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Wednesday
Mar072018

It’s About Time

Attorney General Jeff Sessions finally got around to addressing Sanctuary Cities by filing a lawsuit against California. Fox News filed a report defining what a sanctuary city is:

While the exact specifications can vary, sanctuary city policies overall limit just how much local law enforcement officials comply with federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco, for example, passed an ordinance in 1989 that prohibits city employees, funds or resources from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law unless it’s required by state or federal law.

It also passed an ordinance that limits when law enforcement officials can give ICE notice that an immigrant has been released from a local jail and prohibits law enforcement officials from cooperating with detainer requests from ICE.

Berkeley, near San Francisco, is reportedly the original sanctuary city. It passed a resolution in 1971 that protected sailors who wanted to resist the Vietnam War.

So what is the lawsuit all about?

In what is seen as the most aggressive move yet by the Trump administration, the Justice Department filed suit to block state laws from extending protections to people living in the U.S. illegally.

The Justice Department is challenging three California laws that, in part, prohibit police from asking people about their citizenship status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. The suit filed in federal court says the laws are unconstitutional and have kept federal agents from doing their jobs.

What this amounts to is lawlessness. The Federal government should sanction the cities and states that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants because they are breaking the law. This basically gives cities the right to pick and choose what laws they will comply with – which is simply the beginning of anarchy. No municipality has the right to defy Federal law simply because they think illegal aliens have a right to be in this country. This makes all of us more unsafe and uncertain about who is living in our neighborhoods. If cities want to defy Federal law on these issues, how about defying the IRS from doing business in any given city or state? Wouldn’t that be a great law to choose not to follow…but we don’t get an option to avoid compliance with Federal Law.

I don’t understand people who want to protect those who waltz into our country simply because they think they have a right to be here. It’s no different than a thief thinking that your stuff is his stuff, and he has a right to take it. The idea that we can pick and choose what laws to obey will end badly for the citizens of that city or state. The National Review says: Illegal-immigrant crime calculations conveniently and invariably steal a base by leaving out the millions of crimes committed by illegal immigrants related to procuring fraudulent social security numbers, obtaining false drivers’ licenses, using fraudulent green cards, and improperly accessing public benefits. Using Arizona Department of Corrections data spanning 1985–2017, John Lott calculates that illegal immigrants in Arizona aged 18-35, for example, are 250 percent more likely to commit crimes than young U.S. citizens. Further, such illegal immigrants commit more serious crimes — such as murder, robbery, and sexual assault.”

Several other sites state that illegal immigrants commit few crimes, yet they are committing a crime by just being in the United States illegally.

Got Questions website said this about lawlessness:

To be lawless is to be contrary to the law or to act without regard to the law. Laws are necessary in a sinful world (1 Timothy 1:9), and those who choose to act lawlessly further sin in the world. The word for “lawlessness” in the Bible is often translated “iniquity.” According to the Bible, the root of all lawlessness is rebellion. When a society ignores the law, lawlessness is the result, and chaos ensues. The time of the judges after Joshua’s death was marked by upheaval, oppression, and general disorder. The biblical historian puts his finger on the reason for the tumult: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25). 

Jesus said that the last days would be days of lawlessness.

Matthew 24:12

"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.

We who want a civil and law abiding society cannot support any city or state who is determined to defy law for the sake of their ideology. It is wrong and it is about time that our federal government goes after criminal activity perpetuated by these sanctuary cities.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Tuesday
Mar062018

Borderless Countries

The Atlantic published a recent article about the advantages of countries eliminating borders. The author suggested the following:

The argument for open borders is both economic and moral. All people should be free to move about the earth, uncaged by the arbitrary lines known as borders. Variations in wealth and income created by these differences are magnified by governments that suppress entrepreneurship and promote religious intolerance, gender discrimination, or other bigotry. Closed borders compound these injustices, cementing inequality into place and sentencing their victims to a life of penury. 

If the developed world were to take in enough immigrants to enlarge its labor force by a mere one percent, it is estimated that the additional economic value created would be worth more to the migrants than all of the world’s official foreign aid combined. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.

