Friday, December 31, 2010

A prayer before going into battle

A Prayer before Going into Battle

O God of battles!
Truly, you dwell in peace,
And yet, you behold the strife of men, and work your will thereby.
It is a mystery, part of the war between good and evil, that I cannot comprehend.
And what that good and perfect will of thine is, I do not fully know;
However, I do know that you have sent us to do with all our might what our hands find to do, in the work of good; and I know that you hate cowardice.
You know that I have sought to choose the best, so far as my poor mind can determine, and to this battle I am pledged.
Give me grace to fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear.
Give me to do my duty, but give the victory where you please.
Let me live if it so be your will; let me die if it be your will -- only let me die in honor with You.
Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please you;
And oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay the fulfillment of truth.
Let my work fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth.
This I ask in the strong Name of the Son of God, who is the Truth, and through your Holy Spirit, Amen.


And here is that prayer in its original context, by George MacDonald:

Humility before the God of Truth

'Callest thou thy cousin a hypocrite?'

'No, by heaven! she is not. She is a woman, and it is easy for women to say prayers.'

'I never rode into a fight but I said my prayer,' returned Richard.

'None the less art thou a hypocrite. I should scorn to be for ever begging favours as thou. Dost think God heareth such prayers as thine?'

'Not if He be such as thou, sir Rowland, and not if he who prays be such as thou thinkest him. Prithee, what sort of prayer thinkest thou I pray ere I ride into the battle?'

'How should I know? My lord marquis would have had me say my prayers at such a time, but, good sooth! I always forgot. And if I had done it, where would have been the benefit thereof, so long as thou, who wast better used to the work, wast praying against me? I say it is a cowardly thing to go praying into the battle, and not take thy fair chance as other men do.'

'Then will I tell thee to what purpose I pray. But, first of all, I must confess to thee that I have had my doubts, not whether my side were more in the right than thine, but whether it were worth while to raise the sword even in such cause. Now, still when that doubt cometh, ever it taketh from my arm the strength, and going down into the very legs of my mare causeth that she goeth dull, although willing, into the battle. Moreover, I am no saint, and therefore cannot pray like a saint, but only like Richard Heywood, who hath got to do his duty, and is something puzzled. Therefore pray I thus, or to this effect:

'"O God of battles! who, thyself dwelling in peace, beholdest the strife, and workest thy will thereby, what that good and perfect will of thine is I know not clearly, but thou hast sent us to be doing, and thou hatest cowardice. Thou knowest I have sought to choose the best, so far as goeth my poor ken, and to this battle I am pledged. Give me grace to fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear. Give me to do my duty, but give the victory where thou pleasest. Let me live if so thou wilt; let me die if so thou wilt--only let me die in honour with thee. Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please thee; and oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay its coming. Let my work fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth."

'And in truth, sir Rowland, it seemeth to me then as if the God of truth heard me. Then say I to my mare, "Come, Lady, all is well now. Let us go. And good will come of it to thee also, for how should the Father think of his sparrows and forget his mares? Doubtless there are of thy kind in heaven, else how should the apostle have seen them there? And if any, surely thou, my Lady!" So ride we to the battle, merry and strong, and calm, as if we were but riding to the rampart of the celestial city.'


George MacDonald, “A Sally,” St. George and St. Michael, 345-6.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

God is writing a story about you!

A great thought to meditate upon... read and consider: God is writing a story in your life, light threads and dark threads, so that you may someday dance upon the heights. Consider this, and be filled with joy! :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

A very Holy Night: the descent of God

God Descends to Reascend

C.S. Lewis says that “In the Christian story God descends to reascend.”

He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity.... But he goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.

Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in midair, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the deathlike region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to color and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both colored now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colorless in the dark, he lost his color too.

George Herbert offers this truth in poetic form:

Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d?
Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
The God of power, as He did ride
In His majestic robes of glorie,
Reserv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.

The starres His tyre of light and rings obtain’d,
The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,
The sky His azure mantle gain’d.
And when they ask’d, what He would wear;
He smil’d and said as He did go,
He had new clothes a making here below.

In Christmas we bow before an eternal miracle: The God of glory did descend
into our human darkness,
that we might be made the children of Light.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The beauty of mathematics

Sent to me by Su George, this is a thing of beauty. Enjoy, all! It will brighten your day, all you studied, hard working, great-attitude people out there... and for the rest of us, too! :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

A drill instructor counselor -- esprit de corps!

Hoo-rah! Another fantastic finalist for commercial of the year, lol. So politically incorrect, but so funny. For all those people for whom yellow brings tears, my apologies. To the rest of you, enjoy! :-)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

More life, not less: Don't give up!

In the midst of weakness, cry out for Life

by George MacDonald

Let us in all the troubles of life remember--that our one lack is life--that what we need is more life--more of the life-making presence in us making us more, and more largely, alive. When most oppressed, when most weary of life, as our unbelief would phrase it, let us bethink ourselves that it is in truth the inroad and presence of death we are weary of. When most inclined to sleep, let us rouse ourselves to live. Of all things let us avoid the false refuge of a weary collapse, a hopeless yielding to things as they are. It is the life in us that is discontented; we need more of what is discontented, not more of the cause of its discontent. Discontent, I repeat, is the life in us that has not enough of itself, is not enough to itself, so calls for more.

He has the victory who, in the midst of pain and weakness, cries out, not for death, not for the repose of forgetfulness, but for strength to fight; for more power, more consciousness of being, more God in him; who, when sorest wounded, says with Sir Andrew Barton in the old ballad:--

Fight on my men, says Sir Andrew Barton,
I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
And then I'll rise and fight again;

--and that with no silly notion of playing the hero--what have creatures like us to do with heroism who are not yet barely honest!--but because so to fight is the truth, and the only way.

If, in the extreme of our exhaustion, there should come to us, as to Elijah when he slept in the desert, an angel to rouse us, and show us the waiting bread and water, how would we carry ourselves? Would we, in faint unwillingness to rise and eat, answer, 'Lo I am weary unto death! The battle is gone from me! It is lost, or unworth gaining! The world is too much for me! Its forces will not heed me! They have worn me out! I have wrought no salvation even for my own, and never should work any, were I to live for ever! It is enough; let me now return whence I came; let me be gathered to my fathers and be at rest!'? I should be loth to think that, if the enemy, in recognizable shape, came roaring upon us, we would not, like the red-cross knight, stagger, heavy sword in nerveless arm, to meet him; but, in the feebleness of foiled effort, it wants yet more faith to rise and partake of the food that shall bring back more effort, more travail, more weariness.

