Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Today, A New Computer!


BEEN IN A COMPUTER DROUGHT FOR THE PAST WEEK. As you likely know typing on a cell phone is less than ideal and frought with mistakes. So I'll be glad to pick it up this morning, though I've learned some things by having to work entirely off my phone.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday Advent, Season We Celebrate Christ's Light Dawning On the World


FROM HIDDEN CHRISTMAS ( The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ), By Timothy Keller:

CHRISTMAS, THEREFORE, IS THE MOST UNSENTIMENTAL, REALISTIC WAY AT LOOKING AT LIFE.  It does not say, 'Cheer up! If we all pull together, we can make the world a better place.' The Bible never counsels indifference to the forces of darkness, only resistance, but it supports no illusions that we can defeat these forces ourselves. Christianity does not agree with the optimistic thinkers who say, 'We can fix things if we try hard enough.'  Nor does it agree with the pessimists who see only a dystopian future. The message of Christianity is, instead, 'Things really are this bad, and we can't heal or save ourselves.  Things really are this dark---nevertheless, there is hope.'

The Christmas message is that  'on those living in the land of deepest darkness a light has dawned.'....upon the world a light has dawned.  It has come from outside.  There is light from outside of this world, and Jesus has brought that light to save us,  indeed, he is the Light (John 8:12)

---Page 12

Thursday, December 1, 2016

First Ever Post From My New Samsung


COMPUTER IS IN THE SHOP IN SARASOTA and may not get repaired or replaced before I leave for home soon.  So posting may be light for a while.

Want to say the terrible conflagration in and around the Great Smokies is in large measure due to the feds prohibiting selective cutting of the aging forests there, thereby allowing a huge buildup of dead and dying fuel over the decades. Radical environmentalists have encouraged this insanity also.  It's happened in Yellowstone and will continue to happen there and now in the East during periods of drought.

One way or another, Mother Nature will rebalance the environment whatever government policies are. Perhaps a wiser model of stewardship should be adopted by the new Trump administration.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Toxic Smoke, Historic Wildfires In Tennessee Are the Worst In A Century

UT PROFESSOR PREDICTED THIS FIRE FOR YEARS TRUMP'S TAX PROPOSALS SEEN LEADING TO SURGE IN CHARITABLE GIVING  
 I FEEL VERY BAD FOR EVERYONE IN EAST AND MIDDLE  TENNESSEE , WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA AND NORTH GEORGIA  who are affected by these horrific wildfires and the toxic, pervasive smoke and blue haze lingering and spreading over the entire southeast United States.  It's been an epic drought since mid-summer after 6 years of almost non-stop rain. 

We got  rain Monday and more predicted for the weekend, but who knows if it will be enough to begin to heal the parched, burning land and break the back of this drought for the ages.

I'm certainly no stranger to evacuating and running from forest fires over the years since my own home in  the Buffalo Valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming was threatened and had to be evacuated several times in the great Yellowstone mega-fires of 1988.  Just didn't see these Tennessee fires coming with the same  ferocity.  Nature's way of cleaning out and thinning its house.

Meanwhile,  I've had to leave the area and travel to a location with cleaner air and a little more humidity after weeks of shortness of breath from smoke inhalation. I hope to return to Tennessee next week if conditions allow and pray for all those who are struggling with losing loved ones,  property and dealing with respiratory and other health-related problems.  I hope and pray to God this terrible drought  will end soon.

Monday, November 28, 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump As You've Never Seen Him

FROM 2011, Via Maggie's Farm with thanks.

My kinda guy.

Monday, Is It Safe To Come Back to the Computer?

UPDATE: TN U.S. SENATOR BOB CORKER TO MEET TRUMP TUESDAY IN NYC

 WITH A RECOUNT (DEADLINE PASSES IN PA) AND MASS MAYHEM OVERTAKING US, I'd like to start the week on a lighter note. This video is very clever and fun... Meanwhile, late to the party but nonetheless of utmost importance: History will never absolve Castro. Nor should it. He was a brutal, sadistic dictator, who impoverished the people of Cuba for decades, as he lived lavishly and hypocritically in every way imaginable.....

The trend towards anti-establishment, populist nationalism continues as Fillon is now favored to be the next president of France. More. There's no way Hillary would fit into this new world shaping up. She is so  old, tired news. But clearly,  she has no intention of going quietly into the night.  Okay, so she'll go kicking and screaming. Still, she'll go.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Timeless Thanksgiving Messages Then and Now--- Lincoln And Trump

WISHING YOU A SAFE, BLESSED DAY OF GRATITUDE!

President Abraham Lincoln issued the following proclamation on Oct. 20, 1864, setting aside the last Thursday in November as "a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God."

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
IT HAS PLEASED ALMIGHTY GOD to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State
SOURCE

THEN TODAY HERE'S TRUMP leapfrogging the MSM and delivering Thanksgiving message on YouTube:


       

Sunday, November 20, 2016

James, the Brother of Our Lord, Writes On How Christians Should Live AFTER Being Saved By Grace


WE ARE SAVED ONLY BY GRACE---JESUS' FINISHED WORK ON THE CROSS---BUT AFTER SALVATION HAS COME,  OUR LIVES SHOULD REFLECT THIS BY OUR GOOD WORKS AND RIGHT LIVING---ALL FOR AND TO THE GLORY OF GOD!

