Monday, November 23, 2015

Boys, Birthdays, Legos...the Battles of Good and Evil

WHICH COMES FIRST, THE LEGOS OR THE BOYS? G-BOY IS SEVEN TODAY and in his and his buddies' worlds, LEGOS rule. SUPREME. It's a big year for these little guys especially since Jurassic World LEGOS are now out. Then there's Star Wars.

Too many LEGOS, not enough time.  Right guys? Guys? Anybody listening? When I see these little fellows building, playing, battling so ferociously and intensely non-stop the games of good and evil, it now seems like good preparation for the world that awaits them (and us all) where the battles of good and evil now seem to come at us ferociously on a daily basis. No moral equivalence or relativism here. Play on guys. And happy birthday, giddo.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What the Book of Psalms Is About

THE BIBLE PROJECT HAS BEEN MAKING SHORT VIDEO OVERVIEWS OF VARIOUS BOOKS OF THE BIBLE for several years. It's a great way to get introduced to parts of the Bible you might not know much about. Above is an overview of Psalms which I think is an excellent summary. But don't stop there.  Dig into these beautiful and timeless poems of lament and praise. It's a wonderful way to pray each day.

Currently at OneYearBible blog---on my sidebar---we're reading the longest psalm,  Psalm 119.  MORE HERE @ Read Scripture Series of the Bible Project

Friday, November 20, 2015

Seattle's REI Eschews Black Friday, Closing Stores and Telling Employees to Go Take A Hike!

ON THE BIGGEST RETAIL DAY OF THE YEAR NEXT WEEK, it's heartening to know that  outdoor gear giant  REI is walking away from the madness of  Black Friday and instead closing its doors that day and telling employees to go hiking!  I love it and can't think of anything worse than getting into holiday mayhem in any shopping center in America on the day-after-Thanksgiving.

Speaking of the holidays,  it seems Christmas music on the radio starts earlier and earlier each year.  It used to wait until Thanksgiving, but now some of it starts weeks earlier.  I just flip the station cause I'm not interested in how the ante is upped to get us to go shopping.

From The Atlantic---What ISIS Really Wants

THIS IS A LONG PIECE FROM THE ATLANTIC, but well worth a read.  If you're confused by all the rhetoric about ISIS (especially from our feckless president), then take time to read this and put it in perspective.  I'm glad I have:

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday, Ezeikiel 37 Dry Bones Prophecy


Saturday-- Target Practice With Expert Law Enforcement Officers


IT'S TIME.  WAY PAST TIME. TIME-AND-A-HALF. Global warming is here.  

There's a time and place for red pepper spray. I've carried it for years, and now it's time. Doing it right in the state of Tennessee and it's a rather long---and not easy---process.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Brave, The Greatest---It Is the Soldier

ROGER SIMON: WHAT I LEARNED FROM LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE The following is via Bobby Petray at TN Eagle Forum:

It is the soldier

An Editorial by TN State Senator Mark Green

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was marked as an armistice or end of violent hostilities between The Keizer's Germany and the Allied Nations in 1917 that preceded the official end to World War I.

As President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day two years later, his quote reveals the essence of our celebration of Veterans Day:  "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."

Later changed to Veterans' Day, this national holiday was designated to honor the heroism of those who've served to defend our nation's integrity and liberty in military service.

Ironically, the term "veteran" originated to identify those of more senior age and status, yet the large majority of the brave men and women who actively defend our sacred liberty are America's young adults.  Ranging from 60.2% of the Coast Guard up to 82.9% for the US Marines, the active military forces are predominantly comprised of adults 18-30 years young.

President Ronald Reagan in his 1985 Veterans' Day speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery observed that our military fallen "gave up two lives:  the one they were living and the one they would have lived."  For veterans who survived war or served in more peaceful times, their sacrifice of a "normal" life on Main Street, USA is often overlooked with missed birthdays, first steps of their toddlers taken without their serving parent cheering them on, and empty place-settings nightly at the kitchen table.

America's living veterans are our heroes and "sheroes."  They serve as the timeless inspiration for the poem by Army Veteran, Charles M. Province entitled, "It is the Soldier."

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given use freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Indeed, the men and women who serve in vast roles as the unified force of our United State Military deserve honor and respect for their service and sacrifice.  Yet, the liberty of some to speak freely has turned into an unbridled license to condemn the vary guardians of the entitled and grossly uninformed. No other single group has been the defender of individual liberties that define the founding, the existence, and the future of America more than those who serve in the various branches of our military service.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday: The One Thing Angela Alcorn Remembers Most About Her Dad's Parenting


THIS IS A WONDERFUL REMINDER ABOUT HOW IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE that almost always matter most and are truly memorable. What good news to know we can actually be loved and known even more in our humbling mistakes than in our constant, pretentious strengths. This is what makes for significant relationships and people.

Randy writes:

Some years ago, I sat with my daughters at a wonderful father/daughter banquet at our church. Someone at the table asked my youngest daughter, Angela, what I’d done that made the biggest impression on her. I had no idea what she would say, but of course I hoped for something spectacular. 

I’ll never forget what she shared because it was so powerful to me. She said, “I remember one time when dad was harsh with me. Then a few minutes later he came back into my room, and he cried and asked my forgiveness. I’ve never forgotten that.”

That’s what Angie remembered as having the most impact on her—something I had actually done wrong, and then asked her forgiveness for! I thought, Isn’t that interesting? It shows how being a good example isn’t limited to doing great and magnificent things. Sometimes it’s when we admit we did wrong things.

