Tuesday, January 30, 2007
A quick article on the historical success rate for insurgencies, if only we but listen and pay heed.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Light blogging for a while, while staying at a place with no computers, no television, no cell phones. Into the silence I go.
Meanwhile, Lon Solomon gives a wonderful sermon on murmuring.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
David Warren takes a new look at the war against radical Muslims in Ethiopia and why warlords are not always such a bad thing.
And he helps us remember some soon forgotten minor tidbit: this is a global war we're in. And it's not going away anytime soon.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Everytime I think about Hillary inhabiting the White House again---this time as president---my mind goes to the inevitable next question: What in heaven's name will Bill be up to for those four years?
Yes, yes I know he has his foundation, and gets and gives money for causes the Clintons favor. And I'm sure he'll play plenty of power golf. But then what? I mean, what will he do with himself for the rest of the day?
I shudder to think.
Bad as a Hillary presidency would be with all her baggage, I simply don't think the country is ready for first-jolly-good-fellow Bill. Of course, for a few months, it would all be amusing. And distracting. There would be jokes about his screening her interns, and him moving into the Lincoln bedroom. But afterwards, it would surely become a bore and embarassment of monumental proportions.
Heaven forbid Hillary should ever bring her bags back to Pennsylvania Avenue. Heaven forbid Bill should ever bring his baggage back there either.
Good Show, Mr. President! Your Steadfast, Audacious Leadership Shines On With Words to Live And Thrive By
And he had the audacity, real audacity, to utter several of the country's most hated "3-letter" words, in the face of sagging popularity and a roomful of critics. Words like:
"This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in," Bush said. "Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve and turn events toward victory."
“Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen … Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that’s the case, America is still a nation at war."
“In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled … Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.
“Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions … By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty … Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: ‘We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse.’ Osama bin Laden declared: ‘Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.’
“These men are not given to idle words … “
Prevail, Democracy, Free Societies:
“This war is more than a clash of arms — it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred … So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must.”
“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
Chaos, Emboldened, Determination:
For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is the greatest ally — their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy.
Succeed, Strategy, Support:
“Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger.
“Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way.”
And it went last night in the war of words: President Bush will not take "victory" out of the national lexicon. Thank God.
And while the country and talking heads will hotly debate the issues he discussed ad naseum, ad infinitum, for at least two more years, these words will remain steadfastly in our vocabulary because our Commander-in Chief refuses to be bowed by public opinion and the need to be popular rather than right on. He is a true leader in the face of all odds.
Hip-hip-hooray, Mr. President. God Bless America.
In closing, what the letter "V" meant to our parents in World War II. And remember, "V" for victory. Our president certainly does.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Retreat is not an option in Iraq. The terrorists will smell blood in the water. We must shore up our resoolve. We can't give up the ship. We can't turn back now.
Liz Cheney today in the Washington Post tells it like it is on the option of retreat in Iraq, and tries to keep our eyes focused on the prize here.
Then Joel Rosenberg tells it like it must be with Iran tonight in President Bush's State of the Union address.
God help us all if we cut and run now. God help us.
The terrorist sharks are starting to smell blood and fear in the water. And they're waiting to circle. We can't turn back now.
Monday, January 22, 2007
If you're one of the millions who's not having their best day, then now you know why. Unfortunately the stock market has caught SAD too.
But don't despair, the days are getting longer by exactly two minutes each day. So the sun rises a minute earlier and also sets a minute later. That's 60 extra minutes of daylight a month.
Thank heavens for small blessings!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
"It's much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one."
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."
"What we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument."
And finally, the story of Lon Solomon's amazing conversion to Christ here.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
I wondered where all these liberal, humorless commenters were coming from on my comments page, and now I know.
I'm afraid you've put me in much better company than I deserve, Mr. Wolcott. Anyway, perhaps our paths will cross out in nature sometimes.
Meanwhile, have a nice day. I do hope the sun is shining where you are.
Further comments on this post are closed. However, for additional elaboration, I give you my customer service representative.
It's the government that won't quit interfering.
