POSTS WORTH READING — September 16, 2014

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News/Editiorials

  • Don’t Give the Masters of the Universe Their Amnesty (www.nationalreview.com) – This article by Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) begins as an exhortation by on the subject of amnesty for illegal aliens. Then it progresses to an analysis of how what C.S. Lewis would have called the “Inner Ring” (speech at Kings College called the “Inner Ring) is stealing our freedom from us.
  • Success or Failure? (townhall.com) – In this editorial, Thomas Sowell takes issue with “Those people who say that President Obama has no clear vision and no clear strategy for dealing with the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East.” Sowell suggests Obama has a strategy; it is just not a strategy that is in our nation’s best interests.
  • Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi (blogs.spectator.co.uk) – The article really doesn’t answer the question, but it interesting anyway, particularly for those of us who want America to be more like Europe.

Blogs

  • WOULD YOU BUY A PIG IN A POKE? (familyallianceonline.org) – Here is a blog that kicks in every election season. Why? It seems that every election we vote for far too many candidates who offer us a pig in a poke. If your congressional district is in northern Virginia, you will definitely find it worth your while to check this post.
  • President Bush Predicted What Is Happening In Iraq (www.ldjackson.net) – Here the title explains the post. After reading Sowell’s article (above), how can we say Obama did not know what would happen? Nobody told him?
  • Not Islamic? If terrorists aren’t Muslims, why give them Korans when imprisoned? (bpirandomtweets.wordpress.com) – I need to summarize a tweet?
  • Master and Servant (lifereference.wordpress.com) – Here is a post that reminds us that no matter what our station in this life, in the next we are equally accountable to God.
  • What is Confucianism? (altruistico.wordpress.com) – Here is one blog post in a series that compares the religions of the world with Christianity.
Posted in unraveling, US Blogs, VA-Blogs | Leave a comment

GRACE, TRUTH, AND WISDOM?

peacecrossKing Solomon on Cries of the Poor Man

What is this post about? It is about a discussion scatterwisdom and I had at this blog post, King Solomon on Cries of the Poor Man. The post is excellent, but I am cursed with the eyes of skeptic. So I reacted to what bothered me.  What was that? expressed the possibility that he might deny his religious beliefs, offering poverty, conniving leaders and the scheming rich as excuses. What  suggested is what most people would do and have done, but would such a course of action be wise? Fortunately,  graciously consented to a discussion that I hope was mutually rewarding, and we considered that possibility.

As we considered the matter (what bothered me about the introductory remarks to ‘s post), we consider an aspect of wisdom I doubt either of us had seriously considered before. Unless we put God first, of what use is our wisdom?

Grace and Truth

To be like Christ, we must seek to be full of grace and truth. I know I am not full of grace and truth, but I have begun to understand the value of being full of grace and truth. Hence this verse strikes a chord in me.

John 1:14 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Why both grace and truth? Consider the following excerpts.

  • Grace and Truth (www.crosswalk.com)

    As Henry Cloud has written, truth without grace is just judgment. Conversely, grace without truth is license.

  • Jesus: Full of Grace and Truth (www.thinkingchristian.net)

    Grace and truth were both expressed on the cross: sin had to be paid for, and it was; but he took our payment upon himself.

  • Grace and Truth (www.gci.org)

    Those who sin become “slaves of sin.” They become enmeshed in its power. But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. When we trust him to be our salvation, we are freed from the condemnation of the law.

How do we exhibit grace and truth? By nature, we don’t. Here is how John Wesley began when wrote his notes on John 1:14.

Grace and truth — We are all by nature liars and children of wrath, to whom both grace and truth are unknown. But we are made partakers of them, when we are accepted through the Beloved. (continued here)

The Necessity of Godly Wisdom

As followers of Christ, we can learn to exhibit both grace and truth, but we need God’s help. How do we get God’s help? We ask.

James 1:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

What is wisdom?

In the Biblical sense, wisdom is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding” (Lockyer p. 1103). The Wisdom teachings of the Bible follow from the two great themes of the Ten Commandments and the Greatest Commandments of Jesus : reverence to God, our Creator, and respect for all persons, everywhere. (from here)

In other words, “Wisdom is knowing good from evil” (from here).

Godly Wisdom From Proverbs

We already have the Truth of God’s Word. If we are humble God gives us grace.

Proverbs 3:34 New King James Version (NKJV)

34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.

But, as did King Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:1-12), we must ask God for wisdom. Why? True wisdom, knowing the difference between knowing good and evil, is of God.

Consider the beginning of knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What prideful, arrogant man — what fool — would love proverbs such as these?

Proverbs 3:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

Proverbs 14:22 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.

Proverbs 16:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.

Godly Wisdom From Ecclesiastes

For a time, King Solomon departed from the ways the Lord. That is the subject of Ecclesiastes. When I wrote WHAT AN UNLIKELY BOOK ON HAPPINESS!, a review of a book on Ecclesiastes, even then I did not full grasp the full import of how King Solomon ended Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

We can easily habituate ourselves to depending upon worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is plentiful. We scarcely ever mention the Bible, God’s wisdom. Even in Solomon’s day, who would have rebuked the king with words from the Old Testament?

When Solomon departed from the ways of the Lord, he applied only the wisdom of this world. When he ceased asking for Godly wisdom, Solomon did not bother to properly distinguish between good and evil. Yet he remained a child of God. So he became miserable.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Hence Solomon ended Ecclesiastes with the lesson he had learned. Proper fear and reverence for God is required for true Wisdom. Making use of his bad example — giving us his personal testimony — Solomon reminded us that proper fear and reverence for God is what distinguishes Godly wisdom, that wisdom we too easily overlook, from worldly wisdom.

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WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

cares of the world
I got an email from Suzanne Scholte‘s campaign yesterday. Actually, I have gotten so many emails from her campaign I am getting sick of seeing them.  Nonetheless, this one interested me.

MEMO

RE: Washington Post, CNN, Gallup and Rasmussen Polls

FROM: Peter Foster (Campaign Manager)

TO: Suzanne Scholte, Campaign Staff

SUMMARY: Four new polls have been released over the past 48 hours. An incredible environment is developing nationally. As I noted in the previous memo, it looks like a Republican wave is building. We have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize.

KEY POINTS:

  • On the Generic Congressional Ballot, Republicans lead across the board. Republicans lead in the ABC News/Washington Post poll by 3 points and lead in the Rasmussen poll by 2 points. It’s worth noting that even a slight GOP advantage tends to mean a massive Republican gain.
  • President Obama is deeply unpopular. He is underwater in the Rasmussen Poll (-7), Gallup Poll (-11), CNN Poll (-12) and the Washington Post survey (-12). Our opponent is allied with the President and has supported his most unpopular policies.
  • According to the ABC News/Washington Post survey, a vast majority (66%) of the country believes we’re on the “wrong track”.
  • Obamacare is underwater in the Washington Post Poll (-10) and in the Rasmussen Poll (-15). Connolly backed the legislation to the hilt.
  • Finally, and this is key, Congress remains incredibly unpopular. A whopping 82% disapprove of Congress in the Gallup Poll, and an identical 82% disapprove in the Washington Post Poll.

CONCLUSION: To put this in perspective, the President and Gerry Connolly’s policies have turned the country against them. This is quickly becoming a more friendly environment than 2010, where Connolly barely survived his re-election fight. While the district remains challenging, it’s incredibly clear that we have a golden opportunity to win in November.

What is the main conclusion we should reach from these polls? We don’t like the people leading us. So if you are not an incumbent, here is a good opportunity to win elected office, right?

As voters, we need to consider our own responsibility in this matter. We elected those incumbents. Why have we elected people we don’t trust? I recently heard a sermon that seems to offer a good explanation, and that explanation is what this post is about.

In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus told “The Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:1-9Mark 4:1-9, and Luke 8:4-8). Later in each gospel, He explained this parable (Matthew 13:18-23Mark 4:13-20, and Luke 8:11-15). What is “The Parable of the Sower” about? Here is Matthew’s version.

Matthew 13:1-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Sower

13 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Here is how Jesus explained the parable.

Matthew 13:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Many of us have perhaps never understood God’s Word. I suppose some of us are like the seed sown on the path. And I suppose there are some who are like the seed cast in stony places. These do not have the courage to appeal to the Holy Spirit and resist temptation. Yet my guess is that far more of us are like the seeds cast among the thorns.

