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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Turn

Several in my family have done this. Since it has been a while since I posted I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity. I do have some things I want to post, particuarly some quotes from some reading I am doing. Hopefully within the next week. Here goes...........

1. Started your own blog - yes
2. Slept under the stars - a few times
3. Played in a band - yes 6th-12th grade - first chair Euphonium
4. Visited Hawaii - no
5. Watched a meteor shower -a couple of times
6. Given more than you can afford to charity - yes
7. Been to Disneyland - no
8. Climbed a mountain - not exactly a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis - no, but lots of dragonflys
10. Sang a solo - yes, many times
11. Bungee jumped - no
12. Visited Paris - no
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - no
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - no
15. Adopted a child - no, have six by birth
16. Had food poisoning - hasn't everyone
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - twice
18. Grown your own vegetables - no
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - no
20. Slept on an overnight train - no
21. Had a pillow fight - I had four brothers and lots of cousins, of course
22. Hitch hiked - no
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - no
24. Built a snow fort - no
25. Held a lamb - no
26. Been to Royal Gorge - no
27. Run a Marathon - no
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - no
29. Seen a total eclipse - yes, a couple of times
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - lots of times
31. Hit a home run - probably
32. Been on a cruise - no
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person - no, hopefully in about a year and a half
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - does east Texas count
35. Seen an Amish community - several times
36. Taught yourself a new language - I struggle with English
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - I would like to think so
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - no
39. Gone rock climbing - Enchanted Rock west of Austin
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David - no
41. Sung karaoke - no
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - no
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - not that I can recall
44. Visited Africa - twice
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - yes
46. Been transported in an ambulance - With my oldest daughter
47. Had your portrait painted - no
48. Gone deep sea fishing - amazingly, no
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - no
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - no
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - no
52. Kissed in the rain - can't remember guess I'll have to remedy that
53. Played in the mud - yes, football
54. Gone to a drive-in theater - yes
55. Been in a movie - yes
56. Visited the Great Wall of China - no
57. Started a business - no
58. Taken a martial arts class - don't need to
59. Visited Russia - no
60. Served at a soup kitchen - no
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - my name is James
62. Gone whale watching - no
63. Got flowers for no reason - given them for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - no, tried to
65. Gone sky diving - no
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - no
67. Bounced a check - unintentionally
68. Flown in a helicopter - no
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - If so I don't know where I put it
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial - three times
71. Eaten Caviar - no
72. Pieced a quilt - no
73. Stood in Times Square - yes
74. Toured the Everglades - no
75. Been fired from a job - yes, over a matter of principle
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - seen the changing of the gaurd at the tomb of the unknown soldier three times
77. Broken a bone - no
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - no, only been on a motorcycle once
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - not yet
80. Published a book - not yet
81. Visited the Vatican - no
82. Bought a brand new car - no
83. Walked in Jerusalem - one day I will
84. Had your picture in the newspaper - yes
85. Read the entire Bible - a few times
86. Visited the White House - yes
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - yes
88. Had chickenpox - yes
89. Saved someone’s life - not physically
90. Sat on a jury - a couple of times; civil and criminal trial
91. Met someone famous - does Tom Delay count
92. Joined a book club - once
93. Lost a loved one - yes
94. Had a baby - my name is James, have been present as six births
95. Seen the Alamo in person - I am a Texan
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - no
97. Been involved in a law suit - no
98. Owned a cell phone - yes
99. Been stung by a bee - yes
100. Been to a birthday party where they put something on your eyes and have you feel through a bowl of rice for different objects - no

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Forgettest The Lord Thy Maker

Yesterday as I was doing some study for my series in Proverbs I was running some cross-references and stumbled across these two verses. I know I have read them several times but yesterday in the list of verses I was examining they seemed to leap off the page. I think I need to commit them to memory.

Isaish 51:12,13 - I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

What great and profound points! I think I may have a message for next Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

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God bless the American soldier! May we always be thankful that we live in the land of the free and home of the brave!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Galveston - Hurricane Ike

About three weeks ago I took a preacher friend to Galveston to survey the damage cause by hurricane Ike. As with the news media I am showing you the most graphic pictures. The Island is still largely intact. The seawall business were mostly open when we were there. In fact we ate that day at the Rain Forest Cafe on the seawall. The buildings that were constructed out over the water were destroyed as one might expect. There was evidence that most of the Island was covered in water at one point, so I am sure there was considerable flood damage that could not be seen just driving down the road. I was amazed at the mountains of trash that had been collected at a couple of different spots. Having been to Galveston on numerous occasions I know these were not typical collection points for trash, at least not that much.

