May 3, 2019
John 11:49-52 (NIV) 49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
On April 28, 2019 a terrorist attacked a synagogue in Poway, California. It was the last day of Passover. Several people were shot, and one was killed. Attempting to protect others from the gunfire, Lori Kaye was fatally wounded. Her husband Howard, a physician, tried to help her but it was hopeless. He fell as he held her finally tumbling to the floor as he fainted. The whole scene was beyond horrific. One can only weep at such events as they proliferate across the globe. Violence against Christians, Jews and Muslims and others. But there was one aspect of this event that should not go unnoticed.
In a news conference shortly after the shooting, the synagogue’s Rabbi, a gentleman named Yisroel Goldstein spoke with great passion and heartache. Among other things, he said something quite remarkable. It reminded me of the comment made by Caiaphas about the death of the Lord Jesus dying for the people. Like Caiaphas, Rabbi Goldstein did not realize the importance of his words. Regarding Mrs. Kaye, with great affection, the Rabbi said:
“I walked into the lobby. It was heartbreaking…I grabbed my prayer shawl…and Lori died for all of us!”
Filled with respect and gratitude for Mrs. Kaye’s bravery, the Rabbi rightly pointed to her courage and sacrifice.
When I heard his comments, I began to pray that his words would really sink into his heart. The truth is that Jesus “would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” With appropriate respect for Mrs. Kaye, the time has come for all of the literal children of Abraham, the ethnic Jews, to contemplate the one who died for all of them. The Son of God … the Lord Jesus Christ …died for all of them and all of humanity willing and eager to come to him for salvation.
I’ve always had a heart for the Jewish people. When I was seven years old, I wanted to be a Cub Scout. The only “den” available in my neighborhood was one populated by Jewish kids that met at a synagogue. It was great. My den mother was Mrs. Roth and she was terrific. I had all kinds of fun. I was the only “goy” (that’s slang for “goyim” which is plural in Hebrew for Gentiles). All of the other cubs wore their yarmulkes to our meetings. That signified “honoring God.” My mother said I couldn’t have one because I was not Jewish. Anyway … very disappointing. I really liked my Jewish friends and had others over the years.
So … watching a movie like “Schindler’s List” or other holocaust videos breaks my heart and yours too. We ask why God would let this people … this literal family of the patriarchs suffer so much. The answers are Biblical but very troubling. The prophets made it quite clear that generations of Jews would suffer for breaking covenant with God by turning to idolatry. If their suffering seems disproportionate to their sins, we must remember the uniqueness of their story. No other nation had direct revelations from God. Israel was unique and therefore God had unique expectations of them. Just a glance at the words of Jeremiah will show us the broken heart of God as He speaks to His people:
Jeremiah 3:19-20 (NIV) 19 “I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. 20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah goes on to say repeatedly that the Jews would suffer for their turning away from God:
Jeremiah 4:27-28 (NIV) 27 This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely. 28 Therefore the earth will mourn, and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”
We could fill ten pages with these unhappy prophecies. Further, the Lord Jesus Christ said their suffering in the first century and until his return would be rooted in their rejection of him as the Messiah. We read:
Luke 19:43-44 (NIV) 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
In A.D. 70, Jerusalem was brutalized by the Romans. This statement from our Lord was in reference to that event and, no doubt, about the long term future sufferings of the Jews. We might think … “Enough!” At this point in time, we pray their persecution will stop. But God will decide when to turn the hearts of the Jews towards Himself by revealing His Messiah Jesus to them.
I pray … pray with me … that Rabbi Goldstein will ponder the deep meaning of his own words as he described the hero who saved many lives. She “died for all of us.” And so did he … the Son of God …the Messiah of Israel.
Let us remember the words of Paul:
Romans 9:1-5 (NIV) 1 I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit–2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Amen indeed! Peace. Pastor Alberta
April 27, 2019
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NIV)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
Some readers will find this harsh. But Pete Buttigieg, the engaging and winsome mayor of South Bend, Indiana is self-deceived and a deceiver. I’m sure there is much good in him. Indeed, he is sharp and thoughtful. And he seems like a very agreeable fellow. So please note … I doubt if he is a deliberate deceiver. Rather, he is self-deceived and in the grasp of the evil one.
A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, a scholarly man and a former Naval intelligence Officer, Mr. Buttigieg’s credentials are impressive. And now he has joined the candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. And, in doing so, his “Christian witness” has earned him both praise and scrutiny. Why? Because he is a self-avowed, active, unrepentant gay man who is “married” to his “husband” Chasten for a couple of years. Well…one hardly knows where to begin.
