My Musings

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Watchman Awards #4 – A Pursuit Of Greatness

I apologize to all of my blogging buddies for my lack of posts since Wednesday and for the belated posting of this week’s awards. I am sure, however, that you all understand and will therefore not attempt to explain.

This Friday, my home church, First Baptist Church in Amboy, IL, took our youth group to an overnight youth rally in Chicago. They asked me if I would attend and I gladly obliged. We had a wonderful time and the preaching was great, but there is one story in particular that I feel I must share with my loyal readership (you are all loyal readers, right?)

One portion of the overnight activity included activities at a YMCA from 10 P.M. until 2 A.M. Our group, being the first to arrive at the YMCA, was quick to head inside and explore our options. As we entered the building there was a long hallway leading toward the gymnasium. There were four doors along the right-hand side of the hallway leading to four separate locker rooms: girls, boys, ladies, and men.

As I approached the door to the men’s locker room, I noticed a sign posted stating that children who were seventeen or younger needed to use the boys locker room. I stopped my group and told them that if they were younger than eighteen they needed to use the other room.

One of my absent minded teenagers promptly turned around and marched straight into the ladies locker room, having no idea what he was doing. A look of horror quickly came over my face. “Quick,” I shouted, “Someone go tell him to get out of there!” One of my teens jogged over to the door to relay the message.

The second teen began to open the door when a YMCA employee decides to take a stroll down the hall. “Hey!” he hollers, “That’s the ladies restroom. Don’t go in there.” I explain the situation to the employee and the second teen hollers inside. We all stand back and wait for our absent minded friend to return.

As we wait a lady comes walking down the hall and begins to head toward the lades room. As she approaches, the door opens and out walks this teen guy. The look on her face was priceless. Oh well, though, it was an honest mistake.

When he came out, I took some time to re-explain what I meant about using the other locker room. He looked at me for a moment and then replies, “Oh…I’m eighteen.”


Thank you all for stopping by. I hope you all enjoy this weeks Watchman Awards. I won’t be posting anymore until next year!

1st. The Evangelical Outpost: Dismantling Implausibility Structures - “Everything that we believe is filtered through our plausibility structures -- belief-forming apparatus that acts as a gatekeeper, letting in evidence that is matched against what we already consider to be possible. For example, if I were to find a box of cookies in my kitchen cabinet I would assume that my wife had bought them at the store and placed them there herself. If someone were to argue that tree-dwelling elves baked the cookies, packaged them for their corporate employer, and stashed them in my pantry, I would have a difficult time believing their claim; the existence of unionized tree-dwelling elves is simply not a part of my plausibility structure.”

2nd. The Constructive Curmudgeon: Fifteen Refusals For 2007 - “In good curmudgeonly fashion, I will forgo the tradition of resolutions for 2007. Instead, I offer refusals, negations, denials. I soon turn 50 after the beginning of the year, so these refusals are born out of the gravity of aging and the thirst to make the most of the time God gives us in this vaporous life. But with every refusal comes an "instead," or an affirmation. Every true curmudgeon (in the sense defined and, I hope, illustrated on this blog) denies only because he is utterly enthralled by the transcendent Ideal, the divine Yes.”

3rd. Hardecker: “Thy Name” Introduction - “The Bible teaches us all of what we could know about God. We didn’t and couldn’t learn about God on our own in fact, God reveals Himself to us through His Word. The majesty of God’s name has been a blessing to me in my studies. I would like to share this with you and I pray that God would richly bless you as we look into learning more about God through His declared names in the Bible.”

Good Night and God Bless You!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Emmanuel – God with Us

God has desired to dwell among us and fellowship with us since the dawn of creation. It was His joy to walk with Adam during the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. He walked with Enoch and took him past death and translated him directly to heaven to be with Him. God walked with Abraham and allowed him to become the father of a great nation. He wrestled with Jacob, changed his name to Israel, and blessed him beyond measure. He fellowshipped with Joseph in prison and brought him to be a leader in the greatest nation of their day. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, David, Solomon and the list could of course go on for pages. God desired to dwell among and fellowship with His people.

In every era God has desired to dwell among His people. In the Old Testament the father dwelt among us. During the earthly ministry of Christ, Jesus himself dwelt among us. Today, the Holy Spirit dwells among us and desires to fellowship with us.

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ. It is during this time that we exchange gifts. We all desire to receive different types of gifts. Children are certainly the most notorious at this desire to receive. Wouldn’t it be amazing, if not life transforming, if we desired this one thing above all else…Emmanuel? What would it do to our lives and to our families if we fell in love with Christ so much that our chief goal in life was to experience “God with us?”

In this regard, we ought to be celebrating Christmas every moment of every day! Every day should be filled with the pursuit of God. We certainly fill our lives with desires for cars, houses, books, crafts, and every other temporal prize under the sun. Few of us, however, truly seek the presence of Christ above all else. Even those of us have been to Bible College or who are in a position of full time ministry often do not seek His presence the way that we ought.

Let us not so soon forget the meaning of Christmas just because a date has passed and our trees are taken down. Let us not forget the truths of His desire to dwell among us! Let us daily seek the greatest Christmas prize. Emmanuel…God with us!

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Traveling Without the Star

The truths and principles surrounding the story of the wise men that came to worship at the birth of Christ are both thought provoking and spiritually challenging. Few, however, have probably ever taken the time to examine the rich attributes of this beautiful Christmas story. Read carefully the account of these men’s journey as recorded in the book of Matthew and then follow along as I attempt to explore a tremendous spiritual insight that these men seemed to possess.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” ~ Matthew 2:1-2, 7-10

This became an amazing passage to me when I began to look closely at the wording in verse two, “…For we have seen his star in the East…” As these men are speaking to Herod about their experience with the star, they speak entirely in the past tense. They refer to the star as though they saw it while they were in the east, and then (contrary to popular opinion) continued to Jerusalem without the star to guide them for the entirety of their journey.

Some believe that these men were astrologers whose job it was to make educated guesses about the weather for the sake of crops and harvests (this occupation was the forerunner to the soothsaying astrologers). These men would have been heavily relied upon in any agricultural society and would have been considered wise men by all of their contemporaries.

Although the star appeared to them when they were in the East, the scriptures do not say that the star guided them to Jerusalem. The star was only a sign that they were to go toward Israel. If the star had been leading them the whole time, they would have known to go straight to Bethlehem, as we see the star later guided them towards. Instead, however, with no star to follow, they were forced to stop in Jerusalem and ask for directions. They assumed that at the capital city the leader of the province may have some information about the birth of a king. We know, however, that that wasn’t the case.

After their meeting with Herod, the star finally reappears to these men and they are lead to their long awaited prize…the opportunity to worship at the feet of Christ. When the star appeared this second time, it reaffirmed that they were truly following a sign from God and it gave them great reason to rejoice. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (vs. 10).

As I re-examined the story, I began to look at it in a new light. God appeared to these wise men by showing to them the sign of a star. Being familiar with the sky, these wise men interpreted this new star as a sign that a king was born in Israel. I do not know how they came to this conclusion, but the scripture is clear on this point. They then set out on a journey toward Jerusalem that probably took quite some time to accomplish. When they arrived, not knowing where the king was to be found, they stopped to see Herod and ask for directions. Herod sent them on their way and then the star reappeared to them. They found the Christ-child and joyfully worshipped Him.

Here is the truth that got me thinking. How much time passed between the time when these men saw the beautiful star in the East and the time when they finally saw the star over Bethlehem? How long were they traveling without the star?

I began to imagine what it would be like for these men to have left their homeland far behind as they headed off to find this king in the west. I began to imagine the days upon days of travel hoping that what they had seen was truly a sign at the hand of God…I began to wonder if they had any doubts during their journey. I began to question if their faith may have been tried during this time…and then I began to think of all the times when I had been there.

Often times I have believed that God has spoken to my heart to accomplish some task for Him. I set out to accomplish this task only to find that it seems God is nowhere near me. I am forced to spend time traveling without the star. I find myself living by faith, seeing no present signs of God’s active leading, but looking back to a prior calling knowing that I must stay faithful.

Having just graduated, I am quick to think of my college experience. Prior to arriving at college, I knew beyond any doubt that it was God’s will for me to attend a Bible college to train and prepare to serve Him in the ministry. I had prayed. I had sought counsel. I had no doubts. Then I arrived at college.

If you’ve ever been to college, you know what kind of a burden it can develop into. There were times when I entertained the idea of leaving college. I wished that I could simply quit. To draw from our story, I was traveling without the star! I looked back, however, at the call of God that I knew before I had arrived, and there was simply no way that I could bring myself to walk out. Although my faith may have wavered, I could not quit. I had seen the star back in the east and it was enough to keep me going until I saw it again on graduation day…Praise God!

If we are going to live for God in any capacity at all, we are going to have to spend time traveling without the star. We are going to have to spend time simply staying faithful to what we know is right even though the present circumstances don’t always make sense. When you face those times in life, look back to this beautiful Christmas story that took place all those years ago. Keep on traveling…don’t turn back…and God, in His own good time, will reward you according to His will!

God Bless you all and may each of you have a very Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Watchman Awards #3 – A Pursuit of Greatness

Christmas is upon us. There is only two more days until the long awaited day of eating, sleeping and festivities…at least that’s what I do on Christmas day. I was making fun of my brother earlier today because he let his children open his presents this morning…two days early! I don’t remember ever being allowed to open my Christmas presents early. I mean when I was a boy………

Last year, while Christmas shopping I dawned upon a great truth about Christmas. My wife and I were in the middle of a very busy Wal-Mart when it hit me. I turned to my wife and quite loudly I said, “Honey, what’s the point of buying all these gifts. The bottom line is that we are spending money that we don’t have to give people we don’t like things that they won’t use!” A man standing nearby looked over at me, “Isn’t that the truth!” His wife/girlfriend quickly hit him. This is honestly a true story.

Anyways, who tunes in to the Watchman Awards to hear me ramble on about Christmas? It’s only the eve of Christmas Eve. With no further ado, I proudly present to you The Watchman Awards – Week #3. I was especially moved by the first place post found at "Amazing Grace and Old Chevys." I highly recommend that you take the time to read both the post and the comments. Have fun and God bless!

1st. Amazing Grace and Old Chevys: For Christmas My Kids Are Getting A Few Gifts And Most Of Their Inheritance – “What, one might ask, is the inheritance that you are giving to your kids ? I warn you, this isn't going to be very exciting: The inheritance I'm giving my three children is worn out Bibles…These Bibles have no monetary value to anyone. To me, however, they represent something far more valuable than money that I want to pass down to my children. When and/or if they remember me when I have gone from this earth, I want them to remember that, with all my failures, my life was dedicated to the preaching of God's Word.”

2nd. Standing In The Gap: Born Again??? - “Born Again? You hear that phrase thrown around a lot these days. Seems like everywhere I go, I run into folks who claim to be “born again.” As I wrote in last week’s column, who am I to judge the salvation of another. But the kicker is, the strange places that I run into these “born again” Christians. As I have stated before we do some ministry on the streets and it always sets me back a notch or two when I hear “born again” come out of some folk’s mouths. I find them heading into abortion clinics, outside strip clubs, drinking and swearing at Ohio State Football game parties, sleeping on the streets, and yelling at the referee at high school basketball games. Yep, those “born again” Christians are everywhere. Nearly 85% of Americans, or so George Barna tells us. Maybe we should look at that term.”

3rd. Heavenly Heartburn: A Gift Fit For A King – “The third gift brought by the wise men to Jesus was myrrh. This was an ointment that was used in preparing a body for burial. This gift obviously was a gift that foreshadowed the sacrificial death of Christ.”

P.S. Don't forget to post comments on this post referring me to any great articles that you may read throughout this coming week. I want to post good quality content and I need your help. Let me know if any of your Christian friends have nice blogs that you enjoy reading and I will be glad to link to them.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Mozilla Firefox - The Watchman's Preferred Web Browser

On the sidebar of my blog, you will notice a link to a unique web browser called Mozilla Firefox. I would like to take a few moments and explain why I am such an avid user and supporter of Mozilla Firefox. There are far more advantages to using the Mozilla web browser than I could name in one post. I have actually considered creating a blog devoted to the features of this outstanding tool. Perhaps during this post I might be able to convince you to give it a try!

Given the steady stream of security alerts associated with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, it should come as no surprise that many organizations and end users are actively looking at alternative browsers.

However, for many users Internet Explorer is so intricately bound with Windows and their experience of the Web that the idea of looking at an alternative fills them with dread. Primary questions are 'will installing a new browser break Windows?' and 'how many sites will break or stop working without IE?'

High on the list of alternatives is the open-source Mozilla Firefox browser, which has the advantages of being both free and under continuous active development. This review will look both at how Firefox compares to Internet Explorer and also whether there are actually any problems with it coexisting with Windows.

First, installation of Firefox is a breeze. Simply download it from the Mozilla Web site (, double-click on the executable and off you go. The install process is straightforward and for users of IE it includes the option to import existing favorites and other settings.

You are prompted to make Firefox the default browser and that's it, ready to go. Note that installing Firefox does not uninstall the existing IE installation, which remains fully functional as before, even when it's no longer the default browser.

Once loaded, Firefox looks reasonably similar to IE, with the familiar toolbar for actions such as back, next, refresh page, plus an address bar, etc. In use the interface is similar to IE; there is very little to re-learn and what there is soon becomes second nature. However there are some important differences and some definite improvements.

First, and most immediately obvious, is that Firefox allows for tabbed browsing. This means that you can have multiple Web pages open in the browser, which uses a tabbed pane to switch between them. It means no longer having to clutter the task bar with multiple copies of the browser while looking at different pages.

This is only one of a number of improvements over IE's user interface, which is starting to show its age. File downloading becomes simpler, with the option of downloading files to a standard location, the functionality to pause downloads, housekeep downloaded files and so on. Perhaps my favorite feature, there is the ability to block images from websites that have less than desirable pictures on them.

The handling of favorites is also good, with the option to automatically track changes to favorite pages so that you can be alerted when a page is updated. Pop-up ad blocking is also included by default. It also has to be said that Firefox looks much nicer too, at least in my opinion.

