We Have Nothing To Fear But Flu Itself?

There’s nothing quite like bad news in a bold print headline to give you a good case of the willies.

To whit:


Swine flu claims first victim in U.S., CDC confirms

By now you know the back story.

The Swine Flu has rattled nerves world wide.

Governments have declared states of emergency.

Travel plans have been scuttled.

In Texas, even state wide athletic events have been cancelled for fear that this particular virus might spread.

Now, there is no doubt that this outbreak of the flu has had devastating consequences for those infected.

But if we could take a step back from news cycle amplified, media driven hysteria for just a moment, a few facts to keep in mind.

First, what we are experiencing with the Swine Flu so far isn’t really all that different than the effects of the virus every single year.

During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection. Frequently cited numbers are 20,000 deaths each year, and 37,000 annual deaths. About 5-10% of hospitalizations for influenza lead to fatal outcome in adults.

This doesn’t mean that a flu outbreak isn’t a serious thing. But neither is it uncommon.

How bad will the Swine Flu outbreak get before it is all said and done?

No one knows.

What we do know is that influenza outbreaks have been awful in the past. The Hong Kong Flu of 1968 killed over a million people world wide.

And since Swine Flu isn’t common in human populations we do not have natural immunities built up to resist it.

The current outbreak has also caused deaths in young and otherwise healthy individuals. Normally flu fatalities are mostly seen among the very young or the elderly.

If you will pardon the pun, the Swine Flu is nothing to sneeze at.

So what should we do?

Exercise common sense precautions.

Answers in Genesis gives an excellent set of practical steps to take in light of the potential dangers involved.

Our first line of defense against swine flu is simple and easy to do: “Basic cleanliness that your mom taught you,” remarked Ken Ham when he was addressing the AiG staff on this issue. Wash your hands frequently with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue immediately; and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands. If you are sick and your symptoms are mild, stay home from school or work; however, head to the doctor’s or to a hospital if your symptoms get worse or if you have trouble breathing.20 Those ill especially should avoid travel.19

But there is also something we should not do.

Give way to panic and fear.

Or listen to unfounded speculation.

On the so-called Yahoo Answers site a secular poster adds this unhelpful piece of libel.

Why are creationists calling swine flu a hoax?

On answers in genesis a new article claims that swine flu is an atheist conspiracy to prove evolution, and was actually released from a lab.
Hopefully any “free thinkers” who come across this will take a moment to go to Answers In Genesis and discover that any such reference is only a figment of an overheated imagination.
The bottom line?
Fear and those who attempt to exploit fear are as much of a potential problem as the actual Swine Flu virus itself.
The antidote?
I would suggest taking a deep dose of God’s truth.
Along with the practical steps outlined above, make sure you apply the “Psalm 91 Prescription” for fear!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. (Psalm 91:1-6)
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2012: A Speculation Odyssey

It used to be the fodder for the daily comics.

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But these days, the sandwhich sign purveyors of doom come across as models of restraint.

At least they didn’t have the nerve to tell you when the end was coming, just that we are in the ball park.

Maybe it’s the effect the information superhighway has made on our culture, but the new prophets of doom are into precision.

It’s not enough to predict the apocalypse – we demand a date!

Now date setting and doom saying has proved a tricky mixture to handle as of late.

The dreaded “Y-2K” frenzy ended up fizzling like a cheap sparkler on the 4th of July.

But not to worry – courtesy of the Mayan calendar and NASA, the next convergence of Chicken-Little-ism is now set for 2012.

The 2012 Apocalypse — And How to Stop It

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For scary speculation about the end of civilization in 2012, people usually turn to followers of cryptic Mayan prophecy, not scientists. But that’s exactly what a group of NASA-assembled researchers described in a chilling report issued earlier this year on the destructive potential of solar storms.

Entitled “Severe Space Weather Events — Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts,” it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth’s magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States “$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year,” concluded the panel, and “full recovery could take 4 to 10 years.” That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages.

Good-bye, civilization.

Worse yet, the next period of intense solar activity is expected in 2012, and coincides with the presence of an unusually large hole in Earth’s geomagnetic shield. But the report received relatively little attention, perhaps because of 2012’s supernatural connotations. Mayan astronomers supposedly predicted that 2012 would mark the calamitous “birth of a new era.”

Whether the Mayans were on to something, or this is all just a chilling coincidence, won’t be known for several years. But according to Lawrence Joseph, author of “Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization’s End,” “I’ve been following this topic for almost five years, and it wasn’t until the report came out that this really began to freak me out.”

