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Fighting the allure of celebrity idolatry

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Fighting the allure of celebrity idolotry

One does not have to be an obsessed fan with pictures of a celebrity on their bedroom walls to be practicing a form of idolatry. Even casual fans, a group that encompasses the majority of western society, are falling into the trap of idolizing celebrities.

Let’s spell it all out in one paragraph before diving deeper into the subject. Most forms of spectator entertainment (watching movies, going to sporting events, reading news about celebrities, etc) are distractions at the least and can be extremely harmful for us spiritually when taken to extremes. Unfortunately, “extremes” in this case are probably not what most would consider to be extreme because fanaticism is so rampant that it has been accepted as part of our society.

Let’s dive into the topic, but first, a confession…

Fighting my own challenges

Throughout my life, I’ve allowed myself to fall victim to this on countless occasions. It may seem hypocritical to write about it since I’m fighting my own demons, but there’s a justification. Anyone who talks about fighting sins is technically a hypocrite because we’re all sinners, but that doesn’t make the message any less valid.

I grew up watching television. Lots of television. By the time I was an adult, I was an avid sports fan who followed many teams religiously. I started writing a screenplay with the dream of making it in Hollywood. I watched tons of movies. I studied many of them, reading the scripts and breaking down performances in a way that took it beyond being a hobby.

It’s a struggle to avoid clicking on links about this celebrity event or that actor’s latest follies, but I’m doing everything I can through discipline and prayer to pull away from these distracting aspects of the world.

Now, let’s discuss why it’s important.

Different scales of idolatry

… or do we?

Just because we aren’t in the desert melting down our gold earrings to be formed into the image of a calf for worship doesn’t mean that we’re not participating in idolatry.

Let’s look at it in the Bible, Exodus 20:4-6 (KJV):

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

We can assume that we’re not practicing Biblical idolatry as it pertained to the Jews of the Torah, but that’s not the only place that speaks of idolatry. While we see the second commandment as a binding statement to guide our lives, we must also look to Paul in his letter to the Colossians to gain a better understanding of how idolatry can affect us in modern times.

Colossians 3:2-7 (KJV):

4 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

If there’s one delusion that has overcome nearly all in western society, it’s the delusion that shrouds covetousness. Very few people would admit to it because they’re probably not even aware of it, but the primary reason that we follow our “idols” of movies, television, music, and sports is that we covet what they have. It’s not just the fame and fortune. It’s the skills, talents, attention, lifestyles, and access to things that we do not have in our own lives.

Let’s reiterate Paul’s words: “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Do we spend more of our time watching movies, television, listening to music, or watching sporting events than doing things that honor our Lord? Are our affections focused on things above or things on the earth? Finally, is there a scale when it comes to idolatry? Is wearing our favorite football player’s jersey less idolatrous than praying to a graven image?

The last questions are tougher and definitely up for debate, so let’s look at it from a practical perspective.

Time well spent

We can assume that in a world that has its attentions focused on the secular that few will be convinced of the concept that watching movies is a sin. Pointing fingers and declaring something is unholy simply isn’t practical.

I know this because I struggle with it all the time.

The thing that helps to keep me focused is the preciousness of time. I have a family. I run a company. I drink lots of espresso to try to keep up with both. Without distractions of entertainment, I have to make a conscious effort to set aside time for my Lord.

Part of this can be accomplished by inserting a Biblical mindset into everything I do. It’s hard sometimes because there are always things to do that don’t have an easy path for inserting that Biblical mindset, but nobody said this was going to be easy.

What’s the point of all this? Knowing that I want to please my Lord with everything I do acts as a reminder to avoid the distractions of this world. A popular question that many ask (at least they used to ask it) is “What would Jesus do?”

I prefer to look at it by asking the question, “Would Jesus like what I’m doing right now?”

In 1987, I watched every single Mets game.  All of them. I used to spend Saturdays and Sundays watching football for at least 4 hours each day. Add in Monday Night Football and there’s another three. Until a decade ago, I would watch 2-4 hours of television per day. Until about five years ago, I would watch a minimum of two movies per week. Looking back, I know that every minute of time spent entertaining myself in this manner did nothing to honor my Lord nor expand my spiritual understanding. I had set my affections on things of the earth.

This isn’t meant to condemn any of us for what we’ve done or what we’re doing now. It’s simply meant to make us think about what we’re going to do going forward. Time is precious, so I try to spend mine wisely.

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Culture and Religion

Top 5 ‘assault weapon’ technologies that existed BEFORE the Constitution was written

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Top 5 assault weapon technologies that existed BEFORE the Constitution was written

Just a sample of some of the repeating firepower that existed long before the 2nd amendment.

Leftist lore has it that the only guns in existence at the time of the writing of the 2nd amendment were muskets that took 5 minutes to reload. This being exemplified by the New York Times in using an image of a musket contrasted with an assault rifle in an article on their usual obsession with gun confiscation. Or from a commercial from a liberty grabber group depicting the long, drawn out reloading of a musket. As is usually the case with leftist lore, this is a complete fabrication.

The fact is that multishot or repeating firearms existed long before the affirmation of the common sense human right of self-preservation in the US Constitution. We’ve already highlighted some of these technologies that predate the Constitution. However, for the sake of completeness, we shall fill out the list with the other fine examples.

Since there is no set definition of the term ‘assault weapon’ or ‘weapons of war’ or what ever farcical term the liberty grabber left has come up with to demonize ordinary firearms, we bestowed this term to these technology as some of the first ‘Assault Weapons’.

Repeating rifles of the early 1600s, predating the Constitution by 160 years

The Encyclopedia Britannica has a very informative article on this subject with this excerpt detailing the most important point:

The first effective breech-loading and repeating flintlock firearms were developed in the early 1600s. One early magazine repeater has been attributed to Michele Lorenzoni, a Florentine gunmaker. In the same period, the faster and safer Kalthoff system—designed by a family of German gunmakers—introduced a ball magazine located under the barrel and a powder magazine in the butt. By the 18th century the Cookson repeating rifle was in use in North America, having separate tubular magazines in the stock for balls and powder and a lever-activated breech mechanism that selected and loaded a ball and a charge, also priming the flash pan and setting the gun on half cock.

[Our Emphasis]

Please note that these multishot or repeating firearms existed almost 2 centuries before the writing of the Constitution, eviscerating the ‘Muskets only’ lie of the national socialist Left. For those who are numerically as well a factually challenged, this was also 370 years before the 21st Century.

The Lorenzoni repeating flintlock: Portable firepower that predated the Constitution by over 100 years

Our first video from the venerable website Forgotten weapons is of two London-Made Lorenzonis Repeating Flintlocks. This was a repeating flintlock developed in the early 1600’s that was able to fire multiple shots 160 years before the writing of the Constitution.

Early development of revolving cylinder firearms, predating the Constitution by over 109 years

Next on the Pre-constitutional timeline, we have One of the Earliest Six-shot Revolvers from the collection of the Royal Armory that we profiled in a previous article. The Curator of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson notes that this wasn’t one of the earliest revolvers along with pointing out how the technology has ‘evolved’ over time.

This also brings up an important point, that arms and other weapons of self-defense were vitally important, a matter of life or death. Every living being is in a battle for survival, in the case of human society, these technologies determined its survivability. Thus it is a constant competition with these technologies constantly changing and evolving over time. Something that would have been known by the learned men that wrote the founding documents.

The Puckle or Defense Gun from 1718, was predating the Constitution by over 70 years

We have previously detailed the Puckle or Defense Gun invented in 1718 and demonstrated early ‘automatic weapon’ fire in 1721:

The Puckle Gun, or Defense Gun as it was also known, was invented and patented in 1718 by the London lawyer James Puckle.

This was an early ‘automatic weapon’ was capable of firing 63 shots in 7 minutes in 1721.

For those following along this missed the mark of being a 21st Century weapon by almost 300 years.

The multishot Girardoni Air Gun that predated the Constitution by 9 years.

This is another multishot weapon of war that existed before the Constitution.

Jover and Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket – 1786, this also predates the Constitution

Our last video of multishot or repeating firearms that predated the Constitution is the Jover and Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket from 1786. We’re trying to keep this as short as possible, thus we have left off other examples such as the Ribauldequin, Duckfoot or Nock gun.

Very much like the previous example, the Belton Flintlock Repeating Musket was known to the founding fathers because he corresponded with Congress on this weapon in 1777 [Again, before the drafting of the Constitution]. For those keeping score at home, 1786 is still is not of the 21st Century.

Leftist lies on this subject depends on a number of improbable fallacies and assumptions. The founding fathers would have known the history of technological developments and they would have expected those developments to continue. Thus rendering the fallacy that they could not have foreseen that weapons technologies wouldn’t of continued on to the point of absurdity.

The Takeaway

Unfortunately for the Liberty Grabber Left, firearms tend to be valuable historical artifacts, these videos show that multishot or repeating firearms existed well before the Constitution. Thus we have eviscerated the ‘musket myth’. It should also be evident that the violence problem hasn’t been caused by the ‘easy’ availability of guns or repeating firearms.

As is the case with most Leftist lies and prevarication’s, they depend on a lack knowledge of the subject to succeed. This is why is extremely important that everyone of the Pro-Liberty Right be apprised of these facts in engaging those of the Left who have little care for logic, science or truth. The fact that multishot or repeating firearms existed centuries ago should make it clear that the Left is lying about the subject of self-defense from beginning to end.

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Culture and Religion

Naeem Fazal: Is Allah the same as Yahweh?

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Naeem Fazal Is Allah the same as Yahweh

One of the biggest reasons for the rise of the various movements attempting to unite the various religions of the world is the desire to end conflict. This isn’t just on the battlefield. Many want to prevent any one religion from spreading its doctrines as superior, opting instead for the push to say all religions are just variations on the same theme. This is, of course, very far from the truth.

The push to claim Allah, the god of Islam, is the same as Yahweh, the God of Jews and Christians, has been making its rounds across churches and public discourse for a while. It’s heretical and can be clearly debunked with a basic reading of scripture as well as readings of Quran. At the heart of the matter is the relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet and the right-hand-man who will return to chastise all non-Muslims into believing in Islam or falling to the sword. There’s no connection between the two beliefs that can reconcile these fundamental differences.

Former Muslim Naeem Fazal visited with the folks at The One Minute Apologist to clear things up about Allah and Yahweh. His book, Ex-Muslim, is a great read for those who want to explore a wonderful transformation to the faith.

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7 life lessons we can learn from Daniel’s example

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7 life lessons we can learn from Daniels example

The Book of Daniel is one of the most profound and even entertaining books of the Bible. Within its amazing pages are some incredible lessons that we can apply to our lives today.

Chapter 2 in particular is often hurried through for a couple of reasons. First, it’s considered by most Bible scholars to be prophecy that’s already been fulfilled, so those who look to Daniel for its prophetic reasons may skip it as a history lesson. Second, the story focuses on Nebuchadnezzar‘s dream, but there are little nuances that highlight the character of Daniel in ways that are truly amazing.

Let’s take a look at 7 important lessons from the book. There are many others, of course, but these seven are all great places to start as we apply them to our lives today.

1. Be Reasonable with Your Faith

In the first chapter, Daniel and his companions are supposed to eat of the king’s meat and drink the wine of the kingdom. This had two purposes – to keep these special children who would become the wise men of the land as healthy as possible and to indoctrinate them into the customs of their new masters. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself in this manner, knowing that doing so would go against the Torah.

Rather than fight, refuse, or hold a hunger strike, he asked to eat pulse and drink water. His request was denied because the master of the eunuchs did not want them to get weak and feeble in fear of what the king would do to him. Daniel took one more shot, this time with Melzar who was their caretaker.

Daniel 1:11-13 (KJV)

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

God allowed this to happen. Daniel and his companions were “fairer and fatter in flesh” than those who were eating the king’s meat.

There is no compromise for our faith. Had Melzar not allowed Daniel and his companions to eat the food that God required of them, then it’s very likely that Daniel would have handled the matter more firmly, even risking his own life to remain true to his faith. He would probably have become militant, but he first tried to be reasonable and it worked.

As Christians in such a perverse age, we are often called to take a stand against injustices that go against our faith. Many of us (myself included) often start off militant rather than giving the Holy Spirit a chance to move on our behalf. There are times when we must stand firm, but that should not always be the first option. Daniel accomplished his goal without offending anyone or hurting his own objectives.

2. Pray with Friends

Daniel prayed by himself all the time. However, when faced with death by decree of the king in Chapter 2, Daniel requested time to answer the king’s challenge. The first thing he did with his time was to go to his three companions so they could pray together for help.

There are times to pray alone, but when the need is great, it’s important to pray with others. The verses themselves, listed below, reveal two more important lessons; so many things we can learn are right there in a couple of short verses in Chapter 2.

3. Pray for Ends, not the Means

The prayer of the Jewish boys was done with more wisdom than most Christians and Jews have today. It’s a shame that we don’t get to read the actual prayer, but its short description within two verses in Chapter 2 tell us what we need to know about them:

Daniel 2:17-18 (KJV)

17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Most people, given the impossible challenge of knowing what a king dreamed and interpreting it for him in order to save their lives, would pray to know the dream and the interpretation so they would not perish. It seems straight forward, right? However, Daniel and his companions did not pray for this because this would be a presumptuous prayer. Instead, they prayed for mercies concerning this secret so they would not perish like the other wise men of the land.