This is God’s grace—He can redeem even our failures! (Provided we recognize and confess them to our children.) Saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me," may teach your children more than you would have by never failing, and far more than pretending you never fail.

How humbling and also encouraging to know that parents who admit their shortcomings don’t lose their children’s trust. They gain it.

Following are some parenting books I would recommend on parenting: Gospel Powered Parenting by Bill P. Farley, Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp (I read Tripp’s book when our girls were young, and I think it’s great), and What the Bible Says about Parenting by John MacArthur.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Seen In Kids Carpool Line in Houston---Where Else?



I found it more than amusing when we saw this bumper sticker on a mom's car in front of us in the kids' carpool line---stuck right above the rear exhaust pipe. 

 Political incorrectness at its best from Houston, in no uncertain terms.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Fred Thompson,One of Tennessee's Favorite Sons

FRED DIED SUNDAY IN NASHVILLE AFTER A LONG, OFF-AND-ON ILLNESS. This towering conservative will be missed by many.
A couple of links follow, including a piece I did for PJMedia a while back:

RIP Fred Thompson@PJMedia

RIP Fred Thompson

Turning Up the Heat On Fred Thompson

Sunday, November 1, 2015


LET'S CLEAR OUT ALL THE DARK, SCARY IMAGES FROM HALLOWEEN, SHALL WE? Hank Williams lives...But better than that, Christ Jesus has conquered all darkness and death for those who accept his gracious and free gift. YEEHAW!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Vital Way Christian Families Should Do Halloween (In Houston and Beyond)


GOT TO HOUSTON YESTERDAY, JUST IN TIME FOR MORE TORRENTIAL RAINS AND HALLOWEEN.  I have to admit,  Halloween has never been my favorite cup of tea.  But with the Gs,  I buck up a bit.  Anyway, orange is one of my favorite colors, especially with denim. And homemade pumpkin pies are everyone's favorite.

How should Christians do Halloween, if at all? It's a great question which Mike Hamilton asks and answers at PJMedia today in an elegant way:  We do it like we do the rest of life by asking the same important question---Does this celebrate the culture of Life or death? In a culture inundated with death masking as glamor and freedom, this question and the discernment required is not optional.

Some highlights of Hamilton's wise piece:

A critical question that accompanies much of what our kids watch, read, see, and hear–and how they dress up on Halloween–is, “Does this belong to a culture of life, or a culture of death?”

Our reason for asking this question is simply that our family belongs to the former. In many ways our society celebrates that which “is passing away”–things like materialism, lust, and fame. These are hopeless substitutes for people who have hitched their life’s meaning to its own star, which, like every human’s, is fast falling to the grave.

Biblical Christians regard “the grave” not as the next step, but as a step backward–the just reward for sinful creatures (which my wife and I definitely are). As Christ-followers our family celebrates the new life God has given us. On Halloween our culture asks, “Isn’t this dead, hopeless, rotting, trapped, terrified, terrifying figure funny?” Our family instead celebrates life by asking, with the Apostle Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

We don’t assume that every 11-year-old with a “Scream” mask consciously celebrates the culture of death. More likely, he has no idea what narrative he is wrapped up in. Dark though the grave is, it serves as a setting for some of the world’s greatest stories, from biblical truth to Medieval epics to the canon of Greek and Roman mythology, which we delightedly teach our children. The walking dead figure prominently in more recent classics we will read with our kids–“The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and even “Harry Potter.”

Over each narrative looms our question: culture of life, or culture of death?

Our kids pick up on these distinctions: “Dad, there was a skeleton on the Magic School Bus today, but it was for science.” Science is good. So is history. Soon our kids will associate October 31 with religious-historical markers, such as All Hallows’ Eve, and the start of the Protestant Reformation.
Meanwhile, we will happily dress them up (usually as heroes), take them begging on Halloween–and talk with them. So leave your light on. 

So, Yes!  Please leave your lights on in West University.  We'll most likely be coming by rain or shine. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Links With Russian Cavier


First, I've never been a big fan of Marco Rubio. Think he's too young and not seasoned enough to be president. Yesterday, Michael Walsh writing at PJMedia wrote a take-down of Rubio with all the reasons conservative voters should be wary of him. Entitled Marco Rubio the GOP's Very Own Barack Obama, it's well, well worth a read or re-read.

Second,  I recently  linked on my sidebar to a Russian news site called RT.  Today, there's a featured news story of cops apprehending a Russian speeding hearse  illegally transporting and concealing a huge stash of black cavier (without the cold vodka).  Cavier-filled coffins?  Nice try, fellows, but no cigar.

Third,  here's a local Nashville story I find interesting and wickedly politically incorrect involving Tennessee State University, a predominantly black university, being criticized by a former black Metro Councilman undoubtedly speaking truth to power in the face of protest.  Good for Mr. Jerry  Maynard.

Fourth, Stuart Scheiderman @ Had Enough Therapy asks and correctly answers the question, What's Wrong With This Text?

Sunday, October 25, 2015


HAVE I REALLY BEEN TOO BUSY TO BE ON THE COMPUTER FOR OVER A WEEK?? THIS WOULD BE UNHEARD OF 5 YEARS AGO. I have been keeping up on my phone a little bit, however. What an incredible, incredible week it's been! Now I'm trying to catch up with myself on many different levels, which may take a while. Thanks for coming by.

Also, we had an amazing day in Chancery Court this week.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday, Simplicity In Christ With Pastor Mike Atkins


BELOW IS ANOTHER WONDERFUL SERMON FROM PASTOR MIKE ATKINS. The enemy is always at work to corrupt our simplicity in Christ, attempting to make it complex and confusing.  Satan loves to whisper, God didn't really say that...if you do what I say, you will be like gods.....

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hiking Holston Mountain



I love to hike this mountain because of the 1,000-2,000' elevation gains in only a few miles of trail makes for a terrific workouts.  No better preparation for trial stuff than engaging high trails in the mountains.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Coming Soon to Nashville Courts--Erin Andrews In Circuit Court (Naked Peephole Video, Feb) and Webutante in Chancery Court (Oct, Nov) Against Abe's Garden


ERIN'S PEEPHOLE CASE AGAINST MARRIOTT SHOULD BE INTERESTING.  I'd be furious too.  Almost as furious as if someone seized your precious land and all semblance of privacy with it, making a peephole as big as the sky.

Next Tuesday morning in Chancery Court we get rolling again in the case against Abe's Garden at a  hearing.  Stay tuned. It will be interesting.

Both of these cases, ironically, started in 2008.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunday: Two Serious Misconceptions About Divine Wrath


THERE MAY BE NO THEOLOGICAL TOPIC more controversial than divine wrath. While most of humanity is eager to acknowledge the existence of God, and while most love to acknowledge his traits of grace and mercy and kindness, very few want to acknowledge his wrath. Yet wrath is a consistent theme in the Bible and a defining characteristic of the God we meet in its pages. Divine wrath suffers when we fail to understand it aright. Here are two serious, common misconceptions.

The first misconception is that God’s wrath is cruel. Too many people associate God’s wrath with human anger which, indeed, is often arbitrary and mean. The truth is that God’s wrath is always the wrath of God as Judge. Thus, God’s wrath is always a measured, just, judicial wrath.

According to J.I. Packer, “the explicit presupposition of all that we find in the Bible … on the torments of those who experience the fullness of God’s wrath is that each receives precisely what he deserves. ‘The day of God’s wrath’, Paul tells us, is also the day ‘when his righteous judgment will be revealed.’ And in that day ‘God will give to each person according to what he has done’ (Romans 2:5ff).” Just as our justice systems dole out punishments fitting for particular crimes, Jesus himself taught that God’s retribution will be proportionate to the individual and his offense (see Luke 12:47ff) .

Of course that is precisely why God’s wrath is so fearsome. No one will suffer beyond what he deserves. But what he deserves is unspeakably terrible. “If it is asked: can disobedience to our Creator really deserve great and grievous punishment? anyone who has ever been convicted of sin knows beyond any shadow of doubt that the answer is yes, and knows too that those whose consciences have not yet been awaked to consider, as Anselm put it, ‘how weighty sin is’ are not yet qualified to give an opinion.” God will serve as Judge and will judge justly.

The second misconception is that God’s wrath is something God inflicts upon ignorant, innocent people. This misconception teaches that God inflicts hell upon people who would have chosen God if only they had the option or the appropriate understanding. But
God’s wrath in the Bible is something which people choose for themselves. Before hell is an experience inflicted by God, it is a state for which a person himself opts, by retreating from the light which God shines in his heart to lead him to himself. … The decisive act of judgment upon the lost is the judgment which they pass upon themselves, by rejecting the light that comes to them in and through Jesus Christ. In the last analysis, all that God does subsequently in judicial action towards the unbeliever, whether in this life or beyond it, is to show him, and lead him into, the full implications of the choice he has made.
Packer goes on to say, “Nobody stands under the wrath of God save those who have chosen to do so. The essence of God’s action in wrath is to give people what they choose in all its implications: nothing more, and equally nothing less. God’s readiness to respect human choice to this extent may appear disconcerting and even terrifying, but it is plain that his attitude here is supremely just, and poles apart from the wanton and irresponsible inflicting of pain which is what we mean by cruelty.” And then he provides this memorable line: “What God is hereby doing is no more than to ratify and confirm judgments which those whom he ‘visits’ have already passed on themselves by the course they have chosen to follow.”
God is not cruel in his wrath. He is not arbitrary. And his wrath will never extend to the ignorant or innocent. He will apportion his wrath with perfect fairness upon those who have chosen to face it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Peggy Noonan Nails It In Latest Column: Shows of Strength From Trump and Putin

THIS IS A TERRIFIC PIECE BY NOONAN and well worth a read to the very end. Whatever you think of Trump and Putin,  both comport themselves as strong leaders.  And there's a definite attraction to that that can't be denied or taken away:


 Donald Trump has entered his second act. His polls, sometimes characterized as weakening, are in fact strong. As Bloomberg’s John Heilemann said on “Morning Joe,” if Jeb Bush had Mr. Trump’s numbers everyone would declare the race over.

This week Quinnipiac had Mr. Trump solidly leading his GOP rivals in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A national poll from Reuters/Ipsos had Mr. Trump in the lead with 31%, followed by Ben Carson with 17%. Public Policy Polling had Mr. Trump holding steady nationwide since late August, coming in first at 27%. His support is ideologically broad—35% of tea-party voters and 29% of moderates, according to PPP.

He did better among younger voters and among men (31%) than women (23%). Clever people once said of George H.W. Bush that he reminded women of their first husbands. I never thought so, but Mr. Trump would remind some women of a blustery first husband, or a loudmouth uncle holding forth at Thanksgiving while hogging the sweet potatoes. He continues with high negatives. But for all the dopey, damaging dramas he’s gotten himself into the past few months he’s maintained his position.

Imagine if he’d been disciplined.

The first act was “I’m Here and I’m Yuge.” Now Act II: “I Mean It and I’m Staying.”

He has unveiled a tax plan and come forward as a family man with a seven-page spread in People. He’s emerged as a noninterventionist on the Mideast—“Russia wants to get rid of ISIS. We want to get rid of ISIS. . . . Let them get rid of ISIS. What the hell do we care?” He apparently has decided to stop certain media wars.

To me the virtue of his tax plan is that I can understand it. A friend said, “It’s a total rip-off of Jeb’s plan!” It probably is. But Trump explained Trump’s plan, so people paid attention, and Jeb explained Jeb’s, so they didn’t. Mr. Trump’s economic policies seem to come from indignation—the poor need a break, the rich have a racket. Jeb’s seem to come from a desire for good government. In the current climate indignation beats good government every time.

 More than any candidate Mr. Trump has to hold on to what he has and grow out—steadily—from there. Everyone has to do that, but he most of all because he has to prove every day that he’s not a passing aberration, a wigged-out expression of voter rage. Here is a mystery question. Mr. Trump has been the Republican front-runner for three months. The first voting, in Iowa, is in just more than three and a half months. If Mr. Trump does well in the early contests—if he retains his lead and it starts to look like he can really win the nomination—then at some point it will come down, sharply, to him versus the party establishment. And that establishment, such as it is, will presumably try to kill him. The question: What will that look like? We’ve never seen that before. What will it be to have a party establishment try to kill the guy who’s No. 1 in that party’s polls?

Maybe they think they’ll have golden oppo, but opposition research doesn’t really work on Mr. Trump, mostly because no one has illusions of probity about him. His supporters don’t think he’s a sweet, sinless businessman. They love it that he’s not. The wisdom now, and it’s not stupid, is that as time passes the field will narrow. More candidates will drop out, voters will begin to coalesce behind other front-runners, and suddenly one of them will be polling at 27% or 32%. Various powers will throw their weight behind front-runner No. 2 or 3 or 4. But this year has reminded us to expect the unexpected. Maybe not enough candidates will drop out to make a difference. Maybe the splintered field stays splintered. How then do you stop Mr. Trump? Maybe—again—only Trump stops Trump

The second strongman is Vladimir Putin of Russia, who made a striking impression in a revealing 100-minute interview with Charlie Rose. It took place last month in Mr. Putin’s residence near Moscow, and ran Sept. 27 on “60 Minutes” and in its entirety on Mr. Rose’s PBS show. I speak frequently to those who know or have met Mr. Putin, and the Rose interview captured the individual the most insightful of them have described.

Mr. Putin was confident in his command of information, clever, at times droll, sometimes insistent. He posited himself as a friend of world stability. Russia is in Syria to keep it from becoming what Libya is, a nation in which “all the state institutions are disintegrated.” The Syrian government of Bashar Assad has “the one legitimate conventional army,” and “I want you and your audience to finally realize that no one except for the Assad army is fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups now in Syria.” U.S. efforts have been wanting: “It has to be said frankly this is a very low level of effectiveness. I’m not trying to be sarcastic here. I’m not trying to call someone out or to point fingers.”

Mr. Rose asked if Mr. Putin saw ISIS as a unique terrorist organization. “Well yes, it’s turned into a unique organization because it has become global. Indeed they have the aim to build a caliphate from Portugal to Pakistan.” They are not the jayvee team.

Is he exploiting a vacuum in American leadership? No, said Mr. Putin, he’s trying to prevent a vacuum where the government of Syria should be. “As soon as government agencies are destroyed in a given state . . . that’s when a power vacuum occurs. And at that moment it will be instantly filled by terrorists.” Is Mr. Putin driven by a desire to have Russia play a bigger role in the world? “I’m proud of Russia, that’s true,” he said, but such pride is not an end in itself.

Then an oblique slap at the U.S.: “But we don’t have any obsession with being a superpower in the international arena. We’re involved in only one thing, defending our fundamental interest.” Mr. Rose, noting Mr. Putin had been in the KGB, said, “Someone in Russia told me there is no such thing as a former KGB man.” “You know, not a single stage of our lives passes without a trace,” said Mr. Putin. “All this knowledge we acquire, all the experience, will always remains with us and we carry it further and will use it somewhere. Well, in a sense they are right.”

Asked what he thinks of President Obama, he deflected—coolly. “I don’t think I’m entitled to give any views regarding the president of the United States. . . . Our relations are businesslike. I believe that’s quite sufficient to comply with our functions.”

 Do Mr. Obama’s foreign policy actions “reflect a weakness”? “I don’t think so at all,” said Mr. Putin. “I don’t think that’s the case and I don’t intend to get involved in a domestic American skirmish.”

One got the impression he wished it understood that he doesn’t outfox weaklings, he only beats champs. It was in its way Trumpesque.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On the Fringe of Trendy Nashville, Real Guys Gather for Informal Community On the Fringe of Town


THEY'RE THE GOOD GUYS AND KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT MOST EVERYTHING THAT GOES ON HERE. They bring their chairs in pick-up trucks to sit in front of Drew's Market and talk about everything.  They're all down-home conservatives too.

Though they asked me to join them in their make-shift circle of tall  tales, as usual,  I was trying to get back to White Bluff before the traffic on I-40 West got too bad.  Maybe some other day soon though.  Would have loved to have talked about what they think of The Donald, the Iran nuclear deal and gun control---Ha!  As if I didn't know.....

