Friday, April 30, 2010

One Bigoted Woman and One Bigoted Man

There are some words that can lay dormant in the dictionary and are seldom used, the word ‘bigot’ is one of them. Yet when the UK’s Prime Minister made an awful gaffe, by labelling Gillian Duffy a ‘bigoted woman’, with his lapel microphone still switched on for the media to hear, the word is immediately spoken or printed during the next twenty-four hours, in the majority of languages worldwide.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word, ‘A person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinion of others’ George Bernard Shaw said, “There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.”

Mr. Brown’s words spoken in private but captured by the media for the world to hear became an embarrassment for him and he had to go back to Mrs. Duffy’s house to apologize to her for this insensitive blunder. Outside her house he confessed to the media pack that he was a penitent sinner. This said, he might find that his unjustified outburst against Gillian Duffy will come back to haunt him in future days.

The scripture says in Matt. 15:17, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.” James said, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” To be in control of what we say whether in private or in public is good because if we lose control of the words we speak we might try to cover up afterwards and say words that are not true. How lovely it is to hear a person speak the truth and live what he or she says, life and lip in perfect harmony. This was seen absolutely in the life of Jesus Christ, He never needed to call a word back or apologize for anything He said, because He always spoke the truth.

Politicians of any party-colour can spin lies and make them sound like truth but ultimately truth will out and expose the lie.

Bigotry is dangerous because it can deteriorate into violence. no matter what sphere it manifests itself in, whether racial, political, religious or even sport. History has many examples; a prime one in recent times is Hitler’s bigotry against the Jews and the policy of extermination, allegedly responsible for the death of six million people through the gas chambers.

The same day that Mr. Brown made his howler; a taxi driver took my wife and myself from a hotel in St.Paul’s Bay, Malta, to the airport. It was morning and the derogatory remark by the PM had not yet been uttered, but his questions about the forthcoming elections in the UK were central to his thinking and his overall respect of politicians was low.

While staying at the Hotel I asked an Englishman who had lived on the island for a number of years, if St. Paul’s Bay was the actual location where the Apostle cane ashore after being shipwrecked (Acts 27 and 28) but he did not know and did not seem particularly interested till I quoted Paul’s words that “The barbarous people shewed us no little kindness” for he recognized that the people of Malta are still friendly and hospitable.

Saul of Tarsus who became the Apostle Paul is an example of a religious bigot. Before his conversion to Christ (Acts 9) he boasted of being a Pharisee of the Pharisees and could not stand the thought of Jews becoming Christians. He persecuted those who did convert, some to prison, some to death. His intolerance of Christians was absolute until Christ spoke to him on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why persecute thou me?” Christ was saying if you persecute them, you are persecuting me! What followed was dynamic, his life was changed, he became a Christian, he said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Saul of Tarsus was a penitent sinner and was converted to Christ, and became committed to preaching the gospel of Christ to others. He wrote to Timothy, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” What a remarkable change, the blasphemer became the preacher, the persecutor became the persecuted, to the Romans he said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I thank God that even today there are people who are prepared to listen to the truth of God’s Word and abandon preconceived atheistic thoughts about evolution, or religious dogma and turn like Saul of Tarsus did, to a Saviour who died for them, rose again from the dead and now lives at the right hand of God, a living Saviour. Christ can be your Saviour too if you sincerely be that repentant sinner and call upon the Lord in prayer to save you. How lovely it would be if a bigoted woman or a bigoted man turned right now to Christ! God bless.

Written for Stephen Baker by Stan Burditt

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The prayer of an old saint


Current Age: 90

Truth...........from a man the media has never been able to throw dirt on.....amazing!

He has certainly hit the "world" on the head!

Billy Graham's Prayer for the United States of America

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values..

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free.Amen!'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

The above noted words are salutary and could be applied to the United Kingdom as well as to the USA. May God help us to repent of our sins and seek the forgiveness of God. His grace is sufficient because we can still truthfully say 'Through this man (The Lord Jesus Christ) is preached the forgiveness of sins'

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Living a lie

In a recent interview Tiger Woods, reputed to be a billionaire golfer said, “I was living a lie, I really was.” He was referring to his marital misconduct involving adultery with several women. A transcript of his confession is in the public domain, which upon examination shows that he did not use the word adultery at all, but referred to cravings outside of himself.

Parts of the transcript follow. < Good morning, and thank you for joining me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in…..For all that I have done, I am so sorry….I have a lot to atone for….. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.

I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame. I didn't have to go far to find them.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.

In therapy I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be cantered so I can save the things that are most important to my marriage, my children and me.>

It is sad to see anyone fall into sin of any sort and for that sin to be arrayed in newspapers and on television programs throughout the world,. At this point we must remind ourselves that we are no different to him, we are all sinners, he broke the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, most of us would not get past the first one about loving God with all our heart and soul and strength. Jesus said to the people that wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) Mr. Woods said that he has a lot to atone for.

As a preacher of the Gospel of Christ I have to tell him and any other person that none of us can atone for our sins, only Christ’s death on the cross can avail for guilty sinners and only His precious shed blood can atone for our sins. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John1:7)

Another notable character that lived a lie was Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples that had followed Christ for three and a half years, but it was not adultery that was his downfall, it was the tenth commandment, covetousness. Judas Iscariot had been given the responsibility of the apron with the scrip or bag that contained the money that had been given to the Lord and His followers for their support. It is John who tells us that Judas criticized Mary of Bethany when she anointed the Lord prior to His death. He said, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

John wrote his gospel possibly sixty years afterwards and though perhaps he did not know what Judas was up to at the time he certainly knew later, that some of the funds went missing and who the culprit was and so he says, ”He was a thief” Judas concealed his thieving from the others, but the Lord knew all about him. Whatever our sin is God can forgive us if we are repentant and call upon Him in faith for salvation.
Judas is remembered most for his betrayal of Christ.

At this Easter season we recall the events that took place according to prophecy. Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” telling us of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem upon the colt the foal of an ass. In ch.11:12 of that prophecy he says, “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. This is the price that Judas sold the Saviour to the priests for, and what happened to that money when he threw it back into the Temple treasury, the Priests bought the Potters field with the money because it was not lawful for them to put ‘blood money’ into the treasury.

Remorse made Judas realize the intensity of his sin and he committed suicide. It is one thing to live a lie, but if one dies in their sin, nothing but perdition awaits them, as it did for Judas. If you die in your sin you can never go to be with Christ in Heaven, but like Judas you will be a son of perdition.

Whatever your sin, turn to Christ in repentance and trust the One who died for our sins, to save us and give us eternal life.

God bless,

Written by Stan Burditt of Northampton
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