WHY WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PROTECTION OF OUR RIGHTS — PART 1

Jerusalem_Modell_BW_3
Model of Herod’s Temple (a renovation of the Second Temple) in the Israel Museum, created in 1966 as part of the Holyland Model of Jerusalem. The model was inspired by the writings of Josephus. (from here)

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

Here we will consider the protection of our rights.

Why The Law Written In Our Hearts Is Not Enough

Why don’t we care about the protection of our rights? We are ignorant of our rights. Because we don’t properly educate our children, we don’t understand the concept of human rights and RESPONSIBILITIES. I suppose that sounds arrogant, but please bear with me and let me explain.

The notion that individuals have rights is a relatively new idea.  We tend to be more concerned about doing the right thing, and we equate what we think is the right thing with respecting human rights.

What do we think is the right thing? Consider this Bible passage.

Romans 2:12-16 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Without ever hearing about Jesus or the Bible we each know enough to do the right thing (see IS GOD EVIL OR HOLY?), but our pride and our instincts fight with this knowledge. Hence, we constantly find excuses to ignore it.

Consider when and where the Apostle Paul wrote the passage above.

  • The Roman republic was dead, subsumed by the empire its efficient and brutal legions had created. Slavery was common. How well a slave fared depended upon the decency of his or her master (see here, here, and here). Rome defended the institution of slavery mercilessly. The rebellion led by Spartacus provides the most famous example. Roman legions crucified 6,000 of the rebels (see here and here).
  • Even without slavery, Roman society was highly class conscious (see here, here, and here), and the prestige of the Rome depending upon the integrity of its empire. About a decade after Paul wrote the Book of Romans, the Jews  rebelled. Eventually, Roman legions descended upon Jerusalem. They slaughtered and enslaved the population and burned the city, including the temple (see here and here).

Do we live in a better place and time? Yes, but why? The Romans were civilized and in many ways quite virtuous. Yet they had little respect for human rights, particularly the rights of foreigners. The Romans were as savage as any barbarians, just better organized, trained, and equipped.

What is the difference between the Roman Empire and America? The Romans only had the law written in their hearts. They could see themselves and their conduct reflected in their own eyes and each others eyes, but they too often saw only what they wanted to see.

The Bible provides a better mirror. The Bible teaches that we are all children of God, made in his image. The Bible teaches that we must love our neighbor as our self. As Jesus explained in The Parable of the Good Samaritan, every man is our neighbor. Every man has rights we must respect.

When studied carefully, the Bible does what the law written in our hearts cannot do. Whereas the law written in our hearts is intertwined with our fleshly desires, the Bible is purely of the spirit. Thus, the Bible perfectly mirrors our life and conduct with respect to what God expects of His children.

James 1:22-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Yet the Bible only works if we read it and study it, and it works best when we insist our children read it and study it. Unfortunately, such Bible instruction is not common in America anymore.

To Be Continued

  • What Are God-Given Rights?
  • Where Do The Candidates Stand With Respect To God-Given Rights?

THE GROWING POWER OF GOVERNMENT AND THE THREAT TO LIBERTY: ELECTION 2016

declaration of independence

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

The Growth Of The Power Of Government

Why is it a problem when government is powerful? Government exists to protect our rights. Yet the power we give our government makes government itself a threat to our rights. Therefore, we must choose between giving the government just enough power and giving it too much.

  • To give our government the resources it needs to defend our rights, we must give our leaders the authority to tax us and spend our money. Nevertheless, the more we allow our government to tax and spend, the more we work for government instead of ourselves. At some point, we risk slavery.
  • Some decisions which effect a people must be made jointly. Thus, government must sometimes make decisions we would otherwise make for ourselves. So it is that in a nation of free men and women, we have laws that restrict us from harming each other (traffic laws, for example). In a nation of slaves, however, the laws just list a few trivial decisions that the leaders permit the people to make for themselves.

Here is a table that summarizes where the candidates stand.  Not certain the information is correct? Then check their web sites. I have only provided links where their positions are not available on their own websites.

ISSUE Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Taxing and Spending Favors tax simplification and reduction Favors increased taxation and spending (inferred from lengthy list of proposals)
Healthcare Private market solution Doubling down on Obamacare
School Choice For School Choice. Will end Common Core Against School Choice. Favors Common Core.
Immigration Favors extreme vetting Open borders/put new immigrants on the dole
Government Regulations Committed to reducing regulations Defends the current regulatory regime
Free Trade Opponent of the big trade bills Helped to craft TPP

To be continued: The Protection Of Our Rights

A BOOK FOR DONALD TRUMP, OTHER GREAT AMERICANS, AND ANYONE ELSE MATERIALLY BLESSED BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD: Ecclesiastes

Luca Giordano – Dream of Solomon – God promises Solomon Wisdom. (from here)
Luca Giordano – Dream of Solomon – God promises Solomon Wisdom. (from here)

Ecclesiastes is an odd book and a strange puzzle. Ecclesiastes begins by speaking of pointlessness of life. In fact, that seems to be the theme of the book. So we should expect godless souls would take delight that such a book is in the Bible. So why don’t they?