While there are many other minor improvements these aren't enough to make a compelling case for switching unless Firefox plugs the security gaps that make IE currently very risky. First, Firefox doesn't load ActiveX controls, removing one major security weakness. Second, as recent experience has shown, security problems are patched more quickly than IE ones. Finally most malware targets IE simply because it's the most popular option, so switching to a different browser reduces risk immediately for this reason alone.

In practice most sites render in Firefox as they do in IE. In a few cases there are minor differences, but on the whole the actual experience is very similar. No problems were experienced in testing on banking sites, e-commerce or other Web applications.

Finally, to the vexed question of peaceful coexistence of Firefox and IE on Windows. The good news is that this too was a painless experience. With Firefox set as the default browser there were no problems on Windows 98, 2000 and XP. It was possible to use IE for those rare occasions when it was needed for ActiveX and to stick to Firefox for the rest of the time.

I don't often make product suggestions on my blog, but I am so thoroughly convinced that you will enjoy a better internet experience if you make the switch that I felt compelled to tell my readers. The product is entirely free and you will always have Internet Explorer still on your computer if for some strange reason you decide that you do not like Firefox. I have been using Mozilla Firefox for over two years now and would never even consider returning to Internet Explorer. If you join me, it won’t be long before you feel the same way!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Gift Ideas: How To Have A Wonderful Christmas

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. I often find myself listening to Christmas music in the middle of spring, summer, or fall, reminding myself of the joys of the Christmas season. My friends often make fun of me for this.

Christmas is exciting in so many ways. I will never forget the excitement I had over receiving my gifts as a child. Now I get to watch the same excitement on the faces of my nieces and nephews. And, of course, there is the food…..oh…the food! Our family prepares so much food that we eat leftovers for weeks! I eat so much every holiday that I am forced to lay around the house and groan for a while after each meal. I am sure that many of you can relate! The traveling, shopping, eating, giving, receiving…the family, friends, presents, food, music…Christmas is filled with so many fantastic things!

These are certainly a few of the reasons that we all enjoy Christmas but they are also the reasons that we all tend to forget the real reason for having Christmas…the birth of our savior. We need to take some time this holiday season and remember Christ and praise Him for his goodness. Here are a few things that I suggest you give this Christmas.

1. Give Thanks. Spend some time specifically thanking Christ for the sacrifice that he was willing to make. Christmas represents the birth of a man who was born for no other reason than to die. He was born to be the sacrifice of the world. On Christmas, we often think of the cute nativity scene but we seldom make the connection to the cross. Get alone and take some serious time to thank God for giving us the greatest Christmas gift in the universe…His Son.

2. Give The Gospel. The world is filled with misconceptions about Christmas. How silly is it for Christians to spend their time debating whether or not to have a Christmas tree, when they should be using one of the biggest Christian holidays as an opportunity to tell others about Christ. There is no other time of the year when the gospel is being sung all over the world like it is in the carols played at Christmas time. Even the secular radio stations are playing songs about Christ! We need to use this as an opportunity to give people the true meaning of Christmas…the Gospel.

3. Give Your Life. Often we use this coming week as a time to give gifts to those we love. We know that Christ certainly loved us and gave to us a wonderful gift. We should have a desire to give something in return for what Christ gave us. But what can we poor beggars give to the king of all creation? We can give him our love and affection. We can give him adoration and appreciation. We can give him our lives. He deserves every bit of our lives and then some! “All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to thee!”

If you go out of your way to give these three gift ideas, I am confident that you will have a wonderful Christmas time. Have a wonderful Christmas and God bless you!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is Evolution A Science Or A Religion?

I have long believed that Evolution was more than just science, and that it is rather a religion. The imperical evidence that proves evolution is a fact of science simply does not exist. Some have even ascerted that if you weigh the evidence on both sides of the Creation-Evolution debate that it would take more "faith" to believe in evolution than to believe in Creation.

Although I don't have the time to get into a detailed discussion on the subject, I would like you to consider this excerpt from an article by a history major at the Kennesaw State University.

"World-famous evolutionist, author, and historian of science Michael Ruse came to my campus last night and presented a lecture I was very anxious to hear. Entitled “The Evolution-Creation Struggle: A Very American Story,” the lecture traced the history of evolution and its relationship to Christianity, particularly in America.

"Ruse’s most interesting point—a very surprising one, in my opinion—was that Creationism/Intelligent Design and evolution are both religious movements. The two “religions” involve rival eschatologies, rival origin stories, and rival moral codes.

"This was not a new idea for me, but I was highly surprised to hear an ardent evolutionist pushing the point. I mean, how often do you hear a defender of Darwinism claiming that evolution is a religion?" Jamie Kiley

"Proponents of the theory of evolution would do well to admit that they believe in evolution, but they do not know that it happened the way they teach. They should call evolution their "faith" or "religion," and stop including it in books of science." ~ Dr. Kent Hovind

For more information on the subject, I would highly recommend that you follow either of the links above. The Jamie Kiley article is very well written and Dr. Kent Hovind's web site is a terrific resource for gigabytes of information on the Evolution-Creation debate. I have never seen a more thorough archive of information on this subject than at his site.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas According To The Wikepedia

I was fascinated by the information about the meaning of the word “Christmas” and the history given about Christmas as presented in the Wikepedia. I hope I do not need to give a disclaimer about the opinions found in this article not necessarily representing the opinions of me…but then again, in a round about way, I just did. Anyways, enjoy.


“In Anglo-Saxon times, Christmas was referred to as geol, from which the current English word 'Yule' is derived. The word "Christmas" is a contraction meaning "Christ's mass." It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. The words for the holiday in Spanish (navidad), Portuguese (natal), and French (noël) refer more explicitly to the Nativity. In contrast, the German name Weihnachten means simply "hallowed night."

“Christmas is sometimes shortened to Xmas, an abbreviation that has a long history. In early Greek versions of the New Testament, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ (Χριστός). Since the mid-sixteenth century Χ, or the similar Roman letter X, was used as an abbreviation for Christ.

Natalis Solis Invicti

“The Romans held a festival on December 25 called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, "the birthday of the unconquered sun." The use of the title Sol Invictus allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the god of Emperor Aurelian (AD 270-274); and Mithras, a soldiers' god of Persian origin. Emperor Elagabalus (218-222) introduced the festival, and it reached the height of its popularity under Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.

“December 25 was also considered to be the date of the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma. It was therefore the day the Sun proved itself to be "unconquered" despite the shortening of daylight hours. (When Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 45 BC, December 25 was approximately the date of the solstice. In modern times, the solstice falls on December 21 or 22.) The Sol Invictus festival has a "strong claim on the responsibility" for the date of Christmas, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus. "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born," Cyprian wrote.

Origin of Christian Festival

“It is unknown exactly when or why December 25 became associated with Jesus' birth. The New Testament does not give a specific date. Sextus Julius Africanus popularized the idea that Jesus was born on December 25 in his Chronographiai, a reference book for Christians written in AD 221. This date is nine months after the traditional date of the Incarnation (March 25), now celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation. March 25 was also considered to be the date of the vernal equinox and therefore the creation of “Adam. Early Christians believed March 25 was also the date Jesus was crucified. The Christian idea that Jesus was conceived on the same date that he died on the cross is consistent with a Jewish belief that a prophet lived an integral number of years.

“The identification of the birthdate of Jesus did not at first inspire feasting or celebration. Tertullian does not mention it as a major feast day in the Church of Roman Africa. In 245, the theologian Origen denounced the idea of celebrating Jesus' birthday "as if he were a king pharaoh." He contended that only sinners, not saints, celebrated their birthdays.

“The earliest reference to the celebration of Christmas is in the Calendar of Filocalus, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome in 354. In the east, meanwhile, Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus as part of Epiphany (January 6), although this festival focused on the baptism of Jesus.

“Christmas was promoted in the east as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinople in 379, to Antioch in about 380, and to Alexandria in about 430. Christmas was especially controversial in 4th century Constantinople, being the "fortress of Arianism," as Edward Gibbon described it. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400."


Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Watchman Awards #2 – A Pursuit of Greatness

Several times throughout the past few years, I have seen signs referring to the world famous J.D. Power and Associates Awards. There was a billboard in the city where I live bragging about a J.D. Power and Associates Award that the local hospital had won. There was another on the Scottrade website bragging about some of the awards that they had won for excellent customer satisfaction in the stock brokering industry. Apparently, when someone wins an award from this organization, it is a pretty big deal and well worth bragging about.

Some day when the Watchman Awards are world famous, you will all brag about the awards that you received in the early years. You will place logos on your websites proclaiming to the world that you were chosen as one of the best out of the 55,000,000 blogs currently circulating in the blogosphere. You will rent billboards proclaiming that you earned the coveted award. Earning a Watchman Award will be the pinnacle of your web life!

On an only slightly more serious note, I was pleasantly surprised at all the comments and grumblings from lasts week’s Watchman Awards and for that I thank you. This was by far my favorite comment, "3rd place? Arrghh! My post was way more substantive than Voegtlin's!" What a filthy ungrateful termite...oh can't please them all. Lol. I apologize, that wasn't much more of a serious note.

Please continue to let me know what you think about the blogs that I link and be sure to recommend any great articles that you read throughout the week. The whole purpose of this segment is to build visitor participation so please contribute any links or ideas that you may have.

