Saturday, June 29, 2013


(Ephesians 6:10-12) Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.  (6:11) Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  (6:12) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].   

Years ago, when I still participated in several online community forums, I developed a defensive skill of conflict avoidance; I simply refused to be drawn into argument, especially when the topic was anything to do with politics or religion. It was clear for me that nothing is ever resolved, no one ever changes opinion and/or POV by engaging in a flame war (as it is dubbed in web-world conversation nomenclature). I came to understand, in the setting of typed anonymity, humans will boldly expose their deepest biases and opinions, however skewed, while hiding behind the secure protection of a fictitious avatar. 

When you expose yourself to the wild wild west of online thought exchange, you must accept that you are plugged into all manner of cultural/social perspectives that you might not otherwise experience within the confines of your real life. Learning when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em is a valuable tool for maintaining your equilibrium. 

I can’t claim that I always folded in the face of conflict but even when I stepped outside my own rule, either because I was blind-sided and drawn in or because I felt that I simply could not remain silent, I never believed that I had budged anyone off of any stance. Ever. In fact, especially in the instances when I was suckered into a hot topic by someone who lives and breathes to debate, I usually came out on the other side wounded and disabled doing more damage to my side than if I had shut up at the get go. 

I recall one time in particular when a fellow forumite, an avowed atheist, bated me by claiming that all wars could be contributed directly to religion in general and Christianity in particular. I couldn’t let that go unchallenged so I responded that not all religions exist for God’s sake and certainly not all who claim to be Christians are actually followers of Christ. Boldly I added that God always keeps a remnant though who are mandated to suffer sometimes at the hands of non-Christians. And then I stepped over the line and continued that the day was coming when true Christians would be persecuted in the US, just as they are in other countries.

I will always imagine her grinning from ear to ear as she typed her acerbic reply, “So, in what ways are YOU being persecuted?” The ah-ha-gotcha moment! Realizing I had been had, I responded that I am not being persecuted, and was speaking of a time in the future.  Lame, lame, lame. 

That was nearly ten years ago and I’ve been long gone from that and indeed any forum, so to point out that in one short decade, the war on Christianity globally and particularly in the US is upon us is moot now. I take little comfort in being proven right. And, in the end, it doesn’t matter, I doubt this person would see what is happening before our very eyes as persecution of Christianity but rather justice meted out against those evil religious myth mongers who have led the world into chaos. 

All this is to say, as everything seems to be moving more rapidly toward the inevitable, I am sobered to realize that a day is fast approaching where those who hear and see the truth will be called upon to stand up and stand out. Choosing to avoid conflict will not be the correct call. Knowing when to speak and when to remain silent is the beginning of wisdom. Speaking out or taking an unpopular stand when you can’t be held accountable or reap consequences is not brave. Neither is holding your opinion for fear of retribution either. 

The agenda is now openly attacking and undermining all Christian-based values to the cheers of the majority. Diversity and inclusion has been redefined to mean, anything  and everything is acceptable so long as it isn’t Christian. The war cry is to become a clone indiscernible from anyone else in the majority, pushing forward to the great day when morality as dictated by religion is stamped out and humans can enjoy their lives with no restrictions in the new Utopia. This is forcing the Remnant to identify itself, declare its individuality and separation from the adopted new normal, regardless the risk. 

It portends to get worse before it gets better, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet. Without a shot fired, the war has been declared and those who deem themselves to be willing to stand for Christ are soon to discover what the words “tribulation” and “persecution” really mean. 

While this sounds hopelessly bleak, there’s a bright spot in this prediction, and it comes from having faith that no matter what someone might do to our bodies, there is nothing they can do to our souls. That’s a promise. 

Do not fear standing out as Christ-like. Having done all, just stand–but don’t forget the armor. 

For Christ,

(Ephesians 6:13-18) Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.  (6:14) Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  (6:15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  (6:16) withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil [one].  (6:17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  (6:18) with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Farewell to Simple

Apparently, I’m officially old now. I've reached the place where the world is moving on faster than I can complete last week's learning curve for the newest technological breakthrough. For example, I still use email, which I understand has come to be too formal, cumbersome and slow for the younger generation. That describes me perfectly–too formal, cumbersome–and slow. Furthermore, I am so left behind not only do I not grasp the importance of social media communication, I am quite sure there is no point in my trying to understand it so I consciously choose to just say no. The consequence of this decision immediately delegates me to the curb in a cloud of digital dust. However, while others find great enlightenment from the immediate whereabouts, movements and thoughts of others on any given minute responding to the question, "what are you doing?" this makes me feel invaded, not appreciated. And why on earth would anyone wish to know these things about me minute to minute? Conversely, why would I want to know what someone else is doing right now, even someone I love dearly?

Regardless, though I am an old relic whose relevance is in the long ago past, I still have clear understanding of some things and I'm not afraid to share, here in this outdated complex mode of communication that I had to type using correct form and grammar and more than 140 characters. For example, I know that while human beings need social interaction they do not fully blossom individually without opportunities to be completely alone for periods of time daily, wherein one can sort and file the most recently acquired information. High brain function requires downtime to build strong neuron paths. Perhaps the epidemic disorder of sleeplessness is directly relatable to the brain forced to do its filing late at night when the body is unplugged.
I am reminded of a tried and true axiom that says, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I equate this to mean that simple is very often the best way to do something but nowadays simple is redefined. Whereas simple used to mean uncomplicated now it is viewed as automatic or instant or effortless or hands-free or condensed. Not the same thing, really. 
Simple is walking up to my non-electronically operated trash can and opening the lid, (remember the innovation of the foot peddle?) throwing in the trash, closing the lid and walking away. Simple is flipping on a light switch. Unsimple is walking into a room that has a motion sensor in the light switch and the light ticks on and then ticks off ten seconds later, leaving me in the dark, bobbing back and forth, dancing up and down trying to coax the light switch to turn on again.
Simple is creating a bookmark for a blog I like to read everyday. Unsimple is clicking on the "subscribe" RSS FEED button to see what it means and finding the same blog in another form - condensed. But I just read it in the original form so why do I need to subscribe to another way to read it? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. What is more simple than clicking a bookmark and opening a website? Surely I am missing something.
People love and are even addicted to the instant communication thing thus instant equals simple in today's high speed, get-it-now society. I admit I like email, as outdated as it is. It's a great tool and time saver. But it has its limits too which are all directly related to humanness, tone of voice and verbal delivery. All this leaves me to worry about the dissolution of true simple. Are we losing more than we are gaining? Digital information is quick and accessible but is it always what we need to stay balanced as we advance? When I see kids with earphones listening to their music or playing video games I have to ask what is happening to the brain when the same loop of information is being pumped into the head for hours? Is there any room for contemplative/innovative thought? 
If we are never exposed to genuine simple doing, are we losing basic problem solving skills? We appear to be more connected and yet people feel more and more disconnected from living human interaction because the old simple way of communication involving one-on-one in the same room, not on a digital devise, satisfactorily met many basic human needs simultaneously. 
Have mental disorders increased dramatically because we are replacing simple human touch with digital communication?
One more thing, if we are sucked into the vortex of the concept that all online retail businesses, news reporting agencies and blogs really really want us, you and me personally, to LIKE them on Facebook, to share our opinions and join in discussion with other total strangers about products and services, are we not being systematically reformatted? Are we not being so completely occupied with minutia that we forget how to think as complex intelligent, logical individuals? Is it really about us or commerce? I believe in capitalism but never confuse the vehicle for a free market for crass soul destroying materialism. 
This is what I know for sure: no one wants my opinion, not really. If someone truly wants to know what I am thinking and doing minute to minute there surely is a dark hidden agenda involved. They either want to determine my loyalties,  or they want my time, and/or my money. Under no circumstances do they wish to consider or count my opinion because, for one thing, I still allow my brain quiet time everyday which feeds and maintains my clear, simple vision. 
In my clear vision I see that social twitter is a diversion with a not so simple purpose and is in no way advancing our civilization at all; we are rapidly becoming a mindless society, reprogrammed to allow machines do what our brains used to do, well on our way to robotic thinking, robotic living–completely void of soul–easily manipulated by the man behind the curtain pulling the levers. 
My simple advice: Just say no while you still can.
For Christ,

(Romans 12:2) And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Semantics Tactics

semantics |səˈmantiks|
pluralnoun [ usu. treated as sing. ]
the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text: such quibbling over semantics may seem petty stuff.

It’s interesting to note that the terms ‘liberalism’ and ‘conservatism’ have been redefined more than once in the course of American political history. While it’s true that Kirk put his brand on the concept of conservatism, because he was a respected icon in his time, I see the whole topic as an issue of evolving semantics.

My parents were both registered democrats because, in their day, ‘democrat’ stood for individual rights and the ‘party of the people’.  Over time, as often happens, this has morphed and the ideology along with it. Few people know that during the American Civil War, it was the ‘republicans’ that stood for ending slavery. So all this is to say, words, in human language, are easily commandeered to mean different, if not opposite things, while the masses still cling to the meaning they were taught and do not see that the new meaning has swept them out to sea with the changing tide. It’s the oldest trick in Satan’s playbook and a strategy that seems to work every time. 

What really matters is not how words and labels in modern language are manipulated but something more subtle at play that most are not paying attention to. This is where I perceive that human nature factors in more significantly. Words come and go, and their meanings change along the way, but human nature never changes. How many words are nearly forbidden now because they have been hi-jacked by the new Sensibilities Culture? The old childhood chant ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ has been officially retired as useless nowadays. If your feelings are hurt, you now have an entire ideology to defend you and pound the offender into submission for having misspoken.

For the past several years I have been involved in a profoundly interesting project requiring deep research into what Dr. Robert Hare calls the ‘disturbing world of the psychopaths among us’ in his book, Without Conscience. What I have learned about psychopathy in general and Anti-Social Personality Disorder in particular has led me to a startling conclusion: there are many ways to categorize the human condition but the simplest is that all humans fall into one of three broad categories, those who wish to dominate others, those who do not mind being dominated and actually prefer it, and those who wish to be neither a dominator or dominated. Psychopaths easily fall into the first category and often rise to power in one way or another over the masses, those who fall into the second group, who do not wish to think for themselves and are easily duped and quickly willing to trade individual freedom for security. This is easily accomplished with good sounding words, tried and true rhetoric. 

The last, third group, comprised of the smallest number, are those who have no desire to tell anyone else what to do or how to be, and resent those from the first category who attempt to impose their will on everyone else. 

This is significant because it is from these three categories that humans choose how to live and how they align themselves in every facet of life including relationships, religion and politics.  The first group easily coaxes the second group into a state I refer to as Group Think. The third group is not so easily corralled and therefore is always a thorn in the side of the first group but because the third group is not bent toward dominating or forcing anyone else to see things the way they do, they have little influence over the masses in the second group and often are ill-equipped to stand up to the first group.

Conclusion: the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are just names of hats that the first group wear interchangeably as they wrestle with each other for power over the other two groups. 

Within the ranks of the third group there are those who know by wisdom gained from studying history that the bold tactics of the first group always help them win some battles upfront, but in the end it is the emptiness, the immorality and the godlessness of those tactics that cause the inevitable implosion. Time after time history repeats itself.  

Is it possible we have reached the final go round and those in the third group should just simply wait quietly for those in the first group to destroy themselves?

Courage is just fear that has said its prayers.

For Christ,

God's redemptive providence is always at work, even through the most diabolical schemes and actions.... So, take heart, my friend. God is in full control. Nothing is happening on earth that brings a surprise to heaven. Nothing is outside the scope of His divine radar screen as He guides us safely home. Things that seem altogether confusing, without reason, unfair, even wrong, do indeed fit into the Father's providential plan.  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. ~ Charles Swindoll-Bedside Blessings

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I think about my dad on Father’s Day. He died in 1979. For most of his life, he worked six days a week, ten hours a day, selling men’s shoes. When I was a child, in Houston, he rode a bus to town and home again, leaving the family car for my mother to use. On Sundays, his only day off, he took us to church in the morning, then, after lunch, spent the early afternoon cutting the thick St. Augustine grass with a hand push mower. He finished the job by meticulously, laboriously, edging with a sharpened shovel. Next, he washed and waxed the car, by hand. That done, he made repairs to our house or worked on an ongoing project, like building a brick barbecue pit. He always whistled as he worked, happy to be outside in the sun and fresh air. He claimed it was detoxifying to work up a sweat. I followed him around like a pesky puppy asking questions he always had time to answer. He taught me how to soap a screw so it would slip into dense wood like it was butter. He taught me how to drive a nail, straight and true. There is a tall Texas pine tree in the back yard of my old childhood home forever fortified with pounds of ten penny nails.

When he had completed his tasks, he took a shower, made himself a Tom Collins hi-ball and sat down to enjoy a late afternoon baseball game on TV. His pleasure and sense of self-satisfaction was palpable. Sometimes, at our begging, he would forego the game and take us to Stewart beach, an hour away in Galveston, for a romp in the salty Gulf breakers. Returning home, after dark, sand wedged between our toes and plastered miserably in our swimsuits, we’d all fall out of the car in a mad competitive dash for the one bathroom, leaving him behind to clean up. I have no memories of him complaining about anything, except maybe never being able to find his nails and screws. 

He wasn’t an overtly religious man, but he taught me the Lord’s Prayer. He wasn’t an educated man, but he loved numbers and he insisted that I learn my multiplication tables by heart, and practiced with me after dinner every night until I knew them upside down and backwards. It was his gentle patience and ability to communicate with me within the framework of my learning zone, that made it possible for me to finally understand the complex mysteries of fractions. This was a teaching skill my college-educated fourth grade teacher did not own. Until recently, I have never thought of these memories in the context of time expended. But now I wonder, when did he have time to do all these things? 

