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Letter to the President and Secretary of State Concering the Iranian Threat

Mr. President,

I would like you to reconsider your stance, or lack thereof, on Iran.  It is crystal clear to the American people and people worldwide that the Iranian regime has no concern for sanctions, diplomacy or talks.  Time has been spent and is now of the essence.  You have an obligation, not only to our greatest ally, Israel, but to your OWN constituents (!) to protect us from the genocide that the leaders of Iran have voiced without hesitation over and over.  Their message has NOT changed.  I beg you, Mr. President, to take ACTION NOW.  If we saw evidence of a change in rhetoric, attitude, or mindset negotiations could continue.  I KNOW, sir, that you do not want innocent blood on your hands with apathy and a lack of direction and firm standing against this regime.  Please do not forget that Hitler for years, made his intent clear to the public and we sat idylly by while millions of innocent lives were exterminated.  Your people NEED you to clearly state, under no uncertain terms that time is up and we will use ALL measures, including military action to stop the Iranian Regime from building nuclear weapons.  You have a duty to the American people and the leader of the free world, to prevent the suffering of millions of people.  Please, the time is now and CANNOT wait!!!!  Israel does NOT want a war!  The Iranian civilians do NOT want a war.  We MUST take out their nuclear capabilities before the Iranian regime uses WMD’s on Israel, America, his OWN people, or other allies in the region. Further, I know you understand that not only Israelis and Americans are in direct threat, but Palestinians and Arabs who LIVE in Israel! Please do not take the defensive measure.  We can’t afford, literally, a disaster of epic porportions to take place!!  We must lead and take offensive measures since they will not back down.  The longer you wait – the closer we are – the more lives that will be lost. 

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Categories: Uncategorized

Life’s Greatest Challenge: Balancing Truth and Love

ImageAs a dedicated, human behavior observer, I am watching the political aftermath following the “Chick-Fil-A” protests.  There are many interesting points, but I wanted to briefly touch on one with some dismay.  The reason I bring this up, is that I notice my temptation to join in.  It’s an issue that creates emotion and frustration on both sides. I say this to illuminate my own humanity and not point fingers that would only serve to label me a hypocrite.  This issue has reaffirmed the great sensitivity that accompanies the issue of gay marriage.  If one isn’t careful, one can easily lose sight of the true intention of heart.  This follows for those for and against gay marriage.  We have seen the best and worst sides of the freedom of speech.  (I suppose to say there is a “bad” side of free speech might inflame some.) My point is this, to one degree or other, many people have lost a sense of civility.  I believe this is pretty obvious on the liberal side, though I know there are those who are for gay marriage AND are civil in their responses.  They stand for their belief while knowing and respecting the right Dan Cathy holds to express his belief in traditional marriage.  They didn’t lose all sense of decency and rationality, but politely and civilly disagreed.  These individuals, I imagine take flack from all sides.

Having said all of this, I have noticed another side of the debate.  A side of conservative proponents that I am now seeing that can be equally as lethal.  Using print, blogging, and twitter, people take to keypads writing vicious, sarcastic, truly hate-filled words.  One of the sad realities is that the word “hate” has been twisted and translated, often, just to mean “a viewpoint that does not coincide with my own.”  Hate crimes legislation is sneered at with contempt because we wonder what is actually deemed as “hate.” With this Chick-fil-a flap, the outrage was instantly labeled as “hate speech” by many.  An individual, when asked, specifically stating his belief in traditional marriage is not hate.  This point must be made clear.  So what is hate?  For a follower of Christ, I look to the Bible as the source of absolute truth.  It has much to say about hate.  I don’t allow my children to ever say they “hate” anyone.  For stating such words is a serious business, to be regarded as “wanting to kill or wish someone dead.”

It would do us all well, to think very hard before using the words hate, projected at someone.

What I want to discuss here, however is the role of the Believer and hate, not the definition, itself.  The Bible is clear in Luke 6 when regarding our “enemies.”  Jesus says,

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even “sinners” love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even “sinners” do that.”

Specifically, as a blogger and tweeter, it is important to watch what we type along with what we say in conversation.  This is a hard lesson that I have had to learn many times.  In hoping to appear clever and witty, my words can also wound and cause offense.  Don’t mistake truth in a remark as giving offense.  Unfortunately many people mistake a “hard truth” or disagreement as offensive.  That may be and at that I cannot be blamed.  It is the delivery method that I am responsible.  As a Christian, I am obligated to stand for truth and principles found in the Bible.  But, it is the Word that gives offense, at times, not me getting in the way.  I can’t put my own agenda behind it.  I can’t detract from it.  And I cannot speak the truth in a way that is deliberately unloving.  (Though that is up for interpretation.) This balance of love and truth is the cry of my heart and the refining fire in my own life, set forth by the Lord.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say again:  the balance of love and truth is impossible to achieve without the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit in an individuals life.

