Why Does Man…

Why does man continuously act as if he can determine the will of God? Only God knows each person’s virtue and whether or not that person has lived a righteous life. When man starts condemning man for perceived violations of God’s law, he is in fact saying he thinks he is qualified to be God. The Torah, Bible and Quran are instruction manuals to guide us on how to live our lives and bring others to the faith. No where in any of the three does it say “Go ahead and bring judgment for me. Signed, God”

So instead of spending your time wagging your finger at others and telling them about their sins, spend your time in self reflection showing yourself your own sins. If you have trouble identifying your sins you are in denial because every human has many.

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My Turkey Journal

There I was, looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun at a tom approaching his certain death. I remember it like it was just last week, and for all I know it could have been last week, but I don’t remember. I had slowly raised the barrel while he was looking the other way and now all I had to do was wait for him to walk into a shooting lane for me to squeeze the trigger that would send the hail of lead from my 3 ½” shell on its mission to cause death and destruction.

I slowly glanced to the left and right to make sure that there was no other turkey out there to bust me and fowl up my mission. (Like my play on the word foul?) Focusing back on my prey I could see his long beard dragging along the oak leaves blanketing the forest floor. When he turned just right, his long spurs glimmered in the spring sun like highly polished knife blades. As he started his strut, his fan blocked out everything behind him. He was the biggest turkey I have ever seen in my life!

Just as his head is completely vulnerable, I started to slowly squeeze the trigger to execute his death sentence. As the trigger reached its fully depressed position nothing happened! I squeezed the trigger again and again with the same results!

I glanced around and there it was in the corner of my view, “Time expired, please insert 50 cents to continue.” “Dang!” I screamed, or at least the word may vaguely resemble “dang”. I ran to the change machine only to realize that I only had a ten in my pocket. I looked around for attendant and the zit faced kid that was employed to make change for customers was nowhere to be found!

All I could do was walk back to the Turkey Hunting USA game and watch as the countdown reached zero and my chance for the tom of a lifetime slipped away as the game reset.

Boy, do I ever hate arcade games!

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Statistically Speaking

A post on another site showed when residents of different states had worked enough for the year to pay their state and national membership dues (taxes). Some people including one incessant jack wad, claimed that that does not show which state was best. I agreed that there were many tangible and intangible factors that go into quality of life so I took the state rankings for education, healthcare, road systems, taxes (income and sales), and cost of living into effect and came up with these results rated from best to worst:

State Rank

Tennessee 1
Virginia 2
New Hampshire 3
Wisconsin 4
Georgia 5
Kansas 6
Texas 7
South Carolina 8
Indiana 9
Massachusetts 10
Kentucky 11
Michigan 12
North Carolina 12
Oklahoma 14
Missouri 15
Montana 15
Nebraska 15
Vermont 15
Alabama 19
Iowa 20
South Dakota 20
Florida 22
Rhode Island 23
Idaho 24
Arkansas 25
Wyoming 25
Delaware 27
North Dakota 27
Ohio 29
Maryland 30
Pennsylvania 30
Colorado 32
Utah 32
Illinois 34
Connecticut 35
Mississippi 36
New Mexico 37
Washington 38
West Virginia 39
Louisiana 40
Nevada 40
Maine 42
New Jersey 43
Oregon 43
Arizona 45
New York 46
Minnesota 47
Hawaii 48
Alaska 49
California 50

But instead of enticing me to move away from Iowa by its 20th ranking, I found myself thinking “What can I do to make Iowa better?” Because no matter what the ranking, the best place for me to live is where my children and grandchildren are.

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It’s About Time It Was Said

I ask that you read this post in its entirety before making up your mind about the validity or invalidity of it.

There once was a nation that proclaimed the righteousness of its people over all others. The leadership vowed to rid the country of all those it determined were the problem. They terrorized many into leaving the country and massacred others who stayed behind. All the time they claimed what they were doing was in the name of national security.

Their own countrymen who spoke out against the actions of the leadership were mocked in the press to turn others against them. They received death threats and for their own safety, most left their homeland. This is what the national leaders wanted because if there was no patriot calling them out for their unjust actions, it gave the perception to the rest of the world that they were all in accord with what was happening.

When this happened to the Jews by Germany during World War Two, the world cried out for justice.

Israeli and Jewish historian, Ilan Pappe, wrote that Israeli leadership committed many war crimes against the Palestinians. He wrote of Palestinians being forced out of their homes and the homes then razed to the ground. He wrote about Palestinian civilians being sniped by army sharpshooters; and for doing so had his photograph published in local newspapers with a target on his face which resulted in him receiving death threats. Mr. Pappe ended up leaving Israel and moving to England for his own safety. Is this not a sign of state sponsored terrorism against one of its own? Is this not a tactic to silence opponents who see injustice?

When people bring the subject of Israeli atrocities up, they are immediately labeled as an anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism is defined as prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group. In other words, if you say anything against an action that is in any way associated with a Jewish person, you can be labeled anti-Semitic. This is a pretty inclusive way to try and keep anyone from speaking up against what you might be doing. According to some this is considered racism because Israel is predominantly Jewish. I would say that anyone who uses a race card to defend actions that are considered to be inhumane by the vast majority of humanity is the actual racist. It is nothing more than a bullying technique used to try and force opponents into silence for fear of being labeled.

If an Israeli breaks the law in Israel, he or she is subject and tried by civilian law. If a Palestinian breaks the law in Israel, they are subject to military law, this is discrimination and racism. An Israeli juvenile charged with throwing rock at vehicles is likely to have the charge dropped or given a sentence without conviction so he does not have a criminal record. A Palestinian juvenile committing the same act will likely be tried, convicted, and sentenced as a criminal to prison time; another case of racism and discrimination. A Palestinian can be thrown in prison under “administrative detention” and held without charges; another case of discrimination and racism.

When Israel does this to Palestinians, where is the world cry for justice?

Here are some other facts:

• The Jews abandoned their homeland in the year 135 after losing a war with Hadrian’s Army. This was called the Jewish Diaspora. Had God wanted the Jews to stay in Judea, would He have let them lose the war to the Romans? The region was then renamed Syria Palestina.

• For nearly 2000 years, Palestinians lived on the land and it was therefore rightfully theirs.

• In 1948, after the British handed over the region to the United Nations, Zionists were given ownership of property that the United Nations had no legal right to give away.

• After the UN action, Palestinians were thrown off their land and it was handed over to Jewish immigrants.

• In further actions too numerous to count, again and again more Palestinians have been either thrown off their land, thrown in jail without trial, or killed in order to hand over the property to more Israeli families. This reeks of the Fascist persecution of the Jews in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

• The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned Israel for actions more than all the other country specific condemnations combined; and

• The United Nations have resolved to take sanctions against Israel on numerous occasions, but with the United States consistently blocking actions against them, Israel continues to ignore those condemnations.

There is a group out there called the Christians United For Israel (CUFI). Their pledge says:

• We believe that the Jewish people have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right.

• We maintain that there is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel and that Israel has the same right as every other nation to defend her citizens from such violent attacks.

• We pledge to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel and to speak out on their behalf whenever and wherever necessary until the attacks stop and they are finally living in peace and security with their neighbors.

To CUFI, I say:

• The Jews gave up their “right” to the ancient land of Judea when they left two thousand years ago. If your belief is correct, are you ready, willing and able to hand over your property to those who lived on it in ancient times? (For any Christian living in the Americas, that would be Native Americans.) If not, what makes it different for the Jews?

• The attacks against Israel come from the people who lived there long before the Jews returned in the 1940’s. They are fighting for land that was unjustly taken from them. Oh! And the people fighting now are the rightful “citizens” of that land.

• For the attacks to stop against Israel, Israel has to first stop attacking the people or “citizens” that were already there when they moved back. Instead of blindly justifying the actions of a government that persecutes those of different faith in the name of racism, is it not more Christian to show them the error of their ways and preach Christian values to them?

Finally, I say:

• If this truth results in me being labeled “anti-semitic” for bringing them to the attention of others, so be it. I will not be bullied into silence by a label. The facts need to be known for people to make just decisions.

• I do not condemn Jews for being Jewish and I do not condemn Christians for being Christian; just as I don’t condemn Muslims for being Islamic.

• I do condemn any nation or group using their faith to cover up inhumane treatment or persecution of those who worship differently than they do though.

• I do think that the only solution to this is for Israel to cease and desist in its expansionist policies and to return all land taken after 1948 to the Palestinians.

• I do think that Jerusalem should be a city-state governed by the whole of the United Nations and the United Nations headquarters moved there.

• I do think The United States government needs to quit enabling Israel and or any other nation that persecutes people.

• I do think that The United States government should not give any foreign aid in any way, shape or form to nations who persecute others or makes war against other nations.

• I do think that all of mankind needs to hold everyone to the same standard and not turn a blind eye to “friends” who commit atrocities.

I have spoken my peace now and will step back down off the soapbox once again.

Posted in History, Nourishment For The Soul, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Sociology, Writing | 7 Comments

No Matter What

Almost two millennium ago, a rabbi was brought before the governor of Judea by the Jewish Elders who asked that he be put to death. No matter what this rabbi may or may have not done, they wanted him dead.

The rabbi had spent his adult life preaching to the people throughout the land while living as a pauper. He wandered the land preaching while owning nothing but the clothes on his back and relying on the charity of others for his basic needs. But, he often mocked the priests and Pharisees, showing how they prostituted the religion and the temple. His birth had been foretold by the prophets of the religion and he was called the anointed one. If you have not realized it yet, he was Jesus of Nazareth.

The governor questioned him and found him to be under the jurisdiction of another, so he extradited him to the court of the king to wash his hands of the ordeal. No matter what the elders wanted, the governor did not want to deal with it. After getting no satisfactory results from the accused, the king sent him back to the governor to deal with. No matter what the elders wanted, it seems that the Roman Empire did not want to deal with the problem as it seemed to be more of an internal political problem and not a threat to Rome.

