Saturday, December 31, 2011


The book of Ezra opens with an expanded account of the proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia, found at the end of 2 Chronicles.  He announces his charge to Judah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.  The fact that this proclamation is a fulfillment of a prophecy by Jeremiah is noted again.  Leaders of Judah, Benjamin, Levi, and "everyone whose spirit God had stirred" go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  The people are given material help from the people around them, and Cyrus returns vessels taken by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon during the initial captivity.  An account of those who return is given more completely in chapter two. 

Soon after arrival, the altar is built and sacrifices are made.  The Feast of Booths is kept.  In the beginning of the second year, the rebuilding begins.  Upon the laying of the new foundations, there is a profound mixture of both mourning and celebration.  Shouts of joy go out for this hugely important first step in the building of a new temple, but shouts of mourning from those who knew of the first temple are also heard loudly.

In chapter four,  those who are building encounter opposition from locals.  This opposition culminates a letter from a new ruler commanding the building to cease, but, in chapter five the prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesy and encourage the people to renew the act of building.  Zerubbabel and Jeshua lead a renewed thrust of building in a display of their faith in God.  They await the final word from King Darius while they continue to build.  (Read about Darius in the book of Daniel regarding the story of Daniel and the lion's den).  King Darius not only allows the building to continue, but he commands the builders to be given material support from the local government.  The temple is finished, and they dedicate it with sacrifices and much celebration.  Soon they observe the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar as is proscribed in the law.

King Artaxerxes sends Ezra the priest to Jerusalem.  He empowers him legally with a royal proclamation that provides for and protects Ezra and those whom he travels with as they travel and upon their arrival.  The proclamation also empowers Ezra to be a teacher of the law of Moses and to establish governance among the people based on that law.  After the proclamation of Artaxerxes is recounted, there is a section of Ezra that is written in the first person by Ezra himself.  He gives a list of those who went up with him.  He gathers a group of Levites, and they fast and pray for protection for their journey.  He then divides the offerings for Jerusalem among those traveling to Jerusalem with him, and they depart for Jerusalem.  They arrive safely by God's mercy and present their offerings and deliver the king's words to his local officials.

Immediately, Ezra is faced with a scandal of God's people intermarrying with non-Jews.  Ezra is horrified and mourns and cries out to God for His mercy.  This was a fundamental act of disobedience on the part of the returning exiles.  The people join Ezra in his weeping.  They pledge to separate themselves again from the non-Jewish residents they've married.  A command is sent out for all exiles to gather in Jerusalem in three days or be banished from God's congregation.  The issue of repenting from the wrongful intermarriage is made clear to all, and the vast majority repent.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Chronicles

Chapter 1
Solomon offers sacrifices and worships God in Gibeon.  God asks Solomon what he would like from God, and Solomon requests wisdom to lead well.  God rewards Solomon's request by granting it AND riches, wealth, and honor.  Solomon's wealth begins to be recorded.

Chapter 2
Solomon begins building the temple.  He acquires skilled labor and materials from Huram, king of Tyre.

Chapter 3
The temple is built in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah(see story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22) and on the site where David built an altar to end God's judgment on Israel.  Specific measurements and details of the temple are given. 

Chapter 4
The altar, the bronze sea, and details regarding the furnishings are recorded.

Chapter 5
The temple is finished, and the ark is brought into the temple.  Many, many sacrifices are made.  As the priests and musicians praised God, His presence fills the temple.

Chapter 6
Solomon speaks to the people, and then he prays to God regarding the temple.

Chapter 7
After Solomon's prayer, fire comes down and consumes sacrifices.  The glory of God becomes so powerful in the temple that the priests cannot enter.  The people offer even more sacrifices, and the musicians praise God.  The middle court is consecrated.  The people hold a large feast.  God tells Solomon his prayer for the temple was heard.  He challenges Him to be faithful to cry out to God and warns of the consequences of unfaithfulness.

Chapter 8
Details of Solomon's reign are recorded.  Building projects, military campaigns, and various specific decisions are mentioned.

Chapter 9
Story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba is told.  Solomon's works and the growth of his fame and greatness is recounted.  His wealth, kingdom, and influence in the region continued to grow.  He reigned 40 years in Jerusalem.  Upon his death, his son Rehoboam becomes king.

Chapter 10
Rehoboam is quickly confronted by the people.  They request a lighter burden of taxation of their labor and goods.  Rehoboam consults his counselors and chooses to follow the counsel of speaking harshly to the people.  He loses all the tribes except Judah and Benjamin.  This is a fulfillment of a prophecy of judgment from God.  Jeroboam becomes ruler of the remainder of Israel.

Chapter 11
Initailly, Rehoboam plans to fight to retake the kingdom.  God forbids it, and Rehoboam yields.  He builds, and this is recorded.  The Levites relocate themselves to Jerusalem because Jeroboam creates a false priesthood and forbids Levites to be priests.  Rehoboam marries, has concubines, and has many sons.  He places them in leadership throughout Judah and Benjamin.  He elevates Abijah (one of his sons)  to a place of importance.

Chapter 12
Rehoboam and people forsake the Lord.  They are attacked by Shishak, king of Egypt.  Shishak pillages the temple and enslaves them for a time.  The people repent and humble themselves.  Abijah takes the throne upon Rehoboam's death.

Chapter 13
Abijah declares war against Jeroboam and the tribes that follow him.  He points out how Jeroboam had led them to follow other gods and has instituted his own priesthood.  He declares they will not win if they fight against God.  They still fight Abijah, and Judah and Benjamin are delivered by God and are victorious.  800,000 troops of Israel against 400,000 troops of Judah, but God delivers Judah, and they kill 500,000 of Israel and defeat them.

Chapter 14
Asa becomes king of Judah after Abijah.  Asa is granted ten years of peace in which he builds up cities and a strong army.  Asa reforms the wrong practices of the people and points them to be faithful to God.  When he is faced by a large army from Ethiopia, he crys out to God, and he is granted a great victory.

Chapter 15
Asa is encouraged to continue to seek God fully.  He and the people do so, and there are even many from Israel who defect and join Judah.  Because of this, Asa is granted many more years of peace.

Chapter 16
However, in the 36th year of Asa's reign, he is threatened by Baasha, king of Israel, and he chooses to rely on a treaty with the king of Aram bought with wealth.  This treaty accomplishes a victory against Baasha, but God pronounces a judgment because Asa chose to rely on the help of a foreign king instead of God.  Asa jails the prophet who pronounces this judgment and even remains unrepentant after he has a severe disease.  He dies after 41 years as king.

Chapter 17
Asa's son, Jehoshaphat, reigns.  He sought God fully, and he was rewarded by God for this.  He sent leaders out to the people to teach them the book of the law of the Lord.  Jehoshaphat grows in power, prestige, and respect in the region.

Chapter 18
Jehoshaphat allies himself with Ahab and agrees to fight with Ahab against Ramoth-gilead.  Jehoshaphat wants to seek the word of the Lord.  Ahab agrees but uses his false prophets who tell him what he wants to hear.  Finally, Jehoshaphat prods him to go to a real prophet.  Micaiah, the prophet, initially tells Ahab the same as the others, but Ahab senses he is lying.  Micaiah prophesies defeat.  He also describes a heavenly scene that explains that God knew of and ordained the lying spirit given voice by the false prophets, Micaiah is struck by a false prophet, and he prophesies against the man who strikes him and the death of Ahab.  The battle ensues.  They are defeated.  Ahab is killed, and the prophecies are shown true.

Chapter 19
Jehoshaphat is rebuked by a prophet named Jehu.  Jehu was the son of the prophet Hanani whom Asa, Jehoshaphat's father, imprisoned for his rebuke.  Jehoshaphat did not respond in the way Asa did.  He appointed judges, warned them to judge with integrity, and established a clear chain of governmental authority.

Chapter 20
Judah is invaded by a large multitude, and Jehoshaphat cries out to God in front of the people.  God promises a victory that will not even require them to fight.  The enemies of Judah kill each other, and Judah takes the spoil and praises God.  Jehoshaphat later again allies himself with the wicked Ahaziah, king of Israel.  He suffers loss because God is displeased.

Chapter 21
Jehoram, Jehoshaphat's firstborn, reigns.  He does wickedly including killing his brothers.  Edom revolted and gained independance during his eight year reign, and he led Judah astray in worhiping other gods.  Elijah sends him a letter containing God's judgment against him.  He was invaded, pillaged, lost his sons, and family, and died of a horrible disease.

Chapter 22
Jehoahaz/Ahaziah (referred to as both) is Jehoram's youngest and only remaining son and is made king.  He did evil.  His family was tied to Ahab's family.  He is killed in the midst of God's judgment that purges the house of Ahab.  His mother rules after his death by killing all royal offspring except for a child named Joash who is saved secretly.

Chapter 23
Joash is hidden in the temple for six years.  Jehoiada, a priest, organizes the Levites to guard Joash and overthrow the evil queen Athaliah and establish Joash as king.  They succeed, and kill the queen.  Jehoiada leads the people in reform back to seeking God.

Chapter 24
Upon becoming king and growing older, Joash begins to push for restoration of the temple.  After chastising  a lukewarm beginning, Joash leads a robust restoration process of the temple.  After Jehoiada's death, Joash and the other leaders turned away from their pursuit of God.  Jehoiada's son rebukes the king's unfaithfulness, but he is killed by Joash.  Aram attacks and wins, and Joash is sick and is killed by his own men.  Amaziah, Joash's son, becomes king.

