The Bible says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (King James Bible)  The Word of God consistently teaches us to have godly character.  There are too many politicians who have the testimony of do as I say, but they do the opposite of what they say.  Also, we have too many preachers with a double standard testimony.  In both cases, this shows a lack of godly character.  The problem is there is a lack of commitment to do right.  Evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., said, “Do right till the stars fall.”  We must purpose in our hearts beforehand what we will or will not do.  The Bible says in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (King James Bible)  Character cannot be bought or inherited; it must be earned by the earnest desire to do right.  There is no greater compliment to an individual than for someone to tell him that he is a man of character.  For many people, character is subject to change by the amount of money involved.  Character is the sacrificial lamb upon the altar when it comes to fame, fortune, and power.  A person of character can eat, sleep, and work well because of the peace in his heart that he is doing right.  The number one enemy of character is the philosophy of situation ethics.  The devil is the author of this philosophy.

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The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, the movie version of the novel by John Godey is currently enjoying a cinematic revival at the American Box Office.  Modern moviegoers are once again thrilling to the story of armed men who hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for ransom.  The original film premiered in November of 1974 with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw in the starring roles. The present incarnation of the film features John Travolta as the just-released-from-prison, mastermind felon named Ryder, who engineers the hijacking.  Denzel Washington plays the part of Walter Garber, an everyday dispatcher who is drawn into the drama by chance and is forced by Ryder to play a pivotal role in the chaos. 

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I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, and in that regard I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying “I am sorry.” A handwritten note or phone call would ultimately be more appropriate, but given the number of people I need to apologize to I write this to begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others.

It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God can make good of our respective wrongs in life. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for the perspective it has afforded. 

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Our Founding Fathers forged this nation with blood, sweat, and tears.  Many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives.  The founding of this nation was not for the faint of heart.  Our Founding Fathers did not found this country because of the desire for greed and power, as the leftists say, but they founded this nation for the cause to live, work, and die as free Americans.  They wanted to be free from the oppressive hand of Mother England.  England was smothering the colonies both spiritually and physically.  There was a great deal of debate and soul-searching before our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Josiah Quincy, who was a great American orator for freedom during this time, said, “Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a ‘halter’ intimidate.  For, under God, we are determined that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever, we shall be called to make our exit, we will die as free men.”

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Last week President Barack Obama exercized his audacity again, declaring that Israel has the green light from the US to go ahead and complete construction on housing units in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria that were already begun. But he added that after those projects were completed, he was demanding "a full construction freeze" in all the communities "across the disputed territories." And he added that he expected Israel "to fully comply with its demands."

I don't recall that it was Barack Obama who won the last election for Prime Minister of Israel. Do you? Yet it seems as if he thinks he holds the office of Super Prime Minister, or is it Dictator? How does he think he has the authority to make such dictatorial demands on Israel? How can he ignore that Israel is a viable and successful independent sovereign state? Does he consider Israel to be just another US state, or a colony of the US under his empirical  administation?

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I continue to receive messages from Honduran citizens upset at the international  media for their distorted coverage of the situation in the Central American  country. The people support the ouster of Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, who is considered  a puppet of Venezuelan Communist ruler Hugo Chavez. They are mystified that an  American president would want to return this Chavez puppet to power in Honduras.

One  Honduran wrote: “The recent action taken by our Congress is highly supported by several organizations in support of peace and democracy: the State General  Attorney, the Supreme Court, the Armed Forces, the private organizations and especially many young people. Mr. Zelaya broke the law on several occasions even  after the Supreme Court stated that it was illegal. He had no respect for our  laws and our Constitution.

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Evangelical Christians from many countries of the world comprise the majority of foreign tourists visiting Israel each year. Most of them are going to Israel for the first time, and what they primarily want to see are the ancient Biblical sites. They have read about Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and other places in their Bibles. So they arrive with excitement and anticipation in the Holy Land, anxious to see these ancient Biblical places.

The fact that these ancient sites are still in existence for tourists to visit is what we might call, "Biblically significant." They were places of importance in Israel centuries ago during Biblical history. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived there. David and Solomon reigned there. Jesus and His disciples ministered there. And amazingly, two or three thousand years later, these ancient Biblical places are still real, existing and thriving places.  

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Mike Scruggs