Thursday, December 31, 2009

It is NOT the end of the Decade...

...or the beginning of a new one until January 1, 2011.

Let's all count together:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

NOT:

0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

So, you have another whole year before you do your "Wrap-up of the Decade", "Best and Worst of the Decade", and "First Ten Years of the New Millennium" TV specials.

(As you can probably tell, this is one of my personal pet peeves.)

Happy New Year, the beginning of the 10th year of this decade!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Rudyard Kipling!

Rudyard Kipling, December 30, 1865 - 18 January 1936

Born in Bombay (Mumbai), India, he bridged the time between the mid-Victorian era and latter Edwardian times, and served as a chronicler of British Imperialism. Many of his works have fallen out of favor today, due to the fact that they present a very un-PC view of the world.

Here is my favorite of his poems:

Tommy

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

New Year Prayer

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit,
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to watch,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

from: Valley of Vision

Friday, December 18, 2009

302 Years Ago Today

Charles Wesley was born.

Younger brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, Charles is best known as the author of over 6,000 hymns, many of which continue to be favorites today.

My personal favorite:

And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior's blood!
Died he for me, who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left his Father's throne above
So free, so infinite his grace!
Emptied himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned sprit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
Alive in him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th' eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th' eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Another one, appropriate to the season:

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman's conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent's head.
Adam's likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sixty-Five Years Ago

The Malmedy Massacre occurred on this date, December 17, in 1944. This atrocity took place during the German encircling operations as part of the Battle of the Bulge which began the day before.

The Battle of the Bulge was the last offensive action undertaken by the Germans on the Western front. Their defeat, and the subsequent destruction of German reserves, led to the total capitulation of the 3rd Reich within six months.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Birth of Jesus Christ

This paper by Daniel Wallace is from 1996, but it is still an important reminder of the details surrounding the birth of Christ.

Here is Wallace' conclusion:

We've been looking at several aspects of the birth of Jesus Christ in this short study. Now, we want to put it all together.

In the winter of 5 or 4 B.C., God invaded history by taking on the form of a man. He was born in a small town just south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem, which means 'the house of bread,' indeed became worthy of its name one lonely winter night. For there, in that town, was born the Bread of Life . . .

His mother placed the infant king in a manger--or feeding trough--because the guest room where they were to stay was occupied. The birth of this king was celebrated that night only by his mother, her husband, and a handful of shepherds. The shepherds had been in the fields around Bethlehem, guarding the lambs which would die at the next Passover. An angel appeared to them and gave them the birth announcement: "today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (). In their simple faith, they rushed to see their newborn king.

Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem and inquired of king Herod where the real king of the Jews was to be born. The theologians of Herod's court knew the Scriptures well--in 'Bethlehem' they recited. Ironically, though they knew the Scriptures, they did not believe them! They did not even bother to travel the five or six miles to Bethlehem to see their Messiah.

But Herod believed the Scriptures! That is why he sent a corps of butchers to Bethlehem to slaughter innocent children, in hopes of destroying this rival to his throne. But he was too late. The magi had come and gone and Jesus was by now safe in Egypt.

And the magi believed the Scriptures. They had traveled several hundred miles to worship this Babe. They were guided to Bethlehem by a supernatural celestial phenomenon--and by the Scriptures. Apparently, their ancestors had been instructed by Daniel the prophet about the coming Messiah. . . When they saw the child, they fell down and worshiped him. This was God in the flesh. They could do no other.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense

Once again, the dictum of "zero tolerance" is wielded like a clumsy club.

Note that the student was parked off campus.

Note that the school used an "ammunition sniffing" dog to uncover the shotgun. (and to think that they tell us that California has a budget crisis.)

Note that he did nothing wrong.

I want my country back. In High School, not only did we keep our rifles and shotguns in our cars and trucks in the school parking lot (some displayed in open gun racks) so as to hunt before and after school, we were also permitted to check out .22 rifles at the ROTC armory so as to shoot on the 50' indoor range without adult supervision. And to think that none of us ever thought once about shooting up our school.

