Tag Archives: New Covenant

In defense of our most ancient values & ideals

Towards the end of President Barak Obama’s second inaugural address he argued:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

I wholly agree with this inspiring proposition by the President. Barak Obama is indeed one of the most accomplished speakers of our time. Yet, I discovered as perhaps you did also that not all of Obama’s inaugural speech was equally inspiring.  Nevertheless, believing the President to be a fair and open-minded man, I lift up my voice in defense of my brethren’s most ancient values and enduring ideals and call upon the President to re-consider the logic and the spirit of some of the positions he has taken.

The United States of America is at a crossroads. Time is quickly running out for the world’s dominant superpower and number one economy to set its house in order. There are several startling trends afoot in the nation that will humble it, if not bring it down completely, if not effectively resolved.

But as you begin your second term in office, Mr. President, you seem to give every indication that you misunderstand just how gravely wounded the nation is financially and politically, certainly— but especially, morally. The secular press tends to overlook the fact that it will be of the Spirit if the Flesh [the nation’s material well-being & future] is to be saved from the gathering crisis. After all, what was it that sustained Abraham Lincoln and the Union in their time of trial?  Was it just their rifles and canons? Was it not the righteousness of their cause?

David Brooks, a conservative journalist working for the liberal New York Times, made this comment about your second inauguration speech:

I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, under-institutionalized and needed taming.

We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population [Why we might ask? Is it because the vibrant potential of so many millions of our white, black, and Latino youth and their potential children have been sacrificed on abortion’s pagan altar of selfish convenience?].

Far from being under-institutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code, and a crushing debt [not to mention an appalling amount of fiscal corruption at the highest levels of American society]. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/brooks-the-collective-turn.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1358883569-pQYbbD/j2/ypooIiqVZgIg

Mr. President, what are you going to do to address this harsh, on-going, destructive reality sapping America’s strength?

Next is the urgently needed healing of the nation’s bitter political divide. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said: a House divided will fall? [Actually, Lincoln was just quoting Jesus Christ from Matthew 12:25]. Good will and a spirit of collaboration with a generous sprinkling of patriotism are absolutely necessary to enact desperately needed reforms. I sense that your speech fell short in this regard. It seems to me that it failed to reach across the blue vs. red divide. It did, however, stoke up the partisan spirit of your so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party.  Maybe that’s all your speech was intended to do.

Still, I consider it a failure to rekindle the spirit of collaboration desperately needed throughout America. This failure was symbolically evident by who was NEITHER present NOR accounted for at your swearing in.  Where were former President George W. Bush, and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? Why weren’t they seated on the speaker’s platform beside you for the whole nation to see even a semblance of unity or brotherhood among the nation’s leaders? Couldn’t you find a few gracious words to speak in order to persuade them to come? Was extending the olive branch just too hard? Must it always be a zero-sum game? Is pride getting in the way of taking care of the nation’s urgent business? You know what they say about pride going before a….

The bad blood is obviously such that, ominously, most of the Republican delegation from the House of Representatives wouldn’t come to your big bash—even have a few free drinks!  Such political bitterness in Washington, D.C. is systemically weakening America’s ability to meet the long-term challenge posed by a rising geo-political competitor like China.

As for addressing the nation’s moral problems, The Washington Times newspaper noted in its January 22, 2013 editorial:

Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was “faith in America’s future,” the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom. The proposition that individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the vision of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances….

The signature achievement of his first term, Obamacare, established the precedent whereby the White House can force citizens to purchase a service that had previously been a matter of personal choice. The health care mandate goes so far as to override the distinct choices of religious organizations, forcing them to provide contraception and abortion coverage against their will. This is a clear attempt to undermine the previously sacrosanct respect for religious freedom in American political culture.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/22/inaugurating-leviathan/#ixzz2IjlLTXSy

Now please, carefully consider this final point Mr. President.  When you swore your oath of office with your left hand placed on the Bibles once used by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, you said:

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.

You pointed out in your inaugural speech following this oath that the nation’s “freedom was a gift from God” though it “must be secured by His people here on Earth.”

