Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another guy that is drinking too much Christmas eggnog is Canada’s former Minister of Defense, Paul Hellyer, recently said “UFOs are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head”. Like all good Canadians, and other Liberals, he blames President Bush for it. He said Darth Bush is willing to risk intergalactic war (he really used that term, Obe Won) and is developing bases and weapons to fight the War of the Worlds. This, I guess, is in his spare time when nothing is really happening in Iraq.

I really think this is part of Canada’s defense plan against the U.S. They know we won’t invade them because we don’t want all their loons in our culture.
I have a new marketing concept: LEFT BEHIND JEANS!!!!!! On the left rear pocket, we'll print "Left Behind".

I think it'll sell.
Well, Thanksgiving is over and the "Christmas Season" has begun.

I survived Thanksgiving even though I had to go to Wichita Falls to do it. It is not the end of the world, but I did see a sign saying it was 20 miles west.

We went there because my mother has moved there after getting remarried. Actually, she lives outside of Wichita Falls. We found our way there and it wasn’t too bad. They had running water and flush toilets inside the house. We petted the horse and saw a Road Runner in a tree. We did not see the coyote.

My mother waxed rhapsodic over watching the leaves change. I kept looking out the window and all I saw was Mesquite trees. They have little tiny leaves, so you would have to look real close to see any changes.

We drove home that night. We avoided any near death experiences such as we had on our last trip out of town.

I awoke the next morning and knew immediately the thing I dreaded most had happened. The time had come when I could no longer deny that it was the Christmas Season (add music from horror movie stabbing scene).

Did you ever wonder why we have to have a Christmas Season? We don’t have an Easter season, or a Thanksgiving season. We do have a tax season. It has the same effect on my bank account.

My favorite Christian radio station, KCBI, has begun playing Christmas music practically full time. They are even playing secular Christmas music. I have switched channels. I am going back to ‘70s rock music in protest. I don’t want to hear four weeks of songs about snow we don’t have, good feelings we don’t feel and strange words that could only be sung by people who have drunk too much egg nog.

Maybe I am just depressed because Nick and Jessica have broken up. I just knew their marriage would last. Where else but Heaven could a marriage be made between a former contemporary Christian music singer turned pop tart, whose father knows her breast size, and the former member of a boy band?

Jessica has made a public plea that their privacy be respected. What privacy would that be? The privacy they gave up when they allowed their newlywed life to be made into a tv show? Or the privacy they have getting their picture taken and published constantly, making movies, or commercials? Maybe Jessica could recover faster if she made a Christmas album.

They could play it on Christian radio.

I also get tired of all the hoopla from religious people who claim society is taking Christianity out of Christmas. The American Family Association is going after retailers who are referring to the “Holiday Season” rather than Christmas. Heaven knows you could not have a family without Christmas.

Please remember it was a pagan holiday before the Catholics took it over. All the partying and presents are hangovers from the pagan past. It is a law of nature, things revert back to their lowest state. The thin veneer of Christianity has never more than thinly veiled the pagan aspect of the celebration and now it is wearing thinner.

The next thing you know, we’ll have secular music in our church Christmas program.


This year, my consternation will be fueled by the onslaught of marketing for the Chronicles of Narnia junk. I guess the estate of C. S. Lewis is short of cash. With the movie coming out, the push is on to sell stuff associated with the work of fantasy. There are book sets, DVDs of animated versions (Mr. Lewis, by the way, opposed the creation of an animated version and would not allow it during his lifetime. Sorry Clive.), the conservative web site, is advertising it as the Bible Based Blockbuster. The alliteration suggests that a preacher made up the ad copy. I wonder if it ends with a poem.

I originally intended to buy it all, but I have no place to put it. My closet is full of Purpose Driven Life stuff. I moved to the garage my Secrets of the Vine key chains and Prayer of Jabez calendars. The Thomas Kinkade coffee mugs, mouse pads and pajamas went to the attic.

I also have to prepare myself for the preachers who will tout the Chronicles movie as the next great thing that will change the world. The same guys who thought Mel Gibson’s “Passion” would do it, will jump on the Narnia bandwagon next.

