Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Will Iran Change with This Treaty?

Congressmen and Congresswomen, while on their long August summer recess, are having the opportunity of reading the recently inked treaty between Iran and the P5+1 nations in Geneva.  They have also had the opportunity of visiting with constituents and hearing how the common American citizen feels about this treat with Iran that will supposedly limit Iran's nuclear capabilities that would lead to the production of a nuclear weapon. 


Iran has become one of the most powerful nations in the world.  It has one of the largest oil reserves in the Middle East.  It has one of the largest standing armies in the Middle East.  It has a strong theocratic government run by its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  And it is known that Iran is the most prolific exporter of terrorists around the world.  The question that the American people need to be asking of their legislative leaders is: Can Iran be trusted to keep this agreement? 


Let's look at what has been learned since Secretary of State John Kerry affixed his signature to this treaty this past July.  No sooner had the ink been dried than news leaked of several "closed door" decisions that were made between Iran and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the United Nations.  One of those decisions, just recently revealed, granted Iran the ability to select its own inspectors for those nuclear sites.  That reminded me of what it might have been like back in our country during the prohibition era.  What if the bootleggers were given the ability to inspect suspected alcohol warehouses?  Do you think their reports would have been honest?  Of course not!  Can we trust Iran to inspect its own nuclear sites?  Of course not! 


Then, just this week, the head of the IAEA stated that his committee was running out of money to hire inspectors for the Iranian nuclear sites, so the sites would be left uninspected.  Now, who do you think gains from that lack of inspection? (www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/199900).


But what I find most disturbing, and should disturb each one of us, is the continued belligerence of Iran toward Israel.  Just yesterday, a senior Iranian official stated that the annihilation of Israel is his country's policy, according to a report from the group The Israel Project.  "Hussein Sheikholeslam, a foreign policy advisor to the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said, 'Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan.'"  In other words, Iranian leadership still believes that they exist for the express purpose of completely destroying the nation of Israel - wiping it off the face of the earth. 


Just last week, at least three rockets were fired from Syria into northern Israel, prompting the United States government to issue a warning to America tourists concerning visiting the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights.  Israeli officials strongly believe that those rockets were fired by Iranian proxies in Syria.  And those same Israeli officials believe that, with the release of $150 billion in frozen assets to Iran with this new treaty, much of that money will be used to provide weapons and supplies to militants in Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip that Iran is using to conduct its war against Israel. 


Historically treaties have never stopped a nation whose leadership was determined to destroy another.  British Prime Minister Chamberlain's treaty with Adolf Hitler did not bring "peace for our time," but a world war in less than a year.  Friends, from what I have been reading through many different sources, I am convinced that this treaty with Iran does not produce a nuclear-weapons-free Iran, but merely delays that ultimate end by a few years at best.  And then what will happen?  Well, we already have their answer: the annihilation of Israel.  They have made that goal perfectly clear. 


I recently re-read Ezekiel 38 and 39 where that 6th century BC prophet describes an event that will shake the world.  A land known as Magog - recognized by many biblical scholars as referring to ancient Russia - will form a coalition with its neighbors - one of those neighbors is clearly called Persia or Iran.  The purpose of this coalition is to invade Israel to cause its destruction.  From a biblical point of view, it is fascinating to see the relationship between Russia and Iran in this modern day.  One wonders are the foundations for this coalition being laid with an invasion attempt in the very near future?  The intent of this coalition is the annihilation of Israel and the capture of its resources; but God has other plans.  The destroyers become the destroyed.  Those who had been the target of destruction become the recipients of blessing instead. 


So I watch with fascination the debate on the treaty, knowing that ultimately, God will have the final say and I know who will be on the winning side.  Just read Ezekiel 38 and 39 and you will make that discover for yourself. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Lesson from Mark's Story of Jesus about Faith and Family

I want to do something completely different this week.  Yes, I know that there is a lot of news happening - most of it is not very positive, but it is happening nonetheless.  ISIS is still conquering territories and, after those conquest, innocent people are slaughtered - many dying horrific deaths.  Russia and President Putin continue to bully their way with others in Europe, even threatening to renew the Cold War with the United States.  The Iranians are taunting America's leadership because of the treaty just signed which pretty much gave the Iranians everything they were asking for and more.  The Israelis continue feeling the pressures from the rest of the world.  And the economies around the globe are nearing a free-fall, especially now that China has devalued its currency.  And crimes on the street seem to be escalating even to the point of being out of control in some of our major cities.  And there is the continued questions regarding the horrendous actions of Planned Parenthood in selling aborted babies for profit.  And the email scandal that Hillary Clinton finds herself in just grows in magnitude each day threatening her candidacy. 


But this week I want to focus on something from the third chapter in Mark's Gospel.  I have been reading this Gospel in preparation for a special trip to Israel in December with my children and grandchildren.  The Gospel of Mark is one book I always recommend that those traveling to Israel with me read as it shares in a very readable format the story of Jesus.  Many of the places mentioned in Mark's Gospel we will be visiting.  So, I have joined with them in re-reading this book for the "who knows how many times." 


Yet, the other morning as I sat in my chair, Bible in hand, I noticed something in this passage from Mark 3 that I had not seen before.  Let me set the background.  How much time elapses in the events of this chapter, we are not told.  But the busyness of Jesus almost overwhelms our hearts.  The chapter begins with a controversial healing of the man with the shriveled hand - right there in the synagogue - right on the Sabbath.  Oh, that event was an attention-grabber for His critics.  In fact, Mark lets us know that that event began to coalesce two groups that hardly ever spoke to one another: the Pharisees and the Herodians.  Jesus was now a threat to them; He had to be destroyed.


Then there were the multitudes of miraculous healings.  Crowds came from all over the region of Galilee, and even beyond.  It seemed that everyone wanted to have an ailment cured.  The crowds were so intense that, notice Mark says in verse 9, that Jesus instructed His disciples to have a boat ready in case He needed to get away. 


Then there was the "alone time" with those whom He chose to be His disciples.  How long this period of mountainside instruction lasted, Mark does not tell us.  It was probably a "cram course" to be expanded upon during the daily times with Jesus.


That brings us to verse 20 - "Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat."  It reads so matter-of-factly, doesn't it?  Jesus entered into a home in the midst of a crowd that brought with them demands - diseases to heal, demons to expel.  In fact the busyness created a lack of opportunity for Jesus and His disciples to eat - they missed a meal, maybe even a couple of meals.


Verse 21 then follows: "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.'"  I had never noticed this before.  After hearing that Jesus was not eating properly, and maybe not even nutritiously, the family becomes incensed.  They declare that Jesus is "out of His mind."  That Jesus needs some serious help.  And so, Mark declares that they go to "take charge of Him."  So, the family of Jesus begins the trek to find Jesus and to bring Him back home because He was not taking care of Himself properly.


Now that brings us to verse 31: "Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived.  Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him."  The family has arrived at the home where Jesus is staying.,  After their arrival, they let it be known that they were outside waiting for Jesus and they expected Him to come out.  Now, remember what their intentions are: they want to take charge of Jesus because they think He is out of His mind.  Now, what I found so incredulous is that Mark mentions specifically that Jesus' mother was accompanying His brothers.  Doesn't this seem out of place with what we know about Mary - or at least what we assume we know about her?  Knowing what we know about Mary's story, we might have expected her to say something like, "Boys, you need to remember that Jesus is different than you and me.  His purpose in life is entirely different.  I believe Jesus knows what He is about."  Yet, if we read this text carefully, we are led to believe that Mary went along with the plans of her other sons.  Someone needed to step in to protect Jesus from Himself.  Mary's faith was not yet perfected.  Perhaps Mary's faith had stagnated.  We do not know how often Jesus had contact with His mother.  For all we know, when He was driven out of Nazareth, He never returned there, yet we know that Nazareth was still the home of His family.


What was Jesus' response when told that His mother and brothers were outside?  Verses 33-35 read: "'Who are my mother and my brothers?' he asked.  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother!'"  Jesus makes a strong statement that spiritual ties can be closer than physical ties.  Why is this?  Because spiritual ties are grounded upon faith relationships, not upon blood relationships.  And faith is often stronger than blood. 


Friends, as this world continues to grow more evil and we get closer to a world prepared for the Antichrist's reign, how precious become those relationships which we can have with God's children.  Celebrate the Body of Christ by taking a few moments right now and give a word of thanks to the Father for those spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ who are so meaningful to your life.  And ask God to grow you in your faith - that it not become stagnated as was Mary's.  May you have the strong desire to know Jesus Christ and His Father well.   

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Did I Miss Something?!

Last Wednesday I read an article posted by Joseph Farah on the WND website that aroused my anger.  The article is titled, "Farrakhan's Declaration of War."  It can be found at www.wnd.com/2015/08/farrakhans-declaration-of-war.  The article begins: "Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has declared war on white America.  Did anyone notice?  Did Barack Obama or Attorney General Loretta Lynch notice?  Did I miss the condemnation of Farrakhan's call to violence by this long-time supporter of Obama - a man who once called him 'the Messiah?'"  The unparalleled racial incitement to violence came, shockingly, at a service last Sunday at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Miami.  Citing the Quran as his inspiration, Farrakhan, 82, called for the rising up of an army of 10,000 black male volunteers to kill white Americans.  'Death is sweeter than watching us slaughter each other to the joy of a 400-year old enemy,' he said.  'Death is sweet.  The Quran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter.'  In his fiery speech, Farrakhan said he was looking for '10,000 in the midst of the million ... 10,000 fearless men who say death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny' to retaliate against white Americans because of their alleged oppression of black people.  'Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breath of those whose children have been slain,' he said.  'So, if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us.  Stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling.'"


Friends, did you hear anything about this speech on Good Morning, America or Nightly News?  Did you read anything about it in your local newspaper?  Of course not!  Did you hear what this long-time friend of our President just said?  He issued a call for young black men - 10,000 of them - to rise up in a war against white people.   Instead of blacks killing blacks, it is better that blacks kill whites.  Friends, there is no call to investigate Louis Farrakhan.  There is no call for his arrest for creating a national terroristic threat.  Yet let one small-town bakery say that it will not furnish a cake for a same-sex wedding because doing so would violate a religious belief, and the government comes after them for violating someone's rights, fining them and even threatening imprisonment.  Yet, here is a man who can stand in a Baptist Church and declare that the black people in America should declare war on white people in America...and nothing is done. 


On another note, I read another article written by Raymond Ibrahim and found on the Middle East Forum website: www.medforum.org/5423/us-oath-of-allegiance-shariah.  The article begins: "The Obama administration recently made changes to the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in a manner very conducive to Sharia, or Islamic law.  On July 21, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced some 'modifications' to the Oath of Allegiance that immigrants must take before becoming naturalized.  The original oath required incoming citizens to declare that they will 'bear arms on behalf of the United States'; and 'perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States' when required by the Law.  Now the USCIS says that 'a candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection.'"  The article then goes on to state: "These changes serve incoming Islamic supremacists especially well.  For, while Islamic law allows Muslims to feign loyalty to non-Muslim 'infidel' authorities, it bans Muslims from living up to the pretense by actually fighting or killing fellow Muslims on behalf of a non-Muslim entity, such as the United States."  The writer of the article then cites the example of Nidal Hassan, the U.S. army major who went on a terror rampage when he received orders to Afghanistan.  He could not kill another Muslim.  The author closes with these thoughts that should bring alarm: "In short, the first loyalty of any 'American Muslim' who follows the Koran is to fellow Muslims, regardless of their nationality.  It is not to American 'infidels', even if they be their longtime neighbors whom they daily smile to.  Hence why American Muslim Tarik Shah, who was arrested for terrorist-related charges, once boasted, 'I could be joking and smiling [with non-Muslims] and then cutting their throats in the next second'. ... Now, in direct compliance with Islamic law, the Obama administration has made it so that no Muslim immigrating to America need every worry about having to defend her - including against fellow Muslims or jihadis."  Does this news make you feel any safer? 


I keep going back to that passage in Isaiah 5 where the prophet declares, concerning his own day - the times of the 8th century BC - "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."  Our moral structure has become so corrupted that little structure remains.  Those moral foundations upon which our nation and culture were based have crumbled and are nearing total destruction.  Another passage of Scripture comes to my mind: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? ( Psalm 11:3).  Do we throw up our hands and say, "what's the use?"  Do we cower in despair?  How I love that very next verse: "The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne.  He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them." (Psalm 11:4). 


Friends, isn't great to know that our God is still seated on His throne in glory?  The actions of the Louis Farrakhans' of this world do not intimidate Him one iota.  He does not become discouraged when He sees the vanity of men.  And because He is on the throne, I might become angry at what is happening around me, but I do not become depressed.  Because He is on the throne, I might raise my voice in strong objections to decisions that are made, but I still remember that God has said, "You are more than conquerors through him who loved you" (Romans 8:37). 



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Of Lions and Babies

When was the last time a lion dominated the news?  And a dead lion at that?  Wow!  The death of Cecil the Lion has heralded the front pages of newspapers around the country.  His death has been the topic of investigative reports from all the major mainstream news sources.  The life of the Minneapolis dentist, who shot the lion legally while on a hunt in Africa, has been threatened.  His business has been shattered; his home vandalized; his name has become tarnished.  And what was his crime: he went on a big game hunt and shot a lion.  This lion, although protected within a national reserve in Zimbabwe, was, nonetheless, free to roam wherever he wished.  Once he crossed the boundaries of that protected reserve, he was subject to the hunt.  We must remember that this lion, although he had a name, was nonetheless, not a pet of someone, but a wild beast.  And so the lion died. 


Let me ask you: one lion was shot - how many black teenagers have been murdered on the streets of Chicago just this past week?  How many murders have occurred in the city of Baltimore this past year?  There is little outrage when our teens kill one another.  There is little outrage when black gang members in Chicago kill one another in gang warfare, and if a small child is caught in the cross-fire, well, it is just a casualty of the gang violence.  Hardly major news.  But kill a lion - and the world becomes over-wrought with anger.


Let me ask you another question: one lion was shot - how many babies are aborted every day?  And now we are learning of the awful details of how the abortions are done so as to create a profit for those who market in aborted body parts.  Just yesterday another video was released where a discussion was held that declared that fully-intact aborted babies bring a higher price than those whose bodies are crushed.  And yet there is hardly any outrage expressed by the mainstream media.  Certainly not worthy of the front page - as was the death of Cecil the lion.  Certainly not worthy of any special investigative reporting; in fact, the mainstream media has greatly maligned the nonprofit organization that has exposed the practices of Planned Parenthood.  Now, if it were a lion, instead of a baby, that was being killed - perhaps more attention would be given. 


Now I am not a hunter nor ever aspired to be a hunter.  And I have a very strong aversion to those who poach any animal for profit - whether it is killing deer illegally here in Minnesota or elephants in Africa.  But those who choose to hunt legally should not be threatened.  They have a right to hunt - whether it is pheasants, deer, moose, or lions. 


Finally, I want to share an article that I read yesterday, written by Bob Unruh, and posted at: www.wnd.com/2015/08/gays-demand-irreversible-harm-to-Christian.  I was not surprised at the details that emerged within this article.  I have stated often that the push of the gay-rights organization was not the freedom to marry whomever they wanted, but to destroy the Christian teachings that opposed them.  The article concerns a lawsuit filed against a Christian county employee in Kentucky for declining to issue a marriage license for a same-sex couple.  "Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has declined to issues the licenses because it would violate her First Amendment rights to practice her faith. ... Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said that despite, 'the opinion of five black-robed lawyers, the Constitution still governs the United States, and the First Amendment guarantees Kim and every American the free exercise of religion.' ... In a response brief to the ACLU's request for an order targeting the clerk's religious rights, Liberty Counsel said the case is 'a thinly veiled attempt at deeming her religious conscience meaningless and punishing her for even asserting a religious objection to authorizing SSM.  In fact, these plaintiffs sought licenses from Davis only after learning of her religious objections to SSM, and they refuse to obtain a license elsewhere.' ... They want, the court filing explains, 'to induce irreversible and substantial harm to the religious conscience of Davis.'  'If Davis' religious objection cannot be accommodated under the circumstances of this case, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,' Staver warned."  The article concludes with a quote from Justice Samuel Alito, made after the Court's decision in favor of same-sex marriage: "Alito said it 'usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage.  The decision will also have other important consequences.  It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.  In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.'" 


