Tag Archives: Religion

Mark Caserta: We need to see people through God’s eyes

7 Oct
me
Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor
October 6, 2017
bible 3

At times in life, it’s beneficial to look beyond issues that will eventually pass and search for purposes which have eternal connotation. Indeed, there are daily quandaries needing addressed, but not forgetting that Jesus called Christians to be a “light unto the world.”

I was driving home from church last Sunday, when scanning the radio, I came upon a pastor whose message dealt with the obstacle of “religion” in society. He was relaying a story about an incident in their sanctuary, years before becoming a much larger church.

“We were a much smaller church at that time, probably around 150 members,” the pastor said. “At that size, we pretty much knew everyone, so it was easy to recognize a visitor. I recall during my message, one morning, a young man entered the back of the building, a bit disheveled, pants drooping, wearing a ball cap turned sideways.” The pastor perceived this young man had entered the sanctuary with some trepidation, maybe even some fear.

He continued. “When the music began and everyone stood to worship, the young man initially didn’t stand. He seemed uncomfortable and out of place. But, eventually he stood with the others.”

A few minutes into the singing, the pastor said he saw an usher approach the young man, which made him feel good. He had hoped someone would reach out to make him feel comfortable. After watching a brief interaction between the visitor and the usher, he was puzzled to see the man, with a discouraged look on his face, turn and leave.

After service, he was anxious to learn what had happened. He was burdened for the lost and was disappointed the young man had left. As he approached the rear of the church, he inquired of a friend, who had been near enough to hear the conversation, what had happened.

His friend told him the usher had said, “Excuse me, but I’m going to have to ask you to remove your hat.” The young man didn’t understand. He asked, “Why?” The usher responded, “Because you’re in a house of worship and it isn’t respectful.”

The pastor was heartbroken.

I was moved by this story. I was angry at the usher and hurt for the young man who had likely entered the church seeking hope and maybe a friend. He’d taken a step of faith toward a new life, but was coldly stripped of the opportunity – because of a hat.

In Mark, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

How many souls have we kept from Heaven because they didn’t “meet our requirements”? How many sinners seeking the Truth have been rejected by manufactured doctrine?

We’re not called to judge and narrow the path to righteousness. We’re called to share the Gospel.

 Jesus loves this young man so much, he died for him.
Let God change their lives!

So, is your church door open to all, or only those who pass inspection?

I pray God will help us see people through His eyes – not our own.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Let’s celebrate Jesus’ birth, life this Christmas

23 Dec
me

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor

  • 12.23.16

jesus

Throughout history, no event has ever influenced mankind like the birth of our savior, Jesus.

And just as wise men sought Him long ago, may we all use this Christmas season to reflect upon His life and seek understanding of His purpose for leaving the “comfort and joy” of His Heavenly Father to live on earth as a man.

The most astounding revelation of His life for me, is that as the Son of God, Jesus had immediate access to all the powers of heaven. Yet He chose to live his life in humility, serving His fellow man. What an example for us all!

 Born in humble circumstances, of the virgin Mary, Jesus was raised a carpenter’s son. Now, carpentry, at the time was a rough job and demanded a great deal of strength, endurance and skill.

I’ve often wished I could have witnessed some of the work of Jesus’ hands! I believe everything he crafted was of the finest quality. In fact, I picture Him as probably being one of the finest finish carpenters of that time!

No doubt, He spent much of his time fabricating the necessities of the day, like plows, animal yokes, furniture and building materials, like doors, windows and flooring. The tools of His time were crude and certainly required much time and effort to use.

Now, I don’t claim to be a theologian, but I personally believe every experience in Jesus’ life was purposeful for His ministry.

As a carpenter and builder, Jesus would have a unique understanding of the importance of building a solid foundation. The stronger the foundation, the more stable the structure.

I believe Jesus had an affinity for water. He spent a great deal of time with fishermen and seemed to have a superb understanding of the trade. He may have even helped construct some of the fishermen’s boats.

Jesus also had to have effective leadership skills. Remember, during a period when it sometimes took months for information to travel the globe, Jesus took 12 men and shook the world!

But Jesus’ most redeeming quality was His incomprehensible love for others.

It was this love and understanding of His purpose that prompted Him to leave His family (albeit earthly) for a “second time” and devote His final years on earth to His Heavenly Father’s business.

 Jesus was born into this world to serve and gain understanding of mankind’s frailties. And while He committed no sin, he surely understood it.

He loved us so much, he chose to freely give His life to become the atoning sacrifice for our sins and our advocate before His Father. Those who’ve accepted God’s simple plan of salvation are now “sons” and “daughters” and part of God’s family.

So, while Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s not forget to celebrate His sacrifice and the eternal hope we have because of Him.

May 2017 see many more people joining God’s family and gaining a deeper understanding of why we celebrate this season.

Merry Christmas everyone! May God’s blessings overtake you!

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Obama administration is out of touch on religion – period. At least Christianity…

5 May

jkKerry on Religion:

‘Not the Way I Think Most People Want to Live’

7:28 AM, May 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER

During a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the “different cross-currents of modernity” and the challenges they present on the African continent. The comments contain a veiled reference to religion, and the part that religion might be playing in some of the current conflicts in Africa:

This is a time here in Africa where there are a number of different cross-currents of modernity that are coming together to make things even more challenging. Some people believe that people ought to be able to only do what they say they ought to do, or to believe what they say they ought to believe, or live by their interpretation of something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago. That’s not the way I think most people want to live.

The words “something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago” appear to refer to the Bible, or the Koran, or perhaps both. More than one conflict in Africa today has either implicit or explicit religious connections:

Mark Caserta: Have Republicans again abandoned abortion message?

24 Apr

abortionApr. 24, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

It appears that once again, abortion may be missing from the national debate in an election year. And Christian conservatives have a legitimate question for GOP candidates:

Will you continue to refuse to make the issue of life or death for the most vulnerable among us table stakes for your candidacy simply for fear of alienating voters?

Please understand that while Article VI of the Constitution clearly states there shall be “no religious test” qualifying a Congressional candidate for office, this does not exempt you from certain “qualifications in principle” that Christian conservatives will refuse to compromise in November — and abortion is one of them.

And burying your pro-life position deep in your on-line profile isn’t bringing the topic to the table for discussion. It’s unacceptable that progressives have been allowed to move the standard far beyond the provisions of Roe v. Wade.

In a 7-2 opinion, the court ruled that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion. The due process clause protects a broad right to privacy that is also found in the Ninth Amendment and the penumbras of the Bill of Rights. This “substantive due process” right to privacy permits a woman to terminate her pregnancy for any reason during the first trimester. However, subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester (about 3 months) the state may reasonably regulate abortions in ways related to maternal health.

Our nation has dreadfully exceeded the parameters set by the Supreme Court of the United States. In fact, according to a recent report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the United States has one of the most permissive abortion policies in the world (7 out of 198 countries) and is one of seven countries in which late-term abortions after 20 weeks (about 5 months) are allowed.

Sadly, many studies have shown that by this stage of development, a child is capable of feeling pain and women are at a greater health risk.

Often we hear pro-choice activists espouse rape, incest, genetic disability or health of the mother as primary consideration for supporting abortion on demand. But of 1,260 women surveyed in a 2004 study by The Guttmacher Institute, only 7 percent cited health concerns as their most important reason for choosing to abort their child. The majority of women actually stated a financial or lifestyle challenge as a top reason for their choice.

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requests voluntary abortion data from across the country. While 756,651 abortions were reported in 2010, many suspect the number to be closer to 1 million babies aborted every year in the United States.

How many of God’s children who were destined to become world changers were never given the chance? How many brilliant scientists, skilled physicians or prominent leaders never escaped the womb?

Human life is a frail and precious gift of God. If GOP candidates refuse to re-introduce abortion into the discussion, then who will?

It’s time to stand up for life.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Christians must get involved in coming year

20 Apr

THE CROSS

Jan. 02, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

I believe 2014 will be a defining year for our nation — one in which the progressive movement will attempt to accost the fundamental values and principles of our country in ways we’ve never even imagined.

And God is calling His people to get engaged in the fight.

Understand God has never required perfection in His people before calling them to a purpose. As with any loving father, He simply asks for our very best — our first fruits if you will — in serving Him.

I often ponder the life of Jesus and how He performed his everyday duties for his earthly father during his first 30 years before beginning his ministry.

A carpenter by trade, it’s almost certain Jesus learned his craftsman skills from his father Joseph. The custom in those days among the working class was that a trade be passed down from father to son and was often done through several generations.

I have little doubt Jesus was a master craftsman. I’d wager the work he and his father produced in their shop was widely known for its excellence in quality. Whether a table, a chair or part of an elaborate building project, I can envision him measuring and re-measuring to ensure accuracy while painstakingly cutting, fitting and molding each project to perfection!

No doubt, Jesus must have been encumbered by the same discomforts and emotions we face every day. There must have been days he certainly didn’t feel like working and felt the same “urges” to gripe and complain as the rest of us often do.

But Jesus was learning the importance of role-modeling excellence in all he set out to accomplish. He was learning that appearance profited little without an enduring structure and load-bearing foundation. His artisan training taught him the integrity of an entire structure depended upon the trueness of the first cornerstone laid.

And Jesus Christ himself would eventually become the Chief Cornerstone of the Church.

Now, some 2,000 years later, and eerily similar to those who nailed our Savior to that tree on Calvary, there are those who see Jesus and His followers as a threat to humanity and desire to “re-crucify” him by removing any reference to Christianity from public view and from any governing ideology.

At what point did God say it was acceptable for His people to idly stand by and allow the enemy to destroy the world He sent His Son to save? Does God’s Word not say, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

Just as Jesus’ finished work as a carpenter represented the teachings of his earthly father, our work on earth represents our Heavenly Father. Jesus took 12 men and shook the world. What can Christians do today in comparison?

Make the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you could possibly make. Get the fire, get the facts and get involved in 2014.

It’s up to Christians to return Godly values and biblical principles to our nation’s government.

Ye are the light of the world.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Man’s wisdom is fallible, not God’s word

9 Apr

word

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”

Those words from Thomas Jefferson, our third president and drafter of the Declaration of Independence, are paramount for the time in which we live. For if we are to continue as the prosperous society which God intended, we must have full faith and confidence that God’s Word is unlike the “grass which withers” and the “flower which fades,” but is eternal and “stands forever.”

It’s true that some of our country’s founding fathers were not Bible-believing Christians. But the very fabric of our nation was divinely inspired of God! The reference to God and his omnipotent power is reflected throughout all of our nation’s founding documents, so I do not propose to “re-try” this argument before the court of our readers.

But we’ve all been subjected to the “guise” and “stratagem” of the progressive movement. For over a century, its goal has clearly been to methodically remove God and His influence from our society, rendering it “as a wave of the sea, tossed and driven by the wind.”

God prepared us for this time by providing the “full armor” and power of His Word so we could stand firm against the schemes of all who would attempt to challenge and bring uncertainty to the biblical statutes that have governed our lives for centuries.

Liberals see God’s Word not as truth, but as the primary obstacle for fundamentally changing America. They understand the efficacy of the Bible cannot be diminished all at once, but through gradually questioning its accuracy, interpretation and intent over time.

Now, while no one knows the heart of man, it’s indefensible that anyone would attempt to decry the legitimacy or inerrancy of God’s Word in a day and age when our country needs it so desperately.

The truth is the liberal contestation of God’s Word is inconsequential in deciding the outcome of this “battle.” God has already prevailed through his son, Jesus. His only desire in prolonging our life on earth is to allow as many believers to enter into His Kingdom as possible.

Defiance arises within the spirit of a believer when God’s Word is questioned! Why would anyone claiming to be a believer spend more time questioning God’s Word than sharing the good news of Jesus?

Even “earthly” wisdom suggests that the “unbeliever” who wrongly chooses a path to eternal destruction has more to lose than a Christian who enjoys life according to God’s commandments.

Questioning the inerrancy of God’s Word seeks to transcend the wisdom of The Almighty and typifies man’s arrogant and pernicious nature.

I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know a God who does. And I’m confident that the truth may be unequivocally found in His Word — the Holy Bible.

Rest assured, fallibility lies in man’s wisdom — not God’s.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

2 Apr

A famous quote I once heard seems apropos to a movement in our nation today.

“Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”

For the past 50 years our society has been undergoing a transformation perpetrated by free-spirited liberals describing themselves as “progressives” and who somehow feel this moniker “more expressly” depicts their intellectual capability to adapt to our changing times.

It’s simply “second star to the right, and straight on till morning” for these unbridled Lost Boy liberals whose intent is to fundamentally change the value system of Americans by gradually tipping the scales of morality from right to left.

These self-ordained avant-gardes aspire to carry the torch of liberalism across America and into the lives of each and every family — even if it means redefining the family as we know it.

What liberals refer to as the “progressive movement” is actually the strategic desensitizing of America to the boundless immorality of the left by methodically pushing the limit on our nation’s social value system until resistance begins to waver.

Once the boundary has been destabilized, a subsequent relentless attack ensues designed to eradicate the influence of Christianity from every culpable faction in America.

Christians must also share in the blame.

When Christian conservatives fail to put their faith into action by asserting their belief system with an equal amount of fervor, they’re as guilty for relinquishing their rights as liberals are for pillaging them.

The success of the progressive movement is predicated on the understanding that the elimination of morality cannot be achieved expeditiously, but sequentially.

When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, the restrictions on abortion varied with trimesters and the viability of the fetus in the womb. In subsequent years, we saw liberals gradually challenge these restrictions until an infant could be murdered during any period of the pregnancy — or even afterward in the case of a “botched” abortion.

Movies that now air in prime time on the ABC Family Channel, in my youth, would have been rated “R” or restricted. However, via a gradual desensitization to strategically increased levels of violence and promiscuity on television, images which would have created an outrage 20 years ago are now generally accepted.

The ABC Family programming slogan, “a new kind of family,” aptly describes what liberals refer to as “progress.”

Another prerequisite for the progressive approach to be successful is for the liberal flag to be bolstered by those who would outwardly appear as educated, well-spoken, even “spiritual” individuals.

The Gospel of Matthew warns us about these “false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Liberals understand their deception and manipulation must be disguised.

The progressive movement thrives on an incessant tenacity which does not perceive defeat as a setback, rather another step toward the metamorphosis of our society.

Liberals value this societal change over an individual’s moral compass.

Oh, the aforementioned quote: Adolf Hitler, April 12, 1921

– Mark Caserta

family

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