Saturday, December 31, 2005

Resolutions Anyone?

Anyone care to share your New Year's resolutions?

I already shared one. I want to write a book from vision to completion of what the culture needs to learn from, and through, the Biblical Christian faith and world view. A friend (thanks Anna!) advised me to look into publishing details. She suggested that I should become more knowledgeable about book publishing information. It appears that there are a lot of things to know in order to get started in the industry. So, I need to add that to my list.

What about you? What is (or are) YOUR New Year's resolution(s)?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Countering An Anti-God, Anti-Biblical Article

One of my New Year's resolutions is to decide on a topic for writing my first Bible-based Christian book. I have several ideas and need to settle on just one and get started! Originally, I had planned to take a course on writing skills, brush up on my grammar and punctuation, and possibly take a journalism course. But a few of my good friends told me, "what do you think an editor is for?" Good point. I should just dive right in and let the Lord lead me!

One idea that I had was to write a book that counters anti-God, anti-Biblical articles that I have found and read. Here is an example. I wrote this rebuttal to an article written by Barbara Ehrenreich about last year's terrible tsunami. I will post her article in its entirety. Then, I will discuss and counter her comments, point by point.


Her article:

Flip Side
Barbara Ehrenreich (B.E.)
God Owes Us an Apology

The tsunami of sea water was followed instantly by a tsunami of spittle as the religious sputtered to rationalize God's latest felony. Here we'd been placidly killing each other a few dozen at a time in Iraq, Darfur, Congo, Israel, and Palestine, when along comes the deity and whacks a quarter million in a couple of hours between breakfast and lunch. On CNN, NPR, Fox News, and in newspaper articles too numerous for Nexis to count, men and women of the cloth weighed in solemnly on His existence, His motives, and even His competence to continue as Ruler of Everything.

Theodicy, in other words--the attempt to reconcile God's perfect goodness with the manifest evils of His world--has arisen from the waves. On the retro, fundamentalist, side, various men of the cloth announced that the tsunami was the rational act of a deity enraged by (take your pick): the suppression of Christianity in South Asia, pornography and child-trafficking in that same locale, or, in the view of some Muslim commentators, the bikini-clad tourists at Phuket.

On the more liberal end of the theological spectrum, God's spokespeople hastened to stuff their fingers in the dike even as the floodwaters of doubt washed over it. Of course, God exists, seems to be the general consensus. And, of course, He is perfectly good. It's just that his jurisdiction doesn't extend to tectonic plates. Or maybe it does and He tosses us an occasional grenade like this just to see how quickly we can mobilize to clean up the damage. Besides, as the Catholic priests like to remind us, "He's a 'mystery' "--though that's never stopped them from pronouncing His views on abortion with absolute certainty.

The clerics who are struggling to make sense of the tsunami must not have noticed that this is hardly the first display of God's penchant for wanton, homicidal mischief. Leaving out man-made genocide, war, and even those "natural" disasters, like drought and famine, to which "man" invariably contributes through his inept social arrangements, God has a lot to account for in the way of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and plagues. Nor has He ever shown much discrimination in his choice of victims. A tsunami hit Lisbon in 1755, on All Saints Day, when the good Christians were all in church. The faithful perished, while the denizens of the red light district, which was built on strong stone, simply carried on sinning. Similarly, last fall's hurricanes flattened the God-fearing, Republican parts of Florida while sparing sin-soaked Key West and South Beach.

The Christian-style "God of love" should be particularly vulnerable to post-tsunami doubts. What kind of "love" inspired Him to wrest babies from their parents' arms, the better to drown them in a hurry? If He so loves us that He gave his only son etc., why couldn't he have held those tectonic plates in place at least until the kids were off the beach? So much, too, for the current pop-Christian God, who can be found, at least on the Internet, micro-managing people's careers, resolving marital spats, and taking excess pounds off the faithful--this last being Pat Robertson's latest fixation.

If we are responsible for our actions, as most religions insist, then God should be, too, and I would propose, post-tsunami, an immediate withdrawal of prayer and other forms of flattery directed at a supposedly moral deity--at least until an apology is issued, such as, for example: "I was so busy with Cindy-in-Omaha's weight-loss program that I wasn't paying attention to the Earth's crust."

It's not just Christianity. Any religion centered on a God who is both all-powerful and all-good, including Islam and the more monotheistically inclined versions of Hinduism, should be subject to a thorough post-tsunami evaluation. As many have noted before me: If God cares about our puny species, then disasters prove that he is not all-powerful; and if he is all-powerful, then clearly he doesn't give a damn.

In fact, the best way for the religious to fend off the atheist threat might be to revive the old bad--or at least amoral and indifferent--gods. The tortured notion of a God who is both good and powerful is fairly recent, dating to roughly 1200 BC, after which Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam emerged. Before that, you had the feckless Greco-Roman pantheon, whose members interfered in human events only when their considerable egos were at stake. Or you had monstrous, human-sacrifice-consuming, psycho-gods like Ba'al and his Central American counterparts. Even earlier, as I pointed out in my book Blood Rites, there were prehistoric god(desses) modeled on man-eating animals like lions, and requiring a steady diet of human or animal sacrificial flesh.

The faithful will protest that they don't want to worship a bad--or amoral or indifferent--God, but obviously they already do. Why not acknowledge what our prehistoric ancestors knew? If the Big Guy or Gal operates in any kind of moral framework, it has nothing to do with the rules we've come up with over the eons as primates attempting to live in groups-- rules like, for example, "no hitting."

Yes, 12/26 was a warning, though not about the hazards of wearing bikinis. What it comes down to is that we're up shit creek here on the planet Earth. We're wide open to asteroid hits, with the latest near-miss coming in October, when a city-sized one passed within a mere million miles of Earth, which is just four times the distance between the Earth and the moon. Then, too, it's only a matter of time before the constant shuffling of viral DNA results in a global pandemic. And 12/26 was a reminder that the planet itself is a jerry-rigged affair, likely to keep belching and lurching. Even leaving out global warming and the possibility of nuclear war, this is not a good situation, in case you hadn't noticed so far.

If there is a God, and He, She, or It had a message for us on 12/26, that message is: Get your act together, folks--your seismic detection systems, your first responders and global mobilization capacity--because no one, and I do mean no One, is coming to medi-vac us out of here.

Barbara Ehrenreich is a columnist for The Progressive. She is the author of "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" and "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War."

End of Article



B.E. : "The tsunami of sea water was followed instantly by a tsunami of spittle as the religious sputtered to rationalize God's latest felony."

The author's obvious distaste for anyone with a religious view is clearly evident in her first comment. Labeling this disaster as a "felony" by God further accentuates her unthinking rant on this issue. Notice her mockery of God is only beginning.

Job 13:9 - Will it be well when He searches you out? Or can you mock Him as one mocks a man? New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

B.E. : "Here we'd been placidly killing each other a few dozen at a time in Iraq, Darfur, Congo, Israel, and Palestine, when along comes the deity and whacks a quarter million in a couple of hours between breakfast and lunch."

Has she investigated the Bible to find out why people kill each other? Is it ever justifiable in the case of war? Labeling serious conflicts with the words "placidly killing" doesn't show that she is very informed on these problems. Is she blaming God for the evils of man? Sounds like it. She then claims that the "deity" is guilty of "whacking" the people in the tsunami disaster. Does she know about the many warnings given to the areas affected that went unheeded because of greed within the tourist industry there? Why doesn't she blame them? Does she know about the young girl who saw the signs of an oncoming tsunami and warned 100 people to get to high ground? Does she know about the minister who physically placed dozens of warning messages on billboards in the area because the government(s) there laughed at him and ignored his warnings? Believers who trust in the Lord through all things have a different perspective; even in the midst or aftermath of a disaster.

Job 13:15 - Though he shall slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him.

Noah Webster Version 1833 InfoPsa 125:1 [[A Song of degrees.]]

They that trust in the LORD [shall be] as mount Zion, [which] cannot be removed, [but] abideth for ever.

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Pro 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

2 Samuel 22:31 - As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. New King James Version © 1982 Thomas NelsonPsalm

18:2 - The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

Ultimately, no matter when or how we die:

Psalm 34:22 - The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

Nah 1:7 - The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

B.E. : "On CNN, NPR, Fox News, and in newspaper articles too numerous for Nexis to count, men and women of the cloth weighed in solemnly on His existence, His motives, and even His competence to continue as Ruler of Everything."