Friends, those who strongly support the gay-rights agenda, have to attack Christians, the Church, and the Scriptures.  Every Christian reminds them that their decision to be gay is a wrong choice.  The only way to avoid the guilt is to either humiliate or eliminate those who oppose that position you have chosen.  And the attack upon Christians in the public place, whether in business, the school, or in government, is going to increase. 


Friends, on so many fronts, it is time for the followers of Jesus Christ to rise up and stand united upon the truths found within the Word of God.  Dialogue - yes; compromise - never!  Those words of Jude 3 still grab my heart: We are to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  That is what God desires of us.  May we do this well. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Planned Parenthood Has Been Exposed - The Scene Is Not a Pretty One

The major news story that the mainstream media simply is not getting concerns the videos that have surfaced where leaders of Planned Parenthood are shown in conversations dealing with the sale of fetal tissues and body parts after an abortion.  I have seen the videos on several websites and on Fox News and they are alarming - not just in the nature of the content (just think, a baby is aborted and then its parts sold as if it were just another side of beef going to the auction house), but the cavalier nature of those who are sharing the information (it is just as if it was "another day at the office" for them). 


Of course, Planned Parenthood immediately denied the claims and said that the videos were edited and not represent actually those conversations.  And then they made the claim that those fetal tissues and body parts were being put to good use by scientists in the hopes of finding something that will improve life.  Friends, this is called "the ends justify the means."  With that type of explanation, one can almost do anything and claim that it will help better someone. 


I highly recommend an article by Michael Brown and posted at the Townhall website on July 26.  The article is titled, "The Nazis, Medical Research and Planned Parenthood."  You can find the article at: www.townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2015/07/26/the-nazis-medical-research-and-planned-parenthood.  As I read this article I was reminded of what I have shared in so many previous blogs - if we fail to learn from history we are bound to repeat it.  The facts within this article stress exactly that point.  The author tells of the testimony of a Professor Doctor Julius Hallervorden during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war crimes.  Dr. Hallervorden was a famous neurologist who became head of the Neuropathology Department of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research in 1938.  "In order for Hallervorden to do his medical research, he needed brains to study, and in 1939, a tremendous opportunity presented itself to him.  'His work as a pathologist during the Third Reich put him in close proximity with the implementation of biologic solutions (i.e. euthanasia) targeting those individuals with significant intellectual or physical disabilities in chronic-care facilities.  The Nazi program of active euthanasia provided a scientific opportunity to gain quick access to pathologic materials.  This opportunity was recognized and used by Hallervorden to achieve personal scientific objectives and research efforts.'"  While on trial, Dr. Hallervorden, when asked if he knew he was using brains of human beings slaughtered by his fellow Nazis, replied, "Those brains offered wonderful material, of mentally poor, deformities and early children's diseases.  Of course I accepted the brains.  It really wasn't my concern where they came from and how they were brought to me."  In other words, "the end justified the means."  Friends, this is a challenging article.  I encourage you to link and read it. 


