Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sunday---Pastor Mike Atkins On Each Man's Understanding of the Depths of His Sin Condition

ON UNDERSTANDING OUR TRUE CONDITION. The different levels of sin: superficial external transgressions, our deeper bruised sin nature and our deepest state of being born separated from God. Christ has forgiven every level of our sin if we ask and seek Him. The more we comprehend the depths of our sins and nature, the more we understand how deeply we are forgiven. That alone is the basis of our ability to love thankfully.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Senate Judiciary Should Vote Brett Kavanaugh To the Supreme Court

ALTHOUGH I FOUND DR. FORD'S TESTIMONY THIS MORNING COMPELLING, though uncorroborated,  I now believe Judge Brett Kavanaugh's testimony very believable and think he should be confirmed to SCOTUS as soon as possible.  He will make a fine Supreme Court justice.

Senator Lindsey Graham brought the house down with his courageous and firey speech and deserves our utmost gratitude and admiration.

What an amazing day!

Let the vote go forward now and the chips fall where they may.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen First U.S. Senate Debate---It's Marsha By A Country Mile!


FAST FORWARD TO 24 MINUTE MARK FOR START OF DEBATE. Will comment more later, however the short version is, I think Marsha hit a home run with all the bases loaded. Phil on the other hand, walked to first base.

She was bright, high-energy, well-informed,  articulate, au courant while getting some well placed He's Chuck Shummer's number one recruit jabs in.

Phil seemed low-energy, over-the-hill and living on past  but decent glory. On the opening question What do you think is the most pressing issue to Tennesseans today? Marsha nailed it by answering the economy and jobs. Phil's No Cigar answer: the dysfunction in Washington.

On the subject of whether the candidates support the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Marsha was not afraid to define herself and say she would vote to move his confirmation forward Friday.

Tonight Marsha gave an outstanding showing bringing every issue back to its relevance to Tennesseeans, even to the military and families at Ft. Campbell,  and our immigrant Kurdish population just to name a few. Marsha turned the tables on the nay sayers. There's no doubt she can win this senate seat in November....maybe even by a country mile.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday, On How 'Crazy Rich Asians' Is Profoundly Affecting Asian Americans and Many Others


IF YOU HAVEN'T YET SEEN THE CHARMING CRAZY RICH ASIANS,  run, don't walk to take it in. It's having quite an impact---sometimes overwhelming---on diverse peoples for many, many reasons. At the Gospel Coalition, Hannah Chao,  an Asian American, gives her take, Crazy Rich Asians and Being Truly Seen:

EDITORS NOTE: At The Gospel Coalition’s inaugural Asian American conference, Reclaiming the Center: Understanding Gospel Centrality for Asian Americans, various seasoned pastors will be emphasizing how Asian Americans and their churches can thrive with the gospel, the first importance, at the center. Join us October 15–16 to prayerfully consider how God may be moving among Asian Americans and their churches to bring all spheres of life to be aligned and shaped by the gospel. Register here.

When I watched Crazy Rich Asians, I cried. My husband teared up as well, and, according to my Twitter feed, lots of other people did too.
So why is a romantic comedy making people weep?

For a long time, neither Asian American faces nor experiences were well represented in movies. You have to go back 25 years to find a studio-backed film that had a mostly Asian American cast. So when my husband and I watched Crazy Rich Asians and saw people who looked like us and faced similar cultural struggles—feeling like the immigrant outsider—we were overwhelmed.
Why this widespread reaction? Because when we are seen and known, we are acknowledged as human beings with inherent dignity and value. We are neither mistakes nor outsiders. We belong. The beautiful uniqueness of who we are is celebrated, not whitewashed or marginalized.
For me, the experience of watching the film and feeling seen and known by it provided a beautiful reminder that there is One who sees and knows me fully. He is my Creator and perfect Father. When art like this functions as a mirror—when we recognize ourselves and feel seen by it—it can remind us that there is God who created us each uniquely and sees and knows us more intimately than anyone else does. It reminded me, for example, that God created me purposefully as an Asian American

God Made Me Asian American

Does it matter that I am a Christian and Asian? Does God care that I am Asian American?
The answer is resoundingly yes. In Psalm 139, the psalmist wrote that God “knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God is intentional in who he creates us to be. 
We are all made in his image, and our Asian Americanness is a part of that. Our heritage, our struggle to fit into two (or more) cultures, our feelings that we are foreigners—these are all unique experiences that God can and will use for his glory.
Asian American heritage, our struggle to fit into two (or more) cultures, our feelings that we are foreigners—these are all unique experiences that God can and will use for his glory.
Part of why I was so moved by Crazy Rich Asians is that I saw these familiar experiences so clearly in the film. Rachel (Constance Wu) is off balance and uncomfortable in the extravagant world of Singapore. Not only is she in a different social class than the people around her, but she’s seen as an American outsider and not Chinese enough by her boyfriend’s mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh).
Many white Americans might find it shocking to hear the word “American” said with pity or disdain, as Eleanor does in the film. But Asian Americans feel this tension constantly. In America, it is the “Asian” part that ostracizes us; but in Asia, it is the “American” side that disqualifies us. I am both, and I find no complete home in either place.
The reality is that all Christians should also feel like foreigners to this world. We know this world is not our home. Our citizenship is in heaven, so we should never feel fully accepted or at home here. As Asian Americans who are not quite accepted by our parents’ cultures and also perpetual outsiders in America, we can perhaps understand that aspect of our Christian identity more easily.

God Loves That I’m Asian American

Again, until I saw Crazy Rich Asians, I had never seen a movie celebrate aspects of my Asian and Asian American culture. 
Take all the food scenes. I’ve been to Singapore twice to visit my husband’s family, and to that exact outdoor food court where Rachel tastes all that scrumptious food. It was refreshing to see satays, laksa curry, and ice kachang portrayed as delicious instead of just peculiar or cringe-inducing. 
There’s another scene in the film in which Rachel’s boyfriend’s family makes dumplings together as a bonding activity. In American films, we might see families play board games or football in the backyard. But here, we see an Asian and Asian American tradition portrayed as the normal way families spend time together—doing an activity I did with my parents as a child.
There there’s the famous mahjong scene. Instead of a poker or chess scene to represent the conflict between Rachel and Eleanor, we are mesmerized by this game with its beautiful tiles and clicking sounds—sounds my husband grew up hearing whenever he visited relatives overseas.
God loves and celebrates us in our cultural distinctness. I believe he knows my favorite dish is gejang, a spicy crab fermented in soy sauce. I believe God sees and blesses many of my family’s cultural traditions, like bowing to our elders on New Year’s Day and eating seaweed soup on birthdays, knowing they bring our family members closer together. 
I believe God was pleased by all the time I spent with my mother, learning to play with Hwatu (flower cards used to play a fast-paced strategy and matching game) or Gonggi, a game played with five grape-sized pebbles that you toss and catch. 

God Sees You

When people “get you,” it means they have been paying attention. They respect you, dignify you, and see you. In a culture (or even in a church) rife with misunderstanding one another, thinking the worst of one another, and painting the other with broad brushes, a movie like Crazy Rich Asians is a great reminder that one way we can love better is by being more attentive: listening, learning, seeing each other in our differences—differences God crafted and celebrates
A movie like Crazy Rich Asians is a great reminder that one way we can love each other better is by being more attentive: listening, learning, seeing one other in our differences—differences God created and celebrates.

Read the rest...

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Fire Breaks Out Near Jackson Hole


WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START MANAGING OUR NATIONAL FORESTS better?  Or should I say, when are we going to start managing our national forests?  Period.

Between the massive stands of dead timber from pine beetle blight and drought,  the destructive forces of nature will step in every a flash....with all the attendant drama---evacuations,  troops,  helicopters and massive smoke and air pollution at huge costs to taxpayers.

Rather, if we allowed more selective timbering by contractors on these big national stands,  it would be much more productive, low-keyed and far less damaging  and costly to human health, habitat at a fraction of the money.

As it is,  radical environmentalists---like radical feminists---- have taken over federal policies and made things much, much worse. The irony is as the feds fall down on its managerial duty,  environmental nazis want to tighten air pollution resteictions. 

What a complete joke.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Meeting Bill Lee, Front Runner For Tennessee Governor, With Wife Maria and Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, TN Sheriff of the Year

WHAT A LOVELY RECEPTION TONIGHT FOR BILL AND MARIA LEE in Dickson. Low-key and relaxed, it was good hearing Bill talk about his and Maria's journey over the past several years towards running for governor. It began with prayer, then went on to become several state-wide tours of all 95 counties----in RVs, tractors, pick-up trucks, cars. In the beginning, sometimes no one showed up to meet and greet them in parking lots. Gradually that began to change. Now  bigger and bigger crowds are cheering them on to victory November 6.

Lee's poll numbers show him far ahead of liberal Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville. I'm convinced if he wins,  he will take this very red state and make it great in new ways--- paved by past good governors, like Bill Haslam and Winfield Dunn. Lee will be a man for the working man and initiate job training and other education initiatives in various trades---as he's done as CEO of the Lee Company---all over the state, especially in depressed counties.

It was also good meeting popular Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, elected Sheriff-of-the Year by his peers across the state. No county's top law enforcement officer has had more tragedy and deep challenge in the past 12 months than this fine man and his deputies. May God bless them all and watch over them.

And may God bless the Lees.

Grizzly Attack Kills Jackson Hole Elk Guide Mark Uptain


MARK UPTAIN WAS MAULED TO DEATH BY A SOW GRIZZLY AND CUB near some of my old  fishing/hiking stomping grounds in Jackson Hole.  He was guiding a bow hunting client and apparently, inexplicably was not packing a gun.  He used bear spray which was like bringing a water gun to a sword fight and lost his life in the process.  Terrible tragedy.  He leaves a wife and 5 children behind:

From the Jackson Hole News and Guide:

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Monday released new details about the fatal mauling of hunting guide Mark Uptain last weekend, including that bear spray was deployed.

The complete investigation is still ongoing, the notice said, and will continue with a forensic analysis to provide additional scientific evidence.

Game and Fish personnel killed the sow and yearling grizzly that were involved in the attack Sunday. A foothold snare that was left overnight near the conflict-causing elk carcass had subdued the younger bruin, and the yearling’s mother remained nearby.

“The sow charged the team in an aggressive manner and was shot by Game and Fish personnel,” the Game and Fish notice said. “The yearling bear was chemically immobilized and determined to be involved in the attack of the victims. The yearling bear was then euthanized.”

For a full account of the attack that killed Uptain and injured his client, Corey Chubon, pick up the Wednesday edition of the News&Guide. Prior reporting about the incident is available at

Giving New Meaning to the Term 'Unsubstantiated:' Meet Feminist Trump Hating Attorney Debra Katz, Retained By Ford In Accusing Kavanaugh of Boorish Behavior Almost 40 Years Ago


Timothy Meads @ Townhall writes today on the hypocrisy and dubious background of Mrs. Ford's lawyer Ms. Debra Katz who despises all things Trump.  In reality, these unsubstantiated accusations will NEVER be substantiated which Ms. Katz knows.  She just wants to stall the process of confirming Kavanaugh.  It's another political stunt designed to bring down Trump and the republic for which we stand:
The Washington Post has reported that Stanford professor Christine Blasey Ford is the woman behind the confidential letter given to Sen. Dianne Feinstein accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault as a teenager. According to the Post, Ford initially refrained from revealing the alleged information of a horrendous sexual assault due to privacy concerns for herself and her family.....

But she thought it was her duty to come forward on the record after the advice of Washington lawyer Debra Katz. Katz, however, has a long history of dismissing sexual assault allegations against liberal politicians, donating to left-wing causes, and even publicly demonizing all Trump advisors as "miscreants" who are worse than deplorables. briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house. 

Over the summer of 2018, as it became apparent that Kavanaugh was going to be nominated for the Supreme Court, Ford debated whether she should come forward publicly with this information.

According to the Post, Ford "engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. On the advice of Katz, who believed Ford would be attacked as a liar if she came forward, Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August." After Sen. Feinstein announced the accusatory letter last week, Ford decided she had to come on the record to avoid public scrutiny and speculation. It was Katz who provided the results of that polygraph test to the Post. The results "concluded that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate." 

But, readers should remember that Katz treated Paula Jones' accusations of sexual harassment against President Bill Clinton very differently in the 1990s. According to court documents, Jones claimed that then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton summoned her to his hotel room where she was working as a receptionist. While in the room he "unexpectedly reached over to (her), took her hand, and pulled her toward him, so that their bodies were close to each other." She backed away, but he pursued, saying, 'I love the way your hair flows down your back' and 'I love your curves. He then "put his hand on her leg, started sliding it toward her pelvic area, and bent down to attempt to kiss her on the neck, all without her consent.' Jones claimed she said, "What are you doing?" and had to escape to a nearby sofa where she attempted to distract the governor by talking about his wife. However, when she was sitting on the sofa, Clinton came close to her and "lowered his trousers and underwear, exposed his penis (which was erect) and told (her) to 'kiss it.'" Jones then attempted to leave but the governor said, "'Well, I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to do,' and then pulled up his pants and said, 'If you get in trouble for leaving work, have Dave call me immediately and I'll take care of it.' She left the room (the door of which was not locked), the governor 'detained' her momentarily, 'looked sternly' at her, and said, 'You are smart. Let's keep this between ourselves,'" according to court documents. Jones claims she initially kept the incident to herself for fear of workplace retribution since Clinton knew her boss.

Katz dismissed Jones' assertions on March 30th,1998 on CNN's "Talkback Live" saying that, "Paula Jones' suit is very, very, very weak. She's alleged one incident that took place in a hotel room that, by her own testimony, lasted 10 to 12 minutes. She suffered no repercussions in the workplace." Likewise, Katz again said on CBS' Evening News on April 2nd, 1998 that Jones' allegation could not hold up in court because, "Clearly a one-time incident that took place in 10 to 12 minutes, she was not forced to have sex, she left on her own volition, the courts increasingly are finding that that is not enough to create a sexually hostile work environment claim." 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sunday, Dr. Paul Lim----From Atheist to Christian At Yale


Marsha Blackburn's Latest Ad---Non-Starter---Is A Homerun!


Fact is, Bredesen is a decent  old guy. I know and like his wife, Andrea, both in Tennessee and Wyoming where they have a big home. Even though he was an OK governor, the skills he needs to go to the U.S. Senate for deplorable red-state Tennesseans like me are totally different. He would not be able to stand on his own two feet in the tsunami of partisan, whacked out Democratic stunt politics, no matter what he says. 

Nope, nada, definitely not this time, Phil. Come on Marsha, let's take it on home!! I'm Webutante and I approve this message.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Coddling of the American Mind

IN 2015, Greg Lukianoff (president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) and Jonathan Haidt (professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business) wrote an article for The Atlantic entitled “The Coddling of the American Mind.” In that article, the authors argued that students (college but also pre-college) increasingly react to words, books, images, and speakers with fear and anger because they’ve been taught to exaggerate danger, to let their emotions rule, and to engage in binary thinking.

It proved to be one of the most read and discussed articles ever published by the magazine.
Now Lukianoff and Haidt have expanded on that article with a book entitled The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure. Their book has a lot to say about the way our colleges and universities are making a bad situation—the bad mental habits noted above combined with the belief that kids must be kept absolutely safe—much worse.

The root of the problem, argue Lukianoff and Haidt, is that parents, teachers, professors and college administrators have been leading young people to believe Three Great Untruths.

The first of those is, as they call it, the Untruth of Fragility. That is the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, and therefore young people must be protected against everything from a stray peanut to hearing any “hateful” ideas. Drawing an analogy to the human immune system, which can’t develop unless it occasionally has something to fight against, the authors say that trying to shield students against stressful ideas results in their weakness and anxiety. And when students haven’t learned to cope with ideological adversity, they’re apt to retreat into “safe spaces” or lash out with anger or even violence.

The second great untruth is that you should trust and follow your emotions. Emotions frequently get in the way of sound reasoning, but young people are often told that because they feel that something is true, then it really is true. Therefore, if you feel that someone has committed a “microaggression” against you, then he has. You need not weigh the matter, asking if you might have misunderstood the person or are judging too hastily. Just follow your emotions and fight back.

And third is the Us Versus Them Untruth—the erroneous view that the world is divided into good people and evil people. You need to side with the Good and battle the Evil. Once that mentality soaks in, there is no need for dialogue or debate since everything the other side might say will be lies and propaganda. Consequently, we see a tribal mindset emerging in some young people that reduces everything to the black and white.

