Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Musical humor!



Love the puns!

Which reminds me: a pun is a pun, and pun spelled backwards is a nup -- and a nup is a nup!

Which also reminds me: Two very witty persons fell in love and got engaged. All was going so well until they began to fight over the prenuptials!

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Claus at the Cradle



Evocative picture! Enjoy. And blessings upon you, this Advent!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Merry Christmas vs. Living the Life



I believe in saying "Merry Christmas!" However, most of us find it a lot easier to fight for saying "Merry Christmas" than to live out what true Christmas means. This is a humbling cartoon to that effect -- some Advent meditation here, in this pic. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving



Covenant God of mercy, thank you!

Alleluia!

Selah.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A judgment of man via heart and soul

Appearance vs. reality

"An' there's Price--Monty Price. Monty stands fer Montana, where he hails from. Take a good look at him, Miss Majesty. He's been hurt, I reckon. Thet accounts fer him bein' without hoss or rope; an' thet limp. Wal, he's been ripped a little. It's sure rare an seldom thet a cowboy gets foul of one of them thousands of sharp horns; but it does happen."

Madeline saw a very short, wizened little man, ludicrously bow-legged, with a face the color and hardness of a burned-out cinder. He was hobbling by toward the wagon, and one of his short, crooked legs dragged.

"Not much to look at, is he?" went on Stillwell. "Wal; I know it's natural thet we're all best pleased by good looks in any one, even a man. It hedn't ought to be thet way. Monty Price looks like hell. But appearances are sure deceivin'. Monty saw years of ridin' along the Missouri bottoms, the big prairies, where there's high grass an' sometimes fires.

In Montana they have blizzards that freeze cattle standin' in their tracks. An' hosses freeze to death. They tell me thet a drivin' sleet in the face with the mercury forty below is somethin' to ride against. You can't get Monty to say much about cold. All you hev to do is to watch him, how he hunts the sun. It never gets too hot fer Monty. Wal, I reckon he was a little more prepossessin' once. The story thet come to us about Monty is this: He got caught out in a prairie fire an' could hev saved himself easy, but there was a lone ranch right in the line of fire, an' Monty knowed the rancher was away, an' his wife an' baby was home. He knowed, too, the way the wind was, thet the ranch-house would burn. It was a long chance he was takin'. But he went over, put the woman up behind him, wrapped the baby an' his hoss's haid in a wet blanket, an' rode away. Thet was sure some ride, I've heerd. But the fire ketched Monty at the last. The woman fell an' was lost, an' then his hoss. An' Monty ran an' walked an' crawled through the fire with thet baby, an' he saved it. Monty was never much good as a cowboy after thet. He couldn't hold no jobs. Wal, he'll have one with me as long as I have a steer left."

Selah.

Zane, Grey, The Definitive Zane Grey Collection: 26 Westerns in One Volume
(Unexpurgated Edition) (Halcyon Classics) (Kindle Locations 30840-30848). Halcyon Press Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

She shall rise a woman at last



Of some of the places into which Falconer led me that night I will attempt no description -- places flashing with lights and mirrors, crowded with dancers, billowing with music, close and hot, and full of the saddest of all sights, the superficial faces of cheapened women.

'There is a passion,' I said, as we came out of one of these dreadful places, 'that lingers about the heart like the odor of violets, like a glimmering twilight on the borders of moonrise; and there is a passion that wraps itself in the vapors of patchouli and coffins, and streams from the eyes like gaslight from a tavern. And yet the line is ill to draw between them. It is very dreadful. These are women.'

'They are in God's hands,' answered Falconer. 'He hasn't done with them yet. Shall it take less time to make a woman than to make a world? Is not the woman the greater? She may have her ages of chaos, her centuries of crawling slime, yet rise a woman at last.'

Selah.

-- George MacDonald, "My Own Acquaintance," Robert Falconer.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

He changes the order of nature for the sake of love



Psalm 107:35 -- He turns the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs.

Calvin comments on this verse: "For the love that He bears to his Church, He changes the order of nature for their convenience."

God is love. And He is not bound by the natural order of things -- when the stuff of life limits us beyond the intent of His love, He has all power to change... to renew, to redeem and restore. He is not bound by space or time or our natural condition.

The natural order is the desert. But in His love we receive clear, beautiful pools of water. The natural condition is parched ground. But in His Spirit we are refreshed with flowing springs!

Alleluia!

Selah.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ten ways to love



Really, it's just one way with ten different facets: the way of divine love, ways of following Jesus as the Way [to reference Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way].

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How big is your God?

A God small enough for our understanding is not large enough for our needs

For some people God remains, He was for primitive man -- a jealous, capricious, vengeful power, instead of being a Ruler who demands justice and righteousness. There are those who still cling to the provincial concept of God as a nationalistic, or local, tribal deity, instead of regarding God as the one and only governor of the universe.

A mature concept of God is when we view Him as one who gives and demands love from His people, as a [loving] father does from his children. God remains the same, unchanged through all the ages; it is only our concept of God that changes.

It makes a big difference in our behavior how we think of God. The person whose God is too small will be inadequate for the demands of life. A God that is small enough for our understanding is not large enough for our needs. By searching we may never find out all about God, but it is possible and desirable for us to keep growing in our knowledge and love of God and to worship a God that is big enough for all exigencies.

Selah.

Paul S. McElroy, Quiet Thoughts, Peter Pauper Press: Mount Vernon, 1964.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The heavens declare the glory



Psalm 19: A prayer of awe and glory

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.

In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Selah.

Note: Awesome pic is from Dakotalapse.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The face of a hero



Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

Christian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces execution tomorrow in Iran. Peaceloving, tolerant Islamic courts have decided that it is a crime punishable by death for this man to convert to Jesus. Their idea of tolerance was to give him three chances to recant his faith in Christ. He boldly refused to recant his faith each time. Now he is slated for execution sharia judicial murder in the morning. Please pray for him.

When people wonder about the end game of Sharia law and the rule of Islam, they need to ask how the largest and most influential Islamic countries can kill people for conversion -- how husbands in these countries can beat and imprison wives and kill daughters for supposed acts of dishonor... etc. ad infinitum.

Islam does not mean peace like you and I understand the word; it means submission. If you submit to it, you may be left alone -- relatively speaking, that is. That is what Islam means by "peace."

Pray for this hero of faith who is caught in the iron grip of darkness masquerading as light.

Selah.

NOTE: Below is the text of a pastoral letter he wrote while imprisoned in Lakan Prison, Iran, for refusing to renounce his Christian faith and adopt Islam. Translated from the original Farsi and offered by Donald Sensing.

Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers.

Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement. For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out. As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.

Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.

I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

We are passing by special and sensitive days. They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.

Therefore the true believer does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.

Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

How can it be possible for a believer to understand these words? Only if he is focusing on Jesus Christ with adapting his life according to the life Jesus lived when he was on earth. As it is said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
Have we not read and heard: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there are who find it. Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests, and they have to face those same tests in a more difficult manner, because no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests, and gain victory.

Therefore in the place of Christ’s followers, we must not feel desperate, but we have to pray to God in supplication with more passion to help us with any assistance we may need. According to what Paul has said: In every temptation, God himself will make a way for us to tolerate it.

O beloved ones, difficulties do not weaken mankind, but they reveal the true human nature. It will be good for us to occasionally face persecutions and abnormalities, since these abnormalities will persuade us to search our hearts, and to survey ourselves. So as a result, we conclude that troubles are difficult, but usually good and useful to build us.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must be more careful than any other time, because in these days, the hearts and thoughts of many are revealed, so that the faith is tested. May your treasure be where there is no moth and rust.

I would like to remind you of some verses that we nearly discuss everyday, (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven), but as long as our human will has priority over God’s will, his will shall not be done. As we have learned from him in Gethsemane, he surrendered his will to the father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

What we are bearing today is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because neither he has tested us more than our faith and our endurance, nor does he do as such. And as we have known from before, we must beware not to fail, but to advance in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, And consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to his name. He said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon. "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Discipline yourself with faith in the word of God. Retain your souls with patience. For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly.

May you are granted grace and blessings increasingly in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

Yusef Nadarkhani
Lakan Prison in Rasht

Monday, September 19, 2011

A note of beauty and the victory of light



It happened one day in Möttlingen, where my father stood in a fierce struggle with spiritual darkness, that he was walking in the countryside with several others from his congregation. He was so weighed down and agitated by the spiritual battle that his heart was ready to burst. Their path lay through a wood and across a large clearing. There they paused and my father said, “Let us sing a song I have written. It will encourage us.” He then recited to them the verse, “Jesus is the victorious King.”
Jesus is the victorious King
Who o’er all his foes has conquered;
Jesus, soon the world will fall
At his feet, by love o’erpowered;
Jesus leads us with his might
From the darkness to radiant light.

The voices of the people rang out heartily. But as they were singing they could barely believe their ears — they noticed that they were not singing alone but that an invisible chorus grew louder and louder around them. It was as though an unseen host of angels was surrounding them and singing together with them. Amazed and elated, they hurried home, where yet another wonderful thing happened. As my father entered the house of Gottlieben Dittus, who had been under demonic oppression and who had been so much a part of my father’s fight against darkness, she sang him the same song. It was as if the invisible singers had gone ahead of them to bring the verse to her.

This verse has become my battle cry and song of victory. True, the battles of that time have quieted down, but they have never ceased. Each year there are new battles, but Jesus continues to be felt daily, not only in our hearts, but also outwardly.

We can easily lose sight of this, the way things are going in the world. What we see today is not God’s salvation but mass corruption. Things have become so twisted that it is hard to even mention the gospel. The more time goes by the more the powers of sin and unbelief, of death and hell, ensnare the world. All the more must we be convinced that God really has the world’s salvation in mind. And all the more must we gather courage to oppose the devils of this age and deny them their prey. For it is not God’s intention that anyone or any part of his creation should perish (2 Peter 3:9). The final generation will not be one of doom, but will consist of a people who shall be a blessing to the earth—a people who possess the Promise in joy and hope and are a light to the nations.

Even if our age has become riddled with evil, even if death runs rampant on the earth, we will not accept these as final facts. We must not sleepily say, “It is the Lord’s will. What will be, will be.” No, we must resist and, like Moses, throw ourselves into the breach. Just as Moses strove with compassion, patience, and faithfulness for the people of Israel, rebellious as they were, so we, with the same courage, and certainly also with the same repentance, must proclaim that light has broken into the darkness. Salvation and healing are the will of God. To the devil and to all the powers of hell, which accusingly proclaim the hopelessness of our situation, we will cry out, “You will not win! We know this because we know Jesus, who is victorious over every devil.”

Selah.

An excerpt from Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Jesus is the Victor, 6-8. Copyright 2011 by The Plough Publishing House. Used with permission.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A kingdom awareness: the battle itself is our joy

Joy sees the battle as a privilege and not a hardship

There are at hand battles against evil that must be carried through. God assigns these battles to us, and for that reason we must not think that things always have to go well with us. Our existence is justified only if we will fight against evil and make a pact with the good against the evil...

Then, at a future time, this battle will resolve itself into a victory in which we can rejoice—that is our consolation. For the present, however, the battle itself is our joy. And even when the going gets hot, we will remain loyal in battle—that is our calling. It is because the entire human race is not in a position to do so that God entrusts this battle to particular individuals, individuals who can intercede on behalf of everyone.

Selah.

Johann Christoph Blumhard, Thy Kingdom Come.


Think of this kingdom reality in light of the American dream: health, wealth and the pursuit of happiness. The insatiable American desire for comfort is an incessant idol that ever wars against the in-breaking kingdom of Christ in this country -- even to the point where it's become a popular stream of American theology that God desires our personal riches and comfort, and anything that calls a person beyond comfort, beyond culture and family is not from God...

Think about it!

A need for someone to carry the kingdom in her spirit

A saint is a person who understands the times yet carries the kingdom in spirit

When we look back over the history of mankind, we see a forest where trees once grew but where the storms have passed, laying it waste. In this, in the whole unhappy course of humankind, our dear God is still the manager who allows people—who must belong to him—to be his saints. These are people in whom he is a power and to whom he simply says, "You must go my way and demonstrate that, even under evil conditions, a way is to be found which can be traveled without becoming entangled."

Always, when things are to move forward, God must have saints who also stand in their
own times; who understand the times; who know how to live among the people of the times; but who, even though the times be ever so perverted, still carry the high thoughts of the kingdom of God in their spirits.

Selah.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A scene in the Florida heartland



Trees, sky, clouds and cattails, Lake Okeechobee lurking in the background -- a glimpse of the
real Florida! Enjoy!

Our destiny lies in obedience

Sovereignty, obedience and destiny

If we refuse to do these things, and other actions that our principles dictate, then we have very little hope or right to expect a restoration of our liberty. But if we obey our Lord, we have every hope and promise of success. Our economic and political future rests not in the hands of foreign powers or governmental bureaucrats in our own land, but in our own hands through obedience to God.

Selah.

Marshall Foster and Mary-Elaine Swanson, The American Covenant: The Untold Story.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The impossible Christ waits for our surrendered impossibilities

Victory = Accepting the unintuitive Grace of God

Despite our efforts to keep him out, God breaks in.

The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: A virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked, "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit."

-- Peter Larson

What can this impossible Christ do with my impossibilities?

Selah.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The necessary judgment for kingdom vision

Judging in righteousness vs. judging with the eyes and ears

The judgment of the kingdom is always internal and spiritual; it is never external and condemnatory [of others]. Christ taught us that true judgment begins with the house of God; that is, true judgment is personal and radical. It is first and always a judgment of self, bringing the false self in light of the kingdom that the true self might live freely for God and others.

If one can grasp that Jesus is completely blind where the world claims sight, and completely sight-filled where the world is in blindness, then one begins to understand Him as Messiah. "Who is blind like my Servant?" asks the Lord. Answer: No one. Because He was the only one perfect in judgment -- perfect in sight, perfect in blindness. "He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes, or decide by what He hears with his ears; but with righteousness will He judge..." Isa. 11:4

Only He is perfect in this judgment, but He has come to make us children of this sight: "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind" [Jn. 9:39]. When we confess the blindness of our own [natural] self, the true self gains kingdom sight: We become children of Light.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt talks of this kind of judgment -- judgment that always accompanies the work of the kingdom, and precedes great inbreaking of divine power.

“Judgment” means that, through the rigorous Spirit of God, a person comes to know himself for who he is, making a division between what is good and what is evil in God’s sight, and giving the evil over to be judged. Without such judgment, no one, even in New Testament times, was great or blessed. In the same way. it is not possible for the masses of humankind to be saved in the end without the judgment which the Son of Man brings with him when he comes. It is only in this final judgment that many things will collapse which we take as good and proper today but which in fact have been only temporarily tolerated by God.

So, regarding the world and the victory over it, all the apostles hoped for the time of Jesus’ coming. Before this time, they expected no true renewal of the world as a whole. Likewise, we ought not lose faith when, for the present, the world remains untouched and our faith can fight only in secret. The world is not by that token lost forever. It awaits the final revelation of Jesus Christ in which he will show himself as King of Kings.

Of course, a lazy waiting certainly is not appropriate, for the life of the faithful is itself the beginning of the end, and upon the faithfulness of these forerunners everything depends. The Savior himself, as well as the apostles, made note of this. To those servants “who wait for the Lord” (Lk. 12:36), “the elect who cry to him day and night” (Lk. 18:7-8), presently there is given, as answer to their longing, the words, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Their faithfulness is a power that can bear witness to people today. Without that, the gospel does not in itself have the piercing light that makes people right and enlists them as comrades in arms in the company of Jesus Christ.

So it is a joyful thing for us to carry in ourselves the power of the gospel: it brings light into the darkness of our world and is a help toward the end-time coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when all flesh will see the glory of God.


Selah.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The character of God and the fount of worship

True worship: Allowing God to define himself and ourselves

What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us... Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

-- A.W. Tozer

This quote is pretty incisive, as the delineating marker in most postmodern American worship is "how well does this church reflect my political and personal beliefs about God?" Postmoderns usually choose churches based on their natural desires and inclinations; then, their worship becomes defined by the natural self, and flows from it -- the god they worship is thus a projection of their natural state.

Theology is either "theology from below" [using the natural human person as the standard, along with culturally defined social and civil rights] or "theology from above" [allowing revelation to define God, worship, salvation, and human life]. This is what the Reformers meant by talking about the authority of Scripture, and the self-authenticating nature of Scripture connected with the Spirit of God. And further, what the Reformers meant when talking about total depravity -- total not in that every human is as bad as she or he can be, but total in that every component of the human person has been affected by sin, ever tending to idolatry.

Postmodern theology patently rejects divine revelation as the starting point of theology; it completely redefines theology along a human plane. This is the case with every iteration of Liberation Theology: it intentionally claims the natural human as the foundation for worship and religious life. It redefines theological language along a desired social vector.

Although it sounds good, using moral language and terms that sound similar to classic terms, it is radically different. And, if the Reformers are right, such theological definition is not only different, it is also deadly. It enhances and sanctifies the worst tendencies to spiritual idolatry; it inflates and justifies the deepest and most closely held desires of the natural human self: "This is who I am" becomes the basis for "this is what God wants, this is what should be."

In a very Reformed moment, Thomas Merton said that "my own [natural] self is the enemy of my true self." This could have come straight out of Calvin, or the classic Confessions. If we embrace the natural self, we will reject the true self; conversely, if we allow God to define us, to envision for us our true self, we can eventually break the chains of the natural self, and soar upward to what once was impossible for us. The Larger Catechism actually calls this the goal of worship: In true worship we are 'drawn up out of ourselves' and into our new selves in Christ.

Postmodern theology as a rejection of true worship and true justice

You will never hear a postmodern theologian talk -- ever -- but what you will hear him or her use justice as a basis of theological reflection. But this justice is defined along lines of social expression -- social and civil rights and the natural human person. Of course, there is an element of truth to civil rights, which is why this language is so attractive: what good person wouldn't want to support real civil rights?

But the religious destruction is subtle and powerful: In spiritual terms, this definition of justice denies the natural human person the right of transformation. By defining classes of individuals as necessarily 'right in who they are,' they chain each individual in that class into their natural self.

In my mind, this is the most cynical and destructive theological method that can be offered to the human individual: to deny them, at the outset, any real transformation that Christ might offer to their natural self. If His almighty Voice speaks to change "who they are," they are already programmed to reject such freedom because surely their god would never ask such a thing -- or even offer it. It must be the voice of unenlightened culture speaking; it certainly isn't God, because God created the natural self and is just fine with it. Never mind that the Reformers warned us that the natural self is irrevocably fallen from the true self, apart from grace!

Using a definition of social justice, they have denied hurting human individuals the freedom of divine justice. Using a definition of civil rights, they have denied gifted persons the highest calling in Christ.

I can think of no greater injustice than to trap hurting, broken humans in the chains of their natural self.

In listening to any theological teacher or church, ask a few heart-felt questions:

Does it preach identification with our natural selves,
Or does it preach transformation of the natural self?

Does it preach social and civil rights as its defined justice,
Or does it preach the calling of God as the highest justice?


If you or someone you know is interested in the radical freedom offered in the real gospel of Jesus Christ, choose transformation and the calling. At first it might seem hard on your natural self, but the end will be light -- a peace and light that transcends anything the natural self can offer.

You don't have to live life chained to the broken pleasures of the natural self. You can be free from the slave-master called your own self. Allow God to define himself, and your true self; discover His loving character as if for the first time, and discover true worship... it is so freeing! It is strong and pure and true -- strong enough to even break us free from a prison our world calls freedom.

Alleluia!

Selah.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thought for the day: God loves us & more

God loves us & He loves us!

God loves us exactly the way we are, and God loves us too much to let us stay exactly the way we are.

-- Anne Lamott

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whoever loses his life will find it

The radical freedom of true servanthood

No proper servant remains with his master solely for the wages involved. If he realizes that he is of no use, he would rather leave and be poor. And no proper maid will stay just because of the pay. She wants to be of service. If there is nothing more to do, she is unhappy; even if she is paid, she no longer exists as a maid does. And man, in the midst of creation, has the feeling that he is here for a purpose—not just for himself but for something else, something greater, something which has been lost.

Nevertheless, today people sit in the churches thinking mostly about themselves. Everyone sighs over himself, looks for something in himself and for himself—and doesn’t himself know what it is. One would like to call out to them all: “People, forget yourselves! Think of God’s cause. Start to do something for it. Don’t be sorry for yourself; or at least be sorry that you have nothing to do but worry about your own petty concerns.”

Our greatest lack is that we are of no use to the Lord; no wonder, then, that we go to ruin in spite of all our culture. Any person degenerates, even in a physical sense, if he is not acting as part of a body that has a higher purpose. But those who, in love and enthusiasm, work for something greater than themselves prosper, even regarding their physical well being. And the race declines in its very life-values, both physical and spiritual, if, as people, there is nothing we are producing for the life of the earth, for creation, for God.

Selah.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader, edited by Vernard Eller.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Political correctness and the death of prosperity

How 'right-thinking' people drive nations into poverty

Robert Heinlein timeless quote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”


Layers of irony. And a vast meditation point for honest people to look at what is being done to our country -- and how false benevolence always destroys persons and nations.

Selah.

p.s. worth a read again: What happens to quality of life whenever economic freedom is destroyed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The power of one awakened life

A new creation in Christ is greater than any empire

It is so obvious in human history: there comes a time when something is born; and then things stand still and nobody follows up. There have been developments, and beginnings have been made, which we have failed to recognize. No one can comprehend the mere three years of Jesus’ ministry as being the occasion of the greatest revolution ever to occur in human society. The rise of empires and nations’ wars, battles, and victories—these are no “events,” no “creations.”

In comparison to the high calling that is mankind’s, all the empires of earth fade to nothing—as do all differences of race and language, all enmity, all hostility and arrogance between man and man. In the light of the creation that has come to us in Jesus Christ, all these things dissolve; nothing of them remains to be found. But that which does remain, which truly is of value for us—that has the permanence of eternity.

It must yet come to pass that we will not simply hold fast to an ancient confession of faith but out of a new experience be able to call to one another: “He is risen indeed! He lives among us! He takes the reins in hand and leads his people, leads them all the way to his death, that, in the death of the flesh, his resurrection and his life might be exalted in mankind to the eternal praise and glory of God.”

For this cause is Jesus Christ risen from the dead: so that in him it can be seen that God will bring forth even our lives out of death and will take everything into his own hands once more. Therefore, we should die with Christ so that we also can be awakened and so that whatever should live will then be able to live fully and beautifully and gloriously.

Selah.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader, edited by Vernard Eller.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Giant rat zaps predators with poisonous hair

R.U.H -- Rodents of Unusual Hair!


Shades of Princess Bride!

Researchers have discovered a rat that poisons its attackers with foul hair. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction! Read on, and fear not!

To make its poison fur, the rat — which averages about 14 inches (36 cm) long — chews the bark of the A. schimperi and licks itself to store the resulting poisonous spit in specially adapted hairs. This behavior is hardwired into the animal's brain, similar to nitpicking behavior of birds or self-bathing of cats, the researchers suspect.

"What is quite clear in this animal is that it is hardwired to find the poison, it is hardwired to chew it and it is hardwired to apply it to the small area of hairs," Kingdon said. The animals apply the poisonous spit only to the specialized hairs on a small strip along its back. When threatened, the rat arches its back and uses specially adapted muscles to slick back its hair and expose the strip of poison...

The hairs themselves are specially structured to absorb the poison, Kingdon found. Their outer layer is full of large holes, like a pasta strainer, and the inside is full of straight fibers that wick up liquids. "There is no other hair that is known to science that is remotely structured like these hairs," Kingdon said.

It is unknown why the rat doesn't die from chewing the poison, though it could be resistant somehow. "The rats should drop dead every time they chew this stuff but they are not," Kingdon said. "We don't have the slightest idea how that could be done."


It's because they are R.U.S. er, H.! -- No explanation necessary; they just are! So carry your sword, fair denizens of Florin!

p.s. R.U.H., rodents of unusual hair-- kinda reminds me of Donald Trump!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Protest song against social engineering with tax dollars



Excellent protest song by Wilson Getchell, who placed in the Powerline Prize contest.

Lyrics in full here. A few quotable lyrics:

3 trillion dollar deficit on top of 15 trillion dollar debt
bullet trains, windmills and monkeys on cocaine

you're gonna pay, cuz someone's got to pay

for federally funded cowboy poetry
federally funded condoms for preteens
federally funded books and magazines
I need federally funded air to breathe

you're gonna pay, cuz someone's got to pay


Worth a click! And worth many thoughts, the underlying reality...

The debt problem in a nutshell



This short film was the winner of the Powerline Prize for best creative way to illustrate the seriousness of overspending, entitlements and social engineering. This is a more lighthearted take on the problem, and leaves one asking a question: What will the squirrels chose?

Interesting and informative. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My strength encamps on weakness

If it were not so

by Amy Carmichael

I thought I heard my Savior say to me:
“My love will never weary, child, of thee.”
Then, in me, whispering doubtfully and low:
How can that be?
He answered me,
“But if it were not so,
I would have told thee.”

I thought I heard my Savior say to me:
“My strength encamps on weakness – so on thee.”
And when a wind of fear did through me blow –
How can that be?
He answered me,
“But if it were not so,
I would have told thee.”

O most fine Gold
That naught in me can dim,
Eternal Love
That hath her home in Him
Whom, seeing not, I love,
I worship Thee!

Selah.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ability for obedience: salvation and new power

Less teaching, more doing

The great tendency of today is that we are looking for another teacher. The world is sick of teachers and of ideals; the point is, have we ever lived up to any of our ideals? It is not more ideals we want, put the power to live up to what we know we ought to and don't. It is shallowness, not ability, that makes people say we want more teaching and higher ideals -- model Sunday school classes, model Bible classes; it is all model. 'Do this and don't do that,' but where is it being carried out? Jesus Christ does not add one burden to the lives of men; He imparts the power to live up to what we know we ought -- that is the meaning of salvation.

Oswald Chambers

Friday, July 01, 2011

A cosmic war, unseen & radically real

THE INVISIBLE BATTLEFIELD

by Johann Christoph Blumhardt


There is a battle taking place outside of human society. There is a battle taking place in the spiritual regions surrounding us. There is, on the one side, the bright, clear light of God which presses toward people, allowing them to lift themselves from the ground to experience new spiritual development time and again, to come, time and again, to moral growth and achievement—all of this being the great and mighty working of the good in the midst of humanity... And on the other side, there is always the enemy of the good and of mankind, the enemy of God and his people.

Selah.