JAMES 4 

SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO THE LORD 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.

 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

VP-Elect Mike Pence Becomes a Captive Audience at 'Hamilton' Friday Night And Ups His Favorability Rating to 99%

UPDATE: PENCE BRUSHES OFF 'HAMILTON' FLAP
KRUISER: What really happened (at Hamilton last night) was a display of intolerance in the name of tolerance, which is pretty much all the left does these days. The audience was booing Pence, the fans on social media were cheering the boos, and the media told a story about it that barely flirted with the truth. This was the formula they thought would propel them to victory in the election, and they seem to be completely unaware that it didn't work. While they're giggling and applauding the cast's rude treatment of Pence, he will still become the second most powerful man in the country thanks to the Electoral College that was Alexander Hamilton's idea in the first place.  Now that's something worth cheering. 



PENCE, A CLASS ACT
 

THE BROADWAY CAST OF HAMILTON LAST NIGHT EXERCISED ITS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BE INAPPROPRIATELY BOORISH AND RUDE as it went off-script after the performance to lecture the vice-president-elect in the audience about what scared y-cats they all are as a result of the presidential election of Donald Trump.  Talk about unprofessional and uncalled for.

As Stephen Kruiser writing at PJMedia this morning tells it, Pence---a class act---just made himself the early 2024 presidential front-runner:

If you are keeping running tally of how many lessons the Democrats and progressives have learned since the election the number still stands at zero.

After spectacularly failing at winning an election via the cool celebrity route, our friends on the left still seem a bit confused about the weight that the words of the performing classes have for the people of America.

Evidently everyone involved in the wildly successful Broadway musical "Hamilton" was on board with Hillary Clinton's premature coronation.  Hillary, below, at another performance:


 It certainly seems safe to say that this cast can be counted among the angst-ridden since November 8. So it was no surprise that they were less than gracious when Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see a performance on Friday night.
 "We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values."
 
During Friday night's curtain call at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the Broadway cast addressed the presence of the vice president-elect, who was heavily booed by the audience upon entry.

"Vice president-elect, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us," said Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr. He also told the audience, "There's nothing to boo here, we're all sharing a story of love."

"We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical — we really do," he continued. "We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us."

"We truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations," Dixon concluded to Pence.

OK, Mr.  Dixon, if you say so.  Meanwhile,  think I'll take a pass on attending the show now.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday---Our Need for the Holy Spirit's Instruction In Bible Study and Worship

 
(ABOVE:  DROUGHT-STRICKEN MIDDLE TENNESSEE TURNS TO DUST AS WE PRAY FOR THE RAIN WE NOW SO DESPERATELY NEED)

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE---WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE ALL LIVE IN SPIRITUAL DROUGHT

IF WE REPEATEDLY READ THE BIBLE WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, it tends to reinforce our own prejudices and rock-hard doctrinal positions. We end up merely finding ammunition for what we already believe. We become so spiritually proud, so convinced of our own positions, that the Spirit is hindered in helping us grow in the things of God.

Go back to the 1850s in America when that horrible institution of slavery was being challenged and abolitionists raised their voices against slaveholders.  In the South, there were Bible-thumping preachers who twisted God's Holy Word to defend the wickedness of slavery.  Some actually held the enslavement of African-Americans was part of God's purpose for the earth!  With closed minds and bitter hearts, they used the Word of God for unholy purposes.  And their congregations shouted 'Amen!'  Those bigots weren't ungodly atheists; they were ministers and congregants with open Bibles before them.  Talk about spiritual deception!

The same thing had happened to the religious leaders of Jesus' day.  They (the Pharisees) held a prejudiced view of what the Messiah would be like and what he would do when he came.....Jesus didn't fit into their theology because their hard hearts were darkened-----even as they taught from the (Old Testament) Scripture.....They referenced God's Word without any spirit of revelation, brokeness or submission to God.  Without the help of the Holy Spirit to  understand the meaning of what we read, we're susceptible to reading our own biases into God's Holy Word.  No wonder our reading can become dry and boring. When we see only what we want to see in the Bible, it loses all power to transform us....

When we pick up the Bible and don't ask for the Spirit's help, it's like saying, 'God, do a new thing in me, but I'm not going to change anything I believe.'  That's an odd prayer, isn't it? No wonder we grow so little in our faith and see so few converted to Christ.  William Law, an eighteenth century English devotional writer, said, 'Thousands stand ready to split doctrinal hairs and instruct others in the fine meaning of Scripture words----but there are so few through whom the Holy Spirit can work to bring people to new birth in the kingdom of God.' 

Often we get our definitions for important things not by what the Spirit shows us in Scripture, but rather by what we saw growing in church....It is difficult for all of us to come to the Word of God and say, 'Holy Spirit, teach me, even if it goes against what I've been conditioned to believe.'  And yet we must! We will never understand God's purpose for the church and us individually unless we humble ourselves and pray, 'Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me!'

 ---Jim Cymbala,  Senior Pastor Brooklyn Tabernacle,  Spirit Rising

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Elegant New First Lady Style Steals the Show

MELANIA TRUMP: QUEEN OF FASHION TROLLING  @ THE FEDERALIST MELANIA TRUMP MAKES THE UNTHINKABLE PANTS/JUMPSUIT A THING OF DAZZLING GLAMOUR WHICH DOUBLES AS EVENING WEAR as she joins her husband, Donald, as he makes his POTUS acceptance speech. It's a $4,000 Ralph Lauren white silk crepe---with one shoulder exposed, the other beautifully draped----which succeeds in asserting her movie-star, impeccable style. Melania's predecessor, Michelle Obama, also has a dazzling fashion flair and a hard act to follow. But Melania is more than up to the task.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

This Bud Ad Says It All

ARTICLE

 ROGER L. SIMON ON ASSANGE, TRUE HERO OF 2016 ELECTION "Originally, I was more than skeptical of Assange and would have agreed with Marco Rubio that paying attention to such a man is dangerous for obvious reasons of privacy and national security, not to mention, as Rubio notes, the shoe could be on the Republican foot in another election. I no longer believe that. What Assange has shown us is that the situation is far worse than any of us imagined, that the power of global elites is so great that political parties are almost irrelevant. These elites endanger our republic and the world to such a degree that transparency is mandatory."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday---Hacksaw Ridge Reveals the True Purpose of Our Precious Religious Liberty and How One Man Used It

 

TYLER O'NEIL AT PJMEDIA HAS WRITTEN A CHALLENGING,  SPOT-ON REVIEW of the newly released movie, Hacksaw Ridge, and makes the point that while we Americans pay lip service to the importance of religious freedom, we rarely use this freedom and take stands that might cost us comfort, pain, rejection and even death.  This movie tells the story of Desmond Doss a army medic in World War II who fights for the right to live out his faith,  then goes on to live it under the most harrowing, blood circumstances at Okinawa on Hacksaw Ridge.

I/We saw this movie last night and can say without reservation, it is the most violent, bloody movie I've ever seem.  Still it is a paragon of how a man or woman of principle, especially religious principle, is sometimes called to take a stand and let the chips fall where they may against the most horrific of extreme conditions.  

Still,  I highly recommend this movie as a historical reminder of how our country took stands against oppressive regimes and enemies and also for true inspiration as to how heroes are made and serve.  We live in a world of extreme comfotr, instant gratification, distraction and affluence today where few of us even know ourselves or God well enough to know  what we believe in or what we stand for.  This movie shows the way of a man of God and principle who follows His calling no matter what.  See this movie and prepare yourself for a momentous movie experience.  O'Neill writes:


Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is easily one of the best films of the year (89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but it's not primarily due to cinematic effects. Perhaps better than any other, the movie portrays the vital struggle for religious freedom, and what a Christian must do with that hard-won victory.

Indeed, Hacksaw Ridge is really two movies — one about fighting for religious freedom, and another about the heroism of Christian faith in the face of hellish adversity. One about achieving the freedom to live out the faith, and one about how to honor that freedom. It tells the heroic tale of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who felt it his duty to serve in World War II, but who refused to take up arms.

Doss — played by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman, 2012) — calls himself a "conscientious cooperator" and explains that he wants to serve on the battlefield, but he has a problem with "carrying a gun and taking a human life." His solution? Become a battlefield medic.
From the beginning, Doss struggles to follow his conscience. He earnestly believes he must fight in the war, despite pressure from his father (and later his commanding officer) to stay home and let others fight for him. He also earnestly believes it is wrong to kill, and he refuses to even touch a rifle, no matter how much it costs him. As he tells his wife, "I don't know how I'm gonna live with myself if I don't stay true to what I believe."

His commanding officer does not take kindly to that idea. When Doss refuses to train with a rifle, the squad mocks him. In a disgusting moment, his fellow soldier drags him through the mud, saying, "I don't think this is a matter of religion. I think this is cowardice."

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

Final Arguments

UPDATE:  TRUMP'S AIDS TOOK AWAY HIS TWITTER ACCOUNT
DAVID STOCKMAN: NO MATTER WHO WINS, SELL EVERYTHING! I VOTED FOR TRUMP THIS WEEK. Not for one moment do I think he is the end-all, be-all, if he wins. Many voters will eventually be disappointed in a Trump administration with all the inherent federal gridlock that will follow. Still, I can vote for no one else but Donald Trump for all the aforementioned reasons over the past 6 months.

I have low to no expectations for a Trump victory which means I cannot be greatly disappointed. Our country has been and is on a slippery slope, now at warp speed. Having said all that, I'm excited that the race is coming to a close and the election is upon us. Time to move on to the next chapter and fasten our seat belts.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dear Progressives: My Path From Left To Right

AT THE FEDERALIST: I'M A WOMAN VOTING FOR TRUMP AND IT WASN'T EVEN CLOSE (ME TOO)

IF YOU DON'T READ ANOTHER THING TODAY, THIS WEEK, I RECOMMEND YOU TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS ENTIRE PIECE ON MOVING FROM LEFT TO RIGHT AND BACK TO SANE REALITY.

"Dear Progressives, You don’t have to believe what you know is false: that men and women are psychologically identical, that racial disparities are always caused by racism, that heterosexuality isn’t nature’s norm, that multiculturalism doesn’t increase inter-ethnic conflict, and on and on. Political Correctness is just a set of mandatory lies in the service of political power. It’s all bullshit; you don’t have to believe any of it. It’s OK to admit that you prefer people like yourself. That is normal human nature. It doesn’t make you x-phobic. It’s OK. It isn’t scary for long. You can join the truly reality-based community." HT: MAGGIES FARM

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Game 7---Fantastic Finish, Cubs Win the World Series 8-7!!! First Time in 108 Years!!! The Curse Is Over

SHERMAN: IT WAS EXACTLY HOW THE CUBS HAD TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES

THE LATEST AT WSJ

A SENSATIONAL GAME,  SPECTACULAR FINISH, A BROKEN CURSE....  

I'm With Keith Koffler---The November Surprise/Exoneration of Hillary Is Coming

FOUR WAYS OBAMACARE IS A LEMON FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
UPDATE:  JUST IN CASE ANYONE THINKS PRINCE HARRY'S TASTE IN WOMEN HAS IMPROVED OR MATURED

KEITH @ WHITE HOUSE DOSSIER IS SURELY RIGHT ON THIS....HILLARY'S COME TOO FAR TO LET THE FBI SNATCH DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF HER ASSUMED VICTORY.  So the fix is  in to have Clinton given a preliminary clearance to land on the White House lawn. Will it be enough to save her from losing? No one knows, but her vast networks of operatives inside the Obama administration, will now move heaven and earth immediately to give her the presidency.

Keith feels it in his bones and writes on the October surprise part 2---the November surprise:
I can feel it. Like a dog who barks before an earthquake, I just know it’s coming. And just like that dog would, if it could, I hope I am wrong. But I believe The November Surprise will soon be upon us.
The Great Clinton Exoneration is on its way. One way or another, the Justice Department will announce in the next seven days that there’s no evidence of classified information on emails Hillary Clinton exchanged with her protégé Huma Abedin, and, everyone please ice up the champagne again for the Clinton coronation.

I don’t know how it will happen exactly. But it will happen. Because the Democrats will win this at any cost. Losing means allowing Trump, the crude usurper, to undo everything the magnificent Obama did. And the revelation that Clinton is under investigation yet again is a serious threat to her candidacy, and the Democrats know it.

Here’s one possible scenario for making the problem go away.

FBI investigators are currently racing through Huma Abedin’s emails trying to rule out that Hillary Clinton sent or received classified information to any of Abedin’s private, Anthony Weiner-supervised, email accounts. They are under enormous pressure by political appointees in the Justice Department to get the deed done before Election Day. The agents will do an honorable job, though, and it does not appear they can possibly complete the task in a thorough manner before Tuesday. To be done seriously, the job of divining which of thousands of emails may contain classified information takes time.

Time would seem to work against Hillary Clinton in this case. But time can also work for her.
The very fact that investigators cannot conclude by Tuesday that no classified information was exchanged between Abedin and Clinton also means they cannot conclude there was any. And so, presto, some kind of “preliminary finding” gets cooked up that the emails contained nothing more threatening than Yoga appointments, pantsuit sales, and Friday night gatherings of the Wellesley Alumni Scrabble Club....

READ THE REST.....

Sunday, October 30, 2016

10 Things You Should Know About the Protestant Reformation

VIDEO: WHAT'S THE BEST BOOK YOU'VE EVER READ ON THE REFORMATION?

AS WE APPROACH THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION IN 2017,  I will  be posting articles that help explain the massive tsunami of events of 1517 that shaped and reshaped the modern world spiritually, cultural and politically.

To wit, the art above, Breugel's Peasant Wedding, is a painting---one of my lifelong favorites---which captures the Protestant Reformation emerging art tradition focusing on scenes of modern life rather than the religious or classic themes of the Catholic Church which many if not most reformers considered idolatrous.

Anyway, the following piece by Tim Chester was linked  at TGC is a great read: 

1. The Pope started the Reformation.

The fourteenth century was a bad time for the papacy. For a period, there were two rival popes and the papacy was under pressure from the French monarchy. It wasn’t a good time for the city of Rome either—seven successive popes abandoned Rome in favor of Avignon in France. Rome was sidelined and Saint Peter’s Basilica fell into disrepair. The popes returned to Rome in 1377 and then sorted out their divisions in 1417.

A hundred years on, things were looking up: in 1505, Pope Julius II had decided to knock down the old St Peter’s and start again. He had big plans for his own tomb and wanted a basilica to match. It was time to make Rome magnificent once again. But that didn’t come cheap, so the church embarked on a fundraising campaign. It was this campaign that brought Johann Tetzel to Germany to sell indulgences, promises of time off purgatory in exchange for cash. And so it was that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his protest against indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

2. The Reformation was about sausages.

During Lent 1522, a group of students in Zurich held a sausage-themed party. Traditionally only vegetables and fish were eaten during Lent. But they wanted change and that meant hot dogs. The city council fined the host of the party, albeit only a nominal amount. A few days later, Huldrych Zwingli, the leader of the city’s church, produced a pamphlet in support of the students. The Bible, he argued, didn’t have much to say about sausages—there was certainly nothing about eating sausages during Lent.

The Council convened a debate to decide whether Zwingli’s views matched what was taught in the Bible. Zwingli won the day. But really, he’d won before it started because the terms of the discussion assumed the authority of Scripture. And that, rather than sausages, was the real issue—though it’s reassuring to know that bacon sandwiches get the thumbs up.

3. Luther’s marriage was a bit fishy.

Catholicism's focus was on becoming right with God through the sacraments or monastic life, but the Reformers preached that being right with God is a gift. There’s no need to do works for God’s benefit. It’s already a done deal—achieved by Christ and received by faith. And that frees you up to serve your neighbour in love.

In 1523, a group of nuns contacted Luther. Convent life made no sense, so the nuns wanted Luther to help them escape their cloistered life. Luther enlisted a merchant who regularly delivered herring to the convent. On April 5, the nuns escaped by hiding among the empty fish barrels. Their families refused to take them back, perhaps because what had just happened was still a crime under Church law. So Luther set about marrying them off—no easy matter, perhaps, since they smelled of fish!
Gradually, he found husbands for them all—all except one. No husband could be found for the ringleader, Katharina von Bora. So, somewhat against his wishes, Luther himself married her. He was forty-one and she twenty-six. It turned out to be a good match.

4. There were 97 theses before there were 95 theses.

Luther’s famous ninety-five theses were not his first stab at provoking a debate. A few weeks before, he’d posted ninety-seven theses. They included an attack on the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who’d made something of a comeback in the Medieval period. As it happens, no one took much notice of Luther’s ninety-seven theses. Yet they were much more central to the thought of the Reformation.
So, when Luther was summoned to account for his actions before his Augustinian order, it was to the themes in the ninety-seven theses that he returned. Aristotle said we become righteous by doing right acts—your identity is the result of your actions. It’s something you achieve. Luther said this gets things the wrong way around. In the gospel, our identity is a gift from God. It’s something you receive. And then our actions flow from our new identity. Unbelievers can be constrained by laws and peer pressure, but a life of wholehearted righteous living is only possible if God makes us new people.

5. The Reformation involved a rediscovery of the work of the Spirit.

In 1524, Desiderius Erasmus published an attack on Luther. Erasmus was Europe’s leading celebrity academic. Erasmus thought people already had enough power in themselves to do good. He defined free choice as "a power of the human will by which a man can apply himself to the things which lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from them." Luther replied, "You do not realize how much you attribute to it by this pronoun 'itself'—its very own self!—when you say it can 'apply itself'; for this means that you completely exclude the Holy Spirit with all his power, as superfluous and unnecessary."

As far as Erasmus was concerned, we just need to try harder. But Luther realized our problem was much more fundamental than that. Our problem is not that we’re lazy or ignorant, but that we’re sinners deep down to the very core of our being. So, if we’re ever going to please God, we need a radical inner transformation. And that’s what the Holy Spirit does.

6. The Reformation wasn’t about salvation by works—at least not quite.

There’s a version of the Reformation which says Catholics believed in salvation by works and the Reformers believed in salvation by faith, but it’s more subtle than that. In fact, Catholics talked a lot about faith and grace. They would happily say we’re saved by grace. They would happily say that righteousness comes by faith.

But grace for the Catholic Church is like a shot of adrenaline that boosts your spiritual performance. And righteousness is a God-given ability to live a righteous life—if you work at it at. Baptism gives you a kick start and the mass gives you a boost along the way, but it’s up to you to live a righteous life that will win God’s approval. So the net result is grace plus works and faith plus works.
Just to be clear, the Council of Trent says, "If anyone says, that by faith alone the ungodly are justified in such a way as to mean that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to receive the grace of Justification and that it is not necessary for a man to be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema." (Canon IX)

The Council of Trent was the Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation, a response it has never repudiated. The reason this subtlety matters is that it brings the issues closer to home. Evangelicals all know we begin the Christian life by faith. But we all too easily slip into thinking we need to win God’s approval through our activities. We become more Roman Catholic than we realize.

7. The Reformation wasn’t about the authority of Scripture—at least not quite.

In his attack on Luther, Erasmus begins by talking about Scripture. "I confess it is right," he says, "that the sole authority of Holy Scripture should outweigh all the votes of all mortal men." So far so good. But he continues, "The authority of the Scripture is not here in dispute. . . . Our battle is about the meaning of Scripture." He goes on to say we need the authority of the Church to determine the true meaning of Scripture.

In other words, everyone agreed with the authority of Scripture. But the Catholic Church placed Church tradition alongside Scripture and claimed the exclusive right to interpret the Bible. The Reformers, however, rejected the notion that the church establishes the authenticity of the gospel. It’s the other way round: the gospel establishes the authenticity of the church. They were happy to learn from church tradition, but when push came to shove, Scripture alone is our ultimate authority.
Again, this brings the issues closer to home. Today no evangelical rejects the authority of Scripture. But all too often we place our experience alongside Scripture or use experience to interpret Scripture—rather than the other way round.

8. The Reformation is not over.

Earlier this year I stood in Piazza Martin Lutero in Rome. Yes, they’ve named a square after Luther. In Rome. With the Pope’s blessing. Proof surely that the Reformation is over? Sadly not. It’s true that the rise of secularism means Protestants and Catholics often find themselves standing together on issues of morality and religious freedom. It’s also true that many Catholics and Protestants hold similar theological views.