Then in conclusion author Alex Tabarrok (a professor of economics at George Mason University) said this: Is there hope for the future? Closed borders are one of the world’s greatest moral failings but the opening of borders is the world’s greatest economic opportunity. The grandest moral revolutions in history—the abolition of slavery, the securing of religious freedom, the recognition of the rights of women—yielded a world in which virtually everyone was better off. They also demonstrated that the fears that had perpetuated these injustices were unfounded. Similarly, a planet unscarred by iron curtains is not only a world of greater equality and justice. It is a world unafraid of itself.

Apparently there are 7 million people who cross the U.S./Mexican border every week and another 5 million that cross back and forth between Canada and the U.S.  How many more are coming into the country every day with legal visas but then disappear into the American culture as that visa expires?

It just doesn’t make sense to have borderless countries. I believe that there are three major reasons that borderless countries are a fantasy:

  1. Safety Issues. Without the screening of immigrants coming into the country, you would have every undesirable person with ideologies that are dangerous to the American way of life. Can you imagine how our enemies would use this free form to penetrate and infiltrate terror into every community in America?
  2. Financial Issues. America would become the depository of millions and millions of people looking for a better opportunity. However, our economy does not have a limitless ability to absorb millions of new workers. Unemployment would skyrocket, and without control of who comes into your country for economic reasons, it would bankrupt our society.
  3. Ideological Disparities. Many people in the world do not share our Western capitalistic society. America has many enemies around the world that would relish the idea of bringing America down. These enemies would not assimilate into our culture and we would become a nation of independent nations within our nation all creating their own culture aside from our American laws and cultural norms.

America, like any other country, has a culture that has been forming for generations, and that is what makes this country unique. Many cultures would not do well with people destroying their traditions and customs due to the mass increase of foreign influence. I can’t imagine a Muslim nation putting up with an influx of Western culture with all of its immoral attributes. And Americans already have problems with Muslim immigrants trying to bring Sharia law to our country.

However, there is some indication that the last days will bring with it a deconstruction of all classifications of sex and ethnicity. No distinction between people groups, no borders, no sexual distinctions, no differences between the gods we worship, making everything one size fits all.

I am not sure we want a world like that, let alone that it could even be possible. All of these ideologies have one common thread that they forget is at the core of man’s nature, that man is innately evil. That is the premise behind what the Bible calls sinfulness and without God, there is no hope for change. The future system of what the Bible calls the lawless one - the anti-Christ - with his 666 number will be the system that will control all of humanity’s buying and selling. There are movements today that are pushing us towards a one world monetary system, and once that is established the borders will have a harder time in maintaining their independence.

The Bible is correct when Jesus said: For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.” -Matthew 24:21

The Church typically is asleep most of the time. That is a fact! We emphasize the here and now, failing to realize that the here and now is slowly creeping toward a world of enslaving mankind. For heaven’s sake, don’t believe me - read the scriptures. Reading Matthew 24 and the warning of Jesus should be enough to convince you of the condition of our nation and our world. I hope you will pay attention because your future depends on it.

Keeping it truthful and honest…K

 

 

Sunday
Mar042018

Any Good Thing can be Misused

So here is my dilemma. If we stay neutral on any issue or in our worldview at large, will we be of any good to anyone?  Neutral people usually are committed to nothing; they stay neutral because they don’t want to take one side of an issue. The more non-committal you are, the less you will upset the people around you. The Bible teaches us from the Church of Laodicea in the third chapter of Revelation that being neutral; especially toward God is not the best place to be.

Revelation 3:16 “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

So this is where my dilemma gets complicated. Let’s take a person who finds God and becomes an obsessive person about it. In many of our evangelical circles, being obsessive about God is a good thing, because it shows how much of a priority He has become in a person’s life. However, as we look closer into the obsessive nature of this person we find the following:

They become so entrenched in their Christianity that they have no outside interests or desires. In time they isolate themselves from the reality of life.

They find something wrong with everyone, no one is keeping the scriptures to the degree they should. Hyper-criticism is the result.

They want to argue about everything because they somehow have an inside track on truth and only their opinion matters because they have a more Biblical take on things. They eventually live for being right about everything, which will be perceived as self-righteousness.

They eventually live more rigid lives bordering more on unforgiveness than on forgiveness. They begin to see the world as half empty and not half full. They will spend more time on what is wrong in the world with an attitude that reflects constant negativity. They usually will fixate on one aspect of Christianity and fail to grow in other areas.

They will be inclined to be more guarded and less confessional because of their ‘reputation’ of being a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Okay, so I know that sounds very unbecoming of someone who gets saved and is concerned about growing in Christ. However, these are the common trends of many people who lose focus of why they became Christians.  Their fixation is about their performance and their interpretation of scripture.

For example:

  • There are people who are obsessed with prosperity and so their focus is how God wants to prosper us for the sake of the gospel. This obsession is misguided and misses the point of surrendering to God.
  • There are people who are obsessed with social justice. They get so concerned about helping people that somehow the message of the gospel becomes secondary, and in some cases is lost all together.
  • There are people who are obsessed with interpretation and if you are not in agreement with their view than you are a heretic. If that is true, then when does ‘iron sharpen iron’ ever play a part in our relationship as Christians?
  • There are people who are obsessed with prophetic visions and dreams and these become a major source of mission and practice. So many of these vision driven people lead people in ways that do not have a God-directed emphasis. In many cases these visions are only temporary, and whether they come true or not, there is always another “Word from God” just around the corner.
  • There are people who create doctrine around various scriptures that make claims that divine interpretation such as certain gifts of the Spirit are no longer necessary or they proclaim a doctrine of when and how the Lord will return. Many of these doctrinal positions are simply speculation because God has not revealed them universally to His Church.

So any good thing can be abused even by those who are sincerely serving God. Growing in Christ is not only about knowing the words of the scripture, it is also in how you apply them in your life. God has not called us to become isolationists with His message and then create communities of likeminded people who are just like us. He wants us to make disciples of all nations, where we feed the world with a gospel of life, action, and hope.

By now you know that my dilemma was hypothetical in allowing me the opportunity to unpack how we can become so unfocused on God, and more focused on our positions of doctrine than we are about reaching the world for Christ.

I think our commitment to God is always in need of being strengthened, but we often strengthen our positions about Him rather than on knowing Him. Let’s be strong on Him, and less about what we think we know through our theological positions.

Keeping it honest and truthful……. K

Friday
Mar022018

Our Quest for Civility

Definition of civility: Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

It may be true that we have lost civility in our culture and instead everything we do today is drawing up battle lines. There isn’t an avenue of life where this doesn’t happen - people are always ready to fight. However, the question I have, especially when it is applied to the Church, is are we trying too hard to be civil and thereby avoid the honest truth?

Matthew 23 has always fascinated me where Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day by calling out their hypocrisy.

The Pharisees kept trying to find significance in their ability to know and keep the Law, yet they failed to see that their religion wasn’t about God, it was only about how well they walked out the Law. This is what happens when religion rules our lives; ultimately religion forces us to conform to a practice that brings us significance. Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day in Matthew 23 and called out the hypocrisy of those religious leaders:

Matthew 23:  A Warning Against Hypocrisy

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Religion has a civility about it that makes people feel good about the practice of it, but that kind of civility can still be a form of lying to oneself.

Jesus was not civil in how he addressed the Pharisees. He called them hypocrites. Jesus said that everything they did was so they would be seen by others in order to be honored and admired. You twist the truth in such a way that your followers become just as hypocritical as their teachers. You have become petty and myopic looking for fault and surrendering to your criticism of others because they are less disciplined in ordering their lives, as they should. Jesus even called these religious leaders snakes, deserving the fires of hell. (So much for civility!)

Jesus doesn’t want a crowd of religious followers, because He knows they are too consumed with themselves and less determined to please Him with sacrifice.

Jesus knew that a person who is religious would have a hard time denying themselves, picking up their cross, and following Him. There is nothing to gain in sacrifice; no one is going to pay attention to you when you’re not on the top of heap in the religious circles. Who is going to care about you if you are not the pastor of the largest church in town? Who is going to pay attention to you unless you have influence of a large media audience, and people flock to come to hear you speak?  Who is going to pay you the honor, and give you resources unless you are the best at what you do? You want that success and you are willing to be religious and practice religious things to get it.

Well you are practicing civility to get your coveted positions, resources, and honor, but God has little influence on anything you do.

