What Is My Biggest Problem?

What is my biggest problem?

 

It’s not the government.

It’s not the economy.

It’s not other people.

It’s not a lack of opportunity.

It’s not my health.

It’s not my job.

 

My biggest problem is myself.

 

I am a sinner.

I’ve always been a sinner.

I will always be a sinner until the day I die.

I can’t change it by trying harder.

I can’t change it by being more religious.

I can’t change it by doing more good stuff.

There is nothing I can do to stop being a sinner.

It’s who I am.

 

Only Jesus can change me.

 

Only Jesus can fundamentally change who I am.

All I can do is trust Jesus.

All I can do is to quit trying to change myself,

And give my life to Jesus.

Give my sin to Jesus,

Give my will to Jesus,

Give my dreams and ambitions to Jesus,

Give everything to Jesus.

 

My biggest problem is myself.

And I cannot fix myself.

Only Jesus can fix me,

And all I can do is get out of the way

And trust and follow Jesus.

 

You are your own biggest problem.

And, only Jesus can fix you, too.

Who Can Save America?

The United States of America is more divided than at any time I can remember.  We are divided by politics.  We are divided by income.  We are divided by religion.  We are divided by ethnicity.

The current campaigns for the Presidency exemplify this division.   Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has used the most divisive political rhetoric I’ve ever heard, and has drawn protests and threats from many different groups, from far-left liberals to far-right conservatives.  Other candidates are exploiting Trump’s rhetoric to further divide Americans.  It seems that all of the candidates are seeking to divide Americans into “us” versus “them,” although most do it far more subtly than Mr. Trump.  From Bernie Sanders, it’s the “have nots” versus the “haves.”  From Hillary Clinton, it’s women versus men and the white majority versus racial minorities.  From Donald Trump, it’s anyone who disagrees with him versus those who don’t.  And, from Ted Cruz, it’s anyone who supports the Democrats or Trump versus conservatism.  We have candidates who want to make us into a socialist state, who are being sued for fraud, and who are facing possible FBI indictment.  There have been protests, some with violence; threats against candidates’ families; and threats of more violence.

Trump-Protests

America is a mess.  The police have been accused of racially motivated killings.  Police officers have been assassinated.  Protests are becoming more frequent and more violent.  Terrorism and mass murders are becoming common.  The average household is becoming poorer, while the rich are becoming richer.  Abortion, homosexuality, divorce, pornography, and sex outside marriage are widely accepted, and pedophilia, polygamy, and bestiality are gaining acceptance.  Greed and power are considered to be virtues, and caring for others is considered less important than taking care of self.

Who can save America?

Depending on who is asked, the answer varies.  Many point to Trump, Sanders, Clinton, Cruz, or Kasich.  Others point to third-party candidates from the Libertarian, Green, or other parties.  Many point to ideologies, such as conservatism, liberalism, democratic socialism, or libertarianism.  Some point to the government; others point to the free enterprise system.  Others say that no one can save America, that the decline has become too great ever to overcome.

trump-clinton-sanders-cruz

In order to answer the question of who can save America, we need to look at what made America great in the past, and what changed to cause America to decline.

I contend that what made America great in the past was following Biblical principles, and what has caused its decline has been the rejection of those principles.

adultery_BibleThe United States was never a “Christian Nation,” whatever that means.  We were, however, a nation built on Biblical principles.  The Constitution and Bill of Rights were based on the Bible.  The vast majority of Americans were Christians, or, at least had a respect for Christianity and Biblical principles.  The principles found in the Ten Commandments and Sermon on the Mount were the foundation for American ethics and law.   We were never perfect; we allowed slavery, and we tried to exterminate indigenous peoples.  However, the opposition to both was led by Christians who decried the practices on Biblical grounds.  The concepts of individual responsibility and caring for others were both embraced.   And God blessed the United States because of our respect for Him and our commitment to Biblical principles of morality and law.

Americans no longer have this ideological foundation.  By and large, Americans have rejected Biblical principles.  We no longer accept individual responsibility for our actions, nor do we accept our responsibility to help the less fortunate.  God and the Bible are openly mocked; those who hold to Biblical morality are ridiculed and hated.  The laws are changing to permit and encourage sexual immorality, greed, and other ungodly practices, while penalizing those who follow Jesus Christ.  As in the days of the judges of Israel, everyone does what is “right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

Even the Church has largely rejected Biblical principles.  We pick and choose those bits of the Bible we like, while ignoring the rest.  Most of mainstream Protestantism and Roman Catholicism did this many years ago, but now, even much of Evangelical Christianity is doing the same.  The goats are leading the sheep (Matthew 25:31-46); we have become the Laodicean church (Revelation 3:14-22).  And God has cursed us (Galatians 1:6-9).

churchconstruction

Because we once respected and largely obeyed God, He blessed us; and because we have now rejected what we once knew to be the truth, God has now removed His blessing.  America is in decline, because we have rejected that which made us great in the first place – God’s blessing for obedience and respect.

Who can save America?  Not Obama, nor Trump, nor Sanders, nor Clinton, nor Cruz or Kasich.  No political leader can save us.  Only Jesus Christ can save America; and He will not save us unless we repent and turn to Him once more.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
Psalm 33:10-12

 

 

 

Life is Tough…God is Good

Life is Tough…God is Good

As I have scrolled through my Facebook news feed for the last 24 hours, I have been struck by how tough life is. A good friend of mine has been moved to hospice as a result of complications from a lifetime of smoking. Another friend from childhood is losing a battle with cancer. A young mother from my church is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. My country is being divided by hatred, racism, terrorism, politics, ideology, and greed. Many people struggle to keep a roof over their heads and adequate food on the table. Good jobs are hard to find, and people that have them are in fear of losing them. People struggle with depression, fear, sickness, anger, hopelessness, and death. Life is definitely tough.

Where is God in all of this? It seems most people have given up on God. They see God either as a fairy tale or as uncaring and distant. Even many born-again Christians struggle with the feeling that they cannot live up to God’s expectations and fear that He is unhappy with them and punishing them.

The bad news is that our world is slowly being destroyed by sin. It began in the Garden with Adam and Eve, but like a cancer, it has continued to spread ever since due to the sin of each of us. It’s not God’s fault the world is crumbling; we have brought it on ourselves by our constant rebellion against the God who created everything “very good.” Our collective sin is what has brought on death, disease, poverty, racism, and hatred. And, there is nothing we can do to stop it. We’ve tried legislating morality, but it doesn’t work. We’ve tried religion, irreligion, education, indoctrination, love, hate, freedom, and tyranny, and none of it has done anything to slow the tide of self-destruction that grips our world. We are under a curse (Genesis 3). We’re headed for self-annihilation, and we cannot stop it. Life is tough.

The good news is that God has a plan, and you and I can be part of His plan, if we choose.

LifeIsToughShirtGod is good. Rather than letting us annihilate ourselves, God’s goodness, mercy, and love demanded that He give His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment for sin on Himself. As the apostle Paul explains in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Sin is what has torn us away from our Creator, and sin is what tears us apart from each other. Sin is what has brought on disease, hatred, poverty, racism, and death. Paul again explains that, “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). He continues: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here’s the goodness of God: Despite the fact that we are destroying His creation by our sin, God has already begun the process of restoration. The restoration began with the cross of Jesus Christ. Individually, it begins when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Paul explains in Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” He develops this idea of personal restoration further in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The goodness of God is not limited to individual restoration, however. The earth and humanity has been cursed because of our sin (Genesis 3). Paul writes, “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:21-22). The apostle John explains that the curse will eventually be removed: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 4). He continues, “And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him” (Revelation 22:3).

Here’s the deal: For those who continue to reject Jesus Christ, there is no restoration, and no hope. Life stays tough, and eternity is a literal Hell. However, for those of us who turn to Jesus Christ, repent of sin, and make Jesus our Lord and Savior, the process of restoration begins immediately. The goodness of God begins to change us. The process begins immediately, but isn’t complete until we are with Jesus in eternity. God doesn’t want people to become religious or spiritual; He wants a restored relationship with us. God’s goodness has provided the means for restoration through Jesus Christ for all who are willing to receive it.

Life is tough, but God is good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GcBBPbtfoI

Why do People Support Abortion?

I honestly don’t understand how a rational person can support abortion rights.

To me, the argument against abortion is very simple, and goes something like this:

  1. Murder is the intentional killing of an innocent human being, and is immoral.
  2. Abortion is the intentional killing of an embryo or fetus.
  3. Embryos and fetuses are innocent human beings.
  4. Therefore, abortion is murder, and immoral.

The arguments for abortion rights seem to try to refute this argument in one of three ways:

  1. The most common argument is that embryos and fetuses are not human beings. However, I have yet to see a cogent rationale for this belief. Every argument I see is based on emotion or is utterly subjective.  Genetically, an embryo is human from the moment of conception. There is no other point in human development where scientists can objectively say, up this stage, the embryo/fetus is clearly not human, but from this point on, it is.
  2. The second common argument I see is that murder isn’t necessarily immoral. This view usually presupposes the first argument, that the unborn aren’t human beings. The rape, poverty, abuse, and birth defects arguments generally fit in this category. Sometimes, the “a woman’s choice” argument fits here as well. Again, I have yet to see a cogent rationalization for this view.
  3. The third argument I see is that abortion should be legal despite the fact that it is murder and immoral. This view is where the “a woman’s choice” argument usually fits. To me, this is the most illogical argument of the three. If murder by abortion should be legal, why not all forms of murder? Why make anything illegal?

The only justifiable exception I can logically defend is abortion to save the life of the mother. If both the mother and the fetus are expected to die without the abortion, and there is a reasonable expectation that the mother’s life can be saved if the abortion is performed, then it is better to lose one life than two. At the same time, every attempt should be made to save the baby as well.

I would very much like to understand why individuals who support the pro-choice position believe abortion is justifiable. If you are an abortion supporter, I would appreciate your comments. Please keep them respectful and on-topic. Disrespectful or irrelevant comments will be summarily deleted.

 

Muslims and Terrorism

Muslims and Terrorism

Thoughts on Islamic Terrorism

From recent News reports:

  • September 25, 2014, Moore, OK – a Sharia Law activist beheads a woman.
  • October 23, 2014, New York City – Zaim Farouq Abdul-Malik attacked four policemen in the subway with a hatchet.
  • May 3, 2015, Garland, TX – Two gunmen attacked the Curtis Culwell Center.
  • July 16, 2015, Chattanooga, TN – A Muslim extremist stages a suicide attack on a recruiting center at a strip mall and a naval center, leaving five dead.
  • November 13, 2015, Paris, France – A series of Islamic terrorist attacks kill 137 and wound 368.
  • December 2, 2015 – San Bernardino, CA – Two Muslim terrorists shoot up a Christmas party, leaving fourteen dead.

Around the world, there have been over 100 terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in 2015. Many American liberals are calling for strict gun control to curb the violence. Many American conservatives have called for bans on travel to the U.S. for all Muslims. Politicians and media seem to be completely caught in the echo chambers of their political ideologies, and the United States is more divided than ever.

There are two key issues that seem to be lost in the arguing over what to do about Islamic terrorism. The first is that the militant Islamists have declared war on the United States. The second is that Islam is not a single, unified ideology.

We Are At War, Whether We Like It or Not

isis_flagThe United States is already in a war. ISIS and al-Qaeda are two of the leading Islamic groups that have declared jihad, or a “Holy War,” on Americans and their allies. They are tied to numerous attacks on the United States, including the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the recent San Bernardino shootings. Yet, the President has been unwilling to acknowledge that war has been declared on the United States. We’ve sent a few token bombs into ISIS territory, killing a few leaders, only to have new leaders spring up immediately.   Until the American government comprehends that war has been declared, and starts to act like we’re at war, ISIS and their ilk will continue to gain strength and continue to attack the United States and their allies, creating more refugees in the process. There is no jihadist group in the Middle East that could stand a chance if the United States military went in with full force. ISIS would be gone within weeks. But, our Commander-in-Chief is determined that there will not be a war on his watch, so he continues to ignore the fact that we are already in a war, and does nothing of consequence. And ISIS continues to grow, continues to create more refugees, and continues to expand on American soil.

What Is Islam?

Some people say that Islam is a religion of peace; others say it is a radical political movement disguised as a religion seeking world domination.

Both are correct.

Muslim womanIn fact, Islam is not a single worldview. Islam encompasses a tremendous range of beliefs. There are “cultural Muslims” who call themselves Muslim for cultural reasons, but don’t actually believe or practice any of it. There are Muslims who reject the parts of the Qur’an that call for jihad, or interpret those passages so that they don’t apply to today’s society. There are also Muslims who take those same jihadist passages very literally, and have declared war on all non-Muslims. Anyone who states that “Muslims believe X,” or “Islam teaches Y,” doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There are only a handful of beliefs that are universally held by all Muslims, or at least nearly so.

Some conservatives have called for a “war on Islam.” That’s just plain ignorant. We need to wage war against terrorism and war on jihadists, but not on an entire range of people who identify themselves as “Muslim.” Could some “moderate” Muslims become “radicalized?” Sure, they could; some “moderate” non-Muslims have also been “radicalized.” Yes, we need to understand that jihadists base their ideology on a particular interpretation of the Qur’an; they are absolutely Islamic. But, we need to differentiate between jihadist terrorists and other Muslims, and recognize that not all terrorists are religious at all.

How should the United States Respond to Jihadist Terrorism?

Her are my current thoughts on how to effectively combat jihadism in the United States.

  1. Acknowledge that we are already in a war, and begin to act like it.
  2. Correctly identify the enemy. Political correctness and bigotry are both counter-productive and immoral. The enemy is Islamic jihadists, not all Muslims.
  3. Quit the political posturing and political exploitation of the crisis. It’s not about guns or global warming. It’s about jihadist ideology.
  4. Build alliances with other countries to create a coalition to defeat jihadists.
  5. Use the full might of the United States military to wipe out ISIS and al-Qaeda strongholds in Syria, Iraq, and wherever else they rear their ugly heads.
  6. Set up refugee camps in the Middle East, and work to reintegrate refugees into their own homelands as soon as the region is stable.
  7. Maintain a permanent military and humanitarian presence in the Middle East, much like we did at the end of World War II in Germany and Japan. Use these initially to prevent jihadists from reestablishing power in the region, to stabilize the region, then to build long-term alliances.
  8. Secure our borders. Temporarily stop the influx of people into the United States from the Middle East. Countries that are at war generally keep people from the regions they are at war with out. Deliberately bringing in immigrants from ISIS strongholds is a serious security risk. Create effective ways to properly vet immigrants and those on visas before reopening the United States to them.
  9. Use the full force of the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies to root out domestic terrorists, bring charges, and through due process, lock up terrorists of all ideologies, both domestic and foreign, before they have a chance to strike. We already have laws in place – enforce them!

Matthew 24:4-14 in Images

Matthew 24 4-5U.S. marines fire on a group of insurgents shortly after they launched a rocket propelled grenade at their 7-ton truck while on a 'movement-to-contact mission in order to flush out insurgents operating in the Fallujah area south of Fallujah on Thursday, April 15, 2004 in Iraq. The marines are part of the 3rd Battalion, 4th marine regiment, which saw heavy combat at the beginning of the war last year, and is now back in Iraq embroiled in intense fighting with the resistance. Today, the men of the 3rd Battalion were ambushed half a dozen times while they patrolled the palm groves and wheat fields around fallujah, and the marines killed at least 10 insurgents, and suffered only minor injuries. (Credit: Lynsey Addario/ Corbis, for The New York Times)Matthew 24 7aMatthew 24 7bMatthew 24 7cMatthew 24 7d 8Matthew 24 9aMatthew 24 9bMatthew 24 10aMembers of Michigan's Chaldean community, who are Iraqi Catholics, rally in Detroit Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. The rally was to express anger and frustration over what they describe as a lack of protection for Christians in Iraq. A siege Oct. 31 on a Baghdad church left 58 people dead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Matthew 24 10cMatthew 24 11Matthew 24 12Matthew 24 12bMatthew 24 13Matthew 24 14Matthew 24 14b

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