Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thoughts on California, Part 4

It is not easy to find something when driving in Los Angeles.

Exits are marked, of course (Street Ave, 2 mi.). But finding a gas station, or especially a restaurant, we found to be relatively difficult. There are few signs along the expressways advertising anything, much less food. On two separate occasions, we wandered around this big city looking for a place to eat. Very few points of interest were mentioned along the roads, either, compared to other cities I have visited.

We were exceedingly thankful that we brought our TomTom along on the trip. I had pre-entered all the addresses we knew we would need to have. Even so, the TomTom seemed to compensate for California roads by telling us on many occasions to "stay in the left lane," which was a fancy way of saying, "Don't take the exit." And we still made a few wrong turns.

Additional signage would be of great benefit both for general directions (Take Rt. XX to Anaheim) and for restaurants (Next exit: McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) and gas stations.

Of course, when you're wandering around in a new convertible, it's not so bad.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thoughts on California, Part 3

Earthquakes. Another reason I am glad I went to California last week, and not this week!

And it's another reason I am glad to live in another state of the union.

John Edwards—Have You Heard? reported a couple days ago that John Edwards was cornered by National Enquirer reporters in a Beverly Hills hotel, in the middle of the night, after spending several hours in the hotel room of one Rielle Hunter and her (reportedly, "their") child. The Enquirer story has already been released, and they claim to have additional photos not yet shared with the general public. And unlike many of the Enquirer's "stories," this one seems to have some journalistic merit to it.

So why has this gotten Zero coverage from the mainstream media...the same mainstream media that howls at any sniff of scandal, real or imagined, from most other politicians [esp. GOP politicians]? One very interesting scenario (of several) came from this article. I share the quote here:

And if journalists try to defend their lack of interest by saying that they just don’t believe the story, they could start by asking themselves if an innocent man, who had already been accused of having a love child with this woman in December, would arrange to spend several hours with her late at night alone in a hotel room? And would he then rush into a bathroom to avoid reporters? And would he then issue non-denials by condemning tabloids but refusing to answer why he was visiting the woman in the first place or whether he was indeed the father of her baby? Is that how an innocent man would act if the woman was, as the cover story goes, just the woman who had an affair with one of his aides?
I agree—this is not how the innocent would act. The innocent would simply issue a vehement denial and probably give their alibi for the evening. Edwards, to my knowledge, has not done this. It will be interesting to see where this story goes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Church Short-term Missions Trips: God's Work?

In this interesting Washington Post article, its staff writer takes a hard look at the burgeoning popularity among all stripes of Christianity in the "short-term missions trip." As the leader of two such trips (to Staten Island, NYC) in 2003 and 2004, and a participant on another in 2007, I read it with great interest. And sad to say, she makes some good points.

My thesis for some time has been that many "short-term missions trips," including most of those which primarily use teens, are little more than glorified vacations with enough "work" thrown in to be able to advertise them as such. [Side note: Why do so many summer missions trips for teens go to Caribbean islands or are in the proximity of beaches? Are there more sinners there? Are these people more needy for the Gospel, or more worthy of it? I speak with tongue in cheek...but it is still a serious question.]

Here are a few statistics and quotes from the article:

"They helped build homes and refurbish churches as part of an army of more than 1 million mostly Christians who annually go on short-term international mission trips to work and evangelize in poverty-stricken lands."

"Despite the concerns with trips abroad, their popularity is soaring. Some groups go as far away as China, Thailand and Russia. From a few hundred in the 1960s, the trips have proliferated in recent years. A Princeton University study found that 1.6 million people took short-term mission trips -- an average of eight days -- in 2005. Estimates of the money spent on these trips is upward of $2.4 billion a year. Vacation destinations are especially popular: Recent research has found that the Bahamas receives one short-term missionary for every 15 residents."

"At the same time, the number of long-term American missionaries, who go abroad from several years to a lifetime, has fallen, according to a Wheaton College study done last year."
[All emphasis mine. Are all the Bahamians saved yet?]
So it's popular. I have gotten a number of letters from people over the past several years asking for financial support of the trip they are taking (this topic of support-raising is the subject of another blog entry some day), and have decided to limit contributions to my own church members or to close relatives whose motives I know and whose church I agree with.

