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Firestarter On Fire / Re: Border wall billions for Trump?
« Last post by truthjourney on Today at 01:16:55 pm »
Hey there Firestarter. I've been missing your great posts. Welcome back. :)

I recently came across this 1958 episode of ‘Trackdown’ that featured a character named Trump who wanted to build a wall. I'm not saying it means anything necessarily but I found it interesting to say the least.




It Doesn’t Matter If the Coronavirus Whistleblower Was a Christian

There’s little evidence of his faith. The church has something to learn from his life anyway.

On February 7, the internet realm was jammed with news of the death of the Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, and the whole network was filled with a strong feeling of sadness. There were rumors late last night that Li died of his illness, but some people said he was still under treatment. All kinds of news made hundreds of millions of netizens worried and confused.

Until the early hours of February 7, Li Wenliang’s hospital (Wuhan Central Hospital) released this message on its official micro-blog: “Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in our hospital, in the fight against the new coronavirus infection, was unfortunately infected. After all efforts were made to rescue him, he died on February 7, at 2:58 a.m. We are deeply sorry and mourn for him.”

On the internet, people mourned for and remembered him in many ways, especially because Li Wenliang was one of the earliest discoverers of the pneumonia outbreak, and thus became one of the original eight “rumor mongers.”

On December 30, 2019, after hearing colleagues saying that the hospital’s emergency department had quarantined seven SARS patients from Wuhan South China Seafood Market, Li Wenliang posted the news for the first time in a social media group of more than 150 college alumni and explained: “To define it as SARS is not very accurate. It should be a kind of coronavirus and the specific categorization is yet to be confirmed.” He warned the group to watch out for prevention, but also particularly stressed on not spreading the news yet.

Despite his group warning, a WeChat screenshot of “7 confirmed SARS patients from South China Seafood Market” was eventually circulated and had a large number of retweets online. Ultimately, it attracted the attention of the local police and the matter temporarily ended in Li receiving an official warning from the local authority.

However, as the truth of the outbreak gradually surfaced, the name of Li Wenliang, “the rumor monger,” began to enter the public eye. The 34-year-old young doctor was also affectionately known in the media and among the netizens as “the outbreak ‘whistleblower.’”

Li died young and the public reacted overwhelmingly. At noon on February 7, the government announced “with the approval of the Central Committee, the State Monitoring Committee decided to send an investigative team to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the relevant issues concerning Dr. Li Wenliang as reflected by the public,” which caused great public concern!

Meanwhile on the Christian internet…
In the Christian online community, however, there is a different picture. Many Christian WeChat groups are retweeting a message that Li Wenliang was a Christian, like Luke in the Bible.

To this end, many Christians on the internet go about telling each other, acting very exuberantly, as if this is not the time to express grief but to sing Hallelujah to praise the Lord’s great moment! Many brothers exclaimed how so many Christians were saying that Li Wenliang was a Christian in their WeChat moments.

There are also many Christian public platforms taking the chance to launch hot tweets, raising the matter to a spiritual height by commemorating him. For instance, there are claims that Li “gloriously returned to his heavenly home,” “he rested in the Lord’s arms,” and some are even like this: “Latest Breaking News! Dr. Li Wenliang was a brother in Christ,” as if discovering the New World...

For a while, in the Christian networks, the style of paying tribute to Li has completely changed, which is totally different from the former mourning scene: Because some Christians think that Li Wenliang “gloriously returned to his heavenly home,” they give applause and flowers not for cheering for him daring to tell the truth, but for cheering for his “returned to his home.”

Some of the Christian public platforms even commemorate him in Paul’s voice, excavating its “spiritual significance” as if Li was like Paul who fought a “good fight”:

“Paul said: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearance’ (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Every Christian who does his duty in his job is a wonderful witness to Christ, and he is fighting that wonderful battle for the Lord.”

In order to further “elevate,” there is a message with a picture that says, “Harvard Medical School in the United States, for Dr. Li Wenliang, lowered its flag at half-mast.” In fact, this is a rumor, because it has been pointed out that Harvard was flying the flag at half-mast for an alumnus, Stephen P. Dretler.

Just as many Christians are cheering for the sudden discovery that Li Wenliang was a “brother in the Lord,” there are astute Christians who have questioned where the news that Li was a Christian came from and whether it was confirmed that he was going to any church. The rumor only says that the news came from the churches in Wuhan; but given that Wuhan is so big with so many churches, it leaves out the question of the exact church.