Sounds impressive and ominous.

After all, when pagan shamans and scientists agree there has to be something to it, right?

Well, like a lot of these situations there are some problems with the actual science.

The 2012 date normally would be a time of intense solar activity. Sunspot cycles tend to run in 11 year periods from high to low. And since the last projected low was about a year ago, things should be turning around and cranking up for the coming solar storm.

The only hang up?

The sun doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

The latest assessment from the US Air Force solar observation service tells us that the predicted start of a new sun spot cycle has yet to begin.

In fact,  the upswing of a new solar cycle seems to have been put on indefinite hold.

So despite the impressive graphics, and History Channel attempts at fitting all this into one of Nostradamus’ incomprehensible limericks, this particular prediction for 2012 is running out of steam.

So what is the spiritual lesson to be learned in all this?

There is no doubt that this world, in its present sin and death ridden state can’t go on forever.

But when we try to pin point when the expiration date is going to hit we are on shaky ground.

This is precisely what Jesus told us concerning the Last Days.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.

It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.

And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-37)

There are two equal and opposite errors we can make concerning the return of Jesus and the End Times.

One is to become caught up in someone’s speculations, rather than God’s revelation.

Invariably, people who say “I know the day and hour!” gather a large following.

But when the assured predictions fail to come to pass, not only is the publicity seeking preacher discredited, but those who were taken in become cynical.

“Oh, right! Like Jesus is ever going to come again!”

But Jesus will come.

In fact, if we pay attention to His instructions concerning the end, we won’t be taken in by those who either say He has already come back (in some convoluted spiritual way) or that He will never come again.

The second error to avoid is going on spiritual auto-pilot.

Jesus told us to live as if He could come today.

That doesn’t mean we will veer off and join the sandwich sign set.

It does mean that we will want to make the most of every day.

It does mean that we will seek to share Jesus’ number one priority for our lives – To love the Lord and our fellow man.

The wisest course is not to live in fear of the latest prediction of disaster.

It is to live in anticipation of that awesome moment when we will see the Master!

The Lie Behind “The Truth”

Have you ever come down with a raging case of hero worship?

Maybe it was the driving force that fueled a knock down drag out fight on the playground over whether Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays was the greatest baseball player ever?

(We all know the real answer is Hank Aaron, anyway..)

Maybe it was the moment you became like a deer in the headlights when you saw your favorite celebrity in the airport.

Maybe it was the time you questioned the spiritual maturity of anyone who didn’t hang with baited breath on the words of your favorite pastor.

Hero worship is certainly a major part of what it means to be human.

Deep down inside we believe we can find a sense of fulfillment and meaning in our lives not from God, but from someone with skin on.

If you don’t believe that is true, consider a controversy that errupted over a work of art that was scheduled for debut at Union Square In New York City last week.


“The Truth” by Michael D’Antuono

The painting titled “The Truth” amounts to a kind of national Rorshach test.

According to a statement released about the portrait, “The 30″ x 54″ acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross: atop his head, a crown of thorns; behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing, and is he being crucified or glorified?”

Even the title of the piece, “The Truth,” suggests a play on biblical themes, as Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

“More than a presidential portrait,” writes artist Michael D’Antuono on a website touting the painting, “‘The Truth’ is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation’s current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue.”

Like others in the news who have depicted Obama in Christ-like imagery, D’Antuono insists he isn’t claiming the man is Messiah, but only inviting “individual interpretations.”

“‘The Truth,’ like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder,” claims the exhibit’s press release.

D’Antuono even invites the public to email him with reactions to the piece, answering his posed question, “What’s your truth?”

Apparently D’Antuono’s attempt at generating controversy went a bit too far even for his own taste.

The idea of the piece, or the reaction that I’d hoped for, was to highlight our nation’s deep partisan divide and how our interpretation of the truth is really prejudiced by our political perspective and I think that to a large degree we are being manipulated by the media. I miss the old day when we just have the facts. Now we have pundits and spin and strategists.

I just thought that through that painting people would see different things. The right and the left would have different interpretations of it based on their political lens. But I have to admit I was very surprised that instead of that I got thousands of email complaining on the religious front. And that was not my intent at all. I wanted to create a dialog politically but not religiously. I didn’t mean to make fun of anybody’s religion; maybe I did so naively but I didn’t mean it that way. In the bible Jesus is The Truth and comparing Obama that way isn’t something I meant to do at all.

Apparently, I’ve upset a lot of people. And I’ve decided that’s not what I wanted to do and I’m not going to display it in the park on Wednesday … art is meant to be somewhat provocative but the religious element went way farther than I had anticipated.

Gee,  Michael!

Hard to believe people would sense a comparison to a major spiritual figure in your painting.

But there is a significant point that paintings like “The Truth” reveal.

No matter what your political preferences might be, there is no doubt about the fact that Barack Obama has generated some, well, less than rational enthusiasm among his more ardent supporters.

From MSNBC’s Chris Matthews declaring that hearing Mr. Obama speak “sent a tingle up my leg!”

To the ever controversial Louis Farrakhan declaring:

“You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.”

These over the top statements and questionably executed works of art do illustrate our desire for someone, anyone to save us from ourselves.

This is a classic good news/bad news situation.

The bad news?

When we try to derive a sense of personal meaning by putting our faith in anyone or anything less than God, we are setting ourselves up for a major fall.

Be it a politician or a pastor, sooner or later we discover that our idols are just as fallible and flawed as we are.

But the good news is equally powerful and practical.

When we invest that desire to put our faith in Someone greater than ourselves in the proper place, we find the peace and fulfillment we are looking for.

I will never forget talking with a man who told me he had lost his faith in God.

He told me that he had given his life to Christ at a Jimmy Swaggart rally back in the eighties.

When Jimmy Swaggart’s ungodly lifestyle was exposed, his ministry died. And this man’s faith died with it.

“Jimmy Swaggart was a phony,” he told me, “So I guess my faith was phony too.”

I will never forget the look on his face when I replied with a simple question:

“So did you invite Jimmy Swaggart into your heart to be your Lord and Savior?”

“Why, no…” he stammered. “I accepted Jesus that night.”

“So what was it about Jesus that you found to be phony or hypocritical?”

“Nothing.”

I replied, “I don’t think you lost your faith in Jesus. Just in someone who claimed to represent him. Put your faith in God. He will never let you down.”

The lie behind “The Truth”?

No politician can solve our greatest personal problem – the need for a genuine reconciliation and relationship with the Lord Who loves us.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:5-6)

Will Children be raptured?

Click Here!!!

A Stranger In A Strange Land

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Imagine taking on this assignment.

You are to leave behind everything you have been used to in life and infiltrate a strange and unknown culture.

The natives see the world completely differently than you, your parents or friends do.

And yet in the quest for knowledge you must learn their language, their culture, their habits.

You must do all that you can to convince them that you are in fact one of them.

Gain their trust.

Even speak to their chief.

Compile your observations.

And publish your conclusions.

Sounds like something we’d see on Man Versus Wild, doesn’t it?

But now imagine the exotic location was Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The chief was Jerry Falwell.

And the bizarre tribe?

Born again Christians.

Ivy Leaguer `infiltrates’ Falwell’s university

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.

Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

Each conversation about salvation or hand-wringing debate about premarital sex was unwitting fodder for Roose’s recently published book: “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University”.

Roose’s attempt at understanding Christians by play acting his way into their world certainly presents some major ethical problems.

How would you like to find out that a person you loved, accepted, perhaps even confided in as a brother in the Lord was really just examining you like some lab specimen?

Nice.

But interestingly, Roose may have ended up learning more than he bargained for in this adventure.

He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy — and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch “Gossip Girl?”

It wasn’t an easy transition. Premarital sex is an obvious no-no at Liberty. So are smoking and drinking. Cursing is also banned, so he prepared by reading the Christian self-help book, “30 Days to Taming Your Tongue.”

He lined up a publisher — Grand Central Publishing — and arrived at the Lynchburg campus prepared for “hostile ideologues who spent all their time plotting abortion clinic protests and sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls.”

Instead, he found that “not only are they not that, but they’re rigorously normal.”

Rouse not only discovered that many of the stereotypes he held about Christians were off base, but also that they might actually be on to something – or better some One.

Roose said his Liberty experience transformed him in surprising ways.

When he first returned to Brown, he’d be shocked by the sight of a gay couple holding hands — then be shocked at his own reaction. He remains stridently opposed to Falwell’s worldview, but he also came to understand Falwell’s appeal.

Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly — for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.

He’s even considering joining a church.

Let’s hope God continues to work in the life of Kevin Rouse.

But lets also not forget about the work God desires to do in and through our lives as Christians.

