The Story of Two AJ’s

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The Prophet’s Cry– Part 1

The foundations of society were crumbling. The economic system was collapsing and the law selectively enforced. The religious leaders were more interested in financial gain than cultivating holiness. Evil was prevalent and righteousness suppressed. Sound familiar? This was the state of Israel during Habakkuk’s time, and he had had enough.

From the beginning of the book that bears his name, we are told the nature of Habakkuk’s prophecy, and it isn’t good. “The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw…” was a message of judgment just like the ones given to Isaiah and Nahum. (Is. 13:1, Nahum 1:1). Despite the warnings, God’s people continued to ignore His word and His law.

It wasn’t a prophecy that was easy to hear and even harder to deliver. The judgment of unrighteousness cannot come quickly enough for Habakkuk. “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save (Hab.1:2). Listen to David, “O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest” (Psalm 22:2). Jeremiah puts it perfectly, “Why are You like a man dismayed, Like a mighty man who cannot save? Yet You are in our midst, O LORD, And we are called by Your name; Do not forsake us!”(14:9).

Habakkuk’s complaint continues. “Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises” (1:3). King David says, “Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak” (Psalm 12:1-2). Human nature hadn’t changed during King Solomon’s reign when he said, “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them”(Ecclesiastes 4:1).

The prophet is not finished. It gets worse. “Therefore the law is ignored. And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.” (1:4). Habakkuk knows that when evil is not dealt with, chaos ensues and society is ripped apart at the seams because the law is not obeyed. Corruption reigned from the top down. As Isaiah says, “Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them” (1:23). As King Solomon says, “So there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9c).

How many of us identify with the prophet’s position today? Watching evil increase and feeling helpless to stop it is infuriating, particularly when there appears to be no governing authority. If you’ve ever cried out to the Lord about a serious situation, you are not alone. And when God seems silent in the midst of it, the fear and pain are worse. Where is He? If He hates evil, why does He allow it to continue? The consequences of sin are devastating. It is even more grievous when the righteous suffer because of the things the ungodly do.

But God doesn’t remain silent. He does answer Habakkuk’s cry. He always hears the cry of His own, and He always answers them. God does everything in His time, according to His plan, and for our good. God is consistent with His character, His purposes, and His word. He will not be mocked forever.

To Be Continued….

All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Version.

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Milton Friedman vs. Phil Donahue on Greed

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The Media and the Mob by Thomas Sowell

Those of us who admit that we were not there, and do not know what happened when Michael Brown was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, seem to be in the minority.

We all know what has happened since then — and it has been a complete disgrace by politicians, the media and mobs of rioters and looters. Despite all the people who act as if they know exactly what happened, nevertheless when the full facts come out, that can change everything.

This is why we have courts of law, instead of relying on the media or mobs. But politics is undermining law.

On the eve of a grand jury being convened to go through the facts and decide whether there should be a prosecution of the policeman in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has gone on television to say that there should be a “vigorous prosecution.”

There was a time when elected officials avoided commenting on pending legal processes, so as not to bias those processes. But Governor Nixon apparently has no fear of poisoning the jury pool.

The only alternative explanation is that this is exactly what he intends to do. It is a disgrace either way.

Race is the wild card in all this. The idea that you can tell who is innocent and who is guilty by the color of their skin is a notion that was tried out for generations, back in the days of the Jim Crow South. I thought we had finally rejected that kind of legalized lynch law. But apparently it has only been put under new management.

Television people who show the home of the policeman involved, and give his name and address — knowing that he has already received death threats — are truly setting a new low. They seem to be trying to make themselves judge, jury and executioner.

Then there are the inevitable bullet counters asking, “Why did he shoot him six times?” This is the kind of thing people say when they are satisfied with talking points, and see no need to stop and think seriously about a life and death question. If you are not going to be serious about life and death, when will you be serious?

By what principle should someone decide how many shots should be fired? The bullet counters seldom, if ever, ask that question, much less try to answer it.

