Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Congratulations Mr. Trump

This is my first letter to Donald Trump - mailed on 5-4-2016


Date:   May 4, 2016

To:       Donald Trump
725 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022


Dear Mr. Trump;

Congratulations; it seems, now, that you will be the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election.  To say that you were not my choice is an understatement.  In fact, I don’t believe that you are a true, principled conservative and I fear that you may do serious harm to this country.
 
Nevertheless, I remain hopeful; I believe that you mean well.  I was encouraged by your recently published, conservative support for “America’s First Freedom,” the Second Amendment.  I believe that you really want to see the people employed and the economy vibrant again.  I believe that you really want the United States to be “Great Again.”   So, regardless of how I feel about the outcome of our primary elections, you are the candidate we will have and now, the one I must support in the general election.  To do otherwise would be an irresponsible act of my personal stewardship with a possibly disastrous outcome for my country.
 
Should you become our next president, beyond just supporting you with my vote, God's Word charges Christians (of which I am one) to pray for all those in positions of leadership and authority over us.  That will especially include you,  “Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God.  This is good, and it pleases God our Savior” (I Tim. 2:2-3) 

Mr. Trump, you have declared yourself to be a Christian but I have to tell you, many of us have our legitimate reasons to doubt that.  If your profession of Christian faith is without substance, I must tell you that the Lord God will not hear any prayer from you except the prayer of repentance from your sin and a cry unto the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you and save you.  Many Christians I know are praying, right now, that He would reveal Himself to you to that very end, that you might be saved.

So over the next few months leading up to the election and, over the next four years, should you be successful, I will endeavor to regularly hold you up in prayer.  Here are several specific ways that I, and many other Christians, will be praying for you:

  • You are a very proud and arrogant man and that trait is one that God hates and will be a big hindrance to your success.  I will pray that you will humble yourself, realize your inadequacies for the huge responsibilities you face, and that you will recognize your personal sinfulness.
  • I will pray that you will surround yourself with good political and spiritual counsel, and appoint true conservative advisors who will help you protect our God-given republic.
  • I will pray that you will truly depend on God for the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and courage that you will need to make this country “Great Again.”
  • I will pray that you will reject all the counsel and advice of others, that violate biblical principles.
  • I will pray that God would enable you to resist temptations and pressures to act or rule immorally.
  • I will pray that you will set aside your own personal ambitions for the sake of the best interest of the people, the good of this country, and the religious freedom of the work of God in the nation.
  • I will pray that you would be quick to seek God and trust His Word, as the source of your strength and the key to REAL success.
  • I will pray that you will act carefully to maintain trustworthiness and righteousness in your administration and that you will strive to guard the dignity, honor, and reputation of your office.
  • I will pray that you will stop your outrageous rhetoric and strive to be a good example, to others, of wholesome speech and conduct while carrying out your presidential responsibilities.
  • I will pray that you will be always mindful that you will be held personally accountable to God for your attitudes, actions, and motives while serving your constituents.
  • Finally, and most importantly, Mr. Trump, I will pray that you will seek the Lord while He may be found and turn to Him for the salvation of your soul.



Respectfully,
 




Ralph M. Petersen



Monday, May 2, 2016

The Father, The Word, and The Spirit-- These Three Are Co-equal and Coexistent.


Yesterday morning, my pastor summarized all theology in two statements:

1.     GOD IS.  That fact is declared in the very first verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) “In the beginning GOD”

2.     HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF.  And that is the rest of the Bible.  It is all about Him.  It is His revelation of and about Himself to His creation.  Everything we need to know for faith and practice, He has revealed in His written Word. 

If we can get these two statements firmly embedded in our minds, everything else falls into place.

And frankly, I think it is enough.  We have a hard enough time understanding, believing, and obeying what He has revealed.  We don’t need more or new revelation; we just need to believe what He has already given us.

