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There have recently been many promotions, praises, and criticism of a certain best-selling book and its coming to the silver screen as a major motion picture. I will not directly comment on either. What disturbs me is that many, if not most, Christians cannot name the resurrection chapter in the Bible (evidencing that it must not be very important to them), cannot expound the nature of God (as taught in the Bible), cannot explain the gospel, do not know what “born again” means nor give the biblical context of that statement, cannot define repentance nor state whether it is needed today or not, cannot define "justification", are not drawn to Bible books such as Jude and the "pastoral epistles", cannot name the most common warning in the epistles, do not value corporate worship, wrongly think that discernment is opposed to love, do not know the biblical meanings of “love”, cannot link Matthew 7:1 with John 7:24, and do not care to know the before-mentioned (since they do not seem to “meet me where I am.”) On the contrary, they can expound on the latest best-sellers, and generally think that anything that seems to “lead someone to God” is from God, thus elevating pragmatism above the level of truth and truthfulness. I am not responding to anyone's post. I am simply making general comment regarding the biblical illiteracy and egocentric movement of the church (believers, real or pretend) that is so prevalent. It concerns me greatly that people erroneously think that "theologians" and ministers are supposed to know all about biblical matters, but not every Christian. It seems to me that if it is revealed in the sacred Scriptures (the Bible) then it is for everyone to value, understand, believe, and trust in. When a society of believers wanders from a strong stand on what has been revealed by God in the Scriptures, then personal experiences, personal testimonies (which was key when I was in sales), relevancy, novelty, emotionalism, and personal comfort zones will take precedence and will be trusted and relied on more than the Scriptures. Lack of discernment is largely due to biblical illiteracy. Could it be that this is the real problem with Christianity today? Could it be that we can dust off our Bible and gain discernment? It's not as entertaining, but it has quite the eternal value for those made by God of the dust of the ground. It's time for God's people to be grounded in His Word. “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” (Ephesians 6:24)
Fruit produced from our faith is necessary (Ephesians 2:8-10.) It would appear from Scripture (James' epistle and John's first epistle, for example), that obedience is a validation of one's salvation. I highlight "a validation." Some appear to be obedient but are not since they do not love, and love if the fulfillment of the law. In Jesus' first recorded sermon (Matthew 5-7) he reveals the intent and scope of the law and obedience to it, in that one can abstain from certain outward sins, and still commit those sins in his heart. The end of that sermon is about obedience and disobedience, which is a mark of a true believer, and is illustrated by the house on the rock or sand. I thank God that He causes us, by the Holy Spirit through the Word, to be grieved by our sins and to desire to confess our sins (1 John 1:9). It seems that the true believer will never be satisfied with disobedience or partial obedience, but will deeply desire to be obedient (Romans 7) and will continue to battle, since God's Spirit resides in him, and He is the Holy Spirit (underlined: "Holy".) The root of faith will, by God's work in His child, produce the fruit of faith. The fruit will point to the great Gardener, God Himself, and thus He will be glorified (John 15:8).
To follow up a previous blog about my disappointment of an instance at the latest National Prayer Breakfast:
I would hope that conservative-leaning people are willing to do and say what is right (and to call out wrong, even in one's own camp), not simply what is politically advantageous. I would hope that liberal-leaning people are willing to support and pray for our President and all others in authority (even who are not liberal-leaning.) I would hope conservative-leaning people will pray for liberal-leaning people in authority (and not with imprecatory prayers.) I would hope that politically-independent people (including me) would do the same as stated above.
It seems that either people are cheerleaders and damage-control agents, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, political hit men. My desire is for us to call out wrongs (in any Party or politician) and to give credit for what is good (by any Party or politician.)
I am very concerned that many Christians have unwittingly added to their Christianity some form of political-national-territorial-celebrity-if I win I’m right-god, and that wrong is suddenly acceptable, marginalized, and normalized.
