First Baptist Church Mass Shooting Tragedy in Sutherland Springs Texas

Headlines:  “At least 26 killed in a mass shooting at Texas church” (Source)
Dear Church Elders/Leaders EVERYWHERE: So-called “gun-free zones” are, by a factor of FIVE (5), the most dangerous locations for mass shootings. If you want your congregations to be safe, PLEASE DO NOT create a so-called “gun-free zone” in your church by depriving them of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. All that does is stop your members from defending themselves. It DOES NOT stop mass shooters any more than laws establishing gun-free zones or restricting carry have stopped mass shooters.
Indeed, “…only in a “sheer utopian fantasy” would people expect that “homicidal maniacs” would follow gun laws.” (Source)  The churchgoers at New Life Church here in Colorado Springs are certainly convinced.  Many of their lives were saved when an armed member of the congregation shot and stopped a mass murderer before he could open fire during worship service. (Source:  New Life Shootings)
 
While we armed, law-abiding citizens are not cops, we can and will protect ourselves and our loved ones in situations involving active armed in churchshooters. Many of us are either current or former military or law enforcement. We are careful, conscientious, mature, and well-trained. Had one or more of us been present in Texas, the shooter would almost certainly have been stopped long before he managed to murder 20 people and seriously injure many dozens more.  Indeed, this morning the news reports indicate a nearby neighbor heard the shooting and fired at the shooter as he went outside the church to reload.  The shooter then diverted to his car and sped away.  Thus, an armed, law-abiding citizen DID prevent the murder of many additional people.
 
This could have been prevented. It WOULD have been prevented, or at least largely mitigated (stopped while in progress) had the leadership and members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas prepared themselves in accordance with the protections afforded all Americans by our Second Amendment and “highly encouraged” by God himself throughout many areas in both the Old and New Testaments of his word.
 
My sincerest condolences to the surviving members of the First Baptist Church. Too many of you went to be with the Lord far too early. Remember the words of Nehemiah, who, when faced with the fallen walls and gates of Jerusalem, cried out to God in heaven, confessing the sins of himself, his family, and all Israelites before asking, “Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:11)
 
The “the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses” include maintaining a strong defense against one’s enemies. Throughout the book of Nehemiah, he details the multi-faceted nature of that defense, including walls, gates, daggers, swords, spears, slings, and bow and arrow.
 
“MT” of BiblicalDefense.com makes some very clear and astute observations:
 
In Nehemiah 4, Israelites have been sent back from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. They were rebuilding their lives with the sanction of the civil ruler, King Artaxerxes. This was not a wartime scenario. It was closer to a racial integration scenario where racists wanted to kill them. Think of the KKK threatening black homeowners and students. They are surrounded by people who hate them and want to kill them.
 
These were citizens, not soldiers. Nehemiah 4:13 says that people stationed “people by families” around the city. These were not trained soldiers or law enforcement officers. They were merely concerned residents and settlers—citizens, not professional soldiers or law enforcement agents.
 
Note that these families were armed, with “their swords, their spears, and their bows.” This is a situation where they are willing to apply lethal force to defend themselves.
 
Let’s briefly discuss swords, spears, and bows. Swords and daggers killed Ehud, Amasa, and eighty priests. At longer ranges, we know bows and slings killed men like Goliath, King Joram, and King Ahab. Spears killed men like Asahel, Absaolm, the Israelite man and the Midianitish woman, and many others. These are handguns, shotguns, and rifles. These are implements of lethal force. In fact, at close range, a sword is more deadly than a handgun. These ancient weapons are as deadly as their modern counterparts.
 
Note that they are carrying these weapons for personal defense and civil defense, and that these are “assault weapons”, namely, the same types of weapons that armies would use for offensive purposes. And why wouldn’t they want assault weapons (for those weapons are the most effective weapons for defending oneself)? Why would you not want to use the best tools available for the task at hand?
 
Against what are they defending themselves? The crime of unlawful, racist murder. Hate crimes. They are defending their lives and their homes. Nehemiah 4:14 specifically says, “…fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” It is good and right to defend your family, even using lethal force weapons.
 
One final observation: In self-defense, these citizens did not merely own weapons. Rather, where they perceived a risk of harm to their persons, they carried their weapons with them, as many people legally carry weapons with them today, for the purpose of self-protection:
 
Nehemiah 4 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. … 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared. …. 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.
 