Image result for trinityAnd He has given us all we need to know about Him.   So when it comes to hard truths, that are beyond our human ability to understand, like the tri-unity of God, we don’t have the prerogative to decide, define, or explain it.   According to God’s revelation, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit-- these three are co-equal and coexistent.
  
Churches and denominations divide over this doctrine because they try to explain it in terms that make sense in our own human dimension and with our finite understanding.  It is possible that many (or all) of them can be WRONG but one thing is certain; they can’t all be right. 

And any of our foolish attempts to explain God’s triune nature (or denial of it) with stupid analogies (like water or eggs or…)  are ludicrous; in fact, analogies are probably idolatrous or blasphemous, and possibly heretical.

God’s ways are not our ways; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; He is the creator and we are the creatures; He is eternal and we are finite; He is spirit and we are flesh, and He exists in dimensions that we cannot conceive.  And He has not seen fit to reveal, to us, how that can be nor has He ordained that we should understand it.  He has just declared it and ours is to believe it.  Apparently, that's all we need to know or He would have revealed more.
 
It is probably over-simplified to just state that the One True, Eternal, Living God co-exists in three distinct persons. The Father is God. The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is God. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is God. And yet these three are coequal in glory, and power. But that's about as reverently and Scripturally accurate as I can get when describing the Trinity.   

Remember - God is and He has revealed Himself.  As for me, I will just accept, as truth, what He has declared.  To disbelieve His Word is to deny Him.




Friday, April 29, 2016

How to Solve All Your Community's Social Problems For Under Three Bucks

Well, we're in trouble now; Hemet will never be rid of panhandling since our local law enforcement has deemed panhandling a legal activity protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  I wonder how a guy can rise to the position of Chief of Police and not know anything about the First Amendment but I digress.

So, for all you sympathetic do-gooders, here is a win-win solution to the problem.

You can provide assistance to beggars, help your local economy, guarantee that your money will not be used for tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, help clean up your neighborhood, and minimize the problem of panhandling all with one clever package for about $2.50.

There is a bargain ($.98) store in my neighborhood. I purchased a can of potato crisps (similar to Pringles but not as tasty) for only $.98. Then I bought a 24 oz. can of Arnold Palmer Iced Tea with lemonade for $.98. They also have a brand of absorbent adult sized underwear (similar to Depends, only cheaper) in packages of 20 for about $10. That's about $.50 each.

You can make up several gift bags so you will always have them handy at grocery store parking lots and gas stations or wherever you may be solicited.  Put the potato crisps, the iced tea, and one diaper in a plastic bag and give it to the panhandler. The potato crisps will feed him (I use this masculine pronoun in the generic sense and it is not intended to discriminate against females or any other confused gender concoction) if he's hungry. The iced tea is enough to sate his thirst, even on the hottest days. In fact, he will be overfilled and will soon need to relieve himself. The diaper is so he won't urinate in the doorways of the local merchants' shops or other public places. The bag will give him something to put his trash in, including his wet diaper, until he has the time to walk across the street and deposit it in the trash can. He will recycle the empty tea can for a nickel.

There you have it; you can show mercy, compassion, and charity, support your local economy, assist your local law-enforcement, contribute to the beautification of your community, and do your part to protect the ecological health of the planet, all for about two and a half bucks.

Your hard-earned money will have been spent in a local merchant's store and the sales tax paid, will contribute to the support of the city's (soon to be imposed) measure E tax increase for public safety.

Best of all (wait for it), THE BUM WILL PROBABLY NEVER ASK YOU FOR ANYTHING AGAIN.  PROBLEM SOLVED.

You're welcome,

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beware of Elephants Bearing Gifts and Wearing Suicide Bomber Vests.


I'm man enough to admit when I am wrong; I apologize for accusing the Democrat Party of being evil and I repent for calling the Republican Party stupid.

