Quote for 02/21/2018

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.  Proverbs 2:6-8

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How does one live a good life? Well, first maybe decide just what a good life is.

God made Adam and Eve to be with Him forever. His will is still for us to spend eternity with Him! A good life, then, is one in which we accept His free gift of salvation and conduct ourselves with gratitude and our horizon being eternity!

How does one, then, live a good, eternal life, starting here and now? Read God’s Word. Study the Scriptures He gave us through his prophets, saints, and apostles. He tells us how to manage our lives, deal with conflict, and overcome adversity.

Think yourself as a “product of God.” The Bible? That’s the owner’s manual; how to operate said product.

God gives us everything we need to live our lives well. Within the shelter of His protection and providence, we can rest assured He will preserve our way!

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Quote for 2/20/2018

He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.   Proverbs 17:9 NKJV

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How do friends remain so? Even spouses? If your friend, married to you or not, sins against you, how is that wound healed? Forgiveness!

Just as Jesus covered our sins with His sacrifice on our behalf, so we ought to cover sins against us with the covering blood of Christ that has been lavished upon us.

Good friendships, good marriages, have short memories! We don’t bring up past offenses, forever holding them against those we love. We don’t repeat the matter but cover it with love, forgiveness, and forgetfulness as does God.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:12

Let us strive to love as we have been loved. Let us strive to forget offenses as ours have been forgotten.

 

Disposable People

SkullsYou shall not murder.   Exodus 20:13

Alright! I have had just about enough!! This news has projected me into a whole new dimension of rage, the Twilight Zone of fury!

News flash: Outrage as dementia patient who never asked to die is euthanized at request of family in Belgium.

You read that right. Some poor individual was just getting to be too much of a burden for the family, so they put out a hit on him or her…WITH THE HOSPICE!!!

Nurse Diesel“Excuse me, Nurse Diesel? If you’re not too busy, could you please whack Aunt Gertrude in 127? She’s been out of it for some time now, and, quite frankly, our pockets are producing lint. And if anyone asks, we just can’t bear to see her suffer any more. But who can tell, right? She isn’t exactly Chatty Cathy lately.”

Am I being snarky? Oh, you betcha! It’s how I get when I’m mammothly pi$$ed. Am I being judgmental? Again, you betcha! Am I alone? Well, let’s go to the videotape, Bob! From the article itself:

The case is described in a letter written by a doctor who resigned from Belgium’s euthanasia commission in protest over the group’s actions on this and other cases.

It has raised concerns about weak oversight in a country with some of the world’s most liberal euthanasia laws.

Although euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002 and has overwhelming public support, critics have raised concerns in recent months about certain practices, including how quickly some doctors approve requests to die from psychiatric patients.

Euthanasia 2

Pay no attention to the flat line on the monitor…

That’s right: it’s getting to be a bit too much even for a country that’s taken to playing Whack-a-Mole with their less-than-fit countrymen.

 

Some people throw this accusation around most inappropriately, so I won’t use the word here. I will ask you if snuffing undesirables throughout a country doesn’t sound like another regime not too many miles from Belgium within the last 100 years. Goose-stepping was a fave past time of theirs.

I submit that the whole concept has taken a more subtle turn. The concentration camps have been replaced by nursing homes. They’re so much more user-friendly, don’tcha think?

You think not? Well, let’s try some articles I’ve written about eugenics and euthanasia.

Let’s start with Pirates of the Sacred Spiral, Part 9 from last June. Eugenics is something that has been planned and refined over generations! The elite who want to control the size and quality of the world population have steadily moved from brute force efforts to more subtle tactics. In today’s case, from death camps to nursing homes.

Not enough? Let’s try Euthanasia – Out of Our Hands? from 2015:

France Debates Making Euthanasia Doctor’s Decision…Doctors in France will have the right to put terminally-ill patients into a deep sleep until they die, under plans unveiled on Friday that reignited a national debate on euthanasia.”