Lukianoff and Haidt point out that those untruths don’t originate on college campuses. They begin and are nurtured from early life on through high school. Unfortunately, when students get to college, which ought to be an environment where people face and deal with ideas that they find offensive, shocking, or even hostile, they instead find reinforcement for the Great Untruths.

Rather than helping students to mature, college surrounds them in an atmosphere of “vindictive overprotectiveness” that makes them more infantile.

How so?

For one thing, many schools now feature orientations and other programs that encourage students to see the world in “us versus them” terms. That’s the essence of the identity politics that saturates campuses these days. The authors write:
Imagine an entire entering class of college freshmen whose orientation program includes training in intersectional thinking, along with training in spotting microaggressions. By the end of their first week on campus, students have learned to score their own and others’ levels of privilege, identify more distinct identity groups, and see more differences between people. They have learned to interpret more words and actions as acts of aggression. They have learned to associate aggression, domination, and oppression with privileged groups. And they learned to focus only on perceived impact and to ignore intent.
All of that, write Lukianoff and Haidt, “prepares student for battle, not learning.”

Sometimes the numerous campus bows to “safety” and “diversity” boils over into ugly confrontations. For example, what started as an innocent email regarding Halloween costumes from a woman on staff at Yale (Erika Christakis) escalated into a mob with students screaming at her husband (Nicholas Christakis) for his failure to keep them “safe.” The Christakises were driven to leave Yale, but the school conferred an award on two students who had led the attack on them.

Another famous case the authors recount is that of Evergreen College, where angry, power-obsessed students terrorized the campus for more than a week over nothing more than one white professor’s decision to teach his biology course on campus when the day had been designated as “White Absence Day.” Afterwards, a faculty member remarked that the students “were doing just what we taught them.” Indeed so.

In those and other instances, it’s clear that the campus environment had exacerbated the immaturity of the students, turning them into dangerous, self-obsessed zealots.

The same Great Untruths can also prove harmful to faculty members, the authors point out. Just for having written slightly controversial articles, Rebecca Tuvel of Rhodes College and Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis were assailed by students and fellow academics for having offended them. Rather than arguing against aspects of the articles that they disliked, the students and academics wanted those women to be punished.

The power of emotional thinking and the “us versus them” mindset were on full display.

Those bad mental habits are not just “setting up a generation for failure,” but are sowing the seeds of bitter social strife in the future.....

Read the whole article... via MaggiesFarm

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Pastor John Piper: What Hope Does God Offer In My Depression?

NOTE: WE ALL HAVE DIFFICULTIES IN OUR LIVES. Sometimes situations bring us anxiety, sometimes depression. Other times, we are called to wait, wait, wait patiently on the Lord. As the days begin to get noticeably shorter in fall, this is a timely lesson to keep in mind. 

Audio Transcript
As Christian Hedonists, we’re not unfamiliar with the pain of depression. And we get a lot of questions in the inbox about how to work through those unavoidable times in life when depression hits. There’s often a physical and medical side to depression, but also a spiritual side to these seasons, too. In that vein, a question comes in an email from one female listener.

“Pastor John, what Scripture passages do you return to when you are suffering from depression? I am suffering from depression pretty bad at the moment, and I need some help from Scripture. Can you help me?”

God Speaks

This is the central question for her to ask — namely, “Where shall I turn in Scripture, in God’s word?” This is what God said we should listen to: his word.

Now, I don’t want to be naïve here. To be sure, there are many dimensions to depression — from genetic, to dietary, to exercise, to trauma, to demonic harassment, to relational stress, to financial burdens, to weather conditions, to sinful entanglements, to sleeplessness, and on and on. I don’t want to give the impression that I am oversimplifying the complexities of what might trigger a season of darkness, or depression.

Nevertheless, I’ll say it again: under and over and through all these issues that may need to be addressed — and I would encourage her to address all of them that are relevant — the key question is “What has God said to me?” That is, “What does the Scripture say?”

The reason this is so key is that the Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Depression regularly involves a weakening of our faith and our hope, and God is clear that reawakening of faith, reawakening of hope, will not come if we’re not hearing the word of God.

Not Naïve

The Scriptures do not present themselves as an automatic guarantee of emotional turnaround, because the Scriptures themselves describe people who hear the word of God and do not emotionally turn around — like the parable of the soils, or 1 Corinthians 15:2 (“You believed in vain”), and so on.
The Scriptures aren’t naïve, as if they are the quick and easy panacea for every emotional blankness. But the point is that, without the Scriptures, there’s no hope of a Christ-exalting turnaround of our emotions.

