My Biblically based opinion on all things. Political, Social, Cultural, Spiritual, etc...
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." The Romans 15:4 Project
Mick Dobra

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mid-Week Devotional - Luke 1:15

Read: Luke 1:1-38

Scripture

Luke 1:15

for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. [a]” (NIV)
a. Or from his mother's womb

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord
and will never drink wine or beer.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit
while still in his mother's womb
.” (HCSB)


Observation

The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel are filled with the miracle of conception and birth.

This is the first mention of the Holy Spirit in Luke’s “carefully investigated” narrative (v. 1:3)


Application

I find it hard to accept any justification a brother or sister in Christ might have for condoning abortion when I read this verse and it’s context.

John, the angel Gabriel is talking about him before his conception, will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb!

And Jesus, again the angel Gabriel is talking about Him before His conception (v. 1:31), will be conceived by the Holy Spirit (v. 1:35), to be born as the sinless Son of God!

Life is precious beyond any worldly wealth before conception, let alone after.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, nothing is impossible for you! Life, conception, and birth are truly precious miracles. I pray you would open the eyes of the lost and keep me humble before your throne. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray – Amen.

More Devotionals


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What IS the meaning of IS? Speaking Truthfully

21st Century 'NewSpeak'

What is so wrong with speaking plainly and truthfully?

“Hillary Fibs in Iowa About Ethanol, Voted Against It” (NewsMax.com)

Why can’t they just “Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37).

I guess it all just depends on what the meaning of “is” is (Noah). :-)

Members of the body of Christ should hold each other to a higher standard and not be afraid to call each other out when we are being less than truthful.

“If you doubt the power of 21st century newspeak, remember the immigration debate. It is all about 'criminalizing' 'illegal' behavior.
Or something. I have to check my dictionary again” (Kinsella).

So, ‘illegal’ no longer means breaking the law, it simply means ‘undocumented’. But what exactly does ‘undocumented’ mean? Does it simply mean they forgot to stop by the court house and grab their documents?

So, were the para-military persons that stormed the National Guard outpost on the border ‘undocumented’, ‘illegal’, ‘military’, or ‘criminal’? How about all of the above and how about American politicians growing a spine and standing against lawlessness, anarchy, and chaos at our border!

“a gunmen carrying an automatic rifle came within 15 meters of one soldier. . . ‘Had that undocumented (immigrant) pointed his weapon at our soldier. . .’” (AP).

Undocumented (immigrant) pointing an automatic rifle at a U.S. National Guard member on American soil!!! Undocumented (immigrant)??? What kind of double speak Politically Correct world are we living in? I fear it is a “Brave New World”!

Two personal insights:

One, I have a close family member who was addicted to drugs. He stole from his own family, his wife and three children, to pay for his drug habit. Praise God he has recovered! Why aren’t we shooting drug smugglers and their para-military support troops when they try and bring drugs into America?

Yes, I called the undocumented (immigrant) that was carrying an automatic rifle a Para-Military Support Troop! It IS what it IS!

Two, I have ancestors who immigrated to America. They stood in line, obeyed the law, and vowed to be American Citizens, to uphold the United States Constitution and its principles. Why are we not enforcing the law?

And in closing, why do we vote based on a persons ‘popularity’ and ‘star power’ instead of their character values? Why don’t we more closely investigate to make sure a politician’s “smooth talk and flattering words” align with their voting record? (Dobra) Especially if they claim to be a disciple of Christ! (Rusty. “Operation Rescue labels Obama ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’”)

Just wondering.

Works Cited:

AP. “National Guard General: Gunmen Likely Came Across U.S. Border Troops by Chance”. Associated Press via FoxNews.com. Posted: January 30, 2007: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,248578,00.html

Dobra, Mick. “Mid-Week Devotional – Romans 16:17”. Romans 15:4 Project. Posted: January 23, 2007: http://mdcyguy.blogspot.com/2007/01/mid-week-devotional-romans-1617.html

Kinsella, Jack. “21st Century ‘NewSpeak’: ‘Criminalizing’ Illegals”. Omega Letter. Posted: May 15, 2006: http://www.omegaletter.com/articles.asp?ArticleID=5914

NewsMax.com. “Hillary Fibs in Iowa About Ethanol, Voted Against It”. NewsMax.com. Posted: January 29, 2007: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/1/29/145402.shtml?s=ic

Noah, Timothy. “Bill Clinton and the Meaning of “Is””. Slate. Posted: September 13, 1998: http://www.slate.com/id/1000162/

Pugh, Rusty. “Operation Rescue labels Obama ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’”. OneNewsNow.com. Posted: January 23, 2007: http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/01/operation_rescue_says_obama_is.php


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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Weekly ReCap - 01-26-2007

Valiant warriors, deception, border security, and disaster preparedness. . .

Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) When we are secure in Him, nothing can touch us, not even death.

Eternity awaits!
  • Stories of Valiant Warriors
    Let's remember the heroes of our time. "Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades" Heroes fight to save life and liberty, terrorists fight to kill life and liberty!
    Read more. . .

  • Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 16:17
    How will you know if someone is deceiving you? . . . It will save you from being led into a false “religion” of men (one of my early fears as a young Christian).
    Read more. . .

  • Border Hypocrisy
    I would have to say that Mrs. Ramos’ emotional response to the President’s seemingly non-existent concern for border security and lawfulness is well deserved. ""I have to show my children their father in prison in chains and I have to explain to them that the president of the United States is a liar.""
    Read more. . .

  • "24" Nuclear Reaction
    Could it happen? “24” did the unthinkable; they portrayed a suitcase Nuke going off in America. I picked out some simple lessons to consider for any disaster response planning. I share them with you here and provide a couple resources that I have developed for my family.
    Read more. . .
What an adventure! It's hard to think of it that way sometimes. We can get so caught up in our "lives" that we don't really LIVE! What is your part in the story?

I pray you have a wonderful weekend, and that God will give you visions of your part in this great adventure!


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“24” Nuclear Reaction

Could it happen? “24” did the unthinkable; they portrayed a suitcase Nuke going off in America.

The liberal left and liberal media are calling it right wing warmongering. . . I guess they missed the story about the Russian man and three Georgian accomplices being held for smuggling and attempting to sell nuclear-bomb grade uranium last summer. (AP)

Any way, the truth is it could happen. No need to live in fear though, a natural disaster or industrial accident can happen any time. Although a Nuclear device would be much more devastating.

Below is an excerpt from a great blog post by Rick Moran on Family Security Matters. I picked out some simple lessons to consider for any disaster response planning. I share them with you here and provide a couple resources that I have developed for my family. I would encourage you to read the excerpt below, and even the full article to understand just how devastating it would be!

Nuclear Reaction!
1) Be prepared, have a family plan for disaster of any type.
2) Prepare an alternate route away from danger.
3) Be prepared to defend and protect your family while giving aid to those in need.
4) Be prepared to live as a pilgrim for an extended time.
And most importantly, always trust in God's provision!

Keep these on your fridge, in your family documents safe or firebox, and keep a copy in your family’s Grab and Go emergency kit:
- Emergency Family Communications List
- Emergency Family Transportation (Evacuation) Plan

Visit the DiRT Store! Emergency, First Aid, Disaster Response supplies and more!

For more disaster planning information, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s http://www.ready.gov/

Excerpted from: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/24.php
Aftermath
10:00 am to 11:00 am

What would it be like? Take the worst parts of the Bible and multiply by a factor of ten. First responders in the blast zone would be dead and it would be impossible for others to reach the injured due to high levels of radiation. Communications would be down over a wide area. Electricity, water, gas, would all be disrupted for dozens of square miles outside the blast area. The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would knock out car ignition systems, computers, and all electronic devices within the line of sight of the blast (horizon to horizon).

The resulting panic (which was hinted at in last night’s episode but looked to be extraordinarily mild compared to what would really happen) would overwhelm the transportation systems in the vicinity of the blast area. Roads would clog with cars filled with desperate, frightened people trying to escape the fallout. Law and order would break down and it would be survival of the fittest. With traffic not moving, people will abandon their cars and move away from ground zero on foot. First by the thousands, then the tens of thousands until, depending on here the blast occurs, as many as a quarter of a million people could become refugees, overwhelming the government’s ability to take care of them or stop them for that matter.

These refugees will flow through smaller towns and villages in their path like locusts, stripping each town bare of food, weapons, and any other items useful to survival. Gun battles would break out in the streets as residents fought for their lives and possessions. The refugees would likely organize themselves into gangs for protection and to acquire food, fuel, and the necessities of life. (Moran)


Works Cited:

AP. “U.S., Georgian Officials Last Summer Arrested Man Selling Bomb-Grade Uranium”. Associated Press via FoxNews.com. Posted: January 25, 2007: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,246581,00.html

Moran, Rick. "Aftermath: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM". Family Security Matters, "24" blog. Visited: January 23, 2007: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/24.php



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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Border Hypocrisy

“Monica Ramos, the wife of one of two U.S. Border Patrol agents imprisoned last week for wounding an escaping drug smuggler, attended the State of the Union speech in person last night. . . ‘How could President Bush say that he wanted to secure our borders and that he would double the size of the Border Patrol when my husband is in prison,’ she asked WND. ‘Ignacio was trying to secure our border from drug smugglers. And what do we get? I have to show my children their father in prison in chains and I have to explain to them that the president of the United States is a liar.’” (Corsi)

I would have to say that Mrs. Ramos’ emotional response to the President’s seemingly non-existent concern for border security and lawfulness is well deserved.

The President said, “When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country.” Sorry Mr. President, but the United States of America just gave a Mexican drug smuggler immunity so it could prosecute the Border Patrol Agents that tried to stop him. There really is something fundamentally wrong and hypocritical with this situation!

Here is the latest from Steve Elliot and the grassfire.net team:

Just when I thought the Ramos/Compean case could not possibly get more bizarre...

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, charges that the two agents were charged under a statue that did not apply to the facts of the case.

But that's not all. Grassfire has also learned that Ignacio Ramos is being held in solitary confinement in a 6 foot by 12 foot cell.

[I urge you] to take action by signing our "Pardon the Agents" petition by clicking here: http://www.grassfire.org/142/petition.asp?PID=11674462

Thank you for standing with us on behalf of agents Ramos and Compean.

Steve Elliott,President
Grassfire.org Alliance

Sign this petition today!!
http://www.grassfire.org/142/petition.asp?PID=11674462

Related Posts:

- U. S. National Guard Attacked at Mexican Border

- Mexican Drug Dealer has more rights than U. S. Border Patrol Agents!

- North American Union



Works Cited:

Corsi, Jerome. “Imprisoned agent’s wife: President is a hypocrite: Calls State of the Union speech ‘total sellout of the United States of America to Mexico’”. WorldNetDaily. Posted: January 24, 2007: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53918

President George W. Bush. “State of the Union Address (As Prepared for Delivery)”. January 23, 2007.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 16:17

Read: Romans 15:14 – 16:27

Scripture

Romans 16:17

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (NIV)

Now I implore you, brothers, watch out for those who cause dissensions and pitfalls contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them;” (HCSB)


Observation

Strong words from Paul, “I implore you”. Watch out for people that cause disagreement and traps that are in contrast with the teachings of Scripture.


Application

It is sad, but true, that there are agents out there that would use the name of our King for personal gain (v. 16:18). How will you know if someone is deceiving you? How can you protect against “smooth talk and flattering words”? (v. 16:18)

Read your Bible! Memorize it, meditate on it, and discuss it. Then you will not be caught unsuspecting. It will save you from being led into a false “religion” of men (one of my early fears as a young Christian).


Prayer

Heavenly Father, Your Word is so awesome! Thank you for keeping it whole and thank you for making it available to all. I pray you would keep me wise in Your Word and protected from deceit. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray – Amen.


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Stories of Valiant Warriors

Let's remember the heroes of our time.

Valor: courage, especially that shown in war or battle.

Courage: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.

Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades
CORONADO, Calif. - A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began. (AP)
God bless Petty Officer Monsoor. I pray he has a place among the “brave warriors” in eternity.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“. . . They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains.” (1 Chronicles 12:8)

Heroes fight to save life and liberty, terrorists fight to kill life and liberty!

Click Here and Help give our heroes a place in eternity!

Click Here for Patriotic Flash presentation (high speed connection recommended)!

““The cowardly terrorists we battle will not stand up and fight our military like the valiant warriors they purport to be. They not only hide behind women and children, they fire upon us from mosques and then, when that fire is rightly returned, they scream to the media that we desecrated their “holy sites”” (Taylor).


Works Cited:

AP. “Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades”. Associated Press via Military.com. Posted: October 14, 2006.

Taylor, Mark R. “Unleash Our Warriors While There Is Still Time”. Family Security Matters. Posted: January 4, 2007.

Walsh, Declan. “Strapped to Apaches and dodging fire, how troops recovered fallen comrade”. Guardian Unlimited. Posted: January 17, 2007.


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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Weekly ReCap 01-19-2007

Roller Coaster of a week for me. My mind has been going crazy with ideas! Unfortunately, it's too fast and too much. I'm losing ground in some areas while gaining in others. I may need some down time.

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35)
  • Religious Freedom Day
    Passing along a message from Gateways to Better Education. Three Ways to Use the President's Proclamation.
    Read more. . .

  • Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 14:17
    Our trivial differences are not what the kingdom of God is about. God is not about the type of building we are in or the type of service we have. Instead, it is found in the Holy Spirit.
    Read more. . .

  • Peoria's Home Grown Terrorist Ties
    Imam (Muslim cleric or preacher) preaching hate in the UK that used to be the Imam at the Islamic Center of Peoria.
    Read more. . .

  • Coal and Cows - Should EPA Regulate Cow Emissions?
    This is just way too funny!!! I had to share.
    Read more. . .

  • Fear and Doubt
    What if we never followed through on our dreams because of fear and doubt? It never fails that as soon as I take that step of faith to get out of the boat, the fear and doubt start attacking.
    Read more. . .

I pray you have big dreams this weekend!


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Fear and Doubt

I’ve had a ministry idea I’ve been praying about for over a year. I finally had some focused plans and sent the idea out to a few friends and spiritual mentors to probe the possibilities.

It never fails that as soon as I take that step of faith to get out of the boat, the fear and doubt start attacking. “Did I do the right thing?” “Am I being biblically sound?” “What if I get rejected?” I wonder if this is what Peter felt as he started walking on the water toward our King (Matthew 14:25-33).

This time, I’ve learned to go back to my heart. What was my motivation? It was to serve the glory of God’s kingdom not my own! So what do I have to fear? If there is any thing that would bring dishonor to the Kingdom, my friends and mentors will gently point it out and the doors will close without incident. On the other hand, if it is right and I follow through, how great the joy will be to see God’s kingdom advanced! But what if we never followed through on our dreams because of fear and doubt?

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"” (Matthew 14:31)

I’m learning to listen to the voice of truth! “. . . be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

“Most people live life like they are more afraid of living than they are of dying” (Daubenmire).

Casting Crowns:

Oh what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone. Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor, wishing they'd have had the strength to stand.

