Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Right Spirit

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 
Psalm 51:10

A backslider, if there be a spark of life left in him, will groan after restoration. In this renewal the same exercise of grace is required as at our conversion. We needed repentance then; we certainly need it now. We wanted faith that we might come to Christ at first; only the like grace can bring us to Jesus now. We wanted a word from the Most High, a word from the lip of the loving One, to end our fears then; we shall soon discover, when under a sense of present sin, that we need it now. No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were. Let thy personal weakness, O Christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help. Remember, David when he felt himself to be powerless, did not fold his arms or close his lips, but he hastened to the mercy seat with "renew a right spirit within me." Let not the doctrine that you, unaided, can do nothing, make you sleep; but let it be a goad in your side to drive you with an awful earnestness to Israel's strong Helper. O that you may have grace to plead with God, as though you pleaded for your very life. "Lord, renew a right spirit within me." He who sincerely prays to God to do this, will prove his honesty by using the means through which God works. Be much in prayer; live much upon the Word of God; kill the lusts which have driven your Lord from you; be careful to watch over the future uprisings of sin. The Lord has his own appointed ways; sit by the wayside and you will be ready when he passes by. Continue in all those blessed ordinances which will foster and nourish your dying graces; and, knowing that all the power must proceed from him, cease not to cry, "Renew a right spirit within me."


- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Monday, October 29, 2012

Political Child Abuse

It's no secret that, whenever a fascist or murderous "religious" group seeks power, it often does so by using images (and indoctrination) of children who are, by definition, too young to know any better.  From the Hitler Youth to the Young Pioneers of the Soviet Union and China, from North Korea to the Middle East, children have frequently been pawns in the ugliest aspects of political propaganda - - - and, in the case of the Muslims, have of course been used as actual combatants.  That adults would use children in such a manner is unspeakable; but, alas, American politicians have sometimes been guilty of the same thing.  Herewith, a few examples of real psychopolitical child abuse.  In America, we had hoped that such exploitation would have ended with Lyndon Johnson's infamous "Daisy Commercial" of 1964; but, as Walter Mondale (1984) and Barack Obama (2008, 2012) have shown us, they sadly have not. 

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I apologize for the lack of translation, but the images give you the idea.  The following is much easier to understand, and more primal: after all, it was produced by a "respectable" American advertising agency.  It may be the most famous political commercial in history, and was only aired once: either the American people were less willing to be manipulated in 1964, or the creators of the commercial were ashamed of themselves.  The former explanation is, of course, far more likely:

video 

As has been amply demonstrated elsewhere on this blog, this is precisely the sort of thing that is de rigeur among Muslims, although they really mean what they say: instead of merely assembling children to tout this politician or that régime, the Mohammedans actually throw their children into the fire.  Western "progressives" aren't like that; they just exploit them for short-term political gain.  Here are some happy (for now) Palestinian children, singing about the joys of "martyrdom," followed by a 1984 adaptation of the "daisy" commercial, by Democrat Walter Mondale:

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What is it with these Democrats, anyway?  I'm not a Republican (I'm an independent, and a very uninvolved independent, at that), but I don't recall any commercials by Republicans or Libertarians or Greens exploiting children this way.  (Well, the Libertarians and Greens don't have much money for advertising, but that's not the point.)  Mondale's commercial, which was aired after he blew the election in his second debate with Reagan, was merely an updated version of the "daisy" spot.  You'd think they'd have more class.

Here, 150,000 North Korean children sing that beloved lullaby, "Long Live Kim Jong-Un," in honor of their new Beloved Leader, son of the late Kim Jong-Il.  You needn't watch the entire video; it merely illustrates our point.

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In America, however, the masters of this sort of thing have proven to be the supporters and paid agents of the Current President.  In 2008, he had a lot of "volunteer" help, such as this public school teacher putting her students through their paces, rather than instructing them in, oh, maybe mathematics or language skills:


video

The zenith (or nadir) of this sort of thing has now been reached in America, by the creation of a new song in which "the children of tomorrow" sing a bitter, sarcastic, very un-childlike song about the possible outcome of a Republican victory.  Produced by the advertising firm Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the lyrics sound like a rant by Michael Moore or Bill Maher.  Find me a child who actually thinks this way, and I'll show you a child in need of psychological counselling:

video

Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea

We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair

It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you! 

