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American Exceptionalism February 26, 2015

Posted by JP in Politics, Uncategorized.
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“Somehow America has bred a kindliness into our people unmatched anywhere, as has been pointed out in that best-selling record by a Canadian journalist. We are not a sick society. A sick society could not produce the men that set foot on the moon, or who are now circling the earth above us in the Skylab. A sick society bereft of morality and courage did not produce the men who went through those year[s] of torture and captivity in Vietnam. Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land as the Founding Fathers were typical. We found them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, ‘The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.’

We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.”

Ronald Reagan

The Shining City Upon A Hill

January 25, 1974

Gay Marriage February 11, 2015

Posted by JP in Discussion, Faith, Scripture, Uncategorized, Venting.
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You may be gay, you may have been born that way. However God did NOT make you that way.

God’s original creation was one of beauty, and delight. One way in which Adam’s body did mirror God’s is that it was created in perfect health, sinless and not subject to death. It was the sin of Adam and Eve which corrupted that creation. With the fall of mankind because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, that aspect of our likeness to God ended. Sin entered the world and along with it, sickness, disease and death. It is the primary result of sin that human nature has been corrupted (Rom 5:12). Every part of man—his mind, will, emotions, and body—is affected (Rom 3:9-18). Our nature is now bent toward sin, so that man’s unregenerate heart is “deceitful … and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9)

‘Nature’ is a pleasant way of stating that our world operates in a corrupted version of God’s creation. Subsequently, God did not create homosexuality, disease, death, envy, malice, strife, hatred, mental illness, etc. All that is not right in the eyes of God has come about through the corruption of His creation.

I don’t care if you are gay or not.

I wasn’t put on this earth to make judgments on anyone’s state of being. It doesn’t matter to me if you are gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, addiction prone, insufferable, or marvelously happy all the time. As a Christian I have been commanded to love everyone as Christ has loved me: “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” (Joh 13:34-35)

It is however, my place to make judgments (discernment) on the sins of other believers (not the guy downtown whom I don’t know):

Christians are often accused of “judging” whenever they speak out against a sinful activity. However, that is not the meaning of the Scripture verses that state, “Do not judge.” There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise—with careful discernment (John 7:24). When Jesus told us not to judge (Mat 7:1), He was telling us not to judge hypocritically. Matthew declares, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” What Jesus was condemning here was hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.

In Matthew, Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. That is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do. If a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian duty to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin (Mat 18:15-17) This is not judging, but rather pointing out the truth in hope—and with the ultimate goal—of bringing repentance in the other person (James 5:20) and restoration to the fellowship. We are to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). We are to proclaim what God’s Word says about sin. 2 Tim 4:2 instructs us, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” We are to “judge” sin, but always with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences—the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Being homosexual is not a sin, but engaging in homosexual activity (sex) is.

This is a sticky point among religious folk. Many look to the words of the scriptures, specifically the King James Version, and take it at face value, building a belief on the words rather than the intent and meaning of the words. But I will clue you in to a scriptural truth and my thinking about that truth, beginning with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)

The phrase “men who have sex with men” (translated “homosexuals” in the NASB) is a translation of the Greek word arsenokoitai. Those who object to this translation say that arsenokoitai does not refer to all homosexual relationships but only to those involving abuse, coercion, or unfaithfulness. They say the word does not refer to “loving, faithful” same-sex relationships.

Arsenokoitai is a compound word: arsenois the word for “a male,” and koitaiis the word for “mat” or “bed.” Put the two halves together, and the word means “a male bed”—that is, a person who makes use of a “male-only bed” or a “bed for males.” And, truthfully, that’s all the information we need to understand the intent of 1 Cor 6:9.

The word meaning “bed” carries a sexual connotation in this context—the Greek koitaiis the source of our English word coitus (“sexual intercourse”). The conclusion is that the word arsenokoitaiis referring to homosexuals—men who are in bed with other men, engaging in same-gender sexual activity.

The notion that some homosexual relationships are accepted is not even hinted at in this passage. The men’s commitment level or the presence of “love” is not addressed. The idea that the condemned same-sex activity is linked to economic exploitation or abuse is also a forced reading with no textual basis.