The governor then told the elders that no matter what the elders thought, this rabbi had done nothing that would qualify him for execution. The elders, persisted that he should be put to death, so the governor gave the people a choice. They could have this rabbi set free, or a common criminal, whichever they wanted. It is said that the common people of the area all shouted for the release of the common criminal over the rabbi. Having heard the voice of the people, the criminal was set free and the rabbi was sentenced to death in his stead.

The rabbi was forced to carry his instrument of death through the city and up to the execution grounds. There he was nailed through his hands and feet to a large wooden cross and the cross was erected for all to see. People all gathered around to watch the rabbi die alongside two criminals that were not spared.

This leads to the following thoughts that many ponder:

1. Did the Jewish leadership want the rabbi dead for showing their misuse of the temple?
2. Are the Jews responsible for the death of this rabbi, the anointed one?
3. Did the common people of the area ask for the release of the criminal because they despised the rabbis and elders who
abused the temples and them, and this was their chance to make an example of one?
4. Were the common people bought off by the elders to vote for Barabbas?
5. Was Barabbas, the common thief, the first one that Jesus took on the sins of?

The answers, although some would highly disagree are: Did the priests and Pharisees want Jesus dead for showing everyone how they were using the temple for personal gain? Probably so. Are the Jews responsible for the death of Jesus – No. Did the people ask for Barabbas to make an example of the leadership who abused the temple? – No. Were the people bought off to vote for Barabbas over Jesus? – Maybe, but even if they had not, they would have voted for Barabbas. Was Barabbas the first one that Jesus died for that day? – It seems that way.

No matter what, the priests (elders) had no choice but to bring Jesus before Pilate. No matter what Pilate wanted, he was going to order the death of Jesus. No matter what influence the Romans or priests had over the people, they would have voted for Barabbas. Jesus had foretold of the events before they happened. He was sent to die for us and even if those around him wanted to do something to help, they were nothing more than pawns in what was going to happen, no matter what.

It was the elders who spoke to Pilate, but it was God who controlled their voices.

It was Pilate who gave the order, but it was God who controlled his brain.

It was a roman soldier who nailed Jesus to the cross and pierced his side, but it was God who controlled the soldier’s hands.

It was Jesus who died for our sins because God made it so.

It was also God who raised Jesus from the grave into everlasting life to show us what is in store for us by accepting Jesus and thusly God to lead our mortal lives.

No matter what other issues you have in your life, I pray that on this day you understand the significance of what occurred two millennium ago for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday that was made possible by a rabbi who loved you no matter what.

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Update to Divorce

I communicated with a preacher who read my post and his response was:

First let me say… God hates divorce. The reason is it is a violation of the first and greatest institution that was meant to mirror the relationship that exists within the Godhead.. from the beginning.

Jesus was asked about divorce and He said Moses allowed it… not endorsed it… allowed it because of the hardness in men’s hearts. That being said.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians said if an unbelieving spouse abandons a believing spouse… the believing spouse is not free to divorce. For the believing spouse’s influence may still win back the unbelieving one. However, if the unbelieving spouse divorces the believing spouse… the believer is then free but he does not say free to remarry.

But the context of this passage concerns the issue of an unbeliever becoming a believer while married to an unbeliever. Basically, I don’t have to leave my unsaved spouse if they reject my faith in Christ. If they choose to leave, they are free to do so, but filing for divorce is not an option for the believer. (This text has been woefully trifled with over the years.)

The real issue is whether a person may remarry when they have a spouse has been unfaithful to the marriage. Jesus spoke to this in Matthew 19. In the most dire circumstance… i.e. a spouse goes commits adultery… then the innocent one may divorce and remarry without having the stigma of adulterer following them for the rest of their life AND without the stigma being transferred to a new spouse if they choose to remarry. The first option should always be forgiveness and reconciliation if possible, but if that is not possible, the adulterer remains an adulterer as well as the one with whom the adulterer is joined.

The one who is innocent is free to remarry without becoming an adulterer… as long as the one to whom he or she now marries is also free of being guilty of adultery. It is not that complicated… to me.

Now as far as leadership within the church… those who have been divorced and remarried… no exception clause is given here, 1 Timothy 3, are not to accept ministerial positions within the church. They are not forbidden from serving… they just cannot hold an office… deacon, bishop, pastor etc…

I can tell you when doing premarital counseling… couples will say anything to convince a preacher to marry them. I don’t believe a preacher is to be blamed unless he makes no effort to ensure they are spiritually compatible. I tend to take the position that at least I can impart some level of scripture into their marriage that they would not get from the justice of the peace and leave them with a resource for when they do have problems.

So, I guess it depends on what faith you belong to on how you look at the subject of divorce. I do not condone divorces just because you had a difference of opinion. I don’t condone remaining in a relationship built on lies or deceit or abuse either. I know too many people who will marry at the drop of the hat and within a year be looking for a way out because “they aren’t the person I thought they were.” The fault in that lies solely on the couple for not knowing each other before the ceremony.

Anyway, it is a lot to contemplate and having read the response, I stand by my original post. Good night.

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“Own your words…

“Own your words and others cannot use them to own you.” – ME

No explanation necessary.

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