Wednesday, April 26, 2006

People who enjoy freedom - UNITE

A long tangent on war...

Please take the time to read the attached essay by Dr. Chong. It is without a doubt the most articulate and convincing writing I have read regarding the War in Iraq. If you have any doubts please open your mind to his essay and give a fair evaluation.
I have no idea who Dr. Chong is or the source of these thoughts... so when I received them, I almost deleted them - as well-written as they are. But then I did a "Google search" on the Doctor and found him to be a retired Air Force Surgeon of all things and past Commander of Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio. So he is real, is connected to Veterans affairs in California, and these are his thoughts. They are worth reading and thinking about! (The same Google search will direct you to some of his other thought-provoking writings.)

Subject: Muslims, terrorist and the USA. A different spin on Iraq war.

Dr. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF, Retired
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our countryis now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it,that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).
The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.
First, let's examine a few basics:
1. When did the threat to us start?Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United State is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with thefollowing attacks on us:

* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie, Sc otland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.
(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?

Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans orDemocrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.

3. Who were the attackers?In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%.

5. Isn't the Musl im Religion peaceful?

Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that thepredominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler, that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (see )
Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldo m heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others.
Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of noprotection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements -- killing all of us "infidels." I don't blame thepeaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with?

There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politicall y correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:

1. Can we lose this war?

2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions
We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, themajor reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?
It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war meanshanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about ourbusiness, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one canget.

What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they w ant us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would nothave produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for terrorist to attack us, until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see, we are impotent and cannot help them.
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It willbe increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. Itdoesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw itstroops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that theymight see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finishedtoo, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However,it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim andfading fast!
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life willall vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us,if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?
The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore arecompletely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.
Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to takethat 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to bedivided, there is no way that we can win!
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.
President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim menbetween 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allowprofiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? Thisis war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of thecivil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.
And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civilrights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory andin fact added many more since then.
Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?
No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our PoliticalCorrectness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have aclean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.
Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or theAdministration that it almost seems they would literally like to see uslose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It isbecause they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.
Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and mediaregarding the treatment of some pris oners of war, perhaps exemplifiesbest what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving thetreatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of ourmilitary police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.
And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq.
And still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.
Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.
Can this be for real?
The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of theSecretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack ofcomprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrousresults of losing this war, nothing can.
To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisonerissue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned --totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, norany other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, thisdoes not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude, of t he situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.
Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! Thattranslates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United State, butthroughout the world.
We are the last bastion of defense.
We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world!
We can't!
If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive,and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.
And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of theRoman Empire . If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history booksto be written or read.
If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will befighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external milit ary force. Instead, they give their freedoms away,politically correct piece by politically correct piece.
And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown,worldwide that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.
They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?
I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we areunited, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now after the election,the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situationwe are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we aretalking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it.
After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, butour childr en, our grandchildren, our country and the world
Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal and that include the Politicians and media of our country and the free world!
Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our"leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those that findfault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinksthrough this, that we must UNITE!
If you would like to see who this fellow is go to this Air Force websight and look him up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Deceiving ourselves

James 1: 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Ok, I sincerely doubt I'm skilled or educated enough to go into much of this, and the idea of Jesus being the Word and the Bible being the Word always gets my brain a little twisted, but I want to question something anyway. From these two verses could I easily assume that if God speaks to me and I don't do it, I'm deceiving myself?
And, if I am, what is my deception. Deceive by
definition is giving a false impression, so, what impression is it that I'm giving myself? Is it that I'm fooling myself into believing that I'm actually saved when I'm not?
I've finally grown past the point of doubting my salvation, but I am constantly asking God to somehow keep me growing. I was talking to my brother the other day about whether or not I would grow as much as I could if I don't take all the steps He has ordained for me. For example if He wants me to work at McDonalds instead of the job I'm at, then could it be that the specific people I am intended to meet, the specific lessons He had for me to learn there, I would not learn? By walking in my own plans, am I on course to become less of the person He is creating in me?
A cook knows, you can tweak recipes quite a bit, add a hint of this, a dash of that, and as long as the key ingredients are the same, you'll be just fine. But there is a perfect recipe for each of our lives that will give the most fantastic outcome, and I want as many of the perfect ingredients as possible. So I guess I better get on track, huh :)

James 1:25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world

Friday, April 21, 2006

What is your heart saying?

