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America, Look Up

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

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March 2016

Baal on Broadway


A few weeks ago I read a headline reporting something like,

“Baal comes to New York City.”

Sometimes I have to take things I see on social media with a grain of salt.  At that time, I assumed someone retweeted an Onion story or cited an article out of the National Enquirer.  Sadly, I was wrong.  This morning several reputable news sources are reporting that replica arches to the entrance of the Temple of Baal will be erected in New York City and London.  What’s the purpose?  To show the world what the arches looked like prior to ISIS’ rampage through Syria.  I’m certain many find this harmless, simply a teaching moment for those who have never seen the ancient ruins.  But before we brush off the event, we need to dig a little deeper.  Who was/is this Baal character anyway?

Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia.  Sadly, the worship of Baal wasn’t limited to pagan Gentiles.  From time to time, the Children of Israel slipped into idol worship, prostrating themselves before the god of Baal.  The word Baal means “lord.”  Baal was worshiped as a fertility god who was supposedly able to coax the earth to produce crops and people to produce children.

Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples.  On some occasions, Baal demanded human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice.  Jeremiah 19:4-5 refers to this practice,

“For they have forsaken Me (God) and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Juda ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.  They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”

Before the Hebrews crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, God warned the Israelite people to steer clear of Canaan’s gods.  Israel turned to idolatry anyway.  In the book of I Kings, we see the Lord God confronting the paganism through His prophet Elijah.  First, God showed that He, not Baal controlled nature by sending a drought lasting over three years (I Kings 17).  Then, Elijah called for a showdown between the God of Israel and Baal.  All day long, 450 prophets of Baal begged their god to send down fire from heaven.  Baal remained silent.  Upon Elijah’s heartfelt prayer, the God of Israel responded with fire immediately. (I Kings 18)

Interestingly enough, Jesus calls Satan “Beelzebub,” linking the devil to Baal-Zebub, a god of the Philistines.  But let me make it clear, the Baalim referenced in the Old Testament were nothing more than demons masquerading as gods.  In other words, any time the Children of Israel bowed to an idol of Baal, they participated in devil worship.

So, that’s what’s coming to New York City, a replica archway that welcomed people into the presence of a false deity…a gateway to worship the Father of Lies.  Ultimately, this is a prolife issue.

The act of abortion, mirrors in part, idol worship discussed in the Old Testament.  Cultures outside of Israel sacrificed to false gods, Baal and Molech.  On occasion this required child sacrifice.  Pagan cultures worshiped this god of Baal, sacrificing their children to him.  But since Baal didn’t truly exist, the god of this world received glory in these sacrificial rituals.  Here we are, a few thousand years later, cultured people conceal Baal, disguising him under the banner of an organization like Planned Parenthood.  Certainly all of the darkest recesses of hell shriek with delight every time a helpless innocent baby is ripped limb by limb from the womb.

Three years ago, I woke to the Twitter trend, “Hail Satan.”  I couldn’t imagine what transpired in the overnight hours.  Pro-life advocates had congregated at the Texas Capitol Building and sang Amazing Grace.  Rabidly pro-abortion advocates taunted the makeshift choir, drowning out the hymn by chanting “Hail Satan.”  Erecting an arch to the god of Baal takes this hideous action a bit further.  In Texas, those  people were merely chanting “hail Satan,” but now an altar will be raised in his name in the most powerful and identifiable city in the world.

One day the chant “hail Satan” will cease.  In fact, one day Jesus will shout the order,

“To hell, Satan.”

And forevermore he’ll dwell in the Lake of Fire.  What a glorious day.  But until then, we pray,

 “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Yesterday Was a Bad Day


Yesterday, I woke to news that broke my heart.  Allegations surfaced against a man I’ve championed, cheered and commended to others…allegations of infidelity.  I sat in stunned silence, wondering how I could so wrongly judge a man’s character.  As of now, the charges are only hearsay, and he insists these accusations are nothing more than political smears, but time will tell.  If the claims hold true, I’ll be so disappointed and deeply hurt that this man let me down.  A man I’ve never met, but thought I knew anyway.  Ted Cruz.

Later in the day, when I found out the source of the story, I cheered a bit.  The National Enquirer broke the news.  This is the same tabloid responsible for articles like “Boy Reads with His Ears,” and “Bigfoot Imprisons Lumberjack as Love Slave.”  The magazine’s propensity for the bizarre and unsubstantiated does little to qualify the publication as a reputable source.  Now, some with sources at the Enquirer say the story is a complete fabrication, concocted by the Rubio camp, but readily printed by the owner of the paper, David Pecker.  Pecker and Trump pal around on occasion.  So, maybe the story’s false and I can continue to support the only Constitutional Conservative remaining in the race.