What I write, what I tweet, whom I follow on twitter and retweet is important.  I ended up retweeting a remark and then thought about it soon after and was not pleased with the message.  I deleted it and am thankful that I felt chastened by it.  I wish I would have thought prior to spreading the remark before, but that is the journey for me…. Upon reading more from the conservative author that I had retweeted, I was very dismayed and a little ill.  The balance of the message was in retaliation that the author felt upon his values.  Though they were resorting to name calling, he dished out with just as much acidic venom.  All of this under the guise of standing for Christ.  This is the very rhetoric that easily enflames those with a liberal viewpoint.

I need to pause here and state, that I believe as a Christian that I have a mandate to stand for what I believe is right, but not in a way that I am vicious and threatening.

I like getting sarcastic and clever, but not to cut someone down and demean them.  It is the principle we fight for, not to verbally assault people.  Its fun to add a comedic spin to our point, but this must be done with character and respect.  In searching the Bible regarding this principle, I found this,

 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” – Luke 6:32

Oy.

How many careless words have I spoken?

I am working to reflect harder.  To think deeper before I respond.  To remember, that

I am a representative of the Lord, not of my own intellect.

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Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

>> Haaretz: Ex-Mossad chief said what should be clear to everyone – Israel has never been so close to attacking Iran

>> What’s the future of America? What will happen next in Israel and the Middle East? What does Bible prophecy say will happen next? Please join me for an evening of Q&A about these issues — August 9th in Denver — register for tickets today.

UPDATED:Twenty-two years ago today, Saddam Hussein stunned the world by invading Kuwait. The war erupted even though President George H.W. Bush’s administration assured Americans that Saddam was just “saber rattling.” Indeed, the American ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had just left Baghdad to go on summer vacation. Mideast wars have a way of catching Washington by surprise and ruining vacations.

In this context,  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is once again calling for the annhilation of Israel. “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must…

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Excellent commentary to some really tough questions. Complete with scripture references.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

I’ve gotten a lot of blowback on my recent column regarding the firestorm over Chik-Fil-A’s leaders defending traditional marriage. It’s been intense, especially on Twitter. The hatred and obscenities people are Tweeting back to me is so sad to see. Lots of pushback. Lots of anger. Lots of questions. But Jesus commands us to love our neighbors and our enemies, right? We’re commanded to pray for those who hate us and oppose us, asking the Father to have mercy on them and open their eyes and help them understand the truth of the Scriptures. So let’s do that. Let’s show love and kindness to those who are angry by the debate generated over marriage and morality in our culture today. 

In that spirit, let me respond to two of the most heated comments and questions I’ve received over the past week:

>> One reader named Eva is furious with me for defending “traditional” marriage and…

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Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

A senior Iranian commander this week is calling for the destruction not just of Israel but of the United States of America, as well.  “As long as America exists, we will not rest,” said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of the Basij paramilitary force. “In revealing the  truth about America and the Zionists, we must raise public hate against the  despotic powers and create the environment for the destruction of America.” Such language is consistent with the Twelver eschatology held by the senior Iranian leadership that says Iran must seek to annihilate Israel (the “Little Satan” in their view) and the U.S. (which they call the “Great Satan”) in order to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam and the establishment of a global Islamic kingdom or Caliphate.

Meanwhile, growing evidence suggests an Israeli first strike on Iran is drawing closer. While disagreements clearly exist between President Obama and Prime Minister…

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Categories: Uncategorized

The Middle School Mentality of the Church

September 6, 2011 4 comments

The Church, Men and Women, Behaves Much like Middle-School Girls.

I remember being in middle school.  Those were some of the roughest years of my life!  I was on the fringe of the “popular” crowd, only because some of my friends from elementary school were now in that group.  I didn’t have fashionable clothes.  In fact, we got hand-me-downs that a lot of the time were pants that so obviously looked as though I was prepared for a tremendous flood, if you know what I mean.  My mom was recently divorced.  We took what we could get!  I didn’t realize that I was “improperly” dressed until about seventh grade when those who were supposed to be my friends would make fun of me.  It wasn’t until I was probably a junior in high school before I felt somewhat comfortable to walk to the front of the class.  I was horrified, before this.  Kids would snicker and joke about my appearance.  I would try to hold the ends of my jeans down so they didn’t look so bad.

What’s so amazing to me that even now, in my thirties, is that I notice grown men and women behaving so similarly to those middle school years.  Talking about each other behind backs, playing the “silent treatment,” and avoiding deep, albeit, genuinely painful conversations, are all games that have been perfected in adulthood.

Sadly, this kind of mentality is thematic in the church.  Where we should be comfortable being real with each other, able to communicate when we are hurt, confused, or frustrated, we are shunned, talked about to everyone, but each other, and unsupported in vulnerability and humility.

What is wrong with this picture?