Does she know anything at all about the Ruler of Everything? If she had, I doubt that she would have made such a foolish statement. He was identified all throughout the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament.

Micah 5:2 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

The following Jamieson, Fausett & Brown (herein, JF & B) Commentary on Micah 5:2 reveals the prophetic nature of Micah's passages and identifies who the Messiah will be and how we will recognize be able to recognize him. Jesus clearly fulfilled such prophecy.

2. Beth-lehem Ephratah-- ( Gen 48:7 ), or, Beth-lehem Judah; so called to distinguish it from Beth-lehem in Zebulun. It is a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. Beth-lehem means "the house of bread"; Ephratah means "fruitful": both names referring to the fertility of the region. though thou be little among--though thou be scarcely large enough to be reckoned among, &c. It was insignificant in size and population; so that in Jos 15:21 , &c., it is not enumerated among the cities of Judah; nor in the list in Neh 11:25 , &c. Under Rehoboam it became a city: 2Ch 11:6 , "He built Beth-lehem."

Mat 2:6 seems to contradict Micah, "thou art not the least," But really he, by an independent testimony of the Spirit, confirms the prophet, Little in worldly importance, thou art not least (that is, far from least, yea, the very greatest) among the thousands, of princes of Judah, in the spiritual significance of being the birthplace of Messiah ( Jhn 7:42 ).

God chooses the little things of the world to eclipse in glory its greatest things ( Jdg 6:15 Jhn 1:46 1Cr 1:27, 28 ). The low state of David's line when Messiah was born is also implied here. thousands--Each tribe was divided into clans or "thousands" (each thousand containing a thousand families), which had their several heads or "princes"; hence in Mat 2:6 it is quoted "princes," substantially the same as in Micah, and authoritatively explained in Matthew. It is not so much this thousand that is preferred to the other thousands of Judah, but the Governor or Chief Prince out of it, who is preferred to the governors of all the other thousands. It is called a "town" (rather in the Greek, "village"), Jhn 7:42 ; though scarcely containing a thousand inhabitants, it is ranked among the "thousands" or larger divisions of the tribe, because of its being the cradle of David's line, and of the Divine Son of David.

Moses divided the people into thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, with their respective "rulers" ( Exd 18:25 ; compare 1Sa 10:19 ). unto me--unto God the Father ( Luk 1:32 ): to fulfil all the Father's will and purpose from eternity. So the Son declares ( Psa 2:7 40:7, 8 Jhn 4:34 ); and the Father confirms it ( Mat 3:17 12:18 , compare with Isa 42:1 ).

God's glory is hereby made the ultimate end of redemption. ruler--the "Shiloh," "Prince of peace," "on whose shoulders the government is laid" ( Gen 49:10 Isa 9:6 ). In 2Sa 23:3 , "He that ruleth over men must be just," the same Hebrew word is employed; Messiah alone realizes David's ideal of a ruler.

Also in Jer 30:21 , "their governor shall proceed from the midst of them"; answering closely to "out of thee shall come forth the ruler," here (compare Isa 11:1-4 ). goings forth . . . from everlasting--The plain antithesis of this clause, to "come forth out of thee" (from Beth-lehem), shows that the eternal generation of the Son is meant. The terms convey the strongest assertion of infinite duration of which the Hebrew language is capable (compare Psa 90:2 Pro 8:22, 23 Jhn 1:1 ). Messiah's generation as man coming forth unto God to do His will on earth is from Beth-lehem; but as Son of God, His goings forth are from everlasting.

The promise of the Redeemer at first was vaguely general ( Gen 3:15 ). Then the Shemitic division of mankind is declared as the quarter in which He was to be looked for ( Gen 9:26, 27 ); then it grows clearer, defining the race and nation whence the Deliverer should come, namely, the seed of Abraham, the Jews ( Gen 12:3 ); then the particular tribe, Judah ( Gen 49:10 ); then the family, that of David ( Psa 89:19, 20 ); then the very town of His birth, here. And as His coming drew nigh, the very parentage ( Mat 1:1-17 Luk 1:26-35 2:1-7 ); and then all the scattered rays of prophecy concentrate in Jesus, as their focus ( Hbr 1:1, 2 ).

Also read Micah 5:3-9 for more detail. Here is additional commentary:

3. "Therefore (because of His settled plan) will God give up to their foes His people Israel, until," &c. she which travaileth hath brought forth--namely, "the virgin" mother, mentioned by Micah's contemporary, Isa 7:14 . Zion "in travail" ( Mic 4:9, 10 ) answers to the virgin in travail of Messiah. Israel's deliverance from her long travail-pains of sorrow will synchronize with the appearance o? Messiah as her Redeemer ( Rom 11:26 ) in the last days, as the Church's spiritual deliverance synchronized with the virgin's giving birth to Him at His first advent. The ancient Church's travail-like waiting for Messiah is represented by the virgin's travail. Hence, both may be meant. It cannot be restricted to the Virgin Mary: for Israel is still "given up," though Messiah has been "brought forth" almost two thousand years ago. But the Church's throes are included, which are only to be ended when Christ, having been preached for a witness to all nations, shall at last appear as the Deliverer of Jacob, and when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, and Israel as a nation shall be born in a day ( Isa 66:7-11 Luk 21:24 Rev 12:1, 2, 4 ; compare Rom 8:22 ). the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel--(Compare Mic 4:7 ). The remainder of the Israelites dispersed in foreign lands shall return to join their countrymen in Canaan. The Hebrew for "unto" is, literally, "upon," implying superaddition to those already gathered.4. he shall stand--that is, persevere: implying the endurance of His kingdom [CALVIN].

Rather, His sedulous care and pastoral circumspection, as a shepherd stands erect to survey and guard His flock on every side ( Isa 61:5 ) [MAURER]. feed--that is, rule: as the Greek word similarly in Mat 2:6 , Margin, means both "feed" and "rule" ( Isa 40:11 49:10 Eze 34:23 ; compare 2Sa 5:2 7:8 ). in the majesty of the name of the Lord--possessing the majesty of all Jehovah's revealed attributes ("name") ( Isa 11:2 Phl 2:6, 9 Hbr 2:7-9 ). his God--God is "His God" in a oneness of relation distinct from the sense in which God is our God ( Jhn 20:17 ). they shall abide--the Israelites ("they," namely, the returning remnant and the "children of Israel previously in Canaan) shall dwell in permanent security and prosperity ( Mic 4:4 Isa 14:30 ). unto the ends of the earth-- ( Mic 4:1 Psa 72:8 Zec 9:10 ).5. this man--in Hebrew simply "This." The One just mentioned; He and He alone. Emphatical for Messiah (compare Gen 5:29 ). the peace--the fountainhead of peace between God and man, between Israel and Israel's justly offended God ( Gen 49:10 Isa 9:6 Eph 2:14, 17 Col 1:20 ), and, as the consequence, the fountain of "peace on earth," where heretofore all is strife ( Mic 4:3 Hsa 2:18 Zec 9:10 Luk 2:14 ). the Assyrian--Being Israel's most powerful foe at that time, Assyria is made the representative of all the foes of Israel in all ages, who shall receive their final destruction at Messiah's appearing ( Eze 38:1-23 ). seven shepherds, and eight--"Seven" expresses perfection; "seven and eight" is an idiom for a full and sufficient number ( Job 5:19 Pro 6:16 Ecc 11:2 ). principal men--literally, "anointed (humble) men" ( Psa 62:9 ), such as the apostles were. Their anointing, or consecration and qualification to office, was by the Holy Spirit [CALVIN] ( 1Jo 2:20, 27 ). "Princes" also were anointed, and they are mentioned as under Messiah ( Isa 32:1 ). English Version therefore gives the probable sense.6. waste--literally, "eat up": following up the metaphor of "shepherds" (compare Num 22:4 Jer 6:3 ). land of Nimrod--Babylon ( Mic 4:10 Gen 10:10 ); or, including Assyria also, to which he extended his borders ( Gen 10:11 ). in the entrances--the passes into Assyria ( 2Ki 3:21 ). The Margin and JEROME, misled by a needless attention to the parallelism, "with the sword," translate, "with her own naked swords"; as in Psa 55:21 the Hebrew is translated. But "in the entrances" of Assyria, answers to, "within our borders." As the Assyrians invade our borders, so shall their own borders or "entrances" be invaded. he . . . he--Messiah shall deliver us, when the Assyrian shall come.7. remnant of Jacob--already mentioned in Mic 5:3 . It in comparative smallness stands in antithesis to the "many people." Though Israel be but a remnant amidst many nations after her restoration, yet she shall exercise the same blessed influence in quickening them spiritually that the small imperceptible dew exercises in refreshing the grass ( Deu 32:2 Psa 72:6 110:3 ). The influence of the Jews restored from Babylon in making many Gentile proselytes is an earnest of a larger similar effect hereafter ( Isa 66:19 Zec 8:13 ). from the Lord--Israel's restoration and the consequent conversion of the Gentiles are solely of grace. tarrieth not for man--entirely God's work, as independent of human contrivance as the dew and rains that fertilize the soil.8. as a lion--In Mic 5:7 Israel's benignant influence on the nations is described; but here her vengeance on the godless hosts who assail her ( Isa 66:15, 16, 19, 24 Zec 12:3, 6, 8, 9 14:17, 18 ). Judah will be "as as lion," not in respect to its cruelty, but in its power of striking terror into all opponents. Under the Maccabees, the Jews acquired Idumea, Samaria, and parts of the territory of Ammon and Moab [GROTIUS]. But this was only the earnest of their future glory on their coming restoration.

