I am_____________.

This is not a not my usual article. I’m not attempting to provide commentary on a current social or theological issue, nor expose an untruth or false teaching, nor shed light on a biblical principle.

This is a simple list of what I support.

Why? … I’ll get to that shortly.

I am Pro-God.

I am Pro – Christian Faith

I am Pro – Biblical truth

I am Pro – Traditional and Biblical Marriage

I am Pro – Life (in every way )

I am Pro – America

I am Pro – Liberty

I am Pro – Separation of church and State

I am Pro – Small Government

I am Pro – Constitution

I am Pro – Gun

I am Pro – Freedom

I am Pro – Family

I am Pro – Faith

I am Pro – Prayer

I am Pro – Truth

This is a short list of things that matter to me and things that I believe in. What one can reason from this list, is that if I am “pro” something, then I am ” anti” whatever opposes it.

The reason for this short list is for the morally ambiguous who may wonder where my allegiance lies. You see, I don’t typically broadcast my views on every issue nor do I publicly promote the propaganda of any political nature. I believe politics is dangerous and divisive, but unfortunately in some ways, necessary and fulfill a purpose.

IF you know me – you know where I stand … But if you didn’t, read this list and KNOW that I am not afraid to STAND ALONE. I would much rather stand alone and go down swinging, knowing I stood for truth and righteousness than blend  with the crowd of the unrighteous and worldly, and be a coward.

We live in a God-less era, where God has been removed fromevery possible place he can be, it’s no wonder why the events that are unfolding  around us are unfolding  –  why are we shocked?

But do not be deceived – We do not live in a God-less world. Choosing to ignore him, his teachings and laws do NOT remove him from existence. Understand that this is HIS world and we are merely living in it.He has allowed us to make a mess of it and one day he will back to clean it up – WRITE IT DOWN.

…And when that day comes, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess – and who then will want our meaningless platitudes to be shared?

Check yourself.

This list was for you, the reader, and your question-mark-man (1)information. Do with it, and me, what you will. IF you feel that you and I can no longer associate via social media – then  do what you must, but do so knowing it was your choice and not mine. I believe what I believe to be true and if what I believe to be true is, in fact, true, then with every breath in my body I will try to help you see the truth also…So if leaving is to be done, it won’t be done by me. Your soul is too valuable a thing for me to walk away from.

I am Keith Stonehart, and I am dead  – because Christ now lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Finding the Common Ground

It is plainly evident that our country is not headed towards, but already engaged in Culture War. Many will use the words “Liberal vs. Conservative” or “Tolerant vs. Intolerant” and even “Loving vs. Hateful”…. But none of these are correct… Not really.

Can we just call it what it is?

Good vs. Evil? No …

Right vs. Wrong? No…

It’s Human vs.Human… Here is why.

With  the onslaught of so-called “Human Rights Issues” at the center of this war, one view or belief opposed to another  are the grounds for battle and words are the weapons of choice (for the time being anyway). One group believes one doctrine or philosophy, while the other believes differently and by and large the conflict, no matter how large an convoluted it has become really boils down to one single point of focus –

Conform to my way or you are  “_____________________”

Agree with me or you are “__________________”

If you believe “_________________” then it means “____________________”

You fill in these blanks with whatever misdefined words you’d like, they all fit – Bigot , Intolerant , Hateful or my personal all time fave is when you take the beginning of any word to indicate behavior of a person and then just add “phobic ” to the end of it to imply that in some way I am terrified of this person or the implications of what accepting this behavior would mean.

(I began to type “childish” next, but I don’t want to insult innocent children.)

Ridiculous. This term is more fitting. It is absolutely ridiculous that we reduce human beings down to a label by using a word  targeted to  affect them and essentially  provoke the reaction. A ridiculous part of that formula is that fact that in almost every case these words are used incorrectly when doing so!

Example – “Bigot”

big·ot
ˈbiɡət/
noun  –   a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions
So, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty? 
 
Example – “Intolerant”
in·tol·er·ant
ˌinˈtäl(ə)rənt/
adjective  –   not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.
So again, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty?
One more..
Example – “_________phobic”
phobic – See phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.
Again, apply logic…. Would one who vehemently names some as phobic not also be guilty of being phobic to the view of the other?
Surely, you see my point.
For every misuse of these misdefined words(and so many others not listed) , we perpetuate war that will ONLY PUSH US FARTHER from the “so-called ” goal that is touted by both sides in this-
UNITY will NEVER be reached.
PEACE will NEVER be attained.
HUMANITY will be LOST and NOT GAINED.
 
