Monday, April 19, 2021

Timeless Wisdom from C.S. Lewis---The Efficacy of Prayer, The Resurrection Continues

 

 A wonderful, timeless exposition on prayer, by C. S. Lewis.

 One of the first Christ resurrection sightings on the Road to Emmaus.

 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday: Proverbs 29, Four Themes Very Relevant Today @ The Gospel Coalition's Daily Devotion

Proverbs 29

 From Proverbs 29 I shall pick up four themes:

 (1) “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad” (Prov. 29:6). This is profoundly insightful. The results of sin include distortions to your own personality, falling afoul of your own evil, fear of being exposed, subjective guilt, and much more: you are ensnared by your own sin. By contrast, the person committed to righteousness not only avoids such snares, but is in consequence relatively carefree. He or she “can sing and be glad.”

 (2) “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright” (Prov. 29:10; cf. Prov. 29:27). Although this is a general truth, it is supremely manifested in Jesus. He could tell some of his opponents, “As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40). It is precisely because Jesus tells the truth that they do not believe him (John 8:45). By contrast, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright”; it is not surprising therefore that the most upright man who ever lived, with the greatest integrity, was hung on a cross to die.

 (3) Corruption may run from the bottom up or from the top down. When it starts at the bottom, it is pretty repulsive, and it may take a lot of work on the part of those above to root it out, or at least to bring it under control. But when it runs from the top down, it is both repulsive and impossible to reform piecemeal; drastic change is required. If the people at the top are corrupt, or even if they merely tolerate corruption with a wink and a nod, the situation is desperate. One form of this top-down corruption, superficially more benign, is the ruler who is soothed by lies, who surrounds himself or herself with underlings who will say only what he wants to hear. The wise understand: “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked” (Prov. 29:12). 

 (4) Older English versions rendered the first line of Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (KJV), or the like, which became a call for visionary leadership. But the NIV has it right, and the issue is even more important: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Where there is no revelation from God, grasped and obeyed, people “cast off restraint”—an apt and terrifying description of contemporary Western culture (cf. Judg. 21:25).

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Magnificent Resurrection

The Crucifixion of Christ @ The Bible Project

THEN JESUS DIED, INNOCENT AND ALONE....but not the end by a long shot.

Symbolism Of Bones In the Old Teatament Subtlely Point to Jesus Resurrection Hope During History's Darkest Three Days

By David Mathis @ Desiring God

IT WAS ONLY 24 HOURS, like every other day. After the long night, the sun came up, patiently ran its course across the sky, and disappeared. Night came again. But to the disciples and close friends of Jesus, as they replayed the shock and horror of that previous day over and over, it must have felt like the longest day in the history of the world.

On that insufferably long Saturday, what particular moments might they have grieved most? Did they remember the whip, the crown of thorns, the anguish on the faces of every sympathetic witness? Did they rehearse the words he spoke, in torment, giving grace to his mother, grace to a criminal, grace to his revilers, grace to his enemies? Did they reflect on the spear that pierced his side, confirming once and for all that their Messiah was dead?

“God has kept his bones. He will raise them. And in Christ, he will raise ours too.”

And yet, in their utter devastation, as spasms of grief must have come in waves, did they have it in them to even wonder about that surprising, almost unnerving, way his dead body came down from the cross? Might they have even dared to hold onto a tiny, almost invisible ray of hope hidden in six surprising words? As the apostle John writes, “They did not break his legs” (John 19:33).

Smash the Legs

The Gospel of John tells us of the unusual circumstances surrounding the removal of the bodies from the crosses that Friday. The Sabbath of the Passover was the next day (“that Sabbath was a high day,” John 19:31). This presented a problem. As D.A. Carson explains,

The normal Roman practice was to leave crucified men and women on the cross until they died — and this could take days — and then leave their rotting bodies hanging there to be devoured by vultures. If there were some reason to hasten their deaths, the soldiers would smash the legs of the victim with an iron mallet (a practice called, in Latin, crurifragium). Quite apart from the shock and additional loss of blood, this step prevented the victim from pushing with his legs to keep his chest cavity open. Strength in the arms was soon insufficient, and asphyxia followed. (The Gospel According to John, 622)

So, it was the Jewish leaders, John reports, who asked Pilate to have the legs broken so the dead men could be taken away before the high day (John 19:31). The soldiers smashed the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, and “saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs” (John 19:33).

