A Storm is Brewing!

We’ve lived in Oklahoma for 39½ years, and our residence has never been hit by a tornado. I say that with all humility and thankfulness to God, because there are so many who have lost everything in such storms. On May 31, 2013, a devastating tornado wiped a huge part of Moore, OK, off the map. We have a rental house in Moore directly across I-35 from the Warren Theater and Moore Hospital. The house lost its roof and was almost totaled, but we were not living there at the time. Thankfully, our renters went to a shelter nearby and were unhurt. These pictures show a little of before and after the storm condition.

It so happens that I posted our experience that evening on Facebook, and it came up in my memories today, so I decided to share it. I must add that we had no idea at the time how bad things were elsewhere until the next day since power, phone lines, and most forms of communication are sometimes among the casualties. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be expecting a tornado to hit, read my account of three years ago today.  It’s long, but it will give you an idea of the emotional roller coaster that’s a part of the impending storm. Here is my account posted that night, May 30, 2013:

We’ve had a wild day and evening, but are safe and sound…thank you, Lord.

3:00 Started watching storm coverage and sending msgs to family members to warn them
5:20 Friends from Woodward, OK, were in OKC for seminar and called from their hotel on the west side of OKC. They are coming over to get out of the storm’s path
6:00 Friends called saying they were close by, but stuck in traffic
6:10 Scott & Lancia called saying they were coming down to get out of the storm’s path – they live about ten miles north of us
6:25 Friends from Woodward arrived
6:30 Ordered three large pizzas, started baking cookies and brownies, made tea, and put out soft drinks, paper plates and cups

6:45 Cookies done
7:00 Lancia’s family arrived
7:10 Marci called saying she, Adam and a friend were coming over. Her friend had to leave work and head south, so she came to Marci’s.
7:15 Pizza delivery arrived
7:20 Everyone started eating
7:25 Family of four arrived, two from Iowa, and their daughter who lives here. Darcy was supposed to babysit for him, so they all came here. We knew none of them.
7:30 Marci, Adam, and her friend Lisa arrived
8:00 Everyone finished eating
8:15 High winds and swirling clouds, along with TV news convinced us the storm was almost here, and nine people went to two neighbor’s storm shelters
8:25 Lights started flickering and TV went off – we had torrents of rain and swirling wind, so the rest of us got couch cushions and throw pillows and went into the two inner bathrooms
8:30 Tornado passed over Norman, according to the reports on Jim’s Iphone, so we came out into the house. Sent msgs to those in the shelter to stay put because it looked like a hurricane outside. Sent messages to out-of-town relatives and friends that we’re okay.
8:40 Some of those in shelters came home and toweled off.
9:00 Everyone back in the house dripping wet!
9:15 Everyone leaving in their cars, but there is still lots of rain, hail, and flooding.
9:20 Cleaning up the kitchen and rearranging the house.
9:30 Our Woodward friends have decided to spend the night since road conditions are so bad.
9:40 Posted notes on Facebook and checked on our church family.
10:30 Saw lots of things on TV that make us thankful to be here and safe. I began checking
11:00 Everyone is worn out and getting ready for bed.
11:30 Signing off for the night

Thank you EVERYONE for your prayers, and THANK GOD for our safety.

 

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, but remember, we were the lucky ones! Seven lost their lives and hundreds lost their homes. We have been blessed, indeed!  When you hear accounts of tornadoes, take a moment to pray, even if you don’t know someone in the area of the storm. Most likely, they will not have the relatively pleasant outcome we had in this one.

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Honor Thy Mother

 

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Mother at age 14

 

She was married at age 15, had her first child just shy of her 17th birthday, and moved away from both families to another state at age 18. In their new location, she and her husband worked together, building a home for their 15 children, and building a life together. She sewed curtains and made slip covers. She painted walls and scrubbed linoleum flooring.

They planted a garden, raised and butchered chickens, gathered eggs, milked cows, kept bees, planted grapevines, berry patches and fruit trees, and canned the fruits and vegetables to keep the family table spread with good nourishing food. She was an excellent cook and fed us full meals. We could never afford to eat at a restaurant because there were too many of us. There were no fast food places, and cake mixes were about the only prepared items she bought. Everything else she made from scratch.

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Daddy and Mother with their first four children and one on the way in 1940

She sewed shirts and dresses from muslin feed sacks that were decorated with flowers or other designs. She brushed and combed hair, ironed clothes, and shined shoes for her little ones. She scrubbed on a board, bleached, blued, ironed and starched to keep the whites looking clean and fresh. Later she would have a wringer washer in the basement, and a clothesline in the yard to keep the family in clean clothes. Her first automatic washer and dryer came as her last child was just getting out of diapers.

As a mother, she taught her children to work, sing, play games, quote nursery rhymes and poems, and pray. She even stopped her work long enough to play with us at times. She and Daddy made us a horseshoe pit, bought us a bat and ball, a badminton set, and a couple of bicycles and sleds to share. At night we played board games, pick-up sticks, jacks, worked puzzles, or listened to stories on the radio before there was television. Each evening before bed, she and Daddy gathered everyone to the living room where we knelt around the sofa and chairs and had family prayer.

She never learned to drive. With a new baby coming along every two years or so, there was little reason for her to do so. She never complained about her lot in life, although an outing for her was as simple as a day in town shopping and buying groceries to supplement what they raised. Occasionally she treated herself to lunch in the café while shopping or by having her hair done in the beauty shop. She made most of our clothing, but we got a new outfit and shoes at Easter and Christmas. No doubt she sacrificed having new things for herself more often than not. When I married, she made my veil and prepared flowers for the wedding.

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Daddy, Mother, me, Jim, Jim’s Mom

Holidays were her favorite times, and she made them special, decorating a tree, buying Christmas gifts all through the year when they went on sale, and hiding them from curious kids. Easter and Thanksgiving were also special because of the turkey and dressing, pumpkin pies, and the Easter baskets filled with eggs and candy.

Her life was spent making meals, raising kids, and supporting her husband. She was a pastor’s wife and a true servant to her family, her neighbors, and anyone who asked a favor or needed a helping hand. She loved people and invited many into her home, though the table was already full, and the beds taken. Several people made our home theirs for weeks, months, and for some even years at a time. She never turned anyone away who asked for her help.

She played the guitar and sang alto, and we sang as a family in church regularly. In her later years, with no little ones, she happily served the church in various functions that she had no time for earlier. She loved the Lord and loved people, and seemed to be the happiest when she was surrounded by children, whether they were church kids, neighbor kids, or grandkids. Children often frequented her table, and she seemed to be able to whip up a meal in 30 minutes for a houseful of people. She continued to keep her home filled with books, toys, music and all the things grandkids loved.

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Daddy and Mother and the first eight children. I’m the baby on her lap.

These are the things she DID, but they do not tell enough of who she WAS. She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She was keenly intuitive about people and their feelings. She was an optimist and looked for the best in people. She loved to read, loved stories on the radio and TV, and loved to sing. She had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed laughing and spending time with several close friends. She loved to cook and eat, and loved to feed people who loved to eat.

Her body gave out early after years of investing her life in birthing and raising children. She died at age 73, but she lived every day to the fullest during her time on earth. She always looked forward to what was coming next, never spending time fretting over what was past.

On this Mother’s Day weekend, I want to honor her. Today, May 7, is her birthday, the 99th anniversary of her birth in 1917. I can’t think of anyone who was more loving and giving than my Mother. I cannot wait to see her again in Heaven, wrap my arms around her, and tell her how much I love her and appreciate all she did for me and others.

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Grand Old Party…No More

Back in 2012 during the election campaign, I wrote a piece about Democrat Joe Biden’s bizarre behavior during the televised Vice Presidential Debate as he and Republican candidate Senator Paul Ryan made their worldwide television appearance.Not laughing

Biden was like a court jester from the Middle Ages whose behavior bordered on psychotic as he smiled and joked about such topics as millions of people without jobs and the four Americans assassinated at our embassy in Benghazi.  ABC News Online said, “Big Bird has a new replacement, and his name is Laughing Joe.” about Biden’s ridiculous performance four years ago.

On the Fox News channel, a stunned Chris Wallace said Biden’s behavior was “unprecedented” and called his 82 interruptions and his attitude towards Republican opponent Paul Ryan “openly contemptuous.”

