Biblical History: The Reason for Middle East Aggressions

In case some missed the Sunday School lesson discussing the origins of the friction between the Jewish people and the Arab nations, let me take a moment to share a little refresher. A few days ago, aides from the Obama Administration appeared dumbfounded on the morning news shows when asked about the hatred between Muslims and Jews. It’s quite simple, really. One needs only turn in the Bible to Genesis chapter 16.

But first some background.

Have you ever become impatient with God?

Abraham did.

God promised Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would be blessed with a child…a son. Many years passed and Sarah failed to conceive. Instead of waiting faithfully for God to provide the promised heir, Abraham weighed his options.  Abraham considered the situation and decided God needed help. So, he married his wife’s maidservant, Hagar, and she conceived.

But this wasn’t God’s plan.  Abraham failed this test of patience miserably. The child growing in the womb of Hagar was not the chosen son.  Abraham sinned by choosing to take matters into his own hands. Bitterness, strife, and envy raged between Sarah and her maidservant Hagar. Abraham instructed his wife to do with Hagar as she wished. Chapter 16 verse 6 says,

“And when Sarai dealt severely with her, humbling and afflicting her, she (Hagar) fled from her.”

An Angel of the Lord found Hagar near a small brook. Hagar poured out her heart to God’s messenger, but the Angel of the Lord commanded her to return to her mistress. She also was given the following promise concerning the child she would bear:

“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be numbered for multitude.”

But then the Angel of the Lord shared the following about the baby she would deliver:

“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

God promised that Ishmael’s descendants would be numerous, but also warned that Ishmael and his future line would be violent, living in hostility toward everyone. Ishmael’s line fathered the Arab nation that exists today.

Abraham and Sarah did eventually conceive a son and gave him the name Isaac.  Isaac’s birth fulfilled God’s promise and insured the Jewish line would never cease to exist.  Of course tensions existed between Ishmael and Isaac, and that animosity continues to this day.

If the Obama Administration would just brush up on biblical history, there’d be less head scratching by Obama Aides on future morning news shows.

Why Jobs Won’t Rehabilitate ISIS

The Islamic State continues to dominate headlines.  The atrocities of beheadings and burning caged people strike terror in the hearts of those sitting in the bulls-eye of the ISIS campaign.  According to those well versed in the religion of Islam, this behavior stems from a belief that the end of the world is imminent, and to hasten the arrival of the Islamic Messiah, they must destroy Israel and the United States.  When the Obama Administration insists these barbaric acts are perpetrated by those embracing a twisted interpretation of the Koran, they’re spewing half-truths and lies to protect the “religion of peace.”

For starters, the name “Islam” means to submit, not peace.  It means to completely surrender and cease resistance against a stronger power. Some suggest this higher power is Allah; but those left in the wake of terrorism see the term as submission to the precepts and teachings of Islam…or else.   Countries with strong democracies stir the furor of those wishing to usher in the arrival of the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi.”  Israel and the United States sits squarely in the sights of the violent Islamists as these bastions of freedom fail to recognize Sharia as the law of the land.  Because of the despised freedoms allowed in these countries, radicals dub Israel the “Little Satan” and the United States the “Great Satan.”  With a belief system so steeped in the destruction of democracies and republics, no wonder they strive to bring Jihad to the shores of liberty.

In January of 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled then Secretary of State about the Benghazi terrorist attack.  In a particularly heated exchange, Clinton said,

” Was it (the attack) because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

What difference does it make?  WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?  With all due respect Madame Secretary, it makes a world of difference.

If America propagates the idea these men are nothing more than blood thirsty bored adventure seekers, then some might be persuaded to believe this “fad” of murdering innocents will soon pass and occupy nothing more than a footnote in future textbooks.  But for those who haven’t fallen under the spell of revisionist history or Liberal doublespeak, watching the broadcasts of raging antics mirrors 1400 years of Islamic terror.

