Romans 3

rom-3.jpgGreetings!

Paul continues laying out his case for why we all are sinners in need of a Savior.

God’s Faithfulness

3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.

The New Testament is sometimes considered anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish).  Sadly, Jews have been persecute over the centuries.  But this persecution has no grounding in the Bible.

3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.

People will make up all sorts of excuses to sin and reasons why they think God won’t judge us for what we’ve done.  But God is just, and will judge us with complete fairness.

No One Is Righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 ruin and misery mark their ways,

17 and the way of peace they do not know.”

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

We don’t have the power to completely obey the law because of our sinful nature.  But the law helps us know where we’ve gone wrong.

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Again, God is perfectly just.  He sacrificed Jesus – God the Son – to take our punishments.  But we need to accept Jesus’ sacrifice by faith.

V. 23 is a classic verse used to explain man’s problem.  We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of a holy and perfect God.  We should all spend more time in the Old Testament to get a better glimpse of just how holy He is.  Too often we think we’re pretty good and that God should be pleased with our efforts.  But the closer I get to God the farther I realize I was away from him.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What parts of this chapter stood out to you and why?

Roundup

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up for us accounting / finance types:

Thanks, Comics.com

The Real Reason For Lefty Malaise – great explanation by Rich Karlgaard of Forbes about why Leftist ideas look swell in college classrooms but fail in the real world.

Pandering to Hispanics — L.A./Chicago Boycott Arizona… Unless There’s Money to be Made on red light cameras.  You can always tell how deep principles run when people hold them tightly — provided it costs them absolutely nothing.

Supreme Court: Public schools can deny funding to Christian student groups that bar gays — a horrible decision that only passed when they tweaked it to say that groups can’t exclude anyone.  But what will they do if hundreds of Christians join the Muslim group and change its leaders and by-laws to say that Jesus is the only way and Mohammad was a false prophet?  Make up your own examples!

More inconsistencies — We’re Here, We’re Queer and We’re in Abject Denial — gay groups support Palestine, even though the Palestinians would kill them all if they had a parade there while Israel would not.

Israel. The only place in the Middle East where one can be gay in public, without fear of being jailed, tortured or killed. The useful idiots aligning with Palestine don’t even realize that Hamas, a terrorist organization intent on “wiping Israel off the map,” is also oppressing some of its own people, particularly women and homosexuals. But, see, this doesn’t matter to them. Hamas is anti-Israel and anti-America. This is all that matters. Because George Bush. And evil capitalist America. They are willing to turn a blind eye to true oppression and homophobia so rampant that it results in bloodshed and death, as long as it fits with their preferred global agenda.

Hillary: Let the babies starve until we fund abortions – they love expanding abortions so much that they’ll hold food and medicine for babies as a result.  You can really feel the love, eh?

Besides, Hillary’s statement is nothing short of idiotic.  Maternal health does not depend on abortion.  In fact, abortion is a rather moot point when it comes to the stage of worrying about the health of mothers of newborn infants, isn’t it?

Darwin Meets Orwell – call this one, “Thanks for the concession speech, Mr. Naturalist!”  We’ve said for some time that naturalism can’t ground morality and this “expert” fully concedes the point.  His logic and conclusions are muddy, but the net of it is great to hear.  Yes, yes, we agree!  If your worldview is true then people can’t be held accountable!

Glenn’s last piece on his Catholic series, Catholic Iconography and the “Saints.” Nice summary.  I know many Catholics who, based on what they profess to believe, would be in the “true Christian” category.  They either weren’t taught or don’t believe the false doctrines from Rome and they do believe the essentials.  But that doesn’t mean I’d point people there.  The Reformation happened for many good reasons.

. . . These are the heavy burdens of legalism placed upon the members of the Roman Catholic Church, which result in the Roman Catholic Church being a cultic organization, in which the majority of its members are not true Christians (as testimony after testimony of ex-members attest).

How do we then witness to Catholics? The best way is to show them that salvation is a one-time thing and that it is not as a result of works. Point them to Christ, and not to Mary, for salvation. And that everything their leaders say should be passed through the grid of Scripture.

As noted on my Facebook page, my backup dog chewed through the mesh and inside of my suitcase to get to some candy stored in the front compartment.  She ate the Mikes AND the Ikes.  This is a re-enactment; she ran away when I was coming down the hall the first time.  She has lost a lot of teeth but still managed to chew through the fabric.