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me. Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The giant keeps on telling me time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win! You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory." Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.



Works Cited:

Casting Crowns, Casting Crowns CD, “Voice of Truth”.

Daubenmire, Coach Dave. “What Are You Afraid Of?”. Pass the Salt Ministries. Visited: January 18, 2007: http://www.ptsalt.com/commentary/what_are_you_afraid_of


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Coal and Cows - Should EPA Regulate Cow Emissions?

This is just way too funny!!! I had to share. God bless you, Gary.

From Gary Bauer's End of Day Report, Jan. 17, 2007:
While liberals in Congress are doing all they can to increase your pain at the pump, radical environmentalists are trying to shut down another vital energy source: coal. The United States is the world’s leading coal producer, but a coalition of environmental groups is pressuring banks to reject loans for projects that use coal because of “global warming.” The coalition says it has secured commitments from more than a dozen banks in the last few weeks to end their support of coal-fired electric plants.

Meanwhile, the “science” in this debate still remains suspect. A new United Nations report cites something else as a leading global warming culprit: cows. That’s right, my friends. According to a 400-page report by the United Nations Food and agriculture Organization called “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” Apparently, cows give off methane when they chew their cud and belch, and nitrous oxide and ammonia when they leave manure on the ground. Methane, by the way, is “23 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas” than auto emissions. I’m sure you can see where this is heading – either the government will regulate bovine emissions or we must all become vegetarians.

Oh man! I got a good chuckle out of that.


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Peoria’s Own Home Grown Terrorist Ties

[Posted: 1/17/2007 - Upated: 1/18/2007]

New Update, 5/1/2009, Ali al-Mari pleads guilty!

“American-Born Imam Spews Message of Hate in England”, FoxNews.com reports.

I remember reading about the Bradley University student arrested for terror ties in 2001, but there is a Imam (Muslim cleric or preacher) preaching hate in the UK that used to be the Imam at the Islamic Center of Peoria.

Abu Usamah, who was born in New Jersey and is 42 or 43 years old, was the imam in Peoria when federal agents swooped down in December 2001 and arrested Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari student at Bradley University, on charges that he used false documents to open bank accounts and was in possession of a telephone credit card used to call a number in Dubai that federal agents said was linked to reputed Al Qaeda financier and Sept. 11 organizer Mustafa al-Hawsawi. (Kindel)
The Bradley student “remains in custody and is awaiting trial by a military tribunal as an enemy combatant. Among the evidence reportedly seized by federal agents was Al-Marri's computer, which contained a folder labeled "jihad arena." According to court documents, the folder contained information on hydrogen cyanide, used in chemical weapons, and the teachings of Usama Bin Laden.” (Kindel)

The Imam, “Abu Usamah, in the days immediately after Sept. 11, asked Peoria residents not to judge the Muslim community by the actions of the terrorists who carried out the attack and thanked the local Christian community for its support.” But is now preaching, “the creation of a ‘total Islamic state’ that advocates harsh punishments for non-believers. ‘Whoever changes his religion from Islam,’ he declares, ‘kill him, in the Islamic state.’” (Kindel)

Yes, the religion of peace, as Imam At-Thahabi explains, "Muslims shouldn't be satisfied in living in other than the total Islamic state. . . Take the homosexual man and throw him off the mountain" (qtd. in Miller). And, according to the Koran it is ok to lie to “kuffar” (a derogatory term for non-Muslims).

The JihadWatch.org website, however, asked: "How can we be sure he will be telling the truth if he swears on the Quran? The Quran tells Muslims that they may utter unbelief if 'under compulsion.'"

The website cited the Quran, verse 16:106: "Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty."” (WND)
Makes the conflict a little more real when it has ties so close to home.

At the risk of sounding politically correct, I will caution, do not to associate guilt with the Islamic Center of Peoria because of this, but do be vigilant, do not be lulled into a false sense of “it won’t happen here”! Share truth and love with our community’s Muslims that they may see the true saving grace of Jesus Christ versus the hatred and death of the Koran.

Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)


Works Cited:

Dobra, Mick. “Why Protest the Use of the Koran?”. Romans 15:4 Project. Posted: 12/11/2006:

Kindel, George. “American-Born Imam Spews Message of Hate in England”. FoxNews.com. Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2007:

Miller, Michael. "Former Peoria Muslim leader changes his tune". Peoria Journal Star. Peoria Il. Thursday January 18, 2007, page A3.

WND. “Quran for courtroom oaths gets green light: Lawsuit by ACLU, Muslim woman seeks use of Muslim holy book”. WorldNetDaily Exclusive. Posted: January 16, 2007:


Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11


Bookstore Resources:

Voices Behind the Veil “. . . the real experience of Muslim women at every stage of life: as children, wives, mothers, sisters and religious adherents. This work documents Muslim attitudes toward women, such as ‘genetic inferiority,’ and presents Christ as their Savior.”

Infidel “. . . circumcised as a child, educated by radical imams, really could have led to a wretched life, but she escaped and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women.”

The politically incorrect guide to Islam and the crusades “. . . the reader is taken into a courageous investigation of Islam.

