Saturday, December 31, 2005

It Was a Very Good Year--For Iraq

Before the invasion of coalition troops into Iraq just three short years ago, Iraq was a decaying state ruled by a pitiless dictator who tortured and murdered thousands of Iraqis. Today, Iraq has a new permanent government and the Iraqi people, including many Sunni Arabs, who have been described as "rejectionists" and have been core to the insurgency, voted the new government in in free elections with voter turnout that should make Americans ashamed and proved many whining pessimists to be wrong.

Iraqi forces have become more and more responsible for protecting their own territory in 2005, fighting side by side with the coalition in many instances, growing from a few battalions to more than 125 army and police combat battalions. In Baghdad, as military operations have decreased the number of car bombs and roadside bombs, insurgents have had to resort to less successful drive-by shootings or mortar and rocket attacks.

As security has grown, many cities have begun to see economic growth. International creditors have forgiven Iraq billions of dollars of debt, and money from many international institutions are providing the Iraqi people with increased opportunities for business growth.

Now it is not just the privileged who have access to clean water, health care and reliable electricity. Reconstruction efforts are changing the face of Iraq.

Of course,there are challenges ahead, but all in all, it would be hard to fathom that the Iraqis are not beginning to relish the changes in freedom that have taken place in 2005. Good for Iraq! Good for America! Good for the world, particularly the Arab world! (Thanks, Allan, it needed a better ending!)


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Year New Happy

I am Happy. My mood could be described as ‘cheerfully optimistic’ for the coming year. I know that God is working in our lives, taking care of His children, so I don’t fear the future OR the present. I wish more people could know the peace that God puts in the hearts of those who belong to Him. Even when circumstance encircles us with troubles, even what terrible things happen-we are sustained, because God loves us.
I am looking forward to 2006, just as I was 2005 a year ago. I enjoy life, and living at peace with God.
I hope that each of you who stop by here have an excellent, positive, happy 2006. God loves you, even if you doubt that God exists. And it IS possible to be at peace with God, which is the only true measurable success.
Even if we Christians are poor, we are more successful than any Fortune 500 CEO, as we have riches which can’t be measured by the standards of this world. Here’s one major difference between our riches and worldly ones: I want you to share in mine. I would love it if you also receive God’s riches. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

God Came

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not...
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
John 1.1 - 5, 1.14

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blessed or Cursed

The bible is an awesome collection of books and writings, telling the story of God's plan of salvation from beginning to end. It can't be beat for drama, beauty, advice or influence. It is timeless and holy; God speaking to us. But once in a while I run across some words put together so beautifully they become like scripture in a sense to me. They are holy words that speak to me. And I have always felt that way about this song, written by Phill McHugh (I wish I had some way to link to a website, but I could not find one). My sister sent it to me right after I was saved and I've loved it since then.


I've never seen dry ground refuse to drink on rainy days,
Refuse to take what's offered when it rains.
I've never seen good seed refuse to grow in fertile earth,
Refuse the law that death will bring rebirth.
But people aren't the same. I have seen and played the games.
In life it's win or lose, blessed or cursed with power to choose.

I've never seen the clouds refuse to compliment the sky,
Refuse to be a canvas for the sun.
I've never seen the stars refuse to shine on cloudless nights,
Refuse to catch and hold and please my eyes.
But I have seen a man refuse the good and love the bad.
I have seen a man refuse the gifts he could have had.

I've opened up my heart as a manger for God's son.
Knowing me, He knows the things I've done.
I've given Him the chance to prove the things He said were true.
I've given Him the chance He'll take from you.
Things can easily change. You can live or play the games.
In life it's win or lose, blessed or cursed with power to choose.
Blessed or cursed with power to choose.

Merry Christmas

Edited/corrected 12-24-05

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is Santa Claus real?

Is There a Santa Claus?

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal, SPY magazine (January, 1990) I am pleased to present a scientific inquiry into the existence of Santa Claus.

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't appear to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total--378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household according to the most recent census data, that's 91.8 million homes. One assumes there is at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west which seems logical. This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to:

1) Park.
2) Hop out of the sleigh.
3) Jump down the chimney.
4) Fill the stockings.
5) Distribute the remaining presents under the tree.
6) Eat whatever snacks have been left.
7) Get back up the chimney.
8) Get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know they are not, but for purposes of our calculations we will assume they are), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours plus feeding and so on. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can run at, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is everywhere described as overweight. On land a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. Santa would need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload, not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison--this is four times the weight of the HMS Queen Elizabeth II.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second! Each! They will burst into flame almost instantaneously thus exposing the reindeer behind them who will immediately suffer the same fate as well as create deafening sonic booms in their wake. In short, the entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths (0.00426s) of a second.

6. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal and g forces 17,500.09 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. He would be instantly reduced to an unrecognizable pink mass of fiery jelly.

In conclusion - If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Let go of Santa, latch on to Jesus...He lives.

Nuda Veritas
(All but the last sentence of this article was borrowed w/o permission from

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reaching Out to You

I have a friend who is a pastor who has a Question and Answer bulletin that he emails out several times a month. It was so full of meat this week, I asked him if I could share this week's with you and he consented.

If God is all powerful why doesn’t He just remove all the wickedness in the world?

If He did He’d have to remove you. Well He would also have to remove me and every other human being on the planet too. We generally want Him to end all wars and criminal activities as long as He leaves us alone to freely do as we please. For God’s actions against wickedness to be complete He would have to include all our lies, impure thoughts, covetous attitudes, lack of love and failure to do the good we could. If God wiped His mighty hand across His universe tonight and declared every trace of wickedness to be gone, who would still be here after midnight?

Romans 5:12 declares, ”Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Thus all humanity is responsible for various levels of sin and wickedness, rather than God. He could have wired us to never sin, but we would be more like machines than human. Remember when you could pull the string in the back of the little dolls and they would talk? How would you like to be married to one of those? Every morning pulling the string for the static sound of, “I love you.” You wouldn’t enjoy it and God desires real love too.

On one hand God wants everybody to freely choose Him over evil (1Tim 2:4). On the other hand our sins have separated us all from God (Isa 59:2). This free will stuff is risky business when one considers the price tag of separation for sins (Rom 6:23). Jesus was so stressed at the thought of separation from the Father that He sweat great drops of blood from His head the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:44). The innocent Messiah Jesus became the greatest sufferer of all time in paying the ultimate price for our wickedness (Isa 52:14). This sketch of the infant and thorns by Lyle Trimmer captures the purpose of Jesus coming. He lived His entire human life under the shadow of the crucifixion to unite this lost human race with God.

Buried under the wrappings of many a Christmas gift, and hidden behind the glitter of Madison Avenue, is the greatest gift ever known to mankind. He came wrapped in rags lying in a manger and longs to live in your heart if you‘ll let Him. Jesus bore the sins of the world on His cross, but separation from the Father terrified Him. How can people be nonchalant? Jesus is more than a gift. He’s the way out of wickedness. He is absolutely, positively everything pertaining to life itself, and He’s reaching out to you.
Pastor Huck


Jesus is the free gift of Christmas--God reaching out to you--your heart, a manger. Don't let another Christmas go by without inviting Him in.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

I am an Advent Candle

I am an Advent candle.
Lit by the Spirit of God
Not merely a memorial
To our Lord’s first Advent
But also proclaiming His second.

16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

In lighting the Hanukkah Menorah, we have an image of the Messiah present in the
‘Shamash Candle’. From:
“The Shamash (Servant Messiah) candle has its own special place.
The center, highest light (which is sometimes found on the side of the menorah) is the "shamash." This candle represents the Messiah the Light of the World. Since one is not supposed to use the lights of the menorah for personal benefit, the shamash (lit. "helpers or servant") is used every day to light the other candles.

“14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

I am an Advent candle.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You Guessed It...Another Quizilla Quiz!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

...Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm Beginning To See The Light

I appreciate all of the heartfelt points of view expressed by those commenting on le’s post, and the debate seems to be firing a lot of blogs across the Internet-Lachen shares some good points from a group she is involved with, Rand’s position is clearly delineated; Michael, if he weren't so busy with his new business would probably be covering it also. I put my 2 cents in, and some think I have change coming yet.
As Sir Duke put it, “I’m Beginning To See the Light.”
Growing up in a nominally Christian culture, our family celebrated Christmas as many do to this day: Christmas tree, some decorations, getting together with friends- but what made Christmas special for us was the loot. We were greedy, avaricious, egocentric princes demanding our tribute. Part of the holiday tradition was, after the presents were opened, to call our friends and compare the booty received, hoping to be able to gloat. Luckily, our friends were as poor as we were, so it wasn’t hard to keep up with the Jones’s.
Nominally Christian, but that was all that Christmas was to us when we were kids: “Gimmie Time.”
Go down to the Mall tomorrow or (if you dare) on the week end and watch people hustling/bustling to make their prince or princess happy on the upcoming Gimmie Time.
No wonder some out there who are not Christians look at us as if we are idiots: they think we are celebrating THAT. There’s nothing Merry about that kind of Christmas.
Nothing Merry, and nothing to Cheer about.
If Christ didn’t exist (He does-I’m just making a point) then there would be no reason to celebrate His birth.
As He does exist, and came into the world to save us from our sins, those who reject the work of Christ on the cross find that they must also reject Christ in the manger.
And there’s the rub. There’s the point of friction between “Us” and “Them”: we Christians celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every day is Christmas, every day a Sabbath day, a Resurrection day, a Thanksgiving Day. Our “Gimmie time” has been displaced by Quiet Time, and Worship time, when we receive gifts far greater than any childhood toy or present. And the outsider looking in has no clue what is making us so Merry. His or her only point of reference is (to them) a cardboard fake; the Strawman they tear down is wearing a Santa Claus suit.
Friends, may God Bless you during this Christmas time-I encourage you to go to Luke’s Gospel and read the story of the birth of Christ for yourself. The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There is a Christmas

I can’t imagine too many lefties wanting to get rid of Christmas. After all, it is a day off work. But it seems clear that there is a push by the more strident and outspoken wing of the left to throw Christmas, Hannakuh and Kwanzaa into the same bag of “holidays.” In fact, in fear of the ACLU and the politically correct, etc., some stores have begun eliminating any mention of the word “Christmas” in their advertising. They want us to shop for Christmas, but they don’t want to identify their sales, etc., that way.

It’s schizophrenic. It’s insulting. It’s as if “Christmas” has been deemed an obscene word.

Christmas shopping has been a bit challenging for me this year. I won’t shop at a lot of my usual places, because I don’t want to be part of the trend to deChristmasize Christmas. My stance annoys my daughter, who is my Christmas shopping companion. She just wants to go where she wants to go!

I am with those who recognize that commercialism has secularized Christmas to a great degree, and I myself am often caught up in the buy!buy!buy! distortion of what Christmas should be about. That’s another article. But this year, at least, I want to shop for my family members’ gifts in celebration of Christmas, not in celebration of the non-offensive “holidays.”

Some other articles about Christmas, here, here, here, and here.

Definitely more than a trend.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Best is Yet To Come!

“Did you find everything all right?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Man, I really hate this time of year!”
“Um, well...Ho Ho Ho.”
He rings up my movies.
“I’ve been at this for 12 hours already today! I should move to China,
where they don’t have any religion at all!”
He looks Chinese.
“Oh come on.”
He hands me my change.
“Well...I give to the Salvation Army-if I’m walking by, I’ll put something in the bucket,
but that’s it.”
There are 20 people in line behind me hoping I don’t continue the conversation.
“Well, I hope you can have a Merry Christmas, anyway.”
“Yeah, thank you for shopping at _______.”

Ho Ho Ho.

I enjoy crowds. I like being in a throng of busy people, even when they are playing impolite bumper cars in the Mall on their way from store to store. I even like being busy-back before my sit-down job there were many days when I wouldn’t take a break for 8 hours. I thrive on pressure, and love the energy.
I felt sorry for that poor clerk- three more weeks until Christmas; he’ll have to either cope or find a less stressful job. Maybe the Police Bomb Squad is hiring.

People who want absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ will be singing,
“Joy To The World,
The Lord is come;
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Heav’n and nature sing!”

He came into the World as a baby, and who doesn’t love babies? Don’t answer that.
‘Let Earth receive her King’ indeed. That’s what I’m looking for, His return when He will be
welcomed as King, not scorned as He is now.
‘Let every heart Prepare Him Room’ is a call to Salvation in six little words.
How many in this holiday season will be singing those words without applying them personally?
You can’t get some Christians to ever shut up about God, but during the Holy Days (Holidays)
there’s some sort of a musical truce, and some of the worst sinners on your block will be singing,

“He rules the World
With Truth and Grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His Love.”

And wonders of His Love. Ho Ho Ho.

Post script: Isaac Watts put melodies to many of the psalms; “Joy To The World” is adapted from Psalm 98-check out the original.