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America, Look Up

The importance of America returning to Christian principles and Traditional Family Values

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November 2013

No Womb for Abimael


Uncertain of his destination, brilliant light caressed the senses as the newcomer arrived.  Much had happened in such a short period of time.  In moments, he had been given a name, a home, and a place to be loved and to belong.  Darkness to light, he quietly mused.

“You’re new here, are you not?” asked a beautiful girl, twirling the ends of her curly locks.

“Yes,” replied the boy.

“What name did Father give you?” she asked smiling.

“Abimael,” he answered, wondering at his surroundings.

Abimael slipped past the girl and stared in awe at winged creatures zipping back and forth, streaming prismatic light across the sky.

“Don’t you want to know my name?” she interrupted his curious observation.

“Yes, of course.  What is your name?” he asked, directing attention to his new acquaintance.

“It’s Zibiah!  It means ‘Roe’.  Father named me perfectly.  He says I was the first!”

“You were the first one here?” Abimael asked, surprised.

“No, no,” she giggled.  “Father said I was the first to arrive, after another kingdom far away decided they could send me.”

“Is that what happened to me?  I was sent?”

Zibiah’s smile widened and her eyes sparkled.  “Come with me,” she invited.

Zibiah grabbed Abimael’s hand and both ran tirelessly in the direction of rapturous melody.  Voices in innumerable parts of harmony praised Father for His goodness and love.  Scampering to the top of a grassy knoll, they paused hand in hand.  There before them, a choir with members as far as the eye could see focused worship in the direction of a great throne enveloped in light.

“Who are they?” Abimael asked, mouth agape.

“They are like us.  We are like them,” she responded.  “Sit down here, Abimael,” she requested, patting the lush vegetation.

Abimael obediently dropped onto the grassy carpet, keeping his eyes on the splendor before him.

“What do you remember about the far away kingdom, Abimael?”

Abimael slowly turned to face Zibiah.  “What do you mean?”

“I mean you came from the far away kingdom.  What do you remember about it?”

Abimael closed his eyes and fought to remember the land of which Zibiah spoke.

“I know that when I arrived, I was surprised by the light.  Wait a minute,” his eyes shone with recognition, “I do remember.  I came from a dark place, but I felt safe there.  There were voices…voices that became familiar.  One in particular.”

“Your mother.”

“Yes, my mother,” he affirmed, unexpected knowledge coursing through his being.

“What was she like?” Zibiah wanted to know, leaning forward.

“Her voice was soothing, even though she never spoke to me.  She knew of my existence, but it seemed that I caused much concern.  She cried often.  I once heard other voices tell her that she did not need ‘that kind of responsibility’.  I assume she meant me?”

Zibiah nodded.

“The last thing I remember is screaming in pain, and then being instantly embraced in light and love.”

“Do you remember the far away kingdom, Zibiah?”

“I remember,” she nodded.  “My mother considered me an unwanted responsibility also.  Her voice seldom soothed; hate filled words were common.  I recall screams of ‘my body, my choice’.  I didn’t know what that meant, but shortly after the kingdom sided with my mother, I was sent here.  I do, however, have an additional memory.”

“Go on,” Abimael urged.

“I remember being held.”

“Held?”

“Yes.  I remember excruciating pain, but then someone, kind and gentle, cuddled and spoke to me until my arrival here.”

Both remained silent and then softly hummed the song offered in worship.  Suddenly, the melody bubbled up from Abimael’s soul and he joyfully raised his voice in chorus, singing each word as if he had composed the song.  The refrain ended and a thunderous chorus of hosannas erupted.

“What’s it like to be held?” Abimael shouted above the joyous fray.

Without saying a word, Zibiah dragged Abimael to his feet and they raced toward the throne.  Abimael noticed one sitting to the right of the great light, whose welcoming smile encouraged Abimael to run faster.  He released Zibiah’s hand, rushed to waiting arms and jumped into His embrace.  The Father’s Son swung him round and round, both laughing with delight.

The Son lowered Abimael to the ground, a loving hand upon his shoulder.

“Lord, I have so many questions, but first, may I ask what Abimael means?”

“Abimael means ‘God is my Father’.  Welcome home, child.  Welcome home.”

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When Does Life Begin?


