Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Texas

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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Super Tuesday – a foreigner’s view on the US Elections

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Well it’s here, a Super Tuesday with all the whizz, bang, razzle dazzle and pomp and circumstance you would expect from a day that could either make or break a campaign. I am a foreigner and cannot vote, I was born in Scotland and I take a keen interest in the UK political scene and I thought I would try my hand across the water in the race to see who will be President #45 of these great United States of America.

I love the circus of it all and how the politicians get out there a lot more than the leaders in the UK. (Possibly with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party) But the confusing part for a non-American is the color coding of the parties. America must be the only country in the world where the socialists are blue and the conservatives are red?

Obviously, unlike my other blogs there will be very few scriptures involved and this is mainly my opinion and I do encourage lively debate so if you think I am wrong then please call me on it and we will chat, if you belong to a group that thinks I am wrong then please share the link and whine about this article and what a mess I made of it and by the same token if you think I am right then please feel free to promote these fine words.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is a day that many delegates are up for grabs; in the 2016 race we have delegates up for grabs in the following states…

Alabama, Alaska, (Rep only) American Samoa, (Dem only) Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming (Rep only)

So you can see why it is a big deal huh? As far as the Republican election candidate goes it is a huge deal as 1237 delegates are up for grabs and if one candidate gets the lion share of these delegates then he will be on his way to the election ballot. As for the Democrats they have 880 up for grabs and with their race almost neck and neck then this could be a really important day for a choice to become clearer.

The Republican issue – too many candidates

Here is the issue if you are of the red persuasion, you have five candidates going into Super Tuesday and a candidate that many “traditional Republicans” would rather not have leading the pack, I am of course talking about Donald Trump.

In case you have been sleeping or not paying attention then here is the candidate list in alphabetical order so I cannot be accused of bias.

• Ben Carson
• Ted Cruz
• John Kasich
• Marco Rubio
• Donald Trump

In this pack we have three career politicians and two folks with no political experience with a successful businessman and a neurosurgeon being the non-politico candidates. At the moment it looks very much like a three horse race between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.

Trump is very much ahead at present and if you were a gambling man then you would be putting money on Trump being the nomination for President. If this is not what you want then the next section may be for you.

How do you solve a problem like Trump?

Trump is an interesting one, when I saw that he was running for President I assumed and quite wrongly that it was a PR stunt and that it would fizzle out in five minutes and we would get a more appropriate list of candidates soon. It wasn’t a PR stunt and he is playing the field rather well. The bluster that is Trump and the desire to talk a lot and not say very much may actually be his undoing if he is up against a competent Democrat candidate should he get the nomination.

So far he has captured the imagination not just of Republicans but if you believe the spin that is coming from the Trump camp then he has captures the votes of “ex-Obama Democrats” and “Reagan Democrats” and if that is the case then based on that information alone he would have the White House sown up. For me this could be a blessing or a curse as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.

Yes they want to win the White House, they have been 8 years in opposition and for the first time since George W Bush they have a candidate that appeals to the non-traditional or non-Republican voter. The worrying point as far as the Republicans are concerned is “How do you control Trump if he gets to be the party’s nomination and do the party line rather than the Trump line?

Lastly, his campaign has been a lot of bluster and he has stolen more column inches than any other candidate (even in this column) and he rarely answers a question in a concise and relevant fashion rather than how he currently answers by speaking until even he is sick of his own voice. I would love it if the answers were on point as to what was asked and answered based on honesty and how the problems can be resolved. All the candidates have been guilty of wanting to “blame the other guy” rather than take the lead and take charge of the question.

Coalition could be the Republican answer

Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.

Has Trump damaged the Republican line?

There are hardline Republicans out there who are asking voters to vote anyone but Trump and I know at least one lady who is a prominent Republican who has stated that she would write in a candidate as opposed to voting for Trump if he would become the Republican nominee. That is her democratic right to do so and I do wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. This is why I ask if Trump has done more harm than good? Is a Trump presidency too high a price to pay to get your party in the White House?

The Democrats are a simpler race

The Democrats in this case have it right in that they have a two horse (or donkey as their logo suggests) race with the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders. Of course the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed his old friend Hillary and I believe that regardless of the will of the people I believe that there will be only one nominee.

At the moment Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the polls and will be very hard to split even after Super Tuesday, unless Bernie has a collapse at the polls then the will of the people will be somewhat evenly split towards the candidates. Where Clinton has the upper hand is in what the Democrats call “Super Delegates” and these delegates are separate from the ballot box and carry some weight and could tip the scales in favor of the Clinton camp.

The only way I see Clinton not getting the nomination is if criminal proceedings are started on here prior to the culmination of the nomination process or if Clinton takes a hammering at the ballot box and Bernie is the “people’s choice”, then it would be foolish to go against the wishes of the very people you will be shortly asking to vote him into office.

What are my predictions for Super Tuesday and beyond?

Super Tuesday certainly will go a long way to securing the nomination on both sides of the electoral landscape, however I believe that for the aforementioned reasons above I think that the big winners on Super Tuesday will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and that will lead to a Trump vs Clinton battle in November.

Who will win? Who knows! I think that Trump could shade a Trump vs Clinton battle and would certainly have the upper hand if Sanders had the nomination, Clinton certainly fears Trump most as he is such a wild card. Whether that is what is best for the country, then who knows! That being said both Cruz and Rubio are capable candidates and speaking from a Christian point of view neither Democrat has lit my fire as an evangelical and of the front runners only Rubio and Cruz seem concerned with courting the evangelical vote on the Republican Party.

