Kim Kardashian‘s recent announcement that she was pregnant with Kanye West‘s baby raises questions about role models, morals, success and God‘s Word pertaining to young women and celebrities.
Dr. Jamal H. Bryant, founder and pastor of Empowerment Temple Church in Baltimore, Md., released a statement: “Societies celebration of the Kardashian pregnancy to Kanye West while still married to someone else says to America’s girls, if you are an entertainer ethics are elastic and Christian convictions are convenient.”
Although the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star has filed for divorce from the NBA player, Kris Humphries 72 days after tying the knot in October 2011, she is still legally married.
Associate Youth Pastor Duane Watts from Holy Temple Church in Philadelphia, Pa., is dumbfounded by the attention that the Kardashian baby news has garnered. “In society today, there is a warped definition of what success is. However, in the life of every born-again Christian, young or old, God’s standard should be the only criteria we are governed by.”
Watts further explained, “God’s word teaches that good success come as a result of adhering to Godly statutes within His word and even loving to obey His commandments. In short, obedience to God breeds success. Anything else is not truly success. What is seen in the glamorized life of Kim Kardashian and main stream is that their kind of success is defined by another standard not of God. Our youth see this sort and began to follow after it even if they aren’t aware. Hearing celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and young women state that they go to church or are Christian ends up leaving an inaccurate standard impressed upon our young people. Unfortunately, the notion this gives to our youth is that spiritual drifting or living contrary to what God says is acceptable. They may be Christian. They may attend church each week. But the proof of what we are digesting is in how we live between the visits.”
Reality star Kim Kardashian’s influence is significant with over 17 million Twitter followers and 12 million likes on Facebook. The Kardashian mania has left religious authorities questioning whose voice has become the loudest in the ears of young women: God or celebrities.
“It depends on the person and how much they idolize celebrities,” said 20-year-old college student Alisha Parker. “I don’t believe that you should lose your personal values because someone else does. Kim Kardashian is her own person and has to answer to her God for her decisions. I am my own person who is not swayed by what a celebrity does. I don’t base my life on other people. My decisions are not altered or influenced by others. Celebrities are not my God.”
While controversy and criticism followed the Kardashian baby news, there is also excitement as well. The Kardashian sisters took to their Twitter pages expressing joy and happiness for the couple.
The president of E! told the Hollywood reporter in a statement: “Kim and Kanye are an incredibly dynamic couple, and their baby news is just so exciting. Like so many Kardashian fans, we love it when this close-knit family gets even bigger. We look forward to sharing the joy as they prepare for more diapers, more bottle and without a doubt, more fabulous baby wear.”
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been dating for eight months. They have not released an official date of when their first child together will be born.
Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old political activist who for the past five years has combated Louisiana‘s Science Education Act, recently spoke out on why he believes creationism should not be taught in America’s public schools.
“Creationism is not science, and shouldn’t be in a public school science class — it’s that simple,” said Kopplin, who at age 14 wrote a research paper regarding the 2008 passing of Louisiana’s Science Education Act. “Creationism confuses students about the nature of science,.”
“If students don’t understand the scientific method, and are taught that creationism is science, they will not be prepared to do work in genuine fields, especially not the biological sciences. We are hurting the chances of our students having jobs in science, and making discoveries that will change the world,” the 19-year-old added in his interview with io9.com.
The young activist has also composed a letter signed by 78 Nobel laureate scientists urging the state to repeal the law, and also has introduced two bills to repeal the Act, both of which have been defeated by committee votes.
In 2008, Louisiana legislature approved the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), also known as an “Academic Freedom Law,” which allows teachers to critique and review certain controversial teachings in science textbooks, such as teachings regarding “evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and cloning.”
Teachers then may supplement these controversial topics with additional texts relating to creationism and Intelligent Design.
Critics of the LSEA, some of whom are currently attempting to have the law repealed, argue that it provides teachers with the opportunity to teach creationism in lieu of science in public schools.
According to Joshua Youngkin of the Discovery Institute, a nonprofit think tank which advocates for Intelligent Design, the purpose of the LSEA is to allow teachers with different beliefs to freely discuss scientifically-controversial issues without reprisal.
