Otto & Elizabeth DeCamp

My parents, Otto and Elizabeth DeCamp, were married in Korea on December 6, 1940—one year, almost to the day, before Pearl Harbor. They lived to serve the Lord; now they dwell with Him in Immanuel’s Land.

Advent Devotions

Christmas Day

Luke 2:1-20 (ESV)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Advent Devotions

Week Four: Our Sure Hope

Sunday (December 19, 2021)

Today we light the fourth candle of Advent–the Candle of Hope. Our hope is being fulfilled. The circle of candles is completely lit. For weeks we have been planning and preparing for Christmas week. Anticipation is high.

With the birth of Jesus the hope of the ages was fulfilled. The salvation that God had promised was here. God Himself– Immanuel–had come to live among us.       

But that was only the beginning. We have a promise for our day, too. Just before His crucifixion, Jesus said, . . . I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:3).

The last words of Jesus recorded in Scripture repeat this promise.

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end….
Surely I am coming soon…     Revelation 22:12-13, 20

Just as God fulfilled His promises of old, Jesus will fulfill His promise to come again. As we are busy getting ready to welcome Jesus at His birth, let us also be preparing to welcome Jesus at His coronation as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer    Even so, come Lord Jesus.


As we meditate on the birth of Jesus, let us also rejoice in the hope that can be ours when we are born anew through Christ Jesus.

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…    1 Peter 1:3

 New birth in Christ gives us a living hope. Ephesians 2:12 tells us that those without God are without hope. Hope is essential to life. It enables us to go on when life is at its most difficult.
Romans 5:5 tells us that God’s love gives us a hope which will not disappoint us. In life there are many times when hope goes unfulfilled. When you go to a ball game, you have hope that your team will win. But, as the game progresses and you get farther and farther behind, that hope dies.
God gives us a living hope–a hope that will not die–a hope that will never let us down or disappoint us.
In the Bible, hope is the expectation of a sure thing, a firm conviction; not just wishful thinking. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Heb. 6:19-NIV). Therefore, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23-NIV).

    I remember my affliction and my wandering . . .
    I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
    Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
        for his compassions never fail.
    They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
    I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
        therefore I will wait for him.”      Lamentations 3:19-24 (NIV)

Prayer     Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a living hope.


For many, Christmas is the most wonderful, hopeful time of year; but, for some, it is the most difficult. When you are suffering  it is hard to enter into the joy of the season. You may even feel abandoned by God.
God does not send suffering into our lives to destroy us; rather, He desires to refine us and make us like pure gold (1 Peter 1:7).

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose….to be conformed to the image of his Son…   Romans 8:28, 29

God’s good purpose for our lives is that we grow to be like Jesus. He is preparing us for an eternity in His presence!

For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison… 2 Corinthians 4:17

Suffering is meant to give us hope–not destroy it.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Let this sure promise of God be your hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11

Prayer     Thank you Lord, for giving us hope even in our darkest hours.


In his gospel, Luke tells us of two people who were waiting with eager anticipation for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.

One was Simeon. God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon was in the temple when Mary and Joseph came to have their newborn son circumcised. When he saw the baby Jesus, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying:

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).

Luke also tells us of the prophetess Anna. She was now very old and had been a widow since she was a young woman. Anna spent her life in the temple worshiping, fasting, and praying. When she saw the baby Jesus she was overcome with joy and recognized Him as the one who would bring salvation (Luke 2:36-38).

These were difficult times for Jewish people. Rome ruled with an iron grip. The only hope these people had was that Messiah would come and deliver them. But it had been many long years since the promises had been given. Most had quit looking for Him. Yet, here were two people who believed God and were privileged to see their hope fulfilled.

Let us, too, live in eager anticipation of the coming of Christ.

Prayer     Dear God, please give us faith to keep believing even when the wait is long.


Christmas Eve is almost here! The weeks  of Advent have been busy times of preparation for this special day. One day it will be the eve of our meeting the Lord face to face. This is our great hope! Will you be ready?

For the grace of God . . . teaches us . . . to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.   Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

As believers, we are the bride of Christ. No bride rushes off to her wedding dirty and bedraggled from a busy day of activity. Rather, with meticulous care she adorns herself as beautifully as possible. Should we do less as we prepare to meet our Lord?

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out


For our Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory,
for the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”–

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”    Revelation 19:6-9  

 Prayer    Lord, may we be ready and eagerly awaiting that day when we will see You face to face.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has come–that most silent, holy night. Tonight we light all the candles on the Advent wreath. We light the candles of Promise, Light, Love, and Hope. Then, in the center, we light the Christ Candle.           

Christ is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. He is the light of the whole world and the light for our lives. Christ is the love of God made visible to us. He is the hope of the world.

Without Christ at the center of our lives we are lost and out of balance. When the excitement of Christmas is over and nothing is left but piles of torn paper, empty boxes and dirty dishes, what, then, will be our hope, our joy?

When Christ indwells us, when He is the center of our heart’s affections, then Christmas is truly only the beginning. His light and love can shine out from our lives all year long. The hope of His coming can fill all our days with meaning and joy.

Paul tells us of a wonderful mystery–Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b).

Jesus came the first Christmas to dwell among us and one day we will dwell with him in heaven forever. If we repent of our sins and believe in Him, He will dwell in our hearts by His Spirit and the joy of His presence can be ours all year long!

…Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.    Luke 2:10, 11 (KJV)

Prayer     Dear Lord Jesus, please dwell in the very center of my life this Christmas and all year long.

Advent Devotions

Week Three: The Love of God

Sunday (December 12, 2021)

The third Sunday of Advent is already here! This week we light the Candle of Love. Love–perhaps that is what we think of first when we think of Christmas and the great gift God gave us in sending His Son. As John Walvoord’s song goes:

    Love was when God became a man
    Locked in time and space without rank or place;
    Love was God–born of Jewish kin,
    Just a carpenter with some fishermen.

    Love was when Jesus walked in history
    Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free;
    Love was God nailed to bleed and die
    To reach and love one such as I.

    Love was when God became a man
    Down where I could see love that reached to me . . .

God could have left us all to suffer the consequences of our rebellion, but He didn’t. That is what Christmas is all about–the love of God which compelled Him to send His Son to free us from our sin.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life for us.


As we light the candles of Advent, let us think again of the love of God. We learn what true love is by looking at God’s example.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:10

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

God didn’t choose Israel to be His covenant people because they were the best people on earth. In fact, He called them a stiff-necked and stubborn people. Likewise, He didn’t choose to pour out His love upon us because we were the best people He could find.

God just loves because He is love. He loves everyone, even those who do not appreciate the great gift He has given.   

If we went to a lot of effort and expense to get someone a very special Christmas gift and they just tossed it aside with indifference, we would be very hurt.

Let us not treat God’s great gift of love as a trivial trinket. Instead, may our hearts overflow with thankfulness to Him.

Prayer     We are overwhelmed, dear God, that You should love us enough to give Your precious Son for our salvation. Thank You.


God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is part of God’s nature. His love is unconditional. It is not dependent on what we do or how we behave. God’s love is always there for us.

When God showed Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai, He passed in front of Moses proclaiming:  

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…   Exodus 34:6, 7

Over and over throughout history God has demonstrated His love. Yet, as any good parent, verse 7 goes on to say God will punish those who do wrong.
God’s discipline is always exercised in love, always done toward the end that we might repent and turn to Him and find forgiveness.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:6, 10, 11

This Advent let us respond in gratefulness to God’s discipline in our lives. Let us repent of our resentments and open our hearts more fully to the love of God.

Prayer     Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10, KJV).


While it is true that God’s love is not dependent on our response, it is also true that God longs for us to love Him, too.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus has a special message for seven different churches. In His message to the church in Ephesus He praises them for their good deeds, hard work and perseverance; but then with sadness adds, But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (Rev. 2:4).

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus answered:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

God has done so much for us. He has made us. He keeps us day by day. He gave His Son to rescue us from an eternity of deserved punishment. How can we fail to love Him in return?

Yet how are we to love God? What could we ever do for Him?

1 John 5:3 says, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

After Jesus returned to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, to come alongside us, to comfort and instruct us in the way of the Lord  (John 14).

Loving obedience should flow naturally out of a heart indwelt by the Spirit of God.

Prayer     Please give me a heart which obeys out of love.


God stands ready to pour out His blessings on those who lovingly obey Him.
God laid down rules to be obeyed, but they are rules borne out of love. He made us and knows what will keep us safe and make us truly happy. He calls His Law a covenant of love.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.     Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

God goes on to promise great blessing to those who obey His covenant. God will bless those who obey, but He desires that we obey out of love–not out of fear or duty or for reward.

Our love for God should show itself in love for others. Jesus said the world has a right to judge whether or not we are Christians by the love we demonstrate for one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34, 35

Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for its labor prompted by love (1 Thess. 1:3 NIV). We please the heart of God when we joyfully serve Him from a heart overflowing with love and gratitude.

May all the good things we do this Christmas be prompted by our love for Jesus.

Prayer     Dear Jesus, please let my giving be done out of love for You.


God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son. We are called to show our love for Him by becoming living sacrifices, pouring ourselves out for others.   

 Is not this the fast that I choose:   
        to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free
        and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
        and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
        and your healing shall spring up speedily
your righteousness shall go before you;
        the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
        you shall cry, and he will say: ‘Here I am.’
Isaiah 58:6-9a 

Ezekiel was a prophet who preached to the Israelites while they were in exile. Listen to what God told him about his sermons.
My people . . . sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.         Ezekiel 33:31, 32  (NIV)

As we hear God’s beautiful love song again this Christmas, let us not just listen, but respond with the gift of our life.

Prayer     Lord, please help me to pour myself out for others.


In the busyness of Christmas have you lost sight of the purpose of your activity? Others need your love more than anything else you could give.

Paul writes about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians. He tells us that we can have all kinds of gifts, but if we don’t exercise them lovingly, they are worthless. Our good deeds just become a lot of irritating noise. Paul then describes how true love–God’s kind of love–behaves and urges us to demonstrate that kind of love to one another.

    Love is very patient and kind,
        never jealous or envious,
        never boastful or proud,
        never haughty or selfish or rude.
    Love does not demand its own way.
    It is not irritable or touchy.
    It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice
        when others do it wrong.
    It is never glad about injustice,
        but rejoices whenever truth wins out.
    If you love someone you will be loyal to him
        no matter what the cost.
    You will always believe in him,
        and always stand your ground in defending him.
    All the special gifts and powers from God will someday
        come to an end, but love goes on forever.                                             
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (Living Bible)

**All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Advent Devotions

Week Two: The Light Is Come

Sunday (December 5, 2021)

At Christmas we are busy giving and receiving gifts. We do our best to choose gifts our loved ones will enjoy, but James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

The Father of lights–what an unusual way to describe God, yet it is a common theme of Scripture. The Bible tells us that God is light (1 John 1:5) and that He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). The Psalmist tells us that God covers himself with light as with a garment (Ps. 104:2) and that those who walk in the light of His face are blessed (Ps. 89:15).

