Friday, October 28, 2011

Certainty Or Not

From My Perspective - - -

During one’s lifetime, it is inevitable that one will hear the comment: “There are only two things one can know with certainty – (a) you will have taxes to pay, and (b) at some point, you will die.” That is not as true today as it once was inasmuch as 47 percent of the people in the USA do not pay Income Taxes. One way or another everyone has some tax to pay even if it is only a Sales Tax on items purchased. A story is told of the Town Sage to whom people would come seeking wisdom and counsel. It goes: “Two men who lived in a small village got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to the town sage. The first man went to the sage’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, “You’re absolutely right.”The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, “You’re absolutely right.”Afterward, the sage’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That’s impossible—they can’t both be absolutely right.” The sage turned to his wife and said, “You’re absolutely right.” At the very least, this was “feel-good” advice given by the Town Sage! Is that what you sense you are receiving from the Government - "feel-good" advice?

To say that we live in a world of uncertainty and malice would be an understatement. It seems as though this nation has lost its way. Even though we appear to be directionless, we are moving with great speed headed somewhere. What does it mean when recent surveys indicate that 79 percent of the country believes we are headed in the wrong direction. There is the story of the Airline Pilot who came on the Plane’s Intercom to report to the passengers: “I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that we are lost – the good news is that we are making excellent time.” Lost – but traveling at great speed and making excellent time – what a commentary as well as an indictment.

In a perplexing and uncertain time – Abraham Lincoln shared in his second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865 these words as the Civil War was still being fought. Referencing both sides in the conflict, Lincoln said:  “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes…Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Sage thoughts and counsel for a troubled nation in uncertain times.

Those who would be wise and at peace should consult the Holy Scriptures. In Psalm 33:10-11, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” These should be words for our encouragement and stability. As well as Proverbs 19:20-21, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.” The question is – to whom and to what do you turn to? The so-called “wisdom” of man has brought us into the uncertainty and his continued paths will only bring us deeper into the maze. Man’s wisdom is vain! Seek the Lord – His wisdom and His counsel. He will guide you and provide for you! Consider these things with me!

Monday, October 24, 2011


From My Perspective - - -

Most of us have a general idea of the meaning of communication. After all, we communicate with someone else most days of our lives. It is “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, ideas, or concerns by utilizing speech, writing, or signs…it is something transmitted or imparted…” There was a very significant breakthrough disclosed on CBS: 60 Minutes – Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 – of how an Apple Computer became a vital and useful tool for an autistic young man at age twenty-seven. By use of a special program, he was enabled to make known some of what he was thinking and needing – for the first time, he was able to communicate with words and phrases. Previously, his Mother had gotten him to make use of charades for his avenue of communication.

Today marks a very important anniversary regarding communication. It occurred while the Civil War was underway. While the battles took place between the North and the South, something very significant was taking place from the East to the West - today is the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental telegraph. The Associated Press uses these words: “From sea to shining sea, it electronically knitted together a nation that was simultaneously tearing itself apart, North and South, in the Civil War. Americans soon saw that a breakthrough in the spread of technology could enhance national identity…” The Archivist for Western Union said: “it was huge as lines were strung across mountains and canyons and tribal lands to make the final connection…Cities in California were able to communicate with Washington and the East Coast in real time. It’s hard to overstate the impact of that…”

In the rapidly changing events in the world today, many people have been drawn into the process and protests by electronic means – the computer; face-book; tweet – a result being that large assemblages of people can come together quickly in a common place. In several places where governments have imposed restrictions regarding communication in groups, forums, churches, etc., the electronic age of i-Phones and i-Pads have enabled people yearning to be free to break through those restrictions and to climb the imposed barriers – and – to communicate.

Our nation will have a new experience on November 9th, 2011 at 2:00 PM (EST) when the Emergency Alert System will be activated nationwide for the first time. It is designed to allow the President of the United States to speak to the nation within 10 minutes. All Radio and Television Programs will be silenced – the only national communication being that of the President or an Agency assigned to that task. The assignment is FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC – Federal Communications Commission. The stated purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.

