Daily Archives: October 2, 2014

Poll: fewer than 1 in 3 Americans wants to keep Obamacare

WINTERY KNIGHT

The Weekly Standard reported on a recent poll by McLaughlin & Associates.

Excerpt:

A new poll finds that three-fifths of likely voters support the repeal of Obamacare. A large plurality — 44 percent — wants to see Obamacare repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative. A much smaller group —16 percent — wants to see it repealed but not replaced. Less than one in three respondents — 32 percent — would like to keep Obamacare, whether in its current form or in amended form. So, with a conservative alternative in play, 60 percent of Americans support repeal, while only 32 percent oppose it.

Repeal and replace was chosen by a plurality of every age group, every income group aside from those making over $150,000, and both sexes.  Among independents, 62 percent said they support repeal, with 46 percent backing a conservative alternative.  Only 31 percent of independents support keeping Obamacare in…

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What did Netanyahu discuss with the President in the Oval Office? Stopping Iran. Here’s the latest.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

President Obama talks to Israeli PM Netanyahu during an Oval Office meeting on October 1st. (Credit: YouTube/The White House) President Obama talks to Israeli PM Netanyahu during an Oval Office meeting on October 1st. (Credit: YouTube/The White House)

Many issues have complicated the U.S.-Israeli relationship — and particularly the personal relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu — in recent years. The Palestinian issue. The future of Jerusalem. Settlements. Hamas and Gaza. But none have divided the two leaders more than how to deal with Iran.

Obama and Netanyahu have deeply divergent views of the urgency of the nuclear threat, and how best to stop Iran from building nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. Now we are rapidly approaching the end game with the P5+1 talks with Iran. It is crunch time, and Netanyahu is worried that Obama is not worried enough. The Israeli premier is concerned that the President is too willing to make too many concessions to Iran, concessions that could make it easier for Iran to quickly…

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What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 NASB)

A very important person in my Christian walk died this week. My dear brother in the Lord Ken Silva died on Sunday, September 28th. God used Ken in a huge way in directing my paths in 2004-2005 into how to do the right research into the…

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Questions about the Christian Life: Why Is Following Christ so Difficult?

 

No sane parent has ever said, “I wish my children would misbehave,” and there’s never been a self-help book entitled How to Live an Unhappy Life. We all want blessings, happiness, and fulfillment, and we associate a happy condition with a certain amount of ease. Jesus promises blessing and fulfillment to those who follow Him (John 4:14), but many people have been surprised that the way of Christ is not as easy as they had hoped. Sometimes, following Christ can be downright difficult.

The fact is, blessing and hardship are not mutually exclusive. The disciples “left everything” to follow Christ, and the Lord promised them “a hundred times as much” blessing in return (Mark 10:28–30). Jesus warned that all who follow Him must deny themselves and bear a daily cross (Luke 9:23). Hardship, to be sure, but hardship with a purpose and leading to the joy of the Lord.

Followers of Christ also face resistance from the world. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus did not promise His disciples that everything would be coming up roses for them; just the opposite—He promised that they would have trials in this world (John 16:33). “But take heart!” He told them, “I have overcome the world.”

God’s moral laws have been written on the heart of every human—giving all people a conscience to aid them in determining wrong from right (Romans 2:14–15). When a person becomes a follower of Christ, he not only has God’s laws in his heart, but he also has the indwelling Holy Spirit to compel him toward living righteously (Romans 8:11). This in no way means the Christian will stop sinning, but it does mean the Christian will become more aware of his own personal sin and have a genuine desire to do what is pleasing to Christ (Romans 8:14–16).

In many ways, it is after a person is saved that the struggle against sin really heats up in his life. All people are born with a nature that is bent toward sin, which is why children do not need to be taught how to misbehave—that comes naturally. When a person is converted, the sin nature does not disappear—and so the internal conflict begins in the life of every believer.

The apostle Paul, who called himself a “bondservant to Christ,” writes of the struggle with his sin nature in Romans 7:14–25. In verse 15 he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). Christians engaged in this battle have a true desire to avoid sin, but they also have a natural desire to indulge the flesh. They become frustrated when they find themselves “doing what they don’t want to do.” And to further complicate matters, Christians not only do not want to sin, they hate sin. Yet, they still sin.

Paul goes on to write, “It is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me” (Romans 7:17). Paul is referring to the dichotomy caused by the new birth—Paul is a “new man” through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But he still sins because sin is still alive in the human flesh—the sin nature survives the new birth (Romans 7:18). Paul calls the internal strife a “war,” as the new man battles the old man. Paul found the battle quite distressing because he wanted to do well (Romans 7:23). “What a wretched man I am,” Paul cries out in his distress (Romans 7:24).

Every Christian who is attempting to live righteously is called to this battlefield for his entire life. We are in a spiritual battle. But in grace and mercy, God gives the faithful believer an entire suit of armor for the fight (Ephesians 6:13).

The Christian life is never easy, but the difficulties do not negate the joy. We consider Jesus, who “for the joy set before him … endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). God has set us free from the slavery to sin. The victory is ours (2 Corinthians 2:14). Through the Holy Spirit, believers receive encouragement, strength to persevere, and reminders of their adoption into the family of God. We know that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed” (Romans 8:18).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Sin: What Does It Mean that All Have Sinned?

 

This phrase is found in Romans 3:23 (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) and in the last clause of Romans 5:12 (“… because all sinned”). Basically, the phrase means that we’re all lawbreakers, because sin is the violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sinfulness is the general characteristic of all mankind; we are all guilty before God. We are sinners by nature and by our own acts of transgression.

In Romans 5:12 the point of “all sinned” seems to be that all humanity “participated” in Adam’s sin and were condemned to death even before they themselves deliberately chose to sin; in fact, that is exactly what Paul confirms in Romans 5:14. Within this passage (5:12–21), Paul explains how and why the “death sentence” for Adam’s sin has come upon the entire human race.

Augustine explained Adam’s transmission of his sin to us with a theory known as “federal headship,” a view held by most evangelical scholars. Augustine taught the concept of “inherited guilt,” that we all sinned “in Adam”: when Adam “voted” for sin, he acted as our representative. His sin was thus imputed or credited to the entire human race—we were all declared “guilty” for Adam’s one sin.

Another view is that the phrase “all have sinned” refers only to personal sin arising from our sin nature. After clarifying in 5:13–17 how personal sin is imputed and then spreads, Paul explains why “all die,” even if they have not committed personal sin. The reason all receive this “death sentence” (5:18a) is that, through Adam’s disobedience, all were “made sinful” (5:19a). The verb made means “constituted”; thus, the sin nature is an inherited condition that incurs a death sentence, even in those who are not yet guilty of personal sin (5:13–14). This inherited condition inevitably spawns personal sin when conscience matures and holds a person accountable as soon as he chooses to knowingly transgress the law (2:14–15; 3:20; 5:20a).

We are all sinners because Adam passed on his sinful condition that leads inevitably to our personal sin and death. All share Adam’s death sentence as an inherited condition (the “sin nature”) that is passed down to and through the human race and that every child brings into the world. Even before a child can be held accountable for personal sin, he or she is naturally prone to disobey, to tell lies, etc. Every child is born with a sin nature.

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God” (Psalm 14:2). And what does the all-seeing God find? “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (verse 3). In other words, all have sinned.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Characters in the Bible: What Should We Learn from the Life of Silas?

 

Silas was a leader in the early church, a fellow missionary with Paul, and a “faithful brother” (1 Peter 5:12). He was a Hellenistic Jew who, it seems, was also a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37). He is also referred to as “Silvanus” in Paul’s Epistles (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 1:1).

When we first meet Silas in Scripture, he is a leader and teacher in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:22, 32). After the Jerusalem Council, Silas was chosen to help communicate the council’s decision to Antioch, along with the apostle Paul. Soon afterwards, Paul set out on his second missionary journey, and he chose Silas to accompany him (Acts 15:40–41).

On this journey, Paul and Silas traveled to Greece. In Philippi, the missionaries were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. But “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). God then miraculously released them, and the jailer, having witnessed their faith, asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (verses 30–31). The jailer was saved that night, and he and his family were all baptized. The next day, the city officials learned that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, and they were immediately fearful; their mistreatment of Paul and Silas the day before had violated Roman law. The city leaders immediately released Paul and Silas from custody. The missionaries left town, but they left behind a body of believers—the first church in Europe.

The start of the Philippian church is a great reminder that, even in extremely difficult times, God can bring about great things. God will glorify His name, even through our trials and tribulations. Paul and Silas had this perspective, and that’s why they were able to sing at midnight.

The fact that the prisoners were “listening” to Paul and Silas singing hymns is not a detail to be skipped over lightly. As followers of Jesus Christ, we, too, have people watching how we react to life’s circumstances. If Paul and Silas had been griping or protesting or whining about the injustice of their situation, the jailer would have never been drawn to believe in the Lord Jesus. But they responded to their situation gracefully and with joy—their actions were completely foreign to how others expected them to react. Because they were “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5:13–14), others had their hearts opened to the gospel.

Later, Silas and Timothy ministered in Berea (Acts 17:14), and Silas spent extra time in Corinth, ministering after Paul left that city. Silas served with Peter as well; in fact, he is thought to have delivered the epistle of 1 Peter to its recipients (1 Peter 5:12).

Silas is a great example of someone who used his gifts to serve the Lord and others with all his heart. The apostles called him “faithful,” and he was known as one to “encourage and strengthen the brothers” (Acts 15:32). Multitudes in the early church were blessed by Silas, and Paul and Peter were heartened by his faithful companionship. Silas was “a brother … born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.