Some in Washington D.C. actually believe providing jobs for the radicals is one way of curbing their desire for seventy-two virgins.  Maybe they’re right.  Imagine gifting each terrorist a street vendor cart, an unoccupied corner, and an inventory of burkas and camel saddles.  That might solve the problem of ISIS once and for all.

But probably not.




Book Review: “Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron

Imagine a pastor addressing his congregation in the following manner:

“I used to have all the answers, just opened the Bible and there they were. The truth is, they aren’t all there – or if they are, I can’t find them. I’ve tried to convince you that Christianity is logical and straightforward, as if God can be codified and stuffed into files he can’t jump out of. Each time uncertainty knocked on the door, I hid behind the couch until it went away. Now I’m the one who’s thirsty. And the Jesus I’ve known for twenty years isn’t making it go away.” “And what about our church? I mean, is this all there is?…”

Sound like a death knell from a Pastor’s lips?  Well, that’s what happens in Ian Morgan Cron’s first book, “Chasing Francis.”

The Church, not knowing how to respond, suggests Pastor Chase take a leave of absence.  He agrees and so sets in motion a pilgrimage, one that chases after the life of St. Francis of Assisi.  Though written in the genre of fiction, “Chasing Francis” speaks volumes to all who have experienced a crisis of faith.    Chase’s crisis emerged when a young girl from his congregation dies a seemingly senseless death and he feels helpless ministering to the needs of the bereaved mother.

After an extended visit in Italy, walking in the steps of St. Francis, Chase rediscovers the joys of his Christian faith and what it truly means to be Jesus in a world scarred by sin and devastation.

Near the end of the book, Chase shares these words of personal renewal:

“When I left here, I wasn’t sure what a Christian looked like anymore. My idea of what it meant to follow Jesus had run out of gas. I started feeling less like a pastor and more like a salesman of a consumerized Jesus I didn’t believe in. Learning about Francis helped me fall in love with Jesus again – and with the church again, too.”

“Chasing Francis” is a fine book, with great story telling and relatable characters. It’s a must read, especially for those who have found themselves facing their own crisis of faith.

Benjamin Rush Warned Us

Not many recognize the name Benjamin Rush.  He served as one of the lesser known Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Normally, I post much longer entries, but tonight, as I hear of Obamacare horror stories and people being hammered with penalties and fines, I find the following quote of Benjamin Rush to be prophetic.

“The Constitution of this Republic should make special provision for medical freedom. To restrict the art of healing to one class will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic. … Unless we put medical freedom into the constitution the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship and force people who wish doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers.”**

We were warned…….

A Culture of Deflated Balls

It’s challenging raising kids in today’s culture.  One of the character traits we drill in our children is honesty.  Jesus said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

For those who know Christ, emulating Jesus should be at the top of our “to do” lists.

Decades ago, the culture encouraged honest living as well.  Shows like “Andy Griffith,” “Leave it to Beaver,” and the “Walton’s” taught the importance of living a life of integrity, honesty being a much sought after and respected virtue.  Today, not so much.  One of ABC Family’s most popular shows is “Pretty Little Liars.”  Because of high ratings, it’s been airing for seven seasons.  What has happened to the popularity of truth?

As a child, my parents washed my mouth out with soap when I told a lie.  I learned quickly a strong distaste for Dove Bars and made it a habit to tell the truth.  As a child, I was held accountable.  No differentiation of lies existed.  Little white lies and great big lies fell under the same category, lying.  At a very young age I learned,

“Honesty is the best policy.”

In a recent study, 53% of the people polled shared their mistrust of the President.  Personally, I can’t believe it’s that low.  A few months ago, the President confidently stated “not a smidgen” of corruption existed in his Administration.  For those paying attention, they realized his statement resonated with truth.  Instead of “not a smidgen,” there’s a colossal amount of corruption in his administration.  Though many bash  dishonest politicians, and rightly so, this trait of dishonesty permeates other areas of life as well, with little or no consequence.

