Friday, April 29, 2011

Gems and Donuts

      I just spent a week in the throes of perpetual activity, thrust into my sedate and somewhat peaceful domain, by my ever so endearing daughter, her ever so cool husband, and their ever so endearing children. They are not the assorted donuts I’ve titled in this analect, but rather my assorted gems, and something truly to be treasured.

      I’m not going to promote the commonly ridiculous notion that they, the grandchildren, are my responsibility to spoil. They’re much too precious. They are much too precious. They are very much too precious! All of them, all ten of them, unique in personality, disposition, temperament, and beauty are worthy and deserving of our nurturing, care and shelter.

      I personally have done nothing to deserve this unmerited blessing from God.  My life, until recent years, has left nothing but a trail of crumbs from the insatiable sampling of every donut I could get my hands on. On the other hand, my grandchildren’s diet has been carefully and prayerfully provided by their parents. The first step my son-in-law took was in the selection of his life-long mate. They both agreed that their special donut should not be served until after dinner and never to be shared with anyone else. They rightly knew that the consumption or sampling of other donuts would create an insatiable appetite that would lead to a life of severe indigestion and complications. It is prudent at this juncture to point out, somewhat embarrassingly, that my understanding of this is, sadly enough, skewed. You see, of course, that I will never know or completely understand this because I didn’t wait to share this donut with the one God intended me to share it with. Once shared of course, you are on the other side of what could have been with no way back. This leads to an endless pursuit for many, having less and less to share until it is all gone.

     The second step my son-in-law took was the shelter he would provide for his gems. Romans 16:19 “ but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Of course, if you’re an avid donut eater, this is impossible. It certainly means an end to that vile, beastly corruptor and perverse intruder into our homes. You will never, ever, provide shelter for your God-given gems with a donut factory in your living room. This too is a mystery for many already across the divide. Thanks to my dear sweet wife, we have lived without one for sixteen years, and yes the sensitivity returns, but sadly, this side of heaven we will never know what it would have been like on the other side. Oh to be “simple concerning evil.” This means it is imperative to keep your gems precious. The Public Sewer System will destroy, corrupt and sever your gems from ever pursuing the precious diet God intended for them. God didn’t entrust your gems to anyone else. This includes the church, especially today. I can’t find any evidence for God delegating that responsibility to anyone else but Dad. God forgive me for what I did to my own.

      The nurturing of our entrusted little gems is surely a strange thing in these days of gluttony. After all we deserve our time alone. I saw little of this with the keepers of our little grand-gems. They seem to have laid down their lives, and in a strange way, have been taken up into a far better realm, or what I perceive as a true reality. The reality offered by the world is the foreigner, and as seen in the light of obedience, reveals itself as it truly is, vile and filthy, spoiled forever. Obviously, I as a Christian, and by the grace of God, will never view this trust in a dualistic way, giving evil the same footing as goodness, but as something of infinite value in the eyes of God, to be preserved and nurtured, or by default by our negligence, turned over to the one who destroys and very efficiently blinds. Our daughter has very wisely, much to the dismay of other gem keepers because of the discomfort it seems to breed inside of them, chosen to be a mother. Daycare doesn’t nurture like a mother. She has laid down her life and taken up, once again, something more precious. Once done, I can hardly picture her viewing it as a sacrifice. This is something else that is incomprehensible to someone that has eaten the donut.

     I don’t imply perfection on their part or a lifting up. It’s just a choice. It’s a choice that puts you at enmity with the world. It’s a choice that will leave our son-in-law’s family without the regret that my wife and I live with. It’s an unpopular choice that people will attack and yet some will marvel at. It’s a choice that will change the world more than anything else can. I can assure you that at God’s banquet, the donuts served up by this world will not even be on the menu, or even be a memory, and surely not desired, for what God serves will forever satisfy and fill with goodness everlasting for those who chose to treasure their gems.

1 John 2:15   Love not the world, neither the things [donuts] that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Target Practice

    This will be short and sweet! First a disclaimer ... I don't have a subscription to the newspaper ... I don't have a parakeet. I do peruse the want ads and read Pickles in the comics. And then, I reluctantly admit to browsing thru the rest to kill and or to waste time. Today, Gordon Howie made the front page again because he's selling property to pay taxes and to subsidize his income. It bears asking the question "why are they still trying to paint [to smear, tarnish, infer, taint] a less than desirable image of the man?" After all, the election for Governor is over. He certainly draws criticism even from some Christians [he reads his Bible]. The answer is easy! This guy doesn't know when to quit. He's off and running again with his Life and Liberty Group. After sponsoring or co-sponsoring all the pro-life legislation the past six years, he's taking aim at the pro-death camp from the street level. He's not going away. The difference between his Christianity and the more prevalent christianity is that he knows we're in a war. His endurance reminds me of a story about John Quincy Adams who, after fourteen years of being one of the most reviled representatives in Congress for his unrelenting commitment to end slavery, was asked by a reporter ... " Why do you do it? How can you keep going year after year, battered by the newspapers, against insurmountable opposition? Why do you do it? " His response was simply this. "The duty is mine, the results are Gods." JQA read his Bible.