If you live somewhere where you have reason to be concerned about crime, this would be similar to legally carrying a weapon to defend your family, even when running daily errands to the store.1
This tragedy was avoidable.  So long as we live in a fallen world, we will always be under siege from others controlled by our enemy, Satan.  The real tragedy in this incident involving the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, however, was the fact that the members of its congregation, same as the Israelites, have allowed the forces of the day to tear down their walls, unlock their gates, and disarm them to such a state they were no longer capable of defending themselves and their loved ones in Godly, Biblical self-defense.
1.  Biblical Self-Defense.  (2013).  The biblical view of self-defense:   What does the Bible say about self-defense?  Retrieved from http://www.biblicalselfdefense.com/.

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Original version of the copyright notice:  All rights reserved. This article comes from www.biblicalselfdefense.com and was written by MT. You are permitted to print and distribute up to 30 copies of this article so long as this paragraph is included and you notify us of your usage. To distribute more than 30 copies, you must first request permission.

All Hallows’ Eve – It’s CHRISTIAN

Is Halloween of the Devil?  Some of my Christian friends think so.  I think ALL things of God have been perverted by Satan, including church worship. That doesn’t mean we toss worship out the window and go live in a cave.  When is the last time you heard a Christian say, “Well, those Satanists have gone and done it again.  They’re worshipping Satan.  Looks like worship is now of the Devil.  We can’t worship any more.  No more worshipping in this household…”
Yeah.  I haven’t either.
I have heard, however, as recently as three days ago, “We don’t celebrate Halloween in this household.”  Even so, the individual likes watching Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings, and even the occasional horror movie.  Go figure.
Halloween
Well, ok.  But what’s the difference?  Why are we allowing Satan to cut us off from some things and not other things he has perverted, like Christmas and Easter?
I checked a few sources and came up with the following:  “Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.” – (Source)
 
Like all hallowed (holy) things, Halloween’s remembrance of the departed was perverted by un-Godly forces into worshipping evil.  Although it began with simply remembering the dead, Satan morphed it into revering witches, ghosts, goblins, monsters, spirits, and other possible venues of evil.  Even the Bible clearly states have nothing to do with either witchcraft or divination, for those things are evil.  It always warns against spiritism, and to test the spirits, for some are evil.  The term “ghost,” however, originally only ever meant the spirit part of one’s soul, the component that departs the flesh when we die.
This isn’t exactly a newsflash, but Satan’s perversion of good, holy things began with himself, an archangel.  In fact, that’s why God tossed him out of Heaven.  But just because he perverted one angel, himself, does that mean we shun all angels, or things angelic?
No, of course not.
Satan’s perversion of holiness is to be expected.  Heck, he’s perverted pretty much everything, including vacations, Christmas, Easter, and marriage.  So, let’s toss all of those, as well, ok?  He’s certainly perverted Christianity, so let’s toss that out the window, too, ok?
How about, “No, that’s not ok.”  Christianity is not of the devil.  In fact, NOTHING on God’s good Earth is of the devil!  
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”  (Source)
Even Halloween!
So, instead of cringing in fear or shunning that which God himself has created, how about we do something different, instead?  How about we reclaim the ground which we have allowed Satan to take from us?
When it comes to fighting Satan, God never meant it to be difficult.  Indeed, Christ’s yoke is easy, and his burden is light (Source).  God defeated Satan.  The devil might like you to believe otherwise, but it really wasn’t much of a contest.  If we have indeed been adopted into God’s family through our faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, then Satan stands defeated before us, as well.  God’s word is simple:  “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you” (Source) Defeating Satan is easy:  Just recognize that he’s been defeated!  His ONLY power over you is that of deceit, of convincing you that it’s a struggle, or worse, that it’s impossible.  If you believe you’re defeated, then you are.  That’s how Satan binds you.  But if you know your victory in Christ, then Satan has no hold over you.
 
We resist Satan at Christmas.  We resist Satan at Easter.  We resist Satan in our marriages, our households, at work, indeed, throughout all other areas of our lives.
Here’s what we DON’T do:  We don’t quit.  We don’t walk away and given Satan ground in any area of our lives.  We are called to remain in the world, but be not of the world.  (Source)
 
Just because a good thing is perverted by evil does NOT mean that good people cannot still participate in it in a holy way. Christmas and Easter have been similarly perverted, yet we continue to participate in both of those in a good, righteous, and Holy way.  As Grace to You observes:
“Christians should not respond to Halloween like superstitious pagans. Pagans are superstitious; Christians are enlightened by the truth of God’s Word. Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God has forever “disarmed principalities and powers” through the cross of Christ and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]” (Colossians 2:15).”
 
Similarly, kids can still have good, clean, and even holy fun during Halloween, by dressing up as departed presidents, firefighters, famous aviators, and other wholesome characters.  You can even call it Halloween!  Or go whole hog and call it All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve.  There’s no need to be Christian Politically Correct and hold a “Fall Harvest.”  I mean, if that’s what you want to do, go for it.  But if you’re doing it because you think that’s somehow more righteous or holy than participating in All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, then I dare say your understanding of God’s word is off target.
 
When we distance ourselves from good things simply because Satan has tainted aspects of it with evil, Satan wins.  We hand him blue ribbons on silver platters. That’s his GOAL, after all, to turn everyone to evil, and if that fails, to at least take the good things away from those who love God.
 
Don’t let Satan win. Have fun this All Hallows’ Eve! Yet remain holy. 🙂

LGBTQ – Should We ‘Live and Let Live’ or Should We Stand Firm?

A friend of mine stated this morning on Facebook, “As for the LGBTQ crowd, I have a ‘Live and Let Live’ policy.  We all should follow that.”
I’m sorry, my friend, but I follow God of the Bible, and Jesus Christ, who showed us the way. In particular, with the adulteress at the well, he loved her (saved her from being stoned to death, no less!), but he did not allow her to persist in her sin: “Go, and sin no more.” Our Bible: “Male and female he made them,” yet the LGBTQ crowd wants us to believe there are a dozen or more genders? Phooey. I do not accept that because God’s word says that’s false.  It also says homosexuality is a sin, an “abomination before the Lord” in Romans chapter 1, clear as day.  Unless, apparently, you’re blinded by sin.
 
I accept the Bible.
 
Along with the Bible, I also accept the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
 
In highlighting and denouncing the sins of this small segment of society who demands that We the People pay for their elective medical care, I am freely exercising my religion, one which God’s word clearly indicates what we all are to do:
 
“In the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians, Paul introduces a shameful problem in the church. The Corinthians proudly attach themselves to certain leaders, whose teaching seems to disclose a “wisdom” not known or taught by other teachers, and certainly not by Paul or his fellow-apostles. These cliques and factions are undermining the unity of the church and are a denial of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In chapters 5 and 6, Paul calls attention to two other problems plaguing the church: immorality and lawsuits.
 
“Chapter 5 is not actually about the immorality of one church member, as much as it is about the pride and passivity of the entire church in response to this sinner. It is not until the end of chapter 6 (verses 12-20) that Paul exposes the evil of immorality.”
 
“Live and let live” is a secular — and sinful — approach to the problem, which is the fact that that the LGBTQ group not only wants everyone to adopt the “live and let live” mentality towards them, but they want us to believe that it’s somehow good.
 
It is not good. Adultery is not good. LGBTQ is not good. Abortion is not good. Murder is not good. They are ALL SIN.  Not only does the Bible state, “hate that which is evil; cling to that which is good,” but I refuse to allow my tax dollars to pay for evil i.e. their indulgence in sin.
 
“Live and let live?” Phooey! That’s how Rome fell. I worked too hard supporting and defending my Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic to allow America to fall to either class of enemies, especially while being being aided and abetted by foolish Americans who are suckered into a “live and let live” attitude, much less an, “Oh, let’s help them!” attitude.
 
No.
 
True, this is America, and people are free to sin against themselves and god it they want to, even with other consenting adults. If they want to engage in evil, then they can damned well create pools of funds out of their own pockets to pay for their sin, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow them to further their evil with my tax dollars or parade their sin around our nation’s public schools as “good” when God Himself says “sin is evil.”
 
That’s not only foolishness, but it’s how countries fall, how they are rotted from within.
 
Not on my watch.

Salvation Reality

Don’t believe every cute cartoon you see on the Internet.

It’s not “what you do and how you treat people. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Corinthians 2:8-9

There is no such thing as salvation by works — by what you do, much less how you treat others.

Now, for the next verse: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Corinthians 2:10

What we do, how we treat people is the end result, is the outpouring of God’s sanctification in our lives. Even the kindest, most compassionate and helpful do-gooder in the world has zero access to the Father (and his realm of heaven) if he rejects the Son. There’s absolutely NOTHING we can do to earn our way into heaven: “What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:9-12

It’s ALL God’s grace in the face of our undeservedness.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” – John 5:24

True Peace from God

There’s a tremendous difference between peace and quiet.
 
Peace comes from God. It’s a condition much like joy, in that it’s more of a spiritual condition than an emotion, and can manifest itself even in the most turbulent times.
 
Quiet, on the other hand, is what happens when you escape the turbulence. You may find a dim reflection of peace, and wrongly believe it to be peace, but it’s not peace. It’s merely quiet. Meanwhile, those you left behind remain in the turbulence. Because you pulled away, neither you nor they will share in life’s journey.
 
