The Slave From Syria

road-signGod looks at the clean hands, not the full ones.” These are the words of Publilius, a Latin writer who  was born in 85 BC and was a contemporary of Cicero. His beginnings were rather humble in that he made the trip from Syria to Italy as a slave. Due to his quick wit, and abundant talent, he won the favor of his Italian master who educated him and then gave him his freedom.

 Publilius is credited with saying: “Etiam capillus unus habet umbram” which is a Latin phrase that means: “Even one hair has a shadow.”

Every thought that you think and every deed that you do is like a strand of hair. It has a shadow or consequence, and each follicle can be as diabolical as it is delightful.

When  Solomon wrote the Proverbs, he focused on the evil and regal motives of the heart and the consequences of both:  “The wicked,” said Solomon,  “will be snared by their own wrongdoing. Their flaws will tie their own hands, and they will be dragged through life by the cords of their sins (5:22 ~The Voice).”

Like Solomon, Paul knew a person would either live the live of the foolhardy or hardly be a fool. When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he advised them to be know for their discretion, not their many transgressions: “Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (Romans 13:12 ~NIV).”

Paul continued this theme when he instructed Timothy to “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (I Timothy 6:18-19~NIV).”

When you read the verses above, could you see the shadow of the good deeds?  Paul said the consequence of a good deed and a generous spirit is treasure or rewards in heaven.

The quote below is from an unknown source.  As you read it, think about the long shadow it casts on this discussion.   Notice the rhythm and flow of the consequences of your thoughts and your deeds.

Watch your thoughts, they become words;

Watch your words, they become actions;

Watch your actions, they become habits;

Watch your habits, they become character;

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Those Between-A-Rock-And-A-Hard-Place Moments

toadLife is filled with those between a rock and a hard place moments. You know what I’m talking about:  You see a light at the end of tunnel and then discover it’s a train bearing down on you.

This was the case with the servant of Elisha and the problems they were having with the Syrian army.  One morning Elisha’s servant went outside to discover that they were surrounded by an army with horses and chariots.   He asked the prophet:  “Elisha, what shall we do?”

In answer to his servant’s question, Elisha said: “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17).”

When the enemies of sickness, death, and the trials of life surround you, consider some of these eye-opening truths:

  • Jesus bore your sorrows and carried our griefs with Him when He was nailed to the cross (Isaiah 53).
  • You can approach God boldly and ask Him for mercy and grace when you are in need (Hebrews 4: 4-16).
  • God is not blind to your needs (2 Chronicles 16:9): “Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him.”

In those times when your heart aches the most, you may think of God the least. God has never promised an answer to the “Why me” trials of life, but He has vowed to walk with you.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.  ~ Isaiah 30:18 

Coming to America or Becoming an American

head-heart-hands-conceptThis is one of those moments in history that we need to make sure we are thinking with our heads and not our hearts.  When I see the images of suffering refugees and dying children my heart says do something; however, my head says be cautious because of comments made by, Michael McCaul, the Chairmen of Homeland Security:

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States . . . Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans.”

clintonIn the name of immigration, Hillary Clinton says we should open the doors of American to another 65,000 refugees from Syria.  The real question of concern is this:  Does coming to America mean becoming an American?

When America was the melting pot of the world, immigrants aspired to  learning our language, embracing our principles, and blending in with our culture.  Immigration has been redefined.

When refugees come to America today, too many of them never learn our language or blend into our culture.  Their desire is to be a hyphenated-pocket-American.  In the case of the Syrian refugees, many of them will want to remain distinctly Syrian and may well move to a community that is already calling for the establishment of Sharia Law. This is not the form of immigration that was practiced in the early years of our nations history.

I’m not some xenophobic nut, and I know these comments may be politically incorrect; however, before you call my concerns unfounded, I suggest you read the information below:

  • We need to consider the actions of countries that are experienced in dealing with refugees from Islamic nations: http://goo.gl/U6qUa2
  • The response of Hungary’s President, Victor Orban:  http://goo.gl/SxGrFU 
  • American laws for American courts: http://goo.gl/eyxtuy

Call me stupid, but I think coming to American should mean becoming an American.

The Deaf Ears of the Well-Oiled

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 3:  Khalid Abdulla Alhajeri looks at a natural gas pipe November 3, 2002 in Manama, Bahrain. The country was the first in the Arab side of the Gulf to discover oil. The country is the home port for the United States Navy's 5th Fleet, the battle group that patrols the Gulf. The kingdom is a crucial link in any war with Iraq. The Navy has had a base there since 1948. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Immigration is one of the focal points of discussion now that the political campaigns have begun.  A question being asked is: “What should be done about the border dividing the USA and Mexico?”

The scope of the immigration question is not limited to the USA. The European Union (EU) is trying to resolve the same dilemma, and it is perhaps even more difficult.

The decisions of some countries will be influenced by the atrocities of the Ottoman Empire when their army of Muslims conquered Hungary and other nations.  Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, has attacked EU policy.  He believes the influx of Muslim refugees is a threat to Europe.

The Washington Post has reported that, “Some European countries have been criticized for offering sanctuary only to a small number of refugees, or for discriminating between Muslims and Christians. There’s also been a good deal of continental hand-wringing over the general dysfunction of Europe’s systems for migration and asylum.”

Why is Europe and even the USA being criticized?  The solution to this problem and the responsibility to act, falls directly into the lap of Syria’s Muslim neighbors. Countries like Saudi Arabia and the other wealthy Arab states along the Persian Gulf have a vast supply of oil, but they have turned a deaf ear to Syria’s squeaky wheel.

As I think of the plight of these downtrodden families who are trying to escape the horrors of war, I’m left with two questions: Is the EU practicing discrimination when they try to limit the number of Muslim refugees from Syria, or is the action of the EU discriminating wisdom?

When the EU opens the door to their borders, they open them to more than innocent migrants.  They also open the door to terrorist wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Is it just me or do you also think it’s odd?  The same countries that refer to the USA as the Great Satan are now appealing to our Christian values to help their outcasts?  Since Saudi Arabia has been blessed with the oil can, they should oil the squeaky wheel of their neighbor.