Tag Archives: freedom

Those who fear God live! — Psalm 49

Those who fear God live! — Psalm 49
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 2, 2017

Wikipedia relates that “‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the ‘inalienable rights’ which the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their Creator, and for which governments are created to protect.” The writers, the signers, and those who fought for our freedoms believed passionately in these inalienable rights for all people. At the core of this belief was their reasoning that God created mankind for more than servitude and it came from the notion that even nations ruled by kings should fear God.

Today’s America has taken the notion of personal freedom to the extreme that it is a free ticket to do any ungodly or immoral act and excuse it as a personal right. They would do well to remember the spiritual law involved that you reap what you sow in life. The Psalmist here teaches us that those who fear God live; let’s discover what he says about this…

READ: Psalm 49

Many in our day think they can rewrite the laws of God to fit their particular perversion in order to excuse it as sin. The Psalmist reminds us that…

I. Those who fear God listen to godly wisdom! (Vv. 1-6)

Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike: My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me–those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

1. Sometimes it is hard to gain the attention of those you are speaking to and so sometimes you have to do something to shake people up so they will listen. The Psalmist does that here by including everyone in his pronouncement: “Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike”. He tells them by a command of sorts to “hear” and to “listen”. The first refers to actually intelligently understanding what is being spoken to those who are willing to be taught by the words he is speaking! The second refers to giving an ear or to someone who harkens to the sound of his voice like one would to a herald or a town crier who goes about saying “hear ye, hear ye!” or like a child who listens to the voice of their mother calling them home. Notice that the Psalmist’s announcement is for “all you peoples…who live in the world…both low and high, rich and poor alike”. Why should anyone listen to him? “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.” There are few things or folks worth listening to in this world of fake news and made up headlines or exaggeration. Yet he would “turn [his] ear to a proverb; with the harp [he would] expound my riddle”. It is like Jesus who told and taught his disciples “many things in parables”. (Matthew 13:3 NIV) Like Benjamin Franklin with Poor Richard’s Almanac or Thomas Paine’s Common Sense who both used humor and pity sayings to teach deeper truths, the Psalmist does this as well. He begins, like any good orator, with a question: “Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me–those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?” He expected an answer probably in the form of question itself; more than likely: “How in the world could you not fear evil days, wicked deceivers, or the ultra rich?” For the Jews of his day only those who were well off could scoff at these things, certainly not a common person! The Psalmist wanted his listeners to know that those who fear God listen to godly wisdom!

EXAMPLE: Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” But he also had a deep faith in a Creator who gave all things. He was not a believer per se but a Deist, someone who believed in a higher power. Later in life he held stronger views on God and especially Jesus and confessed his faith, contrary to what many theists and atheists would have you believe about Franklin. He would write, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” The Psalmist knew this several thousands of years before Franklin. He understood that those who fear God listen to godly wisdom!

One of the attractions that drew people from all over the world to America was that you could become whatever you could in America through shear hard work and tenacity. However, far too many have forgotten where their lives come from. The Psalmist teaches us that…

II. Those who fear God remember where their lives come from! (Vv. 7-13)

No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him–the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough–that he should live on forever and not see decay. For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah

1. With his very next words, the Psalmist writes such an important lesson that the world today would do well to heed it. “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him”. Is this true? For the Hebrew of this era it was and it is why Jesus’ teaching was so astonishing because everyone knew “the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough–that he should live on forever and not see decay”. These words were never forgotten by the Jews and so when Jesus came and taught one could live forever through faith in him, it was astounding! Perhaps we have forgotten life is costly. This is why the framers of the Declaration of Independence included the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. It establishes three inalienable rights which the Declaration states that have been given or endowed to all human beings by their Creator, and for which governments are created by the same God to protect. Life is costly and yet things are not as costly, “For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.” What you so dearly hold on to right now and think so precious probably will be sold in a garage sale, trucked away to the Salvation Army, or dumped in the trash! In fact, even those who are wealthy, famous, or powerful in this life will soon learn that “Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.” What good news then is that while “the ransom for a life is costly” Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”! (Matthew 20:28 NIV) You see the Psalmist knew what a lot of folks forget, namely dead is dead and once you are dead you are the same as all other dead folks! That “man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.” He is not teaching about how you or your pets end up eternally but rather more like the morose teachings of Ecclesiastes who lamented, “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19 NIV) “This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.” However, the tacit implication is that those who fear God remember where their lives come from!

