Take out the trash February 12, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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This morning I heard an interesting analogy regarding forgiveness:
When someone sins against you (does you harm in some way – emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) it is like they have brought a bag of garbage to your house and dropped it on your living-room floor.
Forgiveness is simply the act of you picking up that bag of garbage and taking it out; disposing of it so it is no longer in your house. However, many of us do not take out that garbage. We may move it around – take it into a back room for example and shut the door (out of sight, out of mind…. really?), we may just push it over to the side of the couch, or leave it sitting in the middle of the floor.
The problem is that the garbage is still there. It begins to smell; even if it is in the back room with the door closed, the smell will eventually come out and permeate our entire house. The smell will overshadow everything good in our house and lessen the good with its rotting stench (ever try to cook and eat a delicious meal in a dumpster?).
Our house is our life. It is the entirety of who we are, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The smell of rotting garbage that we have not disposed of properly will eventually permeate our lives ruining everything that we have, or do, or try to do, and will poison and sicken us.
Forgiveness thought of in this way makes a whole lot more sense to us as we reflect on the biblical admonitions to forgive:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Forgiveness is not about the blessing of another, it is about the blessing of oneself; of following the example of our Lord in His faithfulness to forgive us of ALL of our wrongs, and it is a practical way to keep ourselves healthy in body and spirit.
Anti-Trump protests are hipocracy at its worst February 8, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Where was all the talk of Presidential ‘legitimacy’ when Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with a 5.56% LOSS in the Popular vote? Where were the riots, the ‘not my President’ protests? Where was all the nonsense when Clinton won with a much wider deficit than Mr. Trump?
Trump 45.98% Popular vote, 56.5% Electoral College
Clinton 43.01% Popular vote, 68.77% Electoral College
Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election. That’s a direct threat to our democracy.
That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election…
And let’s be clear about what he’s saying and what he means. He’s denigrating—he’s talking down our democracy. I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our major two parties would take that kind of position.
Hillary Clinton on accepting the 2016 election results
On immigration: President Trump institutes a temporary halt on immigration almost identical to the halt instituted by the Obama administration in 2015, yet there is and uproar from the left (and even from Obama himself).
Mr. Obama used his rights as president to put a halt to some immigrants from arriving here six times. President George W. Bush used the executive powers six times as well, Bill Clinton did so twice, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter instituted bans using their executive powers a combined seven times.
Where were all the protests for those 19 bans? Where were all the cries of racism?
Question: “What does the Bible say about illegal immigration?” February 4, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Answer: Note: We wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). We also believe that the United States should have a more compassionate and merciful immigration policy. However, that is not the question at hand. The question at hand concerns illegal immigration—whether it is wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws.
Romans 13:1–7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Illegal immigration is a sin.
Illegal immigration is definitely a controversial issue in the United States (and some other countries) today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory—thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, Romans 13:1–7 does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God’s Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.
Are the immigration laws of the United States unfair or unjust? Some think so, but that is not the issue. All developed countries in the world have immigration laws, some more strict than the USA’s, and some less strict, and all have to deal with illegal immigration. There is nothing in the Bible to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. Romans 13:1–7 also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, or even something more severe, it is within the rights of the government to determine.
Illegal immigration is a complex issue. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping poverty. These are good goals and motivations. However, it is not biblical to violate a law to achieve a “good.” Caring for the poor, orphans, and widows is something the Bible commands us to do (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 2:2–15). However, the biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law in doing so. Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.
What is the biblical solution to illegal immigration? Simple—don’t do it; obey the laws. If disobedience is not a biblical option, what can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13–16).
7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics February 1, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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How to be in the world, not of the world, in a culture of political vitriol.
February 1, 2016
Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.
Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.
Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.
It’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.
Here are seven things to remember about politics:
1. Both political parties go to church
There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Larry T. Decker is a lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. He’s an “unaffiliated Christian,” but his entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they’re not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.
2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings
When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.
3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others
They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to keep gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics and gun ownership; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.
If you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved.
4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake
The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.
5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7)
Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn’t mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn’t mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.
6. Don’t be paranoid
The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It’s not. And if we’re a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not whoever’s in office now, and not whoever succeeds them.
7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation”
It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was OK to own people. Every generation thinks it’s living in the most important moment in history. We’re not, our parents were not and our children probably won’t be. And that’s OK.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from an original version posted in September 2012.
Political thoughts January 25, 2017Posted by JP in Politics, Venting.
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There is so much I want to say but usually choose to keep to myself because of the ongoing contention of the recent election and inauguration of Mr. Trump, however I will attempt to ramble about a few things here just to get them out of my head:
The election and the role of the electoral college:
5 times in our history has a Presidential Candidate won the election despite loosing, or allegedly loosing the popular vote: Donald Trump 2016, George W. Bush 2000, Benjamin Harrison 1888, Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876, and John Quincy Adams 1824.