Then, just this morning, Brooke Carlucci had this article published on Townhall.com website.  It was titled, "Fmr. Planned Parenthood Director: Biz Is Making $100 to $200 Off Each Fetal Body Part."  You can find this article at: www.townhall.com/tipsheet/brookecarlucci/2015/07/29/shocking-fmr-planned-parenthood-director-biz-is-making.  The author cites Abby Johnson, who once served as the director of the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic - having now left that organization and is an outspoken activist for anti-abortion causes.  According to Ms. Johnson, Planned Parenthood sometimes charges between $100 to $200 a day for each fetal body part.  She said, "There is definitely money to be made and that's an issue with the current law.  If there's a loophole, Planned Parenthood will blow through it." 


And just think, you and I are paying hard-earned tax dollars so that this can continue happening.  Just as those hard-working German laborers paid taxes to their Nazi government, some of those funds went to help a Dr. Hallervorden with this "brain research" by causing the murders of literally hundreds of innocent human lives, so you and I are helping cause the murders of literally millions of innocent human lives.  Perhaps these investigative videos will begin to stir people's hearts as to what is really happening in the abortion business.  It is time for our government to get out of the abortion business.  It is time for Christians to rise up as one voice and defend the cause of those innocent human lives who have no voice. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Illgoical Thinking is Taking Over

So we are going to rewrite history because we do not like what has happened in the past.  Those men and women whom we have revered we come to find out were not as perfect as we thought they were.  So it is decided that we just need to scrub history to make it more appealing for our day.  Let me cite another case in point.  The article can be found at www,ctpost.com/news/article/Democrats-drop-Thomas-Jefferson-and-Andrew-Jackson-6400.   The article was written by Neil Vigdor.  Under pressure from the NAACP, the Connecticut state Democratic Party "will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery.  Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month's fatal shooting of nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston, SC. ... Democrats cited Jefferson and Jackson's ownership of slaves as a key factor in the decision, as well as Jackson's role in the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern U.S. in what was known as the Trail of Tears."  Nick Balletto, the Democratic party chair, said Jefferson was a great founding father, but had some issues.  "You can't change history, but you don't have to honor it," Balletto said.

I have had just about enough of this attempt of purging from history anything that might offend someone.  History is not perfect because history was made by imperfect people.  Yes, there were wrongs done.  But to scrub history of those wrongs and pretend that they never happened does not change history.  So Jefferson and Jackson are no longer champions of the Democratic party because they were slave holders.  How about George Washington - he was also a slave owner?  So, does Mount Rushmore get blasted into pieces because Washington and Jefferson are profiled there?  After all, their presence might create an offense to someone?  If that is the case, perhaps we need to scrub our money.  New nickels - after all, Jefferson has to go.  New quarters and dollar bills - after all, Washington has to go.  How about new half dollars - after all, some of us were offended by the immorality of JFK while he was in office.  In fact, while we are at it, perhaps Washington DC needs to be renamed.  Are you getting an idea of how senseless this cause is.  Friends, don't scrub history away - learn from its mistakes and successes. 

I also read an article that can be found at www.wnd.com/2015/07/house-slams-door-on-sanctuary-cities-Obama-vows-veto. According to Representative Steve King IR-IA), in 2011 25,000 criminal aliens had been arrested in the U.S. and released.  "So how many crimes committed?  I did the math, and it's 48,000," he said.  King went on, '"So the revelation is breathtaking in this nation all because we refuse to enforce the law.  And this Congress saw it coming,  I saw it 10 years ago.  All because of politics, they're pandering to people they know are law breakers..  This was 100 percent preventable."  This past Thursday, the House voted 241-179 to withhold certain federal law enforcement grants to cities that have policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants from deportation.  "The White House vowed Thursday to veto any bill that punishes sanctuary cities, and called instead for Congress to legalize illegal immigrants as the way to solve the problem of criminals who shouldn't be on the streets,"  Friends, think about that last statement.  The way to resolve the problem of illegals committing serious crimes is to grant them a path toward being legalized in this country.  So, a piece of paper in the hands of an illegal criminal suddenly causes him to cast aside his life of crime?  If you believe that, then you own some ocean-front property in the great state of Iowa.  Here is what the humanistic-secularist worldview refuses to understand: the heart of the problem of man is a problem of the heart.  It is not a problem with regard environment.  It is not a problem with regard to education.  It is not a problem with regard to being legal or illegal.  It is a problem of sin.  Government cannot solve the sin problem.  Sanctuary cities cannot solve the sin problem.  The EPA cannot solve the sin problem.  Only Jesus can solve the sin problem.  But, of course, humanists and secularists do not recognize a God.  Their only goal is to create the perfect world for the perfect man who resides within each one of us. 