The answer comes when we finally solve the puzzle. We realize what an old king wants us to understand, that it is without God that life is pointless. Therefore, after we have read Ecclesiastes the first time, we have to go back and read it it again, wondering at the ease with which that old king fooled us!

Life itself almost fooled King Solomon. Ecclesiastes is his story. God blessed him greatly with riches, power, a long life, and most of all wisdom (1 Kings 3:1-15). Nevertheless, even though he was wise, power and riches corrupted King Solomon.

1 Kings 11:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

For the sake of his many wives, Solomon worshiped truly despicable idols, and this we must suppose was his greatest sin. Yet Ecclesiastes does not speak of worshiping ugly idols, and it only says a little about the trap of sexual diversions. With beautiful, carefully chosen words, Solomon tells us of mundane pursuits that entice us from knowing our Creator. He speaks wine, women, and song. He elaborates upon the vanity of earthly wisdom. He speaks of the futility of toiling greedily.  Through it all the old king seems to weep softly.

Did King Solomon ever repent and return to our Lord? It is something to wonder about.  Other than Ecclesiastes, what is our best clue? That was when God told the prophet Nathan to tell David that King Solomon would build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant.

1 Chronicles 17:10-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 “Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house. 11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”

Was God speaking of Solomon? It would seem so, at least in part.

Fabulously powerful, wealthy, and wise, what did King Solomon learn? Why did he repent of his sins. He tells us at the beginning.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Vanity of Life

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.

Without God, we live to no purpose. All is vanity. We can be materially rich beyond our wildest dreams. We can have every thing we wish for. We can make others our slaves. Yet all will still be meaningless vanity.

If you have trouble solving the puzzle that is Ecclesiastes (and most people do), check out Rob Barkman‘s series on Ecclesiastes. Here is the Introduction. Barkman did not link to the subsequent posts in his series, however, his blog is searchable. Since Barkman uses the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV), the easiest way to find a specific lesson is to search for the post that contains the text from the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) that you want to study. Note also that there are links at the bottom of each web page. These take you to the previous post and to the next post. So one or two clicks will usually get you to the next post in the series.

RIDICULE

Praying Hands by  Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Praying Hands by
Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)

In The most Unanswered Prayer that no one admits to, KIA tells us about one of his complaints.

https://thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/cmon-give-it-up/

(One Christian blogger suggested recently that Unity could only be found among Christians by ignoring their differences and treating them, at least in conversations on the Net within earshot of non believers, as if they were too small to matter.
He’s got one thing right. That would be the only way to have Unity, namely by completely ignoring the glaring and sometimes Huge differences in how they view God, Jesus, Scripture and Salvation itself.

In his post, tries to take ColorStorm to task for being a stupid, arrogant Christian, I suppose. That is certainly what comes across in the comments.

My “favorite part” is ‘s figure. It made me laugh. It contains a reference to 38,000 Christian denominations and the impossibility of choosing the right one. Why is that funny? The number of different sects is actually far higher.  Because every one of us has our own personal beliefs, we are each a sect of our own.

Is there a problem understanding what Christ taught? Yes. It takes work and considerable wisdom, but we are suppose to try. “Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth” by Rob Barkman provides a good explanation of what we should do, but many people do not do what they should do. Too few Christians study the Bible these days.

Many are distracted by what insanitybytes22 describes as The voice of the enemy.

On of the favorite tactics of the enemy seems to be messing with your head. He just sows deception, plants lies, and creates chaos. I think it’s important to understand that the enemy can’t come in unless you allow him to. His power lies in making suggestions, sowing seeds of doubt, as in”Did God really say…?”

People will then take these lies and create strongholds around them, build a foundation and belief system based on faulty thinking. How do I know it’s faulty? Anything designed to keep you separate from your Creator is probably from the enemy. God is a God of redemption, reconciliation, and relationship. He once walked hand in hand with us in a garden, in the cool of the evenings. He died to know us, to bring us into right relationship with Him. (continued here)

Too distracted from God and His Word, we risk the unpardonable sin. What’s that? altruistico has a good explanation.

Although the Bible doesn’t name any one sin as the greatest sin, it does refer to the unpardonable sin, which is the sin of unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. The Bible is clear that, in His love for mankind, God provided the means of eternal salvation—Jesus Christ and His death on the cross—for “whoever believes in Him” (John 3:16). The only condition under which forgiveness would not be granted concerns those who reject the only means of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), making it clear that He and He alone is the path to God and salvation. To reject the only means of salvation is unpardonable and, in that sense, is the greatest sin of all. (from here)

Who commits the unpardonable sin? Who rejects God? Who rejects salvation? Well, that is for God to decide.

What is the correct Christian belief? Fortunately, there is considerable latitude. That is one reasons there are so many Christian denominations and sects.

Romans 14:1-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Law of Liberty

14 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Romans 14 is clearly the source of ‘s lament. Christians don’t have to separate over small things, but we do. We forget Christianity is about forming a relationship with Jesus, recognizing Him as our Lord and savior. Why do we sometimes forget? Even Christians can be too proud, and pride gets in the way. None of us like admitting how sinful we each are. None of us like admitting we need someone to save us, that we are not good enough to save ourselves.

So how then do we tell which is the right Christian church? Jesus told us.

John 13:31-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

The New Commandment

31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

If we have love for Jesus, then we will have love for each other.