One of the most interesting experiences I have is when people that I interact with in secular settings (the health club, the golf course, entertainment events etc.) ask me what I do for a living.

When I tell them I am a pastor, most of the time they are somewhat taken aback.

Often they will say, “Wow! I never would have guessed that!”

Now, when that happens, I feel an obligation to ask them why they have that reaction.

I mean, hopefully it’s not because they saw me tossing my 9 iron into the lake on that obnoxious par 4!

But when they say things like, “Well, you are so friendly..”

or “You seem to have a sense of humor..”

or “You really look like you like to have fun..”

the stage is set to share with them another mind blowing truth.

God isn’t for the dry, stuffy, and harsh types who live in desperate fear that someone, somewhere is enjoying life.

Jesus doesn’t turn people into freaks. He turns freaks into people.

And that is something that those on the outside looking in at a relationship with God are literally dying to know.

It’s too bad that people like Kevin Rouse had to go to such lengths to find out what Christians are really all about.

Perhaps if we made the effort to “infiltrate” the world of non believers with the love and truth of Jesus in an open and honest way,  fewer people would see us as an exotic tribe!

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5)

The Big Question Mark In the Sky?

Punctuation mark in the heavens. The scientific name for the galaxies linked by a stream of glowing superstars is Arp 194

If you want to gain a quick burst of appreciation for the awesome power and creative artistry of God, all you have to do is look up.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)

But while some find spiritual answers in a look at the heavens, others find a tantalizing question.

As the London Daily Mail expressed it today –

Is there anyone out there in the ‘question mark’

galaxy?

With its unique glowing shape and colours spiralling down to a dot it appears to be begging the question – is anyone out there?

There are few more intriguing questions we get asked on our daily talk show Scott Richards Live than this one.

Surely we can’t be the only intelligent form of life in the universe?

Why, out of a universe some 15-20 billion light years across,would we be the only ones God would make?

What does the Bible say about life beyond this earth?

The answer we find in the Word of God is shocking, both to believers and unbelievers.

First – the Bible does tell us that there are other intelligent life forms in the universe.

And no, they aren’t robot amazons from the Planet Stinky-Pinky.

They are – angels.

The book of Hebrews chapter one tells us two important facts about angels –

Their make-up:

And of the angels He says:
“ Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7)

And their mission:

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

In a nutshell Angels are intelligent, sentient beings with a completely different make up than we have.

Their purpose is to carry out God’s will, particularly concerning the spiritual welfare of His people.

The Bible also indicates they do their best work “undercover”.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

So when asked does the Bible teach that their are other intelligent beings in the universe, the answer is an unavoidable “yes”.

OK.

I know.

“But what about other non spiritual creatures like us? Isn’t our galaxy filled with other civilizations zipping around at warp 9?”

In a word – no.

I used to believe that any attempt to biblically answer the question of other planets populated with (sometimes) intelligent beings was an argument from silence.

There is no specific yes or no verse that applies to this issue.

Some will say, “Maybe yes. Maybe no. The jury is still out. We’ll have to wait and see.”

But the more I look at what the Bible says about the beginning and end of God’s plan for our world, the more doubtful I am that He is working in the same way in any other.

First, when we look at the creation account in Genesis 1, the focal point is this amazing miracle planet we call earth.

In the sequence of creation, the earth was created before the rest of the universe. Heavenly objects (i.e.- the rest of the universe)were not created until the fourth day ( see Genesis 1:14-19).

Second, when we see the Lord’s  plan of salvation fulfilled, we see God becoming a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. (See Isaiah 7:14)

Some Christian thinkers (like CS Lewis) have speculated that if there was a species of box shaped creatures elsewhere in the universe, God would have become a box like creature to save them as well.

But in His resurrected state, Jesus does not appear as a glorified box like creature, but as a glorified man – fully God and fully man forever.

The glorified human nature of Jesus does not point to the existence of other physical beings like us.

Third, when man fell in the Garden of Eden, the Bible tells us the entire creation was effected.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)

The universal impact of the fall begs the question – why would what a human being did on our planet result in death and corruption for the box-like creatures on Planet StinkyPinky?

Finally, when we see the portrait of the end of God’s dealings with this creation, it is inextricably linked to events that take place here on earth.

In fact, at the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ on earth, we are told that following the final judgment, God will recreate a new heavens and a new earth where only righteousness dwells. (See II Peter 3:10-13)

The bottom line?

I am extremely doubtful that there are other physical creatures like us in the universe.

