Archive for April, 2010

What Is The Basis For Islam’s Global Ambition

As always this subject deserves a caveat disclaimer. Not all Muslims are radical militant extremists. We are fighting a theo-political belief system, not a religion. It is not a perversion. These radical Muslims are doing what their ancestors started doing in 622 A.D. They have a 1380 year track record of consistency.

Charles Martel fought them at the battle of Tours in 732 A.D. which stopped the Umayyad advance during the Muslim Expansion Era. Historian Gibbon believed that had Martel lost the battle Islam would have advanced across all of Europe including England and destroyed western culture. Historian William Watson believed the battle was a macrohistorical world-changing event.

In 1453 they conquered Constantinople using children of Christians they had captured there in previous attacks. Theyconverted children of the Christians to their belief system at the point of the sword and used them to kill their ancestors. The city is now called Istanbul because they overran it.

The Venusian fleet fought them in 1571 at the battle of Lepanto off the shores of Greece and prevented their further intrusion into Europe.
The German and Austrian knights turned them back at the gates of Geneva in 1683 or all of Europe would be Muslim today.

Incidentally, to celebrate the victory over the Muslims whose symbol was the crescent the Austrian baker concocted a new pastry for the victors to devour in celebration called the croissant.

In 1776, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met with Arab diplomats from Tunis. These were radical extremist Islamists given the name of Barbary Pirates indicating they were from the Barbary Coast of North Africa. They had been raiding American and ships of other countries. A major battle with them is referenced in the line from the Marine Corps Hymn, “…to the shores of Tipoli….” Launched in 1799, the “USS Constitution” (Old Ironside) and the “USS Constellation” were designed to battle these pirates. Our marines eventually destroyed the pirate headquarters at Derna putting the pirates out of business.

Westerners have a tendency to engage in self-flagellation regarding the flawed crusades. They like all wars had excesses on both sides. Many actions by Christians (noun) were not Christian (adjective). We forget or never knew they were a reaction to Islamic incursion into eastern Europe, Spain, and France.

Islamists overran the Bible Land and upon conquering it named it the Holy Land. Crusaders tried off and on to reclaim it, ultimately losing control July 4, 1187 in the battle at the Horns of Hattin near the Sea of Galilee.

History verifies all these facts. The philosophy behind these wars is open for all to read in the Muslim sacred books, the Koran and Hadis.

There are portions of the Koran which contain teaching attributed to Mohamad when he was starting out in Mecca. These portions are philosophical and poetic. Many peaceful Muslims live by these concepts. Part of the Koran contains teaching of Mohamad after he moved to Medina. These sections are political and militant. It is on these portions the aggressive theo-political system now waging Jihad on the west are based.

The Jewish Celebration Of

Jews and Christians have a distinct point of divergence in faith. Even this significant difference for most in both communities isn’t personally alienating. Friendships are built around the many things they have in common.

An admirable aspect of the Jewish faith is the way they perpetuate their heritage. Use of ancient symbols and customs are used to pass the faith from one generation to the next admirably.
One of Judaism’s best teachable moments is Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights. It isn’t a Biblical celebration but it is a celebration of Jehovah’s intervention on behalf of their ancestors. It was instituted in 165 B.C. to celebrate the success of the Maccabean Revolt which resulted in the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem and the dedication of the new altar.
Also associated is the miraculous extended burning of the cruse of oil for eight days. It is from this the tradition of the lighting of the multi branched candle-stand known as the
Menorah comes.

The Syrian, Seleucid, leader Antiochus Epiphanes banned traditional Jewish worship. The elderly patriarch of the Maccabean family, Mattathias, defied the order to sacrifice a pig on a portable pagan altar. He killed the man who did and the king’s representative. With the battle cry of “Whoever is for God, follow me.” He and his five courageous sons lead the revolt.

When they, now known as the Hasmoneans (Maccabees), re-occupied the Temple they found it desecrated. All the oils were defiled except one jar with the High Priest seal still unbroken. It was enough oil for one day yet it lasted eight days. It was considered a miraculous symbol of God’s pleasure.

One purpose of modern day lighting of the candles is the “illumination of the house without.” Lights are placed so passers by can see the lights in Jewish homes and be reminded of the celebration.

On a couple of our 40 visits to Israel my wife and I have gone alone. Once with a native guide we searched all day for the graves of the Maccabees. We finally found them virtually unmarked in a wooded area. Today they are more visibly marked in that remote spot.

The heroism involved in the Maccabean brothers leading the revolt against the Seleucids and the establishment of the Hasmonean dynasty is fascinating. Another book about a different Jewish revolt is entitled “Cast A Giant Shadow” — absorbing. It relates to the 1948 war. Don’t read the end till the end.

A War No One Can Stop And No One Wins

Across America the new day brings amazement. Persons flip light switches but the lights don’t come on. There is no TV or radio news — neither will work. Coffee makers and microwaves are unresponsive. Computers remain dark. Elevators aren’t operated. Flight control centers are dark and all flights canceled. Commerce stops. Gas stations can’t pump gas. The nation is without electric power as is the rest of the world. Power won’t be completely restored for a minimum of three years.

Sounds ridiculous? Think it is science fiction? Think again.

This paper carried a column by Clifford May on January 29, of this year entitled “An EMP Attack.” EMP means Electromagnetic Power Attack. The article noted an inevitable scenario that is being shown little consideration. My limited research confirms the possibility, no inevitability of an EMP attack.

Ronald Reagan was the first president made aware of the possibility. His science advisor, Bill Graham, warned him of such a possibility.

The cause of this potential catastrophe could be either the explosion of a nuclear device about twenty-five miles above earth or a monstrous solar storm. The latter is not only possible scientists say it is inevitable. Such solar storms happen about every 100 years. It has been 150 years since the last one. The last solar super-storm with force enough to disrupt world wide electric power happened in 1859. There were no power grids then.

There are forces of nature mankind can’t control. A major solar storm could induce geomagnetic currents that would destroy many large transformers on the power grid. A study by Metatech indicates the time required to replace any of the estimated 370 largest transformers in America would be three years.

Add to the equation actions by a rogue nuclear nation setting off an explosion above the earth and the scene gets more complicated. Formerly secret Iranian documents have been exposed which show their study of such action.

Recently our president compassionately appropriated enough funds to Haiti relief to fund a system that would shield our power grid. No one should disparage Haiti aid, but not providing such a shield can cause the loss of many more lives than were lost in Haiti and implode the economic and agricultural systems of the nation.

It is estimated hundreds of millions of people will die when the electric power grid collapses simultaneously in many countries.

While being preoccupied with global warming and the green movement this need goes unaddressed. Those two combined don’t have the potential for a holocaust like this. A new dark age looms in part because of misplaced emphasis.

How such a disaster will happen is well known and preventative methods are available. The cost of preventative measures is within reason. Putting them in place will take considerable time.
This is not science fiction. It is a fact of science about which I was uninformed until this paper called it to our attention. Hopefully someone will call it to the attention of those who can do something to protect our nation’s power grid.

Suffering Saints

The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile caused great suffering. The work being done in Haiti is rather to be observed not in destroyed buildings and human suffering. It is distinct in the many acts of mercy and kindness being shown by faith based groups, secular organizations, and our government.

The mercy of God is demonstrated in compassion shown by the many faith based organizations offering solace and providing for needs. The Red Cross is an admirable manifestation of mercy. God’s love is to be seen in the Israeli army field hospital set up on the island as a medical oasis. Franklin Graham’s “Samaritan’s Purse” with a base of operation already in Haiti has expanded its humanitarian efforts. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Agency is actively engaged in acts of mercy.

Why is there such suffering in the world? Why do the innocent suffer? Since the days of Job people have searched for an answer to those issues.

We paint with a brush too broad in speaking of “the reason why.”. There is not a single reason people suffer. There are some reasons but by no means do they provide an exhaustive answer to the question. At best there are gray areas and unknowns.

God gets a bum rap at times. Involving Him entitles a spiritual answer. Job clued us: “Far be it from God to do wickedness.” God created a perfect world and it remained that way until man sinned. The result was an imperfect world: “The whole creation groans….” The flawed world became susceptible to natural disasters, germs, viruses, bacteria, etc.

Certain laws of nature intended for our good when violated cause suffering. An elemental example is gravity. Defying it can be dangerous and often deadly.

Some suffering is because of sin. I know of a situation in which a guy mixed alcohol and drugs in a night of debauchery. Speeding on the way home he crashed into a tree. His companion was killed and he broke almost every bone in his body. When his pastor visited him he asked, “Why did God do this?” What?

Some suffering involves the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. The Apostle Paul was encouraged to think he was considered worthy of sharing the suffering of Jesus. In such an occasion it gives the one suffering an opportunity to show God is all sufficient. Observers seeing the grace of God at work in such lives are often drawn to God to meet their needs. I have two delightful young friends now in the vicious vice of cancer who by their response have caused others to embrace their faith.
Simon Peter summed it up well. “That the trial of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tried by fire, may be proven genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7).

Dispute it if you want but we all suffer. I am not bragging or throwing a pity party but I am a member of that society also. I find it best not to ask why but how. How can it develop in me qualities pleasing to God? How can it be used to help me become all God has given me the capacity to be?

Perhaps our best response might be not to engage in endless debate regarding the theology of suffering but to engage in efforts to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, council the wayward, heal the sick, and comfort the dying. Thus, we become the hands of God among the suffering.

Overcoming Bitterness

Many people suffer from bitterness without considering its significant affect on life.

I don’t have time for bitterness. When we drove away from our retirement celebration my wife said, “Isn’t it great to have no bitterness toward anybody or about anything.” She repeated that recently.

Our English word for bitterness comes from the Greek word PIKRIA which refers to a person who becomes cynical, caustic, sarcastic, hostile, or resentful. Such a person becomes negative, unhappy, and critical. That definitely isn’t me.

Two brief concepts have long helped me deal with any vestige that might tend to build up.
One is based on the Bible verse Hebrews 12: 15, “…lest a root of bitterness springing up trouble you….” Observe who it troubles — “you.”

This couplet summarizes that concept: “Bitterness does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to the one on which it is poured.”

Bitterness and other emotional stresses cause an increase in thyroid gland secretion. When this excess of thyroxin pours into the blood stream some of it goes to the brain which is contained in a rigid skull causing headaches. It can change muscle tension, influence blood flow to the organs, and the secretion of glands.

A second aid to dealing with bitterness is also based on Scripture. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
Some people are bitter with a person. That person may be a world away or even dead but they are ever present with the bitter person. The object of bitterness becomes the task master of the bitter person.

Others may be adults still bitter with their parents for failing or emotionally injuring them. Don’t be a marionette controlled by past injustice.

Some people are even bitter with God. Old Testament character Naomi was one such person. She said, “Call me Mara, because the almighty has made my life bitter” (Ruth 1:20). It is impossible to get your hands on God and exercise vengeance on Him. Some feeling He failed them respond by denying His existence. Still others take out their bitterness toward God
on the church.

Bitter persons tend to blame their bitterness on someone else. Actually it is a fault in their reaction.

We are all subject to injustices and injuries. Vitriol and vengeance are visited on all persons. Therefore, when I say I have been the object of what I consider mistreatment I am not saying “poor little ole me.” I am saying I am in the boat with you. We each choose how we react. Our response is our choice. I choose not to be bitter. It is not in my constitution.

Oh, Naomi! Once she got her eyes off herself and realized what a blessing God had given her in the person of Ruth, she became a blessing to Ruth and was herself blessed. It works.