Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Count Your Blessings

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, what better way to continue to be thankful, than to count one's blessings?

Gratitude is a desirable and necessary character quality every day of the year. We must each make a conscious effort, every day, to show gratitude and to have a thankful heart. Hopefully this hymn, written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., will help you to do that.

Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Worst News Days of the Year...

...are the Wednesday through Friday surrounding Thanksgiving. Consider the numbing predictability:

Wednesday: Obligatory reporter at airport, discussing how busy the airport is. Other reporters reporting on traffic in the region. Obligatory predictions from AAA about how many more/less people will be driving/flying during the upcoming weekend. Relevant weather issues discussed.

Thursday: There is no news, unless terrorists attacked somewhere in the world. Obligatory reporter found at a local agency where free dinners are being provided to those who otherwise could not afford them. Obligatory coverage of parades and, since there's time to kill, discussion of tomorrow's big sales and crowds. Sports coverage is the highlight of the day.

Friday: Obligatory reporters at local area Wal-Marts, Best Buys, and other big box retailers discussing how early the lines began to form (video of lines in the middle of the darkness being shown here) and what products these people are looking to buy. From somewhere will come a report of crowds who were (to put it kindly) disruptive and/or injuries from a trampling somewhere. Sports coverage is again the highlight of the day.

Nothing is happening in politics (and perhaps that's just as well), the markets are quiet, and the biggest local event may well be a Santa sighting.

Perhaps they could just produce these programs in advance and give more people the day off?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Verses on Thankfulness

The Bible is full of references to being thankful. Here are twenty to meditate upon today.

2 Samuel 22:50: Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

1 Chronicles 16:34-35: O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

Psalm 30:4: Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalm 30:12: To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Psalm 75:1: Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

Psalm 100:4: Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalm 106:47: Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

Psalm 119:62: At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Daniel 6:10: Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Matthew 26:27: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

Luke 22:10: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Romans 6:17: But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

1 Corinthians 15:57: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14: Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Philippians 4:6: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Colossians 3:17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

2 Thessalonians 2:13: But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Hebrews 13:15: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Revelation 7:12: Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 11:17: Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scripture For Thanksgiving Week

When David was assembling the gold, silver, and other valuable possessions needed for Solomon his son to build the temple, he spoke these words of gratitude and praise to God for His provision of the materials, and for the generosity of God's people:

1 Chronicles 29:10-17
10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Great Article About Socialism

Walter Williams wrote the piece below, which I found here, on the evils of socialism. Socialism is indeed an evil, and I think he does a great job of simply explaining this fact.

No one should be forced to help their fellow man

Evil acts can be given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution or caring for the less fortunate. Let's think about socialism.

Imagine there's an elderly widow down the street from you. She has neither the strength to mow her lawn nor enough money to hire someone to do it. Here's my question to you that I'm almost afraid for the answer: Would you support a government mandate that forces one of your neighbors to mow the lady's lawn each week? If he failed to follow the government orders, would you approve of some kind of punishment ranging from house arrest and fines to imprisonment?

I'm hoping that the average American would condemn such a government mandate because it would be a form of slavery, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

Would there be the same condemnation if instead of the government forcing your neighbor to physically mow the widow’s lawn, the government forced him to give the lady $40 of his weekly earnings? That way the widow could hire someone to mow her lawn. I’d say that there is little difference between the mandates.

Putting the money into a government pot makes palatable acts that would otherwise be deemed morally offensive.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one's fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal.

Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another's pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.

I don’t believe any moral case can be made for the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

But that conclusion is not nearly as important as the fact so many of my fellow Americans give wide support to using people.

I would like to think it is because they haven’t considered that more than $2 trillion of the over $3 trillion federal budget represents Americans using one another.

Of course, they might consider it compensatory justice. For example, one American might think, “Farmers get Congress to use me to serve the needs of some farmers. I’m going to get Congress to use someone else to serve my needs by subsidizing my child's college education.”

The bottom line is that we’ve become a nation of thieves, a value rejected by our founders. James Madison, the father of our Constitution, was horrified when Congress appropriated $15,000 to help French refugees.

He said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

Tragically, today’s Americans would run Madison out of town on a rail.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hymn of the Week: All Glory, Laud, and Honor

These may be the oldest commonly sung hymn lyrics not taken directly from the Bible—at least, this hymn should be common. The original words were in Latin and are attributed to Theodulph of Orleans in the early 9th Century. It was translated to English in 1851 by John M. Neale. The melody dates back to 1615.

With Thanksgiving week upon us, we should go above and beyond our usual gratitude. We should focus our praise to Him Who has given us all things, or as David wrote in I Chronicles 29:16, "O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own."

All we have comes from Him. All our praise is due Him. Let us remember that this week.

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Refrain

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Bless├Ęd One.

Refrain

The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.

Refrain

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.

Refrain

To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

Refrain

Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

Refrain

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Are...PENN STATE!!

My dear friends,

It is my pleasure to invite you to watch the Rose Bowl on January 1. Go Penn State!

Sincerely,
A PSU fan in Michigan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Eagles: Yes, It Gets Worse

[You may want to read the previous entry first.] Shortly after the last entry was put on the blog, I encountered this article titled "Day after tie, Reid defends McNabb, others for not knowing rules." You mean, there were more?? Here are a few relevant quotes:

"I'm sure there are plenty of rules that guys don't understand, but I don't think that has any factor whatsoever to do with the outcome of this game and how they played in the overtime," Eagles coach Andy Reid said Monday. "I think that's absurd. You play to win in that time, whether you think you have another overtime period or you don't. And you play your heart out to win it in that time, and that's how we approached it and that's how the players approached it."

Reid ignored the point. Whether the players' ignorance about the overtime rule affected the outcome is debatable. It's inconceivable and embarrassing that some of them didn't know a game can end in a tie. [Commentary from the author]

"I'll take the responsibility for that," Reid said.

...

"I've never been a part of a tie. I never even knew that was in the rule book," McNabb said after the game. "It's part of the rules, and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately, with the rules, we settled with a tie.

"I guess we're aware of it now," McNabb said. "In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner. I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way. I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs."

Uh, they keep playing if it's tied in the playoffs or Super Bowl. But McNabb apparently didn't know that, either.

...

Several of his teammates were just as clueless.

"Me and Greg Lewis were discussing it on the sideline, so we asked one of our trainers and he told us it ends in a tie," running back Correll Buckhalter said.

"I found out while we were in OT," rookie wideout DeSean Jackson said.

"I thought we kept playing," linebacker Omar Gaither said.

I would like to think my Steelers are smarter than this group. One final quote from the article:

McNabb was unavailable to reporters on Monday. A spokesman for the QB said McNabb told him he wished he knew the rule and wasn't going to make any excuses for not knowing it.

Way to man up, McNabb.

Eagles Inept? Yes. Ignorant of the Rules? Apparently So.

Consider the following two quotes from members of the Philadelphia Eagles following their 13-13 tie game with the woeful Cincinnati Bengals yesterday:

This first one comes from quarterback Donovan McNabb, who went 28-of-58 with three interceptions and a fumble:

No one was more surprised than McNabb that it ended so soon -- 3 hours, 46 minutes after the opening kickoff. The 10th-year quarterback thought it would keep going until someone scored, just like a playoff game.

Wrong.

"I didn't know that," said McNabb, who played a leading role in keeping it tied. "I've never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rule book. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie."
The second one comes from the head coach, Andy Reid:
"I've never been in a tie, so I don't know how this works in the standings," coach Andy Reid said. "I know it's not good enough. We need wins, and this is not a win."
He doesn't know how this works?? The quarterback doesn't know that tie games exist in the NFL?? I could have explained these to them when I was in tenth grade! Read about the entire five quarters of Eagles ineptness here.

Verses To Meditate Upon Today

Isaiah 6:1-5

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Preaching We Need To Hear

I was thinking about this last week, and a conversation with a friend on Saturday night reinforced it: What topics are preachers today not preaching about, but really should?

Here is a list of several topics I think preachers in America really need to preach about more often, regardless of how they think their flocks will receive these topics. [Note: This is not intended in any way to be a criticism of my own pastor.]

1. Sin and Salvation; Heaven and Hell. Hell, in particular, is an unpopular topic these days. Yet how many millions came to Christ in part because they did not want to spend an eternity there? Why are we minimizing the fact that damnation in hell for eternity is a very real event that will occur to every man or woman who does not accept Christ's gift of salvation?

Salvation, of course, should be a frequent topic. Just consider how many unsaved people walk into churches every week.

2. Love Not The World (1 John 2:15-17). One of the biggest problems in American Christianity is that we think that God does not care that we want to do what the world and the devil want us to do. This is a lie from Satan himself: That we can be worldly and still please God. No man can serve two masters. No man should try.

3. Certain activities, and in particular certain entertainments, are sins. Not matters of "Christian liberty" or "personal choice;" not matters of taste; they are sins. Swearing is a sin. Intentionally looking at pornography is sin. Watching wicked TV shows and movies is sin. Listening to various kinds of ungodly music is sin. In short, anything that detracts from your testimony and drags others toward worldliness is sin.

Pastors need to name names and get specific. They need to get up and say that watching some of the popular shows and listening to some of the popular artists is wrong—i.e., it is sin—because of what it does for—i.e., against—the cause of Christ. Which brings me to...

4. Modesty is a requirement, not an option. Sad to say, it appears most men either don't tell their wives, don't care, or (worse yet) encourage their wives to be immodest. It seems that most Christian women in America today are willing to show off their cleavage, bellies, backsides, upper legs, and other parts of their bodies that should be reserved for the view of their husbands...or they dress in a way that hints far too strongly about what is there. They appear oblivious to the fact that they are provoking wicked thoughts in the minds of men—and that is sin.

Men are not exempt, either. And a lot of men need to be rebuked for allowing their wives and daughters to dress immodestly.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Take Time To Be Holy

I think the key phrase here is "take time." We are almost all busy (some of us think we are busier than most), but we still must take the responsibility to spend time with God.

The verb seems imperative, as if it were a command. That's appropriate. We are commanded throughout God's Word to pray, to read His Word, to seek His will—and these things do put demands (perfectly justified, I might add) on our time.

As God's children, we ought to love Him enough that we feel pleased, not obligated, to yield that time to Him. These words by William Longstaff should remind us of this.

Take Time To Be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Thought From a Hymn

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Martin Rinkart wrote this hymn in Saxony in 1646 (read it auf Deutsch here) after the Thirty Years War ended, after his city had endured siege, famine, plague, and death, leaving him as the only pastor in the city. The hymn was written for a grand celebration service shortly after the war was over.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good For Them! Catholic Bishops Speak

Even though I am a Baptist (and proud of it), I cannot help but commend the Roman Catholic bishops who are referenced in this article for their outspoken support of an obvious biblical truth: Abortion is unequivocally wrong and sinful.

Here is a portion of that article:

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.

In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.

And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.

"I cannot have a vice president-elect coming to Scranton to say he's learned his values there when those values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church," Martino said.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Diocese of Kansas City in Kansas said politicians "can't check your principles at the door of the legislature."

Naumann has said repeatedly that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic Democrat who supports abortion rights, should stop taking Holy Communion until she changes her stance.

"They cannot call themselves Catholic when they violate such a core belief as the dignity of the unborn," Naumann said Tuesday.

Notice: "accept no compromise on abortion policy." Abortion is murder. It is wrong. It is sin. There is no middle ground or gray area here. It is absolutely morally wrong. Period.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What is a Gentleman?

Today I stole a moment to look at the Collegian Online from my alma mater. I found an article about the University's Artist Series and some etiquette suggestions, which I totally agreed with. The article concluded with a segment titled "What is a gentleman?" I share most of it here:

A gentleman is not just a man who holds open doors for women. He’s not just a man who picks up things that a woman drops or who carries his girlfriend’s bag.

A gentleman is a servant-leader—a man who finds thoughtful ways to show people that they are important to him. He acts confidently, based on what he knows to be right, and his deportment commands the respect of those who know him.

Being a gentleman is not just a way you act toward a woman you are interested in—being a gentleman is a state of mind and a pattern of life.

A man does not magically become a gentleman in one day. He is always seeking to learn how to best express his appreciation and respect for other people.

Especially in his dealings with women, a gentleman is characterized by respect and discernment. He consciously seeks to identify and understand her concerns, making the woman feel comfortable at all times.

A true gentleman accepts the responsibility to react in the way he knows to be right and to constantly strive for greater understanding of this responsibility.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Contemptible, Evil, and Perverse!

It is a troubling day in America, when according to this story, a group of about thirty perverse sodomites entered a church on a Sunday morning and began to...

Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. "Jesus was gay," they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss.
There is more. You can check the link. Where did this happen? San Francisco or some other California den of iniquity? Key West? New York City? No.

It happened in Lansing, Michigan, at the Mount Hope Church.

It is also contemptible that the mainstream media, which would blaze it throughout the western world if a Christian group did something of this sort at a homosexual crowd's meeting, has not picked up on this story. The only other article I could find on the topic is here...and please note, this is an "alternative newspaper." More on this later.

Some Cause For Optimism, If Done Properly...

