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Pastor's Piece

The Pastor's Piece 5/18/2024

By Kevin Cernek, FCFI Chaplain

a person holding a bible in their hands

FCFI

May 19, 2024

Disclaimer: Today’s column may emote strong emotions from friend and foe alike. Read at your own discretion. The other day I saw a news clip where our President was making fun of pro-lifers and mocking the Bible. According to Yahoo.com, “President Joe Biden on Tuesday tore into Donald Trump for his role in getting abortion rights overturned … referring to the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade. ‘Maybe it’s coming from that Bible he’s trying to sell,’ Biden said as the crowd laughed ... ‘I almost wanted to buy one just to see what the hell’s in it.’” The Bible that President Biden was referring to is called the “God Bless The USA Bible.” It includes the entire text of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and also the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the lyrics to the chorus to Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless The USA.” (All very fitting, by the way, for a Memorial Day celebration). Being a minister of God’s Word, I feel compelled to defend the Bible. In fact, I have spent my entire career teaching and defending God’s Word, receiving praise from some and ridicule and disdain from others. It goes with the territory. It just depends on who your audience is. My purpose is not to spout personal preferences, but, like the Apostle Paul testified in Romans 1:16, my purpose is to boldly proclaim what the Bible teaches. Paul said: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes.” And another: 2 Timothy 2:15 says: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Another one is found in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Those words of Scripture were written in the first century AD. A lot has gone down since then. It is recorded in our history books that In AD 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy Christians and their Bibles. The persecution that followed was brutal. Christians were arrested and tortured and executed with great publicity. Some were crucified, some were thrown to the wild animals and others were burned alive as living torches. Over a burned and extinguished Bible, Diocletian built a monument on which he wrote these triumphant words: “Extincto nomene Christianorum” (“The name Christian is extinguished”). Yet, 300 years before that, the Apostle Peter wrote: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25). And the writer of Hebrews says “the Word of God is living and active,” (Hebrews 4:12). And In Matthew 24:35, Jesus Himself said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” More recently, last month, at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, in an intersection outside a church in a Nashville, Tennessee suburb, a trailer with about 200 Bibles in it was intentionally set on fire and burned in a public display of hatred for God’s Word. Jesus told us to expect opposition and to consider it a blessing when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Him. It’s been going on for centuries, and actually, we haven’t begun to experience the kind of persecution those early Christians faced. At the funeral of a friend, his son gave me the following note as it relates to the Bible. His dad had given it to him when my friend was just a little boy. In his own handwriting the note said: “Son, you have in your hands, the greatest book ever written, the most amazing book in all the world, the only place in all humanity, in all human history, where you are given the bedrock, undiluted truth about life. The word of God gives you the insights of God into life, the explanation of who you are, what God intended you to be, and what will fulfill you. No book is more important to learn, to feed upon, then the word of God. It tells you what, and where humanity ran off the tracks, and it explains clearly how to get back on the right track. Keep holding it, it’s a big book, it takes a lot of reading, a lot of studying, a lot of thinking and meditating to grasp what it says, but when you do, it will change your life; it will lead you into fullness, freedom, liberty and beauty. That is what the Bible is. This word is tremendous and significant and important.” Until next time- have a great day! (Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin)