God Is Not A Monster

Being deceived is like sticking your head in a bucket of your dreams and staying there, as if it were the real world. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much you know — as long as you are deceived, your head’s in a bucket.

Reminiscent of the devil quoting Scripture when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13), one commenter to my Open Letter To A “Skeptic” cited Romans 9:10-23 (NIV), claiming verse 22 says, “God creates people for Hell”. He concluded God, “is a monster”.

Reading the whole passage in context, Paul’s point is clear: Because God is sovereign, he has mercy on persons because he chooses to, not that anyone can earn his mercy. This fundamental principle of the sovereignty of God is what the deceived commenter rejected. And by so doing, he presumes the ability and right to judge God “a monster”, like a clay pot presuming to hold its potter accountable.

Skipping the main point of Paul’s message, this commenter focused on verse 22 as a proof text that, “God creates people for Hell”. Here is the verse:

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?

This is a question, not a statement. The phrase, “prepared for destruction” isn’t foundational to the thought, but conditional (“What if…”). Paul was not saying God creates people for hell. In order to understand Paul’s writing, we must remember that he was a Jewish rabbi, who although he became a key Christian leader and teacher, he never stopped being a Jewish rabbi. He was a master of rabbinical rhetoric, and his epistles are full of the classical forms of rabbinical reasoning in which he was trained.

One such form was the asking of questions in order to guide his listeners’ (or readers’) thoughts. Verse 22 is such a question. But it isn’t a single, isolated question. As you continue reading through Paul’s dissertation, he throws out more questions, like breadcrumbs, leading his readers along the path. If your mind follows that path, you will see that the big point Paul is making is that God, in his sovereignty, chooses to extend his mercy to gentiles (non-Jews), meaning his “good news” is for everyone — Jew or gentile — who is willing to receive Christ.

That’s pretty much the opposite of what the deceived commenter was saying. Ever since Jesus died on the cross and rose again to eternal life, the issue of going to hell is a matter of choice for every person. Everyone who goes to hell has made their choice and is responsible for that choice. God doesn’t send people to hell, they send themselves. That’s because EVERYONE already deserves to go to hell because of sin. Our choice is to die in sin or live in Christ. A “monster” does not give you that kind of choice.

If you are interested, or at least curious as to what more the Bible has to say on this subject, please read my post of January 15, 2013, Hearing The Good News Of God’s Kingdom
https://retiredday.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/hearing-the-good-news-of-gods-kingdom/

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The Pathway To Truth Or The Maze Of Your Own Understanding?

I was 31 years old when I received Christ.  I was already a fully formed adult with my own world view and a baggage load of experience behind me.  But when I began to grow in my faith I saw that I had been living my life as if reality was the maze of my own thinking — like an addictive video game that draws you in, holds your attention and becomes its own reward.  That’s pretty much what deception is.  It captures your consciousness like a drug, and it isn’t real.

My Open Letter To A “Skeptic” drew the attention of a lot of angry scoffers who kept demanding I present evidence for my “claim” that God exists.  But as I had explained, the evidence is already in, and has been for some time.  Scripture says that ever since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes have been clearly perceived.

But they reject God’s holy word in order to hold onto their deception.  They insist that Christians present “proof” for our faith, not on the basis of Biblical revelation, which is in fact the basis for Christianity, but by using the materialistic presupposition that all of reality is defined according to scientific materialism.  Their demand is preposterous, given that it is not open to to the possibility of examining faith according to the Biblical world view of reality from which it arises.

Faith is a spiritual thing, Atheists deny that spiritual reality even exists.  They not only deny it, they hold it in the greatest contempt, especially God’s holy Scripture.  So they demand that spiritual reality be “proved” using non spiritual methods.  It is a non sequitur to expect to find proof for anything spiritual, using a system of thought that precludes its very existence.  But on that basis they claim God does not exist.

Atheists have also created a false narrative that somehow Christianity and science are opposed to each other.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Many great scientists are Christian.  As I’ve said previously, the more a believer learns about life on this planet and the expansive universe beyond, the more he appreciates the Creator and the greater his faith grows.  There is no hyperbole at all in the Scripture that tells us the heavens themselves declare the glory of God.

Don Batten has written a delightful article entitled Five Atheist Miracles for Creation Ministries International http://creation.com/five-atheist-miracles?utm_media=email&utm_source=infobytes&utm_content=us&utm_campaign=emails giving examples of “Claiming to be wise they became fools” (Link takes you to whole chapter.  The verse is Romans 1:22).

I do not pretend to be scientifically conversant.  However, I think the article does a good job of demonstrating two things:  Christianity is not opposed to science; and Atheistic arguments against a Creator or Designer God may not be so scientific after all.  Read it and take a moment to consider whether or not a Godless “reality” is the pathway to truth or just the maze of your own understanding.

 

 

 

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Posted in Atheism, Belief in God, Reality vs. Fantasy, Science, World View | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Citizen Of The World?

The fool has said, “I am a citizen of the world!”

Of course, as fools do, he adjusts the meaning of the word, “citizen” to suit his globalist fantasy. But in the end, even with altered word meanings, the fantasy of world citizenship is just as real as unicorns.

My dictionary first defines a citizen as a person owing loyalty to and entitled to the protection of a given state. A second definition is given as a resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy other privileges there.

Let’s break that down:

  1. loyalty to the world
  2. the protection of the world
  3. a resident of the world
  4. possessing a world vote and other privileges

Let’s see…we can say that number 3 is a reality. The fool is indeed a resident of the world. But as for the rest, the idea of world citizenship is only a fanciful imagination, an endorphin-producing state of mind like the one brought on by singing We Are The World. It’s a construct of the brotherhood of Man without the context of the Lordship of Christ, a replay of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

In order for world citizenship to be a reality, a one-world government is required. What about the United Nations? First of all, not all of the countries in the world belong to the UN. Those holdout nations would certainly deny they had any responsibility or accountability to any “citizen” of the world. There is the matter of sovereignty to consider. In a one-world government, there can be no sovereignty, no citizenship.

Secondly, UN member nations represent every form of government there is. Some are representational, some are dictatorial. In America, we have a federal republic. Other nations claim to be democracies, some are oligarchies, some are monarchies, some theocracies and some are governed by little more than brutal, oppressive war lords. In that mix, there can be no realistic application of the concept of being “united”, which makes “loyalty” nothing more than a vague abstraction. There can be no universal protection and certainly no universal vote.

The heads of state of each nation appoint their own “representatives” to the United Nations. None of them are voted in. None of them can be held accountable by the people who live in their respective nations. The people have no recourse to what their so-called “representatives” do. They have no input, no choice, no vote.

The “democracy” practiced when the UN General Assembly votes, does not reach the peoples of the nations. At best, they can only consider themselves mere subjects of the authoritarians who have been appointed over them.

As for world protection, the UN is pitiful. Hotel Rwanda made that point clear. And that is pretty much the tip of the iceberg. In the real world, there is no such thing as a citizen of the world. It is a utopian pipe dream of fools.

On the other hand, I am a citizen of heaven. Let me break that down according to the same principles of citizenship applied above:

  1. loyalty
  2. protection
  3. residency
  4. the vote and other privileges

The kingdom of God is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus began his earthly ministry by preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand. God is the King of heaven. As far as loyalty to him is concerned, when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as payment for our sins, that is, when we receive Christ and believe in his name, we enter the kingdom of heaven in a privileged condition. We do that by being “born again” and becoming children of God (John 1:12). That makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Ephesians 3:6 says, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

As for protection, Psalm 119:114 calls God “my fortress and my shield”. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him [Jesus Christ] who strengthens me.” God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). And, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

As for residency, Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” and in John 14:2 Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” And even though we now live in this physical world, as citizens of heaven, in spirit we are already seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).

As for “the vote and other privileges”, consider all that has already been said and add to it, Revelation 5:10: “and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” God gives citizens of heaven the authority to rule the world. That’s more than just a vote. Though physical death represents an essential change (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) once a person has faith in Christ, he has already been born again and has passed into eternal life. For in John 17:3 Jesus prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:4-5

If you want to know more about what it means to know Christ and become a citizen of heaven, read the Bible, talk to a believer, go to church. Perhaps one day you will begin to understand, “…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” 1 Peter 1:23.

