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A Tiny Fire.

America has long been a nuclear superpower on the world stage. Since the days of the Manhattan Project to our current time, the United States has possessed the capability for destruction on a scale incomprehensible to most people. And while such power becomes a deterrent to those who would do us harm, it also comes with great responsibility and peril to those who wield it.

For example…

titan-iiOn September 18, 1980, at approximately 6:00p.m., an Air Force PTS team (Propellant Transfer System) entered the Titan II Missile Complex 374-7 in Damascus, Arkansas. Their purpose for being there was to replace a small part on the missile. At about 6:25p.m., a two man team went into the missile silo to work on the missile.

Now, the Titan II missile was no small thing. As the name would indicate, the Titan II was enormous. In the documentary Command and Control (American Experience, PBS), Missile Combat Crew member Allan Childers described the sight…

“You couldn’t see the warhead from the bottom ’cause you were 8 stories down, and the cone of the warhead disappeared off in the distance.”

titan_ii_launchThe Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile stood approximately 7 stories high, weighed around 330,000 pounds (165 tons), and carried the most powerful and destructive weapon in the history of warfare in the United States (possibly the world); a nine-megaton thermonuclear warhead that had three-times the destructive capability of every bomb dropped by every army during World War II combined, including the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. This was a weapon with the capability to wipe out — not just a city — but a civilization.

As the crew began to work on the missile, the unthinkable happened. The socket they were using to remove the pressure cap disconnected from the wrench, and fell about 80 feet to the bottom of the missile silo. The eight-pound socket ricocheted off a thrust mount and struck the side of the missile, rupturing the fuel tank.

Over the next several hours, dozens of people across the military and defense department spectrum worked frantically to come up with a solution to keep the situation from turning into a nuclear disaster. During that time, over 14,000 gallons of rocket fuel continued to leak from the rocket into the silo.

In the early morning hours of September 19, tragedy struck.


While crews on site continued their work, the fuel ignited, and the missile complex exploded in a ball of fire seen for miles. About 21 personnel were seriously injured in the blast, and one PTS crew member, Senior Airman David Livingston, lost his life. Miraculously, the nuclear warhead itself did not detonate, and the destruction was confined to the immediate area of the missile silo and complex. The nuclear warhead was later located — still intact — in a nearby ditch, having been blown clear of the silo by the massive force of the explosion.

damascus-ar-2Now think about it. This catastrophe was caused because a small, eight-pound socket — something a minuscule fraction of the size of the missile — was accidentally dropped. And all it took then was for the tiniest spark to ignite the leaked fuel for the entire facility to turn into a deadly inferno.

This tragedy reminds me of the words of James…

   Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. ~ James 3:3-6

woman in depressionA tiny bit controls a thousand-pound horse. A tiny rudder steers a massive ship on the wild sea. Thousands of acres of forest can be set ablaze by an unattended campfire or a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.

In the same respect, the tongue is among the tiniest members of the body, but has the potential of an emotional “nuke”. Wars have been started because of words. Lives have been destroyed because of the power of the tongue. Marriages and friendships have been laid waste in the wake of destructive words.

James goes on to say…

With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. ~ James 3:9-12

King Solomon put it this way…

The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. ~ Proverbs 10:11

GirlsWhether it is how you whisper to a child, speak to a friend, orate to a large gathering, or proclaim from the mountaintop through media… words have meaning. Words have consequences. Words can be a fountain of life, or a weapon of destruction. Words are more than just mindless blathering… they are the reflection of the deepest recesses of the heart. Jesus drove this point home when He said…

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

nuke-1Maybe your words have already harmed another. Maybe, because of something you said, the elements are already in motion, counting down to an inevitable explosion. It’s not too late! Just as words of anger, jealousy, and malice can set the potential disaster into motion, words of forgiveness, healing, and contrition can avert that same disaster. It just takes the putting down of pride and the willingness to be the “bigger” person; to be righteous instead of “right”. It just takes putting on the mind of Christ, and being an agent of peace and unity instead of chaos.

Don’t wait until the little “dropped sockets” of life allow circumstances to build to critical mass. Let your words be a well of Life for someone else today.


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75 Years After Pearl Harbor: What Lies Beneath?


Today marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in United States history. I’ll quote the immortal words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt…

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

pearl-harbor-uss-shawThe United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American Island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack… (read more)

In the end, over 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and countless more were killed as the result of this act plunging the United States into World War II.


Today, December 7, is a day that we honor the great sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives in service of our nation on that fateful day. Today, we remember a generation — the “Greatest Generation” now in its twilight years — characterized by courage, sacrifice, and raw determination. Today, we acknowledge the lessons we can learn through their lives… lessons of service, devotion, patriotism, and heroism.


Navy Men Placing Hawaiian Leis on Gravesite of War HeroesBut there is another lesson to be learned… a spiritual lesson that comes from one of the little known, little remembered facts about that fateful day. Typically, when we think of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it conjures images of massive aircraft carriers, hundreds of airplanes, bombs falling from the skies, and the fire and smoke rising from the wreckages of the U.S.S. Arizona, the U.S.S. West Virginia, the U.S.S. California, the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and many, many other ships. But what we miss is something that was discovered much later; something that lies beneath the surface of the chaos and destruction of that day.

The Japanese “midget submarines”.

Historical records and testimonies have later shown that, hours before the bombs began to fall like rain on Pearl Harbor, five Japanese submarines had moved into the waters just a few miles from Pearl Harbor, releasing their payloads: Each sub carried a smaller, “midget submarine” that was about 1/4 the size of a full-size sub, and carrying a two-man crew… and two 1,000 lb. torpedoes.

pearl-harbor-4According to the NOVA documentaryKiller Subs in Pearl Harbor“, when the five midget subs were deployed, they were tasked with going to “Battleship Row” at Pearl Harbor and firing their torpedoes at the ships lying at anchor, effectively crippling or destroying them. The 1,000 lb torpedoes that the subs carried had the potential to cause far more damage than the 500 lb torpedo bombs the planes carried. The idea was for the subs to sneak in virtually unnoticed during the melee caused during the air assault, causing catastrophic damage.

But the plan did not go as planned. Of the five subs, only one is thought to have reached a target and done any damage at all. That sub fired both of its torpedoes, with one believed to have possibly struck the U.S.S. West Virginia (speculation varies). The other torpedo was believed to have been a dud. Of the other four subs, three were sunk without inflicting any known damage, and one ran aground, giving the United States its first Japanese prisoner of war.

Had all of the midget submarines reached the harbor undetected, the results could have been far more catastrophic than the tragedy that befell the fleet that day.

This tactic used by our then-enemy in a time of war offers some keen insight into the way the enemy of our souls operates in the battles of life.

When we are entering into conflict, we see the obvious. We take note of that which is before our eyes, that thing making the situation or circumstances seem dire. We brace ourselves, or we build up defenses against the torrent that is coming straight at us. 

Then — suddenly — the torpedo from beneath the surface strikes… the one we never saw coming!

We pick ourselves up off the ground, wondering what just hit us. We try as best we can to minimize the damage, stop the “bleeding”, and circle the wagons as we take inventory of the situation.

All of this because we forgot three key principles when dealing with this particular enemy…

  • We forgot that the Enemy is always on the prowl and doesn’t play fair.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ I Peter 5:8

Lions don’t fight fair. Lions will single out the small animal in the herd, isolate it, and take it down. Lions look for the weak one in the crowd, patiently waiting for the right time to pounce.

  • We forget to put on the whole armor of God.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the
day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you
have done everything, to stand. ~ Ephesians 6:13

Without proper and complete armor, we won’t last long on the battlefield. Putting on the full armor of God is an every-day discipline. (Read the rest of Ephesians 6 for more about the armor of God.)

  • We forget to immerse our lives in prayer.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. ~ Colossians 4:2

Above all, we cannot allow our prayer lives to falter. Prayer is our lifeline to the heart of God. James 5 say that the “effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Prayer is a weapon and a discipline that goes hand in hand with the armor of God. The two are inextricably linked.

What happens in the natural is mirrored in the spiritual (or vice-versa). Renowned Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once said…

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ~ The Art of War

So, understand your enemy.

Put on the full armor of God.

Be diligent in prayer.

And be watchful… not just for what seems obvious. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He makes you aware of what lies beneath.

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Enemies Within The Gate

goebbelsJoseph Goebbels was propaganda minister for Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. He was the man responsible for propagating the demonic lies that led to World War II and the slaughter of millions of innocent people, including six million Jews. He said,

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

For at least the last decade America has repeatedly been fed “lies big enough” to now seem to be the truth to many citizens. Swallowing the propaganda of a progressive ideological agenda, our spiritual and moral base has eroded to the point that America is no longer recognized as the world’s leader in moral and spiritual convictions. America has become a caricature of her former self.


It was Winston Churchill who said,

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth
has a chance to get its pants on.”

It is time for us to “put on our pants” and tell the truth before it’s too late. With twenty-four hour news cycles and a common stream of information on the internet, it is no longer acceptable to say, “I did not know what was going on.”

No nation or civilization has ever survived the radical decline we are seeing at this present hour! Edward Gibbon’s book, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, astonishingly parallels our own decline in America.

Listen to Gibbon as he speaks of the insidious termites that were eating away at the foundation of a decaying culture. He lists five marks of the decaying Roman culture:

  1. Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth
  2. Obsession with sex and perversions of sex
  3. Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original
  4. Widening disparity between very rich and very poor
  5. Increased demand to live off the state.

Gibbon goes on to say . . .

“It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defense to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life.”

Will America follow the footsteps of the Roman Empire? Will she permit the continual erosion of her proud heritage? I do not believe it will ever happen as long as we remember it is not just military might and economic strength that keep us safe and secure within our own borders.

America has lost its way morally and spiritually and that is where the danger lies. I contend that America has been invaded not by military forces, but by spiritual forces that are at work at this present hour to undermine the root system that has produced the fruit of freedom and liberty around the world. The bright light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has shown in the darkest parts of the world simply because believers united in a common cause of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

The culture war is going on in every segment of society, from the board room to the class room, and from the White House to the church house. We are seeing a major shift in attitudes and actions that once defined us as the greatest nation on earth. Main-stream media has aided and abetted the ongoing nudging of America toward a progressive agenda, effectively lowering our moral and spiritual standards.

Coptic ChristiansAs the foundation grows weaker, the attacks on Christianity grow bolder and are seen in all parts of the world. War has been declared on Christianity in every part of the Middle East, with reports of Christians being beheaded at the bloody hand of ISIS (or ISIS related groups).

In America, the assault on the lives of Christians happens so often it has almost become commonplace to the masses. The assault on traditional values can best be seen in a recent survey conducted by Gallup. In May 2015, Gallup conducted a survey showing that Americans are becoming more liberal on social issues. Based on the responses of both conservative, liberal, and moderate Americans, the survey reports:

“Americans are becoming more liberal on social issues, as evidenced not only by the uptick in the percentage describing themselves as socially liberal, but also by their increasing willingness to say that a number of previously frowned-upon behaviors are morally acceptable. The biggest leftward shift over the past 14 years has been in attitudes toward gay and lesbian relations, from only a minority of Americans finding it morally acceptable to a clear majority finding it acceptable.

The moral acceptability of issues related to sexual relations has also increased, including having a baby outside of wedlock– something that in previous eras was a social taboo. Americans are more likely to find divorce morally acceptable, and have also loosened up on their views of polygamy, although this latter behavior is still seen as acceptable by only a small minority.

AppealThis liberalization of attitudes toward moral issues is part of a complex set of factors affecting the social and cultural fabric of the U.S. Regardless of the factors causing the shifts, the trend toward a more liberal view on moral behaviors will certainly have implications for such fundamental social institutions as marriage, the environment in which children are raised, and the economy. The shifts could also have a significant effect on politics, with candidates whose positioning is based on holding firm views on certain issues having to grapple with a voting population that, as a whole, is significantly less likely to agree with conservative positions than it might have been in the past.”

Adapted from my most recent book,
The Unraveling of America
by Dr. Ron M. Phillips
with Dr. J. Tod Zeiger
© 2016 Abba’s House Media

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

It was a sunny morning in America as Americans began their day. Without warning, an enemy appeared in the skies, taking our nation by surprise. Using  aircraft as weapons, this enemy rained chaos, death, and destruction on those below. By the end of the morning, thousands of Americans were dead or injured, and America was thrust into a war with an enemy willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of their false god.

USS ArizonaThe date was December 7, 1941.

The place was Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA.

The enemy was the Empire of Japan.

Their false god was their emperor, Hirohito.

On December 8, President Roosevelt addressed a stunned, angry, and grieving nation…

As he closed his address, President Roosevelt uttered these immortal words…

With confidence in our armed forces,
With the unbounding determination of our people,
We will gain the inevitable triumph
So help us God.

President Roosevelt understood the gravity of the attack, and what it meant to our nation, its people, and its armed forces. He understood the brutality of the enemy we were facing. However, he also understood the strength, resilience, and determination of the American people. He understood that, as President of the United States, it was a grave decision to send more brave men and women into harm’s way, yet if war was to be thrust upon us, it was our duty to answer the call, take up arms, identify the enemy, and take the battle to them.

Today, we honor the brave men and women of our armed forces, and remember their courage and sacrifice on that fateful December morning.

Today, we say thank you to the Americans who answered the call of freedom, those who indeed are “The Greatest Generation“, and pray that we will look to your example, and learn from the lessons of the past as we face a future filled with both peril and promise.

We pray that God will continue to bless you and keep you, during this Christmas season and beyond. May the light of freedom that you fought to protect never be extinguished on our watch.

Merry Christmas, and may God bless America.

USS Arizona Memorial (DoD Photo by PH3 Jayme Pastoric, USN)
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For about 240 years, Americans have shed their blood for the cause of freedom.

From places like Lexington and Concord to Gettysburg to Appomattox Station, the blood of patriots has been shed on American soil, fighting for a young nation’s heart and soul.


When the United States had established itself as a world power, our brave men and women were once again called upon, and shed their blood fighting against dictators and tyrants with
names like Mussolini, Hirohito, and Hitler.


While American citizens enjoyed the safety and security of life at home in places like Wichita, Dallas, Boston, and Tacoma, American soldiers gave their lives in previously unheard of places with names like Chochiwon, Ia Drang, Haditha, and Kamdesh.


On Memorial Day, we honor the sacrifice of these brave American heroes who saw the cause of freedom as something worth defending, worth their sacrifice. We remember those who gave the last ounce of devotion to the ideals and principles enshrined in documents
like The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.


Today… we remember.


…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
November 19, 1863
from The Gettysburg Address


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Too Small for Prayer?

Through the Looking GlassSo what has got your stomach in knots today?

What are you concerning yourself  with that  you have absolutely no control over?

Corrie Ten Boom was the only member of her family to survive the Nazi death camps of World War II. Having faced death on a regular basis, she once said…

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer
is too small to be made into a burden.”

What is it that you are worrying about right now?

Potted PlantYour job?

A relationship?

Your health?

Events unfolding in the world around you?

Whatever it is, the next question is…

Have you prayed about it?

We have a Heavenly Father who is concerned with every part of our lives, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. He reminds us repeatedly in His word of this fact.
In I Peter 5:7, we are told…

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

This is not just a nice thought or helpful suggestion from an ancient book — this is a present imperative command and promise from the living, breathing Word of God!

Still need more convincing?

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
~ Psalm 55:22

If your situation is not big enough to pray about, it’s not big enough to worry about.

However, if you earnestly seek God about it, you may just find that He takes the worry away, and replaces it with His peace.