My opinion: Obama and his team are in waaaaay over their collective heads. They believe the world is basically good, and because Obama is in control of the White House, the world will warm to them and we will all live together in harmony.
Except that’s not the world. Putin will outmaneuver the clueless Obama. The middle east will continue to shun American and call us the Great Satan. China is waiting for the right moment when they own all our assets before they invade Taiwan. Our response will be every bit as lame as our response was against Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
The only way Obama can make it worse is to cripple our GDP for years with excessive liberal pet programs and inflicting a nationalized banking and health care system on us while completely destroying our economy with massive deficit spending and liberal pork spending.
Operation Cripple America now in progress.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
When the U.S. government is taxing our grandchildren for the purposes of increasing spending, the rights of the state are trampled. Thank goodness states are fighting back.
Call your state representative. Tell them you want to govern your own state, not Washington. Before we’re all broke.
These states have already passed or have resolutions pending to pass the Tenth Amendment Movement: Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington.
Soon to come: Alaska, Alabama, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine, Pennsylvania.
Is your state on this list?
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From Obama’s speech last night -
Most economists almost unanimously recognize that, even if philosophically you’re — you’re wary of government intervening in the economy, when you have the kind of problem we have right now — what started on Wall Street, goes to Main Street, suddenly businesses can’t get credit, they start paring back their investment, they start laying off workers, workers start pulling back in terms of spending — that, when you have that situation, that government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy.
Most economists? Cato Organization has a list of economists who disagree:
Burton Abrams, Univ. of Delaware
Douglas Adie, Ohio University
Ryan Amacher, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
J.J. Arias, Georgia College & State University
Howard Baetjer, Jr., Towson University
Stacie Beck, Univ. of Delaware
Don Bellante, Univ. of South Florida
James Bennett, George Mason University
Bruce Benson, Florida State University
Sanjai Bhagat, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
Mark Bils, Univ. of Rochester
Alberto Bisin, New York University
Walter Block, Loyola University New Orleans
Cecil Bohanon, Ball State University
Michele Boldrin, Washington University in St. Louis
Donald Booth, Chapman University
Michael Bordo, Rutgers University
Samuel Bostaph, Univ. of Dallas
Scott Bradford, Brigham Young University
Genevieve Briand, Eastern Washington University
George Brower, Moravian College
James Buchanan, Nobel laureate
Richard Burdekin, Claremont McKenna College
Henry Butler, Northwestern University
William Butos, Trinity College
Peter Calcagno, College of Charleston
Bryan Caplan, George Mason University
Art Carden, Rhodes College
James Cardon, Brigham Young University
Dustin Chambers, Salisbury University
Emily Chamlee-Wright, Beloit College
V.V. Chari, Univ. of Minnesota
Barry Chiswick, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
Lawrence Cima, John Carroll University
J.R. Clark, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Gian Luca Clementi, New York University
R. Morris Coats, Nicholls State University
John Cochran, Metropolitan State College
John Cochrane, Univ. of Chicago
John Cogan, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
John Coleman, Duke University
Boyd Collier, Tarleton State University
Robert Collinge, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
Lee Coppock, Univ. of Virginia
Mario Crucini, Vanderbilt University
Christopher Culp, Univ. of Chicago
Kirby Cundiff, Northeastern State University
Antony Davies, Duquesne University
John Dawson, Appalachian State University
Clarence Deitsch, Ball State University
Arthur Diamond, Jr., Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha
John Dobra, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
James Dorn, Towson University
Christopher Douglas, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
Floyd Duncan, Virginia Military Institute
Francis Egan, Trinity College
John Egger, Towson University
Kenneth Elzinga, Univ. of Virginia
Paul Evans, Ohio State University
Eugene Fama, Univ. of Chicago
W. Ken Farr, Georgia College & State University
Hartmut Fischer, Univ. of San Francisco
Fred Foldvary, Santa Clara University
Murray Frank, Univ. of Minnesota
Peter Frank, Wingate University
Timothy Fuerst, Bowling Green State University
B. Delworth Gardner, Brigham Young University
John Garen, Univ. of Kentucky
Rick Geddes, Cornell University
Aaron Gellman, Northwestern University
William Gerdes, Clarke College
Michael Gibbs, Univ. of Chicago
Stephan Gohmann, Univ. of Louisville
Rodolfo Gonzalez, San Jose State University
Richard Gordon, Penn State University
Peter Gordon, Univ. of Southern California
Ernie Goss, Creighton University
Paul Gregory, Univ. of Houston
Earl Grinols, Baylor University
Daniel Gropper, Auburn University
R.W. Hafer, Southern Illinois
Arthur Hall, Univ. of Kansas
Steve Hanke, Johns Hopkins
Stephen Happel, Arizona State University
Frank Hefner, College of Charleston
