Sunday, December 27, 2015

Relationship with God

God has a specific will for you. There are some facets of God’s plan that are true for all people everywhere past, present, and future. You do not have peace with God because we are separated from Him if you have not repented of your sins and trusted Him for your salvation. The sins you have committed ruin that potential for relationship with God. There is nothing that you can do to fix this separation on your own because God’s standard is perfection. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23). You ruin the chance for perfection if you have sinned even one time no matter the “big” or “small” value you place on your sin. God took the initiative and paid the penalty of sin for you because you had no hope of doing it on your own. “Christ carried the burden of our sins. He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises  you are healed.” (1 Peter 2:24). God sacrificed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ simply because He loves you that much. “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” (John 3:16). Your part is so simple that church tradition as spent thousands of years complicating it. All you have to do is receive the pardon that Jesus died to purchase for you to restore that relationship with God. Then you become a child of God. There is a misconception floating around that all people are God’s children. That is not true. “Yet some people accepted him  and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. (John 1:12). You are God’s creature, but you are not His child until you are saved. Romans 10:9-13 lays out the process by which you can receive God’s gift of salvation. “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others. The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. All who call out to the Lord will be saved.” Put all this together and the process of salvation is to admit your need for God because you are a sinner, repent by turning away from your sins and toward God, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross, and receiving that gift for yourself. The invitation to become God’s child is open to all. Jesus said, “Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.” (Revelation 3:20).

The Bible says you are saved if you repent of your sins and trust Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for all of your sins. Jesus’ sacrifice is the only acceptable payment for those sins. There is no other road that leads to God. “ I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture” (John 10:9). Acts 4:12 says, “Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.” You are a child of God if you receive Him. You can be assured that you have life forever and are God’s child if you believe in Christ. God’s Word is the basis of the assurance of your salvation. You cannot trust your feelings. Feelings come and go. Trust what God says. God knows your heart. So you are saved and have eternal life if you have genuinely repented of your sins and trusted Christ to forgive your sins.

There are things a Christian does when God saves you out of thankfulness to Him. The good works you do are in vain if you do them to try to earn your salvation or keep your salvation as if your faith in Christ were simply some kind of down payment. You do good works because of what God has already done for you. Perhaps the best thing you can do after you receive Christ to share the gift you have received with others and offer the same gift to them. Jesus said, “If you tell others that you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you are my followers. But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you don’t belong to me” (John 10:32-33). Communicating with God is another way we can develop our relationship God. Any relationship without communication is not a true relationship. The primary way God communicates with you is through His perfect Word, the Bible. Jesus said, “No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken” (Matthew 4:4). The primary way we communicate with God is through prayer. Jesus said, “Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered” (John 15:7). God will communicate back to you if you stay in His presence long enough. God will speak through other Christians as the Holy Spirit leads them. A word of caution is necessary here though. Make sure what another Christian tells you matches up with what God’s Word says. Disregard the advice otherwise.

If you are a Christian but find that you are far from Him because you have sinned, the road back is just as simple as the road to salvation. “If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” (1 John 1:9). To confess means to agree with God that a particular, specific sin is wrong and admitting that you did it. So if you examine yourself and find sin in your life that you have not confessed yet, do not waste time. Confess and repent right away. “If you don’t confess your sins, you will be a failure. But God will be merciful if you confess your sins and give them up.” (Proverbs 28:13). Make things right not just with God but with anyone that you have sinned against as well. “I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.” (Acts 24:16). That is what Zacchaeus did when he decided to follow Jesus. “I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much[a] to everyone I have ever cheated” (Luke 19:8). Righting things with God and other people you have sinned against will restore your relationship with God, get you back in fellowship with Him, and back on the narrow path to life on which Jesus called us to live.

