Saturday, October 15, 2011

Walking

"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

This is one of those verses Christians love to put on coffee cups and motivational posters and the like. Its an encouraging verse, and it sounds nice, but can anyone tell me what the context of this verse is? In Isaiah 39 Hezekiah received messengers from Babylon and was foolish enough to show them the riches of Israel and the size of his army before sending them back home. Isaiah goes to him and upon discovering this prophecies Israel's captivity in Babylon.

The Jews were about to be exiled for hundreds of years. Talk about waiting on the Lord!

Also interesting about this verse is its order. Fly, run, walk. It feels backwards to me, I'd expect it to be in ascending and not decreasing order, though I am not a literary critic by any stretch of the imagination. I think it may have something to do with the way God acts in the lives of his people.

Take flying for example, perhaps this is referring to God's miracles. The parting of the Red Sea, the miracle of the manna, the healing of the lepers, and the ultimate miracle, Christ's resurrection. Perhaps running refers to when God empowers his people. Situations where instead of his direct intervention, he empowers his servants. Samson killing hundreds of Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey, David killing Goliath.

Usually when I think of how God works in the world I think of running and flying. I think of miracles. I think of the great men of God who did great things. What what about walking? What does it mean to "walk and not faint"? What are some examples of that?

Lets face it, God doesn't always give us a miracle just because we ask. Look at the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, though God performed many miracles they were only to display his power, not to miraculously free his people. He didn't go to Moses and say "meet my people at X because I've heard their cries and I'm going to teleport them there." No, he made Moses, and the Israelites, work with him. Moses had to go to Pharaoh and request that he let them go over, and over, and over.

Even that is an example of running. God was still directly involved in the situation, even if he didn't immediately fix it. But what about when God doesn't even do that? What about those Jewish captives in Babylon for hundreds of years? How was God working then?

I think, he was helping them to walk.

For a while now I've had some struggles in my own life, and I've often pleaded with God to just make them go away. "Dear God help me with this" really was saying "Dear God perform a miracle in my life." But no miracle ever came and I began to doubt whether God was actually working in my life or if he even cared. I've learned enough now to understand that there is a third way that God works, it isn't as fast or glamorous as running and flying, but it is just as essential and I think its more important in many ways.

Instead of changing our situation, God changes us.

Look at the examples we just looked at, the captivity, Samson and the jawbone, most of these examples are of God changing things that are external to his people. Contrast that with Paul in Second Corinthians 12: 

"...a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

God doesn't deliver Paul from his thorn, instead he changes Paul through the thorn. I think most of the time something hard happens in our lives, something painful, God uses it like this. God is pretty much telling Paul that, "I know this hurts, I know this is painful, but I'm leaving you here. Its for you benefit, I'm not abandoning you, I'm still here."

Its a pretty hard thing to swallow, but its important to understand. If we only expect God to help us by allowing us to run or to fly, we'll be confused and hurt when all we get is walking without fainting. Its not even a pleasant stroll, its walking so far and so long they we swear we're going to faint from exhaustion, but somehow we don't.

So, have any of you ever experienced walking? Running? Flying? Have an issue with how I've analyzed these verses? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Too Fast, Too Furious

No, this is not a blog post about that movie that has something to do with driving fast and stealing cars. It is about something much more serious, and hopefully this isn't the first time you've heard of it. I am talking about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive's operations "Fast and Furious."

Before we discuss operation Fast and Furious, we need some background information. Shortly after Obama took office in 2009, there was a coordinated push for more gun control laws from the executive branch. Most notable during this time was a statistic that was tossed around by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and much of the news media. The claim was that 90% of the semi-automatic military style weapons (or "assault weapons") recovered from Mexican drug cartels were from America. The implication being that American's second amendment freedoms were somehow responsible for Mexico's drug violence.

Immediately the 90% statistic was called into question. It was eventually discovered that it was only 90% of the weapons recovered that were sent to the US for tracing. Of the weapons recovered in Mexico, less than 10% were even sent to the US for tracing. So, in reality about 9% of the recovered weapons were not from the US. This also includes guns that were sold to the Mexican military and then diverted to the cartels (through troop defections or theft).

Fortunately, many of the proposed gun control laws failed to pass.  However there were many backdoor successes, such as the State Department's refusal to allow the importation of 50 year old collectable US military rifles from South Korea.

Fast forward to December 14th 2010, just after 11:00pm: US Boarder Patrol Agent Brain Terry is killed in a shootout with cartel members. The murder weapon, a semi-automatic AK-47 clone, is found near the scene. Two weeks later, on December 28th, AFT agents blow the whistle and alert the gun rights media of Operation Fast and Furious.

January 22nd, 2011: World Net Daily becomes the first news outlet to break the story. You can read the original article here.
January 30, 2011: Sen. Charles Grassly offers his protection to whistle-blowers. His staffers begin investigating.

February 23, 2011: Sharyl Attkisson of CBS news becomes the first mainstream broadcast news reporter to report the story.

So, at this point, what was Operation Fast and Furious? Put simply, the ATF encouraged gun smuggling into Mexico. They allowed guns to "walk" and didn't try to stop them. They did the exact opposite of what the BATFE is supposed to do, instead of protecting people from illegally purchased guns, they encouraged illegal sales. They let the guns go and did nothing to stop it. Two thousand five hundred guns, enough to arm two army battalions!

Fast forward now to March 16, 2011: Rep. Darrel Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, begins his investigation into "Project Gunrunner" and "Operation Fast and Furious." He calls on the Department of Justice to cooperate with his investigation, instead Attorney General Eric Holder stonewalls the congressional investigation.

Let us pause here and think about that. A Federal Agency refused to cooperate with the House committee whose job is to investigate the federal government. This is not a minor thing, it is a slap in the face to our system of government. The Department of Justice is NOT above Congress!

This is post is going on long enough, so where are we today? What do you need to know and why should you care? Put simply, this is the biggest government coverup since Watergate, and that is absolutely not an exaggeration. You have a government agency, encouraging gun smuggling and a government agent dying as a direct result. That is in addition to an unknown number of Mexican casualties, not to mention the millions if not billions of tax money that funded all this death and destruction! Watergate was about a few people spying on political opponents, Fast and Furious already has a body count! Folks, that's what we call a BIG DEAL.

And the the news media has largely ignored it.

The next most important thing is that we now have evidence that at least Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the whole thing long before he claimed to have found out when he testified before the Oversight committee. This makes him a liar trying to cover up this miserable excuse of a operation. We don't know if President Obama knew about the gun smuggling, but to date Obama hasn't ordered Holder to comply with the Congress.

Holder at least deserves to be fired, and probably deserves to be thrown in jail for obstruction of Justice. Which is ironic, he's the head of the Justice Department.

So what can you do? Well for starters, read more about this. Get up to speed. This is only a brief summary of what went on. The list of government agencies involved in F&F is so long it would be humorous if people hadn't already died. Also, write your congressmen and tell them you want Justice. Write the news media and tell them you want objective reporting, that they can't ignore the largest government coverup since Watergate. Write the President and tell him he needs to order his Attorney General to cooperate with Congress.

I cannot underscore what a huge deal this is. Your government used your tax dollar to send guns to violent men who use them to do things like this. Also, thank Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley for spearheading the Fast and Furious investigation. Without them this would have died months ago and we'd never have a chance at seeing justice.

Finally, I'll close with a link to a letter released by Representative Issa addressed to Eric Holder just recently.