Righteous Reflections on the Fourth of July

On the recent annual celebration of our nation’s nativity, I joined with one of my daughters and her ten-year-old daughter to attend an old-fashioned, home-town, 4th of July parade!

It had all the pomp and circumstances a medium-sized community could muster. In this happy celebration, we waved small U.S. flags and applauded floats and bands, antique cars and equestrian groupings, fire trucks and police cars and motorcycles. Boys and Girls Scout troops marched along with representatives of the Salvation Army, as well as high school football teams and cheerleaders.

But the participants which were most meaningful to me were a small group of patriotic citizens whose presentation was headed by a single veteran with a sign that said, “Please stand in honor of our fallen warriors.”  

He was followed by others with banners showing names, details, and pictures of only some of our local servicemen killed in military service for our country. I stood with the others, with my hand over my heart, and cried as the limited procession passed by. Truly, freedom is not free!

This annual holiday should prompt some holy reflections since true freedom ultimately comes from God. King David said, “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” (Psalm 119:45) This greater freedom comes from putting God first and obeying His commands.

Today, in this “greatest country on God’s green earth,” to quote radio commentator Michael Medved, we enjoy many freedoms. Our Constitution gives us the

  • freedom of religion,
  • freedom of speech,
  • freedom of the press, and the
  • freedom to elect our leaders.

All of these freedoms were secured by the wisdom and dedication of our Founding Fathers.

“Let the annual return of [July 4] forever refresh our recollections
of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them.”

— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter, in June 1826

Patriotism may seem parochial to a new generation and soon everyone will do what is right in his own eyes. A nation’s common history, culture, and values need to be honored and acknowledged by school children, brave members of our military, and the cultured elite, alike. If we fail to remember and reflect on these freedoms or selfishly demand them for ourselves and fail to courageously secure them for others we will progressively lose our freedoms.

July 4, 2018, marked the 242nd anniversary of the signing of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. It explicitly acknowledged God four times and we are told that all men are “created equal” and are “endowed by their Creator” with the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Declaration cites the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” as authoritative and appeals to Him as the “Supreme Judge of the world.” Finally, the Founders expressed in the Declaration their “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

These first principles of nation building are linked to biblical truth, moral tradition and a scriptural understanding of liberty. They were not withdrawn Continue reading

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How to be Profanity Free

President Donald J. Trump

Last week, President Trump visited the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Republican members of the House of Representatives. Videotape captured the sound of a female Congressional intern yelling, “Mr. President, f*** you” from across the other side of the rotunda, as Mr.Trump was walking through the Capitol Building.

The echoed obscene outburst is a current example of prevalent vulgarities in public discourse and the present degradation of the political process. Many modern politicians and political leaders (both men and women) seem unashamed to dish out vile obscenities–in public and in private.

For instance, the new leftist-chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez, who sets the style and substance of the party’s platform and policies, recently went on a disgusting profanity-laced anti-Trump rant. Donald Trump, also, has been known to have his share of “salty language” in public and private, though his courting of certain Evangelical leaders has tamed this somewhat.

These outbursts of profane epithets are not only obnoxious and offensive to many but also tend to further the corrosion of civil dialog regarding public policy.

Profanity is a Corrupting Evil

Of course, the epidemic of public profanity is not limited to the political domain. It seems to have infected and corrupted many levels of our society. One popular conservative commentator said that if he did not include a few profanities in his campus colloquies, his millennial masses would think him “unreal” and “irrelevant.”

Media celebrities often show a lack of good taste and use profanity to shock and awe their fans, as well. I’m sure you saw or heard about actor Robert De Niro’s recent raging “F-Bombs” thrown at President Trump, while De Niro was introducing Bruce Springsteen at the recent Tony Awards.

Then, later last week, far-left actor Peter Fonda ignobly tweeted a sickening suggestion for his followers, “we should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if his mother will stand up against the giant a****** she is married to…

Donald Trump Jr. defended his little half-brother, urging the aging actor to pick on someone his own size. Melania Trump notified the Secret Service of the not-too-veiled threat!

Fonda’s Twitter threats may have incited unstable people to violence toward these victims of his vulgarity. Secret Service agents are reported to have visited him and may be the reason for his subsequent, more civilized, apology.

Rebel Media’s Sheila Gunn Reid is a journalist and commentator from Canada and revealed how Fonda’s frothy and vile posting about Barron Trump has also infected CBC “comedy” writer Pat Dussault. This Canadian leftist despicably dragged Donald Trump Jr.’s four-year-old daughter into the debased dialog, tweeting, “don’t worry we’re coming for Chloe too.”

Screen grab and photo by Rebel Media, Canada

The twisted and seemingly depraved Fonda continued on Twitter last Tuesday to call for the caging and public rape of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen! He suggested she “should be pilloried in Lafayette Square naked and whipped by passersby while being filmed for posterity.”

As sick as this seems, singer Nancy Sinatra tweeted Continue reading

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The Bible and This Immigration Controversy

Immigration and border security seem destined to be the “hot buttons” of this year’s mid-term elections.

Not only has Congress failed to solve the “Dreamers” issues, for illegal immigrants brought to this country by their parents when they were children, but it has not debated or moved on any comprehensive immigration legislation.

“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

Republicans are scrambling to do something positive before the November elections on this subject, while they still are the majority in the two houses of Congress. Democrats seem determined to obstruct any plan and proposal of President Donald J. Trump or his legislative cohorts.

While the president’s Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are trying to more strictly enforce existing immigration laws, they are facing mounting opposition from both inside and outside the Republican Party. Attorney General Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policies are especially explosive as they relate to separating illegal immigrant children from their parents when they are caught and await deportation or asylum hearings.

This core problem is viewed differently by “we’re a nation of laws” conservatives, and the “don’t be hateful and heartless” progressives. The former want secure border control before talking about back taxes, avenues of assimilation, or any kind of “pathway” toward a legal residence or even citizenship.

The latter want amnesty for those “undocumented” aliens already here, along with a “welcome wagon” full of entitlements waiting in “sanctuary cities” for illegals who manage to get across our porous borders or flagrantly overstay their visas or work permits. Those who don’t agree with this liberal viewpoint are often shouted down and labeled racists, Nazis—or worse.

Without question, there needs to be an honest and thoughtful debate on who should be permanently allowed to immigrate into our country and under what conditions. Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans tend Continue reading

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Prayer Alert Update:

More Murderous Mayhem Planned for Israel

Drones, operated by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), have managed to bring down more than 400 flaming kites launched from Gaza, while firefighters are working to gain control of nearly 200 blazes burning some 2,500 acres near various kibbutzim (collective farms) and towns, which border along the central and northern sectors of the Gaza Strip.

Some “killer-kites” carried slow burning incendiaries, like burning charcoal.  Similarly, Helium-filled balloons are believed to be used to drip fire accelerator in the flammable areas.

As of earlier this week, these arsonist tactics by Hamas terrorists have started devastating fires in southern Israel’s wheat fields, towns, and now in the Carmina nature preserve. Authorities estimate the wild-fires have destroyed some 2,000 to 3,000 dunams (500 to 740 acres) of fields and forested areas, or about one-third of the Carmina reserve.

Some of the trees “were planted as long as 50 years ago as part of making the desert bloom have been wiped out by these fires.” This has caused massive damage to both the flora and the fauna in the popular park.

These arsonist tactics frighten vulnerable families and the decimating fires have caused tens of millions of shekels of damage. Affected  Israeli farmers are being told they will immediately be compensated for only half of this terrorist-caused devastation.

Meanwhile, Islamic imams in mosques throughout the Gaza Strip and The Islamic Republic of Iran continue each week to instill hatred and incite violence. Therefore, it is not surprising when their followers start transforming weekly chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” into hideous actions of hatred.

Additionally, pre-planned protests and riots are expected on this Friday, the fourth Friday of Ramadan, throughout Gaza, Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. It seems they want violence for violence sake, with as many casualties as possible for the Western media to obsess over.

This, is the “Religion of Peace”?

In the face of this latest expression of evil and the planned violence for this Friday, let us pray now for human wisdom and angelic protection throughout Israel–for its citizens and soldiers, alike!

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Arsonists Attack Israel from the Air

Israel has been under unique assault from Hamas, the ruling terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, for more than two months. The current turmoil is part of the pre-planned and carefully orchestrated “Great Return March” protests at the Gaza-Israeli border.

In addition to the mass protests by men, women, and children, bussed to over a dozen Palestinian protest points along the border, many set tires on fire and rolled them toward the security fencing at the physical border. Hamas reportedly would pay if a protester was injured and would pay the family even more if that member was killed, for the sake of Islamic jihad.

Under the cover of the thick, black smoke generated from the burning tires, there have been repeated efforts to cut the wire of the security fencing and broach the border into Israel. Once there, the terrorists would hope to kill or kidnap as many Israelis as possible.

In addition to the rocks and bottles thrown or shot by large slingshots or crude catapult-like constructions, many of the protestors learned to fly large kites, with incendiary devices attached, over the border into Israel, hoping to burn crops or damage the homes and schools of the peaceful residents of the nearby Israeli communities.

Some “killer-kites” carried slow burning incendiaries, like burning charcoal.  Similarly, Helium-filled balloons are believed to be used to drip fire accelerator in the flammable areas.

As of last weekend, these arsonist tactics by Hamas terrorists have started devastating fires in southern Israel’s wheat fields and in the Carmia nature preserve. Authorities estimate the wild-fires there destroyed some 2,000 to 3,000 dunams (500 to 740 acres) of fields, or about one-third of the Carmia reserve, causing massive damage to both the flora and the fauna in the reserve.

Although drones operated by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) had managed to bring down more than 500 kites, firefighters were also working to gain control of blazes near various kibbutzim (collective farms) and the town of Sderot, which borders the central and northern Gaza Strip. The fires have caused tens of millions of shekels of damage and Israeli farmers are fearful they won’t be compensated for the terrorist-caused devastation.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Mediterranean seacoast around Gaza has seen arson used in conflicts between the two main people groups living there.

Around 1,200 B.C., Continue reading

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Remembering Freedom Isn’t Free

Memorial Day is an American holiday, which is observed on the last Monday of May as a day for remembering and honoring the courageous men and women who have died for the cause of freedom while serving in our military. Other countries have similar, solemn occasions, generally dating to the end of World War I and known as Remembrance Day.

Originally observed in our land following the Civil War, it was known as Decoration Day, as mourners decorated with flowers the graves of both the Union and Confederate soldiers. In the last 100 years alone, more than 600,000 American men and women have given their lives so that we all may live in freedom.

This year, it is more than appropriate that we pause and consciously remember and honor those who have served in our nation’s defense and those who have made the ultimate, personal sacrifice for our freedoms. Take time to moments to reflect upon the lives of those who have gone before us to their eternal reward. Give thanks to God for what religious freedoms we still enjoy.

As we do, also remember the One Who gave His life for our ultimate and eternal freedom (Galatians 2:20), as expressed in these lyrics by Kurt Kaiser.

O How He Loves You and Me

Jesus to Calvary did go
His love for sinners to show.
What He did there brought hope from despair.
O how He loves you;
O how He loves me;
O how He loves you and me!

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Pentecostal Worship for Today 

Pentecost Sunday

Today is Pentecost Sunday, according to a liturgical church-calendar. It reflects on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days after the Passover-related events of our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.

But, it is more than acknowledging an ancient Jewish celebration. It is the “birthday of the Church,” and with it the expansion of biblically-focused, Spirit-filled, Pentecostal worship.

On this day, our risen Lord’s disciples were gathered in an acoustically rich “upper room” and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:3-5) was poured out upon them. This surrender to the fullness of the Holy Spirit equipped them to “worship the Father in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24) and empowered them (and now us!) to fulfill their spiritual destinies and purposes in spiritual service.

In his book, The Church on the Way, Pastor Jack Hayford emphasized that biblically-based, Pentecostal worship “is neither a cerebral pursuit…nor an emotional binge.”

Further, he outlines biblical guidelines for worship and welcoming God’s presence into their midst. He says, “Let us then worship…

1…with our regenerated spirit (Romans 1:9)

2….with our renewed mind (Phil. 2:3-5)

3….with our revived emotions (Col. 3:23; Rom. 12:11-15)

4.…with our rededicated body (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

Old Testament worship was primarily priestly-led occasions of joyful music and inspired lyrics, which focused on God’s virtues and character. Many of King David’s psalms invited the people to come together and praise the name of the Lord with music and song!

O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms! Psalm 95:1-2 Modern English Version (MEV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Psalm 100:1-2 Modern English Version (MEV)

The New Testament worship moves us from Temple-centered, priestly-led worship to private and personal worship, where our individual bodies are called temples of the living Lord (2 Cor. 6:16). In this spiritual model, the Spirit-empowered praise and worship in song engage our inner person, the very elements of our soul and spirit.

The Apostle Paul taught the Colossians and Ephesians a practical pathway of Pentecostal praise and worship for today:  Continue reading

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