IMG_0028

Digg This

Romans 2

Greetings!

Paul emphasizes a point that Jesus made as well, namely that we shouldn’t be hypocritical.  We are instructed to make judgments but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do so in humility or without acknowledging our own sinfulness.  Paul had hammered several serious sins in chapter 1, such as homosexuality, but his list also included greed, boasting, gossip and even disobeying one’s parents.

God’s Righteous Judgment

2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

God loves it when we repent.  He leads us to repentance out of his kindness.  As v. 6 notes, God is perfectly fair – we will be judged based on what we have done.  But sometimes we confuse his patience with his approval.  These are radically different things.

Paul emphasizes many times in Romans that God sent his message through the Jews.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

V. 15 states what people intuitively know: God’s law is written on our hearts.  People will be judged by God based on what they do know.

The Jews and the Law

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Christians cringe when famous Christians are caught in big-time sins.  Yet we do the same things in less visible ways each day.  Thank God for his mercy and grace!

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

Circumcision was a sign of God’s special covenant with the Israelites.  It was a symbol of the internal circumcision of our hearts that is supposed to take place when we have faith in God.

28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Paul is relentless in showing how we are all sinners, even if we know the rules very well.

What parts of this chapter stood out to you and why?

Roundup

The Disclose Act passed the house – it will address corporate contributions but coincidentally enough it exempts unions.  Go figure.

Pray for Joni Eareckson Tada, who has cancer.  She is an amazing woman.  I read her biography as a teen (I think I was home sick or something and my Mom suggested it . . . usually I would have been reading something like Helter Skelter).  I wasn’t a believer then but it still made an impression on me.

10-Year-Old Grand Marshal at Gay Rights Parade Sparks Controversy Across U.S. – something about millstones comes to mind for whoever is subjecting kids to that.

I like Right Klick’s take on objective journalism:

Should they try to be “fair and balanced?” Surely. Should they present multiple viewpoints? Of course. Should they exclude their own opinions? I don’t think so.

Readers should consider the writer’s point-of-view when assessing the validity of the writing. But they can’t do that if the writer’s interpretation of the story is hidden behind a façade. So political writers should plainly state their own opinions.

Moreover, I think political writers should be prepared to provide full disclosure. Who do they plan to vote for in the next election? To which politicians have they contributed?All conflicts of interest and relevant financial relationships should be clearly identified. Follow Mika Brzezinski’s example.

Open bias is better than fake neutrality.  But that would require honesty.

The latest on the Ergun Caner situation, for those of you following it – Looks like Liberty University was moving the right direction but fell far short of being as transparent as they should be, and Caner still isn’t fully ‘fessing up.  Shame on them.  Muslims will rightly mock this for decades when Christians try to witness to them.

The 2nd Amendment still matters: In UK, Grandmother jailed for five years for owning family heirloom handgun

Glenn is on a roll: Mary, “Mother of the Church,” Is Not the Mary of the Bible – read it for an analysis of some serious errors regarding Mary

Obama won’t close Gitmo in first term – That must be a typo.  When he campaigned he said he would close that first thing.

Digg This

Romans 1

rom-1.jpgGreetings!

I encourage you to read this chapter very closely.  I refer to often as it has such relevance to our culture and to contemporary issues.

Paul packs a lot into his opening.

  • He was specifically called to be an apostle (one who saw Jesus and carried his message).
  • He is Jesus’ servant.
  • He is sharing the Gospel foretold in the Old Testament.
  • Jesus has two natures: Human and divine.
  • Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
  • Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
  • More!

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

Do we display the kind of faith that is worthy of being reported around the world, or even around the block?  Are we serving God with our whole hearts and spreading his Good News?

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

No matter how strong our faith is, encouragement is vital.  There are many times when I’m weighed down and someone will come along with an encouraging word to pick me up.  When I see other people living out their faith it inspires me.  You are not alone!

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

V. 16 is powerful.  In light of eternity, why should we be ashamed of the Gospel?  The world hates the Gospel, because it convicts them of sin.  The Gospel is for everyone.  There is no other path besides Jesus.

This next section, which I put in bold, speaks volumes about why everyone should know there is a God.  Note how it says that, “God has made it plain to them . . . God’s invisible qualities . . . have been clearly seen . . . so that men are without excuse.”   People who think they’ll claim ignorance when facing God at their death are horribly mistaken.

God has revealed himself to us in his creation.  He takes it very seriously when people mock that and completely ignore him.  Deep down even atheists know there is a God, but they “suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

Theologian R.C Sproul said, “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself.”

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Note how it repeats God “gave them over . . .” three times.  Consider how fully our society has turned sexual morality upside down.  It calls evil good and good evil.  Homosexual behavior is not only accepted but glorified.

This is one of the clearest passages denouncing homosexual behavior as sinful.  Some will try to read something into the text that simply isn’t there and claim that this was only about temple prostitutes, but there are many reasons that is wrong, starting with the fact the text doesn’t mention temples, prostitutes, or temple prostitutes.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Some pro-gay theologians try to spin verses 26-27 to mean that it is only a sin to act outside your “normal” preferences – that is, if you are naturally gay then the sin would be to have heterosexual sex.  If that sounds ridiculous to you, it should.  The original Greek means natural function, which of course would mean male/female relationships are the norm and homosexual relationships are sinful.  See Responding to Pro-Gay Theology for more information.

Romans 1 shows how the world is upside down and how people suppress the truth in unrighteousness and reject God, even though He is seen through his creation.  Then Paul offers exhibit A as an example of people rejecting God’s created order: Homosexual behavior.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Before people grandstand on the sin of homosexual behavior, they should note the other things Paul listed as being seriously wicked: Envy, greed, deceit, arrogance, heartlessness, disobedience to parents, etc.  Trust me, if you re-read the list you’ll find yourself in there somewhere!

People know better, yet they shake their fists at God anyway.  I thank God that He took me from rebellion against him to faith in him.  It is only by his grace that I am a believer.  I pray that many people will read his Word, be convicted and turn to him for forgiveness and salvation.

What parts of this chapter stood out to you and why?

Roundup

From the “Good, I’m not the only one!” category, Alyssa puts spinach in her shakes as well.  They really don’t impact the taste much and it makes the shakes more nutritious.  I could never eat cooked spinach. 

One of my first posts was about my Veggie Boy shakes.  We just replaced our vendor by splurging on a Vita Mix and I’m glad we did.  The old one had a 2 HP motor as well but didn’t nearly blend as well as this one.  Oh, and the old one was “arcing,” which is apparently a bad electrical thingy.  I had noticed the blue sparks when the lights were low but just ignored them for a while.  Having lots of fun with the new blender. 

Adult stem cells used to restore sight to patients blinded by chemical burns – now that is great news.  And they didn’t have to destroy human beings to find the cure. 

Extra creepy: Planned Parenthood to offer "insemination services," marketing lesbians – they prefer to kill the ones conceived naturally then sell the ones conceived artificially.  Because every kid wants a sperm donor Dad and Lesbian Moms. 

Female condoms with teeth – yikes.  You read that right.  Hope it works to punish rapists and/or reduce rapes.  It definitely has potential for misuse, but given the rate of rapes in some countries I can see why some would find it appealing.

Glenn on The Catholic Eucharist: Unbiblical and Idolatry

Good analysis of the Islamic event in Dearborn, Michigan, USA.  This should be front page news.  It is “creeping Sharia” law, where Muslims get more and more aggressive with their demands and restrictions on the religious freedoms of others.  

Again the value of video footage simply cannot be understated. On Sunday evening the weekend of their arrest, after being released on bail, David Wood and Paul Rezkallah returned to the Arab Festival in Dearborn, MI, to conduct something of an experiment (along with a friend, Antonio Santana). Instead of going inside the festival, they stood outside of it and distributed pamphlets of the Gospel of John in Arabic and English. The video of the experience is incredible.

For three individuals standing on a public street handing out religious pamphlets in an American city, the Dearborn Police Department responded in under five minutes with a total of eight uniformed officers and arrested them. This is the assault on the rights and freedoms of Americans that is taking place in Dearborn, Michigan. Every year for three days in June, pursuant to a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman, the protections of the First Amendment are suspended within the Arab International Festival and its “outer perimeter” which, as we can tell from David’s experience here, apparently constitutes a five-block “buffer zone.” So anywhere within that five-block perimeter and the festival itself, the rights and freedoms of Americans is curtailed.

 

Digg This

Truth vs. fiction on the budget deficits

Despite the “Blame Bush first” mantra of this administration, the truth about the deficit spending is pretty easy to see.

To start, one should realize that the President does not make the budget — though he can influence it, as Obama has certainly done with the stimulus package and other horrific economic policies.

Congress makes the budgets, and then-Senator Obama was a part of that for 2008 and 2009 (technically the 2007 budget was the last of the Republican plans).  Note how the deficits, while high, were being reduced each year.

From 2008 on it is all Democrat, all the time.  And those figures should frighten people.  It is a quick way to destroy the country, because those are obviously unsustainable.  They will kill jobs, which will reduce the tax receipts even more and make these projections even worse when they play out.

We need to spend less, starting now.   This is what happens when you have inexperienced people in charge who have no concept of basic economic principles.

Hat tip: Frank

Romans overview

earth.jpgGreetings!

Today we begin a study of Romans, perhaps my favorite book of the Bible (it is a toss-up with Philippians and the Gospel of John).  I’ve been going through Romans multiple, overlapping times, in a couple ways — reading a chapter, reading the study notes and listening to a chapter or two on my commute.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Romans roughly 25 years after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven.  His authorship is virtually undisputed.  Even liberal scholars agree that he wrote it.

This wasn’t a typical letter, though he did greet many people at the end of it.  This was a very carefully crafted summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The church had already spread to Rome and the broad persecution of Christians had not begun.  But this letter is for all Christians, not just those in Rome.

Paul begins with the “big picture” and lays out how we know there is a God because He reveals himself in his creation and in our conscience, we are all sinners in need of a savior, Jesus is the solution to the problem of our separation with God, and much more.  Paul also addressed some tensions between Jewish and Gentile believers.

He makes it clear that we are saved by grace, though faith in Jesus.  There is a series of verses sometimes referred to as “The Roman Road” that are useful in presenting the basic Gospel:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Once he lays out the plan of salvation Paul helps us understand what a life lived in submission to Christ looks like.  As he often did, he starts with doctrine then moves to application.

Side note: Have you ever noticed how rarely theological Liberals preach from Romans?

This has been a life-changing book for countless people.  I hope you join in the study and share your comments and questions.

Roundup

Eons Of Darwinian Evolution Somehow Produce Mitch – fun from The Onion.

Despite initial efforts to understand how the Albuquerque native came into being, one researcher told reporters that even a modification of Darwinian theory might be insufficient to account for Mitch.

“I know this is controversial, but we have to consider the possibility that Darwin was wrong, ” said Victor Siles, a geneticist at the University of California–Berkeley. “Nothing we currently know about DNA, no fully mapped genome, can account for the presence of someone whose apartment smells that much like Chef Boyardee.”

Creationists, meanwhile, have been surprisingly muted in their celebration of a man whose existence would seem to disprove so much of evolutionary theory.

“It’s great that Mitch has been so disruptive to the evolutionist camp,” Jim Moore of the Colorado Springs–based Genesis Ministries said. “But quite honestly, there’s no way we can explain him in terms of a perfect or loving God, either.”

“We’re just going to sit this one out,” Moore added.

If you have an iPhone that can upgrade to the new operating system (iOS 4) I highly recommend it.  It downloaded quickly.  The unified inbox alone will save me lots of time, as now I don’t need to use so many taps to get from one box to the next.  Editing music playlists is handy.  Not sure how much the multi-tasking will impact me.  The folders feature for similar apps will be useful.

Note: you need to upgrade to iTunes 9.2 first.

Terrific list of guidelines from Randy Alcorn for sexual purity.

Free Condoms in Public Elementary School – really bad on multiple levels.  Encouraging kids to have sex and deliberately leaving their parents out of the discussion.  Another reason to home school: Protect your kids from these freaks.

These days public schools don’t pay much attention to the tired old topics of yesteryear — reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Now the emphasis is on learning fun stuff, like sexual intercourse and disregarding the wishes of parents: A New England school district has approved a measure that will provide free condoms to elementary school students and direct teachers not to comply with parental wishes to the contrary.

Obama to AZ Sen Kyl in Private Meeting “Problem is…if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’” – Obama says he’s lying.  I’ll spring for the cost of polygraphs and put my money on Kyl.

Gary and Tony have a baby — CNN helps feed the narcissism and more child sacrifice.  Sad.  Note how CNN has a whole section devoted to sexual perversions, as if it is a category akin to Sport or Weather.

Serious persecution of Christians in Nigeria — Muslims attacking Christians — “Beyond anything I have ever seen.”

Today we were able to see numerous patients at several hospitals. There were fewer gunshots and far more machete and knife wounds than I have seen in the past in northern Nigeria. It looks to me like the Muslims had sharpened their weapons before the attack, because the wounds on these folks were significantly deeper and more destructive than any of those I saw in January when Muslims attacked Christians in Jos. The epitome was a 4-year-old little girl whose left arm was slashed and amputated above the elbow.

The Lakers beating the Celtics = fantastic.  Beating them in 7 games?  Extra fantastic.  Not as good as 1985, but a nice 2nd place.

Loved Ron Artest’s interviews.  None of that silly “giving 110%” blather from this guy.  It was great to see him come through like that.  He was so cool the whole game.

Digg This

Mega Roundup

AP Bias: Name That Party Blasts Repubs, Leaves Dems Unnamed in Stories – same author identifies party affiliation for one side but not the other.  This is very common.

Obama flip-flops on health care mandates – now it IS a tax – When he adamantly said the requirement to buy insurance wasn’t a tax, what he really meant was that it was a tax.  Clear?  And you can totally trust everything else they promised about the bill none of them read.

Glenn on Unbiblical Catholic Sin, Purgatory and Indulgences – this is an important issue.  While I know many Catholics who don’t hold to these doctrines or are unaware of them, Catholic catechisms still teach un-biblical concepts of purgatory and indulgences.  For example:

Catechism, Para 1471: …“‘An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.’” ‘An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.’ The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.”

As Glenn notes:

Scripture tells us our sins are forgiven in Christ and that He paid the penalty for that sin. Since Christ was purged for our sin, there is no need of purgatory, and if there is no need for purgatory, then there is even less need for indulgences to pay for lessened time in purgatory.

The Wasp Evolution Forgot – interesting take on a wasp and its associated tree that both forgot to evolve for 34 million years or so.  It reminds me of an aquarium that had to change a sign about how some species had evolved over the years, until they found a specimen that was really old (200,000 years, I think).  “Oops, what we really meant to say was that it must have perfected itself long ago.”  Such is the way of tautologies.

Democrats Kill Free Checking Accounts – More counterproductive big government actions.  Now those of us who obey the rules get to pay the fees for those who overdraft their accounts.  Swell.  One more reason to join a Credit Union.  Either the Democrats didn’t see that consequence coming or they didn’t care.  Both are bad.

Christians Taken Away in Handcuffs, Cameras Confiscated, While Muslims Chant "Allahu Akhbar!" on US Soil – Amazing.  This isn’t the first time the 1st Amendment rights of Christians have been trampled at these public Islamic events.  More details here.

I tweeted from my phone late last night that David Wood, Nabeel Qureshi (Acts 17 Apologetics Ministry) and two other Christians were arrested and taken away in handcuffs by the Dearborn, MI police. . . . David and Nabeel have reported on their experience here, having been released after spending the night in the Dearborn jail (they will never deal with the stories of the persecution of the early church in the same way again, I assure you). I do hope proper legal representation will lead to a meaningful civil action that will re-establish the rule of law (not Sharia) in Dearborn. As long as their cameras are not tampered with or destroyed, that should be the result, if justice prevails.

But I ask my readers to consider well what would have happened had the situation been reversed. What if Muslims were dragged away in handcuffs to the jeering chants of "Hallelujah!"? What kind of response would have come from such an event? Would not CNN and all the rest be on the spot? How much violence would you expect to see? One wonders.

This should be front page news in every paper and the lead story on CNN and the like.  Don’t hold your breath.

Please watch this video from 2009.

The FCC has no good reason to regulate the Internet.  As Red State summarizes from this video, here are three good reasons they should leave it alone:

  1. There’s no actual need for them to regulate it.
  2. The FCC will just muck it up anyway.
  3. They FCC is mostly doing this to continue justifying their existence and expansion.

Unlike many other industries, the Internet has absolutely exploded and thrived without government control.  Does anyone really believe that once you give government power that they won’t abuse it?

Video by Ray Comfort — good example of what the average person believes and what the Bible teaches and how to navigate the conversation. 

 

Digg This

Excellent article: Fortify Your Facebook Privacy Settings

As a CPA I get a subscription to the Journal of Accountancy (Motto: As boring as it sounds!).  This month they actually had a useful article titled Fortify Your Facebook Privacy Settings.  Facebook makes it difficult, but with a few steps you can significantly improve your security.

I’m surprised more people haven’t had security issues with FB.  If you aren’t careful, strangers can see your profile and know when you are out-of-town or even just out of your house.  They can know all about your kids.  And more.

And many people — especially younger folks — aren’t thinking about how potential employers can use FB to screen you out.  I see lots of references to getting drunk and such that will not impress prospective employers.

Some of the tips and categories the article addresses:

Editor’s note: Facebook unveiled plans on May 26 to roll out new privacy settings over the next several weeks. For more details on the company’s privacy policy and latest changes, read the new privacy guide at www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php

The Facebook List feature allows you to organize your friends by groups. These groups can then have individual privacy policies applied to each of them to extend or suppress your Facebook information by List.  . . . You can create new lists by selecting Create a List on the Friendspage.

FRIENDS ONLY

CPAs should consider changing all of their settings to Friends Only. This ensures that the people who can see your Facebook content are only those people who you actually accept as friends. (From a CPA’s standpoint, your Facebook friends may be your fellow employees, professional colleagues, clients, prospects or other contacts.) The problem is that you need to visit many places to make these changes. The three main areas are listed below, and you will need to toggle between dozens of items within each category to change all settings to “Friends Only.” One exception to consider is under SettingsPrivacy Settings,Search. Here you might want to keep this setting set to Everyone so you can be found via a search by people who want to friend you.

HIDE YOUR FRIENDS LIST FROM NONFRIENDS

BLOCK THIRD-PARTY FACEBOOK APPLICATIONS

Most third-party applications are geared toward personal use, but some applications such as greeting cards might be used for business reasons. CPAs should know that by default, third-party applications can access any of your Facebook information. This means that your name, phone number, e-mail address, street address, photos, videos, comments, and any of your responses to third-party questionnaires can be harvested for information and then used to build a profile of you, your likes and dislikes, and other preferences.

. . .

To help protect your data from third-party applications, follow these four rules:

a. Start by not including any personal information in your Profile page that you don’t want outsiders to see.

b. Refrain from using any third-party applications. Most are games or quizzes that can waste time, anyway.

c. Block all third-party applications. This can be done from the AccountPrivacy Settings,Applications and Websites menu.

d. Block your content that friends can share through their use of applications. This is done from the AccountPrivacy SettingsApplications and WebsitesWhat your friends can share about you menu.

REMOVE YOURSELF FROM FACEBOOK SEARCH RESULTS

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM NETWORKS

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FACEBOOK ADVERTISERS

REMOVE YOUR FACEBOOK CONTENT FROM GOOGLE

PREVENT PHOTO/VIDEO TAG MISTAKES

Say you let loose for a few hours one night at the company party, and photos or videos of the moment are suddenly posted for all to view. These items can be seen by not just your close friends who shared the moment with you, but also potentially the entire world. When someone tags you in a photo, they point out who is who and a message appears on your profile page, letting people know you are in that photo and letting them view it. Tagged photos have landed some Facebook users in hot water personally and professionally.

AVOID FRIENDS’ EMBARRASSING WALL POSTS

CONCLUSION

This is cyberspace, with information traveling at the speed of light. You cannot get it back once it is loose. Remain aware of what privacy settings are available and be conscious of what your friends may be publishing about you.

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology and accounting systems consultant, public speaker and CPE instructor.

Leviticus 19 and illegal immigration

Theological Liberals are often guilty of practicing Dalmatian Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding or removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

A prime example of that is in the case of illegal immigration (a phrase they can’t bring themselves to utter, always leaving off that pesky “illegal” part).  They are quick to quote Leviticus 19 to support their open borders / U.S. law defying view:

Leviticus 19:33–34 (ESV) When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

False teachers such as Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis insist that we should apply that teaching to the U.S. But do they preach that we should follow the next chapter as well, not to mention the rest of Leviticus or the Old Testament?  Of course not.

Leviticus 20:10–13 (ESV) If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

I could offer fifty more examples like that from the Old Testament and the New.  But they just pick and choose what verses they like and ignore the context.

They ignore true teachings, such as that Jesus is the only way to salvation (over 100 times) and they teach a perverted view of the Gospel, yet pull out Israelite-specific commands like the one above and try to force their (misunderstood) religious beliefs on others.  Where is the ACLU when you need them?

