Tag Archives: Biblical Wisdom


Joshua M. Blahi is the man who was known as General Butt Naked during the Liberian Civil War which drew to a close in 1996. He always went into battle naked except for boots and weapons, hence his war name. I still find his story both troubling and perhaps redemptive.

Blahi’s crimes were heinous and revolting, including ritual sacrifice of young children and drinking of their blood and eating their hearts. Yet he claims to have been called by God while he was still in the midst of a battle. He says he immediately dropped his weapons and left the war entirely. After many weeks of fasting, prayer and counseling with a pastor he saw Jesus in vision and was told to repent and never return to his old ways. He says he knows he has been fully redeemed through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. For awhile he lived in hiding in Ghana, but now preaches the Gospel in a church in Liberia. He was the only man involved in the Liberian Civil War who returned to the country and requested that he stand trial for his crimes, but there were no genocide laws at the time which he could be charged under.

After reading his story I felt compelled to write a poem about him, a poem that could just BE, with no judgment made. It was at first a very daunting and frustrating experience. My pitiful attempts at trying to describe what hand-to-hand combat might be like were stymied when the most beastly word I could think of was “snot.” I didn’t want to use profanity and yet I wanted to convey the idea of violence contrasted with the call to repentance and where the call might lead. It turned out to be both a physically and emotionally difficult task.

Blahi’s story is very controversial and he has many detractors who still feel he is “the most evil man in the world.” I do not know what crimes can be forgiven by God, but He is the only one who knows the hearts of men. Has He atoned for the General’s sins? I chose to write my poem as though I do believe, and yet questions remain. So here is my offering, I hope it causes thought on the possibilities of redemption for each human being.


Naked, plunging again into slaughter, aching
to inflict pain –
Furiously pounding pulse revels in screams
As legs push powerfully forward,
gasping effort of lungs, muscles and sinews
now wading – blindly – through sobbing moans, the
leaving life of others,
arms straining, stabbing, slashing;
– always forward through smoke and noise –
Drunken on blood, consumed hearts of
children form rivulets, greencongealing from mouth
and nose:

Insensate, lust of killing remains.

But now, suddenly – silence –
– – – choice – – –
between the familiar comforts of hell or
the rigors of Damascus –

Strange scene when God speaks, and
old ways cease.
Feet stop, filthy body slumps, sweating and spent –
Eyes see
(at last),
and back turns.

Who will believe this stranger in the land?



My friendly advisor in Judaic thought tells me that in some sects of Judaism the practitioners are told not to engage in intercessory prayers on the sabbath, although they may ask for blessings on the sick. The theory here is that God established the first sabbath based on His own need for rest following creation, and that He still has need for rest from the pleas of His children. As my friend says, “I’m sure He doesn’t like to hear our whining all the time.”

This is a new way of looking at prayer for me. I have heard sermons given  where we are told to pray once in awhile and ASK FOR NOTHING, but GIVE ONLY THANKS to God for His blessings, and that such a prayer should make us more grateful and aware of all God does for us. Making it a regular sabbath day matter had not occurred to me.

In what manner ought we to pray? Even the Disciples asked, ” . . . Lord, teach us to pray . . .” (Luke 11:1) KJV. Dietrich Bonhoeffer recommended the Psalms as a teaching tool for prayer based on a sermon given by Martin Luther. Bonhoeffer said that every person seeking God in prayer should take the time to study all of the Psalms at least once each year.

Jesus did give the true pattern of prayer in answer to the request of His disciples. Although it is translated a little differently in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, the essence is the same, and it is beautiful in its profound simplicity. It is known as THE LORD’S PRAYER as given in Luke. Let’s break it down to see if we can truly consider the meanings:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
We pray to the Father of us all, who dwells in Heaven, and give reverence to His name to show our love and awe for Him.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
We need to be reminded that it is His kingdom we seek. In order for that kingdom to come, we seek to follow His will here on earth and to pray to understand it. This reminds us to always consider our doings carefully and not rely on our own limited understanding.

Give us this day our daily bread.
Such a simple thing, our daily bread. We don’t ask for great riches or glory here, merely the “bread” that sustains us. Beyond that we also need to remember that Christ is “the Bread of Life.”

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
The reminder that in order to be forgiven by God, we, too, must forgive all men. We need so much help in forgiveness and we need to ask God to help us in that grueling task. Notice here that Luke says we are to forgive “indebtedness”, a term which covers all sorts of payments we think are due us, maybe even the value of a tooth for a tooth, or for emotional or monetary harm. We need to learn to forgive, but we can still ask for justice to prevail.

And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil.
Does God “lead” us into temptation? Does He always “deliver” us from evil? These are hard questions. Is this another statement of how the world really is? Can we be led easily into temptation, or from time to time, through no fault of our own, find ourselves in a place where we must be “delivered from evil?” Perhaps we need to think of this as a responsibility we each have, to pray for the strength to resist temptation and, if at all possible, the strength to flee if we are placed in a dangerous or evil situation.

Luke 11: 2-4. KJV
. . . For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:13: This ending is left off in Luke’s account. But we must remember it and always keep in mind that the kingdom belongs to our Father, whose kingdom, and power, and glory we seek.

Amen. This is our seal of acceptance for what we have prayed.

The Lord does not want “vain repetition”, but rather thoughtful prayers – from the heart. Jesus said that God our Father knows what we need before we ask, but we still need to talk to Him about those needs. That is good six days a week, but perhaps we should approach our sabbath day prayers a little differently. Give our Father a rest and let the thanksgiving really count on that day.



In previous postings about the Sabbath Day observance required by the Fourth Commandment I had raised the question of why God would make this a matter of freedom for Israel, and I felt I needed to consider what keeping the sabbath holy might do to make us as individuals and as a nation worthy of that freedom.

As I posted before, there are three things God required of Israel in regards to the sabbath day. They are: (1) To keep the sabbath day holy; (2) for you and your family to do no work, nor are you to require anyone else, including strangers and slaves, or even animals, to do any work on the sabbath day; and (3) to remember that the Israelites had themselves been slaves and that God had made them free.

I did not understand the relationship between the sabbath and freedom, and yet The Lord told Jeremiah that if the Kingdom of Judah would again keep the sabbath holy Jerusalem would remain free and stand forever. Last week I caught a small glimpse of the link between sabbath worship and freedom and why our nation is losing liberty.

When people turn away from God and no longer follow His ways, they lose the knowledge that it is He who made man free: that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Unalienable, or inalienable, means an inherent, or inborn, right which cannot be taken away, nor should it be relinquished by the possessor. If people forget this meaning it becomes easier for unscrupulous men and women to foster the thinking that it is the Government that GRANTS freedom. One way to understand the nature of freedom is to REMEMBER that we have all been in some form of slavery. We have not all been in physical slavery, but we are all slaves to the lies we believe.

Where do we learn the TRUTH that makes us free if we no longer give time to God and His Word? How do we even know what freedom and liberty are if we have no contact with truth? Keeping the sabbath holy was enjoined on the people of the bible to keep them REMEMBERING God by REMEMBERING that only HE can teach us Truth and guarantee freedom.

Learning about the truth of God and the purpose of our lives requires us to consider HIM in all our doings. The sabbath day requirement to REMEMBER WE WERE SLAVES directs us to the ways of The Lord

He does not want slaves, He wants men who freely turn in love to Him, with broken hearts and contrite spirits. When men humble themselves before God and put Him first they become more able to resist relying on the arm of flesh and to begin acting on God’s Commandments which were given to insure freedom and safety for all. That is the only way to have a civilized society and a nation worth saving.

Is sabbath day worship the most important thing we can do for the freedom of the United States of America? How many of us will it take for God to honor our effort? Are YOU willing to follow this commandment?
I, for one, am convinced that this understanding of the nature of freedom and the sabbath is a small but important step in the right direction.



The use of the word “crave” in the Tanakh translation is illuminating. My reaction to “covet” is strong, but to “crave” something hits me in the gut. Covet sounds like it could be a longing from afar, almost like a “wish” for something, but a craving sounds beastly and uncontrollable. That may be because of drug associations with the word. The King James Version is different still and uses the word “desire” in relation to  your neighbor’s wife, and “covet” where the Tanakh uses “crave.” Our grandson and Bear both find covet to be a stronger word.

At any rate, the commandment is very clear that we are not to desire, crave, or covet our neighbor’s family, property or goods of any kind. Bear says that should cover all the bases.

I cannot help but think that of all the commandments that deal with our relationships to our “neighbors” or fellow men, this particular one is presented last in order for a purpose. This one warns us of the beginnings of sin that lead to greater sin: bearing false witness, stealing, adultery and murder, all the ways we can harm one another, and we have already been told not to do those things.

When we wake up and find ourselves taking the path of covetousness, while we still have the capability and strength to see clearly our need to repent, we must do so and stop our downward slide into those greater sins.

In our youth, many of us succumb to jealousy over the beauty, poise or apparent riches of others. Teenagers may feel ugly, unloved and stupid, and so jealousy of others takes over. This is one of the reasons youth require much positive training and reinforcement in proper behavior. At any age, though, we all need to learn to restrain jealousy. Keeping any of The Ten Commandments takes self awareness and self control, virtues disdained in our society today. Many seem to have fallen into a degree of hedonism that can lead to the destruction of civil society if we do not reverse course.

Do not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s also has political repercussions as class warfare is used to divide us as a people. Do you think another’s money should be confiscated by tax policy to be given to others? Do you really believe that redistribution of wealth is a worthy goal? Who gets to decide what you do with what you have earned?

How should charity be handled, by the heavy hand of government, or by individuals acting freely out of love for their fellow men? Where is the most individual growth fostered?

Do not covet that which is not yours, and become adult enough to work for your own daily bread.



What does it mean to swear falsely? Is it just a matter of lying or is it more? If you promise to do something, is that the same as swearing to do so? I don’t think one would ever “swear” a promise. If you swear to uphold or protect something it is the same as taking an oath. An oath occurs between two or more people, groups or nations, and is a symbol of an agreement or covenant. For instance, marriage is a covenant, the terms of which are sworn to before an authority of some sort. One group or nation may swear an oath to protect and defend another, or they may make a covenant of peace with each other.

An oath was once considered unbreakable and an oath breaker was the lowest of creatures. The punishment for oath breaking could be exile or even death. Adding GOD to the mix means that when you swear before HIM you are making a very serious commitment to do as you say you will.

The Third Commandment as given in the King James Translation of the Bible gives a slightly different slant to the matter. Deuteronomy 5:11 reads:

The word “vain” as given here would probably be considered to mean “useless”, or “of no power.” If the oath is vain it is certainly falsely given.

In an age of casual promises and lies, oath breaking seems almost quaint to consider. But in the Third Commandment God says he will not clear the person who swears falsely by His Name, or will not find him guiltless. And HIS word is eternal.

Historically in Western Society it is customary for someone taking a public oath to place their left hand on the Holy Bible and raise their right arm “to the square.” In the United States of America ALL elected and appointed members of the government place their hand upon a Holy book to swear such an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” and also covenant with the people they serve that they will uphold and sustain the law according to the Constitution.

How seriously do those who take that oath mean it? Is it just pro forma these days? Do they even consider the consequences of swearing falsely? There seem to be so many liars and oath breakers in government that one must conclude most no longer take their oaths seriously.

Even Supreme Court members, the president, congressmen and other leaders denigrate the Constitution publicly and place their own judgments above those of the Founders and the Constitution with no accountability. Once again, in their presumption, we let them sell our national birthright for a mess of pottage. They have not yet met their retribution, which is in the hands of The Lord God.

We will all stand before the Judgment Seat and answer for our own oaths and covenants.

Do not swear or take an oath you are not prepared to keep. You cannot lie to God and not pay the price.


The greatest evil is not done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see the final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars, and cut fingernails, and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.
                                                                      C. S. Lewis

This is such a frightening thought, that evil comes with soft voices and under the guise of well-meaning, reasonable men (and women) who want only the “best” for every one. The thought alone makes one feel — slimed??

How do real people fight against such evil? You and I, who have no voice in such offices, or with the hollow men who glide on silent feet to enslave the world and make it in their own image, where do we go and what do we say to their unhearing ears and dead hearts and minds? How do we reject such ends? Sometimes it seems that war becomes the only weapon left.

Only bumper sticker mentality thinks that “giving peace a chance” will halt the progress of evil. Does no one remember the wars to end all wars? The  agreements to never forget, to scrap our weapons and disband our armies and live in peace forevermore? Evil smiles and goes underground in such times, lulling peaceful people to sleep.

Wake now. Anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear truth must have the heart and courage to face facts: our nation and world are in perilous times. Times where, once again, the hollow men and women are in charge of the institutions meant to protect freedom and law. Look and listen carefully, you will know who they are.

They are the liars and oath breakers who no longer care to even hide their tracks. As their power seems to grow, we are left in wonderment at their ability to lie so smoothly, with such facile ease. No shame attaches to them, and yet they point the finger of shame at anyone who has the courage to speak out and confront the lies.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has promised to fight our battles if we will but trust in HIM, repent of our evil doing and follow HIS ways. If we will but ask for guidance for the safety of our land and people is there still time to stand fast and free? Will we need to fight, and will we have His blessing if we do? Only He can answer that question, but our hearts need to be open and brave to fight if we must.



. . . it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.  Matthew 12:12

The question we are left with is whether the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy applies to us today, and, if it does, how do we keep the commandment?

Let’s back up and read again a charge given by Moses to the Children of Israel and then the sabbath day commandment itself:

“The Lord spoke those words – those and no more – to your whole congregation at the mountain.” Exodus 5:10.  “Be careful then to do as the Lord has commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left.”  Exodus 5:29


“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God freed you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

In the commandment there is the charge to keep the sabbath holy; for you and your family to do no work, nor are you to require anyone else, including strangers and slaves, or even animals, to do any work on the sabbath day. The third charge is to remember that the Israelites had been slaves and that God had made them free. Those three things and no more.

Jesus and His disciples were always sabbath keepers, but their enemies put forth that they were sabbath breakers, mostly because Jesus often healed on the sabbath. It was in answer to one such charge that Jesus said: “Wherefore, it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” On another occasion He declared:  “ . . . the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is also Lord of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). If Jesus is Lord of the sabbath then Christians must be under the sabbath law.

After the death of Moses, the Israelites soon encumbered sabbath day observance with rules and ideas far beyond those three simple thoughts.  Of course there are always questions: Who feeds the chickens and milks the cows? Who does such essential chores and cleans up after the children and the sick? Apparently those matters did have to be clarified, and so “rules” were made. This led to such sensible things as being able to “pull your ox out of the mire” on the sabbath. It also led to many things that seem  inconsequential to us in our day but which are still debated in many fundamentalist circles. Which is the real sabbath, Saturday or Sunday? How many steps may one walk on the sabbath? Is flipping on a light switch work? What is carrying a burden? May one drive a car? Depending on the religion one follows, the questions – and answers – seem endless.

So what are you and I to do? The “essentials” have multiplied so much in our time. We still must “heal” on the sabbath, so hospitals and health care people are on duty. Communications must run. The list can be extended. Some people just cannot have their sabbaths free from “work.”

So how do we keep the sabbath day holy? For our family the answer is to make things simple. As much as possible we attend church on the sabbath; we don’t go to movies or other entertainments; we don’t participate in or attend sporting events; unless we are traveling we don’t eat out so others don’t have to work for us; we do no shopping on the sabbath, unless it’s an unavoidable emergency; we try to study the scriptures and just keep things as simple as possible. In short we attempt to devote our time to God. To do well on the sabbath.

I have met people who must work on Saturday or Sunday so they set aside another day as their sabbath. I think God would honor such a commitment. Another good friend studies and prays each morning of the week for at least an hour and feels she keeps the sabbath all week. I can’t say she’s wrong.

Each of us Is faced with the sabbath day challenge if we wish to return to the laws of God.

These are the three charges to Israel: Keep the sabbath holy, require no labor from anyone on the sabbath and remember you were a slave so you know where your liberty comes from. The basic premise of God’s laws is to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land.” (Lev. 25:10). There are Jewish commentaries that indicate only free people are capable of redemption and that is why the Israelites had to be removed from slavery in Egypt. That third requirement of the law, to remember you were a slave, means that sabbath day worship and liberty are somehow inextricably connected.

We can be slaves to many things in this life. Maybe what we need to remember as part of our sabbath is that truth, which comes from God, is what sets us free. Is that part of the link between the sabbath and liberty? This is a matter I have not fully been able to understand, but I feel that it is true and someday someone will be able to explain it.

If we develop faith that the sabbath is made for man as a blessing, then the day will come when we will ” . . . call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the  Lord, honorable.” (Isaiah 58:13).

How and why was the sabbath made for you and me?



Continuing the message of Jeremiah, the Prophet, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17 KJV):

27. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; THEN I WILL KINDLE A FIRE IN THE GATES THEREOF, AND IT SHALL DEVOUR THE PALACES OF JERUSALEM AND IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED.
. . .

And guess which offer the inhabitants of Jerusalem chose?

So war came. People outside of the city of Jerusalem were carried captive to Babylon and the city itself was besieged. In spite of having supplies of food and underground cisterns of clean water, after two years of siege people starved, fought each other for food, and parents killed and ate their own children. When Jerusalem finally fell, most of the remaining inhabitants in the city were killed by the sword. Over 1,500,000 people perished as a result of the siege. Thereafter the temple was desecrated when the priests were forced to sacrifice pigs on the altar, it was then razed and its treasures taken to Babylon. The remaining people were carried captive as slaves into Babylon.

King Zedekiah was forced to watch all of his sons be ceremonially killed, after which his eyes were put out. The blind king was then taken to Babylon to live as a prisoner in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace where he was also made to eat at the King’s table with the very man who murdered his family.

And they could have been saved had they simply kept the sabbath day holy.

The people of Judah would not be allowed to return home for forty years, and the Kingdom would never again be whole and strong. When the forty years were fulfilled, Cyrus, the Persian, would send some Jews home, and the prophet Ezra and a few others would return and rebuild some of the walls of the temple and establish a presence in the land. Priests were ordained but served in a conquered land. As was their custom, the Babylonians would move captives from other conquered lands into the former Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. These displaced persons decided to worship the same God as the previous inhabitants so they pretended to be Israelites. They were called Samaritans and were hated by the Jews who were left in the land. Even in the time of Jesus the Samaritans were outcasts from life among the people of Judah.

Again, the question for us remains. Do we still need to keep the Sabbath Day holy? Will our land and people change if we do? How will it help us as individuals?

Do you know how to keep the Sabbath Day and do you believe it would help our land remain free?



The message of Jeremiah, the Prophet, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that Great City: (Jeremiah 17 KJV)

21. Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

22. Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, nor do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
. . . . . . . . . .

24. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein:

. . . . . . . . . .
And so the great blessing was promised. Think of it, all they had to do was keep the Sabbath Day holy and their city would remain forever.  Does such a promise apply to us? Is keeping the Sabbath Day holy the best thing we can do to keep our land free and safe?

When God sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He revealed His plan to Abraham, and Abraham argued with God to spare the cities if he could find 50, then 40, or 30, or 20, or even 10 righteous souls therein. There were not enough righteous people to spare the cities from destruction. How may our righteousness work to save us and how many of us need there be? Is the righteousness of the people in our land at least partially determined by our Sabbath Day observance?

Three BIG Questions:  What is it about Sabbath worship and observance that would have made the people of Jerusalem worthy of God’s blessing? Does such observance change us to make us worthy of those blessings, too? How do you think such observance can change you and me?

More tomorrow.



The following brief history of the split Kingdoms of Israel and Judah may be helpful in understanding the importance of sabbath day worship for the children of Israel, and the decision we must make about whether or not it applies to us.

The Children of Israel split into two kingdoms after the death of King Solomon, the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Israel was the first to fall into idolatry and wickedness, and the people were conquered and taken away captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. They have not been found since, hence the “lost Ten Tribes of Israel.”

By about 600 B.C., the Kingdom of Judah had also turned away from God. Under King Zedekiah, and others before him, the people had become idolatrous, indulged in fertility rites to heathen gods, sacrificed their own children by burning them alive before Baal and Moloch, and the poor and needy were abused and neglected by all, including the judges and the rich. At that time the City of Jerusalem was referred to as a “great” and indestructible city, though many today think of it as a dusty little backwater. In truth over 1,500,000 souls would perish there during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.

God sent many, many prophets to call the people to repentance. Not only did the people refuse their messages, they also stoned and killed any prophets they could. Jeremiah was the chief prophet from that period. He was told by God that He, God, had known Jeremiah before He had formed him in the belly and that he was called as a prophet to the nations, plural, even though he left the land of Judah only once when he was forced to go to Egypt with some Jewish escapees and was killed there. Were his words to the nations also meant for us?

Jeremiah never relented from his calling even though he was beaten, threatened continually, and was at one time imprisoned for a long time in a hole in the ground where people could come to spit and urinate on him, throw garbage and mock and stone him, until the King heard the words Jeremiah spoke even from the pit. Zedekiah felt threatened by the situation and released the prophet.

It is important to know that everything with God is a two-sided coin, a commandment comes from Him with a promise of blessings IF the people are obedient, or with a cursing if they break the commandment.

The time came when God sent Jeremiah to both King Zedekiah and all the people of Jerusalem with a message that informed every one of the choice they would have to make, and what the consequences of that choice would be.

What Believers now need to decide for our land is if that same message is valid for us. When the angels of God come to sift our cities, will the words of Jeremiah stand against our nation, too?

Consider the words of the prophets well.

Part Three coming up.



I had thought of beginning at the beginning, but I think if we really want to do something of worth for our country the following may be more urgent.

There was a time in the United States, not that long ago, when so-called “Blue Laws” were in effect in almost every State. Businesses were closed on the Sabbath, alcohol could not be served, church-bells rang out and called the faithful to commune in prayer. Why was such an “unconstitutional” thing ever allowed?

The people who settled America, contrary to popular revisionist history, were, by-and-large, a God believing and God fearing people, steeped in Holy Biblical Scripture and Judeo-Christian ethics. Central to worship of God was the belief that it was He who created the heavens and the earth in six periods of time (what those “periods” or “days” meant will be argued until we “know all things”), and that even the Great God Himself rested on the seventh day. And when He gave to man his reckoning, He commanded all men to also rest on the Sabbath Day, the first Holy Day.

There is a question here that is not fully answered by the biblical text. Were all people from the time of Adam under command to keep the Sabbath day holy? Were people like Noah and the Patriarchs under the Sabbath day law? When the Israelites left Egypt they were told not to gather manna on the Sabbath before the commandment was codified on the stone tablets. So it would seem that the law existed from the beginning.

Why would God be so concerned for His creatures that He would assign them a day of rest? What blessings would accrue to man from that law? Why did our forebears in America think that such a law was so important they codified it beyond the Scriptures and enjoined it upon their children? In short, why did we have those “Blue Laws” for so many decades?

These are not specious questions, but are as relevant today as they were in the beginning. God required not only Sabbath Day worship, but also established sabbaths upon the land when it was finally granted to the Children of Israel. Modern man knows that those Sabbath Years were important in caring for the land, to let it rest and again become fertile and productive. Also in those Sabbath Years the poor shared in what the land produced without aid. So two important functions were put into effect.

God blessed the land with His protection and divine grace, so long as the people loved and honored Him and kept His commandments.

What is so important in keeping the Sabbath Day holy? Should you and I even be concerned with such  question? How does breaking this commandment affect our homes, cities and states today?

More tomorrow.


“Be careful then to do as The Lord has commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left.”  Moses to the Israelites, Exodus 5:29, Tanakh, JPS

The text of The Ten Commandments was codified by the hand of  The Lord while the Children of Israel were encamped in the desert at a place they called Horeb. Moses, the great prophet and lawgiver, went up to Mount Sinai, where he conversed with The Lord for forty days and nights and The Lord wrote His commandments on two tablets of stone, even while the people turned their hearts away from God and convinced Aaron, the brother of Moses, to make them a golden calf to worship. The Lord told Moses to return to the camp because the people were rebelling. Moses saw the people dancing and cavorting about their idol and in anger he threw the stone tablets to the ground, completely destroying them.

God said He would destroy all the Israelites and start over with Moses and his descendants to make a great people. Moses turned down that offer, and pleaded with the Lord to spare the Israelites. Thereafter Moses again spent forty days and nights on the mountain in the presence of The Lord and returned with new tablets containing the Commandments, which formed the basis for all Judeo-Christian laws, the laws upon which Western Civilization was founded.

Today there are many people who deny the part those Commandments have played in the development of modern society and seem to hate any reference to them in the public square. The very thought of The Ten Commandments is an affront to their tender sensibilities, and so they demand not freedom OF religion, but freedom FROM religion. This demand means that believers in the word of God must acquiesce to the total surrender of any public statement of their faith. It also means the complete denial and rewriting of history and the complete obliteration of the very existence of the Word of God.

