Category Archives: Commentary

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An Incidence of Racism -that well – Wasn’t

TV people and news personalities have never ending commentary about racism but it is unknown in my church and in my daily world. Of course my world is small.  I probably speak to no more than 100 discrete individuals a year and writers spend most of their hours alone with their computers. So when this happened last summer it was a jolt.

My very good friend Pat from Texas came to visit with 3 of her four children.  She had married a black man and raised her children entirely in private schools and colleges.  The two girls were in their their 20’s and the 2 boys in their early teens.  My goal was to get the boys to apply for a job at the white water rafting companies we have up here in the mountains.

That Sunday night we went to a small restaurant. At a table nearby sat an elderly couple in their 60’s eating dinner silently, but the woman, who was well dressed and carefully made up, kept staring at us with something of a smug smile on her face.  I was uncomfortable.  So was Pat’s 24-year-old daughter Molly, who made a remark that she was used to “this stuff.”

After working at a male juvenile prison I’ve noticed that boys react to events much differently from girls. They will be angry or disgusted, while girls are more often angry and sad. The boys had this “same ole, same ole” look on their faces. As a white woman I’ve been given racist treatment but I try to ignore it; after all, I can always buy the item somewhere else.

The woman’s staring continued through most of the meal.  I was upset because these were my treasured guests. Finally the couple finished their meal but as they got up we noticed something unusual – the wife didn’t seem to react to her husband or to anyone else.  She stared into the distance as  before, smiling but almost dead-eyed.

I wondered, is she possibly blind?  Her husband guided her to the cashier like a grocery cart, and then it became obvious to us all that she either had Alzheimer’s or was partly demented.  At no time did she speak to anyone.

Then we all looked very sheepishly at each other!  Here we had jumped to the conclusion that we were victims of racism. How quick we were to react when we did not have all the facts.

Maybe this is happening in the wider world too.  Maybe it makes headlines and good photo ops to call it racism when it is something else.  After all, a crime in a store can be simply a crime, not about the race and who is the criminal?  It is far too easy to say people are criminals because of race or lack of income and education, but a large number of Islamic terrorists were well off financially and well educated.  It is a foolish business to ascribe motives when we don’t really know what they are.  The woman’s blank, sickly sweet smile looked like contempt. In actual fact her mind was far, far away from us and that restaurant.

The media has used our ignorance and our rush to judgment to stir up antagonism in our society. While we cannot know everyone’s motive we can turn off the TV news and discipline those who pander to public emotion.  It’s not much but it is a start.

Seeing the World through God’s Eyes

Poor ‘ole God gets blamed for so very many things He had nothing to do with. His plan for Man is that we live in our own way, our government, our decisions, and our culture.  Those 70 years give us enough time to make up our minds to follow God’s principles or not.  The results become ours. And because He does not interrupt our lives, our nations, our wars, unless we make a federal case out of it, we blame Him.

Not so fast. We can’t live in free will at one point and then insist that God step in.  We can’t have it both ways. What God does is to listen to our honest prayers and then provide an impact on life wherever we have made ourselves available to His will.  The result is that God is able to make something good come out of evil.  He always does.

I would have preferred to have never lived through the 2nd World War.  Millions of souls were lost, not to mention the awful loss of property, animals, destruction of families, and refugees.  But God was able to make something good out of it all.  He had promised the Jews (@ 2,000 B.C.E.) that He would restore their homeland (Isaiah 11:11) at some point in history.  That war, and the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, sufficiently embarrassed the European nations to arrange for the Israelis to return. They’ve had a hard time keeping the peace but they are still holding on to their land.

No one was happy about the Korean War, cutely referred to as a “police action,” but the long range results were that South Korea is the strongest Christian nation in the Pacific Rim and the major missionary nation to the orient. South Korea is wildly prosperous, educated, westernized and hope-filled and when it is forced to revive North Korea, a nation that knows no equal for evil and loss, the nation will have the wherewithal to do it.

President George Bush gets a pile of grief for going into Iraq, but it is a strong and prosperous nation and will get on its feet as soon as ISIS is eliminated. They have money in the bank! We have the same hope for the Kurds in the North who have been treated badly for generations and yet are the best hope for any group stuck in a Muslim enclave of nations.

God’s plan for earth is that all men should be saved.  That they are not is not God’s fault.  God has set up a system of salvation hat man must follow, but in actual practice it is not all that hard. One single man thousands of years ago got it into his head that God was a personality who actually made the universe and everything in it.  God was so impressed He visited him personally (Genesis 14) and the family of Israel, and God’s precious people began there.  So if you, or some unsaved friend believe God is the creator, you are half way there.

