Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippians. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2011

When Cross and Crescent Meet???

"....let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." --- Apostle Peter speaking in Acts 4:10-12

"When Cross and Crescent Meet" is the title of a recent article in The Interpreter, a United Methodist Church publication. The cover featured a photo of a group of Muslim women having prayers at Heartsong United Methodist Church in Cordova TN. Imposed on the photo was the title of the article which details how United Methodists and Muslims in some areas have been getting together.

The central issue is whether a United Methodist Church is to permit any kind of activity whatsoever to take place within its walls, or is there a line to be drawn and a "No!" to be addressed to certain individuals or groups wanting to use the premises?

We pretty well know what the response would be if a group wanted to use the church for a beer party or someone wanted to turn the church into a brothel for an evening with some prostitutes on site doing business! Then again, with changing standards the past few years and the unthinkable now being acceptable, who knows what might happen further down the road?

The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline does contain information as to how a United Methodist Church is to be used. The basic standard is that no individual or group which advocates doctrines and teachings that conflict with the doctrines of the Christian faith should be permitted to use the premises of a local United Methodist Church.

The trust clause of each UMC underscores the fact that the property is to be used in such a manner as to honor God through His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. This is basic in our faith. Those who practice a lifestyle and adopt doctrines contrary to the mission and purpose of The United Methodist Church forfeit the right to make use of UMC property.

The picture of Muslim women having a prayer time in a United Methodist Church is in violation of stated use and purpose of a United Methodist Church. It is highly doubtful that they are praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God revealed in human form!

This is not to say that they are not welcome to attend a United Methodist Church worship service or other functions taking place within the church. The view must always be that these are people for whom Jesus Christ died on a cross to make forgiveness of sin possible. The motive must be to reach out in love to these folk in the name of our Lord Jesus but at same time not to convey the idea that their "religion" is as valid as Christianity. It definitely is not.

However, there are those who take the position that other religious expressions in the world are legitimate when it comes to addressing the issues of life, its purpose, and its eternal destiny. So, in that view, bring in whoever has some kind of deity or combination of deities (Hindu) and let them worship the same in a United Methodist Church, in spite of violating the standards for proper use of United Methodist Church property!

Christianity is a very radical faith when honestly viewed in light of Jesus' statements about Who He is and why He came into the world. The Gospel of John lists a number of His statements that begin with "I am..." In examining these claims one is forced to admit that Jesus allows for no other person or deity to do for us humans what He does. It is quite well summed up in His statement in John 14:6 -- "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Not even Allah is given consideration here.

But equally radical is Jesus' statement about honoring God. Think a bit upon this one: "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:22-24).

Only God is to be honored -- but when you honor Jesus, you are honoring God. On the other hand, if Jesus is merely a human being and nothing more, then to worship and honor Him is a vain and deadly act in which to engage.

All who claim to be Christian in faith also have to settle the issue of Jesus' parting commandment to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Those who respond are to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That commandment has not been rescinded. That means that all citizens in this world are to be confronted with the call to repent of sin and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. There are Muslims who have become Christian in faith, though in many instances at a very high price. Likewise it is so with other religious expressions. I have a pastor friend in India who was a Hindu before becoming a Christian. In his congregation are persons who formerly were Hindus and Muslims, but are now dedicated Christians.

Muslims acknowledge the fact that historically, Jesus did really exist. They regard Him as a prophet but that is it. In fact He does not rank as high as Mohammed in their list of prominent persons in the world of Islam.

What to expect in the future? There are and will be the efforts to sit down to the table and "dialog" about religious issues. Again, the assumption will be that all participants have a legitimate claim to addressing the issues of life, its purpose and its eternal destiny.

So that leaves one who professes to be Christian in faith with a very critical question -- are these who are traveling the road of "dialog" right, or is Jesus Christ correct when He claims to be the exclusive way of salvation and hope -- absolutely the one and only, thus shutting out Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, and all other deities in whatever form they exist?

The Crescent must bow down before the Cross -- that is, if there is to be any hope for time and eternity! And why is this? Consider seriously and honestly the following statement and then do the same with Jesus' parting commandment when He left the surface of this planet 2,000 years ago........

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:9-11

Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. --- Matthew 28:18-20

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Christianity the Only True Faith and Way to God's Heaven?

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

The debate has raged on century after century wherever there has been religious activity of some kind and Christianity has been manifested in the midst of that activity.

The question comes down to this one basic issue – is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the exclusive way to salvation from human sin? Is Jesus the ONLY way to reconciliation with God and the ultimate privilege of living in His Kingdom forever?

Or do other religious expressions also have a legitimate claim to speak with authority when it comes to addressing the issues of human sin, redemption from such, life’s purpose on earth, and eternal destiny?