This happens as a result of the Electoral College and its role in the Presidentia election process. I have to say that I am not necessarily a fan of the electoral college system, however I have done some thinking about it and realized a very important aspect that bears some attention. Our nation, our government is not a strict democracy; it is a republic, or more accurately to my thinking, a representational democracy. Our system works for us because portions of our populace are represented by an elected official (Congressmen and Senators). Laws are voted upon and passed by these elected officials who theoretically act in the interests of those who elected them. We vote for a Congressman and the winner of the majority of those votes is elected to serve us in Washington D.C., Senators are restricted to 2 per state. This method of electing representatives serves a valuable purpose: in states such as California, where the population and political leanings are wide spread we are represented by Congressmen who represent the political ideas of a segment of our population. Subsequently, those areas with high populations (Bay Area and Los Angeles) do not have more say in the will of the totality of the state as most of the areas, or counties, throughout the state have different political ideals than those in the heavily populated urban areas.
All this boils down to a simple idea which is demonstrated clearly by a look at a vote by county map of the entire country:
Consequently, perhaps the popular vote leaned in favor a Hillary Clinton, based solely upon the density of population of certain urban areas, but the majority of the Country, spread across the entire country went a different route. Therefore, the duly elected President, Donald J. Trump is legitimately our Nation’s leader.
Now as to those who are protesting:
Get over it. I did not vote for Mr. Obama, nor did I want him in office, but when he was elected I put on my big boy pants and supported him as the leader of our country. I prayed for him to do the right thing, expressed my approval when he did do the right thing, and questioned him when he did not do the right thing. The outrageous behavior demonstrated continuously by the liberal populace, and the media, is doing nothing helpful for this country. We are a country divided and the division is a result of the deleterious behavior of the DNC, the mainstream media, the Hollywood left and the clueless citizenry who’s agenda seems to be directed by misinformation, ignorance of the facts, and petty grudges of a child who did not get what he wanted. A statement I saw today sums it up quite nicely: YOU SAID “LOVE TRUMPS HATE”, BURNING CARS, SMASHING WINDOWS, AND ASSAULTING PEOPLE PROVES YOU’RE FULL OF CRAP.
Regarding disapproval, or rejection of Mr. Trump’s ‘policies’:
First of all, you cannot disapprove or reject a policy that does not exist. Marching to protest a ‘policy’ the day after the inauguration is ridiculous.
I recently had a discussion with someone about the Executive Order regarding the Affordable Care Act. As it was explained to me the contention was that this person thought it was distasteful and wrong for the President to issue an Executive Order repealing ‘Obama Care’ a day after the election. My difficulty here is debating an issue with someone who got their information from a news agency that clearly is not reporting the facts (left-wing mainstream media). So here is what Executive Order #1 actually does:
Section 1. Ensures that the existing law is being efficiently implemented, minimizes the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.
Sec. 2. Allows agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.
Sec. 3. Provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.
Sec. 4. Encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.
No repeal, no stoppage, no nothing other than allowing some flexibility in the administration of the law in regards to penalties, costs, and implementation of programs. The worst part of this whole Executive Order is that someone who does not have, or does not acquire healthcare may not have to pay the penalty tax. Woe is me.
His other Executive Order simple mandates a streamline of the Environmental Impact Reports for high priority projects. Perhaps a needed highway bypass could be built in our lifetime rather than waiting 13 years for an EIR to be conducted or approved.
All in all, for me it comes down to this: Mr. Trump was not my choice for President but he was selected as the Republican candidate and provided a candidate much preferred over the alternative. He DID win the election by a the majority of the country and is now the President of the United States of America. As such he deserves the prayers and support of myself, and the rest of the populace.
His success depends upon our support, and our success as a Nation depends upon his success as the leader of the free world. For those who claim ‘not my president’ I have a simple solution: pull up you panties and support the nation, or pack up your stuff and move out, maybe you can cross the border into Mexico before the wall goes up.
Work out your own salvation with trembling and fear January 19, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Php 2:12-16 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). (13) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (14) Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], (15) That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and…
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Instead of calling Trump ‘illegitimate’ Dems should try to figure out where they went wrong January 18, 2017Posted by JP in Discussion.
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- At what point does resistance become unpatriotic? Possibly, when elected leaders like Democrat John Lewis attempt to undermine the law of the land.
The dust-up between Lewis and Donald Trump began with the respected civil rights leader telling NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president…I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
So, even though Donald Trump won more than the requisite number of Electoral College votes to defeat Hillary Clinton, Lewis, who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, denies that Mr. Trump, as of Friday afternoon, will be our duly elected president.
In 2010 after the battle over ObamaCare, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell vowed to work against the president’s reelection. That promise, for which he was slammed by the Left, was perhaps unpolitic, but he stopped short of suggesting that Obama was not the rightful occupant of the Oval Office. McConnell, along with other Republicans, believed that Obama’s policies would not benefit the country; it was his job to try to turn him out of office.
Trump, of course, did challenge Obama’s legitimacy, questioning the president’s birthplace. But he was a private citizen. His behavior may have been deplorable, but it was not a contradiction of his oath of office.
The accusation made by Lewis challenges the peaceful transition of power, an essential pillar of our democracy. As Martin Luther King III said after meeting with Trump, in the heat of emotion, “A lot of things get said on both sides.” That may be true, but Lewis crossed a line and needs to tell the nation that he was wrong.
The IMF recently boosted its forecast of U.S. economic growth by half a percent, citing Trump’s policies. How can challenging the president-elect’s legitimacy do anything but undermine the promise of faster job creation and higher incomes for all Americans?
Lewis’ comment not only verges on unpatriotic, it is also wrong. The Russians did not destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton did.
Moscow did not invent the disgraceful collusion between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the supposedly neutral DNC to undermine rival Bernie Sanders.
Putin did not write the emails revealing the Clinton camp’s derisive attitude towards people of faith, or the degree to which Hillary cynically shifted positions to better accommodate polls. They didn’t author the speech in which she said “you need both a public and a private position” on policy or the one in which she said she dreamt of “a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.”
No, Russia did not create these embarrassments for Clinton. Putin et al did help make them public, but they only confirmed what most Americans already thought of Hillary Clinton. More important, Moscow did not manipulate Hillary Clinton into using the several private email servers that had but one purpose: to avoid public scrutiny.
To that end she went to extraordinary lengths to destroy and withhold documents that by law belong to the American people – documents that reveal the abhorrent pay-to-play culture nurtured by the Clintons. She also mishandled classified information, which has landed lesser mortals in prison.
And no, James Comey is not to blame either. Hillary fans have conveniently forgotten that the FBI Director gave Clinton a pass when he recommended against indicting the Democrat candidate in July. Though Comey noted that the former first lady had been “extremely careless” in her handling of ‘very sensitive, highly classified information”, and though here was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” Comey argued that no “reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Republicans were incensed by Comey’s generous treatment of Clinton.
When new evidence surfaced, Comey reopened the investigation, and made that decision public.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll taken after Comey’s October announcement indicated that his reopened investigation had not altered the race one bit.
What did alter the race was an appetite for change and eagerness for a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. In promising four more years of Obama, Hillary ignored those sentiments. She ran a terrible campaign, taking for granted core constituents like union workers in the Midwest and mistaking President Obama’s personal popularity for enthusiasm for his policies.
In July 2015, before the WikiLeaks dumps began, polling revealed that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble. A Washington Post columnist wrote, “It’s hard to overstate just how bad Clinton’s numbers are…. they are in some ways about as bad as Trump’s.” Indeed, 54% of the country had an unfavorable view of Clinton, and 44% had a very unfavorable view – an all-time high.
Most astonishing is that despite such polling Democrats never even considered that she might lose. So inevitable was her victory and so supportive and confident was the liberal media, that Trump’s win was as shocking as it was painful.
As a result we have seen mobs riot in protest and a smear campaign second to none waged against the President-elect. Petulant liberals (and more than 50 members of Congress) have announced with much fanfare their boycott of the inauguration.
The media is furious that they may not have much sway in the new White House, even as they continue to denigrate Trump’s every move.
Fashion designers have churlishly declared they won’t be dressing Melania.
Spoiled brats, all, who grossly overestimate their own importance. Trump fans don’t care. They are ready to move on.
Democrats, including John Lewis, can be forgiven for being unhappy that their candidate lost. But they cannot be forgiven for punishing the country for the astonishing drubbing handed out not only to Clinton but also to Democrats across the board.
Instead of looking for scapegoats, Democrats including Obama, Clinton and Lewis would profit more from trying to understand where they went wrong and how they lost the confidence of the nation. That would be to the good of the country – and a more patriotic approach.
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Angel with an M16
coating sweaty skin
in gritty irritation.
tinged with smoke
from spent rounds
and rocket’s tail.
focusing on this day
this horrible day.
honor is satisfied
country is served
freedom now reigns.
covering cooling skin
of our hallowed dead.
Better than honor and glory, and History’s iron pen,
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men