2015: A Year in Review

Welcome to 2015. Where man-buns are a thing and more deaths are caused by taking selfies than shark attacks. Deaths by selfies gone wrong: 12. Death by shark attacks: 8. There have been an estimated 105 billion photos taken by Americans this year and 104.9 billion of them were seflies! We have definitely become a more selfish and self-centered generation this year – with the Kardashians leading the charge on this one! Kim Kardashian (in)famously “broke the internet” this year with her butt. [I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.] But I guess Ariana Grande wanted a piece of the limelight so she took to donut licking to find it. She may have taken it a bit too far when she said she hated America and Americans because her stunt backfired and people began to realize they’d have one less “Problem” without her so she eventually apologized and now all is right with the world.

Yes, 2015 was indeed a busy year. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this past year.

Politics and the Fight Against Terror
We started off 2015 with the attacks by two brothers with ties to Al-Qaeda, against Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris who had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They killed 11 people and injured 11 others. A massive manhunt for the two terrorists led to an altercation with police two days later. The terrorists were found hiding in a printworks factory. They emerged from the building firing at police. Both suspects were killed. Meanwhile, two other terrorists with connections to the brothers had taken hostages inside a Jewish supermarket. In total, 17 people were killed in the course of three-days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress this year in March speaking against the nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama was busy golfing or something and subsequently couldn’t find time to meet with our “strongest ally in the Middle East.”

In May, the U.S. along with several other world leaders struck a nuclear agreement with Iran. Supporters of Israel and common sense all over the world urged their leaders to oppose the deal. In his address to the country, President Obama gave us some information about the really bad deal.

An arms embargo would be in place for 5 years while a ballistic missile embargo would be in place for 8 years. The deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior or acting like a civilized nation. We are hoping this deal will lead to future talks in hopes that they will lessen their violence and take a more constructive path — but we’re not betting on it.

It does not give me pause the others in Tehran or Mr. Assad are praising this deal as victory against America. The facts are the facts. I’m not concerned with what others say about it.

We have huge differences with Iran. Israel has significant concerns with regards to its security. Iran has a military, they deny the holocaust, they have called for their destruction and have missiles pointed at [Israel]. For all the objections of Netanyahu and republicans no one has given me an alternative.

24/7 monitoring of the “known” and “declared” facilities. What if they try to develop a covert program? The benefit of sophisticated monitoring throughout the entire process is that it’s hard to create a covert program. But if they are so determined, the IAEA has the authority to declare they want to inspect the suspicious areas. If Iran wants to object to any inspections, we can override that decisions. This is the most vigorous inspection process ever negotiated. The only argument you could make against it is that Iran is no intent that no inspection team would ever be sufficient. At that point, the only alternative is to go to war with Iran.

We didn’t make the release of hostages part of the deal because we didn’t want Iran thinking they could get more out of this deal by using the hostages as leverage. If we had walked away from the negotiating table we’d still be pushing hard to get them out of prison.

There are quite a few sketch details in this nuclear deal with Iran. I’m sure we will hear about this in 2016.

The world was rocked again when terrorists carried out attacks in the capital of France. Terrorists executed at least 158 people in coordinated attacks around Paris. The terrorists were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “this is for Syria” before opening fire. French President Francois Hollande closed the French borders and declared a state of emergency. The terrorists involved were killed.

ISIS took more ground in Syria and Northern Iraq. More people were brutally murdered by the terrorist group which also led to the height of the refugee crisis facing the world. For years, Syrians had been fleeing their country because of the devastating civil war taking place. But now with ISIS being added to the mix, the number of refugees was becoming almost overwhelming. The debate reached its height in America this year after it was discovered that at least one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks had snuck in with the Syrian refugees.

While most American were having Turkey for Thanksgiving, so was Russian President Vladmir Putin. After ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks against Russians and around the world, Putin ordered attacks against the terrorist groups and many Americans day-dreamed about impeaching Barack Mom-Jeans Obama and replacing him with Vladmir I-Wrestle-Bears-With-My-Bare-Hands Putin to be our next President.

And just when we all thought the Greek economy couldn’t get any worse, it did. Throughout the year, we’ve watched as the Greek economy collapsed – again…again.

2015 was also the year of Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Both entered the Presidential race this year and both have lead the ratings as the two front-runners in the GOP party. I think this shows that people are ready for some real change – not more politicians promising the world and then delivering none of it. Although, I still think Ted Cruz is the best candidate. Anyhow, this should make for an interesting election this coming year!

Race Issues
After the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, two weeks of protests erupted in downtown Baltimore. The incident reignited the debate about police brutality and brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront of American’s minds.

On June 17, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine people. In the subsequent investigation, photos of the gunman posing with a Confederate flag emerged which sparked a debate on the Confederate flag. South Carolina representatives voted to remove the Confederate flag.

Rachel Dolezal came under fire this year after city officials investigated her claim that she was African-American only to find out she was actually white. She claimed that she “identified as African-American” because apparently in 2015 we became a society that made it ok to just “feel” whoever we wanted to be. Which leads us to one of the top social stories of the year.

Social Issues
Bruce “Call Me Caitlyn” Jenner made waves in April 2015 when he announced he identified as a woman and would be making the official change from Bruce to Caitlyn.

In a 5-4 decision this June, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states. However, many questioned the validity of the ruling and whether or not the Supreme Court, who cannot make laws but only enforce existing laws, had the authority to make such a decision.

Pope Francis made headlines this year when he visited the United States. He also addressed Congress on his September visit – becoming the first Pope ever to do so. In his speech, he advocated on behalf of the poor and Mother Earth and lambasted greed.

On April 25, the world jumped into action after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and destroyed thousands of homes. The earthquake triggered a massive landslide on Mount Everest and killed approximately 9,000 people.

But the earthquake in Nepal wasn’t the only reason thousands of people died this year. Planned Parenthood earned themselves national criticism when undercover videos revealed the horrifying truth behind Planned Parenthood. While most of us already knew that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually care for women or children, it seemed their depravation goes even further than any of us thought possible. Planned Parenthood officials were caught on video selling aborted baby parts for thousands of dollars. It seems that their procedures even took special precautions to ensure the parts were as intact as possible to ensure the highest price. Little was done in response to prevent this from happening again and many even bolstered their support for Planned Parenthood in spite of national criticism. Meanwhile, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion in a small African village drew public outcry and even received death threats while the villagers in Africa went on with their lives as normal.

Meanwhile, college students across America whined that they needed “safe-spaces” on campuses so that no one would feel marginalized or have their feelings hurt. Because 2015 was the year of the cry-baby. In generations before us, young adults fought wars and built a life for themselves and their families but today, they cry for their blankies and safe-spaces. What is America coming to?!

Mass Shootings
Charleston, Oregon, San Bernardino. This year, it seemed as if there were too many mass shootings. It seemed like every day there were alerts of gunmen on a college campus, or walking down the street, or at their job. While the liberal left were crying for their blankies and more gun control (which is obviously the solution), common-sense thinkers recognized that it won’t take more gun control, it will actually take less government intervention to help keep America safe. Bad guys will find a way to murder and kill. The delay in time it takes a police officer to respond to a 911 call could mean the difference between life and death. And that means that if the bad guys are the only ones with guns, there will be no one to protect innocent civilians – especially with the wave of distrust arising against police officers.

Undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey was defeated by New Mexico native Holly Holm and Americans across the nation engaged in a throwdown of their own when that stupid dress came on the scene. You know which one I’m talking about. The gold and white one. Or was it the blue and black one? Either way, people almost died over that controversy.

We also saw, or at least learned, about the Gilmore Girls reunion! Fans all over the world pulled out their “Babette Ate Oatmeal” shirts, drank gallons of coffee, and practiced saying “Oy with the poodles” hundreds of times fast in preparation for the big day. We also saw Star Wars make a HUGE comeback this year. In what is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time, Disney takes us to a galaxy set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but, seriously, SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

And then there was the sad news that oldest Duggar son Josh, had not only molested some of his younger sisters and family friends growing up but that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, as well.

New Year, New Start
As 2015 comes to a close, its easy to look back at this last year and see only the negative. But in the midst of the bad there are stories of good. Stories of people helping others. Stories of lives being changed forever. Stories that restore our faith in humanity.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but just think what would happen in 2016 if we all resolved to be a force for good this year. If we stopped and helped someone in need. If we thought of others first and gave of ourselves. We could be the light in a very dark world. We could give others hope in a world of despair. So let’s charge into 2016 ready to face all the challenges that lay ahead knowing that God is the Light that goes before us!

Be blessed and be a blessing in 2016!

Sen. Chuck Schumer Latest Democrat to Announce Opposition to Iranian Nuclear Deal

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s third-ranking Democrat, is the latest top Democrat to announce his opposition to the nuclear deal negotiated by the U.S., Iran, and five world powers in an extremely well-thought out essay published tonight. In his essay, he lays out very clearly his concerns with the nuclear deal and ultimately why he chose to oppose the deal.

With all these high-ranking Democrats jumping ship on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, one can’t help but come to the realization that this is NOT the partisan issue the President was making it out to be. President Obama has gone to great lengths to demonize Republicans who oppose the deal as war-mongers and accusing those who oppose him of doing so simply because he is a Democrat. But with high-ranking Democrats, such as Sen. Schumer and Sen. Israel both from New York, also opposing the deal its clear to see that there are some very real concerns with this deal. It’s not a matter of Democrats vs. Republicans; its common sense vs. a last-ditch, desperate attempt to leave a positive legacy — yeah…good luck with that one, Mr. President.

Below is the essay Sen. Schumer posted tonight. It perfectly lays out the issues with lifting sanctions on Iran, tackles the extremely short timeline this deal would span, addresses the “anywhere, anytime” inspections Obama promised (remind anyone of another Obama promise: “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”???) and expresses the doubts that Iran will ever change it murderous ideology.

While not only being extremely informative, Sen. Schumer’s essay should also be proof that our prayers for our nation’s leaders are being heard and answered. While we can’t all travel to Capitol Hill and tell our representatives in person that we want them to oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, we can all pray. Whether Democrat or Republican our representatives are facing a tough decision — especially the Democrats. They have party lines to consider and ties within and outside the party that often drive these types of decisions. So keep praying that the truth of God will outweigh any other cost in this decision. Pray for wisdom, and guidance, and courage to make the right decision. And lastly, contact your representatives’ offices and tell them you want them to vote NO on a nuclear deal with Iran. Together, we can and are making a difference.

Every several years or so a legislator is called upon to cast a momentous vote in which the stakes are high and both sides of the issue are vociferous in their views.

Over the years, I have learned that the best way to treat such decisions is to study the issue carefully, hear the full, unfiltered explanation of those for and against, and then, without regard to pressure, politics or party, make a decision solely based on the merits.

I have spent the last three weeks doing just that: carefully studying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reading and re-reading the agreement and its annexes, questioning dozens of proponents and opponents, and seeking answers to questions that go beyond the text of the agreement but will have real consequences that must be considered.

Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed. This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.

While we have come to different conclusions, I give tremendous credit to President Obama for his work on this issue. The President, Secretary Kerry and their team have spent painstaking months and years pushing Iran to come to an agreement. Iran would not have come to the table without the President’s persistent efforts to convince the Europeans, the Russians, and the Chinese to join in the sanctions. In addition, it was the President’s far-sighted focus that led our nation to accelerate development of the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP), the best military deterrent and antidote to a nuclear Iran. So whichever side one comes down on in this agreement, all fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the President’s strong achievements in combatting and containing Iran.

In making my decision, I examined this deal in three parts: nuclear restrictions on Iran in the first ten years, nuclear restrictions on Iran after ten years, and non-nuclear components and consequences of a deal. In each case I have asked: are we better off with the agreement or without it?

In the first ten years of the deal, there are serious weaknesses in the agreement. First, inspections are not “anywhere, anytime”; the 24-day delay before we can inspect is troubling. While inspectors would likely be able to detect radioactive isotopes at a site after 24 days, that delay would enable Iran to escape detection of any illicit building and improving of possible military dimensions (PMD) – the tools that go into building a bomb but don’t emit radioactivity.

Furthermore, even when we detect radioactivity at a site where Iran is illicitly advancing its bomb-making capability, the 24-day delay would hinder our ability to determine precisely what was being done at that site.
Even more troubling is the fact that the U.S. cannot demand inspections unilaterally. By requiring the majority of the 8-member Joint Commission, and assuming that China, Russia, and Iran will not cooperate, inspections would require the votes of all three European members of the P5+1 as well as the EU representative. It is reasonable to fear that, once the Europeans become entangled in lucrative economic relations with Iran, they may well be inclined not to rock the boat by voting to allow inspections.

Additionally, the “snapback” provisions in the agreement seem cumbersome and difficult to use. While the U.S. could unilaterally cause snapback of all sanctions, there will be instances where it would be more appropriate to snapback some but not all of the sanctions, because the violation is significant but not severe. A partial snapback of multilateral sanctions could be difficult to obtain, because the U.S. would require the cooperation of other nations. If the U.S. insists on snapback of all the provisions, which it can do unilaterally, and the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese feel that is too severe a punishment, they may not comply.

Those who argue for the agreement say it is better to have an imperfect deal than to have nothing; that without the agreement, there would be no inspections, no snapback. When you consider only this portion of the deal – nuclear restrictions for the first ten years – that line of thinking is plausible, but even for this part of the agreement, the weaknesses mentioned above make this argument less compelling.

Second, we must evaluate how this deal would restrict Iran’s nuclear development after ten years.

Supporters argue that after ten years, a future President would be in no weaker a position than we are today to prevent Iran from racing to the bomb. That argument discounts the current sanctions regime. After fifteen years of relief from sanctions, Iran would be stronger financially and better able to advance a robust nuclear program. Even more importantly, the agreement would allow Iran, after ten to fifteen years, to be a nuclear threshold state with the blessing of the world community. Iran would have a green light to be as close, if not closer to possessing a nuclear weapon than it is today. And the ability to thwart Iran if it is intent on becoming a nuclear power would have less moral and economic force.

If Iran’s true intent is to get a nuclear weapon, under this agreement, it must simply exercise patience. After ten years, it can be very close to achieving that goal, and, unlike its current unsanctioned pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear program will be codified in an agreement signed by the United States and other nations. To me, after ten years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.

In addition, we must consider the non-nuclear elements of the agreement. This aspect of the deal gives me the most pause. For years, Iran has used military force and terrorism to expand its influence in the Middle East, actively supporting military or terrorist actions in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza. That is why the U.S. has labeled Iran as one of only three nations in the world who are “state sponsors of terrorism.” Under this agreement, Iran would receive at least $50 billion dollars in the near future and would undoubtedly use some of that money to redouble its efforts to create even more trouble in the Middle East, and, perhaps, beyond.

To reduce the pain of sanctions, the Supreme Leader had to lean left and bend to the moderates in his country. It seems logical that to counterbalance, he will lean right and give the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and the hardliners resources so that they can pursue their number one goal: strengthening Iran’s armed forces and pursuing even more harmful military and terrorist actions.

Finally, the hardliners can use the freed-up funds to build an ICBM on their own as soon as sanctions are lifted (and then augment their ICBM capabilities in 8 years after the ban on importing ballistic weaponry is lifted), threatening the United States. Restrictions should have been put in place limiting how Iran could use its new resources.

When it comes to the non-nuclear aspects of the deal, I think there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one.