Because our human world displays increasing activity in its resistance to God, there is a battle. It is a battle taking place primarily in inwardness, in the invisible life-impulses of man. However, the expectation is that, once the invisible has been swept clear of all hindrance, then visible change also can show itself in clear and true manifestations of life... If, through the stirring and moving of their lives toward the truth, the people of God achieve victory over this unjust and untrue interior existence, then the outward—as far as this age will allow—can immediately be formed as new, true, and eternal.

Selah.

Johann Christoph Blumhardt, "The Invisible Battlefield," Thy Kingdom Come, edited by Vernard Vellar [Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1980].

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Economic freedom and quality of life



Everyone should watch this short video. It illustrates what happens to quality of life whenever a country's economic freedom is destroyed -- usually in the name of 'economic justice' or socialism or entitlement programs, all ostensibly undertaken to 'help the poor,' etc. [Note: Believers should be all about helping others, but when the political/theological language of poverty is used to destroy the very country that helps the most people out of poverty, clear-eyed persons should be able to see the difference.]

There are deeply flawed assumptions, nay, even deadly assumptions in the entitlement philosophy that is sweeping our country. These unstated, deadly assumptions will shatter our nation if we continue on this path -- a path we started down in the name of helping people, all the while hiding the assumptions based in that definition of help.

The best thing that any country can do to fight poverty is provide economic freedom.

And, an even deeper issue in our current economic woes is spiritual freedom: we no longer can ignore the necessary moral component of benevolent action [e.g. what role should the State play in benevolence? When does benevolence become immoral and hurtful if not guided by divine principles? And how does benevolence enslave the very people it purports to help? etc.]. We no longer can hide the assumptions based in our definition of help. To do so is to tear down the finest country of the world, and most remarkable constitution in modern history.

Selah.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A divine love vs. the "in love" feeling

Love always protects, trusts and hopes

Recent studies have shown that the "in love" feeling between couples lasts an average of two years. For those who look more deeply into love, this fact is not surprising, because the "in love" feeling is an emotion -- dependent upon many factors, cultural, familial, psychological and physical [most often self-centered]. Yet, what is surprising is that for all its celebration in song, in movies, in constant social emphasis, this "in love" thing is so transient. Two years is nothing. And sadly, two years is often longer than most people get, before the "feeling" is gone.

What hope is there, then, for those who want to love forever? Well, for those who want to love forever, there is a different kind of love... a love not birthed within the human heart, but given from without, that burns away selfishness and transcends mere emotions -- lifting the soul to the heights to which emotions can only dream, filling the human heart with far more than a need-based love and "in love" feeling can ever give.

I'm talking about divine love: a gift from above, for humans, in human time. It must be accepted and entered in faith, all the while enacting the will toward these higher things.

Here, described in 1 Cor. 13 is the ideal of Love: Divine Love, that which can transcend human failure and last forever. Read this list and let it wash over you!

Love is patient,
Love is kind.
Love does not envy,
Love does not boast,
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others,
Love is not self-seeking,
Love is not easily angered,
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects,
Love always trusts,
Love always hopes,
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.


Selah.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What it means to seek the kingdom

For many people, God's kingdom has drifted out of sight

Note: This is a much longer blog post than I normally publish, but this is a unity, and is of such high value that it deserves fuller reading. Blumhardt talks of realities of the inbreaking kingdom of Christ -- and the unconscious, deeply internalized resistance of the human heart and human culture. Honestly, most of us would rather not have the kingdom of our Lord as a living, breathing reality with which we must deal integrally every day. This essay strikes that central idolatry of the human heart head on. It causes us to struggle with the real reason that the kingdom of God has dissipated in power. May God bless this essay to the waking of our hearts and minds!

Seeking the Kingdom
by Christoph Blumhardt

The history of Jesus’ life is the history of God’s kingdom then and now. Some people have been shaken and gripped by this. But for many people today the kingdom of God has drifted out of sight. People are stirred by many issues; the outward life makes great demands on them. More than at any other time, it would seem, man raises himself powerfully in his human search and progress. It is as though the whole world wanted to offer us its strength, saying, “Use me. Become great, become strong, become rich, creative, active – take everything into your own hands!” Powers that earlier times hardly dreamed of are now opened up for us [through technology]. Everyone finds himself in a position to make use of these new inventions and these new powers for his own purposes. Our whole society seems to depend on this. If we were to shut our eyes to these things, we would lag behind and finally perish in our earthly life. There is a spirit of intellectual accomplishment that pushes the concern for God’s kingdom to the side.

A tremendous misunderstanding has come about with regard to God’s kingdom. Much has been said about the church. Much has been said about the teachings that are preserved in the church, about the various denominations that have become a sacred good within the body of Christianity. Too much emphasis has been placed on forms by which we express ourselves as Christians. Thus today we cannot deny that many people no longer really find the living qualities that our Father in heaven wanted to give us in Jesus Christ. They have neither seen nor experienced the life that comes from God, and so they are in a fix. On the one hand they cannot deny that they too need God, God’s word, God’s revelation, in their hearts. On the other hand they no longer quite believe in the means through which God’s word is being proclaimed, and thus many of them no longer know what to do with themselves in regard to God’s kingdom. Their hearts hunger and thirst; they are aware that something of God’s eternity and truth should be revealed in us, but they don’t quite know what to do about it.

Because of all this we must begin to speak of God’s kingdom in a new way. In spite of present-day conditions where much of the church and of Christian fellowship is almost dead, we can speak of God’s kingdom to men and women of our time. The kingdom of God is and was and will be the rulership of justice, of order, of power, of authority, of all that is of God, over creation. This is what moves those of us who seek, and this must come more fully into being. And unless our lives are molded according to this rulership, we shall always remain dissatisfied. We may enjoy modern conveniences, but the reality of eternal things will be smothered unless the reign of God’s truth and justice dawns as the light of life.

Yet this very fact causes great discord as soon as it is pointed out. Millions of people are “Christians” in all peace and comfort from their childhood on until they are laid in the grave. They are satisfied with what is said about God, and it does not make them feel uncomfortable in any way. Religion is taken as part of one’s life; one accepts it such as it is. This causes no conflict – at the most an argument here or there about the interpretation of this or that teaching, but these arguments are futile. A new conflict arises as soon as we feel urged to proclaim the kingdom of God as something living. And this is what I want to do today. I don’t just want to edify you. I want to proclaim to you what God has put into my heart: God’s kingdom is a living reality, a rulership that impacts the here and now and even today is at hand – closer at hand than we may think. The intervention of the living God is more powerful today than many believe. God wants to manifest himself as the one who is something and who does something now. He alone is the one with whom we should joyfully concern ourselves.

In speaking of God’s kingdom, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is not dead. He is not merely someone who appeared two thousand years ago, to be viewed as a personality of the past about whom we retain certain recollections and teachings. No, just as Jesus lived two thousand years ago, he lives today. He wants to triumph in our midst for the honor of God. He wants to live among us so that our reverence for the Father in heaven may grow and deepen. We must come before God and in the weakness and poverty of our natures raise our eyes to him with a sigh in our hearts, saying, “My Father, my Father, I too want to be your child!” Then we may believe with life-giving strength: Jesus lives, he will help me, he is victor. Whoever I may be, his name can be sanctified in me and his rulership can enter in, so that his will may be done in me just as it is done in heaven!