     Matthew 7:29 says " Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

     When I watched Veggie Tales,  " The Pirates That Don't Do Nothing, " I thought, I know you guys. It's the church that ”doesn't do anything.” I removed the double negative just for my mom. You're all over. You're the ones that can't call murder, murder. The harder you try not to be offensive the more you are ... to Christians. In the KJV truth and mercy are yoked together. It's not merciful if it's separate from the truth, and truth without mercy is fruitless. Repentance and healing do not come from admitting to a procedure to remove tissue. When facing the consequences of divorce and trying to move on, it didn't work to tell myself I made a bad decision, lots of people do it, and the kids will be okay. Rationalizing ... that's another name for lying. What works is the truth. I'm an adulterer and to top it off I'm a liar in whom vows to my wife and God meant nothing, or surely not enough. Repentance isn't always easy but it works and it is necessary! C.S. Lewis stated that, as with a mathematical problem, after making an error it does no good to continue forward for the solution. As with the problem, the quickest and only way home is to go back to where you made the error and correct it before continuing. All right, it was something like that. Anyway, it sounds like I'm attacking the Church. Well, you're right! I am. I'm tired of kicking a dead horse and I'm tired of people that think being a Christian is a spectator sport. I also know it's not everyone, just too many of us. I want more than to know about God. I want to be known by God. It might be a dirty job to be me, but that's the option God gave me. He'll also give me the qualifications and hopefully an occasional prod when I need it. I pray that I can be known by God... not famous, not in the paper, but for sure not on the sidelines. I'll never be perfect this side of eternity and I've made more than my fair share of mistakes but I won' be drawn out of the battle, and I feel rather certain that Gordon Howie will not either just because the enemy is using him for target practice. What God desires is for His people to move out of the trenches. We're supposed to have the armor for defense but he also equipped us with a sword. Now if we could only quit cutting each other with it and use the sword as intended, as our one offensive weapon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shirt-Tales vs. Shirt-Tails

  I sometimes wish I could be hopelessly ignorant of the cascading, downhill slide of the degeneration of our culture. Degeneration here is the key word. It's a process. It takes time and in our culture it also takes planning. I'm going to suggest here, much to the dismay of our planning committee, that it is a Judeo-Christian heritage that is on the skids. We're now to the point of delusion that they'll even argue about that. But what really ruffles the feathers is when you can still tie all the underlying good and virtue that under girds the foundation of this country riding on those shirt-tails, ragged as they may be.
     1799 - Dr. Jedediah Morse reminds us "To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom... Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."

Once again we have another quote from some nut associating Christianity with our democratic --- oops I guess he said republican --- form of government. 

     1783 - Dr. Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on the First Pillar of the Constitution: "All the forms of civil polity have been tried by mankind, except one, and that seems to have been reserved by Providence to be realized in America...[That wonder was a unique kind of republic] "... a democratical polity for millions, standing upon the broad basis of the people at large, amply charged with property..."  This, for all of us that weren't home schooled, is talking about " The Principle of Representation." Notice the mention of property. A persons property was equated with his freedom in those days and not something for the government to be equally distributing among those they deemed deserving. The Bible was essential to the desire for liberty, and the ability to be self-governing, in turn, was paramount to preserving that liberty. The biblical view of man lead the way in developing a form of government not blindly led by the will of the masses or by the tyranny of one man. That's why Exodus 18:13-21 was a primary guide for our Founding Fathers. Jethro exhorts Moses to choose qualified judges for guidance and direction. In Webster’s dictionary  "republic" was stated as "A Commonwealth; a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power was lodged in representatives elected by the people. " Oh, to have qualified and Godly representatives.
       Oh, and why did they keep saying that the separation of powers came from that silly old Bible verse, Isaiah 33:22?  " For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our King." They said that be cause that's where "The Second Pillar of the Constitution, The Separation of Powers" comes from. I don't remember that part from my public school indoctrination.

Now, not only did God give us the model for our system of balanced branches of government, but He gave us Guidelines and Limitations of power. That's just one of the reasons the Founding Fathers founded a whole bunch of Bible societies with the intent of getting Bibles into the hands of ... EVERYONE. They very correctly reasoned that an illiterate person incapable of reading the Holy Scripture was easily misled and incapable of judging the legitimacy of laws passed. State constitutions were quick to establish the three prerequisites of public education in the pursuit of passing these ideals on to the coming generations. 1. The teaching of religion [Christianity] 2. The teaching of morality 3. The pursuit of knowledge. I'm surprised they haven't cut off access to The Library of Congress. All you have to do is to be able to read, accompanied with a little initiative, and you can see for yourself what they actually said. I can see that day coming round the bend when that option is gone. Maybe not, with our nosedive into the low ranks of literacy, [700,000 recent graduates could'nt read their own diplomas] the need will not arise.
      Another quote: Rosalie J. Slater "Can we expect these three governmental actions to operate correctly if we, as individual Christians, do not know the source from which they are derived, and what was their purpose? In our ignorance today we are tempted to believe that the power of the judicial, executive, and the legislative branches of our government resides in those individuals who staff these offices. Yet, upon on consideration of the Biblical base and purpose, we can see that the power or control resides not in the staffing but in the electorate, which these offices represent. It resides in each individual Christian as he allows Christ to rule his life."
      Now there's a concept for us that doesn't allow for too much blame shifting. There's a reason the judicial branch didn't have their own building until 1935 and why they occupy the smallest portion of the Constitution. It's not because the original intent was for them to decide what was deemed okie dokie for the rest of us. The original intent lies in "We the People."  The people, as in the ELECTED representatives, the ones that hear more than one hour of presentation of argument, and have to answer to their constituents, the legislative, the part that inherits the lengthier portion of the Constitution, were the ones to decide POLICY and the rule of the land. Does anyone ever read the heading on all the official court documents, "This is the opinion of the court?" Ignoring the irrefutable intent of the Constitution, the blatant imposition of their personal agendas, and defiance of past precedent and blatant omission thereof would certainly have earned them the well deserved boot, if not worse, from any of the founders of this document. The mere indulgence of the thought of a five from nine majority ruling the roost would be an anathema to anyone living in the first century of this country. Actually it still is today...but no one seems to have the courage to put a stop to it. They're there for life and people are duped into thinking this is their representation?   I could write several quotes now on the importance of integrity and Christian morality as presented to us by our Founding Fathers, but I've already done that.
     The Third Pillar of our Constitution: "A Dual Form of Government" Math.22:35-40
Jesus states the greatest commandment, as “Thou shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind." The second as "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." The first commandment applies to our national sense in that we are willing to be God governed. This extended, in their eyes, to going further than printing slogans on coins that read "In God We Trust.' We have inalienable rights and responsibilities that extend to institutions such as home, church, school, and state. It shouldn't be surprising that these are the areas targeted by our planners in their quest for dismantling this document. Inalienable, God given? Central government has never had the power to encroach upon these liberties. Central and State are each supreme in their own sphere.
     This pillar addresses the age-old question,  "How can unity and diversity co-exist in harmony?"  It's not doing so well under the current philosophy of the day. It could be that the Founding Fathers concluded that a government that allowed both form and freedom, unity and diversity, was possible only through a balanced Biblical perspective. I agree. It's too bad Biblical is not inclusive in the new definition of diversity. This would once again tie us to an immovable foundation inclusive of those darned absolutes. This is going to hurt a little bit, but they're talking about limited government and accountability, and a strict adherence to their delegated authority. Delegated authority is the key phrase here. What we have now is corrupt, self-appointed authority, especially in the judicial and executive, wielding powers not expressly given them. The weakest branch, once pre-eminent, has now become that of the people, the representative. But as Benjamin Rush, John Adams, and other signers of the Constitution observed, the removal of the Bible and its teachings would lead to the eventual demise of our system of self-government.
     Unfortunately, as I said earlier, the ride on the shirt-tails of what was, even with the protections foreseen by the founders, is not going to sustain us much longer. This is surely a joy to many, a horror to some, and a battle cry to others. The planners for our demise fear only our vision restored, our ignorance dispelled, and the fear of God, which is the beginning of knowledge, once again instilled in our hearts. Their own shirt-tales, lacking even a good semblance of a fairy tale, are showing their tawdry origins as examined and exposed in the light of truth, and truth I'm afraid to remind them, is immutable and unchanging unlike their distortions and lies.

The resources used for this post are The American Covenant, by Marshall Foster, excerpts from David Barton of Wallbuilders, Library of Congress, the Records of Congress, and the KJV Bible.