Vultures eat the dead or dying.
It is a fact of nature. If you are too weak to resist them, they will finish you off as they dine. No amount of indoctrination or retraining will get a vulture to eat only approved food. Likewise with rats, they’ll gnaw on it even if it isn’t organic matter. Scavengers do not make good pets. Nor will they ever be your friend.
Ironically, a group of vultures when not in flight is called a Committee. I’ll resist the temptation to run with that idea for now. Vultures feeding are called a Wake. Vultures in flight are called a Kettle. Let’s just go with Committee.
Reports have shown very little separation between Al Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban. All are Islamic extremists. They are predators, scavengers and vultures. Among desert people they are the desert rats. It is their nature to destroy and devour. In fact, they revel in it. It is their idea of a good time. Really. Let that sink in. They seek subjugation of and dominance over all who would disagree with them. How do you negotiate with such a creature? You don’t. “Negotiation” implies two parties seeking to reach a conclusion that will be acceptable to both. They don’t do that. But we do.
Is America Good?
We have been good and, in fact, that is our main weakness. In war anything that reduces the threat from an adversary is an exploitable weakness. So, when ‘coyotes’ are herding immigrants across the Rio Grande they will often throw children into the water, knowing that Americans will rush to their rescue. Then in the confusion, the drug smugglers cross the border upstream uncontested. They don’t care about human life and we do, so they use it to distract us by creating an emergency we can’t resist.
Our adversaries are free from the limitations imposed by caring about honor, duty, friendship, compassion, or even personal integrity. The “god” they believe in is a scary dude that will take you out if you disobey. Their faith, if you can call it that, is in diminishing human life to the level of compliance and ritual. They believe in killing and they are not inhibited by morals. They treat women as cattle and don’t allow them to become educated or productive. They only want them subjugated and indoctrinated so that they will obey. They have no interest in the advancement of human life. They simply want to control it.
Meanwhile back at the ranch:
In America all of our laws, policies, cultural practices, religions, and societal norms are based upon the valuing of human life. We believe in caring about each other and being good stewards for future generations. Generations of good people. This is rooted in the belief in a good God, the God of the Bible, a loving Creator. We have Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics, and many variations on these faiths but the one dominant premise in America is: Human Life Matters! We are creations of a loving God and it is our blessing to help to advance life on Earth. We are the most joyful people on Earth, the most resilient, the most creative, and certainly the most influential in the history of the world.
Everything in Moderation.
When we are more compassionate than committed to victory then we are exploitable. When we go to the other extreme we become creatures like our enemies. There is a point along this continuum beyond which we are no longer being compassionate nor considerate. Beyond that point we are being stupid and weak. In a tornado it is not smart nor nice to hold open a door and say, “No, you first, I insist.” It is a crisis so just find shelter and help others do the same! Likewise in a war, know that your vulnerability will be exploited and plan against that tactic.
The same applies when raising children. Parents who shelter their children from difficulty tend to raise weaklings and cowards. It is as if they believe that a child’s muscles will grow if the parent lifts the weights for them. People who do not face difficulty do not learn to deal with challenges. A “safe space” on a school campus where you are shielded from those who disagree with you is a really dumb idea. It doesn’t keep the kids safe, it just deflects the difficulties temporarily. It is like finding a shelter that only protects you from the first few hours of a two day hurricane. Sooner or later all of us have to deal with bullies, political opponents, jealous coworkers, unfaithful partners, greedy vendors, unscrupulous business people, and the physical dangers of the world. If we don’t then we end up hiding in Mom’s basement long after we are adults. And we seek to blame others for our weakness. Protect your kids from harm but let them find their own way through difficulties.
Goodness is not something that is taught.
It comes from what we believe. Our natural state is animal; do what it takes to eat and survive. Our enlightened state is spiritual; seek to do good and to advance and grow. Mortimer Adler once said there are only two basic questions we need to answer: Is there a God? and What is his nature? If there is no God then we are just intelligent animals, so do what works and then die. If there is a God but he’s a mean S.O.B. then you’d better figure out what he wants and give it to him. Just obey and he won’t hurt you.
But, if there is a Loving God, everything is different! That means that someone cares about us and we should care about each other. That means that Life has a purpose and we will become happier and more fulfilled when we help to advance life. Everyone who finds meaning in their life will tell you how good life is. Everyone who finds life meaningless will be angry because life is futile. Money, fun, food and bling are very poor satisfiers. They are the sugar of life: a big rush followed by an empty and guilty feeling. Love and goodness are the proteins and minerals, the nutrients of life that foster even more life.
Hope and Pray
If there is no God then what do you pray to? You don’t. Instead you beg, demand, rail against, gamble or blame whatever is outside of you: the weather, the country, the laws, the unfairness, the systemic-anything that disadvantages people like you. When you find others who have the same sour worldview then you organize to pass more laws, rules, policies and requirements so that others won’t have an edge over you. No God equals many many more laws, rules and regulations. Diminished life. An exercise in futility.
But when there is a loving God you can count on goodness as an asset. With good people contracts are kept. With good people consideration of others is given. With good people compassion is shown. With good people what we do in private is not a threat because good people don’t lie nor cheat nor steal. There’s nothing to hide. Good people do generous things with no expectation of reward. They thrive on being good. There is joy in generous living.
Hope comes in two forms. Weak hope is “I sure hope it doesn’t rain on our picnic.” Strong hope is “I see a pathway to safety! There is hope for us after all.” Weak hope is begging, it is a subject’s form of proactivity. But it is rooted in negative expectations. Pessimism is the worldview of weak hope. “There is no way! We tried that before and it didn’t work. What makes you think you are so special? You’ll never make it with all this traffic. Give up you are wasting your time.” Strong hope is expecting to succeed.
My own family’s motto, from long ago in Scotland, is “I Hope To Speed.” It used to perplex me so I looked up the ancient meanings of those words. Hundreds of years before automobiles “Speed” meant: to prosper or succeed. And hope, in this context, meant positive expectation. So, today’s translation of my family motto is: I Expect To Succeed. No wonder I became a motivational speaker!
Now look at the dark side:
Closed Schools, Teachers Unions Blockades, Comprehensive Racism Training, Unconditional Surrender to the Taliban, Unfettered Government Spending, US Support to Rogue States, Fighting COVID with Masks, Mandatory Vaccination, Micro-agressions, Pejorative Language, Systemic unfairness, Technological Threats from China/Russia/Iran, Social Media Censorship, White/Black/Brown/Yellow Supremacists, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Climate Change Deniers, Defund the Police, Make Landlords forgive Rental Debt, Make Banks forgive Student Loans, Low Respect among Nations, Stalemates in Congress, Lies from our Leaders, Communism, Socialism, Greed, Slavery, Banning Plastic Straws, Homeless multitudes, Nonstop Immigration, Voting Law fights, Atheism, Next!
Surely there is something else to fear that I overlooked in this list. Name your poison. Which ones get your blood boiling? If there is no loving God, then folks, we are toast! This laundry list of evils is all rooted in conflict among those who are not good and cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Good people could resolve almost all of this, without being required to do so. Pick your devil and apply goodness to dealing with it, most problems would dissolve quickly.
How many laws are enough?
Among bad people no amount of laws would ever be enough. Look at the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of laws on the books already in the USA. We have storehouses of documents across the country with policies, regulations, laws, requirements, codes, restrictions and other pronouncements that are not working. Passing a law against murder didn’t stop murders. So they passed more painful punishments. That’s not just a crime, it’s a “hate crime!” Excuse me, but all violent crimes are rooted in a hateful attitude. And penalties only restrict the good people who might consider doing the deed. Criminals just work harder to not get caught. What’s the difference between a 7 year prison sentence and a 50 year sentence when paroles and pardons can erase either of them?
Laws are not the answer. Goodness is the Answer!!!!
The best and cheapest law enforcement comes about in the home. When Mom and Dad require good behavior then the community doesn’t have to worry about it. When families go to church, pray together, bless their meals, say the Pledge of Allegiance at public events, then goodness ensues. When children are required by their parents to behave respectfully, responsibly, and with good intentions then society becomes safe again. When police officers are treated with respect and friendship they respond in kind.
There is no adversary so great that good people working together cannot resolve it. There is hope as long as there is goodness. There is goodness when we pray in gratitude rather than as a form of begging. Let’s be a grateful, generous, self-disciplined Good Nation Again!
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BIBLE: Will America Be Significant in the End Times?
Many believe that the United States will not play a significant role in the end times.
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As Christians, we believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world. Throughout history, people have pointed to various signs that they believe indicate that the end times are upon us. In this article, we will explore some of the biblical signs that suggest we are living in the end times, as well as address the question of why America is not a significant player in the world during this time.
Increase in natural disasters such as earthquakes, famines, and pestilences. In Luke 21:11, Jesus said, “There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Today, we can see an increase in natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, which are happening more frequently and with greater intensity.
The increase in wars and conflicts. In Matthew 24:6, Jesus warned that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.” We have seen this prophecy fulfilled in our lifetime, with numerous conflicts around the world, including in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. These conflicts have resulted in the displacement of millions of people, as well as the loss of countless lives.
The rise of false prophets and the increase in lawlessness. In Matthew 24:11-12, Jesus said, “Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Today, we see an increase in false teachings, cults, and religious movements that contradict the teachings of the Bible. Additionally, there is a rise in lawlessness, with increasing crime rates and civil unrest in many parts of the world.
The increase in persecution of Christians. In Matthew 24:9, Jesus said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Today, we see an increase in persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, with Christians facing discrimination, imprisonment, and even death for their faith.
The moral decline of society is another sign of the end times. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul describes the state of society in the last days: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
The rebirth of Israel. In Matthew 24:32-33, Jesus said, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” The fig tree is often used in the Bible as a symbol for Israel, and the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a significant sign of the end times.
What about America?