Luke 6:43For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Out of the abundance of my heart, I will speak. This week I have been almost overcome with absolute joy over God's goodness to me. And I noticed I was able to catch myself several times before I spoke badly about others. Yet, even in my state of joy I know there were several occasions where I said something negative about someone else. I've got a good treasure in my heart. This is the greatest treasure that I can imagine, and yet still I struggle to "bring forth that which is good".
I know the struggle with evil will never end, but, we need to do everything we can to make sure we're actually still in the struggle. So let me ask you a few questions:
When you woke up this morning, and went to work, were you considering God? Or were you considering the radio station, the news, your kids, your finances, your cars mechanical failures, etc. etc. etc.?
Do you daily SEEK God to make you more like Him? I'm very serious about this. So many of us will answer yes on this question, but have you actually spoken to God today and said, "Make me more like You"? Do you daily take your self and all your selfish ways and repent before God? When is the last time you went to God and just confessed that you truly need Him in your life? And hardest yet (for me at least) when you speak, do you weigh the words coming from your mouth? Whether truth or lie, do you measure them by the standard of GOOD treasure, or EVIL treasure? I can speak the truth and still have evil treasure coming from my mouth because God knows the intentions of my heart.
Our words are so important, but I don't think we realize just how important they really are. The bible says in James chapter 1, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
I don't want to simply seem to be religious and yet have vain religion because I don't bridle my tongue.
This concept is important to me, especially important to me as I know how quickly words of judgement and criticism leap to my foolish tongue. So I want to leave you with a prayer today...

Father God, whatever I do today please don't let me deceive myself. Let me see my actions with open eyes, let me hear my words with open ears and help me, through You, to judge the treasure that comes from me today. More than anything else, I pray desperately, that I might bring forth treasure that pleases You. Change my heart Father, help it burn with righteous and holy love for those that are around me, that they might see a glimpse of You through this imperfect child. In the Holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Publicity stunts

I recently had probably the most ridiculous urge I've ever had. And trust me, I've had some pretty ridiculous urges. But it was mid afternoon on Friday, and I was in my brothers backyard with my sis-in-law and we were smoothing the wrinkles out of the bottom of the pool we were attempting to install in their backyard. It was going well, the kids were playing around the adults and attempting and succeeding in staying mostly out of the way and there was anticipation in the air about the possibility that a pool would soon be accessible to them whenever they felt like jumping in. It was going well. Then I had an urge.
I wanted to join hands with my family, and pray a blessing over the pool. Not just the pool, but the time we're spending putting it together, the kids in the neighborhood that were staring at the new addition to the backyard, and mostly that God would bless our efforts and somehow this 4 foot deep water holder would bring people to Him.
You may be wondering if I actually realize its a POOL I'm talking about, and I assure you I do. It was just an urge, and while I did pray to myself about it, I didn't broach my family and have a big pow wow over the idea.
So here is the question I have now, should I? In all seriousness, I fully understand 2 or 3 agreeing is stronger than just one person, but should I really make everyone stop what they're doing just so they can listen to me pray about something? I have no desire to be imagined to be like the Pharisees praying on the street corner so that everyone could see they were praying. But, neither do I want God to see me refusing to pray publicly because of cowardice.
I'd like to think I didn't resist the urge to pray together because of cowardice, but I know I was desperately afraid to be in the wrong. To appear as though I were shoving my type of relationship with God down their throats. I struggle with pride, and being critical and judgemental amongst other things, and those are the key traits of a Pharisee type personality. I can easily see a Pharisee stopping someones work so that they could formally pray over something. And I don't want to be like that.
But I don't want to dismiss what might be God's leading though.
What would you do?
What would Jesus do?

Monday, April 10, 2006

In the image of love

I received an e-mail this past week that intrigued me. It was all about how God loves us outrageously.
It is your job,' says the Lord, 'to be loved
outrageously. It is why I chose you. That is why I set
my love upon you, that you would live as one who is
outrageously loved, that you would receive a radical
love, so radical that it will blow all your paradigms
of what you think love is.
And know this,' says the Lord, 'I will love you
outrageously all the days of your life because I don't
know how to be any different. This is who I am, and
this is who I will always be. This is the I Am I
promised you. I am He that loves you outrageously

It made me wonder... if we're in the image of God and that is the ultimate image of Love itself, is that why in the absence of love we get so messed up?
We spend our lives craving and seeking out others to love us, and accept us. It's as natural in us as breathing. We crave and work for love with the same passion and determination that we crave food, sleep, and water. It is in us to be loved.
Think of Hannah, wanting to have a child to love but not having one. Her craving and desire to love someone gave her the desire to create someone to love. Imagine God loving us, craving an outlet for His love in that same way? Granted, we're here to worship Him, but ultimately, worshipping Him comes from loving Him.
It may not mean anything to you. I just know this meant something interesting to me. It is easy for me to tell myself that I'm created in the image of God. I was raised in church, and religious phrases roll off my tongue (with or without meaning) quite easily. But the idea of being created in the image of love made me think. If I'm created in the image of Love, I need to reflect love. Period. There isn't room for self and pride where love is. Love has you running in front of a car to snatch a child. Love has you sacrificing your life savings to buy your uncle one more run at chemotherapy, love has you attempt the impossible, improbable, and seemingly foolish with no return required. A return on our love is expected, and hoped for, but with love, that return isn't required.
Love sacrificed His Son to die for me, so that one day, maybe I would choose to love Love also. But not just any love, the God of love.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not enough salt