You know the guys who have gone straight to the heart of the matter are the Left Behind movie makers. They are releasing their next movie directly to churches. I think it is called “Left Behind II: Still Left Behind”.

Monday, November 28, 2005


11:1-5 The Northern Alliance

11:1 When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, 2 and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, 3 to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4 And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom to fight with Israel.

“Jabin” means “the intelligent” and is probably a title rather than a compliment, such as Pharoah in Egypt or Ben-Hadad in Syria. . The name shows up a few other times in the Old Testament, such as Judges 4:2. Jabin tried to accomplish in the north what Adoni-zedek failed to accomplish in the south, an alliance that could defeat the Israelites or, in reality, could defeat the Lord.

This alliance is bigger and from a larger area. Four cities, several regions and six peoples are involved.

As Adoni-zedek was the chief of the Canaanites in the South, Jabin was a leader in the North since he was king of an important city, Hazor. Hazor is now the largest Biblical Era archeological site in Israel. It is in the area later awarded to the tribe of Napthali, according to Joshua 19:36. It is located about 10 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Its location allowed the city to dominate a main brand of the Way of the Sea, or “Via Maris”. This commercial and military road led from Egypt to Mesopotamia through Syria and the Hittite region, or Anatolia.

Hazor is mentioned in the cuneiform tablets that compose the royal documents of Mari, or Tell Hariri, located in modern Syria (see picture). It was important enough for Hammarabi to correspond with its rulers. It had a population of around 40,000 at its peak.

Joshua described Hazor as the “head of all those kingdoms” (Joshua 11:1-5, 10). Later, during the time of the Judges, when the northern Israelite tribes were subjected to oppression by their Canaanite neighbors, it was Hazor’s military commander Sisera who commanded the coalition of the “kings of Canaan” in their battle at the “waters of Megiddo”. See Judges 5:19-20.

Solomon rebuilt the city. It was inherited by the northern kingdom of Israel following the division of Solomon’s kingdom. Ben-Hadad I of Damascus invaded Israel at the request of King Asa of Judah and destroyed the city. It was rebuilt either by Omri or Ahab, doubling the size of Solomon’s city. It fell for the last time to the armies of Assyria during Tiglath-pileser’s first campaign against Israel in 733 BCE, according to II Kings 15:29.

This alliance produced a formidable fighting force, with an army so big it had as many soldiers as grains of sand on the seashore, which is Hebrew for humongous. They also had horses and chariots. The chariots were probably built of wood, but overlayed with iron for armor. It would be daunting to see this army head toward you. They had infantry, cavalry and an armored division. But the Lord had prepared Joshua and Israel by winning battles against smaller forces, sometimes by miraculous means. The believed God and participated in the victory.

11:6-9 Another Victory

6 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” 7 So Joshua and all his warriors came suddenly against them by the waters of Merom and fell upon them. 8 And the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel, who struck them and chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim (“glass smelting houses”), and eastward as far as the Valley of Mizpeh. And they struck them until he left none remaining. 9 And Joshua did to them just as the Lord said to him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

God encouraged Israel not to be afraid, despite the size of the army. Psalm 20:7 says some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. The Israelites had the opportunity to put their trust to the test. Joshua and the Israelites rushed them and defeated them. Joshua hamstrung the horses, which means to cut their hamstring so they cannot run. He also burned their chariots. God provided a demonstration that he is more powerful than chariots or horses. He also did not allow them to keep the horses and chariots and have the temptation to trust in them in the future. The Lord wanted all their trust to be in Him. In fact, the Lord commanded that when a king was appointed, he was not to accumulate large numbers of horses or to return to Egypt for more horses, because the Lord said “you are not to go back that way again.” See Deuteronomy 17:16.

11:10-15 Joshua Destroyed the Cities

Joshua burned Hazor as he had Jericho and Ai, and destroyed it, then destroyed the people in the other cities. The Israelites kept the livestock and valuables as spoils, but not the people. Joshua obeyed the commands of Moses in this regard. He is shown as an exemplary leader who is faithful to God’s law. He is a model for future leaders as well as a worthy successor to Moses. In addition, God fulfilled his promise in Deuteronomy 6:10-11 that Israel would inherit large, flourishing cities they did not build.

11:16-23 Joshua Conquered Canaan

Verse 16-17 tells us the areas conquered. Through this series of battles, Joshua and the Israelites conquered the bulk of the land of Canaan.

Verses 18-20 are reflective, putting the events of the conquest in the proper historical and theological perspective. Verse 18 says he made war a long time with all those kings, so we can tell the fighting went on for some time, many days, even though the summaries are brief.

Verse 20 tells us God orchestrated the conquest. The Lord hardened the hearts of the Canaanites to fight against Israel so they would be destroyed. Only the Gibeonites tried to make a treaty with Israel. The time had come for judgment, and God used Israel to execute it. Moses prophesied this in Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and gave them instructions to carry it out. It is also a fulfillment of Genesis 15:16 in that God have the land to Abraham’s descendants and brought about the judgment of the Amorites.

Psalm 44:1-3 commemorates the victories in Canaan.

The last fighting was against the Anakites. The time reference is vague here. This battle may have been part of the southern campaign, as it fits there geographically. But the enemy was so significant it is mentioned last.

Joshua cut them off or cut them out of the hill country. The word means to uproot and exterminate. Only one note of failure is noted. In verse 22, it says “only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some [of the Anakim] remain. These cities are in Philistine territory, the southwest portion of Canaan, along the Mediterranean coast.

Remember the Anakim? When the spies were sent into Canaan by Moses, the say the descendents of Anak there, according to Numbers 13:22. In verse 28, the spies seem to be afraid of them. They said “the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.” The called them the Nephilim and said they were so big the Israelites felt like grasshoppers next to them. They thought of them as giants.

These cities later cause problems for the Israelites. One particular mention is a battle that made David famous, in 1 Samuel 17. David fought a giant named Goliath of Gath.

1 Samuel 5:1 records an event where the Philistines captured the ark and took it to Ashdod. Judges 16:1 records an incident where Samuel came to Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. So you see all three of these Philistine cities continue to plague Israel after they were not conquered. In Numbers 33:55, the Lord said those inhabitants of the land you allow to remain will become barbs in you eyes and thorns in your sides.

Verses 23 gives us the summary of the narrative. Joshua conquered the land and gave it as an inheritance to Israel, allotting the land by tribes. And they had rest from war. This rest was given by God, but was temporary. There would be more fighting later. But, in this rest, Joshua would distribute the land and the people would begin to settle it. It was reached by those who had faith in the Lord, while those who had not believed and had rebelled were not allowed to enter into this rest.

Hebrews 3 and 4 explain this to us and uses this rest as a type of the rest offered by Christ. It is, of course, the better rest. It is a rest from works (Hebrews 4:10) and is entered into by faith. We obey by believing and, if we believe, we enter his rest.

Joshua 12 is a list of the kings conquered by Moses and Joshua as leaders of Israel and servants of God.


We do not have to fear the size of the opposition or the obstacle if God has promised us the victory.

The Lord wants us to place our trust in Him and not in ourselves. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Winning small battles of faith prepares us for larger battles. When we are faithful in small things, God entrusts larger things to us.

Don’t use the devil’s tools to win your battles. Rely on the Lord.

Friday, November 25, 2005

This, then, is the foundation of sanctification in Reformed theology. It is rooted, not in humanity and their achievement of holiness or sanctification, but in what God has done in Christ, and for us in union with him. Rather than view Christians first and foremost in the microcosmic context of their own progress, the Reformed doctrine first of all sets them in the macrocosm of God's activity in redemptive history. It is seeing oneself in this context that enables the individual Christian to grow in true holiness."- Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, 'Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification'
ThirdWay, a think tank, recently published a study called “The Demographics of Abortion”. They claim that Catholics represent 27% of those having abortions each year, or about 350,000 abortions. Evangelicals account for 13%. That is about 170,000 abortions per year.
There are about 1.3 million abortions per year in America, to 4.1 million live births and 900k miscarriages.
Jonathan Edwards, Advice to Young converts: Remember that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace and sweet communon with Christ; it was the first sin that ever was, and lies lowest in the foundation of satan’s whole building.”
Once again an atheist is making a challenge in the Constitutional Court over the use of the word "God" in the national anthem. He hopes to draw attention to the line between church and state.

No, this is not in the good ole USA. It is in Russia. The atheist isAlexander Nikonov, leader of the Moscow Atheistic Society. His complaint is about the the second verse of the Russian national anthem. It is called "The land of my birth protected by God". That title makes it harder to remove all references to God.

President Putin brought back the Russian national anthem five years ago. Putin revised the text and added the word God.

Here at home, Dr. Newdow continues his crusade to remove God from society, this time asking the court to order the removal of "In God We Trust" from our currency. Sometimes you feel squeezed as a believer in God. The Muslims want to wipe you from the face of the earth. The atheists want to remove God from the face of the earth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The first official Thanksgiving Proclamation was made November 1, 1777, by the Continental Congress. Samuel Adams wrote it. Here is part of it.

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received...together with penitent confession of their sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; and their humble and earnest supplications that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of is therefore set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor...acknowledging with gratitude their obligations to Him for benefits received. ... To prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth 'in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost'.
A politician from Northern Ireland, Maurice Mills, Hurricane Katrina is God’s judgment against homosexuals. He believes the hurricane was sent to cancel "Southern Decadence," a festival celebrating debauchery and the homosexual lifestyle which had attracted 125,000 people last year. Katrina struck New Orleans just days before this year's event, but Mills complained that the media failed to report that fact.

Mills went on to say "Surely this is a warning to nations where such wickedness is increasingly promoted and practiced. This abominable and filthy practice of sodomy has resulted in the great continent of Africa being riddled with AIDS, all at great cost to the nations and innocent children."

Another guy with the same thought is Alabama state senator Hank Erwin, who said the hurricane was God punishing the U.S. for its national breaking of biblical laws.

Mills concluded with this statement: “This is me as an individual taking a stand for God."

If the hurricane was God’s message, the homosexuals did not get it. Less than a week after the hurricane, in the midst of great suffering and sorrow, homosexuals paraded and partied down Bourbon Street. You would not want a disaster to get in the way of your sex life. A few days later, homosexuals paraded around in Lafayette, Louisiana., holding the Southern Decadence Parade in Exile. Decadence waits for no man.

Interestingly, Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida, delayed another homosexual debauchery event, “Fantasy Fest” in Key West.

Maybe Mr. Mills has a point.
For the second year in a row, Camden, New Jersey, has been named the nation's most dangerous city based on crime statistics. Camden wrested the top spot from Detroit last year. Detroit remained No. 2 this year. The ranking is done by Morgan Quitno Press in "City Crime Rankings," an annual reference book. Camden also has consistency on its side. It has been in the top 10 for all eight years of rankings.

New Jersey has invested $175 million into the city for development projects. It has taken over parts of Camden's government. This might be a warning for the Federal Government in its compulsion to rebuild Atlantis. I mean New Orleans.

Camden says it has reduced the most serious crimes by 18 percent in the first 10 months of 2005. One resident verifies improvement by saying "I haven't heard that many gunshots". I’m not sure how many is “that many”. Last year, the city averaged a murder a week for its 80,000 residents.

Camden could raise money with a new lottery. You could guess who the next murder victim would be. Since they have one a week, it would be a real money maker.
This from Jonah Goldberg: Thanksgiving, after all, is first and foremost about giving thanks (a close second is the tradition of lying on the couch eating super-yummy turkey sandwiches off your belly like a sea otter munching a crab leg).
"...Only when God shines in us by the Holy Spirit is there any profit from the Word. Thus the inward calling, which alone is effectual and peculiar to the elect, is distinguished from the outward voice of men." - John Calvin

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." - 1 Thess 1: 4, 5

Revelation 17:14

These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall conquer them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall conquer that are with him, called and chosen and faithful.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


10:1-6 The Amorite Alliance

The treaty between Israel and Gibeon was a setback for the Amorites, because it was a big city with good fighters that stood between the Amorites and Israel. Now that line of defense was removed. Coupled with the fall of Jericho and Ai, the central part of Canaan was now controlled by the Israelites. The Amorites, led by Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem, gathered their alliance and attacked Gibeon. This was a clever attempt to retake this central city for defense purposes and discourage future alliances with Israel.

The name “Adoni-zedek” means “lord of justice”. He was known to cut off the toes and thumbs of those he punished. He was not only the king of Jerusalem, but also seemed to be a chief or leader among the Canaanites tribes and cities. That is probably why he was the one to organize the alliance. There is also historical evidence for his existence. Tell Armana is an archeological site in Egypt. Egypt had dominion over Canaan for a long time. It was the capital city built by king Akhenaten. Many tables were found there, written in Akkadian. They are called the Tell Armana tablets. Among the Tell Amarna tablets are letters from Adoni-zedec to the King of Egypt. The letters show the invasion of Israel into this area from the perspective of the invaded. Some quotes from the letters are: "Behold, I say that the land of the king my lord is ruined", "The wars are mighty against me", "The Hebrew chiefs plunder all the king's lands", "Behold, I the chief of the Amorites am breaking to pieces." Then he implores the king of Egypt to send soldiers to help him, directing that the army should come by sea to Gaza, and thence march to Wru-sa-lim (Jerusalem) by the valley of Elah.

Each of these kings mentioned in Joshua 10 is the king of a city-state. All of them are southwest of Jerusalem, except Jerusalem itself. You probably recognize some of the names. Jerusalem was evidently originally just called Salem. This is the first time it is called Jerusalem in the Bible. After Abraham’s battle with the 5 kings and the rescue of Lot, Abraham encountered Melchizedek of Salem, according to Genesis 14:18. He was called priest of God Most High. He blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tithe of the spoils. Jerusalem eventually became the capital and David resided there. He had to win the city from the Jebusites, who were still living there.

Hebron is 23 miles south of Jerusalem. The Canaanites called it Kiriath Arba, naming it after Arba, the greatest man among the Anakites. Abraham moved there after separating from Lot, and he built an altar there. Sarah later died there. Genesis 23 tells us Abraham bought property there from the Hittites and buried Sarah in a cave. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebecca and Leah were all eventually buried there. Joshua gave Hebron to Caleb, who was of the tribe of Judah. David was later anointed as king there and reigned there for 7 years.

The Israelites will continue to honor their treaty and oath to the Gibeonites.

10:7-11 (The Lightning Strike)

Joshua surprised the Amorites with an all night march to join the battle. More importantly, you see the Lord fighting the battle for them again. He gave them enemy into the hand of Israel, he threw the enemy into confusion, then he hurled large hailstones on them and killed more than the Israelites did. The Israelites pursued them for 20 miles.

10:12-15 (The Longest Day)

Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still so they would have more time to fight. The Lord did so. You can almost hear the writer marvel at the wonder of God’s intercession in this way.

I am not sure the NIV has the translation right in verses 12 and 13. The NIV reads “…Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel…” But the literal translation is “and he said” and the subject is not specified. So, these words spoken to the sun may be the words of the Lord, not of Joshua, which make sense, given their commanding nature. In support of this interpretation, note that verse 14 says “surely the Lord was fighting for Israel”. The ESV preserves the ambiguity of the original text by saying “and he said in the sight of Israel”.

Notice also the reference to another book that is not in the Bible, the Book of Jashar. 2 Samuel 1:18 also refers to it. There is a claim that it was rediscovered in 1829, but that version appears to be a forgery. There is an 1840 translation on the Web. It is a re-telling of the Old Testament from creation through the time of the Judges with some extra stuff. It was printed in Hebrew in 1625. There is also a fraudulent version written in the Middle Ages. Some more cultic groups have embraced it as the true story of the O.T. times, including the House of Jehovah, the Mormans, the Rosicrucians (the forged version), and Ellen White appears to have copied some of it in her writings for the early Seventh Day Adventists.

I think the purpose of the reference is to say, I know this is fantastic, but if you don’t believe, go read that other book and see that it has the same facts.

10:16-28 Execution of the Kings

The kings were captured and imprisoned in a cave until the battles were over. Then Joshua humiliated them, executed them, and displayed their bodies. Joshua gave the Israelites an object lesson by having them place their feet on the neck of the kings to symbolize defeat and give them courage. The Bible tells us the Father told Jesus to sit at his right hand until he made his enemies a footstool for his feet. See Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25-27). Joshua also built another monument of stone to commemorate the victories.

The second Joshua will participate in a similar event. Revelation 6:15-17 says the kings of the earth will hide in caves from the face of the Father and the wrath of the Lamb. They acknowledge that no one can stand before their wrath.

10:29-43 The Southern Campaign

Joshua continued to attack, moving to destroy the southern cities that the Lord gave to him. They completely destroyed all the cities, as the Lord commanded.


When the Lord says he will give victory, he does give victory.

The Lord kept his promises to Abraham.

The Lord's judgment is awsome and to be avoided by placing our faith in Christ.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"I'd like to burn you at the stake!" growled Betty Friedan at Phyllis Schlafly during a public debate over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) at Illinois State University in 1973.
A Saudi high-school chemistry teacher accused of discussing religion with his students has been sentenced to 750 lashes and 40 months in prison for blasphemy, officials said Thursday.

The court ruling was condemned by human rights activists, who said Mohammed Salamah al-Harbi was being imprisoned for having an "open discussion" with students.

Al-Harbi was convicted of questioning and ridiculing Islam, discussing the Bible and defending Jews, judicial officials said Thursday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Prosecutors acted after a complaint by students and al-Harbi's fellow teachers, officials said. The court in the northern province of al-Qassim heard the case Saturday in a six-hour trial.

Al-Harbi was in prison Thursday, but the Saudi newspaper Al-Madinah reported him as saying he would appeal the verdict.

"There are charges that the judge read which are unknown to me, such as defending Jews and the Bible, ridiculing Islam and witchcraft. It's strange that the judge ruled so quickly and wanted to end the case so fast," al-Harbi was quoted as saying.
In contrast to the brave Indian Christians facing death and persecution, check out the somewhat more cowardly Canadian Catholics. Only one day prior to the opening of the Canadian National Pro-Life Conference, priests back tracked and refused to let the conference use their facilities because the received threats from pro-abortion and homosexual activists. The decision is not based on police inability to offer adequate protection, according to police officials. Organizers of the conference are scrambling to find another location at such short notice.

Despite the pleas of pro-life leaders to reverse the decision in several meetings today, Father Jean-Pierre Aumont, the rector of the Oratory, was standing firm in his decision. He won’t stand firm against abortion if he gets some flack, but he will stand firm against honoring his commitments.

The news comes as a big and unpleasant surprise to the pro-life movement. Even now, conference speakers and hundreds of attendees are en route to Montreal from all over. They have paid for hotel rooms and travel. They have taken off work.

The conference is sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition and Life Canada.
Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition Canada told, "This decision to cancel the contract at this last minute is a great capitulation on the part of the Catholic church in the face of opposition to its pro-life, pro-family teaching."
Britain, for its part, has for some time banned religious music in civil weddings. The Government announced yesterday that it repealed the ban on any mention of religion in civil ceremonies, but continues the ban on hymns and readings from the Bible or other sacred texts. The purpose of these rules is to create a clear distinction between the civil services and church wedding services. The somewhat relaxed rules now allow music "as long as these contain no more than an incidental reference to a god or deity in an essentially non-religious context". All hail the secular society. Brits had 180,000 or so civil ceremonies in 2003 compared with 86,000 religious ceremonies.
Bill Clinton, of all people, made an astute observation about religion. He said "It's interesting to me that we always proclaim – especially certain numbers of us – that we're the most religious big country in the world," said Clinton. "It may be true, but we also seem to be the most reluctant to get to heaven." He went on to discuss the amount of money spent on life saving efforts for people in the last hours of life.