EXAMPLE: If you look at many of our coins you will see the inscription, “In God We Trust”. The phrase appears to have originated in “The Star-Spangled Banner”, written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. The fourth stanza states, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our Trust.’” The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing “Almighty God in some form in our coins” in order to “relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism”. It wasn’t until the Civil War that one and two cent coins were inscribed. In 1865 Congress passed legislation to place the motto on all gold and silver coins. However on the 50th anniversary of the motto in 2006 Congressed affirmed “In God We Trust” as the United States of America’s national motto. Those who fear God remember where their lives come from!

In America we have problem with death. Unlike past generations who realized life was short, often took care of the elderly themselves, and where people often did not live past their sixties because of illness, war, and poor health conditions. The Psalmist reminds us that…

III. Those who fear God realize they are destined to die! (Vv. 14-20)

Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed– and men praise you when you prosper–he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

1. We all face death and just “Like sheep [we] are destined for the grave, and death will feed on [us]”!  There is tremendous good news in the Psalmist’s message however, “The upright will rule over [the rich, powerful, or famous] in the morning”! In other words when God comes to finally judge the living and the dead while “their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions”, ours won’t and it will be like a fresh new dawn! The Psalmist was well aware that indeed “God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.” He had full confidence in God who loved him. Here dear little child of God is where we are to never forget those wondrous and amazing words of Jesus when he promised, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3 NIV) So, “Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.” As one old preacher stated, “We are all lay on the same level in the grave, unless we stand with Jesus!” And sadly, “Though while he lived he counted himself blessed– and men praise you when you prosper–he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life.” But not those who trust in God instead. Remember Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV) and do not forget the words he told the weeping Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV) Dead is dead unless you know God in Jesus but “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”  Those who fear God realize they are destined to die!

EXAMPLE: Unlike past generations where people celebrated death and those who had died by annually setting aside a time to remember them; today we have such a problem with the idea of dying we make roadside pagan shrines to the dead hoping they somehow realize that we now care. But dead is dead. It may be a means to assuage our own guilt and fear of dying. However, the godly person has absolutely no fear of death because we know our destination because of the one we have trusted in. Those who fear God realize they are destined to die!

Conclusion:
Those who fear God listen to godly wisdom! Those who fear God remember where their lives come from! Those who fear God realize they are destined to die!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The Wonderful World of Socialism

The Wonderful World of Socialism
By Lee Hemen
March 10, 2016

When millennials were asked what the definition of socialist was, they often thought it was something like Sweden; they are wrong. Sweden actually enjoys more freedoms than we do in some areas. They are a democratic society. Socialism is the precursor of communism. Socialist views, such as Bernie Sanders espouses, are not only dangerous, they will end up restricting many of the freedoms millennials now enjoy.

Socialism is an economic concept that advocates public ownership of all resources. The production and distribution of resources within a society are then controlled by members of that society collectively or by the government that represents that society. Goods are produced and distributed based on need rather than on market forces such as profitability, price and consumers’ purchasing power. In a socialist economy, workers contribute to society based on their ability and receive according to their needs, rather than being paid wages and using that money to purchase what they want. Private possessions are limited to personal-use items such as clothes, and there is no need or ability for individuals to accumulate wealth, so there is equality among the people.

Therefore, socialism wants big government to run everything from your birth to your death. It cries, “Power to the people!” But in reality it evolves into power to big government which dictates every aspect of your life. It takes from the hard working individual who desires a better life for themselves and their families and gives to those who leech off the governmental teat. The individual does not matter and is forced to share whatever they have garnered for themselves with others whether they like it or not.

It sounds altruistic to the young and politically innocent ears of the millennial but what is hidden behind those the likes of Bernie are horrendous. It takes away any personal initiative because why should anyone strive to do better if what they earn is taken away from them anyway? Why should one go into professional fields or gain a higher education if they know they will be taken care of by the government? Why should I save for my own retirement when the government will take care of me? The ultimate answer is that inherently lazy people won’t. This is why under Obama we now have the highest number of unemployed, underemployed, and welfare recipients in the history of this nation. (For those of you who forgot he did away with welfare reform within the first year of his administration whereby one had to find a job within a given time and get off the governmental dole. It was working and we had the lowest percentage of people on welfare and the lowest actual unemployment in history under those laws.) Your college education means little under socialism.

Socialism also takes away the rights of the individual to go and do what they want when they want to. No more rock climbing, base jumping, or unnecessary activities for you! Under the guise of such slogans as “recycle, reuse, reduce” one begins to discover that they cannot buy certain items anymore, they cannot drive their vehicles the way they used to, nor can they light or heat their homes the same way that is cost effective. In fact, one discovers that in the name of “earth first” socialism one is forced onto mass transit, restricted where they can vacation, and monitored according to the miles they drive. If you think I am wrong, think again. In fact, the individual is so stupid they cannot feed themselves or their families the way they want to because the governmental nannies will restrict what you drink or eat at school, work, or at home. (Those of you who value the new found freedoms of pot smoking are in for a shock when these folks not only come after you with egregious taxation, but how, when, and where you can smoke it. Secondhand marijuana smoke will be regulated and restricted just as tobacco is.)

But the truly scary thing is the restriction of freedom of speech socialism touts. Liberals love to be able to chant their “hey, hey, ho, ho” drivel, flaunt their proclivities, and drop any curse word at the drop of a hat, but woe be it if anyone who disagrees with their mindlessness. If you want to expose their naked dictatorial notions or their sycophantic worship to senseless made-up science they go ballistic. Freedom of expression is only for the politically correct under socialism. They will use terms as “hate”, “fear”, “afraid”, or add “phobic” to any idea they dislike; such as “His hate speech made me fearful and afraid and it sounded homophobic to me” in order to silence any opposition.

Yes the wonderful world of socialism will dictate for you what to think, what to eat, what to wear, and where to go because it will all be based on what big brother thinks is best for the whole community.

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Claim your freedom! – Galatians 5:1-15

Claim your freedom! – Galatians 5:1-15
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 11, 2013 AM

Freedom has different meanings today. For some, it is the ability to choose whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. Freedom therefore is having no authority that imposes personal restrictions. Others see it as overcoming all unpleasantness in their past, present, or future. Some believe that because at one time they made a profession of faith in Christ they think they now can do as they please. These reflect a misunderstanding of Christian freedom. They forget Christian freedom is the freedom to obey Christ and reflect His character. Then there are those think that they should perform good works to solidify their relationship with God. They need to realize good works flow from love for God and others and do not earn or ensure salvation or spiritual freedom.

Although Christian freedom has elements of each of these concepts, it differs because it results from salvation through faith alone. This salvation frees us from other requirements for being saved and gives us freedom from sin and death. It also frees us for God’s service, for growing more like Christ, and for following the Spirit’s leadership. God wants us to recognize our freedom as Christians differs from ordinary views and to exercise that freedom. How do you show gratitude for freedom you have in Christ? Let’s discover what Paul shares with the Galatians…

READ: Galatians 5:1-15

As we study Paul’s words on Christian freedom, let’s consider ways each of us can help one another experience the impact of exercising the freedom we have as Christians. Paul had just concluded his allegory of two covenants—the covenant of slavery to the law and the covenant of promise and freedom. In doing so, he used the strong declaration, “We are not children of the slave [Hagar] but of the free woman [Sarah]” (4:31) He then stresses that faith in Christ, not works or the law, makes people right with God. Paul desired that we…

I. Understand our freedom! (Vv. 5:1-6)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:1-6 NIV)

1. Paul in one brief statement summarized the entire point of his letter: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” By His sacrificial death, Christ provided salvation for everyone who would place faith in Him. Therefore, Paul emphasized, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery!” Because Christ frees believers from legalism as well as sin and death, they are to stand firm in that freedom. They are to keep on living in the freedom that grace provides. The Greek word for stand firm is a strong term that has the force of tenacity, of persistence. It is the image of a deeply rooted tree withstanding strong winds. The term “yoke” evokes the image of wooden collars placed on draft animals used to pull heavy loads. Paul did not want the Galatian believers to miss the full impact of what he wrote next. “Mark my words!’ he commands them. Paul strongly warned against male Gentile believers’ allowing themselves to be circumcised. They had not done so, but they were actually considering it. If believers submitted to circumcision, they would deny salvation comes by grace through faith alone; they would embrace the false teaching that salvation comes through faith plus legalism. If they did such a thing, then Christ would “be of no value” to them! Circumcision was an outward sign of dependence on good works for a right relationship with God, but no one could keep the law perfectly. In fact, folks who rely on works to make them right with God are “alienated from Christ.” They have no relationship with Christ! Paul said, “You have fallen away from grace”, which literally means, “You have forfeited grace.” Paul did not mean genuine believers could lose their salvation; people who try to combine law and grace for salvation are not totally committed to Christ. Partial commitment to Christ is not saving faith. The truth is that “by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope!” A right relationship with God is fulfilled by faith not by legalism. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” That is, God’s love for us through Jesus is expressed by our actions to others! We don’t do good works to be saved; we do good things to express our salvation that was freely given to us! Christians need to understand their freedom!

EXAMPLE: We are free because of what Christ has done for us and given to us. His continuing presence with us empowers us as we face life’s challenges. We need to follow His leading in order to advance toward spiritual maturity. How would you describe your freedom in Christ? How often do you express gratitude to Him for that freedom? In what ways do you demonstrate your faith through practical acts of love for others? We accept our freedom by continuing to trust God and His grace for our salvation. We also rely on Him for guidance in exhibiting our faith through love. We demonstrate that we understand our freedom through acts of kindness.

Now, Paul warns against the false teachers who sought to lead the Galatian Christians back into legalism. These teachers were preventing believers from obeying the truth Paul said they were “confusing” and “agitating” them. With sharp irony, Paul stated his wish that the teachers who advocated circumcision would make themselves eunuchs. He desired that we…

II. Keep our freedom! (Gal. 5:7-12)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! (Galatians 5:7-12 NIV)

1. The Galatian believers “were running a good race” in Christ, but someone tripped them up! Paul asks, “Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” He knew who the troublemakers were. The question put the spotlight on the Judaizers and presents the picture of a runner cutting in front of another and tripping him. These false teachers were hindering obedience to the truth—that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone. Paul tells them, “That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” The inference is that it is demonic and ungodly!  He reminds them, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” A little lie infects the entire truth! Some think that doing good things so God will love them is harmless, Paul, however, warned that submission to legalism was a corruptive influence. Doing good to glorify Christ is great, but doing good in order to be right with God is demonic! Yet, Paul related, “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.” The Galatian believers had not fallen for the false teachers’ perversion of the gospel, and Paul felt sure they would hold to what he had taught them. Paul was sure that these agitators with false doctrines would “pay the penalty” of God’s judgment. They were lying to the Galatians saying that he preached the necessity of Gentile converts’ being circumcised. If this were true, why would they continue to persecute Paul if he also advocated circumcision? If Paul did this, he would render ineffective Jesus’ death on the cross. “In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.” The “offense” (scandal or stumbling block) of the cross, refers to the false teacher’s difficulty in accepting the concept of Christ’s sacrifice for sins. Paul used biting irony to shock the Galatians believers. Perhaps they should go further and do what pagan priests did—make themselves eunuchs! His sharp sarcasm, “I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves,” expressed the depth of his anger, frustration, and concern. He did not mean any literal harm to the teachers disturbing the Galatians. He believed the gospel was at stake and they needed to keep their freedom!

EXAMPLE: When have you used strong words to address a situation that concerned you deeply as a Christian? With what attitude and motive did you do so? We retain our freedom by resisting all efforts to inject legalism into Christianity. We need to reject such legalistic demands. We easily can fall victim to the subtle conviction that our good works enable us to retain our salvation. Paul would remind us to keep our freedom!

Paul emphasized God’s call to salvation in Christ is a call to freedom. This freedom is not license to sin but freedom to serve others. Loving ministry to people fulfills the law. Infighting among Christians, however, is destructive. Instead, we are to…

III. Use our freedom for others! (Vv.13-15)

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5:13-15 NIV)

1. God had not called the Galatians to the “yoke” of legalism but to freedom. Yet Christian freedom is not to be equated with permission to sin. Paul stressed that freedom in Christ is not license to do as believers please. They were not to misuse grace as a springboard or launching pad for sinful living. Instead, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Rather than using the liberty Christ provided as an excuse for self-indulgence, the Galatian believers were to serve one another through love. The word serve literally means, “to be a slave to.” Rather than become slaves to legalism, the believers were to willingly enter a bondage of love! The word Paul used for love is agape, God’s kind of love. Christ commanded His followers to have this kind of love for one another. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV) Such love expresses itself in sacrificial ministry to others, including the most menial service. Christ frees believers from sin to serve Him and others. In fact, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Love, not adherence to rules and rituals, fulfills the entire law. Paul quoted Leviticus 19:18, which Jesus had quoted in response to a question about the greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-31). Paul contended that believers’ love for their neighbors—all people they encounter—demonstrates love for God and right relationships with others, both of which are reflected in the Ten Commandments. Loving others complies with the law’s intent. Evidently, these believers were fighting with one another, perhaps over legalism! Love for others fulfills the law, but infighting among Christians is deadly. The Judaizers’ teachings had caused conflict in the Galatian churches. At least some of the believers were “fighting like cats and dogs,” as we sometimes say. So Paul finally warns them, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” The words bite and devour picture wild animals in a deadly struggle, inflicting fatal injuries. The result of such vicious infighting would be the destruction of Christian fellowships. Instead of fighting one another, we are to use our freedom for others!

EXAMPLE: What factors make loving other Christians difficult? By what acts of service do you express your love for other believers in your church? We are to use our freedom to serve others and help our churches. Conversely, we are to refuse to misuse it by doing what might harm others or our churches. We need to cultivate looking for opportunities to use our freedom for others!

Conclusion
1. We are free because of what Christ has done for us and by exhibiting our faith in love.
2. We retain our freedom by resisting all efforts to inject legalism into Christianity.
3. We are to use our freedom to serve others and help our churches and to refuse to misuse it by doing what might harm others or our church.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2013 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Just Wondering…

I was wondering what you thought about slavery. You know what I mean do you sell yourself cheaply. Does your life consist of constantly enslaving yourself to your latest weakness, to the latest allure of the world? Are there chains of fornication linked to your soul and shackles of idolatry strapped to your life? Is enslavement to the world part of your compromise? The one who died for us has asked us to be his bond-slaves, bought with the price of his blood. When we allow ourselves to become cheaply sold as prisoners to the world, we have prostituted who we are to be in him. Makes one wonder if you constantly like being enslaved to the wrong master…

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission

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Just Wondering…

I was just wondering, what does freedom mean to you? Does it mean you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want? Perhaps it means you are free to love him who loves you and those he died for? Freedom isn’t something that comes naturally, because many of us rather enjoy our slavery to ungodliness. We all want to be left to our own personal enslavement and resent those who show us how to break our chains. However, the freedom we find in the one who gave us all we need gives us complete satisfaction in life. That freedom was bought with a price and it is free! Why remain in slavery any longer? Makes one wonder…

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Why My Neighbor hates the Democrats…

Why My Neighbor hates the Democrats…
by Lee Hemen
September 16, 2010

Growing up we had a young man who came and worked on the farm next to us, he was from the Soviet Union. It was an exchange program, but we soon learned that they only let certain young men and women come — only those who touted Communism and who were Party Members. At first, he was braggadocios about everything. “In the USSR we already have TVs in every house, provided by the government.” “In the USSR we have bigger combines and our fruit trees grow more fruit.” “Everyone has free healthcare!” Stuff like that. However, as he lived and worked with us, things changed. He was amazed at our stores, the farm machinery, and the cars we owned. He was amazed that how most of our homes had running water, heat, and lights and indoor bathrooms. You have to remember this was in the early 60s or late 50s. My own family did not own a TV yet, but we had an old used Oldsmobile. When we got our old used black and white Sears TV, we invited him over. He was amazed. When he had to leave, he begged us to hide him. He did not want to go back. When we asked him why, he related it was horrible. He told us about the bread lines and the rationing of everything. How they had no heat in winter, no lights and no indoor plumbing, even in the huge apartment high rises in Moscow. He related how everyone hated being told what to do and think. He related how they listened to Radio Free Europe in order to find out what was really going on in the world. All the newspapers were government controlled. I was only 5 or 6 years-old at the time, but it made a huge impression on me. When he left, he hid money in compartments he made in his luggage and wrapped Pall Mall cigarettes for “bribes” for the guards when we went back through Moscow Airport so he could smuggle in what he was taking back.

My next-door neighbor came from Romania. His name is Eli. He was a Christian lay pastor there. He had to hide his Bible in sections at several of his congregation’s homes. They would tear out separate books and hide them under the floorboards. They would meet in different houses on different days. He would tape the sheets to the inside of his body to walk to another home, where he would share and then hide it so that it could not be in the same home for very long. You could not go out after a certain time at night. You never worshiped on Sundays because then the Secret Police would know. People got money for turning in their friends, neighbors and relatives to the government. Children were taught that the government was what you lived for, that there was no God, and to inform on their parents if they cheated the government. It was their patriotic duty.