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Many pastors and theologians believe that America will not play a significant role in the end times. They base this belief on several Scriptures, including Revelation 13, which describes a future world government, the Beast, and a world leader, the Antichrist, who will rule over it. Many theologians believe that this world government will not be centered in the United States.
In addition to Scriptural evidence, many famous preachers, teachers, and authors have also expressed this viewpoint. For example, John F. Walvoord, a prominent theologian, wrote in his book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” that the United States is not mentioned in the Scriptures and therefore may not play a significant role in the end times.
Likewise, pastor and author David Jeremiah, in his book “Escape the Coming Night,” wrote that the United States “may not be a significant player on the world scene” during the end times.
Even Billy Graham, in a sermon he delivered in 1958, said, “I believe that one of the signs of the times is that the United States will begin to move into a position where we will not be a major factor in world affairs.”
Despite this, some theologians believe that the United States could still play a role in the end times, albeit not as a dominant power. For example, Hal Lindsey, author of “The Late Great Planet Earth,” believes that the United States will decline in power and influence but may still play a role in supporting Israel during the end times.
In summary, many pastors and theologians believe that the United States will not play a significant role in the end times. While some hold out the possibility that the United States may still play a supporting role, the consensus is that it will not be the dominant world power during this time.
So, what do you think?
The topic of premarital sex is one that has been heavily debated for years, with strong opinions on both sides of the argument. However, when it comes to the best approach for long-term physical, emotional, and psychological health, the evidence seems to point towards waiting until marriage. In this article, we will examine the reasons why it is best to not have sex before marriage, backed by studies and statistics.
Firstly, let’s examine the physical health aspects of premarital sex. One of the most significant dangers associated with premarital sex is the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 20 million new cases of STIs in the United States every year. This is a staggering number that highlights the importance of taking preventative measures when it comes to sexual health.
While condoms can significantly reduce the risk of contracting STIs, they are not foolproof. According to a study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, condom use was associated with a lower risk of STIs, but the risk was still present. The study found that individuals who used condoms consistently still had a 10-15% chance of contracting an STI.
Another physical health risk associated with premarital sex is unintended pregnancy. While there are numerous forms of birth control available, none are 100% effective, and accidental pregnancies can and do occur. According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. This can have significant emotional and financial consequences for individuals who are not prepared to have a child.
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The emotional health consequences of premarital sex are equally as important to consider. Many people believe that engaging in sexual activity before marriage can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. However, research suggests that the opposite may be true.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction and higher levels of instability than those who waited until marriage. This is likely due to the fact that individuals who engage in premarital sex may have a more casual attitude towards sex and relationships, leading to a lack of emotional commitment.
Another emotional health consequence of premarital sex is the potential for sexual regret. According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, individuals who engaged in premarital sex were more likely to experience sexual regret than those who waited until marriage. This regret can lead to feelings of shame and guilt, which can have long-term effects on an individual’s emotional wellbeing.
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Finally, let’s examine the psychological health consequences of premarital sex. One of the most significant concerns is the potential for depression and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than those who waited until marriage. This is likely due to the emotional and physical risks associated with sexual activity outside of a committed relationship.
Another psychological health concern associated with premarital sex is the potential for a lack of self-esteem. According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported lower levels of self-esteem than those who waited until marriage. This lack of self-esteem can have long-term consequences on an individual’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
In conclusion, the evidence suggests that this approach may be beneficial in several ways. By avoiding sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and negative emotional consequences, individuals who wait until marriage to have sex may be able to lead happier and healthier lives. Furthermore, research has shown that premarital sex can have negative effects on relationship quality and satisfaction, especially for individuals who place a high value on religion and traditional values. Ultimately, the decision of when to have sex is a personal one that should be made based on one’s own values and beliefs. However, those who are considering waiting until marriage to have sex may find comfort in knowing that the evidence suggests that this approach can have a positive impact on their physical and emotional well-being, as well as on the health of their future relationships.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats.htm
Warner, L., Stone, K. M., Macaluso, M., Buehler, J. W., Austin, H. D., & Hook, E. W. III. (2008). Condom use and risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia: A systematic review of design and measurement factors assessed in epidemiologic studies. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 35(5), 436-443.
Guttmacher Institute. (2019). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states
Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., & Brown, C. C. (2014). The impact of religiosity on the association between premarital sex and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(2), 429-438.
Barry, C. M., Madsen, S. D., Nelson, L. J., Carroll, J. S., & Badger, S. (2009). Friendship and romantic relationship qualities in emerging adulthood: Differential associations with sexual activity and contraceptive use. Journal of Sex Research, 46(5), 419-430.
Lambert, N. M., Kahn, A. S., & Appleby, P. R. (2003). Placing sex in context: The influence of relationship quality on women’s sexual satisfaction. Journal of Sex Research, 40(1), 108-112.
Lambert, N. M., & Dollahite, D. C. (2006). How religiosity helps couples prevent and resolve marital conflict: A longitudinal investigation. Family Relations, 55(4), 439-449.
Regnerus, M. D., & Uecker, J. E. (2011). Premarital sex in America: How young Americans meet, mate, and think about marrying. Oxford University Press.
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