This article, by Bill Whittle of National Review Online, contains these words of encouragement to those in despair over the recent election returns. Here is an excerpt:

Nowhere have I heard a shred of defeatism or despair. On the contrary. In point of fact, the magnanimity and graciousness I have seen in defeat in so many places on the right tells me that this is an eager and seasoned army, one able to look defeat in the face and own up to the errors in tactics and strategy that got us there. And nowhere do I see a call to abandon our core principles and sue for terms, but rather that our loss was caused precisely by our abandonment of the issues which we hold dear and which have served us so well on battlefields past.

So consider this, my fellows in arms: On Tuesday, the Left — armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip, and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of a historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television, and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months . . . who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded, and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent — that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity . . .

Yielded a result of 53 percent.

Folks, we are going to lick these people out of their boots.

There is much to do. That a man with such overt Marxist ideas and such a history of association with virulent anti-Americans can be elected president should make it crystal clear to each of us just how far we have let fall the moral tone of this Republic. The great lesson from Ronald Reagan was simply that we can and must gently educate as well as campaign, and explain our ideas with smiles on our faces and real joy in our hearts. For unlike the far-left radical who gained the presidency on Tuesday, we start with 150 million of the most free and intelligent and hard-working people in the history of the Earth at our backs, with a philosophy that — unlike theirs, which has resulted in 100 million dead in unmarked graves — has liberated and enriched more people and created more joy than any nation or combination of nations in our history.

And then we will begin, with a confident and happy heart, to examine how we have failed the American people in regard to making clear the moral and philosophical underpinnings of our philosophy. For anyone that fully understands these philosophies, presented calmly and with wit and humility, will come to our side and never leave.

We have tried, and failed. Tomorrow we will try again.

How can we lose, my friends? How can we lose, unless we give up?

Hymn of the Week: The King Is Coming!

With the election of a president this past week, many in America are guaranteeing a new day of grander and better things under a new leader...while others pine that such an opportunity has been missed.

In truth, there is only one leader—a king—The King—who will be guaranteed to usher in a better world: Jesus Christ! Ira D. Sankey wrote this hymn in 1888 about that very King and His coming to earth to set up a kingdom greater and better than all others. This is what men should be waiting for!

The King Is Coming!

Rejoice! Rejoice! our King is coming!
And the time will not be long,
Until we hail the radiant dawning,
And lift up the glad new song.

Refrain

Oh, wondrous day! oh, glorious morning,
When the Son of Man shall come!
May we with lamps all trimmed and burning
Gladly welcome His return!
Rejoice! Rejoice! our King is coming!
And the time will not be long,
Until we hail the radiant dawning,
And lift up the glad new song.

With joy we wait our King’s returning
From His heavenly mansions fair;
And with ten thousand saints appearing
We shall meet Him in the air.

Refrain

Oh, may we never weary, watching,
Never lay our armor down
Until He come, and with rejoicing
Give to each the promised crown.

Refrain

Friday, November 7, 2008

Surely Obama Isn't This Stupid?

Among others, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, of all people, has been named to "serve on a panel of financial luminaries and corporate experts advising President-elect Barack Obama on the nation’s hard-bitten economy, ensuring Michigan, its troubled auto industry and labor has a seat at the table." [From the Detroit Free Press]

So I ask, WHY? What is Obama thinking? This woman has supervised—nay, dictated by her punitive tax-and-spend policies—the single-state recession by which the other 49 states' economies are measured.

The rest of this panel consists of usual democratic tax-and-spend-policy types, several from the Clinton administration. Former U.S. Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) has also been named to the panel.

Some of us spent the past year saying, "If you like what Granholm has done for Michigan, you will love what Obama [or Hillary] will do for America." I still believe this. And I don't like the thought. Granholm has been a disaster for Michigan.

The Matesevac Family of Blogs Grows Again

Now it's a set: My brother Adam has started his own blog, too: Punditry From the Great One. The link to his blog is at right.

Like my brother Peter and myself, expect good, solid commentary on political and religious matters.

There are no other siblings in our family...but if any of my other kin start a good blog, I'll link them to this site, too!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pray For Your Country, Your Leaders, and Michigan

The only word I can come up with is "disaster."

McCain lost. Badly.

U.S. Senate and House seats were lost. Here in Michigan, the only two close races both were won by negative, lying Democrats.

In Michigan, both Proposal 1 (legalizing medical marijuana) and Proposal 2 (legalizing embryonic stem cell research) won.

Cliff Taylor, a great man running for Supreme Court Justice, got whipped.

Carl Levin won another term handily.

Here in Michigan, it looks dismal. Democrats took the biggest majority in the state house that they have had in decades. (Thankfully, the Senate was not up for re-election; GOP has a slight majority there.)

The upshot of all of this: Our leaders are now chosen. Pray for them, that they will seek God's will, and make wise decisions. There will be a lot of electoral planning for the next two years, but we must pray anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Would You Vote For This Man?

I wouldn't. I do not know him. I do not live in his county (he's running for a second term as a Kalamazoo County Commissioner). Until recently, I did not even realize what party he claims. However, his signs are exceptionally annoying; I drive by both of these daily.

And for crying out loud—if your spelling is that bad, you shouldn't hold public office...regardless of the party you claim.

The pictures are here. Notice that his name is spelled differently in the two pictures, also!

Verses For Today

Daniel 4:3: How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

Daniel 4:37: Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Is our testimony to say—publicly—things like this?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Faith Is The Victory

I John 5:4b: ...and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
No matter who wins the elections Tuesday, there will still be a God.

No matter who wins the elections Tuesday, we still have a responsibility—and a privilege—to put our faith in Him.

No matter who wins the elections Tuesday, we recognize that at the heart of it all, our battles are foremost spiritual battles, and not electoral ones.

And no matter who wins on Tuesday, we recognize that victory comes by faith—faith in the God of the Universe Who made us, loves us, guides us, and keeps us. Any one of us can "win" in that battle.

Faith Is The Victory

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Refrain

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

Refrain

On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

Refrain

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.

Refrain

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The MOST Important Reason NOT To Vote For Obama

Romans 14:10b-12
10 ...For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
I also received this timely quote in the e-mail box last week, attributed to one Huntley Brown:
Many of my friends process their identity through their blackness. I process my identity through Christ. Being a Christian (a Christ follower) means He leads I follow. I can't dictate the terms He does because He is the leader.

I can't vote black because I am black; I have to vote Christian because that's who I am. Christian first, black second. Neither should anyone from the other ethnic groups vote because of ethnicity. 200 years from now I won't be asked if I was black or white. I will be asked if I knew Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior.
There will come a day when I, and every other human being who has ever lived, will stand before God. Each of us will give an account of our actions, thoughts, deeds, motives—everything—before the omniscient God of the Universe. Those of us who were eligible American voters on November 4, 2008, will give an account of our actions at the polling place on that day (and that includes those who did not bother to vote).

When I stand (more likely, fall on my face) before God, will I be able to say that I researched the issues, informed myself of the candidates' positions, and then, using the best wisdom He could give me, chose those candidates who best reflected what is right and godly, and who would best lead my country, state, and county?

When I explain to God my votes, will I say that I chose candidates based only on how I thought they might impact my pocketbook, ignoring their records on things like abortion, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, and other issues on which the Bible speaks clearly?

If I vote for Barack Obama because I was displeased with the previous president, or because of the color of my/his skin, or because I thought he would take somebody else's wealth and give it to me—in other words, because of my hatred, shallowness, or greed—will I be ashamed when I give account of this in the holy presence of my God? Or will He say, "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

I will give account to God some day. I cannot vote for Barack Obama.

How To Get Mad...Or At Least Righteously Indignant!

By reading some of today's headlines, of course. All of these come from foxnews.com; you can click the hyperlinks if you want to read more.

In California, a kindergarten teacher had her students sign pledge cards in support of gays. The teacher was one Tara Miller, a teacher at the Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science in Hayward. Even the school acknowledged that the exercise was inappropriate for kindergartners—and in California, that's saying something. Read this one here.

Continuing on the theme of moral perversion, a nudist colony in Florida has requested a clothing-optional polling site. Thankfully, the election supervisor says he has no plans to accommodate them; unfortunately, it's because he doesn't want to carve out any new precincts until after redistricting after the 2010 census. So much for standing on moral principle. Read this one here.

And, of course, prior to the big election, there are those who think America's election officials, already shouldering the great task of ensuring a fair and accurate vote count, are not doing enough to help non-English-speaking citizens vote. This may be one of the biggest reasons why English should be our official language. If you can't read the ballot in English, you should not be casting a vote. If you do not care enough to gain a basic grasp of our language, you do not care enough to be given a say in our leaders. Read this one here.

Those of us who claim to stand for biblical and patriotic values really need to be a bit more stirred up by these sorts of things. It should make us "full of righteous indignation," to use an older phrase, to see such moral depravity and such affronts to our American political system. Yet we so often just shrug our shoulders or quietly mumble, while doing nothing about it.

It's time we stood up and spoke—nay, proclaimed—biblical truth and common sense!