I’m not talking about pervading, sinful behavior that should be addressed amongst fellow believers which should be addressed in a specified way.  Here is what Matthew 18:15-17 says,

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Ignoring these instructions when you feel you have been wronged is unbiblical and is divisive in the church.  It is necessary to pray for wisdom and discernment to know what things should be discussed and when there are issues that we are just to let go and move forward in a relationship.  This is something I have had to learn.  Understand, that not all people are meant to be kindred spirits.  We all have acquaintances, mentors, casual friends, and lifelong friends.  Throughout my life, I have learned that often there are seasons in friendship.  Through the passing of one season, another comes and fertilizes another friendship that is meant to bring us through that season’s particular highs and lows.

But, I am a firm believer in communication.  It is very difficult for me to let go if I truly believe that there is an issue between me and a brother or sister in Christ.  I don’t do “fake” very well.  I have had to plead for the Lord to help me know when I have a “hang up” or if there is genuinely a situation that needs addressing.

In all situations, I believe it most VITAL to go to the person directly!  This point cannot be stated strongly enough!!

I cannot understand where people in the church have gotten the idea that simply avoiding it or talking about it to everyone else is healthy.  It is wrong.  There is a time for mentorship and godly wisdom from another person, but most often people check their sensibilities at the door and share information that should be directly worked out with the “offender” personally and directly.  How often have I heard (or said, if I am being perfectly honest), “I’m not trying to gossip, but…”

At that point, it would do us all well and good to shut our traps or pinch the lips of the one talking!!!! 

If you have to preface what you are saying with the word “gossip,” justifying what you are about to say – Don’t. Say It.  If you can’t say something directly to the person with whom there is an issue – Shut. It.  (That’s from the Ferryman.I.V. translation, btw.)

Please don’t misunderstand, there are certain people in our lives who we need to be able to rely upon for wisdom and those who we need to slap us upside the head if we are in the wrong.  That is specifically why Matthew implores that we bring another person with us to the “offender” if they won’t listen to us.  This way, everyone knows and hears what is said.  No one has to guess what was said outside of our presence and without our “side to the story.”

That’s the term, “Can I get a witness?”

When we have an “unbiased witness” to the conversation there is no need to preface our words.  Further, prayer and working through the conflict can take place.  And finally, when we do this the way the biblical model lays out, we know that the person is genuine and wants to truly a.) work out a difference of opinion or agree to disagree OR b.) confront sinful behavior in the godliest, most loving way possible.

Without using this model for confrontation, we risk our reputation, our intent, and our motive for behavior. Anything else is unbiblical, unhealthy, uncaring, and unproductive. 

It’s no wonder the world often thinks we are nothing, but hypocrites and backbiters!!  If we can’t even treat each other with kindness and respect, how on earth, do you think that we can win someone over in the world?  Why would they want that in a formalized, legalistic institution when they can find that down on the corner, right now?

It’s time to grow up, people!

I’ve certainly had to do some of that in the last couple years.  If you have wronged someone – go to them and apologize.  Attempt to make it right!  If they refuse to listen, pray for them.  Trust takes time when it is broken.  If someone comes to you, genuinely to work things out and you refuse – the ball is now in your court.  Boundaries are certainly appropriate, but only in the context of the biblical model set forth here.  If you have skipped, ignored, or inserted your own steps, it has now become an unbiblical, unhealthy, unproductive, and uncaring model that is catering to your own wants.  The bible is meant for us to obey in and through all things.  It is a lamp unto our feet and a manual for appropriate, godly behavior.  We seek His truth – not our own.  Respect, vulnerability, and honesty are never easy, but we are commanded to move through conflict in the manner set forth in His word.  When we accept Christ we relinquish our personal rights for His way of thinking.

If someone has wronged you – go to them, in love.  Pray first for humility and wisdom.  Pray for the right time and venue for confrontation and pray for the Lord to reveal any wrong you may have committed in the situation.  So often, we want to point fingers at another person when in reality, the Lord is trying to prune out the maladaptive behaviors in our own lives.

“Lord, change him!!!”

How many times have we listened to a sermon, read scripture, or heard an inspirational word and thought, “Wow________________ needs to hear this!!!” Not that there are not times where we find something to encourage someone else.  Encouragement is one thing.  Blame and “guilting” someone is highly another.  Again, if there is just cause for biblical confrontation, there is a model for that.  See above in Matthew 18.

Here is what God’s word says about blaming another person,

Matthew 7

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I’ll have more to say on this topic, but for now I’ll leave it to the professional, inspirational writers.  He is challenging me as I read, study, and write.  Know that I don’t have it all figured out, I’m just highlighting what I see in Scripture, in the church, and in my experience.  May God add to the blessing of His word as it works to change our hearts and minds….

Galatians 6:10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

I Thessalonians 15:13-15

13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

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