Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Thoughts and Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Ruling



Last Friday, June 26th, when the Supreme Court’s ruling was announced approving of homosexual marriage we were away on vacation and I wasn’t able to write anything.  That’s probably a good thing because I would have been reacting from the emotions of the moment rather than thinking things through. 



Since that day I’ve had time to reflect and want to share some thoughts. 

When I heard the announcement my heart was grieved.  I had been praying that the Lord in His mercy would spare the United States from going down that road of approving sin which God has clearly condemned in His perfect and inerrant Word.  Obviously the Lord’s answer was no and the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5 to 4 in favor of homosexual marriage. 

Where was God when this happened?  He was on His throne and continues to sovereignly rule and reign over all creation and sinful man.  His Son, the Lord Christ Jesus, is seated at the Father’s right hand ruling and reigning.  This is all under His sovereign control and perfect plan that He is working out. 

God has plainly revealed in His Word that this world will continue in its downward spiral of sin.  This ruling just gives evidence to that.  Reading Romans 1:18-32 is like reading today’s headline news.  Repeatedly the Lord reveals that He will give man over to his sin.  Why?  Because man has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness and denies God who has clearly revealed Himself in creation.  We do not glorify God.  As a result, our thinking has become futile and our foolish hearts are darkened. 

On June 26, 2015, the United States of America clearly abandoned its roots that were once based on Judeo Christian values. 

The five justices, not only ruled in favor of sin which God has condemned, they stepped over the line and went from interpreting the Constitution to making law.  If that’s what they want to do, they are in the wrong branch of government.  They should leave the court system and run for office. 

So why go the route of the court to change the law?  Well…because 37 States have passed laws limiting marriage as being between one man and one woman or supporting the Defense of Marriage Act.  Going the legal route wasn’t working in favor of homosexual marriage advocates.

Where is this going to stop?  Will the courts soon be approving polygamy or family members marrying?  After all that’s marriage between consenting adults.  We are on that slippery slope and have a mind darkened by sin and corruption and it’s going to get a lot worse. 

What’s so wrong about homosexuality? 

God has declared it sinful in His perfect and inerrant Word, the Bible.  He is our Creator and He is God to whom we all will give an account.  In the Bible He declares what is sinful and right and wrong.  He has also declared adultery and all sex outside of marriage as sinful.

God ordained marriage as being between one man and one woman.  He blessed them and commanded that they go forth, be fruitful and multiply.  Apart from adoption or science homosexual couples cannot carry out that command.  Physically men and women are complimentary and are able to procreate.  Having two mommies or two daddies does not make up for not having a dad or mom.  The Lord designed family to be a father, mother and children.

I was very troubled by President Barack Obama’s action of bathing the White House in the rainbow colors of the gay liberation movement.  That was very divisive and beneath the dignity of the President of the United States of America.  President Obama is the President over all Americans, not just people who share his view on homosexual marriage.  He should be uniting not dividing.  There was a day when the President said that he believed that marriage was between one man and one woman.  I guess over time his beliefs changed or he didn’t really believe what he originally said. 

This ruling is edging us ever closer to silencing those who disagree with homosexual marriage; who in keeping with the Bible call it sin.  We are a step away from forcing pastors, ministers, priests and clergy to either approve of and marry homosexual couples or face legal consequences including fines, imprisonment and loss of non-profit organization status.  Soon saying homosexuality is sin will be considered a hate crime.  We will be losing our Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

All people, including homosexuals, are human beings created in God’s image and as a result should be treated with kindness, goodness, dignity and respect.  Their sin is no worse than mine is.  Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin.  God has promised in His Word that if we repent of our sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we will be forgiven of our sin and spend eternity in heaven with Him.  If we fail to do that God has warned that we will be condemned of our sin and go to hell. 

At the end of the day, the worst thing about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of homosexual marriage will be the result of fewer people sharing the lifesaving message of the Gospel, that there is forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ.  A broken and contrite heart God will not despise. 

People don’t want to be thought of as a bigot or hater…so they may shut up and not share the Gospel. 

Recently I watched a video that my friend Ken Kish shared which showed Penn Jillette, from Penn and Teller fame, talking about someone sharing the Gospel.  In the video Penn, an avowed atheist said that he respects Christians who share the Gospel even though he doesn’t believe it.  I won’t forget something he said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?  How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Is my failure to share the Gospel with fellow sinners hatred?  At the very least it’s caring more about me and my comfort over their eternal salvation. 

May Christians be men and women of courage and obedient to the Lord and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with everyone: family and friends, neighbors and co-workers, heterosexuals and homosexuals.  For we are all sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I know that there’s a lot of good commentary out there on the Supreme Court’s ruling and I would encourage you to read and stay informed.  I would also like to direct you to the Hillsdale College website where you can sign-up to take their course on the US Constitution for free.  With the upcoming elections and charged political landscape we owe it to ourselves and fellow citizens to be informed and know what rights, responsibilities and liberties we’ve been granted in our Constitution.  Be informed and select candidates who are in keeping with your morals and values. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore – Hits the Target



I love a good mystery filled with intrigue and interesting characters.  I hit the target with Drawing Fire by author Janice Cantore who is a former Long Beach police officer.  This is the first book I’ve read by Janice Cantore and I look forward to reading her earlier books. 

Drawing Fire is filled with suspense and lots of action, but not at the expense of character development.  I really liked the characters and learning about what drives them and makes them tick.  The story takes place in Long Beach, California.  Having lived in So Cal for many years it was fun to read about the various locations and visualize the scenes. 

I appreciate when a Christian author weaves their faith into the characters and storyline.  I thought that Janice did a good job in showing what a loving and supportive Christian community can be like.  It wasn’t contrived but flowed naturally as we learn about the characters and see them interact in everyday life and in crisis situations. 

At the end of Drawing Fire there are twelve discussion questions which can be used for a book club or the individual reader.  I found the questions compelling as I remembered the characters and storyline and wondered how I might have responded. 

When Drawing Fire concludes the readers will know who done it, but things aren’t neatly and perfectly tied up, which is kind of like real life.  It proves to be a good stopping off point because the characters will be continued in the next book of the Cold Case Justice series.  That’s a book I will want to read. 

I would like to thank Tyndale Publishers for the opportunity to read Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Give an Account



If I remembered that I will give an account to the Lord for the words I speak…how would that change what I say?  I need to remember that all is open and laid bare before the Lord, there are no secrets with God.  May that truth change me even down to the thoughts and intentions of my heart.  What I think effects what I feel.  What I feel will be reflected in what I say.  What I feel doesn’t change what is true. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Murder Freshly Baked by Vannetta Chapman – Mixed Emotions



I really enjoy reading mystery novels and like to discover good authors that are new to me.  Now that’s a win-win recipe that I like to try and why I selected Murder Freshly Baked by author Vannetta Chapman. 

Murder Freshly Baked is the third book in the Amish Village Mystery series and the first book I’ve read by Vannetta Chapman.  Overall I liked this book, but there were some things I struggled with especially early on.

I was lost at the beginning of the book because there were so many characters introduced right off the bat.  On the first page alone there were six characters carried over from the prior novels and four more were introduced before chapter one ended.  I would imagine that for people who have read the first two books it was like encountering old friends.  But for someone new to the series I had a hard time keeping everyone straight and understanding who’s who.  The first scenes had a lot going and with a character being murdered the story was off and running.  But I felt like I was back at the starting line just trying to figure out what was going on and who was involved. 

Something else I struggled with is that the author is very wordy.  She goes into a lot of detail and uses many adjectives to describe the scenes and what people are doing.  For me the wordiness was almost to the point of distraction.  I don’t know if I just got used to the writer’s style or if the excessive descriptions lessened as the novel progressed.

But there was a point that I started to connect with the characters and was able to figure out who’s who and wasn’t as distracted.  I liked the characters and how they really seemed to care about one another.  This is not a fast-paced novel, but one in which you get to know the characters and I like finding out what makes people tick. 

From a Christian perspective there were some things I appreciated about characters and how they interacted with one another.  However, I was surprised when the perfect opportunity for one of the characters to share the gospel message was missed.  Instead, practical advice was given on how to get out of a difficult situation.  Christian writers have a unique platform to share the Gospel message and Biblical truth.  When that opportunity is missed I don’t understand why. 

The author could have done a better job introducing the characters to the reader and not assume that people had read the earlier books in the series.  The first flashback scene came out of nowhere and was a bit confusing until I learned that the former military character suffered PTSD.    

At the end of the day, I liked Murder Freshly Baked, mostly because of the characters and I would recommend it with the caveat that people start with the first two books in this series.  It’s not a deep book, nor fast-paced, it wasn’t hard to figure out who committed the murder, but there was something appealing about the story, the people. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to read Murder Freshly Baked by Vannetta Chapman in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook .  I read a lo...