“I want to talk with you today about a subject that touches every one of us. Loss. Sometimes we’re faced with things we think we just can’t handle. The death of a loved one. A father. A child. And we strive to find a reason behind it. When those reasons don’t make sense, we question God. We look up and we say, “God! How could you do this to us? How can you put so much on our plate?”
 
“But we’re not operating on God’s timetable, are we? We don’t understand God’s plan. How can we? Let me tell you: This is where faith comes in. Faith can help us see his message in our own lives. Perhaps this loss is there to teach us not to take the ones we love for granted, to cherish simple, mundane moments, to love others as fiercely, and as bravely, and as compassionately as we can. And in that love, human love, forgiving, relentless, unconditional love, you’ll find peace.”
 
Source: Chicago Fire, Season 3, Episode 18: “Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional.” Chaplain’s speech at the end of the episode.
 
The kind of “peace” some religious factions are selling these days isn’t peace at all. It’s a lie. True, Godly peace transcends turmoil, trials, and tribulations. It’s right there with you in the thick of it. If you’ve found what you think as “peace” only after you’ve removed yourself from these normal attributes of life, you’re either fooling yourself or allowing yourself to be fooled, as that’s not peace. That’s merely quiet, and it’s a lonely one at that.
 
False peace is the easy way out. It’s the low road. There’s often an immediate release of tension, often accompanied by the false prophets peddling it saying, “There! You see?” as they lead you into blindness.
 
Doing right often requires us to take the hard road, or the “high road” as mentioned in English lore. It’s called the high road because it’s a lot harder to walk than the low road. Not only does it take more effort to reach — quite a climb, in fact — but the air is thinner once you get there, it’s usually more rocky and uneven, and you may not have as much company along the way. But it’s the right road, God’s “narrow path,” indeed the only path for those of us who call ourselves Christians.
 
True peace is from God. It empowers you to stay in the fight, “loving others as fiercely, and as bravely, and as compassionately as we can.” It builds. It restores. It never gives up hope, for true peace comes from God, and God is love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Cor 13:4-8
 
Take the high road. Restore a relationship. No matter what’s behind, remember Paul: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Cor 13:13-14

Yes, the Bible most certainly DOES condemn homosexuality

How is it that people like Adam Phillips can sit there and claim, “The Bible does not condemn homosexuality”?

Adam Phillips, Desmond Tutu, the LGBTQ community, and the politically correct zealots who are more concerned about homosexualityappearing right than being right are WRONG.

I couldn’t care less what “the church” says about homosexuality.  All I care about is what God says about it, and he’s already spoken, through his holy, sacred Word, the Bible.

The Bible most certainly DOES condemn homosexuality, and in at least 47 locations the last time I reviewed it.  In fact, it’s absolutely unmistakable, unless you’re so hell-bent on cherry-picking while ignoring blatant evidence to the contrary in order to justify the sin Rhetological Fallaciesof homosexuality.  When you’re at that point, as is Adam Phillips and uber-politically correct Tutu, you’ve sunk to the rock bottom point of chucking the Bible completely out the window while ranting like a spoiled child.  Neither Phillips nor Tutu speaks for the Bible, much less God himself.

Seriously, people, get real!  Stop allowing others (and Satan, the father of all lies) to pull the wool over your eyes.  Here are the four homosexualityclearest verses wherein God’s word calls homosexuality:

1.  “an abomination”

2.  a sin worthy of “death” due to its “bloodguilt”

3.  grounds for denial of entry into the kingdom of God

4.  “degrading,” “unnatural,” “indecent,” “depraved,” and “improper”

Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither homosexualityfornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

It doesn’t GET any more clear than this, people.  The evidence is inescapable:  Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible.

homosexualityHomosexuality undermines God’s created order when He made Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, to carry out His command to fill and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). Homosexuality cannot carry out that mandate. In addition, homosexuality undermines the basic family unit of husband and wife which is the God-ordained means of procreation.

For more (WAY more) on this topic, I encourage you to read CARM’s excellent article entitled, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality.”

While you’re at it, please do yourself and all honest, intelligent, and God-fearing people on the planet a favor and stop falsely claiming “The Bible does not condemn homosexuality.”  The Bible itself All you do is make yourselves look like blitheringly idiotic fools.

Thanks.

We can’t fight this through legislation.  You can’t legislate morality.  Sinful human beings will always find ways to engage in sin.

What we can do is continue to fight back by directly addressing the lies people spread to justify their sin.