Posts Tagged ‘society’

On his HotBedInfo blog Kyle Trottier wrote that he believes that America may be on the same path of destruction as the doomed Roman Empire. He is not alone in his assessment. There are many voices sounding the same alarm…And they may be right.
According to research, eight specific patterns of behavior have signaled the downward spiral and imminent demise of every culture:
• Marriage lost its sacredness; it was frequently broken by divorce.
• Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony was lost. Alternate forms and definitions of marriage arose, and traditional marriage vows were replaced by individual marriage contracts.
• Feminist movements appeared, and women lost interest in child bearing and mothering, preferring to pursue power and influence.
• Public disrespect for parents and authority in general increased.
• Juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion accelerated
• People with traditional marriages refused to accept family responsibilities.
• Desire for and acceptance of adultery grew.
• Increased tolerance for sexual perversions of all kinds, particularly homosexuality, with a resultant increase in sex-related crimes.

Sound familiar? If this research data is taken seriously, one can only conclude that America is a civilization in rapid decline—a nation in serious, imminent danger.

You would think that this data must have been generated by some radical, far-right religious organization with a serious political agenda. So who was it that released this startling indictment? Focus on the Family? Promise Keepers? Alex Jones? It may surprise you that the author has no religious affiliation or conservative political perspective. The author was noted Sociologist and Historian Dr. Carle Zimmerman. His book, “Family and Civilization,” is a scholarly work of pure history, sociology and science. Far from being current rhetoric from the religious right, the book was published in 1947.

Regardless of their credentials, when a conservative person of faith speaks out for family values in today’s troubled society, their statements are quickly discounted by some as right wing religious propaganda. But how do these people respond to the almost prophetic writings of this respected man whose work predates the beginning of many of today’s problems?

That America is a nation in decline is undeniable. So is it too late to reverse that decline? I don’t think so. But such reversal will require men and women of God who are willing to stand tall and strong for the moral and ethical values laid out in God’s Holy Scriptures. It will require us to be willing to place God above everything else in our lives: Integrity before personal gain, families before career and job promotions, and children before personal entertainment. It will require all of God’s people to humble themselves before God, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways.

“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14-15 NIV)

Many Christians today look at what’s happening in our world and may feel that the end is so near that they think, “Why bother to try to change things? Why not just wait for the eminent return of our Lord Jesus?” But remember that Jesus himself said,“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matt. 24:6)

Change will not be easy, but it is possible—if we truly take our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren, seriously. Do you?

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed that “cool” kids in middle school had a tendency to participate in bullying more than others. Bullying defined as “either starting fights or pushing other kids around or spreading nasty rumors about other kids”, the UCLA psychology study found that bullying could help improve an individual’s social status and popularity among middle school students. In addition, students who were already considered popular utilized these forms of bullying. The study’s lead author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that, “The ones who bully more are seen as cool.”

In the project, the researchers observed 1,895 ethnically diverse students from 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The students were dispersed across 99 different classes, with investigators conducting surveys at the start of the seventh grade, the fall of eighth grade, and the spring of eighth grade. During each of the three surveys, the students filled out questionnaires asking them to name the students who were thought to be the “coolest”.  Students who were considered “coolest” at some time during the study were also found to be the most aggressive, and individuals who were named the most aggressive had a higher likelihood of being considered the coolest. So it seems that the simple message of “Bullying is not tolerated” is not likely to be very effective.

Are some students naturally aggressive ?

I do not believe that children are naturally aggressive or ‘born to bully’. Human beings are not ruled by instincts like animals. Aggressive impulses come mainly from responses learned during upbringing. Parents that express anger through physical aggression will likely produce children who tend to express anger the same way. Children from homes where there is domestic violence tend to over or under-estimate violence, which often affects their relationships with others and later with their own children. Unfortunately, adults often unknowingly set a bad example to their children.

What can the Church do?

The United States is one of the most religious nations in the developed world yet it has the highest murder rate. When the greatest amount of violence is found in a country that was founded on biblical principles, it is no wonder that the unbelieving world is asking, “What kind of influence is Christianity having?”

I know that violence will continue to be a problem until Jesus returns and sets all things right. And although we can’t eliminate violence in this age, God has called us to influence the world as “salt” and “light”. (Matthew 5:13-16) But if we lose our saltiness; our Christianity isn’t good for anything. And if we hide our light; the world will remain in darkness. The time is now for the Church to repent from our wickedness and pray for God to send revival!

The great modern revivalist Leonard Ravenhill in his book, ‘Today’s Sleeping Giant’ wrote:

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

I pray that she will wake before it’s too late.