Here you can see the extent of the erosion. The sand before the storm was up to the paint on the "stilts". It was about 4 1/2 foot of sand removed during the storm. Now at high tide these homes are in the water.
This house was knocked off its "stilts". It looks like it might have been floated off because it remains mostly intact.

Another house that was apparently floated off its "stilts".

This house had a bit rougher landing than the other two!

Galveston - Hurricane Ike - Part Two

Backyard visitor

We noticed this bird out our back window as we were eating supper. I believe it was eating a grasshopper or some other bug. It was on the ground for about 2 to 3 minutes. The closest I can come to identifying it is a Sharp-shinned Hawk. These particular hawks are only in our area during the winter.

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Barak Obama - My President

I am an American! The American people made their voices heard this past Tuesday and elected Obama as our President. He is my President. He was not my choice, but he is my President. I have some fundamental differences with President-elect Obama nevertheless I hope God uses him to be an instrument of blessing to our nation. I will not agree with him just because he is President and will be vocal in my opposition if he attempts to lead the country in a direction that I am convinced will be detrimental to our survival as a Republic, what little is left of our Republic. We are slowly degenerating into a absolute democracy, which one of the founders defined as "mobocracy".

I am a political junkie and enjoy the political discourse, and the discussion of political philosophy. At the same time I realize it is not simply a subject to "enjoy" but it matters. It matters now and in the long run.

My choice for President lost for, I believe, several reasons. The political climate the past three years has been very hostile to Republicans and I might add for very good reason. When the Republicans were in the majority they governed like the minority party?? The economy is apparently bad for many people. This is always bad for the party in power. George Bush has very low approval ratings. This led to everyone, including McCain, running against Bush. I think this is an unfortunate turn of events. I certainly did not agree with President Bush on every thing but I am convinced that he has been a very good President. It is too bad that he had so very few defenders. I am inclined to think that history will be more kind to him.

My choice for President was doomed from the start. I always held out hope but it was with a sense of skepticism. The Republican field during the primary was not very impressive. I hope it improves for 2012. The field was so weak in fact that a man won the nomination who was not a true blue conservative. I read just yesterday that McCain was discussing with his advisers what his future role in the Senate would be. They were talking about ways they could work with Obama. I'm not necessarily against that. One of his top advisers said that some of McCain's best work has been with Democrats. This is exactly the problem. Instead of looking for ways to advance the conservative agenda he is always looking for ways to compromise with a Feinstein or a Kennedy. Then he expects conservatives to be excited about his campaign. It did not happen. Yet even with all of that he still had the opportunity to win.

He lost Indiana, Ohio, Virgina, and Florida by the narrowest of margins even though in most of these states like the rest of the "swing states" Obama outspent him almost 3 to 1. Had they had equal amounts of money to spend the outcome may have been different. But even if McCain had not opted for public financing he probably could not have raised the kind of money that Obama did, thus the outcome would have been likely the same, maybe a little closer.

McCain is not a good teacher. He is not an effective communicator of conservative values. Most people when they are instructed in the difference between socialistic principles and the principles of self-reliance easily see the moral deficiency of socialistic policies. This is why the "Joe the plumber" incident caused such a stir, and a fair amount of grief for Joe. Obama clearly stated his view that to "spread the wealth" was a virtue and Biden indicated that paying higher taxes was patriotic and I heard another democratic politician (I didn't catch his name) saying that Republicans hold to the simplistic notion that people should get to keep what they make.

We needed someone to instruct the people who are so easily convinced to stick it to the big companies that when companies have their taxes raised they will pass on the increase to the consumer. When the federal government raises the minimum wage the company will pass the increase on to the consumer. People bemoan the rich. The rich is also the investment class. They are the ones who have money to invest, money to put at risk. It is only right that if their investments pay off that they receive benefit from the willingness to put their money at risk. When they pay higher taxes they have less money to invest in the private sector. All McCain could seem to eke out is that he was opposed to "ear marks". Obama effectively dealt with that by showing that "ear marks" were an infinitesimal percentage of the national budget. Deal with the "ear marks"? Yes! But there are larger issues than "ear marks" and the American people were not given the benefit of an articulate and persuasive crusader for conservative principles.

Also McCain shied away from the cultural issues. He did so at his own peril. Obama was so vulnerable on the issue of abortion. His record is so extreme on the issue that it would be frightful to all but the most ardent abortion proponents. Of course at the Saddleback forum he skirted the issue by saying that it was above his pay grade. McCain missed a golden opportunity to exploit Obama on an issue that remains relevant to this day. McCain should have pressed home the issue of gay marriage. Politicians are so afraid to address this issue head on. You would think that the sodomites were a very influential bloc of voters. They are loud but not really that influential except maybe in San Francisco. Even the citizens of California voted against gay marriage. Republicans should not shy away from issues of morality. The American people are with us on most of these issues.

1 Timothy 2:14 - I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

I am happy to report that Texas went for McCain 56% to 43% and my county (Brazoria - where Texas began) went for McCain 64% to 34%.

God Bless America!

Thirty-eight Years Ago Yesterday

It was on November 5th, 1970 in the evening when:

My name was written in the Lamb's book of life
My sins were cast into the depth of the sea and as far as the east is from the west
I was redeemed
I was justified
I was sanctified
I became a saint
I was indwelt by the Holy Spirit
I was made accepted in the beloved
My old man was crucified
I was quickened
I was born again
I was saved
I was delivered from the wrath to come
I became a child of God
I became a joint-heir with Jesus Christ
I was made more than a conqueror
I was made a new creature
I was forgiven
I was no longer condemned
I was made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus
I was delivered from the kingdom of darkness
I was translated into the kingdom of His dear Son
I was given the gift of eternal life
I became a believer
I was reconciled to God
I was freed from sin
I was made free from the law of sin and death
I became complete in him
I entered into rest
I was made a partaker of the divine nature

Thirty-eight years ago yesterday I acknowledged myself a sinner, repented and personally believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. I called upon him and he promised to save me. I believe he did, not because I have always done what I should or because I have not done some things I should not have but because of his promise.

I am just a sinner saved by grace!

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When darkness seems to hide his face, I rest on his unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood supports me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.

When he shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in him be found;
Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand!"
(Edward Mote, 1832)

1John 5:13 - These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

The "Youth" And "Undecided" Vote

This article from USA Today by Jonah Goldberg is thought-provoking. I tend to agree with his assessment of the youth vote and the undecided voter.

I especially liked the quote he provided from Oscar Wilde, ""In America, the young are always ready to give those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience."

I intend on posting some of my thoughts on the recent election soon, possibly today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Were I To Define A Christian

The following is from a letter by John Newton.

"Were I to define a Christian, or rather to describe him at large, I know of no text I would choose, sooner than Galatians 5:17, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."

A Christian has noble aims--which distinguish him from the bulk of mankind. His leading principles, motives, and desires--are all supernatural and divine. Could he do as he desires--there is not a angel before the Eternal Throne, that would excel him in holiness, love, and obedience! He would tread in the very footsteps of his Savior, fill up every moment of time in His service, and employ every breath in His praise!

This he would do--but, alas! he cannot! Against these spiritual desires, there is a contrary desire and working of a corrupt nature, which meets him at every turn! He has a beautiful copy set before him in the Scriptures--he is enamored with it, and though he does not expect to equal it, he writes carefully after it, and longs to attain to the nearest possible imitation. But indwelling sin and Satan continually jog his hand, and spoil his strokes!

Therefore, the most spiritual and gracious people confess themselves as vile and worthless! One eminent branch of our holiness, is a sense of shame and humiliation for those evils which are only known to ourselves, and to Him who searches our hearts!

In proportion as the Lord enables you to live more simply upon the blood, righteousness, and grace of the Mediator--you will possess a more stable peace. The nearer you are brought to Him--the more lively sense you will have of your vileness and worthlessness; and your continual need of Him. Thereby your admiration of His power, love, and compassion, will increase from year to year."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where Did All The Money Go?

My 18 year old son asked me this question yesterday. We have had several lessons in economics over the last week or so. Truly this is the essence of homeschooling. My 18 year old, who graduated earlier this year, may not realize that he placed himself back in the classroom by asking that question.

I answered the question and then today I find a headline: All That Money You've Lost_Where Did It Go?

I am happy to report that as the teacher I provided a pretty decent explanation.

For those of you who may be wondering the same thing this article provides a good, easily understood, explanation.

Daniel, read this!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Narrow Way Made Broad

Matthew 7:13,14 - Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Last night Bro. Sanchez preached a fine message from these two verses contrasting the nature of these two ways. As he was preaching the Holy Spirit was arousing my attention concerning another area where I believe these verses have application.

Jesus clearly establishes the fact that there are two gates and two ways. One gate is wide the other straight. One way is broad the other narrow. The wide gate opens onto the broad way and leads to destruction. The straight gate opens onto the narrow way and leads to life. There are many who live life in the broad way. There are few who find the narrow way.

It is an unfortunate development over the last several decades that churches have taken the narrow way and sought to broaden it out. They have taken the straight gate and sought to widen it. All of this because of a discontent with the few and an inordinate desire for the many. Churches who take seriously their responsibility of being the ambassador of Christ in the world will go to great pains to ensure the clear distinction between the wide and straight gate and the broad and narrow way.