Medication might turn us around emotionally, but by itself, without the word of God, it won’t put us on a right footing with Jesus Christ. It may feel good, but without the word of God, it may not have done you any long-term good.

This listener has posed the absolutely right question without being naïve about the complexities of how difficult, and dark, and multi-causal depression can be.
So let me answer by giving five kinds of texts that she might turn to, and that I turn to.

Wait and Pray

Take note of the Scriptures that speak about the necessity of waiting for God. Psalm 40 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 40:1). It doesn’t say how long — days, weeks, months. All it says is, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock” (Psalm 40:1–2). 

There’s this season of being in the pit and in the bog, and the assignment for us believers in those seasons is to wait patiently for the Lord.

Or Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” That’s not literally intended, like, “You get only one day of weeping, and then you get another day of joy.” That’s not the point, because this command might be read at 11:59 p.m., and you would think, “Hey, you get one minute of weeping, and then 24 hours of joy.” The point is, there are seasons of weeping, and they’re going to be followed, for the believer, with joy.

Or Psalm 56:8: “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”

So the point in this first group is that the Bible does not present our walk with God as uninterrupted brightness. We feed in green pastures, yes, and we walk through the valley of death. We experience the shining of his face, and we experience the hiding of his face. So in the scriptural prescription what we find is that when his face is hidden, we are to wait and pray. That’s the first group.

Gutsy Guilt

Here is the second group of texts for her to look at with me. Turn to passages that show how to experience gutsy guilt.
I love this phrase, and I’m thinking of Micah 7:8–9, where it describes in a most phenomenal way how sinful people like us under the darkness of God are to be gutsy as we deal with God because of our justified standing. Listen to these words:
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness [now that’s what I would call depression], the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.
All of us have sinned. I’m not saying every darkness is a specific punishment for sin. I’m just saying we’ve all sinned, and therefore there’s no point in trying to play goody goody while we’re under the darkness. We can’t say, “Oh, he’s treating me worse than I deserve.” No, we’ve all sinned. Micah continues,
I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me [not against me, but for me]. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
That’s what we say when we’re in the darkness: “I shall look upon his vindication.” That’s an amazing and wonderful passage. There is nothing sentimental or naïve about it. It is utterly realistic in dealing with our own sin and God’s grace.
This is the way a justified sinner talks. We do not despair, and we do not feel presumptuous. Our confidence is in God and his vindication. Which leads now to a third group, where seeing that vindication worked out by God in history is absolutely crucial.

Canceled Sin

This may be the most important group of texts to look at. So fix your attention especially on the passages that describe the stunning work of Christ on the cross. The work that was outside yourself to provide your vindication as a justified sinner before an all-holy, all-loving God.

For example, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8). Oh look to that text again and again.

Or: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3) — that is, in the flesh of his own Son, not your flesh.

Or Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” Oh, what an amazing promise.

Or 1 Peter 2:24–25: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” So the great healing is, you were headlong heading for the cliff of destruction, and the Shepherd, dying, reaches out to you, and pulls you back. And it says, “You have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” Let it sink in: “My soul has a Shepherd. My soul has an Overseer.”

And there’s so many more texts like that: 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:12, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 53:4–6. That’s the third group of texts to look at.

Thanks and Praise

The fourth group is to recite Scriptures of thanksgiving and praise, even though you do not feel them. Here’s one example. Psalm 86:10–13:
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (Psalm 86:10–13)
Now, if you are honest with God, and with yourself, and with others about the absence of your feelings, then the recitation of these thanks are not hypocrisy. They are expressions of longing and a belief that God alone is worthy of thanks and praise.
Here’s what Richard Baxter, a pastor from 1600s, says about what I’m asking you to do.
Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can. You have not the power of your comforts; but have you no power over your tongues? Say not that you are unfit for thanks and praises, unless you had a praising heart, and were the children of God; for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone. . . . Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart.
It doesn’t have to be hypocrisy, in other words, for you to read the Scriptures about thanks and praise, and say them back to God — all the while knowing your heart is aching to feel them, and doesn’t yet.

Seed of Joy

Here’s the last group of texts. Turn to texts that cry out to God for the restoration of life and joy. Psalm 51:12: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 85:6: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”
The reason for turning to texts like these is not only that they are prayers which God may be pleased to answer soon by restoring your joy. They are also evidences that the seed of joy in God is still alive in your soul.

Let me close with this, and this is so crucial because you may feel, “I don’t even know if I’m a Christian because I feel so blank.” There are four things that characterize that seed of joy that is still alive in you. See if these are there.
  1. You can still see objectively that God is the supreme treasure of the universe, even if your feelings about him are very flat.
  2. You can confess that objective sight of God with your lips, that God is supremely valuable.
  3. You can cry out for the restoration of true joy, and that very cry is the seed sown by the taste of the joy.
  4. You can refuse to turn away from God and embrace idols.
So may the Lord use those five kinds of Scripture to give you patience, and bring you through the season of darkness.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ever See A Car In a Parking Lot and Wonder Who's Driving It?

I DID. TODAY.  THE CRACKER BARRELL OFF I-40 near Dickson.  Made me smile.

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Little Bit More On John McCain From Speakeasy Ideas

YESTERDAY I RECEIVED THIS EMAIL FROM FRIEND TOM KRANAWITTER @ Thought it well-worth repeating here at Webutante with his permission.  Thanks, Tom, and your fine team there in Denver:
AUGUST, 2018, was marked by the death of two prominent Americans: Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain.

We knew neither Ms. Franklin nor Senator McCain, personally, so we have little to say about their personalities behind closed doors. We merely offer a prayer for each that their souls be guided by eternal light.


John McCain had only one employer his entire life: The United States government. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy, during which service he was brutally tortured in captivity in Vietnam, a nightmare most of us cannot and don't want to imagine. 

John McCain then spent the bulk of his adult life, almost four decades, as a member of the United States Congress, elected to two terms in the House of Representatives and six terms in the U.S. Senate. 

While in the Senate, he mastered the art of cronyism—providing special government favors, waivers, preferential treatment, and subsidies for his business friends, all paid with money that was taken from others.

He also did more than any member of Congress in the last century to ensure that all incumbent members of Congress have decisive advantages over non-incumbent challengers. Aided by John McCain’s campaign finance law, incumbent reelection rates for members of Congress in recent years have reached as high as 97%.

John McCain and his political allies, both Republicans and Democrats, made it a crime for ordinary citizens to help non-incumbent friends running for elected office, beyond small dollar limits.

The justification was that there’s “too much money in politics,” meaning those in government could not resist the temptation of money. The solution proposed by John McCain? More government control over what citizens do with their own property. His was a life of using government force to command millions of fellow citizens.

Meanwhile, incumbents enjoy widespread name recognition and wide media coverage anytime they want it, simply because they are part of the government, an advantage almost no challengers can overcome. Together, John McCain and his allies effectively transformed incumbent members of Congress into a permanent political class more entrenched now than ever before in American history.  

John McCain died recently from a terrible disease, while still in office. It is right to offer condolences to his grieving family who watched his health decline. And, because of Senator McCain, almost all members of Congress today are far more likely to retire or die in office from old age or sickness than to lose an election. Ever.
Thanks again Tom. So much for term limits, thanks to McCain!

Sunday on Monday: Life In the Spirit Is Freedom From the Impossibilities of the Law

Freedom in Christ

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Quiet Mists of Avalon

McCain Lost Me At Goodbye

NOT TO DENY THAT THE LATE JOHN MCCAIN was a war hero.  He endured valiently a great deal of pain and suffering with integrity in his day while lots of men were dodging the draft.

But heroism then is not a lifetime pass for always being admired.  The McCain funeral today---which I did not see cause I was visiting friends briefly in Banner Elk, NC from the SoHo---left me cold.  From reports it seemed mean-spirited,  jealous and hateful towards Trump,  among others.

Such a long, drawn out funeral event seemed like over-kill and  gross political theater that seemed to leave out God.  But why should that be surprising?  For so many citizens and politicians,  government is god in our post-Christian era.  The left needs government heros as never before. So how could it miss an opportunity to turn a funeral into a political orgy and hit job. Does anyone doubt that Meghan McCain today gave her political acceptance speech for running for whatever office and stepping into her father's shoes?

It was a captive audience.