A few days ago, sports reporters jumped on the news of the New England Patriots and deflated footballs.  According to NFL rules, footballs must be inflated to a certain level and then checked prior to kick-off by a league official.  Between the official check and the coin toss, someone deflated the footballs.  Lowering the air pressure enables the quarterback to grip the ball with more authority and on cold days makes the ball softer to catch, a perk for the wide receivers.  Would the Patriots have won had the balls been inflated properly?  Absolutely.  The Colts played miserably.  However, one team attempted to get an edge over another through dishonest means.  How’s a Dad supposed to instill honesty and sportsmanship when a cheating team might win the Super Bowl?

There’s only one way.  I must direct them to embrace the teachings of the Word of God.

The word “Christian” literally means, “Little Christ.”  One way to imitate Christ is to be people of our word.  John 8:44 shares plainly,

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

In other words, we’re never more like the devil than when we lie.  That nugget from the Bible strikes a chord with people.  I’ve never met anyone excited about the prospect of relationally favoring the devil and his modus operandi.  Yet, “Pretty Little Liars” ranks highly with its viewers.

Instead of ignoring the importance of truth telling, let’s be people of integrity and of our word.  And let’s remember the oft quoted statement from Bejamin Franklin,

“Honesty is the best policy.”

And by the way, there’s nothing pretty about lying…..


Wicked Deep Roots

Growing up, I brushed my teeth a couple of times a day, but only casually, with speed on my mind, not a thorough scrubbing of each tooth.  Now in my forties, I’m starting to reap my decision to boycott floss.

Yesterday, I found myself in one of my least favorite places, the dentist office, an oral surgeon’s office to be exact.  One of my back teeth lost its filling and the remainder of the tooth could not be saved.  When a friendly dental hygienist called my name, she led me like a lamb to slaughter.  I slunk into the dentist chair, mentally quoting Scriptures on “Fearing Not.”

A few minutes later, the dentist numbed my gums around the rotted tooth and began the process of extracting the offending molar.  With a tool designed for television horror movies, he grabbed onto the tooth and began to pull, twist, and turn.  I heard loud crunching sounds.  I pressed the button on my mp3 player and tried to lose myself in the sounds of Pentatonix Christmas, but to no avail.  He switched to a type of mini-saw that shredded the tooth, sending shards of enamel and tooth around my mouth and onto my paper bib.  At one point he stopped for a moment, long enough for my jaw to briefly relax.  I asked,

“Are we almost done?”

The dentist responded,

“Almost man, but you have wicked long roots.”

He commented he couldn’t tell where my roots ended and the bone to protect my sinuses began.  He said,

“If I drill into that sinus bone, we’ll have a whole other set of issues…”

He continued to chip away bits and pieces of decayed tooth.  I really believe he thought he’d found a new access point to China.  Finally, he stopped and instructed the assistant to take an x-ray.  He strolled in a few moments later and said,

“I think I got it all, but I’m just not sure.  Like I said, you have wicked deep roots.”

Having “wicked deep roots” isn’t so great when facing a tooth extraction.   But “wicked deep roots” in the spiritual realm, now that’s a whole different story.

And Jeremiah 17:7-8 shares the following:

7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

These verses share that those who trust in the Lord resemble trees planted by the water, their roots digging deep into the soil.  Having deep roots in God, aids in facing the storms of life that certainly threaten.  The verses also teach that even when drought comes, the leaves of the trees will grow green, flourish, and the tree will bear fruit.   I believe this suggests when people see our deep rooted faith in God, their hearts will be fertile grounds, ready to hear our testimony and the Gospel message.

In other words, “wicked deep roots” aren’t always bad.  In fact, in the Christian walk, those roots are necessary for standing strong in the faith.

So, dig into the Word, and grow roots.

Oh, and also take care of your teeth.




Who the Heck is Israel Bissell?

Ever heard of Israel Bissell?  No?  Me neither, until yesterday.

