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May 20, 2009     The Florala News
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PAGE 8 THE FLORALA NEWS - WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009 N by Jan Allred On May 7, residents of Flo- rala. Lockhart and Paxton gath- ered together to pray not only for their respective cities, but for the nation. This year organiz- ers held three prayer services at Florala Health and Rehab, on the town square at noon and at the Old Armory at 7 p.m. Residents arrived early for the evening service and the community choir sang songs of inspiration and praise. The open- ing prayer was offered by First Assembly of God Pastor Ray Bundy and his wife, Amy, beau- tifully sang the National Anthem as soldiers from the Florala Na- tional Guard Unit posted the col- ors. Local students led the Pledge of Allegiance. Pledge to the Bi- ble and Pledge to the Christian Flag before it was time for the community choir to perform. It has become a tradition for the community choir, comprised of members of local churches and directored by First Baptist Church of Florala's Music Min- isterTerry Spader. to minister in song before the service begins. There were several displays throughout the armory with prayers residents could pray asking for God's blessing on the country, state and city. Es- says from local students ex- plaining what the National Day of Prayer means to them were also displayed. Pastors from lo- cal churches gave testimonies. offered prayers for the local schools and communities and spiritual guidance. Guest speaker Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan who gave those in attendance a lot to think about and challenged them to stand up, be heard and take Amer- ica back. McKathan not only encourages people to live their lives according to the Bible, he practices what he preaches. He feels God has placed him in the position he holds and feels it is his responsibility to incorporate his beliefs into his job as judge. He has endured personal tragedy but his faith as remained strong. His served as a judge while tak- ing care of his terminally ill wife and raising a teenage son. McKathan rocked the legal community in Covington Coun- ty in December of 2004, when he showed up for his Monday morning court session wearing a robe embroidered with the Ten Commandments. Several attorneys objected to the robe, McKathan stood strong, saying he felt the Ten Commandments represents the truth and that you can't divorce the law from the truth and whether or not people wanted to admit it our legal sys- tem was based on them. McKathan said he lives his life in the .strictest sense and in accordance with God's word as set forth in the teachings of the Bible. He believes God's words form the basis of law and that "truth has been diluted by inter- pretation and application to such an extent that it no longer serves its intended purpose." The following is the entire speech McKathan gave at the Day of Prayer event. "The world has a view of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, which, without doubt, is mostly wrong. They see Him as some weak. effeminate, passive person who just wanted us all to love everybody, and nothing else. Well. ladies and gentlemen, Jesus Christ was not weak. He was not effeminate either, but rather, He had the great, strong arms of a carpenter. He was not passive, because He never hesi- tated to speak the truth. He cer- tainly did want us to love each other, but He wanted much more as well. You see. He wanted us to abide by every word that pro- ceeded from the mouth of the Lord. Now, our Lord often showed great compassion to those who had done wrong, if there was a spirit fit for repentance in them. Thus, when the woman caught in the very act of adultery was taken to Him by a lynch mob, He defended her, and then He told her this: 'Neither do I condemn thee, now go, and sin no more.' On the other hand, Jesus didn't tell people what they wanted to hear. It]stead, He always told them what they needed to hear. Let me give you an example. In Luke Chapter 12 Jesus spoke to a Pharisee who was all about rules, but who essentiallyAgnored the grace of God. Beginning in verse 39, Jesus corrected the man with these words: 'And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees THE CROWD was led in spiritual songs on the square during the National Day of Prayer events. make clean the outside of the cup and the platter: but your in- ward part i's full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgement and the love of God: these ought ye to have done. and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you. scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not. and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.' That is strong language! But you have to understand. Jesus wasn't just having a temper fit, and He wasn't just being mean. Jesus was telling the Pharisee exactly what he needed to hear if he was to have any hope of coj- recting his sin and entering into the Kingdom of God. So, JesUs wasn't being hateful -- Nol in the least. He was actually trying to save the man from hell!! You see, sometimes you have to talk straight with people to do that. There is a true story that I often tell. Everyday, I drive down Highway 137 on the way to work. 137 eventually angles into Highway 29. There is a stop sign on 137 at that point, and a little apron of pavement that you can roll into as you enter 29. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and over the years I grew contemptuous of the stop sign. I would roll through it onto the apron, and merge into High- way 29 without ever stopping. One day, as I did that, a log truck was coming from the opposite direction. A little girl driving north found herself between me -(rolling along beside her on the apron) and the log truck. I guess she couldn't decide which one of us was going to run over her. and you could see the panic in her eyes. Well, I didn't think much about it. But, somehow, she got behind me and followed me to the courthouse. She got out of her vehicle when I got out of mine, and then she blessed me out for about 15 minutes. Well. you know what? I think she probably saved my life. or somebody else's, by doing so. You see, I haven't run that stop sign since! The point is this: The Bible says that 'He that regardeth re- proof is prudent.' (Proverbs 5:15). That means that is some- body tells us something to help straighten us out, if they are right, then we're not to get angry -- We're to listen to them! I lis- tened to the little girl, just,as the Pharisee should have listened to Jesus! Now, in our present world, GUEST SPEAKER WAS Cir- cuit Judge Ashley McKathan. there are some things that need to be said, and they are not very popular. And, I'll tell you this: You don't make many friends by saying them, but it is your duty to say them, because they are true. and because people need to hear them for their spiritual benefit. So... we are to say what . ought to be said, in the right way -- whether anybody likes it or not -- because that is what Jesus would have us do. Now, in that regard, i know that I am mostly talking to church folks tonight. But that's ok, because there are some things that we church folks need to hear, and God intends for us to hear them. In fact, God's Word says this: 'For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God.' (I Peter 4:17). Let us, therefore, speak the truth to one another, and hear it, because we're like most folks -- We want the least severe judgement we can get, and if we can hear the truth, and do it, that ought to help some. So, I want to read you the verse that I hear read every year on the National Day of Prayer. It contains a great truth, and it goes like this: 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.' (II Chronicles 7:14). This is one of the great 'if' 'then' promises of the Bible. If we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God, and get away from our wickedness, then God will forgive us and heal our land. If we act in the required way, then and only then, He will heal. Our trouble is, we want to pray and get God's help with- out ever turning away from our wickedness. Ladies and gentle- men, that won't work. We've done it too long already. It's time that we believe what God tells us about what is -- and what is not -- wicked, and it's time that we get away from those things that He says are evil. If we don't, then we're not ever going to get the kind of help we need from Him for our nation. So, having said all that, I want ~o mention some evil things that - the church had better take notice of, and get right about. To start with, let me be real simple. God's commandments matter. So: God is supposed to be first. We're not to make idols out of our things, because, if we do, our lives begin to be about stuff, and not God. We're to look on the Lord and His name as holy -- 'God' is not something to blurt out every time we are frustrated. We're to remember the Lord's day and to be faithful to His house. We're to take care of our families, and we're to honor our fathers and mothers. We must not kill anyone, or sit around and wish they were gone. Having sex with folks outside of marriage is filthy, damaging sin, and it's time to quit making light of it. We're not to lust after things that everybody else has, because that will land us in debt up to our eyeballs in the end. You see, what I'm saying is this: It's not funny to God that The Ten Commandments have become a joke to our society. In- stead, church, we are, by allow- ing God to sanctify us, to keep those commandments to the best of our ability. Having said that, I'd be remiss if I didn't go further: It might be easier to obey the command- ments if we dressed modestly, so that our flesh is not always out there to the public like bait in a rat trap. God's word recom- mends such modesty to us, and we ought to adorn ourselves in ways that please God. I don't mean by that that we ought to dress like it was 1890. I do mean that our "clothes ought not come up to the middle of our thighs, or higher and (I'm sorry) but our chests ought to be covered. Our shoulders ought not be bare. You certainly don't have to dress like I say, of course, but when you put on your clothes you would do well to ask your- self what God thinks of them -- not what all the other pretty people think. Likewise, we, as Christians need to realize, and act, on the fact that television has simply become 'the devil's box.' All day long, it tries to convince you that sin is good and acceptable, and it tries to entice you to par- ticipate. The opinions of its news people are almost uniformly an- ti-Christian and opposed to any real application of the Word. So wean yourself from the stinking thing! Further, the newspapers have the game perspective, includ- ing: The Mobile Press Register, the Montgomery Advertiser and the Birmingham News. They may all pay lip service to faith by having a 'religion' section in them, but they hate true applica- tion of faith with the hate of the truest secular zealots. Let me go further, and be- yond the simple commandments themselves: I say to you, abor- tion, is the murder of babies. As Christians we ought to be tear- ing down the house about this one. If we will not rise up for the lives of the innocent and help- less, what good are we? If you don't want babies, don't make babies. Once you have made them, they've got just as much right to be here as you do. God told Jeremiah, 'Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.' (Jeremiah 1:5)... For God to know a person before he was born, that person had to be somebody before he was born. If you're somebody before you're born, then nobody's got the right to murder you. Planned Parent- hood, I am against you because I believe God is against you! Going on then: You well know this, already, if you think about it: Pornography is now everyWhere, and our crazy gov- ernment protects it. In fact, even Christians hardly give its exis- tence a second thought anymore. ~Fhis is filth that stinks to the nos- trils of a Holy God! We would all agree that Christians must avoid it, and they must, but it seems that Christians have completely forgotten that they must take a clear and public stand against it. May I also say this to you, la- dies and gentlemen: It's time we stopped expending our efforts trying to make divorce work. Our government goes to great lengths to see that it does, but it doesn't. Children need their nat- ural fathers and mothers in the home with them to raise them. Our nation is being destroyed from within because that's not happening. Jesus clearly pointed out that divorce should not be allowed for 'any cause.' The church must stop taking an 'oh well' attitude toward divorce. No fault