In this unusual period, rumors spread fast. By comprehensively processing the information on the network, it is concluded that Li must have been to the church, and even participated in a Bible study, but he was not baptized. Looking at his tweets, there is no trace of a Christian faith. On the internet, some brothers also pointed out that if Li was really a Christian, in a critical condition, then his church should have released a message of prayer on his behalf; but the network is devoid of any specific prayer message/request for Li, despite several of such on behalf of other brothers and sisters. So, according to these criteria, Li was not a Christian.

Interestingly, the original Christian platform that announced that Li was a Christian soon issued a message in a bid to “prevent the rumor” by changing the “Christian” Li Wenliang into an “interested individual” (a faith seeker to Christianity). As a result, its tweet title was changed to: “Remembrance of Brother Li's (a faith seeker) Glorious Return to His Heavenly Home.”

The cases of “Christian celebrity” glamour
Li Wenliang was an ordinary man. Only by suffering from this unprecedented outbreak of coronavirus did he become the center of public attention, which is why his name is well known to the point of being hailed as a hero. Therefore, there is no doubt that Li Wenliang went viral.

Therefore, many Christians hope that Li Wenliang was also a Christian just as the previous expectation that Yang Liwei, the astronaut, was a Christian. It is the same psychological logic. It is too wishful an expectation that people believe it will rain when they hear the wind. They seem to feel that these celebrities can give their faith “glamour.” At the end of the day, the fact that many Christians believe that Li was a Christian is still out of this unhealthy so-called glamour.

Upon taking a closer look at some of the dominating and various false testimonies on Christian networks recently, you will find most of them are taking advantage of today’s high-ranking celebrities to create attention-grabbing articles.

Article continues below
There are false testimonies that take CCTV as a gimmick, such as “CCTV evangelism” or a certain Christian “appears on CCTV.” Even today, a shoddy Christian platform issued a message titled “Critical moment of the epidemic! Pastor spoke on CCTV conference!” Those are all sensational headlines. As you click on it to read, you will quickly discover that it is an old piece of news that has been recycled to create hype, and CCTV has nothing to do with it.

Can false testimonies help us “evangelize”? Like raising the bar? Absolutely not! Although these false testimonies pretend to promote the “noble purpose” of evangelism, they instead undermine the most basic and universal virtue of honesty and reduce the quality of Christianity; by extension, it vulgarizes and destroys the evangelical testimony that Christians are supposed to have, eventually turning the sacred testimony into a laughing stock.

That is to say, the gospel will be damaged by the false testimonies! One brother said it quite well: “God never needs false testimonies to glorify Him! ‘Deception,’ ‘Fear’ and ‘Confusion’ in the Christian circle are all evils that dishonor God, and every believer needs to be vigilant: neither become a rumor monger nor spread the rumor!”

As to Li Wenliang, the man has gone. To find out whether he was a Christian, in fact, is not that important. Most importantly, the young doctor did his duty with his conscience and professionalism, and eventually got martyred in his career, an admirable sacrifice in the fight against the epidemic. That is enough to know.

That should be the most appropriate memorial to Li Wenliang, who had many aspects worth learning from, even as Christians. As Christians, have we ever reflected on this?

A version of this article translated from Chinese first appeared on China Christian Daily.

