Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Getting to Play Camp Counselor

THERE'S SIMPLY NOTHING MORE FUN THAN PLAYING OUTDOORS COUNSELOR WITH THE Gs who have boundless energy, love the outdoors and are great ages to do these things and much, much more, like tennis. I truly give thanks that I can half-way keep up with them some of the time.... It  makes for terrific memories, some teaching moments and a great night's sleep! 

Grateful to their parents, who are taking them to a week real camp in NC next week.  Most grateful to God for all of my and our  blessings.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Romans 12, Paul's Application of the Christian Doctrine He Expounded In Romans 1-11



A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Easier said than done.

COMMENTARY ON ROMANS 12: !-2:  The Road to Renewal
COMMENTARY ON ROMANS 12:9-21 What is This Thing Called Love? 

From today's OneYearBibleBlog


TODAY IN CHURCH BACK IN NASHVILLE,  I LEARNED OF THE SUDDEN DEATH of a member of our congregation. She was someone I admired greatly. It was a car accident in June which I had heard nothing about.  It happened while I was in Wyoming. The late woman's husband of over 50+ years came in to the service today and sat next to me.  I casually asked how he was? Then he told me of their fatal accident four weeks ago.  She was killed instantly. He was driving and had made a  wrong turn.

His unexpected news hit me like a ton of bricks. I was speechless and started tearing up. What can you say to someone who just lost the love and helpmate of their life? They were a great couple.  I fumbled around for a paper napkin in my purse to wipe my eyes. The only thing I could say was how very sorry I was for his loss. There were no other words that came close to being adequate in that moment.

In fact, this news reminds me again how quickly any of our lives can turn on a dime.  Without warning  one's entire life can be over or over as we once know it.  I understand now from others that she died so instantly that she didn't suffer or know what hit her.  Her widowed husband will be loved and supported by a caring church community as he goes one day at a time without her.

I am feeling sad this afternoon. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Welcome to Nashville Roger L. Simon and Wife Sheryl Longin


WHAT A TERRIFIC ADDITION TO NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY that Roger L. Simon---aka Mr. PJMedia co-founder---and his lovely wife,  Sheryl Longin have left LA and moved here this summer. Lest I forget, their college-age daughter, Madeline is here too till she goes back to school the fall.

Last but not least is Henry. But if I told you about Henry, I'd have to kill you.  Here's a clue:  he loves to bark.

Anyway, Hollywood's loss is Music City's gain.

Nashville just got smarter,  redder and a lot Trumpier.  They already almost know as many people here in a few months than I know in almost 50 years! Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but give them a little more time and they probably will.  May they keep up the good work and help keep Tennessee in the red in the mid-term elections this fall.

One caveat:   Roger hits a wicked tennis ball, so don't wander into a game with him unaware.  He plays tennis the way he writes and reports---to win and to run his opponents off the court.

Welcome Roger and Sheryl and Madeline and Henry!  May you prosper here even more than you have in California!  And with lower taxes,  you'll have more disposal income.

Roger's latest column at PJMedia.

The Disgraceful Roseanne Barr Interview On Hannity

I'VE NEVER BEEN A BIG  FAN OF ROSEANNE BARR either in the distant past or in her most recent 15 minutes of fame and comeback.  On the other hand,  I've never been a detractor.  Would describe myself as a Roseanne agnostic.

Until last  night.  On Hannity.  For an entire, painful, long drawn-out hour.  The thing went on about 55 minutes too long. And I question that  she should have been interviewed there at all.  Because in my view,  she sadly dug herself deeper into a professional grave from which she will never get out of.

Whatever was she thinking, if in fact she was thinking at all?  She wasn't having any part of redeeming herself.   I don't think she had to grovel or over-explain herself by any stretch.  She could have merely said something like, "You know,  I can be insensitive at times and I see I crossed the line in that tweet. To Valerie Jarrett and anyone else I offended,  I'm sincerely sorry. I did not mean to hurt you in my quest to be quirky and funny."  The end.   That's all that needed to be said. Then let the chips fall where they may.

I suppose this Hannity interview on Fox was designed to give Roseanne airtime to restore her reputation but it certainly didn't workout that way.

The interview left me incredulous and almost speechless. I'm no fan of Valerie Jarrett or Obama to say the least,  but  Roseanne sounded like a drug addled, confused, self-absorbed, self-justifying lunatic.  A needy child rather than an adult. She also did not come across as sympathetic at all even though she has clearly suffered in her life.

I believe and defend the First Amendment  and I hate political correctness. However, good taste, maturity and judgment never go out of style.  We live in an age of far too much information and information sharing.

