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Newsletter for February 2003

The Pastor’s Pen  

Hello Friends, 

Our President delivered the State of the Union Address this past week and Americans listened for assurances, hope and solutions.  We are grieved about AIDS, concerned about the economy, worried about the Medicare that the seniors count on, appalled by partial-birth abortion that violently snuffs out the life of the newborn, and of course, anxious about the looming threat of a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  It is my prayer that America halts its brutal attack upon our unborn.  I believe that we are judged, not just for how we respond to the cries we hear, but also, how we respond to the cries that cannot be heard.  It is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves.  We all wish for a robust economy and permanent solutions to the Social Security and Medicare shortfalls.  Most Americans under 40 don’t even expect the system to be solvent when they reach retirement age.  The system began as a retirement emergency safety net but now is used as a retirement plan for most Americans.  How asks the smaller Generation “X”, will we be able to support the vast Baby Boom Generation now nearing retirement age?  As for the prospect of war with Iraq…. we all want to see a genuine, permanent and peaceful solution.  A real solution, not a naïve, hopeful, Neville Chamberlain type head-in-the-sand pseudo-solution, to the threat Saddam is against peace, and the tyranny the Iraqi people suffer under his oppressive and brutal reign. How glorious it would be if Hussein suddenly repented and accepted Jesus Christ!  What a relief it would be if he just stepped down and went into exile.  Wishful thinking indeed.   We pray, that our young men and women in the Armed Forces will not have to go to war.  I dread the thought of war, but if and when our country does go to war, we must not cease to support and pray for these brave young warriors who defend and protect us.  Difficult though it may be, costly though it may be, there comes a time when good must stand up against evil, right must resist wrong.  Just as there is a cost for discipleship, there is a price for freedom.  The lesson of Hitler’s Third Reich is that evil does not go away and cannot be appeased.  Hitler should have been stopped before he murdered millions of Jews, Christians, Poles, Russians and Gypsies.  He should have been stopped before he catapulted the world into a world war.  The thing that is most frightening now is that modern weapons, nuclear, chemical and biological are so frighteningly more powerful and, deadly than the bombs and bullets of past wars.    Thanks to those who stood up and fought against King George, the Kaiser, the Fuehrer, and the Emperor, we are a free land and the world is a safer place. Freedom and liberty is purchased with valor and paid for by the blood of patriots. Fortunately, for we Christians, we have a genuine hope greater than any man, any President, any army, any weapon can offer.  Our hope is in the Lord. Ps 31:23-24 23        O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. 24        Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.  (KJV)  We are pilgrims, citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom first and foremost, and then secondly we have our duties as citizens of our nation (Hebrews 11).  So, while we work and pray for a better America, a better world, a safer universe, let us take consolation and confidence in the hope of our salvation, the promise of our Savior, and the faithfulness of our God, so that we need not be burdened with fear, anxiety, uncertainty.    2 Tim 1:7            For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  (KJV)  “Thy Kingdom come…….”  Jeff Booth      
Do you know the Lord?  This poplar question is asked by many very well intended mainstream protestant Christians.  We should be able to answer with a resounding ‘YES’.  But do we really?  Are you sure?  How can you make sure not only that you know Him, but that He knows you?  Matt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' 24 "¦Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  The folks described here thought they knew the Lord, and they thought they were doing His work, that He knew them, but Jesus’ words are convicting.  Truly knowing the Lord is more than lip service and more than the appearance of religion, it is how we live our lives.  Knowing the Lord involves obedience to His law, and seeking His way instead of being self-willed.  Knowing the Lord is making James instructions about pure religion our way of life.  Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world”.    Notice this is more than just academic knowledge about God; this is knowledge in action, doing good, helping others – while obeying God’s perfect and holy law.  James’s instruction has two parts – one is the doing of good to other (very much like what Jesus described in the Beatitudes), the other part of James’s instructions involves keeping our selves unstained.  We accomplish this be keeping God’s laws, and not allowing ourselves to be caught up in the secularism and paganism of the world. Do you know the Lord?  He knows His sheep!  -Joe Kirkpatrick  
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