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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

The Declaration of Independence

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IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

 

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

 

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

 

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

 

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

 

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

 

Column 1

Georgia:

Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

 

Column 2

North Carolina:

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina:

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

 

Column 3

Massachusetts:

John Hancock

Maryland:

Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:

George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

 

Column 4

Pennsylvania:

Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross

Delaware:

Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

 

Column 5

New York:

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey:

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham ClarkColumn 6

New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple

Massachusetts:

Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery

Connecticut:

Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:

Matthew Thornton

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On 9/5/2015 at 2:07 PM, William said:

1. Nature's God

2. Creator 

3. appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions

4. a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence

 I numbered the above in William's citation of the Declaration of Independence.

 

 It's obvious that belief and reliance on God was paramount in the formation of this country.

 

Something else, for those who want to get rid of prayer in all public places #3 is an "appeal" to God - this means it is a prayer.

Imagine today that whatever laws that are proposed and/or voted on that each person proclaims they did so with an "appeal to God for the rectitude of their intentions"?

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21 hours ago, Faber said:

 I numbered the above in William's citation of the Declaration of Independence.

 

 It's obvious that belief and reliance on God was paramount in the formation of this country.

 

Something else, for those who want to get rid of prayer in all public places #3 is an "appeal" to God - this means it is a prayer.

Imagine today that whatever laws that are proposed and/or voted on that each person proclaims they did so with an "appeal to God for the rectitude of their intentions"?

Yeah, great job pointing out the appeal to God cited in the Declaration of Independence.

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44 minutes ago, CDF47 said:

Yeah, great job pointing out the appeal to God cited in the Declaration of Independence.

This fact was never pointed out to me in the public school system. Then again, I suppose if any history teacher of mine did he/she would be probably reprimanded for "interjecting religion into the classroom."

 

 This leads to another point. I think it is very important to see that the founding document by which America became a nation contains within it a prayer to God. This totally debunks many myths (lies) that are repeated such as "Don't bring God into politics" "Let's not mention God in public places because it isn't proper - some people might be offended."

 

 And this too leads to another point. Prayer to God is given when the Supreme Court is in session:

When the Court is in session, the 10 a.m. entrance of the Justices into the Courtroom is announced by the Marshal. Those present, at the sound of the gavel, arise and remain standing until the robed Justices are seated following the traditional chant: "The Honorable, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United Sates and this Hoorable Court!" (see the 5th paragraph, the underlined is mine)

https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/procedures.aspx

 --> And yet the Court declared that prayer initiated by the public school can not be given to God in the public school system! (Engel v. Vitale, 1962)

 

 Need to stop here because the insanity and inconsistency just really irk me.

 

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Considering that 2/3rds of the soldiers that died on the battle field of the revolutionary war were Calvinist I would think that what "the people" believed should be used in historical context when examining the representatives appointed by the people. Rejecting the moral or moral basis for laws or the country's climate at that time falls into the Liberal/Dem trap where founding documents becoming living breathing documents which can be interpreted depending on the times or culture. This is opposed to taking the founding documents in historical context and attempting to draw on the principals and/or convey what the authors had in mind.

 

There is no doubt that God was invoked in early founding documents. And I think only by rejecting the historical religion of the people could one even insinuate that "religion" covered other systems of beliefs such as Islam or Satanic worship. This is my personal opinion, but I think the founding Constitution which uses religion in the 1st amendment was closer to "denominations". Again, only by rejecting the historical context of the 1st amendment could anyone inject other false religions in its stead outside of Christianity. I support my line of reasoning by other historical writings of early forefathers that wrote Islam is incompatible with the "west". Would our forefathers encourage or protect an ideology that is destructive to our way of life?

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On 9/17/2018 at 6:17 PM, Faber said:

This fact was never pointed out to me in the public school system. Then again, I suppose if any history teacher of mine did he/she would be probably reprimanded for "interjecting religion into the classroom."

 

 This leads to another point. I think it is very important to see that the founding document by which America became a nation contains within it a prayer to God. This totally debunks many myths (lies) that are repeated such as "Don't bring God into politics" "Let's not mention God in public places because it isn't proper - some people might be offended."

 

 And this too leads to another point. Prayer to God is given when the Supreme Court is in session:

When the Court is in session, the 10 a.m. entrance of the Justices into the Courtroom is announced by the Marshal. Those present, at the sound of the gavel, arise and remain standing until the robed Justices are seated following the traditional chant: "The Honorable, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United Sates and this Hoorable Court!" (see the 5th paragraph, the underlined is mine)

https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/procedures.aspx

 --> And yet the Court declared that prayer initiated by the public school can not be given to God in the public school system! (Engel v. Vitale, 1962)

 

 Need to stop here because the insanity and inconsistency just really irk me.

 

Yeah, that is ridiculous.  I went to Catholic high school and took Government class.  It was mandatory and God was pointed out as He should be.  I had to memorize the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.  I can still remember some of it by heart.

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On 9/17/2018 at 6:30 PM, William said:

Considering that 2/3rds of the soldiers that died on the battle field of the revolutionary war were Calvinist I would think that what "the people" believed should be used in historical context when examining the representatives appointed by the people. Rejecting the moral or moral basis for laws or the country's climate at that time falls into the Liberal/Dem trap where founding documents becoming living breathing documents which can be interpreted depending on the times or culture. This is opposed to taking the founding documents in historical context and attempting to draw on the principals and/or convey what the authors had in mind.

 

There is no doubt that God was invoked in early founding documents. And I think only by rejecting the historical religion of the people could one even insinuate that "religion" covered other systems of beliefs such as Islam or Satanic worship. This is my personal opinion, but I think the founding Constitution which uses religion in the 1st amendment was closer to "denominations". Again, only by rejecting the historical context of the 1st amendment could anyone inject other false religions in its stead outside of Christianity. I support my line of reasoning by other historical writings of early forefathers that wrote Islam is incompatible with the "west". Would our forefathers encourage or protect an ideology that is destructive to our way of life?

No, they definitely wouldn't support that destructive ideology.

Edited by CDF47

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On 9/17/2018 at 5:30 PM, William said:

Considering that 2/3rds of the soldiers that died on the battle field of the revolutionary war were Calvinist I would think that what "the people" believed should be used in historical context when examining the representatives appointed by the people. Rejecting the moral or moral basis for laws or the country's climate at that time falls into the Liberal/Dem trap where founding documents becoming living breathing documents which can be interpreted depending on the times or culture. This is opposed to taking the founding documents in historical context and attempting to draw on the principals and/or convey what the authors had in mind.

 

There is no doubt that God was invoked in early founding documents. And I think only by rejecting the historical religion of the people could one even insinuate that "religion" covered other systems of beliefs such as Islam or Satanic worship. This is my personal opinion, but I think the founding Constitution which uses religion in the 1st amendment was closer to "denominations". Again, only by rejecting the historical context of the 1st amendment could anyone inject other false religions in its stead outside of Christianity. I support my line of reasoning by other historical writings of early forefathers that wrote Islam is incompatible with the "west". Would our forefathers encourage or protect an ideology that is destructive to our way of life?

Whether separation of church and state is the best approach to governing ourselves remains to be seen in the long run. We know why it was so ordered because of the tendency of European states to name a type of Christianity for all the people to follow. It may have looked good on paper but was impossible to fully implement. Just look at the death toll Christianity has invoked down through the ages trying to win souls for Christ. The crusades, the inquisitions and the destruction of Indigenous people of Central and South America. This country was founded by people that wanted to worship as they wished. Maybe we have come up against our limits in the secular state implementation. With other religions that include state government moving in, just how are we to defend against that. There seems no perfect solution to move forward. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

 

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Peaceful disobedience is the way in which we love the world as well as the way in which we avoid becoming part of the world. I firmly believe that in carrying out spiritual disobedience, the Bible demands me to rely on the grace and resurrection power of Christ, that I must respect and not overstep two boundaries. The first boundary is that of the heart. Love toward the soul, and not hatred toward the body, is the motivation of spiritual disobedience. Transformation of the soul, and not the changing of circumstances, is the aim of spiritual disobedience. At any time, if external oppression and violence rob me of inner peace and endurance, so that my heart begins to breed hatred and bitterness toward those who persecute the church and abuse Christians, then spiritual disobedience fails at that point. The second boundary is that of behavior. The gospel demands that disobedience of faith must be non-violent. The mystery of the gospel lies in actively suffering, even being willing to endure unrighteous punishment, as a substitute for physical resistance. Peaceful disobedience is the result of love and forgiveness. The cross means being willing to suffer when one does not have to suffer. For Christ had limitless ability to fight back, yet he endured all of the humility and hurt. The way that Christ resisted the world that resisted him was by extending an olive branch of peace on the cross to the world that crucified him. I firmly believe that Christ has called me to carry out this faithful disobedience through a life of service, under this regime that opposes the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the means by which I preach the gospel, and it is the mystery of the gospel which I preach. The Lord’s servant, Wang Yi View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Afghan President calls ‘Conditional’ cease-fire as Taliban seizes northern district on Independence Day

      This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called a “conditional” cease-fire with the Taliban to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday, just hours after insurgents said they had seized a district center in the northern province of Faryab. The cease-fire will commence on August 20 and run for three months, Ghani said during an Afghan Independence Day ceremony on August 19. “We announce a cease-fire that would take effect from tomorrow, the day of Arafa, until the day of the birth of the prophet [November 19], provided that the Taliban reciprocate,” Ghani said. Download our FREE Mobile App - The Highest Rated Military News App in the World! He did not say whether Taliban authorities had agreed to the cease-fire, the Kabul government and the Taliban had declared a three-day cease-fire in June coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The announcement comes days after Taliban militants captured a military base in the same region. Provincial Governor Naqibullah Fayeq said on August 19 that the Balcharagh district fell into the hands of Taliban fighters late on the previous day following several days of heavy clashes because the Afghan soldiers did not receive reinforcements. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Differing Accounts Two provincial council members said government forces had surrendered but gave differing accounts of how it happened. Police officers, soldiers, and local government staff surrendered after spending months surrounded by the Taliban and receiving no help from government forces located in Faryab Province’s capital, Maymana, according to council member Abdul Ahad Elbek. Another member of the council, Aaq Mohammad Noori, said that 60 police officers surrendered after mediation by tribal elders following the retreat of an army battalion. The development comes as Afghanistan is marking on August 19 the 99th anniversary of its independence. President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials attended a wreath laying ceremony inside the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul. Earlier this month, Taliban fighters overran an Afghan National Army baseelsewhere in Faryab Province. The Defense Ministry said the Taliban gained control of the operations base in the Ghormach district late on August 13 following a gunbattle in which 17 soldiers were killed and 19 others were wounded. Some reports said dozens of Afghan soldiers were also captured by the Taliban. Taliban Calls For Direct Talks With U.S. The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014. In a statement on August 18, Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada repeated his call for direct talks with the United States to end what he said was the foreign “occupation” of Afghanistan. Akhundzada said the militant group wanted “sincere, transparent, and result-oriented negotiations” with Washington, adding that any peace settlement negotiated between the two sides must “preserve our Islamic goals, sovereignty of our homeland, and ensure an end to the war.” Akhundzada, believed to be living in hiding in neighboring Pakistan, had previously said the militants would not negotiate with the Afghan government, which he labelled a “puppet.” View the full article

      in Military

    • Israeli Memorial Day & Independence Day & What Would You Die For?

      Here in Israel, we just observed our Memorial Day and celebrated our Independence Day, which occur every year back-to-back. Talking with my chevruta (close friend and study partner -- like Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin in Yentl), we started to unpack the relationship between the two days and what it means for them to be conjoined. Memorializing our fallen soldiers and civilians, in short, gives context to our independence. It's not just that they died so that we could live here, but that they, and we, are willing to take that risk to be here, that we share the knowledge that some things are more important than personal safety or one's own little life.   That led us into comparing two heavy questions: What Would You Die For? & What Would You Live For? My chevruta believes that they are very different questions with, likely, very different answers. I suspect he's right on a practical level, but on the level of principles, it seems to me that they both press us to define What Does This World Mean To You? As God asks Adam: "Where are you?"   I'm curious what you all think.   (We recorded our conversation knowing that it might become an episode of our podcast, and it did. If you're interested, here's a link: http://www.holymadness.org/ - it's episode 16.)

      in Christian Current Events

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