The disappointment and disillusionment I suffered yesterday reminded me of another time in history when faithful supporters of a Man were devastated when they thought they had misjudged their leader.

For almost 3 years, the Disciples followed Jesus, witnessing miracles and hearing authoritative teaching.  The majority believed this Man was truly the Messiah and would conquer the Roman government, establishing His Kingdom upon the earth.  But these hopes came crashing down when the authorities arrested Jesus and sentenced Him to death.  Most of the Disciples scattered when the religious leaders and soldiers dragged Jesus off to Pilate.  I’m certain men like Peter, James, and John wondered why Jesus, the man able to walk on water and raise the dead, submitted to this arrest.  Why didn’t He resist?  Why didn’t He call upon His Father in heaven?  Had they wasted three years of their lives following an impostor?

After the crucifixion the closest followers of Jesus slunk away into the shadows, fearing for their own lives.  Had His ministry been a sham?  Was He a complete fraud able to deceive multitudes of people with His showmanship and captivating speech?  Were the religious leaders correct in accusing Jesus of being possessed by demons?  I picture the Disciples sitting in a dark room, debating the possibilities.  All battling disappointment and discouragement, devastated by great loss.  Blinded by crushing pain, the disciples failed to remember the teachings of Jesus about His sacrificial death and imminent resurrection.  The loss unspeakable; they hide to save their own necks.  None spoke of the future for a life running from the authorities depressed even the heartiest of souls.

But Sunday was coming.

 

The Stroller from Hades


A few years ago, prior to our 5th born’s birth, my wife and I searched Craigslist for a new stroller.  My wife researched the options and was interested in purchasing one classified as a pramstroller“Pram Style.”  Brand new, these items ran in the hundreds of dollars…heck, I could of saved money by jamming handles into the back end of a Yugo.  However, a pre-owned Pram was a different story.  Delaina found a stroller online and negotiated a price less than one hundred dollars…Yes!  Only three trips to sell plasma!

Delaina dialed the number, talked to the woman of the home, and set a time for the stroller to be delivered.  The woman’s husband drove up to our house one evening; I met him down at the street.  In the fading daylight, he popped the trunk, pulled out the stroller, and launched into his sales pitch…actually more of a live infomercial.  He noted the checkbook in my hand.

One lever reclined the seat.  A button transformed the stroller from front to rear facing.  Foot brakes…Rubber white-walled tires with a suggested air pressure…Keep your hand off the red switch or the baby ejects…So much to remember.  But in the stroller world, this was a Cadillac.  I pushed it up our steep driveway and rolled the royal blue wonder into the family room, feeling like an employee on Pawn Stars.  I bought it at a great price and could one day turn a profit.

Everything went south from there…

The evening I purchased the stroller, my wife missed the demo to care for our fourth born who was battling the stomach bug.  In fact, when I noted the stranger pulling up to the front of our house, I rushed outside before Delaina could volunteer to hear the pitch.  I don’t handle vomiting well.  In fact, if I’m in the same zip code of a person hurling, I experience sympathy vomiting.  In hindsight, Delaina should have given the stroller the old once over.

The first problem arose when my wife tried stowing the stroller into the back of the SUV.  No matter how hard she pushed, the rear hatch refused to close.  So, on a day scheduled for a home school field trip, a friend chauffeured our newly purchased “blessing” into a neighboring city.

The stroller weighed almost as much as a Chevy Volt, and on multiple attempts, my wife couldn’t heave it into our friend’s mini-van.  So, our friend, Ms. Rachel, strong armed the stroller into her ride and off they caravanned to the zoo.  And the nightmare continued.  At the zoo, my wife learned that the stroller rolled like a dream on straight stretches.  Sadly, the wheels didn’t swivel, and tight corners turned into mommy nightmares.  After wrestling with the stroller all morning, she called and informed me we needed a new baby carriage.  No problem, I thought.  This was going to be a money maker.

I listed and re-listed on Craigslist multiple times.  No inquiries.  No emails.  No calls.  I lowered the price, consenting to taking a loss.  Still no bites.  I soon envisioned the man driving away with my check, looking in the rear view mirror, saying,

“Sucker.”