I was almost overcome last night, by a sense of how horrible the world has become. Injustice, violence, cruelty, selfishness, anger, fear, pain and so many more things just seemed to be surrounding me in my home and in my city. Once I stopped telling God how bad the world was, He reminded me that I'm suppose to be a light in it. I'm suppose to be salt, the flavor that makes something tasteless, very tasty (especially if you're as much of a salt-addict as I am!).
The question is, am I salt? am I light? Are you? I've got a lot to do, a lot of people that I talk to, and when they're around me I want to do everything in my power to let them know that the injustice, violence, cruelty and et cetera that they see in the world STOPS with me. And from my example I'd like them to know it should stop with Christians everywhere. And I want Christians to fulfill their part in that.
This is a new part of my challenge for myself and for anyone reading this. Make the world feel safe around you. Let them know that where you are, peace and harmony, calm and assurance abounds. The picture of the screaming Christian is not a reassuring one. Our anger, our sense of self-protection/provision, our desire to stick up for ourselves is strong. But stronger than anything else should be our love for God.
Just remember in ALL situations HE'S our protector and provider not us.
To whoever my readers are, I have only one request. Control yourself. You're a representative of Christ and I'm tired of seeing all of us representing how Christ wouldn't act.
God loves you. Remember that. He'll work things out, He'll make a way, He'll take care of His people. Even if a neighbor wrongs you, God's still in control. And you don't know that He won't bless you ten-fold just for trusting in His mercies towards you.
Trust God.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The clarity of God's vision

This is kind of a part two of the post on the our 'visually challenged' selves. It's on how God is the exact opposite - thankfully!

I remember when I first moved into my own home four years ago I had a preset idea that I needed to vacuum, sweep/mop and do laundry. My idea of cleaning sort of stopped there. It stopped there so soundly that I never even noticed other cleaning issues even after the dust collected an inch thick on my entertainment stand. I was absolutely blind to some of the faults of my home.
Lately, however, it seems like all I see around my home is dirt. It's been driving me mad the past month that my windows need to be washed, that my blinds are dusty, then I noticed the doors of the cabinets in the kitchen have some streaks and dust and probably grease build up on them. The dirt is everywhere!
I wonder, just how much that applies to my spirit. How much of my spirit lies unattended to while I worry about the specific ideas my mind has already formed about how I worship, how I pray, how I approach God or which parts of my self need to be changed, corrected, restrained.
Along those same lines, if God were to speak specifically to me and tell me to do one thing He would change about me, what would it be? The Bible says His thoughts aren't our thoughts, then what are His thoughts on me?
He sees my faults in a way I don't even see my faults. He sees the sins in my heart that I've self-righteously justified in my mind. He knows me in a way I would never willingly allow someone to know me. And yet He still loves me.
I'm on my way to bed now. My mind is filled with a jumble of thoughts concerning God's amazing love, and something concerning dust, but stronger than anything else, is a painfully strong desire that tomorrow I'll clean out one cobweb in my attitude or desires or whatever, and this home that He dwells in will be just a little cleaner. Even if I don't...the most amazing part is that He still loves me.
This has turned out to be more like a journal entry, than a blog. So I hope you don't mind having spent your time here reading this. And, just in case you're reading this, wishing you felt that same love from God, I'll just tell you He really is only a call away. It's as simple as calling out His name and asking Him into your heart. But here's a warning, the devil doesn't want you to feel that love. And he'll torment you with all sorts of information about how you don't deserve God, that God doesn't love you, and that you aren't really saved. It's probably the hardest lie in the world to get past. But a lie nonetheless
God loves you, He desires you. Trust Him.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Earthquakes, Landslides, Tsunami's, Volcanoes - A Present Help.

For those that don't know, I lead a "Read the bible through in a year" program. We gather Mon-Sat from 10am - 10:15 am and in a chat room I post 3 verses on the screen at a time while the others read them. I keep on posting verses until we've read about 3 chapters. Sundays I e-mail everyone the scriptures for the day, and also, anyone that misses or just wants the scriptures in their e-mail daily receive it that way. It's interesting, and a lot easier to read when you know others are reading with you. It's kind of silly the things we have to do though to motivate ourselves to read the Bible.
Anyway, a couple of months back I added on the idea of a memory verse. No one actually has to try and memorize the verse, I just asked everyone to at least read it when it posted on the screen or came in their e-mail. Read where it's found and the verse. I'm praying that somehow that small bit of attention we give to it will help it stick in our minds. We keep the same memory verse over the entire course of a week, so after seeing it 7 times... well... I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I found myself in a difficult situation though, it's hard to pick out memory verses for other people! But this morning, while driving around I was suddenly thinking "Be still" so I did a search for verses that say "Be Still" in them. And I came across this, I just wanted to share it with you all, and I hope you like it even half as much as I do.
Psalms 46:1 - 3
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.