Please note that God is not the God or the Republican or Democrat Party and despite seeing things banded around recently questioning the faith of an individual if they vote for a certain candidate and that is ridiculous. I serve a God who is big enough to allow bad people to do good things. I don’t see that voting for a particular political party or candidate makes you any more or less Christian. (Unless of course if you are proposing a candidate that is staunchly anti-Christian)

It sure is a tough choice and I pray for you America, I love this country as my new home and I do want to see it do well. The things I look for in a candidate may not be what you look for and that is okay, the country was founded on liberty, truth and justice for all and it is your democratic right to cast your vote the way you see fit! I just plead with you as one without a voice; choose well for the rest of us!

In closing, a Scottish newspaper run an example of their thoughts on a Trump Presidency, feel free to check it out!

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

UPDATE – City of Houston cancels subpoenas (and what will probably happen next)

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UPDATE – City of Houston cancels subpoenas (and what will probably happen next)

As written about yesterday on the blog, we looked at the strange case of the Mayor of the City of Houston and her special treatment of five pastors in the Houston area. For whatever reason, this legal action has been cancelled as the Mayor stated that it “did not serve the interests of the City of Houston”.

 Seriously?  I don’t have a law degree and even I knew that! It was a self serving and frivolous abuse of power based on an individual’s bias and her own personal bigotry based on what she thought she may find in the sermons.

I know that she is the Mayor of that city and she yields certain powers, but such abuses of power and personal vendettas will not sit well for her should she be required to be re-elected. Closer to my home in California, a former Mayor of a local city was not re-elected after she tried to use her “executive authority” to override normal city policy and push through a LGBT month in a city that had little taste for it. In fact when it came to a public hearing, the LGBT side had to bus people in from almost 100 miles away to seem like it was a more credible number.

She also cannot force a pastor of a certain religion not preach theological truths of that same religion. I do not see her doing likewise at the local Mosque who would see her far worse than the local pastors.

What I see happening next

I see the LGBT community trying to force the issue and try to re-open a subpoena, either against the pastors or against the mayor/City of Houston. The liberals have not had their “pound of flesh” yet and someone is going to have to be the fall guy.

I can see the city trying to do something through the back door such as try to revoke a tax exempt status or something like that. I say that as we are only told that they are stopping “this legal action”. Call me a cynic but I think that also leaves the door open for further tests legally.

My hope, however is that it goes away, the pastors are left alone to continue to preach the word of God without any further hair brained hindrance from their local City. I think the city really mis-calculated how strong the opinion would not be on their side. Politian’s do not do things that are going to either stop them getting/elected/reelected/or to the next level.

Final thoughts

My hope and prayer is that we draw a line in the sand and this is the end of it, we are called in Paul’s epistle to the Romans in chapter 13 to “subject to the governing authorities.” here is the full text for clarification and for context.

Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

You see God does not allow authority except it comes from God. (Even when they themselves rebel against the Word of God)

I hope this update was a blessing, please like, comment and share if the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

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Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:38 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

The idea of this article is perhaps to shed a little balance and take away emotion from something that is obviously a highly charged issue.  I will gladly share my bias here, I am a Conservative Christian blogger (duh, if you are here you will most certainly know that) who actually has a “dog in this fight” to use a British term. I have friends who are in the process of establishing a church in the very city that I am blogging about.

I have relative safety from this in the fact that I am blogging about this from the safety of my own home in Central California and have no ties to the City of Houston or any of its entities. As it stands at the moment my local authority has not requested any teaching that I have done or any pastors that I have been associated with.

Persecution?

This heading is rightly a question as I am a little unsure as I have heard many provocative remarks regarding whether this is “persecution” or not. The fact is that an elected official is using power that she has in order to air personal grievances. I am of course meaning the Mayor of Houston and her crusade to request copies of sermons (or as it was later requested “public speeches”)

This was done to find out if any of the pastors had taught a biblical perspective on issues of a LGBT nature, the mayor Annise Parker (which a lot has been made out of the fact that she is a lesbian, however I deem that irrelevant) has made it a personal goal to single out five pastors for “special treatment”.

I don’t necessarily call it persecution as I don’t see that I see in many other countries where biblical teachers are being dragged through the streets and tortured for even professing the name of Christ. These guys have freedoms that pastors in former communist and current Muslim countries would dream of, they have financial backing, many get paid to pastor and they can meet out in the open safe in the knowledge that the next convert may or may not be a Judas and sent them to their death.

So in the truest sense of the word it is not persecution.

Do as the verse says

We are told in the above verse that “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” give her the sermons, give her as much literature as she wants and needs, don’t send her bibles! listen folks. I follow a BIG GOD who has told me that this in Isaiah 55 (That the word shall not return empty) Here is the full discourse for balance.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Here is the crux of what i wish to say, I believe that there is some reason behind why she is asking to have these sermons, in her mind she is doing her own bidding, however I would not count out that God may be orchestrating something bigger. God has done this before remember,  one of the greatest evangelists was the Apostle Paul, who up until his conversion just shy of Damascus in Acts 9, was the Pharisee Saul who tortured and killed Christians.  (In fact he was on his way to do likewise when he was converted)

If Jesus can come face to face with a murderer and a man responsible for a lot of the first century persecution,  he certainly can work this situation to the glory of God using the ones who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

Final thoughts

We are told (again by Jesus) in the book of Matthew

Matthew 28:19 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So my prayer to the pastors is to let them have the sermons. (Most are available on the church websites) and be available to counsel those who have questions. Embrace those who breathe evil against you are no show them the love of Christ.

I pray for the government officials that they find the knowledge of the one true messiah. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the LORD.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is through him and him only that you can have eternal life.

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE