Thursday, November 30, 2006

C-Span and Letters to Mahmoud

Sometimes I enjoy watching C-Span, and other times I don't. The hosts are unapologetically leftists and seem to enjoy quoting the New York Traitor (a.k.a. Times) in all it's attempted America-destroying glory.

This morning, however, I appreciated listening to Bing West. Bing served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. You can read much more about him at his website.

He shared something today that I had not previously been aware of. He said that the one thing over in Iraq that angers our military, the Iraqi military and police, and the Iraqi people is the "catch and release" habit when perpetrators are discovered planting bombs. They generally only get 4 months in prison and then are released! I thought that was absolutely crazy! Why release these people so soon...they will only do it again! But then he shared the reason why. Because of the media firestorm and over-blown reporting of the Abu Ghraib incident, no one on the ground there wants to get involved in prolonged imprisonment.

This is nuts, people. Our MSM here generated that over-blown fiasco ( needed to be reported but come on! The extreme hype was totally unnecessary!) and they can now be considered responsible (IMO)for many of the additional deaths of our soldiers, the Iraqi soldiers and police, and the Iraqi civilians!!

I know. You visitors who are on the opposite side of this war and the issues surrounding it are probably gonna blast me for saying that. But I don't care. It is absolutely true.

In fact, I believe that history will one day show how the war protestors, the MSM, and the Vietnam era naysayers who have openly and harshly opposed our brave military's efforts in this war will one day be exposed for what they are. Cowards and enablers of the terrorists! This is whether they believe it or not.

Bing West had many great things to say during his 20 minute interview. Some of the callers had sensible things to say, too. Other callers just spewed their regular hate mantra for President Bush and exposed (to me, at least) their ill-conceived notions that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place (get over it!!) and that we should pull out (in other words, they don't care if we win), and worst of all, their ignorant and false illusions that the terrorists might just leave us alone if we did so.

Contrast Mr.West with the next guest on C-Span, Wesley Clark.

I couldn't believe my ears when he said that we should enter into talks with Iran and Syria regarding Iraq.

When Wesley Clark recommended that we should negotiate with terrorist enablers, he lost all credibility with me on this subject.

*[Update: While viewing Michele Malkin's blog, I found another reason to doubt Clark's credibility. ]

**[Second update: In a related matter, check out Malkin's latest eye-opening blogpost that reveals rumors and reporting in Iraq.]

According to the responses to Ahmadinejad's letter to the American people, it seems to me that even the most ordinary Americans understand how foolish and unwise such an endeavor, as Clark poses, would be!

Here are some of the best responses:

Dear President Ahmadinejad:

Thank you for realizing that we are, indeed, "Noble Americans." We want peace, equality, and freedom of speech for everyone. We are willing to fight for it, even to die for it. We boldly show our brave faces in combat, proudly wearing the uniform of democracy and freedom. You, on the other hand, wish destruction on God's people, and deny equality to many and freedom of speech to all. You support fighters who, like the cowards they are, hide in the shadows to attack innocents at opportune moments, only to retreat into the shadows when faced with the brave soldiers of the Coalition forces. You, sir, are not noble and do not have the right to count yourself among the ranks of those of us who are.

Robbins, NC

Dear Mr. President,

You are apparently not a student of the United States, or you would realize that the incoherent rant you spew in your letter serves only to galvanize Americans. While Americans disagree on many subjects, so do the citizens of your country. The difference is, Americans are afforded the liberty to say so, while oppressive rulers such as yourself cower at the thought of free thought in your own country

If you expect to be taken seriously, to be treated more than a little man with a Napoleon complex then you will need to start with excluding the religious zeal from managing your country and your foreign policy.

If you care about the people and country you lead, learn to become part of the world community, and you will have an impact.

— John (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dear Mahmoud,

This is great stuff! I really mean it! Have considered trying out as a contestant on "Last Comic Standing?" As long as you brutally repress freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of conscience in your country, please allow me to laugh at your criticisms our political process.

Keep it up!

— Noel

President Ahmadinejad,

I may not be on the same side as our president on some things, like his being too weak on the Mexican border issue. But my biggest compliant is that he hasn't gotten rid of you!

— Kathy (Atlanta, TX)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

A major difference between the West and the Middle East is the value of "truth." The U.S. values the truth and expects our leaders to also. What you have given us is propaganda that you would expect your people to believe because they do not know otherwise. Sir, please do not confuse me with your own subjects. We might not like what our leaders do sometimes but we know the truth because we have access to alternative opinions. Because we hold the truth and liberty in high regards, we can freely challenge our leaders, both religious and political, without the fear of reprisals.

— Tim (Texas)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Your letter to us, the American people, is filled to the brim with pure propaganda. Your actions in promoting sectarian violence and fundamentalist beliefs keep your women as third class citizens, mock God who is love, and fly in the face of truth itself. We saw your actions in holding Americans captive in our embassy, promoting and supporting terrorists who regularly rocket civilians in Israel, holding back truthful and honest news so it cannot reach your people, inhibiting all free expression in your own country, among so many other negatives. Our letters to you will, no doubt, never see the light of day in your country, because you fear truth. Your letter to us, the American people, is widely circulated and readily available, because we have true freedom of the press.

— Jim (Brooksville, FL)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

If you truly believe we true-blooded American people can be influenced by the likes of you and your letter, it is just a fabrication of your sick mind.

— Bob (Nevada)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

I, like most Americans, will not believe your propaganda and your feeble attempt to turn us against our own country. You say you are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world, but you blatantly allow the training of individuals who carry out the most inhuman actions against mankind. How do you condemn terrorism while empowering it? Count your blessings you are still there. Don't send us anymore of your lies.

— E.C.

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Your letter to the American people, in the same vein as your letter to President Bush, is absolutely transparent and seeks to play on apparent factions and weaknesses here within America. As you will see from some of the posts on this site, there are those who are ready and willing to take the bait. They are supposed patriots, who play right into your hands and point to liberals and Democrats as the opposition and the enemy. Luckily, as our nation's history has proven time and time again, when faced with an external threat such as the very real one that you and your brethren present, we will unite and be triumphant. The talking heads and pundits do not speak for your average American, and we see straight through your gimmicks and lies.

— Chris

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Reading your letter was the funniest thing I've heard all year, and my opinion is you're scared to death. Why? Because you're next!

— Jay

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

President George W. Bush is a leader and a man of integrity. You are not a leader, because you are not truly leading your people to peace and prosperity. Your letter reveals what we already know — that you have no integrity. If you continue to push the Western world, we may see whether you are a man or a mouse like Saddam, who had to be pulled from his rat hole.

— Jon (Tennessee)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

You are crazy, and you should stop trying to make people think you aren't. You should know, as a former terrorist, who held our citizens hostage for 444 days, that this type of letter only makes the American people have more resolve to finish our job in Iraq with honor. I, as an American and a God-fearing person, can only pray that you fall prey to the same terror that you support!

— G. P. (California)

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

You are over-playing your hand. You are the president of a repressive third world nation. We do not take you seriously, and you embarrass yourself each time you behave as if the free world actually cares what you think.

— David

President Ahmadinejad,

Your letter to the American people is a lie and an abomination! You must realize that the American people are not fools or idiots and will not heed a word of it ! You have wasted your time. The atrocities you have committed clearly speak for you. Obviously, your letter is a piece of propaganda for use in the Islamic community in an attempt to convince Muslims what a great and worthy person you are. You will make your letter available for all Iranians to read, but would you allow a letter from President Bush or the American people to be read? No, of course not and we know that. I pray that the time will come, when you are just a bad piece of Iran's history. I hope that time comes soon!

— Angela (San Francisco, CA


You say the violence in Iraq is the responsibility of the United States when it is you who are instigating the killing through your radical Shiite proxies. Americans are not so stupid as to fall for your lies.