Israel Bissell is one of the heroes of the American Revolution who never found his way into history books.  Bissell was a 23 year old dispatch rider who left home in April of 1775 to warn the Colonists about the British invasion.  In fact, Bissell began his obscure ride on the same night Paul Revere rode with the warning,
“The British are coming.  The British are coming.”
Israel Bissell galloped south with his news and according to local legend, he rode to Worcester – normally a day’s ride – in two hours.  Witnesses claim his horse died upon arrival.  He secured another horse and rode through the States of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, spreading the news that farmers were facing off against the Redcoats at Lexington.  He rode 350 miles in less than a week, an accomplishment unheard of in those days.
Paul Revere only traveled 20 miles. 
So why does Revere get all the accolades?
Maybe it’s because Longfellow found it easier to think of words rhyming with “Revere.”
Why do I mention Israel Bissell?  No, it’s not to condemn historians for omitting his name from history books.  I share this information to encourage those who at times feel like nobody’s.  God chooses the insignificant to bring about the significant.  Whether it be in the Kingdom of God or politics, it’s the “little” people behind the scenes who often bring about the greatest good.
In the Book of Acts, Peter and John found themselves arrested for their faith.  They shared the reason for their allegiance to Christ with the religious leaders, and the Pharisees scratched their heads, wondering how such “unschooled and ordinary men” could present their position so articulately.  Peter and John weren’t seminary graduates; they spent their lives on the Sea of Galilee dragging nets for fish.  After a little more thought, the religious leaders experienced a “light bulb” moment.  They realized these men had been with Jesus.
Being with Jesus makes a difference!
The hopes of our Country turning around hinges upon a few things:
1.  Christians returning to God.  “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”  (II Chronicles 7:14)
2.  Being people of prayer.  James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
3.  Get off the couch and enter the fray.  Don’t think your voice isn’t important.  Maybe you feel insignificant, but God uses the insignificant to accomplish great things.  
You may not be the next Billy Graham, but you might just be the person who leads the future Billy Graham to Christ.  You might not be the next Paul Revere, but
 you might be the next Israel Bissell.
And this world needs Israel Bissells’.

Not Even Hemorrhoids…..

Over the Christmas break, I read an interesting tidbit from early American History.  I discovered that William Blount, a North Carolina Representative and invitee to the Constitutional Convention, showed up almost 6 weeks late to the Convention because hemorrhoids and horseback riding don’t go well together.  It’s almost humorous that hemorrhoids almost prevented this man from missing the most important convention in American history.  Imagine the ribbing Blount endured from the Founders when he finally showed up.  Had Blount comprehended the gravity of the meeting, surely he would’ve hired a driver and reclined in the back of a buggy.  Participating in a meeting of this magnitude was literally history in the making.  Yet, itching and rectal pain hampered his travel plans.

I think I would’ve done whatever it took to get to the Convention.  Freedom matters that much.

I think back to the 2012 Presidential election. Under no circumstances should President Obama have won a second term.  All the warning signs pointed to a continued downward spiral into the abyss of hellish Liberalism, but instead of Evangelicals flooding the voting precincts, they chose to stay home instead of voting for a “Rhino” Mormon.  I’m still uncertain as to which designation hindered Mr. Romney more.

I unapologetically voted for Mitt Romney.  I didn’t agree with his every view, but I never questioned his desire for America to thrive and to resume its righful place as a “city on a hill.”  I hope those who chose not to vote feel ashamed.

Deeply ashamed.

In 2016, an election of great importance once again presents itself. Yes, America needs a Conservative restoration, but it won’t happen immediately. This means casting a ballot for a “Rhino” in 2016 might be necessary to counter the Democrat bid to elect Hillary Clinton or an even more leftist nomination of Elizabeth Warren. Conservatives, be willing to take baby steps. Band together to defeat Liberalism then form a cooperative alliance to vote in an even more Conservative individual in the next general election. Hold the Senate and House accountable and in a few short years, we might see a “Reaganesque” America once again.