And like previous American presidents, at the close of his inaugural address you invoked a blessing from America’s historic God, upon both people and nation, saying: “God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”

I don’t think it would be too controversial to assert that the God you officially referred to was in fact the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Not Allah. Not Buddha. Not one of the millions of the Hindu gods. Not John Lennon of the Beatles who once boasted that he was more popular than Jesus Christ, nor even the latest re-incarnation of some Marilyn Monroe Hollywood sex idol. America’s Founding Fathers and patriots overwhelmingly claimed the Bible’s God as America’s God. I’m sure you must know that.

But did you realize, Mr. President, that when you took this oath of office calling publicly upon the Bible’s God to be a witness and to hold you accountable, and  claimed in your inaugural speech to want to govern our people by “our most ancient values and enduring ideals,” that there would be negative consequences if you did all this just for show—hypocritically.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible’s ancient values and ideals are indeed enduring because they are the Truth and are essential reading for anyone who wants the Bible’s God to give him or her a blessing of hope and peace in this life and, eventually, the fullness of eternal life—rather than a cursing, heart-ache, and futility in this life and then the emptiness of eternal death. As Jesus of Nazareth said:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)

And…

“Man shall not live by bread [materialistic means] alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God [spiritual means]” (Matthew 4:4 English Standard Version). 

In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we see that there is a clear and repeated historic pattern of bad consequences that come when either leaders or  people hypocritically claim God as their God, take oaths and invoke blessings using His name, but do not do what He commands. God does not consider such people to be guiltless even though they just say what they say because of tradition and the fact that they want to look good in public (Exodus 20:7). There are unpleasant consequences for such hypocrisy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, freedom—we’re talking political, economic, and religious freedom—is always presented as being conditional upon obedience by the nation or leader who calls upon the Bible’s God. In other words, a leader or a nation that calls upon the Bible’s God as their God must be found living within the ancient values and ideals expounded in His law or face the consequences.

Consider, Mr. President Obama, this statement that you made in your second inaugural speech:

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Is the physical expression of homosexual love in a marriage allowed by man’s law truly equal to that of a heterosexual one, which is sanctioned by the Scriptures, in the eyes of the Bible’s God? Does the Bible’s God have a preference, or none at all?

The New Covenant Scriptures tell us this: “For the whole law [God’s law] is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 English Standard Version

Well, someone might argue, surely this Scripture justifies your proposition, Mr. President, because of what that person may subjectively feel about someone else. But does it? Is God’s standard of Truth based on subjective human feeling? Is it correct to say that as long as I just feel “love” for my neighbour then surely I’m okay in God’s sight whatever I do homosexually or heterosexually—that it’s all equal?

To answer this question one needs to know just how the word “love” is defined by the Bible’s God in the original languages in which the Scriptures were written and in its actual usage. To answer this question, if you really want to know, check out my online, streaming archived sermon series on love at:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-love-your-neighbour/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-self-love-or-selfishness/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-our-love-for-god/

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

America’s Midwest cursed with drought; B.C. overly blessed with water

I recently returned from a visit to my dad who lives in the irrigated farming area of southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley.  After leaving a very green and lush British Columbia, once I drove south into Washington State and then over the pass through the coastal Cascade mountain range immediately east of Seattle, the dominant impression is one of a heat-blasted, parched-brown countryside. As we drove through northeastern Oregon the temperatures soared to 43 degrees Celsius, which translates into 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot! I got a good tan without even trying due to the blazing sun.

My son, Jeremiah, who accompanied me to Idaho, then caught a flight to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was volunteering as a youth camp counselor and photographer. While visiting  America’s Midwestern heartland of grain production (more than 75 per cent of the corn and soybeans grow there), my son experienced more roasting temperatures along with high humidity—up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit! Only a snake could like such hellish weather. It was so hot that the teenage campers participating in my son’s “adventure” races were only allowed to walk from hydration station to hydration station lest they suffer heatstroke.

Much of the American heartland is literally baking. The implications of devastating drought in the world’s breadbasket are serious.

“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”

The drought scorching the U.S. Midwest is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website on Monday. Drought is affecting 55% of the land mass in the lower 48 states (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/17/americas-worst-drought-since-56-threatens-world-food-supply/)

Already, prices for corn and soybeans are up more than 50 percent over the last four weeks. The coming food price sticker shock is going to affect all of us. For nations that import large amounts of grain to feed their populations, these higher prices is going to mean a good deal of personal hardship and national political instability.

Is all this heat and blasting mere coincidence? Just part of the normal weather cycle?

Meanwhile, here in British Columbia, our water reservoirs are critically full due to big melting snowpacks in the mountains and torrential rains in June and July. For the first time in 50 years, all of B.C.’s major dams are having to spill water in increasing amounts just to keep the dams from breaking. Dam managers have never seen anything like what’s happening this year at B.C.’s water reservoirs.

How strange. Here in B.C. we have a super-abundance of water, while just south of us the American heartland is bone dry. It sounds like some sort of ironic biblical curse. We have way too much but the Yanks have way too little. All the water that should have gone to America’s grain-growing Midwest has been dumped on us Pacific Canadians. What gives?

Actually, the Bible’s God, whom the Old Covenant scriptures referred to as YHVH (see Exodus 3:14-15, that is to say I am the One who was, is, and will be) and the New Covenant scriptures identified as Jesus Christ (see John 8:58), did promise to mess up the normal weather if those who claim to be His people fail to live according to His revealed way of life and belief. Americans, after all, make their boast even on their money “In God We Trust.” But do they really? Is the Bible’s God sufficiently fed up with North American hypocrisy to take action to punish us? Consider this prophecy:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed (Deuteronomy 28:15-20, 23-24).

Americans have long proudly exclaimed, “God bless America.” And for the longest time it seemed so. But what happens when a nation’s leaders and its people no longer believe in living so as to receive a blessing but rather stubbornly and rebelliously live in such a way that earns a curse instead? If God can bless can’t He also curse? Is a drought and soaring food prices a blessing or a curse? What do you think?

WHY CIRCUMCISION?


By Jean Jantzen and Jeff Patton

Circumcise a boy baby in San Francisco and you could face a year in jail under a proposed San Francisco bylaw that will be put to voters in November (“San Francisco Could Ban Circumcision,” Tristin Hopper, National Post, May 20, 2011). The article also stated that infant circumcision has been in rapid decline in the United States in recent years. In 2006, 56% of American newborns were circumcised. Just three years later in 2009 that number was only 32.5%. In Canada about 31% of newborns are circumcised each year according to a 2007 survey.

As a grandmother of twenty-seven grandchildren, sixteen of them boys, the question of whether to circumcise or not was hotly debated at our family gatherings. I heard both sides of the argument. If God created little boys with a foreskin why should we mess with nature? On the other hand, Jesus was circumcised so why shouldn’t we follow His example? Which perspective is right? Those family discussions challenged me to look into the circumcision question.

Circumcision is the surgical removal (cutting off) of the fold of skin that normally covers the glans (head) of the penis. This double layer of skin, sometimes called the prepuce, is more commonly known as the foreskin.

The first mention of circumcision is found in Genesis 17: 11-13 in which God told his friend Abraham: “Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.”

Ever since then, periodically, a cutting edge contention has swept various communities, both religious and secular. In the first century A.D. there was a hot debate about circumcision among the religious leaders of the new Christian Church that threatened to split the Church. In Acts 15 the question about whether adult non-Jewish (uncircumcised) adult men needed their penis foreskins’ to be circumcised in order to be spiritually saved was discussed and finally resolved at a major church council.

This famous Jerusalem council decided that while certain parts of the Levitical law were indeed required to be kept by the non-Jewish converts—for instance, abstaining from food sacrificed to idols or eating animals that had been killed by strangulation, not eating any food products made with animal blood, and not practicing sexual immorality [see Leviticus chapters 17 & 18]—the circumcision of adult males was ruled as not being required of the new Gentile converts.

It should be pointed out, however, that this ruling did not change or even discuss the status quo concerning the infant circumcision being practiced by the believing Jewish Christian community, who comprised the majority of church members at that point in time. The Jewish community, both then and now, circumcise a boy baby on the eighth day after birth as the price of admission to the Old Covenant Hebrew community. Even today, any non-Jewish adult male who wants to ethnically become part of the Jewish community under the Old Covenant must still be circumcised. The Jerusalem council, however, decided Gentile converts did not have to become ethnic Jews first in order to become part of the new Messianic/Christian community. These new members could retain their Greek, Roman, or other Gentile ethnic identity and yet still become a Christian. In taking this position the new Christian community insured that it would be seen, eventually, as something more than being merely one among many of the different sects of Judaism. Christianity would become a universal belief system rather than an ethnic identity caught up in this world’s interminable ethnic/nationalistic struggles that have forever dogged humanity.

But this didn’t mean the question of circumcision disappeared from the Church’s concerns. In fact, the issue of circumcision for the new New Covenant Christian community became, if possible, even more important. Why? Because to become a true Christian rather than just a “Christian” in name only, a nominal Christian, there must take place a genuine spiritual circumcision of the heart (repentance and conversion) by an adult convert, whether male or female. Unless this true, spiritual form of circumcision occurred there would be no salvation under the terms of the New Covenant! The Apostle Paul summed this point up by saying the necessary rite of circumcision was no longer external but internal, being a matter of the heart (I Corinthians 7:17-18).

Even though I knew that physical circumcision was no longer a necessary ritual for adult Christians, I continued to believe there must be some health benefits if God commanded his chosen people, the Hebrews, to be circumcised. However, I never stopped long enough to find out if the Biblically specified method of circumcision was the same as the one performed in our hospitals today.

The technique of circumcision initially was only to remove the “preputial tissue” that extends beyond the tip of the glans penis (1700BC-140AD). The mohel (person designated to perform ritual) grasped the foreskin with the fingers, “which pulled the skin of the shaft upwards. The shield was then slid into place, and the tissue above the slit quickly sliced off. This preserved most of the sensitive inner mucous membrane lining of the prepuce.” For two thousand years in this fashion the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled, males appeared intact and much of their sexual sensitivity was preserved. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H. “Modern” Circumcision: The Escalation of a Ritual http://weber.u.washington.edu/~gcd/CIRCUMCISION/v1n1.html).

The Biblical method was quicker than the Gomco Clamp or the Plastibell methods; it took less than one second and the pain only lasting for an instant. Whereas, the modern methods can last up to twenty minutes and the baby may suffer excruciating pain. The two modern methods, which were put into use some sixty years ago, remove much more foreskin than God intended and is a much more radical than the original Biblical circumcision. Why did modern techniques depart so radically from the much more conservative Biblical approach? Most Jewish males are unaware of the “tragic escalation” in technique that had nothing to do with the Covenant. The rabbis agreed to remove even more foreskin to prevent the Jews from trying to pass as Gentiles. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H).

According to the19th-century medical point of view, Jews were purported to be morally and physically superior to non-Jews. The reason given—circumcision (cf. Dr. Peter Remondino, History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present).

A Jewish physician, Dr. Henry Levien of New York wanted to medicalize circumcision, and to remove it from “religiously trained mohels and to put it in the hands of trained surgeons. During the 1890s, medical journals frequently reported the many infant deaths that occurred at the hands of mohels. This movement parallels the removal of midwifery into the hands of the medical profession. Protestant Christians wanted to have what they imagined to be—the moral and physical advantage—in order to “validate scientifically the wisdom of the Bible” (The Right to Our Own Bodies: The History of Male Circumcision in the U.S. by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

But for us in North America who do not believe in this practice, it is interesting to discover—why circumcision? At the turn of the century, circumcision had become a panacea. Amputation of the foreskin was “scientifically proven” to cure and prevent diseases ranging from insanity to epilepsy, malnutrition, hip-joint disease, paralysis, eczema, tuberculosis, headache, hysteria, alcoholism, criminality, and heart disease” (Hodges and Warner). The genitals were thought of as dirty. And, since cleanliness is close to godliness, “increasingly they [the Victorians] identified personal cleanliness with good morals, sound health, and upright character. From this premise it followed that circumcision should be considered preventive medicine and practiced universally as a matter of public health” (David L. Gollaher).

“Why are Jewish women comparatively free of cervical cancer? Medical researchers now agree that this spectacular freedom results from the practice of circumcision in Jewish men—which God ordered Abraham to institute four thousand years ago. A number of recent studies have borne out the fact that freedom from cancer of the womb is not due to factors such as race or food or environment, but wholly to circumcision.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

As parents, we only want to do what we feel is best for our child—right? But, unless we research each of these issues for ourselves, how can we make an informed decision? What you decide about circumcision will affect your child for the rest of his life, both physically and psychologically. So you want to be sure you are making the right decision.

First, let’s examine the part we want to have removed and what its function is?

