Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Prayers for Phil Valentine

Phil Valentine, conservative talk radio host, is a true friend to conservatives, and to me and my conservative women friends, in the greater Nashville area.  He is very sick with covid and in intensive care in Franklin.

Today he chose to go on a ventilator to ease his exhaustion.  We are all praying for Phil's recovery and his family's comfort.

May God have mercy on him and us all.  

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday-- James 4:1-10, Our Struggle With Worldliness

Warning Against Worldliness

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions1 are yat war within you?2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask zwrongly, to spend it on your passions. aYou adulterous people!3 Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? bTherefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit cthat he has made to dwell in us”? But dhe gives more grace. Therefore it says, e“God opposes the proud but dgives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. fResist the devil, and he will flee from you. gDraw near to God, and he will draw near to you. hCleanse your hands, you sinners, and ipurify your hearts, jyou double-minded. kBe wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 lHumble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

John 3:16, From The Chosen, Season 1, Episode 7


Monday, July 5, 2021

Jonathan Turley on Biden's Current Attack on Georgia's New Voting Law with Short Review of Black Emancipation and Old Jim Crow Laws

PRESIDENT BIDEN AND STACY ABRAMS, Georgia's failed gubernatorial candidate, are running away with a voting narrative which has nothing to do with reality. It says that Georgia's new voting law---making it easier to vote legally but harder to cheat---is going to bring back Jim Crow on steroids, or Jim Crow 2.0.  Really? Have these people forgotten history, or is this all a willful act to take advantage of gullible, uneducated or easily manipulated or frightened voters for their political gain? It's a rhetorical question.

History bears repeating that the Republican party was founded by Horace Greeley and others in 1854 for the express purpose of preventing the spread of slavery into free states and outlying territories. In 1857, Roger Taney, a Jacksonian Democrat, handed down the infamous and highly controversial Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court saying slaves or freed slaves were in essence sub-human and could neither be free citizens of our country nor have standing to redress in any U.S. court of law.  Subsequently, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican candidate, was elected president in 1860 and soon after, southern Democratic states commenced to secede from the Union.  In 1863, Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation which effectively freed slaves in the Confederate states and charted the course for freeing all slaves in the embattled United States.

After the surrender of the Confederacy in 1865 and the horrific assassination of President Lincoln by a racist Confederate sympathizer, Reconstruction began tepidly under the ineffective and unpopular President Andrew Johnson, another Jacksonian Democrat. 

But in 1869, President Ulysses S Grant, a Republican, was elected and began in earnest Reconstruction----to redress the horrific inequities of slavery and to admit slave states back into the Union.  Grant's mission was an uphill battle,  thwarted at every turn by southern racist Democrats.

To wit:

Reconstruction took precedence during Grant's two terms of office. But the Democratic Ku Klux Klan caused widespread violence throughout the South against African Americans. By 1870, all former Confederate states had been readmitted into the United States and were represented in Congress. However Democrats, or former slave owners, violently refused to accept that freedmen were citizens, who were granted suffrage by the Fifteenth Amendment. By 1871 Klan activity was becoming out of control, while Grant and Congress created the Department of Justice and had passed three Force Acts. Grant and his Attorney General Amos T. Akerman began a crackdown on Klan in the South, starting in South Carolina, making arrests and convictions, causing the Klan to demobilize and ensuring a fair election for 1872..... Then came the Jim Crow laws, again enacted by southern Democrats who refused to accept that blacks were free, could vote and had equal protection under the law. Over the next 20 years, blacks would lose almost all they had gained.

Worse, denial of their rights and freedoms would be made legal by a series of racist statutes, the Jim Crow laws. “Jim Crow” was a derisive slang term for a black man. It came to mean any state law passed in the South that established different rules for blacks and whites. Jim Crow laws were based on the theory of white supremacy and were a reaction to Reconstruction. In the depression-racked 1890s, racism appealed to whites who feared losing their jobs to blacks. Politicians abused blacks to win the votes of poor white “crackers.” Newspapers fed the bias of white readers by playing up (sometimes even making up) black crimes. In 1890, in spite of its 16 black members, the Louisiana General Assembly passed a law to prevent black and white people from riding together on railroads. Plessy v. Ferguson, a case challenging the law, reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896. Upholding the law, the court said that public facilities for blacks and whites could be “separate but equal.” Soon, throughout the South, they had to be separate. Two years later, the court seemed to seal the fate of black Americans when it upheld a Mississippi law designed to deny black men the vote. Given the green light, Southern states began to limit the voting right to those who owned property or could read well, to those whose grandfathers had been able to vote, to those with “good characters,” to those who paid poll taxes. In 1896, Louisiana had 130,334 registered black voters. Eight years later, only 1,342, 1 percent, could pass the state’s new rules. Jim Crow laws touched every part of life. In South Carolina, black and white textile workers could not work in the same room, enter through the same door, or gaze out of the same window. Many industries wouldn’t hire blacks: Many unions passed rules to exclude them......

To recap, while the Republican Party of old has historically fought to free slaves and give them equal rights under the law, Democrats have opposed this tooth and nail. And even with this, Democrats have been allowed to promulgate a false narrative that they are the party that is looking out for blacks. That is only true is you consider infantilizing them, getting them hooked on government assistance and telling them what to think and do counts as 'help.'

 Now today President Biden and Stacy Abrams insult blacks by calling new voting laws Jim Crow 2.0 with a straight face. Scandalous. Ineffective. And won't work..... 

Which brings us back to Jonathan Turley's most recent column:

Jonathan Turley: Justice or Just Deserts? Trump, Cosby and Georgia Cases Show Rising Cost of Political Litigation

Below is my (Turley's) column in the Hill on a series of cases that appear propelled by political rather than legal considerations. The costs to the legal system, the public, or victims in such cases are often overlooked but they are considerable.....

Skipping ahead to the Justice Department's lawsuit against the ill advised new Georgia Voting law, Turley writes:

The Georgia lawsuit Last week, the Biden administration surprised many observers by filing a civil rights action against the state of Georgia over its recent election reforms. The lawsuit was less surprising than its timing: It was filed just days before the release of Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, an Arizona case in which the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the very statutory provision (Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act) being used as the basis in the Georgia challenge. The Biden administration has made opposition to Georgia’s law into a rallying cry for its stalled legislative efforts to federalize state election laws. The problem is that President Biden has been long on rhetoric and short on facts in denouncing the law as “Jim Crow on steroids.” The Washington Post awarded him four “Pinocchios” for his characterization of the law, including the false claim that it reduces the hours for voting; the law actually does the opposite. Likewise, Biden falsely claimed Georgia’s law prevents voters in line at polling places from getting water. Georgia was responding to complaints that campaigns circumvent rules barring politicking around polling places by giving food and drinks to voters in line; the law allows “self-service water from an unattended receptacle.” On these and other provisions, Georgia’s law has considerable overlap with provisions in other states. In its 6-3 decision upholding Arizona’s election rules, including a bar on vote “harvesting,” the Supreme Court rejected presumptions of racial discrimination due to partisan objectives. Justice Samuel Alito declared “partisan motives are not the same as racial motives.” The ruling builds on earlier cases limiting the reach and meaning of the Voting Rights Act. The new Georgia challenge takes a considerable risk of magnifying these losses in court. The legal cost of this ill-considered move could be immense. Important questions are being raised about the impact of some laws on minority votes. Yet the attack on Georgia’s law is a poor choice, despite Biden going “all in” on the narrative, because it locks the administration into proving a weak case. While the court declined to issue a sweeping new standard for all Section 2 voting rights cases, this case could open the door for precisely that type of ruling. The Biden administration — which has lost a remarkably high number of legal cases in its first year — is likely to lose this one, too, before the next presidential election. Politically motivated cases like these impose costs that are rarely paid by those who bring them. The more a prosecutor feels it necessary to repeat that “It’s not about politics,” the more likely a case is entirely political. 

 Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.....

If these voter laws assuring voter integrity that the feckless, dishonest Biden and Abrams are whining about  sound like Jim Crow 2.0,  then I have a poppy farm in the Arctic I'd like to sell you....We must push back against this utter nonsense. We cannot let these people win this.  

As today's battered and rudderless national Republican party attempts to redefine itself into a more principled, vigorous organization that represents real conservative values,  let us hope that voter integrity and voter ID laws  in every state are at the top of its to-do list.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

On This Fourth of July, Let Us Pray for Mercy and Revival In America and The Catherals Sing A Perfect Song for a Sunday 4th As the Battle Rages On


This is an old Southern gospel song by The Catherdrals which combines the Greatness of God's Son's sacrifice for us (the scars and stripes), as well as our magnificent nation which is teethering on the edge of judgment and the abyss (the stars and stripes): Finally, Johnny Cash sings Battle Hymn of the Republic

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Sunday, Isaiah 65----Good News for Some, Dire News for Others

ISAIAH 65 , The Righteousness of God's Judgment

Isaiah has prayed, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down” (Isa. 64:1). Now (Isa. 65) God replies with two complementary perspectives.

 First, God says that he is not as distant as Isaiah thinks. Throughout Israel’s troubled history God revealed himself to the people again and again (Isa. 65:1). He kept disclosing himself, through a long stream of prophets, to people who did not ask for him, to those who did not seek him, to a nation that did not call on his name. He was busy saying, “Here am I, here am I” (Isa. 65:1)—but they proved to be an obstinate people, walking “in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations” (Isa. 65:2). Doubtless Isaiah wants God to come near, but by their persistent rebellion in every domain the people are saying, in effect, “Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!” (Isa. 65:5). This habit of thinking oneself better than God is prevalent today. We are so interested in “spirituality” and so committed to exonerating ourselves on every side that we cannot possibly allow ourselves to submit to what God says. We judge what he says to be unreasonable; we are wiser and better than God, more sacred than he. That is what stands behind his judgment (Isa. 65:6–7).

Second, notwithstanding the threat of judgment, God holds out a vastly different prospect for the chosen remnant who seek his face in contrition and faith. What he promises them is far more than a somewhat more secure empirical Zion. He holds out to them nothing less than a “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17). That is what “Jerusalem” ultimately means (Isa. 65:18–19); as in Revelation 21, Jerusalem is not so much a center in the new heavens and the new earth as another way of conceptualizing the same reality. The vision is spectacular (Isa. 65:17–25), akin to what was foreseen earlier (Isa. 2:2–5; 11:1–16). But it is not for everyone without exception. As clearly as any in the book, this chapter distinguishes between, on the one hand, God’s chosen ones (Isa. 65:22), the people blessed by the Lord (Isa. 65:23), those who seek him (Isa. 65:10), his servants (Isa. 65:9), and, on the other hand, those described in the first seven verses, who amuse themselves with notions of magic, playing their games of Fortune and Destiny (Isa. 65:11). 

The bottom line is that when God called they did not answer, when he spoke they did not listen. “You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me” (Isa. 65:12). Nowhere is the distinction clearer than in Isaiah 65:13–16. “My servants,” God says, will experience unimaginably fine blessings, but the “you” whom he addresses will face utter abandonment and reprobation.