The lunatics are clearly in control of the asylum now. And another thought: the more we have the absence of intact families, God and a true sense of objective right and wrong in our everyday lives----in this ever increasing relative world we live in---the more the godless will be inclined to have the government take over and legislate for our disintegration and missing morality into nonsense like the above. Government as godhead and father-figure....what a blast.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Dear President Ford,
I never thought I'd be writing you like this, telling you to shush up and to stop making such an awful ghoul of yourself.
Indeed, I am dashing this off quickly before you go and say something else that would horrify your adoring public who wants to remember you fondly. I mean you were the prototype former president: respected, stately, revered and er, quiet. That is, until you went and opened your big mouth from the grave.
First, it was Bush and the War in Iraq, then it was Jimmy Carter--and heaven knows I'm no fan of Carter and totally agree with your assessment, however ill-timed--and then you started in on Reagan and the fall of communism!
That was quite a tirade and frankly, sir, you went way to far on that one.
If you felt so strongly about these things, you should have said them while you were still on the golf course. Better yet, you should have started your own blog, "Jerry's Gerrymandering," or something like that. And you could have said everything you needed to and then enabled a "comments section," and even moderated the feedback.
But no, you had to wait and let newspaper people blab for you after you were gone. That's quite regrettable, quite regrettable really.
I'm afraid of what you may say next. I simply couldn't bear to hear you confess that you had a secret crush on Angelina Jolie. Or that you had a clandestine, regular golf game with Castro at Pebble Beach.
All this is outrageous and needs to stop. And the sooner the better.
I googled the words "gag order" to see if it applied to dead people, and I think it does. So I'm doing it right here, right now.
Cease and desist!
If the words "Rest in Peace" mean anything to you, then it's time to take them to heart now. Don't they have a celestial golf course up there somewhere that can keep your occupied?
I still think pretty well of you, and prefer to keep it that way. But I'm afraid your poll numbers have nevertheless dropped since the flags were at half-mast. Don't let them go down any further.
Button up, Sir.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Suffice it to say, I'm no fan of Barack Obama and never will be. It absolutely floors me this country takes him seriously as real presidential material. I mean, the man has served two years in the U.S. Senate with almost no accomplishment or foreign policy experience in a time we are in a long drawn out war, W-A-R.
A W-A-R that he's staunchly opposed to and that we should be too, by golly.
It's clear we need the Man from Glad. And Obama fits the bill to a tea: a well-spoken, clean cut candidate who can span the divide between rich and poor, black and white, red and blue and dumb and dumber.
Slate has remixed several of Barack's promo videos here. Clearly here is a man trying to be all things to all people, people.
And let's face it, Obama has really been running since that speech he made at the Democratic National convention back in 2004. That's when he caught "the presidential fever." It was all those cameras and wild applause, heady stuff for the Illinois state senator on his way to the Big Senate. And now he can't get enough.
In him, in that moment another messiah figure was born to offer us instant hope from the travails of the dirty rotten fallen world we slog around in: A Man from Glad for all of us wretches in a weenie world.
And who knew we were in need of such a heavy dose of H-O-P-E which he now purports to offer.
Never mind that Saddam Hussein is gone, a new parliamentary government has been established in Iraq with free elections and hundreds of small businesses are springing up everywhere. Even the marshes are starting to flourish there again. The U.S. stock market is setting record highs, we haven't had another terrorist attack here since 9-11, and gas prices are coming down.
None of the hard work of these accomplishments matter, you see. What matters? Well Barack is here to tell us.
He's here to change things, and tell us, along with the New York Times and other pessimistic elites, how tough things really are and how much we need his brand of H-O-P-E.
I'll write more on his candidacy in the months to come, but I want to link to my previous post on Obama here last October.
Meanwhile, calling Man from Glad with H-O-P-E.. Evidently, our weeny world awaits yet another messiah, with a little "m."
Monday, January 15, 2007
I am at my Apple store being tutored by a sheer genius named Shane, from New Zealand, who is teaching me how to embed video in my blog! I am thrilled. Thanks, Shane. Truly fun for a medium-old-dog to learn space age tricks! Of course, this is nothing for the "big dogs" of the blogosphere, but for me it's a FEAT.