A tragic development has been taking place in recent decades. Within the ranks of professing Christians is the growing tendency to accept other religious expressions (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Shinto, Taoism, etc.) as being on an equal level with Christianity – no one “faith” is superior to any other! Each has something to contribute to the “pool” of religiosity when it comes to matters of faith and expression of faith. Christians, of course, are expected to desist from insisting that Jesus Christ is unique. Rather, He is to be regarded as being on a par with other great religious personalities that have walked across the stage of human history as it plays out.

Without further comment consider a few of the claims Jesus Christ made for Himself in addition to the one mentioned at the very beginning:

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst……I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." (John 6:35, 51).

"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. ….As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 8:12; 9:5).

"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9).

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep….. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." (John 10:11, 14, 15, 18).

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25, 26).

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…… I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:1, 2, 5).

Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." (John 18:37).

Also note the exclusive demands which Jesus made upon us, the members of the human race, such as the absolute need to be born again as mentioned in John 3. The other three demands are found in Matthew 18:3, Luke 13:3 and John 6:53-56. These have to do with being converted, repenting, and having a faith relationship with Him which draws upon Him for sustenance in living day by day.

OK, now it’s decision time – are these claims made by Jesus true? Or was He misquoted, or are the Scriptures in error on these statements? Or did He not realize what He was saying when making such outlandish statements?

If He is right regarding the claims He made and the demands He placed on each human being, then all other religious expressions have struck out in the ball game of life! You only hit the home run when you make a positive response to His claims and demands. There are in the world today former Hindus, former Muslims and those of other world religions who have come to Jesus Christ, receiving Him as Savior and Lord of their lives, but at a very high price.

In the Muslim view, a Muslim who has converted to Christianity is now an infidel and execution in a Muslim controlled culture is the means by which such infidelity is dealt with if the “convert” does not repent and return to the way of Islam! It does not go well for the Hindu who converts and becomes a Christian either!

Someone, it may have been the late C. S. Lewis, observed that if such claims as made by Jesus are not true then He is to be regarded as a lunatic on the same level as a man in an asylum who claims he is a poached egg!

But if His claims and demands are true, then we have to settle the issue as to what place this Jesus is going to have in our own lives and live each day with the reality that the time will come when He will judge us and declare where we will spend our eternity – in a glorious Heaven with Him, or in a Devil’s Hell which the human mind cannot begin to fathom when it comes to anguish and regret! (Check one man’s experience on this in Luke 16 – you don’t want to join him!).

Is Christianity the only true faith on the face of planet Earth? How do you answer?

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:9-11

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Though I Didn’t Play by the Rules, This Is Still My Seat!

Registration begins June 11, 2009 at 7:00 AM in the IM Room --- from agenda information of the Western PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

There is an interesting (and frustrating) phenomenon which happens each year in the W PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church at its gathering at Grove City College in Grove City PA.

This has been confirmed as taking place yet this year by a friend who is attending the event. I am not attending though even retired elders in full connection are expected to be in attendance. My blood pressure cannot tolerate what goes on there, including what is about to be discussed.

It is about the registration procedure. The hour is always officially set as to when the delegates can enter the IM area, pick up name tags, and then claim their seat by writing their names on the table tags where they will be seated for the plenary sessions of the conference.

But there are some very egotistical and selfish persons who feel the rule on the opening hour of registration does not apply to them.

I always tried to be early in line before the doors opened in order to get one of the seats which better accommodated my long legs (I am 6’2”) than did most in a rather cramped area of chairs and tables.

I was willing to pay the price to get my preferred seat – namely, get up very early, drive over a hundred miles, be at the door well before 6:00 AM (which was opening time years ago), and then proceed to claim my seat.

One year I drove through a heavy rain storm, was nearly involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, was first in line when the doors opened at 6:00 AM for registration, and when I went to claim my seat, I saw many names already appearing on the table tags! This meant the seats were already taken although registration was only about 5 minutes or so “officially” underway!

I admit to being quite angered by this – a number of persons (most were preachers) had already placed their names and names of some of their friends on the table tags well ahead of the announced hour in which registration was to begin.

I wrote a letter to the bishop, cabinet members, and head of the Sessions Committee protesting this disregard for the rule on the time for registration to commence. We were always reminded that NO ONE would be permitted into the registration area before the opening of the doors at the stated hour!

I even offered to go in before the doors opened and blot out all names on the table tags with an indelible marker. After that enjoyable experience I would go out in the hallway and take my place in line with my brothers and sisters who respected the conference rule regarding the opening hour for registration.

My offer was refused as I knew it would be due to the fact that too many “church politicians” were involved in this violation who were part of the bishop’s “inner circle.” And you think the Wasington DC brand of politics is bad -- don't ever be down wind when the church brand blows your way -- the DC brand smells like a rose by way of comparison!

Obviously in W Pennsylvania there are pastors who totally forget that honesty, high ethical standards, and respect for the W PA Conference rules on registration apply to them as well as to all the others -- no exceptions! Earnestly pray that your church isn’t plagued with one of those characters – such a person will prove very quickly to be an obnoxious liability and not an asset to your church!