Here are several issues and what I see as wise ways to deal with them:
  • Short-term missions trips should be organized with major input from the person on the ground at the destination. Apparently, from nearly everything I have read, this is not always the case. It makes sense to follow the lead of the person who knows the most about the situation. And if that person doesn't know much...why would you go?
  • Not everyone who has/obtains/raises the money should go on such a trip. Those who are spiritually immature, or who lack skills relevant to the trip, should remain behind and pray for (and support) those who go. When I took the two groups to NYC, I wanted spiritual college students who could teach elementary and junior high children. And that's who was recruited, and who went. Which brings me to...
  • Trips involving teens (and many involving adults) should be preceded by significant, substantial training in both the spiritual and cultural matters attendant to their trip. Those who do not show a servant's spirit, spiritual growth, or who are not willing to have a proper attitude toward the culture should not attend—these people will detract from the mission, and be easily used of Satan to thwart God's work.
  • Short-term missions trips are a privilege—not a rite of passage, an adventure, a birthright, or a fun getaway. They must be treated this way. Want thrills? Go to Cedar Point.
  • Those who go on these trips should be examined and deemed worthy by their church; trips organized by para-church organizations should determine whether the individuals' churches support them. It is folly to send the spiritually immature—or the outright carnal—to do God's work, and it is more folly to spend God's resources that way. Which brings me to...
  • The church of the individual being sent should offer financial support, if they feel the individual is worthy of it. The person could decline such support, if they already feel they should use their own resources for the trip (some believe this as a matter of conscience, and I certainly can't argue with them); but if the individual is worthy while the church won't support them, there is a problem somewhere.
It would seem that with all of these people going on missions trips, that there would be many more stories of God's working in this world. I know that there are a percentage of these trips which are done wisely and are blessed by God with the results He and we want. But I also see a sizable percentage which are a poor use of the church's resources, and many which include the participation of those who are not spiritual. Let us not use our churches' resources foolishly—let us encourage missionary work by the Spirit-minded in cooperation with the missionaries and churches at the destination. God can use this for His glory.

BJU Sets Yet Another Record!

According to this Greenville news article, the alma mater has made its way into the Guinness book again! See the text below:

Bob Jones University has made its way into the Guinness Book of Records for the second time.

The Guinness folks have told school officials that its November 2007 kazoo ensemble broke the previous record set a year earlier in Rochester, N.Y.

BJU assembled 3,800 students, staff and friends at Alumni Stadium on Nov. 17, 2007, during the annual Turkey Bowl soccer championship, according to a press statement from the school.

The halftime entertainment at the event was the kazoo challenge, when participants performed the melody to The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Then student Mark Lopez came up with the kazoo idea, including consultation with Barbara Stewart, author of the book The Complete How to Kazoo and a member of the five-piece Kazoophony quartet.

Lopez is now a graduate assistant at BJU.

The school also holds the Guinness record for the largest gathering of Christmas Carolers, set in December 2004.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thoughts on California, Part 2

Before going to California last week, I was told by several who had already been there that driving on L.A. freeways was, to put it kindly, adventurous. I wasn't particularly worried about this; since I have relatives who live in NYC, I have driven there on many occasions—and that could be described as "adventurous," too.

We put nearly three hundred miles on that Mustang we rented (see Part 1, below); of course, much of that was on freeways. Here are some observations:

  • The basic driving manners of LA and NYC drivers are essentially equal: Inconsistent use of turn signals, quasi-random lane changes, general desire to go as fast as possible, etc. The primary difference between the two is that LA drivers have more room to maneuver. Many LA freeways have 5-6 lanes in each direction; NYC is generally limited to 3.
  • Traffic jams are common in both cities and can happen on any freeway at any time.
  • Parking in either city is not cheap.
  • Los Angeles: 300 miles, no tolls. Enough said.
  • The most obvious difference? The typical NYC car is a beater—if it gets a few new scratches today, it will annoy the owner but not otherwise affect his day too much. [There are in NYC the exceptional sports cars, BMW's, etc, but they are indeed exceptions.] The typical LA car is much newer, and scratches on it would probably trigger severe unhappiness. There is a much higher percentage of newer cars, convertibles, sports cars, etc. in LA. I also think there are more foreign cars, too. VW bugs seemed ubiquitous.
  • Second most obvious difference: LA motorcyclists are more common, and will generally carve out a lane between lanes, passing between two vehicles not 4 feet apart to get by them, if so desired...and it seemed a frequent desire at any speed less than the speed limit. NYC motorcyclists recognize that this is a sure path to suicide, and generally only do it if the traffic is it does happen somewhat regularly, come to think of it.

Hymn of the Week: Nearer, Still Nearer

This is one of those songs that ought to be in every hymnal. It beautifully describes the relationship we should have with Christ—a desire to be ever nearer to Him, coupled with a humility that recognizes His rightful place. We have nothing indeed to bring that would enrich Christ; we have only sin and pride which we need His help to remove.

Meditate on these words written by Lelia Morris.

Nearer, Still Nearer

Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior, so precious Thou art;
Fold me, O fold me close to Thy breast,
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest,
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an offering to Jesus my King;
Only my sinful, now contrite heart:
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart,
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.

Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine,
Sin, with it's follies, I gladly resign,
All of its pleasures , pomp and its pride:
Give me but Jesus, my Lord, crucified,
Give me but Jesus, my Lord, crucified.

Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last,
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages ever to be,
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee,
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obscure Music Quote of the Day

"Winning's a habit, not only a dream."

—From that classic 1970's hit, the Steelers Polka.

Just a season is coming soon!

Thoughts on 1 Samuel 25:32-33

32 ¶ And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
These words were spoken after Nabal, Abigail's husband, refused to give David and his men any provisions; after David and his men set off to kill Nabal and his household, Abigail defuses the situation by bringing supplies. For this, David gives these blessings.

There are three: First, of course, he blesses the "Lord God of Israel." It is appropriate that He comes first.

The third blessing is reserved for the woman who kept him from shedding the blood of Nabal's household.

But the second blessing is upon her "advice." This struck me as being a bit odd, as blessings are usually given to people or to God. I also looked up the word "blessed" in two Hebrew lexicons and discovered that it also has the idea of kneeling in some contexts (Abigail had bowed to the ground when she came into David's presence—and he is saying this to her). The word "advice" has several meanings, including "judgment," "understanding," and "reason."

Putting it all together, David humbly blesses her decision. Wisdom is worthy of blessing, and it is worthwhile to bless it, to pray for its multiplication, and to share it with others.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thoughts on California, Part 1

For the first time in my life, I got to go to California this week. It was a busy, enjoyable, whirlwind three-day trip. On the whole, it went very well.

I usually don't use my blog to recount my own experiences, but some were so interesting that I deemed them worth sharing.

Driving certainly is worth mentioning. We took the Hertz bus from the airport terminal to the pick-up location nearby. I had already reserved an Economy-class vehicle ("Hyundai Accent or similar"). The clerk dutifully tried to talk me into an upgrade, but made it easy: For an extra $5 per day, we could have a Ford Mustang convertible! So we decided that we'd take the Mustang.

And then it improves from there: I turn the key (first mission: to put the top down), and the odometer has the following number on it:


And I notice that there a few pieces of plastic that haven't been removed yet (notice carefully the steering wheel in the photo)...and the floor mats still in the trunk, encased in plastic. We are the first to rent this vehicle. We get to cruise around southern California in a brand new black Mustang convertible for three beautiful weather...with the top down most of the time. God is good!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hymn of the Week: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

This hymn highlights in many ways our proper response to the lordship of Jesus Christ:

  • The first and the next-to-last verses remind us that we ought to fall "prostrate" at his feet. Our pride is not comfortable with such a suggestion, but if our spirit is where God wants it to be, this will be a natural response.
  • HE is to be "lord of all." Not you, not me, nor any other person—Jesus Christ is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. We are but servants.
  • HE is to be crowned, an indication that we are to place the crown of authority upon Him...a figurative picture of yielding submission to Him.
I wrote in an earlier blog entry a number of truths about the "name of Jesus." It is interesting to me that one of the Ten Commandments is not to take His name (for He is our God) in vain (Ex. 20:7). His name is above all names; it is powerful. Our responsibility is to "hail" it, to glorify it, to share it with others, telling of the One to Whom that name belongs.

All of the verses except the last were written by Edward Perronet in the late 1700's; the final verse was added a few years later by John Rippon. As with many hymns, it contains more verses than "fit" into a hymnal, so please enjoy and meditate on the unfamiliar stanzas as well as the familiar ones.

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let highborn seraphs tune the lyre, and as they tune it, fall
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light, who fixed this floating ball;
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God, who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line, whom David Lord did call,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget the wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Democrat Hypocrisy

These two comics were sent in an e-mail from a friend, and concisely illustrate the consistent, shallow hypocrisy of liberal Democrats who are better at criticizing than getting constructive progress made.

And for the record, President Bush has taken the right stand on both of these issues.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Demolition Video...In Style!

It may be that nowhere else, besides my alma mater, could a demolition video be done with the style and flair of this one.

Bob Jones University is replacing the lobby area of Rodeheaver Auditorium this year. The "front" end of the building has been torn off (the subject of the video), to be replaced by a much larger lobby and facade. I am sure it will be a great improvement to the structure.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MLB Trivia Fact

Today's MLB All-Star game at Yankee Stadium is the first time since 2000 that the game is being played at a ballpark NOT named for a corporation.

And the 2000 game was played at Turner Field in Atlanta. The 1999 game was at Fenway Park in Boston.

Monday, July 14, 2008

On The Proper Use of Satire

The above New Yorker magazine just came out. Here are the reactions:

The Obama camp spokesperson referred to it as "tasteless and offensive," among other things. (See this article)

John McCain's campaign also referred to it as "tasteless and offensive." [Side note: I am getting worried that the two of them are sounding far too much alike sometimes.]

The New Yorker released this statement: "The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover."

The New Yorker's stated intent is to parody the various stories circulating about Obama: That he is a closet Muslim, that his wife is a black radical, etc.; their claim is that by caricaturing these things, they will show the ridiculousness of what is circulating. In that sense, they are within their rights.

On the other hand, the Obama camp's outrage is understandable, as more people will actually see the cover and assume that the cover is factual, than will actually read the article themselves. After all, the New Yorker is a well-established and reliable publication, is it not? And nothing on that cover clearly states that this is parody or satire.

And, of course, if it were me running for president, the magazine's cover would probably show something resembling the Inquisition (Baptist-style, no doubt) with me as the potentate-in-charge, condemning homosexuals and abortion doctors to die. Or something like that. And I would be pretty ticked off.

So as difficult as it is for me to admit, I must give just a little sympathy to Obama on this one. Unless the New Yorker can document what it caricatures, it needs to be more responsible regarding its artwork.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Springs of Living Water

This past week I spent some time roofing a house. And when the afternoon sun came out, there's just one thing to say: It was hot up there!

And when the time came to take a drink, that felt good. Refreshing. Satisfying.

But after a little more time, another drink was necessary. It would also feel good, and refreshing, and satisfying.

Compare that to what Christ said in John 4:14: "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Once we are saved, and have that salvation which is so often compared to "living water," we will not thirst again. Salvation [what we theologically refer to as "eternal security"] is a once-for-all-time matter. It is "refreshing" to know that we can always trust in this.

But, if one does not accept the living water freely offered to all, he will go to a place where there is no respite from the heat, and no quenching of thirst.

These words are by John W. Peterson.

Springs of Living Water

I thirsted in the barren land of sin and shame.
And nothing satisfying there I found.
But to the blessed cross of Christ one day I came.
Where springs of living water did abound.

Drinking at the springs of living water
Happy now am I
My soul they satisfy
Drinking at the springs of living water
Oh wonderful and bountiful supply

How sweet the living water from the hills of God.
It makes me glad and happy all the way.
Now glory, grace and blessing mark the path I've trod.
I'm shouting "Hallelujah" every day.


O sinner won't you come today to calvary.
A fountain there is flowing deep and wide.
The Saviour now invites you to the water free.
Where thirsting spirits can be satisfied.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another Hysterical Video

Click here to learn what it means to "speak Democrat." This is an enlightening look at what politicians of that party really mean when they are speaking.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Disappointing News

From this article we learn that

"Between 2005 and 2006, the number of teenage girls between the ages 15 to 17 having babies rose by more than 5,700 to 138,920, from a record low of 133,138, according to an annual report on the health and well-being of children and teens published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics."
In addition to this sad bit of news, we got the following cluster of facts:
"— The number of babies born to unwed mothers continues to increase. In 2006, 38 percent of all births were to unmarried women, up from 37 percent in 2005. The percentage of children under age 18 living with two married parents fell from 77 percent in 1980 to 68 percent in 2007. The percentage of unmarried births to women in their 20s tripled, from 19 to 58 percent for women ages 20 to 24 and from 9 to 31 percent for women ages 25 to 29. The percentage of births to unmarried women in their 30s more than doubled from 8 to 18 percent"
Immorality, as it has been since the Creation, is still a sin. And the "fruit" of immorality must live with its consequences, which are highlighted by the fact that 32% of children under age 18 are living with fewer than two parents. That's nearly one in three. This is very sad...and it does not bode well for the future of our country. [I wonder when the presidential candidates will address this? It's a whole lot more important than whether we drill offshore for oil, isn't it?]

America needs a revival, followed by a turning from sin. Then these statistics will approach the 0% level—where they should be.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Like Lowe's, But...

After having little reason to enter the store for quite awhile, I have been to Lowe's three times in the past two weeks. I enjoy going to Lowe's: They sell things I like, and generally at good prices. But....

My last trip entailed a brief wait at the customer service desk. It wasn't a red-letter day for the CS staff; they looked a bit haggard...but that's beside the point. While I was waiting for my special order purchase to arrive at the counter, I looked around and saw that every single sign in the store had one or more subtitles in Spanish (and perhaps other languages as well). Terms like "Electronics," "Window coverings," and "Tool World" (which is a much longer phrase in Spanish) were in Spanish also; greetings like "Thank you for shopping with us" also contained something in Spanish below—presumably a translation.

The only exception was the company's website address, which is pan-lingual, apparently.

This is America, specifically West Michigan. I still think an official language, English, would be both appropriate and practical.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Element Discovered!

This from an e-mail from a friend....

Research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.


Hymn of the Week: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Where better to be?

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide
And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Book Review: "Calvin Coolidge" by David Greenberg

Calvin Coolidge is one of those presidents who, to most, is deemed to have been a trivial president. The slightly more astute will realize that he is the only president to have the birthdate of July 4, 136 years ago today.

But he was neither a trivial president nor as "silent" as many believe. He was indeed a reserved man, but his contributions were important in their day. He may not have led the country through war or other great trial, but he did lead, and was an immensely popular leader.

Greenberg's book is a well-written look at the life of this man. For those who want a scholarly but not cumbersome look at him, this is the book to get. The book gives a well-balanced view of his life, neither overly favorable nor critical; and focusing neither on the 1920's alone nor exclusively on our day.

Coolidge was a Republican, and what we today would call a conservative. Ronald Reagan hung his portrait in the White House (note: Reagan was a teenager while Coolidge was president). Toward the end of this book comes this interesting quotation:

"In his fourth annual address to Congress, on December 7, 1926, he issued a call 'for reducing, rather than expanding, government bureaus which seek to regulate and control the business activities of the people.' To the objection that workers, consumers, and other citizens needed safeguards, the president replied, 'Unfortunately, human nature cannot be changed by an act of the legislature....It is too much assumed that because an abuse exists it is the business of the national government to remedy it.'" (p. 131)
Some things never change.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Words on Modesty

As I have three young daughters, I am constantly on the lookout for wise words on this topic; I have a God-given duty to fight the strong tides of this world on the subject.

The following quotation comes from Holly Stratton and is found here on the Sharper Iron website.

In spite of the challenges outlined in this article, a more important and poignant message is that the path of modesty is paved with the glorious Gospel of Christ. As the truth of His grace fills the heart of a Christian woman, she will develop a mind of sobriety that will find her setting “her affection on things above” (Col. 3:2). The more she is consumed with the fact that her nakedness has been covered with robes of righteousness, the more she will desire to physically clothe herself in a manner that will richly—and not skimpily—demonstrate that covering. As she grows in grace, she will begin to more fully understand that, as a redeemed child of God, her clothing represents more than a physical covering. She will develop a shamefaced attitude that comes from a heart that remains keenly aware that the shame of her sin was covered by the precious blood of her beloved Savior, a covering she was unable to procure for herself. A yearning to “conceal, not reveal” will grow within her heart as she gains deeper understanding of that marriage, a beautiful picture of the Gospel that has covered her sin, offering the one venue where her nakedness can be shamelessly exposed. This truth will drive her to joyfully preserve herself for a holy union she will cherish whether she is married or not.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Scripture For Today

This comes from the book of Ruth, chapter 3:

11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Need Motivation? Meet Capt. Ivan Castro

I don't know about you, but I get weary of hearing yellow-spined Americans criticize the military—an organization with individuals far more competent, in general, than those same yellow-spined folks.

And then you read this story about Capt. Ivan Castro, a man who fought bravely with special forces in Iraq, who was the victim of mortar fire back in September 2006. In addition to breaking his arm and shoulder and shredding the left side of his face, he lost all vision in both eyes. He is now totally blind.

So what did he do? He set higher goals. And he remained in the Special Forces.

Of course, he cannot go into combat again. But he is actively involved in the mission of Special Forces at Fort Bragg, NC. He works hard. He is admired. He does his duty well.

He most certainly did not quit. He goes to the gym and works out, and he has run marathons in the past couple years. He is friendly and outgoing.

The article ends with this anecdote about him presiding over the promotion of another soldier:

"Affixing the new soldier's rank to his uniform, Castro urged the soldier to perform two ranks higher. In the Special Forces, he said, one has to go above and beyond what is asked — advice he lives by.

"I want to be treated the same way as other officers," Castro said. "I don't want them to take pity over me or give me something I've not earned."

If only everyone lived this way!