Monday, April 23, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
This past week there was the recognition that 100 years ago the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage. Eyewitness To History reported: “On April 10, 1912, the Titanic, largest ship afloat, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. The White Star Line had spared no expense in assuring her luxury. A legend even before she sailed, her passengers were a mixture of the world's wealthiest basking in the elegance of first class accommodations and immigrants packed into steerage. She was touted as the safest ship ever built, so safe that she carried only 20 lifeboats - enough to provide accommodation for only half her 2,200 passengers and crew. This discrepancy rested on the belief that since the ship's construction made her ‘unsinkable,’ her lifeboats were necessary only to rescue survivors of other sinking ships. Additionally, lifeboats took up valuable deck space. Four days into her journey, at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg…It became obvious that many would not find safety in a lifeboat. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short when exposed to water four degrees below freezing…The great ship slowly slid beneath the waters two hours and forty minutes after the collision…The next morning, the liner Carpathia rescued 705 survivors- 1,522 passengers and crew were lost. Subsequent inquiries attributed the high loss of life to an insufficient number of lifeboats and inadequate training in their use.
This week, there will be another day for remembrance. One year ago – April 27, 2011 – is chronicled as “…being among the most prolific and destructive tornado days in United States history with a record 208 tornadoes touching down that day. Four of the tornadoes were destructive enough to be rated EF5 …In total, 346 people were killed as a result of the outbreak. That death toll includes 322 tornado-related deaths across six states...24 fatalities… were the result of other thunderstorm related impacts such as straight line winds, hail, flash-flooding or lightening…” A large business section in Tuscaloosa was shredded…and there is evidence of the storm’s damage one year after the event.
On another front, your Congress at work for you, is now seeking to regulate and/or curtail political speech. “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…endorsed a movement announced by other congressional Democrats…to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate political speech when it is engaged in by corporations as opposed to individuals…The constitutional amendment the Democrats seek would reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In that decision the court said that the First Amendment protects a right of free speech for corporations as well as for individuals, and that corporations (including those that produce newspapers, films and books) have a right to speak about politicians and their records just as individuals do. We have a clear agenda in this regard: Disclose, reform the system reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to use secret, unlimited, huge amounts of money flowing to campaigns, Pelosi said at her Thursday press briefing.” If Freedom of Speech can be curtailed, what’s next? Can Freedom of Religion be on the horizon for the secular-minded Congress?
Psalm 2 has a timely word for those who put their trust and confidence in lesser things and deny The Lord His rightful place in faith, life and practice. The Psalm (NKJV) states: ”Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed…He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure… Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear… rejoice with trembling…Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 9:15-17 (NLT) cautions and reminds – “The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. They have been caught in their own trap. The Lord is known for his justice. The wicked have trapped themselves in their own snares. The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” Be warned and aware – a day of accountability and reckoning approaches. Consider these things with me!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
The Church – especially The Roman Catholic Church - has been in the news lately. It is largely a Church-State issue regarding whether or not the Federal Government can mandate all-aspects of The Affordable Health Care Act be imposed contrary to a Church’s Teaching and Conscience regarding contraceptives and medical procedures that could either impact or terminate a life. The Protestant Church – and those who profess to be Bible-Believing followers of Christ – have either been silent or have offered a diluted or mixed statement in terms of what it believes and practices. One can only wonder whether or not The Church in general has gotten itself enmeshed in The Cultural Drift regarding matters of Faith and Practice that has resulted in a bland and mixed message.
The Christian Post contains an article that may explain part of the reason for such a drift. The Headline is: “Half of All Americans Believe Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon Hold Same Truths.” In that article - Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter – (April 17, 2012) – reports: “An in-depth study released by the Barna Group on behalf of the American Bible Society found that 50% of Americans believe the Bible, Quran and the Book of Mormon hold different expressions of the same truths. The survey also found that Americans' reliance on the Bible has decreased slightly in 2012 from 2011, although the Christian holy book retains an important place in people's lives. The study, which was conducted in March and surveyed over 2,000 adults through phone and online interviews, found that 85 percent of American households own a Bible – although that number was down from 88 percent in 2011. Similarly, 48 percent agreed that the Bible has all the knowledge needed to live a meaningful life, while that number was 53 percent in 2011.” Is it accurate that less than half of all Americans find The Holy Scriptures as being viable and valuable - a necessity “to live a meaningful life” within this changing culture? Is this a factor that is contributing to The Cultural Drift in both The Church and Country today?