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. --- Philippians 2:3, 4

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Benefits Excel All Others!

When it comes to wages and benefits in times such as these the major issue often centers on the "benefits" -- what kind of health care benefits are there -- are there eye and dental care provisions -- what kind of pension benefits and how about vacation time -- and how many sick days does one get in a year's time -- can I accumulate them over the years and get paid for the ones I haven't used when I retire? Yes, indeed, there is a lot of preoccupation about the "benefits" and then after settling that, we get into the wage issues.

Sad, but true -- with all the hostility and controversy that now surrounds Christmas along with focusing on the materialistic aspects of life, the Christmas "benefit" package is ignored or flat out rejected by a vast majority of U. S. citizens, not to mention most of this world's 6 billion inhabitants!

A few can testify that the "benefit" package of Christmas beats all the others hands down! Because of God becoming human and visiting this world in the Person of Jesus Christ -- because of His death on our behalf on a Roman cross and because of His victorious resurrection here is what we have by way of benefits:

  • His peace - Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1,2).

  • His presence with us always - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Jesus speaking in Matthew 28:19, 20).

  • His power - Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8).

  • His promises that apply to all areas of our concern - Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4).

  • His provisions that are always sufficient - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..... And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:13, 19).

  • His place which He is preparing for His people -- the perfect environment with no negatives as constantly experienced in this present world - "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (Jesus speaking in John 14:1-3). A PS on this one -- can you imagine living in a place where there is perfect peace -- no conflicts of any kind whatsoever -- a place where there are no hospitals, doctors, drug stores, funeral homes and cemeteries -- a place where you have perfect health and no aches and pains -- and where you do not age?

That Christmas "benefit" package makes even the most luxurious ones dreamed up by the biggest corporations in this world quickly shrink into dust by comparison, does it not?

Have a blessed Christmas and rejoice much in the benefits it makes available through the Lord Jesus Christ as you celebrate with family and friends!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." --- Jesus speaking in John 3:16

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Tightrope Christmas!

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. --- 2 John 1:9-11

Here we go again – do we dare mention the word, Christmas, or back off and simply refer to the days of December as a holiday season and wish people a cheery “Happy Holidays?” It seems to be an adventure similar to walking a tightrope!

Reaction to the Christmas controversy is varied again this year – from allowing atheists to post a sign near a nativity display in one part of the country to the aggressive distribution of badges and bumper stickers boldly stating “Merry Christmas.”

Mike Huckabee on his Fox News program perhaps best expressed thoughts about Christmas to which those professing to be “evangelical” would say a hearty “Amen!” I just happened to accidentally catch those remarks while surfing a bit during the ad blitz on a channel showing a Christmas movie which I was attempting to watch. I very rarely view Fox News – you know, the channel that highly qualifies as a competitive beauty pageant for females, jam packed with oodles of ads, has flashy and splashy graphics and throws in a few tidbits of news with a ticker tape moving across the bottom when the ads aren’t running!

Anyway, Mike got into explaining about Christmas and the Biblical account behind it. He mentioned that God came and took on human form. He then became almost apologetic and stated that he did not want to offend those of other faiths such as Muslims, Hindus etc. but that his intent was to explain what Christmas means to those who follow the Christian faith. His explanation will probably be accepted by many with no offense.

However, the real hostility against Christmas lies not so much in a few people believing that God became human at some point in the flow of human history – it is due to a fewer number who believe and proclaim without apology that Jesus Christ is absolutely the only way of forgiveness, experiencing peace with Almighty God, and eventual entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom after death ends our existence on earth! You see, by doing this, one is stating that all other religious expressions outside of Christianity are false and without a reliable foundation! This does not sit well with most who are devotees of something other than genuine Christianity. The consequence is resentment, hostile responses and in some places, violent acts of persecution. Unfortunately there are within the ranks of professing Christianity those, including church leaders, who have backed off from being in agreement with Jesus on this issue, and have indicated one way or another that other religions in the world have legitimate claims to speak on issues related to deity, life's purpose and eternal destiny. In taking such a compromising position it has also been necessary to shift in one's view of the Scriptures with the conclusion that they are simply human produced writings with errors here and there! You can go for many miles once you start down that trail, but it will cause the vehement objections from religionists outside of Christianity to settle down a bit!

It is not a theory or some far fetched idea that bring these few to such a conclusion of what some describe as being very intolerant and narrow minded. It is based on the personal and very radical exclusive statements made by Jesus Himself – each of those statements begins with “I am…”

Further, these statements rest on the solid facts of His sacrificial death on behalf of every human being, His subsequent resurrection from the dead 3 days after crucifixion and His ascension back to Heaven after a 40 day period spent with a number of His followers. He has also specifically promised to return to this planet again and we are informed that He will rule it with a "rod of iron!"

He gave a parting command to go into all the world, issue a call to repent from sin, accept Him as Savior and Lord, and exhort all to obey His teachings – there were to be no exceptions to this – never once did He say, “Do this except for those who are of the ________ faith.” (insert any one of the vast number of religious expressions of your preference in today’s world in the blank space.).

But He also stressed one other thing which we often overlook. And that was in regard to Christians who are faithful to carry out that parting command to confront the world about His call and claims upon all members of the human race – the radical nature of that message and witness will cause them to be hated among all nations! The reason? Simple – Jesus’ followers represent light and truth which is often rejected as stated by Jesus in John 3:19-21:

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

In my years of hunting there were times as I walked through the woods that I would come across a piece of a dead log – I would kick the log over to see what would happen. Underneath were all kinds of creepy crawly things – as soon as they were exposed to the light they scurried quickly to find a hole into which they might crawl – they didn’t want to remain where there was light -- it made them too uncomfortable! A majority of human beings are much the same – the light and truth that comes through Jesus Christ Whose birth we celebrate at this time of year is more than they can stand – the reaction is hatred and hostility as they scramble to get back into the darkness and away from the light which exposes them for what they really are!

Actually, it ought not to be considered walking a tightrope at Christmas or at any other time in regard to our faith in Jesus Christ – just continue to bear witness to the fact that He is still the only way of salvation and hope in spite of the majority responding in a negative fashion – always bear in mind the inspired words of the apostle Paul – they give a powerful encouragement and challenge to keep on going because somewhere in the future when that statement is totally fulfilled we will wholeheartedly agree that it has been worth it all to have fulfilled the calling of Jesus Christ upon our lives each day of our journey on earth!

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:9-10

Friday, December 19, 2008

How About One Half of An Abortion?

Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other." --- 1 Kings 3:24, 25

The announcement has just been made and as could be expected, there has been reaction from some persons who have not been real positive. B. Hussein Obama has tapped Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church which comprises about 24,000 members, to give the invocation at the Inauguration on January 20, 2009.

Warren managed to set up a “forum” at his church during the presidential campaign in which he “interviewed” B. Hussein Obama and John McCain on issues a number of which related somehow to faith.

Shortly after this episode Time Magazine placed Mr. Warren on its front cover with a caption noting that he was America’s most powerful pastor. That of course can be seriously questioned. But there is talk that he will be Billy Graham’s “replacement” as a kind of #1 preacher, evangelist, and whatever else might be included in being elevated to the top of the religious totem pole in the republic of the U.S.A.

A writer for the New York Times noted that B. O. was extending an “olive branch” to the “evangelicals” and conservatives by selecting Rick Warren to do the invocation on January 20, 2009. One interesting thing to watch for in that moment is whether "evangelical" Rick Warren will do that prayer in the name of Jesus Christ or choose to avoid the mention of that name which is declared to be above all other names -- the name to which at some point in the future all will bow whether they be in heaven, on earth or under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father! (Philippians 2:9-11). We have to admit, do we not, that it is not common practice to acknowledge that special name at the federal government level at the present time!

Warren is described as being “evangelical” with a claim to being strong pro-life and supportive of traditional marriage in his pastoral position. In his “interview” with B. O. the issue of abortion was briefly discussed. B. O. made it plain that he wants to “work with” those opposed to abortion and that by working together the number of abortions taking place in the nation will be reduced. He did not ever mention an objective of eliminating abortions and the evidence is overwhelming that he wants to do everything possible to remove any and all restrictions relative to abortion now in place by signing the Freedom of Choice Act after becoming president.

B. Hussein Obama is attempting to build a reputation as a “peacemaker” among opposing factions. Comments made as he assembles his staff and Cabinet draw attention to the fact that there are persons on his “team” who hold opposing views and in some cases, these are in disagreement with the president-elect himself!

So, back to the abortion issue – does this mean then that in working with those opposed to abortion that we can meet half way and be offered situations where only half an abortion will be done – and in the case of the partial birth abortion, which will be resumed under the FOCA where it is now restricted, that only half the baby’s brains will be sucked out instead of all of them? That was the approach that Solomon offered in a conflict involving two mothers, a dead baby and a living baby. Each mother claimed the living baby was hers – Solomon’s recommendation was to cut the living baby in half and give each mother a half of a baby. As superior a compromise as could ever be proposed, wouldn’t you say? Those familiar with the story know that the real mother insisted that the baby be given to her opponent, while the opponent insisted on dividing it as originally suggested by the king. The wise king then ordered that the baby be given to its real mother.

B. O. has mentioned that “dialog” will be an important part of his administration – sitting down and engaging in discussion where there is strong disagreement, so that a compromise is reached. Professed “evangelicals” have been pressured for some time to engage in discussion and resolve differences so that peace prevails and everyone gets along – we’re all just one big happy family! After all, we are all God’s children, aren’t we? Or are we? If you want to see how God looks at who are really His children and who are not, take a slow read through 1 John 3 sometime – it’s a real eye opener!

With all the compromising in values that has been taking place in recent years, maybe at that table it can be suggested to just do half abortions. Yes, yes – I know – to even suggest such a thing is unreal – it’s crazy – it’s more than a tad preposterous! You either do an abortion or you don’t do it, because in this situation there is no half way deal.

Now – try some serious thinking – is it not even more insane to believe we can sit down at a table with the likes of a B. Hussein Obama and “work together” to reduce the number of abortions? At least a few of us (the ones labeled as having narrow beady eyes, a Neanderthal shaped forehead and breathing fire out our nostrils) are not interested in reducing the number of abortions – we want to see them stopped, because that is what Almighty God wants! His view of human life, identifying us humans before conception in the womb and a special purpose for each human life has been made abundantly clear. Mr. Obama has yet to honestly face up to this revelation as well as a lot of other politicians, judges and too many church leaders!

We are now at the doorway and about to be ushered into living under the most pro-death government ever to exist in United States history. When a professed “pro-life” president sat in the White House and professed “pro-life” Republicans controlled the U. S. Congress and nothing significant was done to stop the massive “shedding of innocent blood,” do we, as we sit comfortably in our compromising positions, really believe that there will be any serious attempt to respect unborn human life beginning on January 20, 2009 – further, that we will demonstrate before the nations of the world that we indeed are a people who believe and practice that ALL persons have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Perhaps we should just scuttle that historic document known as the Declaration of Independence in which the following words appear:

We hold these truths to be self–evident,
That all men are created equal,
That they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

Isn't it true that as a nation we have provided brazen testimony for years to the fact that within our borders about 100,000 persons each month do not have those unalienable rights, do they? And with a pro-death administration in control starting the 3rd week of January 2009 those rights are not going to be reinstated! So be wary if someone says to you, “Let’s work together and try to reduce the number of abortions taking place each year in this country.” A simple reply is this – “The issue is not reduction, but termination!” Would the person making that suggestion be satisfied if his or her surgeon said, “We’re going to reduce the number of cancer cells we have found in your body!” Is it not the practice of surgeons to use such terms as "We got all of it." or "We weren't able to get all of it." when referring to the cancer that they were trying to remove? So, even a rabid abortionist would not likely be satisfied if told by his surgeon, "We reduced the number of cancer cells in your body by about 50 per cent!"

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the LORD Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. --- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bush and Chinese Human Rights -- Too Little, Too Late!

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Just hours before flying to Beijing for the Olympics on Thursday, U.S. President George W. Bush used some of his bluntest language yet in publicly pressing China to improve its human rights record.

In a speech in Bangkok on the eve of the Games' opening ceremony, when the eyes of the world will be on Beijing, Bush voiced "firm opposition" to China's detention of dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists.

"The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings," he said in comments likely to anger China's communist leadership.

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labour rights not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential," he said...
--- Opening statement of news release by Reuters on August 7, 2008

He’s been president for over 7 ½ years and he’s never confronted the Chinese with one of the greatest violations of human rights committed by a country in recent times

What he said about human rights as the Olympic Games were about to begin in China was in very general terms and the Chinese leadership can weather that very easily knowing all the while the United States is dependent on China for a majority of its imported consumer goods. China also owns more than just a tad of United States’ debt! If the Chinese ever demand that we pay up, we’ll see financial chaos such as never before.

The act of gross injustice and violation of human rights which Mr. Bush has not mentioned in the years of his presidency is the invasion and take over of the sovereign nation of Tibet! That happened some time ago and it is likely a big bunch of U. S. citizens don’t even know it happened, and couldn’t care less anyhow. There are a number of sources on the internet which spell out the grisly details of this event.

How many delegates, including ours, to the United Nations are demanding that China withdraw and completely turn control over to the people of Tibet – that is, simply let them run their own country?

George Bush is the same kind of “human rights” president as he is a “pro-life” president – he can “talk” pro-life talk, but when it comes to aggressively doing anything of substance to protect the unborn, well the massive shedding of innocent blood continues without any real restriction since he became president!

So, human rights in different areas of the world -– rights for the unborn children in the U. S? A fellow by the name of Bush hasn’t much by way of an impressive record on those issues, has he?

See the numbers of unborn victims since George W. Bush became president and number of victims since he said we needed to liberate the people of Iraq from the excessive brutality of Saddam Hussein – just go to A Quick Look at the United States’ Massacre Tally! Do the unborn not have rights also, even in the "land of the free and the home of the brave?"

But there is good news on the horizon in spite of this deplorable thing on the widespread violation of human rights – one of these days such violations of human rights, both of those born and those unborn, will be ended as all government leaders will be relieved of their positions permanently! You think not? Then just what does God mean when He says things such as the following:

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion. "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ' 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'" Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. --- Psalm 2:1-12

You realize, do you not, that the vast majority want nothing to do with Jesus Christ – to bow the knee to Him and acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord is just unthinkable! But the day is coming when there will be no choice.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:9-11

Monday, May 19, 2008

Preening --- Success Depends on What You Have to Work With and What the Limitations Are!