Sad isn’t it?  Our religious endeavors can be just as scheming and conniving as anything we see or hear in the world, we just have more civility about it, and with the correct marketing it can sound very honorable.

Jesus is looking for followers who are battle hardened in sacrifice, finding significance in honoring God by living their lives for Him.

May God help us find our way home to the meaning of the cross, for without it we will never change, nor will we ever change the world.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

Wednesday
Feb282018

Mercy and Justice

Exodus 22:2-3 

If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

Bloodguilt: guilt resulting from murder or bloodshed.

Barnes Notes Commentary says this about these two verses:

If a thief, in breaking into a dwelling in the night, was slain, the person who slew him did not incur the guilt of blood; but if the same occurred in daylight, the slayer was guilty in accordance with Exodus 21:12. The distinction may have been based on the fact that in the light of day there was a fair chance of identifying and apprehending the thief. 

This is true for those of us who have conceal and carry permits - if there is an alternative way of apprehending a thief, which is the better choice. However, if your life is in jeopardy, you have every right to defend yourself and your family.

The two words, mercy and justice, are two words that can best describe God. He is merciful to the repentant and brings justice to the criminal. Even in this example of the thief, there is justice for being an intruder at night (giving the homeowner the benefit of the doubt because of the darkness), and mercy for the thief during the day (since he can be seen).

The scriptures are clear that there is grace for the person killing another person under special circumstances, but it does not mean that an intruder automatically gets the fatal shot. In the states that do not have a “stand your ground law”, gun owners who encounter an intruder must retreat away from inflicting bodily harm or injury to the intruder if it can be avoided. The states that have a stand your ground law, like Florida, state that you don’t have to retreat when confronted by an intruder.

Here is what the Stand Your Ground law in Florida states: Many states have enacted so-called stand your ground laws that remove the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense. Florida passed the first such law in 2005, generally allowing people to stand their ground instead of retreating if they reasonably believe doing so will "prevent death or great bodily harm."

I think the scripture stated above in Exodus gives better clarity to when bodily harm can be inflicted. Mercy and justice are best seen in that verse, which gives fair treatment to both the intruder and the homeowner.

The Bible tells us that justice will be twisted and mercy will be ignored in the last days. Laws in the land will be used to protect the guilty, and many laws will support the immorality of sexual perversion and the killing of the unborn. It will be natural for this trend to continue because lawlessness now reigns in society as a whole.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, Matthew 24:12 

Why parents and teachers oppose guns being carried by teachers, volunteer veterans, or even hired police officers, is beyond my comprehension. The weak argument that teachers are to teach and not defend is an empty argument. Schools have to change from being soft targets to hard targets, which could be a deterrent to attacks such as Parkland. The point is that you protect these students regardless of the means by which you do it. Even if assault weapons are banned, automatic pistols can kill at the same rate and those are not in question by anyone at this point. Killing is killing regardless of the means by which it is being done. Deranged people will use forks to stab people if they are that crazy. Wait until someone decides that guns are too slow and take up too much time, and they bring timer bombs into schools. Will that time be the time we decide to do more about how evil works, or will we still be fixated upon the guns?

Evil is not stupid. Evil knows what is a soft target and what is not. Any gathering of people today is a soft target for the most part because Americans refuse to deal with the reality of evil. Evil will always hit the most vulnerable because evil is a bully and bullies always hurt the weakest and most unprepared part of any community. Again, there is no mercy with evil, and there is never justice. Evil will always find more victims; regardless of the laws you pass. This is why all the debates about guns and safety of our schools are so misguided.

Our best protection is being proactive for our own defense, always being aware of our surroundings, and always having an exit plan. Our next line of defense is assume evil is present in any situation, because it is. Look at all the soft targets - the Columbine shootings, the terror attacks in Boston, and the nightclub attacks in Florida – all soft targets.

Lastly, prayer and belief in God will go a long way to finding peace in times of great stress because of our violent society. Our society as a whole needs to rethink it’s preoccupation with violence because in everything from gaming to movies we are obsessed with killing. Who are we kidding? We can ban the guns, but what about all the other violent acts we watch on TV or at the movies? How about all the violent video games? Society needs a heart change because our preoccupation with violence is killing us.

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

 

 

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