Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A connection between repentance and true love

Human interest, an expression of a spiritual and relational truth: on days of true penitence before God, young Jewish men and women were trusted to choose their mates -- at other times, parents and family arranged the matches, but in times of repentance they could choose for themselves... for it was then they could allow God to make the choice in them.

Listen to Rabbi Yonason Goldson:

The Talmud explains that on all other festive days, the Jewish court would dispatch officers to prevent young men and women from social contact that might lead to impropriety. But on Yom Kippur and Tu B'Av, the judges found no cause for concern. On both these days, the atmosphere of repentance and spiritual commitment permeated Jewish society so intensely that impure motives never entered the minds of young men and women seeking marriage. True, attractive women might flaunt their beauty and women from prominent families promote their lineage, but the rest would say, Make your choice for the sake of heaven.

Interesting, no?

If we want to understand and enter true love, the path is in prayer and penitential observance -- not in "You gotta get out more!" or the subtle pressure of our circle! Quite a lesson for our culture...


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Funny t-shirt for the day

Spotted in Skip's Barbecue at lunch, a local joint that features awesome smoked beef and ribs! :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The reality of Easter

God consuming our consequences

A quote that goes to the heart of Easter meaning:

"Fulfillment is found in Christ. In Him are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The point is that the salvation He offers doesn’t come through signs and wonders, though they may be appended to it, but from a turning to Him in the acknowledgment of His preeminence and lordship, and as the medium through which total release can be known… Jesus doesn’t simply show us the way, or the truth. He is the way, the truth. He’s not another guru, or preceptor, or avatar, or holy man, or prophet. He’s God stepped down in human flesh to die, consuming within Himself the consequences of our decision to turn away from God, thus breaking the momentum of our eternal entrapment. In this way we are reconciled to God and enjoy free and open access to Him. The Christian revelation is the end of the game.”

A quote from Michael Graham, who spent 28 years in search of truth, immersing himself in the best of Eastern mysticism, a personal student of Swami Muktananda Paramahansa [Siddha Yoga]. Michael's journey led him to a personal encounter with Christ, and a 180 degree turn from his former journey. It is a compelling story. His account is worth reading: "The Experience of Ultimate Truth."

Indeed. He is right: Jesus Christ is the One who consumes within himself the consequences of our decision to turn from God, thus breaking the momentum of our eternal entrapment. Jesus is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, whose pain has brought us peace -- bearing in himself our wounds, that we might be healed.

And Easter is the sign of that cosmic victory...

Happy Easter, all!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday in Corcovado

He is interceding still.


"Christ will be in agony until the end of the world. We must not sleep during all that time."

Blaise Pascal.

O mysterious condescending!

Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow

Words: William John Sparrow-Simpson, 1887
Music: Cross of Jesus

Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow,
where the blood of Christ was shed,
perfect Man on thee did suffer,
perfect God on thee has bled!

Here the King of all the ages,
throned in light ere worlds could be,
robed in mortal flesh is dying,
crucified by sin for me.

O mysterious condescending!
O abandonment sublime!
Very God himself is bearing
all the sufferings of time!

Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow,
where the blood of Christ was shed,
perfect Man on thee did suffer,
perfect God on thee has bled!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Postmodern eloquence

The use of language to obscure meaning

Ron Coleman on defining eloquence:

It is rather ironic how the definition of eloquence has devolved. It once meant a talent for powerfully, persuasively and elegantly communicating ideas. Now it is used to describe the use of pretty language to obscure meaning.

There are other words for that.

True. But the discussion needs to go a step further: The reason why the definition of eloquence has changed is that the definition of truth has changed. Most postmoderns [specifically, leftists] no longer believe that words reflect ultimate reality; therefore there is no contradiction when words only serve self-interest; scilicet, a speech is primarily judged by its presentation and not its inner meaning or metaphysics.

If you want to discover the real beliefs of BHO, don't look at his fine-sounding words; look at his actions. Look at his votes and non-votes, his long-term commitments, the staff and associates that he has chosen [before the glare of public attention surfaced]. Flee the rhetoric and look at the man, if you want to know the truth. A man is as he does. And such a look at BHO is very revealing...

p.s. I'll be posting more on the metaphysics of BHO, hopefully. Until then, look at the hard cold numbers: look at the votes, look at the hand-picked staff and relational commitments, look at his spiritual and political definitions [admittedly, a tough task, but the core is there... and it's not centrist, or even conciliatory, despite the smooth words].

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Antisemitic falsehoods: Exposing the 'cycle of violence' meme

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has done an analysis title, "Rocket Threat From Gaza, 2000-2007." Since Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, the rocket attacks have increased exponentially.

John Hinderaker at Powerline, comments:

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, eliminating, many thought, a key element in the "cycle of violence" between Israel and the Palestinians. On that reasoning, violence launched from Gaza should have been expected to decline. Instead, it increased.

...The [Intelligence and Terrorism Center] report is worth reading in its entirety, but this graphic tells you all you need to know about the consequences of withdrawing from Gaza...

Indeed. Please read the report and consider its implications!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Love to the loveless shown

My song is love unknown
Words: Samuel Crossman, 1664
Tune: Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
my Savior's love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
O who am I
that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
salvation to bestow,
but men made strange, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But O my friend,
my friend indeed,
who at my need,
His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
and His strong praises sing,
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then "Crucify!"
is all their breath,
and for His death
they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries!
Yet they at these
themselves displease,
and 'gainst Him rise.

They rise, and needs will have
my dear Lord made away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet steadfast He
to suffering goes,
that He his foes
from thence might free.

Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine:
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.
This is my friend,
in whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The new antisemitism

Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav. We live in a bizarre postmodern world where intentional, brutal death-seeking is fine, as long as it is against a truly democratic, peace-seeking "aggressor," and no one blinks when terror-states dance in the street at the sight of innocent Israeli blood. And the Western elites who enable such terror consider themselves socially progressive, so cultured and post-racial!

Here's the truth: this is the face of the new antisemitism. And its effect will be potentially exponentially more deadly to Jews than the old version; to wit: the new Hitler will have nukes; he already has a fawning world media fan base, enabling the madness.

Via Gail at Crossing the Rubicon, hear the prophetic voice of
Yitzchok Adlerstein:
The society that preaches martyrdom to children, that rejoices in the street over the deaths of students huddled over sacred texts, that praises death over life – this society has become Amalek.


Friday, March 14, 2008

An early evening reflection

Coming out of dinner tonight, I spotted this neat view: a downpour of rain had passed, and these clouds remained, evening sun shining through in primary bluescale, with barest hint of pink -- gloaming light reflected in a clear pond-mirror, framed by cattails and distant palms. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The King shall come when morning dawns

And light triumphant breaks

Words: From the Greek text of the hymn; words from Hymns of the Russian Church

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than the rising morn
When He, victorious, rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For Christ, through whom all things were made

The glory of these forty days

Words: Latin, sixth century
Tune: Erhalt uns, Herr

The glory of these forty days
we celebrate with songs of praise;
for Christ, through whom all things were made,
himself has fasted and has prayed.

Alone and fasting Moses saw
the loving God who gave the law;
and to Elijah, fasting, came
the steeds and chariots of flame.

So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
delivered from the lions' might;
and John, the Bridegroom's friend, became
the herald of Messiah's name.

Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
full oft in fast and prayer with thee;
our spirits strengthen with thy grace,
and give us joy to see thy face.

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
to thee be every prayer addressed,
who art in three-fold Name adored,
from age to age, the only Lord.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Ain't just whistlin' Dixie!

The Yankee or Dixie quiz

Take it, you might surprise yourself... perhaps you've gone over to the dark side without knowing it, lol.

According to this test, I'm 63 percent Dixie. No wonder I'm so confusing: quite the mixture...! Or mixed up, some might say, lol. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A pink Florida sky

This is from a week ago today -- the real thing was even more breathtaking than this pic... sky to sky color and view! Enjoy!

It makes the wounded spirit whole

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
Words: John Newton, 1779

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
in a believer's ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
and drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
and calms the troubled breast;
'tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the rock on which I build,
my shield and hiding-place,
my never-failing treasury, filled
with boundless stores of grace!

Jesus! my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
my Prophet, Priest and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
and cold my warmest thought;
but when I see thee as thou art,
I'll praise thee as I ought.

Till then I would thy love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of thy Name
refresh my soul in death!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lenten prayers for Thursday, March 6

Psalm 141:1-3, 8

O Lord, I call to you; come to me quickly;
hear my voice when I cry to you.
Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense,
the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord,
and guard the door of my lips;
let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
But my eyes are turned to you, Lord God;
in you I take refuge; do not strip me of my life.

Psalm 143

Lord, hear my prayer,
and in your faithfulness heed my supplications;
answer me in your righteousness.
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
For my enemy has sought my life
and has crushed me to the ground;
making me live in dark places
like those who are long dead.
My spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is desolate.
I remember the time past;
I muse upon all your deeds;
I consider the works of your hands.
I spread out my hands to you;
my soul gasps to you like a thirsty land.
O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me;
do not hide your face from me
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,
for I put my trust in you;
show me the road that I must walk,
for I lift up my soul to you.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord,
for I flee to you for refuge.
Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God;
let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Revive me, O Lord, for your name's sake;
for your righteousness' sake, bring me out of trouble.

A Song of Repentance: 1 John 1:5-9

This is the message we have heard from Christ
and proclaim to you:
that God is light,
in whom there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with God
while we walk in darkness,
we lie and do not do what is true.
But if we walk in the light
as God is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another.
And the blood of Jesus, the Son of God,
cleanses us from all our sins.
If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins,
the One who is faithful and just will forgive us
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels of his;
praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens,
and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;
for he commanded and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,
tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,
creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens,
old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name only is exalted,
his splendor is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people
and praise for all his loyal servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near him!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A walkway to the sky

Here's a view overlooking dry Lake Okeechobee, wooden walkway pointed upward, birds freewheeling with tinted clouds... enjoy!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A four hundred year old tree

This classic Old Florida cypress tree was sticking up its knobby knees right about the time the scholars were transcribing the [divinely inspired! ouch, that hurt my tongue, lol :-)] good ole' KJV Bible. And oh the tales this tree could tell... between four and five hundred years old, it carries on in relative obscurity in a remote Florida backwater: it breathes with its knees and marks time, Spanish moss waving in the breeze, keeping rhythm with the winds and waves. Enjoy!

Thy offering still continues new

O thou, before the world began

Words: John and Charles Wesley, 1745

Tune: Das neugeborne Kindelein

O thou, before the world began,
ordained a sacrifice for man,
and by the eternal Spirit made
an offering in the sinner's stead;
our everlasting Priest art thou,
pleading thy death for sinners now.

Thy offering still continues new
before the righteous Father's view;
thyself the Lamb forever slain;
thy priesthood doth unchanged remain;
thy years, O God, can never fail,
nor thy blest work within the veil.

O that our faith may never move,
but stand unshaken as thy love,
sure evidence of things unseen;
now let it pass the years between
and view thee bleeding on the tree:
my Lord, my God, who dies for me.