Chapter 25
Amaziah kills his father's assassins.  He builds an army and hires soldiers from Israel to help fight.  A prophet warns Amaziah not to depend on Israel because God is against them and will be against Amaziah if he depends on them.  Amaziah heeds the prophet and sends the soldiers from Israel home.  He defeats the Edomites, but angry soldiers from Israel who were sent back raid towns in Judah and kill and plunder.  Amaziah adopts worship of god worshipped by Edomites and is rebuked.  Amaziah challenges Israel to battle while in unrepentant sin worshipping other gods.  He is defeated and captured.  He turnes from God and is killed by his own people.

Chapter 26
Uzziah, Amaziah's son, reigns.  As long as he seeks God, God helps him have victory.  Uzziah gets full of himself and offers incense in the temple.  The priests are the only ones who are to do this.  When confronted by the priests, Uzziah gets angry, but he immediately breaks out with leprosy.  They rush him out of the temple, but he remains leprous the rest of his life.  His son, Jotham, manages the kingdom the remaining years of Uzziah. 

Chapter 27
Jotham becomes king when his father dies.  He builds many things and has victory over the Ammonites.  Verse six says, "So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God."  His son, Ahaz, reigns upon his death.

Chapter 28
Ahaz does much evil and brings God's wrath on Judah.  They are defeated and slain by Aram and Israel.  Israel takes captives to make slaves of some of people of Judah.  God sends a prophet who warns that God's wrath will be even more directed at them than it already is if they make these people of Judah slaves.  Israel cares for and releases them.  Ahaz continues to rebel and lead Judah into more unfaithfulness.  He trys to bribe Assyria into aiding him, but he is instead attacked and pillaged by the Edomites, Philistines, and Assyria.  He never repents.  His son, Hezekiah, becomes king upon his death. 

Chapter 29
Hezekiah immediately begins to lead the people in repentance and reforms.  The Levites and priests cleanse the temple.  Hezekiah leads the people in sacrifice and worshipping God in the temple with musicians. 

Chapter 30
Hezekiah leads the people in reinstituting the passover.  He even sends word thoughout Israel inviting them back to worship the passover together with Judah.  Most of Israel scoffs at the king's messengers, but some humble themselves and come to Jerusalem.  A huge gathering attends the passover, and even though many do not purify themselves according to the law, Hezekiah prays for them, and God heals them.  The people celebrated for two weeks, and God heard their prayer.

Chapter 31
The people tear down many sites of worship of other gods.  Hezekiah reinstitutes regular sacrifices and commands the people to give the portion due to the priests.  They give more than is needed, and the priests make store room for excess.

Chapter 32
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invades.  Hezekiah encourages the people in the Lord.  Sennacherib talks trash and demeans God.  His people try to intimidate the people of Judah by questioning their faith in God.  Hezekiah cries out, and God delivers Judah by sending an angel to bring destruction on Sennacherib's men.  Hezekiah is sick and cries out.  He is healed, but wrath is pronounced because of his pride.  He humbles himself and the judgment is postponed.  Upon his death, Manasseh, his son, reigns.

Chapter 33
Manasseh undid the reforms Hezekiah brought about.  He engaged in many terrible evil practices.  He lead Judah into evil.  God judged him, and he became a captive.  While in captivity, he repented.  God had mercy on him and brought him back to Jerusalem.  He reinstated many reforms and reversed many prior evils.  His son, Amon, reigned next and was unrepentantly evil in God's sight.  He was killed by his own people.  Josiah, his son, is made king. 

Chapter 34
Josiah seeks God from a young age and leads Judah into reform and renewed passion for God.  He cleanses the land of many wrong practices.  He repairs the temple.  He discovers the book of the law.  He seeks God regarding what he discovers is in the book.  God affirms that judgment is coming, but Josiah will be spared because of his tender heart toward God.  Josiah promises to serve God with faithfulness.

Chapter 35
Josiah leads the people to reinstate the passover.  Josiah is killed in battle.  He is greatly mourned, and many, including Jeremiah, utter a lament for him.

Chapter 36
A series of kings follow over the next couple of decades.  They are Jehoahaz, Eliakim(Jehoiakim), Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.  During Zedekiah's reign, God's pronouncement of captivity at the hand of the Babylonians comes to pass.  Jerusalem is pillaged, destroyed, and captured.  Finally, once the Persian/Mede empire conquers Babylon, Cyrus, the ruler of the Persians sends Judah back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Love, Comfort, and Economics through the eyes of my small children

The following is a dialogue between my daughter and I as I was trying to comfort Elijah.  I had to leave for work early in the morning, and both the kiddos had awakened early as I was getting ready. 

Me...."Elijah, I've got to go to work now." (as he clings to me in the early morning hours. I was trying to get him to lie down next to Ella in our bed and go back to sleep.) 

Ella..."He's gonna miss us when he's gone, Elijah."

Me..."Yep, I'm gonna miss all you guys a bunch."

Ella..."He's gonna miss us because he loves us."

Me..."Yes, I love you very much."

Ella..."And he and mommy won't ever stop loving us."

Me..."Yep, that's right." (I'm well into cracking up internally at this point because Ella is putting together pieces of previous assurances that I've given her in the past.)

Ella..."He's got to go to work so the people will give him money."

Me..."Yes. That's right."

Ella...."We can use the money to get our stuff."

Also, recently at the doctor's office, Ella had needed to get a couple of shots.  As 5 year olds have been known to do, she was extremely unhappy about the prospect, and she let everyone know it by crying and pleading.  In the process, she scared her little brother.  He asked why they were "cutting" Ella.

Once Ella had calmed down, Myndall explained to Ella that she had scared Elijah, and he thought they were cutting her.  She immediately jumped down off the table and went to him. (the following is a paraphrase.)

Elijah..."You ok Ella??"

Ella..."It's ok, Elijah."

Elijah while rubbing her head/huggin her..."They cut you?"

Ella..."No, they didn't cut me, Elijah.  They were just giving me a shot, and I was scared.  That's all."

Ella rubs his head and hugs him back.

Just wanted to capture these moments with a written snapshot.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

The below guidelines for protestors can be found at I list this as a random sampling to show how a single excerpt CAN be taken to show this movement/group simply as a politically active group that is seeking to march and protest peacefully and make their desires and vision of specific change within our country known. However, if you will take the time to read to other excerpts below this first one, I think you will see there are profoundly mixed and disturbing messages coming from the closest thing to leadership and organizers that you can find in this group. There is so much to say about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing, but I thought I'd start with this post that gives a real taste of what they are about based on their OWN words. I welcome interaction about this with anyone who is interested.

Note especially the #2 and #5 of "calls to act" of the final excerpt listed.

March Guidelines

Posted Sept. 25, 2011, 12:23 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

1.Stay together and KEEP MOVING!
2.Don't instigate cops or pedestrians with physical violence.
3.Use basic hand signals.
4.Empowered pace keeps at the front, back and middle of every march. These folks are empowered to make directional decisions and guide the march.
5.We respect diversity of tactics, but consider how our actions may affect the entire group.

Excerpt from August 12
"Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the "overthrow of capitalism" or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand ... something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street's financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people's assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond …"

A Modest Call to Action on this September 17th

Posted Sept. 17, 2011, 9:46 p.m. EST by agnosticnixie

This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves (not the movement as a whole), we bring this call for revolution.

We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system. A system based on the existence of have and have nots, where inequality is inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar.

We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. Some will readily blame the federal reserve, but the political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding.

We need to address the core facts: these corporations, even if they were unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still remain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to find themselves as part of the corporate elites.

We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether.
If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brows, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to remain in power, then you might be one of us.

And so we call on people to act
We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.

We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.

We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.

We call for the organization of people's assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.

We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.

We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

1 Chronicles

Chapter 1
Gives a genealogy that starts with Adam and ends with Jacob/Israel.

Chapter 2
Genealogy that begins with Israel and ends with the father of the house of Rechab.

Chapter 3
Genealogy of David recounted past the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Chapter 4
Lists genealogies originating with Judah and Simeon, two of Israel's sons.

Chapter 5
Tells the genelogy of Reuben, Jacob's eldest son. It also recounts the unfaithfulness of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh who settled east of the Jordan River.

Chapter 6
Gives the genealogy of Levi. The priestly lineage is found within Levi and is focused on along with the specific lands given to the Levites.

Chapter 7
Gives genealogies of the tribes of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher.

Chapter 8
Revisits genealogy of Benjamin leading up to King Saul. It also lists generations that came from King Saul.

Chapter 9
Lists prominent people and their positions within Israel. Focuses on Saul and his family as the chapter closes.

Chapter 10
Tells the story of the death of Saul and his sons in battle. The courage of the men of Jabesh-Gilead is mentioned regarding their willingness to honor Saul, and the judgment of God regarding Saul is made clear.

Chapter 11
This tells of David's appointment as king and his arrival in Jerusalem. It also lists David's "mighty men." These are great warriors known for their amazing victories and exploits.

Chapter 12
This tells of those who joined David while he was still in exile from Saul, and it speaks of those who came to him in Hebron after Saul's death but before David was king over all Israel from Jerusalem.

Chapter 13
Tells the story of David's early attempt to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. He experiences anger because God puts a man to death for touching the ark of the covenant in transit.