The Messiah is described as being a star that would come out of Jacob (Num. 24:17). At the birth of Jesus the wise men said, We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him (Mt. 2:2). At the very close of the Book of Revelation Jesus says, I am . . . the bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16). 

God’s presence is often associated with great brightness. God is not only light, but in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:15). In God there is nothing impure, nothing to dim His goodness.         

In Jesus we have all the light, all the purity, of God Himself, come into the world to live among us–come into the world to show us the Father.   

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.   Matthew 4:16  (NIV)     

Prayer     Thank you, God, for sending the Light of Your presence into this dark world.    


The candles of Advent remind us of the light God’s presence brings into our life.         

When the people of Israel were wandering in the desert, God’s presence was manifest by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night–light which could be seen.            

During this time in the desert God gave Moses very specific directions for building a place of worship. The layout of the tabernacle demonstrated how a sinful people were to approach a holy God.       

As one left the outer court of the tabernacle and parted the heavy curtains to enter the Holy Place, he found the room brightly lit by a golden candlestick.

The rabbis interpreted this light as a symbol of Israel and taught that their mission was to be a light to the world until Messiah came; then, He would be a light to all nations. Imagine what they thought when Jesus stood among them and said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12).

When Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to God, He was taken in the arms of a righteous old man named Simeon. The Spirit of God was on Simeon and as he gazed at the baby he praised God, saying,

Lord, you are now letting your servant depart in peace according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation, that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:29-32

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for coming into the world as the light to show us the way to the Father. 


Do you sometimes feel unable to do what God asks of you?

When the tabernacle was built God commanded Moses to keep the candlestick burning at all times. The children of Israel were not always faithful in doing this. Sometimes God’s presence seemed far removed from them, as when they were ruled by foreign powers.

One such time was in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered Jerusalem and set up idols in the temple. For three years the Maccabees (the Jewish army) fought to regain the temple. After their victory the Jews went in to cleanse the temple and restore it as a place of worship. However, they found only enough oil there to light the candlestick for one day. It would take a week to get more. According to God’s Law it should burn continually. What to do? But where God requires, He always provides a way. The meager supply of oil miraculously lasted a full eight days until more could be obtained.

Today the Jewish people still celebrate this miracle of God’s provision. They call this celebration Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah lasts for eight days–one for each day the oil miraculously burned. Each day a new candle is lit on the menorah until all eight are burning brightly.

As we kindle the Candle of Light, let us remember that God always provides what we need in order to accomplish His will.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:19

Prayer     Please give us the faith, Lord, truly to believe that You will supply our every need.`


Just before the birth of Jesus, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and sang a song of praise and prophecy. Zechariah concluded his song by proclaiming that the Lord was coming to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.    (Luke 1:79).

Oh, how this world needs a light to guide our feet into the path of peace!

Nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that one day a Child would be born who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus is that Prince of Peace Who lights our path and guides us into the way of peace and truth. Without the light of God, we stumble around in confusion. We set off in one direction, seeking answers to our questions and solutions to our problems. We grope around in the darkness until we hit a brick wall, then turn and stumble down another path which looks inviting and holds promise–only to find it also ends in emptiness and disillusionment.        

As you light the Advent candles this year and as you see the beautiful lights of Christmas, remember that you need not stumble around in darkness, for Jesus said,

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.   John 8:12b

Prayer     We ask you, dear Lord, to light our path and show us Your best way for our lives.


 When all else fails
. . . read the directions.

Oh, how much pain we could spare ourselves by studying God’s directions for our life!

Jesus said, as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:5). For a time He lived among us, showing us the way to live, guiding us to the Father.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Even though the Word no longer dwells among us in the form of a man, we still have God’s Word to light our path and guide us through life.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  Psalm 19:7-8

How blessed we are! Not only did God send Jesus to show us the way, He also gave us His Word to teach us His ways. We don’t need to wander in darkness and confusion.

Come. . . let us walk in the light of the Lord.  Isaiah 2:5

Prayer     Thank You, God, for giving us a guide for life instead of leaving us to stumble through on our own.


Have you ever been alone in a dark closet?

That is what our lives are like without Jesus. This Christmas He comes offering you a light, but until you take it and turn it on, you will continue to be in darkness.

Jesus said,
…Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light…I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.   John 12:35-36, 46

Put your trust in God while His Spirit is calling you–before the darkness overtakes you. This Christmas accept Christ’s offer of salvation and let the light of God fill your life.

When we pass from darkness into light we become God’s dear children. We also receive a special calling.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  1 Peter 2:9

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for the great salvation which You offer to us. Come into my heart this Christmas and live within me always.


As we light the Advent candles, we are again reminded that Jesus is the light of the world–the One Who came to bring the light of God’s love to all people. As His followers, Jesus tells us that we are also to be light in the world. 

…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Mt. 5:16

Ephesians 2:8, 9 make it clear that we are saved by God’s grace alone:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Yet, the very next verse goes on to say:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We are God’s workmanship, His love poem, to a hurting world. Our lives are to reflect His light.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Ephesians 5:8-10

As God’s love and light fill our hearts, let us spread that love to those around us. This Christmas, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

Prayer     Please teach me, Lord, how You would have me show Your light to others this Christmas.

*Scripture references are in the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Advent Devotions 2021

Introduction: Advent means “coming.”

It is that special time of the year when we remember Christ’s first coming into the world and look forward to the time when He will come again. It is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Special activities can help us to focus our thoughts on the true meaning of Christmas. The nightly lighting of the Advent candles has become a very special time for our family.

Advent candles vary in color and name in different traditions. In our home we use a circle of four purple candles (symbolizing royalty) in an evergreen wreath. In the center is the white Christ candle, which is taller than the others. Each night of the first week, one purple candle is lit at the beginning of our devotional time. Two are lit each night the second week, and so on. On Christmas Eve the white Christ candle is also lit.

I wrote these devotions for my family but share them with you in the hope that they will help to make this a Christ-centered Christmas in your heart and home.  

Week One: The Promise Fulfilled

Sunday (November 28, 2021)

It’s here–that wonderful time of the year called Christmas! Today we light the first candle of Advent, the Candle of Promise. As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, let us remember that it is because of God’s promises that we truly celebrate. God promised to send a Savior, and He did. God promises to be with us today, and He is. God promises to be with us in the future, and He will be.

As you light the Candle of Promise this Advent, remember that God always keeps His Word. His promises are sure. He can be trusted.

God is not man, that he should lie,
        or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
        Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Numbers 23:19   

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

Prayer    Thank You, dear Lord, for always keeping Your Word. Thank You for sending Your Son. Please keep our hearts and minds fixed on You this Advent season.


Are there people or situations which you’ve been praying about for a long time? Do you yearn to see God working?

As you hear the Christmas story this Advent, notice how many times the Gospels say,
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. Matthew 1:22

The entire Old Testament is woven with the promise of redemption, the promise of the Messiah–the One Who would come and make all things right.

In Jesus every promise was fulfilled–every shadow made reality.

God had preserved a righteous seed of Abraham, a son of David, through centuries of time until every detail was in place.

Through many dark years Israel must have felt abandoned by God, and yet, all the while He was there, working behind the scenes until . . . when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son . . . (Galatians 4:4, KJV).

So it is with us. Remember this Advent that God is working– even when you may not feel it. In the fullness of time, it will come together, for God makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Prayer    We are so grateful, dear Lord, that You love us and never forget us, but are always working on our behalf. Give us the patience and faith to wait on You–trusting You to fulfill every promise.


Do you have fears about the future?

The book of Joshua opens with the Israelites perched on the banks of the Jordan River preparing to enter the Promised Land. They must have been more than a little afraid; after all, this land had been described as being inhabited by giants living in large and heavily fortified cities (Numbers 13:27-33). As they wait to cross the Jordan, God comes to Joshua with reassurance of His presence and of ultimate victory:

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6, 9

God was true to His Word. In spite of overwhelming odds, Israel was victorious.

Near the end of his life, after God had given Israel rest from her enemies, Joshua called the people together and reminded them of the goodness of the Lord.

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. Joshua 23:14

God also says to us, “Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. The future may look full of giants, but I will be with you. I will take care of you. I promise.”

Prayer     Thank You, Lord, that we need not fear the future for You will always be with us.


Is it possible to be free from fear?

Over and over, as Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, God told him not to be afraid, but to be strong and courageous.

This is a continual theme of Scripture. Countless times the Bible tells us not to fret, not to fear, not to worry.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

We also hear these words many times as we read the Christmas story. Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, and the shepherds were all told not to be afraid.

 …an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20, 21

When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were caring for their flocks. Naturally, they were terrified.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10, 11

God has promised His presence and power to those who love Him. When we trust this promise we can have freedom from our fears. That is, indeed, good news of great joy!

Prayer     Thank You, Lord, for the peace which You offer through Christ Jesus.


When the children of Israel were at rest in the Promised Land, Joshua reminded them that their victory had come from God.

For the LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day. One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you   Joshua 23:9,10

Many times people make promises which they do not keep. Sometimes they are truly sincere but lack the ability to keep their word. Sometimes they change their mind or find the cost is more than they are willing to pay.

Our God has the power to keep His Word. He is God Almighty. He is the God above all gods. If He is for us who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Our God also has all the resources of heaven and earth at His disposal. He is able to do what He says He will.

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein Psalm 24:1

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

God promised to send a Savior and He kept His Word at the cost of His only Son.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”     John 3:16

Prayer     Thank You, God, for the wonderful gift of salvation which You purchased for us with Your own precious Son.


What is the best gift you could receive this Christmas? What is the best promise anyone could make you?

When the angel of the Lord first appeared to Joseph, he was told not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife:
.…that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1:20, 21             

Jesus is a very special name. It is the name above all names. It is the name to which, one day, every knee will bow (Phil. 2:9,10).

Jesus is the New Testament Greek form of the Old Testament Hebrew name Joshua which means The LORD Saves. The very name of Jesus carries with it God’s promise of salvation!

The Bible says we are all sinners who deserve God’s wrath (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Yet, in His mercy, God has promised all those who believe in Him the privilege of being His children.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

When we repent and believe, we become beloved children of the King of Kings–forgiven, freed from guilt, possessors of a new life in a new family, and recipients of a new inheritance, eternal life. (1 Peter 1:3,4).

Could there be a greater gift than God’s promise of salvation to all who put their trust in Christ Jesus?

Prayer     Thank You, Jesus, for the great gift of salvation which You offer freely to anyone who will accept it.


One of the most repeated promises of Scripture is God’s promise always to be with us. Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of that promise when He came and lived among us.   