— Craig (Houston, TX)

These letters are all good, but this one has to be my favorite so far:

Mr. Ahmadinejad:

The day you stop having rallies calling for the destruction of America, the day you stop funding terrorists who seek to kill and destroy Americans, the day you stop threatening America with "the sword" if we don't convert to your twisted religious doctrine, then I MIGHT think there's some credibility in your letter. Until then, your letter will serve best in various restrooms across the USA.

— Sam

As I was reading through your letter to the American people, I could not help but to think of our past service men and women that had to listen to the same rhetoric from Tokyo Rose during WWII. I do not believe for a minute that the Iranian government has our best interest at heart. I believe that you and your government are a sponsor of world terrorism and that the Iranian government is a major player in the suffering that is being happening to the people of Iraq at this moment. I have no dislike or hatred of the Iranian people. I believe that they are as peace loving as we are. You cannot call for the destruction of free countries such as the U.S. and Israel and the annihilation of a race of people and still call yourself peace loving.

Your letter to the American people was ill conceived, disrespectful and insulting to myself and many other Americans. Yes, I disagree with some of the policies of our own government. But unlike the people of Iran, I have the freedom to voice my opinion. Thank God for that.

— Jim (Barberton, OH)


Dear Mahmoud,

Let’s see… Violent revolution and hostage taking in the 70’s, atrocities in the 80’s (war with Iraq – we watched you two use mustard gas on each other and maul one another’s POWs), religious police, persecution of non-Muslims, funding of killers (Hamas, etc.), death threats against world leaders and whole countries (your speeches on your TV station, bub) … need I go on? We have a popular saying here in the US: “set the crack pipe down and step away slowly”. No, maybe we’re not a perfect country. However, we sure as hell have your madcap delusions of martyrdom beat. Hey – you know, I’ll bet you could give Borat a run for his money doing standup over here!

— Steve (Venice, CA)

Nice try Mahmoud. We Americans are much smarter than you think. Deep down inside you won’t be happy until you overtake us. However, we will never be forced to live under Dictators... You are the crazy man in the attic and freedom always perseveres. We still haven’t paid you back for taking the hostages. I wouldn’t sleep well at night if I was you. We see you for what you are, a fruitcake who will eventually do himself in. Nighty night.

— Nicholas

[NOTE: Glad to see the "Dear President" salutations are gone!!]

There are many more good letters at the site. I'm sure that the list will grow as the day goes by. For now, I will end this post with this letter:

To the Iranian President,

Tens of millions have been freed under the actions of the United States since the 1940’s. No other nation can make this claim. We stand on the side of good. The actions of the U.S. are honorable. If not, why do so many flee your country and come to ours for freedom? Why does your country vow the destruction of Israel if you are God fearing and promote peace!

You are a coward…this we all know!!!!

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Update at 11:57 a.m. PT: Another great blog post with links telling us to Wake Up America: Enemy Propaganda From Our Media! This excerpt from the post reiterates my thoughts about the traitorous, treasonous NYTimes:

A good point and one the AP should heed.

We will end up following rumors instead of hunting terrorists and criminals.

This comment is very telling, the AP in their carelessness and refusal to admit that their longtime source is either entirely made up, or a fraud at best, is endangering the mission in Iraq. Once again as I pointed out about the NYT, this should be considered treason.

In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one's nation or state. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor.

These media outlets should be held accountable when they endanger American soldiers lives.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me

Since I didn't get around to doing a post today, I thought I'd swipe DL Foster's idea over at Perspectives in Motion and start my own "7 things you probably don't know about me" thread.

Below are seven things about me, feel free to share seven things about yourself that I or others reading might not know!

1. I played basketball and field hockey in college. In basketball, I had an accurate outside corner baseline shot (and this was before the 3-point shot! arrgghh!)

2. I used to be active in Mary Kay Cosmetics sales. Won the free use of two Grand Am cars and was a Director with the company for several years.

3. I was so scared and had bad nightmares after seeing the movie The Exorcist for the first time. The second time, I laughed...especially the spinning head & pea soup spitting scenes. (Perhaps the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit about it helped?)

4. Our family used to play Monopoly a lot when the kids were younger. My son ALWAYS beat all of us!

5. I loved riding the "Swiss Bob" at the Seaside N.J. boardwalk and any of the old wooden track roller coasters back east. I hate the new loopty-loop ones, though!

6. I'm a Star Trek fan (especially the original series and ST Generations)...used to be a fanatic! I even attended a Star Trek Convention in New York City in the 80's!

Uh oh...down to my last one?

7. I love dogs (have 2); love comedies (Jim Carrey is a favorite); love to laugh, kid around, tease and be teased with the family; learning to play golf better; walk for exercise; go to lunch with the girlfriends; shop with my daughter; go to the driving range with my son and husband; go to baseball games, some football games (USC and Chargers); watch movies; talk; and type on the internet! (except, you all knew that last one...te he)

Now it's your turn!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our First Liberty Television Special

Our First Liberty Television Special
ADF Special Airing on TBN November 28

This Tuesday, November 28, TBN will be airing the exciting new special, "Our First Liberty" that highlights how ADF is defending and protecting the First Liberty -- religious freedom -- of ordinary Americans.

The special will be aired at

12:30 a.m. EST (11/29),

11:30 p.m. CST,

10:30 p.m. MST,

and 9:30 p.m. PST.

Find your local TBN channel here.

Our First Liberty Trailers

Quicktime (2.9 MB)
Windows Media Player (8.8 MB)

[UPDATE: You can also watch online at this link.]

TO: Christine
FROM: Alan Sears, President

Two More Wins for Communities and Families Against Sexually-Oriented Businesses...

Over twenty years ago, I served as Executive Director of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography with ADF co-founder, Dr. James Dobson.

It was a time of great trial, as we examined some of the vilest material imaginable and the negative secondary effects of sexually-oriented businesses on communities, women, and children; such as violent and sexual crimes, degradation of women, prostitution, and so much more.

That's why I am pleased to report on two more wins against the expansion of sexually-oriented businesses.

In Pittstown Township, Pennsylvania, ADF provided funding for allied attorney Randy Wenger in a successful effort to help residents stop zoning approval of a sexually-oriented business featuring nude dancing.

The residents were concerned about the detrimental effect that the club would have on their community, especially since the club was planning to allow its "patrons" to bring their own alcohol to consume.

After hearing the residents' concerns, the township denied the club zoning approval, but the club developers appealed that decision to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. The court issued an order that rejected the appeal, saying that the township was within the law to reject the club's application.

A copy of the order can be read at copy of order.

Learn more by reading the ADF press release...

In Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, the parish council approved an ordinance that enforces comprehensive regulations on sexually-oriented businesses.

The model ordinance ADF supplied outlines what owners and employees of sexually-oriented businesses may or may not do; and enacts permit and licensing requirements; as well as criminal background checks; limits on operating hours; and establishes health code, architectural, and signage requirements.

A copy of the model ordinance is available at Model Ordinance.

ADF senior legal counsel Mike Johnson provided assistance to the Tangipahoa Parish council. He says: "We want other local citizens' groups to feel empowered to take the same actions...This ordinance is something that can be duplicated in other cities and counties nationwide."

We praise God for these two victories to protect communities and families from the cultural pollution of sexually-oriented businesses. For more information on the steps you and your community can take to stop the encroachment of such businesses in local neighborhoods, go to Steps you can take.

Alliance Defense Fund
15333 N. Pima Road Suite 165
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Latvia Speech A Milestone

President Bush's speech in Latvia should be regarded as a very important historical one, as well as a significant milestone in the war on terrorism. When I find a copy of the speech, I will post it here.

[UPDATE AT 11:40 a.m. PT: NATO Summit 2006 Address by the President of the United States George W. Bush to the participants of the Young Leaders Forum and of the Rīga Conference.]