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Satan's Subtle Art of Destruction--My Dear Wormwood

By Burk Parsons @ Desiring God

IN RECENT MONTHS,  I have found myself reflecting on twenty years of ministry in the church. 

The reflection has inspired me to ponder future years of ministry, if God should sustain me in it. The lessons he continues to teach me are, I believe, not only for pastors and those engaged in vocational ministry, but for all Christians. It is my hope to offer some of these lessons and cautions in a way that is similar to how C.S. Lewis offered his concerns in The Screwtape Letters.

Lewis wrote through the lens of the fictitious Uncle Screwtape, a senior demon who mentored his nephew, Wormwood, in order to tempt and destroy Wormwood’s Christian patient. While we can rest assured that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) — he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4) — we also know that our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, I offer the following thoughts to the end that you would not be outwitted by Satan, or be ignorant of his schemes, as you fix your eyes on Christ, the author and finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:1).

My Dear Wormwood

First, encourage your patient to make a name for himself and build his own kingdom. Inspire him to believe his own press — fondle every good thing he hears about himself and his ministry, especially flattery. It shouldn’t be too hard, since we have almost won the battle on this front. It is almost universally accepted now that Christians, and especially pastors, should try to make a name for themselves, build their own kingdoms, and cultivate cult-like followings — always commending their own books and ministry activities, praising themselves, and getting others to do so as well. In sum, convince your patient that our Enemy didn’t really mean what it seems when he said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1).

Second, seek to persuade your Christian patient that being cool, dressing cool, talking cool, and acting cool really matters. That just the right hair style and just the right look is what can make the difference in the church and ministry, and that being holy and modest is not cool. Acting, dressing, and speaking in a way that doesn’t bring extra attention to yourself is for ordinary people, for uncool people — in short, for losers.

Third, do everything in your power to keep your patient from regular communion with our Enemy, and convince him that being busy in life and ministry is an acceptable excuse not to spend regular time in prayer. If you can, get him to rationalize that because he offers short prayers to the Enemy throughout the day, he doesn’t need to have a dedicated and disciplined time of prayer. And if you can get him to the point where he tells people he prayed for them, without actually praying for them, even better.

Fourth, our Enemy calls himself the “chief shepherd,” and he has called our patient to be a shepherd — a pastor — but you must get this notion out of his head. The Enemy has called him to shepherding, and we must distract him from it. If possible, cause him to despise mundane work. Convince him that he only needs to be a “pulpiteer” or talking head — not a shepherd. Convince him that “preacher” is a legitimate office in the church, and that the daily hard work of pastoring is something from which he can graduate with just a little bit of ministry success. Get him to think that he can someday move beyond dealing with little things and little people in life and ministry.

Fifth, use every scheme available to you to help your patient rationalize the sins in his life that no one sees. Get him to think that keeping up appearances is what matters — not guarding his heart, not caring about what he does when he is alone, or not considering how he treats his wife. Convince him that his public Christianity, his public ministry, is really just a stage play. Convince him that he’s an actor and that he simply needs to act holy, humble, loving, and repentant. He needs to act like he really prays for people, act like he really cares about people’s problems, and act like he is passionate for the Enemy. If you can do all this, you have him right where you want. Get him to think he doesn’t have to examine his heart and that all he has to worry about is not getting caught in secret sin. After all, he’s one of the Enemy’s “special ones,” so he thinks, and too big and important to fall. Rationalization guarantees our long-term success in this regard.

Sixth, persuade him that the ordinary Christian life and the radical Christian life are mutually exclusive, and that he needs to choose a side. Convince him that ordinary is boring and that radical is excessive. Convince him that being ordinary is beneath him, and then convince him that being passionate is amateurish. Thus, leave him slightly bewildered and vacillating. In the end, convince him that he needs to act like and look like the world in order to fit in with the world and win the world. Obscure from him the truth that a radically ordinary life is a great threat to our purpose and mission.

Seventh, convince him that grace is for other people, but not for himself — that grace is for really bad people, but not for pastors. Make him pompous so that he not only thinks he has all the grace he needs from God, but also that he is above receiving grace from others — particularly those he serves. Persuade him to stop fighting for joy in his life, to stop praying for joy, and to think that God doesn’t care if he is joyful because, after all, life is hard and full of complexities and miseries. Be sure to help him realize that not to be joyful is actually a way to trick people into thinking that he is really quite holy and wise.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beware: Trump, Carson and Fiorina Do Not Have Adequate Conservative Credentials


THIS IS A SALIENT REMINDER (@ PJMEDIA BY TYLER O"NEIL) TODAY of the real credentials of the current GOP front-runners and well worth a read.  I happen to agree with almost every word.  I'm still baffled by Donald Trump and completely turned off by Carly Fiorina.  She lost me completely when she told Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight show,  Sure!  A Muslim can be president!   Say what!? That was it for me and Carly.  As for Ben Carson,  he's a nice, soft-spoken guy with not a lick of political experience and the thought of him being president keeps me up more than anyone other candidate other than Hillary....(OK,  full disclosure NOTHING keeps me up at night as insomnia is not one of my issues.)

O'Neil writes:

2015 has become the “Year of the Outsider” in the GOP presidential race. First came the audacious and outspoken media mogul Donald Trump. Ben Carson, the subdued neurosurgeon who embodies the American Dream, followed suit. Now, former CEO and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has galvanized the polls.hese candidates, without a lick of experience in elected office, have taken positions one, two and three in the polls — their support adds up to 52.1 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling data average.

At a time when the Republican-dominated House and Senate seem unable to stop an overreaching liberal president, conservatives have a right to be angry, and many of them are demanding change come from outside Washington, D.C. But these candidates don’t just lack political experience — they lack true conservative credentials.

Donald Trump, Crony Capitalist

The real estate magnate and media mogul has rightly drawn attention to the issue of illegal immigration, but when it comes to fiscal policy and the rule of law, he is no conservative. Donald Trump has built his fortune — the part he didn’t inherit from his father — by making deals with the government to kick out his competition.

“Trump became ‘partners’ with the City of New York to build a hotel in the 1970s — a deal that involved a 40-year property-tax abatement that saved him ‘tens of millions of dollars,’” explained National Review’s Robert VerBruggen. This “tax abatement” proves no different than a government subsidy, not unlike the millions of dollars the Obama administration gave to the failing solar company Solyndra.

In the 1990s, Trump petitioned the government of Connecticut to condemn five Bridgeport businesses so that he could use the land to build “a $350 million combined amusement park, shipping terminal and seaport village and office complex,” reported Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell. Would Trump no longer be considered a “winner” if it was well-known that Connecticut refused him on this?

Trump also lost out on using eminent domain to buy an Atlantic City woman out of her home to build a parking lot and waiting area for his hotel’s limousines. As Kirell noted, “the widow refused to sell her property, so Trump spent years under the guise of ‘eminent domain’ trying to get the government to pry the woman’s land for his private use.”

As Richard Anderson explained on Ricochet, the key element of Trump’s crony capitalism is regulation. “The more regulated a sector, the easier it becomes to run to Washington, or the state capitals, with requests for special waivers, preferences, and deferrals,” Anderson explained. As the government gets bigger and regulations become more complex, businesses are required to navigate the system, bribing their way to success in the market.

Needless to say, conservatives do not believe in allowing government — and by extension those who bribe government officials — this much control. They support private property rights and favor a more restrained use of political power. Even if Trump had not supported single payer healthcare in the past, or identified as a Democrat, or given to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and foundation, etc., he still should be an unacceptable choice to free market conservatives.

In the latest presidential debate, Trump was asked about his comment that when he gives money to elected officials,“they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” His response? “You’d better believe it.” Rampant corruption? Sign me up.

Ben Carson, Political Novice

Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon raised in the Detroit ghetto, has a truly inspiring story of achieving the American Dream. He speaks slowly, clearly and respectfully, with all the deference that Trump lacks. These are, alas, his only political virtues.

Carson speaks about his faith, the virtue of his mother and the errors of President Obama. Unfortunately, his talking points are very sparse on policy. The neurosurgeon seems to be running not so much on a political platform, but on his own personal appeal.

The Blaze’s Matt Walsh critiqued the hint of policy proposals Dr. Carson has put forth and found them wanting.

“I like that he’s pro-life, but he’s also been very confusing on the subject,” Walsh explained. Carson has often suggested that some women “avail themselves” of the abortion pill. “He’s also admitted that in his medical practice he did research on an aborted child and referred women to doctors who perform abortions.”

While Carson supports a flat tax, “he really won’t talk about entitlement spending at all.” Carson’s tax reform would bring in less money than the system needs. Walsh, like most conservatives, supports reform to shrink the size of government, but Carson has said nothing on the subject.

Foreign policy may be Carson’s most obvious weakness. When asked about the root cause of strife in the Middle East, he traced it back to “Jacob and Esau,” not Isaac and Ishmael — the two figures who generally represent Jews and Arabs — and not the establishment of the Jewish state. Carson also did not know that the Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia — are already part of NATO.

Walsh’s most serious critique of Carson, however, centered on his faith. Walsh recalled a quote Carson posted on Facebook around Easter: “Jesus was a man of values and principles, and he ended up being crucified for it. But, he rose again to advocate godly principles.”

“Jesus wasn’t a man who was crucified ‘for his principles’ and then came back to ‘advocate principles,’” Walsh explained. “He was and is the Son of the Living God who died on the cross and rose from the dead to bring salvation to mankind.”

For a candidate like Ben Carson, whose primary base of support is evangelical Christians, to screw up such an essential part of Christian doctrine is indeed astounding. But, as the New York Times’ Ross Douthat explains, evangelical voters have a weakness for the “low on specifics, high on godliness” pitch.

“The evangelical tendency has been to look for a kind of godly hero, a Christian leader who could win the White House and undo every culture-war defeat,” Douthat argues. Unfortunately, political and cultural changes do not usually come from one powerful individual, but “from networks, institutions, interest groups,” and require “strategy, alliance-building and steady pressure.”

Evangelicals should wake up and move on from Ben Carson. He cannot articulate the Christian faith, and there isn’t any evidence he would be an effective proponent of conservative policies.

Carly Fiorina, Failed CEO

In the 2010 California U.S. Senate Republican primary, a grassroots conservative upstart challenged a moderate establishment candidate. The grassroots conservative was Chuck DeVore and the establishment candidate was Carly Fiorina. John McCain and Lindsey Graham endorsed Fiorina, while Jim DeMint endorsed DeVore.

Fiorina outspent DeVore 3 to 1 in the primary, and then went on to lose badly to Senator Barbara Boxer in the general election. What caused this Republican to lose badly in a wave year for the GOP? Her business record at Hewlett-Packard (HP).

In September 2010, Carly Fiorina was running surprisingly close to Barbara Boxer, but then Boxer released an ad about Fiorina’s time at HP. Fiorina’s poll numbers plummeted and never fully recovered. As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza said, “the ad functioned as a sort of knock-out punch for Boxer even in a year where Republicans claimed victories all across the country.”

“As the CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers,” the ad declares. Then it pans to footage of Fiorina, who says, “when you’re talking about massive layoffs, which we did…perhaps the work needs to be done somewhere else.” Then the ad explains where the jobs went: China.

“As Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht, five corporate jets.” Then the damning tagline — Fiorina saying “I’m proud of what I’ve done at HP.”

Even worse, PolitiFact rated the claim “mostly true,” since Fiorina did lay off 30,000 workers.

The way Fiorina herself tells the story, she turned HP around and was fired because she challenged the status quo. In reality, she pushed a controversial merger with Compaq, got her way and hurt the company. When Fiorina took over, HP’s stock price was $55 a share; it dropped to a little less than $20 a share under her leadership.

There are good reasons why Fiorina shows up on lists of the worst CEOs in recent history. Notable lists come from Moneywatch, USA Today’s American Ouster and ABC News. CNBC ranked her the 19th worst CEO of all time.

In the words of Townhall’s John Hawkins, “if you think it wouldn’t be incredibly effective to point out that Fiorina fired 30,000 workers, tanked the price of the company’s stock, damaged Hewlett-Packard so badly that it has yet to recover and STILL walked away with 100 million dollars for being one of the worst CEOs of all time, you’re kidding yourself.”

Finally, Fiorina’s stances on certain positions reveal she is no conservative. As RedState reported in the 2010 race, she voiced qualified support for Obama’s stimulus, backed the Wall Street bailouts, did not reverse her previous support for an internet sales tax and did not retract her master’s thesis, which advocated greater federal control of local education. She also backed the California DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and cap & trade.

“If you’re backing Carly Fiorina, you’re backing a 0-1, establishment moderate who was an epic failure at the one thing that is supposed to qualify her for the presidency,” Hawkins declared. She may have impressive foreign policy answers and a presidential demeanor, but she is no true conservative.


If you want to support a conservative change agent for 2016, you still have good options. Three senators, Ted Cruz (R, Texas), Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) and Marco Rubio (R, Florida), have solid conservative records and strong plans to restrain the size and scope of the federal government. Some governors, like Bobby Jindal (R, Louisiana), have reformed their tax codes and achieved real change. Please note that none of this should be taken as an endorsement.

Besides, is it logical to choose a candidate with zero experience in elected office, and make that person president of the United States?

As Real Clear Politics’ Carl M. Cannon wrote, “Would any of the three political novices allow, say, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, perform brain surgery on them? The answer is: of course not. So why is politics the only profession in which it’s logical to start at the very top?”

“Would Ben Carson advise an aspiring physician to skip medical school because he doesn’t like the way the nation’s health care system is run?”

By all means, support a candidate who will challenge the status quo and bring conservative change to Washington — just make sure that person is a true conservative. Trump, Carson, and Fiorina aren’t.

Good piece.  Ted Cruz is still my man.  Marco Rubio is a far second.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday--The Original Serenity Prayer


IT'S SEVERAL DAYS AHEAD OF HER BIRTHDAY. I always like to hear what the real---not just superficial---issues are in her life. Today I added, anything special you want for your birthday, Daughter-O-Mine?

She was very quick and forceful in asking for two things: One, a girly, fashion item, a request that's easy to find and fulfill.

But second and more importantly, she asked me to find and have printed and framed the original Serenity Prayer. She said, "Mom, it was once on your blog, and I went back to look for it but couldn't find it..." Will you please find it and frame it for me?"

This is the kind of request any mother loves, loves, loves to find and fulfill. It's a prayer we all need daily, hourly, and sometimes minute-by-minute.  Certainly, I do.  It's the stuff of  real life and maturity.  I believe one of the greatest breakthroughs in life is realizing we're sinners in need of a Savior, and that we can't make it on our own.  We need God.  We need Christ.  We need the Holy Spirit.

So here, without further ado, is the full Serenity Prayer for all to read, meditate on and be changed and matured by, one day at a time.  Happy Birthday, Dear Daughter:

The Serenity Prayer

The full text of the original "Serenity Prayer" written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,

Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next.


 Also,  I saw this on Tim Challies site and  think it goes well with the full Serenity Prayer:

September 27, 2015
Be kind to Your little children, Lord.
Be a gentle teacher,
patient with our weakness and stupidity.
And give us the strength and discernment to do what You tell us,
and so grow in Your likeness.
May we all live in the peace that comes from You.
May we journey towards Your city,
sailing through the waters of sin untouched by the waves,
borne serenely along by the Holy Spirit.
Night and day may we give you praise and thanks,
because You have shown us that all things belong to You,
and all blessings are gifts from You.
To You,
the essence of wisdom,
the foundation of truth,
be glory for evermore.

(A prayer of Clement of Alexandria)

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Way of All Predators And Trespassers


THIS MORNING I READ A BOOK REVIEW @ PJMEDIA on a newly-released book called  The Well-Armored Child, A Parent's Guide To Preventing Child Sexual Abuse by Joelle Casteix Page, an author with first-hand knowledge of child sexual abuse herself at the hands of an adult predator.  As a grandmother of two small children,  my eyes and ears perk up when I see an article like this.  I want to get the book to read, then send it on to their parents, my children.

It's a good review of abuse and how an abuser gets his or her foot in the door of a child's, pre-teen's or teenager's young heart and life and selfishly takes and trespasses on what doesn't belong to them. Some of the information isn't new, but overall the article and book is a good way to review the fundamentals of abuse.

Which got me to thinking:  the same principles of child sexual abuse apply to any and all other kinds of adult abuses.  When you get right down to it,  abuse is abuse is another name for trespass, be it sexual, or any kind of property.

In almost all cases of abuse and trespass, there is an unequal balance of power---as in adult-child---which precludes activity on an even playing field. Here are some of the most important things to remember about abuse and trespasses of all kinds, at all ages:

1. The abuser/trespasser befriends his perspective victim, gaining his trust, usually over time---months and often years---ahead of the abuse or trespass.

2.  The abuser/trespasser then leads and grooms the victim over time and misplaced trust to begin to want what the abuser wants.

3. The abuser/trespasser  claims the abuse/trespass is consensual and that both parties agree and want it. (As in, that eight-year-old boy wanted sex with that 30 year-old-pedophile and it was totally consensual....His mother and father totally approved his going with this predator to that game etc.)

4. In every way possible, the abuser/trespasser documents the victim's consent and approval of his disgusting behavior.

For predators and trespassers who successfully accomplish such 'foreplay', it's like taking candy from a baby.

If only all adults could and would remember these basic principles of being preyed upon,  life might begin to be easier, and lawyers wouldn't have nearly so much business.

Again, predators befriend, groom, get consensual approval for their horrific actions from their victims.  All abuse and trespass follows the same general patterns no matter what form it takes.

Carry on.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Down Memory Lane---Oprah Interviews Donald Trump 25 Years Ago

IT'S REALLY RATHER CHARMING. Trump has a bit softer edges and a little less bombastic ego. Still, once a Trump, always a Trump. Thanks CA for sending this.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sunday, The Goal of the Gospel---Freedom In Christ



A FEW YEARS AGO, I was asked to visit an elderly couple who desired to be baptized in the church where I served. I went to visit them to discuss this matter, as I always do, and as we also do as a church.

On the door was a sign printed in five languages. Although I did not understand the languages, I discerned that “Keep Out” was the essence of the message. After knocking I was cordially invited in and after some small talk, I pursued to the purpose of my visit. “Tell me why you want to be baptized,” I inquired. “Well,” the husband responded, “you see my wife and I are getting along in years. We have done nearly everything we can think of to make certain that we are going to heaven, but we have not yet been baptized. We thought that we would not leave any stone unturned, and so we would like your church to baptize us.”

Needless to say, after trying to make a clear presentation of the gospel, I had to inform this couple that I could not baptize them under such circumstances. To them, baptism was a minor inconvenience but well worth the effort if there was any chance that it would enhance their spiritual well-being.

The Galatian Christians looked at circumcision in a similar light. They viewed it as a ritualistic act, which although painful and inconvenient, was a small price to pay to be more spiritual. There are, of course, significant differences between the circumstances in the Galatian churches of Paul’s day and the situation of this couple. The Galatian saints were saved and wanted only to enhance their spiritual standing. The couple with whom I spoke were not saved, and were trying to earn salvation by the “work” of baptism. Furthermore, baptism is not associated with additional duties and obligations. This couple would be no better off, nor any worse off, for having been baptized.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ragweed---Bane of September Existence

EVERYWHERE YOU WALK, BREATHE AND HAVE YOUR BEING,  THERE IT IS. If you like to sneeze, then come on down. I have to say, however, my hay-fever is about 1,000% better than it was twenty years ago. I'll be out in it much of the weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let's Watch the Debate

IF ALL GOES WELL,  I'LL MAKE A FEW COMMENTS ALONG THE WAY unless I'm struck dumb, left speechless and need time to recover.

So far,  Trump, Fiorino and Carson rule.  Ted Cruz shines on the catastrophic Iranian deal.  He's so right.

Rand Paul, Jeb Bush just ain't got enough appeal to get me to consider giving them my vote. Jeb's attempt to get Donald to apologize to his Hispanic wife is cringe-worthy. Trump's calling out Bush on his support for Common Core is a smart move.

Marco Rubio and Scott Walker are just so-so, though Rubio is getting better as the night grinds on.

I love Mike Huckabee being Mike Huckabee though he isn't a front-runner. Trump nails the reality that President Obama lacks courage....Cruz turns up the heat again on about the disastrous Iran agreement.

I love Mike Huckabee and his stand on judicial tyranny and religious accommodation!

Cruz calls a spade a spade on the criminal enterprise of Planned Parenthood. Chris Christie goes after Hillary Clinton and her giving Obama a pass.  I admit I like Christie but  not for president,

Carly is on a tear, kicking butt though she can ramp it up to sound harsh when she gets going.

Like hearing Huckabee talk about the Fair Tax on consumption rather than production. I like to hear Carson on the Flat tax and two minimum wages---interesting idea.

Marco Rubio gets better and better however,  this is not his election cycle.  He'll be back and dominate in a future year.

Getting sleepy---it's past my bedrime, so will wind it up for now.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ladies, Look At This Face

CARLY FIORINA MAKES LEMONADE FROM THE LEMONS THE DONALD MOST UNGRACIOUSLY TOSSED HER. She does it with class, style and not a bit of sourness. Way to go, Carly!