 .
That last line is particularly interesting: it summons up images of Nazi or Soviet children turning in their "politically unreliable" parents to the authorities.  At least the schoolchildren in 2008, chanting "Mmm-mmm-mmm, Barack Hussein Obama," looked and sounded like normal children, as they happily obeyed their teacher.  These kids look like they've overdosed on Ritalin.  Perhaps they have.

I said in a recent post that Christians shouldn't get excited about the outcome of the current election, because it's in God's hands.  This post isn't about the election; it's about child abuse.  I don't like it, and I don't appreciate politicians who employ it for their own ends.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Red Line

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi is a woman who understands Iran.  Born and raised in Tehran, she later attended the American University of Paris and became a cinematographer, writer, and outspoken human rights activist.  In 2001, her father, Siamak Pourzand, became a political prisoner in Iran; in 2011 he committed suicide as an act of protest against the current régime.  Along with such brave women as Wafa Sultan, Buthayna Nasser, and Veena Malik, Banafsheh has not hesitated to speak the truth about Islam and Mideast issues to the imams and mullahs themselves, sometimes on Al-Jazeera television.  Her current project is Red Line, an international campaign against Iran's nuclear program.  Her compelling words deserve a hearing.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update! Presidential Election Predictions

The tumult and the shouting dies,
 The Captains and the Kings depart;
 Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
 An humble and a contrite heart.
- - - Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional"

Okay, we're almost there: pretty soon, it'll all be over but the second-guessing.  As we approach this year's Presidential election in the United States, I'm going to offer some predictions of what will happen on November 6 and beyond.  These predictions are not divine prophecies, because I'm not divinely inspired, and anyone (outside the Bible) who claims to be a prophet of the future is a liar.  But watch and see: these predictions will come through, right on the money, no matter who is elected or re-elected in the United States.  Ready?


hot girl voting

1.  On November 6, either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be chosen by the American people to serve (or continue to serve) as President. (As of this writing, millions of Americans have already cast their votes via absentee ballots and early voting.)  In December, the Electoral College will vote, and their votes will be counted in early January 2013.  At that point, the election will have taken place, unless it is contested in the Supreme Court.

2.  The newly elected or re-elected President will be officially inaugurated on January 20, 2013, which is a Sunday.  This may take place in a private ceremony, as the date is prescribed by the Constitution, and cannot be postponed; or he may be "inaugurated" twice: in any case, the public celebration will be held the next day, on Monday.

3. On Nov. 7, political professionals and pundits,  like Roman seers examining the entrails of a dead owl, will attempt to explain what happened the day before, and why it happened.  The winning party will heave a sigh of relief over a close election (a "squeaker," as the ancient Greek philosophers put it), or exult in a landslide; the losing party will look around for someone to blame.  The American people, whether pleased or displeased, will be glad it's over.  And God, sitting enthroned in Heaven, might yawn, if He reacts at all.  Because....

4.  God not only knew the outcome in advance, He ordained it. He removeth kings, and setteth up kings (Daniel 2:21). For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God (Romans 13:1). As Jesus said to Pontius Pilate: Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above (John 19:11).  The President inaugurated on January 20, 2013, will be God's choice for the job: just as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and Barack Obama were.  These men were not all my choice, or yours: but they were God's.  Is this "the divine right of Presidents?"  No, it's simply a statement of God's sovereignty.  

5.  Many Christians, and many non-Christians, will have bitter recriminations and say foolish things, because they won't like the outcome of the election, or the process that led up to it.  But this is inappropriate for a genuine Christian. You're not required to like the results or the process; I often don't.   But, if you're a Christian, saved according to John 1:12, you're obliged to accept them, and act accordingly. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour (Romans 13:7). You may not like Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, and criticism is legitimate, but grumbling and cursing them is off-limits for a Christian.  God is not impressed with them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities (2 Peter 2:10). We Christians (including myself) are bad about this kind of thing.