Do you see the subtle difference? As it turned out, God gave Daniel the dream and its interpretation, but God could have easily answered the prayer any way He chose. His “mercies concerning the secret” could have been to change the king’s heart, to open a way for the Daniel and his companions to escape, to send a fireball down to devour the king… you get the point. They prayed with the goal in mind, that they would not be killed like the others. They left the methodology to God.

4. Be Humble, Thankful, and Full of Praise to the Father

It’s amazing that there are so many lessons in a few verses in Chapter 2. Another lesson was taught immediately after they prayed to God to not let them die. The lesson is one that we all need to hear more: Praise God as the wonderful Father that He is.

Daniel 2:19-23 (KJV)

19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Obviously, Daniel was extremely happy that he was not going to die thanks to the blessing he received from his Father and was quick to return that blessing in the best way he had available to him at that moment: praise. Then, once he was presenting to the king what the Lord had shown him, he gave us another important lesson…

5. Take No Credit for the Lord’s Works

Daniel could have very easily told the king that he was given a vision by God because he was special. He could have told the king that he was the smartest man in the world and the king would have believed him once he revealed the dream. He could have said that he was holy and blessed and that’s why God gave him the vision. He could have taken credit in any way that he chose. Instead, he chose to take no credit at all.

Daniel 2:21-28 (KJV)

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

Human ego is a hard thing to put down. When good things happen to us, when we’re able to accomplish things that others cannot, or when we build things that are great, we often take credit. Sure, we might thank God for the blessing, the talent, the knowledge, the luck, the opportunity, or anything else, but we often do not realize or acknowledge that all things happen by the Grace of God. King Nebuchadnezzar learned this lesson the hard way in Chapter 4.

6. Have Courage to Tell the Hard Truths

In three different instances, courage was required to deliver a harsh message to a king. First, the three companions spoke boldly in the face of death.

Daniel 3:16-18 (KJV)

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

They knew that what they were saying was going to get them thrown into a fiery furnace, but they said it anyway. This is an important lesson, one that every believer must prepare themselves for if they are ever faced with death over their faith.

As a mini-lesson, notice that they did not declare that God would save them. They would not presume to declare what God was going to do. They simply declared that God was able to deliver them from the furnace and that he would certainly deliver them from the king’s hand. Either way – had they been saved by a Son of God or had they burned – they would have been delivered from the king’s hand.

In Chapter 4, the king had a dream that he told to his wise men. In Chapter 2, they could not deliver an interpretation because they did not know the dream. This time, the king told them the dream, and as it says in verse 7, “they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.”

The meaning of the dream itself was actually pretty obvious, but the wise men did not make it known to him. Notice that it did not say that they could not make it known. Chances are, they knew exactly what it meant but because it spoke of bad tidings for the king, they didn’t want to be the ones delivering the bad news. They were afraid.

Daniel was afraid as well.

Daniel 4:19

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

He overcame his fear and revealed a terrible fate for the king. It wasn’t easy. he hesitated for a long time, perhaps building up the courage. After all, it isn’t easy to tell someone that they’re going to be eating grass and living with animals because of their evil doings.

More ill tidings were put to Daniel to deliver to a king in Chapter 5. This time, Daniel didn’t hesitate at all. In fact, he used the opportunity to deliver the message of the king’s death that night to chastise him for defiling the ornaments of God’s people.

7. Ask Forgiveness for Your People

This is arguably the most controversial of the lessons taught through the Book of Daniel. In Chapter 9:3-19, Daniel asks for forgiveness for his people. He does not make excuses. He acknowledges their shortcomings, their sins, and their betrayals. He does not ask for anything that they deserve but rather forgiveness for the Lord’s sake as they are His children and Jerusalem is His city.

I won’t put in the whole prayer, but please take the time to read it. Instead, I’ll focus on the final verse of the prayer:

Daniel 9:19 (KJV)

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

As Moses once did, here Daniel asks the Lord to forgive His people for His sake, not theirs.

We are viewed as individuals, of course, but we are also viewed as nations. It is important that we do pray for a turning away from sin. We are in a time when just about every country is faced with challenges with faith. In America, we contend with a turning away from our foundation of belief. Abortion, gay marriage, and the silencing of Biblical doctrines for the sake of diversity and tolerance are just some of our country’s sins.

In other places such as parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, being a Christian can bring persecution and even death. There are challenges that the enemy has placed before all of is in one form or another. It is too much for anyone to fight alone. We must pray for our Lord to forgive us and help us fight the good fight.

The entire book is wonderful on so many levels. Yes, there are incredible lessons for everyone to hear, but there are also prophecies and messages that God wanted us to know. If you’ve never done a thorough reading of Daniel, now is the time to do it.

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