They did not break his legs. Instead, they pierced his side with a spear, to confirm he was dead. And the apostle John caught a glimpse of hope, and peculiar glory, in this surprising turn of events. Whether he dared to trust a hope, even on that Holy Saturday, or only later reflected back on this turn, John saw meaning in that utterly surprising providence.

Can you hear the song in the distance? In keeping his bones intact and unbroken, might God himself be humming the ancient tune of Psalm 34, even on this darkest of days?

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
     but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
     not one of them is broken.
(Psalm 34:19–20)

Famous Bones

Many readers today hardly know what to do with these unbroken bones. We no longer attach much symbolic significance to bones, as the ancients did. We scratch our heads at God’s pledge to “keep all his bones,” as if that were a comforting promise to one who has already died. But in the Bible, bones are often filled with the marrow of figurative meanings, depending on the context.

The first two books of Scripture include prominent mentions of bones, strange to our modern ears. First, perhaps no bones in Scripture are more famous than Joseph’s. The book of Genesis ends with Joseph making the sons of Israel swear to bring up his bones from Egypt to the Promised Land when God delivers them (Genesis 50:25). And when the nation makes its exodus, the pledge is fulfilled:

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” (Exodus 13:19)

The book of Joshua also ends with Joseph’s bones, and closes the arc: “As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought” (Joshua 24:32). In the New Testament, Hebrews celebrates Joseph’s concern for his bones as a great act of faith: “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22).

“In the darkest and longest of days, and even in death itself, our God keeps hope alive.”

Just breaths before Joseph’s bones are mentioned in Exodus 13, the people receive instructions about the Passover lamb, and its bones, in Exodus 12: “It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones” (Exodus 12:46; also Numbers 9:12). There is something sacred, it seems, about the bones. Why add this instruction to not break the bones of the sacrificial lamb? The picture is not yet complete.

Bones Back to Life

Centuries later, we come to Ezekiel 37 and the vision of a valley of dry bones. These are human bones — the final remaining part of bodies that once lived. The dry bones represent the lifelessness of God’s people, and yet not utter devastation. Not all has been lost. Something remains, even in death: the bones. And God tells Ezekiel to prophesy, and when he does, flesh returns to the bones, and breath returns to the restored bodies, and an army of God’s people is raised from the dead.

In other words, intact bones, kept bones, unbroken bones, represent the hope of resurrection — that God, in his perfect timing, will reassemble the bones, and restore the flesh, and give breath, and bring dry bones back to full life with resurrection power.

God’s keeping the bones of the righteous in Psalm 34:20 is a promise of resurrection. As Derek Kidner writes about the stunning claim of verse 19 — that the Lord will deliver the righteous out of all his afflictions — this “sweeping affirmation . . . urges the mind to look beyond death” (Psalms 1–73, 141). God keeps the bones of his people, in death, in order to restore them to new life.

Note well, the promise of resurrection does not mean a promise of no death. In fact, the promise of resurrection assumes death. You must first die to be brought back to life. Psalm 34:20 does not promise the righteous man will not suffer in the flesh, and even suffer to death. But it does promise that God will raise him. God will put him back together and give him flesh again and breath again. And affliction, even if it kills him, will not defeat the righteous in the end. Which is not only figuratively true for Jesus, but literally. And that first ray of resurrection hope.

Not One Bone Broken

The reason Joseph cared about his bones is that he believed God would raise him bodily back to life one day. And the reason God instructed his people not to break the bones of the Passover lamb is that one day God would raise the true Passover Lamb back to life after he had given himself to the slaughter for his people. So John 19:36 reports,

These things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

When we see this deep meaning in unbroken bones, we come with John to that darkest and most terrible of hours, with the lifeless body of the Messiah nailed to the cross, and we find a startling first glimmer of hope. They did not break his legs. The soldier with the iron mallet pauses, seeing he is already dead. The one with the spear pierces his side and confirms it — and the bones of Christ remain unbroken, intact, kept in the providential care of his Father, who will put them back together and raise him. It’s only a matter of time.

Jesus will rise. He will not stay dead. Long as Holy Saturday may be, these unbroken bones are the turning point. Here is an invitation to his disciples to dare to hope, even as they wipe the tears from their eyes. God is watching over this righteous man, and the death he did not deserve. And God has kept his bones. He will raise them. And in Christ, he will raise ours too (Ephesians 2:5–6).

Darkest Days, Greatest Light

As God’s covenant people in Christ, we make no pretense to being immune to fears, troubles, afflictions, and even death. Yet in the most trying of times, and even in death itself, our God keeps hope alive. In Christ, he promises resurrection on the other side. And he will deliver his people, not in our preferred timing, but in his. Sometimes, it’s only one day away.

If we only knew deep down, in our bones — in the midst of our afflictions, however severe — what a resounding rescue we have coming, how much more ready might we be to bear up under our momentary trials, including the darkest and longest of days.

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday, God Is a God of Great and Supernatural Reversals

FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM TIM KELLER'S NEW BOOK,  HOPE IN TIMES OF FEAR, The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter:

THE STORYLINE NOBODY WANTS TO BE IN

We want the storyline of our lives to go from strength to strength, from success to success, and end happily ever after. But throughout the Bible we see something completely different---a persistent narrative pattern of life through death or of triumph through weakness that reveals how God works in history and in our lives.......

The account of David and Goliath may be the most well-known story from the Olid Testament that shows us how this narrative plays out. The Phillistines' army had a champion, Goliath, who challenged an Israelite warrior to one-on-one combat. The nation of the man who lost the contest would be considered conquered and under the power of the country of the man who won.  David was not a top soldier---he wasn't a soldier at all! He was a boy too young to fight in the army.  But he won, not in spite of his smallness and weakness but because of it.  His slight stature led the giant to lower his defenses and mad hime vulnerable to a small but lethal stone from David's sling. "God.....caused strength to come from his youthful weakness in order to conquer the strong giant." To drive the point home, God says in Samuel the prophet, who at the moment was judging 'king material'  by physical appearance, that ' the Lord sees not as a man sees: man looks at the outer appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV). 

This pattern is clear and pervasive.  The author of the letter to the Hebrews, looking back on all the figures in the history of Israel, sums all the stories up this way: And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barack, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength.....Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released, so that they might gain an even better resurrection. (Hebrews 11: 32-35)

 

Monday, March 15, 2021

A Very Few Words On the Meghan Markle Interview

FROM DAY ONE, I was not a Meghan fan. As time went on, I became even less so. When Harry married her, I gave their marriage five years, give or take a year. Today, I stick to that prediction and can say that I like Meghan even less (if that's possible) after the Oprah interview. Harry seems like the perfect match for her feminist, entitled victimhood playbook. 

 The two together have  enabled and added to their own and the other's immaturity quotient in heaping amounts.

 Bottom line is, Meghan Markle is a world of trouble and a high-profile drama queen for anyone who comes into  her orbit. Just ask her father, her first husband and the now burned-to-a-crisp royal family. I sorta feel sorry for Harry, but he's done it to himself. He wouldn't listen to reason and slow his love train down. But who can throw the first stone? We've all been there, hopefully only once and only a very long time ago. 

 Anyway, Meghan's insatiable ego lust for notoriety, power and fame, however thinly disguised, will bring a world of hurt on both sides of the Atlantic going forward.  But the British royals, especially the Queen, will keep calm and carry on no matter what their private hurt and shock may be. 

 As far as Meghan's claim of racism, I don't buy it for a minute. Simply a straw man to cause trouble and try to put the Windsors on the defensive, a common narcissist's ploy.  They should not take the bait for one minute. 

One more thing:  so what if someone in or out of the royal circle wondered privately  what the child's skin color might be?  It's an honest  question and one that doesn't make someone a racist in my unwoke book.

 Meanwhile, here's a recent segment from Tucker Carlson with J.D. Vance and Mark Steyn which I really like. Take a look, if you haven't seen it.  It could be censored for its truth-telling...

Sunday, The Meek Shall Inherit

PSALM 37: 7-11 (NIV)

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

 

THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT

Who are the meek? The humble---who don't second guess God's timing.  And the dependent---who leave vindication and vengeance to God.   David says they will possess the land, but Jesus speaks of meekness that inherits the whole earth (Matthew 5:5) Christians confess they have no power at all to save themselves and depend and rely wholly on the sheer grace of God.  But how is that even possible? Because Jesus became and helpless (Matthew 11:29), like a lamb before his shearers.  And why can Christians literally inherit the whole earth?  Because he took our punishment, Jesus was striped of everything---they cast lots for his last possession, his garment.  His amazing, loving meekness creates meekness in us. 

PRAYER:  Lord, how I want the peace in my heart that comes from spiritual humility.  I want the humility that rests in your wise dealings, the humility that makes bitterness impossible.  You are 'gentle and humble in heart,'  so teach me this 'rest for the soul.'  Amen

From The Songs of Jesus, A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, By Timothy Keller

Monday, March 8, 2021

Sunday----Lincoln's Providence

Solid Joys devotional by John Piper 

LISTEN

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)

Abraham Lincoln, who was born on this day in 1809, remained skeptical, and at times even cynical, about religion into his forties. So, it is a most striking thing how personal and national suffering drew Lincoln into the reality of God, rather than pushing him away.

In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son Willie died. Lincoln’s wife “tried to deal with her grief by searching out New Age mediums.” Lincoln turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington.

Several long talks led to what Gurley described as “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln confided that he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

Similarly, the horrors of the dead and wounded soldiers assaulted him daily. There were fifty hospitals for the wounded in Washington. The rotunda of the Capitol held two thousand cots for wounded soldiers.

Typically, fifty soldiers a day died in these temporary hospitals. All of this drove Lincoln deeper into the providence of God. “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”

His most famous statement about the providence of God in relation to the Civil War was his Second Inaugural Address, given a month before he was assassinated. It is remarkable for not making God a simple supporter for the Union or Confederate cause. God has his own purposes and does not excuse sin on either side.

Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war might speedily pass away. . . .

Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

I pray for all of you who suffer loss and injury and great sorrow that it will awaken for you, as it did for Lincoln, not an empty fatalism, but a deeper reliance on the infinite wisdom and love of God’s inscrutable providence.

Little League, Houston @ 75 Degrees During the National Anthem



No one kneeling here.  We're in Texas.  And the Little League Capital.  

Above top,  kid at third.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Saturday

MY COMPUTER IS at the shop till Monday, so I'll do this quickly on my phone. Several days ago something happened with my blog and several posts went into draft form and it won't let me re-publish them. Is this censorship or a tech fluke? Nothing would surprise me today, but I'll keep trying to get them back. Meanwhile, I'll post for Sunday probably Monday. Are you watching the Meghan Markle train-wreck interview with Oprah on Sunday evening? All the promos call it a 'bombshell' but I say, it's just more of a whine-fest from the entitled and spoiled Meghan because she couldn't be queen on day 1. More later.

Now That Trump's Been Acquitted TWICE, Let's Take a Look At Some of His Real Shortcomings, If you Dare

  

FROM STEYNONLINE, by Tal Bachman                                                                       

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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Evangelist Ray Comfort Preaches the Incomparable, Timeless Gospel Message To Lost Souls In 1991

Friday, January 8, 2021

John Solomon: THE Best Analysis of How the Election Was Stolen From Trump and the GOP By Strategic Liberals Long Before Election Day

BALLOT HARVESTING

WITHOUT A DOUBT, THIS PIECE BY JOHN SOLOMON IN JUST THE NEWS IS THE BEST ANALYSIS OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN THE ELECTION, HOW IT WAS STOLEN AND WHY SO MANY AMERICANS ARE ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED.... WELL WORTH A READ AND REREAD.  I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL FOR CLEAR THINKING HEADS LIKE SOLOMON. AFTER A LITTLE WHILE, WE NEED TO GET TO WORK FOR THE LONG HAUL.. 


By JOHN SOLOMON

 

NOW THAT Democrats are poised to control the White House, Senate and House, the traditional game of finger-pointing and recrimination will begin inside the GOP.

The first instinct for politicians will be to assign blame, call names and jockey for position. But the 2020 election wasn't just an election, it was a political watershed in which the rules and strategy for winning were rewritten.

The November election (and Tuesday’s Georgia curtain call) wasn't won and lost by the tactics, spending, individual players and messaging in the weeks before Nov. 3, according to interviews conducted with more than three dozen frontline players.

Rather, its outcome was cemented long before Labor Day 2020 by a Democratic machinery of former Barack Obama proteges, like David Plouffe, John Podesta, David Axelrod and Stacey Abrams, who worried far less about the tactics of ads, travel (Joe Biden hardly did!) and fundraising and far more about the strategy of how to control the narrative and the rules that would shape the outcome.

They even told the Republicans and the public what they planned to do. Just read Plouffe's book, "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump." They even boastfully predicted days before how the vote count would roll out on election night and for several days later. Trump would lead early, and Biden would surpass late, they said.

They were right. Why?

First and foremost, they usurped the powers of GOP -controlled state legislatures in the five battleground states and rewrote the rules of how votes would be cast and counted, using the pandemic as an excuse.

Mail ballots could be sent to everyone, even if they didn't ask for one, and wide swaths of Americans could vote by mail. Voter ID requirements could be suspended for those who felt homebound by COVID's wrath. Mobile ballot boxes could be deployed. Spoiled ballots that legally were supposed to be discarded could be "cured" by election clerks. Legally required voter roll purges could be skipped. And a single billionaire could donate $350 million directly to the election clerks, judges and vote counters in the states, requiring them in some cases to register voters, and create more poll locations in Democratic strongholds.

And Republicans — who controlled the legislatures in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona and the constitutional right to set the rules — hardly put up a fight. Instead, they urged their voters not to take advantage of the loosened rules and to vote the old-fashioned way. They, in the words of the Trump-loving Georgia Democrat Vernon Jones, simply unilaterally disarmed.

Democrats understood that in a pandemic and in an America with millions of new millennial, urban and minority voters, the easier you make casting a ballot the more likely a low-propensity voter is to vote. Send it to them, help them register, make easy drop-off locations or the mailbox the final destination, and voters will vote a lot more willingly.

In other words, the liberal brain trust engaged in cutting-edge warfare, while Republicans tossed their comfortable set of horseshoes from the 1980s, hoping the good old recipe of evangelical GOTV, direct mail, talk radio and Fox News would deliver yet another election win as it had done for decades.

It didn't.

To be fair, Donald Trump mustered — by a mile — the largest national vote ever assembled by a Republican at 75 million-plus voters and barnstormed the country, risking COVID and criticism without fear. Kevin McCarthy picked an all-star slate of candidates and picked up seats. Mitch McConnell raised a ton of money, and Ronna McDaniel put together one of the most impressive get-out-the-vote efforts ever assembled.

But all that could not overcome the advantage of a rewired electoral system in the five battlegrounds, as the Georgia runoffs showed Tuesday, said Tom Price, a former congressman and Trump Cabinet secretary.

Democrats "leap-frogged Republicans' process, strategy, technology and tactics, and that is to the credit of folks on the Democratic side," Price told Just the News. "They have perfected harvesting, I believe it is harvesting, of absentee ballots, and I think the numbers will show in these runoff races, the same as they did in November, that Republicans who lost by close margins won the vote on Election Day, won on early voting in person and lost heavily in absentee ballots."

Secondly, liberals spent two decades building an alliance with the mainstream media, the social giants and the search giants and the permanent government bureaucracy until they could control the narrative, even when it wasn't true. They had it perfected by the time Donald Trump took office.

Those who objected were canceled and shamed. Intelligence and law enforcement and private investigators were misused to create false realities. True facts and legally protected speech were outright censored long enough to create the narrative needed to win.

Trump colluded with Russia, and bribed Ukraine to investigate his political opponents … though he didn't. The Hunter Biden corruption story was Russian-fed conspiracy theory …. though it is really true, and he was under criminal investigation the last two years ... American towns could be burned to the ground and police defunded because a Kenosha, Wisc., officer shot an unarmed man … who turned out to be wanted by police and armed with a knife.

Owning the information superhighway of the 21st century, like the rules of the election, was far more powerful than choosing where to run ads, campaign in person or spend money.

Finally, the liberal oligarchs club — George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, Mike Bloomberg et al — spent more than ever to win. But they also transformed the way political donations were spent by imposing corporate governance and specific returns on investment.

Every recipient had to deliver very specific outcomes to keep getting money, governed by lengthy contract-like documents. And the outcomes and deliverables were mapped to the two larger goals of controlling the narrative and the rules of the election. 

That's what interviews with three dozen experts revealed.

 So what do those same experts advise Republicans do to change their fortunes?

Exactly what the Democrats did. Don't point fingers, change the rules, and own the narrative, they said.

Phill Kline, the former Kansas attorney general, led the Amistad Project's efforts to challenge some of the Democrats rule changes. He said the the GOP legislatures in the key battlegrounds must reassert their constitutional right to set the rules of election.