6.  If Mitt Romney is elected President, he will not "return America to God," or "make this a Christian nation again."  America is not, and never has been, a "Christian nation." (The term itself is meaningless: there are Christian people, and Christian churches, but a "Christian nation" has never existed on the face of this earth.)   With a few happy exceptions, it was not founded by Christian men; it was founded by Deists who had a respect for (but not a belief in) the Bible.  It is unlikely that either Romney or Obama are better Christians than these men.  Certain of our basic institutions were founded on Biblical principles: for example, a tripartite government is described in Isaiah 33:22.  This nation was founded on the basis of, and for the purpose of, religious liberty: persecuted Protestants fled Catholic Europe to escape the Pope and the Anglican Church.  But as soon as they got here, the Puritans (not the Pilgrims) began setting up their own church states, just as quickly as they could, modeled after Calvin's Geneva.  They persecuted Baptists and other "dissenters" unmercifully: these are not the actions of a "Christian nation."  Those Christians who believe "the Moral Majority" or the "Christian Coalition," at the expense of the Bible are, in that area of their thinking, infidels and idolaters. God has blessed America; He is not obligated to continue blessing it.  It's not His nation: Israel is His nation.


7.  If the current President is re-elected, he may indeed succeed in turning the United States into a "European-style socialist state."  But he can only do so because God has set him up for that purpose.  God is not interested in the continued dominance of the United States of America.  God is not concerned with the welfare of the European Union or China or Japan. Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing (Isaiah 40:15).  That goes against the grain for a "proud American," but it's true, and God says it without equivocation:  All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity (Isaiah 40:17).  God loves one nation, and one nation only: the Nation of Israel, which He called out and chose to be His own.  He uses other nations to bless or persecute Israel, just as he did in the Old Testament; but those nations - - - including the United States - - - are merely His tools.


8.  Regardless of who is elected or re-elected, Americans will continue to look to Washington, D.C., for the answer to every problem.  They will do this because they've been conditioned to do so, by what Jacques Ellul called "The Political Illusion."  "Progressives" will look to Washington for the satisfaction of material needs; "conservatives" will look to Washington for the enforcement of certain moral standards.  The Christians in either group have no business doing this; we are to look to God for our answers.  God reminds us of this repeatedly: It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes (Psalm 118:9); and Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help (Psalm 146:3).  Neither Franklin D. Roosevelt nor Ronald Reagan were our saviours, nor are Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, regardless of the idolatry of some Christians and professing Christians.

9.  No matter who is elected or re-elected, there will be, historically speaking, no surprises.  There will be changes that have not taken place in this country before, but there will be nothing really unprecedented.  Nevertheless, Americans will continue to hope for "change." The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11).

 10.  Regardless of who is elected or re-elected, American foreign policy will continue to "tilt"against Israel, as the diplomats say.  This is prophesied in scripture: eventually, I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city (Zechariah 14:2). No matter how much the politicians try to mollify the Jews today, they are already mandating the division of Israel among her enemies.  This will continue, no matter what candidate makes what promise.

And that's enough for one post.  Christians need to sit back, take a deep breath, and open their Bibles.  Time spent trying to "save America" is time wasted.  Either God will save America, or He will wipe her as clean as a dish; but no man or woman, Christian or non-Christian, will be able to do either.  God alone is the Author of history - - - including future history.

Enjoy the remaining days of the campaign; it's the greatest show on earth.  But if you're a Christian, for God's sake, don't take it seriously!  We know Who our King is, and He'll be here at precisely the right time.

Post updated 10.23.2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Call Upon the Lord

 "And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered" (Joel 2:32).


Why do not I call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans? Why not at once roll myself and my burden upon the Lord?
      
Straightforward is the best runner--why do not I run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for "deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal shall to make it sure.
   
 I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word "Whosoever" is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text, and at once call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise.

