Saturday, January 31, 2009

Delight Yourself in the LORD - Jan 31

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
(Psalm 37:3-7)

In my last post I took a commentator (now persona non grata) to task for his overall nastiness. I wrote about the banality of evil and how it produces people of mediocre character. We - including Christians - often think of evil in comical terms when the truth is in fact much more nuanced. Why do so many of us struggle in life? The answer lies in our selfish nature and our relationship with God.

Our Desires: What We Dwell Upon Is Where We End Up

We struggle daily over the concept of righteousness because we have separated ourselves from God. That is, we do not delight in His ways. That has been our sorry lot since the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. All of us have desires. Without them, our lives would be pointless and aimless. Desire and ambition are therefore good things. The economy would collapse if people didn't get up, have their coffee and muffin and get to work. But do we have the same ambition when it comes to waiting on the LORD? Why doesn't God give us everything we want?

Sensual Desires

It's the oldest battle: Flesh versus the Spirit. Human wisdom versus God's wisdom. Immediacy versus discipline. Impatience versus due diligence. On and on it goes. Let it be understood that God is not some cosmic sugar daddy. What we want may destroy us. Or we may mismanage or abuse the gift. I think it's a general truism that the more we want it, the more likely it will hurt us. The greater the influence of the flesh, the more immediate the desire.

Bad Timing is a Killer!

What if we put away our earthly proclivities (always easier said than done) and still don't get what we've asked for? The problem could be one of timing. We may want someone to marry and start a family but we may lack the maturity or be unable to meet the financial obligations. We may want the perfect job (that's on my personal wish list) but we lack the training. He knows all and sees all and wants nothing but the best for us. But there's the catch: We ought to delight in His perfect timing. It is then and only then do receive His very best.

Judgement and Consequences

So what happens to the poor sod who ignores God?

You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3)

Anger. Frustration. Disappointment. Deception. Even death. I think of so many who narrowly wanted it their way only to have it come to a tragic end. What do we gain by mistrusting Him? Nothing. It amazes me how anyone would trust their horoscopes and other soothsayers more than the Almighty. Who's the superstitious one here? Jesus isn't some imaginary friend! He's real, and He wants to bless up mightily. However, the blessing is entirely conditional: Trust and delight in the Lord's provisions. If you're not a Christian (like what's-his-name) you will not receive anything if you continually reject Jesus Christ as Lord. Everything starts with salvation. Will you trust Him today?

Johnny Cash

An X-Def Update: I have changed the way you can comment on my blog. You now have to have a Google account (No anonymous posts!). Should that pinhead resurface, I will disable all comments entirely.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shutting the Mouths of Demons - Part 2 - Jan 28

A Biblical rebuke for the ignorant:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
(Matthew 7:3-5)

My good friend Donald is at it again. Listen dude, all three of your most recent comments today have been rejected. Any further comments will also be rejected. So, now that you mock my belief, I shall mock your unbelief.

The Banality of Evil: Mediocrity is the Enemy of Excellence

Donald to me represents the epitome of mediocrity and secular elitist arrogance. Seeing as he cannot rise to my level of spiritual understanding he must therefore try to pull me down. Let me give you a snapshot of a day in the life of my new 'friend':

Drives a mediocre car to a mediocre job and receives mediocre pay. Once his mediocre efforts come to the end of another mediocre workday he drives home to his mediocre house. Upon his arrival, his mediocre-looking wife greets him as he eats his mediocre supper. His mediocre kids go to a mediocre school with mediocre teachers and come home with mediocre grades. After that, they watch mediocre TV programs (Mind you, 'mediocre TV' is admittedly a redundant term.) till evening. After watching hours of mediocre sit-coms he has mediocre sex with his mediocre wife (which in turn produced the mediocre kids). After a minute or two of this mediocre sex he falls off his mediocre wife and goes to sleep, exhausted. Thus mediocrity propagates and perpetuates itself. Now did I miss anything?

Hell is an Atheists Paradise!