The foreskin is one of the most erotically sensitive parts of the penis. It represents 50% to 80% of the skin system of the penis, depending on the length of the penile shaft. It is a unique and highly complex organ. The average foreskin has over three feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerve fibers, and over 1,000 nerve endings. If unfolded, the adult foreskin would measure 20 to 30 square inches. The foreskin plays a large role in sexual function. The foreskin has glands that produce a natural moisturizer and lubricant called smegma. Smegma serves the same purpose as tears do in the eye: it keeps everything moist, clean, and lubricated (by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

At birth, the foreskin is tightly attached to the glans or head of the penis. It is like the skin attached to our hand. In order to circumcise or remove the foreskin it must be separated from the glans by force. There are many articles attesting to the fact that this is an excruciatingly painful procedure. According to George C. Denniston, MD, M.P.H. “At birth, the separation of the foreskin from the glans has just begun. The newborn’s penis is, of course, not yet fully developed. Not only does circumcision interfere with its development, but it requires that the surgeon tear the skin from the sensitive glans to permit removal. As a result, scarring occurs, the surface of the glans thickens, and the urinary opening often gets smaller” (Unnecessary Circumcision).

If left naturally, the infant’s intact foreskin will protect the penis from urine and feces and will gradually separate itself from the glans. It cannot be drawn back and trying to do so will injure and cause unnecessary scarring. By the age of four or five, and sometimes much later, the foreskin will be able to be retracted in order to expose and cleanse the head of the penis.

If you decide to circumcise your baby shortly after birth, or later on, you should know what methods are used and how much of the foreskin will be removed. Have you asked your doctor what he knows about circumcision? We know that on the eighth day, Vitamin K is at its highest level. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot. If baby boys are circumcised on this day it prevents excessive bleeding that may occur if they are circumcised right after birth, which the doctor’s usually do for their convenience. “Four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham, He said, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised. “Abraham did not pick the eighth day after many centuries of trial and error experiments….it was a day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

When the doctor does this procedure he will use either of the following two methods. “The Gomco clamp is a metal cone which fits over the glans and lies between it and the prepuce. The distal foreskin is then removed. The Plastibell consists of a plastic cone which fits over the glans. The foreskin is stretched over this and a ligature is applied at the base. The distal foreskin is excised. The base of the Plastibell is left in situ; the rest of the cone is removed. This base falls off in a few days” (The Problem of Infant Routine Circumcision). If our doctors are not trained properly, or have little knowledge of the function of the foreskin, how do they know how much foreskin is too much or too little? Ask questions. Be informed. Tell the physician how much skin to remove.

We need to be present during the procedure and tell him (in fact, demand) our preferences. Remember when the father was not allowed to be with the mother during the birthing process. In the twenty-first century it would be unthinkable to not give comfort and support to a woman in labor. How much more should we support and comfort our newly-born child during the circumcision process? If we cannot gather the courage to be with our son during this procedure, maybe it would be better to not have the circumcision done.

Dr Pollock, Canada’s most experienced circumcision provider, has safely completed over 30,000 infant circumcisions over the last two decades taking less than 30 seconds to perform while virtually bloodless and painless. He says circumcision reduces risk of urinary tract infection, penile cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and a 60% reduced risk for HIV. (pollockclinics.com) Another doctor responded this way in the National Post to the circumcision controversy : “I am a retired physician and father of two boys. I agree with Dr. Neil Pollock that the need for circumcision is not in question, and it is best done shortly after birth. Just as the mother produces endorphins during labour that helped her tolerate the pain of childbirth, her newborn son also has circulating endorphins ameliorating the pain produced by a not-so-gentle arrival process.”(Don’t Wait to Cut Dr. Warren Hindle, National Post, April 9,2011)

To conclude, the spiritual significance of circumcision is what is even more important for us as Christians today. God’s word thunders out over the millennia:

12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. Deuteronomy 10:12-16 NKJV

It is interesting to note that from the LORD’s point of view being “stiff-necked” is synonymous with uncircumcision (Acts 7:51). He said, “Circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live,” Deuteronomy 30:6 (ESV).

The bottomline with physical circumcision is this: our bodies are temporary and physical life is short. Physical circumcision is not essential for salvation for those living under the New Covenant. However, physical circumcision does provide some potent and scientifically demonstrable health benefits as does applying the spiritual understanding that comes from practicing the rest of the “principles for living” found in God’s commandments, statutes, and judgments, such as refraining from eating blood or sexual immorality.

Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If you are parents expecting a child and you value your heritage as the physical or spiritual descendants of Abraham then you will want to follow Abraham’s example. God said of Abraham,

“I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” Deuteronomy 26:4-5

The decision is up to you!

http://www.blumenthalclinic.com.au/content_common/pg-circumcision-procedure-sydney.seo

Circumcision Information
• 
As a specialist Obstetrician, Dr Blumenthal gives you expert advice on this operation.
• Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• Reduces by 3-fold the risk of inflammation and infection of the skin of the penis. One in 10 uncircumcised men gets inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin.
• Over 10-fold decrease in risk of urinary tract infection. Whereas risk of this is only 1 in 500 for a circumcised boy, 1 in 50 uncircumcised male infants will get a urinary tract infection.
• Over 20-fold decrease in risk of invasive penile cancer.
• One in 600 uncircumcised men gets penile cancer, which usually requires penile amputation or disfiguring surgery.
• Uncircumcised men have 1½ – 2 times the risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6 men.
• Reduces by approximately 3 to 7 fold the risk of getting HIV (AIDS), during sex with an infected person.
• Circumcision also affords substantial protection against thrush as well as sexually transmitted infections such as papilloma (wart) virus and syphilis.
• Circumcision reduces by up to 5 times the risk of the man’s female partner being infected by Chlamydia or getting cervical cancer (which is caused by human papillomavirus). The load of infectious bacteria and viruses that accumulate under the foreskin is delivered into the female genital tract during sex.
• If not circumcised soon after birth, up to 10% will later require one anyway for medical reasons.
• Credible research shows that most women prefer the appearance of the circumcised penis. They also prefer it for sexual activity. Hygiene is one reason; increased contact of the penis with the vaginal wall, and stimulation, are others.Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men. The problem of overly tender sensitivity of the head of the penis experienced by most uncircumcised men is virtually eliminated.In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men.

Harold Camping and other Apocalyptic Imposters

As amazing as this lovely sunny Victoria Day weekend may seem, the American radio evangelist, Harold Camping and his followers, who are mostly evangelical Protestants, are adamantly expecting and vociferously announcing to the world that there will be a massive earthquake rolling around the planet through its various time zones on May 21st at about 6 p.m. The earthquake, according to these people, who strongly proclaim themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, will signal their Rapture to heaven as Christ’s true believers, and the beginning of Judgment Day upon the ungodly who are left behind. Or, so they think.

Camping, using a ton of money given to him by his “sheep,” has paid for more than 2,000 billboards, many full-page advertisements in major newspapers, and countless radio programs in order to broadcast and publicize this latest incarnation of an End of the World prediction addiction.

To the liberal media, people like Harold Camping are indeed made in heaven! Mostly secular and cynical, the press has long had a morbid fascination for people like Harold Camping They’re great for the “news” business! Besides, from their perspective, such weirdo prophecy bugs can serve as useful straw-men in the ideological political struggle between left and right over the role of Biblical morality in our society. After all, according to press’ logic, if someone like Harold Camping, who proclaims himself to be such a strong believer in the Bible, actually reveals himself to be a complete moron, then anyone else who believes what the Bible teaches must also be one. Thanks Harold for making their job so easy!

Harold Camping is ignorant of what the Bible teaches. He has loudly and widely misrepresented Scriptural teachings bringing disrepute onto the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Church. Shame, shame, shame on him! Camping should have bothered to take the time to read Matthew 25:1-13:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

These are trying times for all believers. People like Harold Camping—who are spouting pride, deception and doctrinal lies—are just making life difficult for both you and for me by bringing Christianity into disrepute. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to his coworker Timothy about these times:

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres [unbelievers] opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation).

Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by imposters like Harold Camping. Jesus actually warned His disciples about this!

As he [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray (Matthew 24:3-5 English Standard Version).

Most of today’s deceivers are not going about saying that they are the returning Messiah. Rather, they are saying they are Christians, and all that one needs to do is say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” This common verbal profession is camouflage or subterfuge. The real test to determine who is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ is not revealed by words but by actions.

The Apostle John explained this validity test in his first general circular letter to the Churches:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).

You will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the so-called “Christians” with apocalyptic prediction addiction syndrome if you ask yourself: do they remember to keep holy the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath. Secularly this day is called Saturday and the commandment to keep it holy is stated in the 4th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12. As the New Covenant’s book of Hebrews points out:

There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping [Greek: sabbatismos] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Coulter Translation).

