A Threat to Our Survival

 

 

We Are Losing to an Enemy We Refuse to Name Newt Gingrich

“…the facts—suggest the United States is drifting into a crisis that could challenge our very survival.”

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“…our intelligence system has been methodically limited and manipulated to sustain false narratives while suppressing or rejecting facts and analysis about those who would kill us.”

“Congress should explore legislation which would make it illegal to instruct intelligence personnel to falsify information or analysis.”

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We blindly play their game on their terms, and don’t even think about how absurd it is for people who accept no church, no synagogue, no temple, in their heartland to come into our society and define multicultural sensitivity totally to their advantage…”

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“Only once we learn what drives and informs our opponents will we not repeat the same wrong response tactics…and finally start to win this long war.”

 

 

αΩ

Israel & America – Joined in Promise

Frequently weaving through my thoughts is how the creation, maintenance & continuation of the United States of America is interwoven with the workings of God. Or perhaps a better expression of my musings is, how do these processes reflect the mind & desires of the Lord?

Many years ago, a young woman I’d met at a friend’s home-church type gathering, stated that America was a type of the Manchild – or something like that. Although back then I knew ‘squat’ about America’s founding (nor cared), on some vague level, I sensed she was right. It was my first exposure to the spiritual expression of America.

Now, decades later, I am convinced that the United States of America is a powerful New Covenant representation. We were never just a country. Should we fall, still…we will never have been just a country.

Neither is Israel just a country.

America & Israel are living expressions of enduring New Covenant promises, concerning the blindness of the Jewish people ’til the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in. (Romans 11:25) We two countries are bound together in promise. Like it or not. At this time, the ‘grafting in’ of we Gentiles into that olive branch of spiritual Israel continues, as Gentiles come to Christ. (v.17-24) (I wonder if the awakening in some minds & hearts to a greater acceptance of and respect for the Jewish state, and its people & leaders – whether we are Christian believers or not – is somehow part of that process.) It can be no coincidence that Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and the United States, the greatest democracy in the world, are both nations always involved with either Yahweh or Yeshua. (Yes, I said the United States. I promise you, there remains a remnant.)

Yahweh or Yeshua. The Old or the New Covenant. Hmmm…

 

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Israel is becoming more & more hemmed in, as her adversaries advance closer and closer to her borders. As they develop weapons’ capabilities to do the same. As world-wide anti-Semitism is reportedly rising. And I wonder if the spiritual ‘fulness if the Gentiles’ is represented by American prosperity & power, in a sense. Perhaps, should the United States reach her maximum potential for good – which is not a desired state! – she will wane in that power & sovereignty. ‘Fulness’ will have been reached. Her abilities to stand with & support Israel impaired, perhaps Israel may then experience a reversal of that ‘blindness’. Standing alone, looking for that final solution to war, Israel will be ready to receive Him when their Messiah arises throughout the land.

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I am just ‘thinking out loud’ here. May there be another way. Nonetheless, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The earth is the LORD’s, and He doeth all things well.

 

An Issue of National Security

 

Congress Must Investigate Islamist Influence-Buying  Newt Gingrich

 

“…the degree to which foreign donors–many ideologically opposed to Western values and civilization–are funding our leading academic and intellectual institutions merits much greater scrutiny and recognition than it has received. 

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu     

“Congress has an obligation to thoroughly explore the efforts of our opponents to penetrate, undermine and weaken American society and government.”

 

 

Eagle

αΩ

 

America’s First Terrorist Entanglement

 

Too many headlines these days – in fact, just one is too many – trumpet the deeds of ISIS around the globe. We are assaulted visually, with their graphic videos. Hard not to be aware of this terrorist group. Yet, I suspect that many, though aware, don’t grasp the seriousness of their intent. It is just my suspicion, but I think that, let’s say, certain ones in my own sphere of life are missing that. It may be as it was in the days of Noah – people were so involved in the daily issues & struggles of their lives, they did not heed Noah’s warning.

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Terrorism against the United States is not new. It is not a phenomenon specific to our times only. The hand of jihad moved against the original thirteen colonies also. Barely had independence been declared & won, than Muslim extremists of that day began launching attacks at sea on American vessels, engaging in kidnappings, imprisonment, enslavement, & ransom demands, as well as requiring yearly tributes from all who would attempt to sail in ‘their’ waters. These marauders from the North African states of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers, known as the Barbary Pirates, obtained wealth and power through their lawless plundering, (not only of American ships, but those of Portugal, Italy, Malta, Denmark and Sweden, as well as France & England.)