A few preliminary thoughts. This article is not gay-bashing. It is not hateful. But, I will bet my whole bag of golf clubs someone will tell me it is evil and cruel, and the writer must be a narrow-minded, ignorant bigot who should be despised for his intolerance. I understand. These accusations are not new. Be assured that I have ministered to gays for years. Yet, the true church must be committed to Holiness.
Thus, if a person identifies as an active gay, they should be called out of such behavior and encouraged to live in righteous celibacy.
I understand that homosexual proclivities are extremely hard to remove, and their origins are debatable. But far from gay bashing, we have always been gay-loving. Why? Because that lifestyle is abominable to God and destructive to the mind and body and spirit of the person who lives in it. More theology in a moment. For now, back to Mayor Buttigieg.
He has stated several times that if anyone has problems with his homosexuality, that person has a complaint against God who “made him this way.” This is an argument from nature. The gay person might say “Well, I can’t help my desires. It’s how God made me. This is how I am wired!” But actually, God did not make him that way; sin did. When Adam fell into sin, he and all of us were corrupted. Put another way, before Adam sinned, he would never have even thought of looking at another man’s wife with lust or looking at … another man. Sin corrupted everything. That is why he was banished from God’s presence.
If the argument that something is “natural” to any of us and therefore acceptable … is scrutinized, it collapses immediately. I have known few if any married men who will not be drawn to thoughts of adultery occasionally. Would we say to them “Oh go ahead? Try to seduce your neighbor’s wife. It’s natural to you.” And to the pedophile …. would we give that man permission because he really wants sexual intimacy with children? After all, he can’t help his desires? Of course not. So, Mr. Buttigieg’s strategy to attribute his desires to God is nonsensical. He does not have perverted desires as a gift from God but rather as an outworking of his sin nature.
Beyond that, he shows a strange “Doctrine of Scripture.” Remember, that means how we look at the Bible. If we believe it is the Word of God, we cannot pick and choose what parts to honor. If Mr. Buttigieg believes in the Lord Jesus and that his death upon the Cross paid for his sins…great! But why is he free to dismiss all the other parts of Scripture that are not convenient to his lifestyle? Consider these teachings from the Word of God:
Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
Romans 1:24-27 (NIV) 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
A Bible-believing pastor must confront the person living in homosexuality. For their sake because God calls it “abominable.” Thus, if Mr. Buttigieg were to seek membership or regular fellowship in the true church, he must be confronted. If he refuses to repent, he must be put out. Is that harsh? Yes. And Biblical. The church is called to HOLINESS not to accommodation. Remember what Paul said to the Church in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NIV) 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Hence, there are two tragedies at work in this man’s life. First, he is kidding himself. Second, he is leading others into the very sin that God’s Word condemns. In that sense he is like Satan, masquerading as an angel of light. Once again, the unrighteous world around us will commend him and condemn those who fear God and believe His Word. Nothing has changed. As Isaiah said 2700 years ago:
Isaiah 5:20 (NIV) 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
And as we’ve said several times recently: pray for our nation. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bring the conviction of sin upon the nation. Not just homosexual sin but all forms of Godlessness from heterosexual promiscuity to the murder of the unborn and all injustice.
I am merely attempting to dismiss the meaningless defense of any sinful behavior because it is “natural.” So, let us pray for a tidal wave of righteousness so that God may be feared. And pray … for Mr. Buttigieg.
Blessings! Pastor Alberta
April 20, 2019
Blog Friends, in a recent blog article I mentioned that I had an insight from the Lord before the 2000 Presidential election. I mentioned three “ONES” that seem to come to me in prayer. Well…I’m having memory issues perhaps 🙂 … I incorrectly stated that Mr. Bush won by ONE electoral vote but that was incorrect. He won by six votes; thank you to a reader who caught the error.
The other “ONES” were ONE Supreme Court Justice and ONE state meaning the difference maker was Florida and its votes. There were some other “ONES” but I’ll leave it at that. In any case, as Christians let us pray for God’s will in 2020!
Blessings! Pastor Alberta
Daniel 2:19-21 (NIV) “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said: ‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.’”
There’s a great scene in the movie “A Man for All Seasons.” Thomas More is asking Henry the Eighth why he is obsessed with divorcing his wife Catherine, who was first married to his deceased brother Arthur. The King says, “It’s because of Leviticus 18:16 (KJV)
‘Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.’” Then Henry the Eighth says “I’ve never seen the hand of God more clearly in my life! It’s because I’ve sinned that God won’t give me an heir!”
Well. Seeing the “hand of God” is a challenging undertaking. More than a few “prophets” and preachers have been certain of the mind of God and His ways in what we see in our world. More than a few have been entirely discredited. It is downright dangerous and subject to all kinds of false certainties. But … at times…we have heard from Him thru circumstances and in prayer. I have heard from Him. Dramatically and just a few times. Can I prove that? Not to the satisfaction of most people. So, those uneasy with this blog thus far can sign off right now. No offense.