When Christ returns as prophecy foretells, He will give “rest” and bring peace to a war torn world, but meanwhile, followers of Christ will be honouring Him weekly by keeping His Sabbath rest. God only grants spiritual discernment and knowledge of future events to those who are willing to obey HIm. So, I dare say, neither the cynical secular press, nor the religious false prophets like Harold Camping— all of whom refuse to obey God’s commandments—are going to be able to clearly understand Scriptural prophecy before the actual Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Since the Bible has no standing in our courts…

Eastern Canadian radio host and National Post columnist John Moore is glad that a California court recently overturned the results of a 2008 referendum (passed by a majority of California voters) that made gay marriage illegal. In his published commentary in the National Post entitled “The Bible loses again,” Moore can’t help himself from gloating about this latest victory of the unbelievers over the believers. Moore writes:

Six years ago when same sex marriage was a roiling debate in Canada I hosted a segment on my radio show where I challenged listeners to offer a single non-biblical argument against gay marriage. They failed utterly. True, there are plenty of admonishments against gays, pigskin and the mixing of textiles in the Old Testament (notably none in the Gospels) but since the Bible has no standing in modern courts these arguments are moot.

And that remains the raw point for some people of faith: they can’t find a legal means of forcing Bible-based morality on the general population. Sorry. That’s the price of living in a free and secular society. And if you can’t persuade gay people that they are going to Hell then that’s your loss not theirs.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/08/05/john-moore-the-bible-loses-again/

Of course, Margaret Somerville, who is called one of Canada’s top ethicists, does present a good secular argument that legalizing homosexual marriage dramatically alters the understanding of what has been and nevertheless remains the cornerstone of human society: the committed, reproductively fruitful relationship between a man and a woman that engenders, nurtures, and educates a succeeding generation who will in turn repeat the pattern thus ensuring that society’s continuation. Marriage has never just been about the desires of two people.  It has been about children and the future and faithfulness to the past.

But TheWorldTomorrow.ca is not about presenting secular reasoning or arguments concerning today’s issues to its readers. Rather, it is about using the spiritual lens provided by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures to examine the attitudes, decisions, and behaviours of our present world in order to see the implications and consequences that will logically flow from such attitudes, decisions, and behaviours.

Also, for the record, the WorldTomorrow.ca will on occasion correct error from people like John Moore, who misrepresent the Bible, its teachings, and its morality. While Moore recognizes that the Old Covenant or Hebrew Bible is totally clear in its condemnation of the practice of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13), he doesn’t seem to think the New Covenant or Greek Bible does the same. Of course, it does. But notice, any sin—including any sexual practice not approved by Scripture whether heterosexual or homosexual—gets the same consequence.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:8-10 New International Version).

Jesus taught that an individual wouldn’t have a good future if he or she chose to live merely by the fruits of ingratitude to God and secular materialism—(Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3-20). And when it comes to marriage, John Moore should note that Jesus quoted from the book of humanity’s beginnings (Genesis) to show that marriage was designed from the very start to be an exclusive, committed sexual relationship between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-6). A homosexual relationship doesn’t meet the Designer’s specifications. And anyone who refuses to follow the Designer’s Instruction Manual on how to use his or her sexuality will have very undesirable consequences (Romans 1:18-27).

But what will be the consequences for the nations of the United States and Canada as our governments embrace homosexual marriage and many more practices directly in contravention to God’s plain teaching?  This is the 13 trillion dollar question! Talk about a national debt. The answer to this question is simple and sure, resting on the fact that Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Covenant (1 Corinthians 10:4), is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  What He inspired the Prophet Isaiah to write so long ago equally applies to us today in 21st Century Canada and the United States. Read what is coming soon to our nations as the price for living in a reprobate society that has turned its back on God:

For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are. We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.

The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion. He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth. In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the Lord (Isaiah 59:12-19 NLT).

Our present life: an illusion of stability?

There are a number of financial newsletters put out by goldbugs with a survivalist bent that are busy prophesying to cyberspace about the eminent default of our financial systems and the resulting collapse of Western civilization and our present consumer/globalist life as we know it.

I don’t doubt that the incredible debt load of the United States is threatening the U.S. dollar’s continuing status as the world’s reserve currency—time is truly running out for the no-longer almighty dollar.

