Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mindful of Mexico (UPDATED)

If you read to the end, I've posted the email my sister sent me just last evening (4/30).
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Many of you know that my sister Carol and her husband Hal are missionaries in Mexico, near Ensenada. So it's likely no surprise that today I'm asking that you keep them in your prayers.
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Mexico has been especially hard hit with the Swine Flu. And while Carol & Hal have great peace, I know they'll profit from the medicinal value of prayer in ways I can't begin to fathom.
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These two make their way from women's conferences to men's rehab programs; from church speaking engagements to television ministry. They live and work among the beautiful, humble Hispanic peoples and would be sorely missed were they sidelined to battle the virus.
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It goes without saying: they need their health!
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Thank you so much!
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Grace and peace be yours in abundance
through the knowledge of God
and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2
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Carol writes:
HOLA,

Yep Mexico seems to be the epicenter for the latest virus but I believe God wants to make Mexico an epicenter for an earth shaking moving of the Holy Spirit. Between the drug cartels and extreme economic problems the people are searching for answers and we know they are only found in Him.
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The President of Mexico has officially ordered all non-essential businesses closed from May 1st until the 6th so that is going to affect many here as it includes all schools, restaurants (window service only), theaters, gyms etc. etc. Basically they are asking people to stay home ! At this time some of the churches have even decided not to gather this Sunday although we are still planning to minister in Chapultepec.
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In the meantime, we continue to pray
"Your kingdom come, your will be done...."
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LOVE YA, CAROL
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Standing with Lincoln - March 30, 1863

A mere 146 years since this highly placed, highly regarded political leader spoke it, our nation today turns further and further from the sentiment that inspired it.
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May we rise to his call.
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May we rise to His call! " ... the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands." Isaiah 32:8
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By the President of the
United States of America
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A Proclamation
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Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
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And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
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And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?
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We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
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Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
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It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

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Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

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All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

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In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

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Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

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By the President: Abraham Lincoln

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Standing United

It's not very often I find something so compelling that I believe it trumps whatever else I might post. This is one such item. My thanks to Beth at Outnumbered Three to One for making sure I saw it. I'd also like to thank Skoot's Mom for the button I've added here, both on my post and on my sidebar.
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Before I share this rather lengthy piece, let me just say that I'm not real familiar with Dutch Sheets. I know he engenders faith in some, controversy in others. Either way, and even if you don't know him, I believe you'll find this piece to be enlightening and worthwhile. In fact, he eloquently speaks much of what stirs in my own heart.
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And so I share ...

Hi, my name is Dutch Sheets, and I have a short but very important message to share with you.
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President Obama has said twice now—in his inaugural address and on a recent trip to Europe—that America is no longer a Christian nation. In fact he implied in his inaugural address that we never have been a Christian nation, that it was many faiths that shaped and defined who we are as America . In a recent Newsweek magazine they basically agreed with our president. The headline read, “The End of Christian America.”

What are they and others really saying about America when they say we are not a Christian nation?
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In essence, they are saying we lost the culture war for America . They’re either saying that we never were a Christian nation, that we’ve always been a mix, or they’re saying maybe were at one point, but are no longer — this culture war is over and we are announcing Christianity has lost.
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What is the truth about our roots as a nation?
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The following are a few quotes that demonstrate clearly what we were in the founding of this nation, and what our founding fathers and early leaders really wanted us to be.

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The first one is from, of all places, the United States Supreme Court in 1892. “From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…that this is a Christian nation.”
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I guess the Supreme Court of that point in time did not agree with our current President.
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John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, said, “Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved Son.” Is that a Christian statement? I believe it is.

Fisher Ames is the author of the first Amendment. (By the way, remember that the first Amendment is what the revisionists try to use saying our forefathers didn’t want Christianity influencing our government or anything in the public square.) Here is what the author of that first Amendment said: “Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book?” I don’t think he agreed with today’s version of separation.
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John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and our 2nd President, said this: “The general principles of which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.” Our second president and signer of the Declaration of Independence certainly thought we were a Christian nation, founded upon Christian principles.
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Here’s something that will really surprise many of you. This is a statement in the Handbook of Harvard University in 1642 called “The Rules and Precepts:” “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3)…and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” Our educators today do not agree with it, but that was in the handbook of Harvard University.
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Here is one final quote and I want to read a portion of it to you: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, power, as no other nation has ever grown. But, we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied, enriched, and strengthened us. And we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
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Who made that powerful statement--some great preacher? A spiritual leader in our nation, perhaps? A statement made even recently? No, that statement was made in 1863 by none other than President Abraham Lincoln. It was made during the Civil War when he called our nation to prayer and fasting, asking God for His help in that troubled time.
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What our founding fathers and early leaders believed about God and this nation, and the connection there, is indisputable.
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Why does our history matter? Why do our roots in this nation really matter? Why is it important to revisionists and secular humanists that they re-write and distort our history? You know, if it really didn’t matter what our history was, they wouldn’t bother to re-write it and distort it. I’m here to say to you that it matters much whether or not we were a Christian nation in our roots. Why? First of all, because God honors covenant. The Bible says he keeps covenant and mercy to a thousand generations.
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You’ll find leaders all throughout scripture, when calling upon God for his help and His mercy, basing it on covenant – promises made in the past between God and people. And when we call upon God, we have to call upon Him, at times (of course always based on scripture), based on the fact that we are honoring the covenant that we made with Him as a nation.
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Our history is also important because it demonstrates that God had a purpose in the founding of this nation. God was involved. Our forefathers knew that God was involved, and it demonstrates our Godly heritage that our founding fathers believed in—that purpose and destiny--and dedicated this nation to it.
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The liberals, humanists, and those who want to re-write our history, they don’t want you to know that God had a purpose in the founding of this nation and that our forefathers intended to honor that purpose. Our history also demonstrates that our founding fathers were influenced by God’s word and His ways when writing the Constitution and forming our government.
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Those who don’t like this and want to twist the meaning of our founding fathers and founding documents try to negate God’s influence by re-writing our history. Is it important to know that in our roots we are a Christian nation and do have a God-given purpose and destiny? You better believe it is!
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We know that we were a Christian nation in our early days. We know what our founding fathers and early leaders wanted, but have the humanists, secularists, atheists, and revisionists really won this culture war? Are we, as Newsweek said, at the end of Christian America? No, they have not won the war!
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It is true that they have made great gains and, in many areas of our culture, they do currently rule: education, media, government, and so on. And many in government—the President, Congress, Judges—are pulling out all the stops to remove anything and everything that would make us a Christian and godly nation. They are attacking biblical values and life.
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President Obama, who voted for the right to finish taking the life of a baby born alive after a botched abortion and many in Congress, are trying to reverse every restriction ever placed on abortion through the Freedom of Choice Act. They are trying to pass legislation making it illegal, even for churches, to refuse to hire an individual who violates their moral beliefs. They are trying to make doctors violate their consciences by forcing them to perform abortions. They want to remove tax deductions for you if you donate money to your church. They want to make it illegal for ministers to preach and quote scriptures calling various behaviors a sin. They are requiring you and me to fund abortions. Whether you know it or not, or like it or not, they are requiring you and me to fund abortions, even in other nations.
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The current administration and Congress have the most radical anti-Christian, anti-Bible agenda in the history of our nation. They are serious and they have pulled out all the stops. In essence they are saying, “We have won the culture war—now we are going to shove it down your throats.”
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But they have not won the culture war! The war is not over!
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I believe, as do many Americans, that God is about to send a great revival to our nation and that as we work and plan, He is going to give us strategy to produce a great reformation that shifts our culture back again to what God intended it to be from the start.
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This brings me to the very simple plan that I want to share with you right now. The anniversary of that powerful proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, of which I shared a portion of it just a few moments ago, is coming up on April 30th. It is a powerful proclamation. I only shared a small portion of it to you. It talks about reformation. It talks about a nation being blessed whose God is the Lord. I tell you, we could not improve on this statement. (Go to our website,
www.dutchsheets.org, and download the entire proclamation).
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Let’s make a statement on that day and leading up to that day that we agree with Abraham Lincoln who certainly believed we were a Christian nation.
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Then, on that day, April 30th, let’s begin to pray it. Let’s pray that prayer as individuals. Literally, let’s read it out loud and say, “Lord, I want to come to you and say that I agree with President Abraham Lincoln, that we are a Christian nation and that we are dependent on you. We need your help; we repent for our sins; we cry out to you just as they did in the Civil War…”
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If during the Civil War, at that desperate time, they called on God and He saved a nation, we can do that now. Let’s take this and pray it individually. Let’s do it every day for a week—7 days leading up to the National Day of Prayer—even on May 3rd, the Sunday between April 30th and May 7th, the National Day of Prayer.
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... let’s make a statement to this nation, to the spiritual powers that are trying to steal from us our Christian heritage, and let’s say, “The war isn’t over! We are not going to give this nation away and the culture war isn’t over!”
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"... if my people, who are called by my name,

will humble themselves and pray

and seek my face and turn from

their wicked ways, then will I hear

from heaven and will forgive their sin

and will heal their land.

Now my eyes will be open and

my ears attentive to the

prayers offered in this place."

2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Double Delight

For those of you that know Elaine @ PEACE FOR THE JOURNEY, and for those of you that know Alicia Britt Chole (of "Anonymous" fame) ... you're in for a double treat.
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Elaine's going to review Alicia's newest publication, "Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist" later this week. She'll do so in conjuction with one of her great giveaways!
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For those of you that don't know either, you're in for a triple treat!
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Best you be checking in with Elaine!
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Hugh Hefner Seeking?

Fox News* is carrying a headline story today about Hugh Hefner. The usual blah-blah-blah, for some reason, drew me in. I now know why.
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In part, we read:
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But business aside, of all the Tinseltowners and tycoons that have entered the (Playboy) Mansion grounds and graced the pages of Playboy, there is still one superstar Hef longs to meet.
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"I'd like to find out what Jesus Christ was all about," he added. "Separate the reality from mythology. Find out the roots of what has become a major religion of my time. I was raised in a good Methodist home and I had questions about organized religion, and I would love to have the answers."
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Let's hope this seeker is found. No ... better yet, let's pray he is - - and that the finding will occur this side of the grave!
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"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks,
the door will be opened. "
Matthew 7:7-8
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

What News? What's Next?

Among my early morning rituals is a quick cyber-trek to various news websites. It's there I collect captions, and sometimes burrow deeper when a particular story grips me. I'm a fan of Reuters, the BBC, Fox, Worldnet Daily, The Jerusalem Post. Sometimes I visit CNN and Time if I'm inclined to gather a liberal bent. Hardly a day passes that I'm not gravely concerned by what I read and see across our globe.
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It comes as no surprise, really. Afterall, the prevailing trend appears to be that the godly among the masses are now on par with all manner of extremist (thank you, Janet Napolitano). Those that hold to a biblical worldview, a respect for human life (including the not yet born), and a belief in prayer are the new whackos (just call me whacko). Worse, what was once aberrant is now just hunky-punky. What was decent - even a few short years ago - has become suspect. And anyone holding to the moral high ground has joined the ranks of the intolerant (just call me intolerant)!
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So I ask ... of no one in particular: If God is a myth on par with Hercules, and if the Bible is a dangerous thesis that is no more authoritative than "War & Peace", and if prayer is a personal behavior (like bathroom calls) to be handled clandestinely, and if the name of Jesus has been consigned to the four-letter word group (which, in truth, gets better play than does His name!), then ought we not expect more of this?
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Cause Examined in Recent Rise of 'Familycides'
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Shooting on Hampton University Campus Leaves 3 Injured
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Men Charged With Burning Buttocks of Boy, 6, With Blowtorch
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Italian Cruise Ship Thwarts Pirate Attack
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Mother Charged in Death of Quadriplegic Girl
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And these are just a snippet, a sampling, from one day. One day!
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But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
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People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power.
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Have nothing to do with them.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
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Sound familiar? It's a prescription for lawlessness, aka anarchy. It's born of a myopic, who-gives-a-rip perspective about anything holy.
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Without a standard by which to prescribe & uphold one's laws, there is no authority to the law! The law becomes whatever seems right to a man (and we all know where that leads).
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It's the same with money: without gold (or something precious & substantial) to back up one's currency, there is no value. And, regardless of what our illustrious leaders and/or media spokespeople have to say, our laws are based on none other than the scriptures, the very word of God!
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Life? Who says it has value anyway? Pond goo rarely does.
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Then again ...
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You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8
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"Therefore I (Jesus) tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
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Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
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So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
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But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness (the gold bullion by which our law has authority), and all these things will be given to you as well.
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Therefore do not worry about tomorrow ...
Matthew 6:25-26, 31-34
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No wonder it's called "good news". Whacko?
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two Minutes & the Power of Love