What are you prepared to do?

What are you prepared to do when they:

Force you to pay for elective abortion with your tax dollars?

Tell your church that it must perform same sex weddings or lose its 501(c)(3) tax status?

Threaten to jail you if you proclaim Biblical truth?

None of these are outside of the realm of possibility in today's cultural and political environment.

Something to think about: When these things happen, will you acquiesce, or will you engage in civil disobedience, knowing that you will suffer the consequences? I am afraid that too many will decide to take the safe route and "burn the pinch of incense" so as to stay on good terms with the Emperor.

May I recommend that you begin to allow your voice to be heard by signing The Manhattan Declaration. (Not the one on "climate change".)

Friday, November 13, 2009

False Prophet Update

Another false prophet/preacher gets partial justice. Tony Alamo sentenced to 175 years in prison for molesting children.

The judge in the case told him that he would one day face "a greater judge". Let us remember that we too will stand before the Judge of the universe one day and give account for our stewardship.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Zondervan has just released the five volume Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the Old Testament (ZIBBCOT), and I was able to get my hands on an advance copy of Volume 1, Genesis-Deuteronomy. When I received this book I immediately experienced a case of deja vu, remembering the day in 1991 when I first held a copy of the Holman Bible Dictionary in my hands.

Recognize that I am not equating the Holman Bible Dictionary with the new Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, since the differences are greater than the similarities, but both of these produced in me the same response when I first opened them: Wow! Both of these publications provide a view of the historical background of the Bible that would be helpful for all serious students.

Here is a brief comparison of the Holman Bible Dictionary (HBD) with the ZIBBCOT:

Content - The HBD is a Dictionary of Biblical words, people, events, and places presented alphabetically. The ZIBBCOT follows the biblical text, giving commentary on the people, events, and places along with a presentation of extra-biblical background material.

Format - The HBD is a single volume for the entire Bible, and always felt like it wasn't going to hold up to regular use due to a poor binding and questionable paper. The ZIBBCOT is a multi-volume work (there are also NT volumes, see my comment below), and feels like a quality binding with decent paper. It feels and handles like an expensive college textbook. Additionally, while both publications contain numerous photographs, those in the ZIBBCOT are of better quality, possibly as a result of advances in digital photography since 1991.

Philosophy - The HBD is published by Broadman & Holman, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is unapologetically conservative, and takes pains to avoid controversy. Zondervan caters to a "bigger tent" customer base, and is less afraid to present material that might be questionable to some readers, as seen by the first words of the introduction to Genesis:

Inferences drawn from the whole of the biblical text suggest that Moses was considered responsible for the shape and content of Genesis from early times. The Israelites in the wilderness, in roughly the third quarter of the second millennium B.C., are then the initial audience of the book. Many scholars unconvinced of the connection to Moses are more inclined to view the book against a mid-first millennium B.C. backdrop. The discussion is not without significance, but its impact on background issues will not often be felt. (ZIBBCOT, Volume 1, page 3)

Now, on to some of my Conclusionss concerning the ZIBBCOT:

I intend to get the remaining volumes of this set for my library. While it may not serve as a primary textual commentary in my studies it is going to be very useful for providing both background and context. Other background materials in my possession, such as the HBD and Lifeway's Biblical Illustrator, while sometimes useful, are not tied directly to the biblical text, causing one to spend additional time looking for relevant entries, or just choosing to ignore them altogether. I anticipate that the ZIBBCOT is going to provide a wealth of background information to support my preaching and preparation of Bible Studies. After discovering this work I learned that Zondervan also publishes similar volumes on the New Testament. Since I have just begun preaching through Matthew, I obtained the volume for that Gospel, and it has already proved helpful.