Chapter 14
David becomes prominent and marries more wives and enlarges his family once his throne is established. David battles the Philistines and calls upon God's help and guidance in the midst of the battles. He is victorious, and God causes the nations to fear him.

Chapter 15
After building himself houses, David seeks to bring the ark to Jerusalem again. This time he does so in the way that is proscribed by God. They make sacrifices and make it a joyous event. In the midst of the celebration, David dances in a way that causes his wife, Michal, to have disdain for David.

Chapter 16
They bring the ark into the tent, and the celebration continues. David appoints Levites to minister AND to "officially" celebrate, thank and praise the Lord. David assigns Asaph and his relatives to give thanks for the first time that day.(I believe this is the same Asaph seen regularly as an author of many Psalms.) A specific psalm of thanks is recorded. After much praise, thanks, and celebration, the people and David returned to their homes.

Chapter 17
David believes it is wrong for himself to dwell in a large mansion while the ark is housed in a tent. God tells David that he will not build him a house, but God will bless and honor him and protect and prosper Israel under him. God said a descendant of David would build Him a house, and God would establish his kingdom. David expresses humility and awe at God's promises. He is deeply moved and expresses thanks and praise to God.

Chapter 18
The victories of David are recounted, and the individuals he had serving in his administration are mentioned by name. (18:5 "...the Lord gave David victory everywhere he went.)

Chapter 19
After the death of King Nahash, David seeks to send messengers to the Ammonites and the son of Nahash(the new king) to express kindness and friendship. The new king's counselors convince him that David is using these men as a pretense. According to the counselors, they were sent to spy. The new king believes them, and he chooses to disgrace the men. This gradually escalates and becomes a major battle between Israel and the Ammonites and the Arameans. It becomes a major victory for Israel.

Chapter 20
Joab leads the army and accomplishes many victories for David. The Ammonites and Philistines are defeated.

Chapter 21
Satan incites David to take a census which they knew to be a sin. David acknolwedges his guilt and pleads for mercy. God gives him three choices of potential judgments. David chooses the one most directly in God's control and trusts in the mercy of God. David offers a sacrifice, and God stops judging and has mercy on the people.

Chapter 22
David begins preparing the materials for the temple. He charges Solomon to build it.

Chapter 23
David states Solomon will be king. David appoints people to carry out various tasks. David shifts Levite responsibility to assisting the priests because the tabernacle will become the temple which is permanent.

Chapter 24
Tells of priestly lineage.

Chapter 25
David sets aside sons of Asaph, sons of Heman, and sons of Jeduthun. They are to serve as musicians for God at the temple.

Chapter 26
The various guards/gatekeepers are listed. The keeper of the temple treasures are also listed. Leaders are appointed for all Israel on the other side of the Jordan River.

Chapter 27
Various army leaders, tribal leaders, overseers, teachers, and counselors are named.

Chapter 28
David gives a speech to the people. He announces Solomon as king and builder of the temple. He publicly charges him to embrace and not forsake God. He warns him. A general list of materials is given to Solomon along with the specific plans for the temple.

Chapter 29
David continues to speak publicly. He tells of the preparations made so far, and he gives of his own wealth also. He invites others to give voluntarily and many do. David blesses God and prays. He acknowledges that everything is God's, and he cries out for his son. He encourages the people to bless God. They offer many sacrifices with gladness. Solomon is made king, and he is highly exalted by God. David dies full of riches and honor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2 Kings

Chapter 1
Ahaziah severely injures himself and inquires of the god of Ekron about his recovery. God sends Elijah to intercept Ahaziah's men and pronounces judgment and death for Ahaziah because of his actions. When the king realizes it was Elijah, he sends members of his army to get him. As each captain commands Elijah to come with them, the men are consumed with fire. Finally, the third captain begs for mercy from Elijah, and Elijah goes with him and delivers the prophetic judgment in person. The prophecy is fulfilled, and Joram(another son of Ahab's) becomes king.

Chapter 2
Elisha is determined to stay by Elijah's side. Elijah asks if there is anything he can do for him. Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Elijah tells him if he sees Elijah being taken by God, he'll receive it. Elisha witnessess Elijah being taken by God's chariot of fire, and he begins to perform many powerful miraculous signs.

Chapter 3
Moab rebels against Israel once they are under Joram's reign. Joram calls for help from Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He accepts his request for help. The army runs out of water on their way to the battle. The kings cry out to Elisha. Elisha does not want to help them, but he does because Jehoshaphat is with them.

Chapter 4
Elisha provides for the widow of a prophet by directing her to a miraculous supply of oil which pays off her debt and still remains enough to provide for her and her sons. Elisha also begins being cared for by a Shunnamite woman. He longs to bless her for her kindness. He prophesies that she will have a son. The son gets sick later in life, and dies; the mother runs to Elisha who prays for him, and the son is resurrected. There is also a story about the prophets eating bad stew. Elisha makes it safe to eat by placing meal into it. He also presides over a meal that God miraculously multiplies so it will feed a multitude.

Chapter 5
Elisha tells Naaman(captain of the Aramean army) how to be healed. Naaman is resistant at first, but he yields to Elisha's instructions and is healed. He offers a gift to Elisha, who turns it down. Gehazi, however, acquires a gift from Naaman under false pretenses. Elisha curses him with the leprosy that Naaman was just healed from.

Chapter 6
Elisha travels with some prophets on a wood cutting and building expedition. One of the prophets drops an axe head into the river. He gets upset because the axe is borrowed. Elisha causes it to float. The king of Aram tries to capture Elisha because he is constantly allowing Israel to be saved from Aram. Instead of capturing him, the men of Aram are struck with blindness and led to Samaria and into captivity. They are fed and released once they are given their sight back. While Israel is under siege at a later time, they experience a severe famine, and the king seeks to take out his anger on Elisha.

Chapter 7
Elisha prophecies a dramatic end to the famine. God scares off the Arameans. Four lepers discover the Aramean encampment deserted and full of food. The lepers come and tell the people. Upon this discovery, the famine came to its prophesied dramatic end. An unbelieving army officer is killed in a stampede of hungry people, and Elisha's prophecy about him is fulfilled also.

Chapter 8
Elisha warns the woman whose son he resurrected a coming famine. He tells her she needs to flee the area. After the seven years is over, she returns to reclaim her land. Gehazi, Elisha's servant, is retelling of amazing things he has seen from Elisha just at the time she happens to come before the king to make her request. The king orders all her possessions to be reclaimed. Elisha predicts the cruelty and kingship of Hazael. It comes to pass. Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, reigns in Judah. He does evil. Edom was apparently under Jewish rule at the beginning of Jehoram's reign. It continued to the writing of 2 Kings. Jehoram is succeeded by Ahaziah, his son. He was related to King Ahab or Israel. He did evil. Ahaziah joins with Joram, king of Israel, and fights with the Arameans. King Joram is wounded and returns home to heal, and King Ahaziah goes there to visit him.

Chapter 9
Elisha tells one of the prophets to secretly annoiont an army officer named Jehu as king over Israel. The prophet does so and tells Jehu he is to carry out God's judgment on the house of Ahab, wiping them out entirely. Jehu carries out this judgment and providentially includes Ahaziah, king of Judah, because he "happens" to be visiting Joram while he recovers (remember that Ahaziah is tied to Ahab's blood line). Joram's body is cast onto the field of Naboth(Ahab wrongfully took Naboth's field after, his wife, Jezebel, conspired to have Naboth killed). Jezebel is also killed in a brutal way that fulfills God's prophetic judgment.

Chapter 10
Jehu invites the leaders of Jezreel (Ahab's home town) to pick a descendant of Ahab's and fight. They choose instead to kill Ahab's remaining descendants and submit to Jehu. Jehu also kills off the remainder of Ahab's family in Samaria. Jehu tricks the priests of Baal into assembling into one place and has them all killed. Jehu was commended by God for his thorough obedience, but Jehu still doesn't turn from worshipping the golden calves established by Jeroboam, son of Nebat. Jehu dies and his son, Jehoahaz succeeds him as king.

Chapter 11
Meanwhile in Judah, Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, kills the remaining royal family upon hearing of her son's death. However, Jehosheba, Ahaziah's sister, manages to save one of Ahaziah's sons, Joash. She hides him and his nurse in the temple for six years while Athaliah rules Judah. After six years, Jehoiada, the priest, organizes protection for the young boy and anoints him publicly as king. Athaliah tries to cry treason, but she is put to death quickly. The priest makes a covenant between the king, the people, and God to recommit themselves to serving God. They destroy the temple of Baal and kill his priest. Joash is placed on the throne and begins to reign at age seven.

Chapter 12
Joash collects offerings and spurs repair of the temple. However, when he was attacked by the Arameans, Joash chooses to give them sacred and valuable objects as a ransom to them. Joash is conspired against and killed by his officials. His son, Amaziah, succeeds him as king.

Chapter 13
Back in Israel, Jehoahaz reigned. He did evil for a long time, and God punished Israel by oppressing them with the Arameans. Jehoahaz finally sought the favor of God, and God delivered them but only after their once large army had been almost utterly wiped out. Jehoahaz dies and is succeeded by his son, Jehoash. Jehoash goes to Elisha as Elisha is dying and weeps for the sad state of Israel. Elish prophesies a victory over Aram and a measured amount of furute victory for Israel. Elisha dies. A story of a dead man raised by simply touching Elisha's bones is told. Jehoash recaptures some of the towns taken by the Arameans.

Chapter 14
Amaziah reigns in Judah. He does so justly. He does not abolish all wrong practices, but he does reign justly for the most part. He has some good victories, but when he challenges Jehoash, he is defeated and captured. Jehoash loots Jerusalem and the temple. Upon Jehoash's death, his son Jeroboam reigns. Amaziah lives for 15 years after the death of Jehoash, but he is conspired against and killed. Amaziah is succeeded by his son, Azariah. Meanwhile, Jeroboam does evil. In spite of his evil, God uses Jeroboam to accomplish mercy for many who have been oppressed within Israel. Zechariah succeeds his father, Jeroboam, upon his death.

Chapter 15
Azariah reigns in Judah. He is king for 52 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord except for not removing the high places. God afflicted Azariah with leprosy. His son, Jotham, governs during his reign, and he succeeded him as king once Azariah dies.
In Israel, Zechariah did evil. Shallum assassinates him and fulfills God's prophetic limitation of Jehu's descendants on the throne to the fourth generation. Shallum is only king for a month, and Menahem assassinates him and becomes king. Menahem reigns ten years and does evil. Menahem ransoms Israel from Assyria with a payoff. His son, Pekahiah, reigns after his death. He reigns two years and does evil. An officer named Pekah assassinates him and becomes king. Pekah reigns twenty years and loses part of Israel to Assyria. Hoshea kills Pekah and becomes king.
In Judah, Jotham rules well. He rebuilds the Upper Gate of the temple, and his son Ahaz succeeds him.

Chapter 16
Ahaz rules sixteen years in Jerusalem. He does evil. He pays the ruler of Assyria with all the valuable and sacred things in the temple. The Assyrians leave Judah alone and attack their enemies. Ahaz tries to integrate an altar he patterns after an Assyrian altar ino the temple worship. Ahaz dies and is succeeded by his son, Hezekiah.

Chapter 17
During Hoshea's reign in Israel, Assyria invades, conquers, and deports the Israelites to Assyria. Israel is exiled in judgment of their persistent rebellion against God. The Assyrian king resettles Israel with people from other areas. Initially, those people are judged for not worshipping God, but Assyria's king sends a priest to show the people how to worship God. They begin worhipping God, but they continue worshipping their gods as well. This does not change.

Chapter 18
Hezekiah reigns in Judah. He does right in God's eyes, and he is successful militarily as well. Sennacherib of Assyria attacks Judah. Hezekiah pays him to go away. Assyria threatens to capture Judah and speaks disrepectfully of God in the process. Hezekiah is told of the Assyrian boasts and threats by his administrators who have torn their clothes.

Chapter 19
Hezekiah also tears his clothes. He sends his leaders to Isaiah to inquire of God and cry for mercy from Him. Isaiah prophecies death for the Assyrian ruler. The leader of Assyria sends a letter to Hezekiah still boasting of his coming victory. Hezekiah takes it to the temple and lays it before God. Isaiah predicts Sennacherib's fall. God tells of coming freedom and blessing for Judah. The angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib leaves and after returning home, he is killed by his sons while worshipping his god.

Chapter 20
Hezekiah gets sick, and Isaiah tells him he is about to die. Hezekiah cries out for more time to live. God hears him and heals him. He gives him fifteen more years. Isaiah tells Hezekiah, and Hezekiah asks for a sign. He requests for the sun's shadow to go backwards. It does. Hezekiah shows Babylonian ambassadors all his kingdom and treasures. Isaiah prophecies that Babylon will one day take it all along with the people. Hezekiah is just glad it won't be while he is alive.

Chapter 21
Hezekiah dies, and his son, Manasseh rules. He does evil and brings back much of what his father destroyed. He did much evil. God proclaims judgment because of the great sin of Manasseh and the persistent sin of Judah. Manasseh dies, and his son, Amon, succeeds him as king. He reigns two years. He does evil like his father. Amon's servants conspire against him and kill him. They make Josiah, his son, king in his place.

Chapter 22
Josiah does right. He begins rebuilding the temple. In the midst of the rebuilding of the temple, the book of the law is found. Once it is read to the king, he grieves and humbles himself and seeks God. God confirms that judgment is indeed coming to Judah, but God promises mercy during Josiah's lifetime for his tender heart and humility regarding God's judgment.

Chapter 23
Josiah reads the book of the covenant to all the people. He carries out a wide and thorough reform throughout Judah and purges the many foreign gods and places of worship. He even defiles the high places which had been used for many generations. He also destroyed the golden calves and altars of Jeroboam in ways that fulfill prophecy. He honors the grave of the prophet who condemned the altars. He reinstitutes the Passover, clears the land of mediums, spiritists, and those who practive the occult. He turned to the Lord more than any king before or after him, but God still did not relent regarding his coming judgment. Josiah is killed by Pharoah and is succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz. He only reigned three months. He did evil, and he was captured and imprisoned by Pharoah. Pharoah makes Jehoiakim(another of Josiah's sons) the king. He did evil also.

Chapter 24
Jehoiakim becomes Nebuchadnezzar's servant for three years and then rebels. Soon after this, he dies. Jehoiakim's son, Jehoiachin becomes king. He does evil and reigns three months and is taken captive to Babylon. Many were led into exile from Judah during this time. Zedekiah is made king. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. Zedekiah rebels against the king of Babylon.

Chapter 25
Nebuchadnezzar(king of Babylon) carries out retribution for Zedekiah's rebellion and brutally attacks, burns, and plunders Judah. Gedaliah is appointed to rule the few that are left, and he is killed seven months later by a man named Ishmael. This causes many to flee back to Egypt. Jehoiachin, the captive king, is released from prison and given a seat of honor with the new king of Babylon, Evil-merodach.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

One Era Ends...and another begins!


Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the huge changes happening in my family's life. This will also have a big affect on my co-driver's life. For one, he won't have the never ending privilege of my company. For those who don't know, I have had the fascinating adventure of being an over the road truck driver for the past two and one half years. The past year and a half have been spent team driving which is a simple way to say I've been working and sleeping in a moving truck for quite some time. We've been to all but six states, and I've been to six of Canada's provinces as well. It has been an amazing ride, and I am grateful to have shared it with my adopted brother whom I've known for 23 years. I am thankful to be able to be home more with my family more than words can express, but I wanted to take a moment and say to the Walker clan how much we love them all and appreciate all the times we've shared stresses and challenges with them, especially during the last year and a half. I know you guys have some exciting times ahead as well. I'll try to dig out pics from any and all who have any interest in my memories from the road. This picture was from our final trip this past week. Love ya man.

Thank you, Jesus, for using this to provide for our families and providing us the opportunity to spend more time with them in the future.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1 Kings

This book begins with David as an old man. He is brought a young woman named Abishag to care for him and keep him warm. David does not have sex with her. During this time, Adonijah, one of David's sons, allies himself with Joab and Abiathar the priest, and others and announces himself as king. David is informed of this, and he announces Solomon is to be anointed king. Adonijah begs for mercy from Solomon, and Solomon gives it as long as, "...he is a worthy man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground." Before David dies, he has a few instructions for Solomon. He tells Solomon to be strong and live in obedience to God. He instructs him to carry out judgment on Joab and Shimei, and he is to reward the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite.

David dies. Adonijah requests Abishag as a wife. Solomon discerns why he wants her(to legitimize a claim to the throne), and he declares his actions have brought about Adonijah's death. Solomon has him killed. Solomon also removes Abiathar from serving as a priest for siding with Adonijah. This fulfills the prophecy about the house of Eli from First Samuel. He declares Joab is to be executed for his murders. Joab tries to obtain mercy by clinging to the altar. Solomon has him killed while still clinging. Finally, Solomon orders Shimei to stay in his home town, or he will be executed also. Shimei agrees. Three years later, Shimei breaks their agreement and is killed. Solomon's kingdom is established.

Solomon marries Pharoah's daughter. In the midst of worshipping God and offering sacrifices, Solomon interacts with God in a dream. God offers Solomon anything he wants. Solomon requests wisdom and discernment to govern well. God is pleased and grants his request along with riches and honor. Solomon demonstrates his profound wisdom with two women who both claim to be the mother of the same baby. Solomon's officials and deputies are listed. The peace and prosperity of Solomon's reign, for the government as well as the people, is elaborated on. Also, Solomon's wisdom becomes known far and wide. Solomon strikes a deal and friendsip with Hiram, the king of Tyre, to get timber for the temple and organizes the labor to begin building it.

Solomon begins building the temple 480 years after Israel comes out of Egypt. The materials and processes used are spelled out in some detail. It is finished after 7 and 1/2 years. Solomon also builds his own palace during this time. It takes a total of 13 years. He recruits Hiram, a man from Tyre(not the king of Tyre), to do much of the detail work within the temple. Solomon also makes all the furniture in the temple including golden altar, golden table for the bread of the presence, the lampstands made of gold, and various instruments and decor used within the temple made of gold. The ark is brought into the temple. The entire place is filled with a thick cloud of God's presence. Solomon speaks to and blesses the people. Solomon dedicates the temple in prayer and pleads to God for his justice, provision, protection, and forgiveness toward Israel when they pray to Him from this temple or even when facing toward it. Solomon finishes his prayer with a blessing and a charge to be loyal and obedient to God. Finally, they offer sacrifices and have a feast to celebrate the dedication of the temple.