But that’s because many Catholics no longer follow the official Catholic teaching and many Protestants have lost touch with their Reformation roots. But the fault lines of the Reformation have not gone away. "The Pope’s a Catholic" is the epitome of a non-news story. But, despite the PR coming out of the Vatican, in a 1985 lecture, Pope Francis claimed the Reformation underlies all the problems of Western civilization, from secularism to totalitarianism. He labeled Luther and Calvin "heretics." Lutheranism is "a good idea gone foolish" while the "schismatic" Calvin tore apart humanity, society and the church.

9. The Reformation still matters and not just when we’re talking to Catholics.

The Reformation was always intended to be an ongoing project. One of its slogans was semper reformanda. It’s usually translated as "always reforming," but a better translation is "always being reformed." The church is always being reformed by God’s Word. It doesn’t describe a movement forward to some uncharted horizon, but a continual movement back to God’s Word. On justification, Scripture, preaching, grace, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, and everyday life, evangelicals have important lessons to learn from the Reformation.

10. The Reformation makes us small and Christ big.

Why was the Reformation controversial in the sixteenth century? Why does it remain controversial today? The answer, I believe, is that the Reformation (or rather the biblical gospel it rediscovered) makes us small and Christ big. At the heart of the Reformation was the realization that:
  • We are more helpless than we realize.
  • Christ is more sufficient than we realize.
  • God is more gracious than we realize.
This is what’s meant by soli Deo gloria, "to the glory of God alone." There’s no room in Reformation theology for human boasting. No one can claim their salvation or their knowledge of God is down to their intellect, morality, or religion. It’s all of God from start and finish. That’s our great hope and confidence. Our salvation is founded on the certain promises of God and the finished work of Christ. And if it’s all of God from start to finish, then the glory goes to him alone.

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a pastor of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, and curriculum director of the Acts 29-Oak Hill Academy, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is the coauthor of Total Church and is the author of over thirty books, including You Can Change, A Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.
reshaped the modern world spiritually, culturally and politically.

To wit, the art above, Breugel's Peasant Wedding, is a painting---one of my lifelong favorites---which captures the Protestant Reformation emerging art tradition focusing on scenes of modern life rather than the religious or classic themes of the Catholic Church which many if not most reformers considered idolatrous.

Anyway, the following piece by Tim Chester was posted  at TGC:


Bruegael's Peasant Wedding is a painting that captures the Protestant Reformation artistic tradition: focusing on scenes from modern life rather than religious or classical themes

Source: Boundless. “Impact of the Protestant Reformation.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 26 Sep. 2016. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/the-northern-renaissance-22/the-northern-renaissance-143/impact-of-the-protestant-reformation-625-5818/

Bruegael's Peasant Wedding is a painting that captures the Protestant Reformation artistic tradition: focusing on scenes from modern life rather than religious or classical themes

Source: Boundless. “Impact of the Protestant Reformation.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 26 Sep. 2016. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/the-northern-renaissance-22/the-northern-renaissance-143/impact-of-the-protestant-reformation-625-5818/

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fly Fishing Couple Halt Grizzly Attack With Bear Spray and Live to Tell the Story

YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP
SUZANNE VENKER @ PJMEDIA: MEGYN KELLY'S FEMINIST BIAS
 
THIS IS A SCARY BEAR STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING.  I've had more than my share of grizzly encounters over the years in Jackson Hole and the Bridger Teton Wilderness, but have never been charged.  The moral of the story is to take bear spray everywhere you go in the wild and have it ready at all times.  This could have had a very different ending otherwise. BTW, the photo above is one I took  of a sow grizzly with two cubs up near Togwotee Pass this past July....

This from the Jackson Hole News/Guide today:
Fly rod in hand, John Vandenbos was 45 minutes into a hike with his wife over this past weekend descending toward the Lamar River in steep, thick terrain when the brown blur came at him. It was a grizzly bear, unable to hear his approach, in the water munching on the remains of a pronghorn. Upon seeing John and Lisa Vandenbos, the bruin immediately started coming in hot....

“That bear came out of the river bank 30 feet below us so fast it was like an explosion,” the Bozeman, Montana, resident said. “It came up that hillside about 25 miles per hour.

Truly, he was at the end of my fly rod.” Vandenbos recalled only having time to think that he’d be a statistic, and that he ought to fall on his stomach so his pack could protect him. He didn’t have time for even that, but was able to raise his arms to protect his face from the impending strike. In doing so, he stopped the grizzly in its tracks at exactly 9 feet away. How’d he know the exact distance? His fly rod, recall, was in his hand.

“I touch his nose,” he said. “I put it on his snout and yell very loudly, ‘bear!’ and then I flicked it in his face." Time was bought. Vandenbos’ analysis: “The bear doesn’t quite know what to do with the tip of a Thomas & Thomas 5-weight 9-foot rod.”

“My brother bought it for me years ago and it’s falling apart,” he said, “but it’s now called my bear slayer.”

 His wife, Lisa, immediately behind him along the narrow trail, took advantage of the pause. Seconds into the encounter, she unholstered her bear spray and blasted an orange fiery stream that coursed by her husband’s cheek and at the bruin. The bear was alarmed by the noise and perhaps smelled the spray, but didn’t seem to be significantly affected.

 It ran off back toward the Lamar River, but then changed its mind and headed in for another charge.

 Vandenbos’ rod, in the meantime, shot out of his hand, and he reached for his belt to send out a second blast of bear spray. An expanded orange cloud lingered in the air as the grizzly rumbled back for the second charge. This time, the sting of the capsaicin hit the bear.

The grizzly, to Vandenbos’ eye about 550 pounds, took off at a full-blown gallop, passed its water-logged lunch, crossed the river, cleared a hillside and disappeared.

The whole encounter, the Bozeman man estimated, took 15 seconds. Rattled from having survived a life-threatening encounter, the couple gave up on the pursuit of cutthroat trout and hiked out about twice as fast as they made their way in.

They drove off, waved down a passing Yellowstone ranger and filed a report. Because the grizzly was exhibiting natural food-guarding behavior and caused no harm, no retributive action will be taken. John Vandenbos, 60, said that he’s undeterred about fishing in grizzly country after enduring the fist close encounter of his life.

The next day he was out testing his luck on Slough Creek.

 “I’ll go back anytime,” Vandenbos said. “I’ll just make sure I have my bear spray with me and my fishing rod, but I wouldn’t count on the fishing rod. “The bear spray did it,” he added. “Without the bear spray, we wouldn’t have made it.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Newt Gingrich Pushes Back From Megyn Kelly's Inflammatory Language About Trump

I'VE GOT MORE TO SAY ON THIS SOON, but for now posting this exchange from last night is a good beginning.

The Bushes 70th Birthday Blast In Crawford


LOOKING HAPPY AND RELAXED WITH GEORGE STRAIT ON THE RANCH,  I'm sure both Laura and George thank their Great God and lucky stars every day that the White House is forever in their rear view mirror. Beyond that they are jointly celebrating their 70th birthdays.

Many healthy happy, sober returns!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Science and Slippery Slope of Lying, Or Practice Makes More Guilt-Free Whoppers Over Time

WHY JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER ISN'T CONCERNED ABOUT AN 8-MEMBER SCOTUS

CALLING ALL HILLARY CLINTONS...

 THIS IS A FASCINATING ARTICLE ON LYING and how the emotional twinge of guilt diminishes over time with practice.
A STUDY OF WHAT GOES ON in the brain when someone tells a lie could offer a biological explanation for why untruths often “snowball over time,” according to psychologist Tali Sharot of University College London.

When people tell small fibs, she and her colleagues reported on Monday in Nature Neuroscience, their brain becomes desensitized to the emotional twinge that dishonesty usually causes. Lying becomes easier and telling ever-bigger self-serving whoppers becomes more likely, they found: that may be why nickel-and-diming on tax returns sometimes balloons into massive fraud, why spousal white lies become deeper secrets, and why scientific misconduct escalates from “losing” data to faking findings.
The consensus is still out on this study but it does make quite a lot of sense to me. Read the rest at RealClearScience.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday: The Books of Kings---Or Running the Divided Nation Into the Ground In Spite of God's Repeated Warnings

 

THE TWO BOOKS OF KINGS present a history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of King David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years (c. 960 – c. 560 BCE).  It concludes a series of books running from Joshua through Judges and Samuel, which make up the section of the Hebrew Bible called the Former Prophets; this series is also often referred to as the Deuteronomistic history, a body of writing which scholars believe was written to provide a theological explanation for the destruction of the Jewish kingdom by Babylon in 586 BCE and a foundation for a return from exile

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cindy Crawford and Caitlyn Jenner Could Be Twins



THIS IS WILD, EVEN CREEPY---BUT I THINK CINDY CRAWFORD IS A DEAD RINGER FOR CAITLYN JENNER IN THE PHOTO ABOVE. Always thought Crawford was fairly beautiful. But now that I see her as a Caitlyn lookalike, I'm no longer sure I like her looks and the purple satin blouse is not becoming.  While I'm at it, think Cindy's hair is too long and could use a good cut.   Ditto,  Caitlyn.


 

Friday, October 21, 2016

I Get Miffed, Then Receive A Brilliant Response From A Guy Friend----If Only Every Man Was This Wise, Funny and Savvy With A Woman, Including Trump

UPDATES:  WHEN THERE'S UNEXPLAINED DISTANCE IN A RELATONSHIP
PATRICK KENNEDY COVERED FOR CLINTON AT THE STATE DEPT
NO!  THIS IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER

FINALLY BACK IN THE SLOW LANE AFTER TEN DAYS AWAY, MOSTLY FAR FROM THE COMPUTER.

Great to be home.

However, just as I returned today, I was confronted with something that upset me greatly from a chance encounter at the grocery store. While it's beside the point to bore anyone with the details, let it suffice that I was hurt, angry and completely baffled as I left the conversation.

Later I sent another man friend  I considered responsible for the mess a text message something to this effect: Big D, Just ran into X coming out of the grocery and learned that blah, blah, blah....I am deeply hurt and baffled and hold you both responsible. It was an inexcusable over-sight on both your parts.

Within a few minutes I received his brilliant reply:

Call you in a bit so you can chew on my ass. As you know I'm just an inconsiderate SOB as I've always been. (Followed by a couple of hilarious guy symbols).

