Monday, December 26, 2005
One of my very favorite things each year is to pick out my calendars for the coming New Year.
Now some of you may think…get real…it’s just a calendar for Pete’s sake…who cares. Ahhh…but you would be wrong. You see having just the right calendar…or two…or more can really help brighten your day.
Just imagine…you’re at work and the morning is already filled many demands…and you pick up the phone…and here’s someone else wanting to add to your already very full plate. That little stress meter is going up…but then you take a look at that calendar that you brought in for the new year. You know the one…that wonderful “For the Love of Dogs” calendar by Lang.
What do you see…you see a puppy dog who looks so real that you feel you could stretch your hand out and pet him. He’s looking at you with those loving eyes…and just wants a pat on the head or to given a treat. All of a sudden you feel your blood pressure go down. You remember there’s more to life that all the demands of the office…and now you can refocus.
I just love calendars…and each year look forward to seeing the new selections. I get four. Actually more if you include the desk calendars. One for work…and three for home.
Lang…makes the best calendars. No matter what you favorite subject is…they will likely have calendar to meet your needs. A few years ago I discovered their “For the Love of Dogs” calendar…and have been sold ever since. Being that I have cats…it may seem odd that I have a dog calendar. But truly I am an animal lover…and the only thing keeping me from having dogs is not having the space.
Usually my calendar purchases involve animals…dogs, cats, birds or wildlife. I like the nature scenes, garden scenes…or old fashion times and place. My calendars are a bright spot in my everyday life.
Lang…does make the best calendars. Their artists are among the most renowned and talented. The quality of the paper they use…will allow you to frame some of your favorites once the year is over.
So if you haven’t already made those all important selections for your New Year…click on the link for Lang and order your calendars today.
My absence should not be interpreted as me being a Scrooge…not at all…but instead one sick dog. On Friday…an ongoing cough caught up with me and had me in bed for the last two and half days. My best laid plans for Christmas were set aside…and instead exchanged for switching between the bed and the sofa. My biggest accomplishments were feeding Nathan and Moss…and taking down the trash. Doesn’t sound like much…but trust me…even that took some effort.
The words I uttered most in the last two and half days were, “please God help me”…so today I am most grateful to be feeling better.
Unfortunately, I did let so much of the Christmas busyness keep me from focusing on Jesus. I surely hope that next year…I don’t loose sight.
One of the challenges I had wanted to try this year was from David Fisher at Pilgrim’s Scribblings. David is always one to inspire, encourage and challenge you. One of his postings prior to Christmas was to read Luke 2 each day before Christmas and come up with 12 rules of Christmas.
I did actually start it…but each time I waded in to reading Luke 2 I found so much to take away. But before this blessed Christmas season has passed entirely…I thought I’d try to write down some of the lessons I see in Luke 2:1-40.
What from a human perspective, what seems like an inconvenience at an exceptionally bad time…is actually something God has ordained and is part of His plan.
It couldn’t have been an easy thing for Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem just as she was about to deliver her firstborn child. But indeed it was part of God’s plan…because the promised Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem. So God had to get them there…from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Our God…who uses earthly rulers to accomplish his plans…caused Caesar Augustus to issue a decree.
Our first choice and God’s first choice may not always be the same.
What expectant mother would choose to give birth in a stable? But here again…we can see God’s wisdom. In the stable…Mary and Joseph would be afforded the privacy they would have lacked in the inn. No one would be intruding on them during this most vulnerable time. The stable was likely a cleaner place than the inn. And the warmth of the animals…helped protect both the new born babe and mother. Would the shepherds have been allowed in the inn as easily as they were at the stable…following the angel’s declaration of the good news of the Savior’s birth?
God values those who are seemingly insignificant in society…even lowly shepherds. He entrusts his message of the birth of the Christ child to these men. The shepherds listened to the message, believed…and chose to go witness for themselves the sight of the babe wrapped in clothes, lying in a manger. They didn’t doubt or question that it was God who had given them this message. There were excited and hurried off to find the babe…and they told others. They didn’t keep the message to themselves…they shared God’s good news. They glorified and praised God for all that they had seen.
Do I value those who are low and seemingly insignificant? What do I do with God’s Word that He has entrusted to me? He has entrusted me with the Bible…his very own Word. Am I eager to share it with others? Am I obedient to follow God’s leading? Do I praise and glorify God…not only with my words…but also my deeds?
Do I have the faith of Simeon?
Simeon was said to be righteous and devout. He had been promised that he would not die before he had seen the Christ child. Yet Simeon was very old…but he still believed. He was there at the temple and waited for the Christ child to be brought for his time of purification. He didn’t leave the temple…he didn’t get discouraged when it didn’t happen earlier at time that he would have preferred. He waited…on God’s timing…and trusted God’s promise.
He was looking for Jesus…and when he saw him…he recognized him. He took Jesus into his arms…and praised God. He acknowledged that God was faithful to his promise. That indeed he had seen God’s promised salvation. He recognized that Jesus was not only Messiah for the Jews…but also the hope and salvation of the Gentiles too.
Would I be like Anna…who worshiped in the temple night and day? Would I recognize the Christ child when I saw him? Would I recognized him for what he was…the promised Messiah sent to redeem his people? Do I give thanks to God for my redemption…of which I am unworthy and could never earn?
What a wonderful and rich story. What wonderful pictures of people to emulate. The overriding presence in this story…is God. God the Father…who’s plan was being carried forth. God the Son…who set aside his glory…to take on human form so he might pay the price for our sins. God the Holy Spirit…bearing witness to Simeon that he would not die before he witness the promised the Messiah. God who is holy, perfect, righteous and just…also loved sinful man so much that he sent his only begotten Son to pay the price for our sin that we might be redeemed. A message not only for Christmas…but for each day throughout the year.
May you know the peace of God and the joy of Jesus’ birth. And remember…be sure to share that good news with others.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating my home. Each year...I love putting up ornaments on the tree. I'm able to look back at ornaments I've collected over the years...and see some dating back more than 40 years.
Two of my favorites...may not look so hot upon closer examination. But by golly...they mean so much to me. Both ornaments were ones from my childhood. If memory serves me right...they originally came the Alamosa National Bank in Alamosa Colorado...from when my dad was employed as President of the bank.
The bank was always decorated beautifully...and these two ornaments are tattered treasures...but are a tangible part of my memory from those days. Memories from a sweet and tender time.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I knew passions were running high on both sides...but quite honestly...some of the uglier comments by some very troubled individuals made me pause. I was not surprised...since I'm a former lefty...and have seen the tactics of some the more virulent persons on the left over the years.
