Friday, July 25, 2014

Israel Behind the 8 Ball

It's happening again, and I honestly don't know why I continue to be amazed.

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have been firing rockets into Israel, aided and abetted by other Islamic radical-supporting nations. The rockets have inflicted damage and casualties, and like any other rational nation under attack, Israel finally had enough and sent its military into action to put a stop to the rocket fire.

What is the reaction of much of the world? They want Israel to back off and "show restraint." The majority of the mainstream (or lamestream) media is heavily biased against Israel, and they seldom miss an opportunity to wave the bloody shirt to paint Israel to look like the Third Reich. Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, quite rightly ripped into CNN for its shameful propaganda. You can read the account here.

Never mind showing what happens to Israeli civilians. They give that short shrift. Their picture instead is of the poor, poor, beleaguered Palestinians. Gaza and the West Bank would not be on the receiving end of Israel's defensive action if the rockets would stop. That never seems to penetrate the thick heads of Western governments and the Western media. But that gives the benefit of the doubt to both parties. I will not. They know better. The truth is that they would be much happier if Israel didn't exist. They will give lip service to Israel's right to defend itself, but behind closed doors, they throw all sorts of pressure and threats at Israel if the Israelis don't back off.

It's evil. It's demonic. And I for one won't let it go by without calling it out. As I've said numerous times here on this blog and for years on the air, the Israeli government is not without fault. No government is without fault. But there is just no moral equivalent here. There is no desire whatsoever on the part of Hamas and Fatah to really make permanent, lasting peace with Israel. They want Israel destroyed and wiped off the map, as does much of the Islamic world. As does (or so it seems) many Western governments despite what comes out of their mouths.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Cuba were to lob a rocket barrage into Miami. Or if France were to lob a rocket barrage into London. Or if Ukraine would launch a rocket barrage into Moscow. I think we can guess the response, although with the current occupant of the White House, I can't say for certain. He might cheer.

But this is the human political analyst side of me. From a biblical, theological perspective, I already know what to expect. The Lord warned us. His prophets warned us. And global events will unfold as foretold. Israel ultimately can take comfort in God's promise from Psalm 121 below. They will have a very rough road ahead and much tragedy to face before the Lord's return and His ringing down of the final curtain. But Messiah will fulfill His Word, ruling and reigning from Jerusalem. He who guards Israel neither rests or sleeps (Psalm 121). Until then, we watch the news and our blood boils at the hate and injustice of wicked men and women.

One final word to the world's political powers that be. Don't think for a moment you'll escape God's judgment for how you handle Israel. God will deal with Israel's sins, for sure. That is His sole prerogative. But Israel is also the apple of God's eye, and those who curse Israel and do her harm will be held accountable. Eternally accountable.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dr. Michael Brown Answers Israel's Critics

My position on the never-ending conflict between Israel and the terrorists in the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank) is pretty clear, and has been since I've been doing this blog. Even without taking an editorial position (to which I'm entitled), the journalist in me has been appalled at the biased manner the mainstream media has covered this tragic story.

Dr. Michael Brown has written this excellent response to Israel's ubiquitous critics. I really need add no more to it. Except to say I thought the IDF's tweet the other day was brilliant, depicting rockets falling on London with the superimposed question, "What Would You Do?" Given what happened in World War II and the measures the Allied Powers took to defeat Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the militarists in Japan, what Israel is doing is kid stuff. And that is not to minimize any loss of life in the conflict. Far from it. But it's to make a very clear, key point.

When the rockets and terror attacks from Gaza stop, Israel's military action will stop. If Hamas will not stop the rockets, then Israel needs to continue its operations to root them out. And if they think Israel is being so brutal, they should watch some video of the fire-bombing of Dresden. Or if they like, have a gander at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tragically, I am firmly convinced if Hamas had their own Little Boy or Fat Man nuke, they wouldn't hesitate to drop it on Tel Aviv.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Tragedy at the Border

The picture to the right is a recent photo of illegals crossing the Rio Grande River near El Paso, TX. Here is an article to go along with the photograph. The report at The Gateway Pundit tells the story of alleged bodies of children washing up on the riverbank. Simply horrible, and no excuse for it. The Rio Grande, like any river, can be very dangerous and you have to wonder at the parents who would put their small children at such risk. 

The situation at the border is a double tragedy, because it was avoidable. I think responsibility for the dead children can be laid squarely at a whole host of people, beginning with the Obama Administration for not securing the southern border with Mexico. Obama also deserves censure because he's largely responsible for sending the signal that the door is open - just come on in.

The House and Senate deserve blame for not passing law to deal with this situation, and as usual these days, it's become a political football. Businesses who hire illegals for cheap labor deserve blame, because they help draw the crowds. What are we going to do?

I begin to think the governors need to ignore Washington and order their state National Guard into action themselves with humanitarian crisis as grounds. If Obama interferes and federalizes the Guard response, then the states need to take action and legislatively form a separate militia responsible only to the governor of the state. It's been a while since I've read the Constitution on this matter, but if an amendment is needed, let's get it done. I do not believe the Founders ever intended a state governor not to be able to control the state militia. All the more so when you have a president in office so disinterested in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the well-being of the country. What an awful tragedy.

Sadly, I think we've only seen the beginning. Obama has two more years in office and until Congress (with both parties) shows some political will, it will only get worse.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Internet Service: Enough Already!

Short rant today, but one I am sure will get a loud "Ja Wohl!:" I am tired, beyond tired, of internet/email provider outages. More than that, I am tired of "rebooting."

I've had email at the office. Rarely any trouble there. But at home, oh, ho. Totally different question. I've had Aero, I've had T-6, and now I'm trying Dish Network internet. I do live in a rural area, but only 8 miles from a town of 30,000. I can never rely on having a connection, and with my international job, having a reliable internet/email connection is vital.

I can't tell you how irritating the constant outages are. Call customer services, and when you're done waiting on hold, they take you through the same shaboo. Try rebooting the router. Try rebooting the modem. Unplug your power. Oh, that's not working? So sorry. It appears to be a problem at the tower. Techs on the way. That is unless you need a tech at your house. Depend on a three-week wait. The techs are busy elsewhere.

I just signed up for DISH internet in hopes of solving this nonsense. I've had it a week, and I've had to do at least five reboots of both the DISH box and my router. You would think in this day and age of technology, they would figure a way where this was no longer necessary.

If Ma Bell could give you a non-interruptable line coast to coast in the 1950s, they ought to be able to fix wireless computer technology to the point that this tiresome "rebooting" is no longer necessary. Even rebooting doesn't always work, and I'm dead in the water until the techs find the solution.

This is ridiculous, and I am tired of it. Give me Ma Bell back. I could depend on her.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Richard Cowsill Passes

Today's post is a brief note of sympathy to the Cowsills in the loss of their beloved brother Richard this week. The band made the announcement on their website and on Facebook, plus here is a news article from Vintage Vinyl about it. Richard had been battling lung cancer. He is the third of the Cowsill siblings to pass away, leaving his twin brother Bob, Susan, Paul, and John as survivors. Barry and Bill passed away in 2005—Barry in Hurricane Katrina and Bill from numerous illnesses.

While Richard was the non-performing, behind the scenes brother, he was able to finally get to sing with his siblings now and then in recent years. Here is a video clip of the band doing their 1990s song What I Believe. At the end, there is a clip of the band —including Richard — singing the national anthem before a baseball game in Boston. I think he also joined them on stage from time to time.

Please pray for the family in the days ahead as they walk through this loss. I'm also praying that a major label wises up and signs the performing members of the group, which still tours to this day. As I posted in an earlier blog, their 1990s album "Global" is power pop perfection, and the labels need their derrieres kicked for ignoring it. The "bubblegum" label is so unfair, and "Global" is anything but bubblegum. It is power pop in the vein of Nick Lowe, Tommy Tutone, and Fleetwood Mac's classic lineup.

Monday, July 07, 2014

America: The Film

I was asked about Dinesh D'Sousa's new film "America" at church yesterday, so I guess that means I'd better either see it or read up on it. Here is an article about it in the Christian Post.

I can't get away for much movie watching these days, and I'm pretty known for being a lover of Hollywood's "Golden Age" (1930-1955). America, of course, is a documentary and that puts it in a different class. However, it is being released at movie theaters. I'll probably wait until it's available on DVD.

Needless to say, the film is getting bashed pretty hard by the left, so it must pink them in some sensitive areas. Other reviews (such as the article I linked) say it's actually pretty even-handed, i.e. allowing the left to have their say and then Dinesh rebuts their views.

In one sense, I think it's probably good to have a reminder film like this out. Because I really do think we have a generation on the rise who "knew not Joseph." Is America perfect? Of course not. It's a nation in a fallen world run by fallen men. But given some other locations on the planet and their repressive regimes, I'd still rather be here than anywhere else. But we dare not take our freedom for granted, and it's already under great threat. If this film helps shine the light on that truth, all the better.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Trey Gowdy in the Pulpit

Today I was checking out what was up at The Christian Post's website, and stumbled across this article about Congressman Trey Gowdy. It put me in such a good mood that I had to share it here.

I imagine most people in the U.S. who watch the news channels mostly know Trey Gowdy for his sharp, prosecutorial style in confronting the ongoing abuse of power and official malfeasance in Washington. The left despises him, while the right loves him (for the most part). But in this message to Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, Trey hit the nail on the head. His message: "Don't look to politicians or politics as national saviors." There is only one Savior—the Lord Jesus Christ.

He also spoke about how Christians ought to conduct themselves in the public arena as well as public office. And honestly, any Christian truly living a Christian life and speaking forth Christian truth will never win popularity contests. Jesus said the world will hate us because it hated Him first. And yet, the love of God shown through us can win those in whom God is working through the power of the Holy Spirit. Love has to be shown in many forms, both in the gentle touch and as steel wrapped in velvet. Love is not rude, but love must tell the truth no matter how much it hurts.

I think Trey Gowdy loves his country and his Lord. I wish we had more public servants like him. And count on it—he has plenty of people baying for his head. Pray for him and his like-minded colleagues in goverment. They need it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Metastasis of Antinomianism?

Beyonce Knowles and Houston pastor Rudy Rasmus
It seems like many of my posts have dealt with entertainers and their impact on our culture. I guess when they pop up in the news a lot, it can't be helped.

More specifically, I tend to post about entertainers—whether they be actors, musicians, comedians, etc—when said entertainer has made vocal profession of their Christian faith, and then publicly behave in ways that call that faith into question. I wish it wasn't necessary, but it is.

I want you to read  this article about Beyonce Knowles and her longtime pastor Rudy Rasmus. When you are finished reading it, I think you'll have a pretty clear idea about what disturbs me the most on things like this. And yes, it is related to the subject of growing antinomianism within evangelical Christianity.

You can go down the list of young entertainers who have made public professions of their faith in Christ in media interviews. You can start with Justin Bieber, and go down the list to Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and other notables. All have drawn headlines with behavior that is not in comportment with their profession of Christianity. In many cases, the behavior has brought significant shame and reproach on the Lord.

When I've seen these stories surface, my first questions to myself are, "Where are their pastors? Where is their spiritual accountability?" (Leave parents out of it for the time being) If people are professed Christians, typically you will (or should) find them in a local fellowship of some kind for teaching, edification, fellowship, worship, and yes, accountability.

The Beyonce article quotes Pastor Rudy at some length in defense of Beyonce. She apparently does a lot of humanitarian-related giving, especially with the Houston Food Bank and the church. Laudable and commendable. But given the often explicit nature of Beyonce's stage performances and lyrics, it calls her overall spiritual health and condition into question. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." This goes beyond the "red letter" Bible verses. Indeed, let this verse stand out loud, clear, and bold:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Pastor Rudy is quoted as saying that people need to remember that Beyonce is an entertainer who entertains. But how that ties to her spiritual life, "I don't know." Oh, really? That's pretty foundational Christian teaching. If pastors, elders, and teachers of local congregations are not holding their people—and by that I mean professed believers in their fellowships—accountable in their behavior, it is little wonder that there are going to be behavior issues. To be sure, we as individual believers are also responsible before God as to how we live. We are responsible to be obedient to Him ourselves without needing someone to tell us to do it. We need to be obedient to the Word of God. The Bible is God's revelation to fallen man, and His marching orders to His people.

We are NOT saved by keeping commandments. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. But if we are truly saved and have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we will want to be obedient to the Lord out of love for Him. We will recognize that we are His ambassadors representing Him before a fallen world. Yet, antinomianism seems to be the flavor of the day again. It's been an issue throughout church history, and it surfaces yet again. Antinomians believe that since we are saved by grace, love is all that matters and our behavior really doesn't matter that much, with the exception of "love."

American Christians seem to have forgotten what biblical love is and means. I'll repeat the Lord Jesus' words - "If you love Me, keep My commandments." If we do not keep the Lord's commandments, we are not loving Him. If we are behaving and speaking in a way that leads people to think that sin is okay, we are not loving others as well as not loving God. OUR BEHAVIOR AND OUR SPEECH MATTERS.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul rhetorically asked, "Shall we sin that grace may abound?" His divinely inspired answer to the rhetorical question: "God forbid!" Other translations of Scripture say "May it never be!"

The last thing I'll say on this today is in anticipation of those who will call me judgmental and unloving. They love to throw "Judge not lest ye be judged" at people who raise issues like this. They throw that out there and have no understanding whatsoever of what constitutes proper biblical judgment and when it is appropriate. Jesus also said to "judge with righteous judgment." In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul also dealt with the issue of "judgment." Specifically, judging those "outside the church" and judging those "in the church." I'll post the whole passage so the context will be clear — a professed believer living a sinful lifestyle:

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). 

That's pretty plain, isn't it? Unbelievers will act like unbelievers, and our role toward them is to be ambassadors of God, faithful, loving witnesses to His truth, and faithful to share the Gospel, the hope of salvation. But God will deal with judging their hearts. But as to believers, we ARE to judge behavior when it flies in the face of what God has commanded in His Word. Sin among believers is to be confronted and dealt with. Church discipline is to be imposed—not for the sake of punishment, but rather to provoke repentance and restoration. 

That's the biblical truth. We are compelled to be obedient to it. When pastors, elders, and teachers fail in their duty to uphold this truth, we will be held accountable by God.