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Friday, September 26, 2008

standing in a shifting global scene

Things change. Wow, do we have confirmation of that. This week, we've heard words like disaster, failure, bailout, catastrophe, collapse, and apocalyptic. It's been a heyday for journalists; non-stop action for pundits. For the American people . . . we'll it's been less than exciting.

Having heard from our grandparents the recounting of the Great Depression, none of us are eager to accumulate similar stories. The fragility of our national and economic security paints the future in very drab tones.

Those who study prophecy are nodding their heads at the interrelation of the puzzle pieces on the world scene.

OK, let's face it. We've heard some scary stuff. Americans might lose investments and savings accounts. The current government plan is akin to socialism. Our way of life will drastically change. Our relations with other nations are in jeopardy. We might end up in a soup line . . . .

This is a time for Christians to reflect the solidness of our foundation. It's not time for a bunker mentality. God's Word doesn't give us permission to hide. We are called to face our times in His power. We can't deny the profusion of events taking place and their impact on us. What we can do is step into His strength and out into a great opportunity.

The most important things do not change -- God's sovereignty, the plan of salvation, the comfort and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The kingdoms of earth and their rise and fall are parenthetical phrases in the great theme of God's plan. His purposes supersede all others.

"The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken." (Psalm 33:10-11, NLT)

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
(Psalm 46:11)

Read Psalm 33 and 46 and 145. More security than any government rescue.

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.

The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD watches over all who love him." (Psalm 145:13-20)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

classic style

Kaley and I had great fun puttering around Steinway Hall, playing the magnificent pianos, and taking pictures. Music is a gift from a loving and artistic Creator. As I looked at the lineup of grand pianos, testament to the hand-crafted skill of the Steinway Company, I remembered that this intricate design of ivory, wood, and strings is only a reflection of our great God who gives man the skill to work with His hands to make beautiful things. What a wonderful way to embrace life -- created and loved by a Heavenly Father whose heart toward us is only good and who helps us cope with the bad. I celebrate His majesty and thank Him for music.

what a house! what a treat!

For my birthday, my sweet friend, Karen, took me to tour a lovely house, basically a castle, built in the early 1900's by the founder of GoodYear. Obviously, wealth was no object and style and comfort were.

No photos were allowed inside, but the rooms were magnificently furnished. There was even a 8 foot deep sunken swimming pool (called "the Plunge") with its own dressing area and an indoor gymnasium, plus a flower arranging room, 23 bathrooms, all kinds of nooks and crannies. You should have seen the woman's dressing room! As big as most bedrooms and with about 7 or 8 closet spaces, plus drawers for jewelry and shoes. It was amazing.

The gardens were just lovely. Standing in the English garden was like standing in a Jane Austin setting. The enormous grounds were impressive -- we had lunch in the carriage house which is now a cafe. a genuine jewel from the gilded age -- I loved every minute of the tour. Thanks, Karen. I'll remember it always.
Kaley and Me beside a HUGE planter
the lovely and large! house
there were massive gardens of every type

aren't these colors luscious?

celebrating in style

Stan Hywett Hall -- over 600,000 square feet and 65 rooms

"not for us alone" -- what a neat motto for the front door!

back of the house with fountain

entrance to English Garden

the English Garden -- "ahh. . . "

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain/Palin Event -- I was there!

Governor Sarah Palin

Senator McCain

rally pics

" Palin power"
Guy we stood next to at the rally
Fans with signs and screams
Todd Palin giving autographs
Me with the McCain plane in the background

more pics from the rally

Governor Palin and husband Todd
Shirley Lawrence and our friends who helped us get closer to the front
Cindy McCain
Governor Palin makes a point
Applauding Senator McCain

what an event

Today, I went to a McCain/Palin rally, and it was exciting. My friend, Shirley Lawrence and I had lunch before going to the venue. We took commercial coaches from the parking lot to the hangar where the rally took place. We got there fairly early, milling around, talking with whoever was standing around. Struck up a conversation with some people who had connections to the campaign headquarters in a nearby county and were able to squeeze through with them to the area cordoned off to the rest of the crowd. I was two rows from the stage -- awesome.

The crowd went wild when the candidates and their spouses walked in. Governor Palin impressed me with her genuine appeal and her down-to-earth candor. I was moved by my proximity to John McCain, an American hero who valiantly fought the Vietcong from a squalid cell in Hanoi. Cindy McCain had a quiet grace. Todd Palin was genuine with an easy manner. The Secret Service was inscrutable and sober, as always (so fascinating to watch them in action).

My feet got incredibly tired (I think we stood for 5 hours altogether), but the wait was worth it. I shook hands with Senator McCain, Cindy McCain, Governor Palin, Todd Palin. I was so pumped. I met a lot of great people in the crowd. Mrs. Lawrence and I agreed the day had been fantastic.

Shirley Lawrence and me

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John Piper: Abortion Is About God

This is such a great viewpoint on abortion from the perspective of a life lived in surrender to God.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the answer is self

That's right. The philosophy behind political liberalism is what we in the Wesleyan tradition would call "the self life." When self is the centerpiece of philosophy, you get distorted views on every issue making news today.

Yeah, I know I'm a bigot, a religious kook. You even mention this kind of stuff as reasons for your opinions and your credibility is up for laughs.

Hear me out.

The hue and cry now is that all the religious right wants to talk about is the social issues, notably abortion. It's not a fringe issue. Look at the language. Pro-choice. A woman's right. That's the verbiage of self. Humans don't have a choice about life, that's God's realm. To usurp His territory is the very heart of rebellion. To demand rights is the basic tenant of selfishness. Yes, the Declaration of Independence talks about rights, inalienable rights -- life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness -- rights they were endowed by our Creator, gifts, not bribes given to a tantrum-throwing brat. John Piper has a very thought-provoking view on abortion.
Watch the clip I've posted above.

It's amazing that our society which spends billions of dollars in the infertility field, is for children's rights, and produces a plethora of educational programs and toys for our kids could also fight for the right to kill them. The reason of course is self. If I think it's a bad time or I think that they will not be able to live a full life because of their physical or mental challenges, then I want the right to "solve" the problem. My convenience, point of view, and knowledge is superior, the last word.

Self is captive to the natural impulses, the will controls the intellect. That's how people can seem to be unable to understand truth, how they can look right at facts and miss them. Self is not hindered by principle; it finds a way to indulge itself, even it if must grasp at straws or allow itself to be deceived.

Evolution makes as much sense as a gourmet meal denying that Emeril created it. But, self doesn't need rational, just impulse. If it's what I want to believe, then it's right. If it justifies my lifestyle, my opinions, my choices, then it has to be okay. I'll find a way to make it fit the evidence of history, regardless of the gaps in the theory.

Of course, to accept the position that mankind is a slave to the passions of self, you need to have the groundwork of faith, to believe that God is the source and center of life. The contrast to the self life is the Spirit life, a philosophy driven not by impulses warped by selfishness but by God's wisdom that leads us not to what is convenient, but to what is right. And there is the defining point, because those who are engulfed in self will not acknowledge the supremacy of God. But what bratty kid will admit the parent is right?

When it comes down to it, the battlegrounds in the culture can be directly traced to a philosophy that makes self the center. And to win the argument, mankind just denies the existence of the One Who is the center.

Christians, evangelical fundamentalists, the "right-wing" not claim to be the naturally flawless kids in the family. All of us have rebelled and gone our way. The Father's Book says it plainly. The only difference is that we learned from the punishment that everyone has experienced and decided that sitting at the family table is better than being in time-out. We decided to come under authority.

When we rely on self for knowledge, we end up getting it wrong. When we take God's Word, all the facts align themselves in perfect beauty.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

day of memory and resolve

It's been 7 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. No one has forgotten. No one wants to. No one can.

With bagpipe wail, we mourn their loss. With roses tossed, we celebrate their lives. With tolling bells, we mark their sacrifice. With names reverently read, we inscribe them on the country's soul.

On that day, America was scorned, assaulted, maimed. But she rose again.

The cockpit bullies are dead. The violent terrorist regime is tottering. The cowardly tyrants are fugitives in desert caves.

But America? She's still standing, fighting, shining. May all such enemies of the Union be thwarted; may we carry on in unwavering allegiance to our great nation and her flag; and may the blessings of God Almighty give strength and power to the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

what are they thinking?

I am continually baffled by the thought processes of what we would call the liberal left. My opinion is that the press and the media lean decidedly to the liberal side of the road. My question is: why? Don't they follow their thinking to its logical end? Do they not realize that socialistic, post-modern policies are going to someday shanghai the American dream? Have they never considered that everything good about the plush life they enjoy is possible because America has stood for freedom, equal opportunity, and the value of every life? Do they imagine that a world where narcissistic impulses rule will leave them unscathed at the top? Can they not look down the path and see that they will be trampled by a system that leaves only ruins in its wake?

Consider the issues of:

  1. Abortion/right-to-life If our country continues its downward spiral in its valuing of life, euthanasia could become legal and common. Do these vibrant young reporters ever contemplate that they might suffer a debilitating stroke or car accident and find themselves one of the hapless victims of the system them supported?
  2. Gun control Protecting our freedom begins with our right to defend our homes and families. Do the confident movie starlets never look ahead to a day when a government who controls our guns might also reach out to control our newspapers, our press, and our freedom of speech?
  3. Government managed healthcare and other out-of-control state programs Giving the government access to your private life never results in a stronger country. Are the brash collegians of today ready to have their future children directed by the state in matters of college and career when the programs they've voted for become more intrusive as they are in other places of the world?
  4. Necessity of war Living in freedom is the result of a previous victory in conflict (this applies to everything from the American Revolution to our spiritual freedom won at Calvary) War is inescapable when evil threatens. Do these audacious, peace mongers imagine that they can merely negotiate with explosive-toting terrorists who have a "holy" mandate for battle?
  5. Border security/patriotic traditions and customs America has always welcomed the weary and oppressed. Yet, she has applied the same customs, language, and holidays to all. We are not simply a melting pot; we are a flavor all our own, where peoples from differing lands and backgrounds come together and join in the unique way of life that defines America. We don't have little microcosms of every other country within us; we all simply blend together and become Americans, a breed all our own. Everyone is equal, invited to join; everyone accepts the title as his or her own. Can the younger generation not look past the verbiage and see the dangers of allowing little empires to spring up and gain power? Can they not embrace the American way of life as equal and empowering for all?

I am not a fear-monger. I don't believe all of the country is anti-American. I don't think communism is just a few months away. But I do wonder if those whose voices are heard so loudly by the young people of our generation ever consider what would be the state of America if their pet policies and extreme viewpoints became the law of the land......

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


For all my fellow, addicted bloggers: there is a whole blogger culture that has enveloped us in its cyber-embrace. While doing some research for a presentation I gave on blogging, I found this website. Check out the list of blogging terms -- skip down to "blogging habits." Do you know what hitnosis, blogstipation, and blurker mean? You may see yourself here.
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