Because they hate "A compelling and captivating personal story with a powerful lesson about threats to freedom in our time."--R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence, 1993-95

More on Islam. . .



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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 14:17

Read: Romans 14:1 – 15:13

Scripture

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (NIV)

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (HCSB)


Observation

Our trivial differences are not what the kingdom of God is about. God is not about what we eat or drink, or in contemporary terms, God is not about the type of building we are in or the type of service we have. Instead, it is found in the Holy Spirit.


Application

God’s kingdom is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Be righteous by placing your faith in Jesus Christ alone and not in your own accomplishments (Romans 3:22). Show your faith by resisting temptation to sin (Romans 6:12-18). Be at peace, complete and whole in God’s faithfulness. And be joyful for our freedom from sins bondage and our membership in the kingdom of God.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, King of all kings, thank you for extending the invitation into your kingdom to all people, including me. I pray you will keep me focused on the true things of your kingdom and keep me from getting distracted by the trivial things of this world. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray – Amen.


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Monday, January 15, 2007

Religious Freedom Day

Passing along a message from Gateways to Better Education

1/11/2007, President Bush issued his 2007 proclamation for Religious Freedom Day (see below for link).

Three Ways to Use the President's Proclamation:

1. This Sunday, January 14th, be sure every student (K-12) and parent involved in your church's Sunday school program receives a copy of the Proclamation and "Free to Speak" handout--Gateways' summary of students' religious liberties.

2. As a family discussion, read the Proclamation and "Free to Speak" handout to your own children to be sure they understand the freedom they have at school.

3. As a teacher, prepare to spend a few minutes on Tuesday, January 16th, to distribute the Proclamation and "Free to Speak" handout to your students. Discuss their religious freedom at school and let them know that your classroom is a safe place to express their religious beliefs in assignments and discussions.

CLICK HERE to read the President's Proclamation and "Free to Speak" handout.

Together, we can let freedom ring in our schools!

Yours for Keeping the Faith in Public Schools,
Eric Buehrer
Gateways to Better Education

Gateways To Better Education http://www.gtbe.org/


Works Cited:

Mackay, Maria. “Government Must Protect Right of Christians to Live by their Faith”. Christian Today. Posted: January 11, 2007: christiantoday.com


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Friday, January 12, 2007

Weekly ReCap - 01-12-2007

Busy week. Some events I started writing about were pressed into service early due to time constraints, so I had to set aside some scheduled posts.

What an adventure! Psalm 45:
3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.

4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness;
let your right hand display awesome deeds.

5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.

6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
  • Thomas Jefferson's Koran - "to the shores of Tripoli"
    A history lesson for Senator Ellison. Thomas Jefferson was serving as America’s minister to France at a time when “As many as a million and a quarter Europeans had been enslaved by Muslims operating out of North Africa.”
    Read More. . .

  • U. S. National Guard Attacked at Mexican Border
    What are we doing? How can we ever expect to get illegal immigration, terrorists, and drug and human smuggling under control if we don’t take border security seriously?
    Read more. . .

  • Cut and Run - "to the shores of Tripoli"
    A history lesson for Liberal, Cut and Run, Democrats. There are two more important lessons. 1) we can work with moderate Muslims as allies, and 2) we should not abandon those allies!
    Read more. . .

  • Religious Freedom Day - Modern Paradox
    We are approaching a day set aside to celebrate the freedom of religion we have here in America. Let us remember our brothers and sisters that are elsewhere in God’s Kingdom, who are being persecuted.
    Read more. . .

Adventurous times! I pray you have a wonderful weekend.


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Religious Freedom Day – Modern Paradox

We are approaching a day set aside to celebrate the freedom of religion we have here in America. ReligiousFreedomDay.com gives the details and promotes this January 16th celebration, the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.

In last year’s proclamation, President Bush mentions the work to “advance freedom of religion abroad.” Unfortunately, we have a lot of work to do.

For example, in India, a new law is passed “which bans ‘forced’ religious conversions. Under the legislation, any person or persons found to ‘force’ or ‘induce’ someone to change his or her religion could be liable for punishment” (qtd. in Harp). This is the same region that is known for beating and persecuting Christians. And in general, when an individual converts from Islam to Christianity, the Koran says that he should be murdered. This is not religious freedom.

We must stay diligent, for we may lose our freedoms so subtly that we may not know it until its too late. As Stacy mentions,
These concerns are very warranted given how people tend to either read into language or their belief that Christians should not have a voice. In America there is talk of new hate crimes laws that have the potential to silence Christians in America who take the bible literally, especially concerning issues like homosexuality. The difference between India and America is that America has a large Christian population and India doesn't. (Harp)
As we celebrate our freedoms here in America, let us remember our brothers and sisters that are elsewhere in God’s Kingdom, who are being persecuted. Let’s pray that they are comforted in the eternal freedom found only in our Savior, Jesus Christ!

There is a great paradox surrounding religious freedom in America today. On the one hand, everyone is free to practice and worship as they see fit (within ethical and legal limits). But, on the other hand, one religion that is pressing for more and more acceptance is Islam, which has a record of extreme intolerance over its entire history, and is still the purveyor of hatred and persecution even today.

