While traveling on business this week I overheard snippets of conversation between two of the flight attendants. Basically, one of them was engaged to a young man and her family didn’t approve of the relationship. Some of the family had been, based on the girls perception, downright rude about it. Though I tried to ignore the conversation (I was trying to catch some sleep) one comment stood out in my mind. I can’t recall the specific words the second flight attendant used but it was something along the lines of:

“See, that’s why I can’t stand Christians, they are so hypocritical.”

I hear this so very often. Never directly but I still hear it nonetheless and you know what. It is true.

Many Christians are hypocritical. Many are liars, cheats, drunks, sex addicts, drug addicts, and cheaters. Some are abusive. Some are stupid, arrogant and close minded. Christians are all of these things and many, many more. I openly admit it. In fact, I have been and will be guilty of all sorts of sins as well as a blinding assortment of human frailties and failures. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need Christ.

To be a Christian three things have to happen.

First, there has to be a recognition that we are imperfect and flawed.

Then, there has to be a realization that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t fix all those shortcomings and flaws.

Next, there has to be an acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice to atone (pay the price) for those failings.

Finally, there has to be an honest repentance for those failings.

Most folks these days associate the word repentance with feelings like regret or remorse but from a Biblical perspective it means to “turn away” from sin and towards God. Which means we, as Christians, should always be striving against temptation and to improve ourselves in every way possible, to become as Christlike as we can be. Not because we are commanded to but because if we have truly turned away from sin (repented) we would want to.

Understand, none of us will achieve that perfection in this life. As I said, we want to…but while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

So, next time you see that guy with the fish symbol on his car driving like an idiot in traffic and acting a fool understand that this is exactly why he needs the Grace that is represented by that symbol. Then maybe ask yourself, have I fallen short of the measure in some way? Am I imperfect? Are there things I need forgiveness for? Because if you do, I have some good news for you.

God Bless


Otherwise Occupied

I have been otherwise occupied of late and my attention has been focused on real life and not on the blog. Some may not have noticed since I already had quite a few things queued up and scheduled to be posted but for those of you who did I thought I ought to let you know everything is OK (just busy) and tell you that I am sorry.

God bless

Snow Again…

I don’t recall ever having seen snow twice in one year down here on the Texas gulf coast but here it is indeed coming down again:

Not sure how much longer it will be coming down but given that the temperatures are already below freezing and not projected to rise above the freezing point until sometime tomorrow it might stick for a bit.

God bless.

Irony And Hawaiian Emergency Management

Besides broadcasting an erroneous “be prepared you are all about to die” message here is another winner from the Hawaiian Emergency Management Agency. In July they held an interview with news crews and allowed photos to be taken inside the operations center.

In the background you can clearly see PostIt notes on the monitors with system passwords clearly visible…

What’s the Hawaiian word for DOH!?

God bless.

On This Day, Christ The Savior Is Born…

On this day we celebrate a birth. Two thousand years ago in the city of David, Bethlehem, a young mother gave birth in a stable. An inauspicious and humble beginning for the Son of God who would suffer and die for our sins, a living sacrifice for our sins. The gift of grace and His everlasting atonement is the ultimate gift and one that should not be lost sight of in these trying times.

Luke Chapter 2 (NIV)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas and God bless!

The History Of The Arab-Jewish Conflict

On many an occasion I find myself trying to explain the actual history of the conflict between the Arabs (sometimes called Palestinians) and Jews. Most of the time this conflict is wrapped in propaganda and hype (spread by both all sides) with little regard for the actual history. So, I have decided to try and provide a simple and concise history here for reference.

Ancient History

The first record of “Israel” as a nation come from Egyptian sources around 1000 BC. Prior to that Israel and the Israeli people were a a separate culture existing within the existing Canaanite city states. For much of this time two Jewish nations existed. The nation of Israel and the nation of Judah.

In 722 BC the Babylonians conquered Israel and destroyed the capital, Jerusalem. Much of the population was relocated to other parts of the empire. Judah continued to exist as a vassal state of the Babylonian empire. This state of affairs continued through the Persian conquest of the Babylonians and the Greek conquest of the Persian empire. The exiled Jewish people were allowed to return home during Persian rule.

Around 160 BC Judah revolted against Greek rule and again became an independent nation. In 63 BC it was conquered by the Roman Empire and became the province of Judea.  In 6 AD, after yet another Jewish revolt, the Emperor Hadrian renamed the province Palestine.

Arab invaders conquered the area around the year 640 AD and, for the most part, the region continued to be part of various Arab empires until the Ottoman Turkish Empire conquered it in 1516 AD.

In exchange for the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the war the British indicated that the area would become a unified Arab homeland. This territory would have stretched from modern day Israel and Jordan east into modern day Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, following the defeat of the Turks in World War I, the area was placed under the rule of the British Empire.

During this time Britain, under the Balfour Declaration, expressed support for the establishment of a “Jewish national home” in the region and Jewish immigration increased dramatically. In 1922 the population of Palestine as 757,000, of which 78% were Muslims, 11% were Jews, 10% were Christians and 1% were Druze.

In response to the the British (and French) failure to create an independent Arab state Arab uprisings and revolts began frequently led by what we would today call Islamic fundamentalists. Attacks against British forces and the Jewish community began to increase. The Arab revolt of 1936 to 1939 saw a further escalation in Arab attacks against British rule as well as Jews. In response the Jewish community formed independent paramilitary organizations that supported the British forces. The Jewish communities also began to separate themselves economically from the Arab community. The British were forced to recant on the Balfour Declaration and put a limit on Jewish immigration.

Towards the end of World War II, the Jewish support for a national homeland coupled with British policies of placing Jews attempting to immigrate to the area in detention camps resulted in Jewish rebellion against the British.

In the face of continuing rebellion and violence (combined with tough economic times) 1947 Britain announced its desire to terminate control of the area and turned the implementation over to the United Nations. The UN adopted a resolution to divide the area into two states, a Jewish state (Israel) and and Arab state (Palestine) and attacks on Jewish communities skyrocketed immediately afterwards. On the day the British mandate expired the armies of four Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq) entered what had been British Mandatory Palestine, launching the 1948 Arab–Israeli War; contingents from Yemen, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Sudan also joined the war.

A cease fire was signed about a year later and the size of the nation of Israel was increased by about 25%. The various invading Arab nations maintained control of what should have been Palestine and over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were settled in “refugee camps.” Jordan annexed portions of the territory it held that would have been the nation of Palestine but did not relocate the local population into refugee camps.

The remainder is pretty common knowledge but basically entails continued attacks from both sides that generally resulted in significant increases in the territory controlled by Israel. The modern concept of terrorism was also born.

This is a very simplified history but I hope it helps set the overall context that few people these days seem to understand.

God Bless