It seems that some conservative-leaning friends could not make friends, and actually civilly converse, with liberal-leaning friends if their life depended on it (and vice versa.) That is unfortunate. What also is noteworthy is that some who lean the same way can't stay friends because one or the other is not allowed to disagree with anything about a candidate or policy. Perhaps they were not friends to begin with. "A friend sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
I always post what I mean, but sometimes I post something to see how people will react or not react. It seems to distinguish between friendships, false friendships, and acquaintances (I can bear the first and last). Ironically, sometimes those who engage strongly in opposition are actually my better friends, so don’t let the vigorous exchanges mislead you.
For the record: I’m not a fan of Jon Stewart, and disagree with him on many things. I thought the sign was funny and poignant.
I want to be a friend, but also want to keep and gain friends who will support and pray for our President (not only attack him), but also who will not worship him and excuse everything he says and does. Be a discerning, godly, and fair American, but be a follower of Christ first.
Let’s pray for our leaders, and also hold them accountable - not prey upon those who do so.
Is it true that our President, Donald Trump, asked for prayer for the "Apprentice" (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) television ratings last week?
If so, was this sincere, or another dig and stunt?
This was at the National Prayer Breakfast?
Is nothing sacred?
I expect better.
I hope I have been misinformed or that I misunderstand.
(Even so, let's still do 1 Timothy 2:1-2.)
My Reactions to Super Bowl 51:
I did my duty and wrote much during the Presidential campaign and also gave post-election analysis. I hoped that all of the political rancor would cease after the election. It didn't.
Therefore, I offer this analysis: Many are posting very demeaning communications regarding President Obama, which is most unfortunate (since he is still our President for a number of days, and then will be a former President, which should be honored by us all, regardless of our disagreement with his politics.)
Also, Meryl Streep is entitled to her opinions regarding the President-elect (as we all are), though it seemed like the wrong forum to voice them (though her thoughts should not surprise anyone, nor should we expect such statements to go away in the future.) What was most unfortunate, from my perspective, was the tweet from Donald Trump, in which he wrote that Streep was "overrated." The following day, she received another award, which was interesting. I hoped that our President-to-be would have taken the high road and simply stated that she is an excellent actress and deserving of the awards (which she is), but that they disagreed politically. My hopes and prayers are that he will not worry about, nor react to, what people say, but seek to govern well (for which he was elected.)
To my fellow brothers and sisters: Do not follow that example and seek to get even or one-up. Instead, return a curse with a blessing. As has been said by many (actual original source unknown): "America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." It is time for us to cease from the proud and bombastic language, and time for us to learn how to communicate with grace.
To all who cannot live without the latest political bloodbath: I suggest you seek to appreciate what we all agree on, and with character and civility engage the political landscape, even in the entangled fray and fights. In my opinion: Your love for our country is never in question, even if it appears that you hate others of your nation. Perhaps a change in tone can change that appearance. Perhaps we, a constitutional-democratic-republic, can indeed be one nation, under God, indivisible.
To my friends: It is not helpful for you to comment or post memes that criticize the riots. I do not approve of riots (Peaceful protests? Yes. Riots? No.) So, I certainly am not giving license to destruction of property and harm of persons. It is also ironic if you criticize, yet did not criticize the actions and words of the candidate(s) which precipitated the riots. What you may fail to recognize is:
America, bless God … and bless (love) your neighbor (anyone whom you can help.) Let's have each other's back.
It is time to Make America Kind Again.
My 9 Election Aftermath Notes
Steve Battaglia - November 9, 2016
1) Congratulations to President-elect Trump and Vice-President-elect Pence, and to all those who won the various elections!
2) If your candidate did not win, then I offer you my sincerest condolences and blessings. If your candidate won, I encourage you to sway away from the rancor of the campaigns, and rather, be considerate, gracious, and kind. Treat the other as you would have liked to be treated if the tables were turned (Matthew 7:12.)
3) To my non-Christian friends: I apologize for what may be seen during this campaign and election as boastful and hateful Christians. Believers in God struggle with the emotions of politics too, and in many cases do not handle that well, unfortunately. It is my personal view that true followers of Jesus would never want to harm you in any way, but instead want you to be blessed as well. If you are pleased with the election outcome, then I congratulate you, but also encourage you to consider the claims of the King of the kings and Lord of the lords, Jesus Christ. His kingdom is not temporary, but everlasting with joy and peace. His planned and performed sacrifice in death for our sins and His resurrection provide forgiveness and life everlasting for those who trust in Him.
4) To my fellow believers in Christ Jesus the Lord: I would encourage you to be careful about voicing and posting things such as “God answered our prayers …” as if those who supported the other candidate did not also pray and seek God’s face (and I have many friends who fit that description), and also as if every other election in which your candidate didn’t win was a case where God didn’t answer your prayers. I would caution you to not equate an election victory into rightness or righteousness; otherwise, you may have to also say that the legalization of marijuana is also right and righteous since it won in several states in this election, and that the sixteen years of Clinton and Obama were also answers to prayer. Perhaps you have never looked at it this way before – and perhaps we should attempt to understand other’s views and opinions, even if we have to disagree (we can disagree agreeably with grace, civility, courtesy, and kindness.)
5) As many know, I was not a supporter of either Party candidate, but knew that one or the other was going to win. So, I watched the returns knowing that I would be disappointed whoever won. Though I was not in favor of the one who did not win the Presidential election and was concerned about that possible administration, I still felt a deep compassion for those who were supportive of her. As I watched the reports on television, and as the eventual outcome became more evident, I felt sadness for the people in the crowds who looked so despondent and tearful. They need the Lord, as do people from all political leanings. The results may be a blessing from God, but they may be a judgment from God. Many have chosen to overlook obvious evil for the sake of the big picture, and in the opinion of many, have put their morals and values on hold in order to rescue their morals and values. Please know that this is how many people view most Christian conservatives.
6) My commendation goes to those who were gracious, while speaking out about evil in both candidates, and not giving in to the vitriolic partisan politics-as-usual. It is my view that your integrity is intact (and likely that you also received your preferred election outcome as well, while still not giving up your integrity.) You, and you alone, have truly been vindicated. Thank you for being graciously strong.
7) This election has also served to distinguish between true friends and false, and for this I am disappointed, saddened, and yet appreciative. This process has revealed character and a lack thereof, grace and pride, peacemaking and belligerence. We should learn from this, and strive to be people of sound character who are gracious and bent on peacemaking, even in the midst of a storm. Anyone can be civil and nice when all is smooth sailing, but it takes sound character to be so when all is in turmoil and when people become angry, unreasonable, and rude with you. May God help us for His glory and for the good of each other. May we learn to be kind, and not simply to respond in kind.
8) It should be a shame for anyone to post arrogant and mean-spirited comments or pictures online about the other candidate and/or Party. This should go without saying, but it seems that many are still evidencing their lack of character, integrity, compassion, and love for the sake of their politics. Remember that there are many who need the Lord who may be greatly encouraged by someone who is gracious, as opposed to someone who proves their beliefs right that conservative Christians are unkind and proud jerks, and nothing like Jesus Whom they say they follow. This is a prime time to let the fruit of the Spirit flow out of you and to shine for the Savior. Politics is passing away, political Parties are passing away, candidates and politicians are passing away – but the kingdom of God is not. America (as much as I appreciate and love her) is not our god, our comfort, or our resting place. Our god is not a Party, our savior is not a politician, and our holy spirit is not the political process. Know what kingdom you are actually in. “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)
9) Finally, we are called on to honor our elected leaders and to pray for them (Romans 13; 1 Timothy 2; Titus 2; 1 Peter 2), and I encourage everyone (even those who greatly dislike those elected officials) to do so. Pray for their safety, wisdom, and effectiveness. Pray also for the current administration. In doing so, we will prove to be godly temporary citizens. Perhaps we as Americans may bless God.
Grace and peace to you, in the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord.