Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Real American Heroes

In my previous post, I shared how we can support and honor our troops by sending care packages to them. It is important to let our troops know that, despite what the media says, there are still many good folks back home who care and realize that they are the real American heroes. While Democratic congresswoman, Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas was drafting a 1600-word congressional resolution proclaiming Michael Jackson as a global hero, Republican representative Peter King of New York lambasted the celebrity-worshiping media circus in a YouTube video (as reported by Michelle Malkin):
"All we hear about is Michael Jackson. Let’s knock out the psychobabble. He was a pervert … and to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? … I just think we’re too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say, ‘We don’t need Michael Jackson!’ He died, he had some talent, but fine, there are people dying every day. There are men and women dying every day in Afghanistan, let’s give them the credit they deserve."
If these real heroes are to be remembered, it will be up to us. Due to lack of media coverage, family members are forced to go to emails, twitter and other internet resources to get the word out. Unless it is a story which portrays our military in a negative light, our major networks (with the exception of Fox) and most major newspapers simply aren’t interested.

Read the entire Real Heroes article.

Care Packages for our Troops

I’m a little late with this follow-up to the Troop-a-thon on June 25, organized by our friends at Move America Forward, but we’re pleased to announce that almost $700,000 was raised for our troops, including over $55,000 by several teams of bloggers, with whom we were proud to participate. We’d like to issue a special “Thank You” to all those who donated. At the time of this writing, the 8 hour Troop-a-thon broadcast, which took place at the Ronald Reagon Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, is available at the Troop-a-thon website.

Please keep in mind that you can still contribute and send care packages to our troops by clicking on the banner at the top of this post. They are filled with goodies that will boost morale and give our hard fighting military men and women a refreshing break during their difficult deployments. Best of all, each care package comes with your personal note of encouragement or thanks to the serviceman or servicewoman who receives your care package. Thanks again for supporting our troops.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Are Checklists Extreme?

A few weeks ago, while in a class on the Holiness of God, we came to the question of how to approach this holy God. I would like to briefly comment on a particular aspect of the dialogue, the portion when our conversation turned to Hebrews 4:16, where we’re encouraged to boldly come before God’s throne. I believe the biggest reservation that many of us have is with the word "boldly". How can a sinner be bold before the face of our holy and majestic God?

We must first interpret this passage in the context of the two previous verses, in which we see that we do not approach the throne based upon our own merit, but that of our High Priest, Jesus the Christ. Thus, "boldly" does not mean recklessly or brazenly, but humbly and with confidence in the work of Christ. Under the old covenant, the people of Israel could not approach God directly. Only the high priest could come into the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year to make an atoning sacrifice to "cover" the sins of the people. Under the new covenant, Jesus, our ultimate High Priest, has atoned for our sins once for all (Heb 9:11-15), the veil has been torn (Mt 27:50-51), and we have free access to God.

Next, according to the Scriptures, even though we have free access to God, there are still some conditions which can obstruct our communication with Him. This brings us to one of the points of this article. During our group discussion, I pointed out that harboring unconfessed sin or disobedience (Jn 15:7), not asking in faith (Mk 11:23), asking with wrong motives (Ja 4:3) or for things contrary to the will of God (Jn 14:13-14, 1Jn 5:14-15), being inconsiderate of your family (1Pe 3:7) or several other conditions can hinder our prayers to God.

Another person then stated that we should avoid the "extreme" of approaching God with "a checklist". Now, we should avoid checklists in the sense of external obedience only, which is what I believe my friend was saying. We must however, not become so guarded against accusations of legalism that we avoid them altogether. When God doesn’t appear to be hearing our prayers, it could be that the timing isn’t right, or that he has something much better in mind for us, however, I see nothing extreme in taking a spiritual inventory (or checklist) in an attempt to determine other possible reasons such as mentioned above. In fact, the Bible not only exhorts us to petition God to examine us (Ps 139:23-24), we are also to examine ourselves (1Co 11:28-32).

In another instance, I just read a quote from a well-known pastor at a national conference a few weeks ago. In a speech on Christians’ need to "repent of religion", he stated that for religious people, Christianity becomes more of a "checklist of duties and behaviors", such as small group involvement, volunteering, taking a mission trip, and reading the Bible. In this case once again, these checklists and religious activities are inherently good. It is a hypocritical superficial focus, along with wrongful attitudes and motivations driving the activities that should be avoided.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day 2009

For last year's Independence Day, I wrote about one of the liberal media's "Blame America First" articles. This particular article called upon us to offer a prayer for forgiveness of what he perceived to be our greatest sins, such as electing George W Bush as president, retaliating against those who murdered thousands of our citizens at the World Trade Center etc. This year, I'd like to feature an article which also calls for us to seek forgiveness of our sins, but for very different reasons. This excellent article, entitled The Nations 233rd Birthday - A Call for Repentance is written by Jane Chastain, a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. She also includes a sample prayer which we encourage everyone to read along with her article.

Unlike the liberal's list of sins, Ms Chastain, a Christian, encourages us to repent of real sins which are in conflict with the will of the true God. Liberals however, tend to define sin as anything in disagreement with the god of political correctness, or a god who is an extension of their own views. In reply to a question of "What do you consider a sin?", then presidential candidate B Hussein Obama replied, "Anything that goes against my true nature". I sometimes wonder if Mr Obama prays to himself, asking himself to forgive himself for not being true to himself.

Read the entire Independence Day 2009 article.