After the dedication, God speaks to Solomon. He says he has heard Solomon's prayer and has consecrated the temple and vows his eyes and heart will be there perpetually. God also sternly warns Solomon of the consequences of departing from following Him. Solomon gives twenty cities to Hiram, king of Tyre, for his help in building the temple and palace. The forced labor that was used is described in some detail. None of the slaves were Israelites. Solomon offers offerings three times per year on the altar. Solomon also builds a fleet of ships. They were used to bring wealth from overseas. Solomon gets a visit from the Queen of Sheba. She has heard of his wisdom. After hearing it first hand, she praises him and God, and she gives him spices and other wealth. Wealth begins pouring in from all over the known world. He gains rare woods, animals, gold, etc.

Solomon disobeys God and is lead astray by his many foreign wives. God pronounces judgment against him. All but one of the tribes will be taken from him, but it will not happen during Solomon's lifetime, but it will happen during his son's reign. God also raises up adversaries to Israel as judgment. Jeroboam, son of Nebat, flees to Egypt after he is told by a prophet from God that he will rule ten tribes of Israel. Solomon dies. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, becomes king. He chooses to speak and act harshly to the people. This leads to a fulfillment of the prophecy from God regarding the loss of ten of the tribes of Israel to him. Jeroboam chooses to create two golden calves for the people to worship. He also creates his own feast and names his own priests from various peoples not of the tribe of Levi. He did this because the temple was located in Jerusalem within Judah. He feared a loss of the loyalty of the people if they had to worship in Jerusalem. Jeroboam is told by a prophet of God of an impending judgment. Jeroboam commands to have him seized, but Jeroboam's hand immediately is leprous as he points at the prophet. Jeroboam begs for mercy, and the prophet prays for him, and he is healed. Another prophet lies and claims God told him to invite the first prophet home to eat. However, God gave explicit instructions to the first prophet not to go anywhere but home and not to eat anything. Unfortunately, the first prophet places his trust in the second prophet and disobeys God's explicit instructions that came directly to him. The second prophet then has a genuine word from the Lord declaring the death of the first prophet for his disobedience. Jeroboam still does not repent of his idols and false priesthood even after his leprous hand and another sign confirmed the word of the prophet to him. Jeroboam's coming judgment is foretold to his wife by a prophet named Ahijah. Jeroboam dies, and his son Nadab becomes king.

Meanwhile, Judah engages in many sinful behaviors under the reign of Rehoboam. they are invaded, and the king of Egypt takes treasures from the temple and the king's house. Rehoboam dies, and his son, Abijam, becomes king. Abijam only rules three years and does wickedly. Asa, Abijam's son, becomes king after Abijam dies. Asa leads Judah into a time of repentance and renewal. He reigns forty-one years. Asa allies himself with the king of Aram to defeat Israel. Upon Asa's death, his son Jehoshaphat reigns as king of Judah.

During this same time period in Israel, Nadab reigns only two years. He does evil, and he is killed by Baasha. Baasha wipes out Jeroboam's entire family. This fulfills God's judgment against Jeroboam for leading Israel into such a great sin. God issues a judgment against Baasha because he adopts the same sinful practices instituted by Jeroboam. Baasha dies, and his son, Elah, becomes king. Elah's commander named Zimri kills Elah and his entire family in his second year. He fulfills God's promised judgment on Baasha's family. Omri becomes the next king of Israel. He follows in Jeroboam's sinful ways also. He reigns twelve years and dies. His son, Ahab, reigns next. He takes the sinful rebellion to new lows. During this time, Jericho is also rebuilt. The man who rebuilds it does so at the cost of his firstborn while the foundations are being laid, and his youngest son dies near the end of rebuilding it. This fulfills the prophecy in Joshua 6:26.

During Ahab's reign, Elijah, the prophet, shows up on the scene. A drought comes to Israel, but God provides for Elijah. The story of a Sidonian widow who has faith occurs here. God blesses her and her son for trusting in God and Elijah. She is given a "bottomless" bowl of flour and jar of oil until the drought ends. Also, her son dies and is resurrected by Elijah. Next, Elijah has his famous showdown with the prophets of Baal. They create two altars. The prophets of Baal cry out for fire from heaven to consume their sacrifices for hours, but nothing happens (except for Elijah making some hilarious jokes about Baal). Elijah dumps buckets and buckets of water onto his sacrifices, and fire comes down from God and consumes the water and the sacrifices. The people repent of Baal worship, and Elijah has the prophets of Baal brought to him so he can kill them. The drought ends that day.

Elijah flees Jezebel, Ahab's wife. She swears to put him to death. He asks God to take him in death and goes to sleep. An angel provides food and drink for Elijah twice, and he is enabled to walk forty days and nights to Mount Horeb(the mount of God). Elijah cries out to God. God speaks with Elijah. He is told to anoint a new king of Aram, a new king of Israel, and a replacement for himself. The replacement's name is Elisha. Ben-Hadad, the current king of Aram, leads an attack on Israel twice, and Israel is victorious by God's help both times. Ahab chooses to be merciful to Ben-Hadad and releases him. God pronounces judgment against him for this. Ahab covets a man's vineyard, but the man, Naboth, will not sell his vineyard. Ahab sulks about it, and his evil wife creates a plot to have Naboth wrongfully put to death by paying people to lie about him in court. She does this so Ahab can have his vineyard. God issues judgment on Ahab by way of Elijah because of this. Ahab cries out to God and puts on sackcloth and ashes. Because Ahab humbles himself, God gives him a measure of mercy.

After three years of peace with Aram, Ahab wants to go to war with them. He solicits the help of King Jehoshaphat and Judah to fight with him, and Jehoshaphat agrees. Many false prophets tell the king to go to war for he will be successful. Jehoshaphat asks for a word from a real prophet of God. Ahab grudgingly obliges. Micaiah is summoned and goes along with the lie at first. Ahab can tell he is not speaking the truth and demands the truth. Micaiah prophecies defeat and Ahab's death. He is imprisoned. Ahab tries to hide his true identity as king in the battle, but he is hit by a "random" arrow and dies. His son, Ahaziah, reigns in his place and continues to do evil.

Monday, April 25, 2011

2 Samuel

Second Samuel begins exactly where First Samuel leaves off. Saul is killed in battle against the Philistines. David is informed of Saul's death by a man who claims to have dealt the death blow. David rewards him with his own death because he took it upon himself to end the life of "the Lord's anointed." David is told to go to Hebron by God and reigns in Hebron (a city in Israel) for 7 years. He also praises the people of Jabesh Gilead for their act of honor and kindness to Saul and his family.

Meanwhile, Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, rules part of the kingdom of Israel with Abner as the ruling military leader. There is fighting between Abner's men and David's men led by Joab. After seeking to spare Asahel, Joab's brother, in battle, Abner must finally kill him in defense. The battle is soon halted. Ishbosheth accuses Abner of sexual infidelity with one of his concubines, and Abner gets fed up with Ishbosheth and makes an agreement to turn over the remainder of the kingdom to David. Joab discovers that David allowed Abner to leave unharmed, and he secretly catches up to him and kills Abner out of vengeance for his brother. David points out his ignorance and innocence regarding Abner's murder. He mourns his death, and the people are pleased with his honoring of Abner. Two men kill Ishbosheth while he sleeps. They bring David his head in search of a reward for the death of his enemy. David has them killed because they are guilty of murder. The remaining leaders of Israel ask David to be their king. David takes over Jerusalem and begins to rule the entire kingdom from there. David inquires of the Lord regarding invading the Philistines twice, and he defeats them both times. David goes to get the Ark of the Covenant. A man named Uzzah is killed because he touches the ark. David leaves the ark with Obed-Edom, and Obed-Edom is blessed by its presence. David goes back and gets the ark, taking much greater care to transport it in the prescibed way. He rejoices with the people and dances with only a robe on. His first wife, Michal (Saul's daughter), speaks with disdain to David about dancing in a what she views as an unseemly way. David tells her she ain't seen nothing yet Michal has no more children.

David recognizes the different levels of grandeur between his palace and the shelter of the ark. He voices a desire to build a temple for God and the ark. God tells David that he will not be allowed to build it, but his son will, and David will have a descendant on the throne going forward. David is profoundly humbled by God's kind words and prophecy. David subdues the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, and other neighbors. David rules justly. Various leaders of government are named. David seeks out a descendant of Jonathon to show his family kindness. He finds and blesses Mephibosheth, Jonathon's son with Saul's wealth and honors him. David seeks to continue and strengthen his relationship with the new generation of leadership within the Ammonites. His messengers are mistreated, and war breaks out between Israel and the Ammonites. This grows into an even larger war with Syria. Israel is victorious.


David chooses to have adultery with a wife of one of his soldiers. Initially, he tries to cover it up by having Uriah go into his wife while on leave from the battle. Uriah won't. David has him killed. God is UN happy. Nathan, the prophet, tells David a parable about an evil and wealthy man who takes the only sheep a poor man has. As David's anger and judgment burst from his mouth, Nathan points out that David IS the evil wealthy man. David repents, and he is forgiven. However, God declares the baby born in adultery will die. David mourns and fasts and pleads for the life of the baby, but it dies. David and Bathsheba have Solomon. Joab takes cities and challenges David to come out and help finish them off, or Joab claims he'll name the towns after himself. David gains victory.