Joker

Wallace continued, “I think I have watched almost every presidential and vice presidential debate since the first four Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960, and thinking back, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight.

I myself was shocked that anyone who wished to be taken seriously could demonstrate such outrageous behavior. “Thank God I’m not a Democrat!” I reflected.  Fast forward to 2016, and we’ve just witnessed a repeat performance by two Republican candidates – Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. As of this weekend, I am officially ashamed to identify myself as a Republican due to the unprecedented juvenile behavior of both candidates who rank among the top three with voters.

As if these two weren’t bad enough, another one-time GOP candidate who has dropped out of the race made a maniacal statement at the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner on Friday. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who hates Ted Cruz because he won’t bow down to party leaders, said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”  

At the same dinner, Graham said, “Our Party has gone batsh_ _ crazy!”

Rick Perry

As if to prove his point about the Party going crazy, Lindsey Graham jokes about killing Ted Cruz on the Senate floor. 

Graham told his Democratic colleagues that they aren’t his enemy. “We have a lot in common. We just don’t realize it.” I guess he must be referring to the fact that both parties have members who are Looney-Tunes!

Graham did say one thing I can agree with:  “You can’t nominate a nut job and lose, and expect it doesn’t have consequences.”

Hearing these three guys speak this way publicly is just so embarrassing to any Republican who wants to be considered a serious voter. Trump’s style has always been to brag, bully, insult, belittle, and intimidate in an effort to neutralize his opponents. I guess Rubio has now decided that any publicity must be good publicity and has joined Trump’s playground tactics.

Rubio Trump

Rubio and Trump exchange insults at the recent Republican Debate.

Trump tweeted out his insults calling Rubio, “Little Marco,“low life,” and “lightweight.” He brags to his adoring audience that Rubio “…couldn’t be elected dogcatcher, and jokes about his gulping water, having a “sweat mustache,” wearing make-up, and having big ears.

In return, Rubio entertains his college-aged pep rally by repeating the insults and trying to one-up Trump with remarks about his frequent misspellings in the tweets. He called Trump a “con-artist” who was hijacking the Republican Party, and ridiculed his spray tan, comb-over hairstyle, and small hands. He said, “He doesn’t sweat cause his pores are clogged from the spray tan that he uses. Donald is not going to make America great. He’s going to make America orange!” prompting laughter from the audience.

Today Britt Hume, one of the most highly-respected journalists in television news, recalled Chris Christie’s debate attack on Rubio for missing Senate voting and subsequently Christie found himself out of the race. Hume said, “It’s hard to berate an opponent and still come off looking good yourself.” Of the current campaign rhetoric and shenanigans, he said, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”

Well, neither have I, and I’m sick of these stupid, irresponsible men pretending they are mature representatives of Republican voters and are fit to lead our country. I wouldn’t trust them to be dogcatcher, much less President of the United States, and I’m embarrassed to be associated with such infantile behavior.

Can you imagine what people in other countries think? They must assume all Americans are nuts if these are the best candidates we can put up and actually see 30% or more of us vote for them.

In addition to the tarnished image these Republicans portray to the world, what do they think Democrats are going to do with such craziness? Of course, they will exploit it! We’ve just given them excellent material to use against us in the general election in November. As bad a choice as either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be, neither has publicly made a fool of himself/herself during this political race. Though neither is a worthy leader, they do publicly conduct themselves as adults and make some of our candidates look like fools by comparison. And we begin to look like fools for voting for them.

I have long since left the left-wing establishment of the Republican Party, or rather it has left me. When Republicans began adopting the Democratic platform of  big government, runaway spending, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage, it moved WAY left of me. I have been a proponent of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, the conservative faction of the GOP which was formed as a protest to our exploding Federal Government, a runaway national debt, and ever-increasing taxes. We (the TEA Party) have been ridiculed and called almost every ugly name imaginable, not only by Democrats, but even by some of our own Republican leaders.

I have continued to stay registered as a Republican ONLY because of local politics, and because I want a vote in the Primary Elections which you do not have without an affiliation with one of the two major parties. But I now find myself questioning whether there is even any value left in that. I cannot abide being associated with the likes of Trump, Rubio, and Lindsey Graham.

