Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Blame God

From My Perspective - - -

What do you do when you “blow it” big time? Who is responsible if/when you stumble and fall? When you don’t wish to accept personal responsibility for an act or action, whose at fault? Well - A New Age Theology for Sports states – when you drop a game-winning pass in the end-zone – it wasn’t you who dropped it – it was God who made you miss the game-winning catch. That’s the Headline of an article by Nina Mandell in the Daily News on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 – “Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills Wide-out, Blames God on Twitter After Dropping Game-Winning Pass.” The article states and quotes: “It wasn't his own hands or the Pittsburgh secondary Sunday that foiled Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson from hauling in what should have been the game-winning TD catch in the end zone.It was God. I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!!" the 24-year-old tweeted from his iPad at around 5:15 Sunday after the Steelers' 19-16 overtime victory. AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..." The article goes on to say, “Johnson had a perfect pass in his hands that would have given his team an overtime victory over the heavily favored Steelers. Instead of walking off the field the hero, however, he dropped it. Devastated, the 24-year-old watched in horror as the Steelers drove back down the field for the game-winning field goal…” His lament after the game: "I had the game in my hands and I dropped it. Humbled. Humbled. I'll never get over it. Ever."

There are all kinds of Motivational Quotes about failure – what it means or can mean - Gilbert Keith Chesterton said: "How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win." Thomas A. Edison said: "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward." Lloyd Jones is quoted as saying: "The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed." Dr. Robert Schuller says: "Success is never ending, failure is never final." General Colin Powell has said: "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

In sports, as in life, the question always looms: What does it take to make you want to quit? You can be a don’t try person; or a give-up person; or a never-try-it again person; or a blame someone else person; or – just blame God – it’s all His fault! Athletes and all others should get a perspective for life from a careful reading of Isaiah 40:27-31,Why do you say…"My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” In The Message Paraphrase: “Why would you ever complain…and whine…saying, God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.”The Buffalo Wide-Receiver was eager to be the hero and ready to celebrate the victory he had attained for his team – except that – victory became defeat when he failed to hold onto the ball. God had given him the ability to play and catch – it was up to the player to use that skill and ability to hold onto the ball. Rather than accept responsibility and blame, he looked for someone else to blame. He chose to blame God! He should’ve looked into a mirror. If he had, his lesson might’ve been: “Pride always goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Everything - Give Thanks

From My Perspective - - -

A special day reserved for giving thanks – what a splendid idea! Family members travelling from far and near to be together – what a fulfilling time for all! A meal or feast of all the traditional goodies – how excellent are the provisions of God for His children! The leftovers from the Thanksgiving Feast – what a great reminder of the good time had by all.

Sometimes, there are unplanned events that happen in conjunction with Thanksgiving Day, such as, backing a Truck into someone’s van; backing the Truck and catching the mirror on one of the support posts (damaging both); a plastic baking dish filled with Green Bean Casserole melting and catching fire in the oven – ruining the Green Bean Casserole and a Hash Brown Casserole that was alongside of it; cleaning and scraping, scraping and scrubbing the oven; an attempt to bake an Au Gratin Potato Casserole the next day in the same "obsessed" oven – the dish did not melt or burn – but it did actually explode in the oven leaving glass shards and potatoes all over the oven, with milk and cheese sauce leaking out of the oven into a storage drawer beneath and onto the floor; cleaning, scraping, scrubbing the "obsessed" oven once again; the yelling at Grand-kids for rushing into the disaster area; getting irritated because of some thinking it was funny; an antique piece of China dropped onto an antique piece of crystal – both pieces breaking – these are a few of a Thanksgiving Memory!

In everything – Give Thanks! How does one do that when in the span of two days all of the above occurred? Well – the “everything” and the “giving thanks” – how does and can this work? Give thanks – no one was injured. Give thanks – the fire was contained and other than the food – no damage occurred to anyone or anything. Give thanks – the two vehicles can be repaired with minimum cost. Give thanks – the China and Crystal are only “things” that are temporary at best. Yes! – Give thanks – what a privilege and discipline!

When one thinks about the “in everything” passages in the Bible, there is an all-encompassing dimension of life that is presented. In Everything and the Grace of Giving mentioned in II Corinthians 8:7, “But as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you--see that you excel in this act of grace (of giving) also.” In Ephesians 5:19-20, the interactional life one should have within the household of faith is to: “address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” In Colossians 1:17-19, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is to be seen, recognized and honored as the one who… “is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” In addition, we are to understand that in our “everything” – He is preeminent! In Colossians 3:17, there is the instruction about how we are to approach every and all tasks, namely, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

To enable us to have a clear focus for life, there are two additional passages we’ll note. The first is I Timothy 6:17, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” It is a reminder to honor The Source of all that we have been given to enjoy. The second verse is II Timothy 2:7, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” There are many more “in everything” passages but these suffice so that the “in everything” experiences – whether they are deemed positive or negative – should find expressions of Thanksgiving to God. Why? Because He was there all the time, and because He has a perfect plan for each of our lives. Psalm 118:1 enjoins: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:28, “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.” Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amid All The Hoopla

From My Perspective - - -

Here we are – a big travel week; a big shopping week; big family gatherings; big quantities of food for ones indulgence; big expenditure of monies; big increase in personal credit debt; big disappointment when your “better and best” football team loses – Happy Thanksgiving Everyone – seems to have a hollow ring to it.

Besides the personal gratification, there should be a time for pause amid all the hoopla. The economy has no forecast of improvement at this point; danger spots in the world are escalating their saber-rattling; travel and the passing through body-scanners is a new phenomenon (as well as being frisked and groped) because of the threat of terrorism.

Amid all the hoopla, can there be a time for looking to The Eternal God, The One Who is all-powerful and Who is fully capable of doing all things? Can we remember the words of Ephesians 3:20 that remind us He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine? Can we unite, or if alone, raise a voice of Doxology to Almighty God?

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Praise Him, all creatures here below!

Praise Him above – ye heavenly host!

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Can we unite in singing a Contemporary Worship Chorus?

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the holy one,
Give thanks because he's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say I am strong;
Let the poor say I am rich;
because of what The Lord has done for us -
Give Thanks...!

Can you take a few brief moments – by yourself and with your family and guests - to read in a meaningful way – Psalm 100 (A Psalm of Thanksgiving – The New Living Translation)?

Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth!

Worship the Lord with gladness.

Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are his.

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates (His Presence) with thanksgiving;

Go into his courts (His Throne Room)with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.


We’ve come a long way as a nation and people. Let’s not forget Almighty God – He wants our attention and He desires our Thanksgiving! Consider these things with me!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Missing Bridegroom

From My Perspective - - -

Traditional Marriage – what happened to it? The Bride – where is the Bridegroom? Matrimonial Bliss – why is it missing? Home and Family – does this generation know what that is? Family Values – do they not matter anymore? An Associated Press article on November 18, 2010 has this headline: “40% Believe Marriage Is Becoming Obsolete!” Does that shock you? Does Society and our Culture care? What about the Church – does it matter to the broad cross-section of Denominations?

The AP article includes: “As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren't needed to have a family. A study by the Pew Research Center, in association with Time magazine, highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together… about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. And that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over. In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete. When asked what constitutes a family, the vast majority of Americans agree that a married couple, with or without children, fits that description. But four of five surveyed pointed also to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three of 5 people said a same-sex couple with children was a family… The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found. But economic factors, too, are playing a role. The Census Bureau recently reported that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million. It was a sharp one-year increase that analysts largely attributed to people unwilling to make long-term marriage commitments in the face of persistent unemployment…” USA TODAY adds in their report: “Marriage is still the norm for college grads (64%) but less so for those with no college (48%). Blacks are much less likely to be married (32%) than whites (56%), the report finds. Cohabitation has nearly doubled since 1990. Pew found 44% of adults (and more than half ages 30-49) have cohabited. Among these, 64% say they considered it a step toward marriage…”