Here are two videos produced by Zondervan on the ZIBBCOT;

Comical:



More serious:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reformation Day

Lost in the celebration of Halloween is the fact that October 31st is Reformation Day, commemorating Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg in 1517, thus marking the official start of the Protestant Reformation. As can be seen in the content of Luther's Theses (presented below), he desired that debate and discussion commence concerning problems in the Roman Catholic church. He had no earthly inkling that God would use this event to bring such radical changes, to both the church and the world.

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

    1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

    2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

    3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

    4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

    5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

    6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

    7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

    8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

    9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

    10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

    11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

    12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

    13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

    14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

    15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

    16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

    17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

    18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

    19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

    20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imposed by himself.

    21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

    22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

    23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

    24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

    25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

    26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

    27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

    28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

    29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

    30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

    31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

    32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

    33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

    34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

    35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

    36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

    37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

    38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

    39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

    40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

    41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

    42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

    43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

    44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

    45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

    46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

    47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

    48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

    49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

    50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

    51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

    52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

    53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

    54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

    55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

    56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

    57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

    58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

    59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

    60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;

    61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

    62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

    63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

    64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

    65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

    66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

    67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

    68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

    69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

    70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

    71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

    72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

    73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

    74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

    75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness.

    76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

    77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

    78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

    79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

    80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

    81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

    82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."

    83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?"

    84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?"

    85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?"

    86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"

    87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?"

    88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?"

    89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?"

    90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

    91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

    92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!

    93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

    94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

    95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Operating System Upgrade Updates

This past weekend was devoted to upgrading computers. My Dell Mini 9 netbook received an upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 ("Jaunty Jackalope") to the release candidate of 9.10 ("Karmic Koala"), which has to be the best Linux version ever produced. All went well, as expected. The official roll-out of "Karmic Koala" will be this Thursday. I have been playing with Linux in various flavors (Suse, Puppy, Freespire, Ubuntu) for several years now, and this is the first distribution that I think is ready for a mass audience. Canonical has done a very good job of making a nice, useful operating system.

The big surprise, however, was Windows 7. I have a Compaq laptop that shipped with Vista, and I absolutely hated it. Sam's Club had a Win7 upgrade package of three Home Premium licenses for about $123, which I purchased Saturday morning. Some of the Compaq proprietary hardware was problematic with Linux, especially wireless networking, so I needed to keep it in the Windows world, and it only made sense to purchase the 3-pack for $123 when the individual licenses were $109.

I performed the upgrade of the Vista laptop, and all went smoothly. The machine is much faster, the OS uses far less RAM, and this laptop is finally a pleasure to use. Windows 7 has a fresh, clean feel to it, and all of my software works without any problems.

As a result, I also decided to try out Win7 on my wife's Acer Aspire One XP netbook, and it works great. I was not able to upgrade directly from XP, but needed to perform a fresh install. That was no problem since I back up files nightly on a networked external 1 TB drive and also have all of the installation software for her configuration loaded on a USB jump drive. In fact, doing a fresh install, re-loading her software, and restoring her files was quicker than the upgrade from Vista on the Compaq.

I am sure glad that Microsoft got it right this time. I still have the one extra Windows 7 license, but the other machines don't really meet the requirements, and are happy running either Ubuntu or XP, depending upon their roles. We don't seem to ever get rid of computers, I just find a way to deploy them in other capacities, such as one old XP laptop which is used exclusively for our Magic jack VOIP and another somewhat newer XP machine that serves as an amateur radio RMS gateway into the Winlink2000 network.

I am so glad when things work well!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Books, Lot's of Free Books

As part of their relaunch, Devotional Christian is giving away 22 devotional books worth $258.00.

Details of this amazing give-away are found here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This Day in History, 1536

October 6, 1536, the date of the martyrdom of William Tyndale.

"I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, I will cause the boy that drives the plow in England to know more of the Scriptures than the Pope himself!"

The plow boy, the merchant, and even the clergyman now know the Scriptures better as a result of the life and work of this brave hero of the faith. I have recently received a facsimile copy of Tyndale's 1526 New Testament, and it is quite remarkable in its beauty. While those who cherished Tyndale's original work did so at threat to their lives, my copy joins many other copies of the Bible on my bookshelves.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I just bet...

...that this makes the oppressed Christians in China feel all "warm and fuzzy""

Empire State Building goes Red to honor 60th Anniversary of Communist China.

Tell me again what we stand for.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strange Stuff Today

Several odd items in the news today:

1. Bernanke says that the recession is very likely over.

But unemployment will continue to rise? Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

2. "You Lie!" = racism?

It looks like the race baiters know no depth to their depravity.

3. Shreveport Mayor pulled over by phony cop.

This might not seem like it fits in the same post as the previous two items, but this Mayor recently argued that motorists have no rights when pulled over the police. It seems a bit ironic that he expects to have his rights preserved. (Never mind that somebody needs to give this Mayor a lesson on civics. Suspend your rights? I am sure glad that I don't live in Shreveport!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

ACORN = Organized Crime

When are the bigwigs at ACORN going to be prosecuted for racketeering?

Yes, ACORN is no longer associated with the Census Bureau, but I am guessing that this is a "carrot" to keep the news media from digging too deep into the guts of this criminal enterprise. They are still receiving millions of HUD dollars, and are probably going to get a whole lot more from the "Community Organizer in Chief".

A few low level peons get fired and or prosecuted when ACORN abuses come to light, but when is the Justice Department going to go after the ring leaders, the fat cats who are running this scam?

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11

Never forget.



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TAP

Toss All Politicians

Effective today I am beginning a new movement to "Toss All Politicians" (TAP).

Our Founding Fathers understood human nature, recognized that government was a necessary evil, and determined that the people should hold their elected representatives accountable. However, over the years we have grown a crop of professional politicians who are more interested in their elected positions than they are in their constituents.

I don't care if they are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Socialist, or Independent, if they are a "Politician" instead of a "Representative", then you need to toss them.

How do you know that they are a "Politician"? Here are a few examples:

City Council members who make decisions based upon keeping their posts? Toss 'em!

County Commissioners who get "perks" from developers rather than protecting neighborhoods? Give 'em the boot!

Mayors who wink at corruption instead of guiding their cities? Fire 'em!

State representatives and senators who are more interested in appeasing special interests than on keeping an eye on the taxpayers money? Vote 'em out!

Governors who engage in "pay for play" instead of providing wise leadership? Throw the bums out!

Congressional Representatives and Senators who approve "bridges to nowhere" and "airports with no passengers"? Give 'em the bums rush!

Presidents who violate their oaths of office? Replace them!

Start looking around for people who will put principle before privilege, conscience before connection, and trust before trappings. You may not always agree with them on every issue, but if they are principled and thoughtful then you will be far better off than we are today. Look for those who will listen, engage in honest debate and discussion, and act based upon personal conviction. If you do this, then you won't need to worry about their party affiliation.

As this message is disseminated throughout this land maybe those who agree with me can take up the challenge to TAP. If you find yourself in close proximity to a "Politician" then TAP out a message to them. TAP your feet on the floor, TAP your fingers on the table, or TAP your pen against your palm. Let's remember to TAP, Toss All Politicians.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sometimes, good things come out of New Mexico

Including this Federal District Court decision.

This is a very important decision for law abiding citizens who choose to openly carry firearms for self-defense. Even though I have a New Mexico Concealed Handgun permit, there are times that I choose to openly carry one of my handguns. I have never been hassled for doing so, in fact most people don't even notice, but I have heard plenty of horror stories of those who have been detained and forcibly disarmed while engaged in lawful conduct.

From the decision:

In sum, Defendants had no reason for seizing Mr. St. John other than the fact that he was lawfully carrying a weapon in a public place. Because New Mexico law allows individuals to openly carry weapons in public—and Mr. St. John had done nothing to arouse suspicion, create tumult or endanger anyone's well-being—there were no articulable facts to indicate either criminal activity or a threat to safety. Accordingly, Defendants' seizure of Mr. St. John violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Looks like somebody forgot Rule # 4

There are Four Rules of safe firearms handling. They are:

1) Always treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
2) Never point a firearm at anything that you don't want to destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your target.
4) Always be sure of your target, and what lies beyond it.

This story shows why all of these rules are important. Yikes!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seventy Years Ago Today

September 1, 1939, the beginning of World War II, as German forces invaded Poland.

Before it ended in Tokyo harbor on September 2, 1945 some 50 to 70 million people died.


The Ode

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

- Laurence Binyon

Monday, August 31, 2009

Praying for the President

I am praying that our President will be converted by the power of God to salvation and the knowledge of the truth:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV)

This misguided "minister" has a different idea. Where does he get the Scriptural support for that? How is that "godly and dignified in every way"?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy deserves more attention than any Republican?

Even living Presidents? That is what this "journalist" thinks:

(Facebook or RSS, view original post to see video.)



This might just be true. How many Republicans:

Oh wait, they weren't talking about these things in the halls of the MSM this past week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We are going for a ride!

Whee!



(Facebook and RSS click on the original post to see the video.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Does this guy belong anywhere near the White House?

But in jail, he said, "I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.'" Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. "I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary." In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. "I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th," he said. "By August, I was a communist." Van Jones, Obama administration "Green Jobs" Czar.

This guy is scary, and shouldn't be within 10 million miles of the White House, let alone a close advisor to the President. I am afraid that the "enemies domestic" are more dangerous than the "enemies foreign" these days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

William Wilberforce

Today is the 250th birthday of William Wilberforce.



"So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its William Wilberforceabolition."

Send in the Marines

(Facebook and RSS viewers , click on the original post to see the video.)



"Stay away from my kids!"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do You Have Two Minutes?

Watch this video. It could make an eternal difference.



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Friday, August 21, 2009

Honor Killings in America?



"I want to be free, I want to worship Jesus, I want to go to church on Sundays, and read my Bible and say that Jesus is alive... I don't have that."

Please pray for Rifqa and for others in her situation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rev. Ike goes to his reward

Prosperity preacher "Rev Ike" dies at age 74 on July 28, 2009.

“If it’s that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven,” he would often say, citing Matthew, “think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn’t even have a bribe for the gatekeeper.”

I don't imagine that he had any success bribing the gatekeeper, even with his many Rolls Royces.

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Important Birthday Today

And the world would never again be the same.

William Carey August 17, 1761 - June 9, 1834


"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just wait...

...until the Federal Government is "paying" for your health care.

If they can't even manage the "Cash for Clunkers" program why would anyone think that they can manage a program that has life and death consequences? Only 2% of car dealers paid so far, and 4 out of 5 claims denied for "minor oversight"? Not enough staffing, complicated forms and requirements? It sounds like normal bureaucratic bungling. No one is going to die if the clunkers don't get paid on time, but what happens when you can't get needed surgery or cancer treatment?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Cup of Cold Water

Regardless of one's views on illegal immigration it would be hard for me to believe that anyone would see this article as anything but troubling. There is something wrong when someone is punished for providing water for travelers in the southwest desert.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." - Matthew 10:42 (ESV)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Christian Freedom

"We must now discuss Christian freedom." - John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1536 edition, pg. 176.

You don't know how happy I was to read those words the other day.

As part of my year long celebration of John Calvin's 500th birthday on July 19th I have been reading from and about John Calvin. I had previously read the 1559 Institutes but wanted to compare Calvin's thought as a young man. What is remarkable is the fact that the Calvin of 1536 is very much the same man in 1559. I know that I have changed greatly, especially in theological matters, in the past 23 years, and especially since I was age 27, the age that Calvin was when the Institutes was first published.

The happiness that I express above was due to the fact that I have come to what I consider to be the most important part of Calvin's work, his treatise on Christian freedom. Truthfully, the past several weeks reading left me cold. Not that Calvin's argument against the errors of Roman Catholic sacramental system wasn't both excellent and important, it just wasn't that important to me. Having never been subject to that system as a Baptist, and possibly because we live in a post-counter-reformation, post-Vatican II world, I haven't lost much sleep worrying about sacramentalism.

Yet, it is because of the above that Calvin's material on Christian freedom is so important. The world he lived in was very much different, both politically and religiously than ours today. Men are still the same now as then, but the majority of Calvin's readers had no experience with the political and religious freedom that we have come to know today. Calvin's writings opened up new possibilities, leading to new ways of thinking and eventually to new forms of government. It is no exaggeration to call Calvin the "spiritual father" of America, so radical was his thought.

Maybe it is time, once again, for us to seriously discuss Christian freedom.

Islam once again demonstrates that it is the "Religion of Peace"

Three Nigerian pastors beheaded by Islamic extremists in Nigeria.

I expect that "moderate" Muslims world-wide will quickly denounce this act.........Not.

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

- Revelation 7:9-15 (ESV)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Easy Believism Kills

From the online blog of mass murderer George Sodini:

Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.

We do not what he was actually told, and it might be that Sodini distorted the gospel message that he received in the church he attended. However, one can only wonder if we are seeing the fruit of a "gospel" that says "pray this prayer" instead of "repent and follow Jesus". Yes, Sodini was a disturbed, delusional, outcast, but one has to wonder if belief in an easy believism didn't embolden him in this massacre.

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. -Romans 6:1-14 (ESV)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. - 1 John 1:5-10 (ESV)


1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. - 1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)

Letting people believe that anything is an acceptable substitute for true new birth conversion resulting in obedience to Christ, whether it be a prayer, a baptism, a walk down a church aisle, the handshake of a preacher, or anything else, leads to false converts and sometimes horrific events like this.

Followup:

“Cheap grace is the enemy of the church. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth . . . an intellectual assent to that idea is held to be sufficient to secure remission of sins. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without repentance. . . grace without discipleship, grace without a cross . . . Costly grace is the gospel [of the church] . . . It is costly because it costs a man his life, and grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his son . . . it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God . . . When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York, NY: MacMillan, 1959), 45-48.

Grasping at Straws

I am tempted to say "so what?" about this news story. This is about as relevant as a news story that said something like the following:

Police have revealed today that last night's drunk driver was driving an automobile manufactured by the same company that sold a car to the driver of last month's horrific tragedy. More at 11:00.

Accessories? He bought accessories? What, like maybe a holster? An extra magazine? A gunbelt? Shooting glasses and earmuffs?

Journalism, don't you love it?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's August...

...and Logos is still giving away great Bibles.


Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at Bible.Logos.com and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do you really want...

...these folks running your health care?

Repeat after me: "Government is never the answer."

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. - Ronald Reagan

Update: Typical government solution, just keep throwing cash at a problem. A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money. Real money? Where do our esteemed lawmakers think that it comes from?

Jimmy Carter Quits (Again)

Jimmy Carter states that he is severing ties with the Southern Baptist Convention due to rampant sexism.

Excuse me, but didn't he already do this in 2000?

Would somebody please lock the door behind him this time? Maybe he can find a new spiritual home with the LDS.

Buh bye.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Antipsalm 23

David Powlison writes an Antipsalm 23:

I'm on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing's quite right.
I'm always restless. I'm easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It's a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It's a desert — I'm thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can't fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life's confusing. Why don't things ever really work out?
I'm haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I'd rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I'm alone ... facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can't really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I'm so much all about ME, sometimes it's sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I'm left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, "Hell is other people."
I have to add, "Hell is also myself."
It's a living death,
and then I die.


It is sad that this characterizes the viewpoint of so many when God offers:

A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

(Psalm 23, ESV)

Hey you, Federal Criminal. That's right, you!

"Every year, thousands of upstanding, responsible Americans run afoul of some incomprehensible federal law or regulation and end up serving time in federal prison."

There has been an explosion in the number of federal crimes added to the books the past couple of years. Many of these are felonies, and will get you hard time in a federal prison as well as strip away your rights to vote and possess firearms. Pretty soon we might see more laws against "hate crimes" that could be used to criminalize the public reading of portions of the Bible.

Don't think that persecution is coming? Better think again.

(I won't get on my soapbox (much) at this point, But what were "conservatives" thinking when they proposed infringements upon our freedoms in the name of stopping terrorism or waging war on drugs. Don't they know that governments can't be trusted, which is the whole reason why the Founding Fathers limited government and codified the protection of civil liberties in the first place?)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pray for our Persecuted Brothers and Sisters

This sad news story today from Fox News:

North Korea Publicly Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bible.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

Ri Hyon Ok is now more than a conqueror. Pray for her family and fellow believers in North Korea as they face tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword.

(You may also want to see my previous post about the dangers of attempting escape from North Korea.)

If it was the Qur'an...

...there would be wide-spread, world-wide rioting. Not to mention the outcry denunciation of this exhibit as a "hate crime".

Art Show Encourages People to Deface the Bible.

It appears that we are to now be tolerant of everything except the Truth.

(And, that sound coming from Scotland? That is John Knox spinning in his grave.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Henry McCarty...

...AKA Billy the Kid.

There have been few other characters in New Mexico history who have evoked as much mystery and intrigue. Two years ago my wife and I were fortunate to attend a special exhibition of historic artifacts, artwork, and pop culture memorabilia related to "the Kid" at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History.

Now the New Mexico Tourism Department unveils a new website containing lots of neat information, including information about the photograph that led many to believe that Bilyl was left handed for many years. They did a very good job, make sure to check it out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 1969


Has it really been 40 years since a teenage boy huddled with his family around the B&W TV in El Paso, Texas? The Boston Globe has an excellent pictorial commemorating Apollo 11.

Here is a list of little known facts about the Apollo 11 mission, including the fact that Buzz Aldrin participated in a personal communion service:

It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements. (Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, who also had another first.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yearning to be Free

We take our freedom for granted while there are millions who live under despotic regimes. Probably the worst dictatorship in the world is North Korea. Many risk imprisonment, torture, and even death to escape this "workers' paradise".

This PBS documentary is well worth an hour of your time:



(If in Facebook or via RSS, go to the original post. For HD, click on"Full Screen".)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Do you think...

...that the ACLU will file suit to stop this egregious violation of rights?


(if viewing on Facebook or via RSS, view the original post to see the video.)

Nah, I didn't think so either.

I wonder how many folks will plant a cheap gun on the property of an unsuspecting neighbor in order to collect $1,000.00? For them this might be the "best program in the country".

Isn't it just wonderful...

...that John Holdren is President Obama's "Science Czar"?

In 1969, writing with Paul R. Ehrlich, Holdren claimed that, "if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come."[9] In 1973 Holdren encouraged a decline in fertility to well below replacement in the United States, because "210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many"[10]. Currently, the U.S. population is 306,892,000[11]. In 1977 he co-authored (with Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich) Ecoscience[12], which discussed the possible role of a "planetary regime" in enforcing population control. Also discussed was the possibility of adding a sterilant to drinking water; "Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.".

This is scary stuff.

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” - Luke 21:25-28, ESV

There aren't many left

I received an email today telling me that Darrell "Shifty" Powers of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division passed away on June 17th of this year at age 86.

This is from the email:

An American Hero

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them. I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat. Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made. Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped. I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem." I was standing with a genuine war hero

. . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say. I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach. He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way.