There is a lot of discussion, nowadays, about good parenting and what skills, instinctual or acquired, define a good parent. The emphasis primarily centering on time spent with children. Mothers, typically, have always understood the importance of spending time with children and have filled that need naturally. But now modern attitude requires fathers to participate more in the daily care and nurturing of their offspring in an advancing egalitarian effort to “include dad” in the raising of kids. This is good, I agree. Diapering and feeding and bathing does foster a certain amount of bonding. But what about the fundamental significance of good influence? What about the quiet strength and integrity fathers could impart to their children by simply being solid role models? And what makes a good role model? Is it honesty? Is it a strong work ethic? Is it a visible faith in God? All of the above? Yes. But also, I believe it is a genuine interest in, and willingness to meet, the needs of his child, over and above his own needs, beyond his own agendas, physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

If I had to declare who had been my primary care giver, I would have to say it was my mother. If parenting hours determine this and could be charted, I’m sure her time invested in me far exceeded that of my dad’s. However, there is no denying the dynamic influences of my father are forever entrenched in me. You see, ultimately, it wasn’t how much time he had to spend but how he spent it that molded me. And even more importantly, it wasn’t as much about time spent, as it was his forthright example that forged me. Frankly, I doubt he ever diapered me. I don’t recall him doing any maintenance on me at all, not even kissing a boo-boo. But by virtue of his being a selfless, caring man, willing to listen and share, he was a good... no...he was a great father.

How could he have been more than that?

For Christ,

 (Hebrews 12:9) Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Point of No Return

For sometime now I have heard, “get it or don’t” and I have interpreted that to mean the door is closing. Clearly the few, otherwise known as the Remnant, understand that a great divide has opened up and those with eyes to see and ears to hear are on high alert. Now I understand how Jeremiah felt. I have reached the place where I feel like weeping but I’m all wept out. Is this that moment that always comes known as the point of no return?

Jeremiah was dubbed the “weeping prophet”.  He could see God’s coming judgment and warned the people repeatedly that they must  repent from their sins, or God would punish them severely.  

(Jeremiah 9:1) Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!  (9:2) Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.  

The sins of Israel in Jeremiah’s day sound like an indictment of our time.

(9:3) And they bend their tongue, [as it were] their bow, for falsehood; and they are grown strong in the land, but not for truth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith Jehovah.  (9:4) Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will go about with slanders.  (9:5) And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.  (9:6) Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith Jehovah.  

Jeremiah knew no matter what he said, or warned or how much he wept, they would not listen and would not see and therefore would suffer greatly for their refusal to repent from their sins.

(9:7) Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how [else] should I do, because of the daughter of my people?  (9:8) Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he layeth wait for him.  (9:9) Shall I not visit them for these things? saith Jehovah; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?  

And so Jeremiah wept as he continued to warn them. Sometimes there is nothing left to do but weep when you speak truth but truth cannot be heard because it is not palatable; because it’s not fun or uplifting. Sometimes truth is hard and requires a sacrifice, the giving up of pleasant things–a condition that most are not willing to accept.  And so Jeremiah wept. What else was left for him to do?

(9:10) For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the pastures of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none passeth through; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the birds of the heavens and the beasts are fled, they are gone.  

On any journey there is a point of no return where the destiny is closer than the first step. It is a sobering moment to realize there is no turning back, no matter how difficult the outcome portends. What must be must be.

(9:11) And I will make Jerusalem heaps, a dwelling-place of jackals; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.  (9:12) Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is] he to whom the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken, that he may declare it? wherefore is the land perished and burned up like a wilderness, so that none passeth through?  (9:13) And Jehovah saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein,  

Perhaps Jeremiah wept because he could see the point of no return even as he warned the people so he knew there would be no repentance, no revival, no great awakening. Jeremiah knew the outcome was as inevitable as it was devastating.

(9:14) but have walked after the stubbornness of their own heart, and after the Baalim, which their fathers taught them;  (9:15) therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.  (9:16) I will scatter them also among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them.  

But history recounts that the Israelites refused to hear the warning of Jeremiah the prophet, and in the end they were taken as slaves again to Babylon. Perhaps they too wept then. Did they take Jeremiah’s warnings to heart, after the fact, even though too late? Did they understand why they were being punished or did they feel abandoned by God? Did they shake their fists at Heaven and declare there could not be a God who would allow such a hard thing to happen to them? 

One thing is for sure, because it is always the case, they did not know when they had reached the point of no return, when it was too late to change the outcome. They were too busy eating drinking and making merry so they missed the sign. 

For Christ,