A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In

September 1, 2015

These Two Lives Mattered!

     Following on the heels of yesterday's post and the devastating numbers associated with abortion and lives lost, I felt that you would like to revel with me in this amazingly triumphant story.  The website, PopSugar, is where I found this news item.  Now, normally, I would not find myself perusing this online media network of websites oriented toward a female audience which features the best in fashion, beauty, home, fitness, and food -- but the headline caught my eye and I knew I had to share it with you.
     Paul Daugherty is the author of An Uncomplicated Life, a memoir of raising Jillian, his daughter born with Down's Syndrome.  Paul's website has also chronicled the joys and challenges of life with Jillian.  But it was his letter to his daughter on her wedding day that offers us all a glimpse into the grace of God and the courage of two sets of parents who unselfishly chose life for their unborn children.  

Dear Jillian,

It is the afternoon of your wedding. In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you've achieved to get to this day. I don't know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you've beaten them.

You are upstairs now, making final preparations with your mom and bridesmaids. Your hair is coiled perfectly above your slender neck. Your bejeweled dress — "my bling,'' you called it — attracts every glimmer of late-afternoon sunshine pouring through the window. Your makeup — that red lipstick! — somehow improves upon a beauty that has grown since the day you were born. Your smile is blooming and everlasting.

I am outside, beneath the window, staring up. We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time. When everything we've always imagined arrives and assumes a perfect clarity. Bliss is possible. I know this now, standing beneath that window.

I have everything and nothing to tell you. When you were born and for years afterward, I didn't worry for what you'd achieve academically. Your mom and I would make that happen. We'd wield the law like a cudgel if we had to. We could make teachers teach you, and we knew you'd earn the respect of your peers.

What we couldn't do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, "What's a kid's life, if it isn't filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?"

I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare, "I don't have any friends.''

We all wish the same things for our children. Health, happiness, and a keen ability to engage and enjoy the world are not only the province of typical kids. Their pursuit is every child's birthright. I worried about your pursuit, Jillian.

I shouldn't have. You're a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met.

Do you remember all the stuff they said you'd never do, Jills? You wouldn't ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn't go to college. You certainly wouldn't get married. Now . . . look at you.

You're the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy, and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know. It worked out for you, because of the person you are.

I would tell you to give your fiancé, Ryan, your whole heart, but that would be stating the obvious. I would tell you to be kind to him and gentle with him. But you do that already, with everyone you know. I would wish for you a lifetime of friendship and mutual respect, but you two have been together a decade already, so the respect and friendship already are apparent.

A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, "I'm here to take your daughter to the homecoming, sir,'' every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished.

Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together. It's a new challenge, but it's no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.

I see you now. The prep work has been done, the door swings open. My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream. I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. "You look beautiful'' is the best I can do.

Jillian thanks me. "I'll always be your little girl'' is what she says then.

"Yes, you will,'' I manage. Time to go, I say. We have a walk to make.
James 1:2-4   "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