Friends, we do live in a very convoluted world.  Its thinking is totally upside down,  Right thinking is now wrong thinking.  Wrong thinking is now right thinking.  The logical has now become the illogical.  The illogical has now become the logical.  To be sure - without Jesus, life is one big mess and getting messier.  I am glad I am anchored on the Rock.  I trust you are also.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learning from History: We Don't Do This Well

I have to admit, friends, that at times I just scratch my head and wonder if logical thinking exists anymore.  Or, are we so self-centered that we simply don't care?  I need to address the agreement that was reached between the P5+1 nations (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) and Iran.  The big winner - Iran.  The big losers - Israel, the Arab world, and the rest of the free world.  Suddenly, economic sanctions are lifted from Iran, sanctions that had brought the nation almost to its knees.  And what was given in return - it will be at least five years before Iran has a nuclear bomb.  Ah, you say, but there has to be verification that Iran is keeping its side of the agreement.  Friend, do you really expect Iran to be totally open with all its secrets?  Come now, before the ink was placed upon the paper, shouts of "Death to America" were heard up and down the streets of Tehran.  And, with that noise still ringing in their ears, John Kerry and the American delegation still signed this agreement.  It was as if the Iranians were saying, "Thank you for giving us the tools by which we can execute your death, America."  Where is the logic in what we did?  And, sadly, the American delegation never pressed for the release of the four Americans being held in Iranian prisons, including Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been tortured in an Iranian prison for three years because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  Our present administration really has a compassionate heart, doesn't it? 


Also, stop and think for a moment about what this agreement means to Israel and the other Arab nations in the Middle East.  For Israel, this was a stab in the heart of our relationship with them.  For years the Israelis have been warning about the consequences of having a nuclear Iran.  With the agreement now in place, it is as if we just stood there and laughed at Israel's warnings.  But this present American Administration has never had any intentions of supporting the people of Israel.  The signing of the Nuclear Treaty with Iran was just another confirmation of that lack of support.  And what are the Saudis and the Egyptians thinking?  If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, we need to be aggressive and get one as well.  The nuclear race has now begun in that one region of the world where the dangers associated with a nuclear race are the highest.  Pakistan already has a nuclear weapon.  Iran will soon have one - in spite of what the treaty states.  The Saudis and the Egyptians have no level of trust with their Shia neighbor, Iran.  Tensions in the Middle East have just heightened.  Will Israel now bomb the Iranian nuclear sites?  If they do, it won't be with American help, but might be from the Saudis and the Egyptians and perhaps even the Jordanians.  Wouldn't that be an unlikely coalition? 


Friends, the world has tried before to appease a bully on the block.  Back in 1938 France and Britain signed what is known as the Munich Agreement with Hitler allowing him to annex those German-speaking portions of Czechoslovakia.  The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, upon his return to London declared that "we have achieved peace for our time."  Yet, in less than a year, the world became embroiled in a war of horrific proportions. 


Our hope is that the United States Senate will vote to not-ratify this agreement.  It is bad for our country.  It is bad for the world.  It is bad for Israel.  The only winner is Iran's terrorist leadership and the American taxpayer will, in essence, be paying for state-sponsored terrorism around the globe.


