Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Democracies and Republics--what were we thinking?

God’s people asked God for a king.  The elders of Israel went to the prophet and demanded a king so they could be like the other nations.  God told the prophet what it it would cost them.  It was a very steep price that a king would exact from his people. 

The people wanted a king anyway.  God told the prophet, “Give them a king.”

I wonder if God laughed out loud when the peoples of the world wanted republics and democracies.  Sometimes it seems that we bit off more than we can chew in this whole business of self government.

Dear God,

Please have mercy upon us as we embark upon a year of presidential campaigning.  Please grant the parties and candidates some civility and cast out the demons of bitterness and acrimony.

Grant us the wisdom to turn off or shut down the bombardment of ads that are surely coming our way and read your holy word more and more in the year to come.

Please bless America and send your Spirit to guide us back to you!


When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord.22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another shooting...

Another shooting.  More lives lost.  Senseless violence.  


Now come the calls to take away guns and add new laws.  The cries for Black Lives Matter will be accompanied by Student Lives Matter to join the chorus of Cops Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.

But we miss the point once again with our cries and causes.  Fewer guns and more laws is not the solution.  These are Band-Aids that we place on gushing wounds.  All life matters, but human life is sacred.

We are of the earth and of God.  We sit atop of the creation; yet we do not understand that we ourselves are a sacred creation.  God made us in his own likeness.

All human life is sacred.  It is set apart with special purpose and yet we value it so lightly.  Slogans and tag lines such as Black Lives Matter or Cops Lives Matter let us rally support for our causes while ignoring the heart of the matter.

Human life is a precious thing. 

The child in the womb or walking the halls of a high school is precious.  Parents, encouraged by society must bring their children up in the way they should go—valuing life.

The 95 year old woman in a nursing home is holding on to a sacred thing—life.  From inception to death, we must regard this thing we call life as a precious gift from God.

The soldier or Marine that gives his life to save his buddies knows what he is giving up.  He knows the value of his ultimate sacrifice; yet does it any way.

The surgeon who fights off anger towards the shooter and anguish for the family in order to focus on removing bullet fragments from the victim of a drive by shooting understands the sacred task entrusted to him.

Why do so few have eyes to see life as a gift from God?

The answers to shootings and violence in America will not come from protests and new laws.  The answers lie in recognizing the gift that life truly is and then teaching our children to value it.

The answers to violence in America will not come from legislatures and executives but from homes where God is once again first and the gift of life that he gave us is valued as the precious thing that it is.

It will come from homes where fathers are the spiritual leader.  It will come from homes where godly values take precedence over top television shows or the most graphic video games.

Answers reside in families that seek God, his kingdom, his righteousness, and pray for his continued grace.

If you are looking to your favorite lobby or congressman or the president for answers, you will be disappointed.   They will fall short.  Their options do not include the condition of the human heart.  

Senseless violence stops when we value life enough to cherish it and pass on these values to our children.

Life—from inception to very old age—must be regarded as a precious gift from God.

To stop the violence we must value the gift of life once again and stop letting the world teach our children other values.

Let's commit to bringing up our children and grandchildren in the way they should go.