Ronald Heiner, George Mason University
David Henderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Robert Herren, North Dakota State University
Gailen Hite, Columbia University
Steven Horwitz, St. Lawrence University
John Howe, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia
Jeffrey Hummel, San Jose State University
Bruce Hutchinson, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Brian Jacobsen, Wisconsin Lutheran College
Jason Johnston, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Boyan Jovanovic, New York University
Jonathan Karpoff, Univ. of Washington
Barry Keating, Univ. of Notre Dame
Naveen Khanna, Michigan State University
Nicholas Kiefer, Cornell University
Daniel Klein, George Mason University
Paul Koch, Univ. of Kansas
Narayana Kocherlakota, Univ. of Minnesota
Marek Kolar, Delta College
Roger Koppl, Dickinson University” href=”http://www.fdu.edu/” rel=”homepage”>Fairleigh Dickinson University
Kishore Kulkarni, Metropolitan State College of Denver
Deepak Lal, UCLA
George Langelett, South Dakota State University
James Larriviere, Spring Hill College
Robert Lawson, Auburn University
John Levendis, Loyola University New Orleans
David Levine, Washington University in St. Louis
Peter Lewin, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
Dean Lillard, Cornell University
Zheng Liu, Emory University
Alan Lockard, Binghampton University
Edward Lopez, San Jose State University
John Lunn, Hope College
Glenn MacDonald, Washington
University in St. Louis
Michael Marlow, California
Polytechnic State University
Deryl Martin, Tennessee Tech University
Dale Matcheck, Northwood University
Deirdre McCloskey, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
John McDermott, Univ. of South Carolina
Joseph McGarrity, Univ. of Central Arkansas
Roger Meiners, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
Allan Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University
John Merrifield, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
James Miller III, George Mason University
Jeffrey Miron, Harvard University
Thomas Moeller, Texas Christian University
John Moorhouse, Wake Forest University
Andrea Moro, Vanderbilt University
Andrew Morriss, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michael Munger, Duke University
Kevin Murphy, Univ. of Southern California
Richard Muth, Emory University
Charles Nelson, Univ. of Washington
Seth Norton, Wheaton College
Lee Ohanian, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Lydia Ortega, San Jose State University
Evan Osborne, Wright State University
Randall Parker, East Carolina University
Donald Parsons, George Washington University
Sam Peltzman, Univ. of Chicago
Mark Perry, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
Christopher Phelan, Univ. of Minnesota
Gordon Phillips, Univ. of Maryland
Michael Pippenger, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks
Tomasz Piskorski, Columbia University
Brennan Platt, Brigham Young University
Joseph Pomykala, Towson University
William Poole, Univ. of Delaware
Barry Poulson, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
Benjamin Powell, Suffolk University
Edward Prescott, Nobel laureate
Gary Quinlivan, Saint Vincent College
Reza Ramazani, Saint Michael’s College
Adriano Rampini, Duke University
Eric Rasmusen, Indiana University
Mario Rizzo, New York University
Richard Roll, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Robert Rossana, Wayne State University
James Roumasset, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
John Rowe, Univ. of South Florida
Charles Rowley, George Mason University
Juan Rubio-Ramirez, Duke University
Roy Ruffin, Univ. of Houston
Kevin Salyer, Univ. of California, Davis
Pavel Savor, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Ronald Schmidt, Univ. of Rochester
Carlos Seiglie, Rutgers University
William Shughart II, Univ. of Mississippi
Charles Skipton, Univ. of Tampa
James Smith, Western Carolina University
Vernon Smith, Nobel laureate
Lawrence Southwick, Jr., Univ. at Buffalo
Dean Stansel, Florida Gulf Coast University
Houston Stokes, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
Brian Strow, Western Kentucky University
Shirley Svorny, California State
John Tatom, Indiana State University
Wade Thomas, State University of New York at Oneonta
Henry Thompson, Auburn University
Alex Tokarev, The King’s College
Edward Tower, Duke University
Leo Troy, Rutgers University
David Tuerck, Suffolk University
Charlotte Twight, Boise State University
Kamal Upadhyaya, Univ. of New Haven
Charles Upton, Kent State University
T. Norman Van Cott, Ball State University
Richard Vedder, Ohio University
Richard Wagner, George Mason University
Douglas M. Walker, College of Charleston
Douglas O. Walker, Regent University
Christopher Westley, Jacksonville State University
Lawrence White, Univ. of Missouri at St. Louis
Walter Williams, George Mason University
Doug Wills, Univ. of Washington Tacoma
Dennis Wilson, Western Kentucky University
Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College
Huizhong Zhou, Western Michigan University
Lee Adkins, Oklahoma State University
William Albrecht, Univ. of Iowa
Donald Alexander, Western Michigan University
Geoffrey Andron, Austin Community College
Nathan Ashby, Univ. of Texas at El Paso
George Averitt, Purdue North Central University
Charles Baird, California State University, East Bay
Timothy Bastian, Creighton University
John Bethune, Barton College
Robert Bise, Orange Coast College
Karl Borden, University of Nebraska
Donald Boudreaux, George Mason University
Ivan Brick, Rutgers University