Later: I am especially happy that my first embedded video is of Martin Luther King. However, I'm afraid I started crying in the Apple Store as I watched this video, even as Shane waited patiently for me to continue the lesson.
Here is a link on Dr. King from the Heritage Foundation.
And finally a musical tribute by Stevie Wonder on YouTube. And one more by Marvin Gaye here.
(Jerusalem, Israel) – “Our best case scenario is for missiles to be hitting us in the next year or two. Either the West goes to war to stop Iran from going nuclear, and Iran fires conventional missiles at us in retaliation, or the West waits too long and Iran launches a nuclear first strike at us. Either way, a terrible war is coming. It cannot be avoided.”
That the Doomsday clock is indeed ticking towards a conflagration, and perhaps in 2007, is hard to deny. May God strenghten our resolve and bless our troops and all people in harms way.
Postnote: OK, I admit I'm dropping everything to watch this tonight.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Wikipedia on Joseph Smith is here. And Brigham Young.
Additional comments and links on the subject are welcome.
When you think of the Mormon Church or the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), what comes to mind?
For me, it's clean living, the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, young men on bicycles doing their required two years of evangelism, the Mormon Tabernacle choir, the best geneology institute in the world, and finally the once practiced, now outlawed concept of polygamy.
As Mitt Romney, a Mormon and former Republican governor of Massachusetts, emerges as a leading presidential candidate, many people are wondering what Mormonism is all about and how it might affect his term in office were he to be elected.
Thanks to Lon Solomon, pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, you can learn more about Mormonism than you ever dreamed possible and were afraid to ask. Listen to the whole thing here.
But be forewarned, this sermon is not for the faint hearted. It's not something you will hear or read in most promotional church info or the mainstream media. You won't hear this from the fellows who come to your door on foot or bikes to tell you about Mormonism. Much of the core beliefs are extremely esoteric.
As always, Solomon tells is like it is.
Then a favorite hymn of the saving Amazing Grace of Jesus Christ.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
America's First Terrorist Enemy: Muslim Barbary Pirates of the Mediterranean and What Thomas Jefferson Finally Did About Them
This story is true and dedicated to Mr. Keith Ellison, newly elected U.S. Rep. from Minnesota.
ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a country called America. After Declaring Her Independence in 1776, her people fought for years for their freedom from the mother country of England. When they finally succeeded, they drew up a Constitution and formed a government separate from all others. And then they began operating as an independent nation on the world stage in 1789.
One downside of breaking up with the British Empire was that the American Navy was no longer under the protection of the powerful British Navy. And so her ships started being attacked and her crews imprisoned, and often enslaved, by Muslim pirates in the Meditarrean, operating out of what is now called Algeria.
These pirates worked under a Muslim warlord, in north Africa and were called Barbary pirates. They were Islamic seafaring raiders who engaged in disrupting British and American commerce by capturing booty for profit, kidnapping and enslaving Christians, and taking and holding hostages for rich ransom.
But wait there's more.
In 1785, the Barbary pirates precipatated a crisis with the fledgling America when they seized two of her ships and took 21 hostages off the coast of Portugal.
A year later Thomas Jefferson, who was then living in Paris as ambassador to France and John Adams, ambassador to England, met in London with the Algerian ambassador to attempt to negotiate a treaty to end the piracy. At this meeting, Jefferson and Adams reported that they asked the Muslim ambassador the reason for these attacks and received this reply:
"Islam," he said in 1786, "was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, and it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners and that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found."
The Algerian ambassador added that every Muslim slain in these battles was sure to go to "Paradise."
At this point, is it any small wonder that an incredulous Jefferson ran for a Quran to try to make sense of what he had just heard?
For some years, the American government agreed to pay money, called "tribute" to appease the Barbary pirate states. Wikipedia reports:
"The American government was too riven with domestic discord to make a strong show of force overseas. The U.S. paid Algiers the ransom, and continued to pay up to $1 million per year over the next 15 years for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. Payments in ransom and tribute to the privateering states amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800."
It wasn't until after Jefferson had become president in 1801 that he refused to continue appeasing the pirate states and finally sent U.S. warships and Marines to engage in another kind of "diplomacy," or all out war on the Barbary states. In 1805, Marines marched from Egypt to the Barbary state of Tripolitania and forced its surrender and the freeing of all American captives and slaves.
With this military maneuver accomplished, the Barbary States agreed to cease their pirating, plundering ways.
It was Jefferson who made famous the statement: "millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." He apparently learned all he needed to from his copy of the Quran and got results when he stopped appeasing the enemy.
If only our politically correct politicians would take a lesson from a page of American history entitled, "Jefferson's toughlove with the first Muslim terrorists in the Mediterrean."
And now you know most of the rest of the story. For more links to this fascinating time in our history, go here, and here, and here.
And the beat goes on, and on and on and on and on and on and onwith Islam.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Earth to Rep. Ellison: World History 101,The Real Reason Jefferson Read A Quran, or How Muslim Pirates First Terrorized Americans in 1785
Does the term "Barbary Pirates" or the words from the Marine song "the shores of Tripoli" mean anything to you? It's time we connected the dots between some real-life Islamic terrorist thugs from revolutionary history with Thomas Jefferson and his Quran.
But be advised, it's not a pretty picture.
Recently, Keith Ellison, a converted Muslim and newly elected U.S. Representative from Minnesota, declared boldly that he was taking his oath of office on the Quran. And if that wasn't good enough, by golly, he was using the Quran owned by none other than our founding father Thomas Jefferson.
Ellison went on to opine that Jefferson was "a broad visionary thinker who not only possesed it (a Quran) but read it," adding that "the Quran is definitely an important historical document in our nation's history."
Oh really, Mr. Ellison? Say what?
With all due respect, nothing could be further from the truth. History, real history, is obviously not Ellison's strong suit.
Ellison pulled a publicity stunt, making up history as he went along to suit his wishful thinking and narrow political agenda. He obviously takes our citizenry for fools which is easy to do, since so few of us bother to remember our collective past and therefore may be destined to repeat it:
But for the sake of facts ---as opposed to fabricated history---let's look at why Jefferson, with a personal library of over 5,000 books, would have owned and perused a Quran. And let's also look at fundamentalist Muslims first war on terror with our country dating back to 1785.
It was President Jefferson who refused to continue bribing Muslim pirates in 1801, and instead launched the first war against these fundamentalist thugs in 1805. And won.
Mr. Ellison take note: Mr. Jefferson read the Quran, all right. But not to write the Declaration of Independence, but rather to know and better understand our enemy, our fundamentalist Muslim enemy of 1785.
What about Barbary Pirates don't we remember? Let's take a longer walk down memory lane soon.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I finally locked myself in solitary confinement today with a box of garbage bags, old boxes and a high tech broom and dust pan.
Papers, files, clothes, vestiges of Christmas decorations, magazines and cataloges flew out the door, into the bags and on to the dumpster.
I became a one-focused manical power tool, stopping only once to check e-mails. Then back to the grindstone. Later, I treated myself to a trip to Office Town to pickup a few book-ends and other organizing stuff to get myself back in disciplined, organized work mode.
I still have a way to go, but in a few more days, I will have shed much extra baggage and be ready to take on the challenges of 2007. It always feels great to get life back into at least a semblance of order and the unbearable lightness of being.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Word Of New General To Head U.S. Effort in Iraq, Hopefully in the Tradition of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
"Perhaps the best news of the past week is that General Dave Petraeus will be taking over the American war effort. Since the earliest days of the Iraqi war effort, Petraeus has distinguished himself as something special. A lot of people, including the estimable Ralph Peters, feel that Petraeus is the best the American army has to offer. Given the nature of the challenge, it’s reassuring that the A-Team is finally on the job.
"BUT WHAT OF THE LOYAL OPPPOSITION? As a thought exercise this morning, I was pondering what would happen if it all worked. What would become of the American left if Petraeus performs wonders, the surge pacifies Baghdad, and peace spreads through Iraq in a viral fashion? Would the American left be capable of accepting victory?"
Stayed tuned for more info tonight when Bush makes his Iraq speech. And God bless America and our troops in Iraq.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
And if I ever rename my blog, it would probably be" Highwaywoman." I like it.
And one more for Bobby McGee.
But in Atlanta last weekend, while having Sunday breakfast at the OK Cafe, I picked up the "Living" section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and came across this conundrum in the "Dear Abby" column.
The following is, I suppose, a 21st Century problem and a sign of things to come. So without further ado, I give you the "woman" who poses a salient question to Dear Abby:
Dear Abby: My boyfriend of two years, Marc, has been talking a lot about marriage lately. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. There is, however, one fly in the ointment: I was born a biological male.
"I have never felt like a man, Abby, and lived as a woman since high school. Then when I was 25, I underwent surgery to change my sex. I have never regretted my decision and up to now, my family has been supportive.
"But recently my brother asked me if I had told Marc about my surgery and was shocked to learn that I hadn't. He implored me to tell him, but I feel my past is completely irrelevant to our relationship today. My brother thinks that I am obligated to confess to Marc, and has even threatened to tell him if I don't.
"Marc loves me very much and would support me no matter what, but I have left my past behind me, and I feel no reason to needlessly disturb our relationship. How can I convince my brother to let this go?"
At A Loss In New York
Dear Abby's response:
Dear At A Loss:
Although you might not think that the fact that you are a transsexual is relevant, it is presumptous to think that you can speak for Marc. He needs to know that whole truth and to keep it from him could constitute fraud. You did not mention whether he is planning on having children with you, and loving him as you do, you need to be fair to him.
A marriage that is based on a lie is no marriage at all. It would always hang over you and surely there are many others besides your brother who know about your sex change. My advice is to tell Marc everything before someone else does. Your future with him could depend upon his hearing the news from you---and nobody else.
I can only say in this wild and crazy freewheeling world of relative truth, complete with the kind of gender confusion and options many of us could never have imagined growing up, there's a new question one should keep in mind when inquiring about one's new "beloved's" history besides, Where did you grow up?:
Have your always been the woman/man you are today? Quite literally.
I simply cannot imagine having this problem; however, I suppose it's a space-age, high-tech quandry some people do and will face even more in the future.
Ugh. I'm simply at a loss for words. I know I'm starting to sound like both my grandmothers, but I'm glad I won't be alive when all the chickens come home to roost in this anything goes world we live in.
The end must be near.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Visiting Atlanta this past weekend, I was able to run out to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield with a friend for a few hours to reconstruct history and hike to the top for some beautiful views of the north Georgia rainsoaked countryside.
Kennesaw was one of the few battles the Confederacy actually won, however temporarily, before Union General Willian Tecumseh Sherman forced the Confederates to retreat and then led his Union soldiers on to victory in Atlanta during the Civil War.
After burning down the city, Sherman conducted his infamous wartime March to the Sea, destroying everything in his path all the way down to Savannah.
The fall of Atlanta was a crippling blow for the Confederacy and helped turn the tide for the Union, assuring the re-election of Lincoln for a second term as president in the fall of 1864 and the eventual victory for Union forces. The country was later united again into one republic and the abolition of slavery became a blessed reality.
Sherman, never given to political correctness, had some of the greatest quotes in military history about the realities of war. I believe President Bush and the American people should take note of his wisdom as we prepare to regroup in Iraq. Today, however, Sherman's words seem harsh, as our citizens and countries urge fighting a "nice" war. He understood that war is hell and the harsher it sometimes is in the short-run, the quicker it's over.
Below are some of Sherman's most famous quotes, starting with General Uylsses S. Grants' instructions to Sherman before going into Georgia:
Union General Ulysses Grant to Sherman on how to attack the Confederates in Georgia: "...break it up, and go into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can upon their war resources."