But it is now equally obvious that the Euro is not going to be the sweet alternative that could replace the faltering greenback.  This is because the European Union’s underlying financial contradictions have become all too apparent to many currency speculators who are selling the Euro short on the market and driving its value down. They talk about the Euro being doomed.

After all, how can you have anything but a soap opera or a fairy tale of a currency when you have one central bank with its single currency acting as the exasperated, over-stretched supranational husband trying to manage a polygamous EU marriage involving 27 sovereign wives who each has deeply ingrained habits. Each of these fractious wife-states has peculiarities when it comes to running her own household’s national budget. While Sensible Hilda and Prudent Gertrude may only spend what a no-nonsense budgetary discipline allows, Impulsive Athena and Romantic Maria will beg and borrow to shop on credit till they drop from insolvency! The only solution for the EU is a scary centralizing consolidation of Brussels’ political and economic power on the one hand, and the loss of national sovereignty of the individual EU member states on the other hand.

None of the above bodes particularly well for our future financial stability not to mention our political status quo here in Canada. After all, we play but a short, walk-on, secondary role on this world’s stage. We are not a major power. But, since most of us are neither central bankers nor political heavyweights with either macro-economic or governmental clout, we go about our relatively comfortable, day-by-day routines, assuming or hoping that today’s normalcy is stable and continuing for as far as we care to see into the future. But we are probably kidding ourselves.

On a personal and family level our daily lives are most certainly nothing more than illusions of stability.

This past week reminded me of this sobering truth. One of the pillars of our local church and the mother of one of my friends had a stroke. Then one of my 40-something friends told me that his doctor had given him some very disturbing medical test results.

A few days later while driving to my local shopping centre for an errand I had to stop on a busy two-lane road while the car ahead of me made a left turn. Suddenly I heard behind me the sound of screaming brakes as that heavy-footed driver behind me tried to avoid—unsuccessfully—from crashing into me.  In spite of a sore neck and jumpy nerves, I celebrated being alive one more day and enjoyed a little ice cream.

The following day, last Friday, my brother called me to say my 80ish step-dad was discovered by police 60 miles from his home driving on a bike path, not knowing where he was. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in an advanced stage. He’s now in a nursing home while his wife, my mother, who is  now legally blind due to macular degeneration , is now going to have to change her whole life’s routine as it is no longer possible for her to stay in her home by herself.  Everything in a status quo goes along until… one day, everything changes and can never be the same again.

Our present life in this world is inherently instable whether we’re talking about the big picture or just our mortal selves. And no matter how much we cling to the status quo with our fingernails dug in, one day it will all be ripped from you and me.

Surprisingly, the Judeo-Christian scriptures have something to say about what makes life more stable. On a big picture scale the book of Proverbs says:

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability (Prov. 28:2 NLT trans.)

The prophet Isaiah talked of a time when everything begins to fall apart and become unstable. He made a suggestion of where we can look to preserve our balance and peace of mind in a time of sudden instability:

Look! Listen! 
Tough men weep openly. Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears. The roads are empty— not a soul out on the streets. The peace treaty is broken, its conditions violated, its signers reviled. The very ground under our feet mourns….

God is supremely esteemed. His center holds. Zion brims over with all that is just and right. God keeps your days stable and secure—salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus, and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.

God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! (Isaiah 33:7-8, 5-6, 2-4 The Message translation)

The bottom line for this Old Covenant prophet was that the only source of stability in a time of instability was to look to the God of the Bible. Not surprisingly, the New Covenant apostles taught much the same thing.

While focusing more on the individual who is faced with mortality, the New Covenant solution to instability is still to focus our priorities God-ward. We are encouraged to incorporate into our daily routine the spiritual wisdom and knowledge that really matters when it comes to how we live our lives.

We may be merely physical beings, depreciating assets, but there still is the possibility that we can convert instability into stability, temporary into permanent, and move away from what is transitory into what is lasting. Consider the inherent stability and permanence proclaimed by the apostle Peter that belongs to Christians who have wholeheartedly embraced the spiritual life:

23You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.

24For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off,

25But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you (1 Peter 1:23-25 Amplified version).

You have the opportunity to move from an illusion of stability to the reality of stability and permanence. Are you acting on it? Or do you believe that everything will just continue on just as it is presently without end?