Another Prayer.

Lord God, we ask your outpouring of grace, love, mercy and peace upon the families of Nicole Gee, Maxton Soviak, Kareem Nikoui, David Espinoza, Rylee McCollum, Jared Schmitz, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Ryan Knauss, Darin Hoover, Johanny Rosariopichardo, Humberto Sanchez, and Dylan Merola; brave members of our Armed Forces who were murdered by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

We thank You for their lives, their courage, and their calling to be members of the United States Armed Forces. We thank you for their families and loved ones. Without men and women like this, our country would be in a less safe place. Have mercy, dear Lord, on their families whose anguish must be inconceivable to those of us who have never walked in their places. We ask for your love, support and grace for all families who lost loved ones in the bombing at the Kabul airport.

Lord God, we ask for protection for those Americans who still remain in Afghanistan. Shelter them from evil, and deliver them home safely. Let them know the grace and protection of the Holy Spirit. We ask, also, Your protection and deliverance for those Afghani citizens and all those who have aided and worked with Americans in Afghanistan. They are all in danger, and we beseech You to protect them and deliver them to safety.

Leaving. The question was not whether or not to leave, but how to leave. This departure was a disaster.

Lord, only You may judge and direct judgment upon those who do evil. Forgive me if I feel that I wouldn’t mind a bit if You unleashed your wrath upon those who ignore wise council and change plans for selfish and political purpose without consideration of those who lie in harm’s way. I wouldn’t mind, either, if You unleashed Your wrath upon the Taliban and ISIS.

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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – Ephesians 6: 10 – 13

Lord, this is a struggle beyond flesh and blood. I truly believe it is a struggle against evil. Please guide our leaders to good judgment, and forgive me as I really don’t find that possible right now – only You know their hearts; only You know who stands for You and who stands against You. Give strength to those who stand with You; may they put on the full armor of God so that they may stand their ground. Give strength to all of us us to know truth and to do everything we can to stand for You.

I do know and believe that anything is possible for You, and Your solution will probably look very different from anything I could imagine. I give thanks that those who have died because of faithfulness to You and / or faithfulness to America are already in Your glory and are at peace. You have already given rest to the fallen; please give the comfort of the Holy Spirit to all who grieve and rescue to all those who live in terror.

In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

A Prayer

Lord God of all, we ask your grace, mercy and protection over all Americans and those who have helped us and are in danger in Afghanistan. Lend aid to those who would help them escape in safety, and let none be left behind. Strike fear into the hearts of the enemy, Lord; hold their fire and destroy their weapons so that our people may escape. I know that You are all powerful and all knowing, and ask Your protection for those who fight against evil and those who desire death. Amen.

I have been following the news of the American military’s abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan with growing horror, disgust, and a feeling of utter helplessness.

While I can’t disagree with the need to get out of Afghanistan, I am astonished over the way it’s been done. I’ve asked a few military friends about their thoughts on the matter, and the answer was unanimous; this was NOT the way to do it.

A prayer from August 16 in my desktop Jesus Today calendar says “This world is increasingly dark, but the Light of My Presence is as bright as ever.” Well, the world is very dark for Americans and Christians in Afghanistan. Americans are being told to “shelter in place” and cannot be guaranteed to have safe passage to the airport. Another slap in the face is that the State Dept Overseas Security Advisory Council stated (August 14) that “Repatriation flights are not free, and passengers will be required to sign a promissory loan agreement and may not be eligible to renew their U.S. passports until the loan is repaid. Cost may be $2,000 or more per person.”

I call that adding insult to injury. Meanwhile, people from other countries pour across our southern border and are given free passage to various cities throughout the country. They don’t need a covid test, either. In what universe does all of this make sense?

Americans, as a kind and caring people, most of whom believe in God (or at least some sense of morality) can’t really wrap our heads around the fact that the Taliban think nothing like we do. This is a culture of death, where children are recruited as sex slaves or as suicide bombers. Immediate beheading is considered an appropriate punishment for possession of a Bible, and women and children are considered chattel.

Deep breath. Serenity prayer. OK. Right now, I have work to deal with. If all I can do right now is to work, do my job, and pray, I’ll do that and invite you to do the same.

Know thyself?

It was Socrates who said to know thyself was the beginning of wisdom.

Smart guy, Socrates.

How well do you think you know yourself? Are your ideas and opinions truly yours, or are they formed by random factoids and sound bites?

The average attention span has shrunken to equal about that of a goldfish. We’ve become a world where fakebook “likes” and similar responses form our outlooks. Journalism has become lazy, quoting Twitter as source.

