posted by Bruce Porter on September 27, 2014

israeli condolences
On September 1, 2004, Islamic terrorists infiltrated from Chechnya and attacked a school in Beslan, Russia. Over several days of hell-on-earth, they mercilessly slaughtered hundreds of students, teachers, and parents. Although there have been other attacks on schools in various places around the world—most notoriously the attack at Columbine High School in 1999—this attack stands out, not only for the vicious brutality meted out by the Islamic Jihadists, but by the sheer number of children who were murdered there. Estimates of the dead ranged between 300 to over 600. It was, without any doubt, the deadliest attack on a school in modern history.

No decent person could ever comprehend how these Allah-praising Jihadists could justify their wholesale slaughter of children. We are constantly being lectured by our government officials and leftist pundits in the news media that Islam is a “religion of peace,” yet all around the world we see ample evidence that the exact opposite is true. While it is true that not all Muslims are terrorists, it is just as true that nearly every act of terrorism in recent decades has been carried out by Muslims.

Beslan Middle School #1 had students from the first to the eleventh grades. On the morning of September 1st, the first day of school in Russia, over a thousand students, teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were gathered in the large courtyard of the school complex. It is a custom in Russia to celebrate the first day of school with students dressing in their best clothes, accompanied by their parents and siblings, and bringing small gifts and flowers to their teachers.

At 8:45 A.M. several vehicles transporting nearly three-dozen Islamists burst into the school parking lot. The terrorists jumped out, armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, grenades, night-vision goggles, gas masks, high-explosives, and silenced weapons. They joined other terrorists who were already mingling with the crowd, and began shooting and herding terrified hostages into the school gymnasium. A few security officers, armed only with sidearms, were quickly gunned-down, and anyone who showed the slightest willingness to fight back was mowed down in the first seconds. Mayhem erupted, as several hundred people ran away under gunfire while more than 60% of the others were captured and driven into the school’s gymnasium to endure several days of thirst, hunger, and unspeakable abuse by the Allah-praising terrorists.

Once the hostages were secured in the gym, the Jihadists rigged explosive charges throughout the school. The captive men and older boys, who could potentially fight back, were lined up in front of their terrified wives and children and summarily executed with bullets to the head. Their bodies were shoved out of shattered windows and lay in a heap in full sight of their horrified families. Many of the women and young girls were humiliated and raped in front of the hostages. There are no words in the human language to describe what these evil beasts did to these young women. The hostages languished in the school’s gymnasium in the sweltering heat of late summer, with no water, food, or sanitation facilities for three days. Some of the hostages were so desperately thirsty, they drank their own urine. When the rescue assault by Russian forces finally began, the terrorists began detonating the explosives placed near the hostages and shooting as many of the children as they could. The carnage was indescribable.

My son and I traveled to Beslan with another international relief worker to help minister to the survivors, arriving one week after Russian special forces stormed the school. We walked into the burned and blasted shell of the school buildings a few days after the siege was over. What I witnessed in those ruins was off-scale grisly. The walls were pock-marked with bullet and shrapnel impacts. Walls were blackened by fire and smoke. The worst thing of all, however, were the splattered clumps of human remains from bomb blasts pasted on the walls and ceiling. Large pools of putrefying human blood was everywhere, and splattered upon the walls. I spotted what looked like a small wig, and when I moved it, I shrank back in horror and revulsion. It was a child’s skull-cap with bits of brain stuck to it. I feel sick just recalling the sights and smells of that terrible place.

When I hear someone speak of Islam as a “religion of peace” I feel like gagging. I have seen with my own eyes what this evil and pathetic excuse for a religion does to innocent people. I have no illusions. For nearly two weeks my son and I visited the local hospitals where hundreds of victims, mostly children, were recovering from burns, gunshots, and shrapnel wounds. Most of them would eventually heal of their physical wounds. However, they all seemed to have a hollow, distant stare that betrayed that their young eyes had seen things no person should ever see. I especially noticed several young girls in the hospital who were, I was told later, sexually abused by the terrorists. Their minds and souls were deeply wounded, and I wonder if they would ever find healing.

Why am I telling all this? Why would I invite you, the reader, into some of the dark horror-chambers of my mind and memories, subjecting you even to a small portion of the horrors these people endured? It is simply this…

I believe it is going to happen again… right here in America, and I want with all my heart to awaken as many as possible to the clear and present danger we are facing. Perhaps, if enough of us wake up in time, we can mitigate the damage and save lives.

As I was thinking about this tenth anniversary of the Beslan massacre a few days ago, I suddenly felt a strong impression come over me. I am a man of God, and there have been several times in my life when such impressions came upon me and I later witnessed the events unfold just as I had seen. For example, exactly three months before the Columbine High School massacre in my own community, I had a horrifying dream/vision of a school attack with many vivid details. I awoke in the middle of the night screaming and drenched with sweat. The images were so real, and yet I had no way of putting together what I’d seen with present reality. Three months later, to the very day, I watched the Columbine attack unfold just as I’d seen it in my dream. I wrote in detail of this in my book, The Martyrs’ Torch, The Message of the Columbine Massacre.

This is what I believe was shown to me. Islamic Jihadists, quite likely elements of ISIS, (who have already infiltrated our southern border by several hundreds) are about to launch a coordinated attack on several schools in America. I realize I’m taking a tremendous risk in sharing this, for many men’s reputations and credibility have died upon hills of prophetic predictions that never occurred. I fervently hope I’m wrong. However, I cannot remain silent. Lives are at stake. I also don’t think it requires a prophetic vision to see the writing on the wall. The danger is, for anyone paying attention, all too obvious.

Why would they attack our school children? Think about it. Can anyone imagine a more emotionally devastating “soft target” than our children? If you were an Islamic jihadist seeking to maximize the psychological damage to your enemy, where would you strike? The answer is clear.

Little Syrian Girl Beheaded by Islamists


As horrible as the pictures are of little Iraqi children being beheaded, with their heads displayed upon poles, just imagine for a moment how the people of the United States would react if such atrocities happened during a hostage situation in our nation’s schools on an internet upload? GOD FORBID IT! However, we are supremely stupid and naïve if we think that our enemies haven’t already thought of this.

What can be done? I wish I could be optimistic, but I cannot. As things presently stand, our children are sitting ducks in our schools. The federal government has seemingly abandoned their constitutionally-mandated responsibility to protect the American people and secure our borders. Thousands of unknown persons are daily flooding across our southern border, and latest reports are that a significant percentage of them are Islamic Jihadists. They’re not coming to visit Disneyland. They are coming to hurt us in significant ways and manipulate our national will toward their goals of global domination and the establishment of sharia (Islamic) law.

In most of our nation’s schools, the insanity of “political correctness” drives policies related to school security. Tangible and effective measures, such as training and arming teachers to defend their students, are dismissed out of hand by those who foolishly and naively imagine that putting up “gun free zone” signs on the schoolhouse door will somehow deter a terrorist seeking to kill students. These silly liberals actually seem to think a terrorist would read such an idiotic sign and obediently leave their firearms outside, perhaps employing other means of murder like grenades, pipe bombs, or nerve gas. I cannot think of words to sufficiently mock such nonsensical thinking.

“Lock-down” procedures only insure the formation of target-rich environments with children cloistered and concentrated in places easily breached by well-armed and trained assailants. In other words, we MUST rethink the entire concept of school safety and be done with nonsensical “zero-tolerance” policies that penalize students for bringing a pair of fingernail clippers or a plastic knife in their lunch-pails. The real threat is not a psychotic over-medicated student, but well-trained Jihadists armed with military-grade weaponry and motivated by hate and a desire to die for their god Allah.

As I’ve said before, the Beslan attack revealed a complete lack of compassion toward children by Islamic Jihadists. I personally visited scores of kids in the children’s hospital in Vladikavkaz near Beslan who were deliberately shot by terrorists in their school. Some were as young as six years old. Can anyone imagine that such inhuman monsters would regard American kids with greater compassion? I seriously doubt it, in fact, I think they are going to deliberately attack our schools to maximize their terror impact.

We must face the reality that Islamic Jihadists have no qualms about killing children. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that they will place weapons and missile launchers in the midst of schools and hospitals (as in the case recently in Gaza) knowing full-well that any military retaliation by the Israelis to destroy these weapons will likely result in civilian casualties, including children. In the aftermath, the Jihadists parade through the streets in front of cameras with dead or wounded children in order to maximize the psychological impact in the West. If they really cared about these children, they wouldn’t deliberately place their missile launchers in schoolyards in the first place. More than this, in the case of Israel, they target Israeli schools and kindergartens with their missiles instead of military targets.

In May of 1974, three Islamic terrorists attacked a school in Ma’alot, Israel. They took 115 people hostage, including 105 students, and held them for two days. When Israeli Golani Brigade soldiers stormed the building, the terrorists tossed grenades and shot the hostages, killing 25 (22 children) and wounding 68. In the aftermath, Israel formed a special Counter Terrorism Unit called Yamam. In addition, a national policy of arming teachers and posting armed guards at all Israeli schools was implemented. In the 40 years since this policy was in place, nearly all terrorist attacks on schoolchildren have ceased.

What can be done? How can we reduce the risk to our schools? I would make the following suggestions:

1. Parents and grandparents of school children must organize and come up with specific security policies to present to school administrators on the State, District, and Local levels;

2. Such parent groups must DEMAND that armed guards be placed in and around the schools, comprised of well-vetted (background checked) military veterans, retired police, FBI and other officers, who would receive extensive training specific to school environments, taking into consideration “shoot/no-shoot” scenarios, and threat assessment;

3. Schools should immediately implement EVACUATION procedures instead of “hide in place” policies that place students and teachers into indefensible target-rich “lock-downs.”

4. Teachers who are vetted and are willing to receive training should be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Their identities (as to who is armed) must be closely guarded for obvious reasons and known only by Principals and Law Enforcement;

5. “Student Watch” patrols should be instituted with vetted upper-grade students trained to spot persons or activities that seem out of place or pose a potential risk. These could be valuable “eyes and ears” to guards and administrators as a first-alert system.;

6. Until these policies are implemented, schools districts should DEMAND more police protection with active-duty officers on-site. Sound expensive? Sure, but what price can be put on the life on one student or teacher? We expect armed guards in our banks to protect our money. Why not at least as much protection for something infinitely more valuable than our money—the lives of our children?

Can we reliably prevent all attacks from ever occurring? I think this is an impossibility, given the nature of violent Jihadists and present at-risk environment. However, the primary benefit of these measures would be manifold:

First, such policies would serve as a real deterrent to most school attacks. Second, parents and students would have a greater sense of security, knowing that REAL and PRACTICAL measures have been taken to ensure their security, and not just silly “violence-free”, or “gun-free zone” signs. For those who are philosophically or politically opposed to the presence of weapons on school grounds, I would only point out that when violent incidents or active-shooter scenarios have occurred in the past, the very FIRST persons they call to help are GOOD PEOPLE WITH GUNS. No “gun free” advocate would ever rush over to an active-shooter scene with more “gun free zone” signs. Let’s be done with silly, ineffective, and politically correct banalities.

WE MUST ACT NOW. I pray I’m wrong, and I fear that it will take more tragedies to awaken our people to this real and present danger. I must speak out and remain hopeful. The lives of our schoolchildren are at stake.

posted by Bruce Porter on May 3, 2013
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April 15, 2013

Recently I spoke at Veritas Christian School at their annual fundraising event. My message, while pointed and factual, sought to shine a light on the serious importance of a Christian education in the midst of a culture that seems entirely committed to eradicating all expressions of Christian faith and the establishing of a socialist/Humanist secular state in America.

posted by Bruce Porter on August 20, 2012
My Roman Wakeup Call–Pt 4
The Stones Indeed Cry Out
A few days later, I visited Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica and beheld for the first time the incredibly beautiful sculptures and paintings resident there. Especially striking was Michelangelo’s Pieta, depicting Mary, the mother of Jesus, tenderly holding His lifeless body after His crucifixion. 
 
There, in the quiet expanse of St. Peter’s Basilica, I stood transfixed in the presence of pure artistic genius. The Pieta, sculpted by Michelangelo when he was only in his early twenties, was commissioned in 1498 and unveiled in St. Peter’s Basilica in 1500.  
 
With his hammer and chisel Michelangelo had patiently liberated from the cold marble the sorrowful beauty and tender expression of love on Mary’s face as she gazes lovingly upon her slain son. The beauty of this sculpture is breathtaking, in that it captures the timeless, universal mourning of all mothers who yearn over their children. Michelangelo once said that his sculpting merely liberated the image already present within the stone. I marvel at Michelangelo’s ability to envision such amazing beauty within a mere slab of marble. My hard, prideful heart began to break as I gazed long upon this splendid work of art. 

 

Of all the art that touched my soul, however, the crowning moment came when I strode into the Sistine Chapel and beheld the exquisite paintings Michelangelo had rendered upon its ceiling. His labors recounted virtually the entire biblical story of mankind from the creation to Christ. As I examined the various panels, one in particular stood out to me. It was the famous depiction of God reaching out his hand to Adam and tenderly touching him with the gift of life. 
 
This masterfully rendered painting struck a deep chord in my soul, and I felt as if a large piece of the puzzle was coming together. Adam is lying naked on an immovable rock, seemingly helpless, with a tentatively raised arm reaching toward God. Adam’s hand is virtually limp, as if without strength, and there seems to be no real effort expended on his part to go to God. It seemed to me that God is making the greater effort. Carried by angels, God is moving toward Adam, straining and stretching out to reach him. 
 