(click here) Theology With Lori Bolinger / Afflictions...
« Last post by Lori Bolinger on Today at 09:56:30 am »
It seems totally natural to see that endurance and afflictions go hand in hand.  As we talk about the training in righteousness and specifically the Love that Paul showed, it doesn’t take long to understand that Paul’s suffering, his endurance were not just out of Love but were powered by the Living God.  II Corinthians 4:16-18 shows us that at least in part, suffering through afflictions is about not only our mindset, (Philippians 2:1-11; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-32; Colossians 3:1-11)  our understanding of the temporal nature of the flesh and the sufferings therein but it is also about allowing God to renew us inwardly, in the spirit so that we can focus on that which is eternal rather than on that which is temporal.  It is to put on that which is of the spirit.  (John 3:6; Romans 7:13-25; Galatians 5:16-26)  The apostles allowed their mindsets to be changed by the Holy Spirit but he also allowed the Holy Spirit to tell him that his days would be filled with afflictions and in that accepted it as God’s will.  (Acts 20:22-24; Acts 14:22; John 16:33; John 15:18)  It is a mindset and yielding to the Holy Spirit that gives peace in the midst of afflictions.  (John 14:27; Romans 8:37; II Corinthians 2:14)  Romans 5:1-5  tells us not only to rejoice in our afflictions but why afflictions are not an evil to be avoided at all costs.  It seems that afflictions produce endurance and endurance produces proven character and proven character produces hope and hope will not disappoint because of God’s great Love.  Since God is not one to play favorites, (Romans 2:9) but no one can separate us from the Love of Christ because in Christ we are more than conquerors.  To be more than conquerors we need to be patient in our afflictions, and Love without hypocrisy.  (Romans 8:31-39; Romans 12:9-21)  Christ Himself suffered afflictions and in doing so He is able to comfort us in our afflictions just like He wants us to comfort others by learning how to suffer so that we can show others the same comfort Christ gave to us as we trust Him. (II Corinthians 1:3-11; II Corinthians 7:2-16)
   Compared to glory and all that awaits us there, the afflictions of the flesh are light and momentary and so our sight needs to be on what is to come now what we are suffering in the moment. (II Corinthians 4:17; II Corinthians 6:4; II Corinthians 8:1-15)  In our afflictions we see Christ and that gives us boldness which benefits others. (Ephesians 3:8-13)  Our suffering completes Christ’s suffering.  (Colossians 1:24-29) Our suffering is noticed by other believers. (II Thessalonians 1:3-12; Hebrews 10:32-39)  Likewise, our suffering can be a test of Satan’s and when we endure, we will be given a crown of life. (Revelation 2:9-10)
(click here) Theology With Lori Bolinger / Are you an overcomer?
« Last post by Lori Bolinger on Today at 09:44:40 am »
Revelation 17:14 and Revelations 21:7 tell us about Christ who was an overcomer.  (Revelations 5:5; Revelations 6:2)  He overcame sin, pain, rejection, death, He was more than an overcomer.  Because Christ overcame the world, He has become our example of how to overcome and with that example, He gives us a promise that we too can overcome the world.  The promise given is one that is designed to give us peace when we face struggles of all kinds.  (John 16:33)   So what does overcoming the world look like?  It looks like pure joy when the world says there should be no joy. (James 1:2-8; John 14:27)  I remember the first time I laughed after our son’s death.  It felt foreign and like a betrayal of the depths of our grief and yet it was God given and healing and showed a hope and peace that the world cannot know or understand.  This peace that we are given with the promise of being overcomers is not of the world which is why we are able to overcome what the world cannot.  (John 14:27)  The world cannot understand the overcoming that Christ brought to the world.  An overcoming that is marked by prayer, praise, joy, and obedience without force. (Acts 16:16-40; I Thessalonians 4:13-18)  Likewise, this overcoming is with righteousness not evil as the world loves. (Romans 12:21)
   It is an overcoming that comes through the blood of Christ, the testimony of His work in our lives, and a Love for God and the things of God that is greater than our desire for this world.  (Revelation 12:11)  In order to overcome the evil one, the enemy, the devil, we need to be strong, and we need the word of the Lord internalized, so that it is alive and active in our lives. (I John 2:13-14)  We get our strength from the Living God when we are in ourselves weak.  (II Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:13) We need God’s strength to become overcomers because He is greater than all others. (I John 4:4) Abiding or dwelling in the word of God is about being His and He being ours.  It’s about yielding to His commands and being obedient to Him.  Abiding in the word of God is about knowing it and studying it and living it. (John 8:31-32; John 14:21; John 17:8; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 10:17; II John 1:6; I John 2:27; II Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 6:17; John 15:10)
   It is those who are born of God, those who are saved through faith that are promised to be overcomers, those who believe Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:4-5)  To those that overcome in the power of the Living God, are given the fruit of the tree of life. (Revelations 2:7)  They shall not be hurt by the second death (Revelation 2:11) they will be given the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it. (Revelations 2:17)  The overcomer to the end will be given power over the nations.  (Revelations 2:26)  To those who overcome is promised clothes of white raiment which is that of righteousness, and their name in the book of life.  (Revelations 3:5) Christ will give the overcomer a pillar in the temple of God and the name of God’s city on him, an ownership. (Revelations 3:12) The overcomer will also be given a seat with Christ on His throne.  (Revelations 3:21)
Firestarter On Fire / Border wall billions for Trump?
« Last post by Firestarter on Today at 09:44:09 am »
I always thought that Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall to protect the USA from all of those Latino Muslims was a complete charade.

Experts estimated that a border wall along 1,300 miles (2,100 km) would cost as much as $20 million per mile ($12.5 million/km), with a total cost of $45 billion, with the cost of private land acquisitions and fence maintenance making it even more expensive.
Maintenance of the wall could cost up to $750 million a year (not paid for by Mexico of course): http://archive.is/91bgj

I was surprised that President Donald actually abused his powers with the partial government shutdown for 35 days followed by declaring a “national emergency” about a year ago to get the wall funded.
Even though this violates the US Constitution for some reason this hasn’t been made into a valid reason for impeachment of president Trump: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-emergency/trump-declares-emergency-for-border-wall-house-panel-launches-probe-idUSKCN1Q420N

Donald’s beautiful “impenetrable” border wall has already cost the US taxpayer $11 billion.
It can be knocked over with a brisk wind, cut through with a cheap saw and climbed over with a basic ladder: https://americasvoice.org/press_releases/trumps-impenetrable-border-wall-will-permit-easy-entry-of-smugglers-and-migrants-for-months-every-summer/

On 14 February 2020, Donald extended his US-Mexico border “national emergency” for another year.
I was also surprised that the billions of dollars in funds are diverted from the Department of Defense to fund border wall construction: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/14/trump-450-miles-border-wall-115339

Now with the accounting practices of the Department of Defense being nothing but a sick joke it suddenly makes sense. This gives Trump and his cronies ample opportunity to launder the money and transfer it to offshore accounts: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?499341-Audit-Reveals-The-Pentagon-Doesn%92t-Know-Where-6-5-Trillion-Dollars-Has-Gone/page2

This could also explain that Trump associates Jeffrey Epstein, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone were locked up, as with these crooks out of the way Donald can take a bigger slice of the billions.
This could possibly also explain the huge amount of dismissed officials from Trump’s team: http://archive.is/bKeHV
Christian Theology / Re: Christ's Ways
« Last post by Olde Tymer on Today at 07:50:08 am »
Heb 12:12-13 . .Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak, and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

That almost sounds like physical therapy; which of course it is. When I had one of my knees replaced, the therapist had to teach me how to walk all over again-- how to walk properly because with the bad knee, I couldn't; and that had gone on for more than a decade. And not only that, but the leg with the bad knee had become feeble because I favored it and wasn't using it properly. So a large percentage of my therapy involved getting that game leg strong again by means of an exercise regimen.

The Greek word for "straight" is orthos (or-thos') which doesn't necessarily define the shortest distance between two points. It can also mean smooth and level; in other words: free of tripping hazards; which someone undergoing treatment for a joint problem (e.g. hips, knees, and ankles) has to really watch out for. In other words: an orthos path is a therapeutic path-- in this case in respect of one's spiritual conditioning rather than their physical conditioning.

Compare Heb 5:14 where it says: "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."
Christian Theology / God In The Holocaust
« Last post by Olde Tymer on Today at 07:42:16 am »
One has to ask, in point of fact there has been more than one rabbi ponder: How is it that so many of Moses' people were caught up in the Holocaust? Where was God during all that? Why didn't He step in and do something to protect His chosen people?

To find an answer to that question one need look no further than Ex 34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69. In other words: the Jews, as a people, brought it on themselves in accordance with the covenant that their ancestors agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

A covenant is essentially a contract. Well; if God were to fail to fulfill His end of the agreement; then He would be in breach of contract; which is not only unethical, but also uncivil. Long story short: the covenant requires Him to lower the boom on His people for failure to honor their end of the agreement; and you can see the extent of the damage for yourself in the scripture references in the above paragraph.

There are numerous blessings that God is contractually obligated to fulfill too; so the covenant isn't all one-sided; viz: compliance with the covenant accrues blessings; while breaching the covenant accrues curses. Anybody who has read the Old Testament can attest that God came down on His own people quite often for breaching the covenant; and just as often quite cruelly. The curses that Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 list are very disturbing; and when examining them, one cannot help but realize they're reading a synopsis of the Jews' history.

The status of God's chosen people has its advantages; but also its disadvantages; viz: the status of God's chosen people is not something to be proud of; but rather, something to be afraid of because the covenant's God is not the kind of judge influenced by favoritism. No; if anything, Moses' people run the risk of being judged even more severely than Gentiles because of their privileged position and the insider's knowledge they were given of His likes and dislikes.

Amos 3:1-2 . . Hear this word that Yhvh has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. (cf. Luke 12:42-48)
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