Admittedly I pastor a small church. Admittedly I would like to pastor a large church, but not at the expense of making the narrow way broad. If our church grows I want it to be because we are calling men to repentance not because we are providing a worldly venue wrapped in Christian language.

The growing chorus even in Baptist churches is come join us you don't really have to change that much. You can listen to the same music with Christian? lyrics. No one will challenge you about your entertainment choices, your dress, your language, your hair length, come on over you do not have to leave the world to accept Christ. Come as you are has effectively become stay as you are.

No need to leave the broad way we will simply restructure it and call it christian liberty.

This has become the temptation as the size of a congregation has become the primary standard of determining success. Instead of striving for a better group many are striving for a bigger group. We should remember what Jesus said about the narrow way. Few there be that find it! And the reason is because they do not want it. So, instead of calling them to repentance and warning of the certain destruction to come we give all of our attention to widening the gate and broadening the way.

If people do not find themselves on a narrow way being travelled by few how can they be certain that they are not still on the broad way that leads to destruction? I am afraid the devil has discovered that it would be effective to add a lane, call it Christian liberty, let people transition to the lane all the while still going in the same direction. No need to repent just change lanes!

There is a broad way and a narrow way. They are distinct. One is crowded the other is lonely. Everyone is on one or the other. Everyone is headed for destruction with the multitude or life with the few.

What about you?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Vacuum Of Leadership

The debate last night was as boring as it gets. The reason is that neither of these men are leaders. McCain probably use to be, Obama never has been. McCain has been in the Senate too long and developed an affinity for compromise. If I hear McCain say one more time how he is known for "reaching across the aisle" I think I am going to scream. Every time I hear him say this I have to remind myself why I am likely to vote for him. I feel quite certain I will not be happy with either man as President. I would simply be less happy with Obama.

Obama said health care was a "right". Well he is wrong! If he thinks health care is a right he is a dangerous man. When I listen to these debates I listen for elements of their answers that will give me insight into their philosophy of government and liberty. McCain does not totally have it right, Obama has it completely wrong. What else does he believe is a "right"? I would have followed that question up with, is owning a car a "right? What about being able to eat out occasionally? What about being able to take a yearly vacation? Is owning a home a "right". Considering his involvement in the sub-prime lending fiasco I think we know where he stands there. Of course his view is since it is a right and if you do not have the money to pay for it then government will pay for it. Of course he fails to tell us that government does not generate one penny of income. All government does is redistribute income. But this is a notion with which he is completely comfortable. So he "crows" about his willingness to increase the tax burden on those making over something like $225,000 a year. Well, I don't make anywhere near that but neither do I think those who do should have their tax burden increased in order to provide for the "rights" Obama seems to think everyone has. I say let them keep more of their money. Of course Biden his running mate thinks the definition of patriotism is paying more taxes. Try to tell that to the men who affixed their names to the bottom of the Declaration of Independence!

Most of the questions last night were sickening. A good number of them were basically, "In light of the present financial crisis what are you going to do for me?" I have a question for all the people who ask such questions, "What are you going to do for yourself?"

Senator McCain tries so hard to stay positive. Senator McCain a little advice, you have to beat Obama to become President. Go after him with all you've got. Don't lie about him, don't make stuff up, but press the issues. His judgment, his associations, his votes and statements taken in context should be enough to consign him to the trash heap of would be Presidents. Senator McCain please send him there. If you are the old soldier then please set aside you senatorial robes take up arms and defeat this man for the good of the country. Senator McCain in your own words put "country first."

Another idea that would shake things up considerably and be fun to watch and could possibly ensure a win in November is for you to announce that you are sending Governor Palin to the next debate. This would reveal her competence, highlight his incompetence, the American people like her, and she is a better debater than you.

I will be casting my vote against Obama!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Whatever Happened To Winning?

All of the talk about bi-partisanship is a farce of the first rank. We keep being told the American people are tired of all the rancour in politics. I don't believe it. Americans are tired of others standing in the way of having their agendas move forward. This is true of liberals and conservatives.

But......why is it that in a spirit of bi-partisanship conservatism always seems to take a hit?

I don't want to vote for someone who is going to Washington to reach across the isle. I want to vote for someone who will go to Washington to win, to beat the opposition. I am convinced they need to be defeated.

McCain wants us to believe he is a leader well then start leading and quit trying to build consensus. Let the liberals be offended at your intentions to win the political battles with or without them.

I am fed up with all the cheesy, yellow, self-serving politicians.

Excuse my rant!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kitchen Renovation

It truly has been a renovation. We started at the beginning of August and spent two solid weeks on the project and then several full days since then. This past Saturday we finished the last major piece of the puzzle when we put down the new flooring. There is still what is called in the construction business a "punch list" to address, but it is mostly done.

Our kitchen has needed attention since we move in. In recent years it has become a desperate situation. Our youngest son Daniel financed the operation. All of our children have been very giving in this regard once they started making money. We actually bought the sink and faucet about a year and half ago.

Finally we carved out a couple of weeks to tackle the project. The nature of the project was kind of refreshing for me. I have been around the construction/remodeling/roofing business most of my life. My Dad is a carpenter by trade as was his father. While I did not inherit the skill level of either of these two men, my gifts lay else where, I do enjoy the challenge. My dad built the cabinets, I helped and learned some things. One is that I will probably never attempt to build cabinets on my own. My two boys helped some as well as the girls in the family. Most of the rest of it I did myself. The girls did most of the painting, I do not like painting, even though it is amazing what a difference a coat of paint can make.

So, the kitchen is not perfect, the flaws are all my own. But even so, we are happy to have it. It is 1000 times, at least, better than what we had. And of course we made memories in the process which is a vital part of these kinds of projects. We will Lord willing enjoy it for many years to come.

Of course the project gave me an excellent excuse to buy some more tools and most guys are always looking for an excuse to spend money on tools.

I took pictures or had others do so for me all along the way. Those of you who visit my wife or daughters blogs have seen some pictures as the work was progressing. I decided to wait till the end, we are close enough, and then post them all on the Picasa web site. There are over two hundred pictures for those who may have an interest in seeing the transformation.

There are also a few pictures early on of a few grandkids in there, now how did that happen???

Oh, by the way did I mention I have a new granddaughter, Alisa Grace. Held her last night after church. I like her. She is the tiniest baby I have ever held.

Pictures are here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Real Source Of Discontent

"The real cause of our discontent is not in our circumstances; if it were, a change of circumstances might cure it. It is in ourselves, and wherever we go--we shall carry our discontent heart with us. The only cure which will affect anything--must be the curing of the fever of discontent in us." - J. R. Miller 1895

Discontent is cultivated by focusing on what we don't have.
Contentment is produced by focusing on what we do have.
Thanksgiving is promoted by focusing on the fact we deserve nothing.
Humility is present by realizing that all we have was provided by a merciful and gracious God.

There is so much I want that if I am not careful I will lose sight of all that I have. If I had all that I wanted would I then be content? I doubt it! I would simply find other things to want! "the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."

The only words that may be as hard to say as "I'm sorry" is "it is enough".

Proverbs 30:15,16 - The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

May the Lord continue to teach me to say, "It is enough".

Luke 3:14 - And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Philippians 4:11 - Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8 - And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

One Another

A few years back when we were going through a study on the church covenant I was stuck by the two words "one another". I complied a list of verses that utlized these two words and passed them out during one of our classes encouraging the Fathers to go over the verses with their families.

Having done that I often think about those verses. I thought I would share them here and let the Scripture speak for itself.

Ø Romans 12:10 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Ø Romans 13:8 - Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Ø Romans 14:13 - Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Ø Romans 15:7 - Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Ø Romans 15:14 - And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Ø Romans 16:16 - Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

Ø 1 Corinthians 16:20 - All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.

Ø 2 Corinthians 13:12 - Greet one another with an holy kiss.

Ø Galatians 5:13 - For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Ø Galatians 5:15 - But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Ø Galatians 5:26 - Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ø Galatians 6:2 - Bear ye one another‘s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Ø Ephesians 4:2 - With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Ø Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ø Colossians 3:13 - Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Ø Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Ø 1 Thessalonians 4:9 - But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Ø 1 Thessalonians 4:18 - Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Ø 1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Ø Hebrews 3:13 - But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Ø Hebrews 10:24,25 - And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Ø 1 Peter 1:22 - Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Ø 1 Peter 5:14 - Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Ø 1 John 3:11 - For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Ø 1 John 3:23 - And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Ø 1 John 4:7 - Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Ø 1 John 4:11,12 - Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Ø 2 John 1:5 - And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

Monday, September 22, 2008

He Never Sought To Amuse Them

The following is from Archibald Brown's message, The Devil's Mission Of Amusement.

"Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but He never sought to amuse them!"

When many of His disciples turned away, because of the searching nature of His preaching--I do not find there was any attempt to bring them back, by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after the people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God--but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people! Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people somehow; if not by Gospel--then by entertainment!"

No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word--He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?""

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alisa Grace McEntire

Yes, I know it has been a while since I have blogged but this could not wait. We will get back to some regular blogging at some point in the future.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce my 5th grandchild and 2nd granddaughter. Alisa Grace McEntire was born on September 11, 2008 at UTMB in Galveston Texas. Yes, that's right she was born the weekend of hurricane Ike on the Island that was devastated shortly after her arrival. Needless to say within 12 hours of her birth she was on a plane headed to Austin, Texas. I was 18 before I boarded a plane. Just found out she is going to stay one more night with mom in a regular room. She will probably come home tomorrow.
Michele and I drove up to Austin this morning to see the baby and to try to be an encouragement to Caleb and Heather. They have had a very trying week beginning last Monday. Having a baby five weeks early is one thing but then to have all the commotion created by Ike did not help matters any. But.....Alisa is here and well, Dad and Mom will be the stronger for the challenges and we are feeling very blessed this evening. We do serve a good and gracious God!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Angel Of Light And The Prince Of Darkness

The following is from a message by Talmage, entitled The Abominations of Modern Society. It was preached 1872.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14

"Sin, crawling out of the ditch of poverty and shame, has but few temptations.

Poets and painters have portrayed Satan as a hideouscreature--with horns and hoofs.

If I were a poet, I would describe him with . . .
manners polished to the last perfection,
hair flowing in graceful ringlets,
eye glistening with splendor;
hands soft and diamonded;
step light and graceful;
voice mellow as a flute;
conversation articulate and eloquent;
breath perfumed until it would seem that nothing had ever touched his lips, but balm and myrrh.

But his heart I would encase with the scales of a monster, then filled . . .
with pride,
with beastliness of lust,
with recklessness,
with hypocrisy,
with death,
with damnation!

In my next portrait--I would unmask the devil--
until his two eyes would become the cold orbs of the adder;
and on his lip would come the foam of raging intoxication;
and to his feet, the spring of the panther;
and his soft hand would become the clammy hand of a wasted skeleton;
and in the smooth lisp of his tongue, would come the hiss of the worm which never dies;
while suddenly from his heart would burst in all-devouring fury--the unquenchable flames of hell!

But, until unmasked, I would describe him as nothing but myrrh, and balm, and ringlet, and diamond, and flute-like voice, with pleasant and mirthful conversation."

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 2:11

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Cannot Do It???

The following is from a message entitled Mortifying Sin By The Holy Ghost preached by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)

"The term mortify really explains itself. 'To mortify' is to deaden, to put to death…so the exhortation is that we must 'deaden,' put an end to the 'deeds of the body.' This is the great New Testament exhortation in connection with sanctification from the practical standpoint, and it is addressed to all Christian people.

How is this work to be done?...The Apostle makes it plain. 'If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deed of the body' – 'through the Spirit'! The Spirit is mentioned particularly, of course, because His presence and His work are the particular and peculiar mark of true Christianity. This is what differentiates Christianity from morality, from 'legalism' and false Puritanism – 'through the Spirit'! The Holy Spirit, as we have seen, is in us as Christians. You cannot be a Christian without Him. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God is in you, and He gives us power. He 'mediates' to us the great salvation the Lord Jesus Christ has worked out for us and enables us to work it out. The Christian must therefore never complain of want of ability and power. For a Christian to say, 'I cannot do it' is to deny the Scriptures. A man who has the Holy Spirit residing in him must never utter such an expression: it is a denial of the truth concerning him . . . .

But how does this work out in practice?...To begin, we have to understand our position spiritually, for many of our troubles are due to the fact that we do not realize, and do not remember, who we are and what we are as Christians. People complain that they have no power, and that they cannot do this or that. What they really need to be told is not that they are absolutely hopeless, and that the must 'hand it over,' but, rather, what all Christians are told in the 1st chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter in verses 2 to 4: 'Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.'
Everything that 'pertains unto life and godliness' has been given us 'through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.' And again: 'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [by means of these exceeding great and precious promises] ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'

Yet Christian people moan and complain that they have no strength. The answer to such people is 'All things that pertain to life and godliness have been given you. Stop moaning and grumbling and complaining. Get up and use what is in you. If you are a Christian the power is in you by the Holy Spirit; you are not hopeless.' But the Apostle Peter does not leave it at that. In the ninth verse of that same chapter of his second Epistle, he says, 'He that lacketh these things' – in other words, the man who does not do the things he has been exhorting him to do – 'is blind and cannot see afar off.' He is shortsighted, 'and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.' He has not got a true view of the Christian life. He is talking and living as if he were still unregenerate. He says, 'I cannot continue as a Christian; it is too much for me.' Peter urges such a man to realize the truth about himself. He needs to be awakened; he needs to have his eyes opened and his memory refreshed. He needs to be up and doing, instead of moaning over his deficiencies.

Furthermore, we have to realize that if we are guilty of sin we are 'grieving the Holy Spirit of God' Who is in us. Every time we sin, it is not so much that we sin and become miserable that chiefly matters, but that we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God Who is dwelling in our body. How often do we think of that? I find when people come to be about this matter they always talk about themselves – 'my failure.' 'I am constantly falling into this sin.' 'This sin is getting me down.' They talk about themselves. They do not talk about their relationship to the Holy Spirit, and for this reason: the man who realizes that the main trouble about his sinful life is that he is grieving the Holy Spirit, stops doing so at once. The moment a man sees that that is his real problem, he deals with it. He is not longer chiefly concerned about his own feelings; when he realizes that he is grieving the Holy Spirit of God, he takes immediate action."

The italics were found in my copy of the message and reproduced accordingly. I highlighted the points of importance to me by changing the color.

This really caught my attention because I have been saying for years we have the Holy Spirit living in us and we have all the power we need to do everything we should. God lives in us. We are his temple. The fullness of God's omnipotence is available to us to aid us in being what we should be. "I can't" should be "I won't."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Do You Lose When You Are Angry?

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Least Sin Is Very Dangerous

The following is from a message preached by Thomas Brooks in London in 1659.

"The least sin is very dangerous!
Caesar was stabbed to death with a small needle.
Herod was eaten up by small worms.
Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat.
A scorpion is little, yet is able to sting a lion to death.
The least spark, may consume the greatest house.
The least leak, may sink the greatest ship.
A whole arm has been gangrened, by a pick of the little finger.
A little opened door, may betray the greatest city.
A pinch of poison diffuses itself into all parts, until it strangles
   the vital spirits, and turns out the soul from the body.
The least sin is very dangerous!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Book Review - The Tempting Of America

The Tempting Of America: The Political Seduction Of The Law is written by Robert H. Bork. Judge Bork has had a long and distinguished career in the law. He has worked in private practice, held a professorship, and served on the D C Court of Appeals before being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Regan.

Judge Bork is an intellectual of the first rank. His is the first nomination I can remember and of which I took a personal interest. I followed the confirmation proceedings and his defeat in the full Senate. I believed then and still do that it was a travesty and our nation suffered a great loss when he was refused a place on the Supreme Court.

Some years back I read another book by Judge Bork entitled, Slouching Toward Gomorrah. The book captured my attention for two reasons. 1. The author. 2. The title. The book detailed and validated a view that I had long held. The sixties generation brought about a cultural revolution that has left this nation spinning out of control; a revolution that we have yet to reap the full consequences. Judge Bork's systematic critique of the decade of the sixties and early seventies is insightful.

So when I saw this book in a used bookstore I laid hold of it. As one might suspect from the title the book thoroughly addresses how the law (the courts) are suffering from having been seduced by politics. The law has been and is being politicised both in the way decisions are reached particularly as it relates to Constitutional theory, the role of judges, and the process by which judges are nominated and confirmed for the federal judiciary.

His personal experience which is addressed in the last few chapters is a telling story of politics run amok. The liberals in the Senate (Republican and Democrat) did us no favors in the way they handled Judge Bork's nomination.

The book is a fairly easy read. Judge Bork possess a dry sense of humor that you will miss if you are not paying close attention. Because so much of the book deals with Constitutional theory and how judges reach decision there are numerous court cases referred to. It can at times, for people who are not accustomed to following these things closely, be difficult to keep track. I do not mean to imply that the book is dry, mechanical, or technical. It is readable and provides a rich education for anyone who is willing to read with thoughtfulness by one of the greatest legal minds in the nation.

He follows the history of the High Court in relation to relevant decisions that they have made that have slowly altered the way people perceive the Constitution and the way Judges apply the Constitution.

He deals at length with how we arrived at a general "right to privacy" in the Constitution. A right that does not exist and the Constitution does not protect. The Constitution does protect certain aspects of our privacy. The Court has taken those specific protections and built and established a doctrine of "the right to privacy." When the fact is all of us knows that no one has an absolute right to privacy. You cannot murder in private. You cannot molest children in private. You cannot rape in private. You cannot steal in private. You cannot do these thing even in the privacy of your own bedroom. Consequently the right of privacy has been a major weapon in the cultural war to protect perversion of all kind and to forbid citizens the right to self-government through their elected Representatives. So now when Judges believe people ought to have the right to do something they can simply argue the "right to privacy" and other jurisdictions are forbidden to legislate in those areas. The Constitution identifies the areas where we have a right to privacy. Every other area is to be determined though the democratic process put in place by our Founders.

He also deals at length with the perversion of the "due process" clause of the 5th and 14th amendments. The "due process" clause in both amendments were for the purpose of ensuring a fair process. The Court has changed the idea of a simple due process into a substantive due process. That is, not only must the process be fair the outcome must be equal. The Founders (responsible for the 5th amendment) and the ratifiers of the 14th amendment did not have in mind an equal outcome but a fair process. The court now largely has a theory that if the outcome is not equal then the process could not have been fair. They embrace this theory even though we all know that a fair process will produce unequal outcomes. It is upon such faulty reasoning that the Court has in the past upheld the idea of quotas. The truth is if you strive for an equality of outcome you will naturally have to upset the balance of a fair process and in doing so someone loses their Constitutionally protected right to "due process." In fact this is not even an issue that should be applied to the private sector. It is the government that is Constitutionally required to provide "due process." In the private sector these issues are to be determined by the people through their elected Representatives.

He also addresses the illogical charge that you cannot legislate morality. I am amazed that people would argue such a thing. We legislate because we are a moral people and all legislation is rooted in a system of morality. Morality is legislated, it is to be legislated, and our Founders expected and practiced as much. The only areas that are off limits or at least should be are the one that the Constitution specifically protects.

The book brought some clarity of thought to the whole process of the purpose of the Constitution. To state it simply the Founders did a simple thing. They established a government where men rule themselves through their elected Representatives. If we do not like the laws then we must change the people who are making them. It is not the responsibility of courts to change stupid laws, unwanted laws, immoral laws, unfair laws but only unconstitutional laws. The Constitution simply identifies certain areas that are off limits to the democratic process. We cannot vote to elect Representatives every four years or senators every three years. That is off limits. We cannot vote to let everyone print their own money. We cannot vote in a State Denomination. We cannot forbid people to own and use guns. Except where the Constitution places something off limits every area is subject to legislation.

Judge Bork's position is if the Constitution is silent then the judge must be silent. It must be left to the legislators. In fact if we decide we do not like what the Constitution says there is a process in place for changing it. is not to be changed by a Court but through the amendment process.

It is too bad that Judge Bork's book is not required reading in Civics classes around the country. But we are too busy getting ready for Friday night Football and the Prom to give serious attention to the preservation of our Constitutional Republic. Consequently we are losing the privilege of self-government and are slowly being shackled to an oligarchy of nine judges!

I suppose this ended up being maybe more commentary than book review. I enjoyed and benefited from this book immensely. Much of what Judge Bork addresses I already had problems with but now I feel as though I am more thoroughly acquainted with the whys. My positions have been made stronger. I have attempted to put in my own words several things I learned from this book. If I have misrepresented Judge Bork's views that has not been my intention. The book was delightfully intellectually stimulating and has better equipped me to examine the issues that effect us all.

I would heartily recommend this book. There are three sections, eighteen chapters and 355 pages.

Rating *****

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Second Ammendment Liberty

The Supreme Court issued its much anticipated ruling concerning the D.C. law banning handguns. The court struck down the law! Good for them. They did so on sound Constitutional theory. The Second amendment is not ambiguous.

The short article concerning the decision can be read here.

Justice Stevens writing for the minority wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons." He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

The fact is the Framers intended to do just that, limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate the civilian use of weapons. In fact the Bill of Rights was especially intended to keep government from intruding on individual liberty.

To claim that such evidence is nowhere to be found is an alarming sentiment coming from a jurist on the highest Court in the land. He undoubtedly is counting on the ignorance of the population in expressing such views.

I am looking forward to reading both the majority opinion and dissent when they are posted.

Added at 1:15 P.M. A more detailed article is found here.

The article has the following quote from Justice Breyer.

"Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.""

It is interesting how often times the same Justices find no untouchable constitutional right in the very clear language of the Constitution and yet manage to find rights like the right to privacy, the right to engage in homosexual activity and also act upon the unfounded doctrine of substantive due process instead of simply ensuring a fair process.

Added 9:15 P.M.

You can read the Court's decision and the dissent here.

I just finished reading Scalia's majority opinion. It is 67 pages long and worth the read. This is the kind of Constitutional reasoning and philosophy we need. I hope to read the dissenting opinions tomorrow.

I was especially thankful for Scalia's closing paragraph for it sets forth the nature of judicial restraint for which we should hope. He wrote:

"We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct. (Emphasis mine)

We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

It is so ordered."

Added 9:31 P.M.

It is looking like George Bush's greatest legacy may be Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. They got it right on Wednesday though on the losing side when the Court struck down a Louisiana law providing for the death penalty for child rapists. They got it right again on Thursday in the majority opinion in a decision that struck down a D.C. law that banned the ownership of handguns and required all guns in the home to be disabled rendering them useless for the defense of hearth and home.