Using the proponents’ overall standard – which is not whether the agreement is ideal, but whether we are better with or without it – it seems to me, when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.

Ultimately, in my view, whether one supports or opposes the resolution of disapproval depends on how one thinks Iran will behave under this agreement.

If one thinks Iran will moderate, that contact with the West and a decrease in economic and political isolation will soften Iran’s hardline positions, one should approve the agreement.  After all, a moderate Iran is less likely to exploit holes in the inspection and sanctions regime, is less likely to seek to become a threshold nuclear power after ten years, and is more likely to use its newfound resources for domestic growth, not international adventurism.

But if one feels that Iranian leaders will not moderate and their unstated but very real goal is to get relief from the onerous sanctions, while still retaining their nuclear ambitions and their ability to increase belligerent activities in the Middle East and elsewhere, then one should conclude that it would be better not to approve this agreement.

Admittedly, no one can tell with certainty which way Iran will go. It is true that Iran has a large number of people who want their government to decrease its isolation from the world and focus on economic advancement at home. But it is also true that this desire has been evident in Iran for thirty-five years, yet the Iranian leaders have held a tight and undiminished grip on Iran, successfully maintaining their brutal, theocratic dictatorship with little threat. Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years?

To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.

Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.

For all of these reasons, I believe the vote to disapprove is the right one.

DC, Iran, and Israel: For Such a Time as This

I woke up this morning to notification after notification that the U.S. and other world leaders had reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. We all knew it was coming; it would have been a modern-day miracle if the deal had not gone through.

I quickly got ready so that I could watch President Obama address the nation from the White House. As I watched this morning from my hotel room, I felt this surreal feeling knowing that just a mile away from where I was sitting, the President of the United States of America was addressing the nation on an issue that will have lasting impacts for not only our nation and for Israel — our greatest ally – but for generations to come.

The issue of a nuclear Iran is something that I, along with thousands of Christians and Jews across the globe, have been focused on for several years. When Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Congress several months ago, he had one issue on his mind: Iran. So the fact that this deal would be reached while thousands of us have gathered here in Washington, DC to lobby our state representatives to not support a deal with Iran adds a weightiness on our time here. We are not here to simply see the monuments or sight see in DC. We are here to be modern-day Esthers; to go before our nation’s leaders and make a plea on behalf of the people of Israel. It is no coincidence that the enemy Esther spoke against was the Persian Haman. What modern country did Persia become? Iran. We are still fighting the same battle.

As of this morning, Tuesday, July 14, 2015, we still don’t have all the details and facts. Speaking on the deal this morning, President Obama said all the stipulations were “not in writing yet.” And yet, according to Obama, this deal will be able to verify Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon. Iran will dismantle 2/3 of its centrifuges and its stockpile will be under constant international watch. For 15 years, Iran’s stockpile of materials will be reduced by 98% and for 15 years no new heavy water reactors will be built. According to President Obama, this deal is not built on trust but on verification.


But I can’t help but see some discrepancies and issues with how President Obama described the deal. First off, we were only given one side of the story. As I watched the President address the nation, I couldn’t help but feel that the President was telling the American people a partial truth –what he thought the American people wanted to hear. I kept wondering, “So Iran just decided to give us all these great things without getting anything in return?” I wanted to know what Iran got out of this because I guarantee you that Iran would not have done anything out the goodness of their heart.

After laying out the “facts” of the deal, President Obama then attempted to convince the American people to trust him and buy into this bad deal. After that, he went into an almost threatening diatribe addressing Congress and the Senate letting them know that if they chose not to side with him, he would veto any resolution that threatened this deal.

Then I got to the convention center and was able to hear senators and representatives who stand with Israel speak about the deal.

I learned that the U.S. is going to help remove the old centrifuges and replace with them with newer technology. Over the next 5 years, the arms embargo that has kept Iran from obtaining and supplying others with weapons will be lifted. The “anytime, anywhere inspections” will be conducted only if Iran gives permission within a 14 day period of review. Iran will be allowed to deny any inspections they don’t want to allow. Iran can keep their military sites off-limits for “a time” and no nuclear facilities will be dismantled.