NOTE: All Scripture quotations come from the Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Muslim" family kicked out of mall


A couple claiming to be Muslims were kicked out of a mall for recording video, which was against mall policy. Police were called because of the couple’s suspicious activity. The couple said they were there to hand out cards for a charity and to shop. I have some serious doubt as to whether these folks are actually Muslims. Alan Crawford, the male that was escorted out said, “Co-exist. Spread love not hate. This is what this world is about. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Atheist. I don't care. Spread love not hate. I don't care what religion you are. Killing someone for your religion is wrong. Completely wrong.” This does not match up with Islamic doctrine as I wrote back on December 11. What this guy said about coexisting did not match up with that at all.

Another reason why I don’t think this couple is Muslim is a comment Crawford made where he said, “I probably would absolutely destroy a bacon cheeseburger or some fries with bacon, something like that. Two weeks ago when we were ‘scouting out the mall the first time’ we ate a load of bacon cheese fries, which I am sure ISIS would happily kill me for because I’ve read in my book I’m not supposed to eat bacon and I did it anyway.” As he correctly said, this does not match up with Islam. “Forbidden to you [for food] are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that upon which a name other than Allah has been invoked; that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been [partly] eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter it [before it dies]; and that which is sacrificed on stone (altars)” [The Qur’an: Al-Ma’idah 5:3]. ““Say, “I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal, or blood spilled out, or the flesh of swine – for indeed, it is impure – or it be [an animal slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.” [The Qur’an” al-An’aam 6:145]. Any “Muslim” not willing to follow these basic instructions in accordance with his religion isn’t likely to do something like slaughter people for Islam in a shopping mall or anywhere else.

While I doubt this couple was a serious threat, I do not fault anyone at the mall for pointing this couple out to authorities. For one thing, government officials and those running for office have told us to do so when we see anything suspicious. So it was right for this couple to be reported if for no other reason than to be good citizens and keep our country safe. The Department of Homeland Security has a whole website dedicated to the official policy of “if you see something, say something.” Never mind that this hasn’t worked out well for people that have said something. When Texas teen Ahmed Mohamed brought a clock to school in a suitcase with wires dangling from it, the school saw something and said something. Was this school praised for its vigilance? Absolutely not. Charges of racism flew and now worse, the family is demanding $15 million combined from the city and school district. Did the President support the school? No, he invited the teen to the White House. Shortly after this, the San Bernardino shooting happens and we find out that neighbors suspected suspicious activity beforehand, but were afraid to say something because they didn’t want to be considered racists. What incentive do people have to say something when they see something if they will be ostracized by politically correct culture?

I have a mild form of cerebral palsy. Let’s say a group of disabled Americans come up with a book on how to best live with a disability. Part of that book, however, condones violence against those who are not disabled. If even a minority of people in wheelchairs started attacking or threatened to attack public places because they were dissatisfied in some way with the country, it would be plain common sense for people who don’t know anything about me to view me with suspicion even though I would not participate in such activity. I would sympathize with their concerns and try to calm their fears by giving them the chance to get to know me. Furthermore, peaceful disabled Americans all over the country in this illustration should be expected to rise up, condemn those that pose the threat, and even aid authorities by turning in other disabled people who agree with violent tactics. This would not only make everyone safer, but it would go a long way in easing tensions between those that are disabled and those that are not. By the same token, we keep hearing that most Muslims are peaceful people who abhor violence and terrorism in the name of Islam. If that’s the case, they and everyone should be standing up en masse to put a stop to it without fear of negative consequences for doing so.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Doctrine of Baptisms: part 1

FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH NOTES
“I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). “...of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2). The word "baptize" used in the Bible means to entirely immerse or submerge in something.  In Hebrews 6:2 the word "baptism" is plural. It is "the doctrine of baptisms" [plural], not "the doctrine of baptism" [singular]. This means the complete doctrine of the Christian faith includes more than one baptism. The New Testament mentions four different baptisms. These are Christ's baptism of suffering, the baptism of John, Christian baptism, and baptism in the Holy Spirit.