Posted in Citizenship, Globalism, Reality vs. Fantasy, The United Nations | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Open Letter To A “Skeptic”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. — Romans 1: 19-20

Several words in this passage are like burrs under a horse’s saddle to atheists, agnostics and skeptics. To be described as ungodly and unrighteous jabs them at the heart of their pride — a pride that upholds their personal judgment as objective, logical, scientific and even noble. They see “truth” not as something greater than they are, to which they must be held accountable, but something that is subject to their own judgment, their own approval, their own powers of observation and measurement. Rather than considering truth to be authoritative, they consider themselves to have the authority that allows truth to be what it is.

The Biblical world view recognizes that God exists because it is clear that he has revealed himself to us.The Bible is God’s revelation of himself to man. But also, all of God’s creation reveals himself to man and affords us the opportunity to perceive his eternal power and divine nature. The passage above cites the creation of the world. But Psalm 19:1 includes the whole universe in which we live: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

God reveals himself to us, and what can be known about God is plain to everyone, because he shows it to us. In John 18:37 Jesus tells Pontius Pilate, “…For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus also said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So those of us who are of the truth bear witness to the truth. It is easy for us to see God’s invisible attributes in the things that he has made. So, the more we learn about his creation, the more our faith is confirmed.

The only reason a person would not be able to see the truth of God revealed throughout creation is that they are covering their own eyes. They don’t see God because they won’t see God. And when you cover your eyes, it’s just as if you are saying, “I don’t care what’s out there. I only care for what goes on in my own mind.”

That is why they are without excuse. God has plainly shown us what can be known about him. Those who can’t see it are refusing to see it, as a matter of their own will. That is why words like ungodly and unrighteous are used to describe them. And that is why God is also revealing his wrath against them. They are without excuse because they willfully block God from their view, substituting themselves for God as the final arbiter of reality.

Logic and imagination are wonderful gifts, and often lead to great creativity and achievement. But when your logic and imagination are held captive by self-centered pride, the reality you create in your mind becomes a maze and a prison. Such a reality is limited, small and marked by sin and selfishness. God isn’t there in your world because you won’t allow him any space.

But the truth is greater than your tiny reality. God is bigger than you — something you lack the courage to admit. Faith takes courage because you will only know God when you are willing to humble yourself before him. And to do that, you must first come to the end of yourself.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” That is the total opposite to what the world teaches. But read the book of Ecclesiastes. It says that everything about human life is meaningless — “vanity and chasing after wind”. But the book ends by saying “fear God and keep his commandments” because he is going to judge everything we do.

You can only hide your eyes for so long. Eventually God’s judgment will come, and at that time, if you are still trying to hide your eyes it will be too late for you. You will have made your bed and now you will have to lie in it.

There can be no lasting meaning to life, nothing of permanent value, without God. Thus, it is the fool who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

“Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.” — Proverbs 2:2-5

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” — Proverbs 9:10

[UPDATE]  No snarky, irate, argumentative, challenges to debate or endless repetitions of demands for evidence that already is apparent, but denied by so-called “skeptics” are welcome here.  I will not publish such comments.  This site is not a place for free-for-alls.

Posted in Atheism, God, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

“Just Say No”

Words don’t have intrinsic meaning any more. They simply mean whatever you want them to mean. And regrettably, most people apparently find that perfectly acceptable.

I have a 45-year-old dictionary that gives several definitions for the verb, pervert. Here’s what it used to mean:

1. To cause to turn from what is considered morally right; corrupt;
2. To bring to a worse condition; debase; vitiate;
3. To employ wrongly or incorrectly; misuse;
4. To interpret incorrectly; misconstrue.

Hopefully, these definitions should help you to see how the meaning of “equality” has been perverted by society’s politically correct, permissive attitude on the issues of “gender identity” and “gender selection”.

An article entitled, Target Takes a Stand on Transgender Issues, at http://fox40.com/2016/04/20/target-takes-stand-on-transgender-bathroom-controversy/ begins by saying,

Target reinforced its stance on equality in its stores. The company says in a statement released Wednesday, inclusivity is a core belief. Target wants transgender customers and employees to feel comfortable using the bathrooms and fitting rooms for the gender they identify with.

The word, “equality” has been perverted to mean “the same”. A man who thinks of himself as a woman is “the same” as a woman. A woman who thinks of herself as a man is “the same” as a man. Therefore they should use whichever fitting rooms or restrooms that make them feel comfortable. The word, “inclusivity” is used to emphasize their perverted definition of equality. To them, the concept of gender isn’t biological, but a matter of choice. So specific gender classification should be inclusive for individuals of either gender, in order to be “equal”.

I hope you are able to understand what is happening here. Gender refers to the biological classification of the sex of human beings, identified as either male or female. This is a feature of our bodies, not our “identities”. It’s about human reproduction. Both genders are required in order to produce offspring. It has nothing to do with “equality”.

Socially speaking, in America public facilities such as restrooms and dressing rooms, have been separated by gender for purposes of privacy and modesty. That is because male and female bodies are different, regardless of any feelings an individual may have about his or her own body.

The political concept of equality is perverted when it is applied to gender inclusivity. When equality means a person’s gender has nothing to do with their physical body, but is strictly dependent on a person’s choice, it loses all semblance of meaning because one person’s comfort comes at the sacrifice of everyone else’s. A transgender person who insists on using the facilities of their choice ignores the feelings of everyone else. Most people are “uncomfortable” and may even feel threatened when transgender individuals are using the same facilities.

And this is where the cries of fairness, inclusiveness and equality become meaningless. The LGBTQ mob doesn’t care about the feelings the rest of society. They only care about their own selfish and perverted feelings. And they aggressively insist on preferential treatment, insisting all along they just want “equality”. George Orwell clearly expressed this in Animal Farm when he wrote, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”.

Think about this the next time you go to Target. Will you be comfortable using fitting rooms that are also used by persons with gender identity issues? Does your comfort matter? Or is LGBTQ comfort more equal?

Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan used to tell children, “Just say no” to illicit drugs. In the same spirit, I’m just saying no to Target. I’ll take my money elsewhere, thank you very much.

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A Million People

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:13

For some time I’ve struggled to grasp the fact that there are almost seven and a half billion human beings living on planet Earth. I spell out the words here because 7½ is just a number, and the concept of a billion anythings is a challenge to truly comprehend. What makes it hard to understand is that each one of us is unique – even down to small details like fingerprints and the irises of our eyes.

For those of us who believe in the Creator, it is comforting and sustaining to know that he loves each one of us with an infinite love – all 7½ billion of us – not to mention the billions of people who lived before us and those whose lives are yet to start. How great is our God, and how great his love!

Try to wrap your brain around the idea of 7½ billion people. Try to picture it. It’s not too hard to visualize a stadium of people. But that’s only tens of thousands. Even pictures of The Million Man March only give the impression of a huge “numberless” crowd. In order to determine what a crowd of any size looks like, we need to use some known area as a comparative scale. As crowds get larger, the distance from them must be increased in order to observe them, which makes individuals appear smaller and smaller, eventually blurring together into something vague and impersonal.

I wondered what it would look like if I were flying in an airplane and saw one square mile filled with people. How many people would that be? One popular website said a square mile filled with people standing “shoulder to shoulder” would hold about 625,000 persons. But that didn’t seem quite right to me. Simple computation with my calculator produced far different results.

A mile consists of 5,280 feet, giving a square mile a total of 27,878,400 square feet (5,280 X 5,280). Dividing the square feet by 625,000 persons allots 44.6 square feet per person (an area of more than 6½’ by 6½’). That is hardly “shoulder to shoulder”. I wanted to picture people standing closer together, so I based my calculations on an area of 4 square feet (2′ by 2′) for each individual to stand in.

A football field consists of 87,750 square feet. Allowing each person to occupy 4 square feet, 21,937 people could stand together on a football field. I can picture that. But a million persons, each taking up 4 square feet, would need 4 million square feet (2,000′ X 2,000′) or about 45½ football fields! How high up in an airplane would you have to be to see that clearly? Would you be able to differentiate individuals?

Using the same standard of 4 square feet per person, a square mile would accommodate 6,969,600 persons (27,878,400 square feet divided by 4 square feet). Can you picture looking down at a square mile of people from an airplane? At the distance required to see a square mile full of people, all you could discern would be colors and textures, like a farmer’s field. In order to see them all, you must be far away – too far to be able to discern individuals. All you can see is a fuzzy crowd.

The point I am trying to make is, the human mind is only capable of comprehending the totality of humanity in the abstract. 7½ billion people is too great a concept to picture. Even just one thousanth of that figure (7½ million) is beyond our comprehension. When we try to picture it, it’s only a blur.

And yet, we know in our hearts that these numbers beyond our comprehension are made up of individuals with value, persons who matter, who dream, who love and are loved, a humanity that seeks meaning, discovery and acheivement, yet too often finds bitter survival their only reward.

When I think of my own capacity to love and to care for my fellow human beings, I realize I fall far short of being able to love 7½ billion people. My capacity, as with the capacity of everyone else on the globe, is to care for those in my own little corner of the world.

And sometimes, we can join together to help folks in their little corners, on other continents, and that’s what’s so great about over-seas missions. They give us the opportunity to reach out and touch great crowds of humanity we can’t even see or might not even imagine. That’s part of what love is all about.

God loved the world so much he gave his Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. We love because he first loved us. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8

Think about the nearly 7½ billion souls in our world. God loves each one. We may not be able to deal with so many people, but surely we can all reach out to someone – someone we can see clearly in our own little corner of the world.

Posted in Christian Attitudes, Loving God | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Words

American college students are not the hope of our future. They are childish and irresponsible because they are taught to believe in a fantasy world. Rather than preparing young adults to become adept at navigating a life-course in the real world, colleges are now molding students into the sort of useful idiots that will enable the growing tyranny to eventually make us all slaves.

One of the prime elements in the foundation of freedom is the universal right to express choices, thoughts, opinions, beliefs and convictions. In America, this right is enshrined in what we call “freedom of speech”, “freedom of the press”, “freedom of religion” and “freedom of association”.

In fact, the right to say what you think is so basic, that it is at the heart of all of our freedoms. Without the freedom to express ourselves, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are impossible. But what is being taught in colleges today isn’t free speech, it’s “politically correct” speech — speech that is suppressed when it is “officially” deemed to be offensive.

This current point of view strikes at the heart of freedom of speech. It gives those who are supposedly “offended” a right that others do not have — the right to silence and muzzle those with whom you disagree.

The infantile nature of the present news flurry is that someone wrote Donald Trump’s name in chalk on a college campus. Some students were so upset about this that they complained to the college President that these scrawlings were “hurtful” and “frightening”. Therefore it seems that the solution for this gross trauma is to spend college resources to give succor to these “victims” by seeing that they get counseling. My, oh my!

Next month I will turn 71. Unfortunately, that makes what I have to say irrelevant to college-age kids. They could care less about what I have to say, and would shut me up, if they could. Nevertheless, I say they are being childish. They are acting like babies.

America has not only been dumbed-down, we’ve been aged-down. Adults no longer evince maturity. A whole generation is opting out of maturity and eschewing its concomitant virtues of sobriety, responsibility, accountability and tolerance. This change has happened in my lifetime.

My world — my society and culture — has changed so radically, it’s as if I have moved to an entirely different civilization with entirely different values and beliefs. But I haven’t gone anywhere. It’s the country that has changed.

When I was young — when people knew what freedom of speech meant — we used to say with great conviction, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But now the brain-washed babies in college cry, “Their words hurt me! It’s not fair! Make them stop!”

As I see it, we have a choice. We can either see to it these babies grow up — and by that, I mean assume a mature and responsible social attitude — or we can prepare to live under tyranny, with no freedom to pursue life, liberty or happiness.

And just in case you don’t get me, that’s what we meant in the 60s when we talked about, “Doing your own thing”. But, babies throwing tantrums are a real bummer and they’re bringing it down, man.

Posted in American Culture, Change, Civil Conversation, Debate, Freedom of Speech | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Out There And Vote!

[If my use of the personal “you” offends you, I apologize. However, if the shoe fits, wear it. You know who you are.]

You are speeding along a mountain road, when suddenly you realize you are about to crash into a stalled vehicle. You have no time to stop, and swerving off the road means you either crash into the embankment or plummet over the edge, into oblivion. What can you do?

The problem is, nothing you can do will fix this. It’s too late. You’re screwed.

But something can be learned from this hypothetical scenario. If you don’t drive at unsafe speeds, you will never find yourself in these circumstances. Only those who drive unsafely need to be concerned. In this case, controlling how you drive becomes a total game changer. You don’t have to worry about something that will never happen to you.

If you are one of those who believe that the Democrats and Republicans have only given us a choice between the lesser of two evils, then you are probably asking, “What kind of a choice is that?” Bottom line, the lesser of two evils is still evil. In principle, it’s like being asked how you want to be killed — by firing squad, hanging or lethal injection.

In large part American politics continues to give us that kind of “choice”: Crashing into a fixed object or flying off the edge; death by one means or another.

I suggest that if you want your life to be something more than survival in desperate circumstances you must change the game. Sadly, half of the electorate has dropped out of the election process. That’s no game changer. That just guarantees someone else will win.

Those who decide not to vote have accepted as fact that they have no control over who represents them. They really believe it when they say, “My vote doesn’t count”. But why is that? Why would you come to believe that the Constitution does not in fact lay out the framework for a government of the people, for the people and by the people?

The fact is that the two-party system we have come to accept is nothing more than tradition. The Constitution neither proscribes nor prescribes political parties. That means that nowhere is it written that elected officials must belong to any political party, nor is it written that there can only be two parties in power. The Constitution designs a government to represent a morally responsible, informed and involved electorate, but what our government has come to represent is powerful political parties and their cronies in special interest groups.  I don’t believe that was the vision of our founders.

Political parties naturally arose out of the need of elected officials to form majority alliances for the passage of laws. Once established, they became a power base from which to plan and carry out policies and agendas.

In general, a political party reflects a political philosophy common to its members. It is this philosophical unity that is important to sustaining a winning strategy. However, in recent decades it has become more often the case that political parties form coalitions by taking a more tactical approach and appealing to specific popular issues, offering pragmatic solutions that overlook philosophical principles.

When large numbers of voters choose to opt out of their civic duty to vote, and when those who do vote become increasingly dependent upon their leaders to tell them how to, then government cannot express the will of the people. It can only express the will of the party elite, who now no longer represent the political philosophy of their constituents. The party leadership, influenced by professional lobbyists and mainly driven by the need to remain in power, determine which bills and policies are promoted. This is true of both the Democrat and Republican parties. And now days they operate (together) as a ruling class — an oligarchy.

This is all done outside the constraints of the Constitution because the Constitution designed our government, while leaving our political systems up to us. But because our political system is not dictated by law, but by the “unwritten law” of tradition, we don’t have to keep doing it this way. Even though the two major political parties have ushered us into a collision scenario, we don’t have to accept that. It’s time to look for a game changer, and I have two suggestions.

First of all, vote. It’s not hard to do. When everyone votes, then those who represent us have to keep us satisfied.  Not voting just means they can ignore you — and that translates to screwing you.  Start by registering. If the idiots who elected Obama were smart enough to vote, anyone can vote. Go to https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote to find out how you can register to vote in your own State.  All States have their own regulations, as it should be.

Do you realize that usually only about half of all registered voters even bother to cast their vote? If that do-nothing half stood up on its own two feet and made its presence known, the political landscape would be changed forever.  C’mon!  You can do it!

Secondly, when you consider candidates, refuse to be a lemming.  “Just say no” to the Democrat and Republican candidates. You have repeatedly been told “they are the only choice we have” and “they are the only ones who can win”. Is it so important for you to choose between lethal injection and a firing squad?

The only reason they keep winning is that the elite keep telling you they are the only ones who can win, and you keep believing them. Why not actually vote for someone who stands for something you can actually believe in? I believe in the Constitution and that’s why I will be voting for Constitution Party candidates. They will be holding their 2016 Presidential Nominating Convention from April 13 – 16. Check them out at http://www.constitutionparty.com     

Voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t represent anything you believe in. It only represents what you are being told by those who control you. And for the past several election cycles you’ve been letting them do just that. They continue to stay in power and America continues to lose. We could change that if everyone voted their conscience.

This is particularly important for Christians. How can we be salt of the earth unless we are out there sharing our saltiness? How can we be a light to the world when we hide our light under a bushel basket? How can we expect godliness and righteousness to be reflected in our own self-governance when we don’t even participate in the vote?

If you are a Christian and still are sitting on the fence about voting, listen to Dr. Ben Carson’s My Faith Votes message at https://www.myfaithvotes.com/#bencarson. According to him, 25 million evangelicals did not vote in the last election, while the margin of difference between the candidates was 5 million. It is my personal conviction that those 25 million Christians need to repent for their inaction. If that’s you, I pray that you turn from your shame and vote. It’s your duty. We have a form of government in which We The People are supposed to be responsible to govern ourselves. I think it’s high time God’s people shouldered their part of that responsibility.

[Update]: Franklin Graham is touring all 50 States in an effort to get out the Christian vote. It’s called Decision America Tour.  See the tour schedule at https://decisionamericatour.com/ and sign the pledge to honor our God and our country.

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Easter Egg Hunt “Outreach”

The leader of our prayer team at church asked us to pray for the Easter egg hunt outreach and for new families who visit on Easter Sunday to return afterwards. As I began to pray, my spirit did not feel right. I had to ask myself, “What am I praying for? For families to be drawn to our church because it’s a fun place for their children?”

One of the troublesome trends in churches today is the high numbers of young adults who reject their Christian upbringing and stop attending church, once they graduate from high school and enter the “real world”. At least one explanation for this phenomenon is that children’s and youth activities are so driven by fun activities and entertaining events in order to attract and hold their attention, that when they grow up and are no longer being entertained, they turn their attention to “adult” fun, such as parties and sex, rather than Christian worship.

Despite the fact that we sing a worship song that talks about God changing us from the inside out, we often place too much emphasis on children’s and youth activities that are done on the “outside”. We place great importance on the planning and preparation of these activities, and it requires a great deal of time and effort to make them happen.

The trend has been that when young adults discover there are no longer fun or entertaining activities for them, they stop coming to church. This phenomenon is a demonstration that the teaching of the gospel has become just like any other subject in school — something you have to learn, but not something that actually transforms your life.

For this reason, I question the value of my church sponsoring an easter egg hunt. Sure, they are fun, but easter egg hunts have nothing to do with resurrection. One point made clear by Zola Levitt in his presentation of The Seven Feasts of Israel (the 7 Biblical feasts fulfilled in Christ) is that the resurrection of Christ which we celebrate on “Easter” Sunday is supposed to be the feast of First Fruits, according to the Bible.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20

Zola made the distinction between the new (eternal) life of resurrection and the renewable life of fertility, associated with Spring, flowers and baby animals — particularly bunnies, chicks and eggs — symbols used for thousands of years to celebrate fertility. These are two entirely different things: resurrection and fertility. Yet the Church persists in celebrating “Easter”, named after a pagan goddess of fertility on a date that intentionally does not coincide with Passover.

The feast of First Fruits is supposed to be on the Sunday following Passover. But in the year 325, the First Council of Nicea decided to separate the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ from the Hebrew calendar and make it distinct from the Jewish feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. Ever since then, Good Friday and Easter do not necessarily correlate to the events according to the Hebrew calendar, and the significance of those Old Testament Feasts being fulfilled by Jesus has largely become lost to Christians.

So, we make Easter fun for children by hiding colorful plastic eggs filled with candy — little treasures for them to find and eat. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong in that, what purpose does it serve to make it a church function? It has nothing to do with the inculcation of Biblical values. It teaches nothing about Jesus. It simply and only is an activity for fun — perhaps so that children will associate fun with church and want to come and learn more about Jesus? I don’t think so. That is the basic failing of children’s and youth activities. Perhaps Easter egg hunts are best left for families to do on their own.

Why does the Church celebrate “Easter”? What is it about “Easter” that is so important? When I was a child, my family did not regularly attend church. But every Easter we donned our new Easter outfits and went to church. It meant nothing to me, because I hated to dress up and have to polish my shoes. The part I liked about Easter was the Easter basket my mother always gave me. I loved the chocolate candy and the Easter Egg hunts. And somewhere in all that I got the message that Spring meant the renewal of life. It was kind of poetic: new seedlings sprouting forth, flowers blooming, the promise of life renewed. But there was nothing about resurrection. I didn’t really learn about resurrection until I first read the Bible at age 31.

Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ perhaps holds the greatest significance of any aspect of Christian worship. 1 Corinthians 15:17 tells us, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Lee Strobel, in his book, The Case For Christ, wrote, “The Resurrection is the supreme vindication of Jesus’ divine identity and his inspired teaching. It’s the proof of his triumph over sin and death. It’s the foreshadowing of the resurrection of his followers. It’s the basis of Christian hope. It’s the miracle of all miracles.” (page 276)

That is what Christians of all ages should be celebrating and teaching on Resurrection Sunday. Believing in that miracle and that miracle alone is what will keep young people in the church. Do we want to forsake that by staying on the well-beaten path of tradition? Apparently, we want to have it both ways. One definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing while expecting different results. If the Church keeps celebrating Easter with traditions like Easter egg hunts, what reason is there to think that youth won’t continue to leave the church when it is no longer fun?

I think that’s something to consider.

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The Fantasy Of “We Report, You Decide”

Americans will get the President they deserve. Like children, most Americans expect someone else to take care of them. They expect entities such as government, political parties, insurance companies or financial institutions to provide them prosperity, security, physical safety, comfort and convenience in an environment conducive to unfettered playtime.

Americans have become too immature, unaccountable and irresponsible to understand that the pursuit of happiness is about meaning, not pleasure; that freedom entails responsibility, not license. No government in history was ever established to ensure that everyone may do whatever they please. But this fantasy persists in the psyches of many Americans, who expect to be taken care of and let alone — for a price.

That price is not just measured in dollars. It also includes permitting your thinking and decision-making to be manipulated by various powerful institutions. During the presidential election cycle, the two main political parties in conjunction with the media lead Americans by the nose to elect the President most beneficial to them (the institutions, not the people).

The Democrat Party, the Republican Party and the media spend a lot of money to carefully craft public opinion. They are powerful, not because they spend a lot of money, but because most people allow themselves to be manipulated by them. They don’t know how to think for themselves, so they have learned to respond to the “choices” presented to them. And those choices have been carefully screened to ensure that the parties continue to maintain their power and influence.

Americans don’t think for themselves. They look to others to see what the “majority” is saying because they are afraid of being “outside the mainstream”. It used to be called conformism. Rather than taking a stand on principles, most people just want to conform. And where Americans miss the boat is that American constitutional government was founded to conform to principles of individual responsibility and accountability to Biblical principles. Our Constitution holds government responsible to allow all citizens the freedom to work out those principles themselves, not to do it for them.

In his article, They Asked And He Answered, Bradlee Dean quoted John Adams, second President of the United States. In his diary on February 22, 1756 he wrote, “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”

Conversely, when the people of a nation no longer regulate their own conduct (conduct means what you do, how you live), but rather depend on institutions of politics, government or the economy to regulate them, then there is no reason to expect society to reflect virtues Adams ascribed to a Utopia or Paradise. Instead, society will continue to reflect oppression and tyranny.

Beware the danger of groupthink.

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