Category: Blog Page 1 of 146

Hanukkah Sameach!

Genesis 12:1-3 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

This is a bit long and heady, but I found it a fitting way to consider our responsibility to the contingent promises of Genesis 12.

As we pass the two-month anniversary of the brutal and barbaric attack on Israel by Hamas that aligns with the beginning of the Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah, it is appropriate to reflect on the past as a productive guide for the future. Through serendipity or divine providence, I recently read Charles Krauthammer’s book “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics.” Therein contains some stunning thoughts that should cause deep reflection on the subject at hand from a unique and powerful Jewish perspective. It should compel us to redouble our unwavering support for Israel and our unrelenting commitment to eliminate the anti-Jewish hate we see in our tumultuous world situation.

This thought-provoking book is a compilation of Krauthammer’s newspaper columns from 1983-2014. As a result, it provides an interesting perspective on modern history: cultural, political, and geopolitical. His thoughts on Israel, antisemitism, Hamas, and Iran stand out as telling, concerning, shocking, and prescient. They are worth quoting extensively with a parenthetical on the year he wrote them. Some things never change!

Krauthammer artfully expresses Israel’s gracious attempts to promote peace in the region that have been relentlessly used against them by their adversaries: “Land for peace. Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land – evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.” (2010) He amplified these thoughts in a subsequent writing: “In 2005, Israel gave up land without peace in Gaza, and again was rewarded with war – and constant rocket attack from an openly genocidal Palestinian mini-state.” (2011)

Krauthammer rightfully expresses that the stakes are unbearably high and the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people are ruthlessly determined to succeed in their genocidal intents: “Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to national suicide.” (2011) He expresses these thoughts with more provocative amplification: “The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists – Iranian in particular – openly prepare a more final solution.” (2010)

Krauthammer’s provocative writings include the following thought-provoking gem: “In its vulnerability to extinction, Israel is not just any small country. It is the only small country – the only country, period – whose neighbors publicly declare its very existence an affront to law, morality and religion and make its extinction an explicit, paramount national goal … To destroy the Jewish people, Hitler needed to conquer the world. All that is needed today is to conquer a territory smaller than Vermont.” (1998)

Krauthammer brilliantly describes the twisted logic of the double standard by which Israel is held in spite of their nearly-unimaginably perilous position: “Why is it that of Israel a standard of behavior is demanded that is not just higher than its neighbors’, not just equal to that of the West, but in fact far higher than that of any Western country in similar circumstances?” (1990) He goes on to express the confounding logic of victimhood that is flipped upside down for the Jewish nation: “With Jews, that kind of reasoning is reversed: Jewish suffering does not entitle them to more leeway in trying to prevent a repetition of their tragedy, but to less. Their suffering requires them, uniquely among the world’s sufferers, to bend over backwards in dealing with their enemies. Sometimes it seems as if Jews are entitled to protection and equal moral consideration only insofar as they remain victims.” (1990) He continues with the following: “It is perverse to argue that because this particular nation-state is made up of people who have suffered the greatest crime in modern history, they, more than any other people on earth, have a special obligation to be delicate with those who would bring down on them yet another national catastrophe. That is a double standard. What does double standard mean? To call it a higher standard is simply a euphemism. That makes it sound like a compliment. In fact, it is a weapon.” (1990) Krauthammer punctuates this series of thoughts in this way: “The conscious deployment of a double standard directed at the Jewish state and at no other state in the world, the willingness to systematically condemn the Jewish state for things others are not condemned for – this is not a higher standard. It is a discriminatory standard. And discrimination against Jews has a name too. The word for it is antisemitism.” (1990)

Krauthammer also explains the rightful perspective that takes into consideration Israel’s unequaled environment: “Any moral judgment must take into account the alternative. Israel cannot stand alone, and if it is abandoned by its friends for not meeting Western standards of morality, it will die. What will replace it? The neighbors: Syria, Jordan, the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Ahmed Jabril, Abu Nidal (if he is still around) or some combination of these – an outcome that will induce acute nostalgia for Israel’s human-rights record. Any moral judgment that refuses to consider the alternative is merely irresponsible. That is why Israel’s moral neighborhood is important. It is not just the neighborhood, it is the alternative and, if Israel perishes, the future. It is morally absurd, therefore, to reject Israel for failing to meet Western standards of human rights when the consequences of that rejection is to consign the region to neighbors with considerably less regard for human rights.” (1990)

I fully acknowledge that this is a lot to unpack, but Krauthammer’s words from as far back as 1990 are a poignant expression of the consistency of verbal, moral, and physical attacks against Israel and the Jewish people over the course of modern history. Krauthammer does, though, provide an important piece of context for which Americans should be profoundly proud of our past and doggedly determined for our future: “No nation since Cyrus the Great’s Persia has done more for the Jews.” (2006) As our Jewish American neighbors struggle to celebrate Hannukah in the midst of rightful concern, persistent attack, and burning heartache, and our Israeli partners struggle in their righteous efforts against Hamas and its Persian benefactors, may we provide unwavering support that is befitting of a long-term friendship, an unbreakable bond, and a rightful moral commitment.