It's the time of year that our humming birds are back and we were ready and waiting. When we had a front porch added to our home, we agreed that it would not be postage stamp size. It's 32 feet long and 12 feet wide with a roof which is supported by six 6 x 6 posts!

We have at least 3 large humming bird feeders suspended on front side of the porch It is always a pleasant and at times an exciting experience to sit on the front porch during fair weather months of the year. Watching the humming birds is better than watching any production coming out of Hollywood!

Just recently we observed 2 of the birds feeding side by side. Once in a while they would pause and then touch those long beaks, tip to tip. Was that the humming bird version of a passionate kiss? Later I saw a ruby throated male preening his feathers -- well, he was trying to anyway! One is pictured above. He's not very big to begin with and then there is that extra long beak that he has to maneuver around for the preening job. But he was making a noble attempt -- he was able to get to some of the outer area of his wings and lower part of his body, but that was it -- quite a bit of his upper body was left untouced -- too much beak and very limited area of body with which to work!

About a day later a wild turkey hen came into our back yard where we have bird feeders and always there is some feed on the ground. She began her usual picking away at cracked corn and then stopped after a bit. It was preening time -- very nimble with a long neck, she started to do her feathers -- all over -- about the only place she couldn't reach was a space about 2 inches or less around her neck -- limitations, you know! But she had a much higher percentage of coverage than the humming bird.

In our faith walk here on earth with trust centered in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, one needs to be aware of limitations -- ours, not His! Always one has to be on guard against the temptation to try to do certain things in our own way and relying upon our own strength and resources. It makes for a bad scene every time -- all too easy to forget Paul's statement which applies equally to all of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." [Philippians 4:13].

In a sense, we are called to be involved in spiritual "preening" -- part of the definition given in the dictionary for this activity is "cleaning the feathers." God wants His people to be clean -- preened, if you will, of all sin. But the moment we tend to forget our limitations, then sin begins to accumlate in numerous ways. The Corinthians were told at one point that they were badly messed up due to sin in their lives -- but they had been cleansed and forgiven -- here is how it is described:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. --- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

An aside here -- does this statement make Paul one of those persons afflicted with "homophobia" such as we hear so often about these days, outside as well as inside the church -- you know, if you don't condone same-gender coupling then you are homophobic and a hater of those who practice that particular way of life!

A humming bird on our front porch and a wild turkey hen in our back yard remind me that I do have limitations, and have to be constantly on guard lest I forget that -- the wild turkey may have thought she did a good job of preening, but even she had limitations!

"Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest; when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the rock of flint; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end; then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. --- Deuternonomy 8:11-18

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For a Few, Celebrating the Greatest Victory Ever!

He is risen!

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.".... And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." --- John 10:17, 18; 20:26-29

This is being posted a day early due to the fact that come tomorrow morning Jean and I will be off to a rather early start. We will journey 27 miles to the church we have been working with for over 8 years in Gipsy PA. If you want to take a look at it plus some other things we have posted there, slip on over to Gipsy Christian Church -- a Musings of a Maverick link is there to bring you back here.

We will be having an Easter Sunrise service at 7:00 AM. After that we will be having an Easter fellowship breakfast in our newly acquired church hall just across the parking lot from the church. We do more than the cinnamon rolls and coffee thing -- our men do eggs, potatoes, sausage, pancakes, toast with all the trimmings! Yes, there are some doughnuts too! So we have a great time of fellowship -- it's just like family!

Then we will go back to the church for our regular worship time at about 9:30 AM for more celebrating.

Our celebration involves the greatest victory ever won in the history of the human race. It was won by the Lord Jesus Christ over the human enemies of sin, death, Satanic forces, and Hell!

A gang of people thought they had finally gotten rid of Jesus that day 2,000 years ago when they saw Him die on a Roman cross -- bunch of blind fools! Three days later He came out of the tomb alive! What does it all mean?

By virtue of our true repentance from our sins -- the receiving of Him into our lives as our personal Savior and Lord we have not only victory over sin, Satan, death and Hell, but the "fringe benefits" which are a part of all that:

  • His promised living presence with us always (Note this in the Great Commission statement in Matthew 28).
  • His promised peace to give rock solid assurance as we continue our journey in this perilous world -- while the storms swirl around us, within is that still small voice saying, "Peace, be still!" Also, a reminder from out of the Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God!" (Also note His reference to peace in John 14 & 16).
  • His promised power as imparted by the Holy Spirit (Note this in the opening portion of the book of Acts).
  • His promised provision for the meeting of our needs as mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4.
  • His promise of a prepared place -- so special in so many ways including the fact that it is totally free from all corruption, pollution, conflict, pain and sorrow. Something great to look forward to when our journey here on earth has ended, is it not? (Note this in John 14 and further details in Revelation 21).

Unfortunately over the decades past there has been the infiltration of one of the most deadly heresies within the ranks of the church ever perpetrated in the history of the human race -- those "scholars," theologians, professors of theology and pastors who say/teach that Jesus did not literally come back from the dead! Mention is made somewhere on the vast acreage of Circuit Rider's Range of a seminary student who was very excited about entering the ministry and while in seminary he had a professor who did not believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This charlatan seemed dedicated to convincing students in his class that this was so. The student in question could not handle that -- dropped out of seminary -- abandoned what he believed had been a call to the ministry and his life ended up a disaster!

For a few of us -- let the skeptics, inside the church as well as out in the world, rave on in their blindness and their first magnitude ignorance that Jesus is still in the grave -- we know better, do we not? After all when you are in conversation and fellowship with Him each day you know that more than a corpse is necessary for such experiences!

I do often sort out the human race by using such terms as "few" vs. "many" -- the reason? Because that's how Jesus often did it when referring to humanity -- separated into two categories -- "few" and "many!" But more about that at a later time.

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today; I know that He is living, whatever men may say......He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart. --- from song, He Lives, written by Alfred H. Ackley

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Like It or Not, He's Alive and Will Return Again to Planet Earth!

He Is Risen!

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:5-11

It has been one of the most bitterly contested and opposed events in human history -- the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One Who was brutally crucified and Whose body was placed in the tomb of a wealthy man from Jerusalem. Three days later He came back from the dead and appeared numerous times to quite a few people over a period of 40 days. As a chosen few assembled with Him on that last day He gave a few instructions and then visibly ascended up in the air as He returned to His heavenly Father.

A bit of a shock set in as a couple of angels appeared and reassured those followers of Jesus that the moment would come when He would return to earth, "in like manner" as they had seen Him go from them.

For a few of us, this Sunday will be yet another time to celebrate the greatest victory ever won over the greatest enemies of the human race -- the enemies of sin, death, and Satan and his vicious forces of evil!

We celebrate because we know:

  • On basis of repentance of our sins, He in mercy has forgiven us.
  • We now experience His peace -- condemnation and guilt have been removed!
  • We experience His presence with us on a 24/7 basis!
  • We experience His power to overcome the world with its many pressures and tempations -- that is, the promise of His Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives.
  • We experience His purpose on a day by day basis -- life is not a "fate" whatever will be will be kind of thing -- Jesus Christ has a customized plan for us!
  • We experience His promises, which are many, including His intention to return to this earth and establish His Kingdom -- this is referred to as the "blessed hope and the glorious appearing" -- see Titus 2:11-15 -- the Gospel in a nutshell and the responsibility of every Christian as he or she lives in expectation of Jesus' return to earth.

    • He will put down all opposing forces -- an international military machine which will be obliterated faster than a mosquito hitting the windshield of an 18-wheeler rolling at 80 MPH on Interstate 80 in Clarion Co. PA (I mention that due to traveling that section of I-80 from Brookville to Clarion occasionally and have nearly been blown off the road as those guys flew by me!).
    • He will judge all nations -- that is why it is good news that one of these days all politicians will be out of a job -- Jesus Christ will be in charge of the affairs of this world!
    • Jerusalem will be the "world capitol" -- another reason for reading the prophets of the Old Testament to see promises about the future glory of Jerusalem -- e.g. Jerusalem will be called a city of truth, a city safely inhabited, where nations will assemble to be instructed in the ways of God, etc!
    • Peace will be universal -- the dismantling of all military weapons -- no need for a military anywhere nor all the implements of war -- totally eliminated!
    • Even the animals will be at peace with one another -- the lion will eat straw like the ox, the wolf lying down with the lamb in peaceful co-existence! This isn't fairy tale stuff, folks -- it's promised in the Book -- see for yourself!
    • Just lots and lots of good things to look forward to -- because Jesus loves us, died for our sins to make forgiveness possible, rose again from the dead, and He's coming back again to earth -- AND no one will delay His return by even 1/10 of a second!

Yes, we will be assailed and the hostility coming from the world and sometimes from within the ranks of those who profess to be "Christian" will increase as time moves ahead. Jesus guaranteed that His followers will be hated and persecuted -- you can review that in John 15 and into John 16!

BUT there is one thing those who hate and despise us can never do -- they can't put Him back into the grave as much as they would like to -- and they can deny He is alive (and strange as it may seem, some preachers and church leaders even entertain this streak of raw unbelief) but when "He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own..." let the fools ramble on -- they won't be dead more than 2 seconds until they realize He is none other than King of kings and Lord of lords and the One Who will ultimately judge every human being born into this world from the time of Adam and Eve!

So, if you know Him personally as Savior and Lord of your life, celebrate that mighty victory anew this Sunday -- and rejoice with fellow believers -- we are a distinct minority, but numbers aren't the real issue -- the real issue is to be right with God, seeking to fulfill His purpose for our remaining days on earth while He tarries in His glorious return!

If you don't know Him -- ask His forgiveness and repent of your sins, in whatever form that rebellion presently exists -- ask Him to come into your life as your personal Savior and Lord. In the right column in this BLOG near the top is an area devoted to becoming a Christian and statements from God's Word as to how that can happen in your life, if you have not yet made that very critical decision.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. --- John 1:10-13

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Two Faiths – Two Books – Two Deities, But Only One Will Prevail!

Islam, embraced by Muslims, has millions of devotees all over the world. Likewise, Christianity, embraced by those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, has a considerable number in many parts of the world.

The Muslims have a holy book known as the Qur’an (or Koran) and get very upset if it is shown any kind of disrespect. Christians also have a holy book known as the Bible. They also get upset if the Bible is shown disrespect. How Muslims and Christians react to those who would show and demonstrate disrespect for their holy books can be very different.

The deity of the Muslims is Allah. The deity of the Christians is most often referred to as God Who has chosen to manifest Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout the centuries of human history. Christians have been criticized and accused of being polytheists because of identifying God in such a manner.

The United States is one country where efforts have been made to enter into “dialog” and establish “civil” discourse among Muslims and Christians. For some it is a matter of recognizing that we are all “on a spiritual journey” and we are all “seeking the same goal” therefore we ought to respect one another and discuss where we have “common ground” so that we can work together for the common good of all persons, nations, etc.

President George W. Bush speaking at a news conference held with Tony Blair in the United Kingdom some time back stated that he believes Muslims and Christians worship the same God. A number of persons would heartily agree with the statement and appeal that we should be able to live peaceably with each other on this basis.

The hard reality is that Christianity and Islam in their purest expressions are totally incompatible. When these two faiths become corrupted due to false teachings within the ranks, or professed “believers” rely on personal opinions and what “feels good” rather than on the teachings as revealed in the Bible or the Qur’an, or leaders in these faiths claim to speak with “authority” but at same time deny basic teachings of the holy books, then the faith of each has been compromised. The claims of being exclusively the only true faith have been essentially destroyed and anyone can jump on the religious band wagon, stake out a claim, and be recognized as being as genuine as anyone else who has a “spiritual” fiddle to play!

The grand finale of human history is where one sees the sharp contrast between a future as viewed from statements in the Qur’an and that of the holy Bible.

First, see the Qur’an, Surah 2. The Cow (statements 126 – 132):

And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits,-such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He said: "(Yea), and such as reject Faith,-for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire,- an evil destination (indeed)!" And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Our Lord! send amongst them an Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise." And who turns away from the religion of Abraham but such as debase their souls with folly? Him We chose and rendered pure in this world: And he will be in the Hereafter in the ranks of the Righteous. Behold! his Lord said to him: "Bow (thy will to Me):" He said: "I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe." And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam."

Next, see the Qur’an, Surah 2. The Cow (statements 191 – 193):

"And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors."

Now see what is revealed in the Christians' holy Bible in Philippians 2:5 – 11:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And note Bible statements in 1 Timothy 6:11 – 16:

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

However, the greatest contrast not only between Christianity and Islam, but between Christianity and all other religious expressions in the world is in the fact of incarnation and redemption. Only Christianity reveals a God Who loved the members of the human race so much He was willing to become human. And not only did He become human, but ultimately He sacrificed Himself for all the sins of the human race and made possible total forgiveness of those sins on the condition of repentance (turning away from those sins) and acceptance of Jesus Christ (God in human form) as Savior and Lord.

Thus the Christian can say to the Muslim or a member of some other religious group, “Jesus died for your sins just as He did for mine – He loves you, and by accepting Him as Savior and Lord of your life, you can be forgiven, have peace with God, and the assurance of a place in His Kingdom forever!”

The Muslim, or a practitioner of some other religion cannot make similar statements of that kind to a Christian – there is nothing in whatever “sacred” writings they may have that even comes close to teaching their deity or deities becoming human and personally atoning for the sins of each human being ever born into this world! In fact, in some areas where Islam fully dominates and controls the culture, if a Muslim should choose to become Christian, execution of that convert will usually take place -- the reason being that the Muslim has abandoned his faith and has become an infidel! Islam in its purest form seeks to establish a world where it is fully accepted and infidels exist no longer.

However, the exclusive claims and demands made by Jesus set Him apart from and superior to all deities as taught by the hundreds, if not thousands of religious groups which have sprung up as human history has run its course through the centuries. If you haven’t done so lately, review His claims and demands as revealed particularly in the Gospel of John in the New Testament.

It was after His glorious resurrection from the dead that He commanded His followers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (the "good news" of a Savior Who has come to seek and save that which was lost) to all nations, to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach the things which He has revealed to us in His Word. See final statements in the gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, chapter 28.

Think about it!