There seems to be two Islams, the moderate and the extreme, but telling them apart is nearly impossible until it’s too late (Schwartz). Pray for an answer and stand strong against the dark oppression. Reach out and treat members of Islam with love and respect, but do not tolerate the fascism. It is our witness, our actions that speak of our heart. As Andy Selepak explains about a recent incident, “It was their actions, not their race or religion. . .” The good news is that many Muslims are leaving the death and oppression of the Koran for the true saving grace of Jesus Christ (Swank).

Stay diligent to proclaim the Gospel without shame, and fight to remain free, for those who do not fight for their freedoms will lose them.


Works Cited:

Bush, President G. W.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060113-9.html

Dobra, Mick. “The Reality of the Narnia Fantasy”. http://mdcyguy.blogspot.com/2006/02/reality-of-narnia-fantasy.html

Harp, Stacy. “Fears of Christian Persecution Rise in India”. Persecution Blog. Posted: January 2, 2007: http://www.persecutionblog.com/2007/01/fears_of_christ.html

ReligiousFreedomDay.com. http://www.religiousfreedomday.com/

Selepak, Andy. “Better Safe than Sorry”. Family Security Matters. Posted: January 3, 2007: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/challenges.php?id=558110

Schwartz, Stephen. “Hardliners in Costume as Moderate Muslims”. Family Security Matters. Posted: January 3, 2007: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/homeland.php?id=556811

Swank, J. Grant Jr. “Muslims Turn to Christ”. The American Daily. Posted: 01/03/07: http://www.americandaily.com/article/17053


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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Special Update - 1-9-2007

I'm issuing this special update for two reasons.

1) Tomorrow (Jan. 10, 2007) Grassfire will be inWashington, D.C. to present more than 200,000 petitions at a national press conference for border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. This could be the last opportunity to make a plea for these agents who are scheduled to begin their decade long prison terms on January 17!
Please read "U. S. National Guard Attacked at Mexican Border" and sign the petition today!

2) Tomorrow President Bush is planned to announce his Iraq plan.
Please read "Thomas Jefferson's Koran - 'To the shores of Tripoli'" and "Cut and Run - 'to the shores of Tripoli'" for some historical perspective!

Thank you and God bless.


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Cut and Run – “to the shores of Tripoli”

A history lesson for Liberal, Cut and Run, Democrats.

Earlier we learned about the American battle against the Islamic Terrorists of the Barbary Coast in the 1800s.

There are two more important lessons. 1) we can work with moderate Muslims as allies, and 2) we should not abandon those allies!

After a month of defensive fighting to keep the fort at Derna, where the first American Flag was raised on foreign soil, “the USS Constellation arrived with news that the United States had signed a peace treaty with the Pasha in Tripoli. [General] Eaton was ordered to evacuate with his Christian forces, Hamet, and a handful of the former pasha's retainers. The rest of Eaton's army was to be abandoned” (Seitz).

“The news was a crippling blow to Hamet, whose long-held mistrust of American intentions was confirmed.” Hamet was our Arab ally. General Eaton was now being told to abandon him. “Eaton protested that his orders went against his sense of "duty or decency”,” but following orders, they snuck out of town in the middle of the night. “Most of those who remained in Derna either fled or were later massacred by a vengeful Pasha.”

We should not abandon the new democratic Iraqi government! Instead, why not eliminate our common enemy? Why give the enemy fertile territory to regroup and grow stronger? What ever the plan is, it should not be “Cut and Run” abandonment!

As Gary Bauer says, “The only people who want to see America run from the Middle East are Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the “blame America first” crowd on the radical Left.”

Think about the justice that has been served and the freedoms granted to the Iraqi people. All could be undone if we retreat now. Should we face down our enemy now, or save the battle for our children? As Mark Taylor says, “unless we change the way we are fighting the Islamic insurgent enemy, our children are destined to battle the same enemy twenty years from now. The only difference is that, twenty years hence, he will be stronger, wealthier and better organized and equipped. God save our kids.”

This is a different, uglier war. “The cowardly terrorists we battle will not stand up and fight our military like the valiant warriors they purport to be. They not only hide behind women and children, they fire upon us from mosques and then, when that fire is rightly returned, they scream to the media that we desecrated their “holy sites”. Never mind that Islamist insurgents destroy Christian churches in Iraq. After all, they are only churches. But our soldiers absolutely cannot destroy a mosque even if it means saving American lives to do so” (Taylor).

It is a difficult balance to keep the moral high ground while fighting an enemy that has no moral value. This is another reason to stay along side our Iraqi allies and see this conflict through, so that they can see the virtues of freedom and democracy, and so that justice may be dispensed on those that would bring death, hatred, and oppression to Iraq and eventually our homes. (Romans 13:4)

I pray our President has the courage and foresight to see this conflict through. I pray that the American public at large has the moral courage to support him. And I pray for peace and freedom for the Iraqi people.



Works cited:

Bauer, Gary. “Surge or Surrender?”. American Values. End of Day Report. Emailed: 1/8/07. http://www.ouramericanvalues.org/

Seitz, Barr. “Barbary Glory, Barbary Shame”. About.com Military History. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/ustripolitanwar/a/barbaryglory_2.htm

Taylor, Mark R. “Unleash Our Warriors While There Is Still Time”. Family Security Matters. Posted: January 4, 2007: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/homeland.php?id=559851



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Monday, January 08, 2007

U. S. National Guard Attacked at Mexican Border

Special Update, 1/16/2007

Border Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are just 24 hours from reporting to federal prison to serve 11 and 12 years for their attempt to apprehend an illegal alien drug smuggler.

Would you take up their cause again today and make yet another round of phone calls?

Here is a list of calls:

The White House: 202-456-1414

Justice Department: 202-514-2001

Illinois Sen. Durbin (202)224-2152

Illinois Sen. Obama (202) 224-2854

For photos from our delivery, my interview with Agent Ramos and other resources, go here:

http://www.grassfire.net/r.asp?u=1272&rid=11674462

By the way, we've added another 25,000 petition signers since our delivery to Congress just a few days ago! Citizen outrage continues to build. If you have friends who want to take action,
urge them to sign the petition here:

http://www.grassfire.org/142/petition.asp?PID=11674462


National Guard troops at an observation post near the Mexico border were forced to flee a group of armed people, who later ran into Mexico, authorities said” (AP)

What are we doing? How can we ever expect to get illegal immigration, terrorists, and drug and human smuggling under control if we don’t take border security seriously?

This is not an isolated incident! “The Daily Bulletin first published Department of Homeland Security documents and maps from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy in January, showing 226 Mexican military incursions into the United States since 1996” (Carter).

Public Officials and Lawmakers have been warned! “‘The bureaucrats don't understand what a dangerous game they are playing with American lives if they don't do something to fix the situation at the border,’ said Michael Cutler, a former special agent with Immigration and Naturalization Services, who testified before the 9-11 Commission” (Carter).

First, build the border fence! At least funnel the flow of trafficking into controllable areas.

Second, let law enforcement actually enforce the law and protect American Citizens while supporting and encouraging LEGAL immigration (assimilation not amnesty!).

Third, you can help take a stand right now by signing the petition for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean:
In less than 10 days U.S. Border Agent’s Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are going to prison for doing their jobs!

In just a few days, Ron De Jong and I expect to be in Washington, D.C., to take part in another rally for these agents--one that I hope will lead to a march on the White House, and I want to take 250,000 petitions with me!
If you have not yet heard their story, follow [ this link ] to get full details.

Follow [ this link ] to sign the petition today!
http://www.grassfire.org/142/petition.asp?PID=11674462

Love the aliens among us, yes, but we tolerate lawlessness at our own peril.

Works Cited:

AP. “Gunman Attack National Guard Border Patrol Site in Arizona”. Foxnews.com. Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,241783,00.html

Carter, Sara. “Links between illegal immigration, terrorism, drug trade worry U. S. officials” DailyBulletin.com. Posted: 12/29/2006: http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4917114

Dobra, Mick. “Mexican Drug Dealer has more rights than U. S. Border Patrol Agents!”. Romans 15:4 Project. Posted: 12/11/2006: http://mdcyguy.blogspot.com/2006/12/mexican-drug-dealer-has-more-rights.html



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Thomas Jefferson’s Koran – “to the shores of Tripoli”

A history lesson for Senator Ellison.

“The [Arab] Ambassador [speaking to Thomas Jefferson] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners” (qtd. in FSM Editors).

Thomas Jefferson was serving as America’s minister to France at a time when “As many as a million and a quarter Europeans had been enslaved by Muslims operating out of North Africa.”

Jefferson’s willingness to fight against the Muslim terrorists of Tripoli and the Barbary Coast gave America wonderful tales of Naval and Marine Core heroism and courage. “Outnumbered 10 to 1, [General William] Eaton and his men sent the defenders flying. After bitter street fighting, the Marines secured the fort. Lt. O'Bannon raised the American flag to the cheers of the sailors aboard the U.S. ships, witnesses to the first time the Stars and Stripes was ever raised in victory on foreign soil” (Seitz).

There is a positive lesson and a stark warning for our liberal “cut and run” leaders from this conflict as well. See Part 2!

God bless America!

“From this stunning victory, the Marine hymn takes the line “to the shores of Tripoli” and their officers still wear Mameluke swords shaped like Arab scimitars. Stephen Decatur added to his reputation by offering this famous toast: “Our Country: In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country right or wrong!”” (qtd. in FSM Editors)

U. S. Marine’s Hymn

From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli' ,
We fight our country’s battles
In the air', on land, and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marines.

Our flags unfurl'd to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun';
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job –
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever gaze on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

http://www.uspharmd.com/usmc/mchymn.htm

"Semper Fidelis" Latin for always faithful. Faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps.


Works cited:

FSM Editors. “Muslim-Elect Exploits Jefferson’s Ownership of Koran”. Family Security Matters. Posted: January 4, 2007: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/challenges.php?id=562260

Seitz, Barr. “Barbary Glory, Barbary Shame”. About.com Military History. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/ustripolitanwar/a/barbaryglory_2.htm



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Friday, January 05, 2007

Weekly ReCap - 01-05-2007

Happy New Year and Happy Friday!

I'm going to cover the last couple weeks since I slowed down during the Christmas and New Years season. Some final posts of 2006, our Vision for 2007, and off to a roaring start!

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?” - Thomas Jefferson
  • FCA Year End Update
    As you know, my family and I support our local Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry. I wanted to take a moment to pass along Cole’s year end update. God is working through this ministry to strengthen and build His kingdom in our community!
    Read more. . .

  • Romans 15:4 Project 2007 Vision
    The battle lines are being drawn.
    Read more. . .

  • Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 12-13
    Do not conform! Do not go along with the crowd just because everyone else is. Instead, think for yourself as a child of God.
    Read more. . .

  • Prayer Team: Unity of the Saints
    As we begin the new year, and as the first Prayer Team item, I would like to pray for Unity of the Saints.
    Read more. . .

  • The 2008 Beijing China Olympics
    Imprisonment, confessions through torture, and secret executions, is this really the place we need to host the Olympics?
    Read more. . .

I pray you have a wonderful weekend. Let's stand strong for justice and virtue this year. Let's uphold the American Values that have made us such a great nation. God bless.

"The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion
." (Proverbs 28:1)


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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The 2008 Beijing China Olympics

Imprisonment, confessions through torture, and secret executions, is this really the place we need to host the Olympics?

The families were not even told that a verdict had been handed out. They didn’t know these men were executed until they got the notice to come collect the ashes!

“China Aid Association (CAA) reports that the wife of Mr Li Maoxing was asked to collect his ashes at 2.30 pm Chinese time on 28 November” (Gold).

Some believe “The local government is clearly engaging to cover-up the evidence of torture by secret(ly) cremating the inmates’ bodies,’ Fu, a former Communist Party researcher-turned-evangelical preacher, said in a statement” (Khaleej).

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More arrests were made over this Christmas season. “A house church in Beijing has been raided over the Christmas period, in efforts by local authorities to halt any worship or services over the season” (Gold). No reason has been given for the arrests.

Pray for the Saints in China.

Related Posts:

True Evil Oppressors of Our Day

Is the IRS Squelching the Rebel Leaders?

March of the White Witch

Works Cited:

Gold, Jennifer. “House Churches in China Face Persecution Over Christmas”. Christian Today. Posted: Friday, December 29, 2006: christiantoday.com

Gold, Jennifer. “International Community in Shock as China ‘Secretly’ Executes Religious Leaders”. Christian Today. Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006: christiantoday.com

Khaleej Times. “Chinese court secretly executes Christian sect leader and 11 others”. Posted 29 November 2006: khaleejtimes.com


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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Prayer Team: Unity of the Saints

Unity

As we begin the new year, and as the first Prayer Team item, I would like to pray for Unity of the Saints.

The first and second century Church leaders laid the ground work of Christian essentials in the hopes of unity. Their efforts directly and indirectly resulted in the Nicene Creed in 325 AD. Whenever a danger of persecution or heresy (false teaching) arose against the Church, these early “apostolic fathers” would champion the cause of Scripture and Unity.


Devotion

Paul, in his letter to the Romans chapter 14 and 15, addresses divisive issues among the Christians in Rome and in chapter fifteen he lays a foundation on Christ as our example and scripture as our instruction to strike a balance between liberty and legalism so that we may all be heard as one voice glorifying God. (Exegetical)

We should continue to have academic and open theological discussion, but we should keep it in its place so that our common goal of glorifying God and building His kingdom can be given priority, or as Paul prays, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6)

Prayer

Prayer Team members, lets commit to at least one week of prayer for Unity of the Saints.

Pray for:
- A spirit of unity, oneness of body, among all believers that can be a witness to God’s glory.

- A humble spirit among believers so that we can express our uniqueness, with Scripture as our guide, without being judged, judgmental, or divisive.

- A spirit of love and service among believers so that we treat each other with honor and brotherly love (Romans 12:10).

Heavenly Father, it is all about you. I pray, Lord, that we, your children, can put aside our agendas and our issues to focus on You. I pray that Your Holy Spirit would fill your children with humility, love, and service. I pray that we can come together in Your name, in the name of Jesus Christ, to honor and glorify you. Lord, bring your body of Saints together to build Your Kingdom, your will be done, not ours. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray – Amen


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Mid-Week Devotional - Romans 12-13

Read: Romans 12-13

Scripture

Romans 12:2

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (HCSB)


Observation

Do not conform! Do not go along with the crowd just because everyone else is. Instead, think for yourself as a child of God. Renew your mind by following God’s instruction. It may be hard to change a lifetime of cultural conditioning and to resist current cultural trends, but the way God offers is good, pleasing, and perfect!


Application

From the time I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life, I changed. Inside and out. It was evident to those close to me that I was no longer who I used to be. The urge to “conform” to the culture is still there, but God and the Holy Spirit can give us strength. Study God’s word! That is the surest way to renew your mind.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for renewing my mind and transforming me. I know I am a work in progress, and I pray for your help and comfort today. In Jesus’ name I pray - Amen


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