From The Gospel Coalition Daily Devotion


Saturday---The Late, Great Glen Campbell Sits Around With Some Old Guys In Nashville

With Ralph Emery, Chet, Roy Clark and Willie among others, not sure about the ladies---Mother Maybelle's daughters?....what a megatalent! Glen died in an Alzheimer's facility about 500' from the back deck of my condo. I moved out of Nashville for the country two years before he died. He was grieved by so many.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Excerpt From 'Real Christianity' by William Wilberforce, c. 1797

WE SEE IN SUCH CASES that manners have been corrupted, morality has sunk into depravity, indulgence is out of control and, above all, faith has been discredited and unbelief has become fashionable.  When a culture reaches this point, it becomes so out of touch with truth that masses of people deny outright the existence of God.  God's will for the nation has been abandoned and man has been made God..

My hunch is that some who acknowledge the decline in religious belief in our nation will claim that I carry my logic to extremes. they will argue it could never happen here.  They will also undoubtedly argue that I am a fanatic and that my view of how culture should be influenced by faith is impractical.  They might argue that people who act as I have advocated would be too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.  They would say that too many were so occupied, the entire machine of civilized society would come to a screeching halt.

In response, I would suggest that such arguments are without merit. At worst, what I have argued that the Bible teaches would call for us to sacrifice a bit of worldly comfort and material affluence for the saske of eternal reward. It is not as if Jesus didn't teach the same thing....and do it with an attitude of cheerfulness.  To respond like this to the call of Christ requires us to hold all temporal possessions loosely.....

In light of the current discussions, it is interesting to note Paul encouraged believers to respond in this way while he also called them to the priority of the love of Christ, an eternal point of view, a healthy indifference to the things of the world and a zeal for growing in spiritual maturity that would lead to the performance of the essential qualities of authentic Christian  faith we have been discussing....

Friday, June 25, 2021

Picking Early Huckleberries and Riding The Mule

WE SHOULDA DONE IT YEARS AGO, BUT I hate to spend big money, so I put it off and put it off until I couldn't any longer.  This week,  our logger/business partners came to the Kawasaki dealership outside Nashville and took our new Mule to its mountain home in Warren County.  Yesterday, daughter Anne traveled with me to test drive this cool little beast and see what it can do.   We have wild and rough timberlands which my grandfather and father bought after the American Revolution (Ha! just kidding, but you get the picture).Then they did almost nothing with it for decades except a little walnut harvesting.  The mountain property we own is the main view from the town square of McMinnville, Tennessee and my father wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that gorgeous view or risk the public outcry that would ensue if he did.  So he told me before he died,  'Jane, you figure it out and do what you think best.  But watch out for all the rattlesnakes!'

Gee thanks dad! 

So I inherited it with my sister, had it surveyed over several years time, then divided it to avoid too much joint ownership. My sister eventually sold her land to the highest bidder before blowing the scene with her most recent husband with whom she is presumably enjoying the good life in more civilized North Carolina.

Meanwhile, back at our wild timber lands: Quite by accident I met a wise master logger who said I needed to face the challenges and start dealing with proper management of this land.  I told him I didn't know where to begin and I would need supervision.  His reply,  'I'm your man as soon as I can finish another job. There's no tract of timber anywhere that I'd rather work.'  He was a man who spoke with authority and had two very able-bodied, smart sons who could do anything and fix anything. So after mulling it over for several months, I said, 'OK, let's give it a try.'

That was almost eight years ago and today this managed hardwood forest is transforming into a beautiful uneven age stand for the next generation to take care of and enjoy.  

With God's help,  we are making progress with an eye on the downtown view of the mountain.

I finally decided to spend a little savings to buy The Mule. Thursday my daughter (driving above with logger and renaissance man Paul)  dropped everything and went to the mountain with me  for a spin.  There is a 1,400' elevation gain from the base, so we need ample horsepower. We got it and a cool breeze that kept temperatures fairly moderate. And for dessert we had some just ripen huckleberries,  being careful to avoid  snakes.

My son will bring his family up next and see how it goes! Can't wait to get back there with my grandchildren soon and let them drive our new Mule!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Tamny: Death of A Retail Visionary Reminds Us of Genius of Private Equity

(Above, one of my Orvis rod cases ready to go to Wyoming with me very soon.)

I WROTE MY LAST WEEK after the death of LEIGH PERKINS, for years head of Orvis.  Today John Tamny writes about Leigh from a private equity perspective. 

Leigh Perkins died last month. Most reading this likely weren’t aware of his passing, or who he was for that matter. But his story has broad relevance in consideration of the times in which we live.  

About Perkins, his New York Times obituary noted that he “built Orvis from a modest mail-order fishing tackle shop in Manchester, Vt., into one of America’s largest and most distinctive sporting lifestyle brands.” Not a bad legacy.  

What’s important about it for the purposes of this piece is that Perkins wasn’t the founder of Orvis. In reality, the company’s origins date back to the 19th century; 1856 to be exact. That was the year that Charles F. Orvis founded his eponymous business; one that was “sending out catalogs before the Civil War and predated Sears, Roebuck by more than 20 years.”  

In reality, Perkins didn’t come into the Orvis picture until 1965. At the time, the company had 20 employees and $500,000 in annual sales. Perkins bought the owners out for $400,000, only to start building what wasn’t very well known. When he retired in 1992, he oversaw 700 employees and $90 million in annual sales. Again, not a bad legacy.  

And it’s a legacy that says something much greater about the genius of private equity in particular. Class warriors like Oren Cass claim that private equity investors add little value to their own financial backers or the companies they invest in, which on its own is a ludicrous presumption.  

Back to reason, if private equity funds weren’t generating returns, they quite simply wouldn’t have investors. Market forces have a tendency to put out to pasture that which doesn’t produce in the marketplace. Put another way, private equity giant Blackstone has become a financial behemoth not because it doesn’t generate desirable returns for the money behind its funds, but because it does.  