The Christian Post report goes on to state: “The survey's findings suggest that Americans desire to read the Bible more and turn to it for the answers to life questions but have an increasingly less reverent view of its contents…People's motivation for reading the Bible also slightly changed…17% of respondents, a growing number, said they were turning to the Bible to help them solve a problem in life, or because they needed direction. In terms of faith and politics, people were largely split on the role religious belief has to play in the political realm…a significant majority (79%) disagreed that the Bible teaches Americans should vote for people of the same faith, while 33% of people said they would vote for an atheist. The more secular, younger generation (between ages 18 and 29) were more open to the idea, and 47% said they are ready to vote for an atheist candidate.” The Church is really caught up in The Cultural Drift.
Whatever happened to the foundational truths taught to children: “The B-I-B–L–E, Yes! That’s the Book for me! I Stand alone on The Word of God – The B-I-B-L-E”…? Whatever happened to the belief system that caused the Church to once sing with deep conviction: “The Bible stands like a rock undaunted- ’Mid the raging storms of time…The Bible stands though the hills may tumble, It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble; I will plant my feet on its firm foundation, For the Bible stands!...? Whatever happened to the basic-belief of Psalm 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path!...? Whatever happened to the firm conviction that held and believed II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work!...? The Church and Culture has become loosed from its moorings and has lost its anchor and Moral Compass. The Church is becoming more and more a part of The Cultural Drift. The Church and Nation needs to re-focus on God and His values and His Word. Any further delay will prove to be disastrous. Consider these things with me!
Monday, April 16, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
There’s a vast distinction between (a) saying what people want to hear, versus (b) saying what people need to hear. In an era of political correctness, it is becoming increasingly difficult to either appreciate and/or understand the intent of one’s expression and communication. If one takes the time to observe an interview, especially when an easily understood question is posed where a “yes” or “no” could be an appropriate response, the circumlocution factor kicks in and the direct question becomes obscured by the elongated response. The response gravitates to saying what people want to hear versus saying what people need to hear. From the old Television Program – Dragnet – the mantra of Sergeant Joe Friday – “just the facts, Ma’am” – would be a welcome reprieve to the abundance of words one hears.
The other failure of Circumlocution is the consistency factor – knowing what one has said previously and making certain that what is being said currently is consistent with a previous expression or communication. The Weekly Standard - April 14, 2012 in an article by Peter Wehner entitled: The Great Divider states: “In 2008, Barack Obama promised he would put an end to the type of politics that ‘breeds division and conflict and cynicism’ and he would help us ‘rediscover our bonds to each other and get out of this constant, petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics.’ As president, he has not only discarded this core commitment; he has turned it on its head. Republicans aren’t simply people with whom he has philosophical disagreements; they are members of the ‘Flat Earth Society’ and have embraced a budget that demonstrates their ‘Social Darwinism.’ The Republican philosophy is ‘simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules…’ The president…has signaled that he is going to run a campaign built on crude caricatures and false claims, whether they are directed against Romney, Congress, or the Supreme Court. No individual or institution is beyond libel.”
When one sets out to communicate, there are some basic rules that are appropriate, such as: (1) Be Focused – have a clear objective; (2) Be Factual – avoid exaggeration and the temptation to bloviate; (3) Be Fastidious – exercise care and sensitivity in what is being represented and stated; (4) Be Filtered – be disciplined when communicating and don’t say what doesn’t need to be said; don’t make improvable claims or offer vain hopes and promises; (5) Be Final – do not leave any doubt in the minds of those who have listened to you; avoid being equivocal; preserve personal integrity at all times.
The Bible has many references to communication. The first refers to the wise use of words – Proverbs 10:18-21, “He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.”The second refers to the perspective one should have in terms of all utterances – Ecclesiastes 5:2-4, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.” The third refers to the cautions one should observe – James 3:1-12. In James 3:9-10, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing…this should not be.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it abundantly clear how one should communicate. In Matthew 5:37, “Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”One final thought from James 1:19, “…take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” We all need wisdom in terms of when we should Speak Up and when we should Shut Up – when we should Stand Up and when we should Sit Down! We need more godly people who will purposely Stand Up and Speak Up! Consider these things with me!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
Within one’s lifetime, there will be some occasions when doubts and fears arise. Usually, they occur when there are degrees of uncertainty and many unknowns. Pondering uncertainty and focusing on the unknowns can and will freeze one in his/her tracks. To remind oneself to “stay focused” is all well and good - but – “focused upon what?” – becomes the question. It has been said: “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Dale Carnegie is quoted in different writings as having said: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
At the President’s Prayer Breakfast prior to Easter Sunday, as he was reflecting on the events leading to the Cross and Resurrection, the President said: “For like us, Jesus knew doubt. Like us, Jesus knew fear. In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples: My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying: If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying: If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened - that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim: He is Risen!...We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph…”
The Biblical Perspective regarding Jesus Christ as He approached the Cross and Suffering is given in the Gospel of John – John 12:27-33 – "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.Father, glorify your name.Then a voice came from heaven: I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again. The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, An angel has spoken to him. Jesus answered, This voice has come for your sake, not mine.Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”
These events did not catch Jesus off –guard or by surprise. An eternal plan was unfolding in real time and history. The Covenant of Redemption occurred before the earth was formed – “before the creation of the world.” This Covenant is stated in I Peter 1:18-21 – “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
To allow that Jesus Christ would have Doubt and Fear ignores several Biblical principles. Among them is James 1:6-8, “…But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” In other places, Jesus rebuked His Disciples because of their doubts and lack of faith. In Matthew 14:31 when Peter attempted to walk on water, “…Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith…why did you doubt?" In Matthew 21:21-22, Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."Jesus Christ had committed His life and all that pertained to it into the hands of the Faithful Father – His will to be done! Is that our commitment and consistency in terms of our lives and all that pertains to them? Consider these things with me!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
It is always an interesting study to observe how words are used and how a hearer responds to them. This is especially true during a time of accelerated political rhetoric. For instance, one candidate stated that a Congressional Budget Proposal was “marvelous” and worthy of discussion and enactment. The intent behind the use of the word “marvelous” was to express a positive definition, namely, it was viewed as being: “superb, excellent, great…extraordinary.” However, an opposition candidate held a News Conference where he mocked and ridiculed the use of the word “marvelous” in association with a Budget Proposal. Those assembled joined in laughter and the speaker was pleased and amused himself with what he had just spoken. Those who identify with that sort of ridicule are sometimes classed as being a “lackey” – one who is “a servile follower or a hanger-on”! In political circles, it is usually one who is attracted to Position, Proximity, Power, Prestige and Pay.
In Biblical Literature, the word “marvelous” and “wonderful” are interchangeable. The Phonetic Spelling of the Hebrew word is “paw-law” and the translation depends on the case and mood in terms of how and where it is used. The usual translation and usage is: “marvelous, wonderful, surpassing, extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action.” It can also convey: “to be beyond one’s power, or difficult to do…” In the Hebrew Hiphil, it conveys: “to make wonderful, to do wondrously.” One gets the sense of this in the words of Mary as she speaks to Elizabeth – Luke 1:49 – “For He Who is Mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His name.” It is idea of the wonderful, marvelous and extraordinary thing that has come to pass. That same idea is conveyed by the Prophet – Isaiah 9:6 – when he states: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” His name will be called – “Wonderful” – the One Who is Marvelous and is Extraordinary.
David made use of the word “marvelous, wonderful” in a very significant way – Psalm 139:13-17 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and Wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” He deftly interacts how he has been “wonderfully made” with the “Marvelous…Works” of Almighty God. If only the culture of our day would realize the miracle of God in every conception as a life – a living soul has come into being. However, in our country, without qualm or conscience we have aborted fifty-million babies (although the term “fetus” is used to somehow depersonalize the killing of a baby). In China, abortion is done routinely as a means of maintaining Government-imposed population control.
The word “marvelous/wonderful” appears 71 times in Scripture and we are noting only three of them. The third one is I Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” The phrase – “called into His Marvelous Light” conveys the sense of Isaiah 60:1-2 – “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” As one comes into a personal relationship with the One Who declared – “I AM the Light of the world” – Jesus Christ – that one can know the significance and reality of having been called into His Marvelous Light.” Your Light – your moment is here! Don’t miss this Marvelous Opportunity! Consider these things with me!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
In the fast-paced life most live today, there doesn’t seem to be much time or room for the consideration of “loyalty” to anything except one’s personal goals and ambitions. Loyalty, like many other things, seems to have been lost somewhere in the past. When one thinks about the basic meaning of Loyalty – “faithfulness to commitments or obligations; faithful adherence to a sovereign government, leader or cause” – one realizes that it is difficult to observe in the present. It may have become obliterated or greatly fractured. However, there are some – albeit a determined minority – who can cause paralysis amid the majority.
Once one sees ego-centric individuals vying for prominence within a culture, and/or arrogant persons who want to exert their will and agenda upon others, and when there are those who champion class-distinctions and racial divides – the realization should be that a change in course-direction is past due. The issue is not whether or not one is Loyal to a man or an elected official – but – whether or not one is Loyal to The Constitution of the United States. In addition, the greater concern and measure is whether or not one is Loyal to The Higher Authority – The eternal God - and - His Standards for a people and society throughout all generations. Why is this significant? Why is this an area of non-compromise?
In our contemporary culture that is becoming more individualistic, it is one of the Basics that cannot and should not be neglected or sacrificed. To allow that the Bible and God are irrelevant for the time in which we live, is severely flawed and will bring ruinous results. To state that the Constitution is an evolving document, is also severely flawed and short-sighted. In a debate/discussion with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, George Will stated: “To say the Constitution is a living, evolving document as you did, is almost oxymoronic…A constitution is supposed to freeze things. It is an anti-evolutionary device as Justice Scalia said. It is intended to put certain things beyond the reach of transient majorities.” To amplify the comments of Justice Scalia, he said: “Now, in asserting that originalism used to be orthodoxy, I do not mean to imply that judges did not distort the Constitution now and then, of course they did. We had willful judges then, and we will have willful judges until the end of time. But the difference is that prior to the last 50 years or so, prior to the advent of the ‘Living Constitution,’ judges did their distortions the good old fashioned way, the honest way — they lied about it. They said the Constitution means such and such, when it never meant such and such.”
There is a rightful place for Loyalty. One should be Loyal to God, the Creator – and – to His Word. One should be Loyal to what is Right regardless of personal cost – (by the way, that’s how our country was founded). As the Signers were set to affix their Signatures to the Declaration of Independence, they did so under this statement: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” We need people of courage and conviction like that today.
There is an interesting account of Loyal Men given in II Samuel 23:8-39. Israel has been in a long battle with the Philistines. King David is in the stronghold – the Cave of Adullam, and the Philistines garrison was in Bethlehem. When his mighty men were in his presence, King David – who longed for victory – mused aloud – verses 15-17: “David longed for water and said, Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem! So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. Far be it from me, O Lord, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives? And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.” To what and to whom are you Loyal? What price are you willing to pay to champion that which is right? Loyalty to Christ and His Standards must be paramount. If you stand with and for Him, other Loyalties will become obvious. Consider these things with me!
Monday, April 2, 2012
From My Perspective - - -
From 1965 to 1970, a Comedy Television Program created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry – Get Smart – was a satire about secret agents and what they attempted. It sprang off of the popular James Bond and Inspector Clouseau films that were popular at that time. Get Smart featured two prime characters – Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 and his female companion, Agent 99. They worked for the government counter-intelligence agency known as CONTROL. These two agents are assigned to investigate and thwart various evil designs and efforts in the world. The primary nemesis of CONTROL is KAOS. KAOS represents the international organization of evil.
As strange as it may seem, the United States Government and the Central Intelligence Agency established OPERATION CHAOS. It began on orders of President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded under President Richard Nixon. The program’s goal was to unmask possible foreign influences on the Student Anti-War Movement (during the Viet Nam War period). As OPERATION CHAOS continued, it developed worldwide operations. There were five areas of focus: (1) Letters passing between the United States and the Soviet Union. This entailed examination of correspondence to and from individuals or organizations that had been placed on a watch-list. (2) Infiltration of foreign intelligence targets by agents who posed as dissident sympathizers. It involved placement of agents within domestic radical organizations for the purpose of training and establishment of dissident credentials. (3) Infiltrate domestic antiwar and radical organizations thought to pose a threat to the security of CIA property and personnel. (4) Work with College Administrators, Campus Security and Local Police to identify anti-war and political dissidents without any infiltration taking place. (5) Collecting of Foreign Intelligence from willing Americans. It became a more intense effort under President Nixon but – amid the furor over the Watergate Incident of 1973 – OPERATION CHAOS was ended.
One cannot avoid musing on whether or not the satire of 45 years ago and the government sponsored activity of that same period is not still a part of the fabric of the culture and world movements today. It is obvious from History that evil men have evil motivations that they hope will enhance their Control over other people – and – they will create and cause Chaos to accomplish that goal. For a current example, one needs to look no further than Syria and what the Government Control is doing to the citizens and rebels of that nation. Sophisticated Technology is being used to document the atrocities occurring in Sudan. The Satellite Sentinel Project through Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of Digital Globe Satellite Imagery (see: http://www.satsentinel.org) “…has collected evidence consistent with indiscriminate aerial bombardment in progress by the Sudan Armed Forces…where they are targeting civilian populations and infrastructure…” Another instance of Chaos. This data was collected and reported on March 15, 2012.
Early in Human History, there is the Lord’s observation given about mankind. Basically, it was that mankind was morally corrupt. The extent of that observation is given in Genesis 6:5-9 (NKJV), “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…” Are we not in danger of being observed in a similar way by the Lord – “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…”? We live in a world where the trend and acceptability is for The Lord and His Word to be ignored. Moral Standards and Responsibility are readily scorned and any voice that raises God’s Standard is demeaned, disregarded and dismissed as someone out of touch with the times. Noah was out of touch with his times – but – the world of his day (as well as ours) was out of touch with God’s Righteousness. The world’s ridicule will be dealt with appropriately by The Lord. We need to be consistent and bold in lifting up God’s Standard and His Righteousness. Consider these things with me.