God usually takes bad situations and bails them out. I was nearly killed as a child, removed from the home and sent to a private school.  I received a scholarship to an Ivy League College and my life changed permanently and forever.  I suspect nothing like this could have happened otherwise. God can take anything and reform it. And it all happened without me being any the wiser for the events that brought this on.

This isn’t Pollyanna stuff.  We are not trying to make silk purses out of sows’ ears.  But we must not assume that God is a “deist” off somewhere ignoring man and his systems. Nor is He under any compulsion to inform us ahead of time. He has a whole set of plans for you, me and our universe of which we as yet have not one hint.

One Deed can Change Your Life Forever

A pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze.

He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision.
“My God, this is a nightmare,” the co-pilot said.
“He’s going to destroy us,” the pilot agreed.
The men were looking at a grey German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip.
It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.
BROWN’s Crippled B-17 Stalked by STIGLER’s ME-109
The B-17 Pilot, Charles BROWN, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission.
His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.
But when BROWN and his co-pilot, Spencer “Pinky” LUKE, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened.
The German fighter pilot didn’t pull the trigger.
He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect.
Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at BROWN and saluted. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War Il.
Luftwaffe Major Franz STIGLER
FRANZ STIGLER pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in
his flight jacket.  He eased his index finger off the trigger.
He couldn’t shoot. It would be murder. STIGLER wasn’t just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code.
He could trace his family’s ancestry to Knights in 16th Century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest.
A German pilot who spared the enemy, though,
risked death in Nazi Germany.
If someone reported him, he would be executed.
Yet, STIGLER could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him: “You follow the rules of war for you… not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity.”
Alone with the crippled bomber, STIGLER changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn’t shoot down the slow-moving bomber.
(The Luftwaffe had B-17’s of its own, shot down and
rebuilt for secret missions and training.)
STIGLER escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American Pilot. Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away, and returned to Germany.
“Good luck,” STIGLER said to himself. “You’re in God’s hands now.”
Franz STIGLER didn’t think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he encountered in combat.
Charles BROWN, with his wife, Jackie (left),
with Franz STIGLER, with his wife, Hiya.
As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles BROWN wasn’t thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies. He was thinking of survival.
He flew his crippled plane, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing, and barely any fuel left.
After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket bible he kept in his flight jacket. Then he sat in silence.
BROWN flew more missions before the war ended.
Life moved on.
He was married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the US State Department during the Vietnam War, and eventually retired to Florida. Late in life, though, the encounter with the German pilot began to gnaw at him.
He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy. He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.
BROWN took on a new mission. He had to find that German Pilot. Who was he? Why did he save my life? He scoured military archives in the US and England. He attended a pilots’ reunion and shared his story. He finally placed an advertisement in a German newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the pilot.
On 18th January 1990, BROWN received a letter. He opened it and read:  
“Dear Charles,
All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home?  Did her crew survive their wounds?
To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy.” It was STIGLER.
He had had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1953. He became a prosperous  businessman.
Now retired, STIGLER told BROWN that he would be in Florida come summer, and “it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter.” BROWN was so excited, that he couldn’t wait to see STIGLER.
He called Directory Assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz STIGLER. He dialed the number, and STIGLER picked up.
“My God, it’s you!” BROWN shouted as tears ran down his cheeks. BROWN had to do more.
He wrote a letter to STIGLER in which he said:
“To say thank you, thank you, thank you on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate.”
The two pilots would meet again, but this time in person, in the lobby of a Florida hotel. One of BROWN’s friends was there to record the summer reunion.  Both men looked like retired businessmen: they were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts.
They fell into each other’s arms and wept and laughed.
They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.
The mood then changed. Someone asked STIGLER what he thought about BROWN. STIGLER sighed and his square jaw tightened. He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English, “I love you, Charlie.”
STIGLER had lost his brother, his friends, and his country in WW11.  He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war. There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German Air Force. Only 1,200 survived.  The war cost him everything.
Charlie BROWN was the only good thing that came out of the War for Franz Stigler. It was the one thing he could be proud of. The meeting helped BROWN as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn WARNER.   
They met as enemies but Franz STIGLER, on
left, and Charles BROWN, ended up as fishing
BROWN and STIGLER became pals. They would take fishing trips together. They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans’ reunions. Their wives, Jackie BROWN and Hiya STIGLER, became friends.
BROWN’s daughter says her father would worry about  STIGLER’s health and constantly checked on him.
“It wasn’t just for show,” she says. “They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week.” 
As his friendship with STIGLER deepened, something else happened to her father, DAWN WARNER says “The nightmares went away.”
BROWN had written a letter of thanks to STIGLER, but one day he showed the extent of his gratitude.
He organised a reunion of his surviving crew members along with their extended families. He invited STIGLER as a guest of honour. During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived…
children, grandchildren, relativesbecause of STIGLER’s act of chivalry.
STIGLER watched the film from his seat of honour.
“Everybody was crying, not just him,” DAWN WARNER says.
STIGLER and BROWN died within months of each other
in 2008. STIGLER was 92, and BROWN was 87.
They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.   
After he died, DAWN WARNER was searching through BROWN’s library when she came across a book on German fighter jets. STIGLER had given the book to BROWN. 
Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.
DAWN WARNER opened the book and saw an inscription STIGLER had written to BROWN:
“In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter.
On the 20th of December, four days before Christmas,
I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction,
a plane so badly damaged, it was a wonder that she
was still flying. The pilot, Charlie BROWN, is for me as precious as
my brother was. Thanks Charlie.
Your brother,

Death and the End of Free Will.

You have friends – I have friends who honestly believe that because they are of the  generation of flower children and embrace love, joy and peace that they are headed off to heaven when they die.  I puzzled about this because I noticed that no matter how cogent my arguments, how based in solid Biblical theology and the experience of the ages, they didn’t budge an inch.

I agonized about how to approach one such psychology graduate of Berkeley in the 60s, and then it hit me.  This man believes, he really believes that after dies he will have free choice.gate-of-hell  He can choose his own heaven, he can choose to play rock music with his buddies in a comfy place surrounded by always blooming hydrangeas,  rose bushes without thorns and cooling streams – a dream straight out of the Sierra Club brochure.

But – there’s always a but.  The whole purpose of free will in this life is to prepare for the next.  Free will is not needed in heaven because the essential decision was previously made.  Of course we expect God will allow us to choose what to enjoy in heaven.  I want to hit the books and talk to the authors from the ante-Nicene era.  Hey – to each his own.  You may want to talk to your ancestors from Europe, or Peru.  You may choose to spend time with the animals or learn what happened to the lost colony at Jamestown.

But if you are in hell, choice is gone.  On the contrary, God has many versions of hell from fiery flames to total isolation and blackness, without sound, without access to a single human voice.  Your choice?  No more.

No I’ve not spent any time on the other side but there are dozens of people who have gone and come back both to heaven and hell.  Their stories are in books and online.

Make your choices here and live.  God says always. “I put before you life and death. Choose life.”

Isn’t that neat.  He gives you the question and then the right answer.

How the Election of 2016 Reflected Theology

The campaign of 2016 is still continuing with protests( financed by George Soros and others) and a cranky media refusing to say they didn’t know what was happening.  Meanwhile the newly elected President is doing what he promised to do.trutherrorgraphic

Here is a diagram to classify to worldviews.  Do you recognize where you are?

Who Voted for Trump & Why You Need not be Surprised

For millions of Americans the vote last night was not a surprise.  Here is a list of Trump’s supporters.donald-trump-1332922__180

Some people are shocked, I say shocked, that anyone would vote for Trump. Here is a list of the people voting for Trump

All the friends and family of the Benghazi victims murdered by terrorists who had openly planned this, who were left unprotected, deliberately by handy troops, and then lied to about a video causing this, when this was the anniversary of 9/11and anticipated.

All the troops who had immediate and easy access to save the Benghazi group.

All the Chaplains in the armed services who were forbidden to pray in Jesus name and many other restrictions from the White House on their faith and their freedom of religion.

All the American who know of all these unconstitutional moves against private citizens required to violate their faith or face censure of even loss of a job.

All the groups, esp. Catholic hospitals required to support abortions and sex change operations or lose their opportunity to keep the hospital open, their staff and the many thousands who rely on these hospitals., esp. in Latino neighborhoods.

All the businesses who had to close because they could not meet one of the 23,000+ regulations of the EPA.

All the faithful democrat coal miners told the Democratic Party planned to end use of coal in this country.

All the workers put out of a job by their manufacturing company going to Taiwan or Mexico.

All the 20-somethings living in mommy and daddy’s basement doing video games for 7 years.

All the investors in General Motors who lost the value of their stock in order to save corporate buddies of a group of Congressmen.

All the women and their families who were seduced by Bill Clinton and then lied about by his wife, and the Media.

All the timbermen in the Northwest who lost their jobs because wood was not being sold to American companies but going to companies on the Pacific Rim.

All the people who can’t sleep over an additional 7 trillion in debt.

All the people who can’t afford a used car because of Cash for Clunkers program.

All the Hispanic workers who were hurt or even murdered by the selling of arms to Mexican Drug Lords.

All the workers who lost their jobs after the Solyndra and other boondoggle companies met their expected early death.

All victims of illegal-caused crime in Sanctuary Cities.

All the victims and residents of the border who know that deportation means that illegals will be put out in the street on the American side and told to go home on their own steam. Yeah right!

All the property owners on the border who must clean up the mess, crime and dead bodies of animals and people by those who use their land as passageway.

All the residents of border towns who must deal with the unground tunnels disgorging drugs and coyotes bringing in anything illegal they can, terrorists, ammo, bombs, sex trafficking etc. without any known supervision or legal control by the federal authorities.

All the young people trying to survive on 2 ½ part time jobs with no benefits to speak of, no future, no way to buy a house, have a baby, buy a car or finish their education.

All those Republicans who were told their Congress would support an end to Obamacare.

All the black Democrats who thought they’d have a job, maybe even a home with a black president.

All those Hispanics who lost their jobs to Dream teenagers who work off the books, who see the illegals crowd their underfunded schools, fill the hospitals with new cases and new diseases, and hike up the crime rate in the city barrios while legal family petitioners go to the back of the line.

All the Space astronauts who had their prized projects turned over to foreigners.

All the people burdened under grinding tax loads and the specter of 18,000 new IRS brown shirts to collect them.

94 million either out of work or grossly under-working while the poohbahs lie about 5% unemployment.  That 94 million needs to show up at the Employment Security Offices.

All the veterans.

All the Bernie Sanders people who thought if they played fair they’d have a shot at their candidate getting past the Good Ole Boys of the Democrat Party.  Surprise!

All the people who have recently switched their party affiliation from Republican or Democrat to “No Party or Independent.”  In many areas a clear 1/3rd.

All the people working on the Keystone Pipeline.

All the people spending 5, 10, 25% more on groceries and utilities because former head of the U.S. Fed, Alan Greenspan, put it simply: “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.”

Source unknown

The Danger of Deductive Reasoning in Spiritual Matters – A Devotional


Is there anything inside?

For the past 7 or so years she firmly believes that Jesus would return in 2016.  He might anyway, but her reasoning is only based on her needs which are financial as they face even greater business loss, the failure of family, friends and business associates to pull their weight, her several physical disabilities and surgeries. unwelcome attacks from people who think they should determine what she is to say, and the failure of her family to make the necessary changes in their lives to guarantee a peaceful future, and finally old sins not yet straightened out.

Jesus is not going to return just because we are not happy.  If there is any reason at all to believe the 2nd Coming is this year it would be the immense cruelty and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the  ongoing violence against Israel especially in never ending raids and military incursions, and the deterioration of the American Church which is historically been a bulwark against error and demonic attack, now clearly AWOL on all fronts, compromising itself out of business by sleeping with the enemy.  ALL churches have bowed an unwilling knee to political correctness, which we now pray is no more.

If God would not intervene on account of this kind of attack against His People, why would He interfere just now with someone who has personal miseries?

Maybe He will return in Israel’s year 5777 which just started  Maybe not  But no theology of God is to be based on our own unhappiness and loss.  Unhappiness and loss is the human condition, not the barometer by which God does or does not act.

he acts on the basis of our prayers regarding His promises, not just for individuals but for whole nations and societies.  As the Middle East and Europe explode in rape and murder, across the world Asians and Muslims everywhere are finding Jesus as Savior.  The numbers are so astounding no one will ever again think that Jesus is white and speaks English.  These kinds of statistics are a shock even to people like myself who have faith for the strangers among us.

The 2nd Coming is called the Blessed Hope, and indeed  life would be hopeless without believing in His return.  God’s predictions about the EndTimes is of increasing trouble for the world and blessing for believers in the midst of them.  Climate Change Panic is because people have not read what God said – that He and He alone would destroy the world by fire.

Yes, we can plan on a hotter and hotter environment.  And our political environment will get hotter and hotter too yet He gave us everything we need for life and godliness.  He has not given us a calendar of events; in fact, we have the opposite – a guarantee that even Jesus does not know the final date and time.

Our job is faith in His promises and obedience to His word, not letting the fallen World dictate our deeds and expectations.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give us your peace, not the world’s peace, and keep out of my brain anything that speaks against you or your plans, In Jesus Name, Amen.


Jesus Was Not Politically Correct

In a day when people tippy toe around the truth as though it was social cyanide, “what would Jesus do” is radical and unacceptable.  But that should surprise no one – Jesus was unacceptable and unaccepted.  Still, He continues to be the standard for us and our age.throw-moneychangers

Jesus’ focus was on the Temple in this passage since that was His House and Father God planned the Temple for prayer not commerce.

John 2:12-17 After this incident, Jesus, accompanied by his mother, his brothers and his disciples, went down to Capernaum and stayed there a few days. The Jewish Passover was approaching and Jesus made the journey up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he discovered cattle and sheep dealers and pigeon-sellers, as well as money-changers sitting at their tables. So he made a rough whip out of rope and drove the whole lot of them, sheep and cattle as well, out of the Temple. He sent the coins of the money-changers flying and turned their tables upside down. Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!” 

If He did this today he would be jailed at the very least for disturbing the peace if not assault and damage to property.  Jesus never damaged people; He turned over the tables not the people managing them. Jesus saves humans but He does not necessarily save systems, or governments.

He only acted on principle; in this case the love of money as the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) was the source of the problem. Modern rioters murder for their cause and feel justified. But the use of violence to promote a righteous claim never works; it only promotes more violence.  Think of Black Lives Matter here.

Jesus takes on a host of leaders who contaminate the word of God with lies and deception. Matthew 23:16-30

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing. But if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 

 Swearing was and still is a form of verification of one’s word.  In court we swear on the Bible; some Christian denominations refuse to swear on anything because the Bible specifically opposes that.  Your word should be sufficient.  Of course for those who want to lie, nothing makes any difference anyway.  

But swearing on anything makes no sense.  In no way does it confirm or deny the what was stated.  Furthermore the Lords of Swearing have made yet another rule for living.  You can always tell when a government is failing by how many worthless and futile rules it has.  Continue reading

Getting Tired of Reform Theology

It’s my own fault by even reading these old theologians. Dr. R. C. Sproul Sr. says everything that happens, even our sins is the will of God. Horse pucky!  We are warned not to lay a charge to God’s elect but it is OK to lay a charge on God Himself? (Romans 8:33)  Pleeeze.

Good and evil

Good and evil

I am also told by these men (mostly men) that there is not one good thing in Man. What about the image of God which entered Man when the Lord breathed upon him at the creation (Genesis 2:7)  turning clay into something worth saving?  And while we are at it, why would God bother saving something without redemptive qualities?  Another false notion. As a fellow theologian I can testify we do have a tendency to go too far.

Yes, Man is a mess,  Ronald Reagan said the definition of the status quo is “the mess we are in” and for sure we are in a mess. We start out in the mess when we are born.  But I have noticed we do not have any choices.  I arrived here many years ago;  I have no memory of asking to be born, maybe so.  I started out in heaven and I am now here.  This is the world I was born into with the problems inherent in me and in the world. Someday I will return to eternity.  I have a pre-history and a post-history.

Tough.  We deal with life as it has been handed to us. And that is our challenge and our potential glory, to find God and His Promises to us in it where we are.  I am not French or Chinese, which would be fine. But I am an American and I have obligations to my country and my countrymen. I also have plans from God for how my life is to be conducted as a reflection of that “Imago Dei” and a goal.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Now about Adam and Eve.  Were they depraved? No. They made a giant mistake but they were created bearing the glory of God.  When they sinned that glory departed; they knew it experientially because they hid and made clothing for themselves since they’d lost their covering. Mankind eventually became totally depraved so God destroyed them all at the Flood, save 8.  It is prophesied that Man will again become totally depraved but now, not yet, no.

Neither are we.  Yes, babies are sinners.  Just watch them fight with a sibling over a toy.  Adamic man is there, but in their innocence they remind us that their love and  their ability to accept everyone and everything without rancor is the basic goodness in man. Calling man totally depraved is calling God a liar.  Yes, it happens a lot.

God gave us a measure of faith Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. I suppose the reformists would say, being consistent, that is evil too.

The Chinese are right – ying and yang, pictured as about half.  I can’t gauge that.  Maybe it is three quarters versus one quarter.  But no matter.  There is basic goodness in human kind. And that is what God works in us and with us. It is the ground of possibility in us.

Secular humanism would have us believe that we are born without fault and the wicked, nasty world makes us evil and produces evil societies. More horse pucky! Man is born flawed and he has, from that point, only a way up.

Look up and live! (Numbers 21:8)