August 31, 2015

# Black Lives Matter; Unless It's A Fetus

     How difficult it is for mankind to see the heart of this matter; and how easy it is for Satan to deceive us.  All he has to do is whisper, "Look!  Focus your attention over here ... don't think about how hypocritical you've been for the last forty-odd years."
     We are all aware of increasing racial tension in this country since the Trayvon Martin killing five-and-a-half years ago.  Out of that racially-charged trial, as well as the Michael Brown trial, the "Black Lives Matter" movement was born.  Although this protest movement has, at times, become a vehicle for personal vendettas, it does have an "official" mission statement:  "the demand of freedom for Black bodies, justice for Black lives, safety for Black communities, and rights for Black people. We demand action, not words, from those who purport to stand with us."  Furthermore, its purpose is "to create, spark innovation, solidarity, and foster the practice of Black Love."
     Now, there will be those who will tell me that I have no right to comment on this topic, since I am a white woman; that I have no life experiences that can identify with the black community or the perceived injustices they have incurred.  I agree, in part.  Yes, I have not experienced the disproportionate number of deaths (by race) in my community; nor have I encountered excessive prejudice from a figure of authority that does not share my race.
     However, I am disappointed in the obvious disingenuousness of those that seek to lay the blame for all black deaths at the feet of another race.  I don't have to site statistics to convince you that gang murders contribute more to the deaths of young black men than the injustice of white police officers.  But where's the authentic and honest dialogue that will admit that the immoral welfare State has bred simmering hostility, leaving generations in bondage, and contributing to a criminal element that effects far too many law-abiding black communities?  These communities need protecting from the criminals, and who is it that is willing to provide that protection?  Don't you think that their presence and willingness to protect shows that "black lives matter" to these police officers, too?
     But, I don't really wish to engage in a conversation about which race is right and which is wrong.  The truth is that all humans have the ability to discriminate against those different from themselves.  That's the sad, sinful part of our human nature.  Rather, I wish someone with a voice louder than mine would point out the need to re-focus the "black lives matter" movement to the aborted black babies whose lives matter, too.
     How can we, as a nation, scream and shout and protest that black lives matter, while ignoring the shocking numbers of black aborted babies?  Don't get me wrong!  All aborted lives matter!  But if you want to convince me that you care about saving black lives from oppression, cruelty, and tyranny, then show me that you recognize how abortion has contributed to far more deaths within the black race.
     According to BlackGenocide.org, minority women constitute only about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they underwent approximately 36% of the abortions. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion; (by the way, the Guttmacher Institute is a non-profit organization which works to advance reproductive health through birth control, including abortion, so they have no reason to pad that statistic).
     Another website, Abort73.com, provides the following statistics:  "Every day in America, an average of 3,315 human beings lose their lives to abortion.  Based on the percentage of the races in this country, that translates to between 683-829 of those babies being Hispanic; between 1,093-1,174 are white; and between 995-1,207 are black.  (BlackGenocide.org cites statistics that say the number is much higher; on average, 1876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.)
      Not only are black children being killed at a far greater percentage than white children, it's possible they're being killed in greater numbers, period. Is that not shocking?! Though the white population in the U.S. outnumbers the black population five to one, abortion may well be killing more black children each day than white children. "
     Why isn't the Black Lives Matter movement focusing their attention on this fact, and on the preponderance of so-called "health clinics" in their neighborhoods, but which are, in reality abortion mills?  Has Satan completely blinded them to his schemes?  This movement claims they are fighting the belief that black lives have no value, and protesting the unnecessary loss of black lives in this country.
     Yet, the incidence of abortion seems to indicate the very things they are demonstrating against ... abortion says that black lives have no value, and it causes the greatest and most significant loss of life. It has been estimated that since 1973 black women have had about 16 million abortions. Author Michael Novak, an American Catholic philosopher on culture, has calculated "Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 36 million, the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America's Black community would now number 52 million persons. It would be 36 percent larger than it is. Abortion has swept through the Black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member."
     So, why can't they see that they have fallen for Satan's lies and committed the greatest loss of lives themselves?   But, I guess that is why Satan is so successful ... when he can tempt us with a false enemy, we fail to see his tactics, which are those of our true Enemy.
     Sadly, the young black leaders do not listen to older, wiser, and Christ-centered voices like that of Alveda C. King, daughter of slain civil-rights leader A.D. King and niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., who quotes her uncle often when outlining her opposition of abortion. She writes:  [Martin Luther King, Jr.] once said, “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.” How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.
     Yet, the white population is not without sin in this deplorable practice.   We must face the truth that Satan has infiltrated our ranks, too.  How many of the abortionists in this country are white versus Hispanic or Black?  John Piper, who is a white pastor with a heart for racial justice, remarks on the disparity of abortion this way:  The main effect of putting abortion clinics in the urban centers is that the abortion of Hispanic and Black babies is more than double their percentage of the population. Every day [at least] 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will—when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up.
     That might not be a popular sentiment, and it sure makes me wince at the accusation, but can we deny these words?  We, as a culture and society, must own our complicity.  And can the human race(s) bear to pull the beam out of their own eyes before accusing another?  Misguided members of the black race feel justified in killing innocent police officers out of some distorted sense of self-righteous pride.  It's all so tragic; and nothing gets solved.  Satan's strategy keeps us from loving each other and ourselves -- more babies die and the racial tension mounts.  Could the words of Matthew 24:12, be more true? .... And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  God have mercy on us, and send your Son quickly!

John 10:10    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

August 30, 2015

2 Corinthians 1:20

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory.

     As one who has received personal promises from God -- both directly to myself and through my husband -- I am ashamed to admit that Satan still tempts me with moments of doubt and anxiety.  As I battle these spirits of deception, I cling to the certainty that His grace and mercy will always be sufficient to help me through these struggles, until I can regain my focus on my Savior.
     For I know that all God's promises are reflected in Jesus.  My part in believing those promises is to  not only trust the vision of Jesus that is portrayed in the Bible, but to trust in the power of the One that presents Himself to me daily.  
     Jesus, Himself, trusted in the power of God's promises when He declared, "I am that bread of life", (John 6:48); "I am the light of the world", (John 8:12); and "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).  The trust that Jesus had in God's power to raise Him from the dead gave Him the confidence to make those bold statements.  
     So what is the power of the promises that God has given us?  What is it that we can risk eternity on?  Consider the following promises and what they say about God's character:
1.  He has promised to supply every need we have. The Bible says: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Notice that God promises to meet our needs ... That would include food, clothing, shelter, companionship, love, and salvation through Jesus Christ. It does not include the superficial "needs" as the world translates it.  All our needs are met in Jesus.
2.  God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). In our moments of doubt and temptation, He has made provision for our salvation by His grace, and it is through our faith in Jesus.  It is through our obedient faith that we have access to this abundant grace, and it will always be enough to sustain us and deliver us through anything we experience.
3.  God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. Instead, He assures us that a way of escape will be provided. This promise is recorded in I Corinthians 10:13, when the Bible tells us that there is no temptation that we endure that is not common to man.  When I am attacked by spirits of temptation, it gives me great comfort to know that God will not let me be tempted beyond what I can endure. Jude wrote: "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude v. 24).  Darius, King of the Medes, said to Daniel, "Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee" (Daniel 6:16). And God delivered Daniel in so many ways; least of all from the den of lions.  That same deliverance is available to us when we believe in God's promises.
4.  God has promised us victory over death. Jesus was the first fruits of God's resurrecting power, and this to assure us of our resurrection.  Peter said: "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3,4).  Later on, he adds: "but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57).  The victory is God's, the Victor is Jesus, and we are the beneficiaries of their defeat over Death.  
5.  God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.  How many times have looked back on an event in our lives that we felt was devastating or a failure?  Has time revealed that God was taking you down a path that resulted in blessings beyond your imagination?  We need to cling to this verse, knowing that God will be always be faithful to complete the good work He has begun in us. 
6.  God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Read Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38).  I think we sometimes take these verses too lightly.  Believing in Jesus is more than just a statement of faith; it is living our lives so that they are evidence of our belief, trust and confidence in Him for every aspect of our daily existence.  And being baptized is an important step that shows the spiritual realm to whom you belong.  It is a statement to Satan and his servants that you have chosen a side and you are in this battle for the eternal glory of God.  When we take this step, we can expect that the forces in the spiritual realm will see us as the enemy, but we have the promise of God that we will be saved from our enemies (Psalm 18:3).
7.  God has promised His people eternal life (John 10:27, 28).  This is the promise that we won't realize until we have conquered Death.  This is the hope for which we long; the hope that Jesus instilled in our hearts when He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us.  This is the promise for which my spirit praises God, and the pledge that Jesus has given me by providing the means of my salvation from God's coming wrath against the wicked.
     So, as you can see, all of God's promises DO find their affirmation in Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Through Jesus the purposes of God are established -- our needs are met; His grace will always be enough; we will be able to withstand temptation; we will have victory over Death; God will complete the work He has begun in our life; we will receive salvation and forgiveness of our sins; and we will spend eternity in their Holy presence -- and it is all accomplished through our faith in Jesus and for the unmeasurable glory of God.  Hallelujah!

