Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday John Piper: Summer---Seek the Light Beyond the Light


LISTEN HERE: THE LIGHT BEYOND THE LIGHT:

IT'S GOOD TO REMEMBER THAT SUMMER IS A FORETASTE OF HEAVEN:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1–2)


Jesus Christ is refreshing. So, seek the things that are above. Don’t replace Christ this summer with trifles. Flight from Christ into Christless leisure makes the soul parched.

At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.

Don’t let the coming of summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute.

If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fianc√©, don’t fall in love with the mailman. Don’t fall in love with the video preview and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.

Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations and picnics and softball and long walks and cookouts. He invites us this summer, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
.
Do we want it? That is the question. Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Peter’s word to us about this is, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20). Repentance is not just turning away from sin, but also turning toward the Lord with hearts open and expectant and submissive.

What sort of summer mindset is this? It is the mindset of Colossians 3:1–2, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

It is God’s earth! It is a video preview to the reality of what the eternal summer will be like when “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).

The summer sun is a mere pointer to the sun that will be: the glory of God. Summer is for seeing and showing that. Do you want to have eyes to see? Lord, let us see the light beyond the light.
 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Please Do NOT Buy Stocks Right Now....Not Nearly Enough Blood In the Streets

UPDATE: JUDY SHELTON, TRUMP'S NEXT FED CHOICE FAVORS THE GOLD STANDARD AND FREE TRADE


  
WE'RE JUST NOW GETTING STARTED IN CORRECTION TERRITORY,  so don't jump the gun and buy anything at this point,  thinking we've hit bottom. We haven't and have a  good way to go.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday, Pastor Austin Gohn: The One Thing I Tell Mothers of Wayward Children

WHY WE SHOULD LOVE OUR ENEMIES

HAVING A DISTANT CHILD, WHETHER TEMPORARILY OR LONG-TERM, IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS A MOTHER, AND FATHER, EVER HAS TO FACE. Here is the best advice any of us could ever get.. St. Monica of Hippo, Augustine's mother is a wonderful role model.

By Pastor Gohn @ The Gospel Coalition
MY CHURCH INBOX  is normally nothing more than threads I’ve been copied on, an email asking our church’s position on an issue, and the weekly update message I keep meaning to unsubscribe from. About a year ago, though, I noticed an email from a concerned dad about his wandering young adult.
His son had moved from somewhere in Canada to Pittsburgh, and he was living with his girlfriend in an apartment near the church I pastor. He wanted nothing to do with the Christianity his parents had spent nearly two decades instilling in him. Uncertain of what to do, his father found my email and threw a Hail Mary. He asked if I would give his son a call and try to meet with him.

All this reminded me of Monica, the mother of Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430). I was reading Augustine’s Confessions at the time of this email, trying to make sense of the young adults in my church. At one point, Monica reached out to a priest about her wandering son. She was worried about him, and she didn’t know what else to do. He had left his childhood religion, “swooped recklessly into love” (3.1), and begun exploring a cult called Manicheanism. Near the end of Book 3 of his Confessions, describing the conversation between his mom and the priest, Augustine wrote, “This woman asked him to be so good as to speak with me and refute any mistaken notions, to teach the bad things out of me and the good things into me” (3.21).

If Monica had lived in the 21st century, it would’ve been an email.

Worried Parents Should Pray

It’s a common story. As a young-adults pastor, I’ve had many conversations with parents of wandering children—with dads like the one who emailed me a few months ago and moms like Monica who contacted the priest 1,600 years ago. And, admittedly, it’s hard to know exactly what to tell them. Try too hard and you’ll probably push your kids farther away. Do nothing and it feels like you’re abandoning them.
Confessions, at its heart, is the story of a mom who wouldn’t quit praying.
Monica, for her part, often leaned closer to the “trying too hard” end of the spectrum. Imagine a mom who would move into the dorm at her son’s college. That’s Monica. She followed Augustine as he moved around the Roman Empire, and sure enough, Augustine was often looking for ways to run away from her. Yet even as she nearly became the patron saint of helicopter parents, she did something I wish every parent of young adults would do.
She prayed for him.

