Did Jesus Preach Tolerance?

Matthew 21:12-13 – And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

With Ohio’s primary election in the rearview mirror, I think it’s time to focus a little more on the Church part of this ‘Church and State’ blog.

I’ve seen several memes going around Facebook condemning judging by Christians because ‘Jesus preached tolerance.’ I also saw one that listed a litany of sins followed by ‘but Jesus still loves me as much as he loves you.’

Let’s analyze these two points: 1) Jesus preached tolerance and 2) Jesus loves us despite our sin.

  1. Jesus Preached Tolerance

Pull out your Bible app and do a quick search for the word “tolerance.” Liberals and quasi-Christians will be shell-shocked when they find the word is not there. Jesus didn’t preach tolerance. Still don’t believe me? Let’s take a scripture for our example.

In the Gospel of John, the pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. He speaks the famous line, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” As we all know the only one there without sin was Jesus, so the pharisees went away displeased that Jesus had one-upped them again. It is the next line, however, that is often forgotten. Jesus turns to the woman and tells her that he doesn’t condemn her and to “go and sin no more.” That’s not tolerance. If Jesus had been tolerant of her lifestyle he would have simply said “go.” But praise the Lord, that’s not my Jesus! He doesn’t want to leave you in the mire of sin: He wants to pull you out of it!

Tolerance and kindness are not one and the same. We can be kind to those whom we disagree without condoning their actions. For example, if my daughter does something against the rules as she gets older, I can be kind in explaining to her why what she did was wrong, but that doesn’t mean I let her off the hook.

In all honesty, the greatest love we can show people who are truly trapped in sin is to tell them how to get out of it and escape the pits of Hell. And the only way is Jesus Christ. Asking Him to save our souls, change our hearts, and transform our minds. I’ve seen him do it in my life and in countless others. If we truly love people, we will share the gospel with them to save them from Hell – not leave them in their sin so we appear tolerant.

Moving on…

2. Jesus Loves Us Despite Our Sin

This statement is 100% true, but it so often gets misinterpreted. Jesus loves everyone, period, end of story. That is precisely the reason he died on the cross for our sins, but that love does not excuse or condone sin. Jesus died to free us from sin (He came to seek and save that which was lost – Luke 19:10). But again, just because I love my daughter no matter what, does not mean I will always love what she does. Loving you and accepting wrongdoing are not synonymous. If you are living a life of sin (fornication aka sex before marriage, drug/alcohol abuse, lying, stealing, etc.) then Jesus loves you and wants to deliver you from that life. It is not the actions that will send you to Hell. It is rejecting Jesus as your savior that sends you there. And if your next argument (like mine was for years) is you believe in God and you pray but your life is still full of sin then let me give you some scripture:

Romans 6:1-2 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Just because grace is greater than sin and Jesus paid the price for our sin doesn’t give us license to sin, and if you are sinning continually without any conviction in your heart, my guess is you haven’t truly given your heart to Jesus because when you do, and you fail Him, the Holy Spirit will convict you until you repent.

Side Note: Repenting is not just saying sorry (I also believed this for a long time). Repenting is turning around and going the other direction – leaving the sin behind.

We all fail God, probably daily, but if the Holy Spirit isn’t telling you when you’ve done it, then seriously consider your soul today. What’s more important: partying for a few more years or your eternal life? Hell won’t seem worth the party if you end up there, and I can assure you, giving up your sins for Jesus may not be easy at first, but it always pays off in the long run.

Since giving my heart to Jesus at 19, I’ve received everything I ever wanted for my life: a loving husband and to be a mom. Even more important than both of these though is that I have peace that I can’t express in words and a joy that only comes with Jesus.

If you want that peace and joy in your life then say this prayer (it won’t save you and it doesn’t matter if you say it word for word, but believing it with all your heart is what matters):

Dear Lord,

I come before you in the name of Jesus – lost and undone, needing a saving hand. I believe that you sent your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins, and that His death payed the penalty in full. I believe that I’m a sinner, and I ask that you would forgive me of my sins and help me to walk in newness of life by the power of your Holy Spirit. Please break the chains of sin that surround me and liberate me from any bondages. I believe that your son was raised from the dead and as He lives with you, I will one day too. I thank you for saving me and redeeming me! Praise your holy name!

….

If you said that prayer, Congratulations! You just entered the family of God. If you are already saved, then pray with me for a revival in the church and to see our nation turn once again to God. If you have never accepted Jesus and chose not to today, I challenge you to give Him a chance. What do you have to lose?

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We’ll ‘Feel the Bern’ of Higher Taxes if We Elect Sanders

Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 

For journalistic integrity, I will tell you this fact at the onset, I don’t ‘Feel the Bern.’ I consider myself a conservative in terms of values, but I am also a logical, reasonable person. I will listen to any point you give me, but I will not take your word as gospel, I will do my homework and based on the facts, I will generate my own conclusions. So based on this brief little introduction, let’s do just that type of investigation with Mr. Bernie Sanders’ plans, shall we?

As we all know, Bernie Sanders is a self proclaimed “democratic-socialist” a.k.a. ‘I’m a socialist, hoping you will democratically elect me.’ Bernie is all the rave with my peers, for he promises “free” stuff. Free healthcare, free college, etc. What’s not to love?

Truth is folks, basic economics (which I did take in college – taught by a liberal professor, so no conservative bias in that course) has a tenant of ‘there’s no free lunch.’ If something is free to you it is because someone else paid for it. Bernie is not going to give you free things, you and me and your parents and every other citizen of this great nation are going to pay for it in taxes.

The Tax Foundation self-describes themselves as a “non-partisan research think tank, based in Washington, DC.”. As a non-partisan entity, their job is not to sway us to one side or the other but to present us with the facts. Their conclusion of the Sanders’ tax plan is as follows:

“Senator Bernie Sanders would enact a number of tax policies that would raise tax revenue over the next decade. Together, his proposals would significantly expand federal revenue collections by $13.6 trillion on a static basis, driven mostly by broad-based taxes on income and payroll. If enacted, the Sanders plan would significantly increase marginal tax rates on capital and labor income, which would result in a substantial reduction of the size of the U.S. economy in the long run. This would decrease the revenue that the new tax policies would ultimately collect to $9.8 trillion. Senator Sanders’s plan would decrease after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all income levels, but especially high-income taxpayers.”

Let me emphasize two of those points with other tax foundation statements:

  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the [Sanders’] plan would significantly increase marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to 9.5 percent lower GDP over the long term.
  • On a static basis, the plan would lead to 10.56 percent lower after-tax income for all taxpayers and 17.91 percent lower after-tax income for the top 1 percent. When accounting for reduced GDP, after-tax incomes of all taxpayers would fall by at least 12.84 percent.

For anyone who hasn’t taken business/economic courses, let me translate: your take-home pay is going to go down by at least 12 percent with Sanders’ plan. Meaning, if you normally bring home $1,000 you will now only bring home $880.

Note: This percentage does not figure in state or local taxes; ergo, the percentage would be even higher!

I don’t know about you, but my husband and I just barely scrape by each month. I chose to stay-home with my daughter, so we live on one income (but I can tell you the cost of me working – i.e. eating out, extra gas, babysitting, etc. – the benefit of me working was very small). Losing 12% of our take home pay would be the difference between us making all of our payments and bills and not affording those payments.

My husband and I are lower-middle class, in fact, according to the pew calculator, we would be considered lower class if we had two babies instead of one. I’m in the group that Sanders claims he would help, but he would in fact hurt me deeply.

If my plight doesn’t sway your opinion, let’s move to history.

Did we not pay attention in history class? We won the battle against socialism and communism during the Cold War. This eagerness to introduce full-fledged socialism to our country is down-right dangerous! Rather than rant about this, I’ll provide you with an easier form of warning/instruction: a few quotes and a short video.

“The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the cold war, is that the engine of capitalism, the individual, is mightier than any collective.” [i.e. socialism/communism] – Rand Paul

Okay, I can hear the liberal response now, Rand Paul is a Republican, of course he said that. Touché, let’s see what one of the most beloved Democrats has to say about it.

“Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both” – John F. Kennedy

“It is very hard in military or in personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair” – John F. Kennedy

“There are many people in the world who really don’t understand-or say they don’t-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!” – John F. Kennedy

In case those didn’t persuade you, here’s the best anti-socialism rant I’ve ever heard, you can read it or watch it here:

http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/02/01/greg-gutfeld-bernie-sanders-2016-and-problem-socialism

Citations:

(This is not an academic publication; therefore, the citations are links to where I found my information – I’m not taking the time to put them into APA format. If you have a problem with this choice, by all means, you can do the work for me!)

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/tax-brackets.aspx

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/100214/what-difference-between-communism-and-socialism.asp

http://www.famous-quotes.com/topic.php?tid=210

http://m.ranker.com/list/a-list-of-famous-john-f-kennedy-quotes/reference?page=3

http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/02/01/greg-gutfeld-bernie-sanders-2016-and-problem-socialism

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/12/09/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/

http://taxfoundation.org/article/details-and-analysis-senator-bernie-sanders-s-tax-plan

http://taxfoundation.org/about-us

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/randpaul453854.html#fhvG7TsHXTVXoRuJ.99

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn114929.html#ggiHQ3K1MKwqzSFu.99

 

Why Do These Presidential Debates Even Matter?

As the pastor goes, so goes the church, and as the president goes, so goes the nation.

I realize people are tired of politics, and they are tired of the non-stop news coverage – especially of the top four candidates: Trump, Cruz, Clinton, and Sanders, but consider this fact, choosing a president is one of the biggest decisions we, as citizens, make in our lifetime. Some individuals diminish the task by saying, “they’re all corrupt,” or “I just hate politics,” but when you don’t vote, or even worse, you don’t know what the candidates even stand for – you are part of the problem in this country.

Now I don’t want you all to feel too guilty because we live in an extremely busy world. Most of us are doing good to know if the stock market is going up or down – let alone know the policy positions of each presidential candidate. That’s why debates are important, and that’s where I step in. I will use my weekly blog to help you absorb this massive amount of information as you peruse Facebook. Simple enough, right?

So let’s get to it.

The “Undercard” Debate

Despite the four candidates on the stage – Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Jim Gilmore – being all but written off by most political pundits, the room in Iowa was nearly packed. This is a good sign for one reason: we should consider all candidates (even the ones we think are really bad) and assess what is good and bad about them.

This analysis will help us in two ways. First, it helps you when you find your way into that awkward policy squabble with you co-worker or when you have to fight it out with your family on a touchy issue. As Ted Cruz has said, ‘facts are stubborn things,’ and arming yourself with the facts will make your life immensely easier. Second, you may open your eyes to new ideas in the process.

So back to the debate…

This debate was only an hour long and here are my main take-aways:

  • All the “undercard” candidates were upset with the media and the moderators for segregating candidates, focusing too heavily on Trump (i.e. front-runners), and ruling out candidates based on polling, which has proved to be a rather inaccurate measuring tool in the past (see 2012 GOP polls in Iowa prior to the caucus).
  • Fiorina propositioned the Iowan voters with policies of zero-based budgeting, using an app to poll Americans while in the White House (instead of listening to lobbyists), and passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (similar to Scott Walker’s abortion bill that passed in Wisconsin, bans abortion at 20 weeks and later).
  • Santorum pledged to make the nation the number one manufacturing nation once again through his flat tax policy and his repatriation agreement, which would bring money back to America from foreign nations with a maximum tax rate of 10 percent.
    • He also made a closing statement that sounded more like a ‘bowing-out’ of the race speech, but that’s just my opinion.
  • Huckabee attacked the corporately financed politicians and made some good quips about ISIS (‘we don’t contain cancer, we irradiate it’) and Bernie Sander’s free college plan (‘the government will make a mess out of it and you will be paying for college when you’re 30, 40, 50…’), but he failed to insert his policy stances into the debate.
  • Gilmore – you probably are confused who this is, and that’s okay, this is the first time poor Jim polled high enough to be on the stage. He complained about not getting enough time to speak, elaborated on his resume (military intelligence agent and former governor of Virginia), but his policy stances were essentially limited to ‘leave GITMO open’ and the ‘V.A. is failing.’

Interesting side note: Huckabee and Santorum went to Trump’s veteran’s rally after the debate because ‘they had nothing better to do at 8 o’clock.’

Now for the “Prime Time” Debate

If you turned on your TV today, you already watched everyone’s quips, zingers, and stumbles, so I’m going to focus on actual policy that was revealed during the debate.

In polling order, highest to lowest:

  • Trump – wasn’t there, and it was a breath of fresh air (okay, that was my opinion).
  • Cruz:
    • Intends to use his tax plan to grow the economy, which will then fund his increasing of the military
    • Plans to repeal the ACA (“Obamacare”) by 1. Allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines thereby stimulating competition and lower rates 2. Expanding healthcare savings accounts so families can pay for routine healthcare pre-tax and 3. Delinking health insurance from employment, so if you lose your job, you don’t lose your coverage
    • Wants to end subsidies so the government isn’t choosing winners and losers and repeal the EPA’s blend wall mandate (he’s talking to the Iowans here)
  • Rubio:
    • Against cap and trade (carbon emission/EPA idea)
    • Says he is against amnesty and intends to fix our immigration system by making it merit-based rather than based on if your family lives here
    • Wants to cancel the new deal with Iran
  • Carson:
    • Against the government being involved in every aspect of our lives
    • Wants to reduce regulation but honor contracts that were already made (‘it is unfair to withdraw the rug’)
    • Intends to make Europe dependent on us for energy rather than Putin/Russia and his oil and put Putin ‘back in his little box’
    • Plans to declare war on ISIS and reform our immigration and visa policies
  • Bush:
    • Desires to fix the V.A. mess by giving veterans the choice to get healthcare from local hospitals
  • Christie:
    • Against profiling by law enforcement
    • Intends to cut Planned Parenthood funding
    • Against citizens having their right of conscience violated (Kim Davis case)
    • Wants to work with other nations to take out ISIS
  • Kasich:
    • Believes every engine of government needs to move when disasters occur (i.e. Flint, Michigan water crisis)
    • Grew Medicaid in Ohio (unsure if he plans to do that as President)
    • Desires to slap sanctions back on Iran if we discover they are making a nuclear weapon
  • Paul:
    • Concerned about the national debt more than abortion
    • Desires to either make abortion a case for the states or pass a bill that applies the 14th Amendment to unborn children
    • Disagrees with mass data collection of Americans and believes the 4th Amendment should be applied to government data collection (even for terror suspects)

Winners and Losers

To wrap things up, I’ll say this, the debate was more substance and less flare with Trump’s absence, which was pleasing to me. Cruz had several gaffs and Rubio capitalized on them in my opinion. I doubt the top three (Trump, Cruz, Rubio) will change in Iowa but the order may, and Christie pulled off a decent performance that may help him in New Hampshire. Carson, Kasich, and Bush performed but not enough to be memorable or help them in the polls.

Much to my chagrin, Iowa gets to make the first call and not me, but I’ll be praying the next few days that they make the right choice. I hope you will join me.

God Bless,

Amy

 

 

 

Why I’m Writing…

Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 

Our country is a mess. We’re trading our values for political correctness. We’re abandoning respect and civility for blind allegiance and forced tolerance. We’re forgetting the very things that made America the country it is today.

My goal in starting this blog is to give you a short but informative weekly reminder of where our country started, what we’re doing right – or wrong, and a Biblical worldview on topics circulating in the mainstream news.

I realize I will likely say things that friends, family, and acquaintances may not agree with in this blog, but I encourage you to challenge me and engage in civil debate. Our country did not come forth by agreeing with what everyone else said or even with “agreeing to disagree.” Our country was started with great men fervently debating ideas to generate, in my opinion, the best form of government the world will ever see until the Millennial reign of Christ. (Just a reminder: civil debate means no name-calling or personal attacks – substance only).

My intention is to make this journey entertaining for me and you. I will provide citations for any facts I reference, and I will note if something is fact or opinion (if it’s not clearly evident from context).

Today’s Take Away

A brief thought to get our journey started. We, as a society, have forgotten how to be respectful. I am as guilty of this failure as the next person. When we disagree with someone’s point of view, we resort to name-calling or worse, we attack their looks or use derogatory, defamatory language to belittle them (Trump, I’m talking to you).

As my theme verse states, we are to respect the higher offices in our country. We should pray for our leaders more than we criticize them, and if we are going to criticize them, it should be over policy ONLY (Note: I will make policy jokes, where they are warranted).

Individuals who refer to my governor, John Kasich, as ‘KaSUCK’ are in the wrong just as much as individuals who attack Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her looks or her marriage. Let’s resolve to be more respectful going forward.

Looking Ahead

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will cover my opinions of the GOP Debate airing tonight (Jan. 28th) on the Fox News Channel.