When the Telegraph was being completed 150 years ago today to enhance communication from East to West, what if there had been some form of vital and meaningful communication between the Northern and Southern States – could the deaths of more than 625,000 fighting men been avoided? Could the pillaging and suffering been averted? What if people of good conscience and principle had been able to employ some Biblical principles, could it – would it have been useful to settle the differences that had arisen? What if the words of Isaiah 1:16-20 been considered and applied, would the physical carnage have occurred? Isaiah wrote: “…Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord…If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken…” The Message translates verse 20: “…if you're willful and stubborn, you'll die like dogs. That's right. God says so.”

In the body politic of our day, one can often hear about which candidate will receive the support of the evangelical community. Sadly, the “evangelical” community is as divided as the nation - liberal versus conservative – principled versus non-principled – moral values versus permissiveness – Biblical Standards versus Political Expediency. Come NOW and let us reason together on GOD’S TERMS. Let's return to doing things God's Way. Consider these things with me!

Friday, October 21, 2011


From My Perspective - - -

The 21st Century has begun in a fascinating way. One truth with which most can identify is that we live in a very complex and complicated world. Events unfold at such an accelerated pace and rate that one finds it difficult to be current in all things. We are well beyond what some liked to refer to as the K.I.S.S. principle, namely, Keep It Simple Stupid. As a matter of fact, the way that “simplicity” is usually defined is by contrast with that which is not simple. When Rene Descartes (1596-1650), a French Philosopher and Mathematician set out to give perspective on simplicity, he did so with his “Ontological (or a priori) Argument” as he sought to give understanding about God.

One who tried to summarize the basic argument of Descartes summed it up in the following way: “Descartes often compares the ontological argument to a geometric demonstration, arguing that necessary existence cannot be excluded from idea of God anymore than the fact that its angles equal two right angles, for example, can be excluded from the idea of a triangle. The analogy underscores once again the argument's supreme simplicity. God's existence is purported to be as obvious and self-evident as the most basic mathematical truth. It also attempts to show how the ‘logic’ of the demonstration is rooted in our ordinary reasoning practices.” Simple? You have to be the judge of whether or not this is the best approach to an eternal matter of great importance.

Another summary statement regarding the approach of Descartes is: “Descartes' ontological (or a priori) argument is both one of the most fascinating and poorly understood aspects of his philosophy. Fascination with the argument stems from the effort to prove God's existence from simple but powerful premises. Existence is derived immediately from the clear and distinct idea of a supremely perfect being. Ironically, the simplicity of the argument has also produced several misreadings, exacerbated in part by Descartes' failure to formulate a single version.”

The attempt of Wikipedia to give some parameters for simplicity states: “Simplicity which means to be simple. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated...The concept of simplicity has been related to truth in the field of epistemology. According to Occam's Razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true. In the context of human lifestyle, simplicity can denote freedom from hardship, effort or confusion. Specifically, it can refer to a simple living lifestyle…”

In part, the complexity issue arises because of an inability to utilize faith in and embrace of basic premises: (1) There is a God; (2) This God is all-powerful; all-knowledgeable; everywhere present at the same time; and unchanging – in other words, He is unlimited in terms of time and space and functions whenever and wherever He pleases to accomplish His divine will and plan; (3) This God has also spoken in a) His revelation – the Holy Scriptures and b) His Son. A simple summary (if one employs faith) is given in Hebrews 1:1-4 (NLT), “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets - now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.”One of the most “simple” and clearly stated books in the Bible is First John. One such example is I John 5:11-12, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” This truth can only be embraced and implemented by faith. Faith is the only pathway to receive the benefit of these words, namely, eternal life. Believe and Receive! Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vacuums and Voids

From My Perspective - - -

The pendulum of time and the cycle of life is a reality and a factor one should consider more often than not in terms of life and how it can/should be lived. One of the major issues of our time is that people who are the so-called “leaders” in government and business don’t seem to get it in terms of the frustrations being expressed or of the protests that are taking place. There is an apparent insensitivity by those in “high places” who seem to have a deaf ear to any concern. Those who dare to challenge the trends or actions of government are castigated (criticized or reprimanded severely) and besmirched (to detract from the honor or luster of). There was an observation made regarding the Republican Candidates for President in terms of where they rate in the Polls. The comment made regarding some of the candidates was: “at first, they are ignored until they gain some traction, then they are mocked for their views, and finally – if they are surpassing anyone who is the supposed leader – they are attacked.” That is quite a summary – ignored, mocked, attacked! Is that what we have become as a nation of people?

The vacuum and void can be addressed best by wise choices being made during a primary or the ultimate election. If one is concerned, that one should become involved in the process and try to be or make a difference. One of the other choices is by means of a formal and orderly Protest. The politicians would display wisdom if they would listen rather than speak and/or demean. Corporate leaders should display awareness to the concerns of people who are unemployed and seeing job availability trickle steadily to other countries while manufacturing facilities in this nation are closed. When the masses of people begin to sense that no one is listening and that no one really cares, their frustrations begin to bubble up within until it spills over – currently, it is being expressed by Protest Rallies across the nation. The uniqueness of these protests this year is that both the “right” and the “left” are expressing their frustrations with calls for change regarding the way things are and the way in which the business of this nation is conducted both politically and corporately. If these protests continue to be met with a deaf ear or a manipulated reason for them, what will be the next step or steps in terms of the vacuum and void of our times.

There is another segment of our culture that needs to be part of this equation – it is called The Church. People have grown frustrated with the “church” and their protest is seen by their decision to just not attend. While some would claim that “the Lord is blessing them with growth”, the bottom line is what bonafide or credible difference does the “church” really have in the lives of people and our culture as a whole. Bonafide means: “done in good faith; without deception or fraud; authentic.” Credible means: “capable of being believed; worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy.” Whether or not the “church” is functioning today in a bonafide and credible way, one can best gauge it by the results. You may have received an email (meant as humor?) regarding a prayer about the President referencing Psalm 109:8, “May his days be few; may another take his office!”Similarly, another verse circulated to define the political culture of our day is Ecclesiastes 10:2, “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.”

More on point is the place and value of Prayer. James 5 references two Old Testament men – Job and Elijah as examples of patience and prevailing. Read James 5:13-18 – a paragraph that usually has a title – “The Prayer of Faith.” Take special note of verse 16: “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Healing is not just of the body, but also for the nation. Consider this verse with II Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” What has God promised to heal if His people humble themselves and pray and seek His face? He will hear and forgive and heal their land! Do you believe this truth from God’s Word? Have you been implementing it in your prayer life? Have you prayed for the nation? Do you have a daily Prayer time – or is this a vacuum and void area in your life? Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Helping Or Hindering

From My Perspective - - -

Events in the world today are unfolding at almost unprecedented speed. The demonstrations in the Middle East that has led to the change in government leadership is one example. However, when a vacuum or void  is generated, that which fills that vacuum or void is vital. A case in point is an Associated Press Report by Maggie Michael on October 10, 2011 under the Headline: “Christians Under Siege In Post-Revolution Egypt.” Some could easily debate the point in terms of whether or not it is a “post-revolution” climate prevailing there, as well as discussing whether or not any of these events have anything to do with Biblical prophesy as it pertains to the “end times.” We would do well to ponder - why it is occurring; and what it all means!

Maggie Michael’s column states: “Egypt's Coptic Christians have long felt like second-class citizens in their own country.Now many fear that the power vacuum left after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak is giving Muslim extremists free rein to torch churches and attack Coptic homes in the worst violence against the community in decades.An assault Sunday night on Christians protesting over a church attack set off riots that drew in Muslims, Christians and the police. Among the 26 people left killed in the melee, most were Copts…it was evidence that the Christian community in Egypt is vulnerable as never before.In the absence of law, you can understand how demolishing a church goes unpunished. Once a majority in Egypt, Copts now make up about 10 percent of the country's 85 million people. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Their history dates back 19 centuries and the language used in their liturgy can be traced to the speech of Egypt's Pharaohs. Proud of their history and faith, many Copts are identifiable by tattoos of crosses or Jesus Christ on their right wrists, and Coptic women do not wear the veil as the vast majority of Muslim women in Egypt do. Under Mubarak, the problems of Copts festered even if they faced less violence than they do now. Their demands for a law to regulate construction of churches went unanswered and attacks on churches went unpunished. Copts shared in the euphoria of the 18-day revolution that ousted Mubarak and like so many other Egyptians their hopes for change were high - they wanted to be on equal footing with Muslims.”

The rhetoric of our government continues. A summary by David Limbaugh is: “…President Obama believes that only 'big and bold' intervention by the government can get an economy moving…Anyone who disagrees with or opposes him is engaging in partisan politics rather than acting in good faith, on principle and in the best interests of the country…” When push-comes-to-shove, there is always a way out for our leaders – namely – blame someone else for the problem. It is no surprise then the news conference included these words: “… our economic mess was created by George W. Bush, the Japanese tsunami, the two wars, the Republican gamesmanship over the debt ceiling, and Europe's financial instability.”

James 1:19-25 is written as spiritual instruction for the true believer and follower of Jesus Christ. However, there is an obvious application for the secular culture as well. “Know this…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God…put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness The…Word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror…goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law…of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.” We desperately need people whose behavior and rhetoric would be of help rather than a hindrance. I don’t know about you – but this would be a welcomed format in most of the Churches today. It surely would serve to the benefit of many if it was applied and practiced in the secular culture. It is obvious that such behavior needs to be applied and practiced by the one whose profession is that he/she is a “believer” and a “Christian”! Do the words of James describe you positively or negatively? Consider these things with me!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Significance of Nothing

From My Perspective - - -

When one looks at the trends of our time, one of the truths that becomes obvious is the desire of many for something. The signs read – we want our jobs; we want our share; we want our money; we want…. The bottom line is that no one wants to have a share of nothing – nearly everyone has the innate desire for something. The shortsightedness of the current political rhetoric is that it is generating class envy and division. Generally, the speeches contain words to the effect that the “rich have it” and you don’t. The rhetorical solution – “let’s increase their taxes” so you can have more of what you think you need and want. Let the rich pay your way and your added costs.

It cannot be denied that there is considerable imbalance, injustice and inequity in the world. When one hears of the millions of dollars that a corporate executive receives when he retires and/or relinquishes his position, and one measures that against the numbers of hungry and starving people in this nation and world, it does cause one to be more than a bit squeamish and resentful. When one observes the cronyism in government that allows for more than a half-billion dollars to be given to a political ally whose business goes bankrupt and the cost is borne by the taxpayer, it infuriates and embitters. To say that something is wrong is a gross misstatement and understatement. The truth is that it is more criminal than anything else.

A radio personality was sharing his approach to achievement and shared an interesting concept with his radio audience. He told of an early pursuit when he would purchase a bound composition notebook that he used as a personal and daily journal. He had a goal and each day he would make an entry in terms of what he had done to meet that goal. He did not want to be in the “nothing” category – he wanted to achieve. In a rare moment of candor, he shared that there were times went his journal went for several days when he had written “nothing” in terms of his goal pursuit. He went even further and indicated that there were times when he went for months and his entry was “nothing” – times when he felt spent, and dry, and empty – times when he was exasperated and frustrated because he didn’t have what he wanted so badly. This entire idea of “nothing” can become significant for one of two reasons – (1) the person either gives up and allows the “nothing” entries to overwhelm him to the point where he doesn’t try anymore to achieve any goal, or (2) the person allows the “nothing” entries to be a stimulant and motivator for the reorganizing of one’s life priorities to allow one to get back on track and to return to a more disciplined pursuit that will allow achieving the meaningful goals that had been set.

One of the major balances for all is to consider the point and place for contentment. The Apostle Paul, as an older Mentor, shares this concept with the younger Timothy as he moves forward with a ministry goal. It is succinctly stated in I Timothy 6:6-10, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” The Message Paraphrases this passage: “A devout life does bring wealth…Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough…Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.” One person mused: “I came into the world with nothing and I have most of it left.” That phrase may contain an element of humor and truth but it should not blur or negate (1) contentment in one’s walk and relationship with God, and (2) trusting the Lord day by day for His continued care and provision for all of your needs. One may not have all of his/her wants – God has promised to meet one’s needs – not always one’s wants! An old Hymn contains these words: “Jesus Christ is made to me, All I need, all I need. He alone is all my plea, He is all I need.” Is that your belief? Is that your contentment? Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Protest Promenade

From My Perspective - - -

We live in interesting and trying times. Interesting, because we stand at a threshold of new opportunity and renewed purpose; trying, because the economy is so bleak and the prospect for recovery seems so remote. In the political arena, we have prominent individuals who have unwisely championed two trends that lend themselves to hopelessness – (a) a miscalculated class warfare, and (b) an ill-timed racial divide. If this was a plan to gain votes for one candidate and/or party, it was ill-conceived from the outset. At a time when the nation needs to be united and working together, the major stimulus that most have received is diatribe that divides people and tears apart worthy objectives and goals.

There have been sounds of protest raised by those who believe the Government was too intrusive and spending too much, as well as the elected officials being out of touch with the citizens and their constituents. They also argued that Government had intruded into the private areas and were regulating more than is necessary. This group – the Tea Party - became castigated and negatively labeled by those holding a more secularist and progressive approach to governing. They were called ultra-conservative, far right, racist, and chalked off as being uninformed. Interestingly, there are currently national protests under a banner of the Wall Street Protest. These groups are functioning from coast to coast and increasing in numbers. They are comprised of those who had been on-board with the progressive movements – but – have also come to see that they were more than likely being “used” by the power groups to achieve “their goals” rather than addressing the needs and desires of the cross-section of people. These are unabashedly the far left and the share-the-wealth re-distribution champions. The politicians and media have not designated them as being ultra-progressive, far-left or any other negative or derogatory name – yet!

Hopefully, regardless of the intentions and/or neglect of elected officials, the populace will find a basis to be united once again in a just and noble cause. Regardless of the extreme political orientation of either group – Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street – there is a strange oneness that could emerge centered upon the long-reach of Government into the every day affairs of the citizenry, as well as government-intrusion into the corporate function of the country, while maintaining a close affinity to the wealthy despite the rhetoric regarding increased taxation upon that group. The purpose may have been to divide-and-conquer via a class distinction/warfare – but – it may prove to have been in vain due to miscalculation regarding the independent thinking and will of many in this country. The rhetoric may easily slide into catastrophic consequences, as well as the collapse of what was once foundational in this nation. When people in power allow the moral compass to be smashed and core values to be removed, the end result can easily become chaotic and costly.

Tougher times and greater hardships may yet besiege the nation, and severe testing may soon befall the “church” (so-called). Historically, desperate times have come that have caused life to be increasingly trying and difficult. The Bible references such times with graphic and descriptive words. Deuteronomy 28:52-57 speaks to a people who had jettisoned moral and  ethical standards. The Lord said to them: “…they shall besiege you in all your towns…you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom The Lord your God has given you, in the siege and distress with which your enemies shall distress you…” Years later, a similar incident is described in II Kings 6:26-29. A little later yet, Jeremiah 19:9 and Lamentations 4:10 another vivid description, “…I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in their distress…” However, in the midst of the gloom, despair and misery – there is always hope. Philippians 4:19 remains valid and operational: “My God will supply for every need of yours according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In the same way, Matthew 6:25-34 remains as an assurance from Jesus Christ for His own: “…do not be anxious saying, What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear?...Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Can you believe God’s truth? Will you believe and implement it today? Consider these things with me!