The centrality of earth in creation, the miracle of Jesus’ incarnation, and the complete recreation of the universe based on what goes on here, strongly indicate we occupy a unique and special place indeed.

I know.

You are probably thinking, “But what about UFO’s?”

As we have seen the Bible tells us there are other intelligent beings in the universe – the angels.

But Jesus also told us that some of these angels fell into sin and rebellion against God. (See Matthew 25:41)

Their number one desire is to fulfill the old adage, “Misery loves company.”

Their mission is to lead people away from the God Who loves them.

And their number one tool is deception.

How does this jibe with UFO phenomena?

Consider the philosophy that goes with it.

People who buy into an outlook influenced by Star Trek, Star Wars and ET also tend to buy into the following conclusions:

“We aren’t alone in the universe. There are civilizations that have solved the problems we face today. Perhaps we can look to them for our salvation!”

“We all are a product of evolution and are getting better and better. With advanced technology and bigger brains we can perfect ourselves just like the UFO beings did!”

Did you catch the message?

We don’t really need a new heart from God  – just a new brain, or a new invention or two that will perfect us!

Maybe a box like creature from the planet Stinky-Pinky will straighten us out before its too late!

If Satan can sell his deceptions with a few Spielberg-esque special effects, why wouldn’t he?

The bottom line?

In a sense we are alone in this universe.

The more we study the planets we can see, and even speculate about the ones we can’t, the more we see this earth is a very special place indeed.

In that case the universe is not “a waste of space”, but rather a portrait of the vastness and power of our Creator.

And the fact that this planet is perfectly situated, even fine tuned for life tells us of His love.

It reminds us of the serious and universal consequences of rejecting a relationship with God.

But it also reminds us that the true and living God, so vast and powerful is also intimate and personal.

He loves us, enough to become one of us, in order to save us.

The big question is, do you know that love personally today?

A Deeper Question for Miss California

By now most of us have heard about the dust up at the Miss America Pageant Sunday night.

The competition was coming down to the wire.

Finalists would select a celebrity judge to ask them a question regarding the issues of the day.

Now, traditionally these questions require answers as non controversial as:

A. “I would like to see world peace.”

B. “I would like to end hunger and poverty.”

or C. “I think every puppy should have a good home.”

But not this night.

Miss California, Carrie Prejean selected a celebrity gossip blogger named  (and no, I am not making this up) “Perez Hilton”.

And then the sparks began to fly.

Hilton, an outspoken gay activist, asked Prejean , “‘Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalise same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?’

Now the easy choice would have been to string together a couple of politically correct cliches.

And at first it seemed that would be the well trodden trail Prejean would follow. After all, why risk alienating a judge when your greatest dream was about to be realized?

She paused a moment.

‘Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.’

But she didn’t stop there.

‘And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.
‘No offence to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it  should be – between a man and a woman. Thank you very much.’

No doubt Donald Trump, the driving force behind the revival of this pageant and a strong believer on the old addage “Any publicity is good publicity”,  was smiling.

Suddenly Miss America became front page news.

“Perez Hilton” fanned the flames by crudely insulting Prejean and declared he would have stormed onto the stage and ripped off her tiara if she had won.

Prejean didn’t win the competition that evening.

But her post pageant explanation for her remarks indicates she may have won a greater prize.

By having to answer that question in front of a national audience, God was testing my character and faith. I’m glad I stayed true to myself.’

In the aftermath of this controversy and what it cost Carrie Prejean to hold on to her convictions, a more personal question gets raised.

What would you or I have done if we were in her shoes that night?

Funny, isn’t it?

Sometimes the most revealing moments, the most defining moments of our lives happen when we are caught off guard.

Like being asked at work , “I noticed you weren’t laughing at that off color joke in the break room today.  Are you one of those born again types?”

Or when the person working out next to you at the health club  turns to you and says, “You go to church. What do you think about this gay marriage thing?”

Or, “You know, in order to make this deal we may not be able to be completely honest. But I’m sure you will go along and do what’s best for the company.”

And here we see the deeper question Carrie Prejean faced in front of a nation wide television audience.

Which means more to you – realizing a goal you have worked years to achieve?

Your reputation?

Your career?

Or your relationship with God?

It’s a question we will all face sooner or later.

Jesus put it this way:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:24-27)

Carrie Prejean will probably never be known as Miss America.

But she will be known as someone who wasn’t willing to sell out her personal principles for an earthly reward.

And that is something worth achieving.