Despite what Pelosi and her radical, liberal left minnions would want, President Bush is not about to pull our troops out before the job is done in Iraq!!

Excerpt from NATO Summit 2006 address:

NATO allies are also making vital contributions to the struggle for freedom in Iraq. At this moment, a dozen NATO allies, including every one of the Baltic nations, are contributing forces to the coalition in Iraq. And 18 NATO countries, plus Ukraine, are contributing forces to the NATO training mission that is helping develop the next generation of leaders for the Iraqi security forces.

Today NATO has trained nearly 3,000 Iraqi personnel, including nearly 2,000 officers and civilian defense officials trained inside Iraq plus an additional 800 Iraqi trained outside the country.

NATO has also helped Iraqis stand up a new military academy near Baghdad so Iraqis can develop their own military leaders in the years to come.

And NATO has contributed $128 million in military equipment to the Iraqi military including 77 Hungarian T-72 battle tanks.

By helping to equip the Iraqi security forces and training the next group of Iraqi military leaders, NATO is helping the Iraqi people in the difficult work of securing their country in their freedom.

Tomorrow I am going to travel to Jordan where I will meet with the Prime Minster of Iraq. We will discuss this situation on the ground in this country, our ongoing efforts to transport more responsibility to the Iraqi security forces and the responsibility of other nations in the region to support the security and stability of Iraq. We will continue to be flexible. And we will make the changes necessary to succeed.

But there is one thing I am not going to do. I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete. The battles in Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a struggle between moderation and extremism that is unfolding across the broader middle east. Our enemy follows a hateful ideology that rejects fundamental freedoms like the freedom to speak, to assemble, or to worship god in a way you see fit. It opposes the rights for women. Their goal is to overthrow governments and to impose their totalitarian rule on millions.

They have a strategy to achieve these aims. They seek to convince America and our allies that we cannot defeat them and that our only hope is withdrawal and abandoned an entire region to their domination.

The war on terror that we fight today is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. And in this struggle, we can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren.

Meanwhile, I found President Bush's 2005 speech in Latvia, and have posted some excerpts and comments below.

The Baltic countries have seen one of the most dramatic transformations in modern history, from captive nations to NATO allies and EU members in little more than a decade. The Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian people showed that the love of liberty is stronger than the will of an empire. And today you're standing for liberty beyond your borders, so that others do not suffer the injustices you have known. The American people admire your moral courage in the cause of freedom.

This week, nations on both sides of the Atlantic observe the 60th anniversary of Hitler's defeat. The evil that seized power in Germany brought war to all of Europe, and waged war against morality, itself. What began as a movement of thugs became a government without conscience, and then an empire of bottomless cruelty. The Third Reich exalted the strong over the weak, overran and humiliated peaceful countries, undertook a mad quest for racial purity, coldly planned and carried out the murder of millions, and defined evil for the ages. Brave men and women of many countries faced that evil, and fought through dark and desperate years for their families and their homelands. In the end, a dictator who worshiped power was confined to four walls of a bunker, and the fall of his squalid tyranny is a day to remember and to celebrate.

The War on Terrorism is destined to be a long and arduous one. But one day, the ugliness, the evil, the madness, and the despicable, detestable practice of Islamo-fascism will be defeated and end up on the trash heap of history just the way that Communism did.

President Bush mentioned Yalta in his speech today (to be posted later). Here, he shows the correctness of his steadfast determination not to let the terrorists and enablers be appeased so that another "Yalta" occurs:

As we mark a victory of six days ago -- six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox. For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history. (bold mine)

Fascism and communism were the ideological enemies during WWII. Islamo-facism is the ideological enemy that we, as well as the entire world, faces today. Although it may not have been labeled as such, we are in World War III.

The end of World War II raised unavoidable questions for my country: Had we fought and sacrificed only to achieve the permanent division of Europe into armed camps? Or did the cause of freedom and the rights of nations require more of us? Eventually, America and our strong allies made a decision: We would not be content with the liberation of half of Europe -- and we would not forget our friends behind an Iron Curtain. We defended the freedom of Greece and Turkey, and airlifted supplies to Berlin, and broadcast the message of liberty by radio. We spoke up for dissenters, and challenged an empire to tear down a hated wall. Eventually, communism began to collapse under external pressure, and under the weight of its own contradictions. And we set the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace -- so dictators could no longer rise up and feed ancient grievances, and conflict would not be repeated again and again. (bold mine)

The next paragraph informs us that such struggles often last for decades. Why would we believe that the current struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq would be over in 3 or 4 short years? The naysayers who want us to immediately pull out of Iraq must be blind to historical precedent. Are they steeped in the mindset of the errors of Yalta, still today or what?? Why can't they see how such an act would embolden the terrorists and their allies and would be a monumental military mistake?

In these decades of struggle and purpose, the Baltic peoples kept a long vigil of suffering and hope. Though you lived in isolation, you were not alone. The United States refused to recognize your occupation by an empire. The flags of free Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania -- illegal at home -- flew proudly over diplomatic missions in the United States. And when you joined hands in protest and the empire fell away, the legacy of Yalta was finally buried, once and for all. The security and freedom of the Baltic nations is now more than a noble aspiration; it is the binding pledge of the alliance we share. The defense of your freedom -- in defense of your freedom you will never stand alone.

Free nations grow stronger with time!

From the vantage point of this new century, we recognize the end of the Cold War as part of an even broader movement in our world. From Germany and Japan after World War II, to Latin America, to Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe, and now to the broader Middle East, the advance of freedom is the great story of our age. And in this history, there are important lessons. We have learned that free nations grow stronger with time, because they rise on the creativity and enterprise of their people. We have learned that governments accountable to citizens are peaceful, while dictatorships stir resentments and hatred to cover their own failings. We have learned that the skeptics and pessimists are often wrong, because men and women in every culture, when given the chance, will choose liberty. We have learned that even after a long wait in the darkness of tyranny, freedom can arrive suddenly, like the break of day. And we have learned that the demand for self-government is often driven and sustained by patriotism, by the traditions and heroes and language of a native land. (bold mine)

If we look at our own history of our great nation, we find that the struggles we faced were often monumental ones. But we got through them and persevered. If we didn't we would not have the nation we have today! As Michael Medved states at the end of his radio show, "the greatest nation on God's green earth!"

Yet we've also learned that sovereignty and majority rule are only the beginnings of freedom. The promise of democracy starts with national pride, and independence, and elections. But it does not end there. The promise of democracy is fulfilled by minority rights, and equal justice under the rule of law, and an inclusive society in which every person belongs. A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances cannot move forward, and risks sliding back into tyranny. A country that unites all its people behind common ideals will multiply in strength and confidence. The successful democracies of the 21st century will not be defined by blood and soil. Successful democracies will be defined by a broader ideal of citizenship -- based on shared principles, shared responsibilities, and respect for all. For my own country, the process of becoming a mature, multi-ethnic democracy was lengthy and violent. Our journey from national independence to equal injustice [sic] included the enslavement of millions, and a four-year civil war. Even after slavery ended, a century passed before an oppressed minority was guaranteed equal rights. Americans found that racial division almost destroyed us, and the false doctrine of "separate but equal" was no basis for a strong and unified country. The only way we found to rise above the injustices of our history was to reject segregation, to move beyond mere tolerance, and to affirm the brotherhood of everyone in our land. (bold mine)

Doesn't Iraq and Afghanistan deserve the same consideration of time to establish their young democracies?

For all the problems that remain, it is a miracle of history that this young century finds us speaking about the consolidation of freedom throughout Europe. And the stunning democratic gains of the last several decades are only the beginning. Freedom is not tired. The ideal of human dignity is not weary. And the next stage of the world democratic movement is already unfolding in the broader Middle East.