“The LSEA basically shields teachers who teach critical inquiry into matters of scientific controversy,” Youngkin wrote in a Jan. 2 article on the Evolutionnews.org.
“Under the LSEA, items like the creative power of natural selection or the causes of climate change could be put up for discussion in the classroom — as a learning exercise par excellence — without fear of reprisal,” Youngkin added.
Additionally, those who support the LSEA argue that it respects the constitutional right of religious freedom in the classroom because it allows both teachers and students to discuss their religious beliefs freely.
Kopplin is not the only activist who opposes the teaching of creationism in schools.
In Aug. 2012, television personality and scientist Bill Nye urged U.S. parents to stop teaching their children creationism.
“I say to grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world where everything is completely inconsistent with the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers for the future,” Nye said in a BigThink.com video.
In light of this opposition, creationists continue to stand by their conviction, which, in the broadest sense of the term, is the religious belief based on the Bible that God created the entire universe and all human life.
Ken Ham, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, has spoken about what he believes to be the “present evil age” which Christians must fight through by proclaiming the Gospel message.
In an Oct. 2012 post on the Answers in Genesis blog, Ham announced the theme for his ministry to focus on in the upcoming year: “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids.”
“Through the apostle Paul in Galatians 1:4, God tells us we live in a ‘present evil age,'” wrote Ham, whose nonprofit ministry supports young Earth creationism and a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis.
“But Jesus Christ ‘gave himself for our sins so that He might rescue us.’ Proclaiming that Gospel message in this evil world is the church’s most urgent call. Satan, however, is after the minds of this and future generations, and his key tactic is to deceive our youth [and adults] into believing lies [such as evolution and millions of years] that discredit the Bible’s authority and accuracy. It is from the Bible that we get the trustworthy gospel message, and so God’s Word needs to be upheld,” Ham added.
Although Kopplin’s two repeal attempts have failed, the university student announced that he will introduce a third challenge to repeal the LSEA in spring of this year.
Most people in our society would feel embarrassed if they were forced to walk around their community naked. But what if you had no choice on the matter the day you go before God to be judged? What if you were naked before Him….not physically necessarily, but worse….spiritually naked before your Creator, without any covering for your sins against Him? Do you have any idea how you would feel?
Adam and Eve felt ashamed. They had disobeyed God. They suddenly felt naked before Him….which went far deeper than their physical nakedness. After they ate the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7) Man has been trying to cover his soul ever since with the “fig leaves” of his religious rituals and human effort.
Sin and spiritual nakedness cause man to try to hide from God. When the Lord was calling to Adam after they ate the fruit, Adam answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10) Imagine that….trying to hide from God….and in His garden no less. What got into Adam and Eve anyway? And what gets into us when we give into temptation?
Trying to hide from God is like trying to hide from oxygen. Good luck. You will never succeed at it. He is everywhere. What did you think….that you were going to be the only person on the planet to escape His view….and even skip out on Judgment Day? Think again, because that is impossible.
So where does that leave us? Well….each of us will be brought before God in one of two situations….either clothed in the righteousness of Christ….or spiritually naked and without a prayer at that point. It will be too late for prayer….or repentance….or accepting Jesus as your Savior. “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) Today is the day to get dressed and ready for your appointment in God’s courtroom. Tomorrow may be to late. “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) If you are spiritually naked when you leave this world, you will stand before God in the same condition.
This is why it is so critical for you to look into your future….and contemplate your spiritual condition on that day of reckoning. Do you want to arrive there in fear, shame, and awaiting punishment? Or do you want to be standing there in confidence, faith, and awaiting your entrance into heaven? Picture yourself clothed before God in a white robe of righteousness….and then picture the alternative….where you are standing there naked. Which one sounds better to you?
Christ Himself offers you this wisdom today: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness.” (Revelation 3:18) Right now….you may not feel ashamed of your spiritual nakedness before God. That is a problem, and a big one. Without shame and “godly sorrow” over your sin, (see 2 Cor. 7:9-11) you remain blind to your true condition….and you assume that you are in no danger. But that is the deadliest form of deception. Your mind is playing tricks on you. The only way to “pass the test” on that final day is to get dressed here on earth….and to have your soul covered with Christ’s “white robe.”