divorce has to end. The church as a whole, more than di- vorced people, is guilty of sin by not demanding that the govern- ment stop it. Anyhow, folks: The fields are white to the harvest. The lost are everywhere. We live in one huge mission field. The lost need what we've got! Are we going to set down, eat another Hershey bar, and watch them go off to hell? Or will we actually sound the alarm and wake up out of the fog in which the present genera- tion finds itself? Work while the Light is shining, because dark- ness is coming fast, and the time is almost gone. The signs of the times are ev- erywhere. All you have to do is read God's Word and then watch developments in Israel, or this nation's rush toward world gov- ernment, to know we are living in the last times. Yet, we go on with business as usual. We treat our government as if it was act- ing perfectly normal. We hardly utter a peep and that is wrong. Sure. we'll get laughed at if we say, in public, that the rapture draws near. Well, I say, let the fools laugh, because.., the... rapture...draws.., near. Why do we let the world tell us what Christianity is supposed to be. We're the Christians. We're supposed to tell them what Christianity is what it is, according to God's word. Our attitude should be that we will defend the faith and hope others like it, but if they hate it, I'm sor- ry, because we're going to stick to it. If the world doesn't like the faith. I hope for the salva- tion of souls, but if they will not be saved, then they can go jump in the Yellow River, because the Word says what it says, and be- cause we will abide by it. Christians I ask you this: Do you love God or do you love your pocketbook? If you love your pocketbook, keep voting for politicians whose only agen- da is to keep you pocketbook fat. There's a reason that's their only agenda. They know that's how to get votes, but -- God wants to be ahead of our pocketbooks. Christians need to vote for folks who put God first, andHis Word, and our pocketbooks second. Only when we truly follow God will our real prosperity actually be restored. You know, it's even go to the point that, in this country we have politicians who want to bring gambling to Covington County for economic reasons. Gambling impoverishes the poor. Other vices follow gam- bling. Gambling will render our neighborhood even less fit to rear up children. Let the pocketbook take care of the pocketbook, and let us, and our politicians follow after the Lord. Look -- One only needs to drive to Montgomery to find a legislature full of politicians that bring home the bacon, and won't make any Godly reforms. If the churches in each county orga- nized to pressure their legislative delegations, we would quickly see changes. Friends -- it is a sin to love the IRS tax exemption more than we love the will of God. If the church does not rise up to wield the sword of truth, then that sword will never be unsheathed. Worldly politicians are not going to build a Christian world for you or without you. It's time to get off the pew and get in their faces. In short, we must confront the world, and those who run it, or they will pay Christianity no attention, whatsoever. Do we think Christ wants us to continue in our public timidity in such a time as this? Christian martyrs have died for the truth for 2,000 years, but we won't stand up for it" if there's the slightest chance we'll get criticized for it. Had that been the apostle Paul's attitude, Christianity would have never gotten out of the Jerusalem church. Don't tell yourself that you can't get up. You better get up! Now, let me conclude my re- proofs with two the world really hates: First let us not hesitate to say that homosexuality and les- bianism are wrong. They involve acts against nature, they are per- verse, they are hurtful, and they are sinful. Some would say to you, 'We are born this way.' As a rule, I don't believe that, but even if it were so, does that mean there is no room for abstinence? Does it mean that there is no room for good conduct? God's abstinence is happier than our indulgences. You might think, 'This is a hard saying, who can keep it.' Well, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' Love them, minister to them, but do not con- done the conduct. Finally, let me say that which the world hates most -- There is only one name under heaven by which men may be saved. There is only One who has become the intercessor between God and man. There is only One who has died so that we may pass through Him to heaven. That name is not Buddha: that name is not Con- fucius: that name is not the name of some Hindu god; that name is not Democrat or Republican; that name is no the name of Bush or Obama. What is the name? The name is Jesus Christ! Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.' Don't tell yourself your Christian thought is sound if: You think people get to heaven without Jes/as. If they do, then Jesus could not be who He says He is. All right. That's an awful lot of reproof. I need it, and you need it. I'm not just speaking to you. but I'm speaking to me too. All of us need to carefully examine the peculiar situation in which we, as Christians, now find ourselves in during these lawless days. The moments draw short. The president even denies, in public, that we are a Christian nation. These are strange days, and our only hope is to throw ourselves upon the Lord. 'Well, Ashley,' you might say, 'You're against an awful lot -- Aren't you for anything?' I lived in sin so long that I've had my bate of it. If the Bible is against it, I'm against it, and I hope you are! What am I for? I am for 'what- soever things are true, whatso- ever things are honest, whatso- ever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely' and 'whatso- ever things are of good report.' I am for that which is virtuous; I am for praise; I am for sound doctrine; I am for the Word of God; I am for the Father, the Son mad the Holy Ghost; I am for Jesus Christ who died, and was buried, and rose again, and sits on the fight hand of the Father, and who shall defeat Satan in the great battle of Armageddon, and who will one day judge the quick and the dead, including me! And I hope, and I believe, that you're for all of that as well! May God bless you. Standstrong, and keep your eyes open -- God is moving every day! Let us pray. THE COMMUNITY CHOIR performed at Thursday night's event.