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Archive for March, 2016

“And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.”

This is the one instance in Judges, where, the people have forgotten God . . . again; and “the Philistines have shattered and crushed them for eighteen years.” This time though, when they called for help, God said no.  “Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble.”

So he lets them simmer for eighteen years; until he reaches this point of not being able to bear their misery any longer. It’s interesting who he picks this time to help them. It says, “Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior.” But, of all Gilead’s sons, Jephthah was the son of a prostitute.

Interesting to me that God picked the best man for the job. He was a mighty warrior. Israel needed a warrior to fight against the people who were oppressing them. Jephthah’s whole life had prepared him for this time.

We are at a time in our own country, when for far too long, wrong has oppressed what is right. Consider the most recent example. The idea of abortion becoming illegal is “out of touch” with most people. And one step further, if it becomes illegal – meaning it is against the law – only one person is saying the woman should be punished. People have forgotten what right even looks like.

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Judges 9:23 says, “God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem.” Gideon’s 70 sons from his many wives had become rulers. Abimelech, a son from a concubine, asked the citizens if they would prefer one ruler instead of 70. They agreed. Abimelech then killed the 70 innocent brothers.

Both the act of the killing, and the citizen’s willingness to go along with it, displeased God. So he sent this evil spirit between them so that they turned against each other. They ended up wiping each other out. The city and its people were destroyed by Abimelech, and Abimelech, in the process, got his head split open.

I wondered about us. Has God sent an evil spirit between our government and its citizens? Is he displeased that our government has authorized the killing of the innocent? That our citizens, by a lack of resistance, show a willingness to go along with it? Innocent babies are aborted. Innocent Christians are beheaded and burned alive.

The citizens could have stood and said, “No!” to Abimelech. But they had slipped far enough from God – far enough in their moral values – that when Abimelech came along, they were not sharp enough to catch the fault; and they went along.

Have our citizens slipped? Are we no longer moved to the point of standing and saying, “No!”? Has our salt lost its savor? Going along does not have a good ending.

 

 

 

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Somewhere in our past is a wound that our enemy picks at with recurring little digs. The intent is to keep it open – to keep it from healing. Mine occurred when I was 6. I was the new kid on the block. My new friends thought it would be funny, after luring me into a little backyard playhouse, to shut the door and then locked it.

My enemy was fast on the scene to suggest that they did not like me. It was my first memorable gash on my soul; and though I didn’t realize it at the time, it would be THE gash that he would pick at for the rest of my life.

I wonder if that is the same tactic he used when Ishmael and his mother were forced to leave Abraham, Sarah and their new son Isaac. Isaac was chosen over Ishmael. I can imagine a huge opportunity for a wound there. This wound would have a lot of potential; way beyond the life of Ishmael. This one has been picked at now for 4,000 years.

There is a purpose for these wounds. Mine was picked at so long that by the time I became a Christian, I questioned whether God liked me. With Ishmael’s offspring, Satan has convinced them that he is god – that the Jews stole what was rightfully theirs – and that he, as their god, Allah, is leading them to settle the score. They are not after peace.

 

 

 

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There is at least one similarity between Christianity and the religion of Islam. Both want people to believe their message. But where one is a gracious offer, the other is an ultimatum.

It all started with Abraham. God picked him to begin a nation. The problem is he had two sons. Both began a nation. The Bible contains the record of one nation while the Koran contains the record of the other. This all happened before the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ craze. Only one nation was declared the winner.

The resentment began immediately and for thousands of years, it has brewed into a deep hatred. The losing side intends to claim what they feel is rightfully theirs. It calls for the annihilation of the other team and anyone associated with them.

All God ever wanted was a people that he could care for and be loved by. But in spite of all he did they kept forgetting him. After a 2,000 year pattern, he extended the invitation to anyone in the world. Forever a loving God, when he could rightfully wash his hands of us all, he continues his gracious offer.

Islam’s offer comes with an ultimatum. Join them in their fight or die. Their ways remind me of a verse. ‘Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy; but God came that we might have life.’ I believe their god is Satan. They are not a peace loving people.

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I was reminded recently of a verse in Hosea: “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” It is true today in relation to the religion of Islam. We lack knowledge of the fact that their goal is to take over. We are being told Muslims are peace loving, but that could not be further from the truth.

Brutal killings are taking place right under our noses, not by radical extremists, but by devout followers of the religion of Islam. They are, quite simply, the committed ones. They are following what the Koran instructs them to do with infidels (those who will not accept their teachings).

“The governments of the world should know that Islam cannot be defeated. Islam will be victorious in all the countries of the world, and Islam and the teachings of the Koran will prevail all over the world.” Ayatollah Khomeini

These brutal killings seem to go beyond acceptable limits to the civilized world. In actuality, it is not that far out of line when compared to Old Testament times. I just read in Judges where a tent stake was driven through the head of one king and it says, “On that day, God subdued Jabin, the Canaanite king.”

God gave his chosen people a small portion of land that they were to subdue. “Do not leave anything that breathes. Completely destroy them.” Like it or not, it is there and it is not pretty. But the people of these other countries had other gods. Think about that. There is really only one other ‘god’; the god of this world, Satan. And God wanted his followers destroyed.

In my opinion, it is this same god of this world that is the Allah of Islam. He is leading his followers in an all out war against the followers of God. Just as God wanted to annihilate Satan’s followers, so now, Satan wants to annihilate God’s.

We are believing the lie that our government, the media and others are propagating. We are being destroyed by a lack of knowledge. Evil advances when good men do nothing. It is time to wise up – to learn what is right – to use what is right to resist what isn’t. “Who is wise? He will realize these things.” Hosea 14:9

 

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Who Will Fight for Us

I just so happened to start reading the book of Judges this morning. As it would turn out, the first verse is very appropriate for today as we will be voting on the candidate we feel is best for President. It begins quite simply:

“After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, ‘Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?’”

I’m sure many have asked the Lord who they should vote for. I know I have. But I decided to do it again this morning. I asked specifically as this verse suggests. I asked who would be the first to go up and fight for ‘US’. The one I had formerly felt best about had a proven record of fighting to get things done; but I had to ask myself this morning, ‘What proof do I have that he would fight for us in all cases?’

“Who will go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?” The Canaanites occupied the land that God had given to Israel. The Federal Government is occupying more and more land and getting more and more into our business. There is really only one tool which will ensure the fighting is properly focused – the Constitution.

It goes on to say in this first chapter of Judges, after the Lord had showed them who he had chose to go up and fight, that the tribe asked another tribe to go with them. Together they fought and won many battles. It occurred to me, this person who goes up on our behalf, will not be going alone – as he has been to this point. He will ask some to go with him. And together I believe they will win many battles.

 

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A Gripping Thought

In the book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, there is a line that grips me. There will be plenty time to be gripped by the specific atrocities of which I will read as I work my way through the book; but this line is early on in the Preface which was written by William Lloyd Garrison. Already an abolitionist, Garrison, after hearing Douglass speak for the first time said, “I never hated slavery so intensely, as at that moment”.

Garrison was moved by the message, but he was equally, if not more, by the caliber of the person who delivered it. Seeing the potential of this one individual, made for an understanding that was “more clear than ever” that the rage expressed in the brutal beatings was undeserved and beyond unfair.

And then the line; “With all his noble powers and sublime aspirations, how like a brute was he treated, even by those professing to have the same mind in them that was in Christ Jesus.” From an extreme example of a person’s ability to so twist their belief as to permit as acceptable the things they did, it made me wonder on a smaller scale what I permit that seems acceptable to me . . . but isn’t.

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