Forced Injection

Not the actual event

Then there’s Told You So… from 1/14/2015, which is about as horrific as it gets:

 

So the doctor, without asking the (nursing home resident) if SHE thinks it’s time yet, slips her a mickey in her coffee to make killing her easier. The doctor must have been out of practice, because she apparently got the dosage wrong.

The old girl wakes up when she feels the needle and fights back. The doc then asks the family – whom I presume were indeed mentioned in the will – to hold her down…AND THEY SAY YES!!!

Euthanasia Roller CoasterMaybe something on a lighter note – Making Euthanasia Fun! From 1/22/2016:

“…euthanasia in Holland has trebled in the space of a year, new figures have revealed. In 2013, a total of 42 people with ‘severe psychiatric problems’ were killed by lethal injection compared to 14 in 2012 and 13 in 2011.”  And now, unbelievably, someone has invented what he calls the Euthanasia Roller Coaster. Seriously.  It’s designed to pull excessive  forces for an extended period that will cause the riders/victims to die from oxygen starvation of the brain.  Most experts think it’ll just be unpleasant and likely make someone pretty sick, but WHAT KIND OF MIND THINKS UP THIS STUFF?!?

I can do this all day –

And this is just looking at euthanasia. Scroll down to “Categories” at the bottom and click on “Abortion,”

We use language and pleasing images to justify monstrous acts: Weasel Words & Wiggle Room. But here’s the thing…

What part of You shall not murder are we not getting?!?

Syringe Dripping

Quote for 2/18/2018

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39 NKJV

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This being a continuation of yesterday’s quote of the day, I didn’t think there was much else to say. Then I looked at the list of things Paul listed that will never separate us from God’s love and I was reminded of Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The list of all that threatens us in Romans is not of this earth. All that threatens us is of the unseen spiritual realm. A great battle rages all around us unseen.

None of the greatest powers in the universe nor time itself can separate us from God’s love. That can’t happen, because God is above it all, having created it all.

So what is this vast, cosmic war about, if the enemy can’t defeat God? Read the list again and notice what is not on that list. You and me.

The battle is over influence and control. The battle is for belief in addition to God’s angels being charged with our overall safety. The enemy’s battle is to introduce doubt and temptation into our thinking as I wrote yesterday and lure us away from God.

Stay strong in God’s Word, in the faith He has gifted you. Don’t give it up. Stay within His protection, because the only thing that can hurt you…is you!

Quote for 2/17/2018

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.     Romans 8:35,37 NKJV

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Now doesn’t that just give you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Seriously!

Have you ever doubted your salvation? I certainly have! Elsewhere in his letter to Rome Paul writes about how he just can’t get it right – I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I should do.

I’m going to hell. That’s it. Express elevator going down.

But those thoughts are the devil and his help whispering doubt into my head. I’m not good enough? That’s no revelation! Of course, I’m not good enough!! Why do I suppose Jesus came and died on the cross for me…because I’m a great guy??

My pastor told me once that if we ARE struggling with our sinful nature, that’s our proof that we do believe in God, that we are His children, and we’re anxious because we keep screwing things up.

The Gospel, the Good News is that Jesus has made everything right for us with God. And nothing, absolutely nothing will ever come between us!!

Worth Fighting For

Grant memoirsI’ve been gradually working my way through the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. It’s fascinating insight into the history of the Civil War from someone who not only lived through it, but was in a position to really know what was going on in the country; the mindset and conditions.

Here’s an excerpt that caught my attention:

Sherman’s army…numbered about 60,000 effective men. All weak men had been left to hold the rear, and those remaining were not only well men, but strong and hardy, so that he had 60,000 as good soldiers that ever trod the earth; better than any European soldiers, because they not only worked like a machine but the machine thought. European armies know very little what they fight for, and care less (emphasis added).

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.   Ephesians 6:12

Yes, we are in a war, and we have an idea of what we’re fighting against, but do we know what we’re fighting for?

Carnage and CultureThis reminded me of a book I read years ago. I couldn’t remember the title and had to search the shelves of my small library. I found it; Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson. It studies landmark battles in the rise of western power. He starts at the ancient battle of Salamis. The Greeks were hopelessly outnumbered by Xerxes’ slave army, yet they thrashed him. How? Freedom!

In every battle Hanson dissects, the difference is technology and ownership. Free societies foster creativity and better technology. Free societies will battle ferociously to keep their freedom.

How did the outnumbered Greeks defeat the Persians? They had a better idea for boats in war, better technology fostered by a free society. They fought to keep their freedom! I doubt Xerxes’ slaves had any such motivation.

Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.   1 Corinthians 9:23-24

Yes, we are in a war, or a race as Paul describes it. Elsewhere he reminds us to put on the full armor of God to not only protect ourselves but to do battle. This is done not just for ourselves, but for the sake of the Gospel. We fight for others!

But let’s get personal. Who do you fight for besides yourself? Do you have children? Imagine them in hell for eternity and see how that feels. Are you motivated to fight for them? Pray for them? Talk to them?

What about friends? Co-workers? Do they know you are Christian? Do you act like Jesus has told us to so that you are a beacon of His love to attract others? How hard are you willing to try to conduct yourself in a God-pleasing way to hopefully save people you love?

St. PaulRead these selected verses from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 9:

For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”[a] Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?… 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law,[c] that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God,[d] but under law toward Christ[e]), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as[f] weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you (emphasis added).

Paul did what he could to appeal to all to hopefully save some. Was he dishonest? By no means! He worked diligently to speak to people where they were and in terms they could understand.

Maybe now you are motivated to fight for family and friends, but how? How often do you read your Bible? Do you study it? Do you attend church and Sunday School regularly? Do you compare notes with your fellow warriors to refine battle tactics?

You have people worth fighting for. How willing are you to wade into Zombie Land and do battle?

special-forces-army-special-forces

Quote for 2/16/2018

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…   1 John 3:10-11

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At the risk of sounding too ‘60s, all we need is love. It really is that simple. It really is that difficult. With love the recent shooting in Florida would never have happened. That love could have taken a number of forms just as God’s love takes many forms for us.

It may be a hug, a reprimand, or calling authorities over something worrying in your community. Love is about one-on-one, but it is also about a community loving and caring and looking out for each other.

But it really is that difficult. Who now loves the young man who has caused so much death? Despite what must be his mental illness, could love from others and knowing the love of God have mitigated his own pain?

Who loves him now? Who could? What best form should that love take; prison, execution, treatment…the Gospel?

Just remember that God loves him. The only way to heal his and everyone else’s wounded psyche and soul is to apply love, to apply God.

It really is that simple. And difficult.

“Father, we believe. Help our unbelief!”

Quote for 2/15/2018

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.   1 John 4:10 NKJV

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This is my version of God’s first chat with Adam and Eve.

“Hey, kids! I hope you like the place. You know, I made all of this just for you; this whole planet, bursting with life and beauty, the sun, the moon…the whole universe of stars for telling of times and seasons. The animals? Yours to play with! This whole Garden? Eat whatever you like. Really. Knock yourself out!

“Just one little thing. A token of gratitude really. See that tree over there? Don’t eat the fruit off that one. In fact, don’t touch it, don’t even go near it. That’s it. That’s all I ask by way of a thank you and affection.”

Well, we know how that worked out. But it wasn’t just the fruit or bad manners. Adam and Eve chose Satan’s words over God’s. They essentially gave God’s creation away to the devil, who proceeded to wreck it. Why does the bible call him the prince of this world? Because he is! And Adam and Eve crowned him!

The entire universe, all that work, all that love and…pffft! How mad do you get when someone breaks your favorite thing or wrecks the car by being stupid? This was the UNIVERSE!!

Still, He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

True Love

Following is the first article I wrote for this blog in 2014.  It’s still my favorite, so what better day to pull it out again than Valentine’s Day??

princess-brideIf you’ve ever seen the movie “The Princess Bride,” you’ll know any number of quotes from it. In this case, I’m thinking of Vizzini, who keeps lisping “Inconceivable!” every time something happens that he thinks shouldn’t. Finally, as he watches The Man in Black (Wesley) climbing The Cliffs of Insanity, he lisps “Inconceivable!” one last time. Inigo Montoyo looks at him and, in his heavy Spanish accent, delivers the great line, “You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Like” is one of those words. Think grade school. “Does she like me?” Or “Of course I like you! I mean, not like that, but we’re friends, right?” Ah, clarity!

Love is even tougher. Just what are we saying when we use that word? Is it that hormone rush when you’re physically attracted to someone? Is it lust? Is it a powerful emotion? English is not the best language when it comes to nuance. So let’s forget emotion, lust, and attraction. Take those away, and what do we have?

Love. And that’s still vague. I love my friend’s wife. Is that adultery? No. I don’t want to possess her. She’s a great friend, a great person. I haven’t got any romantic feelings for her, but I feel for her all the same. I love my friend. I admire him and would do most anything for him. Am I homosexual? No. But I love him all the same.

Work Work Work

The Longest Sword Fight Ever Filmed!

Let’s return to The Princess Bride. While there a several sub-plots and a lot of things going on, the movie is really about just one thing: True Love. For True Love, Wesley leaves Buttercup behind to carve out a life to bring her to. For True Love, she understands and awaits his return. But, upon word that he was killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, she agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (the bad guy).

 

Wesley, having become the next Dread Pirate Roberts after the last one retired, returns to find Buttercup. He is angry with her for forsaking Wesley. Still disguised as the Pirate, he berates her: “Tell me, madam. Out of respect for the dead did you wait a whole week before your engagement?”

Buttercup and Pirate

“Did you wait a whole week?

 

Shortly afterward, he is revealed to her as Wesley. She apologizes for her engagement, “…but I thought you were dead.” Smiling at her, he says, “Death cannot overcome True Love.” Although not intended, I see something Messianic there.

Not even death could overcome True Love. Jesus rose from the grave, so great was His love and the Father’s. And Jesus doesn’t love us because we’re attractive or sexy. He loves us, because He CHOOSES to. The people He ministered to were the dregs of society. They were ugly physically, emotionally, socially, morally… Think of a negative –ly word, and that’s who Jesus spent His time with. From where I sit, it wasn’t easy.

Even His disciples tried to get Him to avoid certain people and places. “Get the kids outa here! Quit bothering the Master!” “Make that whore stop kissing your feet!” “Don’t open Lazarus’ grave – he stinks by now!” Yet Jesus chose to keep on loving. Even on the Mount of Olives, He prayed to His Father to find another way and let Him off the hook for all of the suffering He knew was coming. And when the Father said “No”, He chose to perform the greatest act of love ever. He CHOSE.

One of my favorite Shakespearean sonnets is Sonnet 116, especially the following lines:

Old Couple

Love Alters Not…

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

 

So, when your spouse has grown old and wrinkly and lies at death’s door on “the edge of doom,” you will continue to love that person and care for him or her to the very end. True Love appreciates the “rosy lips and cheeks,” but bears it out past those winsome days. Anything else is just flowing wherever our hormonal winds blow us. And, if we surrender to those, how are we different from a pack of dogs?

Why is divorce so prevalent? Do we marry for True Love? Once married for whatever reason, do we choose to be human beings with the willpower to choose True Love or just be another mutt in the pack? Look at reasons given for divorce, and you’ll see a laundry list of how “I’m not getting out of this marriage what I think I should.”

Let’s look at the so-called Love Chapter, I Corinthians 13 verses 4-7:

4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

These behaviors of love are not always what are driven by sheer emotion. Given our sinful, selfish nature, it should be quite apparent that these are not what we come to naturally. These are choices that True Love makes. Consciously. Deliberately. Painfully.

Are you mad at your spouse and are thinking about divorce? Have you considered whether your love to that person has been True Love or selfishness which only wants that person to fulfill your needs? And before you even start wondering how your partner stands up to that question, forget about it. True Love doesn’t ask that question. It only asks how its owner stacks up. It wants True Love from the other, but doesn’t require it. It loves too much for that. It seeks to draw True Love out of the other by example, by earning it.

True Love. Not easy, not even natural. But it is beautiful!