In the book of Revelation, John saw into the future….and he saw what is heading straight toward us. “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands….Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes-who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'” (Revelation 7:9,13-14)
The only way to get a white robe for that day….and I mean the only way….is to trust in Jesus and His death on the cross for your sins. Through faith, His blood washes your robe and makes it white. Every other approach is nothing but religious “fig leaves.” That won’t cut it. God doesn’t accept people with fig leaves into heaven, but only those with a white robe.
If you bring your fig leaves (your religious deeds) to that courtroom hoping those deeds will save your soul, you will become suddenly panic-stricken as you listen to the Lord announce your verdict. Your religious deeds mean nothing to God without faith in Christ. Only Jesus can cover your shameful nakedness. That my friend is true whether you believe it or not. Your belief does not create truth….it simply embraces the truth as you get dressed in Christ, or refuses to embrace it as you remain spiritually naked before God.
I realize that this message is “other worldly,” and completely contrary to the messages that surround us everyday in the media and in the culture. Nothing in this life prepares us for that coming day….except God’s wisdom, and the white robe that we can only receive from Jesus. The Scriptures alone are able to “make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 3:15) What can those in Hollywood or the media do for you that even begins to equal the blessing and majesty of that wisdom? This is why it is often better to turn off the television, and open up the Bible….that is, if you value your soul.
Are you someone who spends hours every week working to improve your body….but little or no time on your soul? Your body is a gift from God and it should be maintained….but if you neglect your soul, you are neglecting the very thing that will spend eternity in one of two places. (People in both places, by the way, will also be given an immortal physical body that will experience rapturous joy….or unrelenting suffering.) Do you really want to come to the end of your life on earth, only to realize that you have wasted your efforts on things which cannot save you from God’s wrath against sin? (see Matt. 3:7; John 3:36; Romans 2:5,8; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 1 Thess. 1:10; & Rev. 6:17)
Believe me….or better yet, believe God’s Word….your fig leaves cannot turn God’s wrath away from you if you enter His courtroom naked. “For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:10) There is no getting around it. You can busy your mind with every other issue while on earth if you choose to do so, but that won’t change the fact that you and I both have an appointment in His courtroom. I don’t know what the courtroom will look like, but I do know it will take place. How do I know this? Because “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18)
Repent and believe the good news, and you will be clothed with Christ. If on the other hand you reject Him, or try to cover yourself in the fig leaves of your religious deeds….then your soul will remain naked. This is why Christ counsels you to come to Him and receive the white clothes you need to wear over your soul. His death on the cross earned that white robe for you and for me. Whether you receive it by faith, or not, is something that has larger implications than you or I can possibly imagine.
Right now, we only have a certain number of words in the Bible which describe heaven and hell. The actual experience of being in one of those places will be a million times more exhilarating, or terrifying, than what we currently can only read about. We won’t really know the extent of it until each of us gets there….to one of those two places. If this fact does not lead you to evaluate your spiritual condition, especially in light of Christ’s suffering and death to earn a white robe for you….then I really don’t know what else there is to say.
Right now you have a prayer my friend. One day you won’t….that is, if you find yourself standing naked before God. Do you see why this issue creates such a sense of urgency in the hearts of those who care about you and your immortal soul….or are you too busy patching together your fig leaves to even notice?
There once was a congregation too poor to buy any new hymnals. So they were offered a sufficient quantity by a pharmaceutical firm in exchange for a little advertising. When the hymnals arrived, the church marveled at how lovely they looked. They were unable to find even a hint of any advertising on the covers, front or back, inside or outside, or on any of the early pages. They could only suppose the company had forgotten. But during Christmas when they turned to a well-known carol, they rose to sing:
“Hark, the herald angels sing, Beecham’s pills are just the thing, Peace on earth and mercy mild, Two for an adult, and one for a child.” 
Seriously though, hymns are a blessed means of inspiration and worship for us. Andy Griffith once said, “You know when you’re young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future.”  The Scriptures exhort us to “speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Personally, I love the old hymns, which are amazingly rich in spiritual truths. One of my favorites that I would often instruct the music directors at my previous pastorates to choose as an opening for worship was, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”
The authorship of this hymn has always been a matter of debate. Some have attributed it to Charles Wesley because of a short pamphlet that was published sometime prior to 1757. The pamphlet, however, has no title page and thus has no positive attribution. The pamphlet contains only one other hymn, “Jesus, Let Thy Pitying Eye,” which was unquestionably written by Wesley. Therefore, many suggest Wesley probably wrote both hymns.
