Letting In Refugees

[Author’s Note:  If you disagree with my opening statements, that’s okay.  Please read the post in its entirety before dismissing what I have to say.]

Allowing Muslim refugees into the country is a hot button issue lately.  Can we trust them?  Should we open our doors knowing that there may be wolves among the sheep?  It is a dangerous game.  I’ll admit, I lean conservative on almost all of my views.  And I think that anyone who is allowed within our own boarders needs to be scrutinized and looked at under a microscope before just letting them in.  Being cautious is wise, not intolerant.  The leaders of America have a duty to the safety and wellbeing of Americans first.  All others are secondary.  But let us say we let in the Muslim refugees.  Should we give them free run of our streets?  I don’t think so.  Should they be put up in five-star hotels at the expense of tax payers?  I don’t think so either.  If we are to allow them in, they should be placed in some type of camps where they can be watched. Their basic needs should be provided.  Shelter with heat and air, clean water, and food.  If they choose to live in the US permanently, well there’s a process for that.  And the resources for that process should be made available to them.  Should they begin the path to citizenship, then as a nation of immigrants I think we could welcome them as such.  But if in the name of tolerance, which the liberal left is screaming, why is there so much going around about the Christians from the Middle East that are being denied asylum in the US?  Where is the cry for tolerance on their behalf?  Isn’t it extremely hypocritical to deny one group but blindly cater to another group in the name of tolerance?  In fact if tolerance is the battle cry here, why should it matter what their religion or nationality or ethnicity is?  That shouldn’t even be a factor.  The needs of the people asking for help should be the only factor.  Acknowledging the differences of any two groups and not treating the same is not practicing tolerance.  It is promoting segregation and discrimination.  Haven’t we grown past that?  Aren’t we better than that now? Apparently not.  So in my humble opinion, if we can’t offer the same asylum to every group asking for help, I don’t think we should offer it to any group.  At the very least we’d be treating them the same.

But let’s say I deny my own humble opinion, and look at the situation as a Christian through a Biblical lens.  How might that change my outlook on this scenario?  I’ve thought a lot on the matter.  Yes, there is danger in letting outsiders in.  There very well could be wolves among the sheep.  And I believe that there are.  But those of us that are conservatives who claim to hold to our Christian values, what are we to do about that?  I look at all the stories where good Christian families have opened their homes to strangers.  They’ve allowed former convicts to stay in their homes.  They foster troubled children and treat them as their own children.  And they didn’t do this without fear.  There were dangers.  But they were obedient to God.  And God has moved in the lives of those opening their homes, as well as those who were welcomed with open arms.  How should that inspire us on a national level?  And what does the Bible say about such things?

Hebrews 13:2  –  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Romans 12:20,21  –  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

These, just to name two passages.  If you claim to hold Christian values then you cannot deny that we are called to offer aide to those in need, even if our enemies are among them.  That is not saying that we should trust them blindly.  We should be wise and take precaution, because we are obligated to protect our own.  But, we can be cautious and still help those in need.  Saul of Tarsus was once dangerous to Christians.  He tracked them down and had them executed.  Imagine the first Christian household that was asked to take in the newly blinded Saul.  From there on out we know him as Paul, one of the greatest fathers of the Church.  When we obey God, He moves and works in ways that we do not have the foresight to see.  What if among the refugees, we have another Paul in the making.  He or she might have done terrible things, and could possibly do more terrible things.  But they have the potential to do great things in the name of the True God.  We need only do our part.  I look at the refugees, and I am afraid of the bad things that could happen.  But I also look at them, and I see men and women that are created in the image of God.  I see human beings, no matter what label they give themselves.  They should be treated as such.  They are in need.  Christians of the nation, we need to walk the walk if we are going to talk the talk.  Our Christian values give us no option but to help.  This is an opportunity to share the love of God.  And in doing so we will be taking the fight to the enemy. Because those people are not the enemy.  The evil forces of this world, sin, the demons and the devil that walk among us, they are the enemy.  And I assure you that they don’t want us showing love to anyone.  They want us who call ourselves Christians to turn our backs on those in need, and they want to laugh at us and mock God when we do so.

A little bit of thought with an open Bible in hand can change your world view.  So take some time to think on these things.  We used to run to the phrase, “What would Jesus do?”  Well?  What would He do?  Are we to avoid the beaten stranger in the road because he is not one of us?  Take some time to consider just who our enemy is.  I now think, with strict precaution taken, that we should allow refugees in.  Not in the name of tolerance, but in the name of Christianity.  Because that is what I think Jesus would do. Notice I didn’t say Muslim refugees, but just refugees.  Because they are human beings that need help.  It would give us a chance to share God’s love with our fellow man.  And if we as Christians believe that they are lost because of their denial of the Christ, then we have a free opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus with them here in a way that they might not have been able to receive it in the land from which they came.

Something to think about. God Bless.

-JCH

Regarding The “Gospel” of Barnabas

[Editor’s Note:  It has been pointed out to me that this post was misleading in the beginning.  Let me point out from the beginning that I am in no way endorsing the false “Gospel” of Barnabas.]

 

I saw this being passed around social media toady.  Take a moment and read.

http://www.truth-code.com/2014/12/1500-year-old-bible-claims-jesus-christ.html

[Editor’s Note:  I began by providing the original article for the purpose of showing what it was that I was writing about.  This way, the reader has the option to look over the material in question.]

I find it presumptuous to say that the Vatican is in awe.  Though I do not speak for the Vatican, nor does it speak for me.  So I looked into the claim.  The first thing I notice is that it says that Jesus was not crucified nor was He the Son of God, but a prophet.  According to this, Judas was crucified in His place.  I read a verse from this “gospel” and it says that the appearance and sound of Judas was changed to be like that of Jesus.  Jesus in turn supposedly ran away and hid, and was then taken away by archangels.  This “gospel” also calls Paul a fraud.

[Editor’s Note:  In the previous paragraph, I merely mention some of the claims of this document.  In the following paragraph, I point out the terrible implications of these claims.  I then provide a couple of my own thoughts on why this document is simply not true.]

Allow me to pick through this for a minute.  Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is the case and the book is genuine.  Jesus said that the greatest act of love was for one to give his life for another.  Which is exactly what the Bible teaches that Jesus did, by giving His life for all of us.  This writing implies that God did not perform the greatest act of love.  It says that God did not even come to Earth in the flesh.  What are the implications of this thought?  They are quite terrible actually.  First, we must do away with Isaiah’s suffering servant.  That prophecy clearly will not fit here.  A perfect sacrifice as symbolized by the Jewish sacrificial system was not performed in Jesus, and in turn our sins are not washed away, and we are all still slaves under the Law and living in sin.  We cannot  hope to save ourselves and we are all doomed to Hell.  Now let us look at the Apostles, who all but one died very horrible deaths for what they believed.  Which was the risen Christ.  Of course anyone can die for something they believe, even if what they believe is wrong.  But consider this, the apostles were in a position to know the truth.  Therefore, they would have been teaching a known lie.  In doing so, they would in the end have died for a lie.  This is something quite different.  They had nothing to gain in dying for what they knew was a lie.  And they had everything to lose in teaching the lie.  Not something very many people would do, especially eleven people all at once.  I’m quite sure had it been a lie, someone would have squealed.  But there is silence from these Church fathers in terms of refute.  Also, what of the body of Judas?  Had this not been Jesus, all the authorities would have to do is examine the body after the supposed sightings of a risen Jesus.  They would have know something was up and would have exposed the conspiracy.  But they had no body to examine.  The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers.  It is highly unlikely that a group of common fishermen got past them to roll away a huge sealed stone from the tomb and stole the body of an imposter.  In fact, the empty tomb itself is one of the greatest pieces of evidence of the day.  If there were no empty tomb, it is highly improbable that the first community of believers would grow by the thousands within the walls of Jerusalem.  With the tomb a stone’s throw away, they could easily go and witness the tomb.  If it was sealed, or a body was present, the credibility and growth of the new Church would have been doomed from the start and we would not have Christianity today.

This is my own initial views of the matter, and the “problem” dissolved into nothing after considering the validity of the “gospel.”  But still I looked further, and I found an article on the very subject.  Take a few minutes to check it out.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Answer/barnabas.html

[Editor’s Note:  I begin the conclusion of this post with another article that discusses this document in some detail, and it points out why it is clearly a fabricated piece.]

Of course there will always be those who have something to say about it.  They will claim to have no bias regarding the issue.  But I find it quite rare that a person in these situations are without bias.

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God.”   – Acts 5:27-39  (Emphasis added)

There will always be someone who tries to say Christianity is false.  They will likely not listen to any evidence that disproves or contradicts their theories.  If Christianity is of man, it will fail one day.  But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop it.  And in trying, you will find yourself opposing God Himself.

-JCH

[Editor’s Note:  I hope that the few added notes on this post help prevent future misunderstandings on where I stand in regards to the subject discussed.  Thank you for reading and come back anytime.]

 

Happy New Year

The new year has arrived.  In this time, there are many who are beginning their resolutions.  Some are planning to lose weight or eat healthier.  Some are going to try quitting a bad habit of some sort.  The determination between each individual varies.  Some succeed, and some do not.  So what resolution have you set for yourself?  What goal is important enough to you that you should try and change yourself to achieve it?

Yes, I have a few resolutions.  Not just because it’s the new year, the inclination better myself just happen to come at same time.  Convenient.  I too plan to lose a little weight this year, and maintain my goal weight if I achieve it.  I too plan to become a little more fit by exercising more and eating healthier.  I have educational goals this year as well as occupational goals.  However, what might there be that exceeds these goals in importance?  The answer to that is prayer.

Prayer I think trumps the rest of my goals.  I wish to pray more.  I wish to pray harder.  I will pray for my country and the coming changes with the election year.  I will pray for the leaders of this nation as well as others.  I will pray for my family and friends.  I will pray for the lost.  I will ponder over the mission that lies before us all.  The mission of getting the gospel out into the public.  I will pray for compassion so that I might see people as Jesus sees them.  I will pray for boldness so that I might act on that compassion.    What could be more important than spreading the seeds of the gospel?  What greater thing is there at stake besides eternity?  What greater urgency is there besides the condition of a soul that enters eternity?  Jesus considered these things worth dying for.

So what are your goals this year?  What is important enough to you that you should act on it?  And by achieving such goals, what will you gain?  How lasting are the results?  Months?  Years?  A lifetime?  Eternity?  Show the world what is important to you by striving for the goal.  Consider your most important goal, and you will find where your heart lies.  With prayer and conviction, follow your heart and you will never stop striving to achieve that goal.  And stay confidant that if your goal is within the will of the Father, you will achieve that goal as He has promised.

Consider your goals this year.  Seek the will of God in earnest.  Seek the will of God in reading His word.  Seek the will of God in prayer and meditation.  And when you’ve finished, consider your goals for the year once more.  Take note of any priorities that may have shifted.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope 2016 brings you many great things and new opportunities.  God Bless.

-JCH