B.E. : "Theodicy, in other words--the attempt to reconcile God's perfect goodness with the manifest evils of His world--has arisen from the waves."

Pay special attention to the words in bold. The author's first mistake is in calling this world "His world". The physical aspect of this world was created by Him, however, He, as well as believers are no longer "of this world". I will explain with Bible verses.

Jesus speaking:
John 8:23 - And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

JF & B Commentary:

23. Ye are from beneath; I am from above--contrasting Himself, not as in Jhn 3:31 , simply with earthborn messengers of God, but with men sprung from and breathing an opposite element from His, which rendered it impossible that He and they should have any present fellowship, or dwell eternally together. (Again see on JF & B for Joh 7:33; also see on JF & B for Joh 8:44).

John 18:36 - Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson JF & B Commentary:

36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world--He does not say "not over," but "not of this world"--that is, in its origin and nature; therefore "no such kingdom as need give thee or thy master the least alarm." if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews--"A very convincing argument; for if His servants did not fight to prevent their King from being delivered up to His enemies, much less would they use force for the establishment of His kingdom" [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. but now--but the fact is. is my kingdom not from hence--Our Lord only says whence His kingdom is not--first simply affirming it, next giving proof of it, then reaffirming it. This was all that Pilate had to do with. The positive nature of His kingdom He would not obtrude upon one who was as little able to comprehend it, as entitled officially to information about it. (It is worthy of notice that the "MY," which occurs four times in this one verse--thrice of His kingdom, and once of His servants--is put in the emphatic form). So where does the "manifest evils of this world" come from? What was Jesus' mission for? What did it accomplish?

John 14:30, 31 - "I don't have much more time to talk to you, because the prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let's be going. New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust JF & B Commentary:

30, 31. Hereafter I will not talk much with you--"I have a little more to say, but My work hastens apace, and the approach of the adversary will cut it short." for the prince of this world--(See on JF & B for Joh 12:31). cometh--with hostile intent, for a last grand attack, having failed in His first formidable assault ( Luk 4:1-13 ) from which he "departed [only] for a season" ( Jhn 14:13 ). and hath nothing in me--nothing of His own--nothing to fasten on. Glorious saying! The truth of it is, that which makes the Person and Work of Christ the life of the world ( Hbr 9:14 1Jo 3:5 2Cr 5:21 ).31. But that the world may know that I love the Father, &c.--The sense must be completed thus: "But to the Prince of the world, though he has nothing in Me, I shall yield Myself up even unto death, that the world may know that I love and obey the Father, whose commandment it is that I give My life a ransom for many." Why doesn't the author know about Him?

2 Corinthians 4:3,4 - If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing.Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Who are we actually battling against?

Ephesians 6:12 - For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

How do we recognize his influence?

1 John 4:3 - If a prophet does not acknowledge Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist. You have heard that he is going to come into the world, and he is already here.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

What are we, as believers, supposed to do?

Ephesians 6:13 - Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust What are we to focus on when we feel powerless?

James 2:5 - Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust Why do we not have to fear death?

Hebrews 2:15 - Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable TrustProverbs 14:27 - Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust Even through suffering:

Revelation 2:10 - Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The Devil will throw some of you into prison and put you to the test. You will be persecuted for `ten days.' Remain faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

So, that "Ruler of Everything" whom Ms. Ehrenreich so disparagingly referred to in her piece has absolutely no clue Whom she is rejecting (either ignorantly or willfully) and the peace that such understanding could give to her:

Romans 8:38, 39 - And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

B.E. : "On the retro, fundamentalist, side, various men of the cloth announced that the tsunami was the rational act of a deity enraged by (take your pick): the suppression of Christianity in South Asia, pornography and child-trafficking in that same locale, or, in the view of some Muslim commentators, the bikini-clad tourists at Phuket."

Well guess what Ms. Ehrenreich. He IS enraged by such things. It is called sin and sin is an offense commited by mankind against God and also man against man. Whether the men of the cloth are correct about this disaster being a judgment from God can be debated. But lets see what the Bible has to say about the offenses she listed above.Even before Jesus Christ was born, it was written in the Psalms that many 'kings of the earth' would be against the gospel.

Acts 4:26 - The kings of the earth prepared for battle;the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
and against his Messiah.
'Footnote:Ps 2:1-2.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Causing others to sin harms both you and the person you sin against:

1 Corinthians 8:12 - And you are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong.
Footnote:Greek brothers.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Isaiah 1:4 - Oh, what a sinful nation they are! They are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil and corrupt children who have turned away from the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from his help.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Acts 13:10 - and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

Does Ms. Ehrenreich think it's no big deal to participate in child sexual molestation for profit? Pornography is often a catalyst used by people who pursue children for sexual gratification. The trial of the pedophile who murdered 7 yr. old Danielle Van Dame a few years ago by a revealed the fact that he was into child pornography on the internet. We probably can't even imagine the suffering of children in these Asian countries where authorities often turn a blind eye to such trafficking.

It's so henious and awful that someone would desire to hurt a child! Jesus had very harsh words and warned such perpetrators of what they deserve by causing such an offense

Mat 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mar 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Luk 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

What are Christians called to do?

2 Corinthians 10:5 - With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

B.E. : "On the more liberal end of the theological spectrum, God's spokespeople hastened to stuff their fingers in the dike even as the floodwaters of doubt washed over it."

She knows that these liberal spokespeople are experiencing "floodwaters of doubt" because of this tragedy? And she knows this how? With certainty? I may not agree with the politics of my liberal Christian friends on this board but I certainly don't think that they can be labeled with such a blanket statement as this. In reality, I think her statement reveals a lot about her (Ms. Ehrenreich's) own personal doubt!

B.E. "Of course, God exists, seems to be the general consensus. And, of course, He is perfectly good. It's just that his jurisdiction doesn't extend to tectonic plates. Or maybe it does and He tosses us an occasional grenade like this just to see how quickly we can mobilize to clean up the damage."

God can use anything, including a tragedy like this, to get our attention on matters of importance. How does Ehrenreich know that God wasn't attempting to grab our attention through all the people who were putting up warning signs prior to this disaster? What did the people do in response? Ignored them!! Why? Pride, profit, scoffing, indifference...the list could go on and on.

B.E. : "Besides, as the Catholic priests like to remind us, "He's a 'mystery' "--though that's never stopped them from pronouncing His views on abortion with absolute certainty. "

I wonder. Is she speaking from experience or what? Did she just throw out some rhetoric she picked up along the way or is she familiar with Catholic teaching? God is only a 'mystery' to those who don't know the Person of Jesus Christ, for he is the exact representation of God the Father. Of course we don't know all about God because right now we "see through a glass darkly" but those who hold to the promises of God through Christ know all that they need to know in the here and now to conduct their lives of purpose and worship for God.

Jesus often spoke in parables and this verse explains why:

Mark 4:11 - He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secret about the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders,
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

There are so many verses that I could post here concerning God, mystery and the special revelation of Jesus Christ. I will list a few in the KJV.

Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. The following verses discuss Jesus as the revelation of the mystery.

Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Cr 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Eph 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Eph 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Col 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Col 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

This is where the necessity of faith comes in and the Catholic church may be referring to the following verses:

1 Timothy 3:16 - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

There IS no mystery concerning Ehrenreich's comment about God's view on abortion:

Psalm 139:13, 14 -For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:16 -Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained {for me,} When as yet there was not one of them.
New American Standard Bible © 1995 Lockman Foundation

Verses in Leviticus warn of giving children and offering them to Molech (false god). Today, would-be parents give their children over by murdering them through their god of convenience: abortion.

Lev. 20:4 - And if the people of the community ignore this offering of children to Molech and refuse to execute the guilty parents,
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

Jf & B Commentary:
2. Whosoever . . . giveth any of his seed unto Molech--(See on JF & B for Le 18:21). the people of the land shall stone him with stones, &c.--Criminals who were condemned to be stoned were led, with their hands bound, without the gates to a small eminence, where was a large stone placed at the bottom. When they had approached within ten cubits of the spot, they were exhorted to confess, that, by faith and repentance, their souls might be saved. When led forward to within four cubits, they were stripped almost naked, and received some stupefying draught, during which the witnesses prepared, by laying aside their outer garments, to carry into execution the capital sentence which the law bound them to do. The criminal, being placed on the edge of the precipice, was then pushed backwards, so that he fell down the perpendicular height on the stone lying below: if not killed by the fall, the second witness dashed a large stone down upon his breast, and then the "people of the land," who were by-standers, rushed forward, and with stones completed the work of death ( Mat 21:44 Act 7:58 ).4. If the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, &c.--that is, connive at their countrymen practising the horrid rites of Molech. Awful was it that any Hebrew parents could so violate their national covenant, and no wonder that God denounced the severest penalties against them and their families.

Leviticus 18:21 - And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through [the fire] to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD.

21. thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, &c.--Molech, or Moloch, which signifies "king," was the idol of the Ammonites. His statue was of brass, and rested on a pedestal or throne of the same metal. His head, resembling that of a calf, was adorned with a crown, and his arms were extended in the attitude of embracing those who approached him.His devotees dedicated their children to him; and when this was to be done, they heated the statue to a high pitch of intensity by a fire within, and then the infants were either shaken over the flames, or passed through the ignited arms, by way of lustration to ensure the favor of the pretended deity. The fire-worshippers asserted that all children who did not undergo this purifying process would die in infancy; and th21. thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, &c.--Molech, or Moloch, which signifies "king," was the idol of the Ammonites. His statue was of brass, and rested on a pedestal or throne of the same metal. His head, resembling that of a calf, was adorned with a crown, and his arms were extended in the e influence of this Zabian superstition was still so extensively prevalent in the days of Moses, that the divine lawgiver judged it necessary to prohibit it by an express statute. neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God--by giving it to false or pretended divinities; or, perhaps, from this precept standing in close connection with the worship of Molech, the meaning rather is, Do not, by devoting your children to him, give foreigners occasion to blaspheme the name of your God as a cruel and sanguinary deity, who demands the sacrifice of human victims, and who encourages cruelty in his votaries. Killing an innocent, helpless life in the womb is murder.

Deu 10:4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.

Jam 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

Matthew 19:18 - "Which ones?" the man asked.

And Jesus replied: "`Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

B.E. : "The clerics who are struggling to make sense of the tsunami must not have noticed that this is hardly the first display of God's penchant for wanton, homicidal mischief. Leaving out man-made genocide, war, and even those "natural" disasters, like drought and famine, to which "man" invariably contributes through his inept social arrangements, God has a lot to account for in the way of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and plagues. Nor has He ever shown much discrimination in his choice of victims. A tsunami hit Lisbon in 1755, on All Saints Day, when the good Christians were all in church. The faithful perished, while the denizens of the red light district, which was built on strong stone, simply carried on sinning. Similarly, last fall's hurricanes flattened the God-fearing, Republican parts of Florida while sparing sin-soaked Key West and South Beach."

There is so much trash-talk to respond to in this paragraph. Where shall I begin? Her terms describing God as being involved in "homicidal mischief" and guilty of "inept social arrangements" are priceless examples of the secular humanistic atheism mindset. At least she admits to the concept of "man-made genocide"; but she misses the point of why the selfishness and evil ways of man which unnecessarily attributes to the suffering of others through drought and famine persist in this world.

Rather than waste time on her blather here, I will respond to the irony hidden within her last sentence.The "faithful perishing" is what I am referring to as ironic. It's ironic that she was even willing to write such an oxymoron. The Bible tells us that the faithful do not perish!

First, the bad news. We need to look at some verses that describe exactly who shall perish:

Jeremiah 10:11 - Thus you shall say to them, "The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens."
New American Standard Bible © 1995 Lockman Foundation

2 Peter 2:12 - But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them,
Revised Standard Version © 1947, 1952.

Who will not perish:
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
New American Standard Bible © 1995 Lockman Foundation

Where did all those believers who physically died during the tsunami disaster go?

2 Corinthians 5:8 - We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

Jesus speaking:
Jhn 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.Jhn 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

As for those who were involved in the "sin-soaked" areas and were spared death, for now, perhaps they should heed the warning of how close they came to physical death, how short their time on earth could be, and thus be grateful for more time to find the Lord during their physical lifetimes.

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.
New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

B.E. : "The Christian-style "God of love" should be particularly vulnerable to post-tsunami doubts. What kind of "love" inspired Him to wrest babies from their parents' arms, the better to drown them in a hurry? If He so loves us that He gave his only son etc., why couldn't he have held those tectonic plates in place at least until the kids were off the beach? So much, too, for the current pop-Christian God, who can be found, at least on the Internet, micro-managing people's careers, resolving marital spats, and taking excess pounds off the faithful--this last being Pat Robertson's latest fixation."

Her first statement above has already been disposed of outrightly in my previous postings. However, some Bible verse reminders that sum up the love of God:

John 3:16 - Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jhn 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Her contempt for God is so obvious by her placing of quotes around the 'God of love' comment. What's ironic is that she is the one exposing herself as being "vulnerable to post-tsunami doubts." She doesn't even recognize that she is placing herself into the vulnerability domain through her own human pride, demand(s) for God to act in a certain way that seems "correct" to her and her continual contempt towards the Christian faithful.

Let's see what God's Word says to those who choose to reject Him and about the reason(s) for such attitudes.

Psa 74:18 Remember this, [that] the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and [that] the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.

Psa 74:22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.

Pro 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Pro 9:13 A foolish woman [is] clamorous: [she is] simple, and knoweth nothing.

Pro 10:14 Wise [men] lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish [is] near destruction.

Pro 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Pro 14:3 In the mouth of the foolish [is] a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

Pro 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not [in him] the lips of knowledge.

Pro 15:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish [doeth] not so.

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

The reason(s) non-believers see the Christian faith as foolish?

1Cr 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? The Christian response to such foolishness?

Tts 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

1Pe 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Advice to people like B.E. -

1Cr 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Why she has no excuse NOT to know God through Jesus Christ:

Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

What her resistance leads to:

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blaspheming of the Holy Spirit

There has been some confusion, in Christian circles, regarding the "blaspheming of the Holy Spirit." Note the following Scriptures:

Matthew 12:22-37 (The additional Scriptures in parentheses are cross references)

A House Divided Cannot Stand

(Mark 3:22-27; Luke 11:14-23)

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the *blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by *Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

(Mark 3:28-30)

31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

(Matt. 7:15-20)

33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure *of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

In Matthew 12:31 & 32, the Pharisess had blasphemed against the Spirit by attributing the power by which Christ did miracles to Satan (12:24) instead of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin is the deliberate refusal to acknowledge God's power in Christ. It indicates a deliberate and irreversible hardness of heart. Sometimes believers worry that they have accidently committed this unforgivable sin. But only those who have turned their backs on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus said they can't be forgiven - not because their sin is worse than any other, but because they will never ask for forgiveness. Whoever rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit removes himself or herself from the only way or means that can lead him or her to repentance and restoration to God.

In Matthew 12:34-36, Jesus reminds us that what we say reveals what is in our hearts. What kind of words come from your mouth? That is an indication of what your heart is really like. You can't solve your heart problem, however, just by cleaning up your speech. You must allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with new attitudes and motives; then your speech will be cleansed at its source.

In Mark 3:20-30, we read an additional account of where the religious leaders accused Jesus of being under Satan's power.

I have read in other blogs that Christians sometimes wonder if they have committed this sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. True believers in Christ need not worry about this sin because this sin is attributing to the devil what is the work of the Holy Spirit. It reveals a heart attitude of unbelief and unrepentance. Deliberate, ongoing rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit is blasphemy because it is rejecting God himself. In Mark 3:20-30, the religious leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy, but ironically they were the guilty ones when they looked Jesus in the face and accused him of being possessed by Satan.

What is being done, today, by nonbelievers is the final rejection of the prompting of the Holy Spirit at the door of their hearts. Jesus is a gentleman and will not force belief in him on any soul. The Holy Spirit will continue to knock at the door of the hearts of the lost, but every lost person on earth must choose to open that door to their hearts and invite Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of their life!

We can see that the pride of the heart often is the culprit that causes nonbelievers to reject Jesus Christ. In Mark 3:22-27, the Pharisees and teachers of the law could not deny the reality of Jesus' miracles and supernatural power. They refused to believe that his power was from God, however, because then they would have had to accept him as the Messiah. Their pride would not let them do that. So in an attempt to destroy Jesus' popularity among the people, the teachers of the law accused him of having power from Satan. Jesus' reply showed how silly they were and that their argument didn't make any sense!

Mark 3:20-27

A House Divided Cannot Stand

(Matt. 12:22-30; Luke 11:14-23)

20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub," and, "By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons."

23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: "How can Satan cast out Satan?

24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.

The Unpardonable Sin

(Matt. 12:31, 32; Luke 12:10)

28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"-- 30 because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

For Such a Time As This

The previous ADF article stated near the end, "But with the enemies of freedom and decency more determined and better funded than ever, we cannot pause, nor even blink (John 15:5)."

I have some Christian friends who might object to that wording. I understand why and their concern. But let's face it. The Enemy of our souls does influence many people who do not know Christ to behave like enemies of freedom and decency.

In John Chapter 15, Jesus is very clear about what the Father will do with those "branches", meaning believers, He "takes away." Another translation says, "he lifts up." This terminology can appear to be confusing. The following James, Fausett & Brown Commentary helps clear this up:

"2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit . . . every branch that beareth fruit--As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they are vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him. The fruitless He "taketh away" (see on JF & B for John 15:6; the fruitful He "purgeth" (cleanseth, pruneth)--stripping it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (See Mar 4:19), "that it may bring forth more fruit"; a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the natural husbandry."

Also, let's look at John 15:6 Commentary:

"6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch . . . withered . . . cast into the fire . . . burned--The one proper use of the vine is to bear fruit; failing this, it is good for one other thing--fuel. (See Eze 15:1-5). How awfully striking the figure, in this view of it!"

Mark 4:19 informs us WHY such people may not be fruitful:

Mark 4:19 - And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (KJV)

All of this is evidence of a "false convert." Those who genuinely abide in Jesus Christ cannot help but be fruitful for the kingdom.

I am not saying that every Christian needs to be a preacher, pastor, Bible study teacher, children's instructor, etc. We are not all gifted in the same areas to fit that "mold." However, we all are to be evangelists. Sharing the gospel of faith is essential to the Christian life. This can be done so many different ways, too. It can be as simple as posting a comment at a blog. It can be witnessing to someone who is distraught and without hope in their current earthly circumstances, and you share the gospel of hope in Christ with them. It can be ministering to the needs of the elderly in a nursing home. It can be political activity (as is the case with ADF) whose goal is to help regain our religious freedoms and liberty in a nation where opposing organizations (i.e. ACLU; Human rights campaign; Council for the separation of church and state; etc.) who are so actively, and desperately, trying to destroy any vestige of Christianity.

As Christians, we are all called for the same ultimate purpose. Preach and teach Christ and Him crucified to all nations. The particular way one does this can be very different. But I am of the belief that all are necessary and we should not mock, ridicule, debase, or exclude a person's efforts or ministry because, perhaps, we aren't "gifted" in that area of expertise. Do you know what I am getting at here? I hope so.

There are to many Christian individuals and/or groups "warring" against each other these days. We should not let denominational differences interfere with the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ himself, just prior to His Ascension into heaven.

For example. Bickering over when the Rapture will occur (some believe pre- tribulation, others mid, and still others post-tribulation) is unfruitful. In the end, it won't matter anyway. But whether a person has been born-again in Jesus Christ WILL MATTER TREMENDOUSLY and will determine where each individual soul will end up in eternity.

On the other hand, we must not be silent when a false gospel is being shared. We are warned about this in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and the book of Jude, to name a few. Scripture interprets Scripture. It is our ultimate source of truth. Anything that twists, goes against, or downright rejects what is written in God's Word must be exposed and dealt with.

2 Timothy 3:14 -
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];

2Ti 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2Ti 3:16
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

I realize that not all Christians think they need, nor desire to get involved in the political firestorms that are currently happening around our country. Personally, I think that is a mistake. But again, we are not all equipped the same way by the Lord to carry out the Great Commission. I would just ask that those Christians who think it is wrong to get involved to re-think their position on this.

The way I personally see it (again, this is my personal opinion here), Jesus' admonition to "keep His commandments" is continually being threatened by the forces of evil in this world and in order to combat them (with and through Christ, of course) is to confront them the way that ADF does. Their aim and goals are correctly guided. How do I know this? Because their moniker is, "Without Christ, we can do nothing." They realize that their victories are happening through the Lord. They are the "branches" and Jesus is the "vine" of their efforts.

In a former post, I mentioned how important it was for David to get the stone, put it in the sling and send it towards Goliath's head. There are many other examples where God told people in the Bible to do something before He ensured their victory.

Don't you think that God still guides us, and expects us to take action in a similar way today?

Are we to keep our heads in the sand, our voices silent, our money in our pockets, our arms of help empty, our legs of action still and let the secular forces of evil run roughshod over our nation?

What about our children and grandchildren? How will this affect them?

Aren't we called to realize that it is each Christian's moral duty to live, wait, watch, and work in such times?

Aren't we called, especially, to manifest the character of Christ in our present circumstances?

John Chapter 15:

The True Vine
15"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He *takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you* will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The World's Hatred

18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'*

The Coming Rejection

26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Or lifts up
NU-Text omits you will.
Psalm 69:4

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Victories We Have Been Blessed With in 2005

TO: Christine
FROM: Alan Sears, President

By the continued grace of God, 2005 has been another banner year for the Alliance Defense Fund.

The prayers and faithful support of our ministry friends have enabled ADF to win major victories for our First Liberty—religious freedom—and the right of all Americans to hear and speak the Truth.

Below is just a sampling of victories we have been blessed with in 2005:

Marriage—ADF and our allies were involved in legal battles in 12 states this year with many victories across the nation in this escalating battle. In Oregon, 3,000 “marriage” licenses for same-sex couples were invalidated by the state’s supreme court. Major victories were also won in New Jersey, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, and Indiana. Many other battles rage on and we appreciate your prayers and continued support.

Read more about same-sex "marriage" here...

Ten Commandments—ADF strategy, training, and funding played a decisive role in a partial victory over the public display of the Decalogue. Two Supreme Court rulings gave ambiguous guidelines but actually protected displays when not posted to “advance religion.” We anticipate that the ACLU and their allies will continue their “search & destroy” mission against Ten Commandment displays and we are prepared to meet them head to head.

Read more about the Ten Commandments here...

Equal Access for the Gospel— the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill denied official recognition to a Christian fraternity whose leaders refused to accept non-believers as officers. As a result, the fraternity lost access to facilities that all other student organizations enjoyed. ADF attorneys intervened, and the fraternity’s access was restored. Over the years, ADF’s University Project has won similar victories for equal access and religious liberty at universities in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, and more, and will continue to defend the equal-access rights of Christian groups not only at our nation’s universities, but in all public schools, parks, libraries, and other taxpayer-supported facilities.

Read more about equal access here...

Sanctity of Life—At the University of Texas-San Antonio, Students for Life applied to use campus facilities for a pro-life exhibit. University officials demanded payments for security, a demand not made of other groups, including abortion advocates. Thanks to an ADF-allied attorney’s intervention, officials treated life advocates fairly and the exhibit was finally approved.

Read more about the sanctity of life here...

Christmas—ADF recently defeated the ACLU and its allies twice in key legal battles – in Louisiana and Rhode Island – over the right to publicly celebrate America’s most popular holiday. Other victories across the country have preserved school Christmas programs, city Christmas parades, and the right of students and government employees to wish each other “Merry Christmas.”

Read more about the ADF Christmas Project here...

This year’s victories, because of your sacrificial support, are a continuous reminder that together, on our knees in prayer, we will win. But with the enemies of freedom and decency more determined and better funded than ever, we cannot pause, nor even blink (John 15:5).

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Big Lesson for 2005

December 26, 2005

Lessons From Katrina

—Albert Mohler

Looking back at the year, we asked each of our commentators what they thought was the most significant story of 2005. Here's Albert Mohler:

By any measure, 2005 was a big year for news. In the United States, the biggest story had to do with hurricanes--especially Hurricane Katrina.

There were many lessons to be learned from this tragedy, but one lesson has been missed by much of the media: the limitations of government. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, the question was quickly asked: Why didn't the government prevent this devastation? Why isn't the government ready to deal with this kind of disaster?

Many Americans now assume that government is the answer to every problem. But, if anything, the aftermath of Katrina reminds us that governments are very limited. Churches showed up to feed millions of meals. Neighbors helped neighbors to rescue and assist. Government has a role, but it can't replace families, churches and communities.

That's a big lesson for 2005.

Beyond the News Commentaries go past today's headlines to give you concise and penetrating insight into the most pressing challenges facing our culture today. BTN commentaries cover everything from politics to popular culture, from faith to international relations and family values to the progress of the war on terrorism.

Copyright 2003 Beyond The News TM

Albert Mohler is the host of The Albert Mohler Program. Read Albert Mohler's blog on Crosswalk.

So, How Was YOUR Christmas Day?

Being that this is my first year at blogging, I found myself wondering what most bloggers post about the day after Christmas. Why, of course! They post about their Christmas Day experiences! Ours started out pretty typically. Then, our friend Phil came in from the patio. Borrowing a line from the movie Apollo 13, his booming voice announced, "Houston....we have a problem."

First, let me start out with the good news! Our Christmas morning was a wonderful time spent exchanging gifts in our large living room. Christmas music was playing from the stereo. The fireplace was blazing; filling the room with light, warmth, and cheer. Our Christmas tree was surrounded with gifts; shimmering bright with lights. And, best of all, our new puppy went back to sleep! Once everyone was awake, the gifts were opened. Then, we all enjoyed a breakfast-brunch feast.

It was about 2:00 in the afternoon. Everyone was doing their own thing. Mom and Phil, being from N.J., spent most of the day out on the patio by the pool enjoying the warm sunshine and 70 degree weather which is quite the contrast from the bitter cold back east. I brought out some drinks, pretzels and nuts for them to enjoy. Our older dog, an American Eskimo, was wandering around under the patio table hoping that mom or Phil would feed her some pretzels. She got her wish!

Then, disaster struck! My mom dropped her hearing aid on the ground and the dog, probably thinking it was just another pretzel, chewed it into half a dozen pieces! She spit it out, but it was too late to rescue the device! Since the dog is old, she doesn't see that well anymore.

We have a dog that can't see and a mom who can't hear!

We all laughed so hard our sides ached! But then, I realized the dilemma my mom was in. She was 3,000 miles away from her doctor and needed to get a replacement for her hearing aid.

Fortunately, a quick search on the internet enabled me to find a hearing aid replacement center. Mom was smart enough to get extra insurance so it won't cost anything to replace it (I hope). Those things are expensive! $2000.00 each!

Moments after all of this commotion, I find my husband, daughter and son huddled on the couch in the family room with worried looks on their faces. The puppy had jumped out of my daughter's arms and may have broken her left front paw! Sasha howled in pain when she put any pressure on her paw while trying to walk. We called the animal care emergency hospital and were glad that it was open on Christmas day! My husband and daughter drove to the facility and we at home awaited their phone call about the condition of the puppy's paw.

We have a dog that can't see, a mom who can't hear, and a puppy who can't walk!

After a brief check-up, the vet at the animal hospital told them that she was OK. She told them, "Go home and enjoy your puppy. No charge for this visit. Merry Christmas!" Wasn't that so very kind of her? She said she had never seen a "Puggle" ( Pug and Beagle mix) before and our puppy Sasha was so cute!

We were all so relieved!

During our mealtime prayer, we gave special thanks on this Holy Day to God for His Son, Jesus, all the blessings He has bestowed upon us, and the joy of having mom and Phil join us this Christmas season. We then proceeded to enjoy a wonderful Prime Rib dinner together!

So, how was YOUR Christmas day?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Light

Our family attended the 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service at New Venture Christian Fellowship. Pastor Shawn delivered a great message! Here is a summary.

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!


Christmas Light For Life's Dark Days

"Jesus said, I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in darkness." John 12:46 (NLT)

Light is a constant subject in the Bible.

Genesis 1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (KJV)

John 8:12 - Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (KJV)

Psalm 27:1 - [[[A Psalm] of David.]] The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (KJV)

John 12:46 - I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (KJV)

Text: Luke 2:1-20

Christ Born of Mary

(Matt. 1:18-25)

2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed *wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And *behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made *widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Jesus is the Light of the world. What does "light" do? It illuminates, warms, directs, comforts, and builds confidence.

Jesus came so that man will no longer walk in darkness. God's promises in Scripture tell us that when we belong to Jesus, there is no need for fear. Why? Because when we are born again, the Spirit of God lives in our hearts and no one can snatch us out of His hands!

1 John 4:4 - Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (KJV)

Our fate is guaranteed!

Hebrews 13:5 - [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (KJV)


However, when dark days come as they inevitably will in this fallen world, it can lead to days of...

"I hoped for happiness and light, but trouble and darkness came instead." Job 30:26

"I have cried desperately for help, but still it does not come." Psalm 22:1

"The one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going." John 12:35

"The thought of my bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed." Lam. 3:19,20

"...There is darkness everywhere." Psalm 88:16


1. He encourages me.
"The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; He sees those who have lost all hope." Psalm 34:18

"The plans I have for you, says the Lord, are plans to prosper you, not to harm give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

Make the past a guiding post, not a hitching post! Don't stay there!

2. He strengthens me.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13

"Even though I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, for you are with me." Psalm 23:4

3. He guides me.

"Jesus said, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

4. He accepts me.

Jesus invites each one of us to come as we are...but He doesn't leave us there! His invitation to receive forgiveness of sin through repentance allows the light of salvation to enter our souls!

"The light produces in people all that is good and right and true." Eph. 5:9

"...the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in." 1 John 2:8

Friday, December 23, 2005

Zapping that Christmas "Stress Monster"

A while back, I wrote a post about a luncheon with my Bible study group. The speaker, Carol Hopson, shared some ways to avoid the stress, rush and hurriedness that often occurs leading up to a big holiday such as Christmas. I made it my goal to follow her advice. Then, yesterday happened...

My mom and her companion, Phil, arrived on Wednesday. Thursday morning, the shower door to the guest bathroom broke, which left one shower for 6 people in the house! (This will have more significance later in the story.)

After breakfast and taking turns showering, mom, Phil and I decided to visit the Wild Animal Park. It was a great day to go because it wasn't crowded. We were able to get on the Wgasa Bush Line Railway immediately. In the past, we have waited up to an hour. Our tour guide was quite the talker! He never shut up....not even for 5 seconds! Of course, he was very knowledgeable and that part was good. However, during the hour long tour around the park, Phil noticed and mentioned, "If you wanted to tell your kids about the birds and the bees, just take them on this ride!" Our guide shared more about mating and the where, why, how, what, and when the animals go poop than anyone that I have ever heard in the history of my six visits to that park! He typically asked "Jeopardy" type questions of the kids near the front of the tram, and proceeded to give them names like "Poopmeister," Poopqueen," "Poopking," "Poopprincess," etc. when they got the answers right. His concluding remarks, "Everybody poops." I'm sure he was quite entertaining to the kids, but I soon tuned him out from the monotony of it all! (This will have more significance later in the story.)

When we disembarked, we were hungry and sat down for some lunch. Next, we visited the duck pond and my mom fed the ducks out of her hand. I was grateful she didn't get bit! Next, we went over to Lorikeet Landing where you can bring in a cup of nectar and feed the colorful birds. Many times, they will land on your wrist and drink out of the cup. There was much picture taking going on and if you happened to forget your own camera, you can buy a professional photo of your experience just outside the exhibit. None of us in our group felt like feeding the birds, so we just walked around and watched. Suddenly, I felt something drop into my hair from the tree directly above me. Oh no...

Well, we were ready to leave. We visited a gift shop and then left the park.

When I got home, I heard all the tales of how our new puppy (3 month old Puggle named, "Sasha") pooped in the boarded off kitchen area of our home!

Since I had a Christmas dinner get-together with two girlfriends (that was planned weeks ago), that night, I needed to go out to Boston Market to get meals for my family and guests. It was 5:15 and I needed to be at the restaurant at 6:00! Traffic was bad and I returned at 5:45. My intention was to take a very quick shower and change clothes. My son had decided that he wanted to take his shower (in the only one that was usable at the time). I banged on the outer door, but he couldn't hear me. Since he locked the outer door, I couldn't get to my closet to just change my clothes! It was 5:55 and I had to leave!

I was still trying to hold back the stress I was experiencing! While driving to the restaurant, I was listening to "Fly to the Moon" by Michael W. Smith, praying to the Lord and hoping that I didn't smell like a barnyard animal when I met and hugged my friends! I thought, "I am so tired...I'm absolutely pooped! What a poopy day." Then I started to chuckle. Then giggle. Then I burst out laughing, all alone in my car. Finally, I was laughing so hard the tears came. But I wasn't sad! No! My laughter took all that stress away immediately. God is so good...and faithful!

When I reached the entrance door to the restaurant, I was 10 minutes late but was first to arrive! When my friends arrived we had such a good laugh as I described my day. Then they, each in turn, described their hectic day! Our waiter had to keep coming back to ask us if we were ready to order. We must have sent him away 4 times! But he kept his polite demeanor and refilled our drinks while we laughed and joked.

At the end, we exchanged gifts with each other and we enjoyed what we received. The waiter came back to our table to clear the dishes and said, "Would you like me to introduce you to my replacement for the night? I am leaving to do some Christmas shopping soon." We said, "We will be leaving soon." He replied, "No, no, take your time. You can sit here for as long as you like." We thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas. I asked him, "Were we the most annoying table here tonight?" He said, "No, you were happy and fun. Have a Merry Christmas ladies."

He was really great. A beyond-the-call-of-duty type of service person. We gave him a 40% tip to show our appreciation.

We stayed long after we had finished our meals and shared some awesome stories of faith that each of us has experienced over the last 6 months. We were there for 3 1/2 hours and it was such a fun night! Sharing the love of the Lord with each other is such an uplifting experience. And we concluded, it wasn't "we" who successfully zapped that stress was He!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Dover Verdict

The Dover verdict came as no surprise to me. In fact, because such a decision would have a wide impact on schools, I predicted that the judge would cower to political correctness and rule exactly the way he did.

I have posted a very interesting article called, The Descent of the Strawman at my message board which provides links to several more. This article really tells it like it is...warts and all. It reiterates what is truly the basis of this controversy. Those who do not want the falsehoods, deceptions and frauds of biological (macro) Evolution exposed in high schools will do anything to disparage, degrade, ridicule and debase the Intelligent Design hypothesis and it's proponents. This excerpt from the article states it well:

"Nevertheless, that’s what happened in Dover, Pennsylvania, and what’s happening now in Kansas. The evolution controversy has dominated the news here for months. Despite the fact that nothing the state Board of Education has done with its standards will change in the slightest what happens in Kansas schoolrooms, the ongoing controversy is giving a solid boost to the state’s “moderate” Republicans and Democrats on a wide range of issues, none of which have anything to do with evolution. The Left believes no other issue has the potential to turn this red state blue, which is why it rages on. It’s allowed the secularists to demean the religiously inclined with impunity — but also laid bare the thoughts of those who viciously revile those who hold those beliefs. The evolution debate makes anyone who touches it look terrible."

The fact is that Intelligent Design doesn't fit into the box that evolutionary biologists want to keep it in. It crosses over into the study of the Cosmos as well. When you read the Starry fight link, you will notice that the discussion between myself and someone with an opposing view immediately shifts downward in direction. Again, as always, this particular opponent's counter-argument resorts to that familiar, tired, worn-out, old, excuse of an argument that when an hypothesis comes along that successfully explains how to avoid identifying just who the designer is (which allows for several possible answers as to "who the designer might be,") opponents want to bring Him (God) back in just for the purpose of having a reason to discredit the hypothesis.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Prayer With No Words

A Prayer With No Words

I could hear them praying
Somehow it seemed stiff, rote
The words were there, they sounded pretty, even holy
Yet somehow I knew they were not from the heart
Then it occurred to me they were operating out of a sense of obligation

Hosea 6:6 -- For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Suddenly I saw the meaning of this more clearly
I saw they wanted to be obedient to God
That they wanted to 'please' Him
But they did it out of obligation
It was as if they really didn't know how much God really cares
It was as if they believed they were insignificant to God
It was as if God's love was for them simply an imagined thing

Then I looked at my own circumstance
I wanted to pray, but couldn't find the words
Tears rose up in my eyes as I searched but found no words
Then I prayed, Lord help me find the words to pray
And He answered
'Unless your words are better than silence it is better to remain silent'

I made myself still for a moment as I thought, 'Be still and know He is Lord'
In that moment it all fit
The stillness, the silence, mercy and love not obligation and sacrifice
I realized then that a prayer with no words
That being still and just knowing He is Lord
Is better than anything done out of a sense of obligation

So I sat and began to think on how wonderful God is
How He is almighty and majestic
And how much He loves me
Then the tears came
Not because I had nothing to say, but because of what I heard Him say
He simply said, "now that you are still you can hear me say I love you
And that, my son, is the best prayer of all
Because it is how you get to know me"

I do what I do because I want to know God
Not because I feel obligated
Even if that means a prayer with no words

Written by Rocky Chambers

So beautifully stated!
Thanks to my friend Rocky for sharing this via email!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Unanimous: Christians Falsely Accused of Crimes

December 15, 2005

A federal jury unanimously decided today that two Harrisburg police officers illegally arrested Pastor Jim Grove of Heritage Baptist Church at a 2003 homosexual event in the city. He, along with three others, including RA's (Repent America) Michael Marcavage, were arrested and jailed for several hours on July 26, 2003 while ministering at the annual pride celebration.

The annual event features various activities throughout the day, which in the past included the sale of pornographic materials, public nudity, open lewdness, men dressed like women, and the use of obscene language over the public address system. Police refused to deal with the illegal behavior of the pride event attendees, but instead removed the Christians and falsely charged them with crimes.

Pastor Grove was acquitted of the criminal charges lodged against him the same year, and subsequently filed the civil rights lawsuit to hold police accountable for their illegal actions and to prevent such behavior in the future.

The jury unanimously found that Corporal Thomas C. Carter and Patrol Officer Stephanie Barrelet, a known lesbian, intentionally violated Pastor Grove's First Amendment rights.

Michael Marcavage testifed at Grove's trial, as well as during a related injunction hearing held before Judge William W. Caldwell. Caldwell will be ruling on the injunction that would prevent police from barring Christians from evangelizing outside one of the event's main entrances in the next couple of months.

For more information on this case, please contact:Len Brown, Esquire (or) Dennis E. Boyle, Esquire at (717) 299-7101

Hat tip: The Christian Underground

Bellavia Nails It!

Rep. Murtha is causing casualties

Posted: December 16, 2005
1:00 a.m.

Eastern Editor's note: David Bellavia is a former U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in the First Infantry Division for six years. He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor by his leadership, and has been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. He has received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York state's highest combat valor award) and was recently inducted into the New York State Veteran's Hall of Fame. His Task Force 2-2 Infantry has fought on such battlefields as Al Muqdadiyah, An Najaf, Al Fallujah, Mosul, and Baqubah. His actions in Fallujah, Iraq, were documented in the Nov. 22, 2004, cover story "Into the Hot Zone" by award-winning journalist Michael Ware. He is 30 years old.

