Monthly Archives: September 2016

Praying about Our Nation’s Next Leader…the Debate Starts Tonight

debate_03Tonight the first 2016 US Presidential debate will be nationally televised. Barring any unforeseen catastrophic circumstances, one of the two candidates in the debate will end up being the President of the United States, still one of the most powerful “rulers” in the world. Did you know that there was no official ruler of God’s people until they finally begged to have one in about 600 BC? (as it is written in the First Book of Samuel, “When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel…Yet his sons did not walk in his ways…Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, ‘Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations’.” (1 Sam 8:1-22) God told Samuel to appoint Saul, who became the first King of Israel but ended up turning from God. So God told Samuel to appoint another, and King David was chosen, and then there was a succession of kings leading up to King Herod’s reign in which the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, was born. So the people asked to be ruled…as people usually have over the ages. My novel, The Peace Maker, which is being re-published and released tomorrow, Sept. 27, is based on the First Book of Samuel and the rise of King David, set in a modern-day America with a plot about a contemporary US Presidential election and issues much like those we face today: the strife for peace in the Middle East, right to life vs. right to choose, and more. So…which candidate is the right one in this election? Which one would God choose? I think we need to educate ourselves, so a good first step would probably be watching the presidential debates, starting tonight. And then we need to keep praying!

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There’s No Choice But…

pres-electionto take a stand, in my opinion, in this year’s election. Many people I know are saying they will not vote but I believe that to do nothing shows a lack of responsibility and courage. Thus far I  have been trying to stay open-minded and somewhat silent, especially since I am an author who wants universal appeal. But as the election draws near, I believe God is calling me to speak out for truth and life whether I want to remain popular among as many readers as possible or not. Of course in my newly-republished novel, The Peace Maker, a contemporary political suspense/romance based on the Bible’s story of David and Abigail in the First Book of Samuel involving a modern-day  US Presidential Election with issues just like those we face today, I do take a stand. (I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it though). And even though I dislike some of the stances and character traits of both candidates this election, I know that I must speak out for, and vote for, the right to life. There are many passages in the Bible which defend every person’s right to life, including the unborn: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27); “Be fertile and multiply” (Genesis 1:28); “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17); “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3); “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5); When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41). I recently attended the “Stand for Life” fundraising banquet of the Baltimore North Pregnancy Center. Keynote Speaker Rev. Edward V. Meeks spoke out on voting against the “death culture” of the current administration and Hillary Clinton…which means voting for the right-to-life candidate, Donald Trump.  Just days ago, news reports stated that Trump took a stronger stand on this issue by announcing his new Pro-Life Coalition, vowing to fight for a permanent prohibition on spending federal taxpayers’ money on abortions and selecting Marjorie Dannenfelser, a major anti-abortion activist, to lead it. He released a letter pledging to fulfill four pro-life goals as president, including nominating pro-life justices, signing a law ending late-term abortions, stripping funding from Planned Parenthood as long as the organization performs abortions, and making permanent the Hyde Amendment ban on taxpayer money going to fund abortions. Many considered this a bold move since most candidates usually try to tack to the political center, hoping to avoid thorny social issues this late in their campaigns. Meanwhile, Clinton recently leaned further in the other direction taking a more radical stance for abortion by calling for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, supporting full-fledged taxpayer funding of abortions, and saying it would “champion” the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. The line has now been drawn clearly by both candidates on this issue…and it’s time for people to decide on which side of the line they stand. I know I stand on the side of God.