Phil Bryson, Brigham Young University
Richard Burkhauser, Cornell University
Edwin Burton, Univ. of Virginia
Jim Butkiewicz, Univ. of Delaware
Richard Cebula, Armstrong Atlantic State University
Don Chance, Louisiana State University
Robert Chatfield, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas
Lloyd Cohen, George Mason University
Peter Colwell, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michael Connolly, Univ. of Miami
Jim Couch, Univ. of North Alabama
Eleanor Craig, Univ. of Delaware
ls, Columbus State University
A. Edward Day, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
Stephen Dempsey, Univ. of Vermont
Allan DeSerpa, Arizona State University
William Dewald, Ohio State University
Jeff Dorfman, Univ. of Georgia
Lanny Ebenstein, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
Michael Erickson, The College of Idaho
Jack Estill, San Jose State University
Dorla Evans, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville
Frank Falero, California State University, Bakersfield
Daniel Feenberg, National Bureau of Economic Research
Eric Fisher, California Polytechnic State University
Arthur Fleisher, Metropolitan State College of Denver
William Ford, Middle Tennessee State University
Ralph Frasca, Univ. of Dayton
Joseph Giacalone, St. John’s University
Adam Gifford, California State Unviersity, Northridge
Otis Gilley, Louisiana Tech University
J. Edward Graham, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Richard Grant, Lipscomb University
Gauri-Shankar Guha, Arkansas State University
Darren Gulla, Univ. of Kentucky
Dennis Halcoussis, California State University, Northridge
Richard Hart, Miami University
James Hartley, Mount Holyoke College
Thomas Hazlett, George Mason University
Scott Hein, Texas Tech University
Bradley Hobbs, Florida Gulf Coast University
John Hoehn, Michigan State University
Daniel Houser, George Mason University
Thomas Howard, University of Denver
Chris Hughen, Univ. of Denver
Marcus Ingram, Univ. of Tampa
Joseph Jadlow, Oklahoma State University
Sherry Jarrell, Wake Forest University
Carrie Kerekes, Florida Gulf Coast University
Robert Krol, California State University, Northridge
James Kurre, Penn State Erie
Tom Lehman, Indiana Wesleyan University
W. Cris Lewis, Utah State University
Stan Liebowitz, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
Anthony Losasso, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
John Lott, Jr., Univ. of Maryland
Keith Malone, Univ. of North Alabama
Henry Manne, George Mason University
Richard Marcus, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Timothy Mathews, Kennesaw State University
John Matsusaka, Univ. of Southern California
Thomas Mayor, Univ. of Houston
W. Douglas McMillin, Louisiana State University
Mario Miranda, The Ohio State University
Ed Miseta, Penn State Erie
James Moncur, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
Charles Moss, Univ. of Florida
Tim Muris, George Mason University
John Murray, Univ. of Toledo
David Mustard, Univ. of Georgia
Steven Myers, Univ. of Akron
Dhananjay Nanda, University of Miami
Stephen Parente, Univ. of Minnesota
Allen Parkman, Univ. of New Mexico
Douglas Patterson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University
Timothy Perri, Appalachian State University
Mark Pingle, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
Ivan Pongracic, Hillsdale College
Richard Rawlins, Missouri Southern State University
Thomas Rhee, California State University, Long Beach
Christine Ries, Georgia Institute of Technology
Nancy Roberts, Arizona State University
Larry Ross, Univ. of Alaska Anchorage
Timothy Roth, Univ. of Texas at El Paso
Atulya Sarin, Santa Clara University
Thomas Saving, Texas A&M University
Eric Schansberg, Indiana University Southeast
John Seater, North Carolina University
Alan Shapiro, Univ. of Southern California
Frank Spreng, McKendree University
Judith Staley Brenneke, John Carroll University
John E. Stapleford, Eastern University
Courtenay Stone, Ball State University
Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, UCLA
Scott Sumner, Bentley University
Clifford Thies, Shenandoah University
William Trumbull, West Virginia University
Gustavo Ventura, Univ. of Iowa
Marc Weidenmier, Claremont McKenna College
Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University
Gene Wunder, Washburn University
John Zdanowicz, Florida International University
Jerry Zimmerman, Univ. of Rochester
Joseph Zoric, Franciscan University of Steubenville
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Georgia, once part of the Soviet Union, has become a strong ally of the US. Three quarters of their country voted to join Nato. That must gall Russia.
So they weighed their options, and decided to invade. Because it’s Russia, because they have so much of Europe’s energy supplies, because Georgia is so small, Russia knows we will do nothing except watch and complain.
This letter from the Georgia president, Mikheil Saakashvili, will document the historical and future significance of this invasion. And then he and his government will be replaced with former Russian KGB agents.
We are losing an ally and doing nothing except lobbing opinion articles at Russia.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I first saw the news yesterday that governor of Georgia was going to lead a prayer for rain. I only briefly glanced over it; if I thought of it at all, it was to remark to myself that it’s probably only a photo op to appease his votors, or if he’s sincere, a passing wonder if an answered prayer for rain was within God’s will.