The concept of Marriage with a Bride and Bridegroom – where does it originate? Does Culture and Society’s Laws define and mandate what constitutes a bonafide marriage? The Bible records, at the time of The Creation, in Genesis 2:18 this purpose – “…it is not good for man to be alone.” That brought about the act of God to create a woman to be man’s helper – Genesis 2:23-24. The text includes: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." It was intended to be one man with one woman for one lifetime. The idea of a woman being man’s helper in Genesis 2:20 is that man is incomplete unless or until the right woman enters into the commitment of marriage with him. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about marriage in Matthew 19:3-6, He replied: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." The relationship and responsibility of a husband to his wife is amplified in Ephesians 5:21-32. It is a passage that speaks of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church, with the application being made in the text to the minimal Biblical Standards and Values for marriage.Husbands, love your wives…He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Cultural Trends will never satisfy or bring fulfillment. Biblical Mandates will bring fulfillment and completeness. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Do Pigs Have To Fly?

From My Perspective - - -

The mental picture of a Sow or a Hog flying boggles the mind and over-taxes ones imagination. The expression – “when pigs fly” – has been with us for many years. Yahoo Answers includes this possible meaning: “You have to go back a long way to find the original of this idea. It seems to have been a traditional Scottish proverb, which was first written down in 1586 in an edition of John Withal's English-Latin dictionary for children. This had an appendix of proverbs rendered into Latin, of which one was the usual form of the proverb in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: "pigs fly in the air with their tails forward". If they did indeed fly, the proverb argues, flying backwards would seem a small extra feat.” The answer goes on to say: “Another version is more famous, because it appears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: "I've a right to think," said Alice sharply...Just about as much right, said the Duchess, as pigs have to fly."

Wikipedia has a more profound possibility. It allows that “The phrase – when pigs fly – is an adynaton, that is, a figure of speech so hyperbolic (creative exaggeration) that it describes an impossibility. The implication of such a phrase is that the circumstances in question (the adynaton, and the circumstances to which the adynaton are being applied) will never occur.” Another source states: “When pigs fly is an informal way to joke that someone will never do something or something will never happen. Example: "Do you think you will ever work at that company again? Reply: When pigs fly!" Some humorist with an obvious idle moment mused: “…and pigs could fly if they had wings, and pigs may fly, but they are very unlikely birds.” It amounts to: “the odds of something happening are close to zero.”

A story from Sky News in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2010 reported the following: “A toy shop has been branded "ridiculous" by mothers after it removed a pig from a children's farm set – in case it offended Muslim and Jewish parents. The animal was missing from the Early Learning Centre’s (ELC) Happy Land Goose-feather Farm when a mother bought it as a gift for her daughter's first birthday. The set did contain a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog, but the pig sty was empty – even though there was a button that made an "oink" noise. When the mother named only as Caroline complained, she was told in an email the pig had been removed in case it upset Muslim or Jewish parents. Eating pork is banned in both religions because pigs are considered unclean.” It would be interesting to know why the “oink” survived the purge of the Happy Land Goose-feather Farm. Wouldn’t a Muslim or Jewish child be religiously offended by the sound of an unclean animal? This is another instance of political correctness run amuck.

The idea of employing political correctness by removing a toy pig from a child’s Learning Activity seems to be preposterous. It’s tantamount to allowing – “if we don’t let you see it, it doesn’t exist.” Touching the toy pig would neither glamorize the pig in Muslim and Jewish Culture, nor would it pervert the psyche of the child. In a Biblical sense, there are some things that one should be sensitive toward lest they prove to be offensive to another, or one who is “weaker” especially in the faith. Romans 14:1-8 sets the parameters and guideline for us. Note – “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls…Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God…” The crux of the matter is given in Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” The issue is not who is right. The issue is to prevent becoming a stumbling block before another. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plateaus - Positive or Negative

From My Perspective - - -

A Plateau is an interesting consideration. If one is climbing a steep hill or mountain and reaches a plateau, one of three things can occur: (1) look at where you’ve been and decide to return there; or (2) look at where you’ve yet to ascend and decide to press onward to get there; or (3) decide to do neither and just stay where you’ve already arrived. In a way, that’s the story of life – look at where you’ve been and decide to return; look at the challenge that is ahead and decide not to try to go ahead; accept where you’ve arrived and let that be a comfort zone, refuge and ones new habitat. The dictionary allows for those possibilities and alternatives. What is a Plateau?

  1. Topographically, a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
  2. Basically, a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.
  3. Psychologically, a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.

Usually, a Plateau is not a good thing or a good place to stop and be satisfied there. In some instances, it could be – in most, it is not. Someone summarized how the average life is lived and suggested a twenty-sixty-twenty theory – namely - that twenty percent of one’s life has experienced being in the pits; twenty percent of one’s life is lived at or near the mountain-peak; whereas, sixty percent of most lives is lived somewhere in between the pits and the peaks. It is a guess at best but it may prove to be very close to the true situation of most people. The key to life is to set realistic goals and to pursue those goals vigorously. The adage is correct that says: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit that target every time.” For our purposes, the focus will be on one part of the definition for Plateau: “a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning…” We can attach – there would also be little evidence of movement or growth. It could easily become a place that is stagnant and causing growth would be stilted (when used as an adjective, it has a meaning: “not flowing continuously or naturally…”).How should a person live his or her life?

There are three suggestions from the New Testament:

(1) The Ministry of Jesus Christ where set forth the parameters for anyone who be a disciple of His – Luke 9:23-26, “Jesus said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. The focus was to be the daily act – take up the cross daily and follow.

(2) The Ministry of the Apostle Paul – Galatians 6:7-9, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” The focus is the principal of sowing and reaping. No sowing – No Reaping! It is the constancy of effort and care and productivity.

(3) The Ministry of the Apostle James – James 2:14 where a basic question is raised, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” The focus is on Faith that is coupled to Action. It’s more than just a belief system – it involves practical involvement in the lives of people, those with need both within and outside of the household of Faith.

It is too easy to seek and become comfortable at a Plateau. This may be a reason why Paul expressed his desire in Philippians 3:13-14, “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We need to have that same desire and vigor. In Joshua 14, Caleb is 85 years of age and ready for his inheritance – he doesn’t seek a plateau but a mountain. What an example! What a man! Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Standing On A Threshold

From My Perspective - - -

All of us come to threshold decisions in our lives. Mentally – one can anguish over what is the right and best decision to choose, or the best investment to make, or the best time to make a purchase, or the best time to enter matrimony. The list could easily be elongated but the idea is clearly that the moments when decisions must be made are not the most easy for anyone.

The writings of John Maxwell are always poignant and practical. He shares in his November 14, 2010 Post that that when he wrote a book on Ethics 101, he arrived at a conclusion that basic to everything else one experiences in life is the desire of all to see The Golden Rule implemented in their behalf. His thesis became: “How Do We Like To Be Treated?” He listed six areas of significance for an individual -

  1. We want to be valued. 70% of those who leave their jobs do so because they do not feel valued?
  2. We want to be appreciated. Closely related to the need to be valued and loved is the desire to be appreciated for what we can do. How do we express appreciation?
  3. We want to be trusted. Good marriages, business relationships, and friendships all require trust. Without it, you don’t have open and honest communication, and the relationship can be only temporary.
  4. We want to be respected. When others respect me, it touches something deeper within me. It gives me dignity and builds my confidence.
  5. We want to be understood. We can know a lot about a person and still not really understand them or why they do what they do. The desire to be understood is so strong that many disagreements can be resolved simply when one party (or both) gets the sense that they’ve been understood. Understanding others means extending yourself and meeting them where they are. You must put the burden of connecting on yourself, not on them.
  6. We don’t want others to take advantage of us. We can cut through almost all of the ethical and moral dilemmas of life by observing this principle with others. If anyone could interpret what I do as taking advantage of them, then my actions are probably a bad idea.

Here’s our threshold decision and opportunity. Think of how much better interpersonal relationships would be if these six areas began to be implemented and practiced by all of us.

There is a meaningful passage in Ephesians 5:15-21 that can enable us to cross this threshold with joyous anticipation of how we will be enabled to continue in and with beneficial inter-personal relationships. Read Paul’s words thoughtfully: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” There’s the threshold and there’s our potential. The key phrases for this consideration are: “Look carefully then how you walk…” and “…understand what the will of the Lord is…”

The positive approach to life and practice are seen in the phrases: “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” and “…giving thanks always and for everything to God…” and “…submitting to one another…” If we approach life with a Biblical song in our hearts, and if we can remember the faithfulness of God so that we give thanks always and for everything, then it would be very difficult to be a person who whines and complains and gripes regarding the least inconvenience or difficulty. It’s always timely to meditate and reflect on Scriptural truths, such as, “our God is able, and He will…, or “…He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine…” or “…I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord – plans for your good…” or “…as your days, so shall your strength be… It’s positive and possible! Try it! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Important Day To Remember

From My Perspective - - -

November 11th is an important day for two reasons; (1) it was originally known as Armistice Day, and (2) it is now inclusive to remember all veterans from all this nation’s wars.
Armistice Day was observed to signify the signing of an Armistice between the Allied Forces and Germany to end World War I in 1918. It occurred at the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month.

November 11, 1921: Congress approved the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony inaugurating the memorial happens on November 11, 1921, and the official federal holiday goes into effect.

June 1, 1954: President Dwight D. Eisenhower would change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Additionally, Eisenhower would create a Veterans Day National Committee that would oversee any observances planned within the federal government regarding Veterans Day.

November 11, 1978: Official Veterans Day - No matter what day of the week upon which it falls, Veterans Day has been observed in American on Nov. 11 since 1978. Parades that honor living veterans occur in cities and towns all across the nation. Flags fly in the nation's capital as Washington, D.C. honors soldiers who have fought in wartime.

Someone penned the following words about a Veteran - - -
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
Chaplain Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC

Psalm 145:1-6 contains these words with focus upon God, the Lord:
“I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.”

One phrase in this Psalm, although lifted our of its context, can have some significance for the Veterans of this nation, many of whom are too soon forgotten - - -

“One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.”

(NLT) “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts.”

No sacrilege is intended! On their Exodus journey, God directed His people to erect Memorial Stones along the way so generations to come would know of God’s Mighty Acts and His Great Deliverance. The memorial stones were intended to be instructive and to bring to remembrance God’s Power and Wondrous Works.

Lest we forget - Our freedom has been purchased and secured by the acts of a brave military – by the blood of our Veterans. It is a day to remember – a day to honor. Consider these things with me!

A Legacy - How Great Our Joy

From My Perspective - - -

There are special moments that occur in human experience that are very special. The Link below shows one of them. On Saturday, October 30th 2010, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and 28 choral organizations totaling over 650 persons gathered in the Grand Court at Macy's Department Store in Philadelphia. They mingled with the crowd and then, on cue, accompanied by the Wanamaker – the worlds largest working pipe organ, sang Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" to a stunned and surprised audience, which some joined in to sing. This was presented by the Knights' Foundation, "Random Acts of Culture" .


Someone who viewed the You Tube link above observed: I still find it odd that so many in our society will decry the Christian Faith, but will make claims of exultation, joy, etc. when pieces like this are sung. I find the presence of God in things like this. As a classical music fan, I also loved the artistic value, but I cannot separate the two. Music devoted to God is uplifting no matter the artistic intent of the artist(s) who may sing it.

Wikipedia contains a summary of the origins of the store and facility that is now known as Macy’s. “John Wanamaker, the founder of the store that once bore his name, was unable to join the U.S. Army during the American Civil War because of a persistent cough. Having been rejected from war duty, he ventured into business with his brother-in-law. In 1861, they founded a men's clothing store in Philadelphia called Oak Hall. In 1876, Wanamaker purchased the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad station for use as a new, larger retail location. The concept was to renovate the terminal into a "Grand Depot" similar to London's Royal Exchange or Paris's Les Halles—two central markets, and forerunners of the modern department store, that were well-known in Europe at that time. The Wanamaker's Grand Depot opened in time to service the public visiting Philadelphia for the American Centennial Exposition of 1876, and in fact resembled one of the many pavilions at that world's fair because of its fanciful new Moorish fa├žade…Wanamaker first thought of how he would run a store on new principles when, as a youth, a merchant refused his request to exchange a purchase. A practicing Christian, he chose not to advertise on Sundays. Before he opened his Grand Depot for retail business, he let evangelist Dwight L. Moody use its facilities as a meeting place, while Wanamaker provided 300 ushers from his store personnel. His retail advertisements - the first to be copyrighted beginning in 1874 - were factual, and promises made in them were kept. Wanamaker guaranteed the quality of his merchandise in print, allowed his customers to return purchases for a cash refund and offered the first restaurant to be located inside a department store. Wanamaker also invented the price tag…Innovation and "firsts" marked Wanamaker's. The store was the first department store with electrical illumination (1878), first store with a telephone (1879), and the first store to install pneumatic tubes to transport cash and documents (1880)… In 1910, Wanamaker replaced his Grand Depot in stages, and constructed a new, purpose-built structure on the same site in Center City Philadelphia…The palatial emporium featured the Wanamaker Organ, the former St. Louis World's Fair pipe organ, at the time one of the world's largest organs. The organ was installed in the store's marble-clad central atrium known as the Grand Court…Despite its size, the organ was deemed insufficient to fill the Grand Court with its music. Wanamaker's responded by assembling its own staff of organ builders and expanding the organ…The organ still stands in place in the store today, and is the largest operational pipe organ in the world, with some 28,000 pipes. It is famed for the delicate, orchestra-like beauty of its tone as well as its incredible power.

A Legacy is important. In the case of John N. Wanamaker, his legacy was his Christian commitment; his love of music and the arts; his sense of fairness and evenhandedness in the store he owned and operated. Proverbs 13:20-22 states, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise…the righteous are rewarded with good. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children…” In clicking on the Link above, you can share in a glimpse of and a portion of John Wanamaker’s legacy. He was one man who tried his best to make a difference in the lives of others. May his tribe increase! Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Whatever Happened To Civility

From My Perspective - - -

Advice is many times worth exactly what one pays for it – usually nothing. The trite saying – “different strokes for different folks” – has considerable application when it comes to writing a Blog. Occasionally, especially when one differs with my approach and/or format, I have had the passing thought – “if you would have done it differently – then – do it!” This Blog is a case in point where the conclusion is upfront. I try to see contemporary happenings and how Biblical principles could have or would make a difference in approach and outcome. This is especially true when it comes to the issue of Civility.

To the professing Christian and the practicing Church, the Apostle Paul wrote these words in Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” In other words, let civility emanate from you always. The NLT expresses it this way: “Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” This level behavior is not possible for the secular-minded person who has either avoided or seen no need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If one has ignored the role of the Holy Spirit in ones life, there would be no sensitivity whether or not one was grieving the one who is being ignored.

On November 7, 2010 Parade Magazine contained an article: "Mr. Smith Flees Washington... Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak got fed up with the mean-spiritedness of D.C. The elections are over. Bart Stupak did not run. After nine terms in Congress, the Democratic representative from Michigan’s 1st District is walking away to the winter of his discontent, sadly wondering what happened to the public service he entered 18 years ago…It’s so hateful now…Every boundary of decency has been crossed…When did we become so nasty…Stupak sighs. Remember Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Those days are gone…Mr. Smith no longer dreams of going to Washington. He dreams of leaving it. That cannot be good for America. The irony is that at the end of the Frank Capra movie, Mr. Smith, the senator played by Jimmy Stewart, becomes a shining example of the difference one man can make. Can we become real-life Mr. Smiths and change the ugly tone of our national conversation?”