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Ours is not to reason why…

9-11neverforgetI am fortunate indeed to be able to say I didn’t have anyone close to me who died in the 9-11-2001 terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon. Still, like most of my fellow Americans, I will never forget the tragedy that occurred that day, the deadliest terrorist act in world history, and my heart still aches for all of the victims and their families. Sometimes as human beings we are prone to question “why?” when reflecting on events such as these. As in, why do bad things happen to good people, why does God cause or allow such evil to exist and such pain and suffering to occur, and the like, just like Job did in the Bible, on whom my first novel, The Faithful One, is based. I believe that God doesn’t cause evil and suffering to happen; however, since He is all-powerful, whether bad things are caused by man and/or Satan, God does allow them to happen. We see this in the Book of Job when Satan asks God if he can “test” Job’s faith in order to destroy him. But the good news in the story is that, while God allows this to happen, Satan does not destroy Job, and then God gives to Job double what he lost. God is ultimately in control and helps Job, like he helps us, in our darkest days. Is this supposed to be comforting? Well, maybe not at first. It is still tough to understand why an all-loving, all knowing, all powerful God would allow bad things to happen. But in the big picture it can be. Because if God is all powerful, He will use our pain and suffering ultimately for good, like he did with his Son Jesus.  Over and over in the Bible we are told everything happens for a reason according to God’s Plan. We just can’t always see it.  “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8) And what if we could? We might still not fully understand or be satisfied with His answers. Yet that does not mean God is silent toward us. God speaks to Job in the Bible, but instead of telling him “Why” He tells him “Who.” He reminds Job who He is. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?…”   And we are reminded daily too…in the majesty of the ocean, the beauty of an eagle flying,the love and compassion we feel for each other which is seen especially in the wake of tragedies like 9-11. And that is enough for us to know. Even – and especially – when life doesn’t go our way, we can have faith in God’s sovereignty and know He will bring us through with his care and love. I especially felt this Sunday at Mass when they played the song, “On Eagle’s Wings” ((Lyrics based on Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31) often played at funerals to comfort us when we have lost a loved one and may question “why?” And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.”

 

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Not Too Late! Speak Out Today Against Human-Animal Chimera Research

embryoThe National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federally funded medical research agency, wants to start funding – using taxpayer dollars – research into human-animal “chimeras” – which, according to the NIH website,  means “growing human tissue and organs in animals through the introduction of human pluripotent cells into early stage embryos of non-human vertebrate animals.” In short, trying to grow human parts like brains and reproductive organs in animals.  The public is allowed to make comments through midnight, Sept. 6. According to the website, “these experimental designs raise questions regarding where the human cells might go in the developing animal and how they might function, such as whether the human cells might contribute to the central nervous system and affect the cognition of the animal.” But Catholics and other Christian churches alike are calling it  an abomination and are encouraging all people who defend the “right to life” to write in against it. “The bottom line is that the Federal government will begin expending taxpayer dollars on the creation and manipulation of new beings whose very existence blurs the line between humanity and animals such as mice and rats. In doing so, the government is ignoring the fact that federally funded research of this kind is prohibited by Federal statute and is also grossly unethical,” the The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote in its comments submitted Sept. 2. “Herein lies the key moral problem involved in this proposal, beyond the already grave problem of exploiting human embryos as cell factories for research,” they wrote. “For if one cannot tell to what extent, if any, the resulting organism may have human status or characteristics, it will be impossible to determine what one’s moral obligations may be regarding that organism.” The comments noted that Catholic morality allows for “the respectful use of animals in research that can benefit humanity. But because of the unique dignity of the human person, there are limits to what can morally be done….”  They further wrote: “It relies on the destruction of human embryos…the dignity and inviolability of human life at every stage of development is a foundational principle of any truly civilized society. The right not to be subjected to harmful experimentation without one’s express and informed consent is an innate human right….” In my book, The Peace Maker (being re-published this month), a contemporary novel about the story of David and Abigail in the First Book of Samuel in which the David and Nabal (Abigail’s narcissistic and abusive husband) characters are running for US President in an election much like the one we’re facing today, I bring out current issues about stem cell research involving human egg harvesting, which is legal in many states in the US and countries around the world, but like the human/animal chimeras, is also highly immoral and unethical. I think we really need to look at these issues, vote our consciences in the upcoming 2016 election, and speak out. To write to the NIH (do so immediately as comments are due by end of Sept. 6), click here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=57

 

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