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.

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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. 

 

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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.”

 

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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. 

 

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