We live in a rich nation. Here the thorns are long, strong, and sharp. Our schools and the corporate news media constantly worry us with the cares of the world, and they constantly exhort to seek our share of the riches and the pleasures of life (see Luke 8:11-15). Even our parents and spouses urge to react to the cares, chase the riches, and enjoy the pleasures of life. So it is easy to submit to the thorns and become choked off from God’s Word.

And where is the absence of God most evident in our nation’s life? We see in ourselves, when we vote. How we vote provides evidence that we have not put God’s Word in the forefront of our lives, that we risk our immortal souls.

When we go to the polls to vote, we must not forget we are called to love our neighbor. Unfortunately, instead of voting to protect each others rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have voted for those candidates who promise us the most other people’s money. We have voted for crooks, and these crooks steal from us all. So our nation daily becomes more poor and more corrupt.

So what about Suzanne Scholte? Is she a good candidate? There are people who have seen the direction our government has been going, and they have grown alarmed. Suzanne Scholte seems to be one of these. Therefore, if Gerry Connolly is currently your congressman, please consider voting for her.

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POSTS WORTH READING — September 8, 2014

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News/Editiorials

  • Scottish independence: how would Scotland defend itself? (www.theguardian.com) – The focus here how Scotland would extricate itself from the United Kingdom without rendering itself defenseless. That is not as nutty a concern as it might sound to some. One of the reasons the founders of this nation formed the United State was to prevent the states from fighting each other. Now we expect two Peoples, intricately connected to each other to disentangle without a fuss.           :lol:         Let’s just pray it stays funny.
  • Stakes are high for jobs and industry (www.eveningtimes.co.uk) – Here the concern is jobs and money in the UK’s defense industry.

Frankly, I don’t think either of the two articles above illustrates just how insane this breakup would be. Relative to the United States, the UK is already poor, and this childish behavior will only make matters worst.

Blogs

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A BIBLE STUDY: ARE CHRISTIANS SUPPOSE TO LOVE EVERYONE THE SAME WAY? — PART 3

bibleIn A BIBLE STUDY: ARE CHRISTIANS SUPPOSE TO LOVE EVERYONE THE SAME WAY? — PART 1, we considered the question presented by the title of the post, and we listed alternatives. Here was the first.

Jesus wants us to love everyone.

Does Jesus want us to love everyone? Perhaps, but we don’t seem to be capable of such a thing. How could we love each individual in this world with the type of love the Greeks called agape (See A BIBLE STUDY: ARE CHRISTIANS SUPPOSE TO LOVE EVERYONE THE SAME WAY? — PART 2 for a discussion of the different types of love.)?

Dr. J. Vernon McGee, famed for his Thru The Bible series, did not teach we should love everyone. In 1 John McGee states that clearly. Check out McGee’s notes on 1 John. They are quite detailed and worth reviewing.

Why did the Apostle John write 1 John? He explains in the last chapter.

1 John 5:13 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Thus, McGee said that 1 John explains what it means to be a Christian and how to know that we have eternal life. Who and how we love is one of the ways we know. Consider this passage.

1 John 3:4-10 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Who must we love? We must love our brothers and sisters. Who are our brothers and sisters? Our brothers and sisters obey the commandments of God (1 John 2:1-5). Our brothers and sisters are the children of God.

In his commentary on 1 John 4:1-6 (McGee’s notes), McGee observes the following about false teachers.

“Test the spirits” is prove the spirits. Love can become rather mushy and sentimental. Paul prayed that “love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Philippians 1:9). The so-called “love” of liberals slops over on all sides. There are many false teachers that the child of God should avoid as he does a rattlesnake. These false teachers are inspired by evil spirits that deny the incarnation of Christ and all His work of redemption that flows from it. The evil spirit denies the Person of Christ and His work. This is the final test. The evil spirit resists and opposes Christ. This is the spirit of Antichrist (see 1 John 2:22).

In a later notation, McGee specifically says the false teachers are “not to be loved.” Why would McGee say something like that? Consider this passage from Hebrews 10.

Hebrews 10:26-31 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

We must love God above all else. When someone speaks ill of the One we love, are we suppose to love that person? Not likely. Pity is perhaps the best we can do. Therefore, it seems Jesus does not expect us to love everyone.

To be continued

 

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