August 29, 2015

This Is A Time Of Personal Testing

     I am sure that many of you can identify with me during these times of crisis.  We are all probably feeling some sense of anxiety or apprehension; we are feeling under pressure, or perhaps even panicky.  The ups and downs of the stock market are showing us that our economic futures are on shaky ground.  By now we have all seen evil played out in real time as the broadcast of the murders in Virginia goes viral.   All kinds of rumors of civil unrest, racial tension, homeland terrorism, and world war abound.  Nothing feels secure and we are all feeling vulnerable.
    Yes, I can identify with those emotions.  In a way, they never leave me because the worldly security of our household is affected by all of these events.  So yes, I too, have my moments of doubt and panic.  There is the reality of the number that is in our checkbook... it can only be stretched so far.  And the nature of our self-employed business is that it can disappear at any moment.  I find myself trying to look into the future, plotting and planning how I am going to make all this work; trying to devise a strategy to sustain us until things settle back down again and our life resumes a more reliable (and monetarily certain) pace.
Ever feel like you're alone in the desert?
     But my spirit knows the truth -- there is no security in this world.  And what the world calls security is false (money, peace of mind, stability in our lives, etc.)  So my spirit is grieving because I know, as a Christian, that this behavior is testing God.  Instead I should be trusting Him.  Because, you see, my spirit knows that He made a covenant with my husband and myself over 20 years ago.  He would be faithful to provide for all our needs, if we would be faithful to put our trust in Him; if we would have confidence that He was who He said He was, and would do what He said He would -- if we would simply exercise our faith.  And just as is so often quoted from the Bible, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.
    In other words, God has been unceasingly faithful to us, and has kept His covenant with us.  But by taking my eyes and heart off Him, I have lost my focus.  And when I look for solutions in this world, my mind is no longer protected from the lies that Satan whispers.  Can you identify?
    And so, for what seems like an endless cycle, I tighten my spiritual armor, re-adjusting those parts that have slipped out of place.  I adapt my line of vision -- away from the dark corners where my Enemy is taunting me, and towards the brilliant Light that conquers the darkness.  Soon I am able to see more clearly.  I adjust my thoughts, reaffirm that I belong to God, and get back on the path that leads me to His will for my life.
     I don't know about you, but there are moments when I have nearly supernatural clarity of the inter-dimensional aspects of this world and the heavenly realms.  When I am blessed with that coherent spirit, I am able to see that all the material substance of my life here on earth is secondary to the existence of my spirit seated with Jesus in Heaven.  All these worries and concerns over health, finances, family struggles, taxes, even war -- they are only momentary and worthless compared to the riches that will be my inheritance in Heaven.  And that reward or legacy is eternity with Jesus.
     In those lucid moments when my spirit recognizes that Truth, I am able to let go of all that holds me prisoner and earthbound.  And I am free!  Oh, how I wish this flesh was not so corrupt -- that I could hold on to those moments of deliverance from this world and its troubles.  But even though that vision is fleeting, I am determined to hang on to it as part of my spiritual arsenal of weapons to defeat the lies of Satan.  My earthly reality is what it is; but I also know how God views His covenants with those who have answered His call.  He is faithful even when we are unfaithful.  I regret and repent of the sorrow I have caused Him whenever I test Him and respond to temptation.  And I am grateful that He continues to give me those glimpses of my glorious future, and I will praise Him out loud and sing of His glory!  I will hang on to His promises; continue to battle the darkness; while waiting on Him and renewing my strength.  If you share in these struggles with me, I pray that you are able to join me in overcoming this world and looking forward to our victory in Jesus!

Psalm 27: 1, 14:    The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ...  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

August 28, 2015

Let's Call It What It Is!