Nothing special about me. But I do remember prophesying from the pulpit at Cornerstone before the election of November 2000. The Lord seemed to show me that Mr. Bush would win “by one.” I had no idea what that meant but, in fact, he won by one. One state. One electoral vote, one Supreme Court Justice. So … that kind of Divine insight is occasionally given. The same thing happened before the 2016 election when I joined many others certain that God would not let America be governed by a candidate who would bring about the killing of more unborn children. When I told a very few people that Mr. Trump would be elected, I was laughed out of the room. Now … this is not about me but something far more important. The will of God. In short, what all the political experts never factored in was the idea that God might have ordained the candidate that they despised … to be President. But He did. Not because of personal virtue or Godliness. But He did. In my view because of two things: murder in the womb and Israel being prepared for the Lord’s return.
Let’s consider the way that worldly people might look at this idea. Namely, the will of God or the hand of God. Can we expect them to believe in its reality? No. Picture this. We have four very bright people who make their living watching politics and analyzing what is happening. They are really very good at this. Which of course is why the idea that Trump could win was beyond impossible …. arguably absurd. “Can’t happen!” I was told. He would have to weave an impossible electoral path. (Which he did.) One in 99 pundits thought he might do it. I understood why they viewed it that way. Theirs was the sensible view of the matter. Indeed, the shock on the faces of much of the cable media proved the point. One could gather their responses into one horrified question: “How can this be happening?” I did not hear even ONE of them suggest that the election was the result of … the hand of God. With that in mind, let’s examine four views of God held by most of the people who study and write about politics at this time in our society. Picture four chairs all occupied by the smart people we hear from in the media including cable TV.
Seated in the first chair is the man/woman who believes there is no God. Period. End of discussion. For that expert, all talk of God is ridiculous nonsense and entirely irrelevant to our discussion. They will never bother looking for God’s hand because there is no God, in their view. Settled.
Seated in the second chair is an agnostic who thinks there may be a God, but no one can know. In any case, that expert is certainly not looking for evidence of His hand in human affairs.
In the third chair is a believer in God but, like most Americans …. he or she is a Deist. He believes that God exists and is Holy and a Day of Judgment will come. But here and now God is uninvolved. He made the world, but he is “hands off.” Like a great clockmaker. He wound it up and set it in place and now He just watches.
In the fourth chair, we find a real anomaly. He or she believes in God and that God is involved in human affairs. That’s the exceptional part. But, when it comes to explaining the Trump victory, God could not possibly have ordained that such a man, with a collection of wives and a history of profligacy and godless talk, to be president! This analyst believes God simply would not put such a man in the Oval Office. This analyst “knows” how God works and is amazed if anyone suggests otherwise. To repeat, in his mind, God could not have APPROVED of the Trump victory! This expert is sure that if God put His hand into the mix, out would come a perfect role model and a thoughtful, God-fearing gentleman. Not Trump.
Each of these experts has a point of view. But all of them, including the fourth one, fail to see that God often uses the least likely characters to do His will. Nebuchadnezzar was a violent and godless man but God used him to punish the wayward Israelites. God even called him “my servant!” In the same way that God used a wicked High Priest named Caiaphas and a mid-level governor named Pilate to bring about the Crucifixion of Jesus. Consider what Peter preached to some of his fellow Jews:
Acts 2:23 (NIV) “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
Here is the truth of the matter if we can accept it. God willed that Jesus be Crucified. He had His own reason. And he used foolish and sinful men to bring it about. It was His hand.
All the experts have offered up explanations for Trump’s victory. It was Russia; It was voting machines. It was the idiocy of fifty million ignorant, racist fools who voted for him. None seem able to accept the Biblical truth that God ordained the man for His own reasons. But …. we evangelicals need to keep in mind that God also ordained every president from Mr. Obama back to Washington. To say nothing of Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler and all the fiends back to Caligula. God is sovereign and as Lincoln said, reflecting on the carnage of the Civil War “The Almighty has His own purposes!”
Keep looking for His hand in the next two years. Should be interesting. And pray.
Blessings! Pastor Alberta
Sunday 4.7 5 PM
It seems to be working! I’ll have an article later this week. Thanx to all of you for communicating! 🙂
Blessings! Pastor Alberta
These guys at WordPress are really trying their best but I think they are in Borneo and speak a different language! I’ll keep trying.
I have it up and running but SOME people have told me they can read the article but when they go to post a comment they are told the site is expired.
SO….if you would please…after reading this…go to the comment section and just type “Got it!”
Thanx! Pastor Alberta