I know this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some, but unfortunately we must occasionally swallow our pride and vote for the lesser of two evils.  America’s teetering under the oppressive weight of an Administration hell-bent on destroying her.  Another 4 – 8 years of Clinton or Obama on steroids (Elizabeth Warren) might be the Country’s death knell.

In 2016, I’ll be voting against Liberalism, hopefully for a wonderful, Conservative candidate.  But no matter what, I will cast a ballot to thwart the Left’s efforts.  I’ll vote no matter what.

Not even hemorrhoids will keep me home.


Barry Did You Know?

Barry did you know that your policies would wreck a mighty nation?

Barry did you know that your policies would stymie job creation?

Did you know that your policies would strengthen the resolve,

Of the nations born to hate us, those who claim that Allah’s God.


Barry did you know that your policies would stir up racial tension?

Barry did you know that your policies serve as a Marxist vision?

Did you know that your policies would be championed from abroad?

By a Com-mu-nist dictator, who would give a friendly nod…

Oh, Barry did you know?


Some will vote illegally, the dead will vote again.

There will be Code Pink. the dumb will speak the praises of Iran.


Barry did you know that your policies would cause a mass migration?

Barry did you know that your policies are illegal immigration?

Did you know that your policies are conniving and a scam,

This sleeping Country’s waking, and it’s time for you to scram,

Oh, Barry did you know?

Houston Has a First Amendment Problem

Houston has a First Amendment Problem.

Lawyers  for the city of Houston have subpoenaed sermons of Conservative religious leaders.  Their intent?  To identify Pastors who might have spoken out against an equal rights ordinance approved by the Houston City Council in May of this year.  This ordinance, which bans racial and sexual discrimination in city employment, contracting, housing and public accommodations creates controversy because men and women can utilize public restrooms based upon their gender feelings, not their biological makeup.

Mayor Annise Parker says she only found out recently that the lawyers had requested sermon transcripts.  She claims the request to be overly broad.  However, her Tweet of October 14th hints otherwise:

If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?-A

Fair game Ms. Parker?  Hardly.

According to the IRS, all pastors and churches are banned from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”  But, this law doesn’t restrict every type of political speech.

Pastors can educate his parishioners about the issues and can even endorse ballot referenda.  The law only prohibits the pastor from endorsing any particular candidate, as this threatens the revocation of the Church’s tax exempt status.

Leftists cry foul when Churches address the political issues of the day through the lens of God’s Word, believing the men behind the pulpits have overstepped their bounds.  In reality, the issue at hand isn’t one of limiting a Pastor’s speech rights but of a concerted effort to silence those who believe the homosexual/transgender/gender neutral lifestyles an abomination in the sight of God.

The agenda pushed in Houston would allow men and women to use public restrooms of their choice.  Imagine for a moment a typical Sunday morning at Church and little Sarah slips away from Mom and Dad to use the bathroom.  While in the stall, someone else walks in, and when Sara steps up to the sink to wash her hands, she sees the reflection of a man standing behind her.  There’s great potential for the suggested scenario to play out in Churches across America.  “Pat” informs the Pastor he feels like a female, and strolls into the women’s restroom.  In reality, he doesn’t feel like a woman, but instead is a child predator.

It could happen, right?

Senator Ted Cruz delivered his thoughts concerning Houston’s attempt to infringe upon religious liberty:

“Yet as we’ve seen it across the country, our hearts are particularly broken that we are seeing it (religious liberty attacked) here in Houston, Texas. This week, the government of Houston, Texas sent a subpoena to silence prayers. The government of Houston, Texas demanded of the pastors, hand over your sermons to the government. The city of Houston has no power – no legal authority – to silence the church. Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit, and when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor.”

The month of October is designated as “Pastor Appreciation Month.”  Continue to pray for those pastors who boldly proclaim the Word of God.  It appears religious liberties continue to come under attack, and those men behind the pulpits are standing in the crosshairs of a Liberal agenda intent on silencing not only the voice of religious liberty but also the voice of truth.