We seek democracy in that region for the same reasons we spent decades working for democracy in Europe -- because freedom is the only reliable path to peace. If the Middle East continues to simmer in anger and resentment and hopelessness, caught in a cycle of repression and radicalism, it will produce terrorism of even greater audacity and destructive power. But if the peoples of that region gain the right of self-government, and find hopes to replace their hatreds, then the security of all free nations will be strengthened. We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability. We have learned our lesson; no one's liberty is expendable. In the long run, our security and true stability depend on the freedom of others. And so, with confidence and resolve, we will stand for freedom across the broader Middle East. (bold and italics mine)

Latvia, being a country that has only recently earned freedom from tyranny knows the huge struggle it takes to become free!

I have some questions.

After being attacked on 9/11, have some of America's people been lulled back into the pre-terror war mindset of appeasement?

Do they want to abandon these young, fledging democracies and let the terrorist organizations have their way with them?

Do they think that the terrorists are like children...getting their own way in Iraq will please them enough to leave America and Israel alone?

If they do...they must be living in the land of Oz!

Such a "happy go lucky" fictional place can distort one's thinking that the peace and security they are experiencing is just "there" when the reality is that the wicked witch of terrorism has been continually defeated here at home, time and time again behind the scenes. Through the work of our government which includes intelligence, homeland security measures, the Patriot Act, and our hard working military men and women fighting overseas our nation still enjoys its freedoms that our Founding Fathers worked so hard to bring about.

The next paragraph tells us of the dangers of pessimism. Unfortunately, most of our mainstream media have chosen to be pessimists in their reporting. They have decided that they hate President Bush, hate the war in Iraq, and thus will do anything to undermine our current Administration instead of choosing to take the high road of support, encouragement and unity which made our nation great during WWII.

Even the Hollywood celebrities that were around during the era of WWII became active supporters of our efforts. Everything from enlisting in the military, to performing in USO shows to earn millions of dollars for the war effort, the "stars" of that time certainly were standup stars for America and not just interested in their own selfishness.

What do we have? People like Rosie O'Donnell who mocks anyone and everything having to do with the war effort. She denigrates Christians believers constantly, but never has to answer for it or apologize. Why is she given a pass when others are unmercifully unforgiven even when they apologize?

We have people like Alec Baldwin (who was supposed to leave the US if President Bush was re-elected) who learned the hard way that he should keep his ignorant rants to himself. We have people like Michael Moore who makes movies that are filled with lies. I could go on and on.

Yes. These people have their own "free speech rights" to say whatever they want. However, contrast such people with the celebrities that gave up their selfish motives and got involved in a cause greater than themselves during WWII. That truly was "The Greatest Generation." They earned that title.

I wonder what they will call our current generation of secular progressive liberal left loonies like George Soros, Al Gore, John Kerry, Cindy Sheehan (and many more!). They ought to be ashamed of themselves!!!!!!!

In this great objective, we need a realism that understands the difficulties. But we must turn away from a pessimism that abandons the goal and consigns millions to endless tyranny. And we have reason for optimism. When the people of Afghanistan were finally given the vote, they chose humane rulers and a future of freedom. When the people of the Palestinian Territories went to the polls, they chose a leader committed to negotiation instead of violence. When Iraqi voters turned out by the millions, they repudiated the killers who hate and attack their liberty. There's much work ahead, but the direction of events is clear in the broader Middle East: Freedom is on the march. (bold mine)

The election in the Palestinian Territories unfortunately, ended up to be an election of Hamas leaders which only brought it back to being the Palestinian Terror-tory. Their hatred for Israel traces back to biblical times and probably won't be resolved until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ returns.

I have always felt that the "Roadmap to Peace" was a huge error promulgated by the U.S. The reason is that it goes against what the Lord has declared for Israel's land in the Bible. In order to get back on track, that "roadmap" needs to be changed into a different direction or disgarded altogether. One of the greatest hopes for Israel (IMO) is for Benjamin Netanyahu to be re-elected as Prime Minister of Israel.

These parting words still hold true today:

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the freedom of Europe, won by courage, must be secured by effort and goodwill. In our time, as well, we must raise our sights. In the distance we can see another great goal -- not merely the absence of tyranny on this continent, but the end of tyranny in our world. Once again, we're asked to hold firm to our principles, and to value the liberty of others. And once again, if we do our part, freedom will prevail.

Thank you, and God bless. (Applause.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Serving By The Will of God

In his "Living Your Life on Purpose" sermon this morning, Dr. David Jeremiah encourages us to ask ourselves a very pertinent question.

He started the sermon by pointing out that much of society may not recognize when they are in the midst of "flying upside down" in this world. The speed at which society functions today can cause people to not even recognize what it means to be flying "right side up."

With secular society dictating so much of what we are to think, choose, and believe; especially via the media, even Christians can fall into a trap of not putting up any resistance to the anti-God forces around us. Years of inaction and/or disinterest in what is going on in the secular world around us can cause much apathy, as well.

But we must ask ourselves, is this what God wants of us?

There was a survey done and the question was asked, "If you could ask God any one thing and get an immediate answer to that question, what would be your question?"

The number one answer might surprise you. The question brought up most often was:

"Why am I here?"

What is my purpose for life?

What am I supposed to be doing?

Dr. Jeremiah then mentioned that when he was 17 years old, his dad gave him the following "life" verse:

Acts 13:36 - For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: (bold mine)

The emphasis from this verse that was placed upon the boy from his father were the words "served his own generation by the will of God." Obviously, it had an enormous impact upon his life because Dr. Jeremiah is a living example of that kind of calling!

How do we learn to do what God tells us to do and thus, live our lives for Him? By knowing Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible.

The true joy of life is being used for a purpose greater than ourselves and for a purpose that is recognized for advancing the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Jeremiah gave four examples of individuals who lived their lives on purpose. Two are from the Old Testament and two are from the New Testament. In each case, they lived on purpose and God used them to make an incredible impact on those around them.

I. Daniel - The Power of Purpose

You can read the details in Daniel Chapter 1, but briefly, Daniel and three friends where captured by the Babylonian king for the purpose (the king's own perceived purpose) of being representatives to the king. He tried to brainwash them. He thought that these Jewish boys could have their thinking changed to Babylonian society "thinking" and they wouldthen serve as a good "object lesson" for those already in captivity. In Daniel 1:7, we find that the first method leading them to such brainwashing was to change their names.

Dan 1:7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

Daniel's name was changed to a pagan god-like name that pointed to the worship of Baal. His first test was that he was offered food from the king's table. Daniel knew that the food wouldn't be kosher. This would be his first temptation to violate the law. The wine served at the table was typically offered up to a pagan god which would have violated Daniel's covenant with the One True God.

Take a look at Daniel's reaction:

Daniel 1:8 - But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

What was the very first thing that Daniel did?

He purposed in his heart!

He refused to be led into violating the Law of God!

He refused to let worldly wisdom and a powerful king steer him in the wrong direction...away from his covenant to serve by the will of God.

He was young at the time (so don't let anyone tell you that you are too young to be used for God's purpose!) but he purposed in his heart first, in order to keep the covenant between himself and God going.

He could have taken the easy way. He could have succombed to the wishes and brainwashing of the king for several reasons:

1. Because he was a minority.
2. He was away from home and his culture.
3. If he disobeyed the king, he could have been killed! But Daniel would not submit to the lifestyle of the pagan world!

It is estimated that Daniel was between the ages of 14 - 18 years old. Daniel, the dearly beloved, played a huge role in God's plan!

In 2 Chronicles 12 we have a different story about a different man (Rehoboam, who became king) and his decision to live his life opposite of the Lord's will. In verse 14, we see his first mistake and how evil prevailed in his heart and life because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD:

2 Chronicles 12:14 - And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.

What do these lessons tell us? We need to step back and decide to be honoring to God and make a difference in this world...or not. We've got to make God's purposes the center of our thinking!

II. Ezra: The Preparation of Purpose

Ezra is known for the book by his name as well as portions of Nehemiah and Chronicles. God used the scribe Ezra to illustrate how to lead the people. Ezra's story includes how after 70 years, he came to lead the people into rebuilding the walls and temple. The people there had descended into decadent lifestyles. Ezra's role was to teach the people to worship God as they were called to do before, as God's own people, in the first place.

How did he achieve this?

For seven days, from 6 a.m. to 12 noon, Ezra read the word of God to the people. He, and the audience, stood up for the entire service! Ezra was skilled through the Holy Spirit's leading to interpret God's Word for the people and was able to get them to turn themeselves, as well as their culture, in the direction towards God's will for their lives!

How was he inspired to do this? When I share this next verse with you, I will guarantee that you will see a definite pattern developing!

Ezra 7:10 - For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do [it], and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

He prepared his heart!

Do you know of anyone who explodes into purposefulness without first preparing their hearts for the task at hand?

Ezra made the commitment to prepare his heart first. His focus was on the Word of God! Dramatic change took place within the culture because of Ezra's influence!

On to the New Testament examples.

III. Paul: The Performance of Purpose

Paul is often regarded as the most influential man of the New Testament after the Person of Jesus Christ himself! Paul exudes the power of testimony from the transformed life. We all know about his encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. But did you know the secret of his influence?

Philippians 3:13-14 tells us exactly what that secret is!

Philippians 3:13 - Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Are those great verses or what! This was Paul's all-consuming goal. It was not just one "high moment" in his life. He made it the core of his life! The decision was made!

2 Timothy 4:6-8 tells us what that decision meant as he approached the end of his life and what it would mean for all eternity.

2 Ti 4:6 - For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

2 Ti 4:7 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:

2 Ti 4:8 - Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

What beautiful verses! Paul got to the end and he could say that he "finished his course." Just as someone running a race finishes the course he was destined to run, so did Paul finish the course of his life that he was destined to run! On his day of departure, what was he most proud of?

Paul was ready to meet God!

We could look at Paul's life and think, "I can't do that." "I'll never measure up."

You may now be thinking that, " yes, God has put me on this earth for a purpose, but right now, I'm so far behind I'll never catch up!" (been there? done that?)

Well, it's never to late. You are reading this post for a reason! I have decided to type it out for a reason! The one central reason that we all need to answer is:

What do you think God wants you to do with your life?

Have you ever gotten around to answering that question? A lot of people haven't. The pressures and responsibilities of this life can prevent us from truly seeking out His will for our lives. Praying can help immensely. It is often where we find out how and where we should be serving God.

IV. The Lord Jesus Christ: The Perfection of Purpose

Jesus knew why he was here. At the tender age of 12, he went to the temple to talk to the rabbis. His parents left him there while they journeyed back home. When they returned to the temple during their search for him, they even began to chide him for being there and not with them! Jesus' reply?

Luke 2:49 - And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

Notice the next verse:

Luke 2:50 - And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

Even his own parents didn't understand what he was trying to convey to them!

However, notice the rest of the chapter:

Luk 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

During the incident where the disciples wanted Jesus to eat food, Jesus said:

Jhn 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Jesus' mission on earth, to finish God the Father's work for him, was even more important than food sustenance!

John 9:4 - I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

Each of these verses describe the fact that Jesus was driven by divine purpose.

All of the temptations (e.g. by Satan in the desert) and all the hostilities hurled at him (the Pharisees etc.) didn't affect him. He had God's purpose in his life and nothing would prevent that purpose from occuring. Jesus never lost his way.

What was Jesus' purpose? He came to die, that he would fulfill the will of the Father and establish the bridge for redemption!

Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Luke 19:10 - For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 10:10b - ...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

At the end of Jesus' earthly existence/ministry, we hear how his purpose was fulfilled:

John 17:4 - I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

We will never have anything close to what Jesus purposed in his life, but understand this... he has given every one of us a work to do!

He has equipped us with gifts, talents, abilities, positions in the work force, a place in the military etc. We are not meant to "just do them." We could go off course that way.

How easy it is for us to be led off course from God's will?

Satan tempted Jesus to abandon his work. How did Jesus refute him? With Scripture! That is the key, people! Knowing Jesus Christ and God's Word is essential to knowing our true, God-given divine purpose in this life!

Oh yes. We can follow other "purposes" in our lives that have nothing to do with God. We can get lost on occasion. Many often do. But we can get back on course! How? It always comes back to the question, "why am I here?"

Realizing that God has a divine purpose for each of us is awe inspiring! But when we forget our purpose for here, it is probably because we took our eyes off of the eternal destiny and goal for our souls!

If you have not kept your mind fixed on God's goal in you life, take a step back and see where God has touched you in your life. I'm sure that we can all list many issues. They would probably include the good, the bad and the ugly issues. But why should we expect heaven on earth? Even Jesus maintained his life's purpose through the suffering he endured (far worse than anything we could suffer) in this life.

The point is that you can discover true purpose in this life through knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

Turning Point Ministries

I Choose You

Lyrics by Point of Grace

All our mind's attention
All our hearts affection
Every heart-cry, every rhyme
Everybody's worshipping something

All our life's devotion
Has been set in motion
Religions a dozen for a dime
Everybody's worshipping something

'Cause that's what we were made to do

And I choose You
All my attention, affection
And all my devotion's for You
If everybody's worshipping something
I choose You

You are beyond conception
Defying definition
And You knew me before time

Centuries of pagans
Idols fill the nations
But You are Lord to me and mine
Everybody's worshipping something

'Cause that's what we were made to do...oh oh


Before I chose You, You first chose me
I worship You, You alone are worthy

You alone deserve it-all of my worship
Lord I choose You

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Give Thanks To God

A Time Of Thanks To God

On Thursday, we will be gathering with our families to celebrate God’s goodness to us and for His blessings upon our nation. There is much to be thankful for this year. We can be thankful that we live in a free democratic nation and can still worship freely.

We are so thankful that our Lord Jesus Christ offered His life for our sins and that the Holy Spirit gives us His power to overcome the sins in our lives.

We can be thankful that our nation is not being ravaged by street-to-street warfare with the enemies of freedom.

We can be thankful that we can freely vote for our leaders.

We can be thankful for our nation’s natural resources and for an economic system that enables hard-working individuals to get ahead and prosper.

We can be thankful for the many godly Founding Fathers who devised a system of government designed to maximize individual freedom and creativity—and to protect religious freedom, free speech and freedom of conscience.

We can be thankful for our churches, for pastors, and elders who faithfully serve the body of Christ.

We can be thankful for our loved ones—our children, grandchildren, wives and husbands.

What are you thankful for today?

God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day, 2006

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for the many ways that our Nation and our people have been blessed.

The Thanksgiving tradition dates back to the earliest days of our society, celebrated in decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables. Nearly four centuries have passed since early settlers gave thanks for their safe arrival and pilgrims enjoyed a harvest feast to thank God for allowing them to survive a harsh winter in the New World. General George Washington observed Thanksgiving during the Revolutionary War, and in his first proclamation after becoming President, he declared November 26, 1789, a national day of "thanksgiving and prayer." During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition of proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, reminding a divided Nation of its founding ideals.

At this time of great promise for America, we are grateful for the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and defended by our Armed Forces throughout the generations.

Today, many of these courageous men and women are securing our peace in places far from home, and we pay tribute to them and to their families for their service, sacrifice, and strength. We also honor the families of the fallen and lift them up in our prayers.

Our citizens are privileged to live in the world's freest country, where the hope of the American dream is within the reach of every person. Americans share a desire to answer the universal call to serve something greater than ourselves, and we see this spirit every day in the millions of volunteers throughout our country who bring hope and healing to those in need. On this Thanksgiving Day, and throughout the year, let us show our gratitude for the blessings of freedom, family, and faith, and may God continue to bless America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2006, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.



President George Washington On Thanksgiving Day on October 3, 1789

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; -- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington


America’s First Thanksgiving

In the Fall of 1621, the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts gathered for a holiday feast with their Indian friends to give thanks to God for surviving a harsh New England winter the year before. Nearly half the population had perished before Spring arrived.

Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth has been one of the primary sources of information on the first Thanksgiving. It notes that the details about the first Thankgiving come from two documents written by Edward Winslow and William Bradford of Plimoth Plantation.

According to a letter written by Winslow: "Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

In a book written 20 years later, William Bradford wrote: "They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Believers Biblical Call to Judge

In his Critical Issues Commentary, author Bob Dewaay meticulously reveals that Scripture provides straightforward, objective guidelines concerning making judgments and that both the commands to judge and the commands not to judge are understandable - and they are to be obeyed.

The essay is long and detailed, but I wanted to bring over several of the paragraphs that have often come up during discussions within Christian circles regarding the recognition of sound, Biblical doctrine vs. the man-made doctrines often added by men.

One of the most misued verses in the Bible has to be Matthew 7 - the "do not judge" verse. It is unfortunately, often used by certain groups who wish to carry on their lawlessness and sin while claiming to be Christian believers. It is not my place to judge whether or not they truly are Christian believers, but as we go through parts of Dewaay's essay, we will see that we are called to judge and discern their false doctrine.

Do Not Judge - Matthew 7
The following teaching from the Sermon on the Mount warns us not to judge:

Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Before we interpret those verses we must look at the sermon in Matthew that preceded it. The Sermon on the Mount concerns motives and sin. For example, the hypocrite prays to be "seen of men" (Matthew 6:5). Jesus' sermon contains warnings against anger (Matthew 5:22), lust (Matthew 5:28), a command to love one's enemies (Matthew 5:44) and a warning against loving money (Matthew 6:24). Jesus addresses many sin issues in a manner that would show everyone their sinfulness and need for the Gospel. Jesus said, "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). This statement would have shocked Jesus' hearers because the scribes and Pharisees were fastidious in keeping the law of external rules. A righteousness greater than theirs could only be the imputed righteousness of Christ that changes the heart. Without Christ's righteousness we cannot enter the kingdom.

Given this context, what is the meaning of Matthew 7:1-5? The answer is that we are warned against judging how righteous others are in comparison to ourselves. This passage is a warning against self righteousness. As sinners, we tend to minimize or rationalize our own transgressions and magnify what we see wrong in others. Jesus warns about this because self-righteousness like that of the hypocritical Pharisees will keep a person out of the kingdom of God. It is the poor in spirit and the persecuted who will "inherit the kingdom of God" (Matthew 5:3, 10). These humbled people know they need a savior.

So does Matthew 7:1-5 teach that Christians should accept all teachers and teachings without discrimination? No. This passage concerns peoples' motivations and the degree of their internal righteousness. These matters we are not to judge. Other passages, which we will examine later, are concerned with judging the content of a person's teaching. Before we study those texts, let us examine other passages that are used to suggest that false teachers should not be corrected publicly.

I encourage you to read the entire essay. However, I am skipping down to where the author discusses knowing them "by their fruits."

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits - Matthew 7

Jesus' teaching that, "You will know them by their fruits," is well known and often repeated. What is amazing, however, is that most of the time people come to conclusions about what this means that have nothing to do with the issues Jesus raises in Matthew 7. They often think of "fruits" as being character qualities, popularity, or the ability to do supernatural signs. I will discuss each of these ideas and then show what Jesus did mean.

Let us examine the passage. In Matthew 7 Jesus warned about false prophets:

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:15-17)

First, personality traits are not fruits. On the outside, false prophets look like sheep. They are often very nice people who are kind, endearing, disarming, affable, winsome, and possess many other wonderful qualities. The false idea that these qualities are what Jesus means by "fruits" causes many people to be misled by false prophets. What they fail to realize is that the Dalai Lama has such qualities and he is hardly a Christian. Having a charming exterior is often the "sheep's clothing."

The number of one's followers is not fruit. Many assume that popularity is a sign of good fruit. But the context shows something entirely different: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14). The false religious leaders of Israel had more followers than Jesus did. This can hardly be what Jesus meant by "fruit."

And signs and wonders are not fruits. Again we must consult the context:

So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' (Matthew 7:20-23)
People who call Jesus "Lord," come in His name, and do works of power are false prophets if they refused to abide within God-given boundaries. This is an important concept. This is lawlessness.

The boundaries are those that God's ordained spokespersons set. For us, they are the

teachings of Christ and His apostles (See Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:3, 4). Jesus was the prophet that Moses predicted and to whom we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15; Mark 9:2-7; John 5:46, 47; et. al.). The book of Hebrews contains this warning: "Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:18, 19). Lawlessness disregards the terms of the covenant. Jesus has revealed the terms and boundaries of legal belief and practice under the new covenant, like Moses did under the old. John warned about this in his second epistle: "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" (2John 1:9).

Understood in this way, false prophets are those who teach and practice lawlessness. They do not abide within the once-for-all determined boundaries of New Testament teaching. We can see this as we continue in our Matthew 7 passage:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The lawless ones do not abide by the teachings of Christ. They are the false prophets. The fruits by which they are known are their teachings, not their personalities, the number of their followers, or their miracles.

To underscore how important judging teaching is, we will examine Paul's address to the elders in Jerusalem. We will see that guarding the flock is a key duty of pastors and elders.

I would just add that guarding the flock is not only a key duty of pastors and elders, but also of the Biblically informed flock members. The author is probably a pastor or elder and many times it is a correct assumption that "babes in Christ," meaning, those who are new to the faith and have not had spirit-led experienced study of the Bible, should not be judging teaching. They do not yet have the knowledge to discern properly. Studying the Scriptures diligently and using hermenuetics, Scripture interprets Scripture and exegesis of the text are all vitally important in order to discern correctly. Those who perhaps are weaker in this area might need further study with proven Biblically sound leaders before they should attempt judging the teaching of others. Paul and Timothy are good examples of this idea.

Recognizing the "fruits of their teachings" as the cause for concern for false teachings is the key to understanding exegesis of the Scriptures rather than the esogesis tendencies of those involved in heresy and apostasy. This leads us directly into the next section of the essay that discusses church leaders and wolves.

Church Leaders and Wolves
Paul's address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 instructs about the duty of Christian leaders to proclaim the truth and to guard the flock against wolves. First Paul recalled his previous practice in Ephesus:

How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20, 21)
Preaching that people should repent and believe is an important theme in Luke/Acts (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30, 31; Acts 26:17-20; et al). Paul's preaching resulted in the formation of a church in Ephesus. Elders were appointed, and these were addressed by Paul as he headed to Jerusalem. What he said to them reveals what is truly important for all churches.

And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. (Acts 20:27)
Notice, first of all, that the phrase "preaching the kingdom" is synonymously parallel with his description of his preaching in verse 21, "repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." The message of the kingdom was not some message like the social gospel as some claim today, but the gospel of the kingdom is repentance and faith (see Mark 1:14, 15). These are the terms of entrance into the kingdom.

Secondly, notice that Paul claimed innocence from bloodguiltiness. This means that had he not proclaimed both the terms of entrance into the kingdom, and the whole of what God has revealed of His purposes, Paul would have imperiled their souls, failed his sacred mission, and brought guilt upon himself for failing to warn them of coming judgment (see Ezekiel 33:6). These same responsibilities apply to pastors and other church leaders today. This is so very important because the flock must be equipped to withstand the onslaught of the inevitable wolves who will arise.

These wolves are the subject of Paul's warning to the church leaders:

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)
It is important to see that the wolves come from two sources: outside and inside the church. Wolves are always inimical to the well-being of sheep. It is the responsibility of shepherds to make sure the sheep are safe from the wolves. To do this, the wolves must be identified. The way they are identified is through their teachings. Paul described the practice of the wolves: "speaking perverse things." The word "perverse" means "twisted" or "distorted." Their teachings are a distortion of the authoritative teachings of Christ and His apostles. Anyone is a wolf who purposely gives distorted teaching and refuses to repent when shown his error from the Scriptures. The elders must guard the flock against such people.

Notice what happens through the teachings of the wolves: they "draw away the disciples after them." False teachers and prophets have a message that comes from themselves, not from the whole counsel of God. The reason these wolves draw disciples away after themselves is that they are the only source of this teaching. If the church is proclaiming the true terms of the covenant and the whole counsel of God, whatever "perverse" doctrine is being promoted by wolves will not be heard from the faithful pastors and elders. Perverse doctrine cannot be found through valid implications from authoritative Scripture. Therefore, if the wolves succeed in giving some of the sheep an appetite for what they are offering, the sheep will have to follow the wolves to get that appetite fed. Since this is not from God, they are being drawn away from the true sheepfold and into spiritual peril and perhaps damnation.

This is a very serious situation. In John 10 Jesus uses a sheepfold analogy to show that robbers do not go through the true door: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1). Jesus is the door of the sheep (John 10:7). Jesus has ascended bodily into heaven. His teachings as given in the New Testament delineate the boundaries of the sheepfold. The elders of the church are responsible to uphold the true words of Christ and His apostles. They are responsible to identify those robbers who will not abide in the teachings of Christ. False teachers refuse to do this job: "He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep" (John 10:12, 13). Jesus is the true Shepherd, and the under-shepherds (the term "pastor" is from the word "shepherd") are to feed the sheep the pure words of God and guard them from perverted words. Those who refuse to do so are hirelings.

Interestingly, during my Psalm 23 Bible study, we discussed the difference between the true shepherds of sheep and someone who is just a "hireling." It is a fact that the true shepherds and true under-shepherds are more likely to be entirely attentive and concerned about the sheep of the fold. As the essay states, "guarding the sheep of the fold of Christ from perverted words" is similar to guarding the sheep from a wolf who would snatch them up or scatter them away. This demonstrates how imperative it is to abide in the teachings of Christ and not let false teachers carry you away from the truth!

Paul's Warning Comes True

Timothy became a key church leader in Ephesus where Paul had warned the elders about wolves. Paul's warning came true. We learn from the epistles to Timothy that false teachers did arise, some of them likely were elders themselves. This provides the background for Paul's admonitions in Timothy about correcting error, upholding the standard of sound doctrine, and the qualifications of true elders.

Paul specified to Timothy who the false teachers were by name:

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme. (1Timothy 1:18-20)

The reason false teachers are dealt with publicly is that their teaching is public. One does not need two or three witnesses or a private meeting to determine if a public teaching is Biblical or not. Everyone who heard them knows what they believe and teach. At issue is whether the teaching is Biblical. False teaching damages the church, and it cannot be tolerated. In the Greek, it says they made shipwreck "in regard to the faith." The definite article indicates that it was the content of their teaching that was wrong. It was not in accordance with "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Paul, after giving instructions about the qualifications of elders, reminds Timothy of the key role of the church: "but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" (1Timothy 3:15). Elders and pastors who disregard sound doctrine cannot be tolerated. When they teach false doctrine, their conduct is unacceptable. They are responsible to make sure the church is the "pillar and support of the truth."

Paul predicts that in the later times people will give heed to "deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1Timothy 4:1). Paul urges Timothy to instruct the church about this important matter of warning against false teachings and promoting the truth: "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following" (1Timothy 4:6). Today many despise the very term doctrine and accuse those of being wrongly motivated who think it is important to correct false doctrine and espouse true doctrine. This is not at all what Paul told Timothy: "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1Timothy 4:16). Teachings have consequences--eternal consequences. If false teaching is allowed into the church, peoples' salvation is in jeopardy.

The duty of elders and pastors to protect the flock from false teaching, and to nourish the flock with sound teaching always has been foremost. But in the last days, the battle intensifies. We are living in an age of delusion and apostasy. So now, more than ever, we must confront false teaching and not allow it into the church. Paul made this admonition and prediction:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. (2Timothy 4:1-4)

If people do not want to hear sound doctrine because of end time delusion, preach sound doctrine to them! The ability and willingness to do so is a requirement for elders: "[H]olding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict" (Titus 1:9).

The duties of pastors and elders are very clear in Acts 20 and the Pastoral Epistles. They are to teach true doctrine, correct false doctrine, and protect the flock from the wolves. Sadly, those who do so today are often accused of being divisive or sinning because they have "judged" when Jesus told us not to judge. This is a category error. We are not to judge motives or relative degrees of righteousness, but we must judge public teaching.

(bold and italics mine)

False doctrine abounds today, and the people who are most vulnerable are those who have not studied the Bible well enough to be able to discern truth from error. As is true with anything in life, people can be sincere in their beliefs, but also can be sincerely wrong. One fact that can help us determine truth from error is knowing and recognizing the traditional, objective criteria of Scripture rather than the new-age, progressive interpretations that are currently going on today. We can and should judge what is true or false, sinful or righteous, based on what has been revealed in Scripture! (1Corinthians 14:29; 1Thessalonians 5:21).

At the essay site, there are several paragraphs that discuss what we can and cannot judge. The section ends with this admonition:

Ask yourself when you make a judgment, "can I know this with certainty"? If the answer is no, we cannot judge. If the answer is yes and the issue concerns Biblical doctrine or sin, we not only may judge; we must judge. Publicly proclaimed teaching falls into this category.

Today the teachings of the wolves come by way of the TV, radio, internet, books, seminars and any other media that is available. No pastor could discuss each of these specific heresies with their authors, nor is it required. What is required is that pastors and elders refute the heresies with sound doctrine, and warn the flock about their pernicious influence. The sad truth is that very few elders or pastors are willing to do this. Many take it as a badge of honor that they correct no one, and glibly allow the wolves to devour the flock under the guise of humility and unity. If we refuse to judge false teaching, we have neglected our God-given responsibilities.

When and When Not to Judge

The following is the result of a range of meaning study I did on the Greek word krino_ and its derivatives. I started by finding every verse in the New Testament where these Greek words appeared. I then removed every instance that concerned God's action of judging because our concern is when humans are to judge or not judge. I then examined each passage in context to determine the meaning. In some cases I had to consult scholarly sources if the Biblical author's meaning was not readily apparent. I then made categories for the various meanings that I found and placed each verse in the correct category, based on the Greek word that was translated. Then I further sorted the categories by "do"; "do not" and then tangential categories that did not fit the do or do not schema. The following is the result. You can look up the verses yourself to determine if you think I correctly categorized them. The most interesting result to me is that the largest category contained passages about discerning.
-- Bob DeWaay

Do make a correct determination based on facts and/or Scripture(discern):
Luke 7:43, Luke 12:57, John 7:22-24, John 7:51, John 8:15, 16, Acts 4:19, Acts 15:19, Acts 16:15, Acts 23:26, 1Corinthians 2:2, 1Corinthians 5:3, 1Corinthians 5:12, 13, 1Corinthians 7:37, 1Corinthians 10:15, 1Corinthians 11:13, 1Corinthians 11:31, 32, 2Corinthians 5:14

[Note: You can read the rest at the site.]