If we look at the whole of what Paul is telling us in the passage we see a list of activities which are ‘sinful’, or rather ‘separate from the righteousness of God’. Adultery is listed here, and anyone who knows anything about the teachings of scripture understands that adultery in all its forms is sinful (Mat 19:18, 1Th 4:3, Eph 5:3, et al)

So let me clue you in to something: Homosexual activity, at its core, is adultery. It is sexual activity committed outside the bond and covenant of marriage as established by God in His creation of Eve and His giving of her to Adam (Gen 2:22).

Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage, Gen 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Cor 7:2-16  and Eph 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family.

Then you ask: since the courts and the laws of the land have now started making same-sex marriage legal, doesn’t that bring homosexual activity in a ‘marriage’ into the realm of God’s righteousness?

No.

It should come as no surprise that the world desires to change what God has instituted. “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Rom 8:7). Though the world is attempting to provide their own definitions for what they call “marriage,” the Bible still stands. The clear definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.

However, while we are admonished to submit to the government, and the government is now ‘endorsing’ same-sex marriage, we must also recognize that our beliefs and the dictates of scripture cannot be superseded by the whims of the government, particularly when those whims contradict God’s Word.

Gay marriage/same-sex marriage is a perversion of the institution of marriage and an offense to the God who created marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin. Rather, we are to share the love of God and the forgiveness of sins that is available to all, including homosexuals, through Jesus Christ. We are to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and contend for truth with “gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15). As Christians, when we make a stand for truth and the result is personal attacks, insults, and persecution, we should remember the words of Jesus: “This is what I command you: that you love one another. If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.  (Joh 15:17-19)

How believing in the Bible can get you canned in today’s America February 11, 2015

Posted by JP in Discussion, Politics.
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By  Published February 10, 2015 FoxNews.com

If you want to get fired, sued or lose your business in today’s America, stand with Biblical convictions.

In Oregon, our friends Aaron and Melissa Klein were found guilty of discrimination by the state just this week, and could face up to $150,000 in fines for not baking a cake for a same-sex wedding.

In Wisconsin, a 15-year-old boy was reprimanded and reportedly punished by his school for backing traditional family in adoption cases.

When we were fired by HGTV for standing by our Biblical beliefs about marriage and life, countless men and women in the LGBTQ community reached out to us in support.  We had, and continue to have, healthy conversations, even though we disagree.  And isn’t that the point?

In New Jersey, a high school teacher was suspended for stating her Biblical beliefs about homosexuality on her personal Facebook page (while at home, off the clock).

In Illinois, a university professor was fired for saying that homosexual acts are “morally wrong.”

The list goes on, yet we can’t forget the grandmotherly florist in Washington Statebeing sued by the Attorney General of Washington for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding (to a man, who by the way, she had faithfully served and befriended for over a decade).

Grandma (70-year-old Baronelle Stutzman) summed it all up when she said,“Little by little, they are stripping us of any thought we might have, or any difference of opinion. This is our religious freedom at stake.”

You know what—Grandma is right.  Our religious freedoms are at stake here. The “tyranny of tolerance” claims that the sexual rights of some are more important than the religious rights of others.

First of all, we must draw a distinction between those that identify as LGBTQ and militant gay activists.  When we were fired by HGTV for standing by our Biblical beliefs about marriage and life, countless men and women in the LGBTQ community reached out to us in support.  We had, and continue to have, healthy conversations, even though we disagree.  And isn’t that the point?  We’re Americans—we can disagree and still get along. We don’t steal the rights of dissenters. That’s when all intellectual, spiritual, and civil progress stops.

Yet this remnant of militant activists refuses to tolerate dissenters to their lifestyle choices.  And unfortunately, they have the United States Government in their back pockets (not to mention the media and Hollywood).

At first, homosexual activists wanted acceptance.  Then they wanted appreciation.  Now they demand celebration. It’s not enough to live and let live, these activists are now forcing their lifestyle choices on everyone, even if it means bullying a 70-year-old florist.  We’ve shifted from religious freedom to forced acceptance in America.

The idea of forced acceptance infringes on our constitutional rights as Americans.  As Alliance Defending Freedom succinctly states, the First Amendment guarantees that the government cannot tell its citizens what they can and can’t say or force them to express a positive message about something they believe is morally wrong.

My brother and I are perfectly okay with a gay owned t-shirt company refusing to make t-shirts that say, “Homosexuality is sin.”  And we’re fine with a Jewish baker refusing to cater an event on the Sabbath.  And we’d certainly agree with the gun range owner refusing to let self-identifying ISIS members practice shooting at his facility.  These are their Constitutional rights as Americans.  Thank God!

But what activists are asking is to flip the coin and make Christian companies that are asked to do something against their convictions, like support same-sex marriage or abortion, comply with whole-hearted enthusiasm.

Isn’t there a double standard here?

The question is not should we as Americans be involved in the battle for freedom, the question is: are you willing to stand with courage at any cost if and when the battle comes knocking on your door?

So before it comes to you, here are a few simple things you can do to prepare:

1. Make up your mind.  Decide that whatever the cost you will stand for freedom.

2. Prepare yourself.  Get informed—don’t be ignorant of the issues and your rights.

3. Join the conversation.  Speak up.  Don’t be silent.

4. Separate ideas from individuals.  You can disagree with someone’s idea and not dislike them as a person.

5. Be kind.  Love triumphs over evil; don’t demonize others.

6. Stand strong.  Don’t back down.  Our children are depending on us!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”

Our liberties are God-given.  And, as such, we must be willing to defend these freedoms no matter the cost.  Now is the time for all Americans – regardless of our differences – to join hands in the greatest battle for liberty in our generation!  It’s time to take a stand.

LGBT rights trumping all other rights February 6, 2015

Posted by JP in Politics, Venting.
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The evidence seems to indicate that Christian business owners are being intentionally singled out for persecution. And it appears the courts are consistently ruling that gay rights trump everyone else’s rights. (http://www.foxnews.com/category/todds-american-dispatch)

The tenor of the world is changing and the governments across the land seem to be riding the same bandwagon: Deny the right of ‘free exercise’ of religion as provided by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I spoke of this rejection of the First Amendment in the post “The First Amendment being spit upon…” and the news continues to grow darker. Todd Starnes relates several cases where state governments have launched attacks on Christian business owners for their stands on LGBT marriages, and their refusals to provide services for same-sex marriages. This trend is becoming a dominating standard of practice now and I fear will soon grow worse.

I am a born again Christian, and an ordained Minister, my fear is that eventually this wave of LGBT rights trumping all other rights will put Ministers and churches in danger of the same governmental coercion that Christian business owners are now facing. My fear is that our right to freely practice our religion will be taken away in lieu of another’s demands that we conform to anti-biblical desires by trying to force Ministers to perform same-sex marriages. This coercion will come under threat of prosecution and/or legal or civic sanctions.

It will be the case, sooner rather than later, that our right to practice our religion free of government influence will be eliminated completely.

Would That I Could January 27, 2015

Posted by JP in Poetry.
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Would That I Could

Would that I could,
be the man you think me to be.
He of pathos and logos,
he of eternal vision
and fathomless depth.

Would that I could,
expose the inner soul.
Caged in this granite effigy,
with little fear,
of being touched deeply.

Would that I could,
cease my spewing insecurity.
Its constant pollution,
poisoning the world about us,
with vulnerable distrust.

Would that I could,
expose this wretched heart,
to the wonder that is you,
and learn to love myself,
as you have loved me.

January 10, 2015

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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2014 in review December 29, 2014

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A pledge to my wife December 19, 2014

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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This is for my beautiful wife who has been there for me, in spite of me, through all the ups, downs, hardships and victories. It is your time to soar and I will be there for you every step of the way.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

 

Dead? November 3, 2014

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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When you are dead, you don’t know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others.

It is the same when you are stupid.

Them’s the jokes folks! November 1, 2014

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”

He said, “Nobody loves me.”

I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me too! Protestant or Catholic?”

He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! What franchise?”

He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

—Emo Philips
A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. “You mean a martini?” the bartender asks. The Roman replies, “If I wanted a double, I would have asked for it!”

Another Roman walks into the bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “Five beers, please.”

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