Augustine spent his 20s messing around with a cult and chasing sexual experiences, but Monica spent the duration of that decade on her knees in prayer. He reflected to God:


Around eight years followed during which I rolled around in the mud of that deep pit and in the darkness of that lie, often trying to rise out of it but always taking a more forceful plunge back in. She, meanwhile a chaste, pious, and sober widow, such as you love, was already more lighthearted with hope, but she didn’t slack in weeping and groaning; she didn’t cease in all the hours of her prayers, to beat her breast before you, and her pleas were granted an audience with you; and yet you left me to wallow and be swallowed in that darkness. (3.20) 

At another point, Augustine described his mother’s prayers as “rivers she addressed to you daily for my sake, irrigating the ground under her face” (5.15). She believed that God would eventually turn Augustine to himself, even as she felt he was walking farther away.

When Monica reached out to the priest, he told her to keep praying. He was unwilling to meet with Augustine because, as Augustine writes, “I was still unteachable, as I was full of hot air due to the heresy’s exciting novelty.” When Monica persisted, sending request after request begging him to have a conversation with her son, he became “sick of it, and rather annoyed” and told her, “Get out of here. . . . Just go on living this way. It’s impossible that the son of these tears of yours will perish” (3.21). If any one historical figure illustrated the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1–8), it was Monica.

Wandering Young Adults Need Prayers

I told the dad who emailed me something similar. I told him it was unlikely his son would have any interest in a conversation with me, especially after finding out his dad had already told me everything about his life. I told him that for many young adults, there’s a period of wandering, as they’re searching for what they believe, when they won’t listen to anyone’s advice—no matter how insistently or eloquently it is given. And I told him that the best thing he can for his son is pray for him and be there for him when he runs out of options. He never replied to my email.

Wandering young adults, more than anything else, need moms like Monica, who will drench the ground with tears on their behalf. They need moms who will let them wander, believing—as Evelyn Waugh wrote in Brideshead Revisited—that God has already caught them with an “unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let them wander to the end of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.” I believe that behind many of the lives I’ve seen transformed in my years of young-adult ministry are moms who refused to quit praying even when it felt hopeless, pleading with the same kind of adrenaline-filled intensity of moms who have been to known to lift cars to save their kids.

Don’t Stop Praying

In his early 30s, when Augustine finally does convert to Christianity, the first person he told was his mother. He prayed, “She was thrilled and exultant and blessed you, who in your power do more than we ask or understand. She saw that you had granted her so much more, in me, than she had been used to asking for in her wretched, tearful groaning. You had turned me to you” (8.30). She died at 55, shortly after his baptism. Augustine spendt a large portion of Book 9 of his Confessions eulogizing her and praying for her, “so that all of them who read my account remember at your altar your servant Monica” (9.37). Confessions, at its heart, is the story of a mom who wouldn’t quit praying.

I can’t promise that your young adult will convert to Christianity and write enough theological pages to fill three shelves of a seminary library if you just pray hard enough. What I can promise is that God is watching over your young adults, listening to your prayers, and working behind the scenes in ways you can’t see. Irrigate the ground with your tears. Often, it’s the prayers of moms like Monica that will open up the hearts of their young adults to hear the preaching of pastors like me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Kacey Musgraves Is A World Class Stunner

UPDATE: CELEBS WHO SKIPPED THIS YEAR
I REMEMBER years ago first seeing Kacey singing with George Strait and thought she was adorable and talented. She had the IT factor and lots of stage presence to go with it. Today she's morphed into a global success and sophisticated woman-of-the world. I just hope all this Met Gala stuff (I did not particularly like her Barbie get-up and long blond wig) and too much success doesn't ruin her life and marriage. Keep your feet  squarely on the ground, my dear.

You got IT!

It's a helluva long distance from George Strait to Anna Wintour. Watch your steps.

I Agree With Steve Bannon: Monday Was the Most Important Day in President Trump's Presidency


STEVE BANNON ON LOU DOBBS EXPLAINS EXACTLY WHY MONDAY WAS A GREAT DAY IN U.S. ECONOMIC HISTORY AND FOR MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS.