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  Matthew 1:22, 23 [Isaiah 7:14]

 In the Old and New Testaments, alike, God promised never to leave us–never to desert us. (Deuteronomy. 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)

Jesus’ last words to His disciples reassured them that even though He was leaving them in the flesh He would still be with them always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

We have God’s promise that He will always be with us. He has been with us in the past. He is with us today. He will be with us all the days of our life, and He will be with us for all eternity.

Ezekiel gives us a detailed description of the New Jerusalem and closes with these words, And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.  (Ezekiel 48:35)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:3, 4

Prayer     Dear Lord, please help us to live daily in the peace of Your presence.

Afghanistan (series)

My Prayer for Afghanistan

Photo credit: “Afghan Children,” Ginny Barahona, 2004, 
Creative Commons

August 16, 2021

Eternal God, Creator of all we see and Lord over all we do not see, we turn to You this night.

We worship You as the God of history, of time and space. You set the world in motion, You made the seas, the mountains, wildlife of all kinds––and You said that it was “good.”

You made man in Your image––male and female You created them––and You said that it was “very good.”

We, to whom You gave dominion over all the earth, have often turned to our own devices. We acknowledge that sin infects every part of creation––beginning with the human heart.

This night we plead with You for the innocents in Afghanistan.

Those who name the name of Christ stand to be cut down in the coming days and weeks. Lord, make them strong to the end; may Your Name be lifted up by their testimony. Nothing is too difficult for you, O God. May Your eternal purposes flower in their lives.

Women and children are vulnerable to brutal attacks by fighters, or to being sold into the hell of human trafficking. Lord, set at liberty those who are oppressed, we pray.

People with unapproved political affiliations await slaughter. Enable those among them who love Jesus to bear strong witness in their final hours. Help them to proclaim liberty to the captives––and captors––alike.

Many from other countries, who are there for reasons of commerce or charity or religious witness, are in danger. Set a hedge around them, we pray, and increase the faith of their loved ones back home.

Give protection and success to our military forces, as they seek to hold back the hand of the oppressor and to deliver those who are in peril. And be very near to their families.

We pray for our leaders. Help them to look earnestly to You and, as they do, please give them all the wisdom that they need.

As a nation, O God, bring us to repentance. Replace open defiance with sincere devotion to Your Word. May the Prince of Peace take up residence in our hearts, that we might bring glory to You and blessing to the world.

Hear our prayer, Oh God, in the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.


The Diplomatic Fissure of My Lifetime

Photo: The Telegraph, 18 August 2021

British military leaders, and Members of Parliament across the political spectrum (historically our closest ally in the western world), spare few words for President Biden. In British English:

“…throwing us and everybody else to the fire.”


“particularly distasteful and dishonouring”

“absolutely the wrong call”

Mr. Biden’s withdrawal “is, and will be seen by history as, a catastrophic mistake which may well prove to be the defining legacy of his presidency.”

On Wednesday, “General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the Armed Forces, accused the US of ‘shattering’ the morale of Afghan troops when they stopped air strikes.”

“Senior former UK defence figures criticised Mr Biden, with Lord Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, saying: ‘The manner and timing of the Afghan collapse is the direct result of President Biden’s decision to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.’”


Passing the Baby in Kabul

August 21, 2021
Lord, bless this child’s life and give the parents hope in You.

According to the Army Times, the baby has been cared for by medical professionals, and has been reunited with the father at the airport. (No information that I’ve found about the mother.) Pray….

August 20, 2021

No image better depicts what our Nation and our Uniforms means to others than this photo.

An Afghan mother, in desperation, passes her baby to a US Uniform.

She may never see her child again, but she knows that child, will have a far better life than the one she knows and from what her mother saved her from.

She knows this because the Uniforms she saw were entirely honorable and displayed the best of our humanity.

Their performance stirred her innermost core of Motherhood when survival became the dominate issue.

All the genetic protective mechanisms that drive motherhood made this wrenching decision.

It is this image that shows the incredible value our Uniforms have in representing what we are all about.

If any Uniform, past or present, that served in Afghanistan, wonders if it was worth it, this photo answers the question.


 For Those Who Served in Afghanistan

A tribute and encouragement for those who served in Afghanistan, from Vietnam Veteran Marine Colonel Keith Nightingale (Ret.).

August 17, 2021

OK. Take a deep breath and put your mind in neutral.

Yes-Afghanistan has fallen and we left a lot of blood there.

No-You and our combat casualties did not serve in vain.

You shined a light in some of the darkest places on the globe.

You did your job. You supported righteous endeavors.

You ensured tens of thousands of terrorists never died from old age.

You showed, for a brief shining moment, what American values are all about.

A moment some others may not be able to share.

You did this in obscurity and without public note, but to those that witnessed, you made a difference that will resonate far past your absence.

You were an American displaying what we as a Nation are surely all about.

Above all else, you were supremely, demonstrably honorable.

Many others cannot say that.

You brought smiles to countless people who otherwise would have nothing to smile about.

For a moment in time.

The “agonizing reappraisals” can be left to policy makers, historians, and the American people. Not your job.

Rest easy, You, those that served, gave our dead and wounded meaning by your presence and participation in something greater than yourself.

You are and were our Praetorian Guard-providing purpose and pride to a Service in which many others, acting on a higher plane, could not match the honor.

You well served the small band of family you were with as your successors will wherever they are asked to serve. As they surely will.

Our Nation depends upon its well of citizens willing to serve for all of us, not just some of us.

Causes and policies will change, but the quality of your service will not and cannot.

That would be a betrayal to what serving is all about and for which we, the 99% who do not fight, expect.

Others may have cause for judgement. You do not.

We have no choice.

You do.

Rest easy. You can sleep well. Some other citizens may not.


Exposé of Biden

August 21, 2021

“Everyone who said for decades that Biden was a lightweight ill-equipped to handle a major crisis has been vindicated.”

This is a long exposé of Biden. It helped me understand how he has brought such dishonor upon America.


The Problem with Biden

August 23, 2021


Glenn Beck raises $22 million in 2 days to rescue Afghan Christians


Satire from the Babylon Bee



August 25, 2021


Behind the Scenes

August 26, 2021


Melania Trump

August 27, 2021


A Week to Remember

8 days to rest, rejuvenate, and celebrate our 51st

A Week to Remember #1

The week began in Nashville, and included a helicopter ride over the city (thank you, Rob).

A Week to Remember #2

Our week proceeds with an inside view of Nashville life.

A Week to Remember #3

Some cities were built on steel, manufacturing, agriculture, commerce. Nashville came to life by blending cords and lyrics––sounds on stage.

Here accomplished artists, aspiring musicians, and assorted dreamers converged to display their wares. Some rose to fame. The Music City today is home to The “Grand Ole Opry” and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Ruth and I got a taste of a local artistic seedbed, The Listening Room Cafe (Photo: warm-up session before the house filled). Four young women shared their original music hoping to be noticed, to get that first career break. Let me tell you: these are gifted songwriters who shared deeply of their passion, joys, and challenges. They were amazing. I’d like to go there again.

And, Oh, how I’d love for them to know the One Who fills every need.

Listening Room Cafe: Warm-up Session Before House Filled
A Week to Remember #4

Our abode for 4 nights.

A mailbox off the road was the only clue we were at the right place. My eyes followed a foot trail till it disappeared into the woods (photo #1). No cabin. I asked Ruth to stay in the car while I set out to search for our cabin and to ensure the car would traverse the trail.

A 1/4-mile hike led to a clearing, and this inviting cabin (#2). If they got the building materials and equipment in here, I reasoned, surely our Subaru will make it! Sure enough.

We had been in search of two things: remoteness and internet access (often thought of as mutually exclusive). The first requirement clearly had been met; one could have driven within this short distance of the cabin for years and never have known it existed! The second requirement would prove a reality, as well!

In future posts, I plan to discuss why these criteria were so important to us, yet God had already provided more than we could have imagined. And the blessings had only begun!

A Week to Remember #5

We didn’t venture from our cabin often, but when we did….

Ruth loves water: Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, creeks. Ruth loves the water.
We were just 1/4 mile from a huge lake, and she drank it in.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a––ESV

A Week to Remember #6

My thoughts one day: putting the world in its place

Predictability over Upheaval

In this secluded cabin, I was tempted to believe that this world was out of control. God’s design for life and family, for government and nations, is being perverted and mocked––evidence of a world attempting life without its Creator. In such an environment, who can know what vagaries lie around the corner?

At the same time, I recalled that God has never lost an election; He has never been defeated in war; His plan for this nation and world cannot be thwarted. From this understanding, everything is neatly on schedule. The Conductor of the Universe has a plan and, instead of panic, God reassures us with order, predictability.

Last week I took photos of the sun’s tireless march from first light till late afternoon. We––and all the animals––knew what to expect from this celestial lamp. The heavens declare the glory of God, and God’s eternal Word points the way.

The Rock of Ages will not be moved. His plan––on which we must stand––is our confidence and hope.

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.”

Proverbs 21:30—ESV

A Week to Remember #7

From early morning solitude came these thoughts to sustain us through life:

1. Focus on Someone bigger than yourself.

Quietness, prayer and meditation on God’s Word––that’s how our day began.

2. Increase knowledge that builds confidence.

When it was light enough, we moved out to the porch. I read from Voddie Baucum’s book, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe. There’s a backstory to almost everything. Set out to learn it.

3. Build faith and fortitude needed for what may be coming.

One of the most frequent promises in the Bible is “I will be with you.” Devote yourself to Christ and His way, and you will never be alone. Even in a jail cell He will never leave you nor forsake you. Drink deeply from the well that never runs dry.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Matthew 6:26—ESV

A Week to Remember #8

On the Road Less Traveled

We had talked about a quiet vacation (ideally remote) in rustic surroundings (probably a cabin). It wasn’t an attempt to escape life, nor evade people. We simply wanted to be alone with each other…and with God.

With Each Other

I like words, but am at a loss to explain what Ruth means to me after 51 years. When we got engaged it dawned on me that every plan I would make from there on out would include her.

That was an exciting and very welcome thought!

I would learn how “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part” holds meaning, substance, sacrifice. God would use the next five decades as a training ground: the Bible as guide and His Spirit as inspiration. Oh, how the Lord has been good to us!


During those five days we had only one (brief) conversation with another person. We’ve been a lot of places, but that Kentucky cabin offered five days of quiet solitude like we had never tasted. Lord willing, it won’t be the last.

With God

In recent years, Ruth and I have come to cherish the early hours. The Good Shepherd knows what we need before we ask, and we want to feed in His pasture.

In a men’s Bible study 20 years ago, the conversation turned to God’s design for marriage and family. An older, wise elder concluded simply, “You can’t improve on God’s plan.”

Though many are experimenting on other roads, those words have proven true for those who feed on God’s eternal Word. (And thanks be to God that He can redeem any situation!)

I’m still looking forward to every plan that includes Ruth…and God.

E. Otto DeCamp

Photo: 1948. Dad in front of the West Gate Prison in Seoul after World War II, and seven years following his incarceration there.

