Jihad and Jezebel
the East and the West
on collision course
Jihad killing, dying, for a fight
Jezebel indulging, drunken with self
East in deception
West in denial
Jihad and Jezebel
a house divided
yet one in design
to kill and destroy
with religion or rights
with sword or with sin

Ancient trade route
traces the border
straddles the fault-line
where East meets West
tectonic pressure
beneath the Land
above the Earth
between the boundaries
Ancient-modern nation
crossroads of the world
Valley of Decision
caught in the crossfire
of Jihad without
and Jezebel within
of Jezebel without
and Jihad within

City of kings
waits for her King
longs for her David
to retake His throne
shepherd His people
gather them home
destroy the deceiver
usurper – thief
make the Ancient City
the glory of Earth
commence the shaking
of all that can shake
reveal the sons
of righteousness
oh what of me
am I one of them?

Jihad and Jezebel
both taunt from without
both tempt from within
one incites anger
the other seduces
which of the two
grips my soul?
or do they both?
or am I willing
to stand between them
a defender in the breach
in the wall of the City
who waits for her King
who will surely come
and surely destroy
both Jihad and Jezebel?

© 2010, Loren Harder



What would the citizens of Earth do if an asteroid was bearing down upon the planet? If the current situation is any indication, they’d be hoarding, bickering, finger-pointing, trying to take political advantage, and figuring out ways to buy low/sell high on the stock market. No sack-cloth and ashes for this bunch. No sir!

Can you imagine a world without yourself in it? I can. And there is a part of that picture with which I am not pleased. It’s the part where my survivors are cleaning up the mess I left behind. Unused and unuseful material possessions. Complicated business and investment arrangements. Things that only I know how to do, or access, or what to do with once accessed.

Whenever I go to an estate sale, or even a moving sale, I am reminded how much stuff a person can live without – especially when they’re dead. 

If You’re Going to Fail, Fail Big

If you’re going to fail, fail big.
Take bankruptcy, start over and succeed.
Crush the competition, buy yourself some friends.
Dazzle investors, convince banks to lend.

Grow, grow, grow! Leave no money on the table.
Fire the weaklings, groom the able.
Cultivate consumers, placate resentment.
Nature abhors a vacuum; ambition abhors contentment.

There’s no such thing as excess when leaving your mark,
doing what you’re born for, aiming for the stars.
And greed? Only the jealous accuse with that term.
You deserve what you have, every penny was earned.

Simplicity, contentment, generosity, thrift—
a simpleton’s hymn claims these are gifts.
You don’t need gifts, you’re no object of charity;
they may pray for your soul but don’t dare call you needy.

Let them keep their quaint ways, their naive integrity.
You can exploit such impoverishing piety.
You’re paving your destiny on a highway you own;
if it leads to hell, you still hold title to every stone.

Son, follow my mantra and you’ll end up like me.
If you’re going to fail, fail big.


Don’t lie to your children. Don’t tell them they can grow up to be anything they want. It’s simply not true. If it were, what would we do with the surplus of firefighters, astronauts, and video game developers? How can “any kid grow up to be president” when there are only 18 presidential elections in the average lifetime?

Instead of asking kids what they dream of becoming, ask them what they are curious about. Cultivate in them a joy of learning new things. See to it that they are rewarded for hard work. Teach them by example – with empathy and compassion. Then don’t worry about their future. Instead of being frustrated by unattainable dreams, they will gradually discover what fascinates them the most, work hard to excel in that field, and use those skills to live a meaningful and impactful life.

I am a hermit
though not in the traditional sense
I have the Internet
and social media
and a hundred or so so-called friends
yet the deepest aches of my soul
I dare not put out there
not even in a private message
if I did what would be the response?
A thumbs-up? A crying face emoji?

I am a hermit
though not in the traditional sense
I live to make folks laugh
or think, or cry
I tally their reactions
as if counting growing wealth
I banter with the banterers
curmudge with the curmudgeons
I correct the misguided
and promote my beloved causes

yet in the end
when I close my laptop
I am as empty and hollow
as when I first booted up
I put my computer to sleep
and try to do the same myself
when the new day arrives
I’ll again open my browser
and search for

I am a hermit
though not in the traditional sense

When I was in my 20s and 30s I found shopping for a mother’s day card to be a frustrating experience. The cards would say things like, “Thank you for being the one who always believed in my dreams even when nobody else did.” That didn’t fit her. She wasn’t that kind of mother, even though I desperately wished she was.

She was practical. Practical to a fault, I thought. Hers wasn’t a world of dreams and ambitions. Her world revolved around daily doing what needed to be done. And she did so through faithful, dependable service to those close to home, as well as to some who will remain total strangers, perhaps until they meet in Heaven.

It’s not that she spoke disparagingly of ambitions—it was more that she would always turn the subject to what she saw as worthwhile pursuits. For example, rather than sympathizing when I lamented a dead-end job, she would point out that that job was my opportunity to serve my wife and children, boss and customers, with Christ-like, sacrificial love.

Over the years, my perception of my mother and her view of life has gradually changed. What I once found frustrating, I now find comforting. Dreams disappoint; ambitions crumble. More than midway through life, we can find ourselves irreconcilably separated from the accomplishments we thought we were destined to fulfill.

But faithful, compassionate service is an investment that will never disappoint. Proverbs says, “he who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord.” Mama showed us, by example, how to store up treasures in Heaven where “neither rust, nor moth” nor even our own miscalculations, can destroy.

Years ago, when we lived in California, my mother met an elderly lady. She was well into her 80’s, but she introduced herself like this: “Hi, I’m Mrs. C., I take care of old people!” Mama was really tickled by that and often mentioned this dear saint. I think Mama wanted to emulate her, serving rather than being served, even in advanced age.

The health setbacks that increasingly took away her abilities to interact with others must have been heartbreaking to Mama and among the toughest challenges of her lifetime. Yet even these she handled with perseverance, patience, and grace. She, of course, did not want to be a burden to anyone. But what we were able to do for her was not a burden at all, but a privilege. And it came nowhere close to repaying a lifetime of kindness, generosity and selfless love.

Eleanor Harder

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between affirmation and flattery. Here is my understanding of the difference: Affirmation is a form of wishing a person well. It helps them to see their efforts as constructive and their circumstances as hopeful. Flattery is a means of currying favor by telling a person something that may make them feel good temporarily but is not motivated by genuine concern for their long-term well-being.

There are so many good and noble ideals for which we as both individuals and as a nation should stand. But we are not standing. Why are we not standing? We are not standing because we are leaning – leaning to the left, leaning to the right. You know who it is who leans the most, don’t you? It’s two groups of people playing tug-of-war. They’re all leaning back as hard and strenuously as they can – one team to the left and one team to the right. But tug-of-war, as exciting and adrenaline-producing as it is, never ends well. The losing team gets dragged through the mud. And what happens to the victorious team? Most of the time they end up falling on their butts.

This Independence Day, how about we all try a little less leaning and a lot more standing? Conservatives want liberty. Liberals want justice. How about we stand together for liberty AND justice for all?