Was Leviticus 19 written to Christians in the U.S., let alone the secular U.S.? No. Should we treat people kindly no matter where they are from? Of course. But should we obey the laws? Yep. Should we protect the borders? Of course.

Side note: Regarding the argument about the Israelites being illegal aliens, that is simply false. They were originally given permission to be in Egypt.

If they wanted to consider something more universal in nature, they should read Leviticus 18 (read the beginning and ending of the chapter — God is punishing the Canaanites and warning Israel not to be like them). Then read Leviticus 19, which applies specifically to the Israelites.  (Also see flaws of the shellfish argument for reading Leviticus in context.)

Why doesn’t Jim reference Romans 13 and the command to obey the laws of the country?

You get the same type of selective Biblical references by false teachers such as Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie here.  Follow the comments section and watch how he continually labels as racist anyone who disagrees with him, and how he dodges the question about whether it would be racist if Obama enforced the immigration laws of the country.  Theological Liberals really are pathetic in how they play the race card.

Should we love our neighbors?  Of course.  Let’s work the root causes and help Mexico fix their country.  If you think the U.S. is bad, go live in Mexico.  And as usual, let’s love our neighbors consistently with our own time and money.  Wallis & Co. want to love some of their neighbors with your money, and that isn’t biblical or logical.

And let’s read the Bible in context and not just pull out the things we like.

Roundup

Yoga: Harmless stretching or religious practice?

Now you can’t get away from the fact that yoga is first and foremost a spiritual discipline. Yoga is not done for your physical health but rather your spiritual health. In “kundalini” yoga there is a belief that there is a spirit at the base of the spine, and the kundalini spirit is released with the aid of the yoga asana. Yoga is a system of doing physical things (stretches, breathing, poses and utterances) which is tied to a spiritual outcome.

This applies to breakfast cereals as well.

 

Abortion recovery group unveils billboard aimed at Interstate summer traffic – these are very effective at saving lives and helping women in need.  My youngest daughter, unbeknownst to me until recently, has been using part of her savings to support billboards like this. 

Battle Over the Blood — FDA Upholds Ban on Homosexual Male Blood Donations – glad to see some common sense prevail.  It is sad that some promoting the gay agenda are willing to lie and endanger lives just to help “validate” some people.

Detection of HIV infection is particularly challenging when very low levels of virus are present in the blood for example during the so-called ‘window period.’ The ‘window period’ is the time between being infected with HIV and the ability of an HIV test to detect HIV in an infected person….FDA’s MSM policy reduces the likelihood that a person would unknowingly donate blood during the ‘window period’ of infection. This is important because the rate of new infections in MSM is higher than in the general population and current blood donors. – Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Even Einstein made foolish thinking errors, at least when outside of his area of expertise:

"A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." Albert Einstein

But he had no grounding for that and certainly didn’t have an accurate understanding of the Christian worldview.  Man does need restraint (anyone ever notice all those pesky laws out there?) and we are still in a poor way.

Good response by Ray Comfort here.

BANNED BY YOUTUBE: We Con the World, the Turkish ‘Aid to Gaza’ Song – excellent parody, wimpy YouTube.  “The truth will never find its way to your TV.”

 

Digg This

Roundup

Friendly reminder: Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.

Do gun-free zones prevent multiple-victim public shootings? – No!  This common sense, people.  You just need to stop and think like a bad guy for about 10 seconds.  Just because people are criminals doesn’t mean they don’t process things through a risk / reward filter. 

“Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.”

The article has a list of MVPSs in Europe. They all occur in gun-free zones, where guns are prohibited by law.

When a government bans guns, the only people who have guns are criminals. And they know that there is no one to stop them when they open fire. That is why violent crime more than doubled in the 4 year period after the UK banned handguns.

Free audio Bibles – you can download the New Testament from the Faith Comes by Hearing site or Podcast it via iTunes. 

Thorough yet concise overview of Pope stuff — “several examples of how many popes acquired their office, the behavior of popes, and the unbiblical teachings of popes . . . the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope . . . questions to ask about the papacy”

How to find a church – Christians need to be in church.  There are remarkably few valid excuses not to do so.  If you can’t find a good church, then find the one that is the least bad and try to improve it.

Study says kids of Lesbians are “healthy” and have “fewer behavior problems” – Well, gee, if a study says it, then it must be true and we should make that the new societal ideal.  Or perhaps there are some other things you should know about the study . . .