My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver. --C. H. Spurgeon 


 (From Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman, 1925) 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Muslims buying child soldiers with prostitution, drug profits

More from "the religion of peace," as devised by the great "prophet" Muhammad: you know, the one that piously claims "there is no compulsion in religion."  As the "Arab Spring" continues to bear its deadly fruits in the Middle East, Muslims worldwide, also encouraged by the protective silence of the current President of the United States, are engaged in what can only be called typical Muslim pursuits: in this case, buying children to fight their battles, using the proceeds of drug trafficking and prostitution.  This is not "radical Islamism," or any of the other euphemisms so delicately concocted by the politicians and the media; this is Mohammedanism in sum and in fine. From the BBC, October 10, 2012:

Mali Islamists 'buying child soldiers, imposing Sharia'


Islamists who seized control of part of Mali are amassing money from ransoms and drug trafficking while imposing Sharia law, says a senior UN official.

They are also buying child soldiers, paying families $600 (£375) per child, Ivan Simonovic said after a fact-finding visit to the country.

Islamic extremists seized two-thirds of Mali in March when a military coup plunged the country into chaos.

Mr Simonovic painted a grim picture of human rights abuses there.

Women's rights were being particularly restricted, said Mr Simonovic, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, citing the compilation of a "frightening" list of unmarried women who were pregnant or had borne children.

More women were being forced into marriage - with a wife costing less than $1,000 - and some were then being resold in "a smokescreen for enforced prostitution", added Mr Simonovic.

"Human rights violations are becoming more systematic," he told reporters at UN headquarters in New York, adding that Islamists had "imposed an extremist version of Sharia".
Amputations and floggings

The fact-finding mission gleaned information from people travelling to and from northern Mali, where he said Islamists were imposing harsher punishments for crimes.

So far, he said, there had been three public executions, eight amputations and two floggings.

There were allegations of torture and inhuman prison conditions in southern Mali, where the government retains control, Mr Simonovic added.

He urged authorities to investigate these cases if they expected UN help as Mali's army tries to reclaim the north.

The 15-member Security Council seems prepared to back an international intervention force in the country, under the right conditions, says the BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN.

She says council members are deeply concerned about al-Qaeda linked extremists taking advantage of the anarchy in northern Mali.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

What Cannot Be Uttered


Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.    (Romans 8:26, 27)

This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.
      
Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And yet we know they are an echo from the throne and a whisper from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is "a groaning which cannot be uttered." We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.
      
And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name. --A. B. Simpson
      
It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right. So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.

"And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak!" --Selected
      

(From Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman, 1925)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Few Minutes with Irina

We often hear about "viral videos," which become popular with exponential speed after being posted on the Internet.  These can be anything from a schnauzer playing the kazoo to a celebrity getting caught with his (or, more often, her) pants down.  Here is one of the very latest, which is of considerably more consequence: "Absolutely Uncertain," which documents the thinking of Irina, a 23-year-old liberal, Jewish New Yorker who voted for the current President in 2008.  It's worth your time.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Time for Praise

  Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
(Psalm 66:2)

It is not left to our own option whether we shall praise God or not. Praise is God’s most righteous due, and every Christian, as the recipient of his grace, is bound to praise God from day to day. It is true we have no authoritative rubric for daily praise; we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving: but the law written upon the heart teaches us that it is right to praise God; and the unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on the tables of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai. Yes, it is the Christian’s duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of his life. Think not ye who are always mourning, that ye are guiltless in this respect, or imagine that ye can discharge your duty to your God without songs of praise. You are bound by the bonds of his love to bless his name so long as you live, and his praise should continually be in your mouth, for you are blessed, in order that you may bless him; “this people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise”; and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing forth the fruit which he, as the Divine Husbandman, has a right to expect at your hands. Let not your harp then hang upon the willows, but take it down, and strive, with a grateful heart, to bring forth its loudest music. Arise and chant his praise. With every morning’s dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Girdle the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of melody, and God himself will hearken from heaven and accept your music. 

“E'en so I love thee, and will love,
And in thy praise will sing,
Because thou art my loving God,
And my redeeming King.”

 
- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening