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Archive for July, 2012

Two of the best, most reasonable comments in the recent controversy surrounding the comments of CEO Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A come from this article on CNN (see the link below), which I will follow with the most INTOLERANT comments of all — and note that they come from a CNN reporter and from someone who supports homosexual marriage:

“No American can say anything these days without someone getting offended. If I don’t want my rights of Free Speech taken away, then I’m not going to try to take someone else’s rights away,” said CNN iReporter Byron Thomas of Beaufort, South Carolina. “Chick-fil-A has done nothing wrong! Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay marriage isn’t banning anyone from their restaurant or refusing to serve them.”

Kim Mitchell, who bypassed protesters in Washington on Thursday to get a bite from the Chick-fil-A food truck, said she supports the chain’s overall business model as well as same-sex marriage.

“I believe (Cathy’s) employing a lot of young people and he’s more of what we need in business today,” she told CNN affiliate WJLA.

Now, the most INTOLERANT comments come from people who simply will not allow any disagreement at all over this issue.  No matter how we try to exegete their words, their viewpoints are quite in line with the old, Stalinist oppressive actions to intimidate and squash free speech:

Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney sent a letter to Cathy this week, telling the CEO in blunt terms to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you,” and vowing to introduce a resolution at the next council meeting condemning the company.

“There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly and Sisterly Affection,” Kenney wrote.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee tweeted: “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

And in Boston, where Chick-fil-A is considering opening a location, Mayor Thomas Menino, also a Democrat, made it clear the chain would not be welcome.

“I don’t want an individual who will continue to advocate against people’s rights. That’s who I am and that’s what Boston’s all about,” he said.

The hypocrisy of these three political leaders is staggering and it is part of a nation-wide attempt to shut down free speech — unless, of course, it is speech they agree with.  Fight political correctness.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/27/us/chick-fil-a-controversy/index.html?eref=rss_mostpopular

 

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Suffering Caused by Satan – and What to Do about It

In last week’s message, I said that the question, “If God is a Loving God, Why Does He Allow Suffering?” is actually the wrong questionto ask!

Instead, the question I think that God asks man is this: since I created you in My image & likeness to do good – and I blessed you – that is, I gave you the ability to do good — why do you allow suffering?

But the Bible teaches us that yet another major reason for suffering is because of satanic activity.  Let’s think about it: By the preponderance of horror movies & the greatly increased popularity of Halloween, most of our world is tantalized by evil & intrigued by Satan, the occult, & many other demonic things besides.

And yet, they have no clue that what Satan is really after is to destroy them and keep them away from eternal life in Jesus.

But is there one, clear authority that can speak with 100 % accuracy about who Satan or the devil really is?  Well, by nearly all accounts – secularist, atheist and most religious people – Jesus was at the very least the greatest teacher ever.

Therefore, He can speak with authority.  And as a matter of fact, Jesus claims to have actually seen Satan fall from heaven & in numerous places in the gospels, he tells us point-blank who Satan is, what he does – and how he can be defeated.

Now, let’s examine Jesus’ words about Satan in Luke 10:17-19; John 8:44; 10:10.  The common thread in all three passages clearly is that Jesus teaches that Satan perpetrates evil but that Jesus seeks continuously to thwart evil through the obedience of His followers.

So who is Satan (adversary)?  Who is the devil (slanderer)?  And why does he bring evil and suffering?  One major answer is that he despises God & the people He made in His image & likeness.

To understand this, we turn to two OT passages — keeping in mind that God created angels with free will, just like us: Is. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:12-17.  Satan, or Lucifer, was God’s highest creation, until man.  Satan wanted & wants to be God!

But he can’t – so he ruthlessly goes after God’s highest creation – you & me – created in God’s image & likeness to do what is good.  But Satan’s sole goal in life is to corrupt man & destroy everything God created.

He did a good job of that at Auschwitz and Buchenwald with the murder of six million Jews.  And for those who may have the temerity to scoff at Jesus’ teaching on satanic evil, they might want to consider the song “Sympathy for the Devil,” written by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, who displays amazing insight into what is in back of the evil perpetrated by human beings.  Note the lyrics:

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
Who killed the kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste

And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer
Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game,

 

So the logical question to ask, then, is why doesn’t God just destroy the devil so that he can’t cause any more suffering?  The answer to that question is two-fold: first, He will destroy the devil – locking him into the Lake of Fire for eternity.

But why doesn’t God destroy the devil right now – or why didn’t He destroy the devil before he even had a chance to bring suffering & tempt Adam & Eve?

1) Here’s why God has not yet destroyed the devil: In allowing him to exist and to even tempt man, God is trusting man with the ability – through Jesus Christ — to say no to the tempter & to temptation under even extraordinary pressure (1 Cor. 10:13).  God continues to call us to prevent suffering by doing good!

Anything of importance & value must be tested (e.g. engines, the gas tanks & the brakes of our cars & planes must be vigorously tested, so that they have the right outcome).

2) Likewise for us, when we pass difficult tests, we’re confirmed in righteousness – our highest good.  Consider how even Jesus was tested (cf. Heb. 5:7-9)!  God allows Satan to test believers so that our faith is proven even more valuable – just like Job.

Now, if people resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent of their sins & turn to Jesus, they remain under the power of the evil one & therefore the fault of even further suffering belongs to them – not God (1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:3-4).

3) Still another reason that God does not annihilate or end Satan’s existence is because this would run counter to His nature: His creation is permanent, though His justice will bring permanent retribution, as is fitting (Rev. 20:10).

Now watch this, beloved: the height of irony is that man ostensibly wants to be free of all physical, emotional and spiritual impediments, in addition to his desire to live in a world free from suffering!  Yet, so many will choose eternal suffering!

Now someone will surely protest: For God to give man only two choices and consign him to hell for not making the right choice is no freedom at all!

On the contrary, man happily lives with choices all the time & usually wisely chooses the good: for example: he opts not to murder, so that he can live his life in freedom outside of prison; he opts to show up at work on time & to do his work well so that he doesn’t cause himself to be out of a job.

He opts not to eat or drink poison so that he can stay healthy.

Man understands the choice between right and wrong & the minute you make the choice to do what is wrong to him, he’s the first to vigorously protest (even those in so-called “post-modern” society who don’t believe in moral absolutes).

4) Therefore, by rejecting the greatest good – Jesus Christ and the eternal life He offers — man consigns himself to hell and shows himself to be the fool – the very being created to be moral!

And he’s been continuously warned by the HS t/o his lifetime against rejecting Jesus and of the eternal consequences for doing so.

God cannot be blamed for man’s choices, because God the Son – Jesus — has already suffered on man’s behalf to eliminate suffering forever!  And, 1 John 3:8

The truth is that man often attempts to blame God for the suffering that occurs in the world because his own heart is not right before God: in attempting to judge God, he really seeks for his own justification: “The foolishness of man subverts his way and his heart rages against the LORD” (Prov. 19:3).

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned: God created Satan just like us: to do good for the Lord & for all of His creation!  Satan abused his free will to destroy but God still works with M, W & C to overcome him & help them to do what’s right.

He’s given believers power over the devil & the day is coming when Satan will get everything that’s coming to Him (Rom. 16:20).

So what are we to do w/this message?  1st, celebrate the truth of God’s love & goodness; 2nd, encourage one another that He works w/us to prevent suffering; 3rd, encourage the lost that their destiny to do good lies in a relationship with Jesus.

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