I don't think any Democrat, Progressive, Socialist, Communist, Marxist, or any other brand of leftist is inherently evil. I don't think they really intend any harm. I believe they mean well. I believe they envision a great, global society of peace, tolerance and egalitarianism. The only problem is that every place and in every time it has ever been tried, IT HAS FAILED. So lefties are not evil they are just STUPID because they don't want to be bothered with facts; they have made up their minds and they refuse to learn from history or experience.

On the other hand, the Republican Party establishment (that Grand Old Party) is NOT stupid (that would be excusable); it is deliberately deceitful and destructive. They have been lying to us for a couple generations. They have been trying to assure us that they are doing all they can to resist and obstruct the left. They have promised that, if we give them majorities, they would uphold our constitution and protect our freedoms when, in fact, they are leading us down the same old daisy-lined, happy-crap path to totalitarianism that is embraced by their lefty cronies. They are NOT the conservative party; In fact, the Republican establishment HATES conservatives.  When conservatives find their way into the party, they are either bought or destroyed. Republicans are self-serving and shrewd in their planned destruction of our republic. Like the lefties, I think they really believe that their actions are in our best interest. But unlike the left, They KNOW it has never worked in the past; they're just arrogant enough to think that they can do it better and make it work this time. That's why the Republican Party is NOT stupid. IT IS EVIL.

Conservatives have been sold out. We thought the Republicans were our friends.  By the time our next presidential election rolls around, our constitutional republic may be on life support or, worse yet, a dead relic of history. Obama may be America's last president. We may soon wake up to find a monarch in the White House, our property confiscated, our money devalued, and our freedoms gone; something the left has been trying to do all along. But it looks like all they really needed to do was just sit back and wait for the Republican Party to self-destruct.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Holy Heretical Resurrection Day Happycrap

File this one under RESURRECTION HERESY.

Easter Sunday has been deemed the "Superbowl of Sundays." It is the one Sunday of the year when millions of heathens go to church in hopes that God will be pleased with their "sacrifices."

Did you attend a sunrise service or go to church on Easter morning?  If so, I trust you heard a great gospel message about how the Lord Jesus Christ, was crucified for our sins, buried, sealed in a tomb, and then rose triumphantly from the dead according to the Scriptures.

I hope that is the message you heard because so many people need to hear it.  I hope the minister handled the Word of God responsibly.  I hope he told you the truth; “He is not here.  He is risen, just as He said.  Hallelujah!”

Well, there is, at least, one poor sapsucker who was severely cheated and misguided.  He was a guest on a local radio talk show here in Riverside County.  Here is a brief paraphrase of his synopsis of the sermon he heard at Mass on Easter Sunday: 
  
The message of death and resurrection was very encouraging and uplifting.  We are all dying; in fact, we all die a little bit at a time every day.  The message of the resurrection is that, in spite of how badly things are going and how low we feel, we can, and we all need to rise up.  That’s what I got from the sermon.


Other than “holy happycrap," I’m not sure what other adjectives I might use to describe that sermon and the heretic who delivered it, without using potty mouth expletives.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What's In Your Easter Basket?

Among the people from Eastern Europe, the Easter basket had nothing to do with candy and rabbits. Baskets were filled with symbolic things and taken to church to be blessed. There was bread in the basket to recall how Israel relied on God in the wilderness and to symbolize life. Horseradish was there to suggest the bitterness of Egyptian bondage and the bitterness of Jesus death. Salt was there as a symbol of our common humanity. Ham was there as a reminder that we are not under the old law, which forbade so much, but under the new. Eggs were in the basket, too. They stood for hope and resurrection and life! Whatever our customs, whatever our symbols, Easter always stands for new life, for resurrection, for hope!

West Greeley Baptist Church
March 31st 2002
“Does the resurrection of Jesus really matter?”
1st Corinthians 15:16-20
Pastor Mark Hensley  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ten Truisms of Calvinism

Ten Calvinism Truisms (according to me).

1.              John Calvin didn’t invent Calvinism.
2.              John Calvin didn’t invent the TULIP acronym.
3.              The five points of Calvinism as stated in the TULIP acronym are stupid, confusing, divisive, and overly simplified summaries of the biblical doctrine of God’s election.  A better summation would be The Doctrines of Grace.
4.              Calvinism is not a religion or a denomination.
5.              Calvinism is not a complete theological system.
6.              Calvinism is NOT synonymous with “reformed.”
7.              All protestant churches are reformed churches but not all reformed churches are protestant churches.
8.              John Calvin was not theologically sound or doctrinally correct on everything.
9.              All TRUE Christians are Calvinists (many of them just don’t know it yet).

10.          I am a Calvinistic Baptist so, by definition, I am not a protestant.    I am reformed in the sense that I believe the biblical doctrines of the sufficiency of scripture, salvation of the elect by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and all to the Glory of God alone.   

Monday, March 21, 2016

On Profanity

"Profanity is the use of strong words by weak people."  source unknown

Sam was a construction worker with a filthy mouth.  He knew I was a Christianand sometimes he deliberately intensified his profanity just to see if he could shock me.  But I had been in construction work for years and had become accustomed to hearing it so I just ignored him.

One day a pastor friend of mine stopped by the job to talk with me for a few minutes.  Sam knew who he was but he made no effort to control his vile, filthy tongue.  Later, after my friend ad gone, I sked Sam to try to be a little more respectful in his speech.  His excuse was that he just couldn't help it.  Profanity had become so much a part of his vocabulary that it unconsciously flowed out of his mouth.

Swearing is a lazy man's way of trying to be emphatic.  I asked him,  "Do you talk like that around your mother?"

"No way!" he said, "Are you kidding?"

"Well, then, you CAN control it,"  I said, "So please show some respect for other around you."

Sometimes I think people purposefully use profanity just to test my reactions.  Then they always make some sort of insincere apologetic gestures.  The quickly cover their mouths and say, "Ooops," or "sorry," as if they think they have offended me.  But I am not easily offended or shocked by their lack of sufficient vocabulary.  

Hugh Prather gives us these sobering thoughts on the subject; "Profanity fixes the other person's attention on my words rather than my thoughts.  When (a person) swears,  (he is) BEING something rather than SAYING something."  

And most of us know what he is being.

"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

Is Your Faith Real?

The definition of a hypocrite is "one who puts on a mask and pretends to be what he is not."

Years ago, in Germany, there was a devout Jewish family.  Faith was important in their family life; they carefully observed everything their faith required.  The father was zealous in his attendance to worship and he faithfully ensured that his son was properly instructed.  The son loved his father and had an unusual devotion to him.

When the boy was a teenager, the family moved to another town in Germany where there was no synagogue.  Most of the community leaders were members of the Lutheran Church.   One day the father unexpectedly announced to the family that they were all going to abandon their Jewish traditions and join the Lutheran Church.  He explained that it was a necessary change to help him succeed in business.

The youngster was confused and disappointed.  His bewilderment soon gave way to anger and eventually, an intense bitterness began that plagued him throughout his life.

He left Germany to study in England where he started to formulate his own ideas.  He wrote a book in which he developed a whole life and world-view that gave birth to a movement that was designed to change the world.  In the book, he described religion as an "opiate for the masses" that could be explained totally in terms of economics.

Today, billions of people live under the religious system invented by this one embittered man.  His name was Karl Marx.  The influence of his father's hypocrisy is still being keenly felt around the world.

"When you fast, don't (do) as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them.  I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get.  Matt. 6:16

Friday, March 18, 2016

Introduction to My New Blog; Hymns That Preach

I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. One of these days, I pray God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.

I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.

Some of us have been singing these great hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."

So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding its origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.

Today I have launched a new Blog, "Hymns that Preach."  At the top of this blog, is a page tab that will link directly to the new blog.  It is my intention, there, to archive these commentaries and make them freely available to other church song leaders.  I know that some of the comments contain a little of my edgy style, but please feel free to adapt them or use them any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God. 





Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Will Do Something That The Vast Majority Of Christians Will Not Do.

I am not going to make any endorsements here for the 2016 Presidential election; I am just going to affirm that, in the California primaries, I am going to vote for the most conservative Republican candidate on the ballot.   I will vote for a conservative because I am a Christian and a conservative ideology is much, Much, MUCH more closely aligned with Christian biblical truth than is a liberal ideology. I will vote for a Republican because Republicans are generally more conservative and in line with basic biblical principles than are Democrats who are generally liberal and strongly favorable toward big government socialism and antagonistic to our freedoms. A Christian Democrat is an oxymoron. To re-phrase and piggy-back on a stupid question by the Pope, "How can a person be a Democrat and call himself a Christian?"

However, after the primaries, when the general election comes in November, I will do something that the VAST MAJORITY OF PROFESSING CHRISTIANS WILL NOT DO. I will vote. That's right, you read that correctly; I WILL VOTE.

Every four years the vast majority of Christians suddenly decide to appeal to their long-neglected consciences and refuse to vote for someone who does not measure up to their ideal, perfect candidate so they just stay home and don't vote. Here is a news flash, you dummies; a failure to vote is an automatic vote for the opposition.

Your ideal perfect candidate is NOT running. Jesus is NOT on the ballot. All the rest of them are imperfect sinners. Nevertheless, you are responsible for the outcome whether or not you vote so get off your self- righteous high horse and vote right.

In the general election, I will vote for the Republican candidate even if his name is Mickey Mouse, Alfred E. Neuman, or Donald Trump, because the alternative is not acceptable.  A democratic win will be a victory for the anti-American, socialist ideology that will destroy our constitutional form of government, our Bill of Rights, our judicial system, our rule of law, our economic stability, our education (however messed up and inefficient as it is), our culture, our security, and our freedoms (including religious freedoms).

I hope, by November, we have an acceptable candidate. But if Trump is the one, I will vote for him. As president, he might be a disaster; he might be right only 20 or 30 percent of the time BUT neither the "over-the-hill" deadbeat, hippy socialist, nor the angry, barking, pant-suit wearing, crazy lying lesbian will improve our moral or economic climate. They will definitely rule contrary to biblical principles of governance.  They will be 100% BAD for this country.

Don't let your seared consciences keep you from doing right and voting RIGHT.

Monday, February 22, 2016

That's Not How It Works


Yes, I believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.   But it’s not like you think.

Not all, but some Christian who hold to an Arminian theology of salvation, believe that a person who, apparently “accepts the Lord” can lose his salvation. 

However, many of them believe in the doctrine of “the eternal security of the believer.”  That is the belief that a person who, at one time, walked an aisle, repeated a prayer, raised his hand, asked Jesus into his life, joined a church, got baptized, was overcome by an emotional or spiritual experience, got right with God, or responded to any other human generated machination to become a Christian, is eternally saved and safe in the arms of Jesus.  He believes that, as long as he “did that thing” once, he is Heaven bound.  His ticket was paid. 

Now pay close attention here because I don’t want you to miss this.  If your salvation is a result of something you did a long, long time ago; if you are depending or trusting in that action to get you into Heaven, and you think that you can continue in disobedience and sin, YOU ARE WRONG.    

I don’t know how many times I have seen acquaintances of mine, who have once professed “saving faith” and yet turn away from God to continuously dwell in open, and unrepentant sin. 

So what is the difference between my belief in “the perseverance of the saints” and their belief in “eternal security? 

Eternal security is a false belief that, because a person accepted the Lord, he is saved. He excuses his actions thinking that “Jesus loves him just the way he is and He will always say, I forgive.”  As a Christian, he believes that he is to try to be as good as he can be but this is a sinful world and temptations are all around.  And besides, God understands his weaknesses.  After all, God created him the way he is and He will not judge him.  Jesus paid for all that.

On the other hand, the phrase, “perseverance of the saints” is a doctrine in a context. 

The context begins with God.  It begins with His perfect holiness and His assessment of man.  MAN IS NO GOOD.  Man is incapable of making himself good enough for God.  He cannot clean himself up.  He is dead in his sins and dead men cannot accept, invite, or do anything else to initiate their salvation.   If God will not save him or raise him up to new life, he cannot be saved.

The word, “perseverance” has an object -- the “saints.”  The word, saint, means one who is sanctified or set apart for a special (or holy) purpose.   When God saves a man, He sets him apart from the world for His own purpose and His own glory.  His spirit indwells the man and begins the process of cleaning him up and making him fit for Heaven. 

And the Spirit of God convicts the man of his sin.  That means that, whenever the man sins, the Spirit chases and chastens him relentlessly, until he grieves over his sin and is brought to confession and repentance (which means he stops doing what he was doing).   The Spirit is like a mother with eyes in the back of her head; she sees everything, and she knows what you did and she will make your life miserable until you are sorry and corrected. 

And that work of the Spirit is one of the evidences of salvation.  It is how a believer can know for certain, that he is saved.  If you are not miserable with your sin; if you can ignore the pleas to stop from other Christians, and if you can quench or silence the Spirit and continue to sin, it is probable that you do not have the Spirit of God and there is good reason to wonder about your salvation.     

Sure, saints sin.  We all sin because we are sinners.  But a saint will not continue to sit comfortably in unrepentant, rebellious sin because GOD WON”T LET HIM.   When God saves a man, He saves him completely and to the uttermost.   Saints persevere because God is holding those He saved, firmly in His hand and no one can take them out.  That is ASSURANCE.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Stupid Internet Bumper Stickers

I stumbled onto this stupid "christian" meme today, that someone posted on Facebook.  These things are the "information superhighway's" version of bumper stickers like "Honk if you love Jesus" or "Jesus Is My Co-pilot."  Most of them are doctrinally weak at best.  This one falls into the category of HERESY.
 


It implies that men can attain salvation by keeping the law.  But they would be wrong.

Sure, Noah heard from God and fear gripped him.  And it was out of that fear that he obeyed God's command.  But the verdict was already pronounce, ALL men were sinners, including Noah (you can read it in Genesis).

We're all like that; every one of us.  We obey laws because we fear the consequences of breaking them.  

The Truth is, salvation is NOT achievable by obeying God's commands (keeping the law).  Salvation is obtained ONLY by God's Grace ALONE through the FAITH that He gives us to believe.  And then, a believer has a new heart and a free-will to turn away from sin and worship God in humble submission and loving obedience.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Providence of God

The Providence of God is a concept that modern Christianity has lost.  When was the last time you heard your pastor preach about it?  When was the last time you heard anyone recognize God's providence?  

We give lip service to God's sovereignty.  We allow Him to be the ruler of the universe but we fail to acknowledge that He holds all things together.  He controls all things.  He orders all things.  He ordains all things.  Nothing ever occurs to Him and nothing ever thwarts His plans. That is Providence. 


Do you know that your days are numbered?  That doesn't mean, just because God has foreknowledge of the future, that He knows when you will die.  It means that He has made an appointment for you to inhale your last breath on the pages of His unchangeable calendar.  

Eric Landry has explained the Providence of God as follows:

"Because God sustains the universe's moment by moment existence, nothing comes about independently of His will.  He governs all creatures, and events so that they accomplish what He intends, either by their acting freely (as through human choice) or contingently (as when something happens that did not have to happen) or necessarily (as with the law of gravity).

"Thus God, in ways beyond our understanding, works in and through everything to bring about His good purposes."

OUR GOD IS IN CONTROL