As for the companies invested in, Cass is implicitly saying people don't matter. That management doesn't matter. That vision and execution don't matter. By Cass's logic, Alabama should never have hired Nick Saban. Cass’s reasoning implies that economic growth isn’t enhanced when wealth migrates to more skillful hands. If he's correct, stasis is the best economic outcome of all whereby what we call “money” sits still precisely because wealth isn’t moving. It’s actually a perfect scenario for Cass when we stop and remember his intense nostalgia for the past, and the jobs that individuals used to do in the past.

But for those of us yearning for what’s ahead, thank goodness for private equity investors, and for people like the late Perkins more broadly. Not of the view that the present is the frontier of progress, or that the past is something to aspire to, they set about relentlessly creating a much better future.  

Perkins sensed that what had lineage, but that was also stodgy, had grand potential. And he proved it. The Orvis that was once unknown very much became a known brand and a staple of brick & mortar retail on his watch.  

What Perkins achieved with Orvis is what private equity firms set out to do each day. Sometimes they see potential in businesses that are at death’s proverbial door, or sometimes they see possibilities in companies that, while operating in profitable fashion, are stagnating. Sometimes private equity firms sense that the various assets of a certain company would be better, more profitably managed if in the hands of numerous owners, and sometimes they see the chance to expand on the already massive achievements of existing owners.  

Regardless of what these investors foresee, what they’re doing is no easy feat. If the future is opaque, the commercial future most certainly is. Not terribly long ago we hailed cabs in which we tapped away on Blackberry phones. How things change. How rapidly they change. When private equity investors put wealth to work, they’re making incredibly risky assumptions about what commerce will look like in the months, years and decades ahead. This is certainly no easy feat. Consider once again the semi-smartphones we used to communicate on, not to mention the cost of medallions in the taxis that used to very unreliably move us from point A to point B.  

It’s all a reminder that when politicians and media pundits rant about the “preferential” tax treatment for “carried interest” earned by investors in the private equity space, that they know not of what they speak. Their disdain for lighter tax treatment on this “income” implies that it’s just that: income. Except that it isn’t.  

Income is salary. It’s what we agree on with an employer ahead of time. In a limited sense, it’s guaranteed.  

On the other hand, “carried interest” is the opposite of guaranteed. It’s a return on investment that private equity investors earn after their capital commitments have proven wise in aggregate, and after they’ve cleared a return “hurdle” agreed to with their investors ahead of time. In short, carried interest is a reward for successful investing, a reward for the movement of precious wealth to higher uses, when the movement of same is anything but a sure thing.  

If we’re being at all reasonable, the only logical tax on carried interest is zero. Why on earth would we design the tax code to penalize successful investing, and for that matter why would the tax code penalize investing at all? Investing is what produces essential information without which there’s no progress.  

Back to Perkins, his courageous investment in a little-known retailer over fifty years ago was in many ways the model for a happy explosion in private-equity investing that’s taken place since. Instead of sitting on their hands, these investors are energetically reshaping commerce for the much better with their bold capital commitments. Rather than demonize private equity, we should cheer the progress that it personifies with an eye on reworking the tax code in order to encourage more of what’s mindlessly penalized.  

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, and a senior economic adviser to Applied Finance Advisors ( His new book is titled When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason. Other books by Tamny include They're Both Wrong: A Policy Guide for America's Frustrated Independent Thinkers, The End of Work, about the exciting growth of jobs more and more of us love, Who Needs the Fed? and Popular Economics. He can be reached at


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Sunday---Are Our Enemies Spiritual? Human? Or Both? And What About Women Teaching In the Reformed Church?


 BELOW, Tim Keller and Don Carson whom I agree with over, say N T Wright, answer. 


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Simple Things In Life Thrill Me: Yellow Summer Crooked-Neck Squash

I Can hardly wait to cook these young, not-too-large summer squash later today. The simpler prepared,  the better. Sliced or grated, sautéed in coconut oil, or good butter, with a bit of sea salt and dill makes them fit for royalty in my opinion. 

Add to that a few regional sliced tomatoes and perhaps some French green beans with or without fish, beef or chicken and you have it made to nourish and enjoy!  

Monday, June 7, 2021

Saying Goodbye to the Late Leigh Perkins of Orvis


LEIGH PERKINS--- who in 1966 took a little roadside fishing store in Manchester, Vermont and turned it into an international fly fishing, sport bird hunting and outfitting sensation called The Orvis Company---died last month at 93 in Florida.

He was a friend of mine and a big influence in my  becoming a fly fishing guide in Wyoming.

If there was a place in any part of the world that Leigh hadn't fished or hunted in grand style, I wouldn't believe it. His passion for fly fishing first, then game bird shooting and hunting dogs carried his business into the stratosphere of success. He became an avid conservationist and preserver of natural wildlife habitats. He and his sons David and Perk, now grandson Simon, donated a portion of their business proceeds to these outdoor causes. 

I met Leigh while serving with him on the national board Nature Conservancy-before it got woke and went off the cliff over man made global warmimg--- in Arlington, Virginia. He was a bit of a rascal, but nonetheless a greatly likeable fellow. Later when I moved part-time to Jackson, Wyoming, and became an avid fisher woman myself, Leigh was there to encourage me to get into the fishing business. I helped him open the Orvis Store in Jackson with the late Vern Bressler and Vern's son guide Joe Bressler. It didn't pay much but sure was a lot of fun and I learned a tremendous amount about all things fly fishing.

Soon I left Orvis and started my own little guide business in the Buffalo Valley of Northern Jackson Hole, wading on the smaller tributaries of the Snake River. I would occasionally fish with Leigh at his gorgeous spread in Star Valley, south of town where the fishing for  large native cutthroat was plentiful and the lavish hospitality included the finest wines, freshly picked and cooked morrels in season and fillet with roasted vegetables. He would tell me that contrary to what people thought about the biggest money maker at Orvis being fly fishing equipment, it was really women's clothing in stores and the catalogue---bought and worn by women like me--- which kept the business afloat. Matter of fact,  I am sitting at my computer writing this in my favorite Orvis quick dry knee length pants, like the other five pairs I own.

As time went on I began to lose touch with Leigh but I would occasionally run into him on some stretch of  river we both loved to fish. It's been years now since I've seen him but I still remember him fondly and appreciate all the encouragement he gave me in the fabulous, adventurous world of fly fishing.  I have many fish and grizzly tales yet to tell. 

I have no idea of Leigh's spiritual condition, but I pray we shall meet again one day in a better place....perhaps a great native trout stream in the new earth.

Till then,  tight lines, sir! Tight lines! And a river runs through it.....

Sunday, June 6, 2021

King Hezekiah Disobeys Then Begs God For Deliverance from Sennacherib of Assyria, God Hears, Saves His People


COMMENTARY  Isaiah 37The Gospel Coalition Daily Devotional

Hezekiah is beside himself (Isa. 37). He has disobeyed the Lord and defied Assyria. Mercifully, at this juncture he does the right thing: in desperation he turns to the Lord in importunate and passionate prayer, and to the Lord’s prophet Isaiah for intercession and guidance (Isa. 37:1–4). Isaiah promptly reports a visionary word from the Lord (Isa. 37:5–7). God sees the stance of Sennacherib as profoundly blasphemous: he has treated the living God as if he were some local pagan deity. God promises that Sennacherib will hear a report that will make him withdraw, and in due course he will be cut down in his own country.

The sequence of events is at this point unclear: we do not have enough information. The next verses suggest that Lachish has proved more difficult to conquer than Sennacherib had anticipated (though he ultimately seizes it), and that he has moved to Libnah. While he is there he hears a report that Egypt (the Cushites, Isa. 37:9) is moving against him, and he warns Hezekiah not to think that this will be more than a temporary reprieve. Since Sennacherib shortly resumes his siege of Jerusalem (Isa. 37:33ff.), perhaps Egypt sent no more than harrying contingents.

In any case, the bleak prospects for Jerusalem drive Hezekiah to prayer (Isa. 37:14–20), the high water mark of this king’s life. Hezekiah does not address God as if he were just a tribal deity. God is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sovereign Creator who alone is “God over all the kingdoms of the earth,” and the Almighty God of Israel who is “enthroned between the cherubim” in the Most Holy Place, the God of the covenant (Isa. 37:16). At the end of his resources, Hezekiah casts himself upon God’s mercy, not only so that the tiny nation might be spared, but “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God” (Isa. 37:20).

God answers Hezekiah’s prayer. Through the prophet Isaiah, God pronounces an oracle of judgment against Sennacherib (Isa. 37:22–29), provides a reassuring sign for Hezekiah (Isa. 37:30–32), and stipulates that Sennacherib will not be permitted to take Jerusalem (Isa. 37:33–35). God will defend Jerusalem, not for Hezekiah’s sake, but for his own sake and for the sake of his servant David. Hezekiah prays, and God answers, but he is saved, not for his own sake, but for the sake of another.

The result is briefly told (Isa. 37:36–38). The slaughter of the soldiers may have been the result of God-ordained bubonic plague; other similar catastrophes are known from ancient sources. And twenty years later, Sennacherib’s sons did cut him down in his own temple, while the temple of the Lord remained inviolate.Isaiah 


COMMENTARY from TGC on Isaiah 36 


Isaiah 36–39 is less a historical excursus than the hinge on which the book turns. To change the metaphor, these chapters constitute the bond that holds together the two large parts on either side. Not only do they provide the historical setting of much of the book (especially of many of the first thirty-five chapters), they put in historical form the fundamental question the book addresses: whom shall we trust? Or, in the pagan outlook of Sennacherib’s field commander, “On whom are you depending?” (Isa. 36:5). Isaiah 36 begins the drama.

King Hezekiah had led the nation in anti-Assyrian rebellion and then looked to Egypt for help. Sennacherib of Assyria was not in a forgiving mood. Proud of his unbroken string of successes (Isa. 36:18–20), Sennacherib determined to crush Jerusalem and teach an unforgettable lesson. He captured town after town in Judah, until only two were left, Lachish and Jerusalem. Here we find Sennacherib’s field commander trying to undermine the remaining forces, speaking in the Hebrew the people of Jerusalem would understand instead of in his own Aramaic (Isa. 36:11–12).

Perhaps what we should observe most closely from this chapter is the example of Satanic half-truths, the methods of sowing doubt, the arguments calculated to diminish faith in the living God. Know your enemy, not least his lies, and he is diminished and less credible. So here are his weapons:

Much of the speech is raw taunt. By this point, Judah was so desperately short of warriors that even if Sennacherib had provided the horses, Hezekiah could not have provided the men (Isa. 36:8). The field commander insists he is here at the Lord’s command (Isa. 36:10)—which was of course partially true and even resonated with Isaiah’s own teaching (Isa. 10:5). Yet it was totally false in any sense that presupposed Assyria was the Lord’s obedient servant as opposed to an instrument used in the mystery of providence. A conscious attempt to undermine the confidence of the people in Hezekiah (Isa. 36:13–15) is finally met only by silence (Isa. 36:21), but the psychological damage must have been considerable. Even the threat of deportation to a strange land is made to sound like a jolly good move to a better location (Isa. 36:16–17)—a bit like making sin delightful and hiding the shame, loneliness, and death. Of course, if Yahweh can be reduced to the status of pagan deities, it will be easier to dismiss him (Isa. 36:18–19). And if the field commander misunderstands the significance of Hezekiah’s destruction of pagan shrines (Isa. 36:7), nevertheless he is probably right in sensing the disaffection of many of the people.

What similar lies and half-truths do powerful voices in our society endlessly repeat so as to demoralize the people of God?

Saturday, June 5, 2021

America's Accelerating Descent Into Darkness And Depravity


AFTER THE NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION I felt like I was thrown back into political culture shock similar to what I had gone through in the mid-80s after spending a month in Communist China.  It was a  'study' tour, and, man O man, did I get an education. After returning to the US before Thanksgiving,  I kept eerily silent to family and friends about much of what I had experienced.  Too much stimulation on every level had brought me sensory overload and I needed time to get back to quietly thinking about it.  A friend told me after she returned from several weeks in India the year before, all she wanted to do was eat mashed potatoes and sweep the kitchen floor.  I could relate totally.

So after the last presidential election, the events and stimulation leading up to it, the unfathomable results which I absolutely question even now,  I grew silent and morose.  Not only did I not want to talk, watch or read much of anything or write about it on Webutante,  I didn't want to hear any of my  well-meaning Christian friends tell me, 'Don't worry, God is in control and everything will be OK.' Yes, all that was true, but for better or worse, I needed to give myself full permission to be seriously worried about our country and the slippery slope it is on.  Seriously worried. What are we leaving our children and grandchildren?

Today as the days grow longer and nature unfolds everywhere,  I am a small bit more sanguine, enough to read and be open to various opinions and how those of us who are classic conservatives might go forward:  Younger voices like J.D. Vance,  Clay Travis, Tal Bachman and Greg Gutfeld  are welcome now. Looking at the part I've played in this national disaster of censorship,  wokeism and critical race theory---the cancerous new state religion---is painful even in small doses.

Still, after all is said and done,  I have to somewhat agree with Rod Dreher's take on things though he strikes me as more pessimistic than I normally am..  He writes this week in 'What's Happening to America?

I went to a garden party tonight over in the Buda hills. I met there a journalist who writes about national security and defense for a Hungarian magazine. He said to me, “It really upsets us to see what’s happening to America. It’s not the America we knew. I was at Georgetown not long ago, and met this student from the Midwest who wanted to go into the foreign service. I asked him what he wanted to do with his career. He said, ‘Destroy white supremacy.’ He is as white as I am! These are the people who will be running America one of these days. Your country is tearing itself apart, and this is hard for us to see. We loved America. We looked up to it.”

The man seemed genuinely sad, and uncomprehending. What could I say?

I fell into a conversation with two men, one a journalist, the other a retired diplomat. They spoke with awe about the speed of the collapse of our civilization. They agreed that what’s happening to America is going to happen to Hungary sooner or later. Neither of them could account for the rapidity of the collapse through rational explanation. They agreed that there is something supernatural going on here. Hungary is a very secular country, so I assumed they were speaking metaphorically. They weren’t.

Someone said to me that American culture is still immensely powerful. “Nobody cares about Germany. They make great cars, okay. But what else? Nothing. America is still cool.” We may be decadent as hell, but our culture still matters to these people.

I shared a taxi back to the Pest side with an American graduate student studying here. He’s a Christian who reads this blog. He said he saw the Blue’s Clues segment with the drag queen singing about the Pride parade including the beaver family with the trans member sporting mastectomy scars. “That show meant a lot to me as a kid,” he said. “It started the year I was born. It was a big part of my childhood. Now … .” His voice faded off.

“It’s like Sohrab Ahmari says: ‘Look around you,'” said the student. “Look around you, and you can’t believe the depravity. You want to ask God, ‘How long?

”Something dark and depraved is coming. It’s already here, and it’s going to get much worse. Prepare, prepare, prepare. These people who have lived through totalitarianism know what they’re seeing.

I would say push back, push back, pushback and pray, pray, pray for God's mercy on our country.  This for now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

How in the World Did My Sidebar Vanish On My Homepage?


SEEMS LIKE I was minding my own business last weekend when my homepage sidebar disappeared.  It's still visible if you click on individual posts and on my dashboard.  But have tried to get it back on my homepage but so far been unsuccessful.  Several of my computer gurus/geniuses can't get to the bottom of it either.

If you have any simple ideas, please email rather than comment since comments are basically closed.  Thanks! 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Friday, May 28, 2021

Jackson, the Cat, Knows....

JACKSON, the world's cutest, loveliest cat knows, he just knows, I'm getting ready to leave for a fly fishing trip. So what does he do? He takes up residence for his morning nap on my freshly laundered, quick dry fishing shirt. I'd love to take him along, but he's not a catch and release kinda guy. His policy is catch and gobble, the faster, the better..... 

Meanwhile, we all wait for the latest rain shower to pass. Have a good, safe Memorial Day, as we remember all who have fought and died for our values and liberties. May God have mercy on us all.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Triumvirate Of New, Real Conservative Blood To Help Show the Way Forward, But First.... Culture Shock 1

DECADES AGO I WENT ON A MONTH LONG 'STUDY' TOUR TO CHINA. It was in the mid-80s and I haven't a clue what deep down prompted me to do such a thing.  China had just opened up to outsiders and I must have wanted to see its mysterious culture as well as ours from a fresh perspective.

I certainly got more than I bargained for.  The first week everyone in our group got deathly ill with intestinal troubles. We learned to drink Chinese beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner because everywhere the water was  very iffy. By the second week,  I had gotten acquainted with some of my fellow travelers and discovered several were communists who simply adored Fidel Castro and all things Cuba.  I was silently appalled.  By the third week, many of us had severe respiratory illness and bronchitis from massive air pollution and dust that was blowing in from the Gobi Desert.    I coughed so hard I busted my gut and got an inguinal hernia.  By the time we flew back to Seattle a week before Thanksgiving,  I was in such culture shock that I had closed down and almost stopped talking. I had no idea what I would say to family at Thanksgiving dinner about my trip.  Other people in our group, mostly the communists, were buying extra suitcases and tons of stuff they could take back to LA and Hells Kitchen.  Not me,  I just wanted to get back to friendly American soil with the shirt on my back and if need be, die there.  Any friendly USA tarmac would do. I hoped the sound of thousands of bicycle bells would subside in my head.

Ultimately I learned to talk again, had my hernia repaired at Vanderbilt Hospital and and burned everything I brought back that reminded me of communist China--including my favorite Strauss Waltz cassette from Tiananmen square.

I tell this story today because I felt the same culture shock and foreignness last fall after the 2020 election that I did during my month in China almost 40 years ago. What a total surprise.

I'll  continue this in the next few days and call it 'Coming Out of Culture Shock In My Own Country.' 



Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pentecost--- Time Followers of Jesus Become Little, Mobile Temples After He Ascends To the Father And Sends the Holy Spirit


THIS IS THE AWESOME UNFOLDING OF SALVATION HISTORY.  Today, as then, when a person is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell them

 The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost, from Acts 2

 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Peter Addresses the Crowd 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[c] 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e] 29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’[f] 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Master Pilot

MY BAD INFLUENCE sent this. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Tal Bachman @ American Greatness Tells It Like It Is: The Republican Party Sucks


Canadian Tal Bachman is fast becoming one of my favorite political thinkers and writers.  He's fearless and right most of the time. To wit: 

The Republican Party Sucks


Once upon a time, the Republican Party didn’t suck. Actually, there were lots of times it didn’t suck.

It didn’t suck when, at its founding in the late 1850s, it declared slavery an inhumane, barbaric practice, and eventually ended it. It didn’t suck when it ended repressive and predatory Mormon polygamy a few decades later. It didn’t suck when it declared late 19th-century corporate monopolies to be injurious to representative democracy and citizen welfare, and diminished their power.

It didn’t suck under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who presided over a postwar era of peace and prosperity. It didn’t suck when it fought segregationist Democrats to ensure equal application of the law. It didn’t suck when it fought against communism for half a century, and then won.

But starting with the presidency of George H. W. Bush, it really began sucking.

It was Bush Senior who pushed America into the first Persian Gulf War amidst a massive PR snow job involving fake stories about little Kuwaiti kids. It was Bush who framed that war as a glorious opportunity and morally obligatory step toward a “new world order”—by which he meant the eventual dissolution of national borders (including those of the United States) and the rise of one-world-government.

He also pushed economic corollaries to his political one-worldism. He relentlessly preached free trade ideology, eventually signing NAFTA in December of 1992. He laid the groundwork for the World Trade Organization, which would officially emerge in 1995. He began pushing for open trade with Communist China. He refused to protect American manufacturing—auto manufacturing, among other types—against subsidized imports intended to destroy American industries. His 1990 Immigration Act triggered a perpetual flood of cheap Latin American labor which inevitably undercut working-class wages at home.

Every step of the way, establishment Republicans supported him. All in all, in just four years, the Republican Party, under Bush Senior, initiated the de-industrialization of the United States of America; the devastation of thousands of working-class communities and families; the acceleration of disruptive demographic change; and the national slide toward dependence on—that is, control by—China.

So, obviously, all that sucks. What also sucks is that ever since, the Republican Party—with only a few exceptions here and there—has just sucked more and more.

Take W’s tenure. It includes an FBI which failed to intercept a devastating  9/11 terrorist attack, months in the making, which killed 3,000 people, despite many opportunities for detection.



So what are we gonna do about it?  Continue to be nice and agreeable?  Or get to work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

John Tamny On What Inflation Is and Isn't

Tamny writes:

That inflation is presently the economic story du jour is a likely signal that commenters are a bit shaky about what it is. Economists and most on the left have wholly redefined it as a too much economic growth. Some on the right point to rising commodities, except that they were near monolithically mute in the 2000s when commodities rallied much more substantially. Like everything else, inflation has become a political issue. In reality, it's a devaluation of the unit. In our case the dollar. Inflation is a policy choice as opposed to it being a consequence of some other policy choice. And to claim that rising prices cause inflation is like blaming rain on wet sidewalks. It reverses causation. The opinion piece can be found here.
It shouldn't take a PhD in economics for us to realize each and every time the government prints trillions more dollars and pours them into the financial system, it dilutes our dollars and their buying power. Then it takes more of our dollars to buy the same goods and services. Presto, welcome to the world of inflation and ultimately hyper-inflation if the printing press can't be slowed down.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday, Touchiness

Do we need to develop Holy Indifference?

A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense---Proverbs 19:11

TOUCHINESS. A body part that is injured or inflamed responds with instant recoil when touched. The Hebrew word for patience here means a relaxed face rather than one that instantly snarls when provoked. When people say something you don't like, do you shoot right back? Or do you slow your response and act rather than react? What is so touchy about us? We feel we must defend our glory or honor. It is our ego that is so sensitive.

This should tell us something.  We don't notice body parts unless there is something wrong with them. We don't say, ' My elbows are working great today!' But the ego calls attention to itself every minute.  Sin has distorted our identity, the very basis of our sense of self.  We need saving, repairing grace. If our egos were working properly, we would know that true glory  is to let a slight or irritation go without paying back.  Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.'(Luke 23:34) That is real glory.

Do you fairly easily feel hurt, slighted, and put down, and do you take criticism very hard?


Prayer:  Lord, today I was very touchy with someone.  Yes I was tired and stressed out over many things. But so what? You were under far greater stress and never shot back an angry word. Let me wonder and praise you for your patience until it begins to grow in me.  Amen.


Excerpt from  God's Wisdom for Navigating Life, A Year if Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs, page 133

Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Blue Bloods Lost Me Friday Night

THE FIRST BLOODY MINUTE OF BLUE BLOODS was so reprehensible to me last night that I got up from the sofa and called it a night to my viewing friend.  I am told it was a great two hour show but I don't care.  That kind of in-my-face violent opening will have to go on without me. 

I love the cast and most of the scripts.   But I believe in self censorship and that's what I did last night.   Bye, bye Blue Bloods. It's been nice knowing you for the most part!  

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Texas Stands Up to DC's Over-Reach In Every Aspect of Our Lives

Don Surber via HotAir reports major progress in Texas against unconstitutional overreach of the federal government in DC:


 "Texas Republican lawmakers are moving forward with a conservative agenda and Governor Abbott took a moment Saturday to celebrate that. Abbott tweeted out a list of conservative legislative victories achieved in the Texas House of Representatives over the span of 48 hours. It’s enough to make any Republican governor up for re-election proud."

The victories were:

* Defund cities that defund police

* Ban abortion at detection of heartbeat

* Slash STAAR test requirements

* Ban homeless camping statewide

* Penalize protestors blocking roads

* Ensure election integrity- easy to vote, hard to cheat


Texans voted Republican and actually got Republican. The revolution is taking place in statehouses, not DC.


We need a lot more governors like Abbott, DeSantis and StateHouses to take back our country.  

Monday, May 10, 2021

Mike Lindell's Corn Palace Rally Monday Has 'Amazing Demand'


WHAT FUN!  What a great idea!  And you thought Lindell was washed up.....

Arnott and Tamny: Lunacy of Raising Capital Gains Tax on the Economy and Innovation




While it’s hard to imagine Silicon Valley’s remarkable dynamism evaporating as a consequence of higher capital gains taxes, increased penalties on investment will discourage riskier initiatives. This is crucial when we consider the high rate of failure among startups. Most fail, and none are sure things. Accordingly, it’s a safe bet that a higher capital gains rate ensures many great ideas will never attract capital and will die.  There’s a reason none of the FANG stocks -- Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google (Alphabet) -- were launched in Europe or Japan.    

Consider Elon Musk. He’s now worth about $200 billion.  If he decided to cash in his Tesla stock and move the money to a Mars venture, the feds would help themselves to $48 billion now, or $87 billion under Biden’s proposal, and a whopping $114 billion if he had remained in California. Imagine all the transformative ideas Musk could seed if politicians had shorter fingers.     

Economic growth is lubricated by the relentless movement of wealth to its best use. Assuming Biden’s tax vision becomes law, the cost of wealth migration will soon soar. The easiest way to avoid capital gains taxes is to leave your money wherever it is, rather than redeploying it to the next great idea. The result is that Biden’s tax plan will not raise additional tax revenues, but will subsidize stasis

All of this and more came to mind for us last week. A little more than 24 years ago, President Clinton signed into law a reduction in the capital gains tax from 28% to 20%. While the tax on capital gains should be zero to encourage innovation and risk-bearing, Clinton’s signature sent a positive signal that the “New Democrats” of his era well understood the importance of economic growth. How things have changed in the modern Democratic Party. Innovation will be the loser if Biden gets his way.      

Indeed, for those eager to create a better future with courageous investments, the cost of doing so will soar. Progress has always been expensive, but at a levy of 43% to 57%? Oh, well -- there will always be munis.    

Rob Arnott is founding chairman of Research Affiliates, LLC.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, vice president at FreedomWorks, and author of the new book “When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason.”

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mother's Day and Lady Wisdom


OH TO BE A WISER AND WISER MOTHER OF LIFE AND LADY WISDOM.....It's an unending process but, with God's help, we make progress...... Happy Mother's Day!


The Blessings of  Lady Wisdom Proverbs 8

1 Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; 3 beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: 4 "To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. 5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. 6 Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. 7 My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. 8 All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. 9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 12 "I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. 14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. 15 By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; 16 by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. [1] 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. 18 With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. 19 My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. 20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, 21 bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full. 22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, [2] [3] before his deeds of old; 23 I was appointed [4] from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. 24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; 25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, 26 before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, 28 when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, 29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. 30 Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. 32 "Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. 36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death." 

And this:

Fight the good fight with all thy might;

Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right:

lay hold on life, and it shall be

thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God's good grace,

lift up thine eyes, and seek his face;

life with its way before us lies,

Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.

Cast care aside; upon thy Guide

lean, and his mercy will provide;

lean, and the trusting soul shall prove,

Christ is its life and Christ its love.

Faint not, nor fear, his arms are near;

he changeth not, and thou art dear;

only believe, and thou shalt see

that Christ is all in all to thee.


(This hymn-prayer was composed by John Monsell, an Irish priest in the Church of England, who died in 1870 when falling from his church roof while checking renovations)


Friday, May 7, 2021

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

On the Trail After Stormy Weather Clears Out

 THIS AFTERNOON the rain and clouds finally rolled out of Middle Tennessee leaving sunshine and cool, crisp air cleared of the choking pollen that has been lurking in the atmosphere for weeks. It was a perfect opportunity for a hike in the state park nearby. Water was running everywhere. Above is a photo from the trail of a disheveled and drenched Tulip Poplar flower, from our state tree. Its pattern and vibrant colors have always attracted me. Ferns have unfurled everywhere on the forest floor and spring is approaching summer at warp speed.  Then walking early in the day is the only way to beat the stiffling heat and humidity. Meanwhile, we have another reprieve Thursday and I hope to be there.