Don’t Talk to Cops

I recommend that everyone watch these two videos.  The first video is from a defense attorney/law professor at Regent University.  The second video is the “rebuttal” from a police officer.

What’s really interesting is that the defense attorney/law professor and the police officer both agree completelyWhether you are guilty or innocent, you should not ever talk to police officers about a criminal case without consulting with an attorney.

The Law Professor – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik

The Police Officer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE

Please note that the Police Officer admits that he is allowed to lie to you about whether or not he has any evidence against you.

Jesus Christ took the “don’t talk to cops” approach on occasion (text from Bible in Basic English translation):

Luke 23:8-9

8 Now when Herod saw Jesus he was very glad, having for a long time had a desire to see him, for he had had accounts of him, and was hoping to see some wonders done by him. 9 And he put a great number of questions to him, but he said nothing.

Mark 14: 60-61

60 And the high priest got up in the middle of them, and said to Jesus, Do you say nothing in answer? what is it which these say against you? 61 But he kept quiet and said nothing.

Mark 15:2-5

2 And Pilate put a question to him, Are you the King of the Jews? And he, answering, said to him, You say so. 3 And the chief priests said a number of things against him. 4 And Pilate again put a question, Do you say nothing in answer? see how much evil they say you have done. 5 But Jesus gave no more answers, so that Pilate was full of wonder.

John 19:8-9

8 When this saying came to Pilate’s ears his fear became greater; 9 And he went again into the Praetorium and said to Jesus, Where do you come from? But Jesus gave him no answer.

Matthew 27:11-14

11 And Jesus was before the ruler, who put a question to him, Are you the King of the Jews? And Jesus said to him, You say so. 12 But when the chief priests and those in authority made statements against him, he gave no answer. 13 Then says Pilate to him, Do you give no attention to what their witnesses say against you? 14 And he gave him no answer, not even a word: so that the ruler was greatly surprised.

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 6:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

For all you restless sleepers

Due to back problems and other issues, I often have difficult sleeping through the night.  Sometimes wake up 4-6 times – 2am, 3am, 4:30am 6am, etc. . .  It may also be due to not being physically tired enough on some occasions – work takes it out of me mentally, but my intense exercise tends to be in 2-3 hour spurts once or twice a week on the MX bike.

Anyway, Dr. Westmoreland prescribed me Restoril/Temazepam several weeks ago.  The generic version costs only $9.00 for 30 capsules and it is amazing.  It has a light muscle relaxer in it, which resolves any back stiffness issues and it comes in 3 strengths of the sleep portion of the drug.

If I take a Restoril, I sleep almost exactly 8 hours – it’s so precise that I hardly need an alarm clock if I time the taking of it right.  I wake up a little groggy for about 5-10 minutes and then feel really good.

The drawback is that since it’s a benzo (and thus prescription only), it can be addictive and on the other hand, it loses it’s effectiveness if taken too often.  Thus, I usually stick to 2-3 nights per week.  I highly recommend Restoril as a “dead to the world” sleep supplement – particularly if stiffness/soreness are issues for you.

However, it recently occurred to me to look up scriptures promising sweet sleep in order to focus on what is written and to pray for the Lord to increase my sleep whether Restoril is involved or not.  Here’s what I found (various translations):

Proverbs 3:24
When you take your rest you will have no fear, and on your bed sleep will be sweet to you.

Ecclesiastes 5:12
The sleep of a working man is sweet, if he has little food or much. . .

Job 11:18
And you will be safe because there is hope; after looking round, you will take your rest in quiet.

Leviticus 26:6
I will give peace in your coasts: you shall sleep, and there shall be none to make you afraid. . .

Numbers 24:9
His people lie down [and] rest like a lion. They are like a lioness. Who dares to disturb them? Those who bless you will be blessed! Those who curse you will be cursed!”

Psalm 4:8
I will take my rest on my bed in peace, because you only, Lord, keep me safe.

Psalm 139:3
You keep watch over my steps and my sleep, and have knowledge of all my ways.

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

On becoming like children . . .

Bible in Basic English
And said, Truly, I say to you, If you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven.

 GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Then he said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

King James Bible
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3

 I was recently given an opportunity to learn what children are like.  Siena, our nearly five year old, is constantly teaching this lesson and all one has to do is pay attention in order to learn what children are like.

 Jessamy and I have been married for for six years and we’ve never bought a new piece of furniture.  On Saturday, we picked up our new couch and chair – nothing particularly special and we got it at a furniture store closeout, but it’s much nicer than what we had.

On Saturday evening, we discovered that Siena had taken a BLACK sharpie to the new couch in an attempt to make the pattern on the new couch match the plaid pattern on the old couch.  She did a pretty good job in a 1′ x 1′ area – lines going north/south and east/west (she really is becoming quite the artist).  Jessamy and I were obviously upset – Siena had been previously instructed not to use sharpies for anything, ever, for any reason.

The punishment was a spanking, going to bed immediately, no music or story to listen to while in bed, no TV for a day and no treats for three days.  After I spanked her and was giving her a lecture about her “crime” and her three days without treats, she asked, “How many days are you going to be mad, daddy?”

I responded, “I don’t know. . .”.  But, of course, the next morning it was all over.  Fortunately, Jessamy and I used acetone on the marks and they are barely visible now.

Anyway, the next day Siena had virtually forgotten the incident – it was totally put behind her.  So much so, that (as I discovered 24 hours after that) she took her apple and banana and hid it between the couch cushions.  That following day, I woke up to discover a strage whitish mark on the couch and found the gross, sticky banana and apple remnants.  Siena had told Jessamy that she was done with her fruit the morning before.  Lying, of course, merits another spanking.

Anyway, again, once the spanking was over, Siena went on with her life as if nothing had happened.

So, what I’m learning is that children do some really dumb things.  Even at age 4 1/2, they think they are more clever than their parents and that dad and mom won’t discover their hidden fruit.  But ultimately, once they’ve been chastened, they learn their lesson, take it to heart and move on.