My father, E. Otto DeCamp, was born 110 years ago today. His early missionary service in Korea was interrupted by a stint in a Japanese prison cell. Yet even there the Gospel brought light.

He wrote about it in “Five Months in a Japanese Prison” (February 25 – July 21, 1941):

“While contact with others was forbidden there were many curious guards who would drop by and ask what had brought us here. Each one who came gave us a chance to tell them of the Christ who was the Lord of all and the Savior of all who would believe.”

I hope soon to share this paper on this site.

Easter Memory from Korea

Site of Easter Sunrise Service on Nam San (South Mountain) in Seoul

First memory of Easter: as a child, on South Mountain in Seoul, Korea, for the Sunrise Service. 

From every direction came figures on foot in the dark. Thousands upon thousands. Silent. Plodding. Climbing. Most with one volume held close. All with a memory. 

Japan had ruled Korea for the first half of the twentieth century. On this spot had stood a Shinto Shrine, at which the Japanese forced Koreans to worship the emperor. 

Because of their allegiance to Christ, many Korean believers refused. They had been beaten, imprisoned, or worse. The first thing the Koreans did when liberated after World War II was to tear down that shrine. 

Now in the darkness, long before the sun rose that Easter morning, the Light of the World illumined their steps. They just kept coming. And coming. A great multitude. From the north and the south and the east and the west, they came. 

Free at last to worship the Savior, they came. Hearts ablaze. 

Then, at first light, together singing: 

Jesus Christ is risen today, Hallelujah!
Our triumphant holy day, Hallelujah!
Who did once, upon the cross, Hallelujah!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Hallelujah!

On China (series)

PHOTO: Creative Commons/Joe Tymczyszyn

1. On China: I Love the People

By Jim DeCamp, 4/7/2020

…not the policies of their government  

In the 1890s, my maternal grandparents left Virginia for China. My grandfather, a doctor, built a hospital in a town north of Shanghai, named Love and Mercy Hospital. (Photo in 1894. They shared the Good News of Jesus as they identified with the people.) I have always loved China––her beauty, her people––and been inspired by her history. 

Sadly, in the coming weeks there will be much to report of the brutality and cunning nature of the Chinese government. I do so out of love for the long-suffering people of China, and for the safety and security of people around the world.

2. On China: A New Series

By Jim DeCamp, 4/14/2020

PHOTO: Creative Commons/Joe Tymczyszyn

…toward understanding

The world is changing virtually at the speed of electrons. Take a virus, add confusion, stir in geopolitical tensions, and one is tempted to head for the exits.

But wait: at the human level knowledge answers fear; understanding builds confidence; courage secures the future. And we need all of these virtues.

Yet there’s more. With the God of History there is much more. This series on China rests in the knowledge that the Conductor of the Universe––the “Potentate of Time,” to borrow from Matthew Bridges’ wonderful hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”––this Creator of us all, has a sure and certain plan. (To friends who may not share these beliefs: I treasure our friendship.)

3. On China: The Great Wall

By Jim DeCamp, 4/15/20


Security called for a wall, producing one of the most spectacular engineering feats in human history.


> To secure China against attacking nomads from the north.The Chinese military sent smoke and firebrand messages between “fire towers” on the Great Wall, to sound alarms and summon soldiers.

> To ensure revenue and safeguard commerce.Lucrative trade routes passed through the few gates in the wall, where tax and tariff officers waited.

> To protect culture. The creativity and refinement of Chinese art, along with family traditions, were threatened by invaders who thought nothing of such virtues.


> The longest fortified line ever built, totaling over 13,000 miles.

> Interestingly, there was not just one wall, but multiple overlapping and/or disconnected defensive structures.

> Over the centuries there were changes in the threat, as well as new dynasties rising to power. Construction began as early as the 7th century BC. It continued, off and on, into the 17th century, AD.

> Size: about 25 feet high, with a 25-foot base which tapered to about 15 feet at the top.

> Towers up to 40 feet in height––every 300 yards––kept watch. Soldiers and weapons moved rapidly atop the wall to the address any danger.

> Built of “brick or dressed granite shell, filled with earth, and covered with a very hard coating of bricks in lime.” (World Book Encyclopedia, 1957 edition, which I used as a kid.)


> For an individual: You can always do more than you think you can.

> For a nation: Serious needs summon strength.

> For perspective: We live in a thin slice of history. We should be grateful for those who have traveled before us, and sobered by what we may hand our descendants.

> For geopolitics: Every country has a history, culture, economy, military, government, faith, hardships, and a self-image.

> For education: *Serious study* of history affords 1) lessons from others’ mistakes, and 2) knowledge, understanding, and wisdom upon which we can address the crises of our own day.

4. On China: The Belt and Road Initiative

By Jim DeCamp, April 22, 2020


…Preying on weak countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America, the expansionism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a threat to international stability and to the U. S.

It has also been referred to as China’s “One Belt, One Road” International Infrastructure Project. Below is a post from 2018. More posts to come on this strategically significant subject.



If you’re interested in the complexities of international affairs, this will be a fascinating article. It discusses:

1. China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) attempts to make economic and political inroads into Asia, Africa, Europe…even South America.

2. China’s use of OBOR to obligate poorer countries in the construction of transportation facilities then, when money dries up, take them over.

3. China’s persecution of millions of Muslims in its westernmost province.

4. How Turkey (headed now by a radical Islamist) had denounced this Chinese persecution.

5. How Turkey, weakened economically by sanctions and isolated politically, needs assistance from and recognition of China.

6. How Turkey, in return, has curtailed criticism of China’s persecution, and has agreed to participate in OBOR.

Further intriguing factors: Turkey has imprisoned many political prisoners including American pastor, Andrew Brunson; the U.S. is leaning heavily on Turkey to release Pastor Brunson; [speculation, though possible] in exchange for the U. S. working with China on a North Korea solution, China may agree to pressure Turkey to release this American pastor.

This kind of plotting goes on every day in almost every country. It’s grist for someone’s term paper. I’d love to read it.

[UPDATE: Pastor Brunson, imprisoned in 2016, was released on Oct. 12, 2018.]

Link to full article:–_AZpSMrd3yW0JnHarzbPsA4QVh5GJYxp-1PkQOM

5. On China: Probing Communist China

By Jim DeCamp, April 24, 2020

PHOTO: Ambassador Haley / National Review / Brendan McDermid/Reuters

…investigating/stopping Communist China’s deception and manipulation

Through her new group, Stop Communist China, Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and U. S. ambassador to the U. N., wants Congress to:

✔️ Require American colleges and universities to disclose all Chinese Communist government funding of professors and researchers.

✔️ Investigate China’s initial coverup of the virus outbreak.

✔️ End China’s stranglehold on medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

✔️ Force China to contribute to international organizations in an amount fitting the second largest economy in the world.

✔️ Support Taiwan by calling out China’s bullying, and allow Taiwan into the World Health Organization (WHO).

6. On China: Suing for COVID-19 Damages

By Jim DeCamp, April 26, 2020

PHOTO: Creative Commons / Studio Incendo

…salient points on behalf of the U. S. and all nations affected

From Jonathan F. Keiler in American Thinker––link below. (Another post to follow on legal grounds for filing suit.)


✔️ Force evidence into the open.

✔️ Serve as future deterrent to China / other aggressor regimes.

✔️ Force Democrats and media to choose: U. S. or China.WHY CHINA SHOULD BE HELD LEGALLY LIABLE

✔️ Security lapses at Wuhan infectious disease laboratory.

✔️ After outbreak known, international travel allowed in and out of Wuhan.

✔️ Attempts to hide the outbreak / failed to manage the outbreak.

✔️ Result: International humanitarian disaster.POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION

✔️ International Court of Justice.

✔️ An ad hoc international tribunal.

✔️ Many other countries could join the U. S.

✔️ China’s refusal to cooperate could support unilateral U. S. action.…/2020/04/suing_china.html

7. On China: Grounds for Suing

By Jim DeCamp, April 29, 2020

PHOTO: Daily Wire, Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

…why the Chinese Communist Party is not immune from prosecution.


The first state to sue”On information and belief, the Communist Party is not an organ or political subdivision of the PRC, nor is it owned by the PRC or a political subdivision of the PRC, and thus it is not protected by sovereign immunity.”…/first-u-s-state-to-sue…


Complaint filed by Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman “…Such actions violated a number of international treaties, the complaint contends, including the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons.’”…/china-sued-coronavirus…/


Pursue avenues other than corrupt international institutions. “China’s failures render it legally liable under international law, but the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the crisis of ineffectiveness and corruption of international institutions. Instead of focusing on international law, the U.S. should thus protect its national interests by opting for the self-help mechanism.”

NR goes on to illustrate how “China has rendered the U.N. impotent,” and how China has a history of ignoring international court judgements.…/04/how-to-make-china-pay/

8. On China: China’s Deception and the World’s Awakening

by Jim DeCamp, May 4, 2020

PHOTO: The Daily Telegraph / The P4 Laboratory in Wuhan / Hector Retamal/AFP

…viral lies about life and death

From The TownHall (1), The Daily Telegraph (2), The Daily Wire (3)

1. AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, THE UK, THE U.S….world-wide backlash against China’s treachery…/backlash-international-community…

2. ENDANGERING OTHER COUNTRIES, “DISAPPEARING” DOCTORS WHO SPOKE OUT, DESTROYING EVIDENCE…the case being mounted against China.…/55add857058731c9c71

3. CHINA INTENTIONALLY CONCEALED THE SEVERITY, HOARDED SUPPLIES…U. S. Dept. of Homeland Security Report, May, 2020.Sec. of State Pompeo: “I think the whole world is united in understanding that China brought this virus to the world.”…/u-s-intel-report-suggests…

9. On China: Inroads into U.N. Agencies

by Jim DeCamp, May 11, 2020

PHOTO: AK Rockefeller, “United Nations Logo,” Creative Commons

…and the growing suspicion China is raising
…three articles from The Diplomat


China already leads four of the UN’s 15 specialized agencies, and five more lead positions are opening up.Meanwhile, China has co-opted the World Health Organization (WHO).


…China’s persecution of political and religious enemies, notwithstanding.…/china-appointed-to…/

…to influence other countries, to build its own military, to appear as a partner for peace.…/china-takes-the-lead-in-un…/

10. On China: Increased Pressure

By Jim DeCamp, May 18, 2020

PHOTO: President Trump, Creative Commons / Samira Bouaou / The Epoch Times

…through high-tech manufacturing (1), stock market oversight (2), and by capitalizing on China’s crumbling reputation (3).