I was torn...should I let the really ugly comments stand and speak for themselves...or just delete them?
I wavered back and forth. One adage I find holds true...is that when someone wants to make a fool of themselves...get out of the way...and let them do it.
However...I have zero respect for people...both right and left that invoke vulgarity and hateful language in their lame attempts to bully, intimidate and shout down people with whom they disagree.
I have no problem...with people raising an argument contrary to what I believe...as long as it's done in a respectful and civil tone. But people who fall into vulgar name calling...should not be tolerated. So...I deleted the really ugly comments. I don't care to have any people who happen upon this blog to be offended by obscene language.
That kind of language and name calling is something that should have been left on the playground by immature people who either don't have the ability to make a reasonable argument presenting their point of view...or are too lazy to do so.
Some of the same people who made these wretched comments...are the same ones that maintain that Tookie Williams influenced others for good. That contribution surely wasn't apparent in your comments. I think Tookie deserves a refund if you are his representatives.
To those who made civil and respectful comments...even those that expressed a different point of view than what I shared about the William's execution...I thank you for taking the time to voice your opinion.
We may agree or disagree...but I appreciate your consideration.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
A couple of reflections on Christmas past and Christmas present…with Alzheimer’s.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about my mom, Gayle. She’s currently a resident at an Assisted Living Facility in the Alzheimer’s unit. Actually, she’s been at the facility for a little over three years now. About a year and a half in the Alzheimer’s unit.
When getting out all my Christmas decorations this year…I ran across a Christmas pin that she gave me three years ago (pictured to the left). That was shortly after she was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s…but well into the progression of this wretched disease.
I found it very poignant when I reflected it was really the last Christmas present I will ever receive from her. She didn’t go out shopping for it…or pick it out special just for me. But instead while her mind and ability to function normally was quickly slipping away…she was still aware enough that at Christmas time you exchange gifts. She was uncomfortable being the recipient of Christmas gifts without having something to give in return.
So she searched through her dresser drawer and found this pin and gave it to me as Christmas present.
I go to see my mom every Sunday. Usually we make it a movie day. When I arrive to see her…she’s usually finishing her lunch. I chat with her, other patients and the nurses that work there. When she’s finished eating, we head back to her room. While she’s “taking care of business”, I pop a bag of popcorn…and we put on a movie. Last weekend…we watched March of the Penguins.
Some Sundays…she doesn’t talk too much. This particular weekend she was alert and really watched the movie. But her ability to communicate and express a particular thought about what she’s watching or feeling doesn’t usually happen.
But every once and while…she’s say something that really touches me. After watching our movie…we were talking about Christmas…and she asked me if my mom ever comes over to my home to see me. It was just so sad. I told her no…and asked if her mom comes to see her. She said no.
Some days she thinks I’m her sister, or an old school chum…on occasion she can tell you quite clearly I’m her daughter Susan.
It’s funny…it doesn’t bother me when she doesn’t know who I am. Maybe because I was familiar enough with the disease I expected that to happen.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is…I’m not going to go there tonight. Perhaps another time.
As of Sunday December 11th, Governor Schwarzenegger has still not announced his decision on commuting Tookie Williams’ death sentence. With a little over a day remaining I’ve been reflecting on how overwhelmingly horrific this thing is…all the way around.
I have already written a piece about the death penalty…and why in the case of murder I believe it to be a right and just thing. Yet…just the absolute horror of it, is almost too much to contemplate.
Think about it.
Right now Governor Schwarzenegger must be quite torn…no matter which decision he will ultimately make. If he decides to commute Tookie’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, how does he look the relatives of the four victims in the eye. Their family members were brutally and unjustly murdered. How can you justify that it is right to have the person who took their lives continue to live?
Yet…if he decides to not commute the sentence and Tookie Williams is executed…there’s no turning back. It’s a done deal. Once the man is dead…there is no bringing him back. Unless you have a crime committed on videotape or you witnessed yourself…you would always have a twinge of doubt…what if he didn’t do it?
Then there is the unimaginable burden…that even when proceeding with the execution of a confessed and proven murdered…a human life will be taken. A human life, created in God’s own image. A life so precious, that God sent his only begotten Son to die, so that whosoever would believe might be saved.
Then to think of Tookie Williams’ mom…what might a mother be feeling as her son face the death penalty for crimes committed. Tookie was once a babe in his mother’s arms. Most precious and innocent…and full of hope and promise. To think how awful his life turned out...it’s too painful to imagine.
Of course let us not forget that the victim’s families have been facing that for the past 26 years…to think of what an awful death they faced. The pain and the terror of their last moments. Their future…their life cut short and ended at the hands of a murderer.
Dennis Prager once had a show in which he posed the question…as a parent would rather you child be a murderer or be murdered. Actually…he didn’t keep the topic for a full hour because both Dennis and callers alike found it entirely too painful to contemplate….indeed it is.
While an entirely different context, a Golda Meir quote comes to mind, “I can forgive you for killing my sons, but I cannot forgive you for forcing me to kill your sons.” Golda was addressing the Palestinians.
While the forgiveness is not mine to offer in the instance of Tookie Williams, because my family members were not murdered, I think Golda Meir’s quote is apt.
God forbids individuals to extract revenge and to kill someone for wrong doing done towards us as individuals. However he does permit and give that ability to government. In fact God tells us in Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God, has God made man.” What’s interesting to note in that passage, it says by “man’s hands” will the murder’s blood be shed. Not God’s hand…but by man. Not as an individual taking revenge. For revenge belongs to the Lord alone. (Romans 12:19). But the government/society is charged with that responsibility, after a just trial has take place and the crime proven.
Tookie…you are forcing our society to take your life for the crimes you committed.
No matter what happens…if Tookie sentence is commuted or the death penalty is carried forth…there is nothing good that comes from this. There is only hurt, pain, devastation…and there is only one Healer to whom all can go. Our God must be weeping with us.
It is my prayer that the victim’s families will go to Jesus to be able to forgive the unforgivable. That Tookie Williams will repent, seek forgiveness and salvation through our Savior Jesus Christ…who bore all our sins on the cross…including your sins Tookie. Also that Governor Schwarzenegger would seek guidance and wisdom, peace and strength for the decision that rests in his hands.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Below is my transcript from an anonymous caller to the Dennis Prager show on Wednesday, 11/30/05. Dennis was discussing the impending Tookie Williams execution. This caller was very compelling. Dennis’s comments were few…because the caller was so eloquent.
DP: Anonymous in Los Angeles, “Hello”.
AC: “Hi Dennis, I want to present to you a story that can be verified through articles in the Los Angeles Times. And it’s similar to your analogy of how the Jordanians didn’t recognize the evil that they had fostered until it struck back at them.”
AC: “Well, Tookie Williams while in 1988, on death row, a Crip member from an LA gang member, and I won’t say who, since I was a member of this gang, was convicted of killing Kermit Alexander’s family, the ex-football player in 1984. And he killed four members of this family, and shot them in the head. Two kids, his sister and the grandmother. And when he arrived on death row, Tookie ordered him to stab and kill his co-defendant for telling on him during the trail. So all the while in jail after convicted for these murders, Tookie Williams’ murders, he was coordinating hit squads on death row. And when he told the guy to do it, the guy in turn stabbed him. In retaliation for trying to impose his will on him.
And this is when Tookie went to solitary confinement for six years. And this is what he accredits with his now realization that he shouldn’t have created the Crips. And I don’t believe unless that incident would have happened, you know because unless that incident would have happened, he would have ever changed his heart. Because he had planned to escape from jail. And they have a detailed plan in his handwriting, it’s been verified.”
DP: “You were a member of the Crips?
AC: “Excuse me?"
DP: “You were a member of the Crips?
AC: “Yes sir.”
DP: “Why did you change?”
AC: “Well Dennis, I was shot twice. And uh, you know I was also arrested for murder and was released. Found not to be guilty of that. But you know I just realized that, it was an epiphany, it something that came to me. I said it was divine. It wasn’t spectacular lights. But I felt that God was telling me that he had something in store for me. And I’ve been 15 years removed from that, I’m married and have I have a family. I work everyday, I pay taxes. And you know, I’m just amazed at how naive these people are, the Mike Farrell's and these people who want to commute this guy’s sentence. And they don’t take into account that there’s, your previous caller was wrong, since, in 20 years there has been 11,000 deaths accredited to gang violence in Los Angeles. I think people need to understand the impact of what this guy has created. And that to put him to death will illustrate that, you know, you can never escape justice.”
DP: “Thank you very much for the call. I appreciate it, I have nothing to add. I think it spoke for itself.”
Thursday, December 08, 2005
While awaiting the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams and anxoius to see if Governor Schwarzenegger will commute his death sentence…I’ve been reflecting on why I believe that Stanley Tookie Williams must be executed for the four murders he committed and was convicted of.
First there are the crimes he committed. Jack Dunphy, an Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, wrote an excellent article, “Is Tookie’s Time Up?” at National Review Online. Below are excerpts of his article detailing the murders:
February 28, 1979 – Victim Albert Owen
On February 28, 1979, Stanley "Tookie" Williams and three other men drove in two cars to a 7-Eleven store in the city of Whittier, California, a suburb southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The lone clerk on duty at the time was 26-year-old Albert Owens, who was sweeping the store's parking lot when the men arrived. Owens apparently believed the men to be legitimate customers, for he put down his broom and dust pan and followed them into the store. Williams, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, forced Owens into a back storeroom. After ordering Owens to lie on the floor, Williams fired a shotgun blast into the store's security monitor. Then, though Owens had offered no resistance at all, Williams fired two blasts into the prostrate man's back, killing him. When an accomplice asked Williams why he had shot Owens, Williams explained that he didn't want to leave any witnesses. The accomplice would also later testify that Williams told him he killed Owens "because he was white and he was killing all white people." Williams and his three accomplices netted about $120 in cash for their efforts that night.
March 11, 1979 – Victims – 76-year-old Yen-I Yang and his 63-year-old wife, Tsai-Shai Yang and daughter, 43-year-old Yee-Chen Lin
Less than two weeks later, at about five in the morning on March 11, Williams went to the Brookhaven Motel at 10411 South Vermont Avenue, less than a ten-minute drive due east from Los Angeles International Airport. After breaking into the motel's office, Williams shot and killed 76-year-old Yen-I Yang and his 63-year-old wife, Tsai-Shai Yang. Next he killed their daughter, 43-year-old Yee-Chen Lin. As in the Owens killing, the murder weapon was a 12-gauge shotgun. The take in this crime was about $100.
These four brutal murders merit the death penalty for person who committed them. And yes, I am prejudice…I am a Christian and believe in the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament. I believe that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. I believe that God is immutable, He does not change. God in the Old Testament commanded that persons, who commit murder, must be put to death. He does so in the first five books of the Bible: Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20 and 21, Leviticus24:21, Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 5:17.
Why does God command that a murderer must be put to death? Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Human beings are unique, precious and created in God’s image. Thus…when the life of an innocent human being is taken by the act murder…the murderer must pay with their own life. Tookie Williams deserves the death penalty for the crimes he committed.
The pro Tookie forces put forth several arguments. He is innocent; he didn’t committee the four murders. He was convicted by an all white jury or was a victim of police corruption. He’s done so much good to keep children out of gangs that he should be allowed to live so he can continue that good work. He’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tookie Williams is guilty and was convicted by overwhelming evidence of these murders that he committed. Evidence that included testimony from eyewitnesses. It was the evidence that convicted Tookie…not a flawed or corrupt investigation. Appeal after appeal has been denied to overturn Tookie’s conviction or commute his sentence. This by the most liberal courts in the nation…the same folks who hate the death penalty.
The jury was not all white. The jury was made up of Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian jurors. Some reports indicate that one of the jurors was a black man. So this argument is a lie. What they really mean is there were no African American jurors and an “all white jury” is incapable of discerning the truth based on the evidence to rightly determine guilt or innocence when a African American is on trial. That my friend is racist.
Tookie Williams own son, Stanley Williams Jr., is currently in jail serving a 30 year sentence for a second degree murder conviction. He didn’t even influence his own son for good.
Besides that…being good and changing your life around does not negate your guilt for the crimes you committed. It does not mean you should not suffer the death penalty for murders you committed just because you straightened up.
Let’s not forget that Tookie has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Oh, but wait…so was Yasser Arafat…also a murder and a terrorist. One that has also been given a pass on his crimes committed…because he killed Jews and not Palestinians. Maybe this award is given to persons not so noble after all.
Tookie Williams has never admitted his guilt for these murders. Wouldn’t an admission of guilt, acknowledgement of his wrong doing, be the first evidence of a repentant heart?
Lest you think I’m racist and want Tookie dead because he’s African American…let me assure you I’m equal opportunity on the death penalty. I’m relieved and grateful that Scott Peterson and David Westerfield have been given the death penalty for the murders they committed. I hope the day of their execution comes quickly. I was appalled that Susan Smith and Andrea Yates were not given the death penalty for their crimes.
If you think I want Tookie dead because he’s not a Christian…please know that I thought that it was the right thing to do to execute Karla Faye Tucker. After she committed murder she became a Christian and repented of her crime. Thank you Lord…I praise God for this soul who repented and is now my sister in Christ. I look forward to meeting her in heaven. I rejoice that forgiveness from God is available to all.
So Stanley…please know my first prayer is that you would repent of your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I would welcome you as my brother in Christ. But I would still support your execution for murder.
Forgiveness yes…but escaping the just penalty for your crime…no!
So here we are…26 years after the lives of Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang and Yee-Chen Lin were brutally taken and Stanley Tookie Williams is still alive. He’s celebrated as a hero who helps keep children out of gangs. He’s a celebrity and has prominent people seeking to spare his life. But where are those whom he murdered? They are in the grave and their blood cries out for justice.
One quote I found ironic and hypocritical was Tookie Williams stated that he does not want observers at his execution, that it’s sick to watch someone die. Stanley…you sure didn’t find it sick when your murdered four innocent people in cold blood.
Stanley a real man acknowledges his sins. A real man wanting to influence children for good would say, “Kids don’t get involved in gangs. When you do, nothing good can come from it. Other people will be harmed and your own life will cut short. So when I’m executed for murdering four innocent people, please know this is a right and just action. Please don’t do as I have done. Stay out of gangs.”
December 13th, will be a good day for justice if Stanley Tookie Williams is executed for murdering four innocent people. Paying with his own life for the lives he took. The only injustice is that it didn’t happen sooner.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
No…I’m not being a lazy bones. Not off on some holiday...enjoying sunshine on a lush beach. And no…I don’t have writer’s block.
In fact…I am sick as a dog these days. Not exactly the flu, or a cold…I’m affectionately referring to it as “the crud”. Actually a very appropriate name…being that I feel like crud, sound like crud…and I’ve certainly had days when I looked a heap better than I do today..
If you to run across me…you might think I was in contention for the local Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer contest. Quite honestly…I think I could win…hands down…or should I say hoofs down?
I do have a couple of pieces I want to write…as soon as my fussy head clears up, For those who are not residents of Southern California...you can have some peace you are not on the roadway…with some fussy headed, coughing, sneezing, cruddy person.
Sleep is rather evasive these days. And in my time of need, my kitty boys Nathan and Moss…are no where to be found. Normally they sleep on the pillow or next to me…right now they are steering clear. Coughing and sneezing are not their cup of tea. And when I get up in the middle of a sleepless night…and pass by Nathan or Moss…I get “the look”. “Mom, could you keep it down…we’re trying to get some rest here…and you are disturbing us.”
The truth be told…Nathan is not to be found in December. His favorite sleeping spot is under the Christmas tree. So my apologies ahead of time to any of you who get Christmas presents that have ribbons with teeth marks and cat spit on them.
With that being said…and before the Nyquil Liquid Caps kick in and I write goodness knows what…I’m off to bed…with dreams of cough drops dancing in my head.
All of you be well, drink lots of water, get good rest…and drink you orange juice. Don’t come down with the crud!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
This is one of my favorite family photos...from what seems like a life time ago. In many respects it was.
This photo was taken back in 1959...in Fort Collins, Colorado...the year I was born. This was my family's house that was being moved to a new property in the country. Long before digital cameras...this photo was the handiwork of combining two different photos.
Our house was being moved...on this very large truck. A picture of our family sitting on a fence was superimposed on the picture of the house.
I'm the baby in my father, Frank's arms. My mother Gayle is to the left...and my brother's Patrick and Michael are sitting next to my dad. Everyone seems to be having a jolly time. A time of happiness and innocence. I feel rather bittersweet when I see this picture.
As the picture says...I wish you a Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
This game of tag is both fun and sobering. Please sure to click over to David's website and check out his postings which are always an encouragement. David is open and transparent...and his deep abiding faith shines through. So David...thanks for the invite to play. Here are my responses:
1. What comes to mind/what is your heart's response when you think of or hear the word..."CALVARY"?
The cross...on which my precious Savior died...shedding his blood to pay for my sins (with the hymn...The Old Rugged Cross in my head). Thank you Jesus!
2. What would you like to have inscribed on your tombstone?
She finished well....she kept the faith and brought praise and glory to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She will be greatly missing by her loving husband ______. (P.S. Yo...what are you doing here? She's not here...she's in heaven!) (Sorry David...I couldn't resist a wee bit more than one sentence.)
3. Which attribute of God do you find yourself revelling in the most?
Grace, grace, God's grace...grace that is greater than all my sins...of which I'm keenly aware and ever mindful of.
Likewise...I'm going to "tag" a few new blogger friends. I look forward to seeing your responses. The real challenge is to keep it brief...a sentence or two. For those of you who don't have a blog...perhaps this will tempt you to start one. Or at least take a few minutes to answer these questions yourself. Feel free to leave your responses...by clicking on "comments" link below.
(And yes...I do have a name or two I wouldn't mind seeing in that blank spot following the word husband.)
Thursday, November 24, 2005
No marvel, an it like your majesty,
My Lord Protector's hawks do tower so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.
King Henry the Sixth, Part II (Suffolk at II, i)
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
President Abraham Lincoln - 1863
My heartfelt thanksgiving,
For the blessings bestowed by my God
Chosen by the Father,
For salvation through his Son
Placed in a nation,
To be a light to the world
Given His Word,
God’s message to share
Our liberty and freedom,
Guaranteed in the Constitution
Our nation’s independence,
Protected by those who serve
One nation united,
All differences set aside
Reflecting with thanksgiving,
This fourth Thursday in November
Bowed in gratitude,
For the blessings from above
Humbled at the responsibilities,
Entrusted us by our God
By Susan Bunts
Thanksgiving 2005 – November 24th
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Both men and women feel the far reaching effects of feminism.
Drew commented, "Great comments. Concisely written and on point. I enjoyed how you articulated the negative aspects of feminism...not too many people point them out and the second and third order effects of what appears to be a good policy, but in truth is flawed. Keep the faith!"
Janna commented, "So true, all that you said. As an educated career woman myself, I also am thankful for the opportunities I've had but yet am saddened by the "collateral damage" caused by the feminist movement. Your points were right on! I'm going to continue browsing your blog, but come visit mine sometime. My blog is basically a daily devotional."
Be sure to checkout Janna's blog at Bread Crumbs...it's food for the hungry Christian soul.
All can Bill...is, "You Go Boy"! You keep being the gentleman...who does the right thing. If that means some women just don't get it...and think you are a Neanderthal...then so be it. Some people will never get it...and that's okay. While frustrating, annoying and sometimes down right obnoxious...it doesn't matter.
All that counts is doing the right thing. And never more so than for godly Christian and Jewish men. I am one women that sees it...applauds it and says thank you! Be sure to check out Bill and Martin's site at Standing Tall. My early preview of this site...is a thumbs up!
"From a mans perspective Wow, you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes!The equal ness between the sexes has indeed caused disrespect for woman from the younger generations. I see this everyday when boys do not open doors for their girlfriends any longer the list goes on.Thanks for putting it out there, makes me fell a little better after having been called a Neanderthal because I opened a door for a lady a few months back! She was so mad I was blessed with her articulate expression of the English language for about ten minutes afterwards!That very same day i was asked to move some office items because I was the only male in the office. Talk about confusing messages.Thanks again, it is good to know that chivalry can still be a good thing."
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Snowy Delight Fills My Senses
One of the delights in blogging is finding the treasures and jewels on other websites.
One of my favorite places to visit is David Fisher's Pilgrim Scribblings. Not only do I find his pieces that inspire and encourage me in my Christian walk...but I also find links to other great websites. Some how David scouts them out and shares so freely.
Tonight while visiting David's website I found an addition to his recent postings on Attractive Drabness. It's a series of pictures that capture you and draw you in. They are seemingly drab at first appearance...but they are lovely to behold.
The picture I discovered tonight was from Michelle's website called Mikao's World. I have marked this site as a favorite and will visit regularly.
Michelle is sharing pictures from the first snow fall where she lives in Canada. All I can say is, "Wow"!
You see...I'm a California girl...misplanted. I love snow and winter. Born in Colorado...and I think it's in my blood. Today in Southern California...we had a sunny lovely day in the 80's. You can't ask for better. But golly...seeing the snow pictures from Canada...just fill my senses.
Thank you Michelle and David for sharing from the abundance of your wealth.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
For some time now…I’ve wanted to tackle this subject….it’s been ruminating around my mind for quite a while. My contempt builds as I see examples each day on how feminism has not only failed…but in fact, has made the world a worse place. Worse for women, for our children and for men.
After listening to Dennis Prager’s interview of reformed feminist Phyllis Chesler my desire to write this piece was resurrected. It’s a good thing that I waited. If I hadn’t…I’m afraid it would have merely been chock full of anger and ugly words. As it is…my passion remains…but I hope to present with clarity the some of the reasons for my contempt.
I’m forty-six years old…and grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. When I think back to my first impressions of feminists…the first thing that comes to mind is equal pay for equal work. There was the idea that a girl should be allowed to choose to study whatever she wants and pursue a career in her chosen field. Now those are admirable and good goals. Goals that most folks would support whole heartedly.
I am very successful in my career…I love my job and the work that I do. In part I can thank feminists of the past, for the opportunities I’ve had to pursue the work I love. Yet, I would give it all up tomorrow…with no regrets…for the right man.
The destructive forces that were unleashed with feminism…have overwhelmed any seeming benefit. The devastation is widespread. The very people whom feminists proclaim they want to help…have been harmed the most.
Let’s start with “free love”…which bottom line means have free sex with whomever you want, whenever you want, as much you want. Hummmm….what a thought!
Like everything in life…it’s has consequences. What are the consequences of “free love” and unlimited sex? How about sexually transmitted disease? How does 19 million new cases each year sound? Half those infections are in kids ranging from 15 to 24 years old. Let’s not forget infertility as a result of STD’s and it may also result in birth defects or even death to the babies.
And then there is the mother of all STD’s…AID’s…Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Not too many years ago…it was a certain death sentence. Now thanks to modern medicine…death from this disease has been delayed. But it still remains.
Who can talk about feminism…and not broach the subject of abortion. Those good old “reproductive rights”. (Whatever happened to reproductive responsibility?) Of course the argument that’s always meant to silence the critics is, “you big bad bullies, making a poor defenseless woman have to carry and give birth to a baby, when she was raped or the victim of incest.”
With the way this argument is bandied about…you would think that 90% of all abortions are the result of some type of sexual assault or abuse. When in fact, the vast majority are nothing more than costly, after the fact, birth control. Making an innocent human being pay the death penalty…because they are an inconvenience to their prospective mother.
How do you like the sound of over 1,000,000 abortions each year in the United States?
Just for the record feminists…half those persons being killed are female. Don’t forget…it was women you were aiming to help. I guess the only woman that counts is the one outside the womb…and as long as she is wanted by her mother. After all, that is the only thing that gives that baby worth (according to you)…and keeps it from being swept down a sink.
To prove that abortion is not about rape and incest…ask yourself what would the feminists do, if tomorrow Christians were to agree to stop their battle and allow abortions for any woman who was the victim or rape or incest…but outlaw all other abortions? Do you even remotely think that feminists and leftists would not agree to that? Not in a million years…I would safely bet everything I have on that.
STD’s and abortions don’t even begin to touch the emotional and spiritual toll or consequences of these behaviors and actions run amuck.
Now we have videos of “girls gone wild”…ripping of their tops for the camera. Let’s not forget our young girls emulating our dear former President and his intern. They are performing oral sex on boys…and not even thinking its sex. Feminists…I thought you didn’t want women to be sex objects? But what you started…has lead to this.
The harm you’ve done is not limited women…it’s deeply effected our boys and men. Who in society can you bash so freely and openly, and treat with such utter contempt as men? You have license to do and say whatever you want about men, without any repercussion.
What’s ironic…is that if men turned around say the same things about women…you would be screaming bloody murder. You hypocrites!
You bash men like there’s no tomorrow. You have no respect for them and you treat them with utter contempt. Is that how you want your sons to be treated? Do you not even love them enough to want them to be loved and cherished for the precious boys and men that they are? Women…what is the matter with you? You are sick in your soul.
It’s everywhere…it is so deeply seeped into society…that you can’t turn on a TV show or pick up a paper and not see ugly consequences of feminism and it’s far reaching effects.
In something as simple as a TV commercial the “feminist effect” comes shining through. Adelphia has commercial running now advertising their new DVR system. The ad features a woman telling us that her dumb boyfriend suggested that she record the shows she wants to watch…so she won’t miss them. In the commercial…she bashes the boyfriend…of course she’s obviously superior, to this dumb inferior schmuck. Not to be missed is unspoken reference that they are living together…not married.
You know I clearly remember a time…when it was considered wrong by society to be “living in sin”. But now days…it’s a sin no longer. It’s widely and broadly accepted…and nary a word is spoken that it’s wrong.
Now maybe it’s because I’m a Christian that I still haven’t abandoned those values. My moral compass is still intact, thanks to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit within me.
I stand amazed at the intellectual dishonesty and foolishness of feminists and leftists who fail to see the flaws and failings of their own arguments. They want a woman to be paid the same as a man for the same work. But they have to dumb down and lower the standards for women to get the job.
Fire fighters, police officers and military come to mind. Am I saying that women should not pursue these careers. No…but let’s get real. Don’t lower the standard. Do you want your husband, son or brother working alongside women…their lives at greater risk…because the standard had to be lowered, so the woman could get the job?
And then one of my favorite lines of the feminists, is the argument that men and women are the same. This one is almost laughable and defies common sense and reality. There comes a point where you have to ask if you can even reason with people who are in such denial.
Now to personalize this. Daily I come in contact with men who are confused or uncertain if they should do the simple considerate act of holding a door open for me or other women. It’s not brain surgery…but it’s a simple act that shows respect and esteem for women. Men have been given such a ration of garbage for what is really a loving and caring act. No wonder they are confused, or angry…or just plain don’t respect women any longer.
But it crushes my spirit when a guy won’t extend the courtesy of this simple act. I feel less than feminine, very unworthy…and bottom line, it hurts. At the same time…I don’t necessarily blame the guy. I hold feminists accountable on this one.
My greatest wish, hope, dream and prayer is to be married. But I’m not. I can’t help but think that in our society…my chances of getting married are greatly reduced…in part because of what the feminists have done.
Why would a guy want to get married, when he can go out and have sex with as many women as he wants, as much as he wants, any time he wants…with no commitment or responsibility? Not a lot of guys would. Or to be more accurate…not enough men do commit and get married these days.
While somewhat crude…I do feel the old adage is true…why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?
There are men out there…that have gone against their male nature and made a choice to be committed to one woman. To sacrifice and have children…and raise them up in godly households.
But thanks to you dear feminists…I and many millions of other women are paying price of your selfish pursuits. I hold you in contempt for the harm you have done and the price too many people…both women and men…have paid.
Feminists…you failed in the most important areas of life…and the world is worse because of it!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
By Dennis Prager, Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website: www.dennisprager.com.
THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims. Here are five of them:
1) Why are you so quiet?
Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.
There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.
(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?
(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?
Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.
(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?
No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.
Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.
As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.
Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.
We await your response.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I tell you there are days when God must just rest head against his hand say, "Susan, dear, when are you going to get it? When are you going to understand that you can trust me? What's it going to take?
I admit it...I'm a slow learner. Hopefully...a wee bit better each year, month or day than the one before. But it's a very good thing that God is patient...infinitely patient.
This last week...was another trying week. One in which I felt overwhelmed the pressing daily demands, deadlines and challenging people. I felt wholly inadequate to meet or keep up with the mounting demands. Seemingly something at every turn kept popping up and nothing much was working out smoothly. I was in need of quiet so I could concentrate and attempt to get things done. But quiet was rather elusive.
So instead of being composed and trusting God and his timing...I became quite cranky and annoyed. Yeah...a real good witness to the Christian life? Un uh, yeah. Right.
When it became very apparent...to even the slower learner that I am...I was unable to handle on my own power...I decided to call in the Cavalry. I fired off a prayer request to the faithful members of Kindred's Prayer Team.
Shortly thereafter...while taking my morning walk...God brought to my memory reminders on who He is, His character...and why I can trust that He is faithful.
The same God who parted the Red Sea...so that the Jews could pass safely through...is the same God whom I worship and place my trust in.
He is the same God who stopped the sun it's path...as Joshua and the Israeli's fought the Amorites. He is the same God who sees my troubles and is there along side me.
Can I really say that my tiny, little problems are too much for the God who created the universe and all that it contains?
The same God who by His power...raised Jesus Christ from the dead...is my God.
If God...can create a whole universe and fill it with His creation...by merely speaking a word...can't He manage my little problems? Is anything too big for my God?
You see, He has promised to never leave me, nor forsake me. He is able to do abundantly more than all I ask imagine.
Now if only...I will remember...to handle all my difficulties with prayer.
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
Friday, November 11, 2005
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years - Genesis 1:14
In Southern California...you don't usually find too much of anything that resembles autumn. Thus...it pays to keep your camera right handy. So when you encounter...something wonderful from God's creation...you can preserve that memory. Snapped this photo on one of my morning walks...around my home. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year.
They say confession is “good for the soul”…and indeed it is. So time for a little true confession on my part.
Recently…I was bubbling over…with my mind trying to work through a number things…going on with myself, family and friends. I love to write…thus, this blog. It’s the way I work through issues…put on paper what I’m thinking, work through the issues and even get a different perspective. I’m able to work through the heat of the moment…when I’m angry or sad or depressed or grieving…and have clarity and balance.
So with all sorts of “stuff” going on…I wanted to write. But I knew if I was going to use some of these very personal happenings, I couldn’t post it on my blog. After all, I have friends and family that visit here. So I got this brilliant idea to start an alternate blog…unrelated to this one. Someplace where I could be anonymous…but work through my feelings and ideas.
I was still approaching it with a Christian perspective…it contained nothing ugly, illicit, illegal or tawdry. But at the same time…it was a place where I wouldn’t feel comfortable having the people that know me read about my emotions, thoughts and opinions.
The funny thing is…I had it in my mind…I was going to be open and transparent. Yet…I was going to remain anonymous. Now that doesn’t quite jive, does it?
No…and now for those of you who are Christians…you know exactly what I mean when I say…I was feeling the pressure of the Holy Spirit. Trust me…He doesn’t let me get away with anything for long. So he reined me in…and rightfully so.
What did I learn? Well…if I’m going to say something…I need to have the courage to stand behind my convictions. Whatever I’m mulling over about someone else’s life…I need to examine it and apply the lesson to my own life…and see where I might be guilty of the same.
When writing…if I don’t want to repel my audience…I need to be diplomatic. Not politically correct or fake…but winsome and attractive. Now for those that know me…you are probably saying, “Yeah, right!” Susan, winsome and attractive…I don’t think so. She’s more likely to take whack at you than be polite…and to a certain degree you are correct.
But with writing…unless I’m intentionally trying to be provocative…I do have to aim to be well reasoned and not completely turn someone off at the start. Writing is a good discipline.
Then of course…maybe some of the stuff I want to say...needs to be private. And only shared with someone with whom I’m close and loves me.
Like I said…the Holy Spirit reined me in…and I deleted that blog.
I may approach some of those subjects here…but I’ll have to work through the issues and apply them to my own life…and use my flaws and failings as an example. Not use the examples that I see in others.
Does that mean I won’t ever take a whack…or be very pointed in my writing? Don’t even go there…that ain’t gonna happen. When you read this blog…this is pretty much the real me. I bare my heart, soul and emotions…on things personal, political, religious…and world events. That’s not going to change.
But at the same time…I am more keenly aware that as much as I think this blog is my space…it’s also God’s. It’s a place where I am responsible and accountable to Him. I’m most grateful for my ability to read and write…and express myself. But I need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit when doing so.
Now the last couple of weeks have been outrageously out of control…and busy doesn’t even come close to describing it. In about a week…things should calm down a bit…and I will be writing more. Until then I hope to squeeze in a little bit. I miss this wonderful outlet when I’m not taking pen to paper…or more accurately…fingertips to keyboard.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
This concept is one of having a high view of God and a low view of man. Contrast that, with having a high view of man and a low view of God. When you think about it…your view and understanding about God and who he is will impact every area of your life.
I’m trying to digest this concept…and incorporate it into my life and my way of thinking. Let me first state unequivocally that I can state like Paul…I am chief among sinners. In fact I think I may be able to easily unseat him in that category. So as I work through my understanding of this…know that I am keenly aware of my fallen state.
I can also look around and see how having an incorrect understanding and perspective of God, will impact what decisions I make. When I look at in my own life, and examples in the lives of friends and family I am amply warned on the importance of having a balanced and right concept about God.
Yet, I need look no further than the Bible for examples on having a low view of God. In Genesis we see Eve and Adam choosing to disobey God’s command to not eat the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”.
Genesis 3:16 - 17 - And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
When the serpent temped Eve, he first cast doubt on God’s Word, asking “did God really say”?
After Eve explained Gods command and the resulting consequence if they failed to obey, the serpent made God out to be a liar who wanted to withhold good and desirable things from Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:4 – 5 - 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Here we can see having a high view of man and low view of God in action. Eve in her desire to become like God by attaining knowledge of good and evil raises herself up, and lowers God.
It’s ironic that in her quest to become like God, Eve instead becomes less like God. At that point, her nature has been changed and she is a sinner. As a result…she will also drink of the bitter cup of death. Immediately a spiritual death or separation from God. Later a physical death…as sin takes its toll and decay, death and destruction rein.
Eve temped Adam to also eat of the fruit. Adam also demonstrates a low view of God…by listening to Eve instead of obeying God’s command.
Now it didn’t take long for sin to rein supreme in man. Cain and Able, the first generation from Adam and Eve, had the first murder. Cain sought to go to God and bring him an offering of his choosing, not what was pleasing to God. When Able’s offering was pleasing and acceptable to God…Cain was angry and downcast.
God went to Cain and encouraged him to do what was right and also warned him about going down the road of anger. But Cain chose to listen to his own feelings…and that resulted in Cain committing the first act of murder.
When God confronted Cain…he was concerned about how the consequences of his sin would effect him, rather than repenting before a holy, righteous and just God.
Not too many generations after this…God found mankind to be so sinful that he found it better to wipe out all human and animal life, except Noah, his family and the animals on the ark. Despite this relatively fresh start…man’s sinful nature has continued it’s course.
It is only by receiving a new nature, when we are born again, that we can begin to obey God. We are told that we must put on our new self and conversely put off our old nature.
Like I said earlier…I am chief among sinners. Unlike Paul…I could not say with confidence follow my example as I follow Christ.
It is not until we die and are completely transformed that we will be able sin no longer. However it is the Word of God that can change us and transform us. Paul tells that the Word of God washes and cleanses us. That is why it is so critical to be reading God’s word and putting in your heart and mind daily.
Be ye transformed: Romans 12:2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Duane...I call your five yard penalty...and raise you ten.
Now that Duane Patterson, producer of the Hughbo Baggins Show (AKA Hugh Hewitt) is just plain feisty. Penalizing me for my Lord of the Rings, ever so clever usage.
"The Susan Blog is taking issue with Hugh's Get the Band Back together meme. Susan thinks she never left, although she should get a five yard penalty for illegal use of Lord of the Rings usage."
For trying to stifle my creative streak...I raise you ten...and throw in a Star Wars reference. You will hereby be known as Darth Patterson, not quite a Sith Lord...but an underling.
So take that Darth Patterson!
Following Harriet Miers’ withdrawal of her nomination for Supreme Court Justice you began the mantra, “Let’s bring the band back together.”
I want it on the record Hugh…true conservatives never left the band.
Instead our Producer George W. Bush…and a few supporters (very few) found a new lead singer in an unusual place. He had a warm fuzzy feeling…and based on hearing her sing a few songs around the camp fire…and he thought she’d be swell. Rather than going with a known commodity…someone who had already written a few hit songs…and won a few Grammy Awards…he went someone with whom he had toasted a few marshmallows.
Amazingly enough…our Producer was able to convince a few others…including yourself to support his rather questionable choice.
Other band members were saying, “Slow down Mr. Producer…we don’t even know if she can hold a tune.” But he kept assuring us, “Trust me.”
Now Hugh…I’m a true conservative. That means that while I’m a registered Republican…when the party messes up, goes down the wrong road or has a double standard…I will be among the first to call it, like it is.
The fact I’m in line with some of our uglier party members like Ann Coulter…makes me a little squeamish. Nevertheless, I’m going to stick to my guns.
Hugh…glad to have you back in the band again. But truly, you were more than obnoxious for a few weeks there. Now if you need to get back on those meds to keep your obsessive compulsive tendencies in line…get that prescription filled.
Please…let’s not go down that road again! Let’s stay the course.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Genesis 8:1 - “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”
This last week was a very difficult one. One that by the end of the week, I was saying “That’s it! I’m over, I’m out, I’m done, I’ finished…I can’t take it anymore. Finito!” I wanted to step aside…and let another run the next leg of the race.
The only problem was…no one else was volunteering to do so. Surely not through will power…but momentum, I kept plugging away.
While not quite as downcast…my mood was not going to win any power of positive thinking award today. But my one saving grace was that I had my Bible Study Fellowship lesson to complete.
This week we are studying about Noah…Genesis 6 – 8. The passage that stood out to me most was Genesis 8:1 “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”
This week I felt like the waters had overwhelmed me…and I had been forgotten by God. I cried out...but there was only quite…no reply and no relief forthcoming.
But thank goodness for the Word of God...to remind me about who He is. Our God, who is ever faithful and unchanging. In John 1:1…we learn that Jesus was the Word, and was with God the Father in the beginning, and was God. Our triune God…Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
That same God, who remembered Noah, has remembered me.
Think about what a scary and uncertain time this was for Noah and his family. They alone, along with the animals on the ark, remained. For the first time ever it had rained…and the waters of the deep poured forth and the earth was covered with water. All people, but eight whom God had saved, were killed in the flood. The Bible tells us in Genesis 6:8 that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
God has had mercy upon me, and through his grace saved me. He will not forsake me, nor forget me, nor leave me helpless. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us that God will never leave us, nor forsake us.
Now if go by my feelings…I wouldn’t grasp that, know and trust that God cares for me…even when circumstances seem quite overwhelming.
But when I place my trust in God, and in His Word…I can rest assured that he has not forsaken me. Instead like, Noah, He remembered me. He is at work and soon the waters will be receding.
When God remembered Noah (actually, He had never forgotten him)…he started a work and the waters would soon recede. But it took…150 days before that was evident.
Like Noah…the waters that have swamped me will recede. Whether perceptible at the moment…or veiled…my God is at work. He has a plan and purpose that He is working out.
Do I still have moments of doubt? You bet ya! But one thing I’ve found helpful in those dark and discouraging times…is to give thanks to God. Thank him for that which he has provided. Give thanks for who He is.
Through thanksgiving and praise…I am able to remind myself that God exists and God cares…He is there and has provided. In those times…that’s when it pays to know the Word of God. Before you are in those difficult times…not after.
So I thank you Jesus for remembering me. I thank you that you have sent a wind…and the waters that have swamped me will soon recede.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
It was filled to the brim in dealing with people that leave you muttering to yourself, as you walk away...or hang up the phone...saying one of the following:
"Gee wiz, these folks must have done some heavy duty drugs in the 60's."
Or, "They must have dropped some serious acid...cause something ain't quite working right in their gray matter."
Or how about, "You can't be that stupid naturally, it has to be supplemented."
Giving them the benefit of the doubt with, "I think their mom must have dropped them on their head when they were a baby...that kind of thinking just has to be caused by something."
The other thing that was apparent after this day...or should I more accurately say this week...is that the indelible imprint of a lawyer's hands all over it. Mucking things up, as usual.
Now I've always had a fondness for lawyer jokes. Lawyers are so universally held in low esteem and poorly regarded...and it's usually well deserved and even well earned.
So in my efforts to mend from this wretched day...thought I'd throw out a few lawyer jokes...to bring a smile to my lips and perhaps even an ironic chuckle. So here are a few of my favorite lawyer jokes:
What do you say about a 1,000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
It's a good start.
What's the difference between a dead rattle snake in the middle of the road and a dead lawyer in the middle of the road?
There are skid marks in front of the snake.
What's the difference between a carp and a lawyer?
One's a scum sucking, low life bottom dweller and the other is a fish.
Now I invite you to participate...help me feel better. Or even release some your own stress over the ridiculous, nonsense that you encounter every day. Things that are made worse because of lawyers. So...if you have good lawyer joke...now keep it clean...click on the comments link below and share your favorite lawyer joke.
Thank you ever so. You are too kind!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
One of the things that give daily thanks for is Bible Study Fellowship. I'm thankful to be in this study that helps me to do what I don't do on my own...and that is to diligently study the Word of God. This year...we are studying the book of Genesis.
I was in this study six or seven years ago...and even though it's a repeat for me...it's wonderful. I'm in a different place in my life now and hopefully I can say with accuracy that I have grown in my Bible knowledge...and more importantly, the application of God's Word in my personal life.
This year...we have a new Teaching Leader in our class, Terri. She is terrific. She's got an excitement for the Word of God, challenges you and helps you to apply it so you will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge, and walk in a manner that is pleasing to God. Terri diligently studies and prepares for her lecture each week...and willingly shares the nuggets she's discovered during her journey.
One of things I'm mindful of this year especially...is how transforming the Word of God is. When I look at people whom I most admire...I see how much God's Word helped transform their lives. It's wonderful to see...and makes me hunger and thirst for God's Word and for Him to do a similar work in my own life.
2005 is going to go down in my personal history as a year of great challenges and great losses. Among which are deaths of people important in my life. Three of them were Christian men strong in their faith. Not only in the day to day battle and how they lived their lives...but demonstrated more dramatically as they faced sickness and death.
When I think of it...I really haven't lost these precious men...I'll be catching up with them in heaven. I have absolutely confidence I know where they are...and that I will one day see them again. Not based on my own righteousness...but that given to me through faith in Jesus Christ my Lord. At that time...those things that make human relationships a challenge down here...will no longer be an issue...as we will have been transformed and given a new sinless nature.
My confidence in their salvation and my own...is made stronger when I hear wonderful stories like the one that Terri shared about Evangelist DL Moody's last words on his death bed:
Thursday, December 21, 1899, after cutting short a Kansas City crusade and returning home in ill health, D. L. Moody told his family, "I'm not discouraged. I want to live as long as I am useful, but when my work is done I want to be up and off." The next day Moody awakened after a restless night. In careful, measured words he said, "Earth recedes, Heaven opens before me!" His son, Will, concluded his father was dreaming. "No, this is no dream, Will. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go."
When you read those words from DL Moody can you likewise say that, "If this is death, it is sweet."? Make sure you know with confidence, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." - Colossians 2:5.