Abortion activist complains, "There aren’t enough of us" – of course, the sad and morbidly ironic reply is, “Maybe if you hadn’t pushed for all those abortions . . .”

The sound of ice cream trucks went from being joy-inducing to really annoying 37 years ago.  This would make them more interesting. 

 

Digg This

From the flying pigs category, I sort of agree with Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd wrote Their Dangerous Swagger about some reprehensible behavior by some high school boys.

It was set up like a fantasy football league draft. The height, weight and performance statistics of the draftees were offered to decide who would make the cut and who would emerge as the No. 1 pick.

But the players in this predatory game were not famous N.F.L. stars. They were unwitting girls about to start high school.

A group of soon-to-be freshmen boys at Landon, an elite private grade school and high school for boys in the wealthy Washington suburb of Montgomery County, Md., was drafting local girls.

One team was called “The Southside Slampigs,” and one boy dubbed his team with crude street slang for drug-addicted prostitutes.

. . .

Before they got caught last summer, the boys had planned an “opening day party,” complete with T-shirts, where the mission was to invite the drafted girls and, unbeknownst to them, score points by trying to rack up as many sexual encounters with the young women as possible.

“They evidently got points for first, second and third base,” said one outraged father of a drafted girl. “They were going to have parties and tally up the points, and money was going to be exchanged at the end of the season.” He said that the boys would also have earned points for “schmoozing with the parents.”

. . .

Another parent was equally appalled: “I think the girls felt like they were getting targeted, that this was some big game. Talk about using people. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Landon is where the sons of many prominent members of the community are sent to learn “the code of character,” where “a Landon man” is part of a “true Brotherhood” and is known for his good word, respect and honesty. The school’s Web site boasts about the Landon Civility Code; boys are expected to “work together to eliminate all forms of disrespect” and “respect one another and our surroundings in our decorum, appearance, and interactions.”

. . .

Time for a curriculum overhaul. Young men everywhere must be taught, beyond platitudes, that young women are not prey.

I completely agree with the problems she identified and that women — young or old — should not be considered prey.

But where is Ms. Dowd’s grounding for such complaints?  How can a pro-Planned Parenthood person be surprised at such coarse behavior?  They have spent decades and millions of dollars teaching our youth that you can have sex without consequences if you are careful enough, that you can hide the evidence (i.e., abortion) if something goes wrong and that even if you end up HIV positive you don’t have to tell your sex partners.  They tell kids to ignore their parents and their religion and just have sex when they think they are ready — which, not surprisingly, is the same time as when they want to have sex.

It is extremely well documented that Planned Parenthood hides statutory rape, so if Dowd really cares about these teenage girls she might want to speak up about that as well.

Dowd is correct to point out the despicable behavior of the boys.  What she misses is that she has been part of the problem.  She and all the Planned Parenthood-types successfully taught kids that sex is a recreational activity and that any relation to marriage or creating new life is purely coincidental.  Looks like these boys were listening.

Spong is wrong, part #17

From Stand to Reason Blog: God Is a Person, We Are Persons — “Bishop” Shelby Spong, who denies virtually every important doctrine of Christianity while parading around in his collar to peddle his books, had this to say about knowing things about God:

I am not sure that the problem is that people throw around words [about God] so carelessly, but that the only words we humans have to use are human words, bound by time, space and human experience. Whatever God is, God is surely beyond the boundaries of human life. So the more specific we are about God, the less accurate we probably are. Let me repeat my favorite analogy. Horses cannot escape the boundaries of what it means to be a horse, nor can a horse view life from any other lens or perspective save that of a horse. Therefore a horse could never describe what it means to be human. In a similar manner, a human being cannot escape the boundaries or perspective of what it means to be human and therefore can never define or describe what it means to be God.

In addition to the critique noted at the blog, Spong also misses something rather obvious: If God wanted us to be able to know about him, then we would be able to know about him.  Who set the boundaries?  God himself.  Is that really so complicated?

Spong is wrong, again. He and those who voice that objection are just displaying false humility. They sure write and talk a lot about God for people who claim we can’t know enough about him.  People who make silly claims like his should be ignored.  Why would you pay to read books by someone whose main point is that he doesn’t know what he is talking about?

If anyone at your church or elsewhere recommends Spong to you, do not listen to them.  Have them watch this video for starters (Hat tip: JD):