The true man trusts in a strength which is not his, and which he does not feel, does not even always desire; believes in a power that seems far from him, which is yet at the root of his fatigue itself and his need of rest--rest as far from death as is labour. To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, 'I am weak: so let me be: God is strong;' to seek from him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do, and be, and live, even when we are weary,--this is the victory that overcometh the world. To believe in God our strength in the face of all seeming denial, to believe in him out of the heart of weakness and unbelief, in spite of numbness and weariness and lethargy; to believe in the wide-awake real, through all the stupefying, enervating, distorting dream; to will to wake, when the very being seems athirst for a godless repose;--these are the broken steps up to the high fields where repose is but a form of strength, strength but a form of joy, joy but a form of love. 'I am weak,' says the true soul, 'but not so weak that I would not be strong; not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise; not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to him who perfects strength in weakness, and gives to
his beloved while they sleep!'

If we will but let our God and Father work his will with us, there can be no limit to his enlargement of our existence, to the flood of life with which he will overflow our consciousness. We have no conception of what life might be, of how vast the consciousness of which we could be made capable. Many can recall some moment in which life seemed richer and fuller than ever before; to some, such moments arrive mostly in dreams: shall soul, awake or asleep, enfold a bliss greater than its Life, the living God, can seal, perpetuate, enlarge? Can the human twilight of a dream be capable of generating or holding a fuller life than the morning of divine activity? Surely God could at any moment give to a soul, by a word to that soul, by breathing afresh into the secret caves of its being, a sense of life before which the most exultant ecstasy of earthly triumph would pale to ashes! If ever sunlit, sail-crowded sea, under blue heaven flecked with wind-chased white, filled your soul as with a new gift of life, think what sense of existence must be yours, if he whose thought has but fringed its garment with the outburst of such a show, take his abode with you, and while thinking the gladness of a God inside your being, let you know and feel that he is carrying you as a father in his bosom!



George MacDonald, "Life," Unspoken Sermons Vol. Three.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Honest Abe -- A braave man!

This is a finalist for my best commercial of the year, lol. It's up there!

Aside from the humor, I just love how they make the video seem "old," grainy and stuff, as if actually rediscovering the lost footage of a personal moment with his wife.

And maybe we're seeing the REAL reason why Mary Todd suggested they take in the show at Ford's Theater! Hmm... Rest in peace, Honest Abe -- one of my heroes, no question [all kidding aside]. A great man -- transcendent in greatness.

Enjoy, folks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hope and the grace of God

Divine hope is related to kingdom and call

by Johann Christoph Blumhardt

The capacity to hope is extremely important both for the kingdom of God and for our own development, because something very real and powerful has been laid in our hearts with this hope. One might say that we have been given a power that corresponds to the power of God. A power goes forth from God to make something of us; and from us there goes forth a hope that we shall become something. And this power of God and our hope go together hand in hand, as in a marriage, walking together. We in hope and God in his power, we belong together so that we can follow a purpose, the good purpose of God.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

GOP and establishment politicians face Tea Party patriots

Excellent cartoon, writ large in the immortal words of Mitch McConnell, who reversed his pork-laden position on earmarks in just three days. His high profile defense of earmarks suddenly switched to an agreement with incoming GOP members, who are seeking to ban the practice.

What changed?

The arrival of Tea Party Republicans, that's what.

After rigorously defending earmarks at the Heritage Foundation on Nov. 2, and then on "Face the Nation" Nov. 5, McConnell suddenly waved the white flag. He reversed field. Now he will no longer support earmarks.

“Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.”

“Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.”

This is huge. Mitch defended his earmarks as going for essential and good things, but noted that he cannot defend a practice that is most often used in devastating fashion, rife with excess and abuse. Good for Mitch.

Although he is late to the party, at least he now sees the light... with the ghosts of Patriots at the door.

More than can be said for others in Washington.

So drink a cup of tea, and pray! Things can change.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quote for the day: Good men and evil

Good people + indifference = evil

A quote from Boondock Saints:

Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

Of course, this is a riff on Edmund Burke:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.


And what does it take for good men to do nothing? Is it a studied desire to do nothing? Or a conscious enactment of the will to do nothing? Nor, is is far more a mind-numbing involvement in the stuff of life, the inability to prepare oneself for true action, and the consequent defining of non-action as some kind of desirable or noble end. On these theme, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt speaks:

Perhaps the greatest danger that threatens us comes from being overly involved in the small, ordinary happenings of daily life—from becoming so enslaved by them that they fill our heart and soul. To go about life in this way is to go about unprotected, unaware, distracted, and removed from reality. Let us never allow ourselves to be dragged down by pettiness, or to take the things of this earth so seriously that they burden us day after day. Let us live constantly in the Promise.

Sunday is Christ the King Sunday.

Let's make Him Lord of life in a far greater sense than we've allowed so far, shall we?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grace that brings us into faith

Grace alone, faith alone

by Oswald Chambers

It is not repentance that saves me, repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. Is it my obedience that puts me right with God? Never! I am put right with God because prior to all else, Christ died. When I turn to God and accept by faith what God reveals, instantly the stupendous atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God.

By the miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because of anything I have done, but because of what Jesus has done. The salvation of God does not stand on human logic; it stands on the sacrificial death of Jesus. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus, which is prior to all experience.

Jesus, Keep me near the Cross
There’s a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.


Monday, November 15, 2010

A random act of culture: Hallelujah Chorus flash event!

Way to go,! Great leveraging of a cultural meme. Hundreds of people spontaneously break into the Hallelujah Chorus in the middle of Macy's, last Saturday, October 30. Ever see so many smiling faces? Merry Christmas, indeed!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Okeechobee: Thirsty field & stormy sky

Passing by a farmer watering his field, backdrop of stormy sky and Lake Okeechobee rim canal, I just had to stop for a picture -- very artful and picturesque: A photographic study of mood and motion, light and texture. Enjoy!

Nothing new under the sun

How to economically save or destroy a nation

Cicero in 55 BC:

The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign hands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall.

What Cicero might say today:

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.

What the Apostle Paul said:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you... For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

What the Apostle Paul might say today:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command you: Keep away from those who call themselves believers, but are idle and disruptive, claiming benefits that they are not willing to work toward. Such people have denied the faith given to them, offering a false gospel in return. Live according to the true teaching that I've given you.

Did you not listen when one of your prophets declared that "all reality has moral control?" You will destroy yourselves and your families by giving food and care to those unwilling to work. There is a vast difference between those who are unwilling to work and those who are unable to work. There is also a vast difference between lacking a paying job and not being willing to work. Many people lack jobs; no one with an honest heart will lack work -- the need for good work is all around, and Christ will pay the one who works, even if s/he is jobless.

Care for the widow and orphan, but beware those who use the poor as an excuse to extort and enslave your children. Christ Jesus himself clearly warned us against destroying faith with a theology of poverty: those who use this theology of poverty care not for the poor, but covet the care of the money bags. They use the language of the poor to graft and redistribute, enriching themselves all the while [Jn. 12:6].

There are those among you who hate what is good work; they are not busy, yet they are busybodies. Their tongues are malicious and their speech is deceitful; they use words not to enlighten, but to obscure, to enslave and manipulate. Avoid them. Their doom is sure. Do not let them destroy your families and communities, even as they destroy themselves.

Dear brothers and sisters, never tire of doing good. In due season you will reap if you faint not. Your Lord sees your labor; be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

VA Day Okeechobee: A cowboy's grave

No more the bugle calls the weary one;
Rest noble soldier, in thy grave unknown.

I'll find thee and know thee among the good and true

When a robe of white is given for a faded coat of blue.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

What does it mean to be a king?

The destiny of kingship

There is still the highest kingly calling, even though the "age of kings" has supposedly passed. For those who changed the world for freedom saying, "We have no king but King Jesus!" [e.g. spiritual leaders of the American Revolution], many of them lived what it means to be king, allowing the effect of kingly rule [health of the subjects] to pass on to free men and women, even while their own lives, resources and personal powers were sacrificed.

For instance, George Washington was a true king, under God. But he detested any false trapping of court, and any false power of position or title. Following the Revolutionary War, Washington resigned his commission, seeking a life of relative obscurity at Mount Vernon. In London, King George III heard the news with shock. The British monarch then questioned the American-born painter Benjamin West about what Washington would do now that he had won the war. “Oh,” said West, “they say he will return to his farm.” “If he does that,” said the king, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” And so Washington was that, for his time. He blew the mind of a man who defined life according to position and power.

In an age when ruling politicians will do anything for power and position, passionately embracing deceit, using vile means to accomplish personal, 'progressive' goals, what does it mean to be a true king? A true king -- a king under the real King of the Cosmos, the Creator and Captain of our Salvation?

It is a question worth pondering. Much can be said here.

But for a snippet of understanding, here is a provocative dialogue:

A true king is a man or woman of unbreakable will and moral vision, whose means are as pure as his ends

“What is a king, Louis?”

He stood there with the sword dangling from his hand. “A ruler. A leader. A warlord.”

"More. All of that, but more. The sword is an ancient symbol for justice. Back when the function of nobility was better understood, a king never sat his throne without his sword to hand. If he was to treat with the envoy of another king, it would be at his side. If he was to dispense justice, it would be across his knees. Why do you suppose that was, Louis?”

He stood silent for a few seconds.

"Symbolic of the force at his command, I guess.”

I shook my head gently. “Not just symbolic. A true king, whose throne belonged to him by more than the right of inheritance, led his own troops and slew malefactors by his own hand. The sword was a reminder of the privilege of wielding force, but it was there to be used as well.”

His hands clenched and unclenched in time to his thoughts. I knew what they had to be.

"The age of kings is far behind us, Malcolm.”

"It never ended. Men worthy of the role became too few to maintain the institution.”

"And I’m… worthy?”

If he wasn’t, then no worthy man had ever lived, but I couldn’t tell him that.

"There’s a gulf running through the world, Louis. On one side are the commoners, the little men who bear tools, tend their gardens, and keep the world running. On the other are the nobles, who see far and dare much, and sometimes risk all they have, that the realm be preserved and the commoner continue undisturbed in his portion. There’s no shortage of either, except for the highest of the nobles, the men of unbreakable will and moral vision, for whom justice is a commitment deeper than life itself.”

Francis Porretto comments: And when such a man moves to the fore, it’s never mattered whether we called him a king or not – and it never will.

Salient words for our time!

Such a man or woman would never embrace darkness to promote himself or gain political power. Such a man would never present himself as one thing in order to gain power, and then use the power to destroy that which his inner man hates. Such a man would never enslave his subjects and their children, using pseudo-moral language.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Joni quotes for the day

"The times we find ourselves having to wait on others may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord."

"When I was on my feet, big boisterous pleasures provided only fleeting satisfaction. In a wheelchair, satisfaction settles in as I sit under an oak tree on a windy day and delight in the rustle of the leaves or sit by a fire and enjoy the soothing strains of a symphony. These smaller, less noisy pleasures are rich because, unlike the fun on my feet, these things yield patience, endurance, and a spirit of gratitude, all of which fits me further for eternity. It is this yieldedness that gains you the most here on earth. "

-- Joni Eareckson Tada


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Quote for the day +2

"The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek."

"All reality has moral control."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, November 01, 2010

An economic destruction of America

The path to fiscal collapse

“It is undeniable that we are on the path to fiscal collapse. This decline will occur in two stages. First there is the decay as the swelling national debt wears away the economy’s foundations and commits more and more future income to foreign creditors. We are already in stage one. In stage two a lethal combination of phenomena arises in quick succession: greater default risk, looming inflation, higher interest rates, declining growth, financial market instability, and an acceleration of government borrowing. They feed on each other. The economy heads on a downward spiral. Between stage one and stage two there is a tipping point. Experts know it will come, but nobody wants to predict when.”

Read here. hat tip: Glenn.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thought for the day

"Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack."

-- T-Bone Slim, quoted here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A postcard from Okeechobee

October sky -- view from tonight. We've been getting some awesome sky-scenes lately, and idyllic autumn temperatures. Warm days and cooler nights, bright stars. Enjoy!

The smallest snake in the world

Anyone know what kind of snake this is? It's the smallest snake I've seen -- those straw-colored things are pieces of grass, the rocks are small pieces of gravel, not bigger than a quarter. This is the skinniest, most fragile snake ever -- anyone know what kind it is? Calling all herpetologists!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The trooper and the redneck

A Tennessee State trooper pulled over a pickup on I-40. The trooper asked, "Got any ID?" The driver replied, "Bout whut?"


budda-boom. He'll be here all night, folks!


Monday, October 04, 2010

God is not angry with you if you find it hard to believe

Transcending symbolic intellect with transforming action

by George MacDonald

Do not think that God is angry with you because you find it hard to believe. It is not so; that is not like God; God is all that you can honestly wish Him to be, and infinitely more; He is not angry with you for that. And He knows perfectly well what the scientific human calls truth – although you will observe that the ‘scientific human’ is always constantly and everywhere changing theories – that what the scientific human calls truth is simply an impossibility with regard to God. And God knows it.

Your brain, the symbol of your intellect, cannot, concerning Him, if He exists, receive that kind of proof which you have when you read a proposition of Euclid. It commends itself to your mind and your understanding. You say, “So it is, and it cannot be otherwise.” But with God you cannot receive that kind of proof; there is no such proof with regard to the Mighty God. And therefore I say if you doubt the existence of the living God, He is not angry with you for that.

But I am speaking of those who would fain believe if they could; I ask you, have you been trying the things not seen? Have you been proving them? This is what God puts in your hands. He says, “I tell you I Am. You act upon that; for I know that your conscience moves you to it; you act upon that and you will find whether I Am or not, and what I Am.”

Do you see? Faith in its true sense does not belong to the intellect alone, nor to the intellect first, but to the conscience, to the will, and that person is a faithful one who says, “I cannot prove that there is a God, but, O God, if Thou hearest me anywhere, help me to do Thy will.” There is faith: “Do this,” and he does it. It is o, friends, that is faith; it is doing that thing which you, let me say, even only suppose to be the will of God; for if you are wrong, and do it because you think it is His will, He will set you right. It is the turning of the eye to the light; it is the sending of the feet into the path that is required, putting the hands to do the things which the conscience says ought to be done. You will notice that all this chapter from which I have taken the text is a list of people that did things. Some of them were made kings, and some of them were sawn asunder for it; but it was all for faith, and nothing but faith. There was a truth; there was a live truth; a truth that had welled through and called the knowledge of truth up in us, nay, called up in us the very possibility of feeling truth; and according to this law these men walked through all the world, and all the worlds together set themselves against them, and in the name of the original vital law of the universe-- namely, the living God--they walked right on and met their fate. Yes; victory and the participation of the Divine nature, that was their faith.


George MacDonald, "Faith, the Proof of the Unseen," a sermon preached at Brixton Congregational Church, June 1882.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The loveliness of the commonplace

The Ministry of the Unnoticed

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not seem to count. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” literally – Blessed are the paupers – an exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of today is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of character – the things that are easily noticed. The phrase we hear so often, “Decide for Christ,” is an emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him – a very different thing.

At the basis of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty. If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition, then Jesus says, “Blessed are you,” because it is through this poverty that I enter His Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman; I can only enter it as a complete pauper.

The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is always priggish and un-Christian. If I say, ‘I wonder if I am any use,’ I instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. “He that believeth in me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water.” If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.

Which are the people who have influenced us the most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In Christian life the implicit is never conscious , if it is conscious it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.


Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest,” (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935), 234.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Simply obey

Altruism that replaces obedience

by Richard Foster

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor." That is our first task: to grip the hands of Jesus with such tenacity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his kingdom. The next step is so simple I am almost embarrassed to mention it, and yet it is so important that I must. Begin now to obey him in every way you can.


Source: Freedom of Simplicity

Bites that bother and bites that kill

Epidemic malarial deaths and environmental dogma

Paul Driessen compares the deaths from bites of malaria-bearing mosquitoes in Africa to the bothersome outbreak of New York City bedbugs. His findings are troubling. It is a case where environmental dogma costs countless lives.

Many don't even want to monitor mosquito and malaria outbreaks or determine actual success in reducing disease and death rates. That would be more difficult and expensive than counting the number of bed nets distributed and would underscore the embarrassing reality that their "comprehensive" (and politically correct) insecticide-free programs achieve only 20 percent to 40 percent reductions in morbidity and mortality. By contrast, as South Africa and other countries have demonstrated, adding insecticides and DDT can bring 95 percent success.

We would never consider 20 percent to 40 percent fewer deaths a "success" for American children. Why should Africa?

Since the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972 - after the United States and Europe had eradicated malaria - billions have been stricken by the vicious disease, and tens of millions have died. That is intolerable.

We need adult supervision and informed debate on pesticide policies, laws and regulations. We can no longer leave those decisions to unaccountable anti-chemical activists in pressure groups and government agencies. These zealots are making decisions that determine the quality of life for millions of Americans, especially poor families - and life itself for billions of malaria-threatened people worldwide

If you're not concerned for the economic and mental health of Americans afflicted by bedbugs - then at least support responsible, ethical policies for Africa's sick, brain-damaged and dying parents and children.

Read it all here.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A repentant heart

All God wants -- a humble heart

by Johann Christoph Blumhardt

People come wanting me to pray for them to come further in their Christianity—they want to become purer, more perfect, and so on. Behind it is the mistaken notion that in order to be accepted by the Savior, one must stock up a pile of positive items, or scrape together as much as possible to hand Him in exchange for what He gives. People want to be able to repay Him, as it were. Yet the Savior gives without payment, and being extra pious won’t help one bit. If you receive His living water, you receive it for nothing. All God wants is a repentant heart.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The strength that waits in silence

Not for the sake of perfection... but for You alone

by Thomas Merton

Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.


