I’d like you to go to UNDispatch and read an initial insider reaction to the atrocity in Afghanistan yesterday. The Islamic aspect of the massacre is non-existent, of course (after all, this is the UN), but the conclusion is still germane: it is time for the UN to leave Afghanistan.
Because a pastor in Florida burned a Koran, Imams in the Afghan city, Mazar-i-Sharif, chosen by the UN for a headquarters because of its “peacefulness”, preached violence against the “Crusaders”, and after their Mosque services rode around in cars using bullhorns to continue to inflame a growing mob.
That mob, which some have estimated to have been 20,000 strong, broke through the barriers to the UN compound. Because they were simply unarmed citizens and not Taliban extremists, the UN force did not fire on them. For their restraint, the guards were murdered, and then their arms were used to hunt down others in the compound, who were in turn brutally murdered in cold blood.
This is the Muslim concept of protest, directly led by religious leaders, on display for the entire world to observe.
This is the Muslim concept of moral equivalence: you burn the pages of a book, we slaughter you.
And it gets worse. Harman Karzai, the Afghan president, himself set the stage for the massacre by using the Koran burning incident to agitate the Afghanis. Just as in Pakistan and all the other heavily Muslim nations, riling up the Islamic base is good politics for regimes lacking real leadership credentials.
One of the provisos of the Christian principles of Just War is that for a war to be justifiable there must be a reasonable chance of success (or that the situation is so bad that the alternative, failure, must be less acceptable than death itself). Afghanistan is sinking back into tribal and Islamic quicksand. It will take real leadership to pull her out, and more than merely in the military realm. It will take moral leadership, something the Muslim clerics clearly do not have a clue about. Harman Karzai is incapable of that leadership, and so is Barack Obama. Until something changes, we are wasting precious blood and treasure.
Meanwhile, we must remember that there are souls trapped within this horrendous cycle of ignorance and evil. Souls that Jesus loves and died for. I think of the young woman on the cover of Time, whose nose and ears were cut off by her arranged husband who grew tired of her. And she is only one of countless victims of a culture that turns men into animals.
Since the powers of this world are no longer even treading water, I would like to submit that the real war in Afghanistan, the one that matters, is being fought by intercessors, in their prayers and, for some, their acts of obedience. The world’s rulers are increasingly out of ideas, and simply do not have a clue about what to do. They are just trying to keep a semblance of order on deck, as the Titanic sinks down.
We have been warned that this would happen, so this is only further confirmation of the truth of the Scriptures. Our redemption draweth nigh, but until then we have work to do in God.
God bless you, and God bless the innocents that are suffering.
On the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, president Obama issued an affirmational statement:
Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.
I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.
And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
Obama’s words may sound reasonable to the humanist. But the dynamic here is just like taking God out of the schools and handing out condoms – it won’t work. You either take a stand for morality or you are swamped by immorality. And our nation is reaping the fruit of being swamped by immorality.
In order to enshrine “reproductive rights” as a Constitutional right, our governmental structure has had to make it a sacred totem that is immune to any degree of normal legal oversight. To wit, see the horrors, recently revealed, of the Philadelphia doctor who apparently routinely stabbed babies to death after their live birth. This was allowed to continue for years, despite complaints, to the tune of possibly hundreds of babies. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, when queried how this could occur, actually answered that it did not know that abortion providers fell under its jurisdiction. The Department of Health!
There are no easy answers for this nation. At this point I’m not certain that it is possible to rebuild its foundations. Humanly, perhaps it is not. But then, all things are possible with God.
But I am certain that each individual must make his own choice on how he is going to live. And I am equally certain that we must use the time we are given as salt and light to a dying culture.
A prayer here for all the babies and lives of women and men, and families destroyed and being destroyed by abortion.
Update: Here’s the unbelievable tale of how the squalid Philly clinic was allowed to continue unscrutinized by the authorities for years. This nation has become morally dysfunctional. Thanks, humanists.
Remember the embarrassing passage in Genesis, in which Jacob, working for the finagler Laban, set his wages to be every “speckled or spotted sheep”? Laban thought he was getting a deal, and set out to defraud Jacob. It was all so easy. But Jacob outwitted Laban by setting up an environment for the sheep that graphically mimicked how he wanted the new lambs’ coats to look. The result was:
When the sheep mated in front of the [color-contrasting] branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. -Gen 30.9
“Oh, what a rip. Genetics are entirely independent of environment! This Jacob story is just more evidence that the Bible is a collection of fairy tales and its believers are anti-scientific, irrational yokels.”
So the ridicule went. But it seems that after centuries of evolution theories, science has just made a reversal and taken a small step to catching up with the Bible in this matter.
Take a look at this article over at the Guardian. The young field of “epigenetics”, which is the study of the protective layer surrounding the chromosome chain, and the effects of that layer on gene sequencing, has found that environmental factors do affect the surrounding matter, and they in turn influence which genes are switched on and which are not. Or, in other words, and I quote:
“Today,” notes David Shenk, “any high school student knows that genes are passed on unchanged from parent to child, and to the next generation and the next. Lifestyle cannot alter heredity. Except now it turns out that it can . . .”
Considering the pummeling the scientific community is rightfully taking on shoddy and dishonest global warming methodology, you can imagine that questions about basic evolution orthodoxy have the potential to create another, and even greater, scientific bombshell.
I’m not a scientist, so I’m not going to work that angle. And neither am I going to try to prove that the Bible is true. But I am going to suggest a practical benefit that the Christian can take away from this unfolding story.
Consider these wonderful promises from the beginning of Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. -Ps 103:1-7
Among other things, the Lord here promises us that He will heal our diseases, restore our youth, and redeem our life. Now, let’s say you had neurological damage. For decades medical science told us that nerves and brain tissue cannot be regenerated. We only have a certain number of these cells, and once they were gone, that was it. – Until last year, that is, when they suddenly found out better. For in another reversal, scientists now have proof that human nerve tissue can replenish itself.
If you didn’t believe – or didn’t know – what the Bible says here, what hope for healing would you have had all those years? None. But if you knew the Word, and took God at his Word, believing Him over medical scientists, and taking your stand for your healing – you may have been laughed at by sophisticates, but you would have had hope.
And hopeful, you would have filled your mind with positive, expectant thoughts. You would have meditated on the Word day and night. You would have prayed affirmations aloud, according to passages such as Mark 11, where Jesus tells us to pray believing that we are, right now, as we are praying, receiving, and John 15.7, where we are promised our prayers will be answered if we abide, and so many other places where we are exhorted to pray through to victory. In effect, you would be filling your soul with the reality of your healing even before that healing was manifest to the natural eye.
Your faith would have been anticipating the result you wanted to obtain. Or, put scientifically, you would have been altering your environment in order to affect your genetics. And isn’t that just exactly what Jacob did when he wanted to change the appearance of the baby lambs?
Folks, this faith business is a matter of life and death. Indeed,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. -Pro 18.21
Whatever your need is, are you going to believe the world’s report, or are you going to believe God? Ancient Israel chose to believe their natural eyes and logic rather than have faith in God, and their lack of faith forced them to futilely circle a desert mountain for forty years rather than enter the promised land after what would have been a mere eleven day journey.
If we fail to enter into the realm of faith, we too risk wasting precious time. The good news is that with the power of the Word, we have the faith option. We can choose to believe God. And if we have failed in the past, it is not too late to repent (which simply means to rethink) and to get on the faith track and begin to reverse the damages. Get serious with God, get in the Word, and you will see His rewards.
One day science will catch up to the Bible, and we’ll know and understand the awesome wisdom which emanates from the God who brought Creation into being. But currently, to the extent that it is at odds with the Bible, fallen science is out in the desert, futilely circling mountains. Thankfully, we don’t have to join it. The choice of whom to follow is up to us. In this age we must walk by faith rather than sight if we are going to take the Kingdom and bear fruit. There is no other way.
I’m going to throw a few things in together here, in dramatically increasing order of importance.
First, I’d like to make you aware of a great service from http://www.christianaudio.com. Each month they offer a free audiobook download. This month, for instance, it’s a reading of an updated version of Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress. Once in a while I like to listen to books rather than read, to give my eyes a rest, or for when I’m on the road a lot. You’ll have to sign up for an account, which is painless (I then use a filter so I never see any advertising except the free offers). Then you’ll need the code for this month’s download, which is PROG103. Finally, you’ll have a whole bunch of files to download, for which I recommend the Opera browser, which has a Links function by which you can do it all automatically.
Next, I’d like you to be aware that I’ve set up a public Google Docs site, at which I’m uploading good things that come my way. The link is over in the right sidebar, under Links. I have a general folder, one for Watchman Nee stuff, one for the Elijah List, and I just started one for Strom’s Revival list. Whenever I think something is particularly good, I’ll format it and post it. The files are read-only, but you can leave comments there in an open file in each folder, and you can download them for your own use.
Finally and most importantly, the U.S. is on the verge of a major political catastrophe. I’ve simply been aghast at the conduct of the Obama administration, with regard to the healthcare bill, the grossly corrupt parliamentary procedure that spawned it, and now our treatment of Israel.
I will not list the dishonest and disingenuous dealings that have characterized this presidency, but they have been legion. Plunging the nation into socialism against it will wasn’t enough. Completely violating any sense of Constitutionality was a light matter. In these final hours several previously opposed reps have caved, and it seems that the pro-life block may follow suit. Rep. Stupak has called a presser for tomorrow morning to make an announcement; it does not sound good.
And now we are punishing Israel and at the same time making life easy for the evil regime in Iran, by tritely withholding “bunker buster” bombs from Israel. These presumably would be the bombs to be used to level Iranian nuclear energy weapons facilities.
I’m not one to claim that the Israelis are perfect. Indeed, as Christian Jews increase there, persecution by ultra-orthodox Jews has increased. But regarding international politics, any nation surrounded by such implacable hostility has to be tough. My support of Israel rests on two points. First, Israel was stumbled so that the Gospel would go out to the world. Some day “all” Israel will come to Christ, but until then we are in its debt. Second, Israel stands morally head and shoulders above its enemies. There is no equivalency to be had here. Radical Islam, and its gift to the world, suicide bombing, must be opposed.
The last time we put major undo pressure on Israel – to abandon Gaza – it took exactly one week before the next suicide bombing made a mockery of the appeasement. But in the bargain, one day later the U.S. endured the greatest geological disturbance in its history, Hurricane Katrina. Coincidence you say? Maybe, but the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is full of examples of the elements mirroring the spiritual condition of God’s people.
Somehow, Israel will survive. The question is whether we will. I’ve been seeing dire prophecies concerning our nation. (Especially, see the powerfully-worded Dutch Sheets file I uploaded to the Google Docs site, above.) FWIW, Hal Lindsey has actually opined that this year the nation would break up into four parts. All this seems much less fantastic than it did even a few months ago. Internet chatter routinely mentions civil disobedience and even armed resistance to Obama’s totalitarian agenda.
No matter what happens, we who love the Lord are in His very capable hands. He can and will use anything, even the nation stepping off a cliff, to bring about His will. But He always prefers mercy to judgment, and in situations like ours He looks for intercessors to provide justification for pouring out His miraculous saving power. We need to be praying, in faith.
In times like this I’m especially grateful to be a Christian. It is abundantly clear that the entire world is built on shifting sand, has no virtue, and hasn’t a clue what it’s doing. There is only one immovable rock, and anyone who flees to Him for safety will not be disappointed. These are difficult times, but I’m enjoying the peace our position in Christ affords.
Addendum: Let me emphasize, the guys to pray for at this critical moment are Rep. Bart Stupak and the entire prolife block. The fate of the healthcare bill is largely in their hands, and the pressure/enticements on them has been enormous. Many of these guys are actually for the healthcare bill, save the abortion funding provision, so the opposition is hanging on a thin principled thread. Just how thin that thread is, I don’t know.
Addendum II: Now, on Saturday afternoon, comes news via HotAir that the Stupak deal, which would have sent the healthcare bill over the top, is permanently off. If true, this is very good news. But there has been so much shifting, as this bill is pressure-rammed through against the will of a large majority of the people, that it’s impossible to tell what’s really going on. I doubt that anyone really knows. As always, our strength is in God alone. May His ever-sweet will be done. I plead for mercy on this nation on the verge.
EDIT: As of 4/2016, this site seems down. Too bad, was a nice service.
I just came across on Twitter a very neat Bible utility that you might find handy. If you want to link to any Bible passage, you can quickly write it in the format: http://scrip.ly/bk:vss. Here’s an example:
This saves looking up a URL from an online Bible and then perhaps shortening it. It’s a pretty intelligent engine, recognizing split passages such as:
And note that my preferred use of the period rather than colon is recognized as well (this is easier on the Dvorak keyboard layout).
One drawback at this time is that one cannot browse the Bible at the scrip.ly site, except by writing in an enlarged passage (which really isn’t too hard):
Maybe some day scrip.ly will make the Chapter tab clickable. That will be a good way to encourage visitors to hang around and do further Bible reading. The URL above also shows the shorter “www.” syntax, which works because it is redirected to the default. The “www” arrangement is easier to type, but Twitterers be aware that many third party Twitter clients that I have used, including the popular TweetDeck and HootSuite (my favorite), do not mark up this syntax into a clickable link.
Scrip.ly is a clever idea and a great service for spreading the Word!
Hint: click on this blog’s ‘bible software” tag in the sidebar for more articles relating to Bible programs and modules.
Separately, I came across a great brief exhortation to prayer. I’ve been devoting more time to prayer, and have been seeing amazing breakthroughs, but opposition comes, and this piece came at a good time. See who is praying three hours a day and what it will do.
At 134 pages, Destined for the Throne is not a big book, yet it took me nine months to read it. What it lacks in length it more than makes up for in depth and power.
I came across Destined while review-hopping at Amazon. When I finally got around to reading the book I had forgotten why I had bought it. But it didn’t take me long to remember.
Billy Graham forewords the book by saying that “every” Christian looking for a deeper witness should study this book prayerfully and apply its principles. Billheimer himself introduces his work as what some will consider a “totally new and unique cosmology”.
I’ve got to say that most of what Billheimer has written is not new to me at some level, but never have I seen it stated so clearly and powerfully. He puts his case together so thoughtfully, logically and circumspectly that the book’s immediately huge impact only grows as one continues to read. Read more…