Why such hatred and fear? Can they not just turn their heads if something is so offensive? That’s what the rest of us are forced to do when we are offended. Is it that their behavior is so shameful they cannot stand to be reminded of what they are and they no longer want to be held accountable for their actions? Do they seek to justify their evil?

If the TRUTH will make us free, then the opposite is also true, we are slaves to the lies we believe. Our children deserve to know the truth of their own history and we can no longer stand still for the loss of historical truth.

Here is the Tanakh text of the Ten Commandments as translated into English by the Jewish Publication Society. It reads a little differently than the standard King James Version, but the changes are interesting.

The Ten Commandments -Tanakh Version

Deuteronomy 5:1-17

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the laws and rules that I proclaim to you this day! Study them and observe them faithfully!

The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that The Lord made this covenant, but with us, the living, every one of us who is here today. Face to face the Lord spoke to you on the mountain out of the fire – I stood between the Lord and you at that time to convey the Lord’s words to you, for you were afraid of the fire and did not go up to the mountain– saying:

I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods beside me.

You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters below the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the Lord your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of those who reject Me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God; for the Lord will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God freed you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not crave your neighbor’s house, or his field, or his male or female slave, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
. . . . . . .

There you have the Lord’s simple prescription to save a troubled society.

More to come.


“With God all things are POSSIBLE.” — Matthew 19:26
“Without God all things are PERMISSIBLE.” — Fyodor Dostoyevski
“Without God all things are INEVITABLE.” — Gertrude Himmelfarb (?)

When I first read it, I thought the scripture in Matthew meant that since GOD was all powerful anything was possible for HIM, and it was a novel concept to begin to understand that if we have GOD with us then all things are possible for US. It certainly makes our human possibilities more profound.

Around us are people lost and struggling because they have cut themselves away from any moorings to God and think they have the right, the permission to do anything they wish. When there is nothing beyond his own will to consult it is easy for any man to become a law unto himself. When a man reaches that point in his life, anything at all becomes permissible, and there is no price to be paid except in the lives of others who run afoul of those who so believe.

Beyond being permissible, though, is the inevitable result of having no mooring in the reality of what happens to one’s soul when a person exercises unrighteous dominion over others, and the havoc one evil man or woman can cause to a nation and its people. When people with no moral foundations reach positions of power they pose a danger to everyone and everything within their sway.

Understanding how another can sear his or her conscience to the point where it no longer exists, to become a psychopath, is beyond the experience of most people, and they fail to recognize the danger in the facile charm that seems to be a trademark of the psychopaths among us.

The inevitable result when such people gain power is the loss of liberty and goodness for all they touch. Truth becomes one of the first casualties in the battle, and lies become coin of the realm.

You and I, in order to protect truth and integrity, must follow God, understanding that if HE is with us, all things truly are possible. Through study of the doings of men, prayer about all matters that face us, and honesty in our assessments, we need to ask ourselves, “What would HE have us do?” Sometimes facing that answer will cause us pain and fear. Repentance and a return to virtue are certain to be required. Great courage to repair our own lives will be needed in the task before us if we are to maintain our liberty.


Virtue is truly a pauper in our world, but it is also said to be it’s own reward. It seems then that virtue is an internal and personal matter between each man and God. External frontiers, such as public scorn and ridicule, should not deter us from holding on to and having faith in virtue as one source in our search for the truth that makes us free.

Will enough people repair their lives and regain faith in the possibility of having God help our nation in its struggle?

“Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.”  DeToqueville

Why Read the Bible?

Seeing the Handwriting On The Wall – As told in Daniel, Chapter 5

People who never read the Bible miss a rich cultural heritage passed on and preserved for millennia. King Solomon correctly taught that “there is nothing new under the sun.” And yet each new generation arrogantly believes that they are the first ones to be in their circumstances or know truth. Because they reject historical biblical principles, many people no longer learn that liberty is an unalienable right that comes from God and in their ignorance sell their birthright for a mess of pottage.

Even today there are cultural differences that separate us from others. If an Australian Aborigine were suddenly transported to New York City and a New Yorker took his place in the Outback, which one would be most likely to survive? At least the Aborigine would know how to fight, could learn to raid garbage cans for food, and could sense danger, but what would a city boy alone know about how to orient himself by the stars, how to find food and water in the wild, or how to defend himself from wild animals?

In our hubris we have forgotten that people in the past also led full lives and had wisdom we can learn and receive guidance from. The Bible is one such source of practical lessons on life and recognizing what is important in human experience.

In the not too distant past even people who were not “religious” were somewhat literate in biblical knowledge. The writer Florence King wrote about having problems with Social Security. Finally she had an appointment with a supervisor and after once again explaining her problem the supervisor assured her she understood and the problem would be resolved. Miss King muttered, “I can see the handwriting on the wall already.” The supervisor looked at her blankly, then turned her chair around to look at the wall and said, “I don’t see any handwriting.”

Sometimes we don’t see “the handwriting on the wall” because we have never studied it enough to see its relevance to us.

In his book “After America: Get Ready For Armageddon”, Mark Steyn clarifies the story of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, and “the handwriting on the wall.”

Belshazzar had a feast for all his courtiers and brought out the gold and silver plates, utensils and goblets looted from the temple in Jerusalem and used them to drunkenly toast the gods of gold and silver worshiped by the Babylonians. In the midst of the feast a disembodied hand appeared and wrote the words, “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,” on the wall. Belshazzar understood the words, but not why they suddenly were written during his big party.

No one ever explained to me what the words meant, I only knew the interpretation. Mr. Steyn explains that the words are names for units or weights of Babylonian currency, or as he says: half-dollar, half-dollar, penny and two bits.

Daniel the Jewish prophet was called in by the King to interpret the “handwriting on the wall.” The interpretation given to Belshazzar by Daniel is:

MENE: “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and hath finished it”.   TEKEL: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”  UPHARSIN: “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Within a day Belshazzar was slain, and the Persians and Darius the Mede had taken over the kingdom.

I am grateful to Mr. Steyn for identifying what the words written on the wall actually mean and placing the story in the context of Belshazzar having wasted the resources of his kingdom, thereby destroying it. If we were to ponder just a little would this story have any relevance to our nation’s trillions, trillions, billions, and millions in debt?

Is anyone in Washington reading the “handwriting on the wall?”


And there was war in Heaven. . . Revelations 12:7

When I was young and first heard about war in Heaven I tried to imagine what it was like. It seemed so exciting. Did Michael and his side win by throwing the largest lightning bolts, using the biggest swords, killing the most foes — but wait, we’re speaking of immortal beings here. They can’t be killed, can they? So just how IS a war fought in Heaven?

On earth war is bloody, grim, noisy, dirty and frightening. Terror and loss are always present. But Heaven? How could Heavenly Beings turn against their own?

Apparently there were those who thought they were smarter and better at determining the best interests of others and so decided to strike out against the Great God and all who sided with Him. That is the eternal war. There are always those who fight against agency and freedom and few who are willing to bear the burden of freedom. And there are also those willing to use that fear of freedom to seize control. The struggle between liberty and bondage, between darkness and light, has been the same from the beginning and will be to the end.

I have watched and considered the doings of nations, the history of brother against brother, and decided that the war in Heaven was one of IDEAS, of WORDS used to hurt and degrade, to lie and persuade, to promise safety. Even in Heaven as here in mortal existence, the war has been one of deceit and hatred in order to gain power and glory. Always power over others, to control and defeat them.

Watching the last political campaign, hearing the obvious lies and ignorance, the pandering to greed, the twisting of truth . . . and then, BINGO!, the answer to war in Heaven came! POLITICS! Politics were introduced into the Holy Realms and mankind became locked in the perpetual battle for their right to be free.

“I was never so free as when I was a prisoner.” I decided upon reading that statement by Alexander Solzhenitsyn that as choices narrow the final choice a man must make in order to remain human and free is to always be aware of righteousness and our individual responsibility to ACT well before God. To be willing to die if necessary to protect liberty.

I can’t remember who said it, but there was the thought that, “we often forget the essential humanness of God.” He does love His creatures and is very kind to those who love and serve Him. We are commanded to become as He is, completed and perfect. Hard, yes, but we are to do the best we can in the battle we face.

This is a very serious war for the souls of all men.