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14)

Donald, you'll love hell. No nasty Christian bloggers to deal with. No churches will be found there, neither will you find a Bible. It'll be great! All evidence of God's love for you will be swept away. All your earthly efforts and humanist ambitions will be rendered null and void. There will be no-one there to comfort you, not even your mediocre wife and kids. Excruciating pain and mental anguish will be your permanent companions. God will forget that you ever existed. The loss will be total, complete, and eternal. Oh happy times! Hell is the greatest catastrophic loss a man or woman could ever suffer. Maybe hell will have some Lionel trains for you to play with (with the number 666 attached) or a fat cat to kill but I doubt it.

'Your friend in Christ'? You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
(Matthew 7:21-23)

Donald, you are not my friend. Never have been and never will be. It takes a great deal of gall to sign off in such a fashion. Give it a rest, man! If anyone is guilty of being a bully, it's you (see top). A good swift kick to the testicles is too kind a reward for your efforts. Now beat it!

Lastly, thanks to Shackleford for your friendship and encouragement. Cheers, mate!

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The War Against The Taliban and Al-Qaida - Jan 27

Got another good here from stratfor on Obama's decision to surge into Afghanistan. Stratfor argues for a reduced role in conventional forces while maintaining a robust intelligence role. As in any war the locals will support the side that's winning. Unfortunately that side doesn't appear to be us.

Johnny Cash

Strategic Divergence: The War Against the Taliban and the War Against Al Qaeda

January 26, 2009
By George Friedman

Washington’s attention is now zeroing in on Afghanistan. There is talk of doubling U.S. forces there, and preparations are being made for another supply line into Afghanistan — this one running through the former Soviet Union — as an alternative or a supplement to the current Pakistani route. To free up more resources for Afghanistan, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq probably will be accelerated. And there is discussion about whether the Karzai government serves the purposes of the war in Afghanistan. In short, U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to focus on Afghanistan seems to be taking shape.

We have discussed many aspects of the Afghan war in the past; it is now time to focus on the central issue. What are the strategic goals of the United States in Afghanistan? What resources will be devoted to this mission? What are the intentions and capabilities of the Taliban and others fighting the United States and its NATO allies? Most important, what is the relationship between the war against the Taliban and the war against al Qaeda? If the United States encounters difficulties in the war against the Taliban, will it still be able to contain not only al Qaeda but other terrorist groups? Does the United States need to succeed against the Taliban to be successful against transnational Islamist terrorists? And assuming that U.S. forces are built up in Afghanistan and that the supply problem through Pakistan is solved, are the defeat of Taliban and the disruption of al Qaeda likely?

Al Qaeda and U.S. Goals Post-9/11

The overarching goal of the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, has been to prevent further attacks by al Qaeda in the United States. Washington has used two means toward this end. One was defensive, aimed at increasing the difficulty of al Qaeda operatives to penetrate and operate within the United States. The second was to attack and destroy al Qaeda prime, the group around Osama bin Laden that organized and executed 9/11 and other attacks in Europe. It is this group — not other groups that call themselves al Qaeda but only are able to operate in the countries where they were formed — that was the target of the United States, because this was the group that had demonstrated the ability to launch intercontinental strikes.

Al Qaeda prime had its main headquarters in Afghanistan. It was not an Afghan group, but one drawn from multiple Islamic countries. It was in alliance with an Afghan group, the Taliban. The Taliban had won a civil war in Afghanistan, creating a coalition of support among tribes that had given the group control, direct or indirect, over most of the country. It is important to remember that al Qaeda was separate from the Taliban; the former was a multinational force, while the Taliban were an internal Afghan political power.

The United States has two strategic goals in Afghanistan. The first is to destroy the remnants of al Qaeda prime — the central command of al Qaeda — in Afghanistan. The second is to use Afghanistan as a base for destroying al Qaeda in Pakistan and to prevent the return of al Qaeda to Afghanistan.

To achieve these goals, Washington has sought to make Afghanistan inhospitable to al Qaeda. The United States forced the Taliban from Afghanistan’s main cities and into the countryside, and established a new, anti-Taliban government in Kabul under President Hamid Karzai. Washington intended to deny al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan by unseating the Taliban government, creating a new pro-American government and then using Afghanistan as a base against al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The United States succeeded in forcing the Taliban from power in the sense that in giving up the cities, the Taliban lost formal control of the country. To be more precise, early in the U.S. attack in 2001, the Taliban realized that the massed defense of Afghan cities was impossible in the face of American air power. The ability of U.S. B-52s to devastate any concentration of forces meant that the Taliban could not defend the cities, but had to withdraw, disperse and reform its units for combat on more favorable terms.

At this point, we must separate the fates of al Qaeda and the Taliban. During the Taliban retreat, al Qaeda had to retreat as well. Since the United States lacked sufficient force to destroy al Qaeda at Tora Bora, al Qaeda was able to retreat into northwestern Pakistan. There, it enjoys the advantages of terrain, superior tactical intelligence and support networks.

Even so, in nearly eight years of war, U.S. intelligence and special operations forces have maintained pressure on al Qaeda in Pakistan. The United States has imposed attrition on al Qaeda, disrupting its command, control and communications and isolating it. In the process, the United States used one of al Qaeda’s operational principles against it. To avoid penetration by hostile intelligence services, al Qaeda has not recruited new cadres for its primary unit. This makes it very difficult to develop intelligence on al Qaeda, but it also makes it impossible for al Qaeda to replace its losses. Thus, in a long war of attrition, every loss imposed on al Qaeda has been irreplaceable, and over time, al Qaeda prime declined dramatically in effectiveness — meaning it has been years since it has carried out an effective operation.

The situation was very different with the Taliban. The Taliban, it is essential to recall, won the Afghan civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal despite Russian and Iranian support for its opponents. That means the Taliban have a great deal of support and a strong infrastructure, and, above all, they are resilient. After the group withdrew from Afghanistan’s cities and lost formal power post-9/11, it still retained a great deal of informal influence — if not control — over large regions of Afghanistan and in areas across the border in Pakistan. Over the years since the U.S. invasion, the Taliban have regrouped, rearmed and increased their operations in Afghanistan. And the conflict with the Taliban has now become a conventional guerrilla war.

The Taliban and the Guerrilla Warfare Challenge

The Taliban have forged relationships among many Afghan (and Pakistani) tribes. These tribes have been alienated by Karzai and the Americans, and far more important, they do not perceive the Americans and Karzai as potential winners in the Afghan conflict. They recall the Russian and British defeats. The tribes have long memories, and they know that foreigners don’t stay very long. Betting on the United States and Karzai — when the United States has sent only 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and is struggling with the idea of sending another 30,000 troops — does not strike them as prudent. The United States is behaving like a power not planning to win; and, in any event, they would not be much impressed if the Americans were planning to win.

The tribes therefore do not want to get on the wrong side of the Taliban. That means they aid and shelter Taliban forces, and provide them intelligence on enemy movement and intentions. With its base camps and supply lines running from Pakistan, the Taliban are thus in a position to recruit, train and arm an increasingly large force.

The Taliban have the classic advantage of guerrillas operating in known terrain with a network of supporters: superior intelligence. They know where the Americans are, what the Americans are doing and when the Americans are going to strike. The Taliban declines combat on unfavorable terms and strikes when the Americans are weakest. The Americans, on the other hand, have the classic problem of counterinsurgency: They enjoy superior force and firepower, and can defeat anyone they can locate and pin down, but they lack intelligence. As much as technical intelligence from unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites is useful, human intelligence is the only effective long-term solution to defeating an insurgency. In this, the Taliban have the advantage: They have been there longer, they are in more places and they are not going anywhere.

There is no conceivable force the United States can deploy to pacify Afghanistan. A possible alternative is moving into Pakistan to cut the supply lines and destroy the Taliban’s base camps. The problem is that if the Americans lack the troops to successfully operate in Afghanistan, it is even less likely they have the troops to operate in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States could use the Korean War example, taking responsibility for cutting the Taliban off from supplies and reinforcements from Pakistan, but that assumes that the Afghan government has an effective force motivated to engage and defeat the Taliban. The Afghan government doesn’t.

The obvious American solution — or at least the best available solution — is to retreat to strategic Afghan points and cities and protect the Karzai regime. The problem here is that in Afghanistan, holding the cities doesn’t give the key to the country; rather, holding the countryside gives the key to the cities. Moreover, a purely defensive posture opens the United States up to the Dien Bien Phu/Khe Sanh counterstrategy, in which guerrillas shift to positional warfare, isolate a base and try to overrun in it.

A purely defensive posture could create a stalemate, but nothing more. That stalemate could create the foundations for political negotiations, but if there is no threat to the enemy, the enemy has little reason to negotiate. Therefore, there must be strikes against Taliban concentrations. The problem is that the Taliban know that concentration is suicide, and so they work to deny the Americans valuable targets. The United States can exhaust itself attacking minor targets based on poor intelligence. It won’t get anywhere.

U.S. Strategy in Light of al Qaeda’s Diminution

From the beginning, the Karzai government has failed to take control of the countryside. Therefore, al Qaeda has had the option to redeploy into Afghanistan if it chose. It didn’t because it is risk-averse. That may seem like a strange thing to say about a group that flies planes into buildings, but what it means is that the group’s members are relatively few, so al Qaeda cannot risk operational failures. It thus keeps its powder dry and stays in hiding.

This then frames the U.S. strategic question. The United States has no intrinsic interest in the nature of the Afghan government. The United States is interested in making certain the Taliban do not provide sanctuary to al Qaeda prime. But it is not clear that al Qaeda prime is operational anymore. Some members remain, putting out videos now and then and trying to appear fearsome, but it would seem that U.S. operations have crippled al Qaeda.

So if the primary reason for fighting the Taliban is to keep al Qaeda prime from having a base of operations in Afghanistan, that reason might be moot now as al Qaeda appears to be wrecked. This is not to say that another Islamist terrorist group could not arise and develop the sophisticated methods and training of al Qaeda prime. But such a group could deploy many places, and in any case, obtaining the needed skills in moving money, holding covert meetings and the like is much harder than it looks — and with many intelligence services, including those in the Islamic world, on the lookout for this, recruitment would be hard.

It is therefore no longer clear that resisting the Taliban is essential for blocking al Qaeda: al Qaeda may simply no longer be there. (At this point, the burden of proof is on those who think al Qaeda remains operational.)

Two things emerge from this. First, the search for al Qaeda and other Islamist groups is an intelligence matter best left to the covert capabilities of U.S. intelligence and Special Operations Command. Defeating al Qaeda does not require tens of thousands of troops — it requires excellent intelligence and a special operations capability. That is true whether al Qaeda is in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Intelligence, covert forces and airstrikes are what is needed in this fight, and of the three, intelligence is the key.

Second, the current strategy in Afghanistan cannot secure Afghanistan, nor does it materially contribute to shutting down al Qaeda. Trying to hold some cities and strategic points with the number of troops currently under consideration is not an effective strategy to this end; the United States is already ceding large areas of Afghanistan to the Taliban that could serve as sanctuary for al Qaeda. Protecting the Karzai government and key cities is therefore not significantly contributing to the al Qaeda-suppression strategy.

In sum, the United States does not control enough of Afghanistan to deny al Qaeda sanctuary, can’t control the border with Pakistan and lacks effective intelligence and troops for defeating the Taliban.

Logic argues, therefore, for the creation of a political process for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan coupled with a recommitment to intelligence operations against al Qaeda. Ultimately, the United States must protect itself from radical Islamists, but cannot create a united, pro-American Afghanistan. That would not happen even if the United States sent 500,000 troops there, which it doesn’t have anyway.

A Tale of Two Surges

The U.S. strategy now appears to involve trying a surge, or sending in more troops and negotiating with the Taliban, mirroring the strategy used in Iraq. But the problem with that strategy is that the Taliban don’t seem inclined to make concessions to the United States. The Taliban don’t think the United States can win, and they know the United States won’t stay. The Petraeus strategy is to inflict enough pain on the Taliban to cause them to rethink their position, which worked in Iraq. But it did not work in Vietnam. So long as the Taliban have resources flowing and can survive American attacks, they will calculate that they can outlast the Americans. This has been Afghan strategy for centuries, and it worked against the British and Russians.