And now, in an attempt to recognize some of the great blog posts from the past week, I once again proudly present the Watchman Awards – Week #2.

1st. Courtney’s Contemplations: In His Word and on Our Knees - “Just what advice would I give a mother, young or old? Get in God's Word and on your knees. Pretty "elementary", huh? Right now many of you are most likely thinking, OK...I read my Bible and pray every morning. I say it again, "get in God's Word and on your knees". Become a "student" of God's Word....right there in your home. Have a "prayer closet"....right there in your home.”

2nd. Just Your Average Revolutionary: Modern Day Money Changers – “I'm convinced that the carnal, cunning, conniving, crooked crooks that Jesus drove out of the Temple are still among us today. These modern day moneychangers are forever devising new and deceptive doctrines to defraud God's people out of His/their money. These masters of deceit have now set up their changing tables throughout the Christian television industry.”

3rd. Hardecker: Some Thoughts on Christmas...The Wise Men – “Obviously these wise men understood and applied the Hebrew Scriptures in order to find time to worship Christ. Do we take time to read, understand, study, and apply the Bible? And if we are obedient to the Scriptures, would it not then point us towards Christ?”


Friday, December 15, 2006

What If Christ Had Not Come...Would America Be A Christian Nation?

If Christ had not come it would have certainly impacted each of us in a very personal way. There is no doubt to this statement. Let’s shift our attention, however, from the personal ramification of this thought and examine for a few moments the broader aspects. Consider the impact that Christ’s coming has had on the world.

America is a Christian nation! In 1588, England defeated the great Spanish Armada. This battle took place between a Christian nation, England, and a Catholic nation, Spain. There was no physical way that England could defeat the Spanish Armada. God sent a great storm and destroyed over half of their fleet making it possible for England’s forces to come in and defeat them. Many look at this battle as a miracle of God because England’s victory allowed them to have the preeminence in the early American colonies. As a result of this, our nation was started and founded as a Christian nation. We look back with pride at our forefather’s dedication and love for Christ and Country!

Now let’s rewrite history. The birth of Christ never took place. Christianity never existed and therefore never influenced Europe. The doctrines of Christianity were never perverted and the Catholic Church was never founded. There are no Christians. In 1588, England defeated the great Spanish Armada. This battle took place between a Pagan, idol worshipping nation, England, and another pagan, idol worshipping nation, Spain. The results of this battle didn’t really matter in light of the founding of America. As a result, our nation was started and founded as a pagan, idol worshipping, humanistic, probably Satan worshipping nation. Life would be quite different!

Perhaps America would be predominantly Muslim or Hindu. Maybe we would be filled with the religions of the orient. It could be that our nation would be filled with human sacrificing, idol worshipping pagans!

Friends, we often are not thankful enough for what Christ has done for us on a global scale. We may be upset by the always declining morals in national politics, but nothing compares to what our nation would be like without Christ. It saddens me everyday that America declines in her Christian nature. It breaks my heart to see her drawn away from her rich godly heritage. But friends, I cannot begin to imagine an America without any presence of Christianity at all…but that is exactly what we would have! Oh, how thankful I am that Christ did come!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

What If Christ Had Not Come?

As Christmas time has been quickly approaching, I have been thinking much about the birth of Christ. His birth was a miracle beyond anything that we could even begin to understand. It was a miracle in regard to its conception and design. It was a miracle in regard to the prophecy that it fulfilled. And most importantly to me personally, it was a miracle in regard to the ultimate effects that resulted from it…your salvation and mine!

It has been said that people never truly appreciate what they have in life until they are forced to go without it. People often never realize how much they loved or cared for someone until after that person is gone and they are forced to live life without that person. People often don’t appreciate their jobs until they are sent searching for work to pay the bills and provide for their families. People simply don’t appreciate what they have until they no longer have it.

I often think about what life was like before I met my wife. I think about what life would be like if anything happened to her and I lost her. Thinking about these things causes me to love her and appreciate her so much more in life right now. I do not want to wait until a good thing has been taken from my life to appreciate how good it was!

With these thoughts in mind, I decided to sit and imagine what it would be like if the birth of Christ had never occurred. I wanted to experience in my mind the predicament that I would be in had Christ not chosen to come to earth to redeem us. I invite you to join me as I explore a few of the things that would be different in our lives. Hopefully, if we take a few moments to ponder this seemingly silly question, we will grow in our love for Christ and in our appreciation for what he has done.

Keep in mind that Christ had no earthly reason to do what he did. He surrendered the glories of all heaven to live in flesh and die a worse death than any of us will ever endure. He was the king of all glory and we spat in his face and mocked him. He should have stayed in heaven and sentenced us to the eternity in hell that we truly deserve. He didn’t, however. His heart of love was stronger than anything we could have ever deserved or hoped for!