I recently read an article that immediately filled me anger. The article, in the Spokesman-Review in Washington State, reported that about 30 homeless people have died during 2012 and at least four were 17 and two others were between 18 and 20!

The National Runaway Switchboard estimates that on any given night there are approximately 1.3 million homeless youth living unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, with friends or with strangers.  Homeless youth are at a higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, substance abuse, and death.  It is estimated that 5,000 unaccompanied youth die each year as a result of assault, illness, or suicide!

The death of any young person is tragic. Kevin M. Ryan wrote in his blog that he had attended the funeral of a young man he’s known most of his life, who died unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 21 a few days after Christmas.  He relates how, at the funeral, the church was packed with hundreds of family and friends.

While reading these sad and tragic stories I couldn’t help but think of what might have happened; how these precious lives could have been saved and changed for the better, if only someone who attended one of these funerals would have stepped up and helped them. Maybe they too, would be alive today and be following their dreams.

Over the past five years my wife and I have opened our home to a dozen men, women and children who were in need of a home. I’m happy to report that today they all have homes of their own and doing well.

Reading articles like this should cause a righteous rage to well up inside of every Christian’s heart and spur them to action.  I pray that more people will step up and help more of these vulnerable people instead of attending their funerals.

“I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:45)

 

Across the country, tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college degrees, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession, which has left workers between the ages of 18 and 24 with the highest unemployment rate of all adults. Click HERE for labor stats 

Some can move back home with their parents, but that’s not an option for those whose families have been hit hard by the economy. Without a stable home address, they are part of an elusive group that hope to avoid the stigma of public homelessness and are missed by many yearly homeless counts. They are mostly couch surfers or sleep hidden away in cars or other private places, during what they hope will be a temporary predicament.
These young adults have joined the new face of a national homeless population; one that poverty experts and case workers say is growing. Yet the problem remains mostly invisible. Most cities and states, that focus on the chronically homeless have not made special efforts to identify and help young adults and homeless families with children, who tend to shy away from ordinary shelters out of fear of being victimized by the chronically homeless who may have criminal backgrounds or who are mentally unstable.

$20.5-million complex for the chronically homeless?
The Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles is building a 102-unit, $20.5-million complex by stacking pre-outfitted apartments atop one another in a Lego-like fashion to save time and money. The residents will pay 30% of their monthly job or government assistance income as rent but are not required to seek on-site medical treatment, psychiatric counseling, drug or alcohol treatment or therapy as a condition of residency.

“The thought is, how do we help people make the choice that is best for them,” said Mike Alvidrez, executive director of the Skid Row Housing Trust, who stressed the trust’s Housing First model — a philosophy that has caught fire nationwide. Alvidrez said, “The first step to helping someone recover from a chronic drug or alcohol problem is to give them a home and sense of community.”
But will someone who has a permanent residence they can afford seek out psychiatric counseling, drug or alcohol treatment on their own? Most likely, they will not. But thankfully, the problem can be hidden from the people of Los Angeles now. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-skid-row-housing-20121216,0,1039440.story

Not all shelters agree with this “Housing First” philosophy.
Founded in 1975, the Siena/Francis House is Nebraska’s largest shelter, providing food, emergency shelter & clothing, along with outreach/case management to homeless families and individuals from Omaha and surrounding communities. The Siena/Francis House also houses a residential chemical addictions treatment center, a day services center, an employment training program, and a medical clinic. The Siena/Francis House has a policy that tries to never turn away any person or family who comes to them in need, regardless of their circumstances.

In 2011 the Siena/Francis House served 418,107 meals and provided 156,258 nights of shelter to approximately 4,000 homeless men, women and children. In pursuing the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness – one person at a time – the Siena/Francis House provides a residential addiction recovery program, aptly named “Miracles Treatment Center”. Any person who desires to participate in the Miracles Treatment Center must be willing to commit to stay at least 120 days in the Siena/Francis House’s residential program, enter its job training program, and provide 40 service hours per week at the shelter.

The Siena/Francis House’s belief is that, by finding value and untapped abilities in people that society has overlooked, they help them find value in themselves. By providing persons in the Miracles Treatment Center with counseling, education, job training, and life and independent living skills, they furnish them the tools that will help them recover from, and successfully manage the problems that brought them to the doors of the Siena/Francis House in the first place. It is through programs like this that people receive a vision for a new future; one that is positive; because without vision people are destroyed.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

I want to make it clear that this is not an article designed to bash the LGBT community. Neither is it my intention to draw attention to any particular type of sin. My intention is to bring awareness of how important is to study God’s Word ourselves so that we won’t be deceived by unsound doctrines.