Since the only justifiable reason for shooting in the first place is self-protection, when should you stop shooting? Obviously when there is no more danger. But there is no magic number of shots that will tell you when you are out of danger.

Even if all your shots hit, that doesn’t mean anything if the other guy keeps coming and is still a danger. You can be killed by a wounded man.

Different witnesses give conflicting accounts of exactly what happened in the shooting of Michael Brown. That is one of the reasons why grand juries collect facts. But, if Michael Brown — a 6 foot 4 inch, 300 pound man — was still charging at the policeman, as some allege, there is no mystery why the cop kept shooting.

But, if Michael Brown was surrendering, as others allege, then there was no reason to fire even one shot. But the number of shots tells us nothing.

None of this is rocket science. Why bullet counters cannot be bothered to stop and think is a continuing mystery.

Among the other unthinking phrases repeated endlessly is “he shot an unarmed man.” When does anyone know that someone is unarmed? Unless you frisk him, you don’t know — until, of course, after you have shot him.

The only time I ever pointed a firearm at a human being, I had no idea whether he was armed or unarmed. To this day I don’t know whether he was armed or unarmed. Fortunately for both of us, he froze in his tracks.

Was I supposed to wait until I made sure he had a gun before I used a gun? Is this some kind of sporting contest?

Some critics object when someone with a gun shoots someone who only has a knife. Do those critics know that you are just as dead when you are killed with a knife as you are when you are killed by a gun?

If we can’t be bothered to stop and think, instead of repeating pat phrases, don’t expect to live under the rule of law. Do you prefer the rule of the media and/or the mob?

Thomas Sowell, a National Humanities Medal winner, is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Published August 21, 2014.

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Ten Interesting Facts About World War I

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Review of Enduring Courage

Enduring Courage

In Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed, John F. Ross skillfully tells the story of renowned World War I flying ace, Eddie Rickenbacker. Raised in a poor immigrant family in Ohio, Eddie suffered abuse that may have broken most children his age. Yet, despite these disadvantages, he was able not only to survive, but thrive. He became a brilliant mechanic, and his knowledge of cars led him to become one of the most famous race-car drivers of his time. In search of the latest automotive innovations, he discovered in Great Britain that airplanes could be used as weapons of war. With the onset of World War I, Eddie joined the Armed Forces and served as General Pershing’s driver before becoming an airplane mechanic. Not content to stay on the ground, he would join the Air Corps, rising to squadron commander, gaining notoriety back in the United States as “The Ace of Aces.”

After World War I, Eddie would head Eastern Airlines, applying his vast knowledge to the commercial flight industry before the onset of World War II. His life seemed to be marked with the incredible will to survive as he miraculously lived through two plane crashes and twenty-four days adrift at sea.

Enduring Courage is a well-written biography of a famous American hero about whom very little is known. Having little knowledge of World War I, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Eddie Rickenbacker’s story is almost too incredible to be believed. I highly recommend Enduring Courage to any one interested in American Military History and its heroes.

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Review of Miracle in A Dry Season

Miracle In A Dry Seasom

In Susan Loudin Thomas’ debut novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, Perla arrives in Wise, West Virginia, with her young daughter, Sadie, to escape a checkered past and make a fresh start. Her future seems doomed from the start as the townspeople refuse to accept her, even after a unique talent allows for Wise’s survival during an epic drought.

Casewell Philips, the town’s confirmed bachelor, has resigned himself to remaining single until Perla arrives. However, he has some challenges of his own, as he has a complicated relationship with his father who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Will Perla and Casewell be able to overcome their individual challenges? Or will the gulf between them remain too great to cross?

Miracle in a Dry Season is an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern America with an appealing homey feeling. The detailed descriptions of the landscape and food are delightful. Most of the characters are warm and have depth. The storyline was believable, but with few surprises. The fact that the preacher is a less than honorable character made me uncomfortable, and some of the religious dialogue is overdone and tedious. However, overall, Miracle in a Dry Season is an enjoyable read. I give it three out of five stars.

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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