Even though it's bringing a stock market correction and some temporary pain for Wall Street elites. Most people don't take time to understand the trade imbalances that have been plaguing our country for decades.

President Trump does and is keep his campaign promises under incredible duress.  Good for him. I completely support him in staying the course, even if my stock portfolio is suffering right now.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sunday Sermon @ Redeemer Presbyterian Eastside, Manhattan

RECENT  SERMON by Pastor Aaron Bjerke in Manhattan which I can't embed.  Well worth a listen.  You can watch the recent video by clicking, then scrolling down.

From Exodus 13:17-22 New International Version (NIV)

Crossing the Sea

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”[b] 20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. FROM EXODUS 13:17-22

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Saturday, For the Longest Time



Thanks, Neo.  Terrific find.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday, Pastor Mike Atkins--- Do Not Be Afraid

 FROM LUKE 5

JESUS CALLS HIS FIRST DISCIPLES

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Blessed Easter From Jackson and Me at the Hitching Post

JACKSON IS SIMPLY WILD ABOUT THE SCENT OF AZALEAS! So at this time of year, he and I have double reasons to be joyful: First, Christ is risen from the dead and has finished his work of salvation offered to the world and anyone who takes this incredible free gift of eternal life. Second spring and azaleas are here in full, fragrant bloom to celebrate with us in living technicolor. Plus, the sun is finally shining!
    

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday, Who Put Jesus On the Cross?

 SATAN IS NOT THE EXPLANATION FOR CALVARY.

 DIVINE LOVE BETWEEN THE SON AND THE FATHER IS THE REASON FOR THE CRUCIFIXION. AND THE GLORIOUS RESURRECTION THAT FOLLOWS.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Holy Week, Iconic Symbols Still Standing

UPDATE: NOTRE DAME'S DESTRUCTION WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN AFTER YEARS OF NEGLECT AND LACK OF UPKEEP

THE GREAT NOTRE DAME FIRE OF PARIS, 2019. SAVED FROM THE WORST BY FIREFIGHTERS.

Symbols of antiquity and Christianity, but only symbols of the real thing:  The salvation of the world by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ for anyone who accepts His free gift of Grace.

Meanwhile on a more mundane level, is this horrific fire symbolic of  the continuing downward spiral of a once great country?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sunday With Piper: Should Christians Celebrate Interracial Marriage?

PASTOR JOHN PIPER preaches on interracial marriage from a Bible perspective. Listen and learn. READ IT.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

From Romans 9: Ask Pastor John---Why Does God Choose Some and Not Others?


IF YOU'VE STRUGGLED WITH THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION and gone around in depressing circles,  then try reading and listening several times to this heartening, encouraging message by Pastor John Piper.  I am certainly glad I have. BTW,  Piper has struggled with this long and hard himself.  This is what he concluded:

From Desiring God:


Audio Transcript
We currently have 150 emails now about Romans 9, by far the most asked-about chapter in the Bible in the inbox. Here’s one of them, a recent email from a listener named Aaron. “Hello, Pastor John! I was reading Romans 9 today and came across what is known to be a very hard-to-swallow passage and doctrine. While I believe God is sovereign, I can’t help but take into account Paul’s ‘what if’ statement at the beginning of verse 22. Is the language here being used as we would use it today? Almost implying that God can — but doesn’t necessarily mean he does it? Is that a feasible interpretation? How do you explain this conjunction and its implications?”

A Little Autobiography

Well, perhaps just to encourage those who struggle with the message of Romans 9, let me give a little autobiography. When I was teaching Bible and Greek at Bethel College from 1974 to 1980, virtually every class brought up the problems of the sovereignty of God vis-à-vis the will of man.
“Romans 9 is a watershed of how you view God.”
“If God is as sovereign as you say, Piper, how can man be accountable for his sin?” And eventually in these discussions, I would go to Romans 9 as part of my answer. Then there would be great disputes over how to handle Romans 9, especially verses 1–23. So, in the spring of 1979, I asked for a sabbatical. I had been there about six years, so it was time. From May of 1979 through January of 1980, as I studied, all I did was think and pray over Romans 9 day and night, every day. I had to settle it for myself.

The point of what I’m saying is that it was a great struggle for me. I feel like Romans 9 is a watershed of how you view God. I had to settle for myself whether this chapter meant what it seemed to mean, what I was saying it meant. Or did it have some other explanation? Out of that nine months or so came the book The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1–23.

I have shared the struggle with those who read this chapter and scratch their heads and try to reorient their minds. I have shared that. I don’t think Romans 9 is up for grabs though. I think Romans 9 really addresses the eternal destinies of people, not just historical roles. It does deal with individuals, not just corporate peoples. Those are usually the two reasons people give for saying, “No, you shouldn’t use Romans 9 to talk about individual election or predestination.”

This is not hard to see. Let me show our listeners from Romans 9:2–3 how I approached the chapter, and I think they’ll see it.

Perishing Israelites

Paul says, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2–3). So what’s he saying? He’s saying that individual Jews, kinsmen of Paul, are lost and perishing, and this creates for Paul not only a heart-wrenching personal agony, which he describes, but a massive theological problem: Have the promises of God failed?

I mean if Jews — and he’s not talking one or two, but most of them — have a veil over their face, then they’re not seeing Jesus as their Messiah. So the question addressed in this chapter is, Has God’s promise to Israel fallen? The presenting issue is precisely that some Jews — not the people as a whole — have fallen.

They are perishing.

Paul’s answer comes in Romans 9:6: “It is not as though the word of God has failed.” Then he gives his basic answer why: “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” That’s his basic answer. In other words, Paul answers the problem precisely by pointing out that individual lost Israelites are not really part of the Israel who inherits the promises.
“In this very moment, the vessels of mercy are everyone and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord."
It’s the lostness of individuals that creates the problem — it’s not imposed on this chapter. It’s the problem within Israel. There are Israelites who are perishing, and Paul solves the problem theologically by saying, “God’s word to Israel has not fallen because not all Israel is Israel.”
The rest of Romans 9:1–23 is Paul’s demonstration or vindication of the justice of God in the exercise of his sovereignty in having mercy on whom he will.

Free to Show Mercy

So Romans 9:14 asks, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?” That’s where I started in writing my book: “Is there injustice on God’s part?” And his answer is “by no means.”
The rest of it, verses 15–23, offers support for why there’s no injustice on God’s part. He gives his argument in Romans 9:15, where he says, “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

So God is free to have mercy on whom he’ll have mercy. He is free to show mercy and grace to whomever he wills. Nobody deserves it, and God is not unjust to give it freely to whomever he will, and not to another.

What If . . .

Now why does God exercise his freedom in choosing one and not another? And that brings us to the question that Aaron asked about concerning verses 22 and 23. Because this is Paul’s most ultimate answer in the Bible, I think.

Everybody should put their ears up when I say that. “Whoa, that’s a big claim. Check that out.” So I’m going to say it again: verses 22 and 23 are Paul’s most — and I would say the Bible’s most — ultimate answer for why God does what he does in choosing one and not another. This is the very sentence that Aaron asked about.

It begins by saying, “What if . . .” Now in the Greek it is just if, but what if is okay because we should answer the what if question by saying, “Well, no legitimate objection can be raised.” I’ll come back to that. Here is what the sentence says:
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory? (Romans 9:22–23)
Aaron is asking, “Do the words what if at the beginning of verse 22 mean that God could act this way, but doesn’t act this way?” That’s what he’s just asking. In other words, does what if mean “Oh yeah, he could act that way, and that would fit with Piper’s Reformed understanding of this text, but he doesn’t really act that way.” Aaron is asking, “Is that a feasible interpretation?”
The answer is no, that’s not a feasible interpretation. It’s not feasible to take the words that way. And there are several reasons, but let me just zero in on one.

Actual, Not Hypothetical

The reason is that the if that introduces verses 22 and 23 has really already happened in Romans 9. It’s not a question of whether it’s going to happen — it did happen. And Paul is restating what he has already said. He is drawing out the application — namely, with regard to Pharaoh.
Romans 9:22–23 is the Bible’s most ultimate answer for why God does what he does in choosing one and not another.”
When Paul says, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,” well, he’s restating the very thing that he just said he did in regard to Pharaoh in verses 17 and 18. Here’s what that says: “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (Romans 9:17–18).