Seriously? Twitter? The entity quoted may not even be human, for heaven’s sake!!

Are you sticking with opinions like “I’m for the little guy” and “everyone deserves help” (honorable and worthy ideals, to be sure) and letting that identity form your “opinions?” If so, you’re being lazy. Constantly looking inward as we learn and thinking beyond the sound bite isn’t easy. And yeah, we’re all busy.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3)

Think with sober judgment. Think with faith. Knowing yourself is key to not thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to. (Frankly, I think everyone in Washington, DC should take this to heart.)

BUT — and here’s where that measure of faith comes in — God gave you a brain, so USE IT! Don’t just respond to the headlines, because that will give you a very distorted view of things. Dig deep into the information. This goes for everything, whether we’re talking politics or scripture. There’s that old saying that even the devil can quote scripture for his benefit…keep that in mind.

This is on my mind today because of recent news that New Orleans (and they aren’t alone) wants to implement “vaccine passports” for public places. The military is requiring covid shots for all members. Certain private companies are doing the same. I’ve already heard the sentiment expressed that “I don’t think they should do that, it’s too much. Not that it really matters to me, I’m vaccinated, so I can go and do whatever…”

It should matter – deeply – to all of us, vaccinated or not.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

The founding fathers were well versed in the study of philosophy, and considered the writings of Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes and others while focusing on the ideals and values that would shape our country. It was John Locke who stressed that the NATURAL RIGHTS of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were present in the state of nature. These are, as Thomas Jefferson later wrote, inalienable rights. Also critically important were property rights.

What kind of property do you own? Does your body count as your own property? Of course it does. No one owns you. YOU own your body, and the right to treat it as you choose.

One could make the arguement that to legally require any kind of medical treatment, procedure, or shot infringes private property rights. And yes, I know that there are many vaccines that are required for children to attend school, and I think that’s a good idea; we’ve wiped out smallpox that way.

But covid isn’t smallpox, and those vaccines have mostly withstood the test of time. This is an illness with a 99% survival rate, and those at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from it can be identified.

The covid shots have never been through animal testing. WE are the animal testing. According to VAERS, over 10,000 shot-related deaths in the US have been reported, and many more adverse reactions were related. As of July 30, 2021, it was over 12,000. Source: https://www.openvaers.com/covid-data

Many people, wanting to do the right thing, got the shot early in the program, believing that it would indeed help to slow the spread, and protect their neighbors as well as themselves. Those with compromised immune systems got the shot, for good and understandable reasons. Many, many others went with the advice of their doctors.

There are also many doctors who are NOT sold on the shot…but that’s another story. And sadly, we are seeing that having gotten the shot isn’t necessarily protection. The CDC quit counting positive cases among those who were vaccinated.

The thing that ALL Americans, regardless of “vaccination” status, should be concerned with is the assault on personal property and individual choice. Do you truly believe that a government or a business should be able to require someone to accept a medical treatment in order to function as a member of society? A medical treatment that is still experimental? (Even if the FDA rushes an approval, the covid shots will still lack the years of investigation, trials and safety reviews that other vaccines have.)

Sure, one could say “well, you don’t HAVE to get the shot, you just won’t be able to go to restaurants, sporting events, weddings, funerals, your job or engage in interstate travel.” (yes, that HAS been proposed). Or, you COULD opt to get tested for covid every time you want to go somewhere. Translation: We don’t want you in society.

Your getting the shot – or not – is your own business. But having it (or a recent negative covid test) as a requirement for entry IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS.

Added to this kerfluffle is the fact that the PCR test commonly used in covid testing has been shown to be grossly inaccurate, resulting in a high number of false positives. Its EUA will expire at the end of this year. Meanwhile, a vaccinated individual can still TRANSMIT the virus.

There is no reason to require “proof of vaccination” do do anything. Life is a crap shoot. If you are severely immunocompromised, don’t expose yourself to large groups, and limit your interactions. Make up your own mind as to what you feel comfortable with. But to require something that may or may not work? Remember, we’re still in the testing stage here, and will be for a long time.

The Apostle Paul goes on to say ” For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12: 4-5)

We are many members, and individually members one of another. I know that’s why many people, regardless of faith, got the shot when they could – to protect not only themselves, but others. Caring about neighbors is what we do. Now it’s time to do the same thing – protect your own liberty and freedom – and that of your fellow Americans.

Do you know yourself? Do you believe in personal liberty and your right to control your body (your most precious private property)? Don’t show your vaccine card, even if you have one. Let those who would infringe your rights deal with the lost business. Stand up for your own personal and property rights, because who knows what you’ll have to agree to next.