I also know from personal experience that I have done some really dumb, evil things.  Even at age 35, I’ve thought that I’m more clever than God (and Satan) and that God won’t discover the hidden “fruit” of my sins, transgressions, etc. . .  I am learning to repent, receive my chastening, learn my lesson, take it to heart and move on.  Just as Siena’s question about how long I’d be mad melted my anger, God’s anger is also melted by a repentant, broken and contrite spirit.  Even though the chastening and effects of our sins may extend for longer than that hour (i.e. three days without treats in Siena’s case or the death of a child in David and Bathsheba’s case), reconciliation to God is available immediately – if one will acknowledge their sin and ask forgiveness.

Time since the sin has no effect on the situation.  It doesn’t matter if it’s been 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or 1 lifetime.  Sin requires a Savior.  The thief on the cross had ZERO good works to point to and he had a lot of sins.  The thief had very little time to feel bad for his sins – he was dying while hanging on a cross.  He probably didn’t have 24 hours.  Yet, Jesus Christ told the thief that he’d be with Him in paradise.  All have sinned. . . but even if you had committed only one sin 70 years ago, you still MUST have a Savior or you will die and go to hell.  And if you have truly repented from that sin that occurred 30 seconds ago, that sin has been put away from you as far as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103:12

Children don’t spend a lot of time feeling bad about their sins once they’ve been corrected.  Siena has rarely been sorrowful about something for more than an hour.  The sorrow is good:

 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret . . .  II Cor. 7:10

But that is it’s purpose – to produce repentance.  After true repentance we are instructed to:

King James Bible
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Bible in Basic English
Let your change of heart be seen in your works:

From Matthew 3:8

Darby Bible Translation  

1 But Jesus went to the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down and taught them. 3 And the scribes and the Pharisees bring to him a woman taken in adultery, and having set her in the midst, 4 they say to him, Teacher, this woman has been taken in the very act, committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses has commanded us to stone such; thou therefore, what sayest thou? 6 But this they said proving him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Jesus, having stooped down, wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up and said to them, Let him that is without sin among you first cast the stone at her. 8 And again stooping down he wrote on the ground. 9 But they, having heard that, went out one by one beginning from the elder ones until the last; and Jesus was left alone and the woman standing there. 10 And Jesus, lifting himself up and seeing no one but the woman, said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Has no one condemned thee? 11 And she said, No one, sir. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

From John 8.

 And finally. . .


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.

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 2:23 pm  Comments (1)  

The Love of God

Here’s a long one. . . From “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis:

By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right.  And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness – the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or taht, but just happy.  What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?”  We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven. . . whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all.” . . . I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines.  But since it is abundantly clear that I don’t, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.

. . . Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness. . . there is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are no coterminous. . .  Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object – we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer.  Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.  As scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished.  Hebrews 12:8.

It is for people who we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms:  with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptable and estrainging modes.  If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness.  And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us . . . He has never regarded us with contempt.  He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.

The relation between Creator and creature is, of course, unique, and cannot be paralleled by any relations between one creature and another. . .  Such a unique relation can be apprehended only by analogies: from the various types of love known among creatures we reach an inadequate, but useful, conception of God’s love for man.

The lowest type, and one which is “love” at all only by an extension of the word, is that which an artist feels for an artefact.  God’s relation to man is pictured thus in Jeremiah’s vision of the potter and the clay, or when St. Peter speaks of the whole Church as a building on which God is at work, and of the individual members as stones.  I Peter 2:5. . .  Here again we coem up against what I call the “intolerable compliment.”  Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be.  But over the great picture of his life – the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a mna loves a woman or a mother a child – he will take endless trouble -and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient.  One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute.  In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.

Another type is the love of a man for a beast – a relation constantly used in scripture to symbolize the relation between God and men; “we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” . . . Its great merit lies in the fact that the association of man and dog is primarily for man’s sake: he tames the dog primarily that he may love it, not that it may love him, and that it may serve him, not that he may serve it.  Yet at the same time, the dog’s interests are not sacrificed to the man’s.  The one end (that he may love it) cannot be fully attained unless it also, in its fashion, loves him,nor can it serve him unless he, in a different fashion, serves it.  Now just because the dog is by human standards one of the “best” of irrational creatures, and a proper object for a man to love – of course, with that degree and kind of love which is proper to such an object . . . man interferes with the dog and makes it more loveable than it was in mere nature.  In its state of nature it has a smell, and habits, which frustrate man’s love: he washes it, house-trains it, teaches it not to steal, and is so enabled to love it completely.  To the puppy the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the “goodness” of man: but the full-grown and full-trained dog, larger, healthier, and longer-lived than the wild dog, and admitted, as it were by Grace, to a whole world of affections, loyalties, interests and comforts entirely beyond its animal destiny, would have no such doubts.  It will be noted that the man takes all these pains with the dog, and gives all these pains to the dog, only because it is an animal high in the scale – because it is so nearly loveable that it is worth his while to make it fully loveableHe does not house-train the earwig or give baths to centipedes.  We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses – that He would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves: but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less.

A nobler analogy . .  is that between God’s love for a man and father’s love for a son.  Whenever this is used, however, it must be remembered that the Saviour used it in a time and place where paternal authority stood much higher than it does in modern England.  A father half apologetic for having brought his son into the world, afraid to restrain him lest he should interfere with his independence of mind, is a most misleading symbol of the Divine Fatherhood. . .  It will become even plainer if we consider how Our Lord regards His own Sonship, surrendering His will wholly to the paternal will and not even allowing Himself to be called “good” because Good is the name of the Father.  Love between father and son, in this symbol, means essentially authoritative love on the one side and obedient love on the other.  The father uses his authority to make the son into the sort of human being he, rightly, and in his superior wisdom, wants him to be

Finally we come to an analogy full of danger . .  which happens to be the most useful for our special purpose at the moment – I mean the analogy between God’s love for man and a man’s love for a woman.  It is freely used in scripture.  Israel is a false wife, but her heavenly Husband cannot forget the happier days; “I remember theee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thy espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness.”  Jeremiah 2:2.  Israel is the pauper bride, the waif whom her lover found abandoned by the wayside, and clothed and adorned and made lovely and yet she betrayed Him.  Ezekiel 16:6-15.  “Adulteressess” St. James calls us, because we turn aside to the “friendship of the world,” while God “jealously longs for the spirit He has implanted within us.”  James 4:4-5.  The Church is the Lord’s bride whom He so loves that in her no spot or wrinkle is endurable.  . . When we fall in love with a woman, do we cease to care whether she is clean or dirty, fair or foul?  Do we not rather then first begin to care?  Does any woman regard it as a sign of love in a man that he neither knows nor cares how she is looking?  Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost: but not because it is lost.  Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.  Love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved . . . Of all powers he forgives most, but he condones least: he is pleased with little, but demands all.

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God LOVES man: not that He has some “disinterested,” because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His loveYou asked for a loving God: you have one.  The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the “lord of terrible aspect,” is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.  How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes.  It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring. . .

To ask that God’s love should be content with as as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us, He must labour to make us loveable. . . when we are such as He can love with impediment, we shall, in fact, be happy.

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Ron Paul on Freedom and Homeschooling

From “Homeschooling Today” magazine:

 http://homeschooltoday.com/articles/SowingLiberty_HST_MarApr08.pdf

 [The following article is by Rep. Dr. Ron Paul of Texas. Dr. Paul is currently serving his tenth term in the U. S. House of Representatives and appears here a public servant and statesman. It will not escape the notice of many that Dr. Paul is also a contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.  He is an honorable man who has been a champion of freedom and personal liberty for many years. Liberty in Christ is something we are very passionate about at Homeschooling Today magazine, especially as it relates to parents’ freedom to be the sole authority in the direction, content, and goal of the education of their children. For these reasons, we have invited Dr. Paul to teach us why and how to train our children up in liberty. In the tradition and manner of that other great statesman, Gen. George Washington, Dr. Paul is a Christian, but not a theologian. His teaching on personal freedom, however, can be supported by Scripture, so we have taken the editorial liberty to include the Scriptural arguments and supporting passages along with Dr. Paul’s valuable teaching. We exhort our readers to be as the noble Bereans: to study the Scriptures to see if these things are true. —Eds.]

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
—Proverbs 18:21

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. —Galatians 6:7

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  —Matthew 13:23

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. —Matthew 13:9

By Dr. Paul:

We live in one of the most difficult times in history for guarding against an expanding central government. We are seeing a steady erosion of our freedoms. We have arrived here because our ideas, our words—and the actions that follow—have consequences. Homeschoolers, by and large, understand that bad ideas have bad consequences, and even the best of intentions can have unintended consequences. We need to understand exactly what ideas brought us to this point. We can then, I hope, reject the bad ideas and reform our thinking toward a better set of intellectual parameters. Our goal should be to identify what ideas are now shaping our culture and work to sow the seeds of liberty for the generations who will come after us.

God hath not given us a spirit of fear…

Currently, the mood of our country is dominated by a powerful word: fear. Fear is not always the product of irrational thinking. However, once experienced, fear can lead us away from reason, especially if it is extreme in duration or intensity. This kind of fear is a threat to rational liberty. When people are fearful, they are more willing to irrationally surrender their rights.  The psychology of fear is an essential tool of those who want us to increasingly rely on “the powers that be” to manage the apparatus of the central government.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. —attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Clearly, people seek out safety and security when they are in a state of fear, and the result is often the surrender of liberty. We must remember that liberty is the ultimate security.  Our love for liberty has been so diminished by fear—of everything but God—that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that most Americans would have abhorred just a few years ago. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who refuse to submit to the will of those who have no rightful authority over them. Yet we have increasingly empowered the federal government and its agents to run our lives, far beyond their jurisdiction to do so. The seeds of future tyranny are being sown and many of our basic protections from government oppression are being undermined.

We tolerate new laws that allow the government to snoop on us, listen to our phone calls, track our financial dealings, make us strip down at airports, and even limit the rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury. Like some dysfunctional episode of the Twilight Zone, we have allowed the summits of our imaginations to be linked up with the pit of our fears, all to serve man. Paranoia can be treated, but the loss of liberty resulting from the fear of man is not easily cured. People who would have previously battled against encroachments on civil liberties now explain the “necessity” of the “temporary security measures” Franklin would have railed against. This would not be happening if we had remained vigilant, understood the importance of individual rights, and refused to accept that the sacrifice of liberty is justified by a “need” for security—even if it’s just “now and then.”

As Americans, we must confront our irrational fears if we are to turn the current tide against the steady erosion of our freedoms. Fear is the enemy. The confusing admonition to “fear only fear itself” does not help. Instead, we must battle against irrational fear and refuse to succumb to it.  Fortunately, there is always a remnant who longs for truly limited government, maintaining a belief in the rule of law combined with a deep conviction that free people and a government bound by a Constitution are the most advantageous form of government.  They recognize this idea as the only practical way for prosperity to be spread to the maximum number of people, while promoting peace and security. Their thoughts are dominated by a different and more powerful word:  freedom.

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty…

If we intend to use the word “freedom” in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: [political] freedom is living without government coercion.  If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog of rhetoric and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians often use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule.  We must resist any use of the word “freedom” to describe state action. We must also teach these truths to our children. 

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Freedom is not defined by safety.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a governmental false security blanket beckons. Self-reliance and self-defense are American virtues; trembling reliance on the illusion of government-provided security is not.

Many, if not most, homeschoolers have fought on some level for the freedom to teach their own children.  Most have had to stand against a tide of disapproval from friends and family. Some parents have dealt with strife in their church over the issue.  Too many have been questioned by local authorities who don’t understand the limits of their jurisdiction; some have withstood the scrutiny of state and federal laws, courts, and law enforcement who have overstepped their constitutional bounds. Still others have suffered fines, imprisonment, and separation from their children at the hands of a government that claims to be “protecting” the children. All homeschoolers have tasted a morsel of freedom that many others still can’t comprehend.

