Sandy Hook Elementary


imagesNot much to say that hasn’t been said already, many times, about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday. My wife has friends and family with connections to the school and my heart goes out to them.  I visited the town a few times and just loved it.

My family and I have already said our prayers and the post crisis analyses will come as they always do, to fit the news cycle. I think I’ll spend my time during this cycle in prayer for those little children, whom I know with absolute certainty are with Jesus preparing a place for the rest of us who believe. I will also be praying for those staff, and teachers who died and the killer himself, that others will, in time, find the grace and peace to forgive him and thereby glorify God.

I would just leave you with this verse, which is my life verse and the one that gives me strength to keep my eyes on the goal ahead, as I try to glorify God in the awful place we made of His perfect creation:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

Grace and Peace to you this week friends.

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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.

Place of Ruin


For those of you who think that the Bible is a useless, antiquated amalgam of fairy tales, cute anecdotes, or histories, which have no bearing on life in this day and age, think again.

We see the repetitions of our mistakes as a race of human beings time and again and we wonder why. We fail to see the cycles of time that go round and round ad infinitum without seeing that the curly cues of time are also making a giant circle of time that is returning us to our starting point. Disagree if you like, but there exists more evidence of this in Scripture than anywhere else in literature. I challenge you to prove otherwise.

Here is a mistake we see repeated time and again each day. In my line of work in community corrections, many dozens of times each day,  following a pattern we see in Scripture which began in the Garden of Eden. It is a fascinating study and one that should concern you. It is based on that ancient sin of covetousness and is predicated upon our belief that we can think and do things without detection and bring ourselves to complete justification for our poor decisions.

As a dad, I am especially concerned that covetous actions which I have tried to dismiss in my own life may have rubbed off on my only son. Disastrous, if I want him to grow into the Godly man my Father expects me to raise. He will be 18 in three weeks and I pray I haven’t wasted too much time. I know I could have done many things better than I have.

About 3,500 years ago a man, a soldier, a  father, and a husband named Achan coveted a few things he found amid the ruins of Jericho. There he was, with many thousands of  other soldiers putting the enemies of God to the sword when he found pieces of gold, silver, and a beautiful robe from Babylon.

Get this: God promised Joshua that if he and his people remained obedient and followed His Word to the letter that God would deliver all the wealth of Canaan to Israel. As one of the leaders of this army, Achan would have heard this word from one of the tribal elders and would have agreed to it the previous day. When the walls came down with the “Shout that was heard round the world”, all Achan had to do was keep his promise. Everything after Jericho was Israel’s for the taking. But God reserved all that was in Jericho for His treasury.

The things Achan coveted, he took, he secreted them away,  and swore his family to secrecy, as well. I think his biggest mistake began in his mind and went directly to his eyes. What if he had not looked twice? Would he have taken the forbidden things? I don’t think so.

How many times have I looked twice at things that don’t belong to me, wanting them for myself, fantasizing about them, giving them more than just a passing thought or putting myself in a position to be closer to the objects of my craving? How many times have you?

Ugly thought, isn’t it? Here’s an ironic thing: Achan’s name in Hebrew means TROUBLE. And how! He involved his family in the conspiracy, polluting the entire camp of some 2 millions people. The place where God’s presence was. Feeding them, ministering to them, guiding them and blessing them mightily every day. Making their enemies live in paralyzing fear.

Until the next battle at Ai-the Place of Ruin.

A short time later, after the tremendous victory at Jericho, after the conspiracy had infected the camp, a strong military force of 3,000 took on a numerically inferior force and lost! Why? It wasn’t that the army of Ai was stronger than the Israeli force. It wasn’t. The soldiers of the Israeli army had been weakened tremendously because of the conspiracy and hidden sin begun by Achan acting out on his covetousness.

This could be any house anywhere in the world at any given time. Trouble brings ruin, when it is persistent and unaddressed. Can you afford to leave hidden sin in your life. Don’t bet on it. It is the most ancient mistake in mankind’s colossal arsenal of stupidity. That and a profound affinity for justifying our poor thoughts and deeds.

The good news in all this won’t sound so good to many of you but if you recognize it now, you can do something to get the rest of your life right without meeting Achan and his family’s fate.

After getting found out and exposed to all the people by Joshua and the Chief Priest, Achan and his entire family of co-conspirators were stoned to death, and burned, along with all of his property about halfway between Ai, the Place of Ruin, and Beth-El, the City of God. Appropriate names aren’t they? We’re pretty much there all our lives. Half way between ruin and our loving, forgiving God. Achan was given time to come clean on his own but he maintained the secrecy. God had to clean house. He did.

I pray that if you are on a ruinous course, whatever it is, turn away! The ancient word for this is repent. Turn from ruin and run to the God who loves you, whoever you are. There is still time.
Bless you

Neither the Day Nor the Hour


Well, if you listen to many who call themselves Christians these days, tomorrow is the day we go home to be with The Lord in heaven. In effect this is the world’s two minute warning. Time to get it together. One media maven said he would be bringing his copy of The Beatles White album. Somehow I don’t think that will play well in the heavenly places.