Hat tip: Critical Issues Commentary Ministry

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Restoration Of The Heart

Last night, I was contemplating what topic to discuss in today's blogpost. Since I had mentioned the first three chapters in the book of Revelation yesterday, I figured that maybe I should find my former Bible study notes on it and blog about the next few chapters.

Over the past four years or so, I have had the opportunity to study Revelation in three different ways. One study was about just Whom (Jesus Christ) the book revealed, the second study was about prophecy, and the third study was more focused on the End Times and how to recognize the "signs of the times." Despite my eagerness to share some of what I've learned, I have now found how abruptly plans can change!

The Lord knows me so well. He's always working in my life, but sometimes, admittedly, I don't just "sit down" and allow Him to speak to me and lead me! I have learned, however, that when I am still, I find Him leading me towards paths that I may not have previously considered. That's what happened early this morning. I was still a bit groggy...kinda in that "should I get up now or try to go back to sleep for another hour" mode. After all, it was only 4:30 a.m.! As I lay there, the word "restoration" came to mind.

This probably sounds far-fetched to non-Christians who read this blog, but I truly believe that it is in these quiet moments in the early morning hours that God, through His Holy Spirit, speaks to my heart. It was a moment that was teaching me to "stay here" in my next post, meaning, stay with the admonitions and what is being shared with the churches in those first few chapters of the book of Revelation.

I thought O.K. I can do that. Then came the flood of information, analogies and ideas to share! I probably should have gotten up and started typing! But after deciding that I will discuss restoration at my blog today, I ended up drifting back into a blissful sleep! I slept for another two hours...even through that loving early morning kiss my husband gives me each day before going out the door to work. ( I know, I know...too gushy!)

On to the post.

Recently, my husband and I aggressively pursued the idea of moving into an existing home closer to where he works. The commute has gotten steadily worse over the years and we found a neighborhood that we really liked. In fact, we found a house that we truly could consider moving into.

Long story short, we began restoring our home to get it into impeccable condition. Granted, after 7 years of living in our current home we had accumulated a LOT of junk! We got to work on the long list of improvements that were needed. All of the things that we were in the habit of "putting off" were getting done!

We cleaned out every room, every closet (even my son's...which is a miracle in itself! ha ha), cleaned up the yard, transported truckloads of stuff to the dumps, stuffed my SUV several times with bags of unwanted clothes, household items etc. and carted them off to Goodwill. We cleaned out our garage! When my daughter's boyfriend saw the finished results, he said, "Wow, I didn't know that this was a three car garage!" was previously that bad!

We hired a better landscaper and he did a fabulous job trimming the overgrown bushes, sprucing up the planters, spreading seed to get a beautiful green lawn growing in the previously browned out and bald spots in our yard. We fixed fences, cleared and cleaned up the patio, replaced lighting fixtures, repaired areas inside and out, painted doors, replaced window screens, got rid of some older furniture to make the house look more spacious...well you get the picture.

When we were done, my husband and I sat together on a backyard lounge chair, toasted with our favorite Cabernet wine, and congratulated each other for a job well done! Almost in unison, we both shared our thoughts that we really love our home and don't want to move!! We both decided that we really wanted to retire here. In addition to this, all of the signs and prayers on this decision were leading us away from moving. In retrospect, all of that restoration made us really appreciate what we have!

Restoration of the heart is that way, too.

I have found that God is the restorer of our sinful, rebellious, and reprobate hearts!

No one else but Jesus Christ can do such restoration.

Oh yes. People try all the time to restore their own hearts in their own strength. They think that drugs, excessive drinking, aberrant sex, fame, wealth, self-worship etc. will do the trick. Some succeed at blocking the pain in their hearts for a time, but it is often only temporary.

Ever wonder why?

It's because we all have a vacuum in our heart that only God can fill! I have often mentioned that such an emptiness is like a hole in the heart which can only be made whole through Jesus Christ!

Is there anyone out there that can claim that they don't need restoration?

I doubt it.

But where we go to achieve such restoration is key to genuinely obtaining it and keeping it!

We can vividly see how going in the wrong direction, to the wrong places with the wrong intentions can halt, and even destroy such restoration with the Lord.

Here is my first analogy that was brought to my attention yesterday. I was ordering some Christian books from a mail-order book club and I noticed that Max Lucado has a new book out called, "Facing Your Giants."

The encouragement at the top of the page read:

"Let God make you into a miracle."

Being human is hard. We strive for excellence and step into mud. We try to stand tall and we come up short. But we do keep trying! And God loves people who try, especially when they know that their shortcomings can shine a light on God's strengths! Take for example David, the shepherd boy who become king. As Max Lucado points out, David messed up a lot! He lusted, he lied, he made mistakes as a parent. But he loved God with all of hisheart and God turned him into a miracle. David slew the giant and united his people. And if he can do that under God's mighty hand, think of what you can do. With his trademark style, Max Lucado blends biblical truths with everyday examples into a guide that will have you staring down the obstacles in your life as God turns your stumbles into miracles!

I read an awesome article today that gives us a perfect example of how using the wrong direction involving the "indulgence of the flesh" can overtake a person so badly that it results in a huge and devastating crash. A person can end up so low that if not for others helping such a fallen individual towards restoration, Satan could win in the fight for that person's soul. God can use even such a dark time as this to restore a person's brokenness and rescue them from the dark side which is often characteristic of the hardened, rebellious heart.

The lesson is clear. The heart that refuses repentance harms the ability to yield back to God's mercy and grace. That is where restoration begins and ends. It begins with a "contrite and broken heart" and when restoration is allowed to work within an individual, it results in the restoration and reconciliation back to God!

Ted Haggard's situation is only one, individual example of those who have achieved high positions of leadership (both in and out of the church), have been caught indulging in the flesh (Scripture says that your sins will find you out), and then needs to make the long trek back into restoration and reconciliation with God and those around them that they have hurt.

If we decided to make a list of individuals who have been "found out" regarding their sins of the flesh, it would be long and arduous endeavour, would it not?

So, what's going on?

Why is this happening?

Dr. David Jeremiah's latest email devotional explicitly tells us why!

Revive Us Again

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?
Psalm 85:6

Recommended Reading
Psalm 119:17-40

One rabbi who survived the Holocaust described it well when he said that at Auschwitz it was as though there existed a world in which all the Ten Commandments were reversed. Evil days are characterized by a reversal of values. Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil."

Our American society is increasingly accepting evil as good, and rejecting good as evil; and the Ten Commandments are pried from the walls of courthouses and public buildings across our nation. It's easy to become alarmed at the moral deterioration of our times.

We should be alarmed, but earnest prayer is a more urgent priority. It's in times like these that God sends His great revivals.

Vance Havner once wrote, "Throughout the history of the Church, when clouds have hung lowest, when sin has seemed blackest and faith has been weakest, there have always been a faithful few who have not sold out to the devil . . . . These have besought the Lord to revive His work in the midst of the years, and in the midst of the fears and tears, and in wrath to remember mercy. God has always answered such supplication, filling each heart with His love, rekindling each soul with Fire from above."

Let's begin praying earnestly for revival!

The greatest need in America is an old-fashioned, heaven-born, God-sent revival.
Vance Havner

Ephesians 2:1 4:32

Lastly, I want to share an excerpt from "Facing Your Giants" that can give anyone hope!

"One might read David's story and wonder what God saw in him. The fellow fell as often as he stood; stumbled as often as he conquered...A man after God's own heart? That God saw him as such gives hope to us all. David's life has little to offer the unstained saint. Straight-A souls find David's story disappointing. The rest of us find it reassuring. We ride the same roller coaster. We alternate between swan dives and belly flops, souffle's and burnt toast."

I don't know any "unstained saints," do you?

I don't know any "straight-A souls," do you?

I've had my share of belly flops and burnt toast...haven't you?

Thank the Lord for His mercy, grace, love and restoration of our hearts!!