There is one baptism in the New Testament which we will call the baptism of suffering. This baptism is spoken of by Jesus. “ But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how pressed I am until it is accomplished!” This baptism is also mentioned in Mark 10:38 where the sons of Zebedee asked for the honor of sitting with Christ on His right and left sides in Heaven. Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized” (Mark 10:38)? Jesus was speaking of the suffering awaiting Him through His death for the sins of all mankind. He was to be immersed in suffering, buried in the tomb, and resurrected in a new body.
 
Jesus was speaking of the suffering awaiting Him through His death for the sins of all mankind. He was to be immersed in suffering, buried in the tomb, and resurrected in a new body. The baptism of John the Baptist was baptism in water connected with the message of repentance. John the Baptist was born miraculously to Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1). God had a special plan for his life. He was to serve as the "forerunner" of Jesus Christ. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77). The word "forerunner" means one who goes before and prepares the way. John was to preach the message of repentance and baptism to Israel to prepare them for the coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. The ministry of John the Baptist was the beginning of a new spiritual age. “The Law and the Prophets were preached until John. Since then the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it” (Luke 16:16). Before the time of John the people lived under the law. Prophets and priests served as spiritual leaders and interpreters of the law. Only the priests had access to the presence of God in the temple. They served as mediators between the people and God and offered sacrifices for sin as God had commanded. This all changed with the coming of Jesus Christ. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus made access to God possible for all men. Jesus now serves as the mediator between sinful man and a righteous God. John made two demands on the people: Repentance and public confession of sins. Those who were willing to meet these God-given requirements were baptized in the Jordan River as a public testimony. It was an outward sign that they had repented of their sins. When some of the religious leaders came to John to be baptized, he refused to do it. He demanded that they show evidence of real change in their lives before he would baptize them. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, “O generation of vipers, who has warned you to escape from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8). Repentance and remission of sins was required by John before he would baptize. The phrase "baptism unto repentance and remission of sins" does not mean that these two experiences followed the act of being baptized in water. Baptism was a visible confirmation that those being baptized had already experienced repentance and forgiveness.

Thomas Jefferson vs. Barack Obama

Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves, that it is their right and duty to be, at all times, armed, that they are entitled to the freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.” We live in a time when Americans are losing that inherent power Thomas Jefferson talked about. I have seen and heard about some law enforcement departments that are encouraging citizens to be armed in the face of the growing Islamic terrorism threat here at home. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has presided over a steady lowering crime rate since he became police chief two years ago even though he has had 10% fewer officers to work with. That is because there has been an increase of people with concealed pistol licenses. He said, “I believe suspects know Detroiters will protect themselves when faced with an imminent threat, and that’s had an effect on crime. It’s not the sole reason, I don’t want to take away from the good work our officers have done, but criminals have learned that CPL holders aren’t afraid to take action if they’re attacked.” Sheriff Wayne Ivey of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department in Florida has echoed those thoughts, saying in a video, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
 
President Obama has been focused on people not pointing the finger at the real problem, Islamic terrorism, rather than encouraging citizens to remain vigilant and aid law enforcement agencies by protecting themselves and others if need be. And he continually takes aim at the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to bear arms, in directing opposition to Thomas Jefferson’s words that it is the American people’s right and duty to be armed at all times.
 
President Obama has also not been doing well when it comes to protecting the “freedom of person.” London’s Legatum Institute did a study last year on how the personal freedoms of the U.S.A. ranks compared to other countries in the world. The United States ended up falling behind 20 other countries. Obamacare was supposed to make sure everyone had the best access to healthcare and instead millions more have been uninsured and have less freedom to make healthcare decisions.
 
Religious freedom has been under more attack than anything else. This may be the most anti-Christian President ever with the effort to force businesses with religious convictions to cover birth control and/or abortion-causing drugs. Pastor Louie Giglio was pressured into not doing the prayer at the inauguration in 2013 because he preached a sermon that upheld natural marriage and opposed homosexual “marriage.” These are just a few of a long list of examples that it would take pages upon pages to detail in all. These actions go against the personal freedom and freedom of religion mentioned by Jefferson in the above quote.
 
President Obama has insulted the very notion of private property. Who will ever forget his infamous quote from the 2012 presidential campaign? ““If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.” “This administration covertly began its war on property rights in 2009 when it seized control of General Motors and put the government and unions in charge, shoving aside legitimate credit-holders.”
 
The so-called mainstream media has been the biggest cheerleaders for President Obama. Those who have tried to hold him accountable have been a target of this White House as well. President Obama told the country when he was running for the office that his would be the most transparent administration in American history if he were elected. Yet of all places, a New York Times national security correspondent said otherwise. “This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered.” Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.said, “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.” Democrat strategist Kirsten Powers also writes on the Obama war against the Fox News Channel. “There is no war on terror for the Obama White House, but there is one on Fox News. In a recent interview with The New Republic, President Obama was back to his grousing about the one television news outlet in America that won’t fall in line and treat him as emperor. Discussing breaking Washington's partisan gridlock, the president told TNR,’If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News...for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.’ Alas, the president loves to whine about the media meanies at Fox News. To him, these are not people trying to do their jobs. No, they are out to get him. What other motive could a journalist have in holding a president accountable? Why oh why do Ed Henry and Chris Wallace insist on asking hard questions? Make them stop! The president seems more comfortable talking to ‘real journalists’ such as Chris Hughes, who asked the question in the TNR interview that elicited Obama's reflexive Fox hatred. Hughes is the new owner of TNR and is a former major Obama campaign donor and organizer who was featured on the cover of Fast Company, with the headline, ‘The Kid Who Made Obama President.’"
 
Liberals like to hold up Thomas Jefferson as one of their favorite founders because he was one of the least religious of the bunch. They use his “separation of church and state” phrase (which is not in the Constitution but in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802) as a means of trying to tell us that the founders did not intend to have Christianity practiced in the public square, especially in the government. Looking at this and other quotes from Jefferson compared what liberals of today try to push on us, it becomes clear that maybe it is time that they find someone else to champion.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Do too many keys hurt your car's ignition?

I was around a lot of unsolicited advice during the trip to Florida. Part of that unsolicited advice was that we should not have too many keys on our key chain because the weight of too many keys on the keychain will hurt the ignition. This one seems to have some weight unfortunately (pun intended). I say “unfortunately” because I usually enjoy proving such unwelcome information wrong.
 
"Actually, the answer is that excessive weight CAN damage the ignition switch. We see it most often on Volkswagens, for some reason. But it happens on other cars, too." There is a caveat to that though. "If you have seven or eight keys on your key ring, you're not going to do any damage. [I read elsewhere that nine is a good maximum limit.] The ignition switch can handle that. But if you carry around 20 keys, that's a fair amount of weight. That constant downward tug on the ignition switch can cause it to wear out prematurely." This would also be true if you carry a lot of extra accessories on your keychain that make life more convenient, but maybe not so convenient on your ignition. Pro Locksmith out of San Diego writes, “When the weight of the keychain hangs, gravity continues to do its work and pull down. The ignition has to handle the weight when the car is at rest, while making turns, riding over bumps and going uphill. All this extra force continues to wear out tumblers in the ignition. A worn tumbler from the weight eventually will no longer be able to engage and turn the ignition lock. Once these internal parts start experiencing problems starting up the vehicle must be serviced for ignition repairs, meaning spending more money.”
 
So I guess I feel a little better because we don’t carry around that much on our keychains. This is useful information for the future though so we do not do it too much. I figured it was also useful information for anyone else who may have heard the same thing, thus why I am sharing it with you. Enjoy the Christmas season everyone! Remember, Jesus is the “key” to it all.