A problem is that the carnal-type behavior exists among the professing Christian and the practicing Church. It has become a ritual to include as part of a Worship Service – The Lord’s Prayer – but to ignore what Jesus stated immediately after teaching His Disciples how to pray. The Prayer includes these words – Matthew 6:12 (NLT) – “and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” One can (and does) pray these words each week – but – many refuse to practice it. They would rather hold onto their grudges and biases and mean-spiritedness – anything and everything except obedience to Jesus Christ. What are the words of Jesus that immediately follow this model prayer? How much attention are they given? How willing are you – are we – to implement them and do them – immediately? Okay! Here are the words of Jesus to you – Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) – “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” It cannot be more plain or clear – but still – it is consistently ignored! Why? Do you not believe Jesus Christ said what he meant and means what He has said? Could it be that you “…bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live…”? If so, you can and should correct this immediately. Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Very Lucky or Providentially Protected

From My Perspective - - -

The Associated Press Headline for Sunday - November 7, 2010 was: “Haiti Very Lucky As Tomas Skirted Island.” Hurricane Tomas pushed northward from Haiti on Saturday, leaving villagers to mop up, evacuees to return to their tents and most everyone relieved that the country did not suffer what could have been its first big disaster since the January earthquake. The storm's western track caused widespread floods, wind damage along the far edge of Haiti's coast and is blamed for the deaths of at least eight people. It was a serious blow, but far better than had been feared in a nation where storms have been known to kill thousands, and more than 1 million quake survivors were living under tarps and tents. Reports from the remote mountainous countryside and the storm's outer bands continued dropping rain on the north. Floodwaters covered streets in Leogane, the town closest to the epicenter of the January 12th quake, and about a foot of water stood on a thoroughfare of the flood-prone northwestern city of Gonaives. Mountain towns were cut off by flooded roads and landslides…But it was clear that the most-feared catastrophes were averted: Earthquake camps were not torn apart by wind, storm surge did not drown the ocean-side slums…The U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported shortages in shelter material and other items, including rehydration salts for a cholera epidemic that officials were concerned the floods could spread. That danger remains, and medical workers were working across affected areas Saturday to contain the spread of the outbreak.

The term “very lucky” defies definition. The Dictionaries do not give extensive definition to what is meant by use of the term. The World English Dictionary defines it as: “having or bringing good fortune; happening by chance.” The synonyms given are: “auspicious, propitious, favorable.” Some of the Thesaurus entries given are: “advantageous… charmed… fortuitous… on a roll… holding aces… striking it rich…” On January 13, 2010 this account was given: The Associated Press Release tells this grim account: “Dazed and injured Haitians sat on darkened streets pleading for help Wednesday and untold numbers were trapped in tons of rubble brought down by the strongest earthquake to hit this poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years. Destroyed communications made it impossible to tell the extent of destruction from Tuesday afternoon's 7.0-magnitude tremor — or to estimate the number of dead lying among thousands of collapsed buildings in Haiti's capital of about 2 million people…Aftershocks rattled the city as women covered in dust clawed out of debris, wailing. Stunned people wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public squares long after nightfall, singing hymns. It was clear tens of thousands lost their homes and many perished in collapsed buildings flimsy and dangerous even under normal conditions. The hospitals cannot handle all these victims…”

A concern should not be how “lucky” Haitians were regarding the anticipated Hurricane Tomas, but rather – what about the role of Providential Protection - and what has happened to all the promised aide to alleviate the tremendous health, housing and infra-structure need in the aftermath of the January 12th Earthquake. Some Christian organizations have helped considerably, whereas other entities have said they would do many things that remain to be done. One gnawing question might be: Why are more than one million people still living in Tent Cities and squalor?

It also reminds one of Basic Biblical considerations: (1) Galatians 6:9-10 instructs: “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” And (2) Ezekiel 22:29-31 exposes and warns: “The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them…declares the Lord God." A worthy mantra and motto for us is: Do all the good you can; For as many as you can; For as long as you can.” A summary for the nations of men is Proverbs 17:5 (NKJV), "He who mocks the poor reproaches (insults) his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished." Consider these things with me!