Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: murder

Here is what America needs in the wake of the Dallas shootings

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My flag is at half staff (or half mast today)

Here is what America needs in the wake of the Dallas shootings

Dallas shootings?

It is with a heavy heart I write about an incident that happened yesterday when five police officers reported for duty in a manner they had done so many times before. The difference between today and the days previously is that they would be cut down in their prime and this would be their last day on the force of the Dallas Police Department due to a man who set out to kill them by sniper fire.

I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of protesting against the police because I do believe in the fundamental American right to a peaceful assembly and protest should the need arise and sufficient injustice has happened. However this was not that type of protest, this was a cold blooded, pre meditated action done by someone who set out to injure and kill people because of their chosen occupation.

Let me get something straight, it is not a “race thing” or a “police brutality” thing, this would have happened at some point because it would have happened because this is the actions of a sinful man and no more and it does not matter the shade of sin the person had and although there are some racially charged statements out there and these do not help and please know I believe in race because we know from the bible that God made us all part of the human race!

Gun control?

I do not believe that gun control is the answer here; I know that President Obama went straight to that issue following this tragic event however I do not believe that stricter gun control would have prevented this tragedy for the simple reason that if we make guns contraband they will be as easy to get on the black market as say illicit drugs. The only difference in that scenario will be that the bad people who are intent on doing these things will no longer be registered or on lists and will be much harder to find should they use a “legal weapon”.

Guns themselves do not cause shootings until they are operated by someone with intentions to point them and release a bullet towards someone with a murderous intent. That I know is obvious to most people with a sensible mind and regrettably if we remove the legal guns, we will have a situation where only the bad guys have guns. I am not one to criticize our leaders but I feel the President is clouded with an agenda that this administration has had towards gun control and his comments are opportunistic at best.

Sinful nature?

We have had people murdering people as far back as Genesis four where the sinful heart that I previously discussed was displayed when brother murdered brother when the first time they were alone after Cain became jealous of Abel (Genesis 4:8) he is described as “being alone with Abel and he rose up against his brother and killed him” and at that point there was no automatic weapons at that point so we have to conclude that murder is a heart condition rather than a weapons condition.

As tragic as this even was we need to address the sin of the nation first as America needs something, something that it as a whole many people in this great nation have turned their backs on…

What does America need then?

This is difficult to type as I truly feel for the victims’ families, the everyday folks who witnessed this happening and I even pray for the shooter and pray for him as he obviously needs help. As does the country, I feel funny saying this as a non-natural born American (having been born in Scotland) but America truly needs Jesus.

I do not say this as a slur against my home but as a concern for the direction we as a country are heading. I love the USA and I love many things that make it uniquely American but I do believe that we need to return to a relationship with God and repent individually, as families, as small groups, as streets, as communities and as cities and counties and i say this because can you imagine the greatest country in the world actually being the greatest country in the world?

Imagine the country praying for one another, serving each other, preferring each other before ourselves and loving each other in an unconditional agape love, that is my prayer for America as we lick our wounds, get over this tragedy and people who are praying for the first time in ages and looking for answers, I beg you dear Christians be there for those grieving, be there for police officers, first responders and their families. You don’t have to preach, sometimes being there and being an ambassador for Jesus is enough.

If you do not know Jesus and are looking for answers then please know that although this is desolate and everything feels bad, this is not the end, please know that you have a redeemer who died on a cross 2000 years ago for your sins, life has hope and life has meaning and you can be forgiven of your sins.

If you want to know more about a relationship with Jesus then please contact me and I would be happy to converse with you and direct you to someone locally if I am not in your area. Even although I may not know many of you who read this personally, please know I love you and my desire is to have you go deeper in Jesus. It is for the good of our wounded nation!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

 

 

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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29

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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29 – 01/10/2016

Romans 2:25 (ESV) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code  and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 25…

V25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

Paul draws a close to the second chapter of the book of Romans by stating that if you break one little aspect of the law, the rest of it becomes irrelevant. He gives both sides of the conversation in the above verse; the argument from the Jew will be that he is justified by the Law. That his salvation is based on the very fact that he is a child of Abraham and a follower of the precepts and creeds of his forefathers.

Then we see the counter argument, if this is the case then you have to keep ALL of the commandments, this is also backed up by the words of Christ when he states in the gospel of Matthew…

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

And again in the Epistle of James…

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Convinced yet? We are not saved by our works because like it or not we are fallen creatures, we may have the best intentions in the world but we have weak fleshes and despite a spirit that may be willing we will not always follow through in what we know is right and correct. I know for sure I could not keep 613 rules and regulations. (I struggle to keep New year’s resolutions more than 5 minutes) so what we are looking at is a matter of the heart, what is your core? Where is your heart? Are you righteous in your outward appearance or are you cleansed within? This all seems rather complicated but please read on.

V26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

And Paul writes here and plays on their prejudices by stating if that is the level playing field we are on then would the Gentile not be judged by the same rules as the Jew? If there was a Gentile proselyte so devoted to the things of God that his righteousness far exceeded those who were “of the law” would he not be as justified?

A ceremony will not save you, having a Godly father, grandfather or relation who is praying for you will not save you, you have to make that choice for yourself. My greatest desire in life is to see my daughter and my brother walk in the life giving faith that I have found in Christ Jesus but they have to make their own choice. I pray that they pour into the Word of God and have a desire to grow in a day to day relationship with their Messiah Jesus Christ and have them know that if they were the only ones on the earth, Jesus would have died for just them.

I have grouped the last four verses together because they are simply one thought and as stated a ceremony will not save you, simply by having what is in the country I have adopted as my own a standard medical procedure. We read here that the heart is the most important part of the day to day relationship with Jesus Christ and you can all be a Jew inwardly because of that circumcision of the heart. And believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit as a helper, we were promised by Jesus that we would have a helper and he keeps his promises.

We have to be careful that we heed the warning at the end of this passage that we are not doing the work of the Lord for the praises of men. We must be careful that we are not doing it with a boastful heart or a wish or desire to appear holy. We must be searching for the praises of God and not the praises of men. We see the evidence in what type of fruit is in our hearts, Jesus warns of these types of people in the gospel of Matthew chapter six …

Matthew 6:1 (ESV) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Basically, run away, flee from any type of “look at me” thoughts that may come across your mind when you are doing ministry. It is always the people who you least expect it, but it may very well be you if that is something you struggle with. If you get peeved because you did not get kudos for a job well done then it may well be you.

These verses that talk about the circumcision of the heart and the simplicity of the gospel make me feel all evangelical and make me want to go spread the word with an increased fervency in my neighborhood. I want to see my neighbors get saved, I want to see the street I live on get saved and I want them all to be mentored by God honoring, God fearing men and women and go out and reach others in their sphere of influence. I want to move the needle in my city for Jesus Christ and pack the churches in my town with people on fore for Jesus Christ.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG