Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry and Blessed Christmas Everyone

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David... to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:68,74)

Random Thoughts

The weekend before Christmas. A time to start to unwind from a busy month. A time to reassert my gaze on Christ and the incredible miracle of His birth. This month has seemed busier than past Decembers but it was a good busy. Looking forward to a steak dinner tonight and seeing the family tomorrow. Thank you Lord.

So, due in part to the busyness, I feel like I am behind on a number of things I have been thinking about writing down. So this will be a quick overview and I may expand on things in later posts.

Do you wonder why you have heard less about Iraq in recent months? Well, that is because we are having success there and it just doesn't seem to be worth reporting as much as when we are facing escalating casualties and violence. The surge is working and we will soon start seeing some of our troops come home or be deployed elsewhere. Iraqi forces have formally taken security control of half the country. Military success is a function of persistence and courage...two qualities that many Americans no longer possess.

Archaeologists found the quarry that provided King Herod the stones he used to renovate the biblical Second Temple compound. Just more science backing up the Bible as fact unlike other "religious books"...right Joseph Smith?

77% of Americans support schools providing birth control. I guess in a society that no longer has a moral foundation this isn't surprising. I understand the safety aspect if kids are going to have sex anyway but I also can't shake the feeling that it is implicit encouragement to engage in whatever activities make them feel good regardless of physical, emotional or spiritual consequence.

Gunmen slaughtered 11 relatives, including 7 children, of an Iraqi journalist who was operating an electronic news Web site. Two thoughts: Evil is quite real and Americans are not the terrorists.

How far left has the Episcopal Church gone? So far left that an entire California diocese with more than 9,000 members was thinking of seceding over gay issues. When you get too liberal for California you should really begin to question the path you have taken. Still, out of 7,600 Episcopalian congregations, only 32 have left and another 23 have voted to leave. To those remaining...when your "church" no longer believes and follows the inerrant Word of God you are no longer going to church. You can't stay out of comfort or habit. Either be an agent of change on behalf of Christ or get the heck outta there asap.

Romney had a nice speech telling America that he believes Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind. Sounds good, right? Sounds like a Christian to most who were listening. Hey Mitt...do you believe in the virgin birth? Didn't think so. There goes the Bible and God's plan of salvation. Also, to be clear, faith in their version of Christ is not the determining factor for Mormons when it comes to salvation. It is only a necessary prerequisite, not the whole enchilada in stark contast to John 3:16.

I have nothing against Mormons. I have a burden on my heart for them and for anyone who is missing faith in the true Jesus Christ and is following doctrine that does not come from the one true God. So, speaking of Mormons, I was watching Glenn Beck a few months ago and he had a very interesting piece on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (I copied and pasted the name) and his belief in the Mahdi, which is the prophesied redeemer of Islam. It is roughly the Christian equivalent of Christ as they believe the Mahdi will come back to restore peace and order and just Islamic society ahead of the Day of the Resurrection. The exact nature of Mahdi varies among Sunni and Shi'a Muslims but Mahmoud believes very strongly that the time of his arrival is near. In fact, when Mahmoud took over as president of Iran, he publicly stated that he thought the Mahdi would return in 2-3 years. Well, we are there now. In fact, Mahmoud has traditionally ended his speeches with a plea for the return of Mahdi but at his talk at Columbia University he began his speech with a prayer for Mahdi to return. That is significant. The worst part is that he believes that he can quicken the return of Mahdi if the world is in chaos and turmoil. I think this offers trememdous insight into the thinking and actions of this man. He doesn't just talk about wiping Israel off the face of the map or prohibiting an Israeli/Palestinian treaty because he hates Jews. He is also motivated by his spiritual beliefs. Iranian soldiers and IEDs don't end up in Iraq just because he hates Americans but because he is trying to continually sow the seeds of death and discord. Keep all that in mind as we wait to see what he does next.