Apr 30, 2011
Apr 29, 2011
I really can't imagine this is going to end well.
During all Tuesday home games, starting May 10 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, fans 21 years of age and older can purchase Bud Light or Budweiser products at specific concession stands in the Bud Light Bleachers for $3.
Hey, Rickets! Maybe it's the TEAM that's keeping the fans away?
This keeps up, you might have to, you know, field some winners?
I give you Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie peeling off that surface, and figuring out who doesn't want to allow their neighbors to have a choice.
While I'm happy that your tax dollars were spent on a lavish wedding for two children, I'm fairly certain that Patriots died so that Americans wouldn't have to care about such pomp and circumstance.
I need some more coffee. Not tea. Coffee.
Apr 28, 2011
Catholics are kind of scary.
One of four small vials of blood removed from John Paul during his final days will be used, the Vatican said in a statement…
More than 50 heads of state and several hundred thousand pilgrims are expected to travel to Rome for the beatification, a step before full sainthood…
The vial will be placed in a “precious reliquary” prepared specially for the occasion by the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations.
After being extracted, the blood was mixed with an anti-coagulant in the container to ensure it remained liquid.
You know what's even more creepy? They're going to make the man who presided over the largest secret pedophilia ring into a Saint.
Apr 27, 2011
Mr. Obama has just demonstrated, again, that he and his team are terrible politicians. This ends what could have been played for two more years, allowing the GOP to tear itself apart. The fringe on the right has been eating this up for three years now. It's an incredible waste of the GOP resources and anyone who even talks about it looks like an absolute nut case, or at least, are painted as nut case fringe by the main stream. What was a non-issue for most of the actual Purple States of America, has been smoked out and played out. Everyone folds.
The White House released President Barack Obama’s original “Certificate of Live Birth” from Hawaii amid persistent questions about his citizenship.
The long-form birth certificate, which the White House requested, says Mr. Obama was born at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. The White House said Hawaii doesn’t generally release long-form birth certificates but did so at the president’s request.
The administration previously released a less detailed version of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said the decision to release the document came because “the president was struck by how this was crowding out the debate” on the budget.” He added that “it became an issue that transcended” the Internet and conspiracy theorists and had moved into the mainstream.
“The president decided to do this…because this was a sideshow that’s distracting from” significant issues, Mr. Pfeiffer said.
Sure not everyone, "it's a forgery, it's a fake, what took you so long..." can already be heard echoing. But why would they play this card now? It's a bad move, politically. Perhaps they felt that two years was all it was worth. Maybe it was the growing threat of the Trump card?
Can we finally start talking about real issues? How about that laser guided sight on Jobs? How about the three wars we're engaged in?
How about that wedding I keep hearing about?
However, a series of events reportedly kept the WBC from doing any actual protesting: A WBC member was beaten by locals at a gas station; Rankin County pickup trucks strategically blocked Kansas-plated cars outside the WBC’s hotel; protesters that made it to the funeral were “ushered away to be questioned” under cover of an alleged involvement in a crime.
The source of the report is a lone member of the Ole Miss message board The Oxford Square, and the account is nowhere to be found in mainstream media outlets, but it’s interesting to note that the controversial nature of the tactics supposedly employed to prevent the WBC from protesting Rogers’ funeral — namely the beating and the questionable detainment — has forced Redditors and MeFites to do something they likely find as repugnant as the WBC: Defend the WBC.
WBC is among the most despicable hate groups operating in the US today. As such, they are our generation’s litmus test of whether we really believe in the Bill of Rights. If you agree that they should be beaten up and detained by police on false pretenses then the answer is simple, you don’t.
It was really only a matter of time until this happened. They've been baiting this - so now they'll take everyone to court, sue for damages against their assailants, the police department, and everyone else within a 60 mile radius of the alleged events. And the stupid part - Fred and the WBC will win.
Saudi Arabia And Iran Entering A Period Of Confrontation
Throughout the years, Saudi decision-making has been characterized by three fundamental principles—discretion, caution and cash. But last month, by deploying troops to Bahrain and lecturing Iran, the al-Sauds acted out of character. They sent an unintended invitation to Iran to intervene around the Persian Gulf, an invitation that Iran cannot refuse and one that might be the seed for the downfall of the al-Sauds and other GCC monarchies.
Thanks War News Update
Apr 26, 2011
posted by copyranter @ 11:50 AM
Apr 23, 2011
A passenger screener at Philadelphia International Airport is facing charges that he distributed more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook, records show.
Federal agents also allege that Transportation Safety Administration Officer Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, who routinely searched airline passengers, uploaded explicit pictures of young girls to an Internet site on which he also posted a photograph of himself in his TSA uniform.
Homeland Security agents arrested the TSA officer March 24, and he is being held without bail.
Apr 22, 2011
The Earth isn't going anywhere. WE ARE. Pack your $hit folks.
Happy Earth Day - Save A Human.
I'm not one to quote Michelle Malkin, but that's a pretty good rule. It applies to Rod Blagojevich, Gary Hart and also John Edwards.
Enmeshed in an ethics and sex scandal, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) announced that he is resigning his seat. Nevada's governor is expected to name US Rep. Dean Heller as his replacement. Heller will be the new incumbent.
So, what's up? Well, two years ago it was revealed that Ensign had an affair with a campaign aide who was married to his best friend and Senate chief of staff, Dean Hampton.
Wait, it gets worse. Or funnier, depending how you look at these things.
Hampton received a gift of $96,000 from Ensign's parents, and there are allegations that the senator used his influence to get Hampton a job. No! That's illegal? I had no idea!
Now Hampton faces serious legal problems -- he was indicted for improperly lobbying his old boss.
Great hair, though. And for the record, I don't trust any of them. Pretty hair or not.
And another parting shot (see what I did there?) at least the Republican will quit once caught. Democrats have a tendency to linger after they're caught in the cookie jar. I guess that's the only real fundamental difference between the two parties?
Thanks to Marathon Pundit for the majority of the content.
Apr 21, 2011
Greatest Speech of the Day: Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard, who manages a team of dog-riding goat-herding monkeys, offers words of encouragement to the crowd at a Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game as only a man who manages a team of dog-riding goat-herding monkeys can offer.
PS - Speaking of Baseball... looks like the Dodgers are totally screwed.
When oh when will Bud Selig go?
Apr 20, 2011
It only took, how many years? for the NYTimes to find a childhood photo of him? And, dude, that's so obviously Kenya!
..and what's striking to me is that his economic theory hasn't changed in all these years. What a cutie.
In Benton Harbor, Michigan, a state-appointed emergency financial manager has suspended the decision-making powers of cash-strapped Benton Harbor officials.
The order emergency financial manager Joseph Harris means that Benton Harbor officials can only call meetings to order, adjourn them and approve minutes of meetings. They've been stripped of any actual power.
Harris' action is likely the first since Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in March granting more powers to emergency managers the Treasury Department appoints to take over distressed schools and communities. (Which is probably unconstitutional - to the Michigan Constitution)
One elected Benton Harbor official, City Commissioner Bryan Joseph, said he wasn't upset. He said he has watched financial mismanagement for decades, and a desire to address that disarray was one of the reasons he ran for election in 2008.
Joseph said the city has struggled with a contentious trash hauling contract, lawsuits related to that contract, new competition for water services and city officials who sometimes clashed so fiercely meetings dragged on for hours.
"I have seen for more than 30 years the mismanagement of funds and personnel in the city," he said. "Infighting has been going on for decades."
But Harris' action drew a strong rebuke from Mark Gaffney, the president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, which represents administrative workers and others. Why? Because all the city union contracts are now null and void.
"This is sad news for democracy in Michigan," he said. "With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton Harbor ... we can now see the true nature of the emergency manager system."
The new powers of emergency managers include setting aside collective bargaining. Harris' order comes only days before a scheduled training session for prospective emergency managers and turnaround experts.
Emergency managers are in place at Detroit Public Schools and in the cities of Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac. I wonder if the company they work for is called Omni Consumer Products?
Harris, a former chief financial officer for the city of Detroit, is a certified public accountant with 10 years of local government management experience.
Well, it doesn't take an accountant to figure out that Benton Harbor is broke.
Let's just see if the place is worth fixing.
Apr 19, 2011
BP is completely bankrupt after settling to clean and scrub all the oil out of the Gulf of Mexico, and for restitution for all the damage caused to the industries around the Gulf, and for the disease and health effects caused to the people in the region. The entire board was dissolved after the stockholders decided that the entire concern was insolvent - which was an afterthought since the entire board was brought up for crimes against humanity and tried at the Haig. Who knew the World Body would come together in such unity against the criminals who allowed such gross negligence in their operation.
And since the dangers of using unchecked resources were final realized, Americans got out of their cars, shunned all plastic goods and took a long walk. And they haven't stopped. Since oil prices fell to less than two dollars a barrel, the Middle East rulers went bankrupt and decided to stop fighting and worry about feeding and educating their people. After retooling to create shoes and bicycles, Ford and GM assembly lines are back into full gear, and ironically, a manufacturing base has returned to the United States. The obesity problem has been solved by all this exercise, and the life spans of the average American is going upward. In fact, unless you're reading this on a self powered internet device, it's probably going out to fall on blind eyes.
What an amazing, wonderful world that we live in, isn't it?
Apr 17, 2011
Apr 16, 2011
Apr 12, 2011
Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school. “Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?” the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English. Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: “We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!” Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: “Do you see the situation?” At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.
Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”
A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals. Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district’s food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.
Does anyone really believe this is for the kids? If so, read the last line above for clarification;
The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.Follow the money, honey. Now eat your ketchup - that counts as a vegetable.
Apr 11, 2011
A leaflet informing police how to implement the law said it did not apply to private homes, hotel rooms, private office spaces, car interiors, and mosques, and that officers could not remove a veil by force, but would only be allowed to warn law breakers that they could be brought to a police station. Perhaps a stern letter?
According to reports, despite being home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim minority, France has only about 2,000 women who wear full-face veils on a regular basis, and critics believe President Nicolas Sarkozy is “play[ing] up the Muslim question because he is an unpopular president in need of an easy vote-winner.” Well, he could also bomb Libya -- oh, hold on...
In related news, 59 people participating in a banned protest to protest the ban were arrested on Saturday by French police.
Before you get too silly about it, remember that American women wear veils too. They're called Revlon and Cover Girl.
Apr 10, 2011
Here's where we wrap up the week and touch on things that we didn't get to, or can be summed up with some snarky cartoons.
So one religious nut gave an excuse for other religious nuts to go on a killing spree. I mean, it is just an excuse at this point now, isn't it? I think they should just put all these characters in the same room an let them work it out. No, let's make this a stadium -- and let Bud Light sponsor it. If Hebrew National can get the hot dog sponsorship, it would be delightfully ironical.
So the biggest story in the States, this week was the imminent government shut-down, mostly because the Democrats, while owning the Congress and Presidency decided to not do their jobs and kicked it to April 2011, under new ownership. Sure, George Bush left a mess for Obama, but Pelosi and Reid caused this one.
After lots of finger pointing, the abortion card played...
The over dramatic, last second shot at the buzzer, everyone thinks they won -- no one 'won' all it did was piss off both bases and reminded us why we hate and distrust the morons we keep sending to Washington.
And now there's a new proposal out there... have you had moment to look it over? And in the middle of this, Libya and everything else -- Mr. Obama decides that NOW is a good time to announce his re-election campaign. I don't know, that grass looks pretty burnt to me. He may be starting now to re-sod.
At this point in the game, he'll be debating himself.
But, after all is said and done, who's going to be a worthy challenger?
Let's try to meet back here next week, gang.
PS - Where's Killre?
Apr 9, 2011
Republicans and Democrats 'amazingly' pulled a last-minute deal out of their gigantic theatrical hat to prevent a government shutdown. A stopgap bill will keep the government open until next Thursday, at which point congress will vote on a budget agreement to cover the rest of fiscal 2011. Yes. They punted. Again. Remember, this homework assignment was due from the LAST CONGRESS, and has been kicked around, and is still being kicked around in this awful game of political football.
According to a joint statement released by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the agreement “will cut $78.5 billion [Please note, this is only 2% of the federal budget] below the president’s 2011 budget proposal.” Furthermore, Planned Parenthood funding will remain in tact, but is expected to be voted on separately as part of the deal, along with health care reform repeal.
With the “dry run” over, all eyes now turn to the main event: Raising the debt ceiling. That'll be much more fun, and a lot less talked about.
The big loser here? The main stream media - what with their countdown clocks and the dripping with anticipation of a government shutdown. I have 18 pages of links to "The terrible effects on ____ if the government shuts down!" They must have the worst blue balls right now.
The winner? Mr. Speaker - he's won against the President, and Reid, and played to his Tea Party fringe base. What a hero.
Apr 8, 2011
With the new tally, Prosser appears to be the winner. His liberal opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg, led by 204 votes after the first unofficial tally was concluded yesterday.
Unions and Democrats had hoped to replace Prosser with Kloppenburg, with the plan that a new liberal majority would rule in favor of Big Labor if the Republicans' budget-repair bill made it to the state's highest court--which would then reinstate collective bargaining to most of Wisconsin's state employees. Ta Da. Yeah, it's a long shot, but it's all they had left.
If Prosser's win holds up, it will be another devastating defeat for the Unions. They elevated this race, they threw all of their resources into it... and still lost.
Apr 7, 2011
Apr 6, 2011
I guess the three cheeses represent the Holy Trinity of Cheese?
The face of Jesus has been spotted – in a three cheese pizza. Restaurant staff at the Posh Pizza shop in Brisbane, Australia, noticed the manifestation after taking the pizza from the oven. Maree Phelan says: “Some people are already calling it the Cheesus Pizza…
After attracting 26 bids on eBay, the pizza sold for a tasty £98.
21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
So when you see a Westboro member - politely change their sign to read Fig. Funny how a spellchecker would have fixed that small issue?
Dr. Vincent Courtillot is a professor of geophysics at the University Paris-Diderot and Chair of paleomagnetism and geodynamics of the Institut Universitaire de France. In the recent lecture below he explains how solar cycles control the climate by influence on cloud formation (the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al) and via influence on ocean oscillations and length of day. Dr. Courtillot notes that IPCC climate computer models do not correlate with observations and that temperature trends vary substantially between North America and Europe (which is contrary to IPCC computer model predictions).
He also notes that while the total solar irradiance (TSI) only varies by about .1% over a solar cycle, the solar UV varies by about 10% and that secondary effects on cloud formation may vary up to 30% over solar cycles. The IPCC computer models dismiss the role of the sun by only considering the small variations of the TSI and ignore the large changes in the most energetic and influential part of the solar spectrum – the ultraviolet.
The web has made it easier than ever before to access information on Devil-worshiping and the occult, experts said.
Exorcism is the subject of a six-day conference being held this week at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, which is under the Vatican's authority.
"The internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism," said Carlo Climati, a member of the university who specializes in the dangers posed to young people by Satanism.
"In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism. The conference is not about how to become an exorcist. It's to share information about exorcism, Satanism and sects. It's to give help to families and priests. There is a particular risk for young people who are in difficulties or who are emotionally fragile," said Mr Climati.
Yeah, it's Satan that's the biggest threat to the church and the dangers posed to young people. No, wait, I isn't it pedophile priests who were abusing their power?
Apr 5, 2011
In fact, atheists, agnostics, humanists and other assorted skeptics from the Army's Fort Bragg have formed an organization in a pioneering effort to win recognition and ensure fair treatment for nonbelievers in the overwhelmingly Christian U.S. military.
"We exist, we're here, we're normal," said Sgt. Justin Griffith, chief organizer of Military Atheists and Secular Humanists, or MASH. "We're also in foxholes. That's a big one, right there."
For now, the group meets regularly in homes and bars outside of Fort Bragg, one of the biggest military bases in the country. But it is going through the long bureaucratic process to win official recognition from the Army as a distinct "faith" group.
That would enable it to meet on base, advertise its gatherings and, members say, serve more effectively as a haven for like-minded soldiers.
"People look at you differently if you say you're an atheist in the Army," said Lt. Samantha Nicoll, a West Point graduate who in January attended her first meeting of MASH. "That's extremely taboo. I get a lot of questions if I let it slip in conversation."
The term, by the way, comes from Reverend William T. Cummings, who served at Bataan. He declared, "There are no atheists in foxholes." In addition, Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, who also served at Bataan, used the expression in an interview printed in U.S. newspapers.
Chaplain F.W. Lawson of the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, who was wounded twice in wartime, declared "I doubt if there is such a thing as an atheist. At least there isn't in a front line trench." Henry More wrote: "In agony or danger, no nature is atheist. The mind that knows not what to fly to, flies to God."
Apr 4, 2011
In a striking about face for the Administration, some Sept. 11 suspects will no longer be tried in civilian court in NYC.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and four co-conspirators will be tried in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Department of Justice officials said today.
Mohammed was to have been tried in New York City, but city officials strongly objected to the move and Congress refused to appropriate funds to house Guantanamo inmates on mainland United States and to provide funds for a trial of extraordinary expense.
Read more ....
Mr. Obama also announced he's running for another term, today. No coincidence in the timing.
The United States, which long supported Yemen's president, even in the face of recent widespread protests, has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is
unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials.
The American position began to shift in the past week, administration officials said. While American officials have not publicly pressed President Ali Abdullah Saleh to go, they have told allies and some reporters that they now view his hold on office as untenable, and they believe he should leave.
Washington has long had a wary relationship of mutual dependence with Mr. Saleh. The United States has provided weapons, and the Yemeni leader has allowed the United States military and the C.I.A. to strike at Qaeda strongholds. The State Department cables released by WikiLeaks gave a close-up view of that uneasy interdependence: Mr. Saleh told Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, that the United States could continue missile strikes against Al Qaeda as long as the fiction was maintained that Yemen was conducting them.
“Groups of various stripes — Al Qaeda, Houthis, tribal elements, and secessionists — are exploiting the current political turbulence and emerging fissures within the military and security services for their own gain,” the official said. “Until President Saleh is able to resolve the current political impasse by announcing how and when he will follow through on his earlier commitment to take tangible steps to meet opposition demands, the security situation in Yemen is at risk of further deterioration.”Read More:
Apr 3, 2011
Apr 2, 2011
The clashes marked the second consecutive day that mobs thronged the streets of major Afghan cities to protest the burning of Islam’s holy book last month by a Florida pastor. On Friday, a mob attacked a U.N. compound in the normally placid northern city of Mazar-e Sharif and killed seven U.N. employees: four Nepalese guards and three European staff members.
The Koran burning also prompted more peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Kabul, in the western city of Herat and in the northern province of Takhar.
Afghan Rioting Spreads Over Quran Burning -- Wall Street Journal
Apr 1, 2011
Love That Obeys
How many times have we heard or said things like, "If you love me, you'll do as I ask," or "If you love me, you'll buy me what I want?" We almost instinctively associate love with obedience, and for good reason. In fact, Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
But how much do we need to love Him? After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Apostles on the sea shore, while they were out fishing. Later, by the fire, Jesus asked Peter not once, but three times, if he loved Him more than fishing. "He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). Jesus wanted to make the point that we need to put Him ahead of our jobs, hobbies, and other passions.
But is that enough love? "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). I love the King James Bible, because it can be so blunt at times. Obviously, Jesus did not mean that we should actually hate our own family; He meant to emphasize that we must put Him first in our hearts. We need to love Jesus first and foremost, which is the only way that we will be able to obey His commandments.
So what are His commandments? "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).
Obeying God's commandments and living righteously boil down to just one thing: love. If we love God more than anything else, then we will obey Him. If we sin, it is because we are misdirecting our love toward something else and putting that above God. Every sin comes from insufficient or misdirected love. A heart that truly loves God above all else cannot sin.
But we know that this is impossible in our own strength. Earthly, natural love is so easily deceived and thrown off-track, that it is grossly insufficient to obey God. But, after ascending back into Heaven, Jesus sent us another gift, perhaps even more precious than the first: The Holy Spirit, to dwell in our hearts.
"... The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5b).
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:7-21).
It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we not only experience God's love for us, but obtain the kind of holy and perfect love that empowers us to obey Him and serve others. "We love him, because he first loved us."
Love That Saves
"... The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:5b-9).
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
Oh, I guess I left out one small detail: when Jesus offered Himself on the cross for our sins, we were the scum of the earth, reeking in our own filth, deserving nothing better than death. We were like that traveler who was left for dead on the side of the road, with nothing worthwhile to offer anyone. And then Jesus came and traded places with each one of us, taking on our punishment upon His mighty shoulders, taking our sin and nailing it to the cross.
Christ loved us before we knew Him. Christ endured suffering at our own hands. Christ died in our stead when we hated Him.
To do all that took a whole lot of love, a pure love that everyone else on this planet falls far short of. How can we ever hope to have such a love for anyone? Does God even expect it of us? Would it even be fair if He did? Did He give us anything else to help us out?
I'll be preaching at our small church again soon, and since Valentine's Day is today, what better subject to preach on than love? This message is a one-shot in the middle of our pastor's series on the Ten Commandments, but I will present it here as a 3-part blog series. Here we go!
"Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).
Valentine's Day is barely behind us, and if you watched TV or went shopping, you've no doubt noticed the recent focus on "love". Unfortunately, what the world calls "love" is, more often than not, a misleading euphemism for its less fulfilling shadows: infatuation, lust, materialism, and even tolerance. These are the products of a sinful world that recognizes its need for true love, but rejects the only One from Whom it comes. As a result, God's pure love is twisted into a misshapen mass, that is hardly recognizable. As Christians, we are to not only love in spirit and in truth, but also to avoid the world's forgeries.
The topic of love is so very vast, I could do an entire sermon series on it. However, for the sake of brevity, I would like to focus on: love that gives, love that saves, and love that obeys. There is a natural progression here, which will be apparent as we go on.
Love That Gives
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:11).
In our world, one evidence of how much you love someone is what kinds of gifts you give them; the greater the love (and the pocketbook), the greater the gift. True love is one that gives for the sake of love, not because something is expected in return. For example, most parents have an instinctive love for their children and would do anything for them, even sacrifice their very lives.
We are God's children, physically because He created us, and spiritually, if we repent of our sins and receive Him into our hearts (are born again). So as His children, what gift did He give us?
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down (give) his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
There is a really powerful Christian anecdote, which I'm sure you've heard: "One day, I met Jesus and I asked Him, 'How much do you love me?' He smiled and answered, 'This much.' Then He stretched out His hands and died."
Jesus demonstrated His ultimate love for us by giving Himself on the cross, as payment for our sins.And in turn, He asks us to do something as well:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:38-48).
So, Jesus calls us to love not only our friends and family, but also strangers and even enemies. This is hard to swallow and even harder to put into practice, isn't it? What right does He have to ask this of us? What example did He leave us with, that might compel us to obey?