I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the many things that would be horribly different in our world, in our nation, in our families, and in our lives. Share with me some of the thoughts and ideas that you have on this subject. I want to hear from all of you! Tomorrow I will post the ideas that I come up with.

Think about every aspect of life that you can. Friends, nothing would be the same in our lives without Christ!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dedication and Faithfulness: Lessons from the Enemy

The heroism and honor of World War II have always fascinated me. My grandfather served in the military at that time and so have the grandfathers of many of my peers. It is of great interest to me to learn of the valor of their generation.

Perhaps the greatest book that I have ever read on the subject of World War II is Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley. This book is a detailed account of the fierce battle that raged on the sands of Iwo Jima written by the son of one of the men who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

In the 35-day fight for this eight-square-mile volcanic island, 6,821 marines and Navy personnel were killed, more than four times the number of American troops killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945. The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.

The heroism exhibited by Americans during those 35 days is beyond belief. They fought and died with great honor seeking only to end the war and get back home to their families and sweethearts.

Equally amazing is the story of those two Japanese soldiers. They were completely cut off from any communications with their commanders. They had no rations and were forced to sneak out and scavenge whatever they could find on this now American-occupied piece of ash. Yet, despite years of life like this, they refused to come out and surrender. They held steadfast to the orders that their commander had given them before they were left alone, “Do not surrender!”

Finally in 1949, they came across several newspaper clippings discussing the fact that the war was over. At first they thought that it was some sort of a propaganda tool being used by the Allies, but eventually they came to know the truth. They presented themselves to the Americans with a conditional surrender. They would surrender only if they could be assured that they would not have to return to Japan. They were so ashamed that they had not died alongside of their compatriots that they could not bear to show their face to their friends and families back home. Their wish was granted.

The actions of the Japanese soldiers during World War II were absolutely atrocious. They committed war crimes that make the Nazi’s look like the Easter Bunny. These men were vicious, immoral animals. I have never been so challenged by a group of people that I hold in such contempt as I was when I read about these men faithfully struggling to win this war for over four years after the war had ended!

It is a shame to Christians that these men, fighting for their emperor and their dream of world conquest were able to remain faithful despite the most unthinkable living arrangements and Christians today are only able to remain faithful to our living, all-powerful God for a few days or weeks. Faithfulness in Christians is almost a forgotten virtue in these modern times.

Those two soldiers stayed faithful to a war that they had lost years before they ever realized. They stayed true to their losing cause for years. The Bible is clear that we as Christians are fighting a battle that we will ultimately win. We are fighting for the greatest cause that mankind has ever known…to win souls to Jesus Christ. With a much greater cause and much greater reason to serve faithfully to the end, Christians are only becoming less and less dedicated to Christ.

Friends, let’s change this trend…let’s stay faithful to Christ! Let's serve Him and love Him the way that he deserves!


Monday, December 11, 2006

The Watchman Awards #1 – A Pursuit of Greatness

On the sidebar I have provided a list of links to what I consider to be some excellent blogs. I am, however, continuously seeking to find other great blogs. I utilize Google search, Google blog search, Technorati, and, of course, I follow the links on my friends’ blogs. I am constantly looking for original, well-written blog entries throughout the blogosphere. Sometimes, this is a difficult task.

To assist in this effort, I have decided to add a new segment to my blog entitled, “The Watchman Awards – A Pursuit of Greatness.” This weekly segment will be a look back over the past week’s blogosphere in an attempt to specifically recognize those who have contributed the greatest blog posts.

It is during this segment that I ask for your help. I beg of you to please submit your comments on this post, letting me know what you think of the entries listed and suggesting what you believe to be the best blog entries for the coming Watchman Awards. If you have read something that you have greatly enjoyed, been moved by, or was just very well written, please let me know. Also, if you know of a blog that you feel is of an excellent quality that I do not have listed in my list of links, please let me know. Thank you in advance for all your help and support.

And with no further ado, I proudly present to you the Watchman Awards – Week #1.

1st. Jack Hammer: Prank Calls - “When it comes to The Call to full-time ministry, we get some seriously goofy ideas. Almost always, the silliness takes root in the notion that God calls through feelings. Slick evangelists aggressively recruit young people in Youth Conferences around the country, massaging the emotions until, bingo! The teen gets The Call. And we’re all amazed at how God works…”

2nd. Fundamental Perspective: Is Music Really Worth Fighting Over Anymore? – “I am not arguing for a particular position on the issue of music. I am not seeking to sway anyone to my “side” of the music debate. I am arguing that we ought not be dropping music off the discussion table, and certainly not off the study table! Music is still worth examining!”

3rd. Big Orange Truck: Sanctified or Just Sleep Deprived? – “There seems to be a notion, popular in certain segments of Baptist Fundamentalism, that sleep deprivation is a means to holiness. Honestly…I don’t get it. I do appreciate a good tired feeling – one that comes from an honest day’s work. But I hate chronic fatigue. Hate it.”

P.S. In the future, I will try to post the Watchman Awards on Saturday.


Friday, December 8, 2006

In The Heart of a Man Is the Hope of a Nation

God, filled with disgust and disappointment at the sins of Israel, came to Moses to warn him that he was going to destroy their nation. He had had enough of their short-term gratitude, their murmurings and disrespect, and, of course, their oft wanderings into sin. He was going to destroy them and fulfill his promise to Abraham through the lineage of Moses.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation…And Moses besought the LORD his God…And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” ~ Exodus 32:9-11,14

This would make Moses the father of a great nation. Men and woman across the world would be singing “Father Moses had many sons. Many sons had father Moses. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord!” Moses would be given the opportunity to enjoy what Abraham spent his life hoping and praying for…being the father of a great nation.

Moses must have been tempted by this offer. After all, they never treated Moses with nearly the amount of respect he deserved. He spent day and night looking after them and seeking to lead them according to God’s Will. He answered their questions, cared for their problems, and provided leadership by God’s leading out of the land of Egypt. Despite these things, the people conspired against Moses. They complained that they would starve. They complained that they would have no water. They complained about everything they could think to complain about. One group of people even rose up against Moses’ authority. Needless to say, they hadn’t treated him very well.

Moses should have taken this offer from the Lord, stepped aside, and watched God’s vengeance at work. He should have enjoyed the outstanding blessings of having God bless his seed. He should have enjoyed watching the people get what they deserved for how they had treated him and how they had constantly rebelled against God. He should have taken the offer.

But he didn’t. Despite how he was treated. Despite the blessings offered. Despite all these things, Moses heart of love and compassion was stronger. He turned to God and begged Him to show mercy on the ungrateful, sin-loving, backsliding nation of Israel. He pleaded with God to preserve them and spare them.

I do not believe that the scriptures lie or that the Lord lied when God said, “Now therefore let me alone…that I may consume them.” The scripture is clear that it was God’s intention to punish these people for their gross ungodliness. And yet he didn’t.

The condition of Moses’ heart could have easily been against those people. He had every reason not to care for them. Yet because of his heart of love and forgiveness, he was driven to his knees in prayer…and God spared the nation.

In a sense, you could say that the fate of that nation rested in the heart of Moses. If he had not turned his heart to God in prayer, the scripture is clear that God intended to destroy the nation. Because he did, however, an entire nation was saved.

I wonder who around us could be spared from God’s judgment by our heart-felt prayers to God. Who is it that has done us wrong and we refuse to pray for them? Who is it that God is going to judge if we don’t go to God on their behalf? Who is it?

In The Heart of a Man Is the Hope of a Nation


Monday, December 4, 2006

For Yet Seven Days - The Final Call To Repent

“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation…FOR YET SEVEN DAYS, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” ~ Genesis 7:1,4

After Noah spent one hundred years building the ark, he was called by God to come into the ark. It was at this time that God told Noah that there were only seven days remaining before the destruction of the world. The world’s days were numbered…literally!

I can only imagine the emotions that flooded through Noah’s heart that day. Of course, Noah was surely excited and rejoicing that he and his family would be delivered from this world wide cataclysm. Can you imagine, however, the sorrow that he must have felt as he looked around him knowing that no one else had turned from their sin and believed. He had devoted one hundred years to preaching and preparing. He had begged and pleaded with his friends, neighbors, and country men to turn to God and believe that a flood was coming. No one had listened and now their days were numbered! Their season of sin was over and God was calling them on their final week.

In my mind, I picture Noah taking a break a few times during this final week to stop and look at those around him. I can picture the tears coming down his face as he begged his friends to trust Christ before that seventh day. He knew that their days had been numbered and I believe that fear gripped his heart…not for his sake, but for the sake of those around him.

As our nation continues to evolve into the sinful mass of people that existed before this flood, I can only wonder if our days are numbered. How long will it be before God calls us to answer for the sins of America? How long will it be before God calls us on our final week?

God will not smile upon a nation for very long who justifies sin at every corner calling sodomy an alternative lifestyle, calling the murder of millions of innocent children a choice, calling pornography a freedom of expression, and calling drunkenness a disease rather than a sin.

Friends, I love America! The last thing in the world that I want to see is for the judgment of God to fall on this nation as it has on nations of the past. I think of all the times that Israel was invaded for her sin and thousands upon thousands of people were slaughtered. My heart shakes in fear at the thought of the awesome power of God concerning his justice and judgment.

We Christians who know the truth ought to be trembling. Not for what God is going to do to us, but for what he is going to do to those around us. Could America's season of sin be drawing to a close? Could America’s days be numbered?