Homeschooling parents still regularly face questions such as, “Can you do that?” “Do they let you do that?” “Is that legal?” It all comes down to a proper understanding of jurisdiction and submission to delegated authority. Homeschoolers, by and large, maintain that the authority for determining the education of their children rests solely with parents. This spark of freedom must be fanned into a flame, not just among homeschooling fathers and mother but among the generation they are training up in liberty.

Ironically, the Constitution which protects our freedoms was conceived in a time of great crisis.  The founders intended to place inviolable restrictions on what the federal government could do even in times of national distressAmerica must stand against calls for the government to violate the Constitution—that is, to break the law—in the name of law enforcement.  America was founded by men who understood that the threat of domestic tyranny is as great as, if not greater than, any threat from abroad. If we want to be worthy of their legacy, we must pass it on to our children, showing them how to resist the rush toward ever-increasing state control of our society. Otherwise, our own government will become a greater threat to our freedoms than any foreign terrorist could ever hope to be.

Remember, a citizen’s relationship with the State is never voluntaryEvery government edict, policy, regulation, court decision, and law is ultimately backed up by force, in the form of police, guns, and jails. The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us—we’re supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. That is why political power must be fiercely constrained by the American people. We can’t wait for “our man” in Congress to do it. We must accept and take responsibility to keep government within its well defined boundaries, training our children to do the same.

The desire for power over other human beings is not something to celebrate, but something to condemn!  The worst tyrants of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were political figures: men who fanatically sought power over others through the apparatus of the State. They wielded that power absolutely, without regard for the rule of law.  Our constitutional system, by contrast, was designed to restrain political power and place limits on the size and scope of government. It is this system—the rule of law which we should celebrate, not political power. In a free society, government is restrained, and therefore, political power is less important. As defined by the Constitution, the proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system to prosecute acts of force and fraud, and that’s all. In  other words, the State’s role in our society is as referee, rather than an active participant.

Those who hold political power would lose their status in a society with truly limited government. It simply would not matter much who occupied various political posts, since their ability to tax, spend, and regulate would be severely curtailed. This is why champions of political power promote an activist government that involves itself in every area of our lives, from cradle to grave. They gain popular support by promising voters that the government will take care of everyone, while the media shower them with praise for their bold vision.…while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…

Political power is inherently dangerous in a free society. It threatens the rule of law and thus threatens our fundamental freedoms. It is the antithesis of freedom. Those who understand this should object whenever political power is glorified.  Our founding fathers understood this and endeavored to create the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else.

It is incumbent on a great nation to remain confident if it wishes to remain free. By no means should we be ignorant to real threats to our safety, against which we must remain vigilant.  We need only to banish to the ash heap of history the notion that we ought to be ruled by our fears and those who use them to enhance their own power. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society provides the incentive to protect the liberties we enjoy. The greatest chance for peace and maximum prosperity comes within a society respectful of individual liberty.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  —Galatians 5:13–14

It is important to know how we got where we are today. But, rather than focus on where we have failed, we should concentrate on the ideal of freedom. The freedom we enjoy today is the direct result of the commitment of men and women who refused to compromise their ideals. Certainly they failed at times, but they understood that the goal was liberty. We owe the founding fathers of our country a tremendous debt of gratitude. They created a society based on the radical idea that the purpose of government was to protect the rights of the individual—inalienable rights granted by God, rather than privileges granted by the State. Whereas God is “no respecter of persons,” the same cannot be said of the State, no matter how well-intentioned it may purport to be.

…I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts…

We can reclaim our independence, not with guns, but with our voices.  We can reject creeping statism and encourage the blessings of liberty for our land. It will require work and it will require commitment. It will also require a willingness to stand firm for our beliefs. It will not be done in one election cycle, nor will it necessarily be achieved in our lifetimes. Indeed, as others have done before us, it may require that we give our very lives. But that is a small price to pay compared to the sacrifices made by those who founded the United States of America and fought to give her birth and defend her freedoms.

Liberty. Freedom. Self-determination.

These goals are as worthy of our attention today as they were over two centuries ago in a hot convention hall in Philadelphia. Just as devotion to those goals brought forth this great nation, a renewed adherence to liberty, which we teach to our children, can save our nation today.  Our founding fathers felt it was worth pledging their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to secure and defend liberty. Do we?

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul tirelessly works for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. Known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for his consistent voting record, Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.  His consistent voting record prompted one of his congressional colleagues to say, “Ron Paul personifies the founding fathers’ ideal of the citizen-statesman. He makes it clear that his principles will never be compromised, and they never are.” Reach him at: www.ronpaul2008.com

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

What is willful sin?

Hebrews 10:26 states:

King James Bible
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins

Bible in Basic English
For if we do evil on purpose after we have had the knowledge of what is true, there is no more offering for sins,

Weymouth New Testament
For if we wilfully persist in sin after having received the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains in reserve any other sacrifice for sins. 

Definitions for use/assistance in this post:

Willful:  unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.

Despise:  to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.

Obstinate:  firmly or stubbornly adhering to one’s purpose, opinion, etc.; not yielding to argument, persuasion, or entreaty.

Malicious:  vicious, wanton, or mischievous in motivation or purpose.

Presumptuous:  unwarrantedly or impertinently bold; forward.

In a recent conversation, the subject of the difference between willful sin and non-willful sin became the topic.  One of the parties was considering sins that were not willful to be willful because those non-willful sins were committed “intentionally” – i.e. the person meant to commit those sins.  However, sin, by definition is KNOWING to do good and not doing it, so all sins are intentional in that respect.

In the conversation, I referred to two examples in expounding on the issue.  The first was Peter when he denied Christ three times.  If Peter had died immediately following the third denial, would he have gone to heaven or hell?  Was Peter’s sin in denying Christ “willful” as used in Hebrews 10:26?  Well, that’s not a question that is specifically answered in the scriptures and it requires some thought.  However, it is undeniable [no pun intended] that Peter was under SEVERE distress and temptation when he denied Christ – Peter was in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house while Christ was apparently being interrogated (See Luke 22:54-62).  If Peter had acknowledged knowing Christ at that moment, he likely would have been arrested, tortured and crucified.  It is not difficult to see why Peter pled ignorance in that situation – especially since Christ had not yet died, risen, gone to heaven and sent the “Helper” – the Holy Spirit.   But we’ll come back to Peter shortly. 

The second example I used was my daughter – on one or more occasions she has lied in an attempt to keep from getting in trouble.  For instance, she once came up with a very convoluted story to explain why her room was not cleaned (incidentally, for those who have met Siena, you will not be surprised to hear that even her “lying” stories are quite intricate, creative and entertaining. . .).

I asked the person on the other side of the conversation if I would/should disown my daughter because she had lied to me.  The person’s response was essentially, “No, of course not” – and that was the correct answer.  Funny how we, as humans, have a strange ability to project such goodness upon ourselves, but to also, in the same thought, project evil upon God.  After all, if basically any sin was willful, then we have fallen away at the first stumbling sin and there is no longer a sacrifice for our sins.  That would be a very harsh position for God to take towards His children – and God is not like that – I seem to recall Christ once saying, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”   

However, that brings us to the question of how much more we have to do to qualify as having committed “willful” sin . . . ?

The Geneva Study Bible comments that the term “wilfully” refers to committing transgressions “without any cause or occasion, or show of occasion.”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states:

BEGIN QUOTE:  “If we be found sinning, that is, not isolated acts, but a state of sin. A violation not only of the law, but of the whole economy of the New Testament.

wilfully=presumptuously

It is not a sin of ignorance, or error, but a deliberate sinning against the Spirit: such sinning, where a consciousness of Gospel obligations not only was, but is present: a sinning presumptuously and preseveringly against Christ’s redemption for us, and the Spirit of grace in us.

For there is but ONE Sacrifice that can atone for sin; they, after having fully known that sacrifice, deliberately reject it.”  END QUOTE

Matthew Henry’s Commentary states:

BEGIN QUOTE:  “This text has been the occasion of great distress to some gracious souls; they have been ready to conclude that every wilful sin, after conviction and against knowledge, is the unpardonable sin: but this has been their infirmity and error. The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men with a full and fixed will and resolution despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour,-despise and resist the Spirit, the only sanctifier,-and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life; and all this after they have known, owned, and professed, the Christian religion, and continue to do so obstinately and maliciously. This is the great transgression: the apostle seems to refer to the law concerning presumptuous sinners, Num. 15:30, 31. They were to be cut off.” END QUOTE

Assuming that the commentary above is an accurate portrayal of the meaning of the words, then Peter would have gone to heaven if he died the moment he denied Christ for the third time.  His sins were not presumptuous, persevering, nor was he in a state of [practicing] sin.  The three instances were all in one situation and were isolated acts – as far as I am aware, they were the only times he committed that particular transgression.  Peter was not despising Christ or the Spirit.  He was afraid of dying.  He had very serious cause and occasion for the commission of his sin of denial.

For what it’s worth, church tradition has Peter being martyred by upside down crucifixion.  Apparently he eventually overcame his fear of death. . .

There are two very important things to note about Peter’s denials:

1:  In Luke 22:61, Jesus turns and looks at Peter immediately after the third denial and Peter went and wept bitterly after remembering that Jesus had predicted Peter’s denials.  The weeping bitterly is hardly the behavior one would expect from a person who was willful, obstinate and malicious.

2:  One of Max Lucado’s books pointed this one out:  In Mark 16:6-7, there is a wonderful passage in which an angel states to Mary Magalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome (they were coming to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ and Christ had already arisen):

BEGIN QUOTE:  “But he [the angel] said to them, “Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He is risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” END QUOTE

The angel specifically singled out Peter and instructed the women to tell Peter, specifically, that Jesus was risen and would be coming to see Peter.  Note that of the remaining disciples (Judas had committed willful sin in selling Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver – there was no imminent danger for Judas at that time), Peter was the only one who denied Christ.  Note, though, that Peter was also the only one of the remaining disciples who actually followed Jesus to the house of the High Priest.  The other disciples were not there – they were hiding – and thus, they were not put in fear of imminent death.  (Note:  Peter made it a habit of being the first – or only – one to step “out of the boat” and to walk on water.  Perhaps that’s why he was the “Rock” on which the church was built.).

Imagine how bad Peter would have been feeling after his denials and after Christ’s death.  The angel knew that Peter would be feeling terrible, and specifically addressed him.

How wonderful of God to consider Peter’s situation and send him a special message for Peter, alone!

Published in: on March 8, 2008 at 4:46 am  Leave a Comment  

The Human Heart Revealed in the Art of Writing

Translations of Jeremiah 17:9

King James Bible
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Bible in Basic English
The heart is a twisted thing, not to be searched out by man: who is able to have knowledge of it?

Douay-Rheims Bible
The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?

Translations of Matthew 15:19

King James Bible
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Bible in Basic English
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, the taking of life, broken faith between the married, unclean desires of the flesh, taking of property, false witness, bitter words.

Translations of Matthew 7:11

American King James Version
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Darby Bible Translation
If therefore ye, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much rather shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them that ask of him?

Translations of Hebrews 3:12

King James Bible
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Be careful, brothers and sisters, that none of you ever develop a wicked, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

Weymouth New Testament
See to it, brethren, that there is never in any one of you–as perhaps there may be–a sinful and unbelieving heart, manifesting itself in revolt from the ever-living God.

Today I was reading portions of “The Mind of the Maker” by Dorothy L. Sayers.  One of the passages titled, “The energy revealed in creation” led me to the above verses.  Ms. Sayers stated concerning “creating” a character in a book:

BEGIN QUOTE “. . . a writer cannot create a character or express a thought or emotion which is not within his own mind.  Shakespeare is Iago as well as Othello; he can create the one as well as the other, because each is to some extent an expression of himself.

Actually what happens in the writer’s mind is something like this.  When making the character he in a manner separates and incarnates a part of his own living mind.  He recognizes in himself a powerful emotion – let us say, jealousy.  His activity then takes this form:  Supposing this emotion were to become so strong as to dominate my whole personality, how should I feel and how should I behave?  In imagination he becomes the jealous person and things and feels within that frame of experience, so that the jealousy of Othello is the true creative expression of Shakespeare.  He follows out, in fact, the detective system employed by [G.K.] Chesterton’s “Father Brown”: 

“I mean that I really did see myself, and my real self, committing the murders. . .  I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to the action.”

In this sense, therefore, Shakespeare “is” Othello; but we must allow that he “is”, in the same sense, Coriolanus and Iago, Lear and Cordelia and every other charachter in his plays, from Hamlet down to Caliban.  Or perhaps it would be more in accordance with reality to say that all these characters “are” Shakespeare – externalizations of some part of the writer’s self and self-experience.”  END QUOTE

I’m not much of a creative writer, and so I found it interesting that in order to create a quality character, the gifted author taps into the “dark side” of himself in order to come up with a believable character.

Interestingly, C.S. Lewis found “The Screwtape Letters” unpleasant to write because he felt that placing himself in the mind of a demon had been dangerous for his own character.

 The Chesterton quote above shows that Mr. Chesterton was creating in his mind a set of circumstances under the influence of which he would commit a murder.  In his honest efforts to do so, he was quite capable of coming up with a set of circumstances in which he would commit murder – at the point when he stated, “I realized that I really was like that. . .” he received a revelation that he, personally, was capable of such a crime – and he undoubtedly received a greater understanding of the scriptures above.

It appears as though the art of excellent creative writing reveals the potential wickedness of the heart of that specific writer – and of men’s hearts in general – as referred to in the scriptures above.  I find that to be fascinating.

Published in: on March 8, 2008 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

God’s Megaphone

And we are conscious that all things are working together for good to those who have love for God, and have been marked out by his purpose. Romans 8:28 – Bible in Basic English

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God . . . Romans 11:22 – KJV

From the Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis:

When our ancestors referred to pains and sorrows as God’s “vengeance” upon sin, they were not necessarily attributing evil passions to God; they may have been recognizing the good element in the idea of retribution.  Until the evil man (note that Christ referred to even His disciples as “evil” – Matt. 7:11) finds evil unmistakably present in his existence, in the form of pain, he is enclosed in illusion. Once pain has roused him, he knows that he is in some way or other “up against” the real universe: He either rebels (with the possibility of a clearer issue and deeper repentance at some later stage) or else makes some attempt at an adjustment, which, if pursued, will lead him to religion.

It is true that neither effect is so certain now as it was in ages when the existence of God (or even of Gods) was more widely known, but even in our own days we see it operating. Even atheists rebel and express. . . their rage against God although (or because) He does not in their view, exist: and other atheists, like Mr. Huxley, are driven by suffering to raise the whole problem of existence and to find some way of coming to terms with it which, if not Christian, is almost infinitely superior to fatuous contentment with a profane life.  No doubt pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truh within the fortress of the rebel soul.

If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thought to God when everything is going well with us. We “have all we want” is a terrible saying when “all” does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there’s nowhere for Him to put it.” Or as a friend of mine said, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; its there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.”

Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausably be looked for. While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interest but make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness.

It is just here, where God’s providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise. We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people – on capable, hardworking mothers of families or diligent, thrifty little tradespeople, on those hwo have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right.

How can I say with sufficient tenderness what here needs to be said? It does not matter that I know I must become, in the eyes of every hostile reader, as it were, personally for all the sufferings I try to explain . . . But it matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth.

Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for the moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when he thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him, they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them.

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On the Mercies of Man vs. the Mercy of God

It is written:  “And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many and great; but let me not fall into the hands of man.” – II Samuel 24:14 Amplified

I didn’t understand that verse in much depth until after I had practiced law for a couple years.  I’ve had personal and legal experiences with law enforecement officers.  Many, especially the younger ones, have usually had an “attitude” – rather than protect and serve, it was more as if everyone was guilty of something and needed to be punished. 

I once rolled through a stop sign at about 1-2 mph with NO TRAFFIC and NO DANGER and was pulled over by an officer who appeared to be too young to buy a beer.  Judging from his attitude, you would have thought I had bombed the police station and he did give me a ticket.  A similar incident happened when I was pulled over for having a rear tail-light out in a different town.   I’ve begun to wonder if there should be a minimum age of about 28 to be a law enforcement officer.

We currently represent a client who was convicted (plea bargain) of kidnapping and rape.  He agreed to and accepted the terms of the plea and his conviction was 5 years in prison, probation and he had to register as a sex offender once a year for 10 years at the sheriff’s office.  However, the Ohio Attorney General recently sent him a letter informing him that his agreed sentence had been changed because they re-catagorized the sex offender registry.  Now he has to register once every three months for the remainder of his natural life.  That’s called an ex post facto law – a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed prior to the enactment of the law.

However, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution states: No state shall . . . pass any . . . ex post facto law. . .  The change in the Ohio law as relates to our client is blatantly unconstitutional, yet the Attorney General and the Legislature ignore it because sex crimes are presently considered the worst possible crimes.  Note that the sex offender registry requirements avoid application of the criminal rules of due process and such because the legislature and courts have stated that registration as a sex offender is not a criminal penalty, but rather a civil matter.  I have no idea how they justify that finding.  Further, 5 years for kidnapping and rape seems a rather short term in today’s legal climate. 

On the other hand, the Assistant Prosecutor was recently telling me about a case in which a fellow was discovered to have about 110 very underage pornography photos on his computer that were found via the internet.  There was zero evidence or even allegation that the fellow had taken any of the photos himself and there was zero evidence or allegation that the fellow had ever abused a child himself.  However, the maximum sentence was 6 years per photo – for a total of 660 years in prison.

The assistant prosecutor is a very “law and order” sort of fellow, but even he thought 660 years was a bit excessive for possession of photos with no evidence of any involvement in abuse on the part of the person charged.  He offered the fellow a plea to possession of one photo which the fellow accepted and he was sentenced to 6 years in prison, probation, and lifetime (every three months) registration as a sex offender. 

Even at that, the comparison between the two cases is interesting – the photo fellow got 6 years for possession of illegal/perverted photos and the first fellow above got 5 years for actually committing kidnapping and rape.  Does anyone think there’s something wrong with this picture?

 I came across the following article by Al Cronkite a couple months ago and I remembered it this morning.

http://etherzone.com/2007/cron112607.shtml

Whatever happened to mercy?

START ARTICLE EXCERPTS:  Several years ago we had a neighbor whose attractive young, single daughter studied law enforcement at the local community college and became a Sheriffs Deputy. She visited us in her new uniform and I asked her what she had learned about discretion in making arrests. She stoutly declared that all who break the law are guilty and should be handcuffed and subjected to proper punishment.

My wife and I watched an old Andy Hardy movie. Judge Hardy’s daughter had a date with a young man and did not return at the usual 11:00 PM. Her brother, Andy, declared he would go looking for her because he heard a rumor that the man she was dating was a drinker and he was concerned about her reputation. He found them and sure enough the man had drunk too much and driven the car into a tree. Neither of them was hurt so Andy towed the car and brought his sister home. They sobered up the boy friend, took him home and arranged to have his car repaired. The following day the young drinker arrived at Judge Hardy’s door and apologized for his behavior indicating his willingness to receive whatever punishment the judge decided. Judge Hardy reminded the young man that he could have him arrested and jailed but in a merciful action said he had decided against it.

In our Florida town, an eighty year old man who had been stopped on the Interstate for speeding was separated from his new Cadillac, handcuffed and taken to jail for resisting a traffic ticket. This same scenario was just repeated in Utah where a taser was used on a young man who also resisted signing an assent to a speeding violation he had not committed.

United States authorities have stopped using a conciliatory, innocent until proven guilty approach to law enforcement and replaced it with a quick, cruel meting out of the most demeaning and stiffest retribution the law will allow. Handcuffs are applied to fathers in their homes in front of their children and to business executives in their offices in front of their employees. Arrogant policemen in every city, town, and village are endowed with the power to harass, intimidate, and falsely arrest almost at will. They demand instant conformance and for the slightest resistance will find a legal infraction that will cost you money or jail time. Our airports are teaming with intellectually challenged goons who thrive on demeaning citizens by ordering them to remove their shoes, searching their belonging, groping their private parts, and intimidating their persons.

Our government denies the use of torture but the procedures used against prisoners clearly fit into any sane definition of the word. Extended periods in solitary confinement, darkness, light, squalor, or a particular physical position are all forms of torture. Water boarding repeatedly brings on the agonizing panic of drowning. Unlimited, helpless imprisonment takes away all hope and is a living torture. Torture, which has become the policy of our government, might be considered an antonym for mercy.

Rudy Giuliani is [was] a front running candidate for President of the United States. He is a former Federal prosecutor whose highly publicized prosecutorial successes would have better served society had they all failed.
 
James Bovard in his book “Lost Rights, The Destruction of American Liberty” describes Giulinani’s raid on the financial firm Princeton/Newport. In the initial use of the RICO statute against a financial organization during the Christmas season in 1987, he sent forty federal agents with automatic weapons and bullet proof vests into Princeton/Newport’s offices where they carted off 275 boxes of documents. The indictment was for violating an “arcane” tax law. They confiscated all company assets, including the homes of the corporate officials, bankrupting the business – there was no trial and no proof of guilt. The charges were eventually dismissed but the losses to the individuals involved were never recouped.

Several years ago, I had an extensive internet correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish man who lives in our town.  He informed me that the Laws God gave to Moses were not to be administered to the letter but were to be tempered with mercy.

[He brought up] King David and the mercy he pointed out to me was evident in God’s dealing with the King’s crime. The crime was murder [and adultery] and murder [and adultery] requires the death penalty [of the murdered under under OT law]. This powerful King repented with the statement that he had sinned against the Lord and the prophet Nathan advised him that God had “taken way” his sin and that he would not die.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a merciful God. He was merciful to King David, his chosen instrument, and He has been merciful to me and countless other Christians whom He has selected to be drawn to the propitiation of the Savior. Mercy is a characteristic of our God.

The assault on peace and order that has been perpetrated on United States society has been successful in bringing a chaos that appears to have no remedy other than police brutality. The judges in our courts have forsaken immutable legal standards and resorted to decisions involving their opinions. This malignancy has infected the highest court in our land.
 
Law in human hands creates chaos in society and will bring on tyranny. As justice fails, laws become less and less effective, recalcitrant citizens more and more aggressive and enforcement more and more barbarous.  The humanistic legal system being used in the United States is not only inconsistent and unfair but is the instrument of wholesale injustices throughout society [See the Duke non-rape case from 2007].  Humanistic laws bring tyranny and death; God’s immutable Laws enforced with mercy bring justice, peace, and prosperity. The choice is between freedom under the dominion of a merciful God or tyranny under the cruelty of a humanistic regime.  END ARTICLE EXCERPTS.

Final comment of mine:  I am thankful that I work for a part-time Judge who has some understanding of mercy.  He has consistently ruled in reasonable ways in the cases I’m familiar with.  I think it has something to do with the fact that he has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney and now a Judge.  Since he’s been involved in all aspects, he has a balanced view.  He’s also aware that many of his [perhaps over-zealous] prosecutions in the early 80s didn’t acheive the expected results and may have, in fact, had a negative overall effect.

Nevertheless, like King David, I would much rather plead my case for mercy to God rather than than the mercy of man.  One may occasionally find a just judge on earth, but they are the exception, rather than the rule. 

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mediators on earth and in heaven

This morning I was reading in Colossians and came across a passage referring to Christ as a mediator.  I looked up several other passages about His mediation skills in the scriptures.

For example: 

Hebrews 12:24 – And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.

Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

I have read these passages probably 10s or 100s of times in the past 25+ years, but this morning I realized that I didn’t fully understand their meaning until today.  The difference between now and before is that I have attended three mediations as an attorney in the last year.  Thus, I have a fuller understanding and I suspect that the following information may be of use to others.

 We have an EXCELLENT mediator here in Meigs County – she apparently has about a 90% success rate in crafting/negotiating an agreement between the parties and thereby avoiding the further expense of a trial.  The following is a description of the mediation process as I have been involved in it:

The first party has a complaint against the second party and files a suit against the second party because the parties have been unable to come to a solution to the problem.  The second party files an answer to the complaint and sometimes files a counter-complaint against the first party.  At some point between the initial filings and the trial, the Judge usually orders the parties to a mediation.  In some cases, the mediator is appointed by the Judge and in others the mediator is chosen by the parties.

At the mediation, the parties meet with the mediator in a conference room – usually with attorneys, but the attorneys have a secondary role – the primary goal of the mediator is to get the two parties talking to one another and to get past the emotional prejudices against one another and down to the actual complaints and problems between the two people.

The mediator will start with both parties in the room and begin asking the first party questions about their complaints regarding the second party.  The second party is not permitted to talk at this time and is informed that they will have their opportunity to air complaints and tell their side of the story in a few minutes.  The mediator will listen to the first party’s complaints, ask LOTS of clarifying questions, and will then repeat back essentially all of the story in order to assure the first party that she thoroughly understands the complaints of the first party.  Once that is clear, the mediator will then turn to the second party and repeat the same procedure.

Once both parties have aired their complaints and both parties are sure that the mediator understands their complaints and positions, the mediator may then ask the second party to leave the room so she can discuss the situation in private with the first party.  At this point, the first party’s real, underlying complaints about the second party begin to come into focus.  After 15 minutes to an hour with the first party, the mediator will ask the first party what they REALLY want/need in order to settle the case.  If this is a child custody case, the first party’s requirement might be more visitation with the child.  If it is a house fire case and the insurance company hasn’t paid the claim, then the first party might require a sum of money in order to settle the case.

Once an offer of settlement has been obtained from the first party, the mediator will bring in the second party and ask the first party to leave.  Then the process is repeated with the second party until the point when an offer from the second party has been obtained.  The two initial offers can be a LONG WAY apart.  For instance, I was involved in one house fire case where the initial offers of settlement were $1,100,000.00 and $12,000.00.  That case eventually settled at a second mediation for about $240,000.00.

The mediator will then travel back and forth between the separated parties.  The mediator will tell the first party why the offer is so low from the second party by referring the first party to the weak points in their case and at the same time express feeling and understanding for difficulties of the first party’s situation.  The mediator will then try to obtain a lower offer of settlement from the first partyand take it to the second party.  The mediator will then repeat that process by telling the second party why the first party’s offer is so high and what the weak points of the second party’s case is in an attempt to raise the second party’s offer.

 The mediator’s expression of understanding of and feeling for the situation of each party is crucial to the process.

 The above process will continue until the parties come to an agreement or get up and leave in frustration.  However, in all three of the mediations I have been involved in, one or both of the parties got frustrated and wanted to leave, but the mediator would (almost physically) restrain them – she is VERY persistent in her attempts to get the parties to communicate and settle the case.  It is no coincidence that our mediator has about a 90% success rate at settling cases because she takes the time to understand both sides of the argument, she is very good at remaining unbiased, and she is very persistent.

Anyway, that’s kind of how the mediation process works in a court case.  Reviewing some of the other translations of the scriptures on mediation is useful in comparing Christ’s mediation to the court mediation process.

Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause it is through Him that a new agreement has come into being, so that after the errors under the first agreement had been taken away by his death, the word of God might have effect for those who were marked out for an eternal heritage.  Bible in Basic English.

Hebrews 9:15 – And because of this He is the negotiator of a new Covenant, in order that, since a life has been given in atonement for the offences committed under the first Covenant, those who have been called may receive the eternal inheritance which has been promised to them.  Weymouth’s

Hebrews 12:24 – And to Jesus by whom the new agreement has been made between God and man, and to the sign of the blood which says better things than Abel’s blood.  Bible in Basic English

 Hebrews 12:24 – and to Jesus the negotiator of a new Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks in more gracious tones than that of Abel.  Weymouth’s

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:24

Christ is the Mediator of this new covenant; he is the middle person that goes between both parties, God and man, to bring them together in this covenant, to keep them together notwithstanding the sins of the people and God’s displeasure against them for sin, to offer up our prayers to God, and to bring down the favours of God to us, to plead with God for us and to plead with us for God, and at length to bring God and his people together in heaven, and to be a Mediator of fruition between them for ever, they beholding and enjoying God in Christ and God beholding and blessing them in Christ.

This blood of Christ pacifies God and purifies the consciences of men.  This is speaking blood, and it speaks better things than that of Abel. First, It speaks to God in behalf of sinners; it pleads not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel did on him who shed it, but for mercy. Secondly, To sinners, in the name of God. It speaks pardon to their sins, peace to their souls; and bespeaks their strictest obedience and highest love and thankfulness.

Published in: on February 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quote from C.S. Lewis

…it is…a poor thing to come to God as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is “nothing better” now to be had. The same humility is shown by all those Divine appeals to our fears which trouble high-minded readers of scripture. It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose Him as an alternative to Hell: yet even this He accepts. The creature’s illusion of self-sufficiency must, for the creature’s sake, be shattered; and by trouble or fear of trouble on earth, by crude fear of the eternal flames, God shatters it “unmindful of His glory’s diminution.”

Published in: on February 20, 2008 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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