Recently, I engaged in a social media conversation about abortion.  The civil discourse revolved around the question, “When does life begin?”  This person shared Genesis 2:7,

“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”

By this verse, she interpreted Scripture to teach life begins when a baby takes his first breath outside of the womb.  She wasn’t alone.  I Googled the topic and found many bloggers and pro-choice advocates embrace this view of Scripture.  She asked if I believed that this verse settled the issue of when life commences.  I assured her I’d research the topic and post a blog about my answer.  After doing a bit of research, I’m even more convinced life begins at conception.

Genesis 2:7, though used as a verse to validate the pro-choice view, cannot be quoted as a verse to okay abortion.  This verse does not apply to a baby developing in the womb, because in this case it’s used to describe the creation of the first human being.  God created humanity, not as babies, but as adults to be stewards and caretakers of the Garden and to enjoy fellowship with Him.  As one blogger wrote, “The key here is that Adam was lifeless prior to the breath of God whereas a baby is not lifeless prior to his/her breath.”

Every time my wife scheduled the ultrasound to learn the sex of our children, I made plans to be away from the office.  The first three times, we watched images of our boys…the last two, our girls.  On no occasion did any of the babies In utero sit completely still.  Occasionally, they wriggled out from under the pressure of the transducer as the technician rubbed it around my wife’s belly.  At other times, the babies kicked at the handheld device feistily.  At no time did I consider the images flashing before my eyes as lifeless.  And besides the black and white pictures, my wife and I witnessed one of the most beautiful sounds on the planet, the rhythmic thumping of our baby’s heartbeat.

Job 33:4 shares,

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

After Elihu listened to Job’s friend address him, he took his turn to talk to Job.  In verse four of chapter thirty-three, Elihu reminds Job they are both created by the same God.  He then says,

“the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

The word breath, here, comes from the Hebrew word, “neshahmah” meaning divine inspiration.  Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible interprets the latter portion of the Scripture in this manner,

 in God‘s stead” to thee; a “daysman,” umpire, or mediator, between God and thee. So Elihu was designed by the Holy Ghost to be a type of Jesus Christ

Elihu saw himself as a man created in the image of God as Job, but also a man inspired by God to relay a timely message to Job.  In no way does this verse apply to a baby in the womb.

Ezekiel 37:5 says,

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

The “I will” speaks of God’s sovereignty and omnipotence.  The word “Breath” in the Hebrew is the word “Ruah/Ruach which is also translated spirit. Life from the dead bones requires divine intervention, so in this Scripture God is describing a supernatural event.   This Scripture is not addressing breathing life into a person or persons, but this is a portion of the message Ezekiel delivered about the rebirth of the nation of Israel.  This verse has to be considered not individually but as a part of a whole…in this case, a prophecy delivered in both Chapters 37 and 38 of Ezekiel.

So, does  the Bible give any indication as to when life begins?

Yes.

Psalm 139:13-16 reads,

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

The phrase “your eyes saw my unformed body” in other translations reads “saw my substance.”  The word substance comes from the Hebrew word “golem,” and is only found one time in the Bible, here in Psalm 139.  A related word, the verb form “galam” is found in II Kings 2:8 where it is used in reference to Elijah’s mantle.

“And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together.”

That is, Elijah rolled it up, or he folded it.  The noun form “golem” then means, “that which is folded up.”  Therefore, the noun refers to anything folded up or undeveloped.

Picture the infant stages of the baby in the womb.  All of the members of the body are folded up and undeveloped.  It will take weeks and months before the differing members of the body assume their distinct form and proportions.  The commentary Notes, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical, on the Book of Psalms shares:

“This is undoubtedly the idea here.  Before the embryo had any such form that its future size, shape, or proportion could be marked by the eye of man, it was clearly and distinctly known by God.”

And according to the rest of this passage, even before mom and dad knew of the child’s conception, all of that baby’s future was known by God, and was written down in His book.

Do any other texts suggest life before that first gasping and wailing breath?

In Jeremiah chapter one, we see the call of God on Jeremiah’s life.  Verses four and five say the following:

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

But possibly the greatest example of all comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter one.  After receiving the announcement she was going to carry the Son of God, Mary hurried to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  The account shares that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb responded.  At that instant, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

The Bible clearly teaches life begins prior to that of baby’s first breath, and based upon Psalm 139, I believe the Bible teaches life begins at conception.  Why?  Because according to the Scripture, before that baby is a twinkle in his parents’ eye, God’s orchestrating a beautiful plan for that child’s life….a plan summed up in Jeremiah 29:11,

“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.”