Last night,  Roseanne Barr proved that 20 years of therapy and 'hard work'  doesn't necessarily mean a damn thing and that the First Amendment gives us all just enough rope to hang ourselves on. Pronouncing that Jarrett needed a new hairstyle was perhaps the last inappropriate nail in her career coffin. I hate saying this,  but may Roseanne Barr, the entertainer and comedian, rest in peace.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunday Reflection: Vast Degrees of Teachability In Each Person


I CONTINUE TO BE BLESSED AND HUMBLED BY TIM AND KATHY KELLER'S BOOK OF DAILY DEVOTIONALS ON THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.  It shows me how far I've come in some areas yet how far I have to go in others.  Take this devotional of July 18th about degrees of learning:

A  rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool....Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence, rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge....When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.  (17:10, 19:25,21:11)


In ancient times forty lashes was the punishment for the worst crimes.  A hundred lashes, then, is hyperbole to make a point.  Even the worst possible consequences cannot change the character of some people. (17:10)  The more often they lose jobs, are expelled from school, are fined or punished, the more they blame others and become entrenched in their ways.  At the other end of the spectrum is a discerning person who learns from a single rebuke what others must suffer devastating losses to understand.

In the middle of the spectrum of teachability are the simple (19:25)---a group we have met before. They are not as quick to learn as the discerning, and yet they are not as set in their ways either. They will have to see some disaster or punishment hitting  someone---as when a mocker is punished---but then they may learn prudence and change their ways.

The point of these sayings is that there are degrees of teachability.  You must learn to assess how teachable people are before you hire, join or in some other way throw your lot in with them.  And you must honestly assess yourself.

When have you learned something important from watching someone else's life?  Where are you on the teachability spectrum?

Prayer: Lord,  between the discerning person who learns through a single, wise rebuke and the fool who never learns from anything,  I am firmly in the  middle.  I conofess you must send me messages multiple times before I read them.  Forgive me and work on my heart until I hear you the first time.  Amen. ----

God's Wisdom for Navigating Life, page 199
Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday, How to Know the Voice of the Father


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Photo of the Week: President Trump Sits in Churchill's Chair at Chequers

THERE AS GUEST OF PM MAY...Gravitas without the cigar and Scotch. Via White House Dossier, via Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Trump's Short List For the Supreme Court, and My Personal Pick


AFTER READING AND THINKING ABOUT THESE  CANDIDATES--- all outstanding judges--- this weekend,  I've changed my mind and now think, hope, Trump will select Judge Thomas Hardiman for the SCOTUS bench. He's right up Trump's alley. He's right up mine too. We'll see soon enough.

I think Judge Amy Barrett will have rough sledding getting confirmed.  I don't  care much for Kavanaugh, frankly.  Think he would be a wild card and a very unpredictable conservative. Think Kethledge is probably ruled out because of several controversial immigration rulings offensive to conservatives.

Meanwhile here are some summary write-ups of Trump's top four candidates via the Washington Examiner:

AMY CONEY BARRETT, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Barrett, 46, is a mother of seven children who Trump nominated to the 7th Circuit last year. Her confirmation fight catapulted her to stardom among conservatives after she faced questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about the role her Catholic faith would play in her judicial rulings. During her exchange, the senator told Barrett “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.” She was ultimately confirmed by the Senate in October. Barrett graduated from Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School. She clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman on the D.C. Circuit and Scalia on the Supreme Court. The jurist, though, has a relatively thin judicial record, having spent most of her career as a professor at Notre Dame Law School. If selected by Trump, Barrett is likely to face scrutiny from Senate Democrats for her views on Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, as she signed a letter opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate and the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious institutions. She will also likely face questions about her academic writings, including at least one that focused on precedent.

THOMAS HARDIMAN, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hardiman, 53, was a finalist during Trump’s search for a Supreme Court justice last year. If he is selected this year and confirmed by the Senate, Hardiman would add educational diversity to the Supreme Court, arriving as the only justice without an Ivy League degree. Hardiman graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University Law Center. Hardiman is the first member of his family to graduate from college and drove a taxicab to help pay for his law degree. Unlike the other contenders, Hardiman did not clerk for a Supreme Court justice. Hardiman served as a federal district court judge in Pennsylvania before he was tapped to the 3rd Circuit in 2006. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 2007. Hardiman served on the 3rd Circuit with Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who reportedly advocated for his nomination behind the scenes. Through his tenure on the federal bench, Hardiman has had a conservative judicial record. He voted to strike down a New Jersey law requiring residents to show a “justifiable need” to carry a handgun in public, saying the measure “contravenes the Second Amendment.” He also joined the majority in tossing out the conviction of a man arrested during an anti-abortion protest. The three-judge panel on which Hardiman sat vacated the conviction “because it was obtained in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.” Early in his career, Hardiman did pro bono work on behalf of immigrants and told senators in 2003 one case involving an immigrant from El Salvador seeking political asylum was “one of the most important cases I have ever handled.”

BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Kavanaugh, 53, has served for 12 years on the D.C. Circuit, considered the second most-powerful court in the country. He attended Georgetown Preparatory School, overlapping briefly there with Gorsuch. Kavanaugh went on to graduate from Yale College and Yale Law School. Following his graduation from law school, Kavanaugh held a series of clerkships, clerking for Judge Walter Stapleton on the 3rd Circuit and Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit. He went on to clerk for Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Through his tenure on the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has authored opinions in more than 280 cases as of the end of 2017, leaving him with an extensive record. Last year, he dissented in a case that paved the way for an illegal immigrant teenager to have an abortion. Kavanaugh warned the majority’s ruling was “ultimately based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand, thereby barring any government efforts to expeditiously transfer the minors to their immigration sponsors before they make that momentous life decision.” He also dissented in the 2011 case Heller v. District of Columbia, which challenged D.C.’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and required registration of all firearms. Kavanaugh said he believed the measure was unconstitutional. In 2016, Kavanaugh ruled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure was unconstitutional. Though Kavanaugh was an early front-runner, he faced criticisms from social conservatives for two rulings involving Obamacare, who said his opinions "upheld Obamcacare." That characterization, however, was refuted by others. In one case from 2011, Kavanaugh wrote in a dissent that under the Anti-Injunction Act, enacted in 1867, the court did not have jurisdiction in the case at the time. In the second case from 2015, Kavanaugh dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc, writing Obamacare complied with the Constitution’s Origination Clause, “but not for the reason articulated” by the D.C. Circuit’s three-judge panel. Kavanaugh, if nominated, would likely face questions from Senate Democrats about his time working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr during President Bill Clinton’s administration. He also authored a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review that called for Congress to enact a law allowing for civil suits and criminal investigations involving the president to be deferred while the president is in office.

RAYMOND KETHLEDGE, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Kethledge, 51, joined the 6th Circuit in 2007, receiving confirmation by the Senate via voice vote. The judge would, like Hardiman, bring educational diversity to the Supreme Court, having graduated from the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School. After graduation, he clerked for Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Before joining the federal bench, Kethledge worked for Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., and in private practice. Many conservative supporters have characterized Kethledge as “Gorsuch 2.0,” in part because of his judicial philosophy, but also because he, like Gorsuch, is an outdoorsman. Kethledge has garnered attention for a 2016 ruling in a case involving a Tea Party group that said it was improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because of its political views. The three-judge panel of which Kethledge was a part ruled in favor of the group, and, writing the majority opinion, Kethledge criticized the IRS. He also joined the majority in a decision last year upholding a Michigan county’s practice of opening its meetings with a prayer. Like Gorsuch, Kethledge has criticized deference to executive branch agencies under the Chevron doctrine. Derived from the 1984 case Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Chevron doctrine says that courts should defer to executive branch agencies’ “reasonable” interpretation of a statute if it is ambiguous. In a speech at his alma mater last year, Kethledge said he believes Chevron deference “has created a sense of entitlement among executive agencies.” His writing was praised by the Wall Street Journal in 2014, as the newspaper deemed his opinion in a case involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “Opinion of the Year.”

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sunday: Tim Keller's Witness At the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast


13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Wild Blackberries in Season Means Only One Thing: Homemade Cobbler With Vanilla Ice Cream on the 4th


WHEN OUR KIDS WERE SMALL,  WE'D ALL GO TO THE RAILROAD tracks near our cabin on the river and pick wild blackberries.  We each had a pail and wore long-sleeve shirts because of the briars and brambles.  I warned them to look out for snakes  that would lie in wait for the little critters that loved to eat
 the blackberries.

After we were finished picking, we---I--- washed and sorted the berries, put them in  bowl with sugar  and let them soak in the frig for hours.  Later came the flour, butter, eggs, more sugar for pastry,  then the berries---all baked about 325 in the oven for about 35 minutes.

When the cobbler was done, we put it on top of the stove to cool while the kids drooled and waited for dessert.  The scent of blackberry cobbler drifting through the cabin was like a smell from heaven.  We brought out the ice cream only after dinner  as we served the bowls at the big table.

It was quite a feast and the closest my kids came to being hunter gathers on the Fourth of July!  We ate and ate and no one really cared about the sugar hangover the next day....no one cared that our teeth would be purple afterwards!

Happy, Grateful 4th of July in the Still Greatest Country on Earth!

OUR REPIBLIC IS A VERY BIG TENT, INDEED.  I for one plan to spend this day giving thanks and thinking of ways I can contribute to making it better in small ways. How I can not be intimidated by radicals.  How I can take principled stands.

Meanwhile let the celebrations and fireworks begin!  God bless America!