This weekend’s idiotic display by these three men was a classic example of Proverbs 29:9, “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” (ESV)

GOP

Alas, the GOP (Grand Old Party) is no more! She has lost her dignity and the nickname no longer fits.

Thankfully, there are still sensible factions, and we still have three candidates who are able to rise above this childishness and discuss issues that matter: Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, and Governor John Kasich. I hope and pray American voters do not reward the misbehavior of the others with their votes.

I cannot believe any thinking person would willingly hand the reins of America over to such fools…either of them.

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Freedom is Never Free

VetsDayIn 1950, just a few years after World War II ended, our country went to war again. But they didn’t call it war. The Korean Conflict, as it was known then, was the result of Communist North Korea invading South Korea with 75,000 troops in June 1950. The country was divided into two after the war to keep peace with the Soviets, and was a symbol of the conflict between good and evil. Unprepared to deal with such overwhelming force, South Korea requested help from the Allies.

Though fighting another war was the last thing America wanted to do after losing so many of our troops in WW II, our leaders stepped up and led the fight against Communist dictators. President Harry Truman said, “If we let Korea down, the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.”

Star Spangled Banner

The US sent troops in July 1950, among them was my Uncle Ray Steele. Another was my next-door neighbor in Crab Orchard, West Virginia, Donald Trent. By November 1950 Donald Trent was missing-in-action (MIA) and for more than 50 years, no one knew his fate.

In 2007, the Boston Herald reported that the remains of two American soldiers had been recovered in Korea in 2000 and were identified through dental records and DNA testing. Donald Trent’s remains were finally back in America, 50 years after his death. In October 2007, my sister and brother-in-law Nancy and Ed Cook met Donald’s siblings Reginald and Willis Mae Trent and attended the burial ceremony in Arlington Cemetery. Before her mother died, Willis Mae had promised that she would never give up the search to find her brother.

Uncle Ray returned from Korea, and went on to serve in Vietnam, and various other places. He later became a Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs in the Pentagon. In 1972, during a visit to the US by King Hussein of Jordan, Uncle Ray’s body was found in his car. Most likely, he was assassinated, though it was staged to look as though he had suffered a heart attack.

My niece Tania Combs Ferreira at the grave of our Uncle Raymond Steele, Lt Colonel USMC

My niece Tania Combs Ferreira at the grave of our uncle   Lt Col Raymond B Steele, USMC

These two men and their families are examples of the great sacrifices made by thousands of families to ensure freedom around the world. Freedom is never free! Thank you, veterans, for your sacrifice and years devoted to ensuring freedom.

To quote President Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

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Will you Read to me?

March 4, 2015 is World Read Aloud Day. Join others in this effort

            March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day.            Join others in this important activity.   

We often hear this question when our children are young. But when is the last time you read aloud to someone?

Well, that’s too long! March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day.

When I was in grade school, our teacher had us to lay our heads on our desks and listen as she read a story aloud to us. We were learning to read ourselves, but only in early primers like the Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot books that used repetition to instill the words in our minds. So when the teacher read us a real story, a chapter per day,  it was a delight.

I have ALWAYS loved reading. And I believe that’s the result of hearing my teachers read, as well as seeing my parents read. We didn’t have a TV until I was almost 10, so we read or listened to the radio, which may be why I so enjoyed hearing the teacher read. I remember having lots of books and magazines in our home and seeing my parents read. They raised 14 children, so they worked hard and were very busy. Still, both my Dad and Mother read every evening.

teacher reading k4In my humble opinion, those who don’t read are missing one of the most important and enjoyable activities of life. What’s more, they may be depriving their children of a most useful tool for success in the future.

If the saying, “You are what you eat” is true of the physical body, then “You are what you read” should be said of the mind and heart. The things we take into our hearts and minds eventually come out in the form of words and actions. Our thoughts determine the course of our lives. I’ve heard it explained this way:

Sew a thought, and reap an action.

Sew an action, and reap a habit.

Sew a habit, and reap a lifestyle.

Sew a lifestyle, and reap a destiny.

