Friday, April 18, 2014

When a True Statement Is the Truth





This comedic captioned photograph from Indian Libertarians's Photos would be funny if it were not a true representation of the contrast between the views of these two men.

Both perspectives fall short of the truth, although the Dalai Lama’s does not fall nearly as short as the Obama’s.  Yet even the much fuller view of the Dalai Lama still falls short of the truth.  While the statements that he makes are true statements, they are not the truth.  The truth includes more.

Here is another example from the Dalai Lama:



Some other sources, such as Goodreads, attribute this similarly stated to Frank Zappa, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”

But to the statement itself, while it is a true statement, does it tell the truth?  The quote attributed to the Dalai Lama is less restrictive, saying “The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open.” Yet if one examines even this statement it is found not to be the truth.  In fact, it is not really even a true statement, but because it states a portion of the truth it sounds like a true statement.

The Zappa quote is completely false, for if a closed mind did not work, he would have no one to criticize for thinking with a closed mind.

The less restrictive statement attributed to the Dalai Lama speaks a portion of the truth, but not the truth.

A mind that is open can receive information and outside stimulation.  However, an open mind is unable to focus and process the information that has been received.  Focus requires a narrowing of one’s thinking.  Processing of information requires closing one’s mind so as to begin analyzing what has been received.  Furthermore, a mind that is open to all views or opinions is unable to perceive the difference between opinion and fact.

The Truth is not proportional.  The truth is always whole.  No part of the truth can stand apart from the whole.  The truth is integral.  If it is divided into separate parts it ceases to be the truth.

Even the analogy is not the truth.  An open parachute does not work properly unless it is attached properly to the falling person or object.  An open parachute does not work properly in a vacuum.  An open parachute does not work for an object that is not falling.  An open parachute does not function if it is upside down.  An open parachute cannot be worn inside a cockpit or other close quarters, but must be carefully and meticulously folded so as to be worn and deployed at the appropriate time.

An open mind is not sufficiently focused to consider the facts but only applies vague or nebulous perceptions.  While a healthy and well functioning mind opens to receive information, facts, questions, and even opinions, it also must close to the narrow evaluation process of assessing and acknowledging the truth revealed by these received data.

This fallacy carries into the major tenet of the Dalai Lama in the promotion of Religious Harmony.  If one reads what he declares in this matter, actually hearing what he says, it becomes clear that harmony is not what he teaches.  What he really espouses is dissolution and ultimate neutralization.

He says: “We must distinguish between belief and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your own religion. At the same time you should have respect for all other religions.”

What does this really mean?  It means choosing ignorance over knowledge.  It means reducing one’s religion to mere ritual and sentiment and tradition.

He says: “If a harmonious relationship is established amongst societies and religious beliefs in today's multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural world, then it will surely set a very good example for others.”

What does this mean?  He concludes: “Therefore, it is very important to live in harmony and analyse where the opinion of the other lies. The best way to do this is to engage in dialogue, dialogue and dialogue.”

The essence of this is to target and bomb the dissenting parties with ignorance. “Engage in dialogue, dialogue and dialogue” is a longhand version of saying “Agree to disagree.”  If a person steps back so as to close one’s mind to focus on what is really being said, this means to agree to believe nothing and to count nothing whatsoever as important.

So for the Dalai Lama peace means to drive discord out of existence by means of bombing the dissidents with nothingness and emptiness.  So where is the truth?  Where is common understanding ever actually pursued?  Is this anything but another deceptive tactic?

How does the Obama define obtaining peace?  He says peace is obtained by bombing with drones.  Of course control of the media, invading the privacy of citizens, and blatant deception and lies are also among his favorite tools.

Perhaps the two are closer in their views than one may first perceive.

Does it really matter?  It matters to those who believe that the truth really matters.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Surprised by Friendliness



A couple of weeks ago I went for my walk and was surprised by a very unusual display of friendliness.  Something happened that I have not encountered in at least fifteen years.  As I was walking, a police car approached on the same road, with two police officers: one was driving; the other, in the right front seat, seemed to be taking notes or examining something.  As they drew near I looked at them and made eye contact and the one on the passenger side waved to me.

Wow!  I have not encountered this in well over a decade!

In times past, I nearly always waved to the police.  I counted the police officers as public servants, as my friends who devoted their lives to me and the rest of the community, serving to help keep us all safe.  Twenty years ago I would not have thought it a wonderful surprise to have a police officer wave to me, especially not in response to my initial show of friendship and confidence.  But that was many years ago.

Since then I have stopped waving.  After about a decade of waving with no friendly response whatsoever from any of the officers to whom I waved, sometimes even encountering a scowl instead of the friendly smile and wave that I expected in return, I gave up waving.

In fact, I have actually become afraid of waving to them.  Whereas I previously looked to the police with trust, I now fear them.  I many times in the past ten years have called 911 to report people on the busy expressways who were in need of assistance.  Since such busy expressways are not appropriate places for a person without flashing lights and the authority to redirect traffic to attempt such things, I have called for those properly equipped.  But after a number of years of attempting to be of service as a good and caring citizen, I became aware that I was drawing attention to myself.  I was making myself known to those who track such things.

An example is when a fellow had an extension ladder fall off his truck and block portions of the expressway.  I wanted to stop and help clean it up, but knew that I would increase the danger by blocking the road with my vehicle and by adding another person to the scene.  So I called 911.  The response of the dispatcher made it clear that I was adding to the file that was being kept on me.

911 keeps track of every word.  911 asks for identification of the caller, and for the phone number, and many other bits of information that have nothing whatsoever to do with the incident.  It makes me cringe even to think of the number of times that I am listed as a person who involves himself in things.  Today this is a red flag.  In times past such people were counted as good citizens.

The fear of red flags kept on me does not keep me from caring and from becoming involved in helping others.  However, it does make me much more leery of the police and others who are keeping track of me.

So it was a delight when this police officer waved to me.

Yet it also left me wondering what this really means.

It is saddening to me to realize that our nation and society have become such that even an act of kindness or a show of friendliness, especially from someone working for the government, has come to be cause for suspicion.  It makes me sad to know that my perspective has been thus affected.  It makes me even more sad to acknowledge that such a change in perspective is largely justified.

Nevertheless, it is still a joy to report this instance of what at least I perceived as a kindly show of friendliness from one whom I have become conditioned not to expect to demonstrate such.  It was a joy to see this police officer wave to me.

And yes, I did wave in return.  I did so sheepishly and leerily, but also with a glimmer of hope.

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Thursday, January 02, 2014

2014 Resolutions



Happy New Year!  Happy 2014!

It seems funny that flipping a page on a calendar should be counted as a holiday.  I suppose that when people don’t recognize the holy, they have to find something mundane to celebrate.  So we have New Years Day.

Certainly the observance of God’s grace to us in preserving us and carrying us through the past year into a new year is a cause for thanksgiving and rejoicing and celebrating.  Certainly the changing of the calendar gives cause to pause in retrospect.

Thus people also commonly make New Years Resolutions.  They examine their activities of the passing year and determine or resolve to do some things differently.  They make resolutions and promises concerning their actions in the coming year.  Some of these they actually mean.  Some of these they actually strive to keep, at least for a week or two or three.

Soon, however, when we make resolutions to amend our lives we find ourselves unable to keep our promises.  We find that we are unable to effect true change.  We fall back into the same old errors again.  Sometimes we manage to demonstrate these failings in different ways.  Yet we still fall short of our good intentions.

Christians may fall into this trap even more so than others.  I find it somewhat odd that in teaching people concerning Confession and Absolution that people are asked to promise this impossible task.  In the Order of the Confessional Service on TLH pg. 46 ff., two formats are given, both of which call the person seeking absolution to state the intention or purpose of amending one’s sinful life by the assistance of the Holy Ghost.  Surely this is the format of a resolution.  The newer hymnals have similar statements.