It was a typical trek. I'd gone to do some grocery shopping, and as I made my way home the car radio was turned to one of my favorite programs: Intentional Living with Dr. Randy Carlson. It just so happened that the programming for the day - yesterday - centered on Intentional Grandparents.
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Dr Randy took live calls from one person and then another as one-by-one people shared a sweet memory about, or life lesson learned from a grandparent.
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And then Dr. Randy played a recorded message by Perry. No last name. No fancy introduction.
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As Perry began speaking I knew I needed to listen closer, more intently. It just so happened that his story began as I pulled into my garage. I turned off the engine, left the radio playing, and continued to listen.
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Within moments I felt the lump swell in my throat. My head dropped to my hands. I could only listen.
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When Perry's story ended, the tears began to flow. I sat quietly for a long while as I attempted to digest the raw, utterly authentic truth of Perry's poignant testimony. A grandmother is a force to wreckon with!
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I had intended to write the text of that story here. Instead I'm providing the link so you can hear it for yourself. If you're a grandmother, and if you've ever paced the floor or wept before the Lord for a beloved grandchild (or child) that's struggling, it's a must hear.
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Click on the following link.
Then click on "Listen Online".
Under Friday Apr 24, 2009 click "play" on Intentional Grandparents - 2.
You can advance through the first portion of Dr. Carlson's programming. Perry's 2 minute story begins at approximately 14.00
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Link: The Intentional Life w/Dr. Randy Carlson
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Grandparenting

Today is National Grandparenting Day. Who knew?
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Have a chuckle on me!
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BEING A GRANDPARENT
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1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one
said, 'But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!'
I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye!
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2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, '62.' He was quiet for a
moment, and then he asked, 'Did you start at 1?'
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3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
W
ho was THAT?'
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4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own
childhood was like: 'We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.' The little girl was
wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, 'I sure wish I'd
gotten to know you sooner!'
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5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, 'Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?' I mentally polished my halo and I
said, 'No, how are we alike?'' You're both old,' he replied.
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6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story. 'What's it
about?' he asked. 'I don't know,' she replied. 'I can't read.
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7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so
I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying, 'Grandma, I
think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!'
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8. When my grandson Melvin and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before
I did, Billy whispered, 'It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights.'
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9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, 'I'm
not sure.' 'Look in your underwear, Grandpa,' he advised. 'Mine says
I'm four to six.'
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10. A second grader came home from school and said to her
grandmother, 'Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies
today.' The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
Her cool. 'That's interesting,' she said, 'how do you make babies?
''It's simple,' replied the girl. 'You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'.'
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11. Children's Logic: 'Give me a sentence about a public servant,'
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: 'The fireman came down the ladder
Pregnant.' The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. 'Don't you
know what pregnant means?' she asked. 'Sure,' said the young boy
confidently. 'It means carrying a child.'
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12. A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of
kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front
seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing
the dog's duties. 'They use him to keep crowds back,' said one child.
'No,' said another, 'He's just for good luck .' A third child brought
The argument to a close. 'They use the dogs,' she said firmly, 'to
find the fire hydrants!'
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rough Drafting

Warning:
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I'm gearing up for a new "Dear Mr. President" smackdown letter. I'm waiting until the Law of Kindness returns to my tongue, and a gentle & quiet spirit roots anew in my heart.
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Anything you want me to tell him?
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In the Shadow of the Clothesline

Born on the scent of today's blooming breeze is the memory of another time, other scenes. I've been summoned to the backyard of my childhood, where all things lovely & lush remain as they were then. Mother's was no secret garden.
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Just beyond our back door was a stretch of flower-bed-rimmed green grass where mother's clothesline stood. It's posts often provided roost & refuge for the Sparrows & Robins that birthed (that sounds so much more motherly than does "hatched") their little ones in it's metal frame. From the kitchen nook windows you always had a ready view of it, if not frequent melodic harmonies provided by the nesting feathered ones.
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Mother had an affinity for dahlia's, tulips, pansies, hyacinths & daffodils; for climbing roses & rhododendrons. I rarely noticed them in any intentional way then (except to pick them as contraband), but today I see them as if for the first time. They appointed the back yard like a Monet painting, only far more priceless. They added dimension and charm to mother's outdoor workspace.
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And that's where I'm sitting today ... the fascinating, parallel universe I lived in as a child. It's where one might encounter Dorothy, or Peter Pan, or Uncle Wiggly; where dollies napped and rabbits could speak; where princesses and pirates met on equal ground; and where little girls were ever safe. (Caveat for another day ... I will share an addendum about how my sister Carol scared me half out of my wits beneath this same clothesline!)
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In the shadow of the clothesline my once tender toes loved the feel of manicured grass. The flower scented air also hosted the smell of clean laundry. It is a tincture one never forgets!
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Mother often facilitated the game-playing, pretend-making world I inhabited there. She fancied as much as I did the hiding-n-seeking as I'd dart behind & between her freshly washed laundry as it hung to dry. My mission was to remain hidden. Hers was to garner as many giggles as she could. I rarely succeeded. She always did.
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Sometimes she'd move my mini table & chairs from the house to the clothesline's shadow. It was there & then I could wile away the hours as I served crackers & Kool Aid to my animal guests - a stuffed bear, a silly mouse and, of course, my dollies. With her own imaginative touch, she'd pin the drying sheets or some blankets in such a way as to form a playhouse. It soon became a mansion, or a castle, or a ship. There was no force strong enough to threaten that structure unless, that is, it was mother summoning me indoors for the evening.
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Perhaps because I was youngest and the sisters considerably older than I, my childhood memories are laced with solitary scenes like these. I often played alone, with only mother coming-and-going to add a bit of her own imagination to my fun. I didn't mind. I believe those days helped to forge my creative metal, if not my sense of serenity and value. They certainly affirmed the joys of play and, more so, the benefits of a mother's tender love.
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It saddens me that so few children get to experience the shadows beneath my mother's clothesline. In fact, the world of outdoor clotheslines has diminished greatly.
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How grateful am I to have lived there, and to visit often still. How grateful am I to have had a mother that opened that door for me, whether she realized it at the time or not.
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She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD
is to be praised.
Provers 31:27-30
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Heaven's Array


And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-18
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O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:1-4
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The Lord determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4
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This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the LORD Almighty is his name ... Jeremiah 31:35
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And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars — all the heavenly array — do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19-
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"Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! Job 22:12
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Picture: This interacting group contains several galaxies (called Arp 194), along with a "cosmic fountain" of stars, gas and dust that stretches over 100,000 light-years. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team

Me Jane

In 1982 - some 27 years ago - my hubby and I paid the first of many visits to the Hawaian Isles. Like so many before us, we were captivated. Our expectations did not equal our experience, and what we found there would be a summons we'd gladly obey for many years to follow.
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What is it about swaying Palms and scented breezes that beguile? How can warm sand be a world unto itself, a cause celebre for a dance-needy foot? How is it the azur seas entertain with a music all their own ... with a Polynesian rythym to boot?
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I'm really not seeking answers. There aren't any. It's just that when my memories sweep over Hawaii's distinctions, they stop to muse and ponder, reflect & relish. I can return there in an instant!
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For several years we opted out of the norm. Instead of tourist fare, we wanted to sample the less of Hawaii, and the real. We selected Molokai.
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Most know the island for it's leper colony heritage, where Father Damien lived out his life serving the disenfranchised in the remote region of Kalaupapa. But I wonder how many know of the ferry dock at Kuanakakai, or the mud-dominated mangroves on the southwest shore, or the fish ponds that run for miles along the eastern shoreline. I also wonder how many have bush-whacked the Halawa Valley.
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In the early 90s some friends joined us for a Molokai retreat. It was the 2nd of our visits there, and their first.
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We eagerly donned our Tour Guide personna, and to their delight it entailed much of nothing ... or so it seemed. No shopping. No nightlife. Two restaurants to choose from. One bakery (and a marvelous one at that!). One golf course. No resorts. No stop lights. Book-reading and afternoon naps. Evenings spent on the lanai as we waited for the last light of day to vanish. Bedtime followed, and soon we were again roosted on the same lanai enjoying our early morning papaya & Hawaiian sweet-bread toast.
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One of our more ambitious delights was the referenced bush-whacking in the Halawa Valley. From the near perfect cove that bears the same name to the Moa'ula Falls above it, the trek is not for the easily wearied. Dense foliage, boulder-strewn passages, meandering streams that veil the trail, and the sticky heat of the tropical forest makes for a miserable memorable adventure. The rewards are myriad, but none more than a swim in the pool that's formed by the falls before making the way back down & through the valley.
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I treasure those days - nearly 18 years past now - and the many like them. They hail from the rich roots of our lives ... a memory-monument to the best of life's joys: spending time with treasured friends & to the making memories in the simplicities of doing life together.
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And that can happen anywhere so long as you've got some friends and some time. Any day's a good day for making it happen.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obscure Duty

We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, "Here I am." Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.
Oswald Chambers
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"Obscure duty". That sounds an awful lot like an oxymoron to me.
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Come to think of it, it doesn't often suit we mortals, which is why Oswald's thoughts from April 18th pinched me. My own self-directed servanthood much prefers limelight.
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Afterall, who do you know that sounds the drumroll to announce the incredible work of God in their life as demonstrated by obscurity? Or how many folks speak of God's favor by pointing to the pile of dishes they've just washed, or the tear-stained cheeks of a child they've just comforted? Or how many wives (or husbands) claim the miracle-working power it's taken to endure - and even thrive in - a particularly difficult marriage?
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Nope, we like our God testimonies to involve signs & wonders much less obscure.
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I'm as guilty as any ... obscurity is not sympatico with sassy. But I have to tell you: it's more often the place of amazing grace & power in my life. When I start looking at this wonder or that, I lose all sense of the humble ... the common, garden-variety, everyday beauty of life's simplicity, of grace's power. But when my focus gets clearer, more dialed-in, I can see forever.
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Seems Oswald knows something about that - the whole dialing in thing. It's a dot he's connected that punctuates the least to the greatest. Sound familiar?
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"But many who are the greatest now will be least
important then, and those who seem least important
now will be the greatest then."
Matthew 19:30
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"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you
must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first
must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not
come to be served, but to serve, and to give his
life as a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:26-28
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Measuring Facts & Fiction

The author Jean Auel has long been among my favorite writers. She's a woman with a keen mind, an amazing imagination, and gift for story-telling that's not easily rivaled.
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My favorite of her prolific writings is the first book in her Children of the Earth Series, "The Clan
of the Cave Bear" (copyrighted 1980). It was followed by other notables: "The Mammoth Hunters", and "The Valley of Horses". But none packed the wallop of her first. She captivated me there for hours as I journeyed through early time with her heroine, Ayla.
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It might seem a bit odd that I would relish such stories given the fact that I am a Creationist, and a Young Earth Creationist at that. I respect those that have an evolutionary worldview, but I don't hold that position myself. Which is why it may seem in congruent that I would consider a fictional view of man's evolutionary linkages so compelling.
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I've been to Narnia.
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I'm a Star Trek voyager!
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I was devastated to learn that both Oz and Alice's Wonderland weren't real places (though I still suspect they might be!!).
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It wasn't that long ago that I read about how the Canadian Government teaches their agents to spot counterfeit currency. They waste no time serving up the fabricated script to be demonstrated or studied. They consider that to be a waste of time; a chasing after rabbit trails. But what they do do, is to train their agents to know beyond doubt when they've encountered a fake by making them experts in the real, the authentic. Their agents touch, feel, smell, and study the real currency to such a degree that they need merely sniff a counterfeit and they know it.
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A rather worthy formula!
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Here's where I'm headed: So many people read this story or that thinking the tale (or the news commentary, or the magazine article) must be true ... it's just so-o-o-o plausible (like Jean Auel's brilliant sagas), when in fact there is much published that is utterly ludicrous, if not an outright lie (a counterfeit of fact, or truth). It may look good and sound good; it may even ring true.

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It's one thing when the fabrication is fiction and written as such; but it's an altogether different matter when it's fiction marketed as fact. No wonder wisdom is linked so decidedly to discernment!
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As far as I know (and believe), there's only one book that claims to be entirely without error, and entirely un-fabricated. So, like the Canadian police and their agents, I've made it my plumb line, my authenticating source. It's what I use to compare all critical thought. Thus it's become a trusted filter, a valuable tool for sifting out the facts from fiction, and the supposed non-fiction from the fakery. And - often long before I see something blatantly false - I smell it.
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For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12-13
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I'm still a fan of Jean Auel!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Pamperin'

It occurs to me that it's exceeding wise to lay low sometimes in order not to be layed low.
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For the better part of eight weeks my life's been a whirlwind ... a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless! Visitors, travel, illness, more travel, visitors, and more visitors. Blend in my work-week of 30-35 hours and it gets quite interesting at times. But it's my kind of livin', and I wouldn't have it any other way (all but the illness part, that is)!
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So today I begin in earnest the Pampered Prissy Princess regiman. You know the one ...
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... stay in my PJs until I'm good and ready to change
... a long whiff of my now fully-bloomed star jasmine
... leave my bed un-made; dishes undone
... ignore the laundry room & vacuum
... lounge by the pool with a good book and some ice tea
... toasted cheese sandwiches or nachos for dinner
... an afternoon nap
... ingest a small moderate large amount of chocolate, or ice cream
... a slow meander (versus my usual brisk walk)
... watch a movie (unless the decision about what to view is too fatiguing)
... popcorn!
... put my PJs on early and snuggle with my favorite blanket
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Certainly, Probably, No doubt. Maybe I'll be ready for a more robust experience come Monday. But until then, just call me Princess Kathleen.
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Now where's my tiara?
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sand Scribbles

Have you ever been reading along in a particular scripture and had one of those AHA! moments? I know you have. Because scripture is the very living word of God (which distinguishes it from all other books or written documents), it often doesn't come alive in the mortal heart until the meaning or substance of a particular message is ready to be revealed and/or received.

We read something over-and-over again, often overlooking precious nuggets, and sometimes clueless as to what a specific passage means. The more we read and learn, the more we understand. The more we understand, the more it makes sense. The more it makes sense, the more we want to know. AHA! moments become the norm.
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“ Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept,
precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line.
Here a little, there a little.”
Isaiah 28:9-10
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I've been visiting Jeremiah again. He stirs my imagination, confronts my inaction, challenges my bent towards compromise, comforts my concerns, and asks a good deal of me. So, while reading through Chapter 17 earlier I was struck by something that literally jumped off the pages at me.

First, let's take a look at what Jesus had to say (and do) when the astute religious leaders of His day brought to Him a blatant sinner, an adulterous woman. We all know the story, and we all know how Jesus handled it with such finesse. I love that about Him!
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At one point we read about His stooping to write in the sand, the dirt. We are not told what, exactly, He scribbled there, but it ultimately lead to a mass exodus of the woman's accusers. We find the story in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8.
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But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground
with his finger. When they kept on questioning him,
He straightened up and said to them,
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first
to throw a stone at her."
Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
John 8:6-8
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OK, so now let's hop back over to Jeremiah's turf and see what he has to say about sand writing:
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O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.
Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)
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I'm wondering if Jesus, when confronting those legally astute, Torah equipped religious leaders didn't simply write this scripture before their very eyes?
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Could it be He was letting them know He was onto them and their forsaking of God (Himself)? Just think of the number of times He'd already said "woe" (not whoa, either) to them. It could have, quite possibly, come off as a curse ... and a deserved one at that! Just ask Jeremiah.
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Thank God, literally, that our names aren't scribbled in sand, but upon His very palms!
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See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
Isaiah 49:16
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There are many commentaries on both the Jeremiah & John passages, but my AHA! today has me thinking a good deal about sand.
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"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and
puts them into practice is like a wise man who built
his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose,
and the winds blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not
put them into practice is like
a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds
blew and beat against that house,
and it fell with a great crash."
Matthew 7:24-27
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's (Who's) In a Preamble?

As much as I'd like to don my favorite sandwich board and step gingerly onto my well-designed soapbox, I think I'll let we the people speak for themselves...
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So, what's a Preamble anyway? First a word from Merriam:
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1: an introductory statement; the introductory part of a Constitution or Statute that usually states the reasons for and intent of the law, and 2: an introductory fact or circumstance; one indicating what is to follow ...
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Alabama 1901
We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
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Alaska 1956
We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
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Arizona 1911
We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
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Arkansas 1874
We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
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California 1879
We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...
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Colorado 1876
We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe...
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Connecticut 1818
The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
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Delaware 1897
Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
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Florida 1885
We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...
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Georgia 1777
We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
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Hawaii 1959
We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.
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Idaho 1889
We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.
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Illinois 1870
We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
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Indiana 1851
We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
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Iowa 1857
We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
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Kansas 1859
We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
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Kentucky 1891
We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties.
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Louisiana 1921
We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
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Maine 1820
We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... And imploring His aid and direction.
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Maryland 1776
We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...
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Massachusetts 1780
We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ...
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Michigan 1908
We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.
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Minnesota, 1857
We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings.
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Mississippi 1890
We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Al mighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
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Missouri 1845
We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution...
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Montana 1889
We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ...
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Nebraska 1875
We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.
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Nevada 1864
We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...
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New Hampshire 1792
Part I. Art. I. Sec. V ... Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
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New Jersey 1844
We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
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New Mexico 1911
We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty.
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New York 1846
We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
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North Carolina 1868
We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...
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North Dakota 1889
We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
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Ohio 1852
We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.
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Oklahoma 1907
Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this ...
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Oregon 1857
Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences.
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Pennsylvania 1776
We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance...
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Rhode Island 1842
We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
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South Carolina 1778
We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
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South Dakota 1889
We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.
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Tennessee 1796
Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
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Texas 1845
We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
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Utah 1896
Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
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Vermont 1777
Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man.
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Virginia 1776
Bill of Rights, XVI - Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other.
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Washington 1889
We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.
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West Virginia 1872
Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...
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Wisconsin 1848
We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility...
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Wyoming 1890
We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution
...
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When bad men combine, the good must associate;
else they will fall one by one,
an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Edmund Burke
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Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force;
like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.
Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
George Washington
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