For too long people have been spoon fed a watered down gospel by false teachers and pastors that use their positions more as a platform for social and political rhetoric than for speaking the truth from Scripture.

The Bible has traditionally been interpreted as the source of all truth authored and inspired by God. Although most Christians condemn the actions associated with homosexuality based on their understanding on the Bible, some anonymous editors have set out to reinterpret scriptures to create a new translation — “The Queen James Bible” — that is favorable to gays and lesbians. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/queen-james-bible-now-theres-a-gay-friendly-version-of-scripture/

The editors claim that their new version is a purer take on the scriptures. Through their website they have said, “We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn God’s LGBT children, and we succeeded.” The editors also stated, “We edited the Bible to prevent homophobic interpretations.

Among the verses that they changed was Genesis 19:5. Originally reading: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” Genesis 19:5-7 (KJV)

They amended it to, “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them. Genesis 19:5 (QJV) (Page 21)

The editors explain that they understand the story of Sodom and Gomorra to be about bullying strangers. It as if they believe that Lot asked the men of Sodom not to “wickedly bully” the angel visitors. They also point out that Leviticus forbids one to have sex with a beast, and since angels are not human, Lot was merely preventing the bullies in the town from having sex with non-humans. Plus, they rationalize that because rapes such as this one are common between men in prison, they aren’t sexual acts; they are power-dominating acts. In other words, they believe that a power-dominating rape is wrong, but consensual sex is not.

First, I feel I should point out that the Hebrew word used for angel here is ‘mal’ak’ and is best translated, messenger. Contrary to popular belief, angel / messengers mentioned in scripture did not have wings. (Although often depicted that way in art) Therefore, the men of Sodom had no idea that the visitors were anything other than human.  Just because someone is raped, it does not diminish the fact that the act of sex is involved; either homosexual or heterosexual.

Another scripture the editors changed is Leviticus 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. (KJV) And Leviticus 20:13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV)

The editors believe that Leviticus is outdated as a moral code, but still picked it as their most important book to address in their edits, because they believe most anti-LGBT religious activists cite Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 as proof-positive that homosexuality is a sin, and even worse, a sin punishable by death.

The editors assert that Leviticus 18:21 refers to “lying” with pagan male prostitutes as a form of pagan idolatry and therefore fits better with the story order of Leviticus 18, and with the other offenses punishable by death within it. That’s why they changed Leviticus 18:21 and 20:13 to read as follows:

Leviticus 18:22

Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination. (QJV) (Page 75)

Leviticus 20:13

If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (QJV) (Page 76)

The editors explain: “To address Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, we need to look at the path of translation. The Hebrew word “to’evah” from which abomination is translated simply means something that is “ritually unclean,” or a “taboo.” Although the Hebrew word tow`ebah translated “abomination” in the KJV can refer to a ritual sin, (eating unclean animals or worship of idols) in the context of this chapter it should be obvious that “Thou shalt not lie” refers to having sexual relations with someone of the same sex and not practicing pagan rituals. The word used for abomination here means: a disgusting thing; Of course, the editors prefer to translate the word abomination as “taboo”; possibly because it doesn’t sound quite as harsh?

The editors also changed Romans 1:26 – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against their nature… (KJV) to:

Their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another; (QJV) (Page 545)

The editors state that they can’t be exactly sure what Paul meant by the natural use of a woman, but they are pretty sure he wasn’t talking about lesbian sex. They further state that unnatural uses of their bodies could even have meant pagan dancing! Really?! God gave them up to vile affections that resulted in the women began dancing?!

To be honest, I’m surprised it took this long to produce such a Bible. Many view the concept of sin as archaic and outdated; something that needs to be cast aside in light of current “modern thought”. But there are some things taught in God’s word which will never become outdated. Sin is one such topic that is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. But I believe the most important point that the editors of this Bible missed, and therefore deceive many; (including themselves) is that ALL unrighteousness is sin to God. (1John 5:17)

When trying to define sin, scripture provides all the information needed:

(1 John 3:4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

(1Cor. 6:9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (By the way, effeminate does not just mean a male who practices homosexual forms of lewdness, but people in general who are guilty of addiction to sins of the flesh.)

(Prov. 6:16-19) These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Notice that homosexuality is not even mentioned among the seven things that God hates and yet that is the one sin that most Evangelical Christians view as the most heinous of all.

Perhaps the whole matter can be summed up in the words of James 4:17: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

I do not believe that homosexuals are condemned just because they are homosexuals. We are ALL condemned under the penalty of sin. (Rom 3:23) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done. The only way we are justified is by faith in the redemption that is in Jesus, our Messiah. And the only way we are condemned is by rejecting that redemption. Remember:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Eph. 2:1-5) NLT