There are other concerns about making a nuclear deal with Iran. For instance, Iran is the largest state-sponsor of terror around the world. The U.S. and other world powers have made no demands that these terrorist activities be stopped before any sanctions are lifted. Last Friday was Al-Quds Day in Iran. It is the international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem. It is the day they celebrate their future destruction of Israel. In the streets could be heard shouts of “Death to Israel! Death to America!” With ideologies such as this how can we know if the $6 billion that will now be given from the U.S. will be going towards funding these terrorist activities – some of which are aimed at America and Israel. Why would we even be at a negotiating table with those who shout “death to America?” Why would we be at the negotiating table with a country that is still holding American hostages? But even more so, why do we not believe they are serious when they call for ours and Israel’s destruction?

Iran has also hidden their past nuclear activities from the world powers. We now know that Iran had hidden nuclear facilities and reactors in mountain sides, on military installations, and in other covert locations. Until Iran honestly discloses these past activities, there will be no baseline to measure all future nuclear activity. Essentially, if they haven’t been honest about their past, we no way to measure if they’re being honest about their future.

But when addressing the nation this morning, President Obama said “we are not enemies with the people of Iran.” In saying this, he is trying to make the case that lifting the sanctions would benefit the people of Iran. By allowing more international money to channel into Iran, we would be helping to build their economy and help parents provide a better future for their children. One of the things I love about America is that we want to better the lives of people all around the world. We want to bring prosperity and opportunity to everyone we possibly can. We want to somehow bring the concept of the American Dream around the world. But there is a problem with this logic.

When you consider their involvement in terrorism around the world, their hidden past in nuclear activities, as well as their atrocious human rights violation record, lifting the economic sanctions that effectively crippled their economy is a HUGE risk. These sanctions have kept even more money from funneling into Iran and possibly preventing countless terrorist attacks and have greatly slowed down Iran’s progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon. Without first understanding their past nuclear activities and without getting a measurable guarantee that all state-funded terrorist activity will be stopped, there is no way to guarantee the money that will now be flowing into Iran will actually be going to the Iranian people or if the corrupt government will hijack this money and use it towards terrorism or rogue nuclear activities.

But despite all the bad news, there was a glimmer of hope in DC this morning.

I saw firsthand the resolution from our nation’s representatives to preserve the security of both the United States and Israel. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) renewed my faith in the American politician. They were personable, engaging, and most importantly passionate in their support for Israel. They reminded us that the magic number to override any veto from the president is 67 and showed us that across both sides of the aisle, there would be unwavering support for Israel. The Senate has 60 days to review this deal with Iran and make a decision if it will pass. Please be praying for our nation’s leaders as they contemplate this huge decision. Also, please consider contacting your representatives and letting them know you want them to vote NO on this resolution.

For Such A Time As This

It can be of no coincidence that the very day we were scheduled to meet with our state’s members of congress and the senate was the exact same day the nuclear deal with Iran was reached. As we walked into each office, the importance of the words we spoke rested on our shoulders. This would be no ordinary meeting. We were meeting with the kings and queens of our time making a plea on behalf of our people and the people of Israel. YHVH is sovereign. YHVH is in control. All things – good and seemingly bad – happen in His perfect timing.

So despite this very bad deal with Iran, be encouraged today that you are not alone in your support for Israel and love for America. There are politicians on Capitol Hill that have our nation’s best interests at heart who also passionately love Israel.

Be encouraged that everything that transpires is part of YHVH’s plan. That He, and He alone, is in control; that He will be victorious. Be encouraged that every word you speak in support of Israel and against the evil in our world is not in vain. It has purpose. YOU have purpose. Who knows if that purpose is “for such a time as this.”

U.S. Warships Headed to Yemen to Intercept Iranian Weapons

Please tell me this means that any sort of nuclear deal with Iran is now officially off the table?!?!?! This breaking news is only confirming what every person in the entire world with half a brain already knew: YOU CAN’T TRUST IRAN!

From Fox News:

A U.S. aircraft carrier has been dispatched to waters off Yemen to join other American ships prepared to block any Iranian shipments to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis.

Tensions are rising in the region even as the U.S. and five other world powers scramble to strike a final deal with Iran on its nuclear program by the end of June. The fighting in Yemen, where U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition against the Iran-backed rebels, is complicating matters.

I think “complicating matters” is a bit of an understatement but hey, potato-potato, right?

Most of us already knew that Iran cannot be trusted as it is, so why would anyone in their right mind want to allow them to obtain a nuclear weapon and then actually believe that somehow we would magically be able to trust them after that?!

Among the most vocal world leaders to any nuclear deal with Iran is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When addressing Congress several months ago, he warned that defeating ISIS but allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon would be “winning the battle but losing the war.” He went on to say that, “the enemy of your enemy is…your enemy” when speaking of Iran joining the fight against ISIS.

It seems that while President Obama has been more concerned with his desperate attempts to salvage any hopes of leaving a positive legacy, he is ignoring the common sense warnings that are staring him right in the face.

2016 can’t come soon enough…unless our options are Hillary or Jeb Bush. In which case, I’m moving to Canada. Or maybe now that Cuba is no longer considered a “state sponsor of terrorism” there will be some job opportunities there…

A Modern Purim Story

This week we celebrate the biblical holiday Purim. In the days of the Persian empire (modern-day Iran), Queen Esther (Hadassah, her given name in Hebrew) risked her life by breaking protocol in order to appear before King Xerxes to plead on behalf of her people for the right to self-defense from their enemies who sought to destroy them.

In the same way, we are seeing a modern-day Purim story unfold before our very eyes.

Today, Tuesday, 3 March 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the American Congress and make a plea on behalf of the Israeli people. President Barack Obama has said that IF Iran agrees to a “double-digit years” agreement and can prove that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, Obama will sign a deal with Iran. However, a UN spokesman said that Iran is currently not cooperating and therefore, the UN cannot independently verify the Iranian program is in fact for peaceful purposes. Essentially, while Obama is hopeful Iran will agree to cooperate, the UN is saying Iran is not currently cooperating so how can we expect them to cooperate in the future?

Netanyahu is a Hadassah on behalf of his people. His visit has been called a “breach of protocol” by the White House because the White House did not grant Netanyahu permission to speak before House Speaker John Boehner confirmed the invitation. As a means to snub the Prime Minister, President Obama has decided not to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu while he is in America and about 30 Democrat congressmen have also decided to not attend his address to Congress.

And yet, Netanyahu prepares himself by seeking the face of YHVH at the Western Wall, the place where His Holy Temple once stood, and asking for YHVH’s favor as he defiantly appears before Congress.

The Prime Minister will be asking for the American government to reject any deal with Iran that would later limit the ability of an American response against a nuclear Iran and also to support Israel should she choose to preemptively strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel understands that if Iran is not stopped from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the lives of countless, innocent Israeli civilians will be in danger. But even more than that, Israel understands that a nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel, but the entire global community.

In yet another snub to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the American media has decided not to air the Prime Minister’s speech on the non-cable networks and has been scheduled for 10:45 EST…a time when most Americans are busy at work and unable to view his speech.

We are living in crucial days. Decisions with global ramifications are being made before our eyes…are we awake to perceive them? We are watching the Bible come to life right before our very eyes. We are privileged to be chosen to be alive for such a time as this. We as believers and those grafted into Israel have a responsibility to stand with Israel and pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu ahead of his speech. As a personal decision, I have decided to fast tonight and tomorrow morning, just as Esther’s people fasted for her, in order to beseech YHVH on behalf of His chosen Hadassah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he goes before the king in order to protect and preserve the people of YHVH.

And the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies.

Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them. – Esther 8:11-13, 15-17