When Paul refers five verses later, in verse 22, to God’s “desiring to show his wrath and make known his power, [enduring] with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,” that’s exactly what he has just done with Pharaoh in verse 17. This what if is not hypothetical — it’s actual. He did it. The what if is asking, “What if he did it — can any legitimate reaction be raised?” And he answers no.

Vessels of Mercy

Paul’s overall point in this section is that God is just in having mercy on whom he will (Romans 9:14). He does no one — no human being ever anywhere — any wrong. He always upholds the infinite value of what is infinitely valuable — that is, his righteousness. He upholds his glory. 
 In his absolute, glorious freedom — “I’ll have mercy on whom I have mercy; I’ll be gracious to whom I’ll be gracious” — he makes known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy. That’s verse 23, and that’s the ultimate goal of the universe. Those vessels of mercy are prepared beforehand by God for glory.

But in this very moment, the vessels of mercy (I’m talking now to our listeners) are everyone and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord.










Thursday, March 14, 2019

Life Advice From A Trout....Just What I Need



AM IN THE PHOENIX AIRPORT WAITING TO FLY BACK TO NASHVILLE. It's chaos with all the travelers and the grounding of the MAX 8 and 9. It's been quite cold and rainy here. Anyway a friend texted me this a little while ago and it lifted my travel-weary spirits. Good life advice, n'est pas?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Brainwashed: Brandon Straka Tells His Amazing Story of Walking Away From Liberalism Propaganda And Formerly Hating Trump

 UPDATE:  WHY STEPHEN GLOVER FEARS PRINCE HARRY IS HEADED FOR A FALL

MAKE TIME TO WATCH THIS ENTIRE VIDEO. My thanks to The News Junkie for posting this @ 
 Maggie's Farm.  Straka hated, despised  Trump.  He got sober,  four years later he started asking real questions and using critical thinking---from his brain and not his lower funcitoning emotions. This is what happened.

Here Brandon Straka comes out against nonsense and the victim culture: MORE I truly believe a person can be brainwashed for so long, so completely that they can't see it. It's great to see a man who truly got out of that deep, dark hole. I did. Roger did. Vanderleun did. You can too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday, We Are to Be Reconcilers and New Creations In Christ


2 CORINTHIANS 5:16-6:1 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 FROM NOW ON, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[b] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

 ******

Those of us in Christ are a new creation and charged with the task of spreading the Good News of Christ and being ambassadors for and of this amazing new creation. We give thanks on this Ash Wednesday that Christ engaged with the brokenness of our world on our behalf.

COLLECT FOR THE DAY Almighty and everylasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness. may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

 (Collect for Ash Wednesday)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sunday With Pastor John Piper: What Does 'I Never Knew You' Mean?

UPDATE:  HEAVY, EPIC RAINFALL IN THE SOUTH, MIDDLE TENNESSEE... NOT OVER TILL SUNDAY

PASTOR JOHN PIPER answers a question I've often grappled with: What does it mean when Jesus says, 'I Never Knew You?' It's a humbling and sobering answer.

I would answer it a little differently.  I would say,  Christ can only know us as sinners in need of Him.  Then we repent of our sins  and ask Him for forgiveness.  Jesus came to save the lost. We are all lost and in need of salvation.  But it's only those who know they are lost and own it who are saved. If you don't know you're lost and need a Savior, then there is no need for you to seek him, except maybe at the last minute.  It's often too late.  Scary.

Remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son who takes his inheritance to a foreign country, squanders it on wine, women and song, then ends up in poverty, feeding pigs and eating slop. It's only then he comes to his senses and decides to go back to his Father and ask for a job as a servant so he can eat.  When the Father sees his lost son from a faraway distance,  he joyfully embraces his wayward boy because the son repents.  And the rest is glorious salvation history.  The Father clearly knew his   wayward son. We don't ever have to be perfect to be known by God,  only to know we need The Father and humbly as him in, or back into our lives.

Commentary 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Super Moon Tuesday


PSALM 1

HAPPY are they who
have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and they meditate on his law day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,  bearing fruit in due season,  with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.

It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wi d blows away.

Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when the judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sunday Late

 PSALM 33:12-22

12 BLESSED IS THE NATION whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
    all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
    who considers everything they do.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
    no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.
New International Version (NIV)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

SOTU, While President Trump Knocked It Outta the Park, the Esquisite First Lady Cheered Him On



LOVE THE BUTTONS ON THAT PERFECT BLACK DRESS AND EVERYTHING ABOUT MELANIA. What a real woman looks and acts like if she's married to the most powerful man in the world.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Making Football Great Again--- With Belichick and Brady Wowing Again!


AMERICA AT ITS BEST.  What started terribly slowly, ended with a Patriots touchdown and field goal.  Super Bowl stuck to football.  Maroon 5 stuck to music though I did not like the lead singer's look.  All as it should be.

And the Alexa ad with Harrison Ford's Boston terrier ordering dog food and gravy was a complete hilarious winner.

Sunday, Wall Building in the Old Testament---Nehemiah Rebuilds the Wall In Jerusalem

DO WALLS WORK?  READ IT ALL

AHEAD OF PRESIDENT TRUMP DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY TO BUILD A WALL ON OUR SOUTHERN BORDER, LET'S GO BACK IN HISTORY TO ANOTHER GREAT WALL BUILDING IN ANCIENT JERUSALEM


BY CHUCK SWINDOLL

THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH opens in the Persian city of Susa in the year 444 BC. Later that year, Nehemiah traveled to Israel, leading the third of three returns by the Jewish people following their seventy years of exile in Babylon. (The previous chapter on Ezra describes the earlier two returns.)

Most of the book centers on events in Jerusalem. The narrative concludes around the year 430 BC, and scholars believe the book was written shortly thereafter. Nehemiah is the last historical book of the Old Testament. Although the book of Esther appears after Nehemiah in the canon, the events in Esther occurred in the time period between Ezra 6 and 7, between the first and second returns of the people to Israel. The prophet Malachi was a contemporary of Nehemiah.

Why is Nehemiah so important?

Nehemiah was a layman, not a priest like Ezra nor a prophet like Malachi. He served the Persian king in a secular position before leading a group of Jews to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the city walls. “Nehemiah’s expertise in the king’s court equipped him adequately for the political and physical reconstruction necessary for the remnant to survive."1 Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the Jews withstood opposition and came together to accomplish their goal. Nehemiah led by example, giving up a respected position in a palace for hard labor in a politically insignificant district. He partnered with Ezra, who also appears in this book, to solidify the political and spiritual foundations of the people. Nehemiah’s humility before God (see his moving intercessory prayers in chapters 1 and 9) provided an example for the people.

He did not claim glory for himself but always gave God the credit for his successes. What's the big idea? Nehemiah recorded the reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem, Judah’s capital city. Together, he and Ezra, who led the spiritual revival of the people, directed the political and religious restoration of the Jews in their homeland after the Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah’s life provides a fine study on leadership. He overcame opposition from outsiders as well as internal turmoil. He exercised his administrative skills in his strategy to use half the people for building while the other half kept watch for the Samaritans who, under Sanballat, threatened attack (Nehemiah 4–7).

As governor, Nehemiah negotiated peace among the Jews who were unhappy with Persian taxes. He exhibited a steadfast determination to complete his goals. Accomplishing those goals resulted in a people encouraged, renewed, and excited about their future.

How do I apply this?

The book of Nehemiah shows us the kind of significant impact one individual can have on a nation. Nehemiah served in secular offices, using his position to bring back to the Jews order, stability, and proper focus on God. God uses all manner of people in all manner of places doing all manner of work. Do you feel you must be “in ministry” in order to serve God? Be encouraged; He is not limited by your vocation. In fact, God has placed you where you are for a purpose. Have this attitude about your work: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).

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Monday, January 28, 2019

My Bad Influence On A World Cruise, Now Somewhere In South Africa


MBI AND HIS BESAINTED WIFE ARE ON A SIX WEEK WORLD CRUISE FROM ENGLAND TO AUSTRAILIA.  Meanwhile,  us landlubbers soon in the Polar Vortex can vicariously enjoy their grand adventure.

Alight from your vehicle at your own risk, MBI!


Report is it's hot, hot, hot where they are.  .Elephants love scorching heat.  The hotter, the better.

Above, Peggy

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Pushback On What Is A Man?



THERE IS TOXICITY IN EACH AND EVERY MAN AND EVERY WOMAN, SINCE THE FALL OF MAN, THE BEGINNING OF TIME. To say--project--- that men are all bad and toxic and women good and innocent victims is the height of immaturity and silliness.  This ad is a good push back to the Gillette ad..

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Patriots Do It Again!

WHATTA GAME! Brady did it again when the going got tough. Overtime intensity.  Sensational athletes and champions.

The Patriots deserved this win.  Now on to Atlanta.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sunday, From A Christian Perspective: Did Gillette Miss the Mark On Toxic Masculinity In Its Recent Ad?


By Greg Morse @ Desiring God
 
THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION recently contributed its thoughts on traditional masculinity, telling us that it’s mainly a semi-harmful social construct. This week, Gillette has added its two cents on “toxic” masculinity in a now-viral advertisement. The main point: men must hold other men accountable “in ways big and small,” especially as it pertains to sexual harassment and bullying. This is important because, apart from the incentive of selling shaving products, the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.

Backlash has ensued. The commercial has almost half a million likes with twice as many dislikes. Many decry the characterization that men today are sexual harassers who sit around at barbecues and let kids beat each other up, mumbling between beers that “boys will be boys.” The commercial, some say, promotes a view that all men are rapists and bullies.

Others heard it as yet another call to be less rugged, more domesticated, more conceding to the feminism of our time. Another attempt to paint us as unstable in order to take away sharp objects. The virtue that men and women have equal value has devolved into the vice that pretends men and women are the same.

But many embrace the message because it calls out a strain of men that do exist in our society — brutes who use their strength and power toward corrupt ends. Whether that end entails touching a female inappropriately or harassing someone smaller, God’s people — like God himself — will confront such violence and abuse.

Narrowly speaking, the message that seeks to protect our women and children deserves our hearty amen, regardless of whether Balaam speaks it. We too stand firmly, unequivocally against that imposter called brutality. But this is one perversion today that is profitable to stand publicly against. Another distortion, less financially beneficial, has slipped quietly under the radar.

When Men Wore Pants

This less-popular strain of toxic masculinity was documented a decade ago by Dockers in its Man-ifesto campaign. Its commercial, worth quoting in full, reads as follows:
Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors, and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy nonfat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.
It continues,
But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by, and cities crumble, children misbehave, and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. It’s time to wear the pants.
The pants company rightly observes that cities crumble without men living as men. We need heroes that do not beat up those they swore to protect, and heroes who are willing to take off their superman pajamas, put down their frothy drinks, and act more like Clark Kent — the very thing our sexless society is trying to make harder than ever.

Too often we swing from decrying chauvinism and abuse to producing a society of plastic forks, nonfat lattes, and men who don’t mind going to church because of the free babysitting. When our children look at men today — the kind in television shows, homes, and the classroom — what do they see? What is this masculinity of tomorrow we are all concerned with?

Manicured Manhood

Just having returned from a visit to “the greatest place on earth,” my wife and I were shocked at how many men boldly acted like women. Lispy sentences, light gestures, soft mannerisms, and flamboyant jokes were everywhere to be seen — on display for a park flooded with children. No hiding it. No shame. No apologizing. This perversion of masculinity warranted no commercials.

Instead, our society celebrates what Paul calls literally “soft men” (Greek malakoi), a group that will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). And discomfort at this will-not-inherit-the-kingdom version of manliness is exactly a symptom of what the APA finds malignant in traditional manhood. But as much as the APA and LGBTQs protest it as hate speech, the effeminate shall not enter the kingdom of God, and it is unloving not to say so.

While men who brutalize and manipulate represent one form of perversion (the kind companies now put their dollars into supporting), men who sit passive, complacent, spiritually and emotionally frail, represent another. So also do men who rebel against their sex by acting like women. And too many classrooms that celebrate this perversion act as accomplices to confusing the boys (and girls) of today. Paul commands all men, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13), and offers them the hope of the gospel that they too might be washed, sanctified, and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
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David Mathis rightly tells us that the strongest men are gentle. But do not hear him saying that godly men are soft, fragile, weak, or effeminate. They do not faint in the day of adversity. They dress for war every day against forces of evil. They are sacrificial initiators, not limp deferrers. Men who charge against enemy gates, leading from the front, and refusing to take cover behind their wives and children. They lead. They protect. They initiate. They love. They sacrifice. They work. They worship. They are men.

When Men Killed Dragons

Godly men are neither severe nor effeminate. They have a sword, but use it against the dragon, not the princess in the castle. They are safe to those God calls them to protect, dangerous to the flesh and the kingdom of darkness. They have more to do than restrain themselves; they live for the glory of God. They mount their horse, gird up their loins, and “ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness” (Psalm 45:4). And their General, instead of handing them plastic forks, “trains their hands for war, so that their arms can bend a bow of bronze” (2 Samuel 22:35)
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They are like Moses, not Pharaoh. They do not lord their power in hopes of cowardly self-preservation. They stand against an empire with the Lord over all empires, calling for tyrants to heed the God of heaven and earth. They are assertive and yet comprise the meekest men on the planet. They make unpopular decisions, meet regularly with their God, and constantly insist, “Thus saith the Lord.”

They are like David, not Saul. They do not hide when duty calls. They gladly go into battle, when others will not, in the venture of their God’s fame. They kill tens of thousands of sins, and fight the more fearful enemy than Goliath. They dress in armor too big for them: God’s (Ephesians 6:13). They know much warfare and yet can testify that God’s gentleness makes them great (2 Samuel 22:36). Battle-tested, yet they may give themselves to things such as poetry. And should they ever shirk their duty and do wickedly, they repent before God and trust in his mercy and steadfast love to restore them.

The Best a Man Can Get

Such men are like Jesus, not the world’s soft-serve substitute. The smiley, flowy-haired, manicured Jesus is an idol. The Jesus of the Bible is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who will return with a sword in his mouth and heaven’s army in his wake. He is the thrice holy man of war, the great redeemer, the sinner’s friend, who calls all to repentance, faith, and obedience. Vengeance is his; he will repay.

And yet, he also calls children to himself. He washes disciples’ feet. He speaks gracious words to the oppressed, champions the widow’s cause, and calls the contrite near. A bruised reed he does not break, and a faintly burning wick he does not snuff. Tough, yet tender.

Satan hates such biblical masculinity. He pressures men like never before to apologize for being what God has made him. He hands him androgyny, effeminacy, passivity, and pornography. He calls it a social construct and sends the Delilah of feminism to strip him of his passion, ambition, and strength, laughing as men ache while watching Braveheart. But while he hates that God made them both male and female (Genesis 1:27), we can show the world the best a man can get: gentleness and strength, holy compassion and holy aggression. In a word, Christ.






Friday, January 18, 2019

President Trump: Brilliant Move with Pelosi---Now Stay the Course As Long As It Takes, Whatever the Cost


ROGER L SIMON:  MAY THE SHUTDOWN GO ON FOREVER
MORE @ POWERLINE

POLITICAL THEATER AT ITS BEST.

Greg Gutfield @ Fox weighs in.  (Sorry, link isn't working.) Yes, President Trump could take his SOTU to the people in Middle America who elected him. Or he could tweet it.

Whatever comes next, Trump needs to stay the course, stay the course, and stay the course indefinitely, until the border security issue gets handled.  Backing down now would be a disaster on all levels for America  and his presidency.

One more thing: It doesn't matter if he is a one or two-term president. He needs to focus on now, on taking care of the American people's border security concerns and the wall. Come. What. May.

Trump has got what it takes. He's got the guts. He's got the ego. He can take a stand and hit after hit letting the chips fall where they may. He's my definition of a true leader.

Markets approve.

DON SURBER:  Shutdown  Drives Hispanics to Back Trump