His response was so brilliant and disarming that I couldn't stay angry at him for long: He wanted to talk and put himself in the line of fire and my ire, rather that being silent or turning tail and running.  He wanted to listen to a raving maniac while at the same time being self-effacing.

My kinda guy. 

 He called a few minutes later and while I tried to be a little mad, I just couldn't get a mean on even though he had been thoughtless and we didn't gloss over the issue.  It ended up being such a civilized conversation that before long, we were laughing and ready to move on.  He  offered me a ride on his plane anytime he and his wife---also a dear friend--- fly to D.C., NYC or Florida. While that was more than a generous gesture on his part, and one he had made before, it was really not necessary.

What turned the tide completely for me was his disarming, charming, take responsibility response.

Now if only Donald Trump could have learned that with Hillary Clinton. It just might have turned the tide of history.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Reflection


Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no
one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and
little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket
or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless,
airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable,
impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you
can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.

— C. S. Lewis,
The Four Loves, chapter 6

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall On the Potomac

NEO: AMAZING AIR BATTLE---A MUST WATCH! LEAVES ARE ONLY STARTING TO CHANGE HERE IN D.C. But it's cool and crisp and everywhere I look there's gridlock.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday, How Can Believers Enjoy the Thought of Being In Heaven Knowing Loved Ones Could Be In Hell?

THIS FROM TIM CHALLIES AND ADDRESSES A KEY QUESTION I ASK ALL THE TIME, EVEN AS I PRAY FOR MY LOVED ONES:
 
By Tim Challies:

Heaven is far too perfect, far too sinless, far too other for us to imagine in our fallen minds. Our attempts to put brush to canvas have led to depictions of cherubs on clouds, idyllic colors of dawn, Christ as a blinding light, a faceless adoring throng. Some of these attempts to capture heaven’s splendors are beautiful and even captivating, yet we know they are also incomplete. They are, at best, the barest reflection of what awaits. Our imaginations must always fall short of heaven’s glorious perfections.

Revelation 21:4 assures us that in heaven God himself will wipe away our tears, that there will be no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. There is a deeply comforting certainty in our future—a certainty of joy, bliss, comfort, peace, love, and perfection. However, those of us with non-believing family members and friends can find this certainty an area of intense struggle. Why? Because we know that not everyone will be there with us. Many we love today will have an eternal experience of pain, torment, and separation. How could we ever enjoy heaven if our loved ones are in hell? R.C. Sproul tackled this question at a Ligonier Ministries conference years ago and I appreciate his answer.

Sproul begins by recounting a humorous moment from his seminary days. After attending an event in which a speaker unabashedly tore away at Reformed doctrine, young Sproul, disturbed by what he heard, quipped to his professor, “If John Calvin would have heard that sermon, he would have turned over in his grave.” His professor gravely responded, “Young man, don’t you know that nothing can disturb the felicity John Calvin is experiencing right now?”

He reflected little on their interaction, but shortly after heard that same professor’s answer to how a Christian can enjoy heaven knowing of loved ones in hell: “You will be so sanctified that you will be able to see your own mother in hell and rejoice knowing that God’s perfect justice is being carried out.” Sproul’s knee-jerk reaction was to scoff, even laugh, at the lunacy of such a statement.
At face value his professor’s answer felt wrong, insensitive even. However, if we can be certain that our future in heaven is one of undisturbed joy and that at the sight of God’s perfect justice our hearts will cry in adoration, nothing, not even the just fate of the unsaved friend or family member, will disturb our gladness.

Why, then, does our knee-jerk reaction match Sproul’s on this side of eternity? Sproul provides three answers:

We do not know God. That is, we do not really know God. We do not know him as he actually is. We especially don’t know him as the God who is holy, holy, holy. In fact, we are often even offended by his holiness, as if it is an ignoble or capricious trait. We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because our knowledge of God is too small.

We do not know ourselves. We do not know God as we ought but we also don’t know ourselves as we ought. Try as we might, we remain oblivious to how truly heinous our sin is, how truly filthy we are in the sight of God, and how incredible our salvation is. It is so human for us to sin that we may even feel as if God is somehow obligated to forgive us. We need better self-knowledge—the kind God gives by his Spirit through his Word. We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because we do not know ourselves as well as we ought.
We do not know what glorification means. The last link of the Golden Chain of Romans 8:28-30 is glorification. Though we tend to focus most on predestination and justification, they are simply the means to that great end of glorification. We ought to long for the day when we are glorified, when we and everything else is purified of all traces of sin. Heaven is so much more than the absence of death and deterioration—it is also the absence of sin. 

Can you imagine a place where there is no sin? Do you look forward to a place of no sin? That is our hope! We cannot imagine how we could be content in heaven while loved ones are in hell because we think too little of the beauty of glorification.

Until we are glorified, our sympathies will rest more easily with human beings we love than with God—his glory and perfect justice. But as Sproul explains in his talk, “once sin is removed from my life… and I love the Lord my God with all of my heart and all of my soul in undiluted perfection, my compassion, my love, my concern will be much more for the vindication of God’s holiness than for a corrupt fallen kinsmen of mine.” 

And so we pray for the lost, we share the gospel with them, we plead for their souls. And all the while we trust in the God who is good and who does only what is good.