Yesterday, I also read an article posted on the Fox News website.  It was authored by Todd Starnes and is titled, "Shock Video: Planned Parenthood sells dead baby body parts."  It can be found at: www.foxnews.com/us/2015/07/14/shock-video-planned-parenthood-sells-dead-baby-body-parts.  The video was difficult to watch.  "It purportedly shows a Planned Parenthood executive sipping a glass of wine in a Los Angeles restaurant while casually explaining how they sell body parts from aborted babies.  The undercover video was filmed in July 2014 by the Center for Medical Progress, an advocacy group that reports on medical ethics.  They dispatched two actors posing as representatives of a human biologics company to a business lunch with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services.  The video shows Nucatola describing in graphic detail how abortionists are able to harvest organs from aborted babies based on the parts that are needed."  Ms. Nucatola then tells how hearts, livers, and lungs are popular so the abortionists have learned how to abort the baby in such a way so that those parts are not damaged or destroyed.  "Dr. Russell Moore, the present of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, summed it up in one word - speechless.  'If this does not shock the conscience, what will?' Moore wrote online.  'It is  not only that infants, in their mother's wombs, are deprived of their lives, but also that their corpses are desecrated for profit.'"  Suddenly, abortions become a for-profit industry.  Will we soon pay mothers to abort those babies they carry in their wombs because there is a market for the organs of that unborn child?


Would you allow me to weigh in on the Confederate Flag issue?  First, let me state that I was not opposed to the removal of the Confederate Flag from the Capital grounds in Charleston, South Carolina.  I always wondered why it was flown.  But, I do have a problem with the growing ground-swell to remove anything that is identified with the Confederacy and the Civil War.  Suddenly, Robert E Lee is seen as the enemy again.  So is Stonewall Jackson.  And, poor Jefferson Davis.  Even here in Minnesota, there has been a call to remain Lake Calhoun, named after the South Carolina Senator John C Calhoun, one of the great slavery spokesmen of the early 19th century.  What comes next?  The removal of all the monuments to the Confederacy that dot our Civil War battle fields?  I can't imagine going to Gettysburg and not seeing the impressive Virginia monument that stands on Seminary Ridge.  Friends, the Civil War is a matter of history.  The NAACP and other groups can try to erase those reminders of it from our parks and public places, but its history can never be erased.  Friends, I have been a student of the American Civil War for decades.  I have found it to be one of the most complex times in our nation's history.  The Southern states seceded from the Union, not over the issue of slavery - in fact, only a small minority of southerners owned slaves - but over the issue of State's rights.  At that time, those States saw the encroachment of the Federal government upon what they considered to be matters to be decided by the States.  Slavery was a side-issue.  As Lincoln said, "If I can save the Union by freeing all the slaves, I will do it.  If I can save the Union by freeing some of the slaves, I will do it.  If I can save the Union by freeing none of the slaves, I will do it." 


The Civil War was the first great test of the United States Constitution.  Following the War of Independence, the Articles of Confederation were drawn up which basically described how 13 independent states could relate to one another.  Those Articles failed miserably, resulting in the Constitutional Convention of 1786-87 when a Constitution was written that united those 13 self-governing states into a real nation - a United States.  The secession of first South Carolina and then other Southern States was a declaration that "a Federal Government is not going to dictate to us how we, as South Carolinians, should conduct our affairs."  There was no provision in the Constitution for the secession of any state from the Union and the Tenth Amendment stipulates that the Federal government's limitation of powers is derived solely from those powers identified within the Constitution - all other powers are reserved for the state. 


Was there animosity between some white southerners and the blacks?  Absolutely.  Was this carried by soldiers during the War?  Absolutely, and surprisingly, by soldiers wearing both the gray and the blue.  Was there a plan for the reconciliation of the North with the South, with the whites and the blacks?  Yes, there was, best exemplified by perhaps the greatest speech any American has ever given - Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.  Lincoln had a vision for restoring our nation to wholeness.  Would his plan, with little initial support from Congress, even members within his own party, have been successful?  We can only guess.


Should Lake Calhoun be renamed?  Probably not.  Should all monuments honoring those who fought for the Confederacy be removed from public places?  Absolutely not.  Here we are - some 150 year removed from the end of the Civil War - and the emotions are as stirred now as they were before that war was fought.  Perhaps, instead of removing statues and monuments, we should sit down and have a dialogue about the causes of the Civil War and the consequences of that War.  We can learn more through dialogue than through demonstrations of anger.