If it works against the Americans, too, splitting the al Qaeda strategy from the Taliban strategy will be the inevitable outcome for the United States. In that case, the CIA will become the critical war fighter in the theater, while conventional forces will be withdrawn. It follows that Obama will need to think carefully about his approach to intelligence.

This is not an argument that al Qaeda is no longer a threat, although the threat appears diminished. Nor is it an argument that dealing with terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not a priority. Instead, it is an argument that the defeat of the Taliban under rationally anticipated circumstances is unlikely and that a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan will be much more difficult and unlikely than the settlement was in Iraq — but that even so, a robust effort against Islamist terror groups must continue regardless of the outcome of the war with the Taliban.

Therefore, we expect that the United States will separate the two conflicts in response to these realities. This will mean that containing terrorists will not be dependent on defeating or holding out against the Taliban, holding Afghanistan’s cities, or preserving the Karzai regime. We expect the United States to surge troops into Afghanistan, but in due course, the counterterrorist portion will diverge from the counter-Taliban portion. The counterterrorist portion will be maintained as an intense covert operation, while the overt operation will wind down over time. The Taliban ruling Afghanistan is not a threat to the United States, so long as intense counterterrorist operations continue there.

The cost of failure in Afghanistan is simply too high and the connection to counterterrorist activities too tenuous for the two strategies to be linked. And since the counterterror war is already distinct from conventional operations in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan, our forecast is not really that radical.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In Defense of Geert Wilders - Jan 26

The Englishman Pat Condell is at it again, offering his insight as to what's happening in the Netherlands - and by natural extension, the West. He's right of course, which is why we should all be listening. The PC scaredy-cats are rolling over on their backs in a disgusting display of dhimmitude. Please pray for Mr. Wilders and the Netherlands. Looks like they're going to need it!

Johnny Cash

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shutting the Mouths of Demons - Jan 25

A message from our Lord Jesus Christ:

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
(Matthew 12:25b-28)

Oh, I do love those comments! Please be aware that if you do leave a comment there's an excellent chance I'll publish it (comments do not appear until I've reviewed them first). Comments that are overly long, filled with profanity or hate or just plain unintelligible get the heave-ho. I certainly never started this blog to be a people-pleaser. In my most oft viewed post, The Number 666/777, I appear to have hit a nerve with some people. Which actually is a good thing. Being a Christian is not unlike the life cycle of a salmon. The key difference is salmon swim upstream to their breeding grounds and die, a Christian swims upstream and lives.

Donald, Donald, Donald!

What is it with guys named Donald? They do nothing but create havoc. Thankfully, most are harmless kindred spirits. When you proclaim the Gospel, you'd better be prepared to be a target for knuckleheads. On January the 9th I got this misinformed missive:

A number is nothing to be afraid of, you know. No need to do the whole "sign-of-the-cross" BS if a car with a 666 license plate is in front of you. What's with all the fear and loathing, dude? Have you at least tried giving Satan a shot? It doesn't hurt to at least see what he's all about, right? Sammy Davis Jr. was into Satan for awhile and he came out just fine in the end, right?

I'll give the man some credit. His first two sentences are reasonably intelligent. The whole Sammy Davis Jr. angle was a bit of a red herring. I recovered and countered with this:

The whole 666/777 thing is a manifestation of the spiritual warfare that is taking place in our homes, churches and schools.

Two hours later I got this response from (I assume) the same individual:

You mean, like, ghosts are waging war in my house right now? That's pretty goddamn scary, dude. Do you think I should call someone to meet me at my house before I go in there? (I'm at work now and there don't seem to be any spirits fighting from what I can tell.)

If you don't hear back from me I suppose that means that a spirit ghost got me.

Wish me luck, sir!

p.s. What is the best way to kill a ghost, anyway? What if one comes up behind me when I'm doing some pottery or something?

Oh Donald, you started off so well! Why then the mocking tone? No way some uninformed dolt was going to one-up me on my own blog. Naturally I responded:

Pick up a Bible (assuming you have one) and read Ephesians 6:12. As for any demonic home infestation, the solution is simple: the shed blood of Christ.

Perhaps I stumped my new friend or he just got tired of the exchange. Either way, the virtual conversation ended. Too bad as I was just getting warmed up! Here's a poignant question: What is the Devil - and those that serve him - afraid of? Certainly not crossed fore-fingers! What scares the Devil is the shed blood of the Lamb and the testimony of His word. That's it. Nothing else will work.

An Important Point to Consider When Studying Bible Prophecy

Maybe you just got started or you've been studying the Bible for years. Don't be fooled! Satan isn't going to run away from you the second you open a Bible! No, he'd rather sit beside you and whisper a myriad of half-truths in your ear as you study God's word. An appeal to raw emotion and your human - that is, fallible - wisdom and experience will be made:

'How does that make you feel?'
'Does that make sense to you?'
'Has there ever been such a thing?'

Bible prophecy has nothing to do with emotion! Satan has not changed since his debut at the Garden of Eden. Neither has his tactics. Satan desires nothing more than to separate a man or woman from the saving truths of His word. Truth be told, much of what is written in God's word strikes me as absurd as well (Rapture? Anti-Christ?). Do I still believe? Yes I do. That's the substance and mystery of faith. Donald has become hypnotized and beguiled by the evil one. So has chrlz (see last comment). Who will have the last laugh? Me or Donald?

Johnny Cash

Monday, January 19, 2009

From Disengagement to Operation Cast Lead - Jan 19

Defending Israel is not unlike putting a big red target on one's back. Some will continue to hate Israel (and her supporters) and the Jewish people no matter what. The rest of Israel's detractors are ignorant for the most part. Here at the X-Def I simply strive to shed light into dark corners.

Johnny Cash

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Courage and Blind Spots - Jan 17

If there was one characteristic that you could ask for and receive in abundance, what would it be? For me, the answer is courage. Think of all the positive attributes you'd want to have. Resiliency. Even tempered. A quiet confidence. The assurance that you are loved and are capable of giving love. Every single one of these attributes begins with courage.

Now think of all the negative attributes none of us want yet still possess: Fear - not really sheer mortal terror necessarily, more like a perpetual feeling of your heart being in your throat. The insecurity of feeling unlovable or an unwillingness to reciprocate for fear of rejection. On and on the list goes. What's causing that sense of fear and rejection? Let's look at Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Why Do We Consistently Miss Out On Life?

There are likely two reasons for this. Number one, we have unconfessed sin in our lives. This is usually some sordid action or harsh word that we refuse to deal with. Most Christians if they're honest will have taken that immediate step. But what if the problem runs deeper?

Why The Constant Sense of Foreboding?

Are you growing in your walk with Jesus Christ? So many miss out on God's blessings because of our spiritual and emotional immaturity. Take a look at the above scripture and let's ask ourselves a hard question: How well do I know myself? Have I done a recent personal inventory of my life? If so, am I going to like what I see? We carry around too much emotional baggage that we need to jettison before God can begin the healing process.

How Well Does God Know Us?

Lets look at some earlier verses of Psalm 139:

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

The psalmist (David) explicitly states that God knows everything about us. There is nothing hidden from Him. For many, that's a pretty intimidating prospect. But should it be? That is, are we willing to surrender our innermost thoughts that are causing us to stumble? What good is it to have personal truths revealed to us if we continually deny Him?

Radical Surgery Required!

Imagine you had a cataract. How difficult it is to see out of that eye! When we disobey His sovereign will, we begin to accumulate various blind spots - chinks in the armor if you will. The decision to endlessly defer or blame others and/or circumstance is the easy way out. But, if we are willing to submit to God's perfect and redeeming will, He will expose that vulnerability and take corrective action.

A Personal Testimony

Sometime in the latter months of 2008 (I can't remember when exactly), God revealed something that was causing me a great deal of anguish. The problem was I felt wholly inadequate before women. I knew that I loved women, that much was sure. So it wasn't a question of my orientation, it was a problem of feeling emasculated. I was a coward before women! This hit me like a bolt out of the blue! The remedy to this solution was clear: Stop being a chickenshit and get on with it. I was to stop worrying about whether I was good enough or not. True enough, some women would still turn me away. But by no means did that include all women. How great a relief that a loving God would reveal this to me! That I could love freely and receive love in return from a woman was a glorious revelation. I was released from a negative thought pattern that was literally crushing me. I became a better man and a better Christian that very day.

Have Courage and Receive Eternal Salvation

God doesn't want us to just exist, he wants us to thrive. So many of us exist like cows in the field exist. Let me put it to you in plain and simple terms: You will never become the man (or woman) you've always wanted to be unless you covet the mind and heart of God. Happiness is not something you find, it is something you stumble upon when you look for holiness. Self-examination by its very nature is a difficult process. But until we begin to do so, there will be no peace or fulfillment. Jesus is still in the business of freeing the captives. So long as we remain bitter and resentful we remain in bondage. Stop the self-abasement and recrimination. Free yourself from negative thought patterns that are keeping you down. Receive the pardon that Jesus won on the cross for you and learn what it means to have joy unspeakable.

Johnny Cash

Thursday, January 15, 2009

IAF Destroys Grad Missile - Jan 15

There's something about the Jewish state that brings out the fanatics and ideologues. I noticed that YouTube has many videos of Operation Cast Lead and on each one the comment feature has been disabled. Good thing too! Why give the loonies and anti-semites a soapbox for their anti-Israeli screed when you don't have to? The internationalist stance that every sovereign state is obliged to defend its territory and its civilians except Israel is an impossible double standard.

Johnny Cash

Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Reaping and Sowing - Jan 12

It seems we love nothing more than blaming God for every stubbed toe and every single misfortune that befalls us. It's been a month since my permanent layoff and I'm still looking for work. Yet no cursing of God's name here. I wonder what would happen if we turned to Him for comfort and healing instead.

An Age Old Theological Question

If you're a Christian there's no doubt you've been confronted with this question: 'If God is as good and as powerful as you say, why all the suffering in this world?' My attempt at answering such a question falls along a rather a scientific approach. It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum. That is when something (or someone) is removed or pushed aside it will be replaced, usually sooner rather than later. Jesus said of Himself:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Let's look at this statement of our Lord more thoroughly. If He is the only way, then all other ways are false. If He is truth made flesh, then by rejecting Him we end up hopelessly in error. If He is life, then our rejection of Him leads us to death.

See the inherent logic of my argument? When the light is removed or diminished, darkness naturally moves in:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
(John 3:19-20)

When morality and virtue are removed, wickedness is the result. I think that's the answer to the problem. Man is 100% fully committed to the lie that any restriction on their behavior is an obstacle to their godlike ascension. 'If only we could extricate ourselves from this Christ, then we would truly be free!' That's the worldly attitude towards morality. Never mind that these rules are given to prevent harm to ourselves and to others. No, the lie prevails and teaches Man that these moral laws are preventing us from reaching our manifest destiny. Pure Marxist nonsense.

A Point to Consider ...

If there's no right or wrong - or if the knowledge of right and wrong is said to be beyond our grasp - should we be surprised at the rise in violent personal crime? If we teach our youth that life has no real meaning, should we be surprised at the rise of teenage suicides? If we sow wickedness, wickedness will be our reward. If we sow righteousness, righteousness shall be our reward:

Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
(John 4:36)

Christ Our Cornerstone

Again, it's not so much that Jesus is sidelined. Rather, the Prince of Peace is chained up and abandoned in our dungeon of unbelief. The builders of this world have rejected the centerpiece and foundation of civilization which is Christ. It's no wonder the cracks are beginning to show. Patch it up as we might, there will no doubt as to the rapidly accelerating outcome.

Johnny Cash

Friday, January 09, 2009

That's My King! - Jan 9

Saw this wonderful YouTube video at Whatever He Says with much thanks to Belinda. The preacher giving the sermon is S.M. Lockridge. Hope you enjoy his sermon as much as I did.

Johnny Cash

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The End of America - Jan 8

A lot of Americans are enamored of Ron Paul (R-Texas) and I can see why. The GOP should've stood behind this man (or Mike Huckabee) instead of John McCain. Rep. Paul is a free market advocate and a straight-shooter, a rarity in Washington. He's the man that George W. Bush always wanted to be but never was. Highly unlikely that President-elect Obama will give Rep. Paul the time of day.

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel - Gaza War Maps - Jan 6

Here are four maps from stratfor on Operation Cast Lead. The maps are in chronological order from the earliest at the top to the most recent at the bottom. Click on each individual map for a full view. Cheers, JC

State of the Union Address - Jan 6

As promised I will give my insight into what happened in 2008 and what that will mean in the upcoming year.

First and Foremost

I hope everybody survived the holiday season. Christmas is not unlike a roller coaster: A long wait leading to an exhilarated rush followed by an overwhelming desire to get off the second it ends. January is a time when many couples call it quits, whether they be married or unmarried. Nobody wants to be the Grinch by pulling the plug just before Christmas and New Year. Hence the reason why many delay the inevitable until January.

Man of the Year: Barack Obama

Of this there is little doubt. Although Michael Phelps had an unprecedented eight gold medals and the lovely Sarah (You betcha!) Palin made quite the impression, it is clear that President-Elect Obama is the man for 2008. Once President Obama assumes office, harsh realities will be front and centre. When looking at President Bush, it's clear that the office of POTUS ages a man like gasoline on fire. Mr. Obama is still a young man but even after four years (never mind the distinct possibility of eight), he will have a few grey hairs to show for it. Four years in the White House ages a man by at least a decade.

Musings on Democracy and the American Republic

Democracy is tyranny. How many of us know this rather salient political point? If 'rights' can be invented or nullified (and therefore abused) by a mere majority vote, how can that not be tyranny? Democracy was never meant to be an absolute, hence the reason why government powers must be curtailed. I think the Americans got it right. If more and more power is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, liberty becomes endangered. Winston Churchill, never a shy man when it came to the art of bloviating, said it best:

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried (from time to time).

What Mr. Churchill was eluding to was the tendency towards dictatorship and as an indictment of Man's corrupt nature. It was never meant as a green light for the rich and the powerful to undermine a republic if that republic (meaning her government and her people) stands in the way of their internationalist ambitions. What I fear - with the liberal media being the chief enablers - is that's exactly what's going to happen. Many will interpret an Obama victory as a blank cheque to re-engineer America into their own humanistic and global worldview. A kind of secular-progressive jihad will be waged against America's Christian roots, a battle which will tear the world's most freest sovereign republic to shreds.

Peace In Our Time (Yes We Can? No We Can't!)

Gaza and Israel are once more in the crosshairs of the diplomatic world. The Palestinians in Gaza WERE given their land in 2005 and have been nothing but a constant thorn in Israel's side since. The godless Left, who never met a dictatorship they didn't like, has come roaring to the rescue. Not to the Israelis of course, but to the likes of Hamas! None of which surprises to those who keep a tab on the Left's movements.

This is an ongoing regional conflict in the Holy Land. We must remember however the danger is one of escalation. So long as the superpowers stay out it will remain a regional conflict. I've argued before that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is largely a static one. Neither side is capable of victory because of their overarching tactical familiarity with one another. There's no reason to believe this most recent military incursion by the IDF is going to any different. This is going to continue for some time minus the happy ending.

The End of History (The Marxist Dream That Will Not Die)

History will end all right. Just not in the way that people expect. Marx taught that capitalism will fade away to be replaced by a socialist new world order. The problem is it's not going to happen. The rise of globalism shows that capitalism is waxing, not waning. The Bible does not teach that things are going to get better, but rather the reverse:

For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
(1 Thessalonians 5:2-5)

'The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night'. That ought to send a jolt of lightning to every liberal supporter. The expectation that history will come to an abrupt end the second Bush 43 leaves office is but pure fantasy. Not only will it not end, there's every reason to believe it will accelerate like never before. 2009 will be a year of destiny for Bible prophecy to converge on a mass scale. The theme for this year? FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Johnny Cash