Netflix

I’ve always appreciated the business model of Netflix and joined them for a brief period when they first started.  We just didn’t watch enough movies to make it worthwhile.

But my wife and oldest daughter are trying to watch all the “Best Picture” Academy Award movies this year, so we figured it would be a good deal.

We did the $14/month plan where you can have two movies checked out at once.  Netflix processes the returns very quickly so that should suffice for us. 

First up: The Godfather, Part II (we’re watching The Godfather tonight – the last movie from our local rental shop for a long time) then The Broadway Melody of 1929 (whatever that is!).

Tip: We went through Ebates to get to Netflix so that yielded us $18 off in addition to the two free weeks Netflix provides.

I didn’t know hurricanes were so funny

But some leading Democrats sure seem to think so.  See how much of this gets addressed in the mainstream media, then ask yourself how much of it you’d see if the situation were reversed and Republicans had said it.

Former National Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Don Fowler and Congressman John Spratt of South Carolina were caught on video in a plane saying:

The hurricane’s going to hit New Orleans about the time they start [the Republican convention] . . . The timing is, at least it appears now, that it’ll be there Monday. That just demonstrates God’s on our side.

There was plenty of laughter as well.

One also offered the typical sexism of the far Left, saying, “Other than the simple fact that she’s a female, she has nothing to offer.”  That’s odd, all the conservative blogs I’ve read mention her views and not her looks or her sex.

Then there is filmmaker Michael Moore:

I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven…To just have it planned at the same time, that it would actually be on its way to New Orleans for Day One of the Republican convention, up in the Twin Cities, at the top of the Mississippi River.

Just more proof that they didn’t care much about New Orleans at all, they just loved the opportunity to bash Bush.  They had serious memory loss about which party had been managing New Orleans for decades.

Even more interesting is that these folks invoked God only when it meant a possible disaster for the people of New Orleans.  After all, who cares about massive devastation to people you only pretend to care about as long as it would temporarily inconvenience an ideological foe?

1 Kings 15-16

1k15.jpgGreetings!  These chapters document more evil and rebellion of kings in the northern and southern kingdoms.

Abijah King of Judah

15     In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, 2 and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.

3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. 4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

6 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime. 7 As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 8 And Abijah rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.

Asa King of Judah

9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom.

11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa cut the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.

16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.

18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”

20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.

23 As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.

 Asa did a better-than-average job as king, but missed out on much by not following God’s plan.  2 Chronicles 14-16 covers his life in more depth.  Bribing Ben-Hadad was not the plan God had in mind.

Nadab King of Israel

25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of his father and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit.

27 Baasha son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. 28 Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king.

29 As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the Lord given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite— 30 because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger.

31 As for the other events of Nadab’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.

Baasha King of Israel

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit.

16     Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha: 2 “I lifted you up from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins. 3 So I am about to consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4 Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.”

5 As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 6 Baasha rested with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah. And Elah his son succeeded him as king.

7 Moreover, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger by the things he did, and becoming like the house of Jeroboam—and also because he destroyed it.

Elah King of Israel

8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah two years.

9 Zimri, one of his officials, who had command of half his chariots, plotted against him. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting drunk in the home of Arza, the man in charge of the palace at Tirzah. 10 Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Then he succeeded him as king.

11 As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha’s whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. 12 So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu— 13 because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols.

14 As for the other events of Elah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Zimri King of Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days. The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord and walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in the sin he had committed and had caused Israel to commit.

20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Omri King of Israel

21 Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.

23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.

25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols.

27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.

Ahab Becomes King of Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.

34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

This begins the section on Ahab and Jezebel, two of the more spectactularly evil Bible characters.

Woo-hoo! Palin is McCain’s VP pick

Lots o’ links about Palin at this post and those that follow it.

Update 8: The ridiculous “cover up” rumors of Palin’s Down Syndrome baby belonging to her daughter have been thoroughly debunked.  Nice, big, black eye for the Kos kids.  Her daughter is pregnant, and is taking responsbility for it along with the father.  Hypocrisy rating: Zero.  If she pushed her child to have an abortion, that would be hypocrisy.

Kudos to Obama for asking, in apparent sincerity, to leave the kids out of the attacks, and for not encouraging abortion to avoid the “punishment” of the baby.

Also, on the age thing, Biden has had health issues and is 66 himself.  Also, the Dems had no interest in him as President.  So why does he make such a dandy replacement if Obama is incapacitated or dies?

Update 7: Sarah vs. Hillary = no contest

Consider: Hillary has spent her whole life in the quest for power. She is a political animal through and through, willing to do what ever it takes to obtain the highest office in the world. —- 
Speaking of the real world, Sarah Palin is a life long member. No power hungry politico, she. Gov. Palin, by all accounts, is a woman who embodies the best of the female species. Experienced in real life, she is the epitome of what America stands for. She exhibits the traits that have made America great. And she does it effortlessly, because that’s who she is.  A mother of five, a wife, a conservative, a person who has lived life and succeeded at everything she has set out to do. That’s what America is.
 
Unlike Hillary, Gov. Palin has never had the need to ‘reinvent’ herself. Unlike Obama, her message comes from the heart instead of the teleprompter. Unlike McCain, she is not a career politician. She has a life, and politics is a part of it. Kinda like the citizen legislators our founding fathers favored.
Tammy Bruce on Sarah – another supporter
Update 6: Fabulous summary of Palin vs. Obama.  Obama looks even worse compared to McCain.

Update 5: The biggest thing going on with the lefty nutroots is their claim that Palin didn’t really deliver her Down Syndrome child, but that her daughter did.  This leads to amazing comment threads filled with profanity, awful grammar and escalating paranoia about her “hypocrisy” and such.

As irritating as people like that are, I view it is a major positive that the Daily Kos-type sites are focusing on something like that.  I mean, that’s the best they’ve got?  Yeah, the whole state of Alaska is involved in the cover-up.  Shhhhhhh.  They even got a blogger to plant the “fake” story of her pregnancy back in April about a March encounter, because they anticipated all this.  Actually, the blogger’s insights are fascinating because they occured so long ago.  They highlight what a truly amazing and down to earth person Palin is.  I think the more people learn about her the more they’ll like her. 

Of course I had to check out the “Hottest Governor in the US” and quickly turned to see her pregnant (she has since had her baby) with bags and daughter in tote. Then it struck me as odd. Why is the Governor of Alaska in the airport and preparing to get onto my commercial flight?

Sarah’s got a gun – “You’re hitting it pretty close to dead center.”

Sarah on energy policies – can’t wait to see her debate Biden on this topic. 

Update 4: The mainstream media was able to find some people critical of McCain’s choice of Palin.  The people quoted – and I am not making this up – were Democratic politicians. 

MSNBC couldn’t find any of the three (heh) people in Alaska to say anything bad about her.  Seriously, I was surprised that they were so gracious in reporting about her.

Even if Palin just gets a fraction of ticked off Hillary supporters and causes a few of them to stay home that will be a big win.  She has obviously and immediately energized many true conservatives who had planned to sit out.   The hard core pro-abortion types were going to vote for Obama no matter what.  I am continuously amused at the sexist comments made by liberals while the conseratives are focusing on her actual viewpoints.  It is always nice when the truth comes out.

So the only question is whether Palin hurts McCain with the undecided folks. I don’t think it does, but it will be interesting to see what the polls show. Like McCain and unlike Obama/Biden, she has done real, live reforming, and that should appeal to the middle ground folks. 

Nice summary of Obama’s experience vs. Palin’s – and remember, this is the #1 on the Dem ticket vs. the #2 on the Republican ticket. 

Update 3: It is interesting that the main folks commenting on her looks are the Democrats.  All the conservative bloggers I’ve read are excited about her views and her experience.  Who’s sexist again?  Oh yeah, anyone who votes against a woman, right? 

So in this election you get to vote between being a racist or a sexist.  Actually, as usual, I couldn’t care less about the skin color or gender.  I care about their positions and leadership abilities.  I dislike Obama because he is awful from virtually every angle – no executive experience (less than Palin), no foreign policy experience (less than Palin!) and terrible ideas on Iraq, truly monstrous pro-abortion views (to the left of NARAL!), pro-oxymoronic same-sex marriage, bad economic ideas, no loyalty (he threw his grandmother and his preacher under the bus), and so much more. 

Update 2: Early conservative sentiments are interesting.  The media tried to act like some are disappointed because of the “experience” issue.  A Time editorial online tried to make it sound her her experience is an issue (“a heartbeat away from the presidency”).  But that is simply laughable when you realize Obama would be the President from day one and that he has even less experience. 

And once they dig into the details the media should realize that she has more foreign relations experience than Obama and she is in charge of the Alaska National Guard. 

Every blog I’ve read has been elated – mainly like, My shift from protest vote to “Can I have a yard sign?”   The fact that she is an authentic conservative seems to be getting people jazzed up.  Dobson did a quick turnabout on McCain already.

And McCain’s donations page is said to be running slowly. 

I didn’t sense anyone thinking, “Oh no, Obama picked Biden, now he’ll be tougher to beat.”  But the pro-aborts seem mighty spun up over Palin.

McCain on the issues

Update: Be sure to watch her speech.  Great stuff.

Initial reports are that Obama’s camp is attacking her lack of experience.  Sure.  Go strap the polygraphs and see the truth.  This is the worst possible pick for them.

Obama – the “change” guy – in his first big decision as a candidate, picks Biden, a Washington insider.  Not Hillary or any other woman.  Not a person with executive experience.  McCain picks a woman who is roughly Obama’s age.

Who’s really for change?

Obama, who has no executive experience, and who has spent most of his short time in the Senate running for President, is making a mistake in criticizing the VP pick for not having enough experience.

And true conservatives will love Palin.  Check out her views and her voting record.  Truly pro-life, including keeping her child with Down Syndrome when many would have aborted.  She has done real, live government reform.  She told the Federal Gov’t to skip the “bridge to nowhere.”  She sold the governor’s jet that a Republican had purchased. 

The only downside is that she and her husband are in unions, and I’m not a big union fan.  But on the flip side, that could be good politics.  Biden and Obama can claim to be pro-union, while she can say how her family belongs to one. 

—–

The original: Read about it here.  That sound you heard was the momentum leaking out of Obama’s convention bump.

I’ve noted this on other blogs but I don’t think I mentioned it here.  She was my #1 preference and I was just praying yesterday that this would happen. 

Republican John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate on Friday, a senior campaign official said, in a surprise choice that could help him appeal to women voters.

Palin is a conservative first-term governor of Alaska with strong anti-abortion views and a record of fiscal conservatism. She is an avid sportswoman who would bring youth and vitality to the ticket. McCain turns 72 on Friday.

Palin is not well-known nationally, and that could cut into McCain’s argument that Obama is too inexperienced to handle the White House. But she could help him appeal to disaffected supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost a bruising primary to Obama.

In his acceptance speech on Thursday, Obama directly attacked McCain and linked him to what he called the failed Republican economic policies of President George W. Bush.

Palin, former mayor of the town of Wasilla, built a reputation as a reformer in a state that recently has been hit with corruption scandals. Elected in 2006, she is Alaska’s first woman governor.

Palin and her husband, Todd, have five children, ranging in age from 18 years to 4 months.

She is very strongly pro-life, has executive experience, knows the energy issues well, and seems to be very energetic.

I can’t wait to see how the Hillary backers react.  Did they really want a woman, or did they want a pro-abortion woman? 

Time will tell if this was a good pick politically, but I couldn’t be happier.  I think she was the best choice – way better than Huckabee, who many evangelicals seemed to lean towards.

Now who’s for change?  Barack picks a male Senate lifer.  McCain picks a woman.   A woman who has more executive experience than Obama, in case anyone cares about that sort of thing.

I hope McCain wins a term or two followed by a couple terms of President Palin.

Weekly roundup

Eric Liddle — a Christian for the ages – I always enjoy reading about this great man.

There is a famous line in the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’ where Eric’s sister is arguing with him about his going to Paris instead of going instantly to the mission field in China. Eric’s response was memorable, “God has made me to be a missionary, aye, but he has made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure”.

