Rasha was beyond excited as she skipped out of her house. She’d been dating Nazir for several months now and the more she was away from him, the more she longed to be with him.
She accelerated her pace as she saw the bus approaching the corner. From there it was just a short 15 minute ride to the shop where her beloved Nazir worked.
Ever since she and Nazir had met she had been praying for him. As a former Muslim who had found Jesus to be “the way, the truth and the life,” Rasha believed that Jesus would reveal Himself to Nazir just as He had to her. She thought back to how much her life had changed since accepting Jesus as the Son of God, who forgave her of her sins. Things were not easy, with her family shunning her and threatening to disown her now that she was a Christian. But she had a peace that she could not explain.
The bus came to an abrupt and startling stop, jolting Rasha from her thoughts. Sirens were going off again, signaling the potential of falling bombs or mortars. She had grown accustomed to the sirens, but she knew there was always a real threat. The bus remained stopped for another several minutes before they began moving again.
As they rounded the corner, Rasha could see Nazir’s little shop. She jumped off the bus and jogged towards the spot where she would see the love of her life. She hoped she could talk again with him about Jesus.
As Rasha approached the large glass picture window at the front of the shop, she could see Nazir inside. Her pulse quickened. Their eyes met. Smiles spread across their faces. And…
Boom!! Boom!! Boom!!
The concussion from the bombs threw Nazir across the room as the glass from the front window exploded into the shop. Rasha was gone. Those dark beautiful eyes that had always penetrated his soul were there just a moment before. But now a huge fireball marked the spot where she had stood.
Nazir screamed. Tears poured down his cheeks as he yelled Rasha’s name over and over. Shuffling through the shards of glass and debris that now littered his shop, he crawled out through the gaping hole that was just moments earlier a window, through which he and Rasha had smiled.
Rasha was nowhere to be seen. It was as if she had vanished into thin air. But then he noticed a strange smell. A burning smell. One that brought a sickening feeling to his stomach. And then he saw them. Black charred bodies that had been burned beyond recognition. He collapsed. The sense of loss was too great to bear. How could someone he loved so much be gone forever?
How could humans hate humans this much?
How could Muslims kill Muslims?
Nothing made sense…
The above story is based on a real incident which happened to Nazir (name changed to protect his identity) in Damascus, Syria. The name “Rasha” and the moments leading up to her death are my imagination, but the explosion, her relationship with Nazir, his love for her, and the remaining facts are as reported to us by Nazir.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel to Greece by way of Albania. I was joined there with several other men who live in that part of the world, and we were engaged in what was to become a series of life altering meetings.
We had the opportunity and privilege to interview a number of refugees, including Nazir, who had fled from cities in Syria, Iran and Iraq, mostly because of the wars and conflicts there. Many of these former Muslims are now living in crowded refugee camps throughout Greece.
In addition to Nazir’s story above, below is a sampling of some of the comments of these refugees that will give you just a small glimpse into the catastrophes they fled that led to their new life in Christ:
- As I made the decision to accept Christ, I realized that my Christian girlfriend gave her life so that I would know Jesus.
- I heard a voice say, “I’m with you” while I was in the hospital but I knew the voice was not from the god of Islam because Allah does not speak with people.
- After fleeing Aleppo, I began questioning Islam’s teachings. If God created me, how could he tell me to kill people?
- If you want to be a Muslim you must close your mind.
- When ISIS came to Mosul they killed my brother, and Christians, and did awful things to girls, destroying everything.
- ISIS put me in jail twice: once for failing to pray and the second time for smoking. The second time they placed a loaded and cocked gun to my head.
- ISIS is still looking for me and would kill me if they found me.
- As I was going home from work one day in Aleppo, a bomb exploded near me and I suffered injuries in my arms and legs.
- Because of the war in Aleppo I fled to Turkey. While there, I met a Christian who I fell in love with, even though I was a Muslim. When I told my family that he wanted to marry me, they told me they would disown me and I would never be welcome to come home again.
- While living in my home country of Iran, I met some Christians there and I became a Christian. But because of my conversion, my life was threatened so I had to flee from Iran to Turkey. While there I met a Muslim girl who I was attracted to. But she was from Syria and spoke Kurdish so I had to use a translator. After several months I asked her to marry me, but I could still not speak Kurdish with her. I needed to be able to communicate with her so I had been praying about this. One night I went to bed, unable to speak Kurdish. The next morning I woke up and could speak Kurdish fluently. When I met my girlfriend the next time, she thought I had been lying to her about my inability to speak Kurdish but I explained to her that it was Jesus who had given me the ability to speak her language. I can still speak it fluently to this day.
- We got married and 5 months later left Turkey, ending up in a refugee camp in Greece. My wife miscarried our first baby and became deathly ill in the camp. One night, I was praying for my wife to be healed and a dark smoke filled our tent (which I believe was demonic). As I continued to pray to God I saw a bright white light outside our tent and I heard a voice telling me that my wife was going to be fine in the morning. The next morning two women I had never seen before came to our tent and they said, “We have come from the hospital and are here to help. Where is Amanda?” They prayed over my wife and took her to the hospital.
- While I was crying in the hospital I saw visions of Jesus smiling at me and He told me I would be ok. I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to help me and I trusted Him. Later, as I was sleeping, I saw Jesus in white clothes and He touched my forehead and healed me. When I woke up I walked out of the hospital fully healed and my life has changed forever now that Jesus is my Savior.
The Bible is full of stories of our miracle working God, many as dramatic as the ones above. Of course, in America, we see evidence of His miraculous work every time we look in the mirror, look out our window, look into the sky or see a new baby. But how often do we see God working in ways like those experienced by these Muslim refugees? In my case, never. But that does not mean that God is silent. To the contrary.
God promises to be found to those who earnestly seek Him. The more than half-dozen individuals that we interviewed are all powerful testimonies of individuals who were calling out to God in their time of dire distress. They were diligently seeking God. And God in miraculous ways showed Himself through Jesus. Their lives have been transformed for eternity. And these new believers are now reproducing themselves in the lives of dozens of other refugees within the camps scattered around Greece and beyond.
As I was reading through Scripture this week, I came across this verse:
“He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it.” (Deuteronomy 4:35-36)
Many of these refugees heard God’s voice in Jesus. They witnessed “these things” in order that they would distinguish between Allah, the god of Islam, and the one true God, who not only created the universe, but also sent His Son Jesus to die for them (and you, and me). When God showed Himself to be real to these refugees, they embraced Him completely. And every one of these refugees were promptly baptized, to present a public testimony of the fact that they left Islam and embraced Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
My good friend Nathan has aptly described what is occurring as a result of the war-torn conflicts throughout the middle east in this manner: “From Catastrophe to Christ.” He is planning a book by that name, as a sequel to his more recent book, that he co-authored with Joel Richardson: The Mystery of Catastrophe.
While wars and violence are horrendous, and any person would seek to avoid, we can clearly see God’s sovereignty at work in a mighty way through these ongoing catastrophes. And each one of these refugees is eternally grateful for the catastrophe they experienced, for without it, they would likely have never met Christ.
Manchester. Paris. London. Berlin. Stockholm. Nice. Brussels. Boston. San Bernardino. Orlando. These are just a few of the many cities in the Western world that have felt the scourge of Islamic Terrorism. Sadly, my hometown, Chattanooga, has also experienced Islamic Terrorism, as I wrote about a couple years ago in my article “When Evil Visited Our City.”
The Manchester massacre at an Ariana Grande concert this week, is yet another reminder that Islamic terrorism remain alive and well, in its diabolical quest to subject the masses. Once again, ISIS and their radical accomplices dealt a vicious blow to innocent lives. Over one hundred children and adults were injured or murdered at the hands of a brutal suicide bomber, as he detonated an improvised explosive device full of nails and ball bearings.
As tragic as this attack was, it could be a precursor to something so much worse and massive in terms of loss of life, as noted in this headline from earlier this week:
Isis tests chemical weapons on ‘human guinea pigs’, secret documents reveal
Dirty bombs, whether radioactive or chemical in nature, pose a mounting threat in this escalating battle between Islamic ideology and the Western world. These weapons of mass destruction, small in relative size, but enormous in destructive potential, have been a threat for years. As ISIS pursues chemical weapons to inflict even greater terror, harm, and death, it’s likely just a matter of time before neurotoxins replace nails.
I shudder to think of the future attacks by Islamic terrorists at concerts, sporting events, or other such “soft” targets. And as awful as the Manchester attack was, it could be dwarfed by an ISIS inspired suicide bomber, carrying a backpack with a chemical weapon. The impact from such an attack could be well into the multiple of thousands. And so, the threat could not be more grave and the urgency could not be greater to crush, root out, and thoroughly obliterate the scourge of Islamic terrorism.
President Trump’s trip this week to the the Middle East was extraordinarily timely, as he met with high profile Islamic states and their representatives. His message to them was clear. While America is committed to annihilating the cancer of Islamic terrorism, the ultimate responsibility for destroying this belief system lies at the feet of Islam itself. Will Muslims around the world, step up and purge their cultures, societies, mosques and madrasas? And if not, will our own political leaders take the necessary steps to protect our citizens?
Time will tell, but the sad reality is that the fundamentals taught within the Islamic trilogy (Koran, Hadith and Sira) and the example offered by Islam’s founder, Mohammed, are at odds with an ideology that our politically correct world fancies the “religion of peace.” Sure, there are passages that speak of peace, and there were times in Mohammed’s life that he was peaceful, but the actual meaning of the word Islam is “submission,” although your Muslim friend might tell you it is peace. And one only need read the passages and examples offered by the Trilogy and Mohammed himself, to see where ISIS gains the inspiration for its barbarism and depravity.
Saffie Rose Roussos
So in an age of tolerance, there can be no tolerance for an ideology that seeks to kill us all, including eight year old girls like Saffie Rose Roussos, as she was enjoying a music concert with her friends this week. An attack on Manchester by Islamic terrorists is an attack on us all. But to eradicate this scourge from amongst us, it will require political leaders to first acknowledge the truth of this ideology. Until then, the attacks will not only continue, but they will grow in severity as the body count increases.
On November 8, 2016 America entered a new era. The Trump era. And while there are many “firsts” with the election of President Donald J. Trump, there is one in particular that poses a significant challenge for our nation.
Donald Trump is the wealthiest individual ever elected President. In fact, Trump’s reported net worth of somewhere between $4-10 Billion is up to 100 times the size of the next wealthiest President during the last 100 years, John F. Kennedy.
But his wealth is not the real challenge. Rather, the nature of his wealth is what poses a monumental security challenge for our nation. Consider that Trump’s wealth is predominately comprised of a high profile real estate portfolio. From the five star, elite Trump Hotels, located around the country and in several foreign countries (including Islamic ones), to his corporate office complexes and skyscrapers, these properties could offer a high profile target for some of America’s worst enemies.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly singled out ISIS and other terrorist enterprises, making it clear that he would use the full force of the US military to defeat them. “I’m going to bomb the s*** out of them… and knock the hell out of them,” Trump promised.
Following the election, ISIS cheered the results, flooding Twitter with taunts, jeers and threats:
“Don’t try to hide, Donald. The mujahideen are ready.”
“Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions…”
The clear intent of ISIS all along has been to draw the world’s lone superpower into a head to head confrontation. This leading terrorist enterprise believes that drawing the US into a war will assist them in their recruiting efforts, while appealing to Allah to assist them in defeating the Great Satan.
So is a showdown coming?
If Trump is to be believed, he will be taking the fight to ISIS. But if ISIS is to be taken seriously, they are likely strategizing on ways to inflict maximum harm and devastation in unconventional but media rich ways, as they have often done in the past. Clearly they cannot take on the US military directly. So what could their targets be? Can we make some informed observations based on the previous methods ISIS has deployed? I believe so. And because of this, I see a dangerous threat to Trump and his related properties, and those individuals who might work at or visit them.
Obviously, Trump will be surrounded by the world’s finest detail, our US Secret Service professionals. And no doubt they are already preparing for every kind of threat and developing active contingency plans. But there’s one thing we should have learned by now, following hundreds of terrorist attacks around the world and many right here on our homeland. Protecting not only our billionaire President but also his expansive network of high profile assets, in a post 9/11 world, presents a new and unprecedented challenge for our nation.
This is just one more reason to offer up prayer for Donald Trump, his family, his team, and the entire Trump empire.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. I Peter 2:1-2
Over the last decade, I have interacted with hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow Americans, as we have shared our grave concerns over the direction of our nation. There is no doubt that the land of the free and home of the brave is on a course that threatens our future and the very survival of our nation. So we must ask ourselves this question.
Have we reached the point of no return?
Some may brush off such concerns, believing that America is too big to fail, and asserting that as the world’s superpower, our future remains secure. They reject the voices that continue to warn our leaders, citizens and neighbors that something is seriously wrong, and that never before has a nation ignored and rejected so many warnings and foundational principles, and survived.
One only needs to shuffle through history to recognize that nation after nation has ultimately stumbled and fallen when it turned its back on the basic building blocks of any exceptional civilization. Today, I would like to briefly touch on a few of the key foundation stones.
If there is one thing that dominates the hearts and minds of Americans it’s the almighty dollar. The economy consistently scores at the top of issues that concern Americans. In fact, the phrase, “it’s the economy stupid” became an often used slogan during the Clinton-Bush presidential campaign in 1992.
But with our nation’s current debt at $19,500,000,000,000 (that’s trillion) and its unfunded liabilities exceeding another $100 trillion, many would say that this issue alone has already taken us past the point of no return. Regardless of who is elected in November, both Clinton and Trump’s plans will continue to increase the national debt, at alarming rates.
However, it may surprise you to know that according to a recent study by Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, our nation’s federal debt would fare far worse under Trump with the debt in 2026 soaring to $39.5 Trillion, double the current debt. Under a Clinton administration, the national debt would rise to $29.6 Trillion. While $10 Trillion less than Trump, both candidates’ plans would put the final nail in the fiscal coffin of our nation.
The idea that we can continue to spend into oblivion with no consequences whatsoever is one sign that a nation is on the path to ultimate collapse.
There have certainly been periods of political dysfunction and turmoil over our 240 year history as a nation. And I suppose that occurs when men seek and desire power, often above all else. But as we see the magnitude of the problems facing our nation increasing exponentially, the prolonged polarization we are experiencing represents an existential threat to America. Good men and women can disagree, but at the end of the day, opposite sides of an issue must find some common ground if they are to solve problems in a republic, the system chosen by our founders. Of course, this also assumes that both sides are honest players in their desire to solve our problems, which is no longer the case.
Without our political leaders seeking the best for our nation, it’s unquestionable that the course we are on is headed for a ruinous conclusion.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” — the bedrock values of our nation. In selecting these words, our founding fathers sought to affirm the fundamental rights granted to man by God. By doing so they established the ground rules upon which we would live with each other. These rules, or sacred rights, would be the basis for all future interactions between the hundreds of millions of Americans that would follow them.
But in this era, no longer is Life revered and protected. Liberty is being handcuffed and under constant assault. And the Happiness one was once free to pursue is subject to approval, or disapproval, by the state.
As all of these founding rights have come under attack, corruption within our government and businesses has skyrocketed. Politicians use government as their own private wrecking ball in destroying those citizens, groups and states with whom they disagree. Businessmen use their enterprises to achieve personal gain, irrespective of the customers they manipulate, prey on, or defraud. Consequently, it’s only fitting that the two candidates for President exemplify the worst this nation has to offer, when it comes to candidates of high ethical standing.
We see then that as a nation’s ethics plummet and it removes the foundations of truth, the structure upon which it was built begins to sway and will ultimately topple.
Morals, the system by which we determine good and bad, is absolutely crucial in directing the ultimate destination of one’s life, enterprise and even nation. Morals are impacted and greatly influenced by the culture and society. Yet all morals are not equal.
Consider that under the teachings of Muhammed, the founder of Islam, it is appropriate to lie to advance the cause of Islam. It is also valid to subjugate non-Muslims, since they are deemed to be inferior people, referred to as kafirs. In contrast, the teachings of Jesus Christ instruct humanity to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the golden rule. And Christ also taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Clearly, these two ideologies, Islam and Christianity, are at two extremes in defining their morals, what is good and bad.
Over the last half century or so, our culture has radically redefined our morals. What was good 50 years ago is now bad, and what was bad then is now good. I could spend the next several paragraphs providing examples, but if you’re awake, you know how what was considered evil just a few decades ago, is now embraced, celebrated and promoted.
Morals, like ideas, matter. When a nation rejects good and elevates evil, and when that same nation punishes those who embrace good, and it codifies that which is bad, there can be no doubt that such nation is on a short path to collapse.
For America, perhaps this is the seminal issue upon which the ones above all rest. A skyscraper is only as sturdy and secure as the foundation upon which it rests. Likewise, the American experiment over these last 240 years has been an extraordinary success because of the Judeo-Christian values upon which it rested. But as those values have not only been attacked, but ultimately replaced over the last few decades with secularism, it’s clear that the experiment has begun to falter. And as it falters, we will have reached the point of no return.
We read in Scripture this promise, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” But we also read that “A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order.” Could there be any more fitting description of the condition of our nation today? And if God is the same yesterday, today and forever, as He declares, then we must certainly expect the coming extreme judgment of a Holy God as He has shown in so many other examples over the millenniums.
Ronald Reagan, our 40th President, while imperfect, exemplified the values of our founders and sought to redirect the trajectory of our nation. The course we were on was taking us to the point of no return but Reagan’s commitment to revitalize our economy, politics, ethics and morals, while elevating the spiritual, slowed our nation’s arrival at the edge of the cliff.
In one of Reagan’s most famous speeches entitled “A Time For Choosing,” first delivered in 1964, Reagan exposed the threat to peace by the Soviet Union. But his comments then are likewise applicable to my discussion today. In his closing remarks, Reagan stated:
“Someday… our surrender will be voluntary because by that time, we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally and economically… You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this the last best hope of man on earth or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Our rendezvous with destiny is upon us. By our choices and priorities over these last 50 years, we have established that destiny. And while our national destiny is perhaps past the point of no return, individually we can and must establish our own personal destiny, which does not have to mirror that of America’s. I pray you will embark on a plan to secure your destiny, economically, morally and spiritually.
To find out how, check out this previous article I wrote providing some specific and practical steps that we can all take.
This week, in the wake of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history, President Obama’s Department of Justice, via US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, released an excerpt of the transcript between Omar Mateen, the Islamic terrorist, and a 911 operator. However, the excerpt provided was scrubbed to exclude references to “ISIS” and ISIS leader “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” It was as if Obama and Lynch chose to use White-Out to cover up after another Islamic terrorist attack.
Thankfully, following an overwhelming outcry from American citizens, Attorney General Lynch reversed course in less than 24 hours and released the full transcript of the 911 calls. It’s extremely troubling though, to say the least, that anyone in our government would think that omitting such relevant info is appropriate.
This is how the scrubbed transcript was initially released:
Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD): Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
Shooter (OM): In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]
Imagine for just a moment, how this kind of approach might have read on December 8, 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt responded to the deliberate attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor:
“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of [omitted]. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by [omitted] on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the [omitted] empire.”
Looking back in history now, we would see such a response from the POTUS as not only ludicrous and naive but more importantly, mortally dangerous. Thankfully, President Roosevelt understood the existential threat posed by Japan and he not only named them as the enemy, but he responded with these words: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.”
Fast forward seventy-five years though, and we see an administration that is either so stooped in political correctness that it cannot bring itself to allow the words of the actual terrorist to be disclosed, or worse, it naively believes that there really is no threat posed by ISIS and its Islamic soldiers, who walk among us. Based on the actions and words of Obama and his administration over the last seven years, there is no question that the President seeks to provide cover for Islam.
As noted, because of political pressure, Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynn acquiesced. But her initial willingness to “white-out” the facts that are perhaps the most relevant to explaining the motive behind the worst mass shooting in our history, is extremely telling. And it’s not unprecedented for the Obama administration. There have been other instances when words were changed to deemphasize the role Islamic terrorism has played in other attacks.
If you’ve ever used the product White Out to cover up a word, you know that while the product’s white smudge hides the mistake, the original word is still underneath. Likewise, while Obama and his underlings may attempt to white-out Islamic terrorism, the grave threat this 1400 year old ideology poses remains. And as Obama continues to employ this white-out strategy, American lives will continue to hang in the balance, just as they did in Los Angeles, Little Rock, Ft. Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, and more.
The question we must ask ourselves is what role has Obama’s failed and dangerous strategy played in the loss of American lives? And how many more lives will we continue to lose between now and January 20, 2017, Obama’s last day in office? No one knows. But one thing is for certain, there is no chance that Obama will reverse course at this point.
But there are at least three steps you and I can take to counter Obama’s dangerous white-out policy:
Individually we must remain vigilant. All muslims are not terrorists and they do not all pose a threat. But nearly all terrorists over the last couple decades have come from the Islamic faith, interpreting its doctrine and teachings in keeping with their founder, Muhammed. So be aware of this truth. If you see something or someone that appears suspicious, inform your local law enforcement.
Inform your friends, family and neighbors of the the reality of the threat of Islamic terrorism. Forward this article to others. Make sure they are provided with news from sources other than ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and even FoxNews. There are many unfiltered and non-politically correct sites that can provide you and others with the true nature and scope of the threat posed by Islamic terrorism. Three which I consider very credible are Center for Security Policy, Political Islam, and Act for America.
We must encourage our political leaders and law enforcement to step up and fill-in the gap that Obama has created. You’ve heard the old saying that “all politics is local.” This same concept applies to law enforcement. Your local sheriff is likely the most important individual who will either acknowledge the threat of Islamic terrorism or he will embrace the Obama “white-out” strategy. Thankfully, my local Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond has taken a strong stand against Islamic terrorism, following the Islamic attack in 2015 in Chattanooga that killed five servicemen. And while his stand has brought great criticism by the naive apologists for Islam, Sheriff Hammond has remained steadfast in his understanding of the threat, and because of this, our community is safer as a result.
I close with the thoughts of two of our founders and the responsibility we all bear, for both our individual safety and our nation’s liberty.
“Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.” Thomas Jefferson
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Thomas Paine