     The nation is reeling from the execution style murders of two promising young people in the news industry.  Alison Parker and Adam Ward were gunned down on live TV by a disgruntled ex-employee of the TV station at which they both worked.  Mental illness is the alleged reason behind the murders, but as to be expected, the issue of gun control is once again front and center.
     Please understand that I mean no disrespect to the victims, nor is it my intention to make their deaths appear less tragic than they are.  But in our society's need to find an explanation for such depraved actions, the combination of mental illness and guns has become the go-to source of blame.  But this premise just keeps taking us in the same circular argument, resulting in the same false justification.  Here's how the argument plays out ... guns in the hands of the mentally ill are a problem; so we need to close the "gun show" loophole of no background check; and more gun laws need to be written to make it more difficult for people to buy guns.
     As so often happens, that argument doesn't work in this instance, nor many others.  The murderer bought the gun legally, having passed a background check.  Did mental illness play a part in these murders?  From everything I've read and heard, it cannot be dismissed.  So we just keep trotting out the same old tired playbook ... a gun in the hand of a mentally ill person is the cause of two more tragic deaths.
     But what we don't talk about is what is really at the root of these senseless murders.  It's called EVIL.  It's the consequences of a wicked action or deed.  What we humans refuse to acknowledge is that a sovereign God created a universe governed by a moral order.  For some reason, we deny the existence of a real force of evil -- a darkness -- that is out to destroy what God has made.  As a nation, it is hard to ignore that we have done darn near everything we could to remove God's influence and presence from this land.  What we haven't quite realized is that when He purposely gives us what we want, and withdraws His powerful hand, there is a tangible vacuum created.  His goodness no longer pervades our relationships and we have a situation where peace, virtue, and decency no longer reside.  Evil is only too happy to fill that empty space.  That is the truth.
     That is why bad things happen to good people such as Alison and Adam.  It's not because guns are at the root of the problem.  They are just the instruments of Evil.  If not a gun, then the murderer could have used a hammer, or run them over with a car, or choked them with his own hands, or used a sword to behead them.  All of those things are equal instruments when they result in the same outcome... death.
     We need to focus on eradicating Evil in our lives, not the tool it uses to carry out its goal.  We need  to lay the blame at the feet of the real perpetrator, the Prince of Evil.  Yes, the devil can use (and often cause) mental illness to be the impetus for someone to act out in evil ways, but then we are limiting our discussion to the by-product of evil, rather than the root cause.
     While arguments for more mental health screenings and more gun control are convenient foils for the Enemy, and help him to continue his spiritual war against God's creation, we must not forget that there are very real physical ramifications for this line of reasoning as well.  If mental health becomes the alarm factor that precipitates tighter gun control and harsher laws, how will that affect our returning veterans who suffer from PTSD?  We can already see the hand-writing on the wall, can't we?  These brave men and women who have been trained to handle weapons might soon be victims themselves of over-regulation and a corrupt screening process that denies them their Second Amendment rights.
     The bottom line is that we are in danger of letting Evil win.  And the devil is certainly using everything he has at his fingertips to shout his victory.  Whether our rapid advances in technology have come from Satan and his servants is, I think, a valid argument to have.  But even if you disagree, technology surely served to spread the horror of Evil as the shooting was carried out live on air, and then re-broadcast to every cell phone that gets news feeds.  I'd say that technology is a perfect marketing tool for the devil to glorify his evil ways, wouldn't you?
    So, what are we to do?  The only way to rise up against this supernatural force is to embrace Jesus as the way to defeat it, and then to follow His advice.  How do you defeat Evil?  "You triumph over Evil with Good."  That is what happened at the Cross.  And for every evil deed that is broadcast across our land and the world, we need to use every means possible to exalt the evidence of God and His goodness, and give Him credit.  We must let God reign once again in our lives and in the heart of this nation.

Proverbs 14:22    "Will they not go astray who devise evil? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good."

August 27, 2015

Warning: Are Divine Judgments In Our Future?

     While everyone is focused on the volatile stock market and our economic future, I would caution that we need to be more concerned about the upcoming ratification of the so-called "Iran Nuke Deal".  I don't need to be a foreign policy expert to employ my critical thinking faculties and sense that there is nothing good that will come from this treaty ... except for the mullahs of Iran.  They have made no secret of their hate for both Israel and America, nor of their desire to wipe us both off the face of the earth.
     The lifting of economic sanctions against Iran will give their government the cash to continue their enrichment of nuclear material and eventual development of nuclear weapons, along with bankrolling the enemies of Middle East peace (think Bashar Assad, the Palestinian Authority, and ISIS).  Plus far from establishing strict inspection protocols, the deal allows the Iranians to further their policy of bureaucratic stalling and subterfuge.  It will be the same old story ... when the IAEA requests permission to inspect the nuclear sites, Iran will stall, giving themselves time to hide the evidence that they are violating the treaty, before finally giving inspectors access.
     But perhaps worst of all, this "Iran Deal" will escalate the sectarian and religious conflicts in the region.  Iran will finally gain the legitimacy of a superpower in the region, ensuring that Sunni/Shia theological rivalries will arise and threaten the balance of the entire Middle East.  There is a toxicity among these relationships, and I fear that the part we are playing by promoting this Deal will be the spark that incites the flames of hell.
     And sitting right in the middle of this combustible chaos is the nation of Israel, the apple of God's eye.  As I wrote in a 2012 article, titled America and Israel: Destinies Intertwined, we must expect Divine judgment for any curses that we, as a nation, place on Israel by our actions.  Our country has suffered a number of catastrophic natural disasters as a result of undermining the sovereignty of Israel with our foreign policy decisions.  Just in recent history, we suffered the "Perfect Storm" in 1991; Hurricane Andrew in 1992; the Northridge, CA earthquake in 1994; the devastating Texas floods in 1998; the powerful Super Tornado in 1999; and perhaps the most famous and destructive of them all, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 -- all after we pressed Israel into compromising with Palestinian demands and relinquishing territory in exchange for promised peace.  Israel gave up portions of Gaza and the Golan Heights ... but peace has never been established.  
     We have never quite understood that the land of Israel is God's land; the place where Divine providence is especially manifest. "The eyes of the Lord... are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year" (Deuteronomy 11:12). It is "holy" land to God; land set apart by Him for His people.  To go against that covenant is to invite not only curses upon us, but Divine judgment.
     And now this Iran Deal has the potential to go far beyond giving up a piece of the land.  It could result in the very real possibility that the Enemy of Israel (both physical and spiritual) will try to blow God's land off the face of the earth... and we will have given them the opportunity.
     I know that you have heard it spoken that the month of September may bring some huge calamity upon the world; perhaps a global economic collapse, a world war, or more natural disasters.  But I always try to look at the future through a Biblical lens, and through God's prophetic advisories.  The coming months of September, into October, bring celebrations of God's Feasts.  First will be the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashana; then Yom Kippur, also called the Day of Atonement (a time of confession and repentance); and finally, the Feast of Tabernacles, when God returns to fellowship with man on earth.  These are high holy days on God's biblical calendar; meant to focus one's heart on the mighty judgment seat of God.  The Bible tells us that on some future Feast Day in September, the trumpets will sound and the dead will rise to meet our Lord in the sky.  At the end of the Feasts, when He tabernacles with us on earth, He will set up His judgment seat, and we must all face Him for what we have done with our lives.
     Our history shows us that we have surely grieved God with our Supreme Court decisions on abortion, removing prayer from schools, and most recently, the arrogant redefinition of the God-given covenant of marriage.  When you add our partnership (with Satan's servants) to destroy Israel, we will have to answer for having contributed to the destruction of God's Land. 
     No one can say if this Iran Deal will be passed by Congress in September, and if so, whether this will be the September that we must stand before God's judgment seat.  But one thing is clear ... America is on a dangerous track away from God.  No one can deny that these are grave and serious times. We stand at a very critical crossroads.... for our nation; for our society and culture; for the world's population; for the Church; and most importantly for the existence of Israel.
     We must declare our allegiance to God and to His people, and we must pray for the deliverance of the world's leaders from the deluding spirits of the Enemy.  God has clearly shown us that His judgment follows on the heels of cursing Israel. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Joel 3:1-3    "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of My people and My heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up My land, and have cast lots for My people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it."

August 26, 2015

The Dual Identities of Margaret Sanger!

     With great interest, I read of a fight in which a group of black Ministers are engaged with the Smithsonian Institute.  The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery has denied their request to have the bust of Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, removed from the museum’s “Struggle for Justice exhibit.”
     The Ministers are members of STAND, which is a non-profit organization that reaches across racial and cultural lines to bring people together around the foundational principles that made America great.  Part of their mission statement is to promote educational choice, and to strengthen families -- both of which Sanger and the organization she founded are sadly lacking.
     I must say that I agree with the minister's request that the Sanger bust be removed from any exhibit that suggests she believed in equal Justice.  Back in May of 2012, I wrote an exposĂ© revealing many of the vile beliefs that Sanger espoused.  She was a firm believer in eugenics (controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics); sterilization and race purification (which, in effect called for the eradication of blacks and other minorities); and the elimination of "inferior" populations.  Why has no one ever questioned why Planned Parenthood facilities are mostly located in poor, black and minority neighborhoods?  Why has no one been able to see that abortion was the method most often suggested for helping disadvantaged mothers "plan their families"?
    Finally the curtain has been pulled aside, and thanks to the brave work of principled filmmakers, the truth of PP's agenda has now been made public.  But how does the congressionally funded National Portrait Gallery respond when it is pointed out that Sanger's bust does not deserve to be displayed alongside portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, or Rosa Parks, to name just a few of the deserving honorees?  "There is no ‘moral test’ for people to be accepted into the National Portrait Gallery ... [Sanger's] association with the eugenics movement shadowed her achievements in sex education and contraception, making her a figure of controversy, one whose complexities and contradictions mirror her times," National Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet told the pastors in a letter.  "“Sanger is included because, as founder of the American Birth Control League (which would later become Planned Parenthood), she strived to bring medical advice and affordable birth control to disadvantaged women at a time when even providing literature on women’s health infringed on ‘obscenity’ laws,” Sajet wrote. “Sanger wanted to give couples the ability to control the size of their families.”
     No, actually, she wanted to give her organization the ability to control the size of their families -- by encouraging and promoting abortion.  If the goal was to provide women with sex education and the means to make educated decisions on the size of their families, why have there been 55 million babies aborted in this country?  Obviously her organization did a poor job in educating women on birth control, wouldn't you say?  Yet she still deserves to be honored as some kind of women's heroine and advocate?
     Sure looks like it from these additional remarks by Sajet, the Gallery director:  "Removing those people from the Portrait Gallery who have been less than perfect would deprive future generations of valuable lessons concerning personal ambition and achievement on one hand, and human imperfection and fallibility on the other."  You've got to be kidding me!  "Less than perfect"?  Sanger was a monster!  "Personal Ambition and Achievement"?  If you call inspiring Hitler and Dr. Mengele with their plan for extinction of the Jews worthy of commendation, then I guess I would have to say that you have a distorted view of meritorious service to your fellow man!
     Bishop E.W. Jackson, president and founder of Ministers Taking a Stand, told CNS News that the group of pastors would continue their fight to have Sanger removed from the museum and said Sajet’s letter avoided the issues his group had brought up. “If they must recognize her ‘historical significance,’ place her with busts of Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Goebbels, Pol Pot and Dr. Mengele,” Jackson said. “This would put her in her proper historical context with the infamous and evil figures who committed genocide.”  Well said, Pastor!  And I will be praying for your success to remove the influence of this barbaric and demonically indoctrinated woman from our social conscious.

Genesis 9:5-6           And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.  Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

August 25, 2015

The Legacy of Uncommon Courage

     It has been nearly 14 years, but if you are in your mid-twenties or older, you could not help but notice the similarities.  On September 11, 2001 a group of brave Americans jumped into action in an attempt to stop Islamic terrorists from murdering innocent citizens.  Again, just a few short days ago, on a train bound from the Netherlands to France, heroic Americans once again prevented what could have been a murderous rampage of defenseless individuals.
     The story of United Airlines Flight 93 should be burned into the consciousness of every American alive today.  If there is anything that could be called a success on that horrific day in 2001, it was the fight that the passengers took to the terrorists, foiling their plans to crash the plane into an unknown site, possibly the White House or the Capitol Building.
(left to right: Glick, Bingham, Beamer, Burnett)
     Time may have dimmed our memories of all the names, but it doesn't take but a moment to recall the actions of Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, Thomas Burnett, and Todd Beamer.  We know of their plan to storm the cockpit and either take the plane back from the hijackers, or drive it into the ground.  We know more about what went on in that plane because passengers were able to call family members, and they were informed that other planes had been hijacked and crashed into the Twin Towers and Pentagon.  We have more details about the plan to fight back and the subsequent struggle that when on between the Americans and the Muslims because Todd Beamer, in an attempt to reach his wife, had been connected to a GTE air phone operator, Lisa Jefferson.  They recited the Lord's Prayer Together and the 23rd Psalm, and then Ms. Jefferson heard Beamer say, "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."
     A similar narrative played out August 21, 2015 when three Americans battled an Islamic extremist hell-bent on murdering passengers on that high-speed train in Europe.  Only this time, they won the battle, and lived to tell their story themselves.  Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos were long-time friends on a holiday, dozing on that train, when U.S. airman Spencer Stone was awakened from a deep sleep, and turned around to see a man holding an assault rifle, which he said “looked like it was jammed and it wasn’t working.”  His friend, 22-year-old National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos “just hit me on the shoulder and said ‘Let’s go,”’ before moving in to tackle the gunman.  Skarlatos grabbed the gun, while the third friend, Anthony Sadler, joined in the brawl, and the three successfully beat the gunman into submission, with Stone putting a chokehold on him until he lay unconscious.
     The gunman was armed with a small arsenal, including an AK, a pistol, and the familiar terrorist tool, a box-cutter, with which he was able to stab Stone in the neck and slice at his hand and thumb (which was successfully reattached in a French hospital).  Stone is also credited with saving the life of a French-American teacher wounded in the neck with a gunshot wound and squirting blood. Stone said his military training kicked in and he "just stuck two of my fingers in his hole and found what I thought to be the artery, pushed down and the bleeding stopped." He said he kept the position until paramedics arrived.
(Left to right:  Sadler, Skarlatos, Stone)
     What a different outcome this might have been if those Americans had not been on that train and decided to step in.  But isn't it eerily reminiscent of the choices that those other Americans had to make?  Perhaps it has not escaped you that these young men would have only been about 8 or 9 at the time that Beamer and his companions selflessly gave their lives to save what could have decimated the ranks of America's leaders.  Yet, Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos are surely a legacy of that harrowing day 14 years ago.
     Two of them are members of a U.S. military that is still engaged in wars on multiple fronts against a branch of those same Islamic extremists.  We can argue about the effectiveness, success, or hidden political agendas of these wars, but there is no debate about the bravery and honor of our U.S. military -- or that of ordinary citizens, such as Anthony Sadler, a student.  Asked if there were lessons to be learned from this ordeal, Sadler had one piece of advice for all who find themselves faced with a choice such as theirs .... "Do something," he said. "Hiding, or sitting back, is not going to accomplish anything. And the gunman would've been successful if my friend Spencer had not gotten up. So I just want that lesson to be learned going forward.  In times of terror like that, please do something. Don't just stand by and watch."  For their acts of courage, the three young Americans received France's highest award, the Legion of Honor.  Whether they qualify for Purple Hearts, remains to be seen.
     But as we near the anniversary of September 11th, I hope we will renew our pride in the American spirit; that we will recall the extraordinary things that ordinary citizens are capable of doing in the face of pure Evil.  It also seems fitting to recall the words that former President George W. Bush spoke only a couple months after the 9-1-1 tragedy: "Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have been prepared. But we have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, let's roll!"  And that's exactly what this latest generation of fearless young American men did as that train sped through the French countryside.  Americans need a little boost to our national pride these days ... not to mention that it feels so good to see Evil defeated!

Joshua 1:9    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."


August 24, 2015

What Will This Day Bring?

     It happened on Friday.  Wall Street's stock market suffered its biggest loss of the year.  That's right... the Dow plunged 531 points, which is its worst week since 2011.  And if you listen to the talking heads, such as those on the CNN website Money, they will tell you that the big drop was due to three major events in the world-wide economy:  1) China's economy is slowing down faster than their government would like you to believe;  2) The growing uncertainty over what the Federal Reserve has planned for September -- will they raise interest rates or not?;  and 3) Oil prices have dropped below $40/barrel, signaling a decline in the one industry that has been keeping the American economy afloat.
     Of course, those who make their living off selling you those stocks on Wall Street will tell you that this is just a natural "correction"; and that we are still not at the predicted 10% adjustment, so don't be surprised if we see a further drop.  But don't worry, we're in the stock market "for the long term" and stocks will bounce back; they always do.
     But there are others, such as MarketWatch, who say, "It’s not just about China, or Greece, or slowing earnings, or the 'death cross' on Apple’s stock. It would be because, for the past 30 years, Wall Street stock prices have been increasingly boosted by financial factors: collapsing interest rates and Federal Reserve manipulation, culminating most recently in 'quantitative easing.' But at some point, that game has to come to an end."
     I am just a normal citizen, with a level head and pretty good discernment, so it is not hard for me to agree with the basis of that statement.  It just makes sense that we cannot continue to spend money we don't have, while printing fake money to pay our sky-rocketing debt.  And fancy words like "Quantitative Easing" don't fool me.  In plain English, it's nothing more than manipulation -- or to put it more succinctly, a clever and unscrupulous way of controlling our financial situation and economy.
     But here, let a more experienced person lay it on the line for us ... Michael Pento is a well-established specialist in the Austrian School of economics and a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX Business News and other national media outlets. His market analysis can also be read in most major financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He also acts as a Financial Columnist for Forbes, Contributor to thestreet.com and is a blogger at the Huffington Post.  What he has to say makes a lot of sense.
     In an article on King World News, Mr. Pento cites three examples in the global economy where Quantative Easing (QE) has been a disaster.  First is Japan, which just a few short months ago, was hailed for its robust growth.  Japan has been the world's third largest economy, largely due to their adoption of QE protocol.  But their growth has been contracting; in fact, their Gross Domestic Product fell by an annualized 1.6% in the three months ending in June; the second quarter in a row.  Mr. Pento asserts that this latest contraction proves that massive money printing coupled with government spending does not lead to a path of sustainable growth, and Japan now appears to be headed towards a triple-dip recession.
     The second example of failed QE policy is the foray of the European Union and the European Central Banks into this form of economic manipulation.  In fact, Mario Draghi, an Italian economist and current President of the European Central Bank, promised that he would do “whatever it takes” to bring growth to the flailing European Union.  Translation:  print money and buy debt.  That resulted in $67 billion a month in money printing, and the eurozone is still flat-lining.
     And, of course, there is our own horrendous $3.7 trillion of debt and Federal credit.  While I dispute that "the Great Recession has ended", no one can fail to see that any economic growth we have engendered has been anemic at best.  The Feds can tell us that we are at a steady 2% growth rate, but who is willing to buy that nonsense?  We all know that manufacturing in this country is nearly non-existent, and after almost 7 years of QE, resulting in sub-par economic growth, how is it that the S&P stock index still shows a 160% growth rate?
     Mr. Pento gives us this plausible answer:  "Time has provided three clear and indisputable conclusions about QE: QE pumps stocks to levels that are completely disconnected from the underlying fundamentals of an economy. It allows bond prices to soar and yields to drop to levels the free market could never accept. And perhaps most importantly, QE does not lead to robust economic growth. This is because whatever unsustainable job growth there is comes from the building and servicing of asset bubbles, while it also encourages further unsustainable debt accumulations. The US oil fracking industry is a perfect example of this."
     I can attest to that.  With plummeting oil prices, we here in Texas have seen a halt in the gas/oil exploration industry.  Companies accumulated huge debt through loans to buy the equipment to go get the gas, pipes to transport it, and trucks to haul it.  The Big Boys have stopped further exploration in an attempt to limit additional debt, and the small companies have halted production altogether.  But those sites that are still in operation need servicing.  So now, those who are still afloat are playing a game of survival --- trying to balance the servicing of the industry while keeping the associated debt at a minimum.  We have seen just how quick a pipeline can be installed, and have also witnessed just how quickly it can be shut off.
     Now, those Central Bankers who endorse QE economics would like us to believe that things would have been worse without it ... instead of a Great Recession, we would still be suffering through another Great Depression.  But I think our economic expert explains the real truth about this failed policy:  "QE prevents the economy from truly healing because it keeps asset bubbles and debt levels from contracting. What you end up with are massive capital imbalances, increasingly unsustainable debt loads, and financial asset inflation that sits on top of a crumbling economic foundation."
     Maybe I'm simplifying it too much, but it seems obvious to me that the Central Bankers, in collusion with the New World Order, wish to control the world's economy to their advantage.  We've all heard the rumors of the financial gains that the likes of George Soros and his cronies have made on currency collapses and other economic manipulations.  The bottom line seems to be that they are intent on collapsing any form of "free market".  But why should we be surprised ... anything that smacks of humanity's inherent freedoms is a threat to their domination.  But the evidence is there for all to see.  The QE-induced faith in the world's Central Banks, and their ability to save the world, has failed.
    But the Bible has told us that the End Times would show us man's greed and the illusion of monetary success.  And we are warned that the opening of the Third Seal will be a time when people will have to work an entire day just to have enough money to purchase a loaf of bread (Revelation 6:5).  And there is a warning for the rich and powerful, too.  Those who have "lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence" and accumulated wealth on the backs of the poor will have to answer to the Lord.
     As Christians, we cannot bury our heads in the sand, dreaming of peace and safety.  The Bible makes it clear.  There will be hard days of famine and economic collapse before the coming of the Lord.  None of us can say how close we are to that day.  But even a casual observance of the economies of the world and our own stock market should have us considering that Biblical prophecy may soon be fulfilled.  Be observant, stay informed, get prepared, and be steadfast in your endurance, prepared to do the will of God in your life.

Hebrews 10:37    "For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay."

August 23, 2015

Hebrews 5:7

He (Yeshua) offered up prayers and supplications
with great shouting and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His fear of God.

     How many people in the world sense that unprecedented Evil is about to come upon the world?  Both Christians and un-Believers have a heightened awareness that there is danger and darkness in the offing; and how many of you have heard the warnings and prophecies concerning the month of September?  I've heard everything from world-wide economic collapse, to serious natural disasters, and even the beginning of WW III... all guaranteed to strike fear in the hearts of men and women.
     But I don't think anything could compare to the anxiety and dread that our Lord must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane.  If I may paraphrase one of my favorite Bible commentators, Matthew Henry, "Jesus had an awful sense of the wrath of God, of the weight of sin. His human nature was ready to sink under that heavy load, and would have sunk, had he been forsaken of help and comfort from God; but he was heard in his prayers, he was supported through the agonies of death."
     This understanding, along with the example Jesus gives us on how to approach God in our times of distress and agony of soul, is something that I wish us all to embrace.  Yes, we have examples of Jesus praying throughout the gospels, including His rising early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35), praying all night (Luke 6:12), and praying while fasting 40 days (Matthew 4:2).  In fact, the disciples saw how important prayer was to Jesus and asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).
    But this passage in Hebrews shows us that at this particular time, Jesus's prayer was not casual or routine; it was intense and passionate.  Let's look at what is involved in His prayers during this time of apprehension and foreboding.  The most common component of many of our prayers is tears, which Jesus also exhibited during His time of intense prayer. Tears are often a sign of pain in our soul.  Jesus had a heart full of compassion for His creation and could feel in His heart the sickness, suffering, and coming death of mankind.  Our "lostness" pained His heart.  Our pain was His pain.  He wept for us as He prayed.
     Notice also that He prayed with great shouting.  Have you ever shouted out loud to God during your most private conversations with Him?  Shouting is often a sign of resistance.  In times of spiritual warfare -- and believe me, there was a war going on in the spiritual realm as Jesus faced His crucifixion -- we all face the forces of sin and Satan.  While shouting and praying, Jesus was fighting in the spiritual realm against the moral darkness of the world.  He was opposing evil and overcame it.  In His fervent prayer, He was fighting energetically on our behalf.
    Lastly, we see that part of His prayer at this time was expressed in His fear of God.  This was not normal fear or worry, but the pure fear and reverence of God.  And look at the effect of that fear/reverence... He was heard by God; His prayers reached the throne room of His Father.  And what were the results?  Once again, I will let Matthew Henry express it more eloquently than I can:  "He was carried through death; and there is no real deliverance from death but to be carried well through it. We may have many recoveries from sickness, but we are never saved from death till we are carried well through it. And those that are thus saved from death will be fully delivered at last by a glorious resurrection, of which the resurrection of Christ was the earnest (a sign or promise of what was to come) and first-fruits."
     I know that most of you are joining me in solemn and dedicated prayer, asking God for mercy and forgiveness in His coming judgment (that we so thoroughly deserve).  None of us know what the future holds for us, and I'm sure many of us are consumed with fear over the possibilities.  But, let us strive for the same kind of prayer communication that Jesus exhibited on the eve of His most frightening and devastating experience.  It's OK to cry out to the Lord and shout to Heaven in our moments of agony, fright, and doubt.  But if we approach our Father with godly fear and reverence, He will hear us and will provide the means for us to be carried through whatever awaits us.  I can only imagine that this has been the experience of those faithful and obedient followers of Christ in the Middle East who have been beheaded for refusing to disown Him.  
    Just as Matthew Henry wrote, I am convinced that, like Jesus, they were not forsaken in their moment of need.  They were helped and comforted by God, who heard their prayers, and they were supported through their deaths. They followed Christ's example, devoting themselves to Him, denying themselves (and their natural human fears); and taking up their cross, followed Him into death, proclaiming their victory over Evil.   Praise the Lord for the standard He has set before us, and for the courage of our Brothers and Sisters who have shown us that God's mercy is sufficient, and enough to see us through death.