Then it struck me. Was God also reaching out to me? Was He also coming near to my helpless, prideful, arrogant soul? Was He moving upon my heart and drawing my rebellious and unwilling hand toward Him in hope, freely bestowing His gift of life into my tormented heart? This was a difficult concept to grasp, for I felt so unworthy. For the previous years of my life, I had indulged myself in the grossest expressions of sin, giving free expression to my flesh in wanton selfishness. “How could God have any interest in me?” I thought. “And why would He extend mercy to one who has rejected and ignored Him for so long?”  
 
The Master Sculptor Begins To Liberate ME 
 
Over the next period of weeks, my heart began to soften. Rome’s rich Christian history was making a huge impact upon my hardened heart. God’s voice was beginning to penetrate my mind, and capture my attention. When I think back on this, it was as if the angels of God were whispering over my shoulder, directing my attention to higher things. The depiction of Isaiah in the Sistine Chapel almost reminds me of it. 
 
My personal conversion was not an instant transformation but rather a gradual one. Old habits, attitudes, and thought patterns clung to me. Fleshly gravity-like a black hole in space that sucks everything around it into eternal darkness-constantly pulled at my soul. All self efforts to improve and reform myself-like old New Year’s resolutions-ended in failure. Like the childhood storybook character, Brer Rabbit, who vainly fought to free himself from the tar-baby, the more I struggled to be free from my sin, the more entangled I became. My pride wouldn’t allow me to cry out for someone to rescue me, yet an undeniable hunger for more understanding of this amazing God who was clearly reaching out to me began to haunt my every waking hour.  
 
The classic poem by Francis Thompson, The Hound of Heaven, was as applicable to me as it apparently was to the poet himself. 
 
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;  
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;  
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways  
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears  
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.  
Up vistaed hopes I sped;  
And shot, precipitated,  
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,  
From those strong feet that followed, followed after . . .  
 
Was I an archetype of helpless Adam in Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Had God so loved and chosen me, one so unworthy among the many billions of His creations, that He moved Heaven and earth to find me? Was He also intent upon meeting me in my naked shame with feebly upraised arm? My heart told me it was so, but my mind rebelled and refused to believe it. Like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculpted images, trapped within the stone, I was trapped within my own sin, selfishness, and pride. Yet it seemed, God was patiently, gently, and skillfully chipping away the dross to reveal the man He created me to be. 
 
Should you ever stand close enough to me during a quiet moment, and listen with a spiritual ear, you may yet hear the soft sound of hammer and chisel as the Heavenly Master Sculptor continues His patient work of liberating me from the stone. He isn’t finished yet, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, but He has promised to never cease His patient labor until He finishes the work He began. 
 
And so it is with us all. If you also heard His voice calling your heart, you can be confident that He is patiently chipping away your dross and conforming you to the image of Christ. He sees a masterpiece within the stone of your life, and will never cease His work until you are fully liberated into the glorious freedom of the Sons of God. 
 
And we know that in all things  
God works for the good of those who love Him, 
who have been called according to His purpose.  
For those God foreknew He also predestined  
to be conformed to the likeness of His Son,  
that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.  
And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, 
He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.  
What, then, shall we say in response to this?  
If God is for us, who can be against us?  
(Romans 8:28-31 NIV)  

(To Be Continued…) 

posted by Bruce Porter on August 20, 2012
My Wakeup Call–Pt 3
Whispering Ghosts of the Past

I was mystified a few days before to hear a tour guide describe the suffering and persecution of multiplied thousands of Christians who had been cruelly hunted down and slaughtered in this city merely for the pleasure of bloodthirsty mobs. I found myself deeply moved when I heard these stories. Now, alone in the darkness late at night there in the Coliseum ruins, I could almost imagine I could hear the long-dead ghosts of the distant past, and the deafening impassioned roar of the blood-thirsty spectators as entire Christian families below were eviscerated, burned alive, or torn to pieces by hunger-crazed wild beasts. What was this growing sense of empathy that I felt for these Christians who had lived and bravely died so long ago? 
 
I pondered why these people would seemingly welcome a cruel and vicious death rather than deny their faith in Jesus. What empowerment could possibly enable fathers and mothers to witness their little children burned, drowned, or devoured by vicious animals right in front of their eyes before they themselves died, all the while worshipping God and singing His praises?
 
I have since learned that the Roman authorities would have allowed any of these Christians to go free had they only made a simple acknowledgement of allegiance to Caesar as supreme authority over all other gods. The Christian had only to place a tiny pinch of incense before an image of Caesar to affirm his preeminence. Most Christians refused to make this blasphemous declaration, instead boldly proclaiming that Jesus was King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Caesar, who fancied himself a god, took a very dim view of anyone daring to declare that he was somehow under the authority of what he thought was an insignificant dead Jew from Palestine. 
 
I was forced to conclude that those early Christians had SEEN something so wonderful, so magnificent and amazing, that all else in this world, even their very lives, lost significance by comparison. What was this mystical revelation that motivated them to sing praises unto their Christ, even as they suffered and died? What gave them the fearless ability to lay down their lives rather than deny their faith in Christ? My emotions were stirred. I suspected that God was touching my life and calling me to a journey I could scarcely imagine. Little did I realize that my quest had already begun . . . . 
 
These questions hung over me like a rain cloud as I finally stumbled out of the Coliseum into the cool morning air. The eastern sky was beginning to lighten with the promise of a new dawn, and the birds began to chirp. Slowly making my way back through the quiet, early-morning streets of Rome to the cheap hotel where I was staying, the encounter in the Coliseum haunted me. But first, I had to sleep off another hangover. 
 
Persecution Above, Prayer Below 
Driven by a power I couldn’t understand, I spent the next several days touring other ancient sites around Rome, but felt especially drawn to the catacombs that surround the city. I recently found this quote from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:  
 
It has been said that the lives of the early Christians consisted of: “Persecution above ground and prayer below ground.” Their lives are expressed by the Coliseum and the catacombs. Beneath Rome are the excavations, which we call the catacombs, which were at once temples and tombs. The early Church of Rome might well be called the Church of the Catacombs.  
 
I learned that archeologists had discovered some sixty catacombs surrounding Rome. The tunnels stretch out over six hundred miles, and measure in most places nearly eight feet high and three to five feet wide. Along the sides of these tunnels, several rows of horizontal recesses were dug out, stacked above each other like bunk beds. These comprised the crypts into which corpses were laid, with inscribed marble slabs or tiles sealing in the deceased. 
 
