Testimony

bible.jpgThe following is a rough draft of my notes for a testimony I was asked to give at church.  I typically write things out a bit and time them to ensure I’m within range.  Then I toss the notes and just use 6-8 bullet points.  The live version was shorter, more conversational and less dry.  But you’ll get the gist of it below.  I may expand on it later, but wanted to post it here and on a permanent tab above.

I was asked me to describe what God has done in my life . . . in 5 minutes or less. So either Pastor Trammell doesn’t think there is that much to say, or he knows that I talk as fast as he does.

The most important and obvious thing Jesus did was to save me. We don’t call Jesus our Savior for nothing. But saviors save people from something – and we’ve gotten out of the habit of completing the sentence.

In my case – and in yours, if you are a believer – He saved me from the wrath of a perfectly Holy and perfectly just God and he saved me from a well deserved eternity in Hell.

Here’s the short version of how He went about doing that and what has He done since.

I didn’t have a singular, dramatic conversion experience. With minor exceptions I’ve gone to church my whole life. The problem was that I wasn’t paying very close attention for the first, say, 28 years or so.

I sat in church most of my 20’s just to be sociable. By worldly standards I was a nicely dressed, relatively well behaved pagan who went to church and only fell asleep during sermons most of the time, and who didn’t trust in Jesus, read the Bible or really care what God said.

Then a few things happened. I noticed people using study Bibles which really helped explain the text, and that helped me understand it a lot better. Then God gave me the desire to read it more.

An FM rock station converted to a Christian format and inexplicably, I started listening to sermons and Bible shows while driving around. I learned countless things and started thinking about God multiple times per day instead of just once a week.

Ultimately God just let me see the truth: Jesus really lived, really died for my sins and really rose again. The evidence was there. I was a sinner, and I couldn’t save myself or forgive myself for my sins against God.

But He doesn’t just save us to fill up the seats in church. Just as He promised, He transforms our hearts and minds through his Holy Spirit and his word – provided that we don’t get in the way of them and that we actually read the Bible.

Also, as Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  As He transforms us our desire become more like his.  He has changed my desires in many ways and fulfilled them more fully than I could have asked for.

He gave me a real hunger for his word and learning about him and why we can trust his word. I actually like to read and teach the Bible.

He has transformed the way I think so that I see the world more like He does, regardless of what the topic is. He has given me an eternal perspective, so more often I think of things in a less worldly way. When in doubt, I try to agree with whatever He says.

He also converted my wallet, and took me from being very stingy to actually loving to give, and to looking for ways to give more and more to help advance his kingdom.

He took me from being afraid to teach Sunday school or even say a quick prayer in class to actually enjoying opportunities to speak about him. Before, I was petrified, but now it’s like, “Oh look – a microphone!  And I get to talk about Jesus?! You won’t be needing this back.”

I used to avoid religious talk at all costs, but He has given me the passion and the opportunity to share the Gospel with countless atheists and agnostics and people of every major religion and cult.

He took me from being selfish with my time to really enjoying serving others.  He gave me a passion to get involved in the pro-life issue, which I consider to be the most important moral issue of our time.  I’ve been a volunteer at CareNet Pregnancy center as a counselor, teacher of pro-life reasoning classes and board member – where we try to save lives now and for eternity.

I got involved in prison ministry. When I signed up for this Christianity thing I had no idea I’d end up encouraging and hugging so many convicted felons, and would actually enjoy studying the Bible with them.

There’s a lot of other things I’ve gotten involved with as well, such as going on mission trips.

I just got back from a fabulous trip to Honduras with my youngest daughter.  We did normal mission trip things, such as helping build a house, feeding children in the streets, passing out food and copies of the Gospel of John to every house in the area, Bible school classes each day, playing with the kids and more.

That’s her helping dedicate the new house and with a girl reading the Gospel of John. And that’s me with some of the kids who will live in the house.  Nine people in a house the size of your master bedroom – and that’s an upgrade for them.

As you can see one of the themes of the week was, “Personal space? What is personal space?”

My point is that the trip wasn’t work and it wasn’t done to say, “Look at me, I’m on a mission trip.” It was a joy – all week long. Serving the Lord in ways you enjoy and desire is fun.

You cannot experience real and sustained joy apart from the author of joy.

I give Jesus all the credit for any good things done in my life or from my life, and I am eternally grateful for him letting me be a part of his plan. It is all by his grace and has nothing to do with any good deeds on my part.

So my challenge to you is that whether you talk about it up here or not, really reflect on what God has done in your life. If you are like I used to be and haven’t trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then I encourage you to get with someone as soon as possible and address whatever objections or barriers you have.

So what has God done in my life? Everything that matters – for now and for eternity.

I love being a Christian, and whether He gives me 50 more minutes of this life or 50 more years, I want to be relentless about being a good ambassador for him.

Thank you.

2 Kings 9-10

2k9.jpgGreetings!

Jehu Anointed King of Israel

9     The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company of the prophets and said to him, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. 2 When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. 3 Then take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”

In 1 Kings 19:16-17, Elijah prophesied that Jehu would be king.  He would execute justice over the house of the evil King Ahab.

4 So the young man, the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead. 5 When he arrived, he found the army officers sitting together. “I have a message for you, commander,” he said.

“For which of us?” asked Jehu.

“For you, commander,” he replied.

6 Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head and declared, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel. 7 You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel. 8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’” Then he opened the door and ran.

11 When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this madman come to you?”

“You know the man and the sort of things he says,” Jehu replied.

12 “That’s not true!” they said. “Tell us.”

Jehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’”

13 They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah

14 So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram and all Israel had been defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, 15 but King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.) Jehu said, “If this is the way you feel, don’t let anyone slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.” 16 Then he got into his chariot and rode to Jezreel, because Joram was resting there and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to see him.

17 When the lookout standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troops approaching, he called out, “I see some troops coming.”

“Get a horseman,” Joram ordered. “Send him to meet them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’”

18 The horseman rode off to meet Jehu and said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

“What do you have to do with peace?” Jehu replied. “Fall in behind me.”

Joram didn’t really want peace.  He was an evil king.  We should not align with false teachers out of a desire for “peace.”

The lookout reported, “The messenger has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”

19 So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

Jehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”

20 The lookout reported, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a madman.”

21 “Hitch up my chariot,” Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”

“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”

23 Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!”

24 Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, “Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the Lord made this prophecy about him: 26 ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares the Lord, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the Lord.’ Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”

27 When Ahaziah king of Judah saw what had happened, he fled up the road to Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him, shouting, “Kill him too!” They wounded him in his chariot on the way up to Gur near Ibleam, but he escaped to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants took him by chariot to Jerusalem and buried him with his fathers in his tomb in the City of David. 29 (In the eleventh year of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.)

Jezebel Killed

30 Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. 31 As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?”

32 He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.

34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. 37 Jezebel’s body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”

Grizzly, but true.  Jezebel had money, power and prestige but lost it all through her evil.

Ahab’s Family Killed

10     Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children. He said, 2 “As soon as this letter reaches you, since your master’s sons are with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons, 3 choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were terrified and said, “If two kings could not resist him, how can we?”

5 So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.”

6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”

Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.”

Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”

9 The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? 10 Know then, that not a word the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The Lord has done what he promised through his servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.

12 Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?”

They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.”

14 “Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two men. He left no survivor.

15 After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Recab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?”

“I am,” Jehonadab answered.

“If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

17 When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah.

Ministers of Baal Killed

18 Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his ministers and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the ministers of Baal.

20 Jehu said, “Call an assembly in honor of Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the ministers of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. 22 And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Bring robes for all the ministers of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them.

23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the ministers of Baal, “Look around and see that no servants of the Lord are here with you—only ministers of Baal.” 24 So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: “If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life.”

25 As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: “Go in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. 26 They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.

28 So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. 29 However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.

32 In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory 33 east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan.

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

35 Jehu rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son succeeded him as king. 36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years. 

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

As my Life Application Study Bible points out, Jehu was used by God as an instrument but not a true servant.

Ike status

Hey – thanks for the well wishes.  All the people are ok here.  We’re still without power and may be for days (trees knocked down power lines for several neighbors), water came back late yesterday (yea!), two huge trees came down (pics to come), some roof damage and leaking and damage to be fixed, lost part of the fence, was lucky to find a generator today and some gasoline. 

The kids are off school until Thursday so of course they are disappointed.  Not sure of my work status – lots of damage downtown.

Not much blogging this week, though I have a few set to post.  Hope you all are doing well!

2 Kings 7-8

2k7.jpgGreetings!

7     Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

The Siege Lifted

3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”

The lepers were not allowed into the city.  Leprosy was an awful disease.  It wasn’t that the victim’s skin was eaten away, as is commonly taught, but that they couldn’t feel things well and rubbed parts of their body too hard and eventually wore them off.

5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents. They ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

9 Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

Good for them for acknowleding their debt to others and for doing the right thing . . . sort of.  They did it partly out of wanting to avoid punishment.  With the power of the Holy Spirit we can do the right things for the right reasons.

10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and not a man was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.

12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”

13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”

14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” 15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.

17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

The Shunammite’s Land Restored

8     Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” 2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

3 At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to the king to beg for her house and land. 4 The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to beg the king for her house and land.

Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.

Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

Elisha didn’t just do miracles for this woman and her son as examples.  He truly cared and maintained a relationship with her. 

Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad

7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” 8 he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

9 Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

10 Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover’; but the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep.

12 “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.

“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”

“The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram,” answered Elisha.

14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?” Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.

The job of a prophet seems glamorous but they spent much of their time with exceedingly unpopular messages.  We shouldn’t add to the offense of the Gospel, but we will often be unpopular when we share it. 

Jehoram King of Judah

16 In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 19 Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.

20 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 21 So Jehoram went to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night; his army, however, fled back home. 22 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time.

23 As for the other events of Jehoram’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 24 Jehoram rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.

Ahaziah King of Judah

25 In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. 27 He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.

28 Ahaziah went with Joram son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 29 so King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramoth in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.

Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab, because he had been wounded.

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

Charles Gibson is mistaken about Palin’s “exact words”

From Ann Coulter’s site (Note: She has a running list of debunked rumors in her right sidebar – hat tip: Haemet):

ABC’S CHARLIE GIBSON LIES ABOUT PALIN’S “EXACT WORDS” -GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

 

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words

***

Here are Palin’s actual “exact words” — as quoted by NPR, no less:

Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country — that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

Now sit back and watch how many liberals deliberately deny the truth, just like they did with the funding for pregnant teens and countless other topics. 

Just one question for the media and those following them: Are you doing the same degree of research for Obama and Biden that you are for Palin and McCain?  Didn’t think so.

The Bridge to Nowhere

More details and commentary on the Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” hereThis is much more than just how Palin weighed in.  Note the date of the vote and how the views of McCain, Obama and Biden.

October 20, 2005.

Scene: The United States Senate.

Players: Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, Arizona Senator John McCain, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

Subject: Coburn’s amendment to remove the $223 million Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” from a Senate Appropriations bill and use it instead to repair the heavily damaged Interstate 10 bridge over Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

Results: Intimidated by the power of Appropriations Chairman Stevens, who angrily threatens to resign if he doesn’t get his way, the Senate votes 82-15 to deny the funds to Louisiana and the Katrina victims who need the bridge.

Senator John McCain, a longtime opponent of Stevens and the Bridge to Nowhere, is not in the Senate the day Coburn brings up his amendment, but is well on record as opposing the Alaska bridge. His relationship with Stevens over the issue of earmarks has been explosive. Senators Obama and Biden vote for this Stevens earmark — against giving the Bridge to Nowhere money to the Katrina victims who need their bridge rebuilt.

Meanwhile…

Scene: Alaska. 2002-2006.

Players: Stevens ally, former Senate colleague of 22 years and current — and powerful — Republican Governor Frank Murkowski. Sarah Palin, a young Alaska mother, former mayor of a small Alaska town, ex-chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Subject: The ethics of powerful members of the Alaskan Republican Establishment.

Results: Angered by what she calls the “lack of ethics” of a fellow Commission member, the state Republican Party chairman, Palin resigns and files formal complaints against the GOP chair and Alaska’s GOP Attorney General. Both men are forced to resign, the party chairman paying a record $12,000 fine. Furious at the atmosphere of corruption, Palin turns her sights on the powerful Governor Murkowski, challenging him in a primary. She wins, and goes on to beat another Alaska insider, a Democratic former governor, to capture the governorship.

Now.

What we have here are two vivid examples of how to deal with corrupted power.

Example # 1: The Obama/Biden way. Beat your chest in public about the need for change, but when you think nobody’s watching — stick with the good old boy network. So what if you screw a few Katrina victims out of $223 million for desperately needed hurricane-induced bridge repairs for a Bridge to Nowhere? You don’t want to upset the old boy network, do you? Particularly when you are really part of it.

Example #2: The Palin way. Raise holy hell about the misbehavior of your fellow party members no matter how powerful they are. Go public. Tell the truth. File a complaint. Rattle every cage in sight. Challenge the powerful Governor head-on so you can put a stop to this kind of thing. You don’t give a flying fig about the old boy network, don’t want to be part of it and think it’s about time somebody stood up and said so. You just go do it.

Example number two is what’s known generally as reform. Change. It’s the kind of thing Obama supporter and VP vetter Caroline Kennedy’s father called a “profile in courage.” Living this value takes guts. There will be consequences for you if you fail. Which is why people appreciate you when they know you have taken the risk — and succeeded.


All of which means the selection of the vividly and quite seriously reform-minded Governor of Alaska to run on McCain’s “maverick” ticket has the very real potential of carrying the day for the GOP in Pennsylvania as a whole if she proves to be the base energizer in November that she seemed to be in August. Already the region’s main newspaper, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, which endorsed Casey in 2006, has hailed the Palin choice as “bold.” Said the paper’s lead editorial this past Sunday: “That outsider vs. insider counterpoint has the potential to coopt the line in Sen. Barack Obama’s speech Thursday accepting his party’s nomination when he said, ‘The change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.'”

As word gets out that Obama and Biden were not only afraid to challenge Senate power Stevens over his Bridge to Nowhere, but quietly voted to deny the funds to the Katrina-struck Louisianans, the contrast between who is serious about real change and who is not will be particularly vivid in a state where voters have become very demanding of the need for the real thing. Not to mention the rest of the nation.

More . . .

Weekly roundup

Media bias?  What media bias?  The NY Times is over 500 times more likely to refer to Hillary Clinton as Mrs. than Ms. than they are Sarah Palin.  And they are 156 times as likely to refer to Clinton with her title of Senator than they are to refer to Palin as Governor.

Searching the New York Times shows the following results: 
Mrs. Clinton found 40,400 times 
Ms. Clinton found 909 times 
Senator Clinton/Sen. Clinton found 23,360 times 
Hillary Clinton found 21,500 times

Mrs. Palin found 297 times 
Ms. Palin found 3,370 times 
Governor Palin/Gov. Palin found 1,067 times 
Sarah Palin found 154,000 times

I used to think it was unfair that the media spent such disproportionate time dissecting her record and ignoring Obama’s, then I realized why it wasn’t so illogical: She has a much broader record to review.

Obama wants change?  I kinda like the zero terrorist attacks for the last 7 years, as Ann Coulter reminds us.  Like him or not, Bush did what he thought was right and not what was popular. 

Christopher Hitchens is a smart guy, but makes many logical mistakes when debating God.  Here’s a good answer to this question that Hitchens tries to use as some sort of trump card.

Name one moral action performed by a believer that could not have been done by a nonbeliever.

The short answer is that he sets up a question that he can’t lose, because he’ll define morality however he likes.  If we name an act such as worshiping God, he’ll simply say he doesn’t find it to be moral. 

Michelle Malkin on the Four Stages of Conservative Female Abuse

There’s something about outspoken conservative women that drives the left mad. It’s a peculiar pathology I’ve reported on for more than 15 years, both as a witness and a target. Thus, the onset of Palin Derangement Syndrome in the media, Democratic circles and the cesspools of the blogosphere came as no surprise. They just can’t help themselves.

Liberals hold a special animus for constituencies they deem traitors. Minorities who identify as social and economic conservatives have left the plantation and sold out their people. Women who put an “R” by their name have abandoned their ovaries and betrayed their gender. As female Republican officeholders and female conservative public figures have grown in number and visibility, so has the progression of Conservative Female Abuse. The astonishing vitriol and virulent hatred directed at GOP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the most severe manifestation to date.

My $0.02: What a perverse form of feminism – if you don’t push for the unlimited right to kill your unborn children then you aren’t a real woman.

I would have given Obama the benefit of the doubt on his “pig on a lipstick” idiom if I didn’t know he usually uses teleprompters and that it was scripted.  The best case for him is that he has a speech writer who couldn’t anticipate how it would get misinterpreted.  But that is stretching things.

My bigger beef with him is that he has played the race card over and over and now acts shocked that people would “misinterpret” what he said.  It isn’t the color of his skin that bothers me, it is the lack of thickness.

Here’s a great ad highlighting Mr. Hope & Change’s failed strategy:

Obama and friends – what a crew!  This is real and scary.

Palinmania?

Obamamania makes way for Palinmania?  Some Brits seem to think so.  The quotes are anecdotes, of course, but I think they are pretty representative.  The more she gets out there the more people will like her views and the way she presents them.

Be sure to read the bottom part in bold.

Even before Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska had appeared on the stage to introduce Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, the chant went up around the hall: “We want Sarah!”

A tear rolled down the cheek of a middle-aged woman volunteer who moments earlier had been barking orders to keep the exits clear.

A mother clutched the hand of her 11-year-old daughter, whose face was made up like a clown with stars and the letters P-A-L-I-N painted across her face.

Outside, queues which began six hours earlier snaked around the sports hall as more than 9,000 people filed in. Hundreds would be left outside.

They held home-made signs with slogans like “God, guns, lipstick” and “Read my lipstick – Palin.”

One beaming woman wearing a “USA” baseball cap had scrawled a on a piece of cardboard: “A Real Woman = Governor, mom, CEO, pro-Life, God fearing, happy. GO SARAH!”

A vendor had run out of badges with Mrs Palin’s picture and the legend: “Coldest State, Hottest Governor.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said G. Edward LeFevre, a local Republican committee member. “The crowd, the enthusiasm, the upbeat feel and the emotion is unprecedented. Sarah Palin is quite a lady.”

Then the 44-year-old mother of five appeared, with her husband Todd, also 44, and Mr McCain, 72, alongside her.

The crowd went wild, the screaming and cheering eventually subsiding into a steady cry in unison of: “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah!”

The Arizona senator, who just weeks ago was being greeted by crowds in the low hundreds, beamed like a father of the bride at the handsome young couple beside him, basking in the reflected glory of the woman he has brought into the world of presidential politics.

Mrs Palin spoke for 15 minutes, every sentence read from the teleprompter. The words were familiar because she gives the same similar speech at every stop.

She described how she “stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies and the good old boys network” as mayor of the small town of Wasilla and as Alaska governor.

She hailed Mr McCain as a selfless hero, someone who “would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war”.

“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain who use their careers to promote change,” she said.

If Mr McCain was worried about being overshadowed by his number two, he did not show it. “Thank you,” he said five times. “Thank you to each and every one of you. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be introduced by Governor Palin today and I can’t wait to introduce her to Washington DC.

“We are the ones who will change Washington. She is the one who’s changed Alaska. She is the one that took on the old bulls in the Republican Party that cleaned up the state of Alaska and she’ll clean up Washington and we’ll restore trust and confidence in government and again on the part of the American people.”

Luke Hertzog, 53, said that McCain’s choice of Mrs Palin as his running mate was a “stroke of genius – she brings a new life, a vigour and energy and spine” to the campaign.

Mr LeFevre pronounced it a “clever chess move” that could upturn the conventional wisdom that a vice-presidential choice never really affects the outcome of the White House race.

Almost every woman asked about Mrs Palin used the word “real” to describe her.

“We can relate to her,” said Lori Ciarrocca, 40. “She’s like other moms out there. She’s a real person who speaks her mind and tells you how it is.”

Tom Bross, 62, a Vietnam veteran who was twice wounded in combat, said that it was not just women she appealed to.

“She’s going to get a lot of the women who went for Hillary Clinton,” he said.

“There are old rednecks who would have thrown me out of the local restaurant two weeks ago if I’d said they’d ever vote for a woman

“Now Sarah Palin comes along and they’re like a bunch of school kids tripping over themselves to listen to her.”

2 Kings 5-6

2k5.jpgGreetings!

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

5     Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lordhad given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lordlives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lordforgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

Naaman was thoroughly convinced of the real God and wanted to make every effort to avoid being perceived as acknowledging other gods.  How sad that in our culture “Christians” (either false ones or poorly informed ones) are so quick to say that other religions are valid paths to God?  Religious pluralism is good when it means we are respectful to others and their beliefs, but it is intellectually bankruptwhen it claims that all religous paths lead to Heaven.

Naaman was initially reluctant to demonstrate his faith in what Elisha would do, but he came around. 

Naaman was not an Israelite but Elisha saved him anyway.  Elijah and Elisha demonstrated some of their greatest miracles to Gentiles.

After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.

22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’”

23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left. 25 Then he went in and stood before his master Elisha.

“Where have you been, Gehazi?” Elisha asked.

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.

26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.

Greed got the best of Gehazi and he paid dearly.  Elisha was trying to show that God’s miracles weren’t for sale.

An Axhead Floats

6     The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.”

And he said, “Go.”

3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. 4 And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!”

6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. 7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

The floating axhead is another miracle you may have heard reference to.  It is seemingly insignificant, but shows how God pays attention to the little things and how is grace is manifested in many ways. 

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

What a amazing experience to see behind the veil of this world into the spiritual realm.  As Ephesians 6:10-12 notes, our real battle is spiritual: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Famine in Besieged Samaria

24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the Lorddoes not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

What a horrific famine, where people are reduced to cannibalism.

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?”

33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him. And the king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” 

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

Saved from what?

question-mark.gifChristians use words like Savior and saved rather reflexively.  Just pay attention to the next few songs you hear in church or on Christian radio and you’ll see what I mean. 

But it seems that we rarely complete the sentence.  Do we assume that everyone knows?  Have we forgotten?  Do we really believe it?

Saviors save people from something.  Redeemers redeem people from something.  Deliverers deliver people from something. 

But what is it?  What are Christians saved from? 

They are saved from the wrath of God and a well deserved eternity in Hell.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Jude 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Yikes! This is a major problem with Obama and his supporters

Anyone who understands the role of the Supreme Court should know that either side should have 100% believing that the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution.  According to a recent poll:

While 82% of voters who support McCain believe the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree. Just 11% of McCain supporters say judges should rule based on the judge’s sense of fairness, while nearly half (49%) of Obama supporters agree.

That’s pretty scary, considering that appointing judges is one of the most important thing that Presidents do.  Much of the remaining things they promise aren’t even under their direct control. 

Hat tip: Stop the ACLU

The “safe, legal and rare” myth

This is a rerun from 2007, back for the political season.  Also see the timely post at Stand to Reason’s blog about Biden’s Blunder.  It should be must reading for all the people who insist that they are personally opposed to abortions but don’t want the government to do anything about them.

force-beliefs.jpgIt is a common phrase for politicians and others to say they are personally against abortion but don’t want to impose their morality on others, and that their goal is to make them safe, legal and rare.  (When pressed they will often admit that they think abortion kills an innocent human being.  For this analysis I’ll ignore the absurdity of being personally against killing innocent human beings but wanting it to be legal for others to do so.  Exhibit A: Rudy G.)

They obviously want abortions to be legal, so their words and actions are consistent there.  Most pro-choicers were outraged that Partial Birth Abortion (aka infanticide) was deemed illegal.

What about the safe part?  As with most pro-choice arguments, it assumes what it should be proving: that there isn’t another human life at stake. Abortion is never safe for the unborn.  Another 4,000 innocent human beings will be crushed and dismembered in the United States today.  Without anesthetic.

Do they fight for higher standards in abortion clinics or do they fight against them like the abortionists do?  Check out RealChoice for lots of examples of just how unsafe abortions are.  I don’t find them doing much in the way of safety at all.

Most importantly, what about the rare part?  Consider these things:

  1. Pro-choicers allege that abortion does does not endanger women’s health (that’s a big lie, but I’ll concede it for the purposes of this argument)
  2. The cost of a first-trimester abortion is comparable to the cost of a year’s supply of birth control pills
  3. Abortion allegedly has fewer complications and less medical risks for women than some of the most effective methods of contraception.

So if abortions are supposedly morally neutral and are as safe and cost effective as birth control, why make them rare?

From the Life Training Institute:

“. . . Dr. Jonas claimed that women’s reproductive rights were being threatened because there were less and less physicians willing to perform abortions. If women’s rights can be strengthened by having more physicians performing abortions, then why attempt to make them rare? Is it a problem if a woman simply chooses to forgo contraception and chooses to have an abortion every year? If it is a positive expression of her rights, why not?”

If they really want abortions to be rare, what are they doing about it other than encouraging the spread of disease and giving women a false sense of security by pushing birth control?  I’m not against birth control in a broad sense, just the way it is peddled as a perfect preventative. 

If they really want less women to elect abortion, then these politicians and other pro-choicers should be big fans of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs, aka Pregnancy Resource Centers).  I realize that Planned Parenthood hates CPCs because they reduce abortions, but shouldn’t the “rare” crowd love them? 

CPCs don’t do anything remotely political, so they aren’t trying to take away anyone’s “choice.”  They are merely acknowledging that there is a choice and presenting their case.  They offer a variety of free services to women and girls in need, including: pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, life skills training, parenting classes, car seats, diapers, formula, clothes, post-abortion trauma classes and more. 

Pro-choice Christians should love CPCs as well.  After all, they just help the women and share the Gospel (if given permission).  But when I ask them if they support CPCs I am typically met with silence.

Planned Parenthood is the same way.  If they were truly pro-woman and pro-choice, they would be quick to refer women to CPCs.  But these people aren’t pro-choice, they are pro-abortion. 

Do pro-choicers really want abortions to be rare?  Do they encourage all girls/women to see ultrasounds before having the abortion?  Do they support waiting periods?  More information for the women?  Parental notification laws?  Do they donate to Crisis Pregnancy Centers that help reduce abortions, or do they demonize them?

Abortionists want abortions to be rare in the same way that McDonalds’s wants to sell less hamburgers.  Politicians who claim to want abortions to be “safe, legal and rare” typically do a lousy job of backing up those words.

I’ll close with this quote by the Pachyderm:

One of the big problems with the “safe, legal, and rare” philosophy is that nothing which is entirely safe, entirely legal, available, and inexpensive is EVER going to be rare. If you want abortion to be rare, you have to make it expensive, unsafe, or illegal.

Missing the point on Matthew 25

Matthew 25 Network is a political group supporting Barack Obama.  They believe that “people of faith should actively participate in the political process as an important avenue for social change.”  I don’t have an issue with that, but I’ll wait patiently for the “separation of church and state” folks to get all worked up about it (I’m pro-First Amendment, but only as it is properly understood and not the distorted liberal view of it).

It is amusing that these liberal theologians bring up Matthew 25 but only quote a very small part of it.  There are three lessons on eternal life and judgment in that chapter and they ignore them all (see below).  They just use part of verse 40 but they don’t even get that part right:

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

baby1.jpg

Note that their website excludes the first part, which says, “The King will reply.”  Perhaps they don’t like the reminder that Jesus is indeed the King of Kings and that He is the only way to salvation?

This organization is pro-legalized abortion and Obama is as pro-abortion as it gets in politics.  But if the unborn aren’t literally and figuratively the “least of these,” then I don’t know who is.  Why don’t they protect them? 

Their main page claims to promote “life with dignity.”  Apparently they get to decide when you don’t have dignity and are fair game to be killed.

Shame on those who would pervert Matthew 25 for political gain.

Matthew 25

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

25     “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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

2 Kings 3-4

2k3.jpgGreetings! 

Moab Revolts

3     Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.

4 Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to supply the king of Israel with a hundred thousand lambs and with the wool of a hundred thousand rams. 5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. 7 He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

8 “By what route shall we attack?” he asked.

“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.

9 So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?”

11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord through him?”

An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.”

12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”

“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to hand us over to Moab.”

14 Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice you. 15 But now bring me a harpist.”

While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”

20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. 22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it as well.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

The concept of child sacrifice permeated these pagan religions.  What a transparently despicable practice.  Yet we aren’t any better.  There are nearly 4,000 abortions per day in the U.S., destroying children for all sorts of selfish reasons.  It seemed odd that Israel withdrew at that point, even though their aim wasn’t to annihilate Moab.  Here are some explanatory notes from my Bible software.  The archeological discovery is impressive. 

The Widow’s Oil

4     The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a little oil.”

3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

This is a simple but profound story.  The woman had to have some faith to go ask for jars.  The neighbors must have had questions about why she need them.  Gave filled her pots to their full capacity.  Our faith will never outreach God’s abilities. 

The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “Well, she has no son and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord,” she objected. “Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!”

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 “My head! My head!” he said to his father.

His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”

“It’s all right,” she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”

“Everything is all right,” she said.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

The woman helped Elisha with no thought of getting anything in return, but she was radically blessed anyway.

Death in the Pot

38 Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these men.”

39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine. He gathered some of its gourds and filled the fold of his cloak. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. 40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

Feeding of a Hundred

42 A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.

But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” 44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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

This was an interesting series of miracles – helping the woman in poverty, providing a child for a barren woman, raising the dead boy to life, purifying food and multiplying food.  God took care of people and showed his power through his prophet. 

So offensive to the allies was Mesha’s act of sacrificing his son that they withdrew and returned home. Israel had won the battle even though they had not destroyed Kir Hareseth or captured Mesha.

Some say the fury against Israel, which was great, may refer to God’s anger. More likely it refers to Judah’s anger against Israel for invading Moab in a battle that resulted in their seeing such a repulsive act.

A remarkable archeological discovery, the Moabite Stone, contains Mesha’s own record of this battle and other battles with Israel. On this stone the Moabite king claimed to have been delivered from the Israelites by his god Chemosh on this day. Though it is true that he was not captured at Kir Hareseth and the Israelites withdrew, Israel and her allies were the real victors in this campaign.

The account of this battle provides further proof of the sovereignty of Yahweh and of the complete vanity of idols and idolatry. But even with so many proofs Israel continued to spurn the Lord and foolishly worshiped pagan deities

Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

False teacher on Palin

The “Reverend” Chuck Currie wrote this post about Sarah Palin, which contains the lie that she “slashed” spending for teen moms when the truth was that she approved a three-fold increase.  She merely reduced the original request, which was more like a four-fold increase.  (Chuck is the false teacher who believes the opposite of Jesus on countless issues, including the teaching repeated one hundred times in the New Testament that Jesus is the only way to salvation).

Anyone in business who would call such an increase a “slash” would be rightly laughed out of the room.  Unlike the fantasy world of liberal theologians and politicians, funds are always limited and tough decisions have to be made. 

Let’s say Chuck’s church committees all ask for 400% increases in their budget, but Chuck can only afford 300%.  Then you could say he slashed giving across the board, right?

My guess is that he knew about the distortions it contained but wrote it anyway.  Even so, he refused to be corrected when someone pointed out the obvious math errors in the comments section and again after someone showed how even the recipient of the funds denied the allegations!  He stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the facts.

Here’s what Chuck said:

Sarah Palin is a hypocrite.

The Governor says that she is pro-life but that apparently only extends to fetuses in the womb.  Once babies are born and young mothers are in need the last person who they should turn to help from is Sarah Palin.

As I have written about separately, pro-lifers do much after kids are born but are under no obligation to do so.  You can protest spouse and child abuse without being obligated to marry all the women and raise all the kids to adulthood.  Still, pro-lifers do much to help with their own money and time.

What is sad but not surpising is Chuck’s concession that he doesn’t care about those in the womb.  If someone tries to crush and dismember a toddler, is Sarah Palin oppsed to that?  Yes, she opposes killing the innocent regardless of their location.  But the good reverend offers no protections to the unborn.

The New Times reports on how she cut funding recently for programs meant to help babies and young mothers:

“Our house is full, help us build a new home,” proclaims the Web site for Covenant House Alaska, a program that helps younger people, including teenage mothers. The Alaska legislature decided to allocate $5 million in building funds, but Gov. Sarah Palin cut that to $3.9 million with a line-item veto in June….

…the lost $1.1 million may delay a $22 million project to expand an emergency shelter, which is open 24 hours a day and provides food, counseling, medical care and a place to sleep for troubled youths ages 13 to 20 years old. Some teenagers later move on to transitional housing, including Passage House, which serves young mothers with babies.

The group is also banking on money from the state to help leverage private donations.

Since he is so concerned about these teens, I wonder how much of his own money Chuck donated?

John McCain and Sarah Palin want to take away a women’s right to make her own health care decisions. 

Complete the sentence, Chuck: She wants to take away a “woman’s right to make her own health care decisions” that involve destroying her unborn child.

Palin has been clear that she is opposed to sex education for teenagers. 

Another distortion on Chuck’s part, but we’ll save that for another time.

The bottom line is this:  Palin is pro-life until the child is born and then she is willing to throw that life away. 

No, here’s the real bottom line: Chuck is lying and he knows it.  He is pro-abortion and proud of it, yet calls himself a Christian pastor.  He is willing to let that life be literally destroyed and thrown away.  And he is so wrapped up in his politics that he is willing to lie to get Obama elected.

Fact: Palin approved a dramatic increase in this funding, and Chuck denies that even when corrected.  He said this in the comments section:

Palin cut funds for kids when she had a chance to make a difference. Supporting teen mothers and other young girls out of the streets is one of the most important things we can do but Palin doesn’t seem to agree.

Pathetic.

I think Obama would be a horrible President but I don’t spread lies about him.  For example, I think he misspoke recently when noting his “Muslim faith.”  I don’t think he’s a closet Muslim (I don’t think he’s a Christian, either, but that’s another topic).  But I don’t run around pushing a story that is questionable.

But keep the lies coming, “Reverend.”  More attention for Palin is great for the Republicans, especially when your accusations are so transparently false.

BTW, here’s a recent list of the lies and the truth about Palin.  Yes, the lies are spreading rapidly but I think people are onto the MSM (at least 51% appeared to be so in a poll last week) and the Obama campaign.  I think they’ll start to filter out the new lies more quickly.

2 Kings 1-2

2k1.jpgGreetings!

2 Kings

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah

1     After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ 4 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” So Elijah went.

5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”

6 “A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”’”

7 The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

8 They replied, “He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.”

The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

9 Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

10 Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

11 At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’”

12 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

13 So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! 14 See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!”

15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king.

16 He told the king, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” 17 So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.

Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 18 As for all the other events of Ahaziah’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Ahaziah appealed to false gods, even though Israel’s history proved over and over what an awful idea that was and that he had access to the true God.  The first two messengers didn’t appear to really think Elijah was a man of God.  They treated Elijah with contempt.  Ahaziah was proud and reckless in repeating the same message.  They should have recalled the last time he was on top of a hill and wiped out the prophets of Baal.

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven

2     When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “but do not speak of it.”

4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” he replied, “but do not speak of it.”

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.

7 Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

This was an amazing demonstration of Elijah’s power.  He and Elisha were involved in many miracles: being fed by ravens, multiplying the widow’s food and bringing her son back to life, the consumption of the sacrifice on Mount Carmel, Elijah’s upcoming ascension to Heaven, healing people of leprosy, a floating axhead, and more. 

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.

Only Enoch (Genesis 5) and Jesus are recorded as having gone straight to Heaven as Elijah did. 

13 He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.

15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”

“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”

17 But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

Healing of the Water

19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”

20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.

21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” 22 And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.

God gave several demonstrations to show that Elisha was his new representative.

Elisha Is Jeered

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

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

This seems like an overreaction, but consider that this was God’s newly appointed representative and a large group of people were threatening him.  These were young men, not children.