Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review celebrate Black Friday by each giving out three politically-themed gifts.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review celebrate Black Friday by each giving out three politically-themed gifts.
Greg Corombos and Jim Geraghty of National Review prepare for Thanksgiving by discussing three political things they’re thankful for.
Polls show Hillary Clinton losing head-to-head against several GOP candidates. Study shows 13% of Syrian refugees are ISIS sympathizers. The search continues for Salah Abdeslam and accomplices.
Immersing ourselves in the Psalms day after day show how raw and real prayer ought to be, gives us more glimpses into the character of God and lead to an ever-deeper worship of Jesus Christ, according to pastor and teacher Dr. Tim Keller.
Keller is founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. His latest book is “The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms,” which is a chronological reflection on the Psalms for every day of the year.
The Psalms are the longest book of the bible, with 150 in total. Topics in the Psalms range from David’s despair and enduring hope in God while being hunted by King Saul to recognizing his sin after committing adultery with Bathsheba and ordering the murder of her husband in battle to rejoicing in the character and law of God. While David is prominently featured, there are numerous authors throughout the Psalms.
Keller says it was his own study of the Psalms that led him to use it as a teaching tool for how to pray.
“It came together because over the years I’ve been trying to teach people how to pray as a pastor. I realized I mostly give them principles, I don’t actually give them examples. This is God’s divinely-inspired devotional book. These are divinely-inspired prayers. This is God’s way of showing us how to pray in every possible situation, whether angry or bitter or happy or sad,” said Keller.
He says even a cursory reading of the Psalms shows believers that God wants us to unburden our hearts and not try to convince Him and those around us that we’ve got it all together.
“You know what’s great about the Psalms, almost always, no matter how bleak and angry or upset the psalmist is, whether its David or whoever’s doing it, the Psalms are very emotionally honest. They speak with candor. They express their emotions in ways most Americans would feel not free to do in prayer. They are really, really, candid,” said Keller.
Yet one of the most encouraging aspects of the psalms is that the writers almost always find their way back to extolling the greatness of God, regardless of circumstances.
“In the end they always circle back and say, ‘Here’s who you are, God. I’m remembering who you are.’ So they’re extremely honest about where they are but then they are absolutely realistic about who God is. They don’t just ventilate their emotions. They bring their emotions to God, to the real God,” said Keller.
But Keller is quick to point out a couple of exceptions. He says Psalm 39 and Psalm 88 conclude without reflection on God, which is believes is also instructive.
“The reason those Psalms are in the bible is sometimes it takes a long time to land. Sometimes you may actually be in darkness for a pretty good while,” said Keller.
But when the rescue does come, Keller says it is a critical reminder for believers in Christ as well.
“The psalmist is always asking for some kind of rescue, some kind of help, some kind of deliverance. What is that? That’s some kind of salvation. The ultimate fulfillment of any request for salvation is in Jesus Christ,” said Keller.
Another feature of the Psalms Keller finds fascinating are the imprecatory prayers, in which the writer specifically prays for God to destroy his enemies. While some might see a contradiction in that request when compared to Jesus commanding his followers to love their enemies, Keller finds three critical lessons in those prayers.
“First, we shouldn’t be too quick to turn away from them because it does show that God cares about justice. It’s too easy to forget that God is a God who will put everything right in the end. There will be a Judgment Day and evil will not triumph. Those Psalms are reminding us of that so you can’t turn away from that,” said Keller.
Second, Keller says getting an intimate look at the thoughts and emotions of a persecuted believer makes us more sensitive to those suffering for their faith in the world today.
“If I turn away from them I’m forgetting that right now in the world, somewhere, there are people literally in that situation. They are being oppressed. They are being persecuted. For me to just say ooh, this is kind of creepy, I’m forgetting that there’s people out there in the world that are experiencing this and this helps me. This keeps me from being sealed off from them. It reminds me of what they’re going through,” said Keller.
The third benefit of the imprecatory Psalms, according to Keller, is that they give us a window into our own sinfulness.
“The psalmist could not foresee everything God was going to do in Jesus Christ, but what we can see is this: what our enemies deserve, we deserve too and the things we deserve fell on Jesus. Knowing that makes it easier for me to forgive,” said Keller.
“But you’ve got to keep in mind is the psalmists always say, ‘God, you take vengeance.’ The psalmists do not say, ‘Lord, go help me take vengeance,'” said Keller.
While the Psalms were written before the birth of Christ, there are several that specifically prophesy the coming of Christ and his ministry and death on the cross. And Keller says even the ones that are not prophetic still point us to Jesus.
“The psalmist might be asking for forgiveness but the ultimate forgiveness is in Christ. He might be asking for joy. The ultimate joy is knowing we’re in Christ. So whatever the psalmist is asking for, a Christian can not only appreciate what he’s asking for but we can also know that in Christ we have infinitely more than even what the psalmist is asking for,” said Keller.
A small but determined army of Assyrian Christians is fighting back against the advance of ISIS along the Ninevah Plain, but it’s commander-in-chief says it’s success and the fate of suffering Christians depends heavily on the United States, the American people and other western allies.
“We can face IS without any fear. We can fight them if we have the support,” said Emmanuel Khoshaba, commander-in-chief of the Assyrian Military Forces. “We need training. We need weapons. We need equipment. We need to feel that our families. We need to feel that when you fight on the front lines, that your family is not in need and can live in dignity.”
Equipping and arming a rebel army would carry risks for the U.S. and other like-minded nations. The advance of ISIS into Iraq was highlighted by Iraqi forces quickly surrendering and abandoning their American-made equipment.
Khoshaba says that won’t happen with the Assyrian Military Forces.
“This is the difference. We fight for our land. We are fighting for our historical land. We are fighting for our village, for our cities, for our future,” said Khoshaba.
He says the problem with the Iraqi troops was they had no attachment to the land they were defending.
“[The soldiers] didn’t think they belonged to that area or that territory. The Islamic State came to him and he ran away,” said Khoshaba.
The Assyrian Military Forces began in the summer of 2014 in the wake of ISIS sweeping through Mosul and into the Ninevah Plain and imposing Sharia Law on those they conquered. In August, the terrorists advanced to the point where Khoshaba and other Assyrians had to make a decision.
“At that time, our people faced occupation from the Islamic State, from those terrorist barbarians. I had been in Irbil and I saw what was happening to my people. We decided to pick up arms and go fight for children, for women, for old men, for our life, for our future,” said Khoshaba.
The group started with just 12 fighters and desperately needed weapons. In desperation, Assyrian Christian women sold their wedding rings and other objects made of gold to finance the purchase of AK-14’s and other munitions.
The Assyrian Military Forces have been able to stunt the progress of ISIS along the Ninevah plain, but the fight is difficult and ISIS is far from defeated. Khoshaba says ISIS fighters are as ruthless as you would expect.
“It’s what you can imagine about the barbarian. They believe they are over humanity. They must kill [their enemies] or make them obey what they want from them,” said Khoshaba.
Despite their bloodthirsty reputation, Khoshaba says they are skilled fighters on the battlefield.
“They are fighting with strategy. Most of them are ex-Saddam officers, intelligence and Republican Guard. So they have a strategy. They know how to fight. What they are doing to the innocent people, that is why we call them barbarians,” said Khoshaba.
While the resistance is strengthening in the Ninevah Plain, life is not getting any better for Christians in the region.
“It’s still very, very bad because we don’t have the support to give them help,” said Khoshaba. “Our people life in bad conditions in camps.”
Khoshaba says Assyrian Christians lived comfortable lives prior to the invasion and lost everything in one night when ISIS swept through, leaving many refugees. Khoshaba says those interested in helping to meet the physical needs of Assyrian Christians do so at unitedassyrianappeal.org.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review sigh as FBI Director James Comey suggests the government can’t do anything else to vet Syrian refugees. They hammer Hillary Clinton for saying Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism. And they rip Hillary Clinton and her campaign for threatening legal action against the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles if it didn’t remove video of comedians mocking her when she visited the club last week.
A black pastor and activist says the black community is careening towards disaster unless it stops seeing racism as the root of its problems and focuses on rebuilding the black family with God at the center of it.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is the founder of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, or BOND, and is author of “The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood.”
In the book, Peterson rips liberal activists and politicians for fanning the belief among many black Americans that ongoing racism is responsible for their economic and social conditions. He says it’s something much simpler.
“The worst thing that can happen to children is not to have a good father in the home, where while they’re growing up they can look at and observe and see the right way to go, the right way to deal with life. Most of these children don’t have fathers in their homes. Seventy-three percent of black babies are born out of wedlock today,” said Peterson.
He says the negative impact of fatherless homes runs very deep.
“They’re angry because in their souls, in themselves, they miss their father. There’s a longing for their father. There’s anger because most of the mothers are turning them away from their fathers by telling them their father’s no good, that he doesn’t love you. There’s a void there and they’re spoiled because their mothers are spoiling them,” said Peterson.
When those “angry” young people reach adulthood, Peterson says deceptive politicians and activists that he calls “alchemists” are ready to manipulate that frustration.
“Instead of helping them to overcome their home life, they tell them that it’s racism, that white people are against them and try to hold them back. Many blacks believe that because when you’re angry, you can’t believe the truth,” he said.
Peterson says to goal of the “alchemists” is not to improve lives but to exploit them for political purposes.
“(Today’s) civil rights movement, Barack Obama and liberal white are controlling black Americans for personal gain, to gain power and wealth and to really change America into a socialist society,” said Peterson, who believes Obama feeds into the narrative because he’s part of it after growing up in a broken home himself.
“He doesn’t have the same respect for God. He doesn’t have respect for the country. He is in that same fallen state that these black radicals that you look at every day on TV running white people away from their jobs, accusing white people, cursing and carrying on. Obama has created that environment even more so because he’s in the same state of mind,” said Peterson.
Peterson says the black family was already struggling to stay together when Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was introduced in the 1960’s and government programs began sending checks to single mothers for food, welfare and other needs.
“When the civil rights movement started, they took the fathers out and the government became the daddy,” said Peterson.
This is not theory to Peterson because he’s lived it. He was born on a plantation in Jim Crow Alabama. His mother and birth father split and she married someone else by the time he was born. He says his mother, stepfather and grandparents instilled in him the values of hard work and the importance of not hating anyone because of their skin color.
Despite having a more stable home life than many young black men, Peterson says he struggled mightily when he ventured to California to start his own life.
“I grew up with a void. Even though I had a stable environment, I still had a yearning for my father. I wanted my earthly father. My mother would try to turn me away from him whenever I would ask for him. She was saying he’s no good so I resented her for that,” said Peterson.
Then came the “alchemists.”
“I started listening to Jesse Jackson and others and they said that white people was my problem. Because they were in the forefront, were adults and popular, I thought they were telling the truth. I ended up, for the first time in my life, hating white people and my life went to hell in a handbasket. I ended up on welfare,” said Peterson.
Peterson says he still had white friends but would bristle over any sort of disagreement, particularly about race, and consider them racists. While he was still trying to cope with the absence of his earthly father, he turned to his heavenly Father.
“I asked God to let me see what was wrong with me. He allowed me to see that the resentment that I had for not having my father and for my mother was holding me back in life, It separated me from God,” said Peterson.
“He also showed me that I needed to forgive so I went and forgave my father. When I forgave my father and mother, God forgave me. He took away all that anger, all the confusion, the doubt, the fear,” said Peterson, who adds he now has an “excellent relationship” with his earthly father.”
Peterson admits a Herculean effort is required to turn conditions around. But he says it starts with simply saying no to people who believe their victimhood entitles them to whatever they want.
“The first thing that white Americans need to say no to is this notion that you’re a racist. Let them call you whatever they want but you speak the truth to the issue,” said Peterson.
Next, he says are the government programs that he believes makes millions willing to perpetuate their bleak condition.
“We need to get away from Affirmative Action based on color. We need to stop giving these people free welfare, free Affirmative Action, free everything. You’re corrupting their nature when you do that. They lose all sense of hope and the ability to do for themselves,” said Peterson.
From there, Peterson says we need to build the family back up again, starting with a right understanding of what a family looks like.
“There’s a spiritual order to life. That order is God in Christ, Christ in man, man over woman, women over the children. It’s not a competition. It’s just a spiritual order. When the wife and the children love the father who loves God, then life works well,” said Peterson.
A major priority is getting men to acknowledge and live up to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers, something BOND has been doing for years.
“We are rebuilding the father by rebuilding the man. What we’re doing is getting men to turn back to God, love Him with all their heart, soul and might, and then get married and start guiding their families in the right way to go,” said Peterson.
Peterson says this effort is of the utmost importance because a culture filled with hatred and division will not last very long.
“Unless we muster up enough courage to tell the truth about this anger that starts in the home first and not with white people, there’s no hope for this country. How can God help us when we refuse to speak the truth about what is wrong. The problem is the destruction of black families and not white racism. I guarantee you that,” said Peterson.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review like a new poll showing Hillary Clinton losing badly to all four top GOP candidates in Colorado. They also discuss multiple reports of Syrians fraudulently posing as refugees in an effort to reach the U.S. And they enjoy the demand of student protesters that Princeton scrub all references to former Pres. Woodrow Wilson.
ISIS can be defeated but it will take much greater will on the part of President Obama, an exponentially more robust air campaign with more reasonable rules of engagement and Arab ground forces to get the job done, according to retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney.
McInerney spent 35 years in uniform and rose to the role of assistant vice chief of staff, the number three position in the Air Force. He also served as a combat pilot in Vietnam and as vice commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe. He says the first step is for Obama to admit we currently have no strategy.
“He doesn’t have a strategy and that’s why, 16 months after we started the air campaign, we’re still at it,” said McInerney, who compared our current policy of a few sorties a day to what was accomplished back in the Gulf War in 1991.
“Desert Storm was 600,000 troops against Saddam Hussein’s forces. We had a 43-day air campaign and a 100-hour ground campaign. I don’t understand what the president’s strategy is,” said McInerney. “I don’t know what the president’s purpose is. He just has not exhibited any desire to take ISIS out.”
The U.S. campaign began after ISIS released videos showing the beheading of two American journalists. But even then, McInerney says Obama started our policy off on the wrong foot.
“We are not trying to destroy ISIS. The president talks about degrade and destroy. No American president in our history has ever said degrade the enemy and then destroy them. It’s always destroy them,” said McInerney.
So how can that be done? In the military realm, McInerney says it starts with a relentless air campaign of 500-1,000 sorties a day, compared with recent statistics showing the U.S. drops eighteen bombs per day. In comparison, the U.S. averaged 1,100 sorties per day during the Gulf War and 800 per day during major combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
But the general says the targets are just as important as the intensity.
“We need to have an air campaign that takes out all the lines of communication, meaning the highways. So Highway 47 from Raqqa, the capital of ISIS in Syria, to Mosul, nothing should move on that. Highway 1 from Mosul down to Baghdad, nothing should move on that. In other words, you start starving out everybody in Raqqa and in Mosul,” said McInerney.
He says there should be two other areas high on the hit list.
“Number two, you want to get their command and control, headquarters, etc. which we know where they are. Number three, we want to take out the petroleum and the vehicles that ship the oil,” said McInerney, who also listed the destruction of 60 terrorist training camps among the top priorities.
McInerney says concentrating that much air power on those valued targets would make an immediate difference.
“You’d see that their ability to move, to execute, to do anything, as the caliphate they can’t even protect their own people,” said McInerney.
Since Friday’s attacks in Paris, France has been launching highly publicized airstrikes on ISIS targets, but McInerney says that’s barely a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed.
“They’re flying ten sorties a day. That’s not the template for anything,” he said, while admitting the French campaign is still more intense than the current U.S. effort.
The proof of our ineffectiveness, says McInerney, can be seen in satellite images of Raqqa.
“I’m looking at a [photo] right now of the city of Raqqa, the ISIS main headquarters, the Islamic court. All these buildings are standing. Why? The fact is we are not executing air power,” said McInerney.
The next change McInerney wants to see is a loosening of the rules of engagement which he believes are preventing any meaningful action because our leaders are trying to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.
“Our humane rules of engagement are creating inhumane results. You’ve got 300,000 people almost that are now dead, killed, or wounded in Syria. You look at what’s happened in Iraq. We’re just dragging something out and making it agonizing,” said McInerney.
While the general believes intense, targeted air power is vital to putting ISIS in the edge of extinction, he says Arab ground forces are needed to finish the job.
“People misunderstand. Only Arabs, the Muslims, can destroy this radical Islamic ideology. We’re infidels (in the minds of Muslims). They won’t accept that,” said McInerney. “They’ll have to do it and they’ll have to justify why this is such a failed ideology.”
This is the element of the fight where McInerney believes Obama is most sorely lacking. But he says other important leaders are dropping the ball too.
“You have a president who talks about violent extremists. I know not the ideology of violent extremists, but I know the ideology of radical Islam. It’s the Quran. It’s the Hadith, the sayings of the prophet and it’s Shariah law. Those are their rules of engagement. Until we understand that, we’ll not defeat this enemy,” said McInerney.
“They must defeat it themselves. Where are the Fatwas from Mecca and Medina chastising people for killing westerners,” added McInerney.
McInerney has one final job for Middle East nations – for them to take in the tens of thousands of refugees he suspects cannot be properly vetted by the U.S. or other western nations.
“Saudi Arabia and the other Middle East countries ought to be taking them over there. They have the space for them. They have a whole host of things, and they can recycle them back into Syria when this is resolved. That’s why I don’t think that we need to take them here,” said McInerney.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud the French for rooting out terrorists in their country and for an aggressive bombing campaign in Syria. They also hammer Secretary of State John Kerry for saying the “rationale” for the ISIS attacks against Charlie Hebdo was easier to understand because it had published material offensive to Muslims. And Jim laments Bobby Jindal’s withdrawal from the 2016 campaign and rips Republicans who turned on Jindal for actually cutting spending.