It upsets me to see this kind of Doomsday date-setting when all one has to do is read God’s Manual (The Holy Bible to the rest of us) to find this:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Matthew 24:35-37

How presumptuous and foolish these people are. I love all men and women who are joint heirs with me in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus, but this brings nothing but contempt to us who really believe in God’s divinely inspired Word and His command not to indulge in this kind of fortune telling. It is a satanic trick to believe things like this and no one should pay any attention to those who do or espouse such nonsense. 

There are many reasons for not following these date-setters, not least of which is that they are plain wrong and should know better themselves, if they believe everything else God said in His Word. If one believes all the words from beginning to end, then one must believe and obey everything in between, right? That being the case, every day should be lived as if we are already in the heavenly places.  For as Paul wrote:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:2-4

Sometimes life presents difficulties. Anyone out there not had some? I would love to meet you! But even in trials and tribulations, I am no less blessed because of my relationship with my loving God through His Son Jesus Christ! He brings me through trials every time and I am ALWAYS better off and more blessed than before. Date setters, looking through this lens, are more escapist than obedient.

Hold the Kool-Aid thanks. I have these blessings in this life and, when God sees fit, I’ll go home. No rush.

Be blessed and be patient. He is coming and we should be getting ready and not just planning dates.

The Truth for a Lie


What do you believe? What do you believe about life, yourself, the ones you love, God.  Yes, God. How can one have a blog with the word Truth in it and exclude a discussion of God?

The simple answer is that it is impossible. Don’t ask for, or insist on, proofs for why I believe this way. The fact is there are none I know of. That’s the beauty of a discussion like this. Proofs require no conversation, no logic to deduce results. They are plain on the face of things, most often. They require no faith. Evidence, on the other hand, requires interpretation, discussion, research, constant questioning and an effort to arrive at conclusions. For me, the journey is the reward. My journey will lead to deeper faith. Where will your journey lead?

What I do know is that with lots of dedicated study, there is a huge body of evidence upon which to base a discussion. But this is blog post one and we won’t be doing that now, so take a breather and keep reading.

There are many things that are interesting to me in this world that I would like to share with you and would like you, likewise to share with me. I promise that at no time will I ever use any language that is deliberately offensive, no matter how controversial the ideas we discuss are or how much I may disagree with them. If you ask a question in your responses, I will answer them considerately, thoughtfully, and will take your feelings under consideration at all times. I humbly request you do the same. With that said, let our journey begin!

What is Truth for a Lie? It is a search for truth and a reaffirmation of absolutes in a world of relativism, deception, amorality and outright immorality. I believe in absolutes in the universe and accept that there are absolutes that lead my family and I to a joyful, prosperous, peaceful place. I would like as many people as possible to adopt this worldview.

About 1,930 years ago a Jewish man named Saul made it his business to convince the world he knew of his absolutes. If anyone believed in anything other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Saul  believed that such people required reeducation, imprisonment, beatings or other physical abuse, or execution. This is not a history lesson! Just background for what is to come. Stay tuned to see the point of this mini-bio!

Saul was the well-educated student of one of the great theologians and philosophers of the time, Gamaliel, and utterly convinced of his own rightness. Saul was not only respected by his peers but feared by those who disagreed with his views and/or his methods of persuading others to recant their heresies. Intelligence, egotism, and self-righteousness have so often bred such great harm, haven’t they?  As history has taught us, never has behavior like this resulted in the revelation of any meaningful, permanent truth.  This was Saul. This is much of the world today, don’t you think? Shortly after the stoning execution of Stephen, a young man connected with the new religion based on the teaching and personal example of another young man named Jesus, Saul-whose name literally means “asked for or wished for” (or loaned, perhaps)-came to an epiphany.

This epiphany came in the form of being struck blind by a bright, white light while engaged in his daily routine. In his own words, he related that a voice emanated from the blinding light and said “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?”  Well, for someone like Saul, so grounded in his reality and intellect, I think it would have taken something like sudden blindness to get his attention, don’t you?  Well, it certainly did. Logically, Saul asked who it was and the reply came “It is I, Jesus, whom you are persecuting”. Saul then was taken to a place of Jesus’ instruction and his sight was restored. This changed everything in Saul’s worldview. Jesus changed his name to Paul which means “small, or humble”. This is perfect, since this would be Paul’s new demeanor, and exemplify all of his behaviors in life from that point on.

OK!, OK! No more history, I promise!  Names mean things, though and are selected for a reason. Biblical names even more so. Paul struggled with his egotism and intellect until his own execution at the hands of a Roman soldier several decades later. When the apostles walked with Jesus, they were told they would be led to “places they did not want to go”. All except John, who stood at the cross while Jesus suffered slow execution by crucifixion, met their deaths violently, firmly convinced of the absolute truth of the love of God embodied in  His son, Jesus Christ.

This is my absolute, too.

What’s yours? Let the conversation begin!