He related how he worked in a factory there. One person would sweep the floor, one would carry the dustpan, and another would dump it. And still others would carry the trash while a different person would clean out the trash bin. Everyone got the same pay except those who were Party Members and higher up. Everyone had “make work” jobs because everyone was “unionized” under the government and had to pay dues and taxes back to the State. People would be sleeping, the secret police would break down your door, and your father, mother, or siblings would be taken away and never be seen again. If they were, they would be completely different people — inward, silent, and frightened all the time. Hundreds of thousands were secretly murdered by the Government. He and his wife finally got out.

They could not believe what America had to offer. He told me how he just stood in the middle of the aisle of the first grocery store he went into here and wept. He thought he had died and had gone to heaven. He could not believe that Americans actually threw out food and clothing that they would have been excited to get in Romania. He saved every extra penny he earned here to get the rest of his immediate family out and he succeeded. Now, that Romania is free he has gone back to visit. I asked him if would ever return, and he said, “NO, the Communists might come back.” He absolutely hates, and I mean hates, the Democratic Party. He asked me just last week, “Lee, don’t people realize that the Democrats are just Communists? Don’t they realize that Obama is a Communist and he will harm our freedom here? Are they that stupid? What are you taught in school?” He is a US citizen now and proud of it and so glad his children and grandchildren are as well.

As a footnote, he also related to me how shocked everyone in Romania was when America did not come to the aide of Czechoslovakia when the Soviet Union went in with tanks. Everyone had thought that the USA would stand up to Russia and then Romania would all be free after the Czechs. He related how the Russians, because Romania was an occupied country, were frightened that the USA would strike back. They knew they could not have stopped America and that the populations of the territories they had taken over, like Romania, would have revolted. The Russian Army was ready to revolt as well, having been under paid and fed for decades. They wept for weeks when we did nothing.

By the way, they had “free health care,” but no one wanted to use it because you only got sicker or died in the hospital waiting for medicine or a doctor. You had to constantly bribe governmental officials in order to get to the front of the line or better treatment.

You may naively think, “It can’t happen here.” But it is already beginning. Our children are taught to think the “party line” in schools concerning unions, what makes up a family, or concerning the environment. Obamacare is one step removed from the Soviet-style rationing. The government has shut down much of the oil industry, watches what your children eat, think, and do at school and home, has installed over 30 Presidential “Czars” that are paid huge salaries who are only accountable to him, and is quick to brand anyone who disagrees with them as phobic, stupid, or enemies. Your bank and much of the American auto industry is now owned by the Government. It was recently revealed that upwards of 45% of all households in America are getting some kind of Governmental assistance through meal or food stamps, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, unemployment benefits, home mortgages or college loans — which, by the way record numbers have defaulted on paying back. Add to this the number of public employees hired by all governments – Federal, State, and local – and what we have here is a failure of our system.

What can change this? You can by voting, by not getting on the governmental dole, and by not thinking someone else “owes” you something for nothing. There is never a “free lunch.” I had to laugh when my neighbor Eli asked, “Whatever happened to people being skeptical of their government? It is a good thing to never trust those in power, whoever they are — but especially Democrats.” He is right and that is why my neighbor hates the Democrats.


Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Where Have All Our Freedoms Gone?

Where Have All Our Freedoms Gone?
words by Lee Hemen
Sung to “Where Have All the flowers gone” by Pete Seeger

Where have all the swine flu shots gone? No one can find one.
Where have all the swine flu shots gone? Obama doesn’t know for sure.
Where have all the swine flu shots gone? Illegals, deadbeats, have used every one.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Where did all the TARP money go? ACORN spent much of it.
Where did all the TRAP money go? No one knows for sure.
Where did all the TARP money go? Obama cronies got every dime.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Where have all the Democrats gone? Sold their votes for Obamacare.
Where have all the Democrats gone? Only Pelosi and Reid know for sure.
Where have all the Democrats gone? Unions own them everyone.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Where has all our democracy gone? Democrats sold us out.
Where has all our democracy gone? One world government now for sure.
Where has all our democracy gone? Slavery now for everyone!
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Where has all our freedom gone? National debt expanding.
Where has all our freedom gone? No one knows for sure.
Where had all our freedom gone? Tax serfdom for everyone!
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2009 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission…

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