Monthly Archives: May 2015

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Matthew 5:8

What will it be like to see God? It will be awesome! We will see his purity in all its splendor and glory.

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One of God’s greatest attributes is his purity. He is perfection, without blemish. His integrity is utterly pure. Spotless.

We see God’s purity in the sinless life of Jesus, who, though tempted in all things, always yielded to the will of his Father.

When we see God face-to-face, we will see him as he is. And we will be fully transformed into his image.

“But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him
as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation
will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
(1 John 3:2-3 NLT)

We should be pure just as Jesus is pure.

That is Jesus’ point in Matthew – to be pure in heart.

This is why Paul exhorts us to replace the old man with the new. We should eliminate those things in our lives that do not belong there.

Every time we seek and do God’s will instead of our own, we are being purified.

If we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ today, we will fully experience the purity of Jesus in heaven.

Revelation 19:7-9 speaks of the bride of Christ who “has made herself ready” and is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

We, the Bride, are being purified for our marriage to Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Let us eagerly embrace our purification just as a bride prepares for her wedding day.

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Noah Galloway: What it Means to be Whole

Noah Galloway, a double-amputee Iraq War combat veteran, challenges himself running marathons, motivating others, and, now, dancing for Dancing with the Stars. His resiliency and determination are an inspiration for those who witness his character, his courage, and his compassion.

With humor and humility, Noah has won the hearts of many across the country. Noah’s story and his example model for each of us how to examine ourselves, change the image that we see in the mirror, and pursue our passions.

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(Following is a week-by-week revelation as Noah’s story of courage, compassion, and conviction unfolded.)

Week 1 – Cha-cha-cha

Week One introduced us to a gung ho warrior fighting for his country, who, in an instant, was sidelined by tragedy during his second tour, when he “lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee in an Improvised Explosive Device attack.”

During his introductory video package, Noah explained that for years he was in denial about his condition. As he put it,

“I had this mentality that this isn’t a big deal. I can make this happen. I can make it on my own. Everyone kept telling me I was going to go through some stages of depression whether I realized it or not. I was like, not me. I portrayed myself as this invincible person to everyone I knew.”

Noah kept his pain and suffering hidden, even form himself.

“I drank and I would just sit at home. Or I would go out drinking all the time. I was partying like nothing was wrong. But then there were those moments that I would just sit at home and drink, by myself. Stay up all night.”

But then Noah had an epiphany. He realized, “I still had two limbs. I could do something with that. I thought about my kids and how I wasn’t being a good father.”

Noah’s story of self-identity stretches us in grasping what it means to be human and to be whole. After his debut dance, a tearful Carrie Ann Inaba said, “It was profound and you’re broadening my scope of what dance looks like.”

Week 2 – Samba

In Week Two, Len Goodman told Noah, “You’re an ordinary guy but you do extraordinary things.”

To the surprise of Noah and the viewers, Noah was reunited with his girlfriend, Jamie Boyd, who is now an Army Reserve specialist. Noah had just completed his dance which he had dedicated to his girlfriend: “It was a huge surprise – probably the best surprise I’ve ever had.”

Week 3 – Argentine Tango

Week Three saw Noah reject a new prosthetic arm (learning to dance and learning to use the arm at the same time was too much), finding that he could perform beautifully without it.

Len Goodman told Noah, “You’re my hero.”

Week 4 – Contemporary

Week Four was transformational and inspirational. Noah revealed a turning point in his life and his contemporary dance brought his story to life.

In the opening video package, Noah revealed that his injuries had led to a deep depression which overwhelmed him:

“It really depressed me. I portrayed this image to everyone around me that I wasn’t affected by it. I buried it all. I got to where I would just sit home by myself and drink and try to cope with it by myself. It was the biggest mistake I ever made.”

But then Noah came to his senses:

“I really looked in the mirror and quit looking at what I was missing and paid more attention to what I still had left. I realized I had to make a change.”

“Once I accepted my injury, got back in the gym, started living a healthier life, everything picked up.”

“It’s like I had to be injured, I had to go through that dark time, to get to where I am today.”

Noah’s dance began with special effects showing a shirtless Noah with four limbs, then the reality was revealed in a mirror, a man seemingly less than whole. But then – the dance!

This poetic and magical dance of transformation began with his seeming limitations but concluded with the fulfillment of his aspirations. As Noah explained, “This dance represents the journey of acceptance from the man I was to the man I’ve become.”

An enraptured Bruno Tonioli: “You’re experiences are unimaginable, but your spirit soars unbroken. You really are the ultimate role model. You want a superhero – there it is.”

It was as if Noah had experienced a new birth.

Week 5 – Foxtrot

During Week Five, Sharna Burgess reminded Noah, “What is it that we said in the beginning? We’re not gonna focus on what we can’t do, but what we can!” Something we should all remember.

Week 6 – Rumba and Freestyle

Noah’s protective nature was self-evident in Week Six. The pre-dance video package upset Noah: “I hated that the package made [Sharna] look bad.”

As Noah explained on Fox News: “The argument was my fault, but that wasn’t portrayed in the package the way it was edited … and … I’m not used to that and [I’m] … not the type of person that someone I care about is going to look bad when it was my fault. … I’m protective of my friends. I’ve always been that way.”

Week 7 – Jazz and Cha-cha-cha

Len Goodman again praised Noah, “You may have half the limbs of most guys, but I tell you, you’re twice the man.”

Week 8 – Tango and Salsa

“The white valiant knight,” Bruno Tonioli erupted, “he takes on any challenge, goes for it and does his best.”

Speaking for the audience, Carrie Ann Inaba praised Noah, saying, “So, two girls, one arm – probably impossible for most people. But not for you, Mr. Noah – It’s Mr. I’m Possible.”

Dance Center returned to Dancing With the Stars and provided its humorous take on the remaining contestants. A graphic highlighted Noah’s strengths and weaknesses in a comic but accurate way, encapsulating, “More of a man than you are.”

Noah

Week 9 – Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble

Let’s begin Week Nine with the highlight of the night. Following Noah’s first dance of the night, Jamie Boyd told Noah, “You’re just a beautiful dancer and you just have a beautiful heart and you put it out there every single week.” Then, making DWTS history, Noah stunned his girlfriend and the audience by getting down on one knee and proposing to Jamie, who immediately accepted.

This was certainly Noah’s night. Julianne Hough echoed Carrie Ann’s thoughts from the first week, saying, “Noah has completely redefined dance. Not just for me, but, I think, for everyone.”

In the pre-dance video package, Noah confessed, “To wake up one day and to have two of my limbs gone – it broke me. There were several times I thought I would much rather have died than to wake up like this.”

But now, Noah boldly faces every challenge presented to him. As Bruno Tonioli observed, “Every dance that is done is a victory against the challenges that he has been given.”

Even James T. Kirk, er, William Shatner said, “Noah teaches us to take what life has offered and not only to deal with it but to make it a plus.”

Week 10 – Argentine Tango, Freestyle

As Noah said in his video package during the finals, “I have fought too hard to give up.” Recognizing the true champion within Noah, Carrie Ann Inaba exclaimed, “I know that there’s this incredible survivor’s spirit inside of you, that champion in there.”

Regarding Noah’s freestyle dance, Julianne Hough observed, “For me, the choreography, the intricacy, the connection between you and Sharna [and] the other dancers, I’ve never seen something so whole.”

Wholeness and completeness are themes returned to again and again during this DWTS season.

Bruno Tonioli similarly was stunned by the depth and essence of Noah’s freestyle: “It had an incredible poetic quality, so truthful, so meaningful.”

Anyone who questioned Noah’s wholeness or his manhood prior to DWTS has surely been awakened ti reality, for, in reality, as human beings we are all too often prone to falling for outward illusions while missing the inner reality.

Some might think that due to what he lacks, Noah might be less than human. But, instead of less, he is more. Digging down deep and – whether or not he knows it – by the grace of God, Noah has achieved what few could imagine. And Noah has done so with integrity.

Lest we forget, integrity means “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.”

In keeping with her views from the first week, Carrie Ann Inaba waxed eloquent: “There is nothing to fix about you. You have shown us over and over again what art is. Dance is a part of art and it’s meant to inspire us and transform us and make us contemplate things bigger than ourselves – and that is what you do every time.”

Lessons From a Life Lived Courageously

This column is being posted prior to the results of the finals. Regardless of the outcome of this particular competition, Noah Galloway is a winner in life. He has proven himself a champion – to himself and to the world. Noah has nothing else to prove.

Noah’s story is one of not just survival but victory. He proves that, given a chance – or taking a chance – the human spirit can rise above seemingly impossible challenges and not only survive, but thrive.

Among the manifold lessons we can take from Noah’s story and his experiences on DWTS are these:

Don’t be defined by others. Don’t let other people place limitations on who you are or what you can accomplish.

Adapt. Life happens. Whatever happens, we can adapt to our changing circumstances in order to survive and thrive.

Aim high. Don’t settle for less or limit yourself. Rather, challenge yourself. You just might surprise yourself.

Have a support system. Noah acknowledged the reason for his success: “that’s because of all the support that so many people who have never met me have shown.”

Have a sense of purpose. Noah changed his life for his children. He had someone to be better for – his family and, now, his fiancé.

Noah is now a “personal trainer and motivational speaker” whose motto – “No Excuses” – graces the name of a charitable foundation.

Ask Hillary – and Other Democrats – This Question!

The liberal “mainstream” media regularly targets, en masse, Republican candidates with its narrative of the moment – and timid Republicans typically cower, duck and cover. The latest gambit – which the GOP fell for – was to demand an answer to a hypothetical question: “If you had known then what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq?”

Question

The correct answer, as David French noted, should have been “knowing now what we didn’t know then, the answer is a smarter intervention, not the same intervention – an intervention that combines the tactics and lessons of the Surge with the staying power we’ve demonstrated in other volatile hot spots, like Korea. The alternative – as we know – is a growing jihadist menace, genocide against Christians and other religious minorities, and increased instability in a geopolitically vital region.”

That is the Jeb Bush Question taken care of.

Now, let me offer you a Hillary Clinton Question. No, not about her myriad scandals, ethical lapses (can they be termed “lapses” if they are continuous?), and various missteps and imbroglios.

Instead – just as the Left targets the grand geopolitical thinking of the Right vis-à-vis military intervention – the Right should aim its sights a bit higher and larger in scope and ask the ultimate domestic policy question:

“If you had known then what you know now, would you have embraced LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty?

Follow-up questions:

“If so, what do you say to the millions of minorities who have been disenfranchised by these welfare programs? What of the broken lives, broken families, broken homes, broken communities, and broken social fabric in America which are a direct result of these disastrous programs?”

“How do you justify the heartache, the dashed dreams, lost hope, hate-filled anger, and desperate despair?”

“How do you justify squandering countless trillions of dollars which only served to produce counterproductive results?”

“How do you atone for resultant race riots, the destruction of whole communities, and the loss of life?”

“How do you restore the trust deficit between police officers and citizens that your liberal policies created? How do you restore the trust deficit between citizens and their government?”

“How can Americans entrust to you the future of these communities which have been devastated by your liberal policies if your only solution is to continue and expand those self-evidently destructive policies?”

Finally: “Will you do for the rest of America what you have done for Detroit, Ferguson, and Baltimore?

Blessed Be …

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3

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Do you want to be blessed? “Blessed are …”

If you are in Christ, God has already blessed you and is blessing you.

Do you believe that you are blessed? Often, we can miss out on God’s blessing due to a lack of faith.

Who is blessed? “… the poor in spirit …”

Those who yield their lives to God and become dependent upon him are blessed by God.

Walking in faith requires humility. Your humility and your dependency upon your Creator and Redeemer opens the treasure-trove of God’s blessings in your life.

Remember, Jesus came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10).

You are blessed when you believe you are blessed. Believe it and live your life in that reality, and you will experience the hand of God in your life.

What is the blessing? “… for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Being his children, our Father lavishes his love on us. It is his desire to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32) – treasures in heaven and on earth.

According to the apostle James, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Our Father wants us to live our lives in the blessings he provides every day of our lives.

Experiencing the blessing. Walking in faith – believing in his promises and providence – ensures that we will experience his blessing – in this life and in the next.

If you believe God and trust in his providence as you walk with him, you can be assured of an abundance of blessing in your life.

Remembering American Heroes

[I received the following promotional email from Laura Ingraham. Please give it due consideration. – DB]

Ingraham

Dear Daniel,

I am asking you to stop and think for a moment about all of the rights that we are guaranteed as Americans.

We are guaranteed these freedoms thanks to the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces from the Revolutionary War to the current war in Afghanistan – especially those who have given their lives in the cause of our country.

On Memorial Day, we pause to honor and to celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. The American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade is the largest parade dedicated to honoring these heroes.

This year, the American Veterans Center is commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII, from which more than 400,000 Americans never made it home. This may be one of the last times many of these veterans will be around to hear the cheers from the crowd, cheers thanking them for their service and sacrifice.

I want to make sure that they are properly thanked ONE LAST TIME! I only wish my father, a proud WWII veteran, were alive to participate in this wonderful event and hear the crowd roar as he rode down Constitution Avenue.

I am writing to you today because we need your help to make this year’s celebration the most successful parade thus far. WWII veterans will travel from all over the country to ride on floats down Constitution Ave, but we need your early support to help ensure that we can get them to Washington.

Will you make a tax-deductible donation of $10, $25, $50, or more to help us honor our troops in the National Memorial Day Parade?

A $25 contribution will help cover the cost for a WWII veteran to ride on a float or car in the parade. If you give $500 or more The American Veterans Center will send you the iconic photo of the kissing sailor SIGNED by the sailor and the nurse.

Since the National Memorial Day Parade is primarily supported by volunteer efforts and is 100 percent privately funded, your tax-deductible donation to the American Veterans Center can make all the difference.

Let me put this parade into perspective, for the same cost of ONE float in the Rose Bowl Parade or TWO balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the American Veterans Center puts on its ENTIRE parade.

That’s why your gift of $25, $50, $100 or more is so important to ensure a successful celebration in honor of our military.

Today we are free because they have sacrificed. We are safe thanks to America’s heroes.

Can I count on you to join me in honoring our WWII veterans this Memorial Day and to help the American Veterans Center host this special WWII anniversary? Click here to chip in $25, $50 or whatever you can afford to honor our brave men and women.

Don’t forget, every dollar you give to the American Veterans Center is tax-deductible, so please give generously to this worthy event. Every cent of your hard-earned dollars will be greatly appreciated, not only by the American Veterans Center and me, but also by the veterans and active duty troops we will honor this Memorial Day.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

Laura Ingraham

P.S. Your tax-deductible donation to the American Veterans Center will allow WWII veterans from across the country to ride in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. on May 26. Please support us with a gift of $10, $25, $50 or whatever you can today and help us thank our brave veterans and active duty troops. If you give $500 or more The American Veterans Center will send you the iconic photo of the kissing sailor SIGNED by the sailor and the nurse.

After you have donated, please take a minute to sign up for the Virtual Boots on the Ground and join thousands of Americans like you in honoring our veterans and soldiers online this Memorial Day!

LINK: https://secure.campaignsolutions.com/avc/list/bfc/parade/?initiativekey=NSLGUJKWC3HA

Amtrak Crash: The Rest of the Story

Breitbart just published an illuminating piece on eleven simple facts that the media will not discuss in regards to the latest Amtrak crash. (Hint: the media wants greater government involvement and more spending in what should be a private sector enterprise.)

Their eleven points are well worth checking out: (See http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/05/13/11-things-the-media-wont-tell-you-about-amtrak/.)

  1. The Federal Government Owns and Operates Amtrak
  1. Amtrak Loses Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year
  1. American Taxpayers Subsidize a Service They Don’t Use
  1. Very Small Percentage of the Population Use a Government Service We All Pay For
  1. Amtrak Has Already Been Subsidized to the Tune of a Whopping $45 billion
  1. Amtrak Is Set to Receive Another $7 Billion Over the Next 5 years
  1. Amtrak Is Not Under-Funded, It Is Criminally Mismanaged
  1. American People Subsidize $60 of Every Amtrak Ticket Sold
  1. Taxpayers Subsidize Passengers Who Can Afford to Make Amtrak Profitable
  1. There Is No Good Reason for The Government To Own Amtrak
  1. The Amtrak Derailment Might Be Yet Another Failure of the Federal Government

National Day of Prayer 2015

As we watch the world being engulfed by flames and our nation wracked with countless crises, it is good to remember that our God is sovereign, He reigns supreme, and nothing escapes His notice.

Our Founders were men of God who trusted in His Providence,[1] and we would be fools not to do the same.

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In an interview a few years ago about the National Day of Prayer, scholar David Barton was asked why it is important to pray for America and her people. He answered:

“First, because God tells us to (1 Timothy 2:1-4), and it is important that we obey Him (John 14:15, Acts 5:32).”

“Second, because God answers prayer (Matthew 21:22, John 14:13-14).”

“Third, God honors prayer and turns His attention to those who pray. He takes note of people who pray and His ear remains open to them (such as in 2 Chronicles 7:14).”

“Fourth, prayer not only gives God a vehicle by which He can respond and answer prayers but prayer also changes those who pray, for praying helps us to be God-conscious, and when we are God-conscious as individuals, our behavior is different than if we rarely think about God (Romans 1:28).”

“I think that George Washington incorporated many of these elements when he explained why he called the nation’s first federal day of prayer. According to President Washington, “’It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.’”

Some Scriptures on Prayer

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:18-19

“The Lord is far from the wicked: but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” – Proverbs 15:29

“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” – Ephesians 6:18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” – Colossians 4:2

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” – James 5:16-18

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Some Quotes on Prayer

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.” – John Bunyan

“Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.” – Williams Carey

“Prayer is the acid test of devotion.” – Samuel Chadwick

“Prayer is an effort of will.” – Oswald Chambers

“Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while one ascends, the other descends.” – Arthur Hopkins

“The fewer the words the better prayer.” – Martin Luther

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” – Andrew Murray

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” – Corrie Ten Boom

Endnotes:

[1]               See “CPAC: America’s Christian Heritage Denied” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-8E.