Faith Toward God: Part 2

NOTES FROM MY FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH CLASS
There are two reasons why faith toward God is required. The first reason faith toward God is important is that you cannot be saved without it. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved. But he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “Those along the path are those who hear. Then comes the devil, who takes away the word from their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). The second reason faith is important is that you cannot please God without it. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The Bible reveals that there are various levels of faith. Jesus spoke of people who did not use their faith as being "faithless.” “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you” (Matthew 17:17)? He spoke of those with little faith and of those with great faith. “Therefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is here and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30?) “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith” (Matthew 8:26)? “O you of little faith, why did you doubt” (Matthew 14:31)? “If God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith” (Luke 12:28)? “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). “Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly” (Matthew 15:28).”I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7:9).The Bible teaches that each person has a certain amount of faith which is given to him as a gift of God. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sound judgment, according to the measure of faith God has distributed to every man” (Romans 12:3). Each believer has some faith because it is through faith you are saved. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Sanctifying faith enables you to live a holy life. Increased faith will help you go on to perfection. Defensive faith shields you from the attacks of the enemy, Satan. If you increase your faith you increase your spiritual defensive forces. The Bible tells how to increase faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). You increase faith toward God through hearing the Word of God. You must first hear the Word of God in order to repent of sin and receive Jesus as Savior. Saving faith comes by hearing God's Word. After you are saved, biblical teaching and preaching will continue to increase your faith. The more you hear the Word of God, the more your faith will increase. The more faith increases the easier it will be to live a holy life and defend against the spiritual attacks of the enemy.

Even though we are saved by faith, works [what you do] are not important. Faith comes first. Works [what you do] are the test of whether or not your faith is real. “What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But a man may say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:14-18). Your works...how you live and react to the needs of those around you...are a test of the reality of your faith. James sums up the connection between faith and works by the example of the relationship between man's body and spirit. The Bible teaches that when a man dies, his spirit leaves his body. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Your actions should reflect the living faith within you. “Now it is evident that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, for ‘the just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11).

Hebrews chapter 11 lists the names of many people who were great examples of faith. But there is one man in the Bible who is called “the father of all those who believe.” His name is Abraham. Christians are those who walk in the steps of faithful Abraham and are spoken of as the children of Abraham. Because of his faith toward God, Abraham was justified. “And the father of circumcision to those who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had while still being uncircumcised” (Romans 4:12). “Therefore know that those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). “The Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23). When Paul wanted to illustrate faith toward God, he used Abraham as an example. “Now the words, ‘it was credited to him,’ were not written for his sake only, but also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:23-25). Paul said that the record of Abraham's faith which resulted in justification was not kept just for him. The record was kept so that we also, by believing the Gospel message, could be justified.
The reasons Abraham was an example of faith are as follows: he not only heard the promises of God, he believed. “Against all hope, he believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be’” (Romans 4:18). Like Abraham, it is by believing that we receive the promises of God. “Whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Hearing of the Word of God resulted in a change in Abraham's life. “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body to be dead (when he was about a hundred years old), nor yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19). Just as men and women lost in sin, Abraham faced a hopeless condition in the natural world. The promise to become the father of many nations could only come through God because Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way you can receive the promise except by faith in His plan of salvation “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17).

He accepted the promise as a fact. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20). The faith toward God demonstrated by Abraham is an example for you to follow. You must hear the Word of God, believe the Word of God, turn from your hopeless condition (change through repentance from dead works), and accept God's promise as fact. His promise is that you are justified by repentance and faith toward God through Jesus.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Islamic refugees

President Obama said that taking religion into account when deciding whether refugees should be admitted entry into the United States is shameful and un-American. Apparently, this former teacher of constitutional law doesn’t know the law very well. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. Moreover, to qualify for asylum in the United States, the applicant must be a ‘refugee‬’ as defined by federal law. That definition (set forth in Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title , U.S. Code) also requires the executive branch to take account of the alien’s religion: The term “refugee” means (A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality … and who is unable or unwilling to return to … that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion [among other things] …[.]

So it is perfectly legitimate to ban Muslim immigration. It is also constitutionally permissible. Article I, Section 8 says, “The Congress shall have Power...To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Article I, Section 9 says, “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight.” After 1808, immigration authority switched from the individual states to Congress. There is no constitutional reason why we cannot stop anyone from coming here should we so choose for whatever reason.

Byran Fischer points out that it is not only constitutional to ban people who represent a credible, potential threat to your country. It is biblical. “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to their tenth generation they may not enter the assembly of the Lord forever, because they refused you bread and water on the way, when you came from out of Egypt and because they hired Balaam, the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, against you to curse you. Nevertheless, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam. Instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing on you because the Lord your God loves you. You are not ever to seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days. You are not to abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a foreigner in his land. The children who are born of them may enter the assembly of the Lord in their third generation” (Deuteronomy 23:3-8). There were exceptions to this. Ruth was a Moabite who was permitted to enter Israel, but she was not a threat because she did not intend to bring the false gods and beliefs of her culture with her. Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do thus to me, and worse, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17)!

If terrorist acts were not committed in the name of Islam, there would be nothing to fear. People join ISIS because of Islam. One of the worst lies the Bush Administration ever put out there was not WMD (because they actually did exist) but the lie that Islam is a peaceful religion. Americans should be guarded against Islam because they understand it, not because they don't. It is a lack of understanding of Islam that leads to the weak policies and lack of will to call Islamic terrorism what it is. Every religion has had atrocious acts enacted in its name and yes some have done this in the name of Christianity. However, more often than not, there have been a lot more instances of the anti-Christian mainstream media blaming Christians for an atrocious act only to find out later that the perpetrators did not even profess Christianity. The left's favorite example to use, Hitler, hated Christianity, yet he is still said today to have been a Christian. In times of war, you do things you would never do any other time because the government is given the "sword" for such purposes (Romans 13:1-5). The difference is the Bible does not tell Christians to hate or slaughter those they cannot convert, but the Quran does.

Carol Brown writes in the American Thinker, “What is unfolding is hijra, otherwise known as immigration jihad. It is written in the Quran and is a powerful strategy the Islamic world has used for many centuries to overwhelm nations and assert dominance. The FBI has stated we are unable to screen people leaving Islamic countries en route to the West. It’s madness to invite people into one’s home – one’s nation – when we know next-to-nothing about them. In addition, the FBI is stretched to its limit with nearly 1,000 ISIS investigations spanning all 50 states.” The Old Testament uses three words to describe what we call immigrants today. Nekhar and zar refer to immigrants who were still loyal to where they came from and were thus denied all citizenship benefits. The Hebrew word "ger" (Leviticus 19:34) is a person who had immigrated to Israel legally with the intention of becoming a citizen. Israel was to treat them just like citizens. Liberals like to twist the Bible to make it sound like God wants us to open the doors of our country wide to all and accept anyone and everyone regardless of their intentions. A study of the subject reveals otherwise though. Love never overrides justice, either in eternal judgment or in temporal judgments. The command to love everyone is given to the individual believer, not the government who instead is given the sword to execute justice (Romans 13:1-5)

And for those who would say that jihad is spiritual, I would ask: what in the following passages is spiritual? "Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled." Jizya is the money conquered non-Muslims had to pay to stay alive if they were not willing to convert. If jihad is a spiritual struggle, how does one spiritually pay that? This is after all how Islam spread in history, people who were closer to the time the Quran or Koran was actually written. "Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure," (Surah 61:4). "Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors" (Surah 2:190-193). Muhammad said in the Hadith: ""The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." Define the spiritual struggle there? "Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out." I didn't see anything about a spiritual struggle there, but I do see in what is happening right now a national struggle that hopefully most Americans will wake up to before it is too late.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why Ben Carson and everyone else should believe in Hell

Ben Carson recently told the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn “I don't believe there is a physical place where people go and are tormented. No. I don't believe that...I see God as a very loving individual. And why would he torment somebody forever who only had a life of 60 or 70 or 80 years? Even if they were evil. Even if they were only evil for 80 years?” However, he conveniently believes that Heaven is a real physical place.

The Bible teaches that Heaven and Hell are both real physical places where people live in places real or perhaps even “more real” than what we experience on Earth now. Jesus talked about Hell a lot more than he talked about Heaven and he cannot violate his word. As author Bill Wiese writes, “God cannot let someone out of hell, even though He is Love. He cannot violate His Word (Ps.89:34, 119:89). He is not like man who changes his word all the time. God already stated exactly how to get saved. He cannot break His Word, ever. We are saved by grace through faith, and not by time. (Eph.2:8-9)  We are saved by faith, and not by sight. Once you are in hell, it would not require faith to know God and hell exists, because you are seeing it. It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6), and no faith is needed once you see it. ‘Without shedding of blood, is no remission.’ (Heb.9:22). The time spent in hell cannot pay for our sins. Only the Blood of Jesus can do that. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment (Heb.9:27). If God took someone out of hell, then that would constitute two judgments. The scripture says, “The Judgment,” only one judgment. Man is made in God’s image, and since God is eternal, so is man (Gen.1:26; Gen.35:18; Ps.26:9; Is.38:17; Ec.12:7; Pr.23:14; Ps.116:8; Ps.34:22; Job 33:28; 1 Kings 17:22; 1Sam.25:29). Since we are eternal beings, God cannot annihilate man because that would violate His Word. If man rejects Jesus as his Lord and Savior, there is no other place created for the soul to go. God will not violate His Word and save in any other manner than what He has already written (Ps.119:89; Ps.89:34; John 14:6; Eph.2:8-9; Tit.3:5; Luke 13:3). If He let us out in one hundred years or so, we would still have a sin nature. Time cannot give us a new heart. Only trusting in His shed blood for our forgiveness of sins can do that. He also cannot let an unrighteous person into Heaven, as they would defile it, and God will not allow anything in Heaven that defiles (profane-pollute-Rev.21:27). He also cannot allow someone into Heaven just because He is merciful. He is also a holy God, and a just God (Ps.89:14). Sin must be paid for (Rom.6:23), and only a sinless, eternal God can pay for our eternal sin. Jesus did that, and we cannot. Therefore, time would never suffice, as that would be works. No one can come by their works. (Ez.18:31; Rom.3:24-25; Rom.5:9; 1 John 1:7; Ez11:19, 18:31, 36:26; Jer.24:7; Ec.11:19; Job 33:16; Pr.20:9)”

Of course, Ben Carson is not running for Theologian-In-Chief. He is running for President of the United States, Commander-In-Chief. So how much does Ben Carson believing or not believing in Hell affect whether people should vote for him or not? Not much. I am a Ted Cruz supporter anyway so this does not affect my vote one way or the other. Where this does make cause for concern is the simple fact that Ben Carson does have a national platform since he is running for the highest political office. Therefore, he has influence, especially over political supporters. Anything that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture should be dealt with in a loving, but completely truthful and biblical way regardless of whether the person is a social media acquaintance or someone with national fame. That is why this issue is worth delving into. There are a lot of people that are not aware or do not believe in the biblical doctrine of a literal, real place called Hell. Ben Carson is just a prominent one. But the existence of Hell is not dependent on how many people believe it. As Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment.” An unchanging, just, loving God created this universe, everything, and everyone in it. It is that God to which we will be held accountable on the day of judgment. Those who have not repented of their sins and trusted in the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for those sins will spend eternity apart from him in Hell because that is the only place completely void of all the attributes of the God that lost people have spent their lives running away from. Don’t find yourself there. Repent from your sins and trust Christ’s sacrifice to pay the penalty for those sins today.