But today, the news is different. The mere act of praying, now, violates the imaginary separation of church and state. The protestor is disgruntled because the governor is praying “in the name of Georgia.” Bah. There’s a lunatice so concerned he might accidentally receive a blessing from God that he’s going to protest that somebody is praying for rain.
Do me a favor today, would you? Pray for rain for the devout people of Georgia. Pray that the rain will show the mighty hand of our Lord at work in our world. And if you’re a government employee, please make sure to pray in the name of the local, state, or U.S. government agency that you work for. (There’s probably a government form for rain prayers somewhere but I don’t have time to look it up.)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
On a Christian forum website I regularly read, one of the Christians had posted some sad news. He had participated regularly with a Christian Missionary organization called Honduras Outreach. This week in a remote mountain village in Honduras, their vehicle was in an accident in rugged terrain. There were 28 adults from four church groups from Georgia. Ten people suffered various injuries from head injuries to a broken femur; three people died. They were in Mal Pais, Honduras to bring fresh water to villages, build chimneys in homes to reduce lung inflammations, lay concrete floors, and build latrines. I found the press release and made copies for everyone; it includes the names of these heroes and links to their individual churches. Pray for their families this week and this organization that is doing so much to help people and spread the love of Christ.
The Christians that participate in this forum I read were supportive and offered prayers and condolences; the original poster was concerned that people might be afraid to serve with Honduras Outreach that does so much good for some of the poorest people on the planet. That if people realized how dangerous this missionary work is, people would not sign up for it. There are a lot of non-Christians and even atheists that participate on that forum â€“ God bless them, Iâ€™m learning a lot about what the world teaches people and itâ€™s often not pretty. One post from an atheist begins, â€œDo you really believe any of this stuff yourself? Or is Christianity just one big social club?â€ The atheist asked, â€œ”God works in mysterious ways” is usually a good one for you — but it solves nothing. For example, why didn’t God just keep his eye on his good missionaries in South America and save them from being killed in the first place? Do you suppose he wasn’t pleased with their â€˜workâ€™? Do you suppose he just wanted to â€˜call them homeâ€™?â€
Yes, God works in mysterious ways, but the more one studies God and learns these mysterious ways, the clearer answers to questions like these becomes. Many Christians â€“ and non-Christians â€“ believe that Godâ€™s primary function is to protect us, preserve us, prosper us. An omnipotent Santa Clause where we line up, confess Jesus as our Lord, and then hold a big bag open for God to pour in His blessings. A belief in a God like this cannot understand why God would lead people someplace where they would be uncomfortable or be in some sort of danger. Why God would send missionaries to Honduras and then not use His big supernatural hand to keep their bus from tipping over. Scripture confirms and comforts us that God loves us and He cares for His children. We can take great comfort in knowing the almighty Lord is in control. But Godâ€™s primary purpose is not to pamper us. Godâ€™s will is not what we will it to be, and rather than trying to find out why God isnâ€™t doing our will, we can study our entire lives to find out what Godâ€™s will is. It took Moses 40 years of study before he was able to know the will of God. We only have about 30 minutes today, not nearly enough time to learn all about God. Weâ€™re going to see today that Godâ€™s primary purpose is accomplishing His will through His people. Those purposes are not always comfortable, not always safe. Sometimes it will require sacrifice; sometimes it will require great personal risk. The Lord expects His people to exercise faith in obedience to His will in whatever situation the Lord leads.
Weâ€™re continuing the book of Esther this week, chapter 3 and 4. Last week, Fred introduced us to Esther who was a poor Jewish orphan girl. Through a series of â€œcoincidences,â€ she was elevated to a very high status, the Queen of Persia. How did she arrive there? Through submission to her faith, submission to her cousin who was her acting father, her inner and external beauty. This beauty is a gift from God, and like all gifts, we are entrusted by God to use it wisely, for His glory alone, in obedience to Him. The old Queen Anna Nicole Smith, er, I mean Queen Vashti, weâ€™re told, was very beautiful on the outside. But she was not going to use her God-given beauty to further Godâ€™s purposes, so she was removed, and Esther became queen. Esther also had external beauty, but also internal beauty.
In Chapter 3 of Esther, the plot thickens, mwahaha. Enter the villain of our lesson, Haman. In Esther 3:1-2,
After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
This is ominous. Hamanâ€™s father was Hammedatha the Agagite, which means he was a descendant of Agag the king of the Amalekites. The Amalekites were a tribe from Canaan who had constantly opposed the Israelites throughout history, from the Exodus out of Egypt throughout the reign of David. In Exodus 17:8-16, around 1440 B.C, just after Moses struck the rock and the water flowed, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. Joshua led the battle against the Amalekites, and Moses stood on top of a hill with his arms raised in glory to the Lord while Aaron and Hur held his arms up. When the Amalekite army fled, Exodus 17:14-16 says,
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
Then, 400 years later around 1040 B.C, the book of 1 Samuel chapter 15, Saul is commanded by the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:1-3, it says,
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ “
And of course the Israelites were obedient, right? But noooooâ€¦ Saul gets this idea to spare King Agag of the Amalekites and keep the sheep and cattle and fat calves and lambs. The next morning, Saul tells Samuel, â€œI did it, I followed the Lordâ€™s instructions!â€ And Samuel is like, â€œDo I hear sheep?â€ And Saul says, â€œAh, the sheep. Well, um, well we saved Agag and the sheep and cattle, but, um, other than that we followed the Lordâ€™s instructions.â€ The Lord kept trying to protect Israel by ordering Israel to destroy the Amalekites, and the Amalekites kept coming back and attacking Israel.
Now, another 500 years later, around 500 B.C., we find Haman, an Amalekite and descendent of Agag, has been elevated to a position of power in the kingdom or Persia where the Israelites live as subject to the king of Persia. This is really bad news for the Jews like Mordecai and Esther living there.
King Xerxes (or Ahasuerus) of Persia does orders all the royal officials to bow down and pay honor to Haman. Itâ€™s not clear what Haman did to deserve this promotion, or exactly what his new position is. From some of the other verses in Esther, it seems that King Xerxes and Haman were drinking buddies. But Haman gets a new lofty title, likeâ€¦ Darth Vader, and everybody is supposed to bow down and give homage to him.
Mordecai refuses to bow down. Now, itâ€™s not against Jewish law to bow down and give respect. The Jews bowed down before their own kings in other books of the bible, like 1st and 2nd Samuel and in 1st Kings. And Mordecai also almost certainly bowed down to King Xerxes or he wouldnâ€™t be alive.
Some scholars believe that one reason Mordecai would not bow may be that as a descendent of Agag, Haman would believe he was devine or semi-devine, a god. Mordecai would certainly not bow down before another god. Other scholars believe it was simply because Mordecai would not bow down before an enemy of God, an Amalekite who hated Jews.
Whichever one it was, Haman certainly noticed the one man standing while everybody else at the kingâ€™s gate bowed down to him. The other royal officials tried to pressure Mordecai to comply, but Mordecai refused, obeying his faith.
Haman was enraged that this one man would not pay homage to him, and when Haman found out Mordecai was a Jew, he wasnâ€™t satisfied with just killing Mordecai. No, Haman decided this would be his chance to destroy all the Jews. A religious, ethnic cleansing.
Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”
Haman could not come right out and tell King Xerxes he wanted to kill all the Jews. Xerxes would know that the Jews were loyal subjects; Mordecai had himself saved King Xerxes life in the second book of Esther. So Haman mixes in half-truthsâ€¦ a â€œcertainâ€ people. Theyâ€™reâ€¦ â€œdifferent.â€ They donâ€™tâ€¦ â€œobey.â€ You shouldnâ€™t have to â€œtolerateâ€ them. By laying out an incomplete picture with half-truths, Haman was able to convince the King that these â€œcertain peopleâ€ should be killed.
As Christians, weâ€™re still at war with the Amalekites. Dagnabbit Saul, why didnâ€™t you do as you were told? The Amalekites in positions of power today still sit at the kingâ€™s gate, and weâ€™re still not bowing down. The Amalekites sit at the gate of information. They taint Christians with half-truths:
- Control freaks. Instead of focusing on attempts to save the lives of unborn children, they paint us as trying to control what women do with their own bodies.
- Hate-mongerers because we encourage people to turn from sinful ways.
- Uptight people that do not want to have fun, or let anybody else have fun.
The Amalekites sit at the gate of entertainment:
- Movies and television that portray Christians as uptight people, like Ned Flanders of the Simpsons
- The NBC show â€œThe Book of Danielâ€ that portrayed Christians as hallucinogenic, influenced by drugs and dysfunctional.
The Amalekites sit at the gate of Academia:
- No recognition of God in our schools. No Christmas, no Easter.
- We control our own destiny, evolution happens all by itself without any influence by our grand designer.
- That case in California, near Oakland, where schools used role-playing to teach seventh graders about Islamic history by making them wear nametags with Islamic imagery, memorize Islamic religious teachings as â€œfactâ€, wear Islamic clothing, recite phrases from the Koran and mimic the fasting of Ramadan. This was in 2002, after 9/11.
The Amalekites sit at the gate of the political establishment:
- The Oakland case on teaching Islam was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- People believe the U.S. Constitution mandates a â€œseparation of church and state.â€
- â€œUnder Godâ€ removed from Pledge of Allegiance (which is still being fought in the courts).
So with half-truths and innuendos, Haman convinced Xerxes to sign the death warrant for the Jews.
Persia was a big empire, and this ethnic cleansing could not happen immediately. Haman cast lots (v7) and decided the annihilation would occur in the twelfth month of Adar, about a year away. All the royal secretaries were summoned (v12), and the decree was written in every language of Persia and then distributed to all the satraps, governors, in all the provinces. This took a lot of time since they didnâ€™t have email or FoxNews. In Esther 3:13-14,
Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews â€” young and old, women and little childrenâ€”on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
The Jews would have an entire year to fear their fate. Apparently this was met with a lot of confusion in the city of Susa. In verse 15, King Xerxes and Haman sit down to drink a toast to the destruction of the Jews, but the city itself was bewildered. The Jews had been loyal subjects. Why had the king ordered them destroyed?
Mordecai is a little troubled by all of this, if you can understand this. By refusing to bow down before Haman, he had set in motion the destruction of all of his people within the year. Esther 4:1 â€“
When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
Part of this was a public display against the orders of the king, but most of it was probably genuine grief. Heâ€™s going to die. All of his loved ones are going to die. All of the people of his faith are going to die. Esther 4:2,
But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.
Apparently they had some sort of dress code and Mordecai was not allowed inside. Esther 4:3,
In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
All of the Jewish people are scared, mourning, praying, crying. Esther apparently is oblivious, though, because she sends the kingâ€™s eunuch that was assigned to attend her to go find out whatâ€™s up with the sackcloth.
The eunuch, Hathach, went out to Mordecai to get the scoop, and Mordecai is very prepared. Mordecai tell Hattach everything that has happened, how Haman has ordered the destruction of the Jews, and also gives him proof â€“ look, hereâ€™s a copy of the edict. Mordecai tells Hathach to explain all this to Esther and tell Esther to beg the king for mercy for the Jews.
In verse 9, Hathach reports back to Esther and tells her everything Mordecai has said, including Mordecaiâ€™s request for Esther to go before the king. Estherâ€™s like, uh, no, thatâ€™s a bad idea. As queen, Esther did not have a husband/wife relationship like we understand it today. Esther was still a servant of the king, and she could only appear to him when summoned. The law was strict â€“ if you crash the kingâ€™s party, you die. There was a possibility that the king could hold out his golden scepter and your life would be spared. But whatever relationship Esther and the king had, it was not currently in the best of conditions. Esther had not been summoned by the king for 30 days. She was certain that to appear before the king would mean her death.
How do we understand God, who created us and everything we see? Do we decide who He is, and then assume God will do what we want? Or do we decide to be obedient and try to understand what God wants? Do we stay safe, keep silent, avoid taking risks? Or do we try to be obedient?
God’s will will be done, whether we obey or not. We can choose to participate, be a spectator, or deny Him altogether, but we cannot thwart God’s will. God sees history all at once, past, present and future. God creates us for a purpose and plants us right where we are. Your job, your family, your pretty face, your intelligent brain, your feelings, your money, your talents have all come together for this one instant, this one instant that will never occur again. In another minute, in another hour, this moment will have passed.
In 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, Paul explains this concept to new Christians. It says,
Nevertheless, each of you should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to you, just as God has called you. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. Each of you should remain in the situation you were in when God called you. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble youâ€”although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For those who were slaves when called to faith in the Lord are the Lord’s freed people; similarly, those who were free when called are Christ’s slaves. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, all of you, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation in which God called you.
In other words, Paul tells us as Christians we are to bloom where we are planted. How? It says, right in the middle of those verses, â€œkeeping Godâ€™s commands is what counts.â€ Not the legalistic old testament stuff, but the attitude and love of Christ Jesus, with all your words and all your actions.
Sometimes we feel stuck in a rut and canâ€™t bloom. I read a story about a woman who was complaining about working with heathens. The boss was mean, her coworkers poked fun at her faith, and out of a hundred employees, she was the only Christian. Her pastor complimented her and told her God must think a lot of her to trust her with 100 people. If she quit, the only light these people have would be gone. Maybe she wasnâ€™t stuck. Maybe she was just planted.
And donâ€™t fall for that â€œgrass is always greener on the other side of the fenceâ€ philosophy. The only reason grass is green is because itâ€™s watered and cared for. If you want your grass to be green, bloom where you are planted.
Mordecai knows all this. Esther is exactly where God put her. God removed Vashti and placed Esther as queen. She had every resource she needed to do Godâ€™s will. But will she do it? Will she risk everything given to her to do what God wants her to do? God had given Esther so much. God gave her external beauty, and it was her beauty that gave her and her alone access to the king. Would she put her beauty on the line and risk death? God gave her position â€“ she was queen and had access like nobody else. Would she put her position as queen on the line and risk death? Esther also had her inner beauty and love for her people. Most important, Esther had the entire kingdom of heaven behind her. She had everything she needed, but would she risk it, or would fear hold her back?
Mordecai delivers at this point one of the most memorable lines of the bible. He tells Esther that God will accomplish His purpose, nothing she does or does not do will change that fact. If Esther will not do it, the God will save His chosen people another way. Estherâ€™s choice is whether she is going to participate in Godâ€™s plan and realize that her entire being, her beauty and position, was orchestrated by God, and God will accomplish His will through His obedient people. Mordecai also tells her that if sheâ€™s trying to save her own skin, sheâ€™s probably going to lose that, too. Sheâ€™s a Jew â€“ if the Jews are eliminated, that includes her. She cannot save her own life. All she can do is choose to be obedient, or not.