Mile after mile I wandered through this macabre graveyard, illuminated only by the guide’s flashlight or oil lamps. It was an eerie place, musty and cold. Looking into the crypts-where the marble slabs had been destroyed by grave robbers-I could see the bones of some of the dead. For many hundreds of years both Pagans and Christians were laid to rest in this place.  
When Christian graves were opened-evidenced to be Christian by inscriptions of

Icon of Christ raising Lazarus
(From 3rd Century Roman Catacomb)

crosses and the “fish” symbol-ample forensic evidence of torture and murder was often found. Heads were discovered severed from the bodies, and many bones were broken about the ribs, backs, and extremities. Calcined bones also showed evidence of fire.  

 
In spite of the evidence of horrendous suffering and persecution inflicted upon these poor Christian souls-of whom I now know the world was not worthy-the epitaphs inscribed upon the graves spoke of a sublime, heavenly peace. Here are a few that were discovered and quoted in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: 
 
“Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace.”  
“Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels.” 
“Victorious in peace and in Christ.”  
“Being called away, he went in peace.”  
 
Bear in mind that these tender expressions, inscribed lovingly by the hands of those who knew and loved them, reveal little of the intense suffering these precious saints endured at the hands of their tormentors, nor any indictment against their murderers.  
 
These inscriptions hold special significance to me in that I have seen these things with my own eyes. My hands have tenderly caressed the bones of some of these inspiring people. The musty smells of those holy underground hiding and burying places remain in the nostrils of my memory. For days, I wandered among the dead in those seemingly endless tunnels, listening to the whispering ghosts of those who had long ago lived and died there. With each step I took down the descending stairways-moving ever deeper into the labyrinth-my respect deepened in equal measure for the amazing commitment these people demonstrated for a Christ they would rather die for than deny. 
 
Often, as I reflect on the experience, I seemed to feel that unseen presence that I encountered in the Coliseum, walking with me through the labyrinths of the catacombs. In a way, it was similar to the ghost of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Story, where Scrooge was shown things from the past, present, and future–things that would eventually form the new man he was becoming. “Who were these Christians?” I kept asking myself. “Why were they so hated and viciously tormented by people in their day?” I soon learned that questions such as these can be dangerous to one’s selfish autonomy. 
 

 

(To Be Continued…) 

 

posted by Bruce Porter on August 20, 2012
My Wakeup Call, Part II
  
After a year of military service in Vietnam, I was a man on the run. The vision I’d witnessed pushed me over the edge, and I became determined to desert, leave behind my country, my family, and everything in my past, to enter upon a quest to learn what my life was really about. Feigning that I intended to go on leave, I emptied all my accounts and began my trek by flying out of Vietnam to Bangkok. From there, I hopped flights to India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and finally Europe. My goal was to find a liberal counterculture enclave I’d heard about called The University of the New World, located up in the mountains of Switzerland near Sion, in the Canton of Valais. The name “New World” seemed to offer hope that perhaps I could learn what the vision meant and find my place in this crazy world.
 
My heart and soul were shredded; I felt old beyond my years. My spirit yearned for answers to questions that seemed to have no answers. The terrible things I had witnessed in Vietnam superimposed their tormenting images as some kind of semitransparent film over everything I gazed upon. I felt as if my youthful innocence had been ripped away from me, like someone had violently torn off my clothes in the middle of an arctic winter, leaving me cold and shivering in the stark reality of a world seemingly gone mad. I had fallen into emotional shock. In this state, I could not contemplate the depths of my own brokenness and felt strangely disassociated from, and unattached to, all that went on around me.
 
After finally arriving in Switzerland, and a brief stay at the “University of the New World,” I quickly realized that the “University” was a sham–a party school-where rich, mostly American kids from liberal-Leftist families came to indulge their flesh in sex and drug parties every night. During the day in the “classes” I audited, they reveled in neo-Marxist fantasies about how the elite class must one day rule the world without morals, religion, or restraints upon our “natural” urges. In other words, a fantasy “utopian” paradise. My flesh was titillated, and I enjoyed a certain celebrity among them because of my pacifism, desertion, and stand against the Vietnam War. To be honest, I was rather proud of myself and liked living the persona of the brave counter-cultural revolutionary who stuck it to the “establishment.” After a few weeks, however, I became restless and frustrated at the aimless existence of everyone living there. It didn’t take a rocket-scientist to realize that these people were being funded by some of the very people they were revolting against. It just didn’t make sense. Besides, my personal demons were emerging, making me less and less popular among them. I was asking too many uncomfortable questions..
 
One night, I was talking with a girl at a party and trying to impress her by bragging about what a brave, courageous guy I was-standing up to war, injustice, the military-industrial complex-and blah, blah, blah. She grew visibly annoyed with my pride and arrogance, and interrupted my little “brag fest.” Looking me right in the eye, she said something that totally blew my mind. “Jesus never ran away,” she said. I sat there with my mouth hanging open, completely disarmed by her words. It was like being struck by lightning. She was anything but a Christian, and for a fleeting moment, seemed shocked by what had just come out of her own mouth. Getting up suddenly, she walked away leaving me staring at the floor in shame.
 
Looking back, I think I felt a bit like Balaam the prophet must have felt when his donkey suddenly spoke to him by the power of God, rebuking him. In that moment, I had another revelation and didn’t like it very much. I was flooded with the shameful realization that virtually everything I was doing in my life at that time–even the good things I thought were right–was coming from a totally prideful, selfish, conceited motive. “Jesus never ran away” stung my itching ears. I realized that I was a fearful coward, running away from what I considered wrong, and selfishly seeking my own aggrandizement in the eyes of others. Fear was dogging my tracks, and my entire motive was selfish. I felt dirty and ashamed. I had to escape, and the next morning I left and caught the first train out of Sion. For reasons I cannot explain, I was headed for Rome, hoping to find some answers there.
 
Can These Stones Yet Speak?
A chilly breeze wafted through the colonnades in the Coliseum, interrupting my reverie and pulling my mind back into the moment. I shuddered involuntarily as the cold slab of rock I’d been sitting on drained body heat. Rising unsteadily to my feet, I began to climb to the upper levels of the darkened ruins, my bottle of wine hanging loosely from my hand. I had vainly sought to drown my inner pain and raging thoughts within that bottle, but the tormenting visions of lost innocence would inevitably claw their way back into my consciousness. “What was it she said?” I mumbled to myself: “Jesus never ran away!” I couldn’t escape the unwittingly prophetic words of the girl in Switzerland. The comparison she made between Jesus and my selfishness was unbearable. My shame and cowardice became a heavy weight upon my soul. After wandering around Rome for several days, I was becoming restless and had a growing sense that someone was trying to communicate something important to my tormented soul through these ancient ruins, churches, and weathered monuments.
 
Gazing down from the stone stands that had long ago held multiplied thousands of cheering, blood-thirsty spectators; I began to ponder what spectacles had once filled this place. I tried to imagine fifty thousand crazed Roman citizens intoxicated by the violent entertainment of battles reenacted before them on the main floor of this stadium. The spectacle of gore and blood, provided by warring gladiators who reenacted historical battles and struggled unto death, drove the raving mobs into near-orgasmic apoplexy as their appetite for ever-greater displays of carnage grew with each new death. At one point in Roman history, the slaughter of Christians as public spectacles only added to their national insanity.
 
Suddenly, in the dark shadows of the Coliseum, I began to sense a powerful presence surrounding me. At first, I felt nothing but terror. However, after a few moments, the fear melted away and was replaced by a warm sense of security and peace. I trembled as I contemplated the possibility that God might be drawing near to me, even in my wretched and unworthy state. The vision back in Vietnam came thundering back into my mind. I was beginning to think that God had spoken to me that night in Vietnam and that He was somehow calling me into His army of light. Looking back, I now understand that He was beginning to cut the “control strings” of the enemy’s bondage in my life and draw me out of the kingdom of darkness, transferring me into the kingdom of His Son Jesus. The puzzle was beginning to come together…

(To Be Continued…) 

 

posted by Bruce Porter on June 23, 2012

 
June 22, 2012  
By: Dr. Bruce R. Porter

Dear Friends and Supporters, 

The following series of posts under the category of “My Journey into Grace” are excerpts from a book I am presently writing. I’m sharing the portions that deal directly with my personal journey into grace as a chosen follower of Jesus the Messiah. The impetus behind sharing these stories are two-fold. First, we were preparing for an important outreach to Italy in late July, 2012, and was part of an effort to raise financial support. Secondly, I thought that others might be encouraged and edified by my experiences in Rome as God mercifully drew me into His eternal family by His mercy and grace. Me, a wretched depraved sinner, and the most unlikely candidate for such love and grace. Perhaps others will find some commonality in my journey, and find the mercy I found.

 As I contemplate the history of Italy, it is amazing to consider that this once-powerful area of influence for the gospel of God’s grace has been reduced to such physical and spiritual ruins. It was 41 years ago this summer that I first visited Rome. The impact that had on my life was monumental. It was in Rome that God moved powerfully upon my heart and drew me into His marvelous grace. To be sure, I struggled and resisted, for my flesh and depraved heart blinded me, and I was walking in great deception. I want to share a powerful encounter I had with the Spirit of Grace in Rome. This is rather long, so I’m going to break it up into several installments. I hope it edifies you.

 

My Wakeup Call – Pt 1

 I want to share the story of my spiritual awakening. I call it an “awakening” because my former life now seems like a nightmare. More accurately, it was actually a personal resurrection from the dead, for I was dead in my trespasses and sin, alienated from God, and His enemy. Darkness and deception had taken hold on my soul, causing untold sorrow not only to myself but to all who interacted with me. By God’s mercy in Christ, I was called to life and approval before Him. I only hope that some of what I describe here will inspire and encourage you.
 
Coliseum Ruins: Rome, Italy, 1971
The gravel crunched noisily beneath my feet as I stumbled through the portals leading into the ancient Roman Coliseum. At nearly 2:00 A.M., the dark shadows formed by the massive structures of this marvel of human engineering were stark beneath the meager floodlights. Taking another long swig from the jug of cheap wine I had been nursing for several hours, I felt a momentary sense of all-too-familiar danger as my eyes scanned the shadows for the presence of a thief or mugger. I dismissed the thought immediately, however, drawing upon a sense of false bravado afforded partly by the wine. More than this however, I had recently come from a year of military service in Vietnam and was hardened by it, having faced death and danger for so long that it felt familiar.Plopping down on some flat stones in the darkness, I began to relax. Questions swarmed through my wine-numbed brain like buzzing bees. What was I doing in this ancient place? Why was I wandering around this city in the middle of the night, stalking the streets like a restless spirit seeking peace? How did I end up here?An Awesome Revelation
Several months earlier, while serving in Vietnam, a vision came to me that would change the entire course of my life. That vision, so overwhelming and compelling, caused me to temporarily abandon my military post and set me on a trek that would take me through Thailand, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, and now finally Rome, Italy. I was searching for truth, stretching my mind and heart to the breaking point in a quest to make sense of what I had seen. One evening at Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam, I had sat up on a tall water tower that afforded acommanding view of the countryside outside our base perimeter. On this night, while I was with some security buddies out on the perimeter, a supernatural revelation came to me that would steer my destiny for the remainder of my days. Our voices were hushed as we watched the incredibly beautiful sunset over the rice paddies and tropical landscape all around us. All eyes scanned the deepening gloom for the telltale flashes of 55mm rockets launched toward our base by the Viet Cong. When these nasty weapons fired off, we had mere seconds to sound the alarm so our guys could dive into bunkers for protection from the vicious shrapnel these things spit out in all directions, ripping flesh and bone. The most frustrating thing about these missiles was that by the time they launched, there was usually no one out there to shoot back at. The enemy used delayed fuses and were usually miles away when the attack occurred.
 

As the landscape grew darker, my mind began drifting. A question resurfaced that had continually nagged my thoughts for the previous months. “Who are these guys out there trying to kill us?” I knew them only as “gooks,” “the Cong,” and “commies.” On this night I could not help thinking about them as persons and wondered who they really were. This can be a dangerous way of thinking on a battlefield. To empathize with an enemy force trying to kill you can cost your life, and also the lives of others depending on you, if you hesitate to act in a critical moment. In spite of this, I couldn’t help asking the question inwardly. “Why are we all fighting?” Oh, I knew the importance of obeying orders, doing one’s duty, and even some of the political arguments, yet the question seemed somehow especially important to me at that moment. As I pondered this, a flash in the sky drew my attention upward. One of our troops had fired off a phosphorous night flare. The intensely bright light of the hissing flare, suspended by a parachute, illuminated the entire countryside with an eerie glow of phosphorescence, casting weird moving shadows on the ground as it descended. At that very moment, as I stared out across this ethereal landscape, a flash of understanding came over me. It is difficult to tell of it even now, for it shook me to the core.

Glancing back up into the sky, I had a vision of what I can only describe as ethereal, twisted, demonic beings. It was the stuff nightmares are made of, but I wasn’t sleeping. These creatures were flying through the air back and forth with what sounded like snarling laughter screaming from them. They seemed to be pulling strings of some sort, attached to points on the ground. Some of the strings were on our side, and some extended to the fields and valleys beyond our perimeter.

I was completely absorbed with this unearthly vision when a revelation crashed into my consciousness: These demonic beings were controlling people on earth! The strings I saw were like puppet strings, moving those attached to them on earth in ways that suited the hideous beings moving back and forth in the air above me. What amazed me was that there were strings extending down on our side of the perimeter as well as over on the “enemy” side. This was the first time in my life that I even considered the idea of “spiritual warfare.” Prior to that moment, I would have laughed at anyone who even suggested such a seemingly outrageous idea. However, the vision was so compelling, so overwhelming, that I nearly became unaware of my surroundings. I knew somehow in that moment that I was indeed called to be a warrior, but the battleground I was to stand upon was not exclusively the one on which men fought natural battles. 

 

(To Be Continued…)

 
posted by Bruce Porter on March 31, 2011

ISRAEL: The National Jewish Homeland

And the LORD said to Abram… 

“Lift your eyes now

and look from the place where you are;

northward, southward, eastward, and westward;

for all the land which you see I give to you

and your descendants forever.

And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth;

so that if a man could number the dust of the earth,

then your descendants also could be numbered.

Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width,

for I give it to you.”

(Gen 13:14-17 NKJV)

  

Islamic apologists (and a growing number of far-left pundits) are working overtime to slander Israel by accusing the Jews of “occupying” so-called “Palestinian” land. They make outrageous claims that Israelis are illegitimately building “settlements” on the “Palestinian national homeland.” There isn’t time here to go into the other contemptible accusations brought against the Jewish State by Islamic “authorities” who claim that Jews are killing and starving their children, raping their women, and “humiliating” them and their religion. All of this is bald-faced claptrap, but such radicals never seem deterred by the facts.

A strident chorus of anti-Israel voices has risen up in recent years that seek to delegitimize and slander the modern State of Israel. In academia, media, and now surprisingly, even in the highest levels of our present government, we are being barraged with disinformation and a modern form of a “Blood Libel” against the Jewish people and the re-established State of Israel.

The success among these hateful voices is impressive. We are witnessing the increasing isolation and demonization of the Jewish people unequaled since the haydays of the Nazi propaganda machine in the 1930s. Jews, and increasingly those who stand with them, are being subjected to threats and vicious slander in the public arena. In Europe, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues are being vandalized, and Jewish people are subjected to random acts of violence. This is even occurring sporadically here in the United States. Apparently, the evil genie of anti-Semitism, once thought vanquished in WW-II, has once again reared its ugly head and found willing ears and hearts to poison.

From my personal perspective as a bible-believer, I regard this ancient hatred as supernatural at its root. No other people in all the history of the world has incurred such vicious hatred and suffered unrelenting violence and genocidal assaults as the Jewish people. To be sure, there have been many persecuted people in the world, but none have endured such never-ending vitriolic hatred as the descendants of Abraham.

Why is this? Simply stated, it stems from a fundamental hatred and rejection of the God of Israel by fallen mankind. (There is no other, by the way.) Ultimately, this hatred is based upon a demonic envy and desire to hurt the heart of God Himself by attacking the people He chose in His sovereignty to carry His word and light to the world.

Those who are influenced and blinded by the darkly whispered voices of satanic psychosis often lash out against the Jews without any regard or notice of the facts or realities of history. If they did, they would realize how truly insane their rants are.

To give those of you who desire to know some of those facts and realities, I offer the following information gleaned from various sources. They will assist you in not only arguing in the defense of the Jewish people, but to insulate and inoculate yourself against the flood of disinformation and lies barraging us all. This level of hatred against Israel and the Jewish people will exponentially increase in the coming years. Brace for impact.
 
Some Inconvenient Facts about Israel.

1. Israel became a State in 1312 BCE, (NOT 1948) nearly two millennia before Islam was a twinkle in Mohammed’s eye;

2. Arab refugees from Israel began calling themselves “Palestinians” in 1967, two decades after the declaration in May of 1948 of the re-established Israeli State. No such nation or recognized people-group ever existed in all of history.

3. After conquering the land in 1272 BCE, the Jewish people ruled it exclusively for a thousand years. Even after multiple exiles and conquering, they maintained a continuous presence there for 3,300 years;

4. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem maintained its status as the Jewish capital. It was never the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even under Jordanian rule, (east) Jerusalem was not made the capital;

5. Jerusalem is mentioned 811 times in 764 verses in the King James Bible, but not once is it mentioned in the Qur’an;

6. King David founded Jerusalem; Muhammad never set foot in it;

7. Jews pray facing Jerusalem; Muslims face Mecca. If they are between the two cities, Muslims pray facing Mecca, with their backs to Jerusalem;

8. In 1948 when 7 Arab armies attacked Israel, Arab leaders urged their people to leave, promising to cleanse the land of the “Zionist presence.” The great majority of them fled without ever setting eyes on an Israeli soldier;

9. By contrast, virtually the entire Jewish population residing in neighboring Muslim countries had to flee for their lives as the result of violence and pogroms. Some 630,000 Arabs voluntarily left Israel in 1948, in spite of the Israeli government’s plea that they remain where they were, while nearly a million Jews were forced to leave the Muslim countries;

10. In spite of the vast territories at their disposal, Arab Refugees were deliberately prevented from assimilating into their host countries. Of 100 million refugees following World War 2, they are the only group to have never integrated with their co-religionists. Most of the Jewish refugees from Europe and Arab lands were settled in Israel, a country no larger than New Jersey;

11. There are 22 Muslim countries, not counting Palestine. There is only one Jewish state. Arabs started all five wars against Israel, and lost every one of them;

12. Hamas and Hezbollah official documents still call for the destruction of Israel. In spite of this, Israel has continually sought peace and ceded most of the west bank, the Sinai, and all of Gaza to Egypt and the Palestinian authority, even providing arms to the Arabs to maintain order. Many of these arms have been used in the murder of Israeli Jews;

13. During the Jordanian occupation from 1948 until 1967, Jewish holy sites in and around Jerusalem were vandalized and off limits to Jews. The U.N. remained deafeningly silent while the Arabs, under Jordanian rule, destroyed 58 synagogues in the old city of Jerusalem and systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Under Israeli administration after 1967, all Muslim and Christian holy sites are defended and accessible to all faiths;

14. Out of 175 United Nations Security Council resolutions up to 1990, 97 were against Israel; out of 690 general assembly resolutions, 429 were against Israel;

For a comprehensive accounting of Jewish contributions to civilization, please visit the following website. I can confidently say that the extensive list will blow your mind.
http://www.jinfo.org/

Please understand, I am not making a case that the Jewish people are perfect or “better” than anyone else. As a people, they have one prescient redeeming grace. They were favored and chosen by the God of Israel by His sovereign pre-determined choice. This was not done because of any merit in and of themselves anymore than we from among the nations can make any claim to God’s favor on our own merits. It is purely of grace.

However, the vicious hatred of the world toward the Jewish people is not because of human failures on their part, which are as numerous as our own if we are truly honest with ourselves. This hatred comes straight from the pits of evil itself. Lucifer’s unceasing vendetta toward God finds its most vexing expression in his lashing out against the apple of His eye.
The Jewish people will never be uprooted from their land again. The last great battle is coming, and many will die, both of the Jews, and their enemies. However, the God of Israel will defend them in the end, and honor those who stood bravely in the dark hour. We who have the choice now must take a stand for what is right. The right side is to stand with the people of God. Any pretense that the Islamists (or the blinded minions of the Left) have to usurp the Jewish State and possess the land given to Abraham’s descendants by God Himself will end in failure and ruin.

The Jewish Messiah will return and rule the earth from Jerusalem. The scriptures are clear. We who love Him, and have received His grace, will stand before Him with all those from every nation, kindred, tongue, tribe who love His appearing. There will be no more Jew or Gentile, but one new man.

 Israeli Air Force F-15s

posted by Bruce Porter on March 30, 2011

Keeping My Gas Mask

by: Bruce R. Porter, D.Div.

I will bless those who bless you,

And I will curse him who curses you;

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

(Gen 12:3 NKJV)
   Author and Israeli Friend in Jerusalem, 1991 

As I sit down to write this, I’m looking up on my bookshelf at a 20-year-old Israeli gas mask. It contains an injectable vile of atropine, chemical agent powder, and a special filter canister to filter out mustard gas. It was given to me by an Israeli soldier as I arrived in Lod Airport in early 1991 during the first Gulf War. Saddam Hussein’s scud missiles were sporadically raining into Tel-Aviv, and no one knew whether or not they might be carrying biological or chemical agents in the warheads.

Israel endured these outrageous attacks from Iraq without retaliating because of pressure from the U.S. to stay out of the conflict. I have been continually amazed over the decades at how much restraint Israel has demonstrated as they endure a nearly continuous stream of terrorist attacks on the nation and civilian populations.

As I walked the streets of Tel-Aviv that evening, it was striking to see nearly everyone carrying a gas mask on a shoulder strap. Even young couples pushing baby carriages had their masks, and plastic coverings folded upon the carriages in preparation of an attack that could occur at any moment. I remember thinking at the time; how long would Americans tolerate such a daily threat upon their lives from a nearby population whose highest aspiration was to destroy their country and murder every last one of them down to the smallest child? It is nearly unthinkable, but this is the reality Israelis live with each and every day of their lives.

For the most-part, the rest of the world vulgarly chooses to ignore this reality, and even find increasingly ludicrous ways to blame the Jews themselves for each and every attack against them. As one who has visited Israel over 20 times in the past 33 years, even during several wars, I’m absolutely stunned at the continuing chorus of Israel-bashing voices in the world. Even among certain “Christianist” groups in the West, there are those who seem to harbor a certain level of anti-Semitism.

I use the term “Christianist” purposely because it is inconceivable to me that anyone who follows and believes in the Jew of Jews, Jesus, or follows the writings of the Apostle Paul who clearly declared God’s abiding love for, and fidelity to, the Jewish people and Israel in spite of their national rejection of Yeshua as their Messiah. He made it clear that this state of unbelief was temporary, and that God Himself would remove this veil when the time suited Him. “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:28-29 NKJV)

Is America Turning Against Israel?

 

As inconceivable as it may seem, the present regime occupying the White House has demonstrated an increasing animosity toward Israel. Barrack Hussein Obama, (aka Barry Soetoro) has consistently demonstrated favor toward Islam in his actions and speeches. From his famous “apology tours,” to his ubiquitous bows to Islamic leaders, and celebrations of Ramadan in the White House (to name but a few) he has shown a clear pattern of anti-Israel bias. Consider his clear snubbing of Israel’s Prime Minister, and the inclusion of cabinet-level advisors on his staff who have repeatedly taken stands against Israel’s interests, even to the point of raising the specter of attacking Israeli aircraft if Israel tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program. (See my article: Obama Advisor Brzezinski: U.S. Should Shoot Down IAF Jets  Link: http://www.brucespeaks.com/?p=652)

Recent developments in the Middle East do not bode well for Israel. The former Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, as undemocratic and brutal as it was, was largely accepting of peace with Israel. Islamic extremists now rising to the forefront in the political vacuum left behind by Mubarak’s exit will surely renew long-held Islamic animosity toward what they call the “Zionist Entity.” Even Egypt Airlines recently issued route maps that entirely excluded Israel’s very existence even though they fly into Israel regularly! The Muslim Brotherhood, the hydra-headed monster behind most of the present political unrest in the Middle East is working at warp-speed to grasp the reins of power in each Islamic state where they are fomenting street demonstrations with the full-cooperation of far-left “Community Organizers” based here in the West.

Now, recent reports indicate that Israel has been subjected to renewed volumes of rocket attacks (added on top of the tens of thousands of previous such attacks) on their territories out of Gaza. P.M. Netanyahu has made it crystal clear that Israel cannot and will not continue to tolerate these attacks upon their citizens and is threatening to retaliate. You can rely with 100% reliability that the world’s media, the U.N., and the nations of the West will once again condemn Israel for “aggression” as they fight for their lives and seek to defend themselves. An Israeli friend once told me that it seems in the eyes of the world, the only thing Jews in Israel can do satisfactorily is die quietly. He also said that when there is a “cease-fire” declared, the Israeli view is that what is meant is: “We are in charge of the ‘ceasing,’ and they (the Arabs) are in charge of the ‘firing.'”)

The present Regime occupying the White House is leading us down a path of economic and national destruction. We are a nation at risk. However, I am convinced that the most heinous and supremely dangerous trend within the present Regime is the very real risk that we are eventually going to cut Israel adrift and perhaps even (I’m struggling to even say it) passively or actively attack Israel! Should it come to this, I believe we will incur the well-deserved wrath of God. Look at history and name a single nation that attacked the Jews or Israel and failed to suffer horrendous consequences. God’s judgment of the nations of the world will, in great part, be predicated upon one consideration.

 
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Mat 25:40 NKJV) 

Yes, yes, I know some will challenge my interpretation of these words because they harbor the false assumption that Jesus was only speaking of Christians who would follow Him. However, let us never forget that Jesus (or Yeshua) is, and always WILL be, a JEW. “My brethren” referred not only to the “wild olive branches” who have the privilege of being grafted in to the “good vine” but also to the “natural branches” (the Jewish people). We share a common bible, a common Creator, and a common destiny in redemption.

Let me state that the moment a single American bullet, or a single U.S. bomb is directed toward the nation of Israel or her people in a hostile act by this government, (unless a clearly accidental event followed by appropriate apologies and reparations) I will seriously consider renouncing my citizenship and seek to immigrate. I cannot say I would be accepted in Israel (at least at present), because of my views concerning Yeshua, but I would seek to find somewhere where madness is not enshrined as national policy.

Glancing up again at that old gas mask, I can’t help wondering if there might be a future use for such things, or a newer model, for myself or my family. I keep it in plain sight to remind me every day that peace will not come to this broken world until the Prince of Peace is enthroned in Jerusalem. Until then, the mask remains as a reminder, and my prayers for the peace of Jerusalem will rise up to the only ONE who can bring it. (Hint: It’s not BHO!)

 

posted by Bruce Porter on September 11, 2010

by: Bruce R. Porter, D.Div.

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me
I wish none of this had ever happened ……
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times,
but that is not for them to decide.
All you have to decide
is how to use the time that is given to you.
J. R. R TOLKEIN The Lord of the Rings

Fighting exhaustion and impending nausea, I stumbled from the examination room of the field morgue next to the rubble of the World Trade Center. It had been a long day and I desperately needed rest.

There in an adjacent tent, two young Catholic priests sat, freshly arrived, and looking very intimidated. Hardly into their twenties, it was an easy assumption that they were newly ordained, and like all of us, extremely uncomfortable with what was happening in that tent of unspeakable horrors. I felt sorry for them. Such places cruelly rip out whatever might remain of youthful innocence. I’d lost mine in Vietnam over thirty years before, and compassion welled up within me for them. We were in the middle of a waking nightmare.

I shuffled over to them. “Hi Fathers. How are you?” (It seemed a bit strange to address such young men as “Fathers”) Looking at each other, one said nervously; “We were sent to administer the Sacrament of Last Rites, and bring what comfort we may.” Searching their eyes, I could see that these young men were overwhelmed, and understandably so. We all were.

Glancing back into the exam room, I shuddered as I thought about what they were about to walk into. They were nearly the same age as my own son, and I wished I could protect them. What was in that room was something no seminary could ever prepare them for. My thoughts drifted…

I had labored several days among the forensic and Medical Examiner teams. The putrid air inside the morgue was sticky with the heat and humidity of a late New York City summer. In spite of my biohazard mask, the stench of death assaulted my senses, and my mind recoiled at the sight of the decomposing body parts of my fellow Americans on the stainless steel tables.

A firefighter standing next to me one day sobbed softly, and I reached over and put a gloved hand on his grimy shoulder. Glancing up and seeing “Chaplain” on my helmet, he nodded his thanks wordlessly through bloodshot, tear-filled eyes. He had just brought in the fragmentary remains of a fellow firefighter from the smoking ruins outside. Bits of turnout gear still clung to what remained of our fallen brother. Our grief was unspeakable. Few words exchanged—few required.

Their examination ended and the remains were tenderly slid into a small bio-hazard bag. The Medical Examiner looked at me and said softly, “Chaplain?” Her eyes, peering over her mask, seemed to say; “We’ve done all we humanly can. Now we look to God.” Glancing around for a Priest to give Last Rites, or a Rabbi to say Kaddish, we would each participate in ministering. Without forensic evidence to determine religion, we tried to cover every possibility for the sake of the family.

In a repeated ritual, a U.S. Flag was unfurled, and gloved hands reached out to help cover the stretcher holding our brother. Tenderly, we tucked the edges of the flag around the stretcher like a mother lovingly tucking a child into bed. I prayed. “Thank you Father, for a life given while saving others. There is no greater love…”

Firefighters and officers carefully lifted the stretcher. Leading the small procession, I exited into the street toward a waiting ambulance. As the flag-draped bier came into view, hundreds of people working outside instantly stopped everything, formed lines, and snapped to attention. Only the sound of electrical generators broke the silence. “Hand salute!” Someone barked. Tearfully, I saluted and stood at attention to one side as they placed the stretcher into the ambulance. Everyone stood silently, holding their salute to their fallen comrade. The doors closed, and the ambulance slowly slipped away into the darkened streets. Finally someone shouted; “Order salute!” and everyone returned to their work.

Emerging from my reverie, I turned back to the two priests before me. My heart broke for them. “Fathers,” I said, “Your service to our Messiah in this terrible place is honorable.” Glancing at each other again, they seemed to relax a bit as I continued. “With your permission, I would like to pray for you.” Their eyes widened a bit at this, for I suspect it is rare that anyone ever offers to pray for a priest. They are, after all, assumed to be the ones who do the heavy-lifting regarding ministry. Tonight, the ministers needed encouragement. “Well, thank you, yes, that would be very kind of you,” they said tentatively.

Kneeling down in front of where they were sitting, I clasped their hands and began to pray for their strength to face the challenges of service there, asking our Father in Heaven to protect and give the assurance of His love for them as they reach out to bring the comfort of Messiah to others. I prayed for their empowerment as instruments of His grace far beyond all they could ask or imagine, and that Yeshua would be seen in their faces as they ministered.

God’s presence seemed to fill the room, and I began to sob with the pent-up pain of the previous days. Looking up, both of the priests were also weeping. Spontaneously we stood and hugged in an embrace of fellowship in the Spirit. In this place of suffering, we stood together. These young priests—willing to walk into the bowels of hell to minister to their flock—became true heroes in my eyes that night. So were they also in the Heavenly Father’s eyes.

Walking out into the deep darkness before dawn, I tried to glimpse the stars, whose twinkling orbs often give me comfort. Finding none in the glare of search lights, I gazed at the mountain of smoking, twisted steel, and the billowing clouds of smoke rising from the “pile.” Steelworkers cut away the rubble with torches, making bright fountains of sparks. I whispered a prayer of thanks that the stars still shone brightly somewhere far above. A new day would soon dawn for us all. Come quickly, Lord Yeshua!

Click on picture to view a 700 Club Commemorative Video

posted by Bruce Porter on July 18, 2010

From Bruce:

Most of my friends know that I served as a volunteer at Ground Zero beginning six days after the World Trade Towers were destroyed by Islamic fanatics who flew hijacked passenger jets into them. I would have been there sooner, but the airlines were totally grounded for nearly a week before I could catch a ride to New York City.

Lately, I’ve been aghast at the unfolding reports of a huge mosque being planned to open adjacent to the site of the worst Islamic Jihadist attack in history. To tell the truth, the entire fiasco has made me nearly speechless with outrage. Groping for words adequate to describe or encompass this unspeakably vulgar display of arrogance by Islamists, I’ve not written of it until now.

Finally, I found someone who actually comes close to describing my feelings and thoughts regarding this. Pat Condell is a British pundit and vlogger who got it right on this issue. I cannot improve on his words. He and I would agree on very little else, seeing that he is a rather vocal atheist who regards people like me as a lower form of imbecile. Nevertheless, in dealing with the issue of the mosque being established near Ground Zero, and to add insult to injury, having it dedicated on September 11th on the day of the tenth anniversary of this Jihadist attack, Pat nailed it!

View the video below. If you agree with him, forward it to as many as possible. We must stop this atrocity from occurring!

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