Still, others associate the hymn with the great evangelist, George Whitfield. “Come, Thou Almighty King” appears in the 22nd edition of Whitfield’s Collection of Hymns for Social Worship. But there is actually less evidence Whitfield wrote the hymn than Wesley. It’s been suggested he may have selected and arranged the stanzas from a longer hymn that has been lost.
The music for the hymn’s use today is known. Composed by Italian Felice de Giardinia, “Come, Thou Almighty King,” has often been referred to as the “Italian Hymn.”
Readers of my columns know my love for out of print religious books and the way I search for them at old antique stores. (See article, Public Prayer In Jesus’ Name, Yes or No?) Recently, I came upon a 1926 edition of A Junior Hymnal with Song Stories and Worship Programs, from The Standard Publishing Company, and compiled by J.E. Stugis and W.S. Martin. The book provides some history on “Come, Thou Almighty King” that I’ve never read anywhere else, which may throw some light on why the hymn’s authorship is in question. What is more, the story is a patriotic one that demonstrates America‘s deep roots in the Christian religion.
The book recounts a time in our nation’s history when we were in deep trouble – that period when America was struggling for its independence from the tyranny of England’s King. The crisis was so intense the people could hardly bear it and a company of them who lived in Long Island gathered together for worship in their church.
England, as we know, had a national song, “God Save the King,” the first verse of which reads:
“God save our gracious King, Long live our noble King, God save the King. Send him victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us: God save the King.”
The words were sung to the same tune as our own, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
When these patriotic followers of Christ were meeting in church for worship, a company of British soldiers showed up and their commander had them march up the aisle. It was an extremely threatening and fearful situation. When the commander reached the front of the sanctuary, he turned to the congregants and demanded: “Sing, ‘God Save the King.'” The organist began playing the tune everyone knew so well, but instead of singing “God, Save the King,” they sang this prayer:
“Come, Thou Almighty King, Help us Thy name to sing, Help us to praise: Father all glorious, O’er all victorious, Come, and reign over us, Ancient of days!”
The commander and the soldiers were so taken aback – so moved by such deep spirituality – so moved by this earnest prayer to God and its devotion to Christ as King – they marched out of the church without any further threats or intimidations. 
Though the book’s story doesn’t give specifics such as the date, name of the church, etc., it certainly seems plausible and consistent with similar records of history for the same time period. One Crown-appointed British governor wrote back to Great Britain complaining: “If you ask an American who is his master, he’ll tell you he has none. And he has no governor but Jesus Christ.”  A motto of the American Revolution directed against King George III was: “No King but King Jesus!” 
Perhaps one of the reasons the authorship of this hymn has never been clear is because that is the way the author wanted it. Whatever name had been associated with its text would have likely been executed for treason to the Crown.
From henceforth every time I sing “Come, Thou Almighty King,” I’ll be reminded of the courage of my forebears who staunchly stood for liberty. http://www.christianpost.com/news/patriotic-inspiration-from-come-thou-almighty-king-88426/#o0Xlbw13GqMdY7ef.99
Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy came to life in recent years on film. In the second epic story, the hero, Frodo, reached a point of despair and wearily confided to his friend, “I can’t do this, Sam.” As a good friend, Sam gave a rousing speech: “It’s like in the great stories . . . . Full of darkness and danger they were. . . . Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.” Which prompted Frodo to ask: “What are we holding on to, Sam?”
It’s a significant question, one that we all need to ask ourselves. Living in a fallen, broken world, it’s no wonder that sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the powers of darkness. When we are at the point of despair, ready to throw in the towel, we do well to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12).
In life’s battles, let’s hold on to the fact that good will triumph over evil in the end, that one day we will see our Master and Leader face-to-face, and we will reign with Him forever. You can be part of this great story, knowing that if you have trusted Jesus for salvation you are guaranteed a victorious ending!
The trials of earth are small compared with the triumphs of heaven.
When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me . . . —Galatians 1:15-16
Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.