Enjoy a Peaceful Smoky Mountain Retreat

If you are contemplating a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains, please consider visiting our lovely three-bedroom rental cottage, Rocky Top, located in the Hidden Mountain Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Holocaust II

The Code of Hammurabi is the most complete and perfect extant collection of Babylonian laws, developed during the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). Oversimplification of part of the Code is “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

A similar more recent expression is “a tit-for-tat” action. It is one where someone takes revenge on another person for what they have done by doing something similar to them.

Israel’s incursion into Hamas territory is an enactment of these principles. If so, we are in the “tit” time. We have seen a bit of what the “tat” horror was.

Recently a documentary has been produced involving testimonies by rescue personnel and survivors of the Hamas savage October 7 attacks on Israel that killed 1,139 people, including 764 civilians and 373 Israeli security personnel. 248 persons were taken hostage. The film graphically shows the bloody naked sexually mutilated bodies of the violently raped females, and yes, males. The depiction of the merciless paroxysm involving bloody rapes is graphic and gory. The documentary film tells of the inhuman “tat” (first military action by Hamas).

One released hostage tells of being chained to a bed and raped repeatedly. She tells of current hostages being subjected to the same conditions.

In follow up Israel had three options. Each is unfortunate and regrettable. One was to do nothing and thus indirectly encourage future strikes. The other was to follow the action with a light response leaving their attackers to regroup and strike again as they have in previous engagements.

The third “tit” was to attempt to prevent further “tats” by destroying the attackers as a military strike force and hence preventing future uncivilized, bestial attacks. What is happening in Gaza was their only viable option, though regrettable. Hamas has cowardly embedded itself in the Palestinian population. The civilian population is suffering collaterally. They are suffering the result of the Hamas “tat.”

A question is can rioters be awakened to the cause of the current war? Can they be made aware of the fact that what is happening to Jews today is precisely what the Nazi led systemic holocaust in Europe did that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 6,000,000 Jews? Current riots are a dangerous step in that, the wrong direction.

What is happening on campuses today is Nazism reenacted. It puts America in an express lane to Holocaust II.           

Descendants of Americans who fought and those who died in World War II to free Europe from  anti-Semitism are now fighting in support of it. Territory from the river to the sea must be free – – – of anti-Semitism. For this to be Hamas must not just have a toothache, the tooth must be extracted.

Most of today’s rioters have no regard for the Bible, little comprehension of God, and no knowledge of the history of World War II. Disregard for each makes them easy prey to the misleading lies inspiring the current climate.

Prior to World War II there were riots in America supporting Nazism. They were so popular there was a rally in Madison Square Garden. One of our national heroes, Charles Lindbergh, expressed support for Nazism. There were marches in support of Nazism. What brought us back from outright internal disaster? It took World War II to awaken us and cause many rioters to join in the war to overthrow  Nazi Germany. Hopefully it won’t take anything that extreme to awaken us and let freedom ring not only in America, but also in Israel.

God’s Ultimate Provision

America as a nation has not been in a more precarious position than now. The scope and number of the threats are numerous and most ominous. War clouds are gathering. Potential sources of danger are all around. Unnumbered hoards pour across our borders daily. Are our defenses secure? What are we to do? Psalm 118:8 answers: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

This gem of truth is mounted in expressions acknowledging God’s nature.

“He is good,” things aren’t always good, but He is. It is His nature. Goodness is His essence and nature.  He can’t be any other way. This does not mean things are always going to turn out good from our perspective, but even if they don’t His nature remains unstained. His nature is constantly good, therefore “trust in the Lord.” He is always worthy to be praised whether we are receiving what we want or not.

“His mercy endures forever.” Even in our personal darkest hour or our national dilemma double daily He offers His unbound mercy. In the Book of Psalms this truth is noted 34 times. The 118 Psalm begins and ends with it. His mercy endures forever. It had no beginning and be assured it will have no end. It is immediate and ultimate.

There is a medieval couplet that notes the immediacy of His mercy related to a person falling off a horse: “Between the saddle and the ground mercy sought and mercy found.”

There are six Egyptian Hallel Psalms sung in Jesus time as part of the Passover feast. This psalm is the last of the six Egyptian Hallel Psalms, sung in Jesus’ day as part of the Passover ritual. Matthew 26: 30 and Mark 14: 26 records Jesus along with His disciples singing a hymn in the upper room. It is a reference to the Hallel Psalms. He sang of God’s mercy fully aware of what would happen in the next 24 hours at Calvary.

The Psalmist faced threats in the time of penning this great Psalm. However, in light of these great truths he concluded “I will not fear.”

There is a wonderful principle in Scripture that is often overlooked. It is this. There is a natural fear of death. It is a healthy defense of life. The fear of death prompts a desire to live. Here is a beautiful counterpoint. When the moment of death comes for the believer there is no fear of death. It is taken away. “Yeah though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil.”

An example of this is a medieval Christian sentenced to be burned at the stake. He was heard to scream in his cell the night prior to his execution as he put his finger in the flame of a candle to see if he could stand such a death. Every time he withdrew his hand in horror. The next day as the flames surrounded him he sang hymns and praised God with his last breath.

The night before He did not need God’s grace. When the moment came that he needed it, he had it. The same will be true of all who trust in the Lord.

Always Faithful – Part Four

Galatians 5: 22, 23

Who are you? What do you consider yourself to be? Try this as an answer,

“Let a man so consider us as servants of God…” I Corinthians 4: 1.

The term translated “servants” was well known in the era of the writing. It was used to describe the people who rowed large ships. Those who remember the movie “Ben Hur” can never forget the rank of rowers in the ship. There were two deck levels of rowers. The term translated “servants” was the term used for those on the lower level. They were called the “under-rowers.” We are to be the under-rowers of our Lord. He is our captain, we His servants, under-rowers.

A servant lives to serve. Are you living to serve the Lord? Are you growing in your servitude?  Don’t allow yourself to stagnate or become arrested in your spiritual growth.

We need to pray with the Psalmist “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name, and deliver us” (Psalm 79:9). “For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me” (Psalm 31:3). Faithfully following Him as our guide is a sure path of joy to victory. The greater the faithfulness the greater joy.

In 1924 George Leigh Mallory and some other Englishmen set out to climb the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. At the altitude of 25,000 feet they established a base camp. From there they started their assault on the summit and were never heard from again. To this day they lie buried on that Himalayan peak under tons of snow and ice.

The other members of the party returned from the base camp to London and related their story. One who did stood before a large picture of Mount Everest as he addressed an audience. Concluding his speech he turned to the picture and addressed it as though it had personality. “Everest,” he said, “we tried to conquer you once, but you overpowered us. We tried a second time but you were too much for us.” Then he said with great resolve: “But I want you to know we are going to conquer you, because you can’t grow any bigger and we can.” They did.

It is with this same resolve we face life. Our problems remain as large as ever, but we can grow and conquer them.

Perhaps you feel limited in the scope of your service to the Lord. Not so, therefore take this ancient saying as an expression of your resolve: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Awaiting the obedient servant/steward of our Lord is the fulfillment of His promise: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2: 10). SEMPER FE!

Always Faithful – Part Three

Galatians 5: 22, 23

The Marine Corps motto Semper Fe is a good one for a Christian in all of life. A spastic, herky-jerky, on-again, off-again fidelity dishonors the Lord, disillusions the world, and depresses the inconsistent doer. Vacillation gives no victory.

Would you dare to be as intolerant of your unfaithfulness as you are of certain other things? Do you apply the same standards to yourself that you expect in other areas of life?

If your car started once every three tries would that be reliable?

If your paper boy skipped every Tuesday and Thursday would he be trustworthy?

If you went to work only three days out of five would you be a loyal employee?

If your refrigerator were to stop for a day or two every now and then would you say, “Oh, well, it works most of the time?”

If your hot water heater were to give one ice-cold shower out of every ten would that be acceptable?

If you missed a couple of mortgage payments every year would the lending agency say, “Well, ten out of twelve isn’t bad?”

If we have such high standards how can we expect God to be less faithful in requiring the upholding of His standards?

Resolve, as did Bill Borden, to obey Christ. Borden was an outstanding athlete at Yale, the heir of the Borden Company fortune, when called by God to be a missionary among native Americans. After serving among them for a short time he developed consumption and died at a young age. He abandoned a life of luxury for the role of a servant. The entry in his diary the evening before his death reveals his dedication. It reads simply: “No reserve, no retreat, no regret.”

Having no reserve and no retreat caused him to have no regret. We can spare ourselves a lot of regrets tomorrow if our today self will have no reserve and no retreat from a high standard lived under our own banner of SEMPER FE.

We are to be good stewards of all of life, not just our finances. Stewardship involves managing the possession of another. The New Testament illustration of stewardship is of a person who is entrusted with the keys to one’s house. Giving a person the keys to your house means trusting them with everything you have.

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). That is reasonable. Who would want to turn over the keys of their house to an unfaithful person? Yet, that is what our Lord has done for us. He has made us stewards of His house. That doesn’t just include possessions, but our personality, mentality, and physical being. Regarding all we are to be SEMPER FE.

Always Faithful – Part Two

Galatians 5: 22, 23

There are three areas in which we are wise to be faithful.

First, is to be faithful to ourselves. Wisely the poet Shakespeare said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3, Line 65).

Inconsistency incriminates individuals. One reason there is so little faithfulness to God and people is there is little basic faithfulness to our own higher self.

We are created in the image of God. If we are unfaithful to that image we are less than we were created to be, and are living an unfulfilled life. That inevitably results in a feeling of frustration which deteriorates into bitterness, resentment, and eventually hate.

Who are you anyway? You are the person you have chosen to be. Sure, we are modified by genes and genealogy but each of us chooses to what we will commit. Some choose to become a slave to their thyroid or pituitary glands. They let their emotions or feelings control them. Some choose to be driven by testosterone or adrenalin. At birth you came equipped with a perpetually developing asset that can override all these glandular drives. It is called a mind and a free will. You are the person you choose to be.  Choose to be controlled by Jesus and you can be.

The marvel of life is we can change. Will James, father of modern psychology in the western world said, “The greatest discovery of the Twentieth Century is that a man can change his life by changing his mind.” A classic example of this is found in I Corinthians 6: 9 – 11a. Therein individuals with various devious natures are listed and then it is said, “… and were some of you.” Distill that sentence into a word of importance and it is “were.”

Past tense, they were, but they changed.  How? The rest of verse 11 explains: “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

This verse informs us that when we turn to Christ in trust, He immediately does three things.

1. He cleanses us of all past sin (You were washed).

2. He sanctifies us. That is, He sets us apart as someone very special to Him whom He desires to use in a distinctive way.

3. He justifies us. Acting as our Judge in that moment and for all eternity He declares us to be innocent. This is the legal basis for the cleansing provided.

It is wise to establish your belief standards and commit yourself to them. That is, this I will or this I won’t do. To those standards always be SEMPER FE.