© 2005

As the debris continues to settle from the explosion detonated by Representative John Murtha's, D-Pa., continued rapid fire defeatist comments this past week, I wonder how he expected his statements to be perceived. As an infantryman whose boots are still caked with blood and dust from Iraq, I am beyond confused with the Democratic Party's "Prada Pant Suit Posse" of Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Louise Slaughter's insistence that he preserve his title as a combat visionary.

As rancor and hyperbole have reached its peak, we continue to be fed bastardized statistics and a complete denial that Iraq – according to al-Qaida intercepts – is indeed the front line in the War on Terror. Murtha's outrage seems to be concerned with the massive amount of American youth far from home and in harm's way. There is no outrage that we have 1,700 troops patrolling Kosovo's tranquil streets. No complaints from the left when asked about the 3,000 troop presence in Bosnia or why there is a need for 1,754 troops in Iceland. "Mr. President, bring home our boys from Iceland NOW"!

When President Clinton sent 15,000 troops into post-hostile Bosnia to get the job done, it was the equivalent of keeping 585,000 troops in Iraq post invasion, when equating terrain and population. Tellingly, the silence from the left is deafening. To the leftists in America, Clinton understood war like no other. The template is simple: Pull out when the blood starts to flow (Somalia) and over commit when there is no chance of loss (Kosovo and Bosnia).

As Congress jockeys for their individual credibility in who has eaten more meals at Halliburton chow halls, Murtha stands and wears his lone Bronze Star with Valor (BSV) as his badge of authority. On behalf of every veteran of Iraqi Freedom who has exchanged hot lead with this enemy, allow me to state: "Mr. Murtha you don't know 'Jack' about the mujahadeen."

Rep. Murtha quotes an unscientific poll that concludes arrogantly that "80 percent of Iraqis want us out." I am no John Zogby, but I conclude 100 percent of Iraqi's want us out ... eventually. They very much want us there while Islamo-fascists continue to blow them up as they worship and apply to serve the cause of freedom.

My peers are not appreciative of the Sen. Kennedy and Kerry elitists who daily attempt to uncover mistakes made by this administration, while my brothers under fire bleed to death thousands of miles from their homes. In the era of digital satellite, these senators have put us on daily trial for executing a war as it unfolds, without delay and in its entirety.

Iraqi veterans are without apologies for not finding weapons of mass destruction today in Iraq. As former administrations ignored the present danger in this region for years before 9-11, we in the trenches pay the price for our past inability to confront our brazen enemies. Each day, the enemy hopes that one more 10-plus death toll inflicted against the coalition via a roadside bomb will be the last straw of the American collective will.

Voting against the immediate pull out of the troops and then carpet bombing every TV program that offers an invite by supporting Murtha's ignorance is a political attack that is aiding the enemy. Congress has had multiple opportunities to pass official articles of war against al-Qaida and her assets to end once and for all the bipartisan bickering of why we fight in Iraq today. They have yet to act.

Make no mistake: This is a middle- to lower-class war, fought by volunteers of the greatest generation of American Warriors ever born. I personally have written over 47 Bronze Stars with Valor awards for the members of my 34-man infantry platoon. The BSV is alarmingly growing more and more common during this fight and yet my peers cannot use their awards as a platform to defend their noble struggle, because they are still deep in the fight. Neither Mr. Murtha, nor any other congressional representative, has held a position in a skirmish line under fire in Iraq, yet they pontificate to the masses from "their war" experience.

Not one has borne witness to the extreme close quarter nature of this fight or commented on the tearful thanks from a deserving and proud people who need us to stay the course. Yet Rep. Murtha has the extreme audacity to call my peers "broken."

The testament to the American soldier is the attrition on the other end of the battlefield in Iraq, and it is almost biblical in proportion. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian-trained Hezbollah, Chechnyan, Wahabbi and local mujahadeen militants have been pacified by our young patriots and their continuation of the legacy of the American Warrior Ethos. Funny how a man like Murtha – who made his career on detailing his heroism under fire – is the first to chip at away at my generation's valor.

As my peers continue to bleed for the acceptance from a growingly cynical media, it must be stated: We are not "broken," we have never "terrorized Iraqis in their homes" and we are most certainly not "living hand to mouth."

Each day, the Iraqi War veteran grows closer to the embarrassing disrespect of the Vietnam warrior. Each day, legislators like Rep. Murtha move us closer to losing a winnable war and abandoning a worthy ally. Democratic leadership feels the need to apologize for our nation's ability to deliver unrelenting prudent lethality onto our deserving enemies. Instead of supporting the cause of my peers, they stoke the fires of the al-Jazeera faithful, who would see a pullout in Iraq as a greater victory than the Soviet retreat in Afghanistan.

Though soldiers bleed for the very right to dissent from the truth, we must remember that at times our dissent will embolden our desperate Islamo-fascist enemy when they read accounts of the growing fecklessness of the American people and her policymakers.

"Staying the course" isn't a campaign slogan – it is a life-support message to my peers. Congressman Murtha – above all others – should know the perils inherent in dictating military policy from across the Potomac in a time of war. I imagine he can still taste the hated partisan spittle of the war protestors 30 years ago. Like Vietnam, the American soldier cannot be defeated on the field of battle, only by the failure of the political class to stomach the hardships of combat.

David Bellavia


Letters in response to above letter:


Bellavia nails it

[Former Staff Sgt. David Bellavia's letter on Murtha] is one of the most awesome articles I have ever read. I have never responded to an Internet article before. I could not refrain from responding to this one. Mr. Bellavia nails it.

Howard Price
BSV, Purple Heart Recipient
Republic of Vietnam

My kind of guy

I may not know [David Bellavia] personally, but I know he is the kind of American I understand, trust and respect. A man who has historical and political perspective – unlike the political Left.

He has confidence in himself and his country, while the Left always seems to have a wishy-washy and unstable policy of cut and run. Their song is always the same, and it's always off key. I wouldn't trust the Left to run my washing machine, let alone my country.

Former Staff Sgt. Bellavia, I salute you and want to thank you for your service to this county, past and present. And if I were a couple years younger, sir, I'd ask you to marry me. You're my kind of guy!

Joyce Romano

Remarkable people

I have just read the "Letter of the Week" by David Bellavia. What remarkable and wonderful people we have serving in our military. A copy of this should be sent to everyone in the House and Senate, the editors of the "elite" newspapers, and the news networks. Thank you so much for having this letter for us to read.

Gail Parker

Thanks for the truth

Very well said. Thanks for the straightforward truth of what is really going on. We need more letters like [David Bellavia's] to help overcome the treasonous media and Democrats.

It is beyond my comprehension or why the Democratic freaks do not support our troops. There is no need for apologizing that you have not found weapons of mass destruction. Every normal person in the United States who supports the cause fully understands the fact that Saddam used them in Iran and on his own people. One truckload of this nasty [material] can be easily hidden in a nation the size of California.

Steve Roman


Soldier's pen mightier than sword

I may not be able to write the "Letter Of The Week," but I can compliment David Bellavia with all my heart for a job well done and for an article written from his heart which is so tempered by the things he has seen and done on America's Field of Valor – which is any place an American soldier stands in defense of people anywhere who yearn for and deserve freedom, liberty and their very lives!

How well we know that some men so easily forget the things that may have motivated them as youngsters, that enabled them to fight their wars and pursue their dreams, that kept them going when "the going was rough" and enabled them to stand and fight rather than run and hide, only to grow old and fat while living the easy life as ex-Marine Murtha seems to have done!

America has had her Benedict Arnolds in every war of her existence and will continue to have, I suppose, but let us deal with the current one! Murtha's voice is one taken up by a brand of coward that seems to be peculiar to America. Fat with the excesses of our liberty and lazy in our so hardly won freedoms, we see them choose to "cut and run" while the David Bellavias struggle and fight an incredibly U.N.-balanced war on foreign shores.

Sir, I salute and thank you with all my heart for a job well done. Apparently, it is not yet completed, and I do pray that you will continue to fight here on these shores as you are doing. Certainly, in many ways the "pen" is indeed "mightier than the sword!"

Fight the good fight!

Sam Sayger