Mordecai says in Esther 4:13-14,
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
The entire purpose of Estherâ€™s life had come to a point of decision. Her entire existence had a purpose. What was more important, being queen, or being the liberator of the Jews? God will not fail to keep His promises or fall short of His purposes, therefore, the deliverance of the Jews was certain. God had made Esther queen so that she could deliver His people. God places people exactly where they can serve Him.
Our beautiful Esther, spurred by her cousin of faith, chose to do Godâ€™s will, and fully aware of the consequences. Esther 4:15-16,
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
And if I perish, I perish. Godâ€™s will be done. Esther did the right thing, obeying God, even though it was against the law and at risk to her life. This is a key to understanding all you are. You are Godâ€™s child and entrusted with your life to serve him. If I perish, I perish.
While Christians in other nations like Sudan are risking their lives, in America the risk to life is pretty small. In fact, we mostly just risk our own comfort. Afraid to defend the words of Jesus because we donâ€™t want to look silly. Afraid to tithe because if we just had a few more dollars we could afford that Lexus. Afraid to serve because we might miss out on an episode of American Idol.
What are you doing with the resources God has given you? Are you using your talents, your money, your looks, your heart, in a way that is pleasing to God? Are you taking risks in service to Him who created you? Or are you afraid?
Dr. Young and Wallace Henley of the West Campus sent the following that I thought wrapped up todayâ€™s lesson well. It says,
79 years ago God brought us together as the family that would be known as Second Baptist Church. On that founding Sunday, the first pastor preached the first sermon in the life of this church. His text was Esther 4, the very passage we study today.
That pastor said to the congregation assembled in 1927â€”â€œWho knows but what God has brought us as a body of Christ to the kingdom for such a time as this?â€
History has proven him right. The generations who followed caught the vision, and because of that tens of thousands of people have been transformed by Jesus Christ. Theyâ€™ve impacted families, educational institutions, politics and government, businesses and the marketplace with the vision, values and worldview of Godâ€™s Kingdom.
They sacrificed, many giving sacrificially so the great ministry of this church could be carried out. They did so because they understood Godâ€™s providence and that He had a plan for them individually, and their resources.
Now the question is before usâ€”Will there be a generation a century from now who will still be standing like Mordecai, still be using the best of the themselves and their resources, like Esther, for Godâ€™s Kingdom?
That answer is in our willingness to say of our personal lives and resources, â€œIf I perish, I perishâ€¦â€
Examine yourself and where you are in this world. God placed you right here for a reason. Our talents, our money, our selves should be used for Godâ€™s purposes, every minute of the day. Take a risk at being uncomfortable for God. Bloom where you are planted.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
As I mentioned a few days ago, Mae Magouirk, an 81 year old grandmother, was being denied food and water, despite a living will that said she wanted to be fed under her current condition.
After 10 days without food and water, Mae Magouirk was airlifted from Hospice-LaGrange in LaGrange, Georgia, to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center for her recovery. Her nephew, Ken Mullinax, credits bloggers following the Terri Schiavo story for the media pressure to save his grandmother:
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Because of your articles and all of the friends of Terri, my Aunt Mae Magouirk is now in the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center and is receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help. We are overjoyed.
Praise be the name of the Lord, praise be all of the friends of Terri Schindler [Schiavo]. We could never have mobilized public sentiment and pressure on these people in LaGrange, Ga. â€“ at Hospice, the LaGrange, Ga., doctors or the probate judge â€“ unless the friends of Terri and the wonderful media of WorldNetDaily.com had become involved. Thank you all.
Links for today, from heavy to light. If you just want the goofy stuff, start from the bottom and work your way up.
- David Limbaugh says conservatives are tired of judicial activism and it’s time to invoke the “nuclear option.”
- Tom Delay agrees that judges are out of control.
- Lawsuits challenging Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage were dismissed.
- Secularists are protesting the lowering of flags to half staff in honor of Pope John Paul II.
- The Wesley Blog notices the trend away from the very necessary “born-again” conversion.
- Mae Magouirk of LaGrange, Georgia, is being staved to death, in spite of a living will that says Mae wants food and water. (via PoliPundit)
- The Cookie Monster goes on a health-kick, goes on a health-kick, preferring eggplant over cookies.
- Make Your Own SuperHero (via Pamibe)
There. Now my brain is full.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.
That’s the wording on schoolbooks in Cobb County, Georgia. A Georgia judge today ruled that the wording must be removed because it violates the separation of church and state.
“By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories,” U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.
Gadzooks. Even when you don’t say phrases like “under God,” they’re going to strike it down. What’s wrong with asking students to “critically consider” what’s in the textbooks?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 49 so far )
I dream vividly – often the dreams fade quicky, so don’t try to ask me after I get to work what I dreamed last night. And by vividly, I don’t mean bright colors, I mean an entire movie. Last night’s movie included a soundtrack, and I scratched out the outline of the dream when I first woke up this morning so I could share it later.
A radio is playing. It’s Billy Joel, and the song is that one about Brenda and Eddie (Scenes from an Italian Restaurant), except Billy Joel pronounces it “Brender & Eddie). I never understood why he did that; perhaps it’s some northeast US regional accent. The dream soundtrack only includes the middle part of the song, not the Italian restaraunt part at the beginning and end. Brender and Eddie were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom. (bomp bomp)
The music is coming from a car stereo. This is a nice car. It’s a Mercedes 500 series, black with brown leather seats. It’s difficult to look out the window because I’m upside down in the passenger seat. I can lift my head and see pine trees around a lake; it’s a beautiful sunny day. La la la la riding around with the car top down. It’s not a convertible, but I am riding around in a car (it occurs to me later that maybe it’s *me* that has the top down… and the bottom up).
In the backseat, behind the driver, is a bride. She’s wearing a white wedding dress with a thin veil. I can make out her face a bit; she’s familiar but I can’t place who she is. She’s either crying, or she wants to cry, or she’s just finished crying. Brender and Eddie were still going steady in the summer of ’75 when they decided the marriage would be at the end of July.
The driver is definitely a movie star – I recognize his face, but not his name. I’d go google him but I can’t recall a movie that he’s in. If I stumble across his name later, I’ll edit it in. He’s a tall thin man, short clean cut brown hair, plays mostly bit parts. Sort of reminds me of the principle Seymore in the Simpsons cartoons. He’s wearing a tux. Brender and Eddie were the popular steady and the king and the queen of the prom (bomp bomp) lal la la driving around with the car top town.
Upside down, I can see in the air vents of the car. There’s no dust in them. I think, “that won’t help me,” though I’m not sure what I need help with. Sitting upright maybe. When they decided that marriage would be at the end of July. I look at the bride, she’s turned her face to the side, looking down and away. She holds a tissue to face, outside the veil. That’s not right, the tissue should go on the inside of the veil where the runny nose is. The bride is saddened by something.
We’ve been on the road a while. Amongst the pines was a a semi-rural house, ranch style, with a front patio. It reminds me of my childhood home in Tucker, Georgia, near Tucker Lake. I can see the lake, too. I lift my head and look out the car window to see it. I say something like “and that’s why property values toward town will start appreciating, and those in the suburbs will start declining.” They got an apartment with deep pile carpet and a couple of paintings from Sears. A big waterbed that they bought with the bread they had saved for a couple of years. I think those song lyrics will upset the bride. I look at her again, upside down, and see the pine trees moving past her window. Her dress has pearls sewn into it.
I think the bride might be “Brender,” I’m not sure. I look at the driver, the movie star in the tux. I wonder if he might be Eddie. I wonder if he shops at Sears. Brender you know that you’re much too (sweeter?) and we always knew she could want more than that out of life.
The driver, the clean cut movie star, agrees with me about property values, “…and that’s why I’ve always said…” He drones on. I look out the window, see a massive overpass, a bridge. I also see a spawling suburban neighborhood. One of the houses is a two story, brick on the bottom half, white wood on the top half. There’s white wood around chimney, too. I think that’s probably a fire hazard but there’s probably brick inside to keep the wood safely away. They started to fight when the money got tight, they just didn’t count on the tears, whoa-o-o-o…
It bothers me that I don’t know if I’m going to the wedding or returning from the wedding. Oh, I recognize the bride’s face – it’s my old college jitterbug partner, Debbie. She was a tiny thing, perfect for lifting over my head and swinging around. Nobody looked any finer, she was more of a hit at the Parkway diner, and we never knew you could want more than that out of life. I don’t think the bride is Debbie, though – it feel like she’s standing in for somebody else, or maybe a collage of people. A collage of people that includes herself.
I’m still upside down. I can almost reach the radio if I want. If I could reach the radio, I could change the channel. I don’t make any attempt to reach the knobs though. I can’t see out front windshield of the car though and that bothers me.
We’re going up one of those huge overpasses, way up in air. The bride asks me a question, though I didn’t hear what she said. It occurs to me (yes, even in my dream, this occurs to me) that the highway is symbolic of Brender and Eddie’s marriage. We started before they were married, traveled through suburbia, traveled down a long freeway, now we’re about to go off a bridge. This is like a broadway dream production of a Billy Joel musical. I don’t know who I am – the producer? Or am I in the play like the bride and groom are, and I don’t know what role I’m playing? I’m not the musical director, that’s for sure – I can’t reach the radio knobs and turn off the Billy Joel. Perhaps it’s me, my relationships, and all my friends and parents and strangers relationships all wrapped up in one long Billy Joel highway metaphorical dream musical. That sounds right. From the high to the low to the end of the show. They got a divorce as a matter of course and they parted the closest of friends. No wonder the bride isn’t happy.
I wake up, and Patch is looking at me like he patiently does every morning. He’s waiting for his walk and I’ve overslept on a Saturday morning. I’m not a talker in the morning, I sort of *think* my fading dream thoughts at him, “that’s all i know about Brender and Eddie, I can’t tell you more cuz I told you already and here we are waving Brender and Eddie goodbye.”
Patch isn’t interested. He just wants his walk. Whoa, whoa, whoa-o-o-o-o-oa.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
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