Gotta love this: Bio Prof: “It Is OK to Use Some Inaccuracies Temporarily” to Sell Evolution.  I’m not sure whether to be happy about the candor or sad at the immorality.

Nobama stuff

Amazingly, at the same time that the Democratic National Convention was going on Obama’s camp was doing everything in their power to prevent free speech.  And this is before he has been elected and has his hands on the Justice Department! 

Members of Barack Obama’s campaign HQ in Chicago tried to shut down a local radio show on the City’s most powerful radio signal, WGN 720, because they didn’t like a conservative guest that was on going on the air to discuss Senator Barack Obama’s ties to local terrorist William Ayers.

Obama’s stand on illegal aliens – not surprising

Even Dukakis can’t think of any Obama accomplishments

He’s back!  Shane Raynor, who used to run the Wesley Blog where quite a few of us hung out, has a new blog on United Methodist news, life and culture.

He’s here!  John Lomperis, formerly with IRD and UMAction, started a new blog.

Care Net Fall Fundraiser

Saving lives now and for eternity

fyi – Care Net Pregnancy Center of Northwest Houston will hold their annual Fall Fundraiser, Dinner and Silent Auction on Thursday, September 18, 6-9 pm at Tin Hall in Cypress, TX.  Guest speaker is LIFE International’s Kurt Dillinger. There is no charge to attend. RSVP at 281-477-8200 by September 11.

(This is the place where I am on the board and teach classes on fatherhood and pro-life reasoning and where I used to counsel the guys who would come in.)

Hate speech / hate crimes


hate.jpg
“Truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth.”

Some guy I heard on the radio.

Hate thought crimes legislation is moving through the House of Representatives.  This is an awful idea on many levels.

I’m a Christian, so of course I’m against hate.  I am commanded to love (that is, to have everyone’s long-term best interests at heart).  I just don’t see how you can legislate against hate or why my religious beliefs should be forced upon someone else.

Please note that I am anti-bullying in all venues, especially in schools.  I think all kids should be protected from verbal and physical bullying of any kind, on or off school grounds.  This isn’t a hate speech / hate crime issue, though.  It is the right of people not to be harassed or threatened for any reason.  If a kid is brutalized for being fat/thin/black/white/smart/not so smart/gay/straight/etc. it is all bad.

Why would a crime against a straight, white male have a lesser charge than the same crime against someone from a protected group?

Ironically, the pro-hate crimes legislation folks are typically anti-death penalty, so in many cases I am in favor of a stronger penalty for “hate crimes” than they are.  The evil men who lynched James Byrd back when George W. Bush was Governor of Texas rightly received the death penalty (in my view).  Yet those advocating hate crime penalties want “stronger” punishments but are against the death penalty.  Huh?!

The same thing goes if someone murdered someone who is gay (regardless of the motive).  Conservatives would typically be for the death penalty in most cases, while most Liberals would not.  If they have reasons to be against the death penalty, that is a separate debate.  Maybe they are right.  But I hardly see how anyone could be accused of being a “hater” when he would be in favor of a stronger punishment for the murderer than the pro-hate speech legislation groups.

If certain crimes are more heinous because of their historical significance (e.g., cross-burning), then I have no problem with those having stiffer penalties than average vandalism.

Making moral criticisms of a person or group is not hateful in and of itself.  If it was, then those who accuse of others of hate speech would be guilty of hate themselves.  Many liberal blogs would have to be shut down tomorrow for the venom they spew.  And groups like Alcoholics Anonymous would be guilty of hate speech against alcoholics.

“Hate crimes” are really two things – one is a crime against a person, for which there are laws in place (e.g., assault) and one is a belief against a class of people.

Then there is the selective enforcement.  I haven’t done a complete tally, but I have heard literal hate speech (e.g., “We hate Bush,” “Kill Michelle Malkin!”) much more from Democrats than Republicans.  Google it and see for yourself.  I don’t see any concern in the House about this kind of hate speech.

Make no mistake: This hate speech debate is about politics, and specifically about silencing opposing views.   It is rampant on college campuses and coming soon to the public arena near you.

That otherwise-Liberal proponents of hate speech legislation would so trample the First Amendment is beyond parody.

Also see Hating the (alleged) haters

1 Kings 13-14

1k13.jpgGreetings!

The Man of God From Judah

13     By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the Lord has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”

4 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. 5 Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the Lord.

6 Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

7 The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.”

8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. 9 For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” 10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

11 Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. 12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 14 and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

“I am,” he replied.

15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”

16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’”

18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers.’”

23 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. 24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. 25 Some people who passed by saw the body thrown down there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who defied the word of the Lord. The Lord has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the Lord had warned him.”

27 The prophet said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me,” and they did so. 28 Then he went out and found the body thrown down on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey. 29 So the prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for him and bury him. 30 Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him and said, “Oh, my brother!”

31 After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the message he declared by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.”

33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. 34 This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.

The prophets had very serious roles.  They were to obey God completely.  The man of God chose to listen to a false prophet rather than God, and look what happened!  People who follow false teachers today may not have the immediate consequences, but they will suffer nonetheless. 

One would think that Jeroboam would have seen the light, so to speak, and changed his ways.  He didn’t.

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

14     At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, 2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. 3 Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.

Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. 5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”

6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.

10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’

12 “As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the Lord, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

14 “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. This is the day! What? Yes, even now. 15 And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their forefathers and scatter them beyond the River, because they provoked the Lord to anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the Lord had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.

19 The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 20 He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his fathers. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king.

“The book of the annals of the kings of Israel” are long lost books that recorded much of Israel’s history. 

Rehoboam King of Judah

21 Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite.

22 Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. 23 They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.

25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. 26 He carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. 27 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. 28 Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards bore the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

29 As for the other events of Rehoboam’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 30 There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 And Rehoboam rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Consider how quickly Israel fell.  David united the kingdom, then Solomon got off to a good start.  But Solomon turned to other Gods, and his son and Jeroboam were both horrible kings.  Even with all of God’s favor and demonstration of support they quickly turned away. 

Evangelism experiences 7

holy_spirit_sky.jpgAs noted in the overview, this is part of a series of experiences I want to share about evangelism.  Please feel free to add your own.

One of the important things to do when discussing spiritual matters is to diagnose where people are.  There is a saying that you don’t want to bruise the fruit.  If someone is hostile to the faith, don’t polarize them further.

I had a boss once who was a brilliant but very skeptical person.  He was one of the many ex-Catholics out there.  He was respectful to me as an employee but sometimes made petty digs at my faith.  I tried to use them as opportunities to share the truth.

One day we had lunch (I think this was when I was no longer working for him).  He pointed out a couple things he took exception to in the Bible such as Job and Noah.  There are answers for those and countless other objections (see the Apologetics links to the right), but I figured I’d take a short cut. 

I pointed out that the central them in the Bible and in human history is the resurrection of Jesus.  As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 15, if Jesus wasn’t physically resurrected then we are to be pitied above all men.  Our faith is futile and we are still in our sins.  So I pointed out that if you believed in the evidence for the resurrection then things fell into place quickly after that.

He had a direct response that surprised me.  He said that even if I convinced him of the physical resurrection that he still wouldn’t believe.

I realized right then that further conversation was futile and changed the subject.  It shifted to things like, “So, how ’bout them Astros?”

I pray for him whenever he comes to mind.

1 Kings 11-12

1k11.jpgGreetings!  Here’s where Solomon goes off track.  Was he not trusting in God and doing what he thought was the politically expedient thing?  Or did he have some sort of sexual addiction? 

We all have our ups and downs spiritually, but we must try to root out the “gods” in our lives that distract us from worshiping the one true God.  It was a challenge then, even without the media barrage we live through today.

Solomon’s Wives

11     King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Solomon’s Adversaries

14 Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 15 Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. 18 They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking men from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food.

19 Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. 20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh’s own children.

21 While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go, that I may return to my own country.”

22 “What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?” Pharaoh asked.

“Nothing,” Hadad replied, “but do let me go!”

23 And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 He gathered men around him and became the leader of a band of rebels when David destroyed the forces of Zobah; the rebels went to Damascus, where they settled and took control. 25 Rezon was Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.

Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon

26 Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.

27 Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. 28 Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph.

29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, 30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. 33 I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.

34 “‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who observed my commands and statutes. 35 I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. 36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. 37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’”

40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.

Solomon’s Death

41 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign—all he did and the wisdom he displayed—are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon? 42 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 43 Then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

It is not clear to me when Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and the Song of Solomon.  Was it before he turned to other gods, or did he turn back to God before he died?  Either way, the words of wisdom God inspired him with are timeless and valuable.

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

12     Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

7 They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

That is the Biblical model of servant leadership.  I try to use that at work and it has yielded great benefits for my teams and my career.  Rehoboam is about to make a huge mistake: Listening to the wrong people and indulging his pride.  We need people close to us to tell us the truth and hold us accountable and not to feed our egos.

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “Tell these people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’—tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!”

So the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men—to make war against the house of Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.

31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What a disappointment!  After all the Israelites had been through, they get a bad king (Saul), a good one (David), a mixed one (Solomon) and then the kingdom is split.  What do they do first?  Start formal worship of a false God.  They forgot the lessons of their forefathers, just as we do today.

1 Kings 9-10

1k9.jpgGreetings!

The Lord Appears to Solomon

9     When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him:

“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

4 “As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’

6 “But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’”

God made his conditional promises very clear.  He was not being erratic when He judged them and had them taken off to Babylon.  We should not confuse God’s patience with his approval.

Solomon’s Other Activities

10 At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings—the temple of the Lord and the royal palace— 11 King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and pine and gold he wanted. 12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Cabul, a name they have to this day. 14 Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents of gold.

15 Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s temple, his own palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. 16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, and Tadmor in the desert, within his land, 19 as well as all his store cities and the towns for his chariots and for his horses—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.

20 All the people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites), 21 that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites could not exterminate—these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force, as it is to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of any of the Israelites; they were his fighting men, his government officials, his officers, his captains, and the commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 23 They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon’s projects—550 officials supervising the men who did the work.

24 After Pharaoh’s daughter had come up from the City of David to the palace Solomon had built for her, he constructed the supporting terraces.

25 Three times a year Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord, burning incense before the Lord along with them, and so fulfilled the temple obligations.

26 King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. 27 And Hiram sent his men—sailors who knew the sea—to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

10     When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.”

She wasn’t just impressed with Solomon’s possessions but with his widsom, justice and righteousness.  Poverty doesn’t mean you have sinned, yet it isn’t necessary noble, either.  And having wealth doesn’t mean you have God’s favor, though it also doesn’t mean you gained it unrighteously.  Having said that, following Biblical principles will generally lead people to be more prosperous than they would otherwise be.

10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

Solomon’s Splendor

14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the land.

16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred bekas of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

18 Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

King Solomon was spectacularly wealthy and wise, and it was all because God blessed him.

Honduras

My youngest daughter and I just returned from a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  I really appreciated the balance that the Hope for Honduras ministry and everyone on the mission team had in helping people physically and spiritually.  It is hard to hear the Gospel if you have starved to death, so the physical part is important.  But just meeting people’s physical needs and ignoring their eternal needs would be very short-sighted.

Unemployment is very high and many homes do not have a father.  The area was settled 10 years ago when floods from Hurricane Mitch forced people to flee to higher spots in the mountains.  Crime is a serious problem in Tegucigalpa, though we were kept safe throughout the week.

This was a great trip for any mission minded person.  You could be a first-timer or an experienced missionary and still get and give a lot.  Their web site has a brief but thorough overview of their ministry.  Check it out.

Some of the highlights:

Sponsor kids – Many of the team members had been there one or more times in the past and reconnected with children they sponsor.  It was a joy to see them together and encouraging to hear how much progress they had made.  You always want to ensure that any mission trips or organizations you support are actually making a difference, and this one does.

School – We helped with Bible / craft classes for younger kids twice a day.

Food distribution – Each day a few team members would distribute food to the children in the area.  For some it is their only meal of the day.

More food distribution – We took 100 lb. bags of rice and beans made 5 lb. packages of each and delivered them to every house in the area. 

The Gospel – The ministry helps spread the Gospel in all their activities.  We also passed out roughly 300 copies of the Gospel of John (or more accurately, the Gospel of Juan) with the bags of food.  I pray that many families read them and are transformed by God’s word.

House – We helped build a house for a family of 9.  The new house is a vast improvement for them but still about the size of your master bedroom.  The houses were somewhat similar to what I’ve helped build in Kenya, but we got to use power tools here.  That made it much easier, though I was amused when they handed me a rather sizable nail gun and expected me to use it.  Fortunately it has a safety feature on it.

The people – The kids were fun to interact with, although, as you might expect, they aren’t the most disciplined.  We’d stop working around 3:00 each day to spend time playing with them in the street.  The adults were very gracious.

As my daughter noted, when you look around the whole world these people are the “normal” ones relative to their living conditions.  We just think we’re normal.

Medical & dental clinic– We took a lot of supplies and bought medicine while we were there to restock the shelves.  This is an important outreach for the mission.

Spanish – My daughter taught me a little Spanish before we left and I picked up some more words there.  It is always fun to use a bit of the local language.  She was a huge help in translating for other members of the team, especially when talking to the families of the children they sponsored. 

Devotions – The team had a morning devotional and evening sharing time to discuss the events of the day and how we saw God working.  There was a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspect of the whole enterprise, which I really appreciated.

Classes for women – They have a weekly Bible study / craft time for women in the area.  I imagine that is one of the highlights of their week, where they can do things they never got to do as kids and can take a break from their normal duties and learn about God and be encouraged.

The airport– We were warned that the landing is tricky in Honduras, but I just assumed that meant we’d get Continental’s best and brightest pilots.  Hey, that’s what prayer partners are for!

Accommodations – I anticipate roughing it a bit on mission trips, but we stayed at a very nice and very safe hotel.  Nice rooms, good food, beautiful rooftop for devotionals and meetings and even a TV in the room so we could watch the Olympics at night.

The teamFaithbridge United Methodist Church sponsored the trip, though several of us attend other churches.  The team members had a variety of backgrounds and were a delight to serve with.  I never get tired of hanging out with people who love the Lord and are committed to his word and to serving in his name.  Our leader, Lesa, was terrific and displayed an amazing balance of organizational skills, spiritual focus and passion. 

Prayer – We prayed a lot for the people and I’m sure we’ll keep doing so. 

Going with my daughter – It was literally a dream come true to do a mission trip with my youngest daughter (The original plan was to go to Kenya with my oldest daughter, but that fell through due to the political instability in place during the planning stages.  Hopefully that will play out next year.).  But this trip fell in our laps with perfect timing and she was excited to go.  She did a great job all week regardless of the task.  I couldn’t be more proud and I could thank God 24×7 for the next month and that wouldn’t be enough.

I’m planning to go back to Honduras sometime but I need to help my wife go on a trip there first.  She’s been a great sport in holding down the fort while I’ve gone on these trips.  The timing is always a challenge, though.

God is so good.  Mission trips are a joy.

Honduran home remedy

We were very careful about not drinking the water in Honduras, but you never know who might get an upset stomach on a mission trip.  The local missionaries were adamant that as soon as you felt even a little queasy that you should drink the juice of a whole lime or lemon plus a fair amount of salt (she said a pinch, but the hotel folks put in a lot more).

My daughter wasn’t feeling well so she drank a couple of these the last day.  My stomach was 8% unsettled so I thought I’d do it partly out of being on the safe side and mostly out of solidarity.  I figured we’d capture the event with photographs.

Rumor has it that you have to drink it all at once and not make a face for it to be effective.  Good luck with that.

Just for the record, there was no tequila involved. 

Next time you feel sick, give it a try.

1 Kings 7-8

1k7.jpgGreetings!  It took 7 years to build the temple but 13 to build Solomon’s palace.  Did they move at a fast pace for the temple, or did Solomon put more emphasis on his “temple” than on God’s?  It appears to be larger than the temple.

Solomon Builds His Palace

7     It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. 2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. 3 It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. 4 Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. 5 All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.

6 He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.

7 He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. 8 And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.

9 All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and trimmed with a saw on their inner and outer faces. 10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight. 11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the Lord with its portico.

The Temple’s Furnishings

13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, 14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was a man of Tyre and a craftsman in bronze. Huram was highly skilled and experienced in all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.

15 He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits around, by line. 16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. 17 A network of interwoven chains festooned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. 18 He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. 19 The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. 20 On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. 21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. 22 The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.

23 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. 24 Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.

25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. 26 It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.

27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. 28 This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. 29 On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. 30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. 31 On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal.

34 Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. 35 At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. 36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. 37 This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.

38 He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. 39 He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple. 40 He also made the basins and shovels and sprinkling bowls.

So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the Lord: 41 the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network, decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars); 43 the ten stands with their ten basins; 44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it; 45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.

All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of burnished bronze. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.

48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the Lord’s temple: the golden altar; the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;

49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary); the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;

50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers; and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple.

51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple.

The Ark Brought to the Temple

8     Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

3 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, 4 and they brought up the ark of the Lord and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, 5 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

6 The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. 8 These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.

12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”

14 While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them. 15 Then he said:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, 16 ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’

17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’

20 “The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our fathers when he brought them out of Egypt.”

Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

25 “Now Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done.’ 26 And now, O God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

Solomon rightly notes that God doesn’t just dwell on earth or in the temple.  But as believers He does dwell within us.  It is the amazing intersection of Heaven and earth, where we are fully human but also have the Holy Spirit. 

31 “When a man wrongs his neighbor and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before your altar in this temple, 32 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty, and so establish his innocence.

33 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their fathers.

35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

37 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 38 and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple— 39 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), 40 so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.

41 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

44 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 45 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.

This foreshadows how the Israelites will eventually be taken over and removed to other lands, only to eventually return.

52 “May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you. 53 For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, O Sovereign Lord, brought our fathers out of Egypt.”

54 When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:

56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”

God supplies our needs.  When we obey and rely on him people can see that He is the one true God.

The Dedication of the Temple

62 Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the Lord. 63 Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the Lord: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the Lord.

64 On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar before the Lord was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.

65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the Lord our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all. 66 On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Solomon offered a beautiful and practical prayer, noting that we all sin and need forgiveness.  And that must have been one of the all-time massive worship experiences.

Weekly roundup

So what was the rush to treat little girls like lab rats?  Seems that the HPV vaccine isn’t all it was advertised to be.  Something to remember the next time the gov’t rushes in to trample parental rights.

I was tagged by 4 Pointer with these questions:

Question 1. If you were to be in ministry 10 years from now (whether you’re in ministry now or not) what would you like to be doing and where?

We’re all ministers to some extent.  I’d like to be retired from my CPA/Finance/Audit career and doing lots of volunteer things – teaching, mission trips, Kairos prison ministry, enjoying family, etc.  Basically the same things I’m doing now, just more of them.

Question 2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a degree and all the learning that would have gone with it from any seminary which one would you pick and why?

Gordon Conwell.  I’ve heard good things about it, and it is a conservative, Bible-believing seminary in the Northeast.

Question 3. What’s your poison: donuts, beer, wine, pizza, chocolate, twinkies, key-lime pie?

Hazelnut creamer in my coffee.  LOTS of it.   And mayonnaise wherever I can use it.

I’m supposed to think of 5 others to tag but don’t want to play favorites, so consider yourself tagged. 

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Problems with the book of Mormon– just the tip of the iceberg, really.  It is not from God.

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New addition to the blogroll: Thoughts Out Loud.  Lots of good posts, such as Lazy myths: Christians believe because they are told to.  Go check it out.  I’ll wait here.

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Obama is lying about others lying– will the MSM check the facts and let voters know his real stand on abortion, partial birth abortion (aka infanticide) and his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act?

Obama wants change . . . except when it comes to abortion as birth control, inside the womb or outside it.

Obama wants you . . .

  • to pay for abortion!
  • to sanction the killing of infants born alive!
  • to believe that pregnancy is a “punishment”!
  • to accept partial birth abortion!
  • to forget his close association with radical abortion groups like NARAL and PP!
  • to endorse liberal activist Supreme Court Judges that support abortion in the 9th month!
  • to embrace a culture of death!

Listen to his own words, plus his silly comment about the question of when life begins being above his pay grade:

He couldn’t be more clear about his plans: