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.