Other folks may not have that much control over the last minutes of life, because they are Christians in a country where that is not popular. That country is India, which claims to be the world’s largest democracy, but where militant Hindus are conducting wide spread persecution of Christian. Hindus have threatened more than 60 Christian converts in northern India with burning to death unless they return to Hinduism by Sunday. The Hindus have already severely beaten the group’s pastor, Feroz Masih. On November 4, they attacked him and accused him of "forcibly converting" the group of believers from Hinduism.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY. The troops are restless in the Church of England. Possibly for the first time, the head guy is under attack. One of the controversial things about the appointment of this Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was his liberal stance on gay priests. 17 of the 38 primates signed a letter to the Archbishop, urging him to take action against “unrepented sexual immorality” in the Church.

The letter said “We wonder whether your personal dissent from this consensus prevents you from taking the necessary steps to confront those churches that have embraced teaching contrary to the communion the letter is said to have read. We urge you to rethink your personal view and embrace the church’s consensus. And to act on it as it is clear in the witness of scripture.”

While this is going on, the diocese of New Westminster in Canada was busy becoming the first in the Anglican communion to introduce a service of blessing for same-sex couples. The British bishops previously rejected such services in July. Also while this is going on, a Presbyterian congregation in New York has ordained a gay man who is not celibate. They did this despite their denomination's ban on sexually active homosexuals joining the clergy. This guy is serving as pastor of the Palisades Presbyterian Church in Palisades, New York. When asked if he would abide by the church's constitution, the pastor said yes, except for a measure that says ministers must practice fidelity if married and chastity if single.

I didn’t know you got to choose which rules to obey.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Democrats have revived the claim that the President misled them about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that none have been found. Here is a partial list of what has been found:

1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium

1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents

17 chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas)

Over 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form meant for dispersal over populated areas

Roadside bombs loaded with mustard and "conventional" sarin gas, assembled in binary chemical projectiles for maximum potency

How much of that would you like floating around in America?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Starbucks now spends more on employee health insurance than on coffee beans.
David Heddle has several interesting posts on Intelligent Design.
Health Care News reports that counterfeit drug sales worldwide have reached the $39 billion level. Eleven percent of all drugs sold globally are counterfeit according to the article by Peter Pitts. It is based on a report of the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest released September 20.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is poised to become the first woman to be a head of state in Africa. She leads the presidential election in Liberia over a former soccer star. She is a Harvard graduate and an economist, the former finance minister of Liberia, and former emoployee of the United Nations and the World Bank. It is a hard choice, isn’t it, between a soccer player and an economist.
The Times, They Are A’Changin’. The Billy Graham association has announced that Mr. Graham will no longer do crusades. He deserves the rest. He is 87 and in poor health. His wife is 86 and in poor health. No one will begrudge him his retirement, but it is hard to imagine a world without Billy Graham crusades.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Chellebelle asked some time ago if you had to believe in the Trinity to be saved. I think you have to believe in the deity of Christ to be saved.

Romans 10:9says “That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

1 John 4:13:15 says “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.”

1 John 2:23 “No one who denies the Son has the father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

Sunday, November 06, 2005

After an absence of 6 weeks for our church to participate in Rick Warren's 40 Days of Community, I got to teach again today. I really missed it, and it was a great joy to be "back in the saddle". So, here are my notes to the study of Joshua 8.


8:1-2 (Back In The Saddle)

After a terrible diversion from the campaign to win Canaan, brought about by the disobedience of Achan, the Israelites have removed the sin from the camp and God has turned from his fierce anger against them. God is now ready to use them to destroy the city of Ai.

The first thing God tells them is a phrase we hear over and over again in the Bible when man is confronted by God’s presence. He said “do not be afraid”. Now, they had good reason to be afraid. They had just experienced the Lord’s displeasure. He allowed them to lose a battle, including the death of some of their people. In addition, they saw the punishment of Achan for his sin. So, they were in need of some reassurance.

Look at the differences from the first attack on Ai. First, God instructed them to attack. Second, God gave the city into their hands. This did not happen in the first attack, which you can read about in chapter 7. It did happen in the attack on Jericho, recorded in chapter 6. Another difference is that Joshua assigned only a small force of 3000 men to attack Ai. In the second attack, the Lord instructed him to take the whole army.

We cannot be presumptuous about God’s will. We need to seek his will both as to his purpose and his plan.

Finally, notice that God gave the Israelites the plunder from the city. He did not give the plunder of Jericho to Israel. All was either destroyed or given to the treasury of the Lord. It was a sort of first fruits offering. Sadly, had Achan trusted God and obeyed, he would have received plunder in the second battle without sinning.

8:3-29 (The Battle)

Joshua passed on the Lord’s instructions to Israel and they conducted the battle in obedience. God gave them victory. They completely destroyed the city and its inhabitants and the Lord commanded. They killed the king and hung his body on a tree as an additional humiliation. They will do this again in chapter 10 when they defeat the coalition of 5 Amorite kings. They observed the law and took his body down at sunset. See Deuteronomy 21:22.

Notice Joshua’s role in this battle. The Lord told him in verse 18 to Hold out a javelin, pointed toward the city. Verse 26 tells us he did not draw back his hand until all the people of Ai had been destroyed. This reminds us of the battle against the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-16, where Moses stood on top of the hill and raised the staff of the Lord while Joshua led the troops in fighting. So, again, God fulfilled his promise to be with Joshua as he had with Moses.

8:30-35 (Building An Altar)

After these 2 successful conquests, Joshua built an altar to the Lord on Mount Ebal. Mount Ebal is above Shechem, where Abraham built an altar, and where God said he would give the land of Canaan to his offspring. This is in Genesis 12:6-7. Notice in verse 8 that Abraham then went to the area between Bethel and Ai and built another altar and called on the name of the Lord. So, the Israelites worshipped God in the same area where Abraham received the promise they would do so.

It is important to complete that cycle. We worship when we move out on God’s promises. We worship when God fulfills those promises for us.

Verse 30 says Joshua did it as Moses commanded. That command is recorded in Deuteronomy 11:26-29. Joshua also built the altar according to the specifications set forth in the “Book of the Law of Moses”. Exodus 20:24-25 gives those specifications. No tool of man could be used to build the altar to God. He did not want the focus to be on the beauty of the altar, but on Himself and the sacrifice.

So Joshua built the altar with natural stones. He wrote the law on the stones. The people stood around the ark of the covenant, half in front of Mount Ebal and half in front of Mount Gerizim, as they obeyed the command of Moses. Then Joshua read the law, including the blessings and the curses, to the whole assembly, including the men, the women, children and aliens. The Jews teach that Ebal is barren and desolate, composed largely of chalk, and so represented the curses. Gerizim, in contrast, is covered with trees, and represents the blessings of obedience.

What were the blessings and curses? I think they are those contained in Leviticus 26, where Moses tells the Israelites the consequences of obedience and disobedience, and in Deuteronomy 27 and 28, where Moses recounts them before his death.

God will win the victories for us if we will obey and worship.
At a breakfast with reporters, Former President Jimmy Carter yesterday condemned all abortions according to an article by Ralph Z. Holland in The Washington Times. Carter also complained of the Democratic Party’s intolerance of candidates who oppose abortion. Carter is also quoted as saying “I never have felt that any abortion should be committed -- I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors."

The Democratic Part is undeterred. Senate Democrats met about that same time to decide whether to filibuster the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. because he opposes abortion.
This comes as a surprise to many, including myself, as Carter is know to embrace the liberal agenda. When he ran for president, he did say he thought personally that abortion was wrong, but did not favor either a constitutional amendment forbidding it or allowing the states the option to ban it.

Some would say, if it is wrong, why not ban it?
The Little Woman arrived back at DFW about 11 last night. I went to get her and took the dog, er baby, and we were glad to be all back together.

Today, the Oldest took off for Kansas to perform again. The Son-In-Law took off for Arizona for a conference.

The College Daughter and the Baby went to Houston to see Wicked.

This Little Piggy stayed home.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Little Woman returns! After being gone this week for training, she arrives tonight after 11pm and I am going to pick her up. I am glad to have her back. As the man sang "ain't no sunshine when she's gone".