David's son, Amnon, rapes Tamar. She is a daughter to David from a different mother than Amnon's. Absalom was her brother from David AND the same mother. Absalom has Amnon killed. Absalom flees Israel. David mourns. Joab tries to manipulate David regarding Absalom being away from Israel. David recognizes Joab's involvement, but he chooses to allow Absalom back in Israel. He was not initially allowed to be in David's presence. Absalom finally appears before David, and David kisses him. Absalom begins to position himself to gain power within Israel. Eventually, he stages a takeover of the kingdom. David flees with most of his household. David plants a few spies and friends before he leaves. The flight of David and his household out of the city is chronicled. He meets up with some who help and bless him, and he meets some who curse him. Meanwhile, David's friend who remains his ally asserts himself as a counselor for Absalom. Absalom goes in and sleeps with David's ten concubines. Absalom listens to the counsel of David's friend and spy regarding whether he should pursue David immediately or wait. Because of this, Absalom chooses to go out himself with a large army instead of immediately. David goes across the Jordan and rests. David is told to stay behind while the others fight, and he commands for his leaders to be gentle with Absalom. Absalom gets stuck hanging by his hair in a tree. Joab is told, and he kills him. Israel learns of Absalom's death, and his supporters scatter. David is informed of the victory and of Absalom's death. David mourns deeply for Absalom. Joab rebukes David for giving the appearance of having no appreciation for those who fought for him. David replaces Joab with Amasa as the leader of his military, and he seeks to reunite Israel under him. The people who interacted with David during his flight are revisited during his return. An argument breaks out between Judah and the rest of Israel. This almost leads to another coup and a civil war led by Sheba, a descendant of Benjamin. Joab kills Amasa in cold blood. A wise woman averts civil war by talking with Joab and discovering that Sheba's life would save them from fighting this war. She supervises his death and tosses his head out to Joab.

Next, in chapter 21, we are told of a time when there was a famine in Israel for three years, David seeks God to know why. God tells David it is because Saul killed the Gibeonites whom Israel has sworn not to kill. David speaks with the Gibeonites. They request the death of seven of Saul's descendants. David agrees to this. David takes their remains along with the remains of Saul and Jonathon and bury them in the tomb of his father, Kish. The famine ceases. After this, we are told of several stories of war with various Philistines. In chapter 22, David sings a poetic song of praise and thanks. Next, we read some of David's final words and learn about warriors known as "the mighty men" who served under David. Second Samuel ends with a strange story that reappears in Chronicles. David numbers the people(takes a census). This was forbidden, and God judges Israel, but God gives David a choice regarding what the judgment will be. He chooses to trust in God's mercy. God sends an angel to strike the people, but God stops the angel after some people are killed and before Jerusalem is struck. David is told by a prophet to offer a sacrifice to God, and he does. The plague from God ends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Samuel

This is the beginning of a major transitional period for Israel from the reign of judges to the reign of kings. It is a major point that is made that this was not a neutral shift in regards to the people’s attitude about their allegiance to God. God makes it clear that their choice to have a king is a rejection of His leadership. However, He still chooses not to completely reject Israel and works his purposes even in the face of this new rejection by the people and continues to show Himself merciful.


The book begins by focusing in on the final generation ruled by the judges. The story of Samuel, the final judge, is told. His mother Hannah is barren, and she cries out to God for a child. She promises that if she is given a child, she will give that child to serve God in the tabernacle all his life. God grants her request, and Samuel is born. Hannah is faithful to her promise and dedicates Samuel to serve while he is still an infant.

Meanwhile, Eli, the current priest and judge in Israel is judged by God for not disciplining his sons. They are behaving, as priests, in a way that is dishonoring and displeasing to God. Samuel hears the voice of God and brings confirmation of this judgment to come for Eli and his sons to Eli himself. Eli acknowledges God’s judgment and awaits it. In the midst of a battle, Eli’s sons are killed, and the Ark of the Covenant is captured. Eli dies at the moment he hears the news. The Philistines possess the ark for a short period of time, but they return it back to Israel after being afflicted and supernaturally assaulted because of their possession of it. Samuel eventually leads the people to repentance once they are willing to turn from unfaithfulness with other gods. In the midst of their unified repentance, the Philistines attack, but this time they are defeated by Israel. Samuel judges Israel for many years after this. The people have no faith in Samuel’s sons, and they choose to cry out for a king. God encourages Samuel to obey their desire, but he is to make clear to them that this is an unwise choice. God also makes it clear to Samuel that the people are rejecting God’s leadership by choosing a king. The people insist. God yields to their desire.


The first king of Israel is Saul. God instructs Samuel to anoint him as king. He is extremely uncomfortable and lacking in confidence in regard to his ability to be king. However, he rallies the people to a heroic rescue of the people of Jabesh Gilead, and he seems to be off to a good start. Samuel announces he is no longer going to be their judge. He challenges Israel to identify any point and time when he abused his office. The people confirmed his faithfulness in performing his role as judge without any abuses. Samuel next takes an opportunity to revisit their recent history of unfaithfulness during the time of judges and God’s continued mercifulness in the face of that unfaithfulness. He challenges them to recognize their own wickedness in demanding a king and shows them a sign of the truth of this. The people cry out for mercy. Samuel strongly encourages the people to follow God with their whole heart and warns them of the consequences if they don’t. Saul takes it upon himself to offer a sacrifice that Samuel was supposed to offer. This was a major act of disobedience to God. Samuel prophecies Saul’s loss of the kingdom. Saul fights the Philistines and wins largely due to Jonathon’s involvement and faith in God. Saul is charged with completely wiping out the Amalekites as a judgment from God. Instead, he disobeys and spares the king and the best of the spoils. Samuel pronounces judgment against Saul. Samuel is sent to anoint David as the next king.


David is brought in to play the harp to soothe Saul. Saul does not know David was anointed to be the next king. The story of David and Goliath is recounted during this time, and David and Saul’s son, Jonathon, become very close friends. After David’s victory over Goliath, he is raised to a prominent military leader and has great successes. Saul becomes very jealous of David and begins to plot David’s death. Jonathon helps David to remain safe in the midst of his father’s hatred. David finally has to flee. He hides for a while with Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. He also hides in caves and hides his parents with the Moabites until he is not concerned for their safety any longer. (Please note David’s family’s connection with the Moabites from my post regarding the book of Ruth.) David saves a city in Israel from a foreign attack at God’s command. Then God tells David that the same city will surrender David to Saul, David flees again. Saul pursues David, and twice, David has opportunities to kill Saul and end his pursuit, but he is unwilling to because Saul is “God’s anointed one.” Samuel dies, and Israel mourns. David almost carries out judgment against an evil and obstinate man, but he is stopped by the man’s wife, Abigail. The man dies soon after, and David marries Abigail. He also marries Ahinoam, and David’s first wife, Michal, is given by Saul to wed another man. David goes back to the land of the Philistines again after the second time he spares Saul’s life. David engages in secretive raids against his non-jewish neighbors and claims that he was raiding Judah. Achish, a Philistine leader, trusts him because he believes he is raiding Judah. Saul seeks counsel from God, but God does not give him any. This causes Saul to seek out a person who communicates with the dead, and Saul summons Samuel. Samuel rebukes him and tells him of his and his family’s defeat and death in the coming battle against the Philistines. David is not allowed to fight with Philistines against Israel. Philistine leaders other than Achish do not trust him. David and his men’s people are attacked and abducted while they are away meeting with the Philistine leaders. They overtake the Amalekites who took his people and possessions and defeat them and bring their people and possessions back. Saul and his sons are killed in their battle against the Philistines as it was prophesied. Israel is defeated. The Philistines desecrate Saul’s body and display it for their people to see. The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead send a force in and take back Saul’s remains and bury them. Remember that Saul led Israel and rescued Jabesh Gilead in the beginning of his reign.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Five Years of Blogging

Wow! I did not expect to be doing this for this long. I know I don't have a large number of folks following this blog, but I can honestly say that I don't care. I truly enjoy writing, and I appreciate those who do follow it. I hope something I've written will be of use and will resonate with others who read it, but I do this for two primary reasons.

1. It helps me process my life and work through my own thoughts.

2. One day I want my kids to have insights into my thoughts, as well as my decisions.

Hopefully, I'll get better as I continue, but I'm thankful to have been given an outlet that gives me so much fulfillment.

P.S.--Thanks to my Myndall for your love and words of support for this creative outlet. I am blessed beyond words by having you as my wife.

Smooches and Sunshine. :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Praying for our "enemies"

I suppose we all have them in our lives. I am referring to people who make us cringe at the very thought of them. Oh yes, the reasons vary. Some inspire this response because of their shamelessly poor treatment of others. Some cause us to feel this way because of the deeply held beliefs that are polar opposites to our own. Perhaps they are a little to willing to speak with a cruel sense of disdain about everyone and everything we care for, or they may literally be guilty of violent and abusive acts against us. Regardless of why they cause our blood to boil, our skin to crawl, and our desire to be merciful to evaporate, Jesus has instructions for us.

Pray for them. Bless them. Ask God to help them. Ask Him to forgive them. He does not command us to endorse their behaviors, beliefs, or attitudes. He commands us to pray for them.

In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul makes a clear point. We, as followers of Christ, do not wrestle against flesh and blood. We wrestle against powers that are spiritual in nature. Remember that Paul was persecuting the church before he was leading it.

The violence that people are guilty of in this life, the abuse they perpetrate, the wrong beliefs they adopt and lead others astray with are real, and I am not dismissing them as not genuinely morally wrong, but our "enemies" are not our enemies. We must pray for our "enemies" because if we don't, our true enemy will use our disdain, our cringe, and our unmercifulness to defeat us from the inside out.

When we pray for our "enemies", we yield to our Lord's will, and He grows stronger within us. In praying for them, we acknowledge that the enemy that inspires them and has a hold in their life and through their life is the same one who seeks to gain a control in our lives. The ONLY way to defeat him in our lives and in the lives of those we both love AND cringe toward is to yield to Christ and let His strength win.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


The setting for the book of Ruth is during the time period of the Book of Judges. It is near the end of that phase of Israel's national history. It is somewhat unique to other Old Testament books in several ways. One of those ways is the focus on the personal story of Ruth, who is not even a Jewish woman at the beginning of the story. Ruth seems to recognize the uniqueness of Naomi, her mother-in-law. She relocates with Naomi back to Israel AND boldly aligns herself with Naomi's God. In verses 16 and 17 of chapter one, Ruth joins herself to Naomi's people, to her God, and vows to be with her til death. This is in spite of the fact that Naomi's husband has died and her two sons have also died while living in Ruth's homeland of Moab. Upon arriving back in Israel, Ruth goes out and begins to work to collect food for provisions for the both of them.

An interesting statement in verse 3 of chapter 2 seems to hint at providential guidance, "...she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz." Boaz recognizes Ruth's character, and he invokes God when referencing her praiseworthy behavior, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."(Ruth 2:11&12). Boaz then orders his servants to treat her well and allow her to gather from his fields. Interestingly, he does not simply give Naomi and Ruth food, but he gives them greater access to his fields so they can come and gather enough for their needs.

The story takes and interesting twist when we discover that Boaz is a relative of Naomi's dead husband. In Israel's culture at this time, this meant that he was in a unique position to "redeem" his relatives land and lineage. This meant that he could choose to cultivate the land AND marry a bride of the dead relative to keep their family line from dying off. Naomi's advises Ruth to submit this idea to Boaz in a rather creative way, and Boaz seems quite taken with Ruth and pursues this avenue. However, there is a twist. There is one other "kinsmen redeemer" who has first choice before Boaz can have an opportunity to do so. Boaz informs his of the situation, and he declines. There is much more to digest from the way that this story unfolds than I have given time to here, but upon the other relative declining, Boaz marries Ruth, and they conceive a son named Obed. This is probably the closest to "...and they lived happily ever after..." you will find in the Bible.

There is one more interesting twist to finish off the book. The book of Ruth is also a transitional book from the time period of Judges to the time of Kings. The great hero of Israel will always be King David. You discover in the closing passages of Ruth that Boaz is David's great grandfather.

Side note--as a Christian, I cannot help but notice the unbelieveable amounts of parallels in the story and the redemption story of Christ. Feel free to explore these angles of Ruth as well as you read the story.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bill Maher and I Agree!

If that title doesn’t grab some attention, I don’t know what will. :) Recently, on Bill Maher’s show on HBO titled Real Time with Bill Maher, he was having a debate with Tavist Smiley, a nationally known talk show host from radio and PBS. Smiley was asserting the following,
“…that when we have these conversations how they treat women, as if somehow we treat women better here in this country, it…”
(Maher interrupts) “We do!”
(Smiley speaks on.) “It demonizes Muslims. It demonizes Muslims all over the world.”
(Maher speaks in the midst of Smiley and after) “No, it’s not demonizing, that’s, that’s saying that I’m prejudiced. I’m saying I’m not prejudiced. That’s prejudging. I’m not prejudging. I’m judging. I’m judging. They’re worse. What’s wrong with just saying that. You’re a cultural relativist. It’s not relative.”
Smiley responds, “I don’t think there’s a worse version of sexism. It’s either right or wrong. It’s acceptable or it’s unacceptable. You’re trying to shade this thing, Bill.” (audience applauds)
The debate goes a little beyond that and then Maher is heckled by a member of the audience who is forcibly removed by security.

I will rarely agree with anything that Maher stands for, but the basic point he is arguing for here is one that I wish more in the media would stand up and acknowledge. The point I am referring to is not just regarding our treatment of women versus Muslim treatment of women, but the cultures that are most clearly linked with Islam as opposed to our culture. It is not bigoted to state that there are quantifiable differences between the two, and those differences are NOT only differences that highlight preferences resembling different “flavors of ice cream”, but the differences are more accurately represented by different ethical, moral, and philosophical choices that flow from the religion of Islam. These differences create hindrances for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I am not even going into the political debate about whether or not freedom and democratic rule is possible in the Middle East or other Islamic regions. Islam is a religion that has certain truth claims. It is built on certain tenets, revolves around a specific history, was established by a specific individual, and has been maintained by a small handful of groups claiming authority in continuing to lead muslims. Arab culture has been greatly, though not solely influenced by Muhammed and Islam. It is not only NOT wrong to put forth a judgment about their culture. It is a wise thing to allow our discernment to grow through exercising it, and yes, even occasionally speaking that judgment out to give it a chance to sink or swim when in the face of outside criticism. Perhaps the saddest thing about this entire interaction to me came when the audience applauded Smiley’s follow up point.

The point I am making is not that we have good culture and they have only bad culture, but that the notion of NOT engaging in discernment is somehow applauded while an incredibly true and honest observation is seen as scandalous and arrogant. Write down the date. There may never be a time when I defend Bill Maher and anything else he stands for after this. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The book of Judges begins at Joshua's death. It is a book that follows the story of Israel once it has conquered the majority of the inhabitants of the "promised land" known as Canaan. These geographical borders becomes their national borders of Israel. Primary function of the judges found within Judges was to lead the people to freedom from oppressors and lead them during times of peace. More than half of this period is lead by six judges for approximately one generation for each judge. Joshua, Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah & Barak, and, finally, Gideon all lead the Israelites for 40 years or more at a time. Their rule is characterized by beginning with conquering an enemy. They then lead the people during a time of relative peace for the remainder of their life.

However, the people are consistently plagued by their own unfaithfulness that is accelerated by the remaining presence of local peoples that they were supposed to have wiped out during the initial conquering of Canaan. As they drift away from their love and fear of God, and they are seduced to pursue the other gods of the local people and their practices, they are consistently given over to new oppressors by God to teach them the consequence of unfaithfulness to Him. This destructive cycle seems to get worse after about 200 years of living in the conquered land, and the judges rule begins to osciallate to a range of 3-23 years instead of the 40 year cycle that existed early on in their history. This exponential downward spiral is highlighted in a couple of ways besides the straightforward recorded history itself.

There is also a structure within Judges that seems purposefully designed to illustrate the consistent AND worsening unfaithfulness of the people and the consequences that follow. The majority of Judges is chronological, but the last few chapters are stories that are highlighted within this time period. They seem to be chosen more for their importance and ability to demonstrate how bad things got during this period of Israel's history known as the time of the Judges. First, there is the story of the corruption of the entire tribe of Dan as they steal and appoint their own priest to a graven image as they march off to claim their inheritance. Secondly, there is a gruesome story that is very reminiscent of the account given of Sodom and Gomorrah from Genesis. It, however, involves the tribe of Benjamin within the nation of Israel. The book of Judges begins on a high note with two brothers(tribes) going up together to help conquer the judged inhabitants in obedience, and it ends on a tragic note of all the tribes coming together to wipe out the majority of their youngest brother(tribe) in judgment of the thorough corruption that has been found to permeate it.

Something to consider during this time is the fact that the judges were only one of a few primary means of leadership and governance within Israel during this time. The priests also had a major role and carried God given authority in discerning and making judgments in many areas. Also, there were "lesser" or lower level judges below those explicitly mentioned in the book of Judges. These were elders and respected peoples within various families, clans, and tribes.(Exodus 18:24-26) The judges, both the lower level ones and those mentioned by name in Judges, arose from within all the various tribes. The priests, however, were explicitly restricted to those who were from the tribe of Levi. As we will soon see in I Samuel, this structure of God raising up leaders from within all the various communities is rejected by the people of Israel because they insisted on trying to solve their nation's problems by structuring themselves after their surrounding neighbors who were led by an institutional King that flows from an existing family line.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Thoughts about Egypt

These are some rambling thoughts about the developing story in Egypt.

First, Wow! If I'm getting an accurate read on this, this could be a HUGE development in the region and possibly even the world.

Next, "Who's side should we take?" seems to be one of the questions floating around out there. It is an extremely valid question. I want to look at what may be a few angles of that question that may not be explicitly brought out in the media.

Does the U.S. pick the leaders of these countries? No, but we are certainly a force that is considered when whoever is leading these countries moves forward and crafts its own domestic and foreign policy. Why is that? You ask. Well, there seem to be quite a few reasons. First, let me point out, I pray I'm not your sole source of info on this, and if I am, please educate yourself elsewhere as well as here because I am by no means an expert in this or any other area. That having been said. We are influential because of our unique position of power in the world both economically and politically. Also, and perhaps most prominently, we utilize our nation's "checking account" quite liberally when it comes to gaining "allies" for our various foreign policies. I believe I've heard that Egypt has been receiving one of the largest of these kinds of checks for quite some time. It is also my understanding that Egypt, just like many other countries around the world, have a very limited scope of economic resources within their borders to drive their economy. They nationalize these industries and only a certain percentage of their population is able to make a living from employment and economic activity surrounding these industries directly. Therefore, the countries divide the profits up and dole them out at their discretion to keep the remaining population from starving. These checks seems to have been getting smaller and smaller.(thanks to my friend, Jason for this insight) When you understand this arrangement, you begin to see the important role our "foreign aid" checks play in these countries. For better or worse, our contributions are being used to prop up an ECONOMIC system that does NOT work. Welfare states don't work here or there. It lends itself to centralized control which further and further limits freedom and robs the people of the opportunity to realize and pursue their own economic self-interests. The problem, of course, is that our concerns about Egypt's foreign policy out strips our concerns about their domestic policy. I doubt very seriously that a new government birthed in the midst of such dire circumstances as the starving people of Egypt or any other nation will produce the fruits of democratic change the people are looking for in the streets, but I genuinely sympathize with their plight and can only pray for them, their leadership, and ours as we navigate this mess. I hope you can and will do the same in the days ahead.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steyn and Coulter

Just wanted to highlight two of the people I believe are the most enjoyable and capable voices for political conservatism in the media today. I am simply going to provide the links to their websites and a few quotes from them to give you a sampling of their work. I hope they prove as entertaining and informing for you as they have been for me.
Ann Coulter
January 19, 2011

The same people who had blamed Sarah Palin for the massacre at the Tucson Safeway and then taunted her for her "silence" were enraged when she responded.

Last Tuesday, the night before Palin responded, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked Palin's silence throughout his show:

-- "And why is the ever self-promoting Miss Palin so quiet?"

-- "And it's quiet, isn't it?"

-- "It's too quiet."

-- "The silence is deafening from the great Northwest."

It was deemed an admission of guilt that she hadn't spoken about the Tucson shooting or denied the accusations that she had inspired the shooter.

The next day, Palin posted a video response, and Keith immediately attacked her for "the worst timed political statement ever." It's almost as if liberals would attack Palin whatever she did.

Olbermann sneered about Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel," scoffing, "This, to Sarah Palin, is analogous to what is happening to her." No, not only happening to her, but to all right-wingers, tea partiers, Republican politicians, and conservative radio and TV hosts -- all of whom have been accused of complicity in murder.

On the day of the Arizona massacre, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva blamed the "Palin express." The father of Gabrielle Giffords, one of the victims, blamed "the whole Tea Party." The sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, who had failed to lock Loughner up despite repeated arrests and other contacts, blamed "the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business." (Dumbnik also said: "We're not convinced that he acted alone.")

A comment on Gawker the day of the attack said: "Palin ... you now have more than just elk blood on your hands."

The next day, New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly wrote, with stunning originality: "Palin may have the blood of more than some poor caribou on her hands." (See -- he changed "elk" to "caribou.")

In an especially prissy "Special Comment" the night of the shooting, Olbermann said that if Sarah Palin "does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics." Ditto for Rep. Allen West, ex-candidate Sharron Angle, Rep. Giffords' opponent Jesse Kelly and "the Tea Party leaders."

In response to the Arizona shooting, the governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, banned state employees from going on talk radio, telling reporters he had been a victim of rhetorical violence himself, citing the title of one of my columns from four years ago: "They Shot the Wrong Lincoln."

In that four-year-old column, I supported Chafee's opponent in the Republican primary by pointing out that "the only person who hasn't figured out that Lincoln Chafee is a Democrat is Lincoln Chafee. As the expression goes, if Chafee switched parties, the average IQ on both sides of the aisle would go up."

My column got results: Chafee is no longer a Republican.

But the column did not produce my secret goal, which the governor has now exposed: That John Wilkes Booth return from the dead to stalk people named "Lincoln."

Yes, the governor of Rhode Island is afraid of 19th-century assassins. Whatever you do, Lincoln, don't look under the bed!

After it came out that the Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner, was a liberal pothead who hated Christianity, laughed about aborted babies, never listened to talk radio, hated George Bush and cited "Mein Kampf" as one of his favorite books to annoy his Jewish mother, liberals suspended blaming "political rhetoric" for about two days. Then they went right back to blaming conservatives for the shooting.

The media continue to avoid giving any details and simply announce that Loughner was "anti-government," implying that he's your standard George Will conservative who believes Congress has offended the principles of federalism by encroaching on the states' authority under the Constitution.

In fact, Loughner's "anti-government" beliefs consist of: burning the American flag on video; denouncing our currency with the exclamation, "No! I won't trust in God!"; and wanting to kill cops.

His other big anti-government position is that he believes the government was behind 9/11 -- just like well-known tea partiers Rosie O'Donnell, Obama's "green jobs" czar Van Jones, Rehab habitue Charlie Sheen and left-wing historian Howard Zinn.

If we're looking for a rationale other than "Loughner was nuts," I think the more relevant facts about him are that he was an atheist who detested religion and religious people, made lots of references to satanic New Age "conscience dreaming" (sic) and was involved in the occult.

When a fellow participant on a UFO website wrote a lengthy response to Loughner's question about "what is wrong or right with the current date?" which included the subordinate clause, "a day in Christ is as a thousand years," Loughner fixated on that one line, railing, "I won't listen to that fictitious crap without the author. This is laughable to notice a gospel or writing related to Christ."

Shouldn't we at least bring Bill Maher in for questioning?

This was her latest article posted on her web site.

Mark Steyn
The Sharia Squad

Sunday, 30 May 2010
A few years back, a propos Salman Rushdie, I wrote:
The Rushdie fatwa established the ground rules: The side that means it gets away with it. Mobs marched through Britain calling for the murder of a British subject - and, as a matter of policy on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity, the British police shrugged and looked the other way.
One reader in England recalled one demonstration at which he asked a constable why the "Muslim community leaders" weren't being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer told him to "f--- off, or I'll arrest you."
A decade and a half after the Rushdie hit contract, Islamic supremacists decided enough with the legalistic fatwa stuff, let's just kill the guy in the street:
To express his disgust at Theo van Gogh's murder, the artist Chris Ripke put up a mural outside his studio showing an angel and the words "Thou shalt not kill". But the cops thought this was somehow a dig at the local mosque and so came round, destroyed the mural, arrested the TV news crew filming it, and wiped their tape.
A couple of years later, it was the Danish cartoons:
There was a photograph from one of the early Muslim demonstrations in London that I cut out and kept: a masked protester promising to behead the enemies of Islam, and standing shoulder to shoulder with him two Metropolitan Police officers, dispatched by the state to protect him and enable him to incite the murder of others.
I think this is what old-school coppers would call a pattern of behavior. This weekend, the blogger Blazing Cat Fur went along to an anti-Netanyahu protest at Palestine House, a taxpayer-funded den of Jew-hating genocidal eliminationists. He was assaulted by Ali Mallah, local heavy from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Vice-President of the Canadian Arab Federation. The Toronto Sun's Michael Coren takes up the story:
Surely this isn’t legal – at least not in countries where Sharia Law doesn’t apply. The bully then told the police that the awful man with the camera was a racist and the cop told the blogger to “keep things peaceful.” Surely this officer should be reminded of the law and that a man who crosses the road to insult and threaten another person is the one not keeping things peaceful.
I'm afraid Mr Coren's view of law enforcement is hopelessly outmoded. The enforcers of the modern "tolerant" "multicultural" society will tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, but they won't tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. From Rushdie to van Gogh to the Motoons, law enforcement has guarded the thugs and harrassed those who draw attention to the thuggery. This is PC policing: There are identity groups who merit the solicitude of the constabulary, and there are the rest of you who don't. Mass Muslim immigration will impose severe strains on the Euro-Canadian welfare states in the years ahead. In increasingly fractious societies, the police will be out in force - upholding not the law but the dopiest fatuities of the multiculti delusion.

This is a blog post from Steyn last summer. His web address is

Both Coulter’s and Steyn’s web addresses will have a permanent home under the section listing my political links. Hope you’ll avail yourself of their insights and talents.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Violence and its causes

I want to talk about the current story out of Tuscon, Arizona. I want to dialogue with any and all who have views about the act AND especially the political fallout that seeks to assign blame. I want to dialogue with those who agree with my take on these events, BUT even more so, I want to have a conversation with those who do NOT agree with my views about these issues. Hope there are lots interested in discussing it. Thanks. Dennis.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year's Prayer

I used to be fairly deeply troubled by a passage that is found in the gospels.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:36-38

I remember sensing that even if the basic nature of what Christ was saying here was true, it still seemed a bit harsh to force me to be CERTAIN that I did not love my father, mother, son, or daughter, etc. more than I loved Jesus. I simply chose to let this objection go because of His overwhelming display of love and power, but it still occasionally resurfaced in my mind.

Finally, I had a moment of clarity one day, and this insight came to me about this scripture from some of my own experiences.

What does it look like to love your closest family members(spouse, parent, child, etc.) or friends more than Christ? When looking back, I see lapses in the intensity of my love for Him. Whenever that happens, guess who consistently pays the most immediate price for my lull in love? It often seems to be those closest to me. I become a much more self-centered person. And without fail, those who reap the greatest benefit to my increase in consistency and intensity regarding my love for Christ are those closest to me as well. Why is this?

Psalm 119:32 states, "I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!"

I believe that this is the key. God enlarges our CAPACITY to love others when we seek Him FIRST! I can never love my family or friends or anyone else in my own strength as much as I can love them by way of His strength. Therefore, if I love them more than Jesus, I love them less. However, if I place Christ first, He enables me to love them more than I could have otherwise been capable of on my own.

Therefore, my prayer for 2011 is simply this,

"Dear Lord, enlarge my heart. Give me a greater capacity to express your love to those I'm closest to AND to those who I don't know at all."