Sherman orders the mayor of Atlanta, James M. Calhoun, to issue the following proclamation, September 8th: "To the Citizens of Atlanta: General Sherman instructs me to say to you that you must all leave Atlanta; that as many of you as want to go North can do so, and that as many as want to go South can do so, and that all can take with them their movable property, servants included, if they want to go, but that no force is to be used; and that he will furnish transportation for persons and property as far as Rough and Ready, from whence it is expected General Hood will assist in carrying it on."
Sherman to the leadership of the city prior to burning it down:"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."
Sherman writes to President Lincoln's chief-of-staff in Washington D.C. after his March to the Sea: "...we are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying newspapers to believe that we were being whipped all the time now realize the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience."
Sherman on military fame: "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers."
And finally Sherman's choice words for newspaper reporters near his battlefields: "I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."
I think we need more men like General Sherman in Iraq to get on with the job we went there to accomplish.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
These daily devotionals start with Genesis in January and end in Revelations in December. They build on one another and put the unfolding of Salvation history within historical and cultural context.
Over the last few years, I have grown greatly in my faith as a result of this daily practice. And the Bible becomes more compelling to me and my faith as time goes by.
I have come to realize that without diligent Bible study as a daily discipline, with a Bible-based teacher who is credible to you, there can be no real spiritual growth in Christ or your faith in Jesus Christ.
An e-mail devotional this week, summed faith up thusly:
"Faith is believing what God has said, not merely hoping for something. It is not like wishing upon a star when, if you believe hard enough, your wish will come true.
"Faith is trusting God's Word. God told Noah to build an ark and save himself from the coming deluge. Noah had never seen an ark, but he believed God and was obedient to what he knew (Genesis 6:22). He believed the Word of God and acted on it. That's faith."
So often we trivialize faith into being some silly hope mill, as the above indicates. But when we take it upon ourselves to actually read and study the Bible--The Word of God--with a Bible-based teacher--and not simply with someone who teaches by peppering his or her message with Scripture--we start seeing the eye-popping realities of this dazzing text.
And then the Holy Spirit, sooner or later, starts to bring it all alive.
The bottom line is that we cannot hope to grow without regular Bible study with a good teacher.
While He lived on earth and taught, Jesus quoted from every single chapter of Old Testament Scripture. And when He he was tested by Satan, he quoted Scripture in each test. Even He was thoroughly familiar with the ancient texts and used them daily.
Without Bible study how can we ever even know what we really believe?
Alistair Begg talks about the importance of Scripture and its study here. Begg also talks about how each chapter of the Old, as well as the New Testaments points to Christ.
Conversion and growth in faith is a mind altering experience based on solid Bible study over the course of time.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
January 6, 2007,
Re: Pedal to the Metal, Sir. Foot off the Brake.
Dear Mr. President,
I know men don't like to be told how to drive. And they hate it when someone suggests they should ask for directions when they're lost, or off course.
Believe me, I've had my share of squabbles with men who were driving with me in the passenger seat. And I know I may be on shaky ground here.
Nevertheless, I want to talk to you about your driving, Mr. President.
I think you need a better grip on the steering wheel and perhaps take a little driving instruction for the road ahead in Iraq, to refresh your skills a bit and to better help our troops maximize their efforts in that war-torn country.
Just as the solution to money problems isn't always a matter of more money, so it is with many other issues we face in life, both individually and collectively as a country.
To wit, Victor Davis Hanson has some wise thoughts about your idea to send more troops into Iraq to quell the violence and change the outcome of this war back into the Iraqs' and our favor. And he has some tips to help your driving.
According to Hanson, a mere surge in troop numbers is not the only answer to the quagmire in Iraq. He thinks you need to pay attention to other things as well, so you won't crash in the months ahead, and fail to ever get to your destination.
Let's face it, we've made some wrong turns there, often seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Now, we are facing a pivotal moment in this war and how the world perceives us in Iraq and the War on Terror.
Hanson has much to say about it and the way you and we should head towards our destination in Iraq.
Please listen to him and his driving instuctions. As an highly esteemed historian of many great battles from antiquity to the present---analyzing how and why wars were finally won or lost---Hanson has a perspective you cannot afford to ignore at this crucial moment in Iraq.
Hanson talks about getting us back on track in Iraq.
He often talks about our country's weakening moral resolve and how our enemies perceive this in the press and in our ambivalent policies. Well, now Hanson talks about what we need to do to increase our resolve. And the bottom line of what he has to say is this:
We simply can no longer put our pedal to the metal with our other foot stuck on the brake. Hanson writes:
"Our past errors were not so much dissolving a scattered Iraqi military or even de-Baathification, but rather giving an appearance of impotence, whether in allowing the looting to continue or pulling back from Fallujah or giving a reprieve to the Sadr militias.
"So, yes, send more troops to Iraq — but only if they are going to be allowed to hunt down and kill the vicious and sectarian in a manner that they have not been allowed to previously.
"This surge should not be viewed in terms of manpower alone. Rather it should be planned as the corrective to past misguided laxity, in which no quarter will now be given to die-hard jihadists as we pursue victory, not better policing. We owe that assurance to the thousands more of young Americans who now will be sent into harm’s way. "
In addition, Mr. Hanson has 8 suggestions that will insure success of a future troop surge which are vitally important for you to include in your soon-to-be announced plans for Iraq. You can link to his suggestions here.
This is important, Mr. President. So get a grip and go read Victor every chance you get. And keep reading him. Actually, why don't you invite him to the White House in the next few days for a fireside chat upstairs with both you and Laura?
And Godspeed on driving things back on track in Iraq.
And please remember, Mr. President, in the weeks and months ahead, pedal to the metal, foot off the brake. Oh, and whatever you do, don't let Nancy drive.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
If you're not, then maybe you should be.
Today, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota was sworn in on the Koran, the holy text of Islam which teaches there is no other god but Allah and there's no such thing as separation of church and state.
Mr. Ellison choose to take his oath of office to serve the United States---with its history of freedom of religion and separation of church and state---on a book that promotes total intolerace of all religions except Islam and the subjugation, conversion or death of all those who ultimately refuse to embrace it. In other words, on a religion whose more extreme elements are at war with the United States and ultimately all countries that are not under Muslim rule and control.
Many sects of Islam also subjugate women, kill homosexuals, abolish economic and religious freedoms, and seek to exterminate every last Jew on earth, not to mention seek to destroy Americans and our way of life.
At its heart, the more radical forms of Islam here have as its ultimate goal the replacement of the U.S. Constitution as the highest law of our land with that of Sharia law, or the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of the prophet Mohammed.
By all indications, this is not Mr. Ellison's brand of Islam (he was raised a Catholic here in the U.S. and converted to Islam in college.) However, there is little doubt that Ellison is and will continue to be used as a tool by the more radical elements of Islam in this country:
Both before and after being elected, Ellison was embraced by CAIR, an organization that promotes Muslims in America and is partially funded by more radical Middle Eastern factions of Islam with a clear political agenda of disruption here in our country.
Ellison also recently became involved in the Flying Imams controversy in Minneapolis in which a group of imams who boarded a US Air flight started acting funny and were subsequently removed from the plane after passengers became alarmed by their outlandish behavior. The imams later whined that they were victims of religious discrimination and thus deserved apologies from the company and money to compensate them for their pain and suffering.
Anyway, whatever Ellison's brand of Islam, it is clear he has been fully embraced by the more radical elements of Islam in our country and if you're not concerned by this, then you probably are not paying attention.
Islam is not the religious or political heritage or history of our land, and to be sworn into public office using the Koran should be a deeply troubling event for all those who love our country and value its freedoms.
Finally, can you image a Muslim in a foreign country saying he wanted to be sworn in using the Bible? If he wasn't murdered on the spot, he'd probably get his hands cut off for such an outlandish intention and run out of the country.
The most tolerant country in the world met the most intolerant religion in Washington, D.C. today in an quiet event that could have frightening repercussions for all of us in the years to come, as many Muslims consider it the first olive out of the bottle.
Robert Spenser at Jihad Watch discusses his concern over Ellison's choice here. He also brings up the point that the Koran sanctions lying to non-believers for political expediency.
Stay tuned and please remember the cost of freedom, the freedoms we take so wildly for granted in this swinging time of anything-goes-political correctness, is eternal vigilance.
Are you "vigilating?"
God bless America.
T'was still Christmas on Tuesday night as I gathered with some of my oldest, dearest friends up at a beautiful mountain retreat overlooking the hometown where I grew up.
We came together in an almost century old summer home that two friends have been restoring for the past several years. It's a spectacular sight to behold and enjoy.
There, we chatted over old times, told tales and caught up on some of latest news of our lives. It is a wonderful treat to be able to do this each year. We've all had triumphs as well as heartaches this past year, but sharing and even laughing about them is salve for the soul.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Victor Davis Hanson writes an excellent over-view that should be must reading for every faithful American. Read the whole thing and then read it again.
Besides being awash in money from oil profits in the Middle East, many terrorist groups feel strong because they sense weakness of the West's moral resolve. Hanson writes:
" They sense a new hesitation in the West. We appear to them paralyzed over oil prices and supplies and fears of terrorism. And so they have also waged a brilliant propaganda war, adopting the role of victims of Western colonialism, imperialism and racism. In turn, much of the world seems to tolerate their ruthlessness in stifling freedom, oppressing women and killing nonbelievers."
In other words, terrorists think we've become wimps in the West , too nice and politically correct to do what it really takes to defeat them, and are playing on that assumption with a vengeance. To the extent they are right, our way of life is in mortal jeopardy.
But Hanson offers hope of our redemption with a number of tough-love, often politically incorrect measures the West can and must take to continue to turn the tide in our and freedom's favor.
Whether we like it or not, not to choose is to choose. There's absolutely no turning back from this fight now.
Monday, January 01, 2007
It may not solve our national debt, the global war on terror or the prospect of having to listen to Hillary Clinton derriere jokes for the next two years, but it's a small pleasure we can partake of, if for nothing else than to pretend for a few moments that we live in an almost perfect world.
I did my annual black-eyed pea thing last evening and want to share my recipe as a way of wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2007:
Webutante's Quick and Easy Black-Eyed Pea Recipe, in generalities (..since I only cook in generalities, using whatever's at hand and loving to improvise. I use recipes loosely or not at all. I was never a Pharisee type cook, going instead for the spirit of the recipe than the letter of its law).
2-4 cans Black-Eyed Peas, drained then rinsed, or you could soak some overnight
1-2 onions, sauteed
2-50 slices of bacon, fried and crushed (you can get into the ham hock thing, but I'm over it myself.)
1-3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
olive oil, or butter if you must
white wine (optional)
lemon juice (optional)
Saute the onions in olive oil. Add sea salt and any other herbs you wish.
Fry the bacon, drain and crush what you haven't already eaten directly from the frying pan.
Combine the onions and bacon with the black-eyes and then add more olive oil, sea salt, vegetable broth and pepper. Stir and heat either on top of the stove or bake in the oven at about 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
I like to taste what I'm preparing and then add whatever it seems to need at the time. More salt? Black pepper? A little wine? Lemon juice? Dill? No problem. Go for it.
You can serve this concotion with a variety of things including but not limited to: Tabasco sauce, plain unsweetened yogurt, and raw onions. You are limited only by your imagination and intestinal fortitude.
If you really want to go for an exceptional new year, serve this with steamed Swiss chard drizzled with olive oil and a broiled tomato. Or a frisee salad dressed with olive oil and some crumbled feta or roquertfort cheese.
Before I dig in, I give thanks to God for the great blessings of His Son who offers us ineffable redemption and who ultimately wins in the end, the freedom, family and friends He has blessed me with--imperfect that we all are-- and fresh air that I can still wander around in, mercifully with or without a tennis racquet.
And, for at least a few minutes, you might be able to forget about Osama and Obama et al, and have a little better start to 2007.
God bless us all in 2007. God bless America. And, thank you Lord for black-eyed peas!