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Speaker: Mark Vroegop
Scripture: Romans 5:6-11
Click Below to Listen to This Sermon:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11 (ESV)
For the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus Loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.”
For many of us, “Jesus Loves Me” was the very first Christian song that we learned as a child. It’s simplicity, affection, and comfort is what makes the song memorable and meaningful. Did you know, however, that the song text was written in the 1850s, and it was originally a poem in a novel by Anna Warner? In 1861William Bradbury wrote the tune that accompanies the text, and it was known as “China” in some hymnals because of its popularity among missionaries in the Far East.
The song is not complex, but its basic truth regarding the personal love of Jesus and our weakness is comforting and precious. While there are better songs with deeper meaning, I think it is wonderful if a child learns the basic truths that are celebrated in it. There is much more to Christianity than the content of “Jesus Loves Me,” but God’s love for human beings through Jesus and recorded in the Bible is a rich and deep truth. Karl Barth (1886-1968), the Swiss Reformed theologian who many regard as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century, was once asked what his greatest theological discovery was. He replied: “Jesus love me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.
The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.
Anger with President Barack Obama’s handling of issues ranging from healthcare reform to the rise of Islamic State militants drives some of the feeling, with Republican respondents citing dissatisfaction with his administration as coloring their thinking.
But others said long-running Washington gridlock had prompted them to wonder if their states would be better off striking out on their own, a move no U.S. state has tried in the 150 years since the bloody Civil War that led to the end of slavery in the South.
“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done,” said Roy Gustafson, 61, of Camden, South Carolina, who lives on disability payments. “The state would be better off handling things on its own.”
Scottish unionists won by a wider-than-expected 10-percentage-point margin.
Falling public approval of the Obama administration, attention to the Scottish vote and the success of activists who accuse the U.S. government of overstepping its authority – such as the self-proclaimed militia members who flocked to Nevada’s Bundy ranch earlier this year during a standoff over grazing rights – is driving up interest in secession, experts said.
“It seems to have heated up, especially since the election of President Obama,” said Mordecai Lee, a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, who has studied secessionist movements.
‘OBAMACARE’ A FACTOR
Republicans were more inclined to support the idea, with 29.7 percent favoring it compared with 21 percent of Democrats.
Brittany Royal, a 31-year-old nurse from Wilkesboro, North Carolina, said anger over the “Obamacare” healthcare reform law made her wonder if her state would be better off on its own.
“That has really hurt a lot of people here, myself included. My insurance went from $40 a week for a family of four up to over $600 a month for a family of four,” said Royal, a Republican. “The North Carolina government itself is sustainable. Governor (Pat) McCrory, I think he has a better healthcare plan than President Obama.”
By region, the idea was least popular in New England, the cradle of the Revolutionary War, with just 17.4 percent of respondents open to pulling their state out.
It was most popular in the Southwest, where 34.1 percent of respondents back the idea.
That region includes Texas, where an activist group is calling the state’s legislature to put the secession question on a statewide ballot. One Texan respondent said he was confident his state could get by without the rest of the country.
“Texas has everything we need. We have the manufacturing, we have the oil, and we don’t need them,” said Mark Denny, a 59-year-old retiree living outside Dallas on disability payments.
Denny, a Republican, had cheered on the Scottish independence movement.
“I have totally, completely lost faith in the federal government, the people running it, whether Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever,” he said.
Even in Texas, some respondents said talk about breaking away was more of a sign of their anger with Washington than evidence of a real desire to go it alone. Democrat Lila Guzman, of Round Rock, said the threat could persuade Washington lawmakers and the White House to listen more closely to average people’s concerns.
“When I say secede, I’m not like (former National Rifle Association president) Charlton Heston with my gun up in the air, ‘my cold dead hands.’ It’s more like – we could do it if we had to,” said Guzman, 62. “But the first option is, golly, get it back on the right track. Not all is lost. But there might come a point that we say, ‘Hey, y’all, we’re dusting our hands and we’re moving on.'”
AP | TUCSON, Ariz. — The federal government refuses to say whether prosecutors in Yuma, Arizona, have scaled back a years-old program that guarantees jail time for most immigrants caught crossing the border illegally and which law enforcement officials say is crucial to public safety.
Reports that federal prosecutors have stopped some prosecutions under Operation Streamline surfaced nearly two weeks ago when Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking information on the status of the zero-tolerance program that circumvents the civil immigration system and lumps together months’ worth of criminal proceedings into one day for immigrants caught crossing the border illegally.
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said in a letter to the senators that he had been informed that federal prosecutors in Yuma are no longer going after first offenders.
But the government has been completely silent on the issue. Public affairs officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have all refused to answer questions about whether the program has been scaled back.
Brett Worsencroft, president of the Border Patrol union for Yuma Sector border agents, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has in fact ended prosecutions of first-time offenders.
“Operation Streamline is like one of the last strongholds we have as a deterrent. Our manpower is dwindling on a daily basis,” Worsencroft said. “The fence can only do so much.”
Worsencroft said the program was a large factor in the steep decline in border-crossers in Yuma because it sent a message that even first-time offenders would serve jail time and because it allowed agents to focus their attention on drug smugglers and other dangerous criminals.
GOP Doesn’t ‘Get It’ — Americans Want a Congress That Puts Loyalty to the American People Before Loyalty to Party ‘Leadership’
REPORT: GOP LEADERSHIP CONSIDERING RULES TO PUNISH PARTY DISLOYALTY | TOWNHALL A new congressional delegation will bring a new vote for leadership. With Democrats needing a miracle to gain a few seats, much less actually take the House, Republicans are close to a sure bet to be in control come November. That’ll mean elections, and elections means a John Boehner who needs to have the support of his caucus.
There are a lot of members of the GOP caucus who don’t very much like John Boehner. He’s taken a lot of heat for being insufficiently conservative. To avoid an embarrassing vote, leadership might have some “rules tweaks” in the pipeline, as National Journal reports:
House Republicans are quietly discussing a proposal that could fundamentally alter the way future speakers of the House are chosen, according to multiple GOP sources, with the objective of avoiding a repeat of John Boehner’s embarrassing reelection vote in 2013.
The rule tweak began as an informal discussion but has morphed into a concrete proposal that is beginning to circulate in the House. According to people briefed on it, any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference’s nominee for House speaker—that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during its closed-door leadership elections in November—would be severely punished. Specifically, sources say, any dissenters would be stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress.
“There’s a real concern that there’s between 30 and 40 people that would vote against the speaker on the House floor, so they’re trying to change the conference rules to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said a GOP member familiar with the proposal.
The last time, as National Journal notes, there were 12 members who voted against Boehner’s speakership on the House floor. The GOP leadership wants to present a more united front this time around.
DAILY SIGNAL | Once again, university officials have shown how progressive and tolerant they are by forcing Young Americans for Freedom at Pennsylvania State University to remove its table from a so-called “free speech zone.”
The YAF activists’ crime? Handing out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.
Sound familiar? It should. Last year, Robert Van Tuinen, an Army vet and student at Modesto Junior College, was shut down passing out copies of The Heritage Foundation’s “Guide to the Constitution.” He sued his college and it eventually settled the lawsuit, paying him $50,000.
This year, it was Penn State’s turn to continue the tradition of violating the Constitution on Constitution Day. But why? Lawyers for public universities should know that shutting down speech exposes them to First Amendment lawsuits. Furthermore, passing out copies of the Constitution performs a valuable educational service that many universities don’t perform on their own. If anything, Penn State should be thanking Jolie Davis and the other PSU YAF student activists.
Penn State officials offered no justifiable reason for shutting down the activists. One university administrator suggested Penn State has a neutral policy on the books, prohibiting all tables in the free speech zone. Even if this were true, it still might fall afoul of the First Amendment. But the as one student noted: “We’ve seen people’s tables out here all the time!” In other words, whatever the formal policy on the Penn State books, the university traditionally allows student organizations to have tables.
In fact, the YAF chapter at Penn State had placed a table at this exact spot before without any reported harassment from school authorities, but this time they handed out more than Constitutions – they included information about Penn State’s restrictive speech code. This is probably the real reason for the targeting. But Penn State officials might want to do some work on that speech code. They also might want to avail themselves of one of the copies of the Constitution the activists were handing out—or, better yet, the newly revamped Heritage Guide to the Constitution.
THE BLAZE | Two House Republicans are trying to stop the Obama administration from collecting information about the race or ethnicity of people who buy guns.
According to a report from the Washington Times, the ATF is requiring people to fill out a form when buying a gun that asks purchasers whether they are Hispanic or Latino, and then to identify themselves as being Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) has proposed a bill that would stop the government from asking about the ethnicity of people who buy guns. Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Times said this information must be provided to gun retailers at the time a firearm is bought, in order to make the purchase legal. But the requirement is not permitted by federal law, and the new GOP bill would prevent the government from requiring and collecting this information.
“This requirement by the ATF is highly intrusive and unnecessary,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), one of the sponsors of the bill. “Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms.”
“Washington bureaucrats have no business requiring citizens who are lawfully purchasing firearms to disclose their race or ethnicity,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the other sponsor. “This is an intrusive and unnecessary requirement. As long as the gun is purchased lawfully, race or ethnicity should be irrelevant.”
Their bill states simply: “The federal government may not require any person to disclose the race or ethnicity of the person in connection with the transfer of a firearm to the person.”
The legislation is called the Freedom From Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates Act, or the FIREARM Act.
Black and Poe proposed their bill on Thursday, the same day that several House Democrats introduced their own gun legislation that would require homemade firearms to have serial numbers. That bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), and is cosponsored by nine other Democrats.
DAILY CALLER | Should Republicans make the 2014 midterms a Referendum on Amnesty? Short answer: Yes! Karl Rove would never be so impolite as to mention immigration amnesty in a Wall Street Journal op ed advising Republicans what to do. Rove, like the WSJ ed board, is a long-time amnesty booster, after all. But when it comes time to actually elect a Republican in Kentucky, this is the ad a Rove-affiliated group runs, attacking the “Obama-Grimes amnesty plan.”
It was voter opposition to Obama’s plan for a de-facto amnesty by executive action that caused the President to postpone the plan until after the election. The logical GOP move is to keep this voter opposition alive by making a big national fuss about the Democrats’ plans. Why would Republican leaders balk? Because they’re scared to get the electorate to riled against an amnesty plan that they (the GOP leaders) will start pushing as soon as the midterms are over.
FOX NEWS | Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat.
Bishop claims that of the 100 or so Americans who have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIL’s ranks, some 40 have returned and are currently being surveilled by the FBI, according to his remarks, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube last week.
“One of the concerns is the number of U.S. citizens who have left our country to go join up with ISIS,” Bishop said during the speech. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that.”
“It is also believed that some 40 of those who left this country to join up with ISIS have now returned to our country,” Bishop said, eliciting shocked responses from some in the crowd.
CAPS | According to the Pew Hispanic Trends Research Project, more than half of the nation’s 11 million aliens have lived in the United States for at least 13 years. I’ve translated this to mean that despite years of mainstream media tear-jerking hype about “living in the shadows” and “fearing deportation,” at least 6.5 million have settled very nicely, thank you, into everyday American life even though they entered unlawfully.
Not only are the aliens apparently well established, the women among them have given birth to about 4 million children, a setback for population stabilization and also for reducing government debt which is currently approaching $18 trillion. The children, who are often referred to as anchor babies, are American citizens and qualify for the entire cornucopia of federal benefits.
Here’s an example of how misplaced U.S. generosity toward illegal immigrants can result in shameless scamming. A retired assistant case food stamp supervisor in charge of vetting applications in north Florida and Indiana during the 1980s reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has worked closely with Mexico to encourage illegal participation in food stamp fraud. According to the whistleblower, “vanloads” of aliens took advantage.
THE BLAZE | The Obama administration is asking people to identify companies that hire immigrants and help them apply for U.S. citizenship, and wants to invite some of these companies to the White House for a celebration.
A post on the White House website said immigrants “make up the backbone of many small, large, and emerging businesses,” and said immigrants help expand the skills of the U.S. workforce.
“Our country is stronger and our businesses are stronger when everyone has a stake,” wrote Julie Rodriguez, White House deputy director for public engagement. “As a result, some businesses have begun providing assistance to qualified employees with the citizenship process.”
“We would like to recognize these efforts so today, we’re asking you to help us identify and honor these leaders who are strengthening their businesses and the workforce by helping immigrants through the citizenship process,” she wrote. “These extraordinary leaders will be invited to the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and showcase their actions to amplify the lesson that helping immigrant workers become citizens is not just compassionate but also good business.”
NEWSMAX | It is “remarkable” that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would want his city to be a so-called “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants in light of the casualties New Yorkers suffered on Sept. 11, 2001, says former INS agent Michael Cutler.
“It’s easy for them to hide in plain sight when you have sanctuary cities,” Cutler told J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV Friday.
Story continues below video.
New York City began an effort to get illegal immigrants to sign up for an identification card program, so that they can do things such as sign a rental lease more easily, but it also comes with incentives such as free or discounted rates to enter the Bronx Zoo, New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall.
“New York City, you know New York got the worst casualty count on 9/11, is now providing identity documents to illegal aliens who snuck into the country,” Cutler explained.
“This is like giving people a free pass to get on an airplane without going through TSA and saying to people, ‘this is acceptable,'” he said.
“I find it remarkable that Mayor de Blasio” is incentivizing “illegal immigration,” the former INS agent added.
“When we hear sanctuary city, we should think about the word haven, as when the president the night before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 said, ‘we need to deprive the terrorists’ safe haven,'” Cutler explained.
“Sanctuary cities is doing precisely that — providing safe haven, right here in cities across the United States, aided and abetted by this administration that refuses to enforce the laws, and has provided hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with identity documents,” he said.
Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen in the EB-5 Program
September 19, 2014
America is trying to improve the high school graduation rate, which is a ratio between those entering as freshmen and those leaving with a diploma. The national average in 2010, according to Department of Education statistics, was 78.2 percent.
The roughly comparable figure for the immigrant investor (EB-5) program is about 50 percent for the most recent time period. Whereas high school runs for four years, the waiting period in EB-5 is only two years, but the “graduation rate” is much lower. Here is how it works:
The Executive Immigration Order That Breaks the Obama Presidency? Pt. 2
September 19, 2014
When a president’s major policy initiative, like President Obama’s healthcare initiative, never gains public support, he is in trouble. When, in addition, the public no longer supports many of the president’s other major domestic or foreign policies, the trouble is far more serious. And when both of the preceding are true and the public views the president as “weak”, ineffective”, or “dishonest”, it is appropriate to use the word “collapse” to describe that presidency.
Want to Lower the Average Educational Level of the Legal U.S. Workforce? Expand DACA!
September 18, 2014
We keep hearing from the Obama administration, prominent employers, and educators that in order to compete in the world economy we must have a better-educated workforce.
This makes sense. Brains are rapidly replacing brawn in the newer parts of the economy. Jobs demanding computer-related and other high skills are increasing just as the number of low-skilled factory (and farm) jobs are diminishing.
Yet in terms of the average educational level of the legal workforce in the United States, the Obama administration is already moving in the opposite direction with its support of the DACA amnesty program — the two-year-old amnesty-by-decree laid on by the administration for aliens who say they came here illicitly before the age of 16. DACA beneficiaries now range in age from the teens to the early 30s.
How About Just Paying Them More?
September 17, 2014
Maria Shriver is helping Marriott hotels avoid raising the pay for its housekeepers.
Perhaps fearing that the minimum-wage campaign directed at fast-food restaurants will turn its red and fiery eye toward hotels, Marriott has teamed up with Shriver and her group A Woman’s Nation, to launch a campaign dubbed “The Envelope Please.” It will “put envelopes in hotel rooms to encourage tipping” at Marriott’s various brands, including Courtyard, Residence Inn, J.W. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Renaissance hotels. The hotel chain is even suggesting how much to tip: “Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson says $1 to $5 per night, depending on room rate, with more for a high-priced suite.”