A Liberal’s New Definition of Racism


In 2008, America elected a bi-racial candidate to the highest office in the land.  According to interviews and studies, not only did people embrace the message of “Hope and Change,” but some voted for President Obama to prove they weren’t racist.  Granted, racism still exists in America…the kind pitting one skin color against another, but the Left also utilizes the term “racist” when people oppose the President’s policies.  In fact, it becomes the rallying cry of the Left when the opposing ideology presents logical arguments and there’s no way to invalidate the concerns raised.  Take for instance Oprah Winfrey.

In a recent trip to Europe, the BBC sat down with the billionaire media mogul.  Besides discussing her role in the new movie “The Butler,” she addressed her perceived problems of racism still today.  In regards to the President and his rising opposition, she said,

‘I think there’s a level of disrespect for the  office that occurs,’ she said. ‘And that  occurs in some cases … because he’s  African American. There’s no question  about that. And it’s the kind of  thing no one ever says, but everybody’s  thinking.’

Everybody’s thinking?

Oprah doesn’t get it.  The swelling Presidential opposition isn’t related to his skin color but to the implementation of policies destined to drive an exceptional America to her knees.  That’s why the outrage. That’s why the determined efforts to overturn legislation like Obamacare.  The President said on multiple occasions,

“If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.”

However, five million Americans opened their mailboxes to find correspondence announcing their plans would no longer be offered in January 2014.  The Obamacare website went live on October 1st and has crashed multiple times since.  Blaming the shear numbers overloading the system, the Administration’s working frantically to work out the bugs before the end of November.  If the Government fails at creating a working website, how can we trust the current Administration to shoulder the responsibility of the nation’s healthcare?

Miss Oprah, the Obamacare debacle is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The President supports abortion on demand and even voted three times to allow infanticide while serving in the Illinois State House.  While addressing a pro-abortion rally, he implored God to bless Planned Parenthood.  His ideology “evolved” about same sex marriage.  He whispered to Putin in an open microphone faux pas,

“I’ll have more flexibility in a second term.”

He feigns ignorance over the NSA and IRS overreaches.  He ignored the cries for help as an American ambassador and three other American heroes perished on foreign soil.  He supports terrorist organizations responsible for the deaths of multitudes of Christians in Middle Eastern Countries.  And the list grows daily.

So, Miss Oprah, racism does not drive Americans to protest the Presidential office, but the policies that threaten the very freedoms brave men and women fight for abroad.

In actuality, driving America to her knees counters the swelling tide of evil proliferated by an Administration hell-bent on propagating ideologies in direct opposition to a Holy God.  The Bible teaches:

“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 will I hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14

May God bless America…not Planned Parenthood.  (Asking God to do that ain’t racist.)

Praise God, Mary Didn’t Visit Planned Parenthood


A couple of years ago, as I browsed my inbox emails, one subject heading particularly caught my eye.

“Tis the Season to give abortions” heralded one message.

I clicked on it.  In stunned silence, I discovered that some Planned Parenthoods offer clients the option of purchasing gift certificates for their services.  Purchasers can gift an abortion to a loved one, though the facilities claim the certificates can be redeemed on any of their birth control methods.

Am I wrong, or is this an incredibly sick stocking stuffer?

Can you imagine a Christmas card with a Planned Parenthood gift card tucked inside.  The inscription might read,

“Mary kept hers, but you don’t have to….Merry Christmas!”

A few years ago, Betty Cockrum, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana touted the gift certificates as a beneficial option.  Lifenews.com obtained the following comments from a PPI press release:

“Why not buy a loved one a gift this holiday season that they really need?”  Cockrum asked.  “The gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first.”

Everyone?  Everyone but the baby….

Another Planned Parenthood in New York gave additional advice before Thanksgiving.  The New York City affiliate published an article entitled, “Talking Turkey: 8 Easy Steps for Discussing Reproductive Health and Justice at the Holiday Table.”  The steps included methods on how to handle pro-life relatives.  One paragraph reads:

The holidays are upon us!  Going home or getting together with relatives for the holidays is always a stressful time, but if your family members are the type who regularly protest outside the local Planned Parenthood, you know that this holiday is going to be a doozy.”

One question asks, “What should one say to Cousin Charlie when he asks if abortion ends a life?”

According to the Planned Parenthood guide on dealing with those annoying pro-life relatives, the answer should be,

“Well Charlie, the decision about whether or not you’re ready to become a parent is a very important one, and that’s why I think everybody should have a chance to become a parent only when they’re ready.”

Unbelievable…

Now, the good news.  Two thousand years ago, a young teenage couple journeyed to Bethlehem, paying taxes being the least of their worries.  Mary shouldered the responsibility of giving birth to the Son of God.  Can you imagine the ridicule and finger pointing?

“Sure Mary, the Holy Spirit did it…”

Possibly Mary no longer enjoyed a simple trip to the supermarket or a leisurely evening stroll; Wagging tongues and judging eyes kept her home.  I wonder what her parents thought.  Did they believe Mary’s story?  And what about Joseph?  If not for his Godly character, a stoning awaited his unmarried and pregnant fiancé.  Though the obligation weighed heavily on this young couple, they remained faithful to God’s special call upon their lives.

This Christmas Season, we once again celebrate our Messiah’s birth and the Life that He brings.  Thankfully, Mary considered the infant growing inside her womb to be of greater importance than the exhausting and ridiculously selfish mantra,

“My Body.  My Choice.”

On Christmas Day, herald the birth that changed the world forever.  Thanks be to God, Mary didn’t visit Planned Parenthood.

A Serenading God


A couple of years ago, my wife explained a snippet of my musical past to my three-year old daughter.  “Your Daddy used to sing in a barbershop quartet, during Christmastime at Silver Dollar City,” my wife shared.  This sparked a thought in my little girl’s mind,  “Let’s go listen to Daddy sing at Church.  After a few minutes of negotiations, my wife convinced Aliyah to call Daddy at Church.  Then she added, “He can sing over the phone.”

My daughter consented.

On that morning, as every weekday morning, a handful of men arrived at 8:30 at the Church and drank coffee with the staff.  As I chatted at this daily ritual, the phone in my pocket buzzed.  I glanced at the caller ID and slipped away from the table.  My wife disclosed the earlier conversation with Aliyah.  I stepped out into the bitter cold.  Moments later I broke into, “The Christmas Song”….Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose….After crooning a few lines, I went back inside.  Aliyah handed the phone back to my wife, but my private concert wasn’t over.  “She wants to hear Jingle Bells,” my wife announced.

I stepped back out into the cold.

Yes, another little girl with her father wrapped around her little finger.

As I later thought about the impromptu serenade, I remembered one of my favorite Scriptures from the Bible.  Zephaniah 3:17 shares:

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The One who breathed the universe into existence…the One who named and tracks each individual star…the One who orchestrates the rising and setting sun…the Maestro who conducts the changing of the seasons…that same One, loves His children enough to sing songs over them.  Not songs of gloom, doom, and judgment, but musical selections of joy.  Gill’s Exposition on the Bible shares the following commentary:

“He will joy over thee with singing; there is a pleonasm of joy in Christ’s heart towards His people, and so a redundancy in His expression of it; He rejoices with joy, and joys with singing; which shows how delighted He is with His people, as they are His chosen, redeemed, and called ones; as they have His own righteousness upon them, and His own grace in them; they are His “Hephzibah,” in whom He delights; His “Beulah,” to whom He is married; and it is His love of complacency and delight, which is the source of all grace and glory He bestows upon them…”

Simply put, God bursts into song to express His love to us.

A beautiful gift for any season….

Can You Spare $5?


In 3 months, I’m walking with team “Noah’s Hope” for St. Jude.  And yes, I’m looking for sponsors.

In April of 2011, my son Noah was diagnosed with Stage Three T-Cell Lymphoma.  After two years of treatment, my son’s cancer free and for the second time since his diagnosis, he’s walking with the team bearing his name.  If our team raises the most money for our region, “Noah’s Hope” leads all of the other teams from the starting line.  And this year, this means leading around Springfield Cardinal’s Hammons Field.  Yes, yes….All teams raising funds are winners, but, it’s also a ministry opportunity for our team.  This year “Noah’s Hope” t-shirts will not only say “The Cancer Wars” (in honor of Noah’s love for “Star Wars”) but it will also share a truly meaningful verse: “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.”  And THAT is “Noah’s Hope.”  Jesus.

Today, Noah’s in remission, and has been for almost 18 months.  But many other kids are currently fighting a battle that impacts the entire family.  Alleviating financial responsibility on the household affords families the opportunity to focus on Cancer…a big enough stressor on its own.

Last year I raised a little over $900. and this year I’m setting my sights higher.  I’d love to personally raise at least $1,000.  If you’d consider a $5 donation…all of you, Noah’s Hope would easily raise the most funds and I’d break last year’s personal fundraising mark.  More importantly, kids win.

Kids like my son, Noah.

So, will you open up your wallets and pocketbooks?  Will your forego that morning coffee or a daily trip to the vending machines?  Will you give up a fast food value meal to help kids with cancer?  Here’s the link: http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Walk/Walk?px=2046385&pg=personal&fr_id=21036

So, can you?  Can You Spare $5?

My Son’s a Cancer Survivor


April of 2011 rattled the very foundation of our world.  A day that started out as a trip to the dentist, ended in a Life Flight to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.   An urgent care doctor found a mass in my 8 year old son’s chest, pressing up against an airway and pushing near his heart.

Two and a half years later he’s in remission and in 10 days we’re walking for other kids who battle varying types of cancer.  Would you be willing to donate at least $5?  Our team, “Noah’s Hope” (named after my son) currently sits in 2nd place in fundraising for the region in which we live.  If our team overtakes the team now holding first, our team starts out the race.  My son will serve as “grand marshal” of sorts.  And the great news is that our shirts this year broadcast the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Will you spare $5 to help our team and even more importantly help kids with cancer?

Here’s the link:  http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Walk/Walk?px=2046385&pg=personal&fr_id=8288

Click on “Support Bryan” and thanks in advance!

Separation of Church and State? Don’t You Believe It!


A couple of years ago, Fox News aired a story that should shake parents of school children to their core.  A Seattle school paved the way for a young unwed teenager to abort her child without parental consent.  An isolated incident?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Several decades ago, a popular advertising slogan touted, “We’ve come a long way baby.”  And to that I say “Amen!”  But are we where we really want to be?

In the last one hundred years, educational philosophies and curriculum have changed drastically.  From the late 1600’s to the early 1900’s, school children studied scripture to learn their ABC’s.  Teachers taught the Ten Commandments and encouraged children to live by the Golden Rule.  Today, any semblance of religious instruction is ripped off school walls to appease screaming parents claiming educators are promoting indoctrination.  Truly, the days of innocence have been replaced with political correctness and an “anything goes” tolerance, ideologies tempting our Founding Fathers to turn over in their graves.

Patrick Henry proclaimed,

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

Today, honoring the name of Christ in the public school system prompts the ACLU to storm in crying foul, while using Christ’s name in vain seldom raises an eyebrow.  (Imagine using Mohammed’s name in a profane matter…”

In 1962, the Supreme Court took another step towards expelling God from the classroom.  The highest court in the land banned prayer from the classroom.  In the years following prayer’s dismissal, the incidences of teen pregnancy, transmission of STD’s, school violence and divorce skyrocketed.  A coincidence?  Hardly.  People who fight against prayer in school or the posting of the Ten Commandments claim that both are unconstitutional because of the “separation of church and state” clause.  However, many Americans are misguided.  That line never appears in the Constitution of the United States.

Our Constitution’s first amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  In 1799, the Supreme Court ruled in Runkel vs. Winemiller:

“In our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing.”

The Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut continued to express concerns that Congress might establish a government run religion.  To assuage their fears, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to the Danbury Baptists weighing in on the issue.  He informed them that the first amendment erected a wall between the church and state but explained this wall was one directional.  It prevented the government from running the church and Christian principles would always be instrumental in government decisions and lawmaking.  Today we only hear the deluded cry,

“Don’t forget about the separation of church and state.”

Kicking God out of school paved the way for liberalism and socialism.  Our students can’t begin the school day focusing heavenward, but they can visit the school nurse and carry home handfuls of condoms or propaganda from Planned Parenthood.  With God expelled, the scientific agenda can proselytize young minds into believing the evolutionary theory, scoffing at this subscribing to the Genesis account.

Twenty-eight years after banning prayer from the classroom, another ruling made inroads to diminish moral foundations from the educational system.  In 1980, in Stone versus Graham, a battle ensued over a school’s right to post the Ten Commandments in a school’s hallway.  The court gave the following statement:

“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be induce the school children to read, meditate upon them, and perhaps to venerate and obey the commandment; this is not a permissible objective.”

What?  We don’t want children obeying the Ten Commandments?  Founding Father James Madison stated,

“We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Many Americans consider George Washington our Country’s greatest President to ever serve.  A man of faith, he said,

“A good moral character is the first essential in a man.  It is therefore highly important to endeavor not only to be learned, but virtuous.”

Let us never forget, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

 

 

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