Source: New Seeds of Contemplation

Saturday, July 03, 2010

America: One nation under God

Here's a video of a humbling, inspiring painting by Jon McNaughton.

Watch this, then go to your knees in prayer.

God bless America -- first with repentance, then w. renewal.

Happy 4th of July!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Love is like a Fire

Love is like fire

by Peter Riedmann

Love is like fire –
When it is first kindled in a man,
small troubles and temptations smother
and hinder it; but when it really burns,
having kindled the man's eagerness for God,
the more temptations and tribulations meet it,
the more it flares, until it overcomes and consumes
all injustice and wickedness.


Love means divine clarity and light

A moment when Love takes hold

When love takes hold of a man, he is pleasing to God and approved by man. Where there is need, he walks and abides in God, and God in him, and his life and all his work is accomplished in God; for God's clarity enlightens and surrounds him so that he walks in the light of God's grace and is no more surrounded by darkness. Bright radiance and great light has enlightened his heart, and he is defended by the Holy Spirit and led with sure conscience to the peace of the saints. Whoever does not have this is blind; groping for the wall, he does not know where he will fall or that the pit of hell is close to him.


Peter Riedeman, "Let us love one another," Love is Like Fire, 19.

Big government and the bankrupting of America

Cronyism and the re-shaping of America
The radical explosion of government at the expense of the people

Fact-based quote:
Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one. And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.

I will leave it up to you to draw conclusions.

Think about it -- with real honesty, for a moment.

Alex Lightman:
After researching the issue carefully and interviewing people in a position to know, I can now reveal that the current primary purpose of the United State government is to bankrupt the United States. It comes as a relief to know this. So many things now make sense.

Occam's Razor and all that. If the current government had taken as its primary course the destruction of America, could it have done a better job? Hmmm... [Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, here and here.]

To your prayers, friends. To your prayers.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sons of consolation follow Captain of salvation

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation

Words: John Ellerton, 1871
Tune: Strength and Stay

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation,
thyself by suffering schooled to human grief,
we bless thee for thy sons of consolation,
who follow in the steps of thee their Chief.

Those whom thy Spirit's dread vocation severs
to lead the vanguard of thy conquering host;
whose toilsome years are spent in brave endeavors
to bear thy saving Name from coast to coast.

Those whose bright faith makes feeble hearts grow stronger,
and sends fresh warriors to the great campaign,
bids the lone convert feel estranged no longer,
and wins the sundered to be one again;

And all true helpers, patient, kind, and skillful,
who shed thy light across our darkened earth,
counsel the doubting, and restrain the willful,
soothe the sick bed, and share the children's mirth.

Such was thy Levite, strong in self-oblation
to cast his all at thine apostles' feet;
he whose new name, through every Christian nation,
from age to age our thankful strains repeat.

Thus, Lord, thy saint in holy memory keeping,
still be thy Church's watchword, "Comfort ye,"
till in our Father's house shall end our weeping,
and all our wants be satisfied in thee.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Words: Thomas Ken, 1695, 1709
Tune: Morning Hymn

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
disperse my sins as morning dew;
guard my first springs of thought and will,
and with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
all I design or do or say;
that all my powers, with all their might,
in thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Massive blood on the hands of self-righteous activists

Goo-goo genocidaires

Walter Russell Mead turns the spotlight on unreflective activists and moral relativists, showing a portion of the the overwhelming guilt they bear, tens of millions of innocents dead because of their so-called virtue.

Of all the mass murderers, genocidaires and enablers of the twentieth century, one group of collaborators does not get its fair share of condemnation and moral loathing. Unfortunately Americans have never really come to terms with the terrible things they did, we have never really named and shamed them, and we have never diagnosed and exposed the bad ideas that led to some of America’s most fateful and costly blunders. Until we do, our society is at risk of repeating these errors. The people I have in mind are the ‘goo-goo genocidaires,’ the willfully blind reformers, civil society activists, clergy, students and others whose foolishness and ignorance was a necessary condition for tens of millions of deaths in the last hundred years. Unreflective, self-righteous ‘activists’ thought that to espouse peace was the same thing as to create or safeguard it. As a result, tens of millions died.

Read it all here. Hat tip, Glenn Reynolds. Thanks, Glenn.

Read and consider. Be honest about what has gone on with a wide swath of peace proponents in this country -- exactly what they have enabled in history, and whom they are enabling as we speak. Be wise. Be convicted. Repent.

Save the future from repeated false destruction.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

Definition for the day: sar·chasm


sar·chasm ('sär-"ka-z&m):(n.) The abyss between the creator of witticisms and the intended recipient who does not find the humor in it.

:-) too good, lol.

And remember: the ultimate compliment for a pun is a groan!

Enjoy, lol.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Does Israel have the right to legitimate self-defense?

The world vs. Israel

At no point has world opinion been so anti-Zionist [merely modern code for anti-Jew] as now. The strongest and most zealous forms of antisemitism are flourishing now -- in our time -- as virulently and with potentially deadlier results than in the Third Reich.

Krauthammer: Those troublesome Jews: A relentless international campaign to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense:

The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense... The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million — that number again — hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists — Iranian in particular — openly prepare a more final solution.

Consider this.

Realize that America is posturing itself [via its current administration] as no longer a key ally to Israel. At this point when they are in greater national danger than any time since 1948. Consider. Ponder. Be wise.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

In living echoes of thy tone

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)
Tune: Deus tuorum militum

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of thy tone;
As you have sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children lost and lone.

O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.

O strengthen me, that, while I stand
Firm on the rock, and strong in thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

O give thine own sweet rest to me,
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.

O fill me with thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart o'erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, thy praise to show.

O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until thy blessèd face I see,
Thy rest, thy joy, thy glory share.


Monday, May 24, 2010

In all my Lord's appointed ways

In all my Lord's appointed ways

Words: John Ryland (1753-1825)
Tune: Saint Frances (CM)

In all my Lord's appointed ways,
My journey I'll pursue;
Hinder me not, ye much-loved saints,
For I must go with you.

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes;
Hinder me not, shall be my cry,
Though earth and hell oppose.

Through duty, and through trials too,
I'll go at His command;
Hinder me not, for I am bound
To my Immanuel's land.

And when my Savior calls me home,
Still this my cry shall be,
Hinder me not, come, welcome death,
I'll gladly go with thee.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Marvanne: A seven year old gospel singer

CLICK HERE to listen.

Listen and be blessed! Rhema Marvanne does Whitney Houston and the Georgia Choir.

God bless this little girl. Powerful. Beautiful praise.


Monday, May 03, 2010

The real Kentucky Derby!

Unbelievable, lol. Some drunks decide to race across a line of porta-potties on the infield of the Churchill Downs -- all while getting pelted with bottles and cans of beer, some full. Too stupid, gotta watch it -- and the porta potties that cave in just happen to be the ones in use, lol.

I guess a person should beware watching the horse races while drinking... one might begin to view a perfectly good line of porta johns like a wannabe race track! :-)

If this doesn't make your day, as in, things aren't as bad as they seem, why, try again! watch it again, lol.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hope, and be undismayed

Put thou thy trust in God

Words: Mitre Hymn Book, 1836 based on John Wesley's 1739 paraphrase of a text by Paul Gerhardt, 1653 ("Befiehl du deine Wege")
Tune: Doncaster

Put thou thy trust in God,
in duty's path go on;
walk in his strength with faith and hope,
so shall thy work be done.

Commit thy ways to him,
thy works into his hands,
and rest on his unchanging word,
who heaven and earth commands.

Though years on years roll on,
his covenant shall endure;
though clouds and darkness hide his path,
the promised grace is sure.

Give to the winds thy fears;
hope, and be undismayed:
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears;
God shall lift up thy head.

Through waves and clouds and storms
his power will clear thy way:
wait thou his time; the darkest night
shall end in brightest day.

Leave to his sovereign sway
to choose and to command;
so shalt thou, wondering, own his way,
how wise, how strong his hand.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

God chooses unimpressive things

God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. 1 Cor. 1:27-29

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire Him. Isa. 53:2

It's pretty incredible, this theme of Scripture, that God often chooses things that appear lesser, things seemingly small and unimpressive in human terms, to accomplish the great, kingdom changes.

He chooses a little brook stone, in the hands of a nobody shepherd, carrying a small sling against the latest technology -- a fully armored Philistine tank-giant -- to bring about great victory for Israel. And the meme is not incidental: He actually refused to let Israel number the people and use human strength as their basis of decision. He intentionally pared down the army of the humble warrior Gideon in one of the most counter-intuitive battle strategies ever devised, where a couple hundred Israeli warriors took on a hundred thousand Midianites [give or take a dozen, some were not picked up on Google satellite maps because of cloud cover, lol :-)].

This theme is woven throughout Scripture: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Jericho, Judah, Elijah, et al. It never gets old... it is the divine Judo that culminates in the utter weakness of the Cross of Christ overturning the stranglehold of darkness; the moment of ultimate, conscious sacrifice that breaks the power of evil over the human race.

I must confess though, this theme of such glory doesn't feel so great from the inside: when God is doing a great work, He invariably chooses weakness and allows imperfection of circumstance. Great struggle. Hopeless odds. Few resources to meet overwhelming demands.

Then He does the work.

This is one reason why I don't trust the glitzy, glam presentations currently promoted in America as gospel success. And a reason why the rise of the megachurch is inexplicably accompanied by the greatest loss of faith this country has ever known. The slick rock concerts of professional worship leaders and packaged small groups still leave human souls empty and barren, after the thrill and micromanaged emotional outcomes are through. Humans want Woodstock; God desires humble worship... we choose the latter and call it the former, but our nation goes begging, spiritual beggars feeding on the husks of worldly swine.

God chooses the weak things, yet we want the powerful things. God chooses the incongruous things, but we want the glamorous things. Less is more in the kingdom...


God's Messiah even refused the physical beauty that we now call paramount; He had no form or comeliness that we should desire Him in pride. His beauty was first of the spirit; the power and beauty of His eyes was from His inner fire. If He were walking here today, He'd be rejected by the postmodern church gurus as too physically unimpressive, with a ragamuffin membership of twelve. Jesus wouldn't look good in a 1,200 dollar suit on cable TV, with fawning masses... Jesus would not be someone to whom physically attuned women would flock. The wounded would love Him, but the self-involved would pass Him by... Just not handsome enough to stroke their ego when seen with Him in public. Reality TV would choose someone else.


It is in weakness that God destroys false power. He will not, indeed cannot, change the world in ego appeal...

So, dear heart, carry on! If you are weak enough to hold a sling, the giant will yet fall. If you are strong enough to choose divine weakness, you will conquer all!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jesus, Master, whose I am

Jesus, Master, whose I am

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)
Tune: Heathlands

Jesus, Master, whose I am,
Purchased, Thine alone to be,
By Thy blood, O spotless Lamb,
Shed so willingly for me,
Let my heart be all Thine own,
Let me live to Thee alone.

Other lords have long held sway;
Now, Thy name alone to bear,
Thy dear voice alone obey,
Is my daily, hourly prayer:
Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
Nothing else my joy can be.

Jesus, Master, whom I serve,
Though so feebly and so ill,
Strengthen hand and heart and nerve
All Thy bidding to fulfill;
Open Thou mine eyes to see
All the work Thou hast for me.

Jesus, Master, wilt Thou use
One who owes Thee more than all?
As Thou wilt! I would not choose;
Only let me hear Thy call.
Jesus, let me always be
In Thy service, glad and free.


Monday, April 19, 2010

In the hands of the Potter

Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word came from the LORD, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again... “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 43:19

Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sweet with eternal good

All as God wills, who wisely heeds

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.

Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That whereso'er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back;

That more and more a providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good;

That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father's sight;

That care and trial seem at last,
Through memory's sunset air,
Like mountain ranges overpast,
In purple distance fair;

That all the jarring notes of life
Seem blending in a psalm,
And all the angles of its strife
Slow rounding into calm.

And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Florida humor

Only in Florida, lol. Who says gators can't read and write? :-)

Note: Click to enlarge.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A miracle-free zone


by Patricia Sprinkle

is not always a garden.

It may be a dusty road that dead ends
at a coliseum full of lions
Or a soggy pillow in solitary darkness.

Gethsemane is the grotto of the silent scream
where an excruciating future
is frantically re-examined
for non-existent loopholes,
and the only rational prayer of faith is
“I need a miracle, God! Get me out of here!”

But Gethsemane is a miracle-free zone,
never depicted on posters
at God’s recruiting stations.

It is the crucible where sweat turns to blood
and fear wrestles faith
until we collapse in submission
and gasp, “Okay. Whatever you say.”

Gethsemane is faith’s ultimate classroom,
Where we learn the hardest lesson of all:
It is not all about me.
It is all about You.


- Patricia Sprinkle, April 2010 Presbyterians Today.

p.s. And never forget that miracle-free zones, with all their abandonment and loss, may become the context, the preview of the greatest miracle ever. Selah.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's KY vs. WV in the Elite Eight!

Oh, my! Da' lead gonna fly! Hatfields vs. McCoys, lol.

Pass the jug, ma!


p.s. go UK! Even though I think WV is ok -- shout out to my WV friends, lol.

UPDATE: Congrat's to WV for the win. UK went cold in thar' shootin' at the warstest time, lol. :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A whole heart, with light in every part

Gather my broken fragments

by George MacDonald

Gather my broken fragments to a whole,
As these four quarters make a shining day.
Into thy basket, for my golden bowl,
Take up the things that I have cast away
In vice or indolence or unwise play.
Let mine be a merry, all-receiving heart,
But make it a whole, with light in every part.


Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11, NIV

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11, ESV

And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.


The temple stones shall cry, and loud repeat

Descend to thy Jerusalem, O Lord

Words: Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)
Tune: Ich wart' auf dich (Meter: 10 10 10 10)

Descend to thy Jerusalem, O Lord,
Her faithful children cry with one accord;
Come, ride in triumph on; behold we lay
Our guilty lusts and proud wills in thy way.

Thy road is ready, Lord; thy paths made straight,
In longing expectation seem to wait
The consecration of thy beauteous feet,
And hark, hosannas loud thy footsteps greet.

Welcome, O welcome to our hearts, Lord; here
Thou hast a temple, too, and full as dear
As that in Zion, and as full of sin;
How long shall thieves and robbers dwell therein?

Enter and chase them forth, and cleanse the floor;
Destroy their strength, that they may never more
Profane with traffic vile that holy place
Which thou hast chosen, there to set thy face.

And then, if our stiff tongues shall silent be
In praises of thy finished victory,
The temple stones shall cry, and loud repeat
'Hosanna!' and thy gracious footsteps greet.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Jesus Map

And a little child shall lead them...

A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, 'Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today..'

After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly. 'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together.'


Friday, March 05, 2010

Till thou thy perfect love impart

Shepherd divine, our wants relieve

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: St. Etheldreda

Shepherd divine, our wants relieve
In this our evil day,
To all thy tempted followers give
The power to watch and pray.

Long as our fiery trials last,
Long as the cross we bear,
O let our souls on thee be cast
In never-ceasing prayer!

Thy Spirit's interceding grace
Give us in faith to claim;
To wrestle till we see thy face,
And know thy hidden name.

Till thou thy perfect love impart,
Till thou thyself bestow,
Be this the cry of every heart:
I will not let thee go -

I will not let thee go, unless
Thou tell thy name to me,
With all thy great salvation bless,
And make me all like thee.

Then let me on the mountain-top
Behold thine open face,
Where faith in sight is swallowed up,
And prayer in endless praise.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A 13 year old cowboy on divine love

Turn up the sound, listen and be blessed! A 13 year old cowboy calls in to a Christian radio station after losing his calf, and speaks to the lesson God gave him in the loss. Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Washington notes

Note: This is a powerful essay written to honor George Washington's birthday, by Scott Johnson at Powerline blog. I was so impressed that I had to post it here, please stop by Powerline and see the great work they do over there, defending freedom for our great Republic. Awesome post, thanks Scott.

Remembering the indispensable man

by Scott Johnson, Powerline

Today is the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Of all the great men of the revolutionary era to whom we owe our freedom, Washington's greatness was the rarest and the most needed. At this remove in time, it is also the hardest to comprehend.

Take, for example, Washington's contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Washington's mere presence lent the undertaking and its handiwork the legitimacy that resulted in success. The convention's first order of business was the election of a presiding officer. Washington was the delegates' unanimous choice.

Presiding over the convention during that fateful summer, Washington said virtually nothing. In his wonderful book on Washington, Richard Brookhiser notes: "The esteem in which Washington was held affected his fellow delegates first of all...Washington did not wield the power he possessed by speaking. Apart from his lecture on secrecy, Washington did not address the Convention between the first day and the last."

The esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens was similarly crucial to the implementation of the Constitution during his presidency. In 1790 Rhode Island became the thirteenth state to ratify the Constitution. To mark the occasion, President Washington made a ceremonial visit to Newport when Congress recessed in August. Newport welcomed Washington with open arms. In Newport on August 18, according to James Thomas Flexner, Washington "completely fatigued the company" by briskly walking, fortified by the wine and punch served in four different houses along his route, from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon.

In anticipation of Washington's visit to Newport, the members of America's oldest Jewish congregation prepared a letter welcoming Washington for presentation to him at a public event on the morning of August 18. The letter was authorized by the congregation's board and signed by its president, Moses Seixas. It is Washington's magnificent letter responding to Seixas's that is known as a testament to religious freedom and that has become famous as one of the classic statements of religious toleration in America.

The congregation's letter to Washington is not so well known. Ironically, however, the most famous line in Washington's letter is an echo of the congregation's letter to Washington. By far the most striking feature of the congregation's letter is its eloquent expression of sheer gratitude to Washington himself and to America for the freedom and equal rights the congregants have attained as American citizens. Here is the congregation's letter:

Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits ~~ and to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to NewPort.

With pleasure we reflect on those days ~~ those days of difficulty, and danger, when the God of Israel, who delivered David from the peril of the sword, ~~ shielded Your head in the day of battle: ~~ and we rejoice to think, that the same Spirit, who rested in the Bosom of the greatly beloved Daniel enabling him to preside over the Provinces of the Babylonish Empire, rests and ever will rest, upon you, enabling you to discharge the arduous duties of Chief Magistrate in these States.

Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People ~~ a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance ~~ but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: ~~

deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine: ~~ This so ample and extensive Federal Union whose basis is Philanthropy, Mutual confidence and Public Virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, doing whatever seemeth him good.

For all these Blessings of civil and religious liberty which we enjoy under an equal benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of Days, the great preserver of Men ~~beseeching him, that the Angel who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised Land, may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life: ~~ And, when, like Joshua full of days and full of honour, you are gathered to your Fathers, may you be admitted into the Heavenly Paradise to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality.

Done and Signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in NewPort, Rhode Island August 17th 1790.

Moses Seixas, Warden

Today, as we resist the contemporary equivalent of "the Babylonish empire," let us send up our thanks to the Ancient of Days for this indispensable man.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Speak gently in my silence

Gentle Voice

Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings
and the loud inner noises of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust that you are still there
even when I am unable to hear you.
Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:
"Come to me, you who are overburdened,
and I will give you rest...
for I am gentle and humble of heart."
Let that loving voice be my guide.


Henri J. M. Nouwen, With Open Hands

Monday, February 15, 2010

Perfect love casts out fear

I Need to Love Something

by Mary Cosby

I need to love something so desperately that the love of it will cast out every fear. A lot of us know about that kind of love. For something, some cause, some combination of wonder that is happening -- to love it so desperately that you move right into it and there is no fear because your love is so great. The highest love is that of the Lord himself. That love can be so focused, so deep, so intense and so related to the call of God that even when I know I'm not "safe" in the surface sense, being faithful to that call I know I'm safe. I know that all things are working together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.


Source: Sermon (April 30 1989)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love from innocent eyes

Love described by 4-8 year old children

Here are some pretty excellent descriptions of love from the eyes of children. Sometimes kids get it a lot better than grownups... and here, some of these kids are pretty amazing in their takeaways of love. For instance, the one boy who says that when someone loves you, your name is safe in their mouth -- pretty awesome! Or, the boy who says that love is what is in the room at Christmas if you stop opening gifts and just listen. Or, the girl who says that love is the grandfather who paints the toenails of his wife, when she can no longer bend over from arthritis... incredible! So, enjoy!

Rebecca - age 8:

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'

Billy - age 4:

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'

Karl - age 5

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'

Chrissy - age 6:

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'

Terri - age 4:

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'

Danny - age 7:

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'

Emily - age 8:

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.

My Mommy and Daddy are like that.. They look gross when they kiss'

Bobby - age 7:

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'

Nikka - age 6:

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.'

Noelle - age 7:

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday..'

Tommy - age 6:

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'

Cindy - age 8:

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.

He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'

Clare - age 6:

'My mommy loves me more than anybody You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night...'

Elaine-age 5:

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'

Chris - age 7:

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'

Mary Ann - age 4:

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'

Lauren - age 4:

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'

Karen - age 7:

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.'

Mark - age 6:

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.'

Jessica - age 8:

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'


Happy Valentine's Day! :-)

Mutual love the token be

Let us join -'tis God commands

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Da Christus geboren war (Meter: 77 77 D)

Let us join -'tis God commands -
Let us join our hearts and hands;
Help to gain our calling's hope,
Build we each the other up:
Still forget the things behind,
Follow Christ in heart and mind,
Toward the mark unwearied press,
Seize the crown of righteousness.

While we walk with God in light,
God our hearts doth still unite;
Dearest fellowship we prove,
Fellowship in Jesu's love:
Sweetly each, with each combined,
In the bonds of duty joined,
Feels the cleansing blood applied,
Daily feels that Christ hath died.

Still, O Lord, for faith increase,
Cleanse from all unrighteousness:
Thee the unholy cannot see;
Make, O make us meet for Thee!
Every vile affection kill,
Root out every seed of ill,
Utterly abolish sin,
Write Thy law of love within.

Hence may all our actions flow,
Love the proof that Christ we know;
Mutual love the token be,
Lord, that we belong to Thee:
Love, Thine image, love impart!
Stamp it on our face and heart!
Only love to us be given!
Lord, we ask no other heaven.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Frozen wasteland

Classic satire. Step aside, The Who! It's time for some real music, speaking truth to power. :-) Enjoy!

Brought to you by Minnesotans for Global Warming, M4GW.

Nice! Art in defense of truth and freedom.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bright is my future in your love

God of my life, to you I call

Words: William Cowper (1731-1800)
Tune: Llandaf (Meter: LM)

God of my life, to you I call;
afflicted, at your feet I fall;
when the great water-floods prevail,
leave not my trembling heart to fail.

Friend of the friendless and the faint,
where should I lodge my deep complaint?
Where, but with you, whose open door
invites the helpless and the poor?

Did sufferers ever with you plead
and you refuse them in their need?
Does not your promised word remain,
that none shall seek your face in vain?

Grief such as that I could not bear,
unless you heard and answered prayer;
but a prayer-hearing, answering God
supports me under every load.

Bright is my future in your love;
I have an advocate above:
those whom the world admires the most
have no such privilege to boast.

Poor and forgotten I am, yet
the living God does not forget:
all those are safe, and must succeed
for whom Christ promises to plead.


In the ark a weary dove

Does the gospel word proclaim

Words: John Newton (1725-1807)
Tune: Hollingside

Does the gospel word proclaim
Rest for those who weary be?
Then, my soul, put in thy claim;
Sure that promise speaks to thee.
Marks of grace I cannot show;
All polluted is my breast;
Yet I weary am, I know,
And the weary long for rest.

Burdened with a load of sin;
Harassed with tormenting doubt;
Hourly conflicts from within;
Hourly crosses from without;
All my little strength is gone;
Sink I must without supply;
Sure upon the earth there's none
Can more weary be than I.

In the ark the weary dove
Found a welcome resting-place;
Thus my spirit longs to prove
Rest in Christ, the Ark of grace.
Tempest-tossed I long have been
And the flood increases fast;
Open, Lord, and take me in
Till the storm be overpast.