The Daily Wire: Taiwan to build $12B chip plant in U.S.: 1,600 high-tech professional jobs, thousands more jobs “in the semiconductor ecosystem.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “The U.S. welcomes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s intention to invest $12B in the most advanced 5-nanometer semiconductor fabrication foundry in the world. This deal bolsters U.S. national security at a time when China is trying to dominate cutting-edge tech and control critical industries.”…/trump-delivers-blow-to…


Politico: Long-overlooked sores don’t heal in a day, yet pressure on China could be growing. Bipartisan legislation would force China to comply with U. S. accounting rules. Trump agrees, while sounding caution lest Chinese companies “move to London or…to Hong Kong.”…/trump-crackdown-china-stocks…


Victor Davis Hanson in National Review: China’s weakened state is due to its coronavirus scandal, trade war with U.S., one million Uighur Muslims in reeducation camps, crackdown on Hong Kong freedom demonstrators, massive surveillance of the Chinese people. “The world is now both terrified and put off by China….”…/coronavirus-china…/

11. On China: China Steals U. S. Research

By Jim DeCamp, June 15, 2020

PHOTO: National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland campus/ The Epoch Times

…related to China’s Thousand Talents Program, which pays scientists in exchange for information
…from The Epoch Times (1) and (2), and Breitbart (3) and (4).


“The NIH effort is part of a larger U.S. government campaign to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) infiltration of American academia.”The NIH warned universities in 2018 that some foreign entities had been attempting “…to divert intellectual property and obtain confidential information.”…


Dr. James Patrick Lewis, 54, was a tenured physics professor at West Virginia University (WVU) from 2006 to August 2019.” He was charged and pled guilty on March 10, 2020.…


An officer in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Xin Wang, was arrested last week at LAX while attempting to leave the country. According to Customs and Boarder Patrol personnel and the U. S. Department of Justice, Xin lied about on his original visa application, had misrepresented his relationship with the Chinese military, and was attempting to smuggle out of the country information pertaining to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health. This information was the product of U.S. government-funded research from the University of California.…/police-arrest-chinese…/


He was removed from his Harvard position last January and arrested on charges that he lied about his relationship with the Chinese government. Charles Lieber was indicted last week for allegedly accepting money “in exchange for access to taxpayer-funded research.” As a participant in China’s Thousand Talents Program, Lieber was allegedly paid $50,000 per month for stealing, then passing on to China, proprietary information. China also provided $1.5 million for Lieber “to establish a research lab at the Wuhan University of Technology.”…/harvard-prof-charles…/

12. On China: Uighur Genocide

By Jim DeCamp, August 9, 2020

PHOTO: Mukhit Toktassyn (AP) (Screenshot from the AP article)

…of 12 million Turkish-speaking Muslims in NW China
…China’s actions to oppress––and cull––the Uighur population
…from The Associated Press (1), Western Journalism (2), and Amnesty International (3)


> “The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show.”

> “Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.”

> ”The result of the birth control campaign is a climate of terror around having children, as seen in interview after interview.”


> “Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority group native to China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, are being hauled off to labor camps and forced to undergo sterilization procedures in an effort to cull their population.”

> This article defines genocide, exposes labor and re-education camps created to subjugate the Uighur people, reveals forced sterilization of Uighurs and other minority peoples, discloses mysterious population declines, and discusses “attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.”…/


> This Amnesty International article contains disturbing evidence of China’s inhumanity toward the Uighur people.

> This article provides many photographs, vignettes, and links to resources, which may inspire further study.…/china-up-to-one-million…/

13. On China: BBC collection of reports on China’s treatment of the Uighur people “…one of the most pressing human rights concerns of our age.”

By Jim DeCamp, February 27, 2021


I ask you to pick just one of these reports, then pray:

> for mercy on this generation of Uighur people.

> that U. S. policy would recognize the evidence of genocide, and resist pressure from the Chinese Communist Party.

> that companies doing business in China would refuse to profit from slave labor.

> that the Gospel of Christ would take root and prosper in the massive concentration camps of western China.

See also Epoch Times


The individual liberty enshrined in our Constitution is massive. Our Founders recognized that behavioral guardrails are inspired by the Creator, not by government.


“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
––John Adams, second President of the United States

Substance and Style: Our Critical Need…in a Changing World

The crisis was life-threatening. Until medical aid arrived, my mission was simple: do all I know to keep the person alive!

My thought process was this: “What is the most important thing I must do right now?” A few moments later the situation had changed a little and I again asked, “What is the best thing I can do now?” ….Over and over again I asked myself….

This continued for at least five minutes: trying my best to remain alert and relevant, agile yet determined. That was a serious emergency which––thanks to God and the medics––ended well.

Interestingly, only hours later was I aware of any emotion. Someone had said, “That must have been a scary time!” Only then did I ponder what must have gone on inside of me.

…amidst the turmoil

There is a place for emotion and passion; there are also nuts-and-bolts tasks that must be accomplished. Without the former, we are dry bones; lacking the latter, we flit around from one year to the next.

I know what it’s like for passion to cloud clear thinking, and for policy arguments to lose sight of real people. It’s critical that we find a place for both: righteous passion and sound policy.

…for the task at hand

In my experience, anger-inspired advocacy may make me feel better, but it also builds resistance. Having genuine regard for those I seek to influence––yes, including elected officials––is more likely to see success.

If you have a heart to defend all that is true and good about America, practice your life-saving advocacy with emotions in check.

Underlying It All

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” [1]

Underlying It All

Unlike previous years, I’ve not sat down to recount the last 12 months, nor project the next 12.

What’s on my mind at the moment is more than counting––more even than fraudulent voting and attempts to steal elections.

Events coming up on January 5, then 6, could change history––history, I say. Yet there are qualitative changes afoot in our culture already––owing largely to our defiance of God––which will still need addressing. Three examples:

1. Integrity––perhaps the most fundamental of personal virtues––is still respected, yet the moral foundation on which it rests is cracking.

2. More Americans than ever are cohabitating, yet the really alarming word is that the building block of our society––traditional marriage and family––has been redefined.

3. Academic degrees abound, yet the watershed change is that places of learning have become indoctrination centers.

The first part of each sentence is true; the second portends a precipitous decline in our way of life.

Whatever this coming week holds––and we will give it lots of ink––underlying it all will remain faith and culture.


[1] Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard (1947)
(in the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

11 More GOP Senators to Object to Electoral College Votes

By Zachary Stieber, The Epoch Times
January 2, 2021

A group of 11 senators on Saturday announced they’re going to challenge electoral votes during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.

“America is a Republic whose leaders are chosen in democratic elections. Those elections, in turn, must comply with the Constitution and with federal and state law,” the group wrote in a joint statement.

“When the voters fairly decide an election, pursuant to the rule of law, the losing candidate should acknowledge and respect the legitimacy of that election. And, if the voters choose to elect a new office-holder, our Nation should have a peaceful transfer of power. The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations, and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.”

The allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election “exceed any in our lifetime,” the group added, noting courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly declined to hear evidence of alleged fraud.

The senators said Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of election returns in disputed states. Once completed, the states would evaluate the commission’s findings and convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.

“Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,” the group said.

The group includes Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.).

Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) also plan on joining. They’ll be sworn in on Sunday, several days before the joint session.

The session is the final step in the Electoral College system to certifying a president-elect. Taking place two weeks before inauguration day, the session sees the vice president, as president of the Senate, preside over members of Congress counting electoral votes.

Objections are allowed if they’re in writing and supported by at least one representative and at least one senator. If the conditions are met, objections trigger withdrawal from the joint session and a two-hour debate. The chambers then vote on the objection. It is upheld with a majority vote in each chamber.

According to a tally by The Epoch Times, 40 representatives plan on objecting to electoral votes. They’re now joined by 12 senators. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) this week was the first senator to announce plans to object.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on Jan. 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley wrote in a statement on Dec. 30.

Democrats have criticized the plans, alleging circumstances were different when they attempted objections in 2017 and succeeded with launching one in 2005.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on CNN that Hawley’s actions were undermining the democratic process, calling the planned objection a “reckless stunt.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s team downplayed the plans, calling the vote counting “merely a formality.”

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she’s confident Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20.

The group of GOP senators on Saturday acknowledged that most if not all Democrats, and “perhaps more than a few Republicans,” will not vote to uphold the objections.

“But support of election integrity should not be a partisan issue,” they added. “A fair and creditable audit—conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20—would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People.”

Remarks at DeCamp Retirement Ceremony

First Army HQ, Fort Gillem, GA
24 March 2011
1100 hours

Passion to defend what we love.

Well, the bad news is that a preacher has the floor. The good news is that it will be brief…by a preacher’s standards!

Thank you, Major General MacCarley, Sir. You rode the red eye last night from California to be here to officiate this morning. Thank you, Sir. And Command Sergeant Major Andrews, thank you for honoring me with your presence here this morning.

And thanks to all of you, dear friends. Thank you, Chaplain Meek, Sir, for your mentoring and friendship; Chaplain Holley, for your winsome spirit, and your knack for making things happen; Chaplain Thomas, for being a tremendous deputy and seeing to all the details of this day—what a joy!; Chaplain Bedsole, for faithfully applying your intellect in the effective training of our chaplains and chaplain assistants; Sergeant Major Penick, for being our treasure trove of military knowledge and technical expertise, and for your skill in teaching and leading others; Staff Sergeant Townes, for being completely reliable, and for ensuring that every task is performed in an outstanding way (except for making stir fry!); and—yes—Arlene, who patiently reminds us, sometimes prods us, and always fully supports us.

Thank you to our friends from the Morrow Presbyterian Church for coming. They are golden; they are the salt of the earth.

Though they could not be here, thank you to our wonderful children, Dorothy, Rob and David, who never complained when Dad was away…again.

But most of all…thank you to Ruth, my dear wife of 40 years—31 of those in the United States Army in one manner or another. You went with me to Germany, Korea, and back to Fort Benning…again; and stayed behind when I deployed to the desert.

This is for you, Darlin’. [a dozen pink roses…and a kiss]

It won’t surprise you to hear a chaplain say, “God has led me all the way.” One of my favorite expressions is “The Lord is good!” And, indeed, He has been so very good to me. It has been a joy to share God’s grace. I love to pastor and I love to Soldier, and as an Army chaplain I’ve been able to do both.

But in a more earthly sense, I have worn the uniform of my country for one reason: freedom. I have always loved freedom’s defender: the United States military. I grew up in Korea of missionary parents. My father said to this young boy in the early 1960s, “Jimmy, the South Koreans are the only people in the world who have lived under Communism and then been freed from it.”

I was to grow in my understanding of that.

We had GIs in our home every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Then my dad took me to see them in their units in the Second Infantry Division, between Seoul and the DMZ. As a young boy, I drove a tank! (That was before they had Risk Assessments!) As a boy, I wanted to be like Soldiers, because they were fighting for our freedom.

All I ever wanted to be was a Soldier. I almost dropped out of college my sophomore year so I could wear a Green Beret in Vietnam. But to honor my parents, I stayed in school.

(Incidently, God bless all of you who served in Vietnam: Weeghmyn Lewis, Donn Ladson, Andy Anderson…quite a number in this building. I never want to miss an opportunity to thank our Vietnam vets; you all paid a much higher price in some ways that those who come back from war today. I honor you for your sacrifice.)

Then I wanted to transfer to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point and start all over again in year-one, but by then, a beautiful young lady had entered my life!

In the interest of getting to lunch, I must leap over 40 years. (And for those of you who brought your kitchen timers, ’less than 10 minutes left!) But I come back to the reason I have worn the uniform.

“Freedom isn’t free,” was the refrain of a popular song in the ’60’s. It’s an old truth; the only thing that changes is the battlefield on which it is proved.

I love my country, because she is about freedom. But like that person who is most precious to us, freedom is there to be cherished, nurtured, defended.

We can serve our country by wearing the uniform, of course. But also by strengthening our Family; by praying—“God help us!”; by helping a neighbor—like Celeste, who’s probably helped everybody in this building!; by working tirelessly (did you ever think of that as a patriotic thing to do?); by inspiring young people to invest their lives in a noble, righteous cause.

And I’m going to add one other—what, for me, is a new way to love my country, one that goes all the way back to its founding.

What is the one document many of us have sworn to “…support and defend…against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”? In the last five months, I have wrapped my arms around this North Star of our country: the United States Constitution.

Last November, I set out to read it once a week; now it’s once a month. Print it out; it’s only 21 pages, including Amendments. (Congress read it out loud in 85 minutes. I’m not a fast reader, but I can read it in less time than that.)

I couldn’t stop asking questions: “Why does it say that?” and “Where did this concept come from?”

I was attracted to The Federalist Papers, a collection of over 80 essays that promoted ratification of our Constitution during the two years it was hotly debated. I’m about half-way through The Federalist Papers, and this exercise has transformed my appreciation of the land I love.

If you want to see what intelligent discourse is, read The Federalist Papers. They reach back, for examples of good and bad government, to the Greek city states and the Roman Empire––right on through the eighteenth century. There is no poverty of thought in The Federalist Papers!

The Bible says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.” My passion for freedom did not need more fuel; it needed more knowledge. Our children and grandchildren will continue to taste sweet freedom if we teach them, and inspire them to cherish, nurture, and defend it. Do not delegate that high calling to anyone!

I love freedom the more today because I am being instructed in the roots of it. So please—if you are inclined or as you are led—read the Bible and the Constitution, then instill in your Family a longing to follow God and to breathe free.

God bless you, and God bless this Shining City on a Hill. Amen

At this juncture in our nation’s history…

An outline that helps me make sense of it all.

The Eternal…
“And He shall reign forever and ever.”

> God has a plan for every nation on earth––ours being no exception.

> God has been pleased to use anyone––pagan or saint––to accomplish His purposes.

> God’s warning of judgment will not be diluted by our denials.

> There will be a final line when every mortal will stand before God.

> Jesus Christ did for His people what we could never do for ourselves; namely, offer an acceptable sacrifice for our sin.

> Whatever our political system, economic structure, or human condition, we all have been created in God’s image and are commanded to love God and our neighbor.

The Temporal
“Just the facts, Ma’am.”

> Government at all levels in the United States is to protect the people’s rights and uphold the rule of law, beginning with the U. S. Constitution.

> The survival of our Constitutional republic is utterly dependent on free and fair elections.

> On Dec. 11, SCOTUS did not rule on the merits of the case brought by Texas; its decision was based solely on standing.

> Multiple pathways are available to the Trump legal team which, along with independent groups/attorneys, continues to file suits challenging alleged election fraud and unequal protection under the law.

> Something peculiar happened overnight between Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4. Trump led––in some cases by hundreds of thousands of votes––in these six swing states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, George, Arizona and Nevada. The vote counting suddenly ceased in the middle of the night and poll workers were told to go home. When the counting resumed several hours later, hundreds of thousands of votes had been added to Biden, giving him the lead in each of these states.

> Thousands of eyewitness accounts and affidavits––sworn testimonies given under penalty of perjury––attest to illegal conduct by elections supervisors and workers, and threats directed at Republican poll observers.

> Numerous complaints of unconstitutional actions by some governors, secretaries of state, and political party leaders have been lodged.

> In 2020, electronic voting (most notably Dominion voting machines and Smartmatic software) was compromised, and used to delete or reassign hundreds of thousands of votes from Trump to Biden.

> Also in 2020, hundreds of thousands of illegal or invalid mail-in ballots were counted for Biden.

> The alarming influence of other countries, from Venezuela to China, and the apparent complicity of some state and local officials by receiving many millions from Big Tech, have cast a pall over the 2020 election.

> It would seem that no rational person can claim the 2020 election to be honest or legal.

> It is quite possible that SCOTUS will rule on the merits of one or more cases still to come before it. The people’s confidence in the integrity of this election hangs upon those decisions.


Whatever the outcome of this election––whether God delivers judgment or gives us more time to repent––God will remain the Sovereign Lord of History.


> for elected officials at all levels.

> for citizens who carry concerns.

> for the courts that will render judgments.

> for Americans of all persuasions, who must find a way to respond to the final outcome.


> God is on the throne.

> One day there will be a final line.

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

Contemporary Reflections

In the economy of God life is different than we would plan, for good and bad often travel together.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the great American poet, tasted this one December and wrote about it in “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”


It was Christmas, 1863.

We know what was raging in our country: brother taking up arms against brother; one region of our nation in pitched battle against another region. It was a struggle for the soul of our culture, for the future of our country.

There are other names for it; the most common is simply The Civil War. [1]


Church bells were big back then. The building was often used for civic and social gatherings, as well as for worship. Perched in the bell tower was a kind of timepiece for the community.

Morning, noon, and night were marked by its ring.

Significant events were announced: the bell tolled at a funeral, at Sunday go-to-meetin’ time, and at seasons of the year.


It was the bells on that Christmas day that struck Longfellow. He knew this holiday was in celebration of the Prince of Peace, yet everywhere…carnage.

The Civil War would claim 620,000 lives! In December of 1863, it had been raging for 2½ years, and had a year-and-a-half still to go. But they didn’t know that; there was no end in sight.

Can you feel the tension in Longfellow’s heart: “Peace on earth, good will to men” yet “Hate is strong and mocks the song”?


Some concerns plague our day: the safety of our children and grandchildren; the fate of liberty. We can surrender to fear yet…is there not a God Who has spoken?

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17b)
“Peace I leave with you.” (John 14:27)
“I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 43:2, and many other places)
“I will never leave you.” (Hebrews 13:5)


Can you see the contrast this Christmas?: perversion, darkness, fraud………peace, rest, joy.

The Apostle Paul shared hope with the Corinthians amidst all their failures and frailties:

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)


There’s no escaping this world, yet we are not alone: the Creator of the Universe has spoken to us through His Word, has come to us by His Son, and deigns to live within us by His Spirit.

The angel Gabriel reassured Mary: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)


A different millennium. Different continent. Different language. Same God!

The angel said to Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Good and bad still travel together, but the only union that really matters is Christ in us…so that “ringing, singing on [our] way” we proclaim the hope of the world: the Savior has come.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus, with joy we worship You this Christmas season. May many turn from darkness and repent of their sin, finding forgiveness and a new life in You. Give us eyes to see your hand at work even in the hard times. In Your Name, Amen.


[1] The Civil War raged from April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865.

William Wilberforce

Tonight Ruth and I watched William Wilberforce, the soul-stirring account of his life-long struggle to end slavery. On his deathbed in 1833––three days before he died––he learned that slavery had been outlawed in the British Empire. The following year, 800,000 slaves throughout the British empire were set free.

The historian, GM Trevelyan, described it as “one of the turning points in the history of the world.”

*This video may be found on Amazon Prime Video.

Gospel of Liberty

Ruth and I were inspired this evening by watching “Gospel of Liberty,” a short history of religious liberty in Virginia. Though from a period 250 years ago, there are remarkable similarities….

*Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Hudson Taylor: Into the Heart of the Dragon

Wow! Ruth and I just watched “Hudson Taylor––Into the Heart of the Dragon.” A story of utter dependence on God, and of God’s never-failing faithfulness.

A pioneer missionary to China in the 1800s, Taylor founded the China Inland Mission. View this movie, and see what God might say to you.

*Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Appetites, Emotions, and Love

What I know about cooking begins with grocery shopping, proceeds to the microwave, then finds its place in the family lore. Win or lose, we live to eat another day.

Emotions are more colorful and complicated. While I don’t fear what’s in the oven, I share with most of my friends a strong sense of alarm at what may emerge in this land.

My purpose here is not to predict outcomes because no one knows the future––except Almighty God, Who has a plan which will surely come to pass. Rather, I want to share some reflections with my friends because I have a hunch I’m not alone.

I am disgusted by the bald-faced lies that cloud this election, and furious that the truth is suppressed. One party is fueled by evil; the other is consumed with self-preservation. The true and the right have become obstacles instead of sacred goals.

At the same time, I am so proud of the hundreds of courageous poll-working citizens who have testified––under penalty of perjury––to what they actually saw and heard.

I have followed the hearings in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Georgia. Some of those who testified have lost friends, family ties, had their jobs threatened, and have been forced to change their phone numbers. In sharing this, some of them were brought to tears.

Several who are immigrants, and now proud citizens, went on and on about their love for this country. They had volunteered to work long hours as an expression of loyalty and love for their new homeland. They displayed courage and grace in the face of insults and intimidation.

When one follows the rules in cooking, the outcome is usually pleasant. Not so, apparently, with elections.

But enough of this…almost.

Love is not namby-pamby. It is the most powerful, enduring, renewing, and noble motivation. It

stiffens the righteous will for the good fight. To be driven by anything else is to live off of one’s savings.

So take inventory of what you’re living for, what you love the most. If it’s love for all that is good and true and right, ask God for more of it because you will need it. If there is gnawing anger, ask God to replace it because it will devour you. He will and He can, because love comes from God.

There is plenty of action ahead. Your country needs you for many days to come. And who knows but what God may smile on our efforts. He can do that, too.

Elizabeth DeCamp: Into the Ivory Palaces

My mother, Elizabeth DeCamp, was born on this day in 1908. She and my father, Otto DeCamp, served together as missionaries to Korea for 37 years. Here are some ways I admire, and am grateful for her:


> She had the benefit of a classical education and had studied Latin for years. She had read countless historical novels, and all of Winston Churchill’s works.
> She knew her Bible. Well.
> Her allusions to literature and Scripture are legendary.


> When her husband of six weeks was taken from her and placed in solitary confinement for five months in a Japanese prison in Korea the winter 1941, she trusted God.
> When she kept her four children for four years in Tokyo while her husband cared for war refugees in Korea during the Korean Conflict, she displayed a core of steel.
> She taught perseverance, one day at a time.


> She taught me the books of the Bible, and how to apply life lessons from cover to cover.
> Our school produced two plays every year––operettas for grade schoolers, and Shakespeare or Rogers and Hammerstein plays in high school. She ensured I knew my lines.
> Her way of answering a question with another question would send me thinking for hours.


> As a nurse, for years she ran the Foreigner’s Clinic of Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea.
> Pouring out her life amidst trial and sacrifice, a calm demeanor revealed her abiding faith in Christ.
> She had always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. When I learned this late in her life (after my father had become ill with Alzheimer’s), I offered to cruise with her. She declined, in order to be by the side of her husband of 60 years.

I remember her singing to herself around the house. She loved this hymn; it was often on her lips:
“Out of the Ivory Palaces”
By Henry Barraclough, 1915

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
and myrrh their texture fills;
its fragrance reached to this heart of mine,
with joy my being thrills.

Out of the ivory palaces,
into a world of woe,
only His great, eternal love
made my Savior go.

His life had also its sorrows sore,
for aloes had a part;
and when I think of the cross He bore,
my eyes with teardrops start. [Refrain]

His garments too were in cassia dipped,
with healing in a touch;
each time my feet in some sin have slipped,
He took me from its clutch. [Refrain]

In garments glorious He will come,
to open wide the door;
and I shall enter my heavenly home,
to dwell forevermore. [Refrain]

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”

Steve Saint: The Jungle Missionary

Tonight Ruth and I watched “Steve Saint: The Jungle Missionary.” His father, Nate Saint, was one of five missionaries martyred at the hands of the Aucas in Equator in the 1950s. We were moved by the transforming power of God, which has brought peace with God to many of the Aucas. Be inspired!

*These videos are all available free on Amazon Prime Video.

Servant of Christ: Robert Jermain Thomas

In tonight’s escape to reality, Ruth and I watched the story of Robert Jermain Thomas. One of the earliest missionaries to Korea, his martyrdom in 1866 at the age of 27 would prove the seed of many conversions, and later revivals. His brief life bore witness to Tertullian’s observation, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Two Hats

Another amazing movie, this time about a missionary family’s outreach in Papua, New Guinea.

(This movie can be found on Amazon Prime Videos.)

Adonirum and Ann Judson: Spent for God

Friends, once again Ruth and I were stirred by a movie of a courageous believer––this time, Adonirum Judson, pioneer missionary to what was then Burma (now Myanmar). (One of the first books I read in seminary was his biography, To the Golden Shore.)

(This movie can be found on Amazon Prime.)

C. H. Spurgeon: The People’s Preacher

C.H. Spurgeon: The People's Preacher

Once again, Ruth and I released the cares of this world for an evening of inspiration; this time, the story of Charles Spurgeon. Find encouragement…and new life in Christ, if that’s what you’re really needing.

(This video may can found on Amazon Prime Video.)

The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Ten sentences long remembered

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

—Abraham Lincoln

The Election and Its Fallout

These are 13 areas I’ll be watching over the next month or more: 

1.  Results of some still contested races.

2.  The many court challenges to irregularities.

3.  Additional info on compromised voting hardware/software. 

4.  How/why election-related software––lodged in other countries––could influence U. S. elections.

5.  $$$ from specific countries related to U.S. election machines/systems. 

6.  $$$ that some U. S. politicians and/or family members may have gained through the purchase of these machines/systems. 

7.  An explanation of how/why voting machines in multiple states halted, then resumed, in the early hours of Nov. 4, 2020––seemingly in coordinated fashion.

8.  Info on U. S. Government offices and individuals who may have engaged in election criminality.

9.  The thousands of eyewitnesses to possible crimes who have stepped forward to testify under oath. 

10.  Exposés/political shakeups at the state and federal levels.

11.  Threats to Americans who investigate or testify to election corruption.

12.  SCOTUS decisions.

13.  How the American people will respond.


Rest assured that in and through all current events, the God of history is unfolding His plan for this country.

Rebuilding Election Confidence: Recounting Legal Ballots, Restoring Trust

Links to Breitbart (1), Breitbart (2), and Townhall (3)

PHOTO: AZ SOS Katie Hobbs / AP, From the Townhall Article Below

1. In Pennsylvania, True the Vote sues on behalf of four Pennsylvania counties.

“Their findings, they said, could reveal double votes, votes cast by ineligible voters, votes cast by felons, votes cast by non-citizens, and votes cast through ballot harvesting…The Pennsylvania election process was an embarrassment to our country and an affront to our deep-seated value of protecting Americans’ basic Constitutional right to vote.”

2. Georgia Announces By-Hand Recount of All Votes…in every county.

“…[D]ue to the narrow margins, (Georgia Sec. of State) Raffensperger is requiring a ‘by-hand’ recount in all 159 counties.”

3. Arizona’s Sec. of State Katie Hobbs (D) Refuses to Allow an Independent Analysis of Voting Data.

Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott): “And for the integrity of our democracy, why wouldn’t we want to get to the bottom of these questions?”

Also, “…the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against [Hobbs] over allegations that Maricopa County ‘incorrectly rejected votes cast by in-person voters on Election Day.’”

Two History-Making Events on November 9

Kristallnacht and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

PHOTO: Wiesbaden Synagogue Burning, Center for Jewish History / Creative Commons

PHOTO: March, 1973. Yours truly looking over the Berlin Wall, from inside free West Berlin.

PHOTO: March 1973. A monument to an East German youth killed trying to cross the wall and reach freedom in West Berlin.

November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night”)

Nazi violence was unleashed on the Jews and their property throughout Germany and Austria.

It was so named because of the shards of glass from thousands of synagogues, shops and homes that were attacked. 

This night of terror––spanning two days, really––signaled a brazen new chapter of Nazi tyranny. 

November 9, 1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

This 114-mile wall was erected in 1961 by Communist East Germany. It encircled the free city of West Berlin to prevent the people under Communist rule from escaping to freedom in the West. In the ensuing 28 years, at least 140 people seeking freedom were killed by Communist guards. 

The “Fall of the Wall” led to the reunification of East and West Germany. It also marked the beginning of the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and freedom-loving people around the world breathed new life.

Beyond Elections: What Kind of World?

A nonpartisan piece

PHOTO: Creative Commons

While one political party may celebrate and the other mourn an outcome, this post is about something universal: something that goes to the core of human existence, something that challenges both parties. It’s this:

In which world will we Americans choose to live?

1. A world with God, or

2. One without


Our nation was founded upon the enduring principle that our Creator bestowed certain inalienable rights, including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Flowing from this creed is the acceptance of a basic moral order; the preciousness of every member of the human family; and the nuclear family, itself.

Enshrined in the Constitution, these God-given individual rights are to be secured and defended by government. Here is found the balance between standards and liberty, between “form and freedom.” The guardrails for behavior in society, while not always observed, are widely accepted. Other people’s beliefs, conscience, and practices are respected or tolerated, if not celebrated.


In a world that is the product of material, energy, time and chance, the human mind is king. The human mind determines who is worthy to exist and who may be destroyed. The human mind codifies what is acceptable behavior and that which falls short.

In this world, humans determine the rules, which vary from one generation to the next. Order is made possible by the exercise of raw power, and no one is safe.


Believe me when I say that this is not intended to be a partisan post. Some in my Republican party have ventured from a world in which God exists, or has anything to say to us. From my vantage point, Democrats have been on this sojourn far longer.

We all need to take inventory.


Where is our assurance that, in the end, we will not give an account for our lives?

The future of our nation depends on returning to the One Who made us, acknowledging His sovereignty over human affairs, and humbling ourselves in repentance.

Like it or hate it; take it or leave it; God will not be mocked. The ancient writings say, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” While first given to Israel, the general principle applies to all peoples.

In which world?

Remembering Fort Hood

…on this day in 2009
…14 innocent lives

PHOTO: Fort Hood Memorial to the deceased, Creative Commons

On November 5, 2009, a heavily armed radical Muslim entered a troop training/processing area on Ft. Hood, Texas, murdering 13 adults and one preborn child, and wounding more than 30.

Ten of the wounded belonged to our unit. As an Army chaplain at the time, I was sent to Ft. Hood to minister to them and their families. It was 10 memorable days.

Over the years as a chaplain, I often ended my prayers with “…Help us always to be ready to meet You….”


The assailant has been convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder, 32 counts of attempted murder, dismissed from the service, and sentenced to death. He is incarcerated at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is awaiting execution.

Prayer Requested outside an Abortion Facility

by Jim DeCamp, Published 11-4-2020
Written 11-4-2019

‘Would appreciate your prayer this morning as we will be at the Arlington Ave. abortion facility (in Indy) bearing witness to 

> the preciousness of every image bearer of God. 

> the hope and provision of the Lord––even when in crisis.

> the power of the Gospel to transform hearts and lives. 
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 
2 Corinthians 10:3-4––ESV

Five Testimonies and a Chuckle

by Jim DeCamp, Published on November 4, 2020
Written on November 4, 2019


It all took place today outside the abortion facility at 1201 N. Arlington Ave, in Indy. 
This was a “consultation” day; no lives were taken. 


By my count this morning, eight women entered the facility. Pray that they will decide not to follow through with a plan to end their baby’s life, and that they will find God’s peace and hope in this difficult hour. 

There were two apparent “drive-aways.” In each case, they entered the parking lot, talked with their companion for a minute or two, then turned around and drove away. Pray that they truly will decide not to take a child’s life, and that they will find rest and confidence in the Lord. Pray, also, that they will be encouraged by the provision offered from God’s people. 

Each young woman…each little child…bears the image of God. Each is precious to God and, therefore, to us. 


“…to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  (2 Corinthians 4:7––ESV)

Sandy Cassidy kneeling, praying (photo). There is power in the spoken word, and there is power is silence. Wherever, whenever, and however God is pleased to move…there is power. Beginning on one’s knees is a good place to start. 


A young Hispanic woman walked up to me and explained that she had come to appeal to her friend to keep her baby. We talked about hopeful options, including visiting the East Pregnancy Center just two blocks away. I gave her a printout of contact info for all seven Life Centers in the Indy area. A few minutes later her friend arrived and they entered the abortion facility together. 

When I had to leave, they were still inside. Only God knows her struggle of mind and heart, but pray that God’s mighty power will bless this young mother and spare her baby.


A young African-American mother came out of the Social Services building next door. She pushed a stroller with two little boys––ages two years and eight months––and began waiting at the bus stop (right where we minister). If she thanked me once, she thanked me four times for what we were doing. She explained that the Lord had recently given her a whole new life, and that her pastor and others were really encouraging her. She said, “These babies are our future, and we should love them.” It was easy to agree! 

I had to leave her for a minute to offer help to someone, then returned. Tears were rolling down her face at the thought that mothers would do this to their babies. I gave her a copy of the same contact information for Life Centers. She said, “I live in low-income housing, and I’m going to put this on the bulletin board of my building.” 

Pray that God will give strength to this courageous young mom, use her witness, and richly bless her for shining the light of Jesus.


She wore scrubs and carried a 20-ounce coffee, as she finished the 50-foot trek from her car to the building in what must have been record time. I smiled, but there was no eye contact. I wished we could have had a conversation. 

Aware of the pressure and tension on her in that awkward moment, I said simply, “, Ma’am.” It’s one of the groups that helps abortion employees find work elsewhere. Pray for this person, who has a soul and a conscience, that she will find her rest in Jesus.


An elderly couple––way older even than I ?––got off the bus. They walked by me, saw my sign which reads “WE WILL HELP YOU,” and stopped. The sweet lady emptied her coin purse into her hand, then offered it to me. I said, “Thank you very much. This is very kind of you, but why are you giving this to me?” 

“Oh,” she said, embarrassed. “I looked at your sign, and only saw the word ‘HELP.’ I assumed you were a panhandler!” 

I guess I should wear a suit and tie next time. ?

America’s Tomorrow: Relating to Believers Who Disagree

By Jim DeCamp, October 3, 2019
This was written a year ago, yet may have some usefulness in the present. This is post #6 in the series America’s Tomorrow. The entire series may be found under the Politics Tab..

Instruments in God’s hand.  

BLUF (Bottom Line up Front): Discussions of political differences between Christians should:
> Be bathed in the love of Christ for one another, and
> Be held with an acknowledgement of God’s sovereign plan for history. 


Consider these four passages (English Standard Version):

Lead with listening:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19


Respect those in authority / Be at peace:

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13


Love other believers:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


Show regard for others:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

To glorify God in our lives.

Consider these three passages:

Grow in the Lord:

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-8


Serve one another:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11


Our longing:

 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14

A blend of emotions.

I had looked forward to writing this post more than any other, yet in truth it has been the heaviest to bear. Looked forward to because the Good News is the answer to our nation’s ills; heaviest to bear because we at times dilute the Gospel and distract from the Hope of the World.

The first five posts addressed our nation and world. The next three will be more introspective: (6) relating to other believers, (7) what we think of this country, and (8) how each of us will stand in the future.

I want to “practice what I preach” here, to live out what I write about.

Everyone craves it.

Remember when reality TV was all the rage? “Who’s going to get voted off the island this week?” Adventure with uncertainty riveted viewers.

I wanted to say to these fans: “If you’re looking for a challenge find something important, pour your life into it, and you will have more adventure than you imagined possible.” That’s easier said than done because we are talking about life––a come-as-you-are party––baggage and all.

This is no less true for followers of Christ for we are all sinners, though I would add:

> We have a demanding mission: “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8), and

> We have been given God’s Word and Spirit––all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God calls us to go to any lengths necessary to follow Him.

The most important lesson on conflict I’ve learned.

How many times I couldn’t begin to say, but very often I have asked, “Lord, whatever made him say that, would You please remove it and replace it with something good from You?” I have found that when praying for someone in this way, I begin to love that person. Now, that’s not my spirit at work!

To pray for someone who has wronged you, for a political opponent, for someone at church––this is the call of the disciple. It is obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Spirit.


…to accomplish His perfect will.

> God exploited a tyrant (Pharaoh) to drive His people out of Egypt (Exodus 6:1).

> God harnessed a pagan king (Nebuchadnezzar) to force His people into exile (2 Kings 25), and another pagan king (Cyrus) to return them to their land (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

> God used the decree of Caesar Augustus to direct Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem where the Savior would be born, in fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy (5:2).

…to accomplish His perfect will.

> God’s power visited the boy, David, to fell a giant of a man (1 Samuel 17).

> God anointed the Apostle Paul to take the message of redemption in Christ to the gentiles. God said to Ananias, about Paul, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

> God inspired the Apostle John to record events that would occur far into the future: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony” (Revelation 1:1-2).

Key to understanding many disagreements. 

More in the next post, but suffice it to say here that the Gospel should unite Christ’s followers, not divide them. However, in many churches people are divided by something that has been banished from church and long since buried, but which will not go away.

I refer to influences that affect believers and unbelievers, alike, every day and night. I have in mind pressures on the family budget, safety in the neighborhood, underperforming students who languish in impoverished schools and grow up in severely challenged families. My heart is heavy for conditions that demoralize whole neighborhoods through intergenerational dependency, and suck the hope out of image-bearers. (This is a very abbreviated list of woes.)

What I’m pointing to is not feelings (which may draw us together at an emotional level), nor Biblical beliefs (which can unite us at a foundational level). Rather, I speak of policies, public policies, that have consequences of the kind mentioned above.

So what to do if fellow believers support policies that perpetuate the status quo?

Trusting God for the hard task.

I’m not thinking, here, about persuading another believer to my position. Instead, my question is, “How ought we relate to fellow believers who disagree on these policy matters?”

If God intends to punish our nation for persistent defiance of Him (see post #2), and if we believe those who espouse these policies are therefore contributing to our demise, how do we bridge the divide with them?

Answer: the love of Christ. The power of the resurrected Lord is greater. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.” It’s the willingness to lay it down for the sake of the Body of Christ. This, this is the pathway to peace among believers.

…to fulfill His sovereign plan (and this is the hard part for me).

If America is to be punished for her wickedness, God may use anyone––including the political convictions of some Christian leaders––to pave the wave for a tyrant’s rise to power.

At the personal level, there have been seasons in my life when God used the misconduct of others to redirect my steps. God is more than able to use anyone and any behavior to advance His perfect will.

…in God’s way.

God uses all kinds of people to shape events for His greater glory: sometimes for our good, sometimes resulting in our hardship, sometimes transforming hard times for our blessing and for His glory.

Joseph announced to his brothers who had sold him into slavery in Egypt, “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” (Genesis 50:20a).

Ours is to surrender.

Pray for fellow Christians with whom you cannot agree politically. Converse and seek to persuade; do not lash out. If you must separate, do so peaceably. Who knows but God may be using them to unfold His plan.

Ours is to follow hard after the God of history, Whose ways are perfect, just and upright (Deuteronomy 32:40). May it please God to use each of us as an instrument to display His glory.

Dachau: Revisiting History

By Jim DeCamp

First photo: August, 1973. The
crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Taken while stationed with an Infantry unit in Germany, fewer than 30 years after WWII.

So as not to offend the host nation, I carefully avoided the subject––but for one occasion.

One winter’s night, it was my responsibility to call someone to repair the furnace in one of our barracks. Just the two of us in that subterranean, dank chamber. If there were ever a time, I thought.

In my broken German-English mix, I crawled to the subject and ventured, “How could it have happened?” A very nice gentleman about 60, he replied with a pained smile and helpless gesture, “I. Do. Not. Know.”

I felt bad for the awkwardness I had caused, and the conversation changed. But not my wonderings: How? How!


I acknowledge those who do not draw a one-for-one comparison between the Holocaust and today’s shedding of the blood of the unborn. And as a Christian who loves God’s Chosen People in the Hebrew Scriptures, who believes they will have a special place in God’s future, I want to be very deliberate in approaching this subject. There are some differences:

> THAT was the targeting for extinction of one ethnic group; THIS is the destruction of lives in all demographics.
> THAT resulted in the extermination of 6 million souls; THIS has cost the United States over 60 million image bearers since 1973.
> THAT ended in a nation’s shame and remorse; THIS is still accepted.


Nothing stays exactly the same; it gets a little better or a little worse, and ours is the opportunity to shape things for the better. I have found great perspective in that thought, yet I cannot rest there.

In truth, most Christian leaders in 1930’s and -40’s Germany avoided the subject. Those who are hailed today actually labored to save lives––at their own peril.

So “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?”


I feel awkward, similar to that cold night in 1973. The blood of the innocent––8,000 Hoosiers babies every year––cries out. How could this be happening?

Opportunities lie before each of us: supporting your local crisis pregnancy center, praying for your pastor, offering words of hope outside an abortion facility, sitting down with elected officials, ministering to those who have abortion in their history, assisting those caught in this industry to find jobs elsewhere.

You are not alone; brothers and sisters will travel this quest for mercy with you. More importantly, Jesus said, “You will be My witnesses,” and “I will be with you.”

History offers no do-overs; only lessons. 

Let mercy reign….

Second photo: Outside the abortion facility at 1201 N. Arlington Ave., on the east side of Indianapolis (in warmer weather)

The Pied Piper of Obtuseness

by Micah Clark, Executive Director of the American Family Association

October 28, 2020
         Christian pastor and author John Piper is unquestionably a good man, and an influential leader in evangelical circles for many valid reasons, but political discernment apparently isn’t one of them.

         Piper recently wrote on his Desiring God blog, a very convoluted piece about voting in this election. It makes some of the strangest moral equivalencies and false dichotomies that I have ever read from a solid Christian leader.   It is clear that Piper doesn’t like Donald Trump’s personality, pride, arrogance, or bluster.  (Well, who does?)   Yet, Piper goes so far as to specifically place those character flaws on the same level as 60 million abortions since 1973 and the numerous other moral issues at stake this election.     

        Piper seems to completely miss that this election is not a battle of personalities, it is a battle of worldviews.  One worldview offers freedom of religion, the right to life, and free enterprise.  The other worldview is set to rapidly march toward a political belief system that was responsible for 120 million deaths last century.  

         Ironically, John Piper pastors in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Does he really think that those who set his city on fire did so mimicking Donald Trump’s pride?   Does he not know that these people are Marxist revolutionaries, not Trump protegees?    

         I respect Pastor Piper, but I think his article’s premise is fundamentally flawed.  Moreover, much of what he decries could have been applied to Barack Obama, LBJ or Richard Nixon, and perhaps Joe Biden too.   Additionally, there have been many polite, well-mannered politicians like perhaps Woodrow Wilson or Jimmy Carter, or modest judges who never once speak to the media, who did horrible things to America through their offices. 

         Almost all politicians have an above average ego and level of pride that drives them to run for office.  God used flawed persons who did good things (think of King David) throughout the Bible.   He never condoned their personal sins, but they are highlighted because of the good that they did in their leadership positions.  

         Character is important. I am not telling readers who to vote for or against, but as the head of a public policy organization, I urge you vote based upon substantive reasons.  There are certainly criminal things that should, and do, disqualify people for office, but once they are on the ballot and up for a vote, it is almost always their policies that will matter the most over time.  

          Without naming Piper, the Family Research Council addressed this mindset with this good quote in their daily email on Monday:

         “Character always matters, but if a completely virtuous person is not one of your choices, maybe the policies represented by one candidate are more virtuous than the policies of the other candidates… In a situation where all the candidates are flawed, we might be able to find clarity if we allow ourselves to think less about people involved and more about policies that will be affected… In addition, if there is no ‘best candidate,’ it may be helpful to think about the ‘best team.’ No politician works alone.”  ––Joseph Backholm’s “Myths of Christian Voting”