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Big Government vs. Grand Canyon

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The government shutdown/slimdown/reduction is really starting to show how over-bloated our system really is. From the closing of the WWII Veteran’s Memorial (that was always open 24/7 unmanned to begin with) and the many national parks that have been barricaded, Big Brother has shown just how fat he really is. The Grand Canyon, because it is a national park, is no exception.

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Fox News reports, “With the partial suspension of U.S. government services showing no signs of ending, tourists will continue to be turned away from the Grand Canyon, despite a push by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and local businesses to reopen the state’s signature national park.

Brewer wants the iconic park reopened and has offered to pay for it with state money, but her proposal was rejected Thursday by a park official who said that as long as the federal government remains shut down, such a plan isn’t an option.

“I appreciate the support and I thanked them for the offer, but it’s not an offer we can accept,” said park superintendent Dave Uberuaga.”

This really is maddening because money is there, but it is not from the ‘right’ source shall we say, and the power of that one superintendent should send chills down our spines.  Private vendors and state governments: Get Lost!  If Big Uncle Sam isn’t redistributing and redirecting the money, then it just can’t be done. One can only imagine how much money is lost in the shuffling of the money itself from workers to equipment and everything else in between.

It’s ironic because in the not too distant past explorers would venture into a hostile Grand Canyon unabated by government bureaucrats, yet today we are told that it would be impossible for us to go there without supervision. How far we have come as a nation: we can’t shore up the Mexican border, but we can blockade the Grand Canyon!

The political and economic nonsense that has put our national parks on lock down is just the tip of the ice-berg. When a nation has become so dependent on government for everything, then it is doomed to live in such a bizarre situation. As we depart from Biblical ideals, then this kind of morass will become more common and even expected. However, if we repent of our government dependency and seek the Lord as our governing authority, then we will embark on a journey that will usher in an era of great freedom and self-regulation.

May God grant us the grace to see that happen.

Exposing Political Hypocrisy

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When Ted Cruz captured the nation last week with his exceptionally long filibuster/speech, he did far more than speak for almost 24 hours. He did what every politician hates: he exposed their hypocrisy.

Often times, the political class merely wants a ‘show vote’ in order to manipulate their constituents into thinking that they are one thing when in reality they are something else altogether. This has become especially obvious over the past week. Numerous Republican Senators that once felt rather secure in their seats are bit more nervous now because Ted Cruz called them out, which is why they went after him on national television and not the normal Democrat elites. This goes to show that the real opposition is not towards the Democrat Party but rather to the grassroots that the political class despises.

Even so, politicians and their respective ‘advisors’ still act like politicians, so they are able to be swayed. Even Karl Rove, someone that certainly doesn’t have warm feelings to the Tea Party, stated, “I obviously don’t agree with the strategy . . . of trying to defund [Obamacare] as opposed to trying to delay . . . but that was an extraordinary performance,” Rove said during On The Record With Greta Van Susteren last night. “I mean, he was on his feet for almost 24 hours. He was cogent, he was thoughtful, he was funny, he was engaging, he was personal, he was personable.”

The verdict is still out on what will come of this showdown involving Obamacare, but one thing that is clear is how petrified the Republican Establishment has become now that the grassroots has a leader with a backbone. Will it last? We will have to stay tuned to see.

Nonetheless, something that will never be hidden is the real thoughts of man, and his hypocrisy goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  Christ was hated by the charlatans, and they crucified Him for revealing to the people just how selfish and hypocritical they were. Let us therefore be warned and take heed to Christ’s penetrating words about hypocrisy in Matthew 23 (ESV).

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, )‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

To War or Not To War?

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The situation in Syria continues to ride on the front burner of American politics, and each side is shoring up their respective arguments. Much of the current debate revolves around Congressional approval of military strikes.


FoxNews reports, “Kerry told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he couldn’t imagine Congress would ‘turn its back’ on Israel or other U.S. allies in the region and on the Syrians slaughtered in the Aug. 21 chemical weapon attack, allegedly ordered by President Bashar al-Assad.

‘I can’t contemplate that Congress would turn its back on all of that responsibility,’ Kerry said. ‘I don’t believe Congress will do that.’ ”

Whether for principle or mere distraction politics, some kind of decision will probably be made soon, but be that as it may. As Christians, we must seek counsel from God’s Word in such matters.

We have no specific chapter and verse in Scripture about the present dilemma in Syria, but we do have some principles of just war that can be gleaned from the text-something that was previously articulated. What also needs to be addressed here is the other side of the coin: worldview and the desire for freedom.

Men may want freedom, and we may work to build a case for just war in any particular region, but a crucial element must be present for men to actually live free without a persistent threat of tyranny or political reprisal: Christ. A nation must have the seed of the gospel, or it will always exchange one form of tyranny for another.  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalm 33:12), is not an empty verse, for only a nation that is built upon a Biblical worldview contains the self-regulation and moral principles required to sustain a free society.  Attempts at nation building or nation stabilization will always fail otherwise.

What then do we make of Syria?

Like Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and every other Muslim/dictatorial country, there is not even the remotest foundation for a free society because Christ is rejected. For this reason, the gospel must always go in first. If the Lord sanctions a people to the gospel, then a bedrock platform is formed from which to build upon. Evangelism and prayer is the only way.

To go in with arms and attempt to build a free society that despises the Gospel is a fool’s errand. It is horrific to see tyranny played out, but to think that we can nation build upon a foundation of sand is beyond ignorance; it is rebellion. That should send tremors up our spines.

For this reason, it is not wise to intervene with arms in any foreign power, lest we perceive a real and serious imminent threat to our native soil or extremely close and historically reliable ally (something subject to debate). Even then, our goal is not to nation build but rather to eliminate the imminent threat.

Nevertheless, we do continue to send missionaries and pray for a revival in these idolatrous lands, for that is their only hope. Just as the individual has no hope apart from Christ, so is a nation hopeless without Christ. We must not be ashamed to confess that. We will face mockery and ridicule for such bold statements, but we cannot be true to Scripture if we advocate otherwise.

Guns Up, Crime Down

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As liberals ratchet up anti-second amendment rhetoric, this has led to a rocketing increase in gun sales.  The left despises gun ownership, though many of the wealthy among them are, ironically, protected by heavily armed body guards.  They inherently realize that weapons are a deterrent. They always have been.

In Virginia, an interesting correlation has begun to emerge. FoxNews reports, “Amid calls nationwide for stricter gun control laws, Virginia is experiencing a unique trend: the state’s gun-related crime is declining but firearms sales are increasing. Firearms sales rose 16 percent to a record 490,119 guns purchased from licensed gun dealers in 2012, according to sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. During the same period, major crimes committed with firearms dropped 5 percent to 4,378.”

It would be interesting to see which areas of the state have increased their gun ownership and which ones have not. Those districts that have higher law abiding gun ownership have probably seen an even higher drop. In contrast, when weapons are few, crime goes up. When criminals, especially organized crime, know that weapons are few, they smell blood, and our unsecured borders and liberal inner cities magnify that reality. The lion does the same thing towards the sick zebra. It’s risky and too much work to attack the strong, so they prey upon the weak and vulnerable. Criminals do likewise, so men arm themselves and achieve peace through strength.

As Christians, we too arm ourselves and work to protect the weak as the Scripture dictates,

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Even so, we still ask ourselves, “Why do we even need to be concerned about criminals, terrorists, etc. to begin with and thus the ability to meet them with fierce weapons?” SIN

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

(Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)

Adam rebelled against the Living God. Death entered the world, and the sinful heart manifested itself right out of the gate with Cain (Genesis 4-ESV). Less that 2,000 years later, God sent the Flood (Genesis 7) because “5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Genesis 6:5-ESV). The Apostle Paul declares, “22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies,” (Romans 8:22-2ESV).

Man finds himself born into a world that is coming apart at the seams, but God has not left the world hopeless, something He was not obligated to do. “19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 5:19-21).

Therefore, every time we pick up our weapons to target shoot or defend ourselves in perilous situations (whether against a common criminal or a tyrannical government), remember that we brandish such weapons because of sin, yet, more importantly, let them be a reminder to look towards Christ as the ultimate Redeemer from our present calamity.

The Zimmerman Trial: Why The Left Needs Division

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As fallout from the Zimmerman verdict continues, there have been conflicting reports about the extent of the violence. As expected WND reports, “The George Zimmerman verdict is a declaration of war that only the devil can applaud, according to the Twitter feed for the New Black Panther Party.” Will that be the rule or the exception? We still do not know. Nevertheless, that is only the tip of the ice-berg because something more serious took place, and it involved the federal government, namely any heavily centralized government throughout history.  Why?

If the people ever become united against tyranny, then an overthrow or coup is almost always in order. In early America, as the Colonists became more and more united under a common banner, their strength was made known to the powerful British Empire. What is even more astonishing is that they were united under the flag of limited government where the rulers are elected to serve the people and not the other way around.  This freedom is not easy to retain because sinful man is always lusting for power, something the Founders recognized.  That realization is what every generation faces, and ours is no exception.

The Obama administration was on the ropes and badly needed something to set the public on edge during the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Election. Among other things, the Zimmerman-Martin case provided exactly that. As America continues to heal from prejudice in her past, Obama personally injected himself into the fray and seized the opportunity to rip the nation apart. Wounds that began to heal were torn open yet again.

The race baiters showed up immediately, but it was discovered that Zimmerman was actually part Hispanic, thus the need to call him a ‘White’ Hispanic. Division was needed and it was needed sooner than later. After all, a united country that despised Obamacare, high taxes, abortion, redistribution of wealth, and everything else the left still represents was a threat to Obama’s reelection bid. To compound the situation, the opposition was silenced by the IRS, which blew wide open after the election when it was ‘safe’ to blow up.  This too needed to be squelched, and the Zimmerman trial helped to do that as well. It helped during the election, and it has helped during the cover-up. The people continue to be distracted and divided.

How should we then live as Christians?

As the Church, we must maintain our unity under the banner of Christ. We are one body under Him: both Jew and Gentile. If we are united under Christ and preach Him crucified, then no government can divide us. We cannot control the reaction of non-believers to oppressive regimes, but we can call the Church to the love of Christ. As we do that, God uses this to bring the lost to repentance. Therefore, may we continue to keep our eyes on Christ and the Truth of God’s Word so that we will not be distracted and lose sight over major issues that we face today like abortion, sodomite influence in society, over-regulation, redistribution of wealth, etc.

When The King Is Law

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Lex Rex, Latin for “The Law is King”, was the foundation of American ideology for many years, a concept written about recently on Persevero News.  However, our government has begun to exchange that for Rex Lex: “The King is Law.”

Longshanks

Why is this a big deal?

When the King is Law, he is not subject to anyone but himself. On the contrary, when the Law is King, no one is above it, so everyone is held accountable, but this bodes ill for a despot or unchecked ruling elite. For this reason, he implements his own law to insulate himself against criticism.

Tyrants do implement law; it’s just their own law that best suits their ambitions. What then are the common people or even big business usually left with? Well, you can either schmooze with the King’s system, or you are left out. If you are in good with the King, then you are on a path to prosperity, no matter how unethical you become (think Solyndra). However, those who speak out against such ungodliness are sure to face harassment, financial consequence, physical persecution, or even death (think the prophets and Apostles of Old). It’s that simple.

How then should we live as Christians when we find ourselves living under such governments?

First of all, we are commanded to strive and live in peace with all men if possible (Romans 12:18). Don’t intentionally start a quarrel just to do it; that accomplishes nothing. This isn’t always easy, and it often requires turning the other cheek, but there are those professing Christians who look for a fight around every corner. This was not the pattern of faithful men like Joseph and Daniel who lived among pagans. By God’s grace, they were actually loved by those around them. May we learn from them and emulate what they did.

Secondly, let us pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4), something the early Church was exhorted to do in an era of very little Christian influence. The best thing we can do is pray to God that bad leaders be given the grace to repent of their sin and turn their hearts to the Lord Jesus. If not that, then may they at least punish the evil doer, the very reason they are given authority to begin with (Romans 13). Furthermore, do not rejoice over your enemy when he falls (Proverbs 24:17-18). We may thank God for victory over our enemies, but that is not the same as salivating over the fall of an enemy.

Thirdly, never cease to speak the truth with boldness and clarity (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Though an ungodly man or ruler may deny Christ, God holds all men accountable. For this reason, we are unloving when we abandon the truth because the truth of God is what men need to hear. To shy away from the gospel of the the Lord Jesus Christ is to despise our neighbor and our community. In a world that loves self and hates Christ, the truth is what it needs to hear. This often leads to persecution, but do not despair because we are indeed sheep to be slaughtered (Romans 8:36).

We live in dangerous times because the king is becoming Law more and more. Therefore, we must be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:18).  I pray God grants us the grace to help turn the tide in our generation, but that is for Him to decide.  In the meantime, may we be driven to our knees during these evil days and yearn for holiness that we might impact those whom God is drawing to Himself.

Scandal and a False Witness

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Our world has been riddled with scandals since Adam, and today is no different. From the beginning, the father of lies (John 8:44) has set himself against the Lord, yet God is not silent on this issue, and it goes further than most of us realize.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” (Exodus 20:16) is unique in that it hones in on something particular. Though the Bible is replete with condemnations and warnings against a lying tongue (Exodus 23:1; Psalms 120:2; Proverbs 6:17, 12:19, 21:6, 26:28; Matthew 15:19), bearing false witness is deeply significant. Why is this?

As God was setting the stage for the giving of the whole Law, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) acted as a preamble of sorts from which the rest of the Law would flow out of. Like the other commandments in the Decalogue, bearing false witness was not just personal but societal as well, so witness testimony would play a critical role in adjudication of the Mosaic Law. How seriously did God take perjury?

If the witness lied, then he or she would be punished, and, if the testifying witness committed perjury, such a person could be sentenced to death as implied in Deuteronomy 19:16-19. That seems harsh to those of us who live under a rather weak judicial system, but condemning a man via false testimony is atrocious. Imagine being sentenced to death because of a false witness, which is why we see the demand for a second witness (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Think about the criticality of two witnesses. If both conflicted, then someone was lying or there was a serious misperception of the event. Furthermore, collusion is much less likely when there are two witnesses. The only way to do that well is to have virtually identical accounts, which almost always results in suspicion. As one can see, the requirement for two witnesses was used as a check against false testimony, but both could be lying. For this reason, perjury was punished severely (Deuteronomy 19:16-19), and this retributive justice against anyone who bore false witness was used a deterrent (Deuteronomy 19:20). Seeing someone executed for perjury was sure to make a potential false witness think twice, something we tend to laugh at today.

We are quite lax in cases of perjury, for most people consider bearing false witness in court justice another common crime that gets some menial punishment if any.  For this reason, our society will continue to crumble. Why? To turn a blind eye to false witnessing unravels the justice system and the rest of society with it. When we don’t take perjury seriously, evil wells up.  People are more likely to lie when they are on the stand today because they realize they don’t have much to lose. This creates a situation whereby, on the one hand, the wicked are set free or have severely reduced sentences because of false testimony, and, on the other, the righteous are falsely accused and carry out unjust punishment because of a lying tongue. The people will continue live in fear as the wicked rise up and dominate society (Proverbs 28:12; 29:2; Habakkuk 1:4).

On the contrary, when righteousness prevails because the people speak truth, a great glory is beheld, and this was magnified in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. How so? Interestingly, when it is broken down, the gospel accounts are so powerful because the accounts are not identical. They are similar and accurate, and their variations can be attributed to their differing vantage points, which is exactly what we would expect with truthful testimony. These eyewitness testimonies become much more credible, for each witness is truthfully rendering an account of what was seen and heard without collusion.

To further illustrate the glory of the Resurrection, God went above and beyond with many witnesses. Biblically, only two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15) were enough to validate an account, yet God orchestrated events so that there would be hundreds of eyewitnesses to the Resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 15:6). For this reason, the burden of proof is clearly on those who oppose the gospel, which is a humiliating position to defend and advocate.

Therefore, let us rejoice in this great commandment against false witnessing. Not only does it establish justice, but it also builds up and encourages the righteous. In that, let us not undervalue a truthful testimony, and may we never excuse perjury.

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