The Tricks of Hypocrisy

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”

Matthew 10:32-33 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

In recently reading Eric Metaxas’ book on stalwart Christian and slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce, “Amazing Grace,” I came across the interesting thought that described the errant counter-argument in this way:

“In the thick of the battle for abolition, one of its many dedicated opponents, Lord Melbourne, was outraged that Wilberforce dared inflict his Christian values about slavery and human equality on British society. ‘Things have come to a pretty pass,’ he famously thundered, ‘when one should permit one’s religion to invade public life.’ … how very glad we are that one man led us to that pretty pass, to that golden doorway, and then guided us through the mountains to a world we hadn’t known could exist.”

Shortly after reading that book and this quote, I read Charles Krauthammer’s book, “Things That Matter.” He shared related thoughts on abortion and other moral issues from 1990:

“It is particularly hypocritical for liberals to profess outrage at the involvement of the Catholic Church in this political issue, when only a few decades ago much of the civil rights and antiwar movements was run out of the churches. When Martin Luther King Jr. invoked scripture in support of his vision of racial equality and when the American Catholic Bishops invoked Augustine in their pastoral letter opposing nuclear deterrence, not a liberal in the land protested that this constituted a violation of the separation of church and state.”

The humanistic world around us would love to exclude moral and religious arguments from the public dialogue when they disagree with their conclusions. It is a trick from their old playbook, and we must not be swayed by their hypocritical logic. After all, moral and religious arguments ended slavery and secured civil rights. These same tools can free us from reckless and unmitigated secular stranglehold that is ruining our society today.


Infinitely More

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after men, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

As a perfect parlay to the thoughts of Police Lieutenant General Binag from last week’s PLUS post, please consider this thought from fiery eighteenth-century preacher Jonathan Edwards:

“In worldly concerns, men discern their opportunities, and are careful to improve them before they are past. The farmer is careful to plough his ground and sow his seed in the proper season. When the harvest is come, he will not sleep away the time, or the crop will soon be lost. How careful and eagle-eyed is the merchant to improve opportunities to enrich himself? How apt are men to be alarmed at the appearance of danger to their worldly estate! O how they stir themselves in such a case to avoid the threatened calamity! But if we consider how men generally conduct themselves in things on which their wellbeing infinitely more depends, how vast is the difference. In these things, how cold, lifeless, and negligent most are. How few among the multitudes are wise!”

In temporal and tangible things, we are almost always discerning, careful, alert, and eagle-eyed. In eternal and spiritual things, we are often cold, lifeless, and negligent. It is an insult to God and a horrid reflection of our prevailing worldliness even though our wellbeing infinitely more depends on the latter than the former. It must not be so!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO FOCUS ON THE ETERNAL AND THE SPIRITUAL OVER THE TEMPORAL AND THE TANGIBLE. It is on the eternal and the spiritual that our wellbeing infinitely more depends.

ADMIN: The Jonathan Edwards quote came from “Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing.

Dutiful Obedience

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

II Timothy 2:3-5 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a solider. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

In his book, “44 Days of Faith and Valor: A Warrior’s Daily Devotional,” Police Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag writes the following:

“As soldiers, dutiful obedience should be second nature to us. It’s ironic that some of us Christians in the military or police don’t have a problem with obeying our (human) officers and commanders; yet we refused to obey God. We obey our commanders because they can punish us – make us do push-ups or cancel our VOCO passes which allow us to go outside the camp for leisure and other reasons.

How low, therefore, is our view of God; and how little our respect for Him is when we fear our officers more than we fear Him: when we would not dare disobey our officers’ orders but would blatantly disobey His Word and instructions in the Bible.”

General Binag points out a great flaw in the thinking of a Christian solider that applies to all of us. We are regularly tempted to place everything else as a priority above the Lord, especially those things whose immediate nature seemingly drowns out the eternal nature of the things of God. We so easily forget that God’s thoughts towards us are directed towards His long-term plans and are filled with glory, peace, and grace. For that we should be immensely and eternally grateful.

We often entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life, tending to the things of this world instead of the things that far outlast this world, and it must not be so!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO ALWAYS PRIORITIZE THE LORD OVER ALL OTHER SOURCES OF AUTHORITY. That type of dutiful obedience is what He deserves and what our loyalty should demand.

A Glorious Undertaking

I Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day, honoring those brave men and women who have sacrificially served our great nation. It is a fitting day to thank all whose selflessness led them into the military on our behalf. It is a special day that intentionally falls on the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Yet, there is an interesting historical convergence about this date that encourages and challenges me every year. It prompts me to think about a group of brave individuals going back to 1620 – veterans who braved the treacherous 66-day journey across the rugged northern Atlantic Ocean to come to the new world. On November 11th, these pilgrims found themselves within the safety of Cape Cod. Before setting foot on dry ground, realizing that there would come strong pressures that could divert them from their primary mission, they codified their mission statement in our nation’s first constitution – the Mayflower Compact. It was a document that bound them together with common purpose, mutual protection, and civil order.  The main body of this document stated:

“Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

These American forefathers, at the outset of their foundational document, made their purpose clear – bringing glory to God and advancing the Christian faith.  They were not bashful about declaring that purpose, using those important words as the reliable basis for their society and to carry them successfully through the tough times that they would face in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Their focus on such a faithful common purpose allowed them to endure and thrive amidst their challenges.


Page 1 of 146

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén