Eyes On The Prize

Scott’s Blog – 8/26/08

Eyes On The Prize

There are certain statements we find in the Bible that have a funny way of constantly illustrating themselves in day to day life.

In today’s SRL File under “Truer Words Were Never Spoken” consider this observation from the book of Isaiah.

“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The illustration of this timeless truth?

Allow me to introduce you to an amazing portrait in courage that may have escaped your notice.

Her name? Irena Sendler.

At first glance, she seems like an unlikely candidate to be anyone’s hero.

Unless, of course you were a Jewish child in Nazi occupied Poland.

During the World War II German occupation of Poland, Sendler lived in Warsaw (prior to that, she lived in Otwock and Tarczyn) while working for urban Social Welfare Departments. As early as 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, she began helping Jews by offering them food and shelter. Irena and her helpers created over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families, prior to joining the organized resistance of Żegota and the children’s division. Helping Jews was very risky—in German-occupied Poland, all household members risked a death sentence if they were found to be hiding any Jews. This punishment was more severe than those applied in other occupied European countries.

In December 1942, the newly created Children’s Section of the Żegota (Council for Aid to Jews), nominated her (under her cover name Jolanta[3]) to head its children’s department. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto, to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the ghetto.[4] During the visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself.

She organized the smuggling of Jewish children from the Ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys.[2] Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak, Sendler visited the ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages.[5] She also used the old courthouse of the edge of the Warsaw Ghetto (still standing) as one of the main routes of smuggling children out. The children were placed with Polish families. She hid lists of their names in jars, in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they must be returned to Jewish relatives.[1]

In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Żegota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was left in the woods, unconscious and with broken arms and legs.[2] She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war, she dug up the jars containing the children’s identities and began an attempt to find the children and return them to living parents. However, almost all the children’s parents had died at the Treblinka extermination camp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler

But this remarkable track record of self sacrifice and  compassion is not the only thing that makes Irena Sendler noteworthy.

Did you know she was also the runner up for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize?

Runner up?

Well, whoever won must have really suffered – really stood up against tyranny and oppression – at the pain of death, right?

Well, no.

The winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was former vice president Al Gore.

He won for his role in producing and starring in the global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The Nobel Prize committee evidently felt that producing a movie was of greater value than saving children.

The moral of the story?

If we do what is right, at great personal sacrifice, don’t expect the powers that be to sit up and take notice.

But never forget that God is watching.

Irena Sendler passed away on May 12, 2008. And if there was ever a person who embodied the words “she went to her reward” it was Irena.

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

The personal impact of this story is easy to see.

Sooner or later we will go through times in our life when we feel unappreciated, maybe even ignored.

We wonder if we were gone tomorrow, who would notice, or even care.

But when we decide that whatever we do, we are doing it because we love the Lord, no one can rob us of that reward.

Jesus put it this way:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:31-40)

There is no doubt that Irena is far more pleased with the reward she has received from our Savior, than for anything she could have received from a committee in Stockholm.

May God give us the wisdom to live for the prize that will never fade away!

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Another Piece of the Puzzle?

Scott’s Blog – 8/25/08

Another Piece of the Puzzle?

New York Times best selling author Joel Rosenberg has famously called Israel the “Epicenter”. http://joelrosenberg.blogspot.com/

Virtually every significant event that takes place in this world either concerns this seemingly small nation, or inevitably drags Israel into the middle of the dust up.

It looks like Russia’s recent foray into Georgia is no exception.

Russia threatens retaliation against Israel for involvement in Georgia

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/eu_russia0447_08_20.asp


Russian security officials threatened retaliation against Israel for its weapons exports to Georgia including eight different aerial drones.

Russian Deputy Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Israel supplied at least eight different models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Georgia. Nogovitsyn said Israel has also sold a range of weapons and sought to export main battle tanks to Georgia.

Russian diplomatic sources said the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was furious over Israel’s refusal to impose a military embargo on Georgia. The sources said Putin’s aides had urged Israel several times to halt weapons exports.

“We asked Israel not to sell offensive weapons to a hostile neighboring state, but they said they’re a sovereign state,” a diplomatic source said.

“Well, Israel shouldn’t be surprised if we sell offensive weapons to Israel’s neighbors.”

Already, Russia, in wake of its military victory over Georgia, has scheduled a summit with Syria to discuss offensive weapons sales, the sources said. Syrian President Bashar Assad was scheduled to meet Putin in Moscow on Aug. 20.

Tbilisi has asserted that Israel continued to ship weapons and platforms to Georgia throughout the Russian war. But Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili reported delays in the supply of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles to his country.

“The Israeli weapons have proved very effective,” Saakashvili told a news conference on Aug. 13.

So far, the diplomatic sources said, Putin has been careful to limit Russian military sales to Iran and Syria to defensive systems. In 2007, they said, Putin, who remains in charge of defense export policy, vetoed efforts by the Defense Ministry and the state-owned arms agency Rosoboronexport to sell the Iskander-E long-range rocket to Syria.

“Putin will now offer Iskander to Syria,” another Russian source said. “Whether this will be a serious offer or something just to scare the Israelis we’ll know in another few months.”



The prospect of another war between Israel and the Iranian backed terrorists of Hezbollah is considered a question not of “if” but “when” in Jerusalem.

But a conflict with Syria, emboldened by an influx of Russian ballistic missile technology, may also be prophetically significant.

The burden against Damascus.

“ Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,
And it will be a ruinous heap.
The cities of Aroer are forsaken;
They will be for flocks
Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
The fortress also will cease from Ephraim,
The kingdom from Damascus,
And the remnant of Syria;
They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“ In that day it shall come to pass
That the glory of Jacob will wane,
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain,
And reaps the heads with his arm;
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain
In the Valley of Rephaim.
Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it,
Like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough,
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,”
Says the LORD God of Israel. (Isaiah 17:1-6)

This prediction indicates that Israel and Syria  will go to war.

The Syrian capitol, Damascus will “cease from being a city”.

Israel, in turn, will experience a time of physical decay and a serious time of famine.

These predictions could indicate an exchange initiated by a chemical or biological attack from Syria. This would not only affect the health of the general population, but also render unprotected food supplies unusuable.

The reception of cutting edge Russian missile technology by a card carrying member of the original “Axis of Evil” could make the bombardment of Northern Israel by Hezbollah look like a walk in the park.

Israel would not hesitate to respond with its nuclear arsenal under these circumstances.

It is interesting to note that Syria will not be a part of the invading coalition of nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39. Are we seeing the pieces of the puzzle coming together for this predicted conflict?

The Most Dangerous Crisis You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Scott’s Blog – 8/11/08

The Most Dangerous Crisis You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

When most Americans hear about a conflict in Georgia they think of something that happened during the Civil War.

But just as the events of 9/11 gave all of us a crash course in the geography of the Middle East, so the next few weeks will transform exotic places like South Ossetia and Abkhazia from obscurity to front and center in our consciousness.

As the AP sums up the situation:

Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia and was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Both provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990, and both have close ties with Moscow.

When Georgia began its offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, the Russian response was swift and overpowering — thousands of troops and tanks poured in. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080811/ap_on_re_eu/georgia_south_ossetiaNow it appears that despite nearly world wide condemnation of the incursion, there is little chance of the Russians leaving until democratically elected president Mikheil Saakashvilli has been deposed and replaced by a pro-Russian puppet.

Georgia had courted the anger of the Putin regieme by being decidedly pro-American in its foreign policy, going so far as to make an appeal to formally join NATO.

Now the Georgian people are paying the price. 

The prophetic significance?

When the Berlin Wall came down, many declared that the days of conflict between Russia and the West were over. But the rise to power of former KGB head Vladimir Putin seems to have brought back those “bad old days”.

While a war in Georgia and South Osettia  might seem insignificant to most, some are pointing out a previous significant conflict began in a similarly obscure corner of the world.

As political consultant Dick Morris observes:

On October 3, 1938, Adolf Hitler’s armies marched into Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia. Germany said it was responding to separatist demands from the large German population that lived there and that she was merely honoring their desire for reunion with Germany. Hitler’s tanks took over a vital part of an independent country that had largely rejected his overtures and allied itself with the West. Neither Britain nor France nor the United States did a thing to stop him.

On August 7, 2008, Vladimir Putin’s armies marched into South Ossetia, a part of Georgia. Russia said it was responding to separatist demands from the large Russian population that lived there and that she was merely honoring their desire for reunion with Russia. Putin’s tanks took over a vital part of an independent country that had largely rejected his overtures and allied itself with the West. Neither Britain nor France nor the United States did a thing to stop him.Encouraged by his occupation of Sudetenland, Hitler continued his designs on Czechoslovakia itself and invaded the rest of the nation a few months later.

Will history continue to repeat itself?

http://www.dickmorris.com/

 

The Bible predicts that Russia will be the major organizer of a Last Days invasion of Israel. Ezekiel 38-39 tells us that the coalition will include Moslem nations such as Iran, Turkey, Libya and Sudan.

If you are a regular reader of Scott’s Blog, you know that we pointed out that Russia’s desire to expand her influence has not waned.

Putin knows he cannot expand westward, due to the presence of NATO. He cannot expand eastward due to the rise of China.

This leaves one limited avenue – to the south.

The painfully obtained truce with the Muslim terrorists of Chechnya has driven Russia into an alliance with the mad mullahs of Iran.

But conveniently enough, Georgia’s population  is around 89% Orthodox Christian.

Putin knows that America and the West will not be willing to go to war over Georgia.

 And this invasion will not bother Russia’s restive Islamic neighbors one bit.

It will also place the Russians that much closer to having a stranglehold on the major oil pipelines from Central Asia.

It will also be one step closer to having a perfect staging area for the predicted Gog and Magog invasion.

Jesus told us that one of the key birth pains that would herald the time of his return would be “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6).The situation in Georgia certainly fits that description on both counts.

Who Are You, Mr. Putin?

Scott’s Blog – 8/12/08

Who Are You, Mr. Putin?

Now that the dust has started to settle in the crisis situation in Georgia, questions are starting to be asked about this brutal incursion.

Questions like –

What possible good can the U.N do in a crisis when it is perpetrated by the savage actions of one its permanent Security Council members?

In order for the U.N to impose meaningful military actions or even economic sanctions, a unanimous vote must be passed by the Security Council.

In case you are keeping score at home, Russia would have to vote for such actions against herself.

The chances of this happening?

You do the math.

What does this action mean for the immediate future?

Those nations who are trying to develop democracy or engage in friendly relations with the West are having a classic Maalox Moment.

Democratically elected president Mikheil Saakashvilli was nearly blown up by a Russian bombing run over a non militarized neighborhood yesterday.

Don’t think for a moment that other pro western leaders like Victor Yushchenko in the Ukraine haven’t gotten the message;

“You could be next. And don’t count on NATO to help you.”

Flush with petro dollars generated from the recent oil price surge, the Russian Bear appears to be back in the business of imposing its will on its neighbors.

But the most serious question this exercise in adventurism raises is this – Who is the world dealing with in the person of Vladimir Putin?

George W. Bush famously stated that he looked Putin in the eyes and saw a man he could deal with.

John McCain stated that he looked Putin in the eyes and saw the letters KGB.

Interestingly today, the Wall Street Journal weighed in with another take.

Vladimir Bonaparte

The farther Russia’s tanks roll into Georgia, the more the world is beginning to see the reality of Vladimir Putin’s Napoleonic ambitions. Having consolidated his authoritarian transition as Prime Minister with a figurehead President, Mr. Putin is now pushing to reassert Russian dominance in Eurasia. Ukraine is in his sights, and even the Baltic states could be threatened if he’s allowed to get away with it. The West needs to draw a line at Georgia.

No matter who fired the first shot last week in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, Moscow is using the separatist issue as an excuse to demolish Georgia’s military and, if possible, depose its democratically elected government. Russian forces moved ever deeper into Georgia proper Monday. They launched a second front in the west from another breakaway province, Abkhazia, and took the central city of Gori, which lies 40 miles from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. These moves slice the country in half and isolate its ports, most of which Russia has bombed or blockaded. Moscow dismissed a cease-fire drawn up by European nations and signed by Georgia.

Russian bombers have also hit residential and industrial areas, making a mockery of Moscow’s charge that Georgia is the party indiscriminately killing civilians. Russian claims of Georgian ethnic cleansing now look like well-rehearsed propaganda lines to justify a well-prepared invasion. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks, ships and warplanes were waiting for Mr. Putin’s command.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia isn’t the former Soviet Union, bent on ideological confrontation around the world. But it is a Bonapartist power intent on dominating its neighbors and restoring its clout on the world stage. Unless Russians see that there are costs for their Napoleon’s expansionism, Georgia isn’t likely to be his last stop. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121849981801531625.html?mod=djemBestOfTheWeb

As we have pointed out, the only viable channels for Putin’s expansionist ambitions lie to the south. His Faustian alliance with Iran that has bought him peace with radical Islamists like the Chechens leave him with the limited options of imposing his will on non Muslim states like Georgia.

Or perhaps, on nations that the Muslim world would find worthy of attack.

Like Israel.

Ezekiel 38 tells us of a future leader from the uttermost North who will find himself dragged by the jaws into a Last Days invasion of Israel.

It is certainly too soon to say that Putin will be this man. 

But there is no doubt that his policies are moving not only his nation, but the entire region into remarkable harmony with Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:35-37)

Save the Planet- Save Your Marriage?

Scott’s Blog – 8/07/08

Save the Planet- Save Your Marriage?

By now most of us are very much aware of the controversy surrounding the dangers of man made global warming.

If we are to save the planet, we are told we must cut back on the amount of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere.

But what if we find ourselves driving a greenhouse gas belching SUV to catch a private jet that will leave behind a carbon footprint of Sasquatch-like proportions?

The answer? Carbon credits.

We can actually pay a company to not drive a SUV and not take a private jet ride and so “off set” the damage done to the ecosystem.

All the benefits of an ecologically irresponsible lifestyle – with none of the guilt!

Now, some enterprising internet entrepreneurs have taken this same concept and applied it, well, closer to home.

It’s called CheatNeutral.com and it applies the same tortured logic of global warmism to your own personal relationships!

What is Cheat Offsetting?

When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere.

Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.

Can I offset all my cheating?

First you should look at ways of reducing your cheating. Once you’ve done this you can use Cheatneutral to offset the remaining, unavoidable cheating.

So far, cheatneutral has offset 65, 768 cheats and has 9002 faithful people ready to neutralise your misdemeanours.

http://cheatneutral.com/

 

As bizarre as all this sounds, would it surprise you to learn that it has all been tried before?

It was called “buying indulgences”.

Believe it or not, there was a time in the history of Christendom  where you could be “pre-forgiven” for a future planned sin by making a hefty donation to the church.

This thoroughly unbiblical concept was so morally reprehensible that it became one of the deal breakers that lead to the Protestant Reformation.

But this idea of “offsetting” sin is still alive and kicking.

There are countless people who, in the words of the immortal humorist Fred Allen, “spend six days a week sowing their wild oats and then go to church on Sunday to pray for crop failure.”

Many believe that reading a chapter in the Bible, or putting something in the offering, or teaching a Bible study can make up for a mean streak or a moral failure.

And as much as we would like to think there are “offsets” for our sins, God isn’t buying it.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

 

God isn’t interested in gestures or hand outs. When we foul our own spiritual environment He is looking at the heart.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
         You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
         A broken and a contrite heart—
         These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17)

 

Remember this.

God isn’t into game playing.

But He will give His grace to those who come to Him in sincerity and truth.

Prophecy Update – Israel

Prophecy Update – Israel

If you are a regular reader of Scott’s Blog you know that we are not subtle about pointing to Israel as a key to understanding the signs of the times.

A major event with both political and potentially prophetic implications is detailed today at Joel Rosenberg’s Flash Traffic Blog.

* * * * FLASH TRAFFIC: WASHINGTON UPDATE * * * *

OLMERT TO RESIGN AFTER SEPT. 17:Updates & additional analysis

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will resign his office on or about September 17th. Suffering single digit approval ratings and haunted by numerous on-going corruption investigations, the Prime Minister just announced on national television that he will step down after the Kadima party primaries scheduled.
“I have decided I won’t run in the Kadima movement primaries, nor do I intend to intervene in the elections,” the embattled politician said just moments ago. “When a new (Kadima party) chairman is chosen, I will resign as prime minister to permit them to put together a new government swiftly and effectively….I want to make it clear – I am proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like a regular citizen. It is the duty of the police to investigate, and the duty of the prosecution to instruct the police. The prime minister is not above the law…. From my first day in office I was forced to ward off malicious attacks, even while dealing with far-reaching decisions affecting Israel’s defense and existence. I continue to believe with all my heart that the achievement of peace, combating terror, strengthening our security, and the realization of a different type of relationship with our neighbors are all necessary goals for the future of the State of Israel.”
It’s not clear yet when new elections will be held. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is currently well ahead of all contenders to replace Olmert, but Israeli politics are Byzantine, to say the least, and anything could happen. Israel’s political crisis could not come at a worse time, with the real threat of war with Iran growing daily.
——————————
UPDATE & ANALYSIS: With the Kadima primaries on September 17th, who are the top contenders to lead the party after Olmert? Tzippi Livni and Shaul Mofaz. Livni is currently Israel’s Foreign Minister. Impressive personally and perhaps a rising star over the long haul, she was close to Olmert, and it was thought Olmert was groomed her to replace him. Eighteen months ago or so, she was the darling of the Israeli media, hobnobbing on the world stage with Condi Rice, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM Tony Blair, et al. At the time, she was soaring in the polls, and seemed competitive to take on Bibi Netanyahu in a head-to-head general election race. But as Olmert has sunk further and further in the polls, Livni has been dragged her down. She has had no major accomplishments as Foreign Minister thus far. What’s more, Israelis are not sure she would be ready to be Commander in Chief in a war with Iran. Mofaz, on the other hand, was born in Iran, speaks Persian, and was Defense Minister under Ariel Sharon, after serving as the IDF chief of staff when Bibi was Prime Minister. He is perceived as tough and capable when it comes to military matters, but somewhat new to the political stage, having served nearly his entire career in the military and only elected to the Knesset in 2005. Nevertheless, he has risen quickly. He is currently Deputy Prime Minister and Transportation Minister and has a serious shot at seizing control of the Kadima party from Livni’s hands. Mofaz is currently in Washington, and is saying that if he is elected Kadima leader, he will not call for general elections, but will try to re-form a unity coalition government, even asking Netanyahu to join the government. Netanyahu, however, says immediate general elections are essential and will not serve in a new unity government. A friend of mine who is a very close to several Israeli political leaders and a shrewd observer of the electoral landscape their sent me this email last night: “Most Kadima MK’s know they will not be re-elected if they go to a general election. Why should they voluntarily give up their seats? After the primary, they will do what they can to keep the government ticking and that could mean another two years. By the way, Labor is so weak it would probably join a post-Olmert Kadima government. Mofaz is going to run hard right, which could collapse Likud because Bibi has been virtually silent on the issues. Look for Mofaz to stress Jerusalem and possibly pull a stunt like Sharon and the Temple Mount. The Livni-Mofaz race should be very close. Olmert is supporting Mofaz and so is Shas [the ultra-religious party]. If there are elections, I don’t see it happening before March 2009.”

 

http://joelrosenberg.blogspot.com/

The fall of Ehud Olmert from power is not surprising from a biblical point of view. Olmert early on adopted a peace at any price approach to crucial issues like the fate of Jerusalem. Word had leaked that he was pursuing a deal with Palestinian Fatah party head Mahmoud Abbas that would have ceeded control of the Temple Mount to the Arabs.

Since the Bible makes it clear that the Temple will be rebuilt on its historic site, such a ploy was doomed to failure.

It is also clear that God takes a very dim view of those who play fast and loose with His land.

I will also gather all nations,
      And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
      And I will enter into judgment with them there
      On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
      Whom they have scattered among the nations;
      They have also divided up My land. (Joel 3:2)