Universal mail ballots can be ended, limited only to those who absolutely need it. Voter IDs can be mandated. Exemptions and legal settlements could, by law, be required to be approved by the legislature. Setting the rules of the election are easy if there is a will, Kline added.

"I think the discipline of the party should be all about de-powering Washington and empowering the states, especially the state legislatures," Kline told Just the News.

Secondly, conservatives need to build their own information ecosystem that rivals what liberals have: a vibrant press that covers conservatives honestly, and powerful delivery channels that can rival YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

New services like Rumble, Parler, Real America's Voice, Citizen Free Press and CloutHub are incubating and attracting millions. They need to be grown and spread to tens of millions along with trusted news sources so conservatives have as big a bullhorn to the next generation of GenZ, millennials and cable-cutters as they have had to Boomers, talk radio and Fox News fans, the experts said.

"We are just playing to a draw," Price explained. "We are not reaching a lot of folks. And we have to be creative about how we reach them, and I think we've got to be able to control a lot of that messaging, and right now we just don't."

Finally, conservative donors need to have a new approach, stolen from the ROI model of the Soros and Bloomberg NGOs, so their millions don't just enrich consultants but have measurable outcomes in setting the rules and narratives that win the next elections. Everything from civic education and empowerment for state legislators to media-platform building needs to be funded, the experts said.

"Funding on the left seems much more strategic than funding on the right, which is predominantly tactical," explained Steve Hantler, who advises several high-net-worth conservative donors. "Liberal elites have for decades controlled the levers of power in education, media and entertainment and have used that power to indoctrinate generations of Americans against America's founding values.

"Now is not the time for hand-wringing and finger-pointing. Now is the time for honest, critical self-evaluation." 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Praise for New Year and Beyond

TODAY I ATTENDED MY FIRST ZOOM FUNERAL for my dear cousin Gwynn in Atlanta. She was a real Christian and often seemed  like a sister to me. Michael Youssef at Church of the Apostles officiated. His church is in my top five churches to attend in the world.

 From Richard Kew's Daily Devotional New Year's Eve

 Psalm 96

New Year's Eve
Psalm 96

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity."
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.
 
Thought for the Day
From the last part of 1939 to October-Novemer1942 World War Two went badly for Britain, and from infancy I heard about those war years. As a bit of an amateur historian of the wartime period I have always wondered what it felt like for my mother back in England and my dad in North Africa to learn of one setback after another, to see food and clothing rations being cut, to be at the mercy of the Luftwaffe or Rommel's Afrika Korps in the desert, and wonder if they would ever see each other again. I think 2020 has given me a small taste of what it meant to have your backs up against a wall like this. This is the last day of 2020 and I suspect there are millions sighing with relief and muttering, "Good riddance."
 
It is fitting that the Psalm for today should be one of the great songs of praise to God Almighty, that even in the midst of the woes that accompany a pandemic including countless deaths the LORD continues to reign. Our hardships have been minimal compared to the war years in UK, but there has been a similar uncertainty and a wondering when all this is going to end. Yet the message of the Psalmist is that the LORD truly is on the throne, so sing his praises and bless his name. He is the faithful One, so let the whole earth - land, sea, trees and mountains - bless and praise his holy name. The Lord is King, his Son is our Savior, and the times and seasons are in his hands. We may feel helpless but he is far from being a worthless idol.
One of my World War Two heroes was George VI, the king whose death in 1952 when I was six, I can remember as vividly as yesterday. As 1939 ended he broadcast a New Year speech to the nation:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
And he replied:
"Go out into the darkness and
put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way."
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

It was Princess Elizabeth, now Her Majesty, the Queen, who pointed her father to this poem. Perhaps it is as appropriate for our circumstances as it was in London in 1939, and is a helpful commentary as we look at Psalm 96. As we move forward let us put our hands into the Hand of God.
 
Thanksgiving for the Day
As difficult as 2020 has been for so many of us, let us give thanks to him for the good things that have happened in our lives. We thank him especially for loved ones who have gone on ahead of us. We give thanks for the arrival of vaccines.
 
Intercession for the Day
Let us pray as we place our hands in the hand of God that we will willingly follow his leading into this new uncertain time. We pray especially for those suffering from Covid-19
 
Collect for the Day
Lord of the years,
we ask your blessing on the year to come:
give us the resilience to bear its disappointments,
energy to seize its opportunities
and openness to accept the more abundant life
which you have promised to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen
(A New Year prayer taken from More Everyday Prayers)
 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Shepherd from Luke 2

Produced by Dallas Jenkins of The Chosen, this is a precious re-enactment of the angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of the Christ child as told in the second chapter of the Book of Luke. Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Mary's Magnificat

 
Luke 1:46-56

And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
 
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
 
Thought for the Day
Remember when reading, praying, or singing Mary's Song, the Magnificat, that these are the words of a very young woman who had obviously been pondering them and meditating over them for at least the whole was from Nazareth to Elizabeth's home. I suspect they are words that she could never forget, then probably shared them with Luke when he visited her to speak about the gospel he was going to write. The Magnificat has traditionally been the main canticle used at Evening Prayer and it was in that setting that it became a part of me during most of the last sixty years. Perhaps my biggest take-away from Mary's Song was her adoration of the holy mightiness of God and his love of justice. A saying that went around in the Sixties was that the poor had a special place in God's heart, and that is clearly what Mary is saying - perhaps one of the key reasons her Son would be born to a very modest couple, from a very modest community, in one of the least and most despised provinces of the Roman Empire. Here is a message from God to us about what it is to be the followers of Mary's Son.
 
Thanksgiving for the Day
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."
 
Intercession for the Day
This has been a year in which those of a "humble estate" have made their voices heard. Let us pray for our own sensitivity to the needs of those who are less fortunate in our society.
 
Collect for the Day
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
Tender to me the promise of his word;
In God my Savior shall my heart rejoice

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
His mercy sure, from age to age to same;
His holy Name--the Lord, the Mighty One

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
To children's children and for evermore!
(This paraphrase by Church of England Bishop Tim Dudley-Smith, now in his nineties, and first sung in 1969 at a huge festival of new hymns called Youth Praise. We had the privilege of being there singing it on its first outing - since then it has become a classic)
 
 
From Richard Kew's Daily Devotional with gratitude

 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday, the Gravity of Gratitude

LISTEN

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful . . . (2 Timothy 3:1–2)

Notice how ingratitude goes with pride, abuse, and insubordination.

In another place Paul says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking . . . but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4). So, it seems that gratitude, thankfulness, is the opposite of ugliness and violence.

The reason this is so is that the feeling of gratitude is a humble feeling, not a proud one. It is other-exalting, not self-exalting. And it is glad-hearted, not angry or bitter. Bitter thankfulness is a contradiction in terms.

The key to unlocking a heart of thankfulness and overcoming bitterness and ugliness and disrespect and violence is a strong belief in God, the Creator and Sustainer and Provider and Hope-giver. If we do not believe we are deeply indebted to God for all we have and hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude has gone dry.

So, I conclude that the rise of violence and sacrilege and ugliness and insubordination in the last times is a God-issue. The basic issue is a failure to feel gratitude at the upper levels of our dependence.

When the high spring of gratitude to God fails at the top of the mountain, soon all the pools of thankfulness begin to dry up further down the mountain. And when gratitude goes, the sovereignty of the self condones more and more corruption for its pleasure.

Pray for a great awakening of humble gratitude.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

In a World of Competing, Never-Ending, Addictive Spectacles, What Will Take Our Attention From the Universe's Greatest Cosmic Spectacle of Christ @ Desiring God

 

AWASH IN AN ATTENTION ECONOMY

TONY REINKE GIVES A SPECTACULAR TALK ON MEDIA SATURATION IN AN AGE of competing, addictive worldly spectacles coming at us at warp speed from every direction at every moment. Smart phones are a virtual sugar bolt.  He reminds us of the only spectacle that stands the test of time, the cosmic spectacle of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for  our sins and our salvation.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Veterans Day Belated, A Great Movie Clip of Sgt. Alvin York

ALVIN YORK, from Fentress County, Tennessee was one of the great heros of World War 1. Here is a movie clip of his incredible, courageous wartime feat against the Germans. WOW! If you haven't already, do watch the entire movie on YouTube. Well worth every minute. By the way, he would have been considered a deplorable hick by today's super liberal Democratic standards. They would once again be wrong.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Sports Journalist Jason Whitlock Speaks For Many of Us

UPDATE WITH WHITLOCK ON TUCKER

 

 

YOU'VE SEEN HIM ON TUCKER CARLSON, and now here. Jason Whitlock is at Outkick.com. He speaks volumes for me. 

From Whitlock:

The stakes of this messy and manipulated presidential election seem even more enormous than the pre-election hype that framed Trump vs. Biden as an American civil war fault line.

The 2020 election is playing out as a parable regarding the power of two sworn enemies — love and hate.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden are not the stars or antagonists in this tale. Their supporters are. 

A blind unconditional love of their leader fuels the energy and action of Trump supporters. They risk their health (maskless rallies), reputation (accusations of racism and sexism) and safety (social media and Antifa harassment) to stand with their hero. 

A blind unconditional hatred of President Trump fuels the energy and action of Biden supporters. Their leader’s ideas, policies and resume are irrelevant. Biden is a tool to kill the Trump presidency. Nothing more.

I am not arguing that unconditional love of Trump is proper or healthy. I’m arguing that Trump and Biden supporters are tapping into two distinct energy sources. 

As a Christian, I’ve never questioned the unmatched power of love. It is a strength more potent than hate. 

Is that true in today’s American society, a culture stripped of its Christian identity and beliefs? In a secular world is hate more powerful than love?

Maybe I’m making too much of what this election represents, but I don’t think I am. I see the power of Trump hate within my own family and circle of friends. Trump hate is a requirement, a dividing issue. Trump hate is a more defining characteristic than love of God. 

This is the price of politics becoming America’s religion. An expression of Godly love pales in comparison to an expression of Trump hate. Political alignment trumps religious alignment. 

God is the embodiment of love. When a society deemphasizes God, it emphasizes the power and allure of hate and places man on a pedestal reserved for God. Man becomes all powerful. He judges the accused sinner more harshly than the sin.

The belief driving the election is that galvanizing Trump hate will save America. Hate believes problems are solved by external factors. Love believes problems are solved by internal factors.

If we combat the sin within each of us, unrepentant sinners don’t rise to power. Hating the sin is far more cleansing and effective than hating the sinner. The religion of political hate doesn’t teach that. We no longer teach the principles that made America the envy of the world. 

America used to be the embodiment of freedom and ideas.  

That also seems to be at stake today as we await the election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. 

Hate renders ideas and principles useless. Biden is on the precipice of ascending to the highest power in the land, and I’m not sure if any of us know what he actually stands for beyond being the anti-Trump. This morning I Googled his campaign slogan. I did not know it. 

Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead  

That’s not quite Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, the 1840 campaign song of the Whig party that popularized presidential campaign slogans and lifted William Henry Harrison and John Tyler to the White House. 

It’s not Franklin Roosevelt’s Happy Days Are Here Again or John Kennedy’s A Time For Greatness 1960 or Barack Obama’s Change We Can Believe In or Trump’s reuse of Ronald Reagan’s Make America Great Again.

Perhaps Joe Biden is our modern day George Washington. America’s father never wanted to be president. He never campaigned. He considered rejecting his election to the presidency because he preferred retirement and life on his farm. 

We have no idea what Joe Biden plans to do as president or what he actually stands for. He epitomizes the malleability of modern politics. 

Ideas inspire love. Obama promised to revolutionize our health care system. His supporters loved it. Trump promised to prioritize American interest above all else, stand up to China, build a wall along the Mexican border. His supporters love it. 

Biden’s primary promise is he won’t behave like Trump. People who hate Trump love it. 

The power of Love vs. the power of Hate is at stake in this election. Will America elect a candidate no one loves? When the candidate was Hillary Clinton, the answer was no. 

That might explain why a number of states legalized mail-in ballots. It might explain why FOX News called Arizona for Biden long before it declared Trump the winner in Texas and Florida. It could also explain why the counting process in Michigan and Wisconsin reminds me of season 2 of the Netflix show “Narcos Mexico,” which explores a drug kingpin’s manipulation of the country’s 1988 general election.

A reliance on hate and an absence of love inevitably spark widespread corruption.

This is my problem with The Resistance, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the far Left and their pervasive anti-American sentiment. There’s no love. It’s all hate. 

Hate cannot sustain life, liberty, freedom and a pursuit of happiness. 

As much as President Trump’s public behavior and narcissism annoy me, I’ve never questioned his love of America. 

 READ THE REST

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Mighty Prayer for Election Day And Beyond---Keep Praying

 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.

Ephesians 6

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday, The Chosen: Jesus Meets Nicodemus In Secret At Night---John 3

The New Birth

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man [b]who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should [c]not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”