I decided to give Ebay a whirl.  First, I searched for the stroller type and brand.  I found a person who sold these models regularly.  So, I listed our stroller.  The first time around, a person submitted a bid, but within a few hours, retracted his offer.  Smart man.  I decided to list it one more time…Success, sweet success.  So, I thought…

A buyer placed a bid and held out for the auction’s end.  I sold the item for a few dollars less than my investment, but with a small padding in the shipping, I felt relieved; I was going to break even.  I hauled the stroller to a local UPS store, prepared to ship the “lemon” to Stockton, CA.  With a little oomph, I lugged the stroller onto the counter.  The employee weighed the item and I guessed correctly.  I was going to break even.  Then he whipped out a tape measure, typing in the dimensions.  The sales clerk glanced up from the computer, peering over his glasses and said,

“We’re going to need to build a special box. “

Sure we are, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

So much for breaking even.  I ended up paying the man from California to take the contraption.  I could’ve shipped it cheaper on a Peterbilt.  My second born looked up at me and said,

“You didn’t get a very good deal, did you Dad?”

Yes, I can hear the man now…Sucker.

I walked out of the store, grumbling, washing my hands of the whole thing.

“At least it’s over,”

I said to the kids.  But no, I was wrong.  The stroller kept giving like the joy shared after an all-you-can-eat chili cook off.

I received a message from EBay.  A case had been opened against me through the auction site.  The stroller never made its destination.  Without talking to UPS, I assumed it was because a driver slipped a disk tossing it into his truck.  When the store opened, I called and explained my plight.  According to their records and tracking number, it had been delivered, dropped at his door.  Great.  I guessed some gang member snatched the box from the porch, hoping to sell the item to make money for drugs.  The joke was on him.  No one was going to buy.  Poor sap probably got stuck pushing his homeboys around the hood.

Believe it or not, there’s a spiritual lesson here.  The Bible informs is in Ephesians 6,

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood.”

In other words, spiritual battles are raging all around us.  If we’ve strapped on the full armor of God, and the battle ensues, when the dust clears, we’re still standing.  But we should never think,

“Okay, that battle’s over.  I can let my guard down.  Time for a breather.”

That’s not how it works.  Satan never plays fair and when he sees our defenses drop, he strikes again.  In fact, if you’re living for Christ, Satan oftentimes sets traps at the most unexpected times, and the skirmishes are never convenient.  As Believers, we must always be ready for the schemes of the Prince of this world.

Back to the stroller.  Where is it?  Who knows.  It ended up being UPS’ problem.   Since then, I’ve decided to limit my sales on EBay to ugly sweaters.  Come to think of it, some might consider these from a nether region as well.

Abortionists Don’t Wear Capes


kid in cape  Our world’s infatuated with superheroes.

Once an imaginary outlet reserved for kids, superheroes are now embraced by adults willing to shell out millions of dollars to watch Iron Man and Captain America save the planet.

As a little boy, I often donned a bath towel, pretending my “cape” enabled me to fly from one crisis to another.  I whisked here and there, scanning my surrounding for nefarious villains.  Thankfully my fear of heights dissuaded me from jumping from a corner of the roof to test my flying prowess.  In my eyes, superheroes served one primary purpose, saving innocent lives.

Before posting this entry, I read several blogs focusing on our infatuation with superheroes.  Every blogger without exception wrote we love guardians of the universe because they give hope.  Hope that one person can make a difference.  Hope to believe we can face every difficult task, undaunted.  Hope that good triumphs over evil.  In real life, we ascribe the tag “superhero” to our parents, military, first responders, or any other people consistent in making a difference in peoples’ lives.

Not Obama.

This past week Obama added another demographic to the superheroes list, abortion providers. If superheroes spark hope in the hearts of humans, abortionists certainly serve as the agents to dash hope.  Those destroying futures spawn visions of the archenemies not cape wearing and shield wielding protectors of society.

The President used a Women’s History Month reception at the White House to bestow upon Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, the title of a “real-life superhero.”  In his comments he said,

“We’ve got a lot of them (real life superheroes) in this room, so I want to acknowledge a couple of them.  First of all, we’ve got Cecile Richards in the house, making sure women’s health care is on the front burner.”

If Cecile Richards solely focused on the health of women, then certainly she deserves high praise and recognition.  However, Richards serves as the President of the nation’s largest abortion business.  Over 300,000 babies are slaughtered in Planned Parenthood facilities every year.  How do the actions of abortionists instill hope?  How does the action of tossing babies into large trash receptacles earn the badge of heroism?

It. Does. Not.

Pro-life advocates are the heroes.   People who operate crisis pregnancy centers offering an alternative to abortion are the heroes.   Women who choose life and birth the baby are the heroes.  Women who choose life, and although not quite ready to be a mother, give up their babies for adoption, those are the heroes.  All of the above mirror the actions of superheroes, fighting to protect life and giving the “least of these” a fighting chance at a bright future.  That’s hope.

What abortionists offer?  Not so much.

Trashing a Picasso


Imagine for a moment strolling down the streets of Madrid, admiring the sights and sounds of Spain’s Capitol city.  Outside the Plaza de Torres, you hear the shrieks and cheers of the spectators as a matador playfully teases a charging bull.  You note street vendors hawking their wares under another typical cloudless sky.  And then you see him, the master.  Pablo Picasso is standing outside his studio, a paintbrush and pallet in hand.  Hunched with age, he stares with determination, surveying the blank canvas.

You watch with great interest as the artist dabs his pallet and swipes his brush across the canvass in shades of blue and blue green.   Minutes pass.  Maybe hours.  Then unprovoked, you push the artisan from his easel and grab the partially completed masterpiece.  Finding a dumpster, you toss the painting in the trash receptacle, proudly rubbing your hands together in victory.  Pablo demands to know your motives.  You turn a deaf ear, only commenting it wasn’t really a painting because it wasn’t completed.

Can you imagine the audacity, the gall, the absolute lunacy of such a deed?  I mean we’re talking Pablo Picasso, one of the most renowned painters of all time.  Even a partial painting buried under another completed work fetches stunning amounts of money at auction.  No, to trash a Picasso at any stage of the process would be absolutely foolish and tragic on many levels.

So, what about God and babies?

Psalm 139:13-16 says,

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 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.  16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Note the artistic language in the passage.  God knits us together.  We are woven in the depths of the earth.  Both phrases teach of God’s intricate design as He plants a person in the womb of an expectant mother.  According to the Scriptures, we are God’s masterpieces.  If that’s so, why is the womb a dangerous place?

At the most recent Democratic Town Hall meeting, Bret Baier asked Bernie Sanders if there should be a point in pregnancy when life should be protected.  Bernie Sanders said,

“I am very strongly pro-choice.  That is a decision to be made by the woman, her physician, and her family.  That’s my view.”

In other words, Sanders supports an abortion at any point during a woman’s pregnancy.  Isn’t this like the person in Madrid trashing a Picasso before being signed and sold in an art gallery?  There’s still much worth and value to the unfinished project because of the artist’s reputation.  Completed or not, the canvass still deserves the title of “Masterpiece.”

How much more then should the creative genius of God be honored, respected, treasured and preserved?  Liberals rally around the eggs of eagles and the endangered Delta Smelt in California.  Why not babies?  Classifying babies in the womb as “fetuses” serves to fool people into believing the fledgling developing is something other than human.  The word “fetus” means “unborn offspring of a human.”  And what is the unborn offspring called?

A baby.

I love reading Dr. Seuss to my children.  Though I know nothing about his political ideologies, he espoused a pro-life view whether he intended to or not.  My favorite Seuss work is “Horton Hears a Who.” My favorite line from the book reads,

“A person’s a person no matter how small.”

Let’s not trash the life of the unborn, and let’s not support a candidate with a staunchly held position that abortion should be allowed at any stage of the pregnancy.  Our politicians are quick to point fingers at ISIS and categorize them as barbarians.  Yet, our culture rips a baby from the womb and toasts the right to do so.

Can you imagine one million Picassos treated as common trash, tossed into a bin awaiting a furnace?  Certainly not.   Then why do we treat God’s masterpieces with triviality and inconsequence?  Each step of the developmental process highlights the creativity of God, the finished project birthed in nine months.  To believe otherwise showcases humanities’ desire to evict God from His own art studio.  Again, ridiculous.   God will not be mocked.  At some point, His righteous Hand of judgment will no longer be stayed.

May God have mercy on our souls.

Blaming God for America’s Woes


Whenever life fails to go as planned, we tend to blame God.  Sure, God controls the universe, holding it firmly in the palm of His Hand, but this does not mean we are exempt from experiencing painful consequences of poor choices.  From the very beginning, there’s been a problem with taking responsibility.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam threw God and Eve under the bus for his part in biting into the forbidden fruit.  In the Book of Jonah, we find the prophet blaming God for allowing him to soak in the digestive juices of a “great fish.”

Do you recall the story?  God called Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them of pending Judgment.  Instead of being obedient, Jonah boarded a ship to Tarshish, a port city almost 900 miles in the opposite direction.  He balked at sharing a message with people he believed deserving of God’s wrath.  While on this ship, God orchestrated a violent storm at sea.  The sailors discovered Jonah was the cause of this tempest, and Jonah explained the only way to save the ship was to throw him overboard.  And that’s what they did. But listen to what Jonah says in chapter 2:3,

“For You cast me into the deep…”

Jonah obviously forgets his role in the story.  Jonah ran from God.  God chose to get his attention.  Jonah asked to be thrown into the sea.  Blaming God for becoming fish food serves to exempt Jonah from responsibility.

In several conversations of late, many people ask why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand atop the race for the White House.  Those opposing Trump cite his conceit, vulgarity, and boyish bully-ness.  On the other side of the aisle, Clinton turns the stomach of many because of her propensity to lie and her role in an Ambassador’s death in Benghazi….not to mention she’s under FBI investigation concerning her handling (or mishandling) of classified and top secret emails.  Why do voters choose people like that? I’m asked.

It’s simple. We asked for it.

Remember how the Children of Israel suffered from the “Keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome?  Other nations appointed kings, and Israel determined to have one as well.  The prophet Samuel warned them of the consequences of having King, but they disregarded the prophet’s vetting of a future leader.  Samuel was offended and went to the Lord, who said,

“They have not rejected you.  They have rejected me from being their king” (I Samuel 8:7)

Once again Samuel implored the people to reconsider; instead they demanded a king.  So finally God said,

“Give them a king” (I Kings 8:22)

God allowed the Children of Israel to have a king, not because their choice was in His perfect will, but because of His practice of allowing people to exercise free will.

 

Fast forward to 2016.

The current frontrunners in both parties aren’t the problem; they reflect the result of a society stomping on the accelerator, running the opposite direction of God.  Trump claims repentance isn’t necessary in his life, and Hillary had the audacity to say she’s never lied to the American people.  But why does this behavior shock us?  In 2012, the Democratic Party booed God at their national convention, and sadly, the Republican Party may not be that far behind.  For whatever reason, we’ve lost sight of the importance of character, values, and morality, pillars modeled by our Founders as they crafted the Constitution and cited the Hand of Providence as their guide.  Our moral compass has broken and we’re shaking the magic eight ball to get directions.  We’ve lost sight of what’s true and right and pure and noble…. As a Country, we’re getting what we asked for.  Why don’t we care otherwise?

Maybe it’s because we’re too busy Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Why Not Respectability?


A few days ago, my 11 year old posed the following question:  Dad, who have been your favorite Presidents. I thought a moment and responded, “Lincoln, Reagan, Washington, not necessarily in that order.” He followed up with another question: Why? Several thoughts came to mind, but I limited my answer to two reasons. They were respectable men, acknowledging the importance of God to help direct the course of a Nation.  My son considered my response then asked the $64,000 question.  If those traits are important, then why are people so excited about Trump?

 

I’ve tuned into each Republican Debate, watching with great interest the back and forth between the frontrunner, Trump, and the other Candidates contending for the Republican nomination.  My two oldest occasionally sit and watch the drama unfold.  Both question the facial expressions and mannerisms of Trump, his disrespect for his opponents and anyone who questions his ideology or his ability to lead.  The last debate stooped to a new low as Trump and Rubio sparred over his hand size and how that directly correlates to another physical attribute.  Maybe I’m too young to remember, but did any of this crude diatribe occur between Reagan and Carter.  I don’t even think Bill Clinton stooped this low…well, at least on the debate stage.

 

Sadly, our culture has devolved into a society of celebrity worship.  For whatever reason, we tend to accept the mudslinging, the profane, and the over-the-top antics of celebrities, explaining away the behavior as “that’s just Hollywood.”  Can anyone imagine Donald Trump leading the pack had he not hosted a successful reality show for years?

 

Are any of the candidates perfect?  Of course not, but at least some act with Presidential decorum.  Imagine for a moment Trump hosting a press conference with Putin in the Rose Garden.  Putin expresses a dissenting view of President Trump’s ideology and “the Donald” shrugs, makes faces, snorts, and calls him “Little Putin?”  Is he truly the man we want representing the United States of America?

 

American made history when electing Obama, the first bi-racial individual to hold the highest office in the land.  Many people voted for Obama, not because of his policies or his experience, but because he was a “rock star” in the Democrat party, a celebrity of sorts, and they wanted to help America do something that had never been done before.  (Why they re-elected him, I’ll never know….)Voting for Trump because he starred on the Apprentice, makes as much sense as voting for a Candidate that’s under FBI investigation.

 

And maybe the single most important reason for not supporting Trump is his answer on repentance.  When asked if he’d ever confessed his sin, he said no and suggested it was better to keep God out of his mistakes.  A man who thinks God isn’t necessary for forgiveness is a man determined to govern a Country without the leading Hand of Providence.  Can America survive another four to eight years of a Narcissist and Chief in the Oval Office?  Only by the grace of God…..

 

Oh, and by the way….if you believe Mexico’s going to pay for the wall, I’ve got some prime ocean front property for sale….in Arizona.

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