You see, we are failing to see the common-ground we all share, and prefer to use it for a battle-ground – We are all human.
Each of us are human and whether you are like me , a believer in God as creator and lover of the creation or a devout Atheist that believes the opposite  – the one thing neither of us can escape is the common ground we both possess – We are BOTH human and both valuable.
The point of this article is not to try to convert you to my beliefs. While that is what I will always do for someone who is searching  , I can also recognize that  many are NOT searching and no matter how much my heart may ache for you, I can not and should not force MY faith on YOU. Doing so negates free will and the very premise on which I act and believe.
However, believing something differently than me doesn’t require me to hate you.
 
No, truthfully  – If I really care like my beliefs teach that I should , hating you would be counter productive.
However  – not approving of your actions is completely acceptable and by fair contrast – also acceptable for you to not approve of mine! The mind-blowing part of it all, is that neither of us has to hate each other for it!
Whoa – what a concept!
The freedom that this country grants us in part is the freedom to believe what we choose. For me  – my standard is the Bible because I believe it is God’s word and therefore, I want to follow it through and through.
You may not.
So rather than label you, provoke you, or malign you  – I will recognize that you are human and prone to error – just as I am and maybe someday, some way – we can meet in the common ground of humanity and have an intelligent conversation about our differences and behave like … Well, HUMANs.
I’ll be praying for us all.2015-06-05-bigot6
Photo credit – Adam4d.com

 

 

 

The Hard Consequences of Sin

In addition to the consequences that Ken lists here , this type situation is a direct consequence of a culture that doesn’t call sin what it is – SIN. When we use terms like “hook up or fling” , it doesn’t quite sound that menacing. Imagine how different this situation might have been if the terms didn’t sound quite so appealing?
Yes- thank God his grace , mercy and forgiveness when we sin – but let us not forget that while those flow freely from HIM – consequences still remain here.
– Keith

ThePreachersWord

Consequences

Zach Anderson is in court today. Again. It’s the last place his parents, Les and Amanda Anderson, ever thought their 19-year-old son would be.

Zach is described as a “typical teen-ager. He’s into computers and wants to build a career around his love for electronics.” But his plans for the future are banished. At least for now.

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Does Sin Negate the Christian Faith?

Ken nails it .. Thank you for insight brother!

ThePreachersWord

Duggars

Last night Norma Jean and I watched Megyn Kelly’s exclusive interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as they discussed the child molestation charges against their son, Josh.

Leading up to the interview we saw clips of the intense criticism toward the Duggar family from various news outlets. They have been called “hypocrites” and much worse. The vitriolic venom emanating from some sources has been excoriating.

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The Life of a Preacher

Spot.ON

finding hope in the word

prayer

In the last month I have had the blessing of hosting 3 different preachers in my home. The first was a preacher who had been laboring in South Africa for the last three years and is back in the states for the first time. The second is someone who has preached the gospel for several more years than myself (he was in Iowa for almost as long as I have been preaching). The third has not actually started preaching. He was in the middle of a move and needed a place to sleep. It was interesting to me to listen to the stories that we have told about various hardships we have faced while preaching the gospel. In same ways, I was able to do something that I haven’t done in a really long time. I was able to be open and honest with someone about what was going on…

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Love – What it is ,and what it isn’t .

Hate

“Love is love”.

I would be willing to bet you (if I were a betting man) that if I have heard that phrase once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

” Love is love and you can’t help who you love”. However saying something over and over, no matter the volume, no matter the repetition, no matter what century it is  – DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE…  And NO, time doesn’t change it either. For every time I have heard “It’s the 21 century, get with the times”  , I can only think to myself that if something is pure, if something is eternal and everlasting as true love is supposed to be by definition – then it is unchangeable by culture no matter what century it is . Right and wrong, as well as truth and fiction, are principles that are built upon unchanging standards. It has never been right to murder someone (Genesis 4) nor has a lie ever become truth (Romans 1:25) and love is no different.

I believe without fail that the bible is the ultimate standard because it is the infallible word of God and because God can not lie due to his nature, every single word of it is true. The further culture moves from this standard, the more things like truth, right and wrong and love become subject to human standards. As humans, a creation of God, God gave us the ability to reason and to choose as we were created in his image (Genesis 1:26). Given the ability to choose and not making us as unthinking robots,that means we also have the capacity to not choose him – but our own way.

Proverbs 14:12 deals with this in saying “ There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Just as children need the guidance of their parents to grow up well and to  make good decisions – we too are like children that need guidance  and that guidance is given by a perfect source and is absolute, so that it can be trusted . It is everlasting and most importantly – UNCHANGING.  A changing standard is unsure, unsafe and ultimately flawed because it can not be trusted. IF one day something is acceptable and the next day it’s not – How can someone stay true or on the right path.  I mean  2+2 still = 4 correct? OF course!Because it is based on an unchanging truth that can be tested and still be trusted when proven true.

So how is it that love is any different?

ITs not. 

First we must define love by its source. 

1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:16 “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

So love, is from God because God IS love, and the fact that we are able to love, is because God first loved us and so we are commanded to love one another because love is from God and when we love  , then we abide with him and know him.

So then , If in fact I am not the standard of love and where it comes from and God is , can I love just any way I choose to and it still be love? Let me put it like this – can I drive as fast as I choose to and still claim to be driving safetly? Well, despite my opinion of how well I drive, my opinion doesn’t override the law in place that regulates my speed . In fact , driving the way I choose  with no regard to boundaries set by an authority or standard  will  have consequences.  You see – we don’t get to rewrite the speed laws or change the meaning of speeding  – nor do we get to rewrite the meaning of love.

Now that we know the source of love and the author of it (notice the title author inherently carries with it the concept of authority)  , lets look at its definition.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.

What this first section takes note that no matter what I do,no matter how well I may do it without love it is worthless and in a word  – noise…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

This is the section that Hallmark makes their living on. But ,notice a few things here  –

It is patient and kind. I can say for sure ,that many of the people I have engaged with over the legality of same-sex marriage who scream vehemently that “Love is love” and neither been patient nor kind to me…Lets continue –

It doesn’t envy or boast.Also untrue concerning my experiences this year.

It is not arrogant or rude. This has been a big one. In almost every occasion , I have been talked to like a lesser human being who is considered to be “less than intelligent” according to the opposing views standard of intelligence. I have been insulted and derided and in some cases threatened . Again – I’m failing to see the love here that you are screaming into my face about.

It doesn’t insist on its own way and it is not irritable nor resentful. See the earlier comments.

It does not rejoice at wrong doing ,but rejoices with the truth.

Ok – this is the big one.

If love by definition doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing but the truth – then you can not call what you are doing love. Repeat  – If love by definition doesnt rejoice in wrongdoing but the truth – then you can not call what you are doing love. The same standard that defines love also defines right and wrong ,  truth and lies and ultimately sin what it is and what it isnt … Just like love. To rejoice in something that is opposed to God whether it be ANY type of sexual immorality , murdering , or lying or stealing ,cheating etc – is NOT rejoicing in what God has called good or true  – but evil or sinful.

But  – notice the last section –

Love bears ,believes,hopes and endures all things. This section is what solidifies love as sacrificial ! It bears the struggles of others when they need help , It believes the best about others when doubts arise , it hopes because without hope we have nothing to live for and it ENDURES with those who I may be at odds with because if I love the way I say I do – then I want the same salvation for you that God has extended ALL people

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Love is eternal and as other things pass away  , it wont .. So grow up and be mature. Face what you know is right and make the right decision. Stop being selfish and be selfless.. 

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest is love because is gives and doesn’t take.  ITs the greatest because it is not selfish , but selfless. It is the greatest because it is from God  , and it is GOD.

You can’t redefine what is not yours to redefine . Nor can you change what is eternal . It is what it is , no matter how loud you scream at me , no matter how much you repeat it and now matter how much you hate me for my stance about it – I will still love you.

Yes, I will.

I will still love you , because God still loves you – and thats the difference.

Love doesnt always suit me ,nor should anyone expect it to. When we adopt a human standard as greater than God’s , what is to keep me from hating you rather than love you? Whats to keep me from stretching out my fist to hurt you rather than offer my hand to help you?

When we replace God’s standard for ours , we accept a flawed and moving target rather than trusted and solid one. If the truth depends on me – we are doomed to fail .

And yes – I know all to  well that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians who have been equally or even moreso hateful on the other side of this issue. They wrong for the same reasons I have listed from the definition of love as the ones who have hated me.

Simply calling themselves Christians and doing things “in the name of” doesnt  make any of what they say true nor them a representative of the God they claim they serve.

After all words are words and they mean what they mean and none of us can change that – Out actions however , are another story all together.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins -1 Peter 4:8