Therefore do not be partners with them. And there are many more, go check for yourself.

I am not trying to say that God brought this disaster on us as punishment, however, I am saying that nothing happens without at least God's consent. Could it be that He is giving us a wake up call? His word shows us that He has done this in the past: (Amos 4:6-10 NIV) 6 "I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD. 7 "I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. 8 People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD. 9 "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD. 10 "I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD."

Let me also make it clear that I don't believe the pagans in America acting like pagans is the problem. I think that the Christians in American not acting like Christ is the problem! God makes it clear from His word that He looks for people who are willing to stand between Him and their country so that His wrath is not poured out on them: (Ezekiel 22:30-31 NIV) 30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. 31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." If the Christians are not willing to stand in the gap who will? Who would God accept other then those who go by His name?

Is it too late? No: (Joel 2:12-13 NIV) 12 "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Am I reading too much into the recent events? Maybe, but what if I am not? Even if I am, it can't be denied that we as the Body of Christ have fallen short. We sit by as television shows get worse and worse. We sit by as television shows and movies use the Lord's Name in vain. We sit by as godlessness is taught in the public schools under such headings as; evolution, situational ethics (meaning there is no clear right and wrong, you have to determine what is right given the circumstances), diversity (deviant lifestyles), self-love (self-esteem, promoting of self above all else), sex education (sexual immorality), tolerance (tolerance for anything deviant, but no tolerance for anything with Christian values, those are taught as intolerant), and the list goes on.

If you are a Christian then by all means pray for the leadership of this country, pray for the rescue workers, pray for those who have been injured and pray for those who have lost loved ones, but first pray for forgiveness of our national sins. Pray for forgiveness of our sins as the Body of Christ which I believe have separated us from our God and our Lord and Savior. Pray for national repentance so that we may again be blessed by God. Pray that through this horrible tragedy we might see a great spiritual revival, but remember revivals have to start with God's people first. We all need to ask ourselves are we open to the leading of the Holy Spirit?

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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October 2001