I wish, my friends, that I could place in your hearts the living power of God. I wish that I could help you understand that this power makes us completely new. It can overcome much of our misery, even in our physical life. God’s living power seeks us out and wants to show us – despite the entanglements of life – clear, true values that can ennoble us.

In the realm of our own human nature, however, there is more resistance to God’s truth than people believe. And in human society, in all the influences to which we are exposed, there lies a grave hindrance to the living power of Christ, and this hindrance is also greater than people suspect. Often I find that when I speak of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, everyone agrees with me. Nobody gets annoyed. The conflict begins, however, as soon as I take a firm stand and say, “I have experienced who Jesus is. I have looked into the living power, into the kingdom of our God, which even today wants to take hold of us. I tell you that even now the truth and the life-power of our God is at work. I declare to you that even now the truth of God’s kingdom comes visibly to this earth. We do not have to wait until we lay ourselves down to die and be buried. Here and now we can hear with our ears, see with our eyes, who Jesus is, who the life-giving spirit is. It is the same today as at the time of the apostles. It is not a question of this or that church, of this or that teaching, but only of Jesus Christ himself (John 14:6). We have to come to terms with him!”

For me this is the one and only direction. Yet if I say this, people react and argue. “Who is this arrogant person? How can anyone say such things today? Aren’t the Bible and the existing denominations enough for us? This is superstition and exaggeration!” So there is a conflict, but it kindles a light in many hearts, a light of hope, a light of strength, a light from the heights beyond this earth. For nothing can give us more strength than the certainty that Jesus lives and acts and that he is not an empty word or a mere teaching. Nothing gives more strength than the knowledge that Jesus is in our midst (Matt. 18:20). We must believe this, so that his life may become true in us, so that his spirit may purify us.

Selah.

Christoph Blumhardt, "Seeking the Kingdom," Action in Waiting, 31-35.

Reprinted from www.bruderhof.com. Copyright 2002 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Friday, June 17, 2011

TRUCKS singing in smooth diesel harmony!

Pure diesel, country gold



Enjoy, friends. Click and turn up the volume. Smile today!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Faith is the substance of things hoped for...

The evidence of things not seen

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”


-- St. John of the Cross


Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD?

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge...


-- Isaiah 42:9; 11:3-4

Selah.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Idolatry and the will of God

Today's spiritual life and the lack of God's voice

John Baillie writes of the "Challenge of Revelation," how humans [Christians] turn the will of God into something so acculturated to personal and family desires, and do so in a subtle and all-consuming manner. In this schema, the mind becomes completely closed to anything not according with natural desires or social wishes. It is a very challenging thought, and cuts to the center of every human heart.

To listen and to obey, to be alert to whatever God may have to say to us, and then to adjust our lives to what we hear — if that be all that is required of us, we cannot surely say that it is too much to ask. For it means that if we hear nothing, there is nothing that we are expected to do.


Selah.

So many people are willing to say, 'I'm listening and obeying,' but very few are willing to seriously examine what true listening is -- and thus, true obedience.

Baillie goes on to say that people set themselves up to say, 'God is really not speaking,' even about vastly important issues in life; to wit, even the most important decisions any human can make... all that is left then is for the individual to continue basing life on personal desires. After all, God isn't speaking specifically!

The point he makes is that if God has not spoken about the greater things, clearly, then the human has turned away from the voice of God in other things, not willing to hear something other than what the natural self desires.

It is a very convicting understanding of revelation. Very convicting!

On the positive end, Baillie seems to say that any individual can receive the revelation of God -- hear His voice and discern His will, if only s/he is willing to hear God in the other areas of life, and then radically obey those things. "In going, they were healed," and in obeying in the first things, we gradually hear.

It is only in allowing the idolatry of self [and family, culture and convention] to be addressed, and following through on that, that we can hear the voice of God.

Selah.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Number one victim of hate crimes?

Attacks on Jews are increasing -- even in the Western world

Barry Rubin reports:

Now the figures for “hate crimes” in Canada have been issued and guess what? Like the FBI’s statistics for the United States, the number one victims of hate crimes are... Jews. Indeed, 71 percent of the hate crimes in the religion category are against Jews. The Jewish proportion of Canada’s population? Around 1 percent. That’s 71 percent of the hate crimes on a religious basis against 1 percent of the population.

Think about it: 71 percent of religion based hate crimes are against one percent of the population. Now that's some mind boggling math. Enough to make a person curious, right? I mean, who could be responsible? What groups and individuals are behind these reprehensible attacks on Jews?

It's pretty easy to figure out. This hatred of Jews seeping into the Western world and western media outlets [under the code language of anti-Israel] only mirrors the rise of antisemitism around the world. Look at the recent advertisement campaign in San Francisco, where they are seeking to ban the rite of circumcision: blatantly antisemitic [click on the pic and compare it to Nazi campaign posters -- sickening].



A thinking person might ask, 'What makes such evil advertising acceptable to the cultural power brokers?' How can this occur in our nation without vast hue and cry? Where are the honest media persons? Now look at president of Iran openly calling for the destruction of Israel. Or the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood declaring that they are called to finish what Hitler started. Or the president of Syria paying 'protesters' a thousand dollars per person to foment on the borders of Israel [while concurrently murdering and jailing thousands of his own people]. There is something happening in our world, in growing hatred of Jewish people, that is eerily similar to the sentiment that caused the demonic pogroms of Germany and Russia, and the attempts to destroy Israel in 1948 and 1967. No, we aren't there yet, but we are certainly at the point where clear-eyed people can see what's coming; and unless we speak against it, we are culpable.

Article here.

It's time to take a stand.

Selah.

UPDATE: In a related link from today from Powerline: Yale Loses Interest in Antisemitism.

Hat tip: the intrepid Glenn Reynolds.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A message of love



Divine love -- it begins in God, and can only be accepted, not produced. Yet, once accepted, it can be shared. Alleluia!

Selah.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day tribute



Excellent tribute by Michael Ramirez.

Thanks to John at Powerline.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Secret Flower

The Secret Flower

by Jane Tyson Clement


This child was born to men of God:
Love to the world was given;
In him were truth and beauty met,
On him was set
At birth the seal of heaven.

He came the Word to manifest,
Earth to the stars he raises:
The teacher’s errors are not his,
The Truth he is:
No man can speak his praises.

He evil fought and overcame,
He took from death the power;
To all that follow where he goes
At last he shows
The kingdom’s secret flower.

The secret flower shall bloom on earth
In them that have beholden;
The heavenly spirit shall be plain
In them again,
As first it was of olden.

Selah.

Paraphrased from the 17th century German by Eleanor Farjean.


Note: Reprinted from www.bruderhof.com. Copyright 2003 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A prayer before going into battle II

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 strength 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.

Selah.

This is a revised form of the prayer written by George MacDonald, “A Sally,” St. George and St. Michael, 345-6, here.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC

A Time for Standing with Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at AIPAC yesterday, and before congress today, reiterating the key themes of his speech. Netanyahu talks of the link between Israel and America, specifically in the conceptual and moral components of democracy: America owes its democratic ideals to Israel; the foundational truth that all humans are equal before God, created in the image of God comes only from Israel, the nation that proclaimed it thousands of years ago, among dominant, slave-holding nations.

Today, Israel, among all the nations of the Middle East, actually believes in democracy; and, there is a difference between democracy and mere elections, where after those elections women still can't own or drive a car, where churches are still being bombed, where journalists and others are imprisoned or terrorized. In short, Israel is not the problem with the Middle East; it is a place actually attempting the cure [and being hated for it]. It is a clear speech presenting powerful truths, delivered by a great statesman. Netanyahu grasps the essential issues of the Middle East with a clarity that seems to elude many of our elected officials in America. Friends, hatred of Israel is at an all time high; hatred of Jews is at a level not seen since Hitler. Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood openly declare that they are called to finish what Hitler started; heads of Islamic states openly call for the eradication of Israel -- in our time! and without much of a whisper from most media organizations here in the U.S.A. It is time to stand with Israel, for freedom, with light, against darkness.

Take a moment and listen to the speech. Part one is below, and part two here. The transcript is here. Here is a brief highlight:

My Friends,

Israel wants peace because we know the pain of terror and the agony of war.

We want peace because we know the blessings peace could bring to us and to our Palestinian neighbors.

But if we hope to advance peace with the Palestinians, then it is time that we admitted another truth.

This conflict has raged for nearly a century because the Palestinians refuse to end it.

They refuse to accept the Jewish state.

This is what this conflict has always been about.


Selah.

To deny that truth is to deny reality in the Middle East, and consign the region to endless conflict. Remember this eternal and spiritual truth: Peace with someone who seeks your destruction is not peace; it is surrender. It is true in spiritual terms, and vastly truth in national terms.

Which brings a question: If the essential and underlying reality in Middle East conflict is so simple, why do so many apparently intelligent people in this country not 'get it?' Scott Johnson answers it this way, referencing Saul Bellow:

The truth of Netanyahu's observations stares us in the face every day. Saul Bellow's aphorism, originally formulated in this context, has come to look like an eternal verity: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."


Powerful words. Think about them... A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

Here is the video of Prime Minister Netanyahu, part one:



Note: A great tip of the hat to Powerline blog for the video and original post.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the address to Congress -- fantastic address.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The vital beauty of staying on the path

A long obedience in the same direction

Quote from the wisdom of Rick Godejohn:

"All we have to do is stay on the path, and we'll never have to take the same step twice."


It reminds me of Eugene Peterson saying that God desires from us 'A long obedience in the same direction.' Lots of wisdom there...

Also, Rick says that the greatest reality of low times is the ability to praise God in that low moment -- relational health, physical health, questions of guidance, disease, bills, etc. -- if we can praise God without clearly seeing Him, His presence makes up the difference. Then, we come to the high points, and our sight clears: yes, God was there in the valley! Life is a cycle of these low and high points, but the challenge is to not waste the low moments, but actually embrace them as divinely ordained steps to higher revelation of God.

Selah.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A collage of mischief and beauty



Three Mershimer boys in a field of Texas bluebonnets. Did ever mischief come in a nicer looking picture? :-) Layne and Deborah are blessed -- but I can see both of them in their boys. Look out, world! lol

Saturday, May 07, 2011

My soul breathes only in thy infinite soul

Trust Him like the little ones He feeds

Thy fishes breathe but where thy waters roll;
Thy birds fly but within thy airy sea;
My soul breathes only in thy infinite soul;
I breathe, I think, I love, I live but thee.
Oh breathe, oh think, -- O Love, live into me;
Unworthy is my life till all divine,
Till thou see in me only what is thine.


Selah.

These verses by George MacDonald remind me of Kierkegaard's definition of despair. Kierkegaard defines despair as the inability to transparently rest in the Power that created us [and destines us for good]. Conversely, hope is the ability to transparently rest in the Power that created us. This is a secret of peace and divinely productive life.

It also reminded me of a Keith Green song, "Pledge My Head to Heaven":

Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel,
And I ask no man on earth to fill my needs.
Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in His love,
And I trust Him like those little ones He feeds.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever,
I'm your child, and I'm gonna follow you, no matter --
Whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost...
Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel.

To trust Him like the little birds He feeds... to transparently rest in the power that created us -- and thus, in those little moments of obedience, we somehow swim in the vast ocean of love, living and breathing divine will!

Isn't that a truly a condensed reality of heaven in human time? Eternity in the heart, which is ours to share...

Selah.

Reference:
George MacDonald, "January," A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul, stanza 5.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Quote for the day: John Adams on false niceness

Postmodern uses of language aren't so new, after all!

John Adams on "civility":

Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.


Interesting! Maybe the postmodern deceitful usage of words and language isn't new after all -- only recycled darkness.

HT: Glenn Reynolds

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

To thee, the reconciler, the one real

In whom alone the would be and the is are met

The messengers of Satan think to mar
But make – driving the soul from false to feal –
To thee, the reconciler, the one real
In whom alone the would be and the is are met!

Selah.

George MacDonald, "June,' A Book of Strife in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul, stanza 18.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The deepest need of each of us

Eternity in the heart

"The deepest need each of us has, even if we are not conscious of it, is that of eternal life."

-- Christoph Blumhardt

Whether we are aware of it or not, eternity is our only joy. It strengthens us in our earthly life, which is ephemeral without eternity. Anything we might hope for in life, everything we have that brings us joy, is connected with the name of Jesus, the heavenly jewel sent us by the Father. And so, in the measure that we share in his name, the years of our life will be enfolded in heavenly things.

Selah.

Christoph Blumhardt, Now Is Eternity, 8.
Reprinted from www.bruderhof.com. Copyright 2002 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Florida Crackers movie trailer



This documentary is pure Okeechobee. Watching it helps understand the culture and development of the county. Great stuff! Real people in this film! You can watch a larger, clearer version here: Vimeo Florida Cracker movie.

Watch more and buy the movie here: Florida Cracker Movie site.

And a link to a classic song that captures the ethos of Okeechobee: Seminole Wind.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter confession: God in every tomorrow

GOD IS IN EVERY TOMORROW

God is in every tomorrow
Therefore I live for today;
Certain of finding at sunrise
Guidance and strength for the day,
Power for each moment of weakness,
Hope for each moment of pain
Comfort for every sorrow,
Sunshine and joy after rain.

God is in every tomorrow,
Planning for you and for me,
Even in the dark I will follow,
Trust where my eyes cannot see,
Stilled by His promise of blessing,
Soothed by the touch of His hand,
Confident in His protection,
Knowing my life-path is planned.

Selah.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I ask’d the Lord that I might grow

I ask’d the Lord that I might grow

by John Newton


I ask’d the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assualt my soul in every part.

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried,
Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mays’t seek thy all in Me.”

Selah.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Father tricks son with Bugs Bunny tactic!



Simply one of the best videos ever! Click and smile, lol.

Have a super day -- ok? No! Yes! No! Si! No. Si! No! No! Si! Ok... great! lol

:-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quotes from today -- heaven, vision and Way

A leader's breakfast and quotable quotes:

All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, 'I AM the Way.'

-- St. Catherine of Siena

A vision without a task is but a dream,
A task without a vision is drudgery,
A vision and a task is the hope of the world.

-- From a Church in Sussex, England c.1730


Selah.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A large source of human misery

No one who loves and chooses a secret can be pure in heart

Half the misery in the world comes from trying to look, instead of trying to be, what one is not. I would that not God only but all good men and women might see me through and through. They would not be pleased with everything they saw, but then neither am I, and I would have no coals of fire in my soul's pockets! But my very nature would shudder at the thought of letting one person that loved a secret see into it. Such a one never sees things as they are – would not indeed see what was there, but something shaped and colored after his own likeness. No one who loves and chooses a secret can be of the pure in heart that shall see God.

George MacDonald, “Mrs. Day Begins the Story,” Flight of the Shadow, 2.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The relation of lonely places to the true self

The calling of the secret place

There is a great need for community in faith, and this in vitality and integrity; however, there is not much said about silence and the lonely places, and the role they play in developing our true self [or, in exposing the lack thereof]. When Jesus sought refreshment of soul, He also sought the secret place, silence and communion with the Father. It's not surprising then that He links real faith development and answered prayer with "the secret place." He takes it as a matter of fact, for life in the kingdom, that each kingdom participant will dwell richly in the secret place, 'praying to the Father who sees in secret and rewards in open.'

Along that line, MacDonald talks about nature as exposing the true self: she or he who cannot enjoy nature alone will not enjoy nature more in company of others... unless this company helps to hide what s/he sees inside, in light of nature. It is a provocative thought:

There is a good deal counted social which is merely gregarious. Doubtless humanity is better company than a bare hill-side; but not a little depends on how near we come to the humanity, and how near we come to the hill. I doubt if one who could not enjoy a bare hill-side alone, would enjoy that hill-side in any company; if he thought he did, I suspect it would be that the company enabled him, not to forget himself in what he saw, but to be more pleasantly aware of himself than the lone hill would permit him to be; -- for the mere hill has its relation to that true self which the common self is so anxious to avoid and forget.


Selah.

George MacDonald, "The Girls' First Walk," What's Mine is Mine, 12.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If the Bible stories happened today...



We are a consumer culture, no question! Not that it is wrong to receive a receipt for charitable donations... it's just indicative of something else at work in our world, the cultural stream in which we swim. Think about it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love and love alone

Learning of that first Life, which is Love

Love, and love alone, as from the first it is the source of all life, love alone, wise at once and foolish as a child, can work redemption. It is life drawing nigh to life, person to person, the human to human, that conquers death.

Selah.

George MacDonald, “Waiting a Purpose,” Weighed and Wanting, 145

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The political use of poverty to destroy a nation

Redistribution and dark usage of moral language

There is so much said nowadays about the moral obligation of redistributing wealth, accompanied by attendant social theories and [often underhanded] political actions. In this climate, deceit is considered a useful means to an end, if that end is social redistribution and correct ecological and political empowerment. In such postmodern culture, language is a malleable tool, where it is considered good form if language is used to deceive people who stand in the way of expressed "good goals." Mix in the nascent moral urge of helping people with political manipulation and you have a deadly brew -- what we are experiencing in spades, right now in America.

So, it is a salient question: Did Jesus view poverty as evil, in itself? Was poverty something that justified human manipulation, destruction of societal infrastructure, and enslavement of all children born into that society? Can a nation properly be enslaved under the guise of helping the poor?

It's a question that needs to be asked and followed out rigorously by good people, people of faith. Because moral language is precisely what is being used to destroy our land from the inside out -- postmodern use of moral language vs. actual morality. In true morality it is categorically wrong to use language in deception or enslavement. But that is exactly what is happening in our land. Warning signs just from today: Wall Street Journal: Insolvency Looms as States Drain Disability Fund. The Texas Federal Reserve Chair: "At this rate, we WILL become insolvent. It is not a question of if, but when." Debt is now the father of us all. Last month Obama’s red-ink exceeded the entire 2007 budget deficit under Bush — 30 days of Obama trumping 365 of Bush. And how did this happen? Moral language. Crony politics. Entitlement. Postmodern usage of language: intentional deceit through words, destruction of a social framework in the cloak of moral redistribution.

Is it poverty that keeps people down? Or will it be a postmodern theology of poverty, the politics of socialism that darkness uses to destroy our land?

Care and the idolatry of self

I recently read a passage in George MacDonald's book, Weighed and Wanting. In it he describes two poor sisters who were consumed by their condition -- not because they were poor, but because they refused to follow out trust in their lives. Listen to the quote; it may be instructive:

The place was was kept by two old maids whose hearts had been flattened under the pressure of poverty – no, I am wrong, it was not poverty, but care; pure poverty never flattened any heart; it is the care which poverty is supposed to justify that does the mischief; it gets inside it and burrows, as well as lies on the top of it; of mere outside poverty a heart can bear a mountainous weight without the smallest injury, yea with inestimable result of the only riches. Our Lord never mentions poverty as one of the obstructions to his kingdom, neither has it ever proved such; riches, cares and desires he does mention.

It looked as if God had forgotten them – toiling for so little all day long, while the fact was they forgot God, and were thus miserable and oppressed because they would not have him interfere as he would so gladly have done. Instead of seeking the kingdom of heaven, and trusting him for old age while they did their work with their might, they exhausted their spiritual resources in sending out armies of ravens with hardly a dove among them, to find and secure a future still submerged in the waves of a friendly deluge.


Selah.

I read this and was reminded of two poor ladies in London who made it their goal to listen to God every day, to follow His will for the day even if they didn't know from whence the next meal would come. They produced a spiritual masterpiece, a devotional book which never grows old, and continues to feed thousands of people in our generation. Amazing, yes! but not singular. It happens in every heart and in every place where poverty [or the radical need of the person] is placed in true relation to God, in the kingdom.

Light, freedom and real prosperity result -- the freedom of the heart and breaking free of others from chains. True morality NEVER enslaves others in false language. It always frees, and lightens the heart.

May God have mercy on our land!

Selah.