When we read a good book, we are changed. Oh, we may forget most of the story details, but not the underlying truths and principles. It is very likely that everything we read leaves an impression upon our brain and our soul. We are changed without even being aware of it. We become happier, stronger, freer, better informed, more challenged, more tolerant, more enlightened, more curious, more innovative, more dependable, more grateful, or more determined. Conversely, if we read negative things, we fill our minds with thoughts that are detrimental to us. So it is important to find and read good books.

Mom reading

If you have young children, you must not miss the opportunity to instill in them a love of reading, a gift that keeps on giving for a lifetime. The very best way to do this is to read aloud to them. Begin reading stories with colorful pictures that catch the eye and capture the imagination.

Another way to instill that love of reading is to make sure they learn how to read well. If they struggle reading the books on their grade level, ask your local librarian or the school for help and/or tutoring. I am partial to the phonics method of learning to read, but whatever works best for your child is what’s important.

Make sure you always provide reading materials appropriate for the child’s age. Even very young babies love to hear you read as they see pictures and grasp the meaning of words. And it’s not just entertainment, it is also a bonding experience. In addition, hearing you read aloud produces synapses (connections in the brain) which give them the capacity to develop a larger vocabulary and better language skills.  Child development specialists have determined that the environment of a child’s earliest years have lasting effects that span a lifetime.

child reading

The good news is that every social and economic class in America has access to excellent reading materials through our public libraries. Reading gives us all the opportunity to fill our minds with wonderful ideas and exciting vicarious adventures. Once a child learns and becomes comfortable reading, you won’t have to encourage him. He or she will want to read.

older man readingBut reading aloud isn’t just for kids. In our ever-changing world, we can and should be lifelong learners. When our children were old enough to read on their own, we still read to them from the Bible, from Emily Post’s books of etiquette, and other types of informational books. I often read aloud to my husband today as we travel in the car. It not only allows him to fill boring hours while driving, but it gives us an opportunity to share information or enjoy a story together.

Don’t sit idle and let the world pass you by. Indulge your dreams by reading great works by gifted writers whose gift to the world is yours for the taking. And, if you have the opportunity to read aloud to a grandchild, an aging parent, or someone who lives alone, so much the better.

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MAKING SENSE OF PARIS

If you’ve heard the news recently, you may be among those who are Police in Parisstruggling to make sense of the attacks in Paris. Or you may wonder why Americans are so upset about what has happened there since mass murder is committed every day somewhere in the world. Just last week the radical Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram burned 3,100 structures (including 45 Christian churches)  in five villages in Nigeria, and killed an estimated 2,000 people.

Just to recap what happened in Paris: Within a couple of days, twelve innocent people were killed either at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo (a satirical newspaper), on the street, or at a Jewish kosher market near the city where they were held hostage. These people were killed either because they were Jewish, or they were publishing cartoons mocking Mohammed, or they were law enforcement officers trying to protect fellow Parisians. The two events were connected in that the killers in both instances were Muslim extremists who knew one another. Whether they actually planned the attacks together is still unknown.

Nigerians vacating their village to escape death and destruction at the hand of Boko Haram.

Nigerians vacating their village to escape death and destruction at the hand of Boko Haram.

While we may find it hard to identify with African villages, we easily identify with the modern city of Paris. The most disturbing part of this to Americans is that these murders are part of a larger emerging trend like small pieces of a puzzle that are being fit together to expose a big picture. That picture, when fully developed, will show that Muslim extremists have launched jihad (holy war) and their goal is world domination. They are satisfied making inroads with small successes because they believe that is their piece of destiny – taking over the world, piece by piece, a little here and a little there.

Without understanding Islam, it’s hard to see why there is so much hatred for countries where people have rights and are considered “free.” Muslims see Americans and Europeans as infidels who do not believe in Allah (their god). They believe it is their responsibility to make the whole world submit and convert to Islam. The prophet Mohammed predicted that a prophet would succeed him who would dominate the entire world and establish a Caliphate (an Islamic government headed by a supreme ruler, known as a Calif). Muslims believe they are participating in the fulfillment of  this prophecy.

There have been Califs who ruled in various countries off and on since Islam’s beginning around 600 AD. We saw an example more recently when the Shah of Iran was dethroned in 1979. The government fell into the hands of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Iran became a Muslim state. We have watched as various Middle Eastern governments have fallen under the control of Islam, and people have been forced to convert or pay the price, which usually means imprisonment or death.

So what does all this have to do with Paris? Not only is it the home of Charlie Hebdo, but it is a nation that has entire neighborhoods occupied by Muslims. Most Americans are not aware of the large and growing Muslim society in Europe and the United Kingdom – particularly in London.  London’s Muslims comprise 12% of the overall population, while 6% of the European population is now Muslim. As of 2010 statistics, 4.7 million Muslims live in the country of France and comprise 7.5% of its population.  In all the countries of Europe combined, there are  no less than 44.1 million Muslims, with another 15 million living in the UK.

The growing Muslim population in the Western World is a concern to the US, UK, and all of Europe.

The growing Muslim population in the Western World is a concern to the US, UK, and all of Europe.

The growing Muslim population is not only a concern to Paris, but to all of Western Europe. Many Muslim families have emigrated to the West due to civil wars in the Middle East, and job opportunities in other countries.  I visited Paris in 2014, my first and last trip I am sure. I was amazed by this city, which was even more beautiful than I had imagined. I was also struck by the significant number of Muslims I encountered on the streets, in the subways, and at tourist sites. Their growing demographic due to the Muslim birthrate is a question of controversy, but either way, the current population numbers are alarming.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has published a study entitled, “The Future of the Global Muslim Population,” which says:

Falling birth rates will slow the world’s Muslim population growth over the next two decades, reducing it on average from 2.2 percent a year in 1990-2010 to 1.5 percent a year from now until 2030, a new study says.

Muslims will number 2.2 billion by 2030 compared to 1.6 billion in 2010, making up 26.4 percent of the world population compared to 23.4 percent now, according to estimates by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life…

“The declining growth rate is due primarily to falling fertility rates in many Muslim-majority countries,” it said, noting the birth rate is falling as more Muslim women are educated, living standards rise and rural people move to cities.

Muslim-women-children Unlike most other ethnic and religious groups, Muslims are easily identified by their clothing and actions. They do not assimilate into the larger population when they come to a new country. They cluster together and buy property to accommodate their growing numbers in the US, UK and Europe.  This is  happening not only in the largest cities, but also in smaller urban communities. In Oklahoma City, a sign has been erected showing that a new Islamic Learning and Training Center is being built on the southwest side. In 2012 a large mosque opened in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, after years of court battles.

For decades, France and other European nations have opened their borders, welcomed Muslims, and allowed them to become entrenched.  Many French Muslims live in isolated neighborhoods where they claim discrimination in housing and employment. Sometimes, police are afraid to respond to calls from dangerous neighborhoods in France and elsewhere. A few years ago, an Islamist group in Britain demanded that the government establish autonomous sharia-governed zones in some cities, but the British government swiftly outlawed the group. Sharia law is the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.

Muslims who could not fit into a small Paris mosque pray in the street, a practice some compare with the Nazi occupation.

Muslims who could not fit into a small Paris mosque pray in the street, a practice some compare with the Nazi occupation.

If America intends to deter the growth of Islam here and discourage new Muslim immigrants, we must change our open border policy. Islam is gaining a foothold in our country, just as it has in Europe and the United Kingdom. The Muslim population in America is growing by 100,000 per year.  Reportedly, the city of Detroit, Michigan has the largest Muslim population per capita in the US with New York City and Houston quickly gaining ground. In many cities, new mosques are being built and Imams (Muslim clerics) are gaining political power, demanding that their people be governed by Sharia rather than by US law. Muslims now serve in our Congress and occupy high positions in many governmental agencies.

According to Patheos.com, which monitors and reports on (but does not promote) all religions, there are 2,106 mosques (Islamic worship centers) and an estimated 7 million Muslims living in the US. These figures were reported as of May 2013, so we can assume the number has grown.

This 12,000 square foot mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was unwanted by the community, but Muslims won the right to build it in court.

This 12,000 square foot mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was unwelcome in the community, but Muslims won the right to build it in court.

We see violent Islamic terrorism occurring weekly in America. Though our media claims to be neutral in the issue, and our President refuses to call it Islamic terrorism, both contribute to the problem by portraying Muslims as victims, which allows radical Islamists to set the rules. They claim violent Muslims are the exception and that most are peaceful. This is exactly what they want. The word “Islam” is thought to mean “peace,” but instead it means “submission.” The radical Muslim cleric of London Anjem Choudary has reiterated this definition to the world via television, and he defiantly declares that Islam will rule and the world will submit. To them, it is an inevitable conclusion.

The Muslim call to prayer is practiced daily in American cities as well as  the Middle Eastern nations.

The Muslim call to prayer is practiced daily in American cities as well as the Middle Eastern nations.

I believe they will try to rule the world and are already trying by all means necessary. They have essentially conquered all of the Middle East except Israel, and are conquering African nations at breakneck speed. Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, and Hamas are just a few of the organizations training, promoting, and financing terrorism.

If you’ve been hearing about the terrorist group once called ISIS and now called ISIL. ISIS is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  ISIL is the Islamic Sate of Iraq and Levant. Why is this name change important? Simply put, Levant is the Arabic name for the territory that includes not only Syria, but also Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and southern Turkey. When our President and others use the name ISIL instead of ISIS, they are in effect saying that land of the nation of Israel belongs to the Arab people, and not to Israel.

Muslims identify America as "The Great Satan" and Israel as "The Little Satan" because we do not accept Islam.

Muslims identify America as “The Great Satan” and Israel as “The Little Satan” because we do not accept Islam.

Without going further into the issue of the Arab/Israeli conflict, we have seen what happens when a nation tries to peacefully coexist with Muslims. Israel must constantly be on guard, watching and defending her borders, her airspace, and even her neighborhoods which are occupied by Arab/Muslim citizens of Israel.

So how is America and the world to respond to the growing threat of radical Islam? First, the whole world must recognize and address the threat of radical Islamic clerics and leaders who intend to make every nation submit.  We must band together to protect and defend our people by destroying these terrorist organizations. As a nation, we must enforce our US Constitution by refusing to allow our cities, towns, and neighborhoods to be ruled by any law that is contrary to our laws or enforced in addition to our rule of law.

As individuals, we must reinforce in our schools, our churches, and especially in our families the values of Christian faith and freedom, values upon which this country was established and has prospered.

As President Reagan reminded us, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” And (quoting John Adams) he said, “…with our dedication to keeping this a land of liberty and justice for all, and through our deeds and actions, to ensure that this country remains a bastion of freedom, the last best hope for mankind.”

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Are You Homesick?

Lester & Doris - hands

Loving, dedicated, entwined hands of Lester and Doris Waddle, a couple we have known for almost forty years. This photo was taken when she was in the hospital.

J. Robertson McQuilken gave a touching message about love and commitment when he resigned as president of Columbia International University to care for his wife who had Alzheimer’s. The message is available on YouTube if you care to hear it. I recently read a quote by Dr. McQuilken which expresses so well what happens to most of us in our latter years.

“I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of old age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever. And so we’ll be eager to leave the temporary, deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home. If we stayed young and strong and beautiful, we might never want to leave.”

Some call it mellowing. I think the truth is that we begin to see more clearly. We see the world as it really is: a place God never intended for us to stay. He created us as timeless, eternal beings, and yet we live in a world that is marked and controlled by time.

As we age, we realize our time here is short. We want to right all wrongs, cut away the fluff and pretense of everything, and get down to what really matters. And what matters is the eternal – our spiritual life.

A hymn I’ve always loved is Beulah Land.  The term Beulah literally means married. It refers to Christ and his bride the Church, and refers to the place where we will live eternally with Him. The lyrics reiterate what McQuilken was saying: As the world deteriorates around us, we are ever more homesick for that time and place:

I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore.

I’m looking now across the river
Where my faith will end in sight.
There’s just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.

(Chorus)
Beulah Land, I’m longing for you
And some day on thee I’ll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land — Sweet Beulah Land.

When this will happen is unknown. We just have to be ready to go in the twinkling of an eye. We may lose our strength and beauty here, but we will bask in His power and beauty forever. Are you ready to meet Him? It could be today!

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