“As early as 1784 Congress followed the tradition of the European shipping powers and appropriated $80,000 as tribute to the Barbary states…”  (America and the Barbary Pirates:  An International Battle Against an Unconventional FoeThe following year, in July 1785, Algerians captured two American ships and their crews of twenty-one people. They were held for a ransom of nearly $60,000. And so it began…and by 1795, The United States was still paying ransoms & tributes to the these piratical states. In that year alone, nearly a million dollars was expended in hostage ransoms, as well as naval stores and a frigate.

As ambassador to France & then Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson opposed paying ransoms & tributes. In a July, 1786, letter to John Adams, Jefferson wrote “I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro’ the medium of war.” He believed that paying tribute would merely invite more demands of the same. The general consensus at that time, however, did not align with Jefferson’s belief. Paying was easier (and cheaper) than fighting. As a result, an attempted international coalition fell through, and extortion on the high seas continued.

However, once elected President, Thomas Jefferson refused to continue making these payments. So Tripoli declared war. Jefferson “…admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . .” Booyah. His bold & decisive move shocked and fractured the Barbary states, with Tunis & Algiers breaking away from Tripoli. The lion was out of his cage, and they were gettin’ out of the way! Runnin’ for cover!

There were more battles, more ransom negotiations and more American losses, but President Jefferson was not deterred from his chosen course of action. We fought back. Eventually, Morocco was forced out of the fight. Tripoli was bombarded five times. Order began to be restored to the Mediterranean. In 1805, naval and land forces (boots on the ground?) deployed to Tripoli resulted in cessation of hostilities. The treaty of 1805, however, still required the United States to pay a ransom of $60,000 for each of the sailors still held hostage. It was not officially approved by the Senate until April 1806. But by year’s end, Jefferson was able to declare, “The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it….but neither the piracy, nor the paying of tributes, actually ended there.

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It could have, though.

The conflict leading up to this 1805 treaty contained almost bizarre, way outside-the-box elements that actually, unbelievably, succeeded. “In an historic and unconventional move, Jefferson also sent an odd, obsessed, and self-destructive man to the Mediterranean to lead what amounted to the nation’s first covert operation.(source)  William Eaton, a Revolutionary War veteran and Indian fighter, managed to assemble a ragtag army of roughly 400 mercenaries and disaffected Arab fighters. Along with a small detachment of US Marines, Eaton & his ‘men’ marched about 500 miles across the desert, towards Derna, Tripoli, and the Pasha’s throne. Bloodshed & mutiny abounded en route. Eaton’s scheme has been called ridiculous. But with the support of US Navy gunboats offshore, when a victorious Eaton & his Marines flew the Stars and Stripes at Derna, “it was the first time a U.S. flag had been raised in conquest in a foreign land.”

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This action, and the valor and conduct of the Marines, is forever memorialized in the opening lines of the Marine Corps hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli.”

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So, what went wrong?

President Jefferson, in what looks to me like a betrayal of Eaton & his men, in order to assure victory one way or another, authorized U.S. diplomat Tobias Lear to negotiate a peace treaty with the pasha of Tripoli, while Eaton was fighting the good fight. So, though William Eaton & his forces actually took Derna, intending to replace the pasha with his pro-America brother Ahmad, it mattered not. The terms of the treaty negated much of Eaton’s victory. There could have possibly been maritime peace, with safe, tribute free travel. So close!  Instead, the piracy continued.

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Ten years later, President James Madison secured a declaration of war from Congress.  American victory, “dictated at the mouths of our cannon” inspired British & Dutch, then later French action against the Barbary pirates. By the spring of 1830, piracy was quashed.

But it took war.

“…to be free and uninsulted [i.e., unattacked], we must let these nations see that we have an energy [willingness to use force], which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they entertain of our powers cannot fail to involve us soon in a … war.” – George Washington,  (What George Washington Said About ISIS)

No amount of negotiating, diplomacy or funds paid, without physical combat, gained the victory over piracy & terrorism.

It took war.

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…lest anyone say, But they were pirates, not radical Muslim extremists…

Jefferson & Adams questioned the Tripolitan ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic. The ambassador’s answer:

“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Hmmm…where have we heard this before?

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The final conclusion drawn in the article from which I’ve gathered most of this information, is this – just as the Barbary pirates did what they said they would, as long as they could get away with it, so will the terrorists of today. It behooves our security & defense forces, our military leaders & our administration in Washington to expect that. And respond accordingly.

And ‘We, the People’ need to realize this, as well.

 

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“Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.” – John Adams  (Liberty Tree)

On a final note, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of the Spirit in the above quote from John Adams –

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5: 2)

You may not think there is any connection here of the one to the other. But things have roots. They spring from somewhere or something. Now you see it, but it was once invisible.

“Then said Jesus…if ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 31, 32)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing Your Life

Instinctively, most of us would react without hesitation to protect our lives & our well-being – and that of those we love & value – when such would be threatened. On a less dramatic scale, it seems a normal & prudent course to think ahead, plan and make provisions for our daily survival. One needs to pay bills, go food shopping, make repairs to the house, clean & do laundry, etc., etc.  We do what we can to ensure a safe, healthy and if possible, comfortable existence.

Additionally, no one wants to suffer if it can be avoided. A way that I try to neutralize suffering is to engage in activities that satisfy me. A certain amount of pleasure can really sweeten the deal!

…so when I read a Scripture like “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross…” (Mark 8 :34), I want to run for the hills! To apparently make matters worse, the next verse warns against trying to save your own life. I am not sure I like where this is going! What? I’m not allowed to have any sense of safety, well-being? No pleasure? I can’t use my talents or ever seek to fulfill a desire? This, for me, is one of those Scriptures I often gloss over, feeling sick inside, and find another one that speaks of grace, or the goodness of God, etc.

Not necessarily a bad escape route, but eventually, I find I need to take the bull by the horns, and really look into those Scriptures that leave me feeling threatened. I must be missing something.

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Now, maybe these two Scriptures do mean everything that I am afraid they mean…but I can’t live with that. The letter kills, for sure, and God doesn’t give a spirit of fear…so I keep looking for another understanding here.

‘Deny’, in this particular verse, does mean deny, but with the emphasis of ‘utterly’ added. This Greek word is built on two other Greek words, one of which means ‘to contradict’, or reject.

Moving on to the second verse I mentioned, I learned that the Greek word for ‘lose’ means either ‘to destroy fully’ or ‘to perish’. And ‘save’ (in this verse) is translated ‘protect’, or preserve.

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Jumping down to the end of this chapter, we see that Jesus is speaking, among other things, about His words. His teachings. And He speaks of being ashamed of those words. When you look into ‘ashamed’, you find the concept of ‘disgrace’. Obvious enough, I guess, but then it occurs to me…disgrace. Is the crux of the problem rejecting His grace? (Okay, now a light is flickering in the darkness! THIS is what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Once grace enters the picture, everything changes.)

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These Scriptures are written in relation to following Jesus. To ‘follow’ Him means ‘to be in the same way with.’ How can two walk together unless they be agreed? We need to agree with Jesus’ words. So when He tells us we need to utterly deny ourselves and not try to protect our own lives – based on the new covenant of grace – I have to begin to consider that Jesus is speaking of completely abandoning all of our efforts to get right with God. Let His work on the cross alone ‘save’ us.

I suspect that much of what people do, thinking they are pursuing other good goals, are in fact an effort in the flesh to ‘save’ themselves. It may not be an overtly spiritual activity. It could be any activity at all. But the stress & pressure we can put on ourselves to ‘accomplish’ can be destructive. This is where I’m beginning to learn to lose my life. Stop trying to protect it. Ease up. Chill. You aren’t in this alone.

the Mercy Seat

the Mercy Seat

“This is Amazing Grace”

I was searching through SoundCloud earlier tonight, looking for a specific praise & worship song, which I could not find. But in my searching, I came across “This is Amazing Grace”, waiting below for you to click on the arrow. The song quality is not that outstanding; it’s a little garbled. But I posted it here tonight because, in our ever horrifying world of a darkening tide threatening liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and a dangerous movement in our schools seeking to remove light…this joyful acknowledgment of Jesus, who bought our freedom with His blood, and is the Light of the world, was sung by members of the Mt. Hermon Senior High, during a live worship service just this past summer, July, 2014.