The Abiding Answer


 

One of my favorite quotes about mankind’s relationship with God is by C. S. Lewis:

I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

In America, where I and my family reside, many of us are focused on election day Tuesday. Both my wife’s and my family vote a certain way and base our vote on our view of Christian values which we have been taught from The Bible. Everyone in America has a vision for what we believe our country should be or want it to become, if that vision isn’t being realized.

Many will say of those of us who vote based on Christian or Biblical values that we are hypocrites, haters, exclusionary, reactionary or just about any other negative adjective the world cares to attach to our beliefs.

All of this is fine, and those who would judge us so should know that opinions are no deterrent to our beliefs and intentions concerning our voting practices. I think I speak for many in this regard, but no matter.

Regardless of who you are voting for: Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, or any of the myriad of others across the American spectrum of politics, the important thing is to remember from whom any president, indeed any government, derives its position and authority. 

For good or bad, better or worse, richer or poorer, servant or served, faithful or unfaithful all authority on earth is given by Almighty God. It’s O.K. if you don’t believe it now but you should know that one day the aforementioned truth will become obvious even to the most cynical.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:31-34

Here’s the key for we who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ: Tuesday is important, but it is not everything.  Our end is assured.  We must remember this always. Whether we live a life of political oppression or opulence makes no difference in God’s economy.

Be faithful, be at peace, be the person God has called you to be and love Him, while you love everyone else.

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The Walls Came Tumbling Down


 

I read this tonight in the CBS News website and immediately saw a parallel to what the Hebrews experienced in Ai, when they went down to defeat at the hands of a numerically inferior force, after the fall of Jericho: 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to take responsibility for the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 in a series of interviews on Monday. Speaking with reporters, she said the blame should rest with her office.”I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton told CNN after arriving in Lima, Peru, for a visit. Clinton gave several interviews to U.S. television networks Monday night, and it was the first private response she has given about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in eastern Libya.Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, according to CNN.”I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she told the cable news network, noting that it is close to the election.In speaking with CBS News, Clinton expressed personal regret for Ambassador Stevens’ death.

Many of you may remember the resounding, miraculous victory God delivered to the Hebrews at Jericho, in exchanged for their obedience to His commands. This went well to a point. The walls came down and the armies of the Lord went into the terrified city of three-quarters of a million and slaughtered every man, woman, child, and animal within the city walls.

The scales went the other way when a soldier, probably the leader of a large part of this army, Achan, decided to go against God’s decree and take some of the “forbidden” things in the city: Some gold, silver, and a fancy robe from Babylon.  The entire plan went perfectly until Ai, a short time later.  Interestingly, Achan in Hebrew is the word for TROUBLE!

Joshua lost at Ai for a couple of reasons: First, he received no command from God, with Whom he had developed a close relationship, thinking that it would be easy to take a much smaller city than Jericho.  Second, and most importantly, was that Achan introduced an egregious sin into the camp of the Hebrews, where God also dwelled. He did this by stealing from God at Jericho. God would have none of that.

After the defeat, Joshua pleaded with God to tell him what had gone wrong and God told him what he needed to do to rid the camp of the sin that Achan introduced.

An investigation ensued and Achan was finally exposed. Gently, yet firmly, Joshua asked him what he did and Achan spilled the whole sordid tale. How he got others, especially his own family, to conceal the conspiracy.  In the end, Achan and all of his family, his livestock, and his belongings were taken out of the camp and destroyed by their Hebrew neighbors.

I get this feeling about the disastrous situation in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12.  With the public outcry building to a crescendo, and the threats of investigations, and denials by the President, Vice-President, and various others in the White House, it’s too convenient for Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to come out with her confession, when the facts are already established. It’s hollow beyond words and an affront to the families of those who died.

Besides, who cares about political gotchas when people are paying with currency far more precious than political clout!

The Beltway is the curse of our nation and they should all be ashamed for what they have allowed to become of our God-given nation.

Think of these things tomorrow night when you consider the presentations of two men who want to lead our country for the next four years.

One way or the other, we will get the government we deserve.

To Whom Does Vengeance Belong?


 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:18-20

Our sitting president has declared openly that the United States is not a Christian nation.  Based on what you have just read above, I think many of us would have to disagree. We, unlike any nation in modern history is one of the few nations that have rendered aid to every nation that has asked for it, including our enemies.

Once,  King David found himself on the run, after his adultery with Bathsheba and the rape of his daughter Tamar by one of his own sons, Amnon.  One of his other sons, Absalom was incensed that his father did nothing to avenge the rape, so he killed Amnon and began plotting to take the throne from his father, nearly succeeding. Many of the Psalms detail David’s prayers for justice against his enemies while he was in hiding and fearful for his life.

The point of this is that it is not for man to avenge offenses or perceived injustices against his peace and dignity any more than it is for any nation. But does this mean we must simply take what the world wants to dish on us?

Don’t misunderstand: I’m no 1960’s era peacenik. I served as a U. S. Navy officer under my Commander-in-Chief, Ronald Reagan.   There’s a poster out there I rather like which features his picture and mentions how we bombed the Libyan leader’s house in 1986 and they remained quiet for 25 years, until the current Commander-in-Chief thought apologies were better than a strong defense.

Last I looked, all Presidents of the United States take an oath in which they vow to protect our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I took the same oath as a naval officer, like hundreds of thousands of others in our nation’s service.

Ideology has nothing to do with this oath. It was designed by the founding fathers to ensure that what is happening to our embassies now, sovereign ground under all international law, does not go without a defense or response to attacks.  Both of these have now occurred in other embassies throughout North Africa and the Middle East.  The situation worsens with every gaffe, every slow response, and every apology.

Incompetence is easy to identify. But if this is a deliberate series of actions, then our president has failed worse than David did with his adulteries and failure to act on his divine appointment.

Make no mistake, all those in positions of authority require our prayers and, for better or worse, are seated by God Himself. This is part of our covenant with a loving God, who wants the best for all of us, and will lead us to hat best place that seems so far away to many right now.

It is not an act of vengeance to use the power that God gave us in our Constitution, the power we expect our president to use to exact God’s judgment on those nations who seek to kill our officials who have given them no cause to do murder over their perceived grievances.

Sadly for the world, Obama doesn’t understand this or if he does, he refuses to use the authority God gave his office.

Let there be no more pictures of Obama at the site of flag-draped coffins at Andrews Air Force Base, when he has options that can and should be used.

It is not vengeance, but justice.

The time for reckoning is near.

Bless you all, dear readers.

A Good Crisis


 

I’ve written before and told many others that in God’s economy there are no such things as accidents, only those unforeseen things people never planned for.

Shortly after President Obama was elected, his campaign chief and soon to become a short-lived chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel made this memorable statement: 

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

I’m never surprised by what the world dishes out anymore. Especially when it involves politics. Many things are happening in the world that escape our notice, but which will come crashing in on your local news at any time.  Rahm is dealing with a huge crisis right now-the first teacher strike in 25 years in his city of Chicago-our president’s most recent stomping grounds before the beltway.  The news says it has national implications. Sounds to me like somethng someone with sinister intentions could capitalize on.

The worst crisis since the 1973 Yom Kippur War is coming to ahead in Israel. Many believe that before the Israeli national election later this month, bombs will be dropped and missiles launched toward Iran, who is purifying more fissionable material than ever.

The Premier of China has been a mysterious no show for several high ranking meetings in Beijing in the past several days, fueling speculation that a subterranean coup d’etat  has taken place and another man will be assuming power, as always, against the will of the people.

We have been living in a state of crisis here in America for the past 11 years. Tomorrow we will solemnly mark the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the attempt on targets in the beltway.

Our crisis response in those situations have been many and varied. In my opinion, often off the mark.  For a long time it seemed we were victimized under the auspices of the Patriot Act, which made it reasonable and, most importantly, legal for our government to spy on us within our borders. In fact, many found themselves accused under this act and held without due process and/or scant probable cause for arrest.

I think Solomon had the soundest perspective on crises. Whether your Christian, Muslim, atheist makes no difference. The wisdom of this quote is inescapable: 

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

In the world’s economy, crises are things for the powerful to use over the less powerful or powerless.  In God’s economy, crises are not things for men to capitalize on. They are situations for God’s glory–His manifest perfection–to be displayed with boldness and great passion for the good that it will produce.

Take heart, dear reader, pay no attention to what the media tells you to believe. Trust Him who created us all and wants only our good. Here’s what He says: 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

 A new day of blessing is coming soon!

Mocking God


Normally,  I wouldn’t have cared about anything to do with political conventions these days.   There is nothing of redeeming value in either party’s convention and the conclusions have been arrived at long before the first balloon is filled.

What is unusual this time is that neither candidate, Obama or Romney, comes from a mainline Christian denomination. This is the first time in my memory that this has been the case. Romney, a Mormon, recently was involved in the baptism of his deceased father in law. This is a practice taught no where in any Scripture that I am familiar with. 

Romney’s  father George, a presidential candidate in the 1960’s might have made a good president but people generally won’t vote for those whose Christian beliefs are, shall we say, suspect.  Even worse, Obama has never made a concrete statement of faith other than to say that his salvation depended on his ability to bring about positive change in the world, or words to that effect. He also said that he believed that America was not a Christian nation.

My main concern today is not what these men believe about God. I think the record reveals everything we need to know.  I share neither man’s view of God’s impact on the affairs of men and this is the most serious issue of all.

Here’s the thing:  Two days ago, by deliberate design or foolish oversight–I believe the former to be so–the Democratic Party decided it was a good idea to omit any reference to God and His authority from their political platform. That is the grand design of that party’s philosophy for the next four years. It is the first time in the history of any main line political party that this has occurred.  

To make matters worse, in the tensest and most chaotic region in the world, the Middle East, the party of President Obama thought it would be wise to ignore 4,000 years of history (since Abraham) and ignore Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and refuse to acknowledge Israel as our staunchest ally in that part of the world.  Last I checked, they were the only nation that hadn’t threatened to annihilate us because we existed and supported another nation with whom they had a dispute.

After the most perverse series of rationalizations, damage control, and illogic ever experienced by any party during a convention,  the Democrats sought to put it all back!  This after an outcry from both party’s and the potential unraveling of 65 years of close ties to our truest friend in that part of the world.  Incompetent governance is bad enough, but to air out the dirt before the entire world tops it all.

I am reminded of a couple of things here. First is what God said to Abraham:  

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Genesis 12:1-3

With absolute clarity and without doubt, let me state in my best oratorical voice that all that we were, are, and will ever be are gifts of the Living God.

You got it!  The One who told Abraham to go, Who built Jerusalem over and over and over again using the people He created and Who delivered to us a Savior–His only Son Jesus– to save us from the one thing that can separate us permanently from His love-our unforgiven, unrepentant sin.

This is the thing that is most troubling, if we curse Israel by political omission, after helping to recreate the Jewish state in the 1940s,  aren’t we mocking God?  We should have a healthy, reverential fear of Him!  He loves us and wants only our good.

This brings me to the closing thought and one which much of the world seems to be resisting. Soon, I believe, this will be our lot– those who believe and trust in the One Whom God sent, and those who don’t:

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11

God will not be mocked. The rebellious thing we have made of His perfect creation is not going to last.  You must decide which view you will hold to. Not Republican or Democrat…Saved or unsaved.

God bless you all mightily!