Admittedly, seeing beyond this is difficult.  Certainly the preaching against sin is necessary.  Certainly the Law of God or Commandments are given to direct souls away from sin to the holiness of the Lord.

Yet in searching the Gospel accounts concerning the times that the Lord Jesus granted absolution to sinners, do we ever find Him calling for a resolution from the broken and contrite sinner?  I cannot recall a single instance of the Lord Jesus calling for a person to resolve to do better before granting the blessed words of peace and comfort, “Your sins are forgiven you.”  He does give the warning afterward that they are to go onward without adding to their sins.  But He never evokes a resolution from anyone to whom He grants remission of their sins.

We do have an example, however, where He denies this making of resolutions as justifying.  When He tells of the publican and the Pharisee, He says that the publican made no such resolution, but merely confessed his sinfulness and need for God’s mercy.  This one, Jesus says, went home justified.  The other man, the Pharisee, stated all of the ways that he had resolved to try to please God.  The Pharisee listed his resolutions quite sincerely.  Yet this one, Jesus says, did not go home justified.

What does this mean?  What is the Lord Jesus teaching us with this example?  He is teaching us that we should never look to our own works for our justification.  He is teaching us that our resolutions, no matter how noble and no matter how sincere, will always fall short.  In fact, our resolutions only lead us into more sins that we need to have remitted.  If we make resolutions that we fail to keep, then not only have we sinned, but we also have failed to keep our word.

This is why the Lord has established for us His Church on earth.  Within His Church He has ordained specific means through which He works to restore us to His Holy Communion.  It is to these means of grace and remission and salvation and reconciliation and healing that He directs us to be turned.  This is the repentance to which He calls us.  He calls us to be turned from all of our own efforts, from all of our best intentions, from all of our resolutions, to receive the means through which His Word works all things for us.  His Word and Sacraments are the means through which He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  He works regeneration unto true faith through Baptism, as He washes us with His Word with the water.  In this washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit He applies the blood of the Word/Lamb to us by which we are cleansed.  In this connection we are joined into His everlasting Communion, wherein we partake of His body and blood given and shed for us, to renew us in His Communion as our sins are remitted and taken away.  As we hear His call to be gathered into His name to receive these things, we bow the knee and confess our need for His mercy, which He graciously bestows to us as the words of absolution are spoken over us.  Then we rise up to eat and drink at His Table of renewal and forgiveness, going forth in the confidence of the good conscience into which we have been restored.

God does not call us to resolve to be obedient or to amend our lives.  He calls us to walk in the Life that is in Him in His Holy Communion.  The obedience of faith is not a choice.  It is the fullness of living in communion with God in His kingdom.  Obedience flows from the faith that the Lord works in us.  Obedience flows from the trust that is generated within us concerning all that the Lord declares.  When we receive His absolution and partake of His Communion, we recognize His will as that which is desirable and good.  We recognize the fullness of the good life to which we have been restored so that we begin to walk in this newness of life or renewed life.

This is the difference of living by faith and living by works.  Living by faith is the life that flows from the ordained means of grace.  Living by works is the struggle to resolve to do better than we can hope to do for ourselves.  Through His Word and Sacraments, His means of grace to us, we receive God’s goodness into our very being so that we are sanctified to live in the grace that flows to us freely by His decree.

Surely this is better than making resolutions that we know that we cannot hope to keep.  Surely the way of grace, mercy, and peace is far better and desirable.

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The Beauty of Creation



With the new year comes new outpouring of landscaping magazines and advertisements.  One of the advertising and propaganda magazines that has found me and continues to bombard me is Total Landscape Care.  It is basically a mechanism for advertising with a few articles interspersed between the advertisements.  This bothers me much less now that they stopped trying to trick me into paying for this uninvited mailing.

With 2004 upon us, they have begun pushing advertisements for chemical sales for landscape and turf management.  The magazine is available online, so I will post the links to the most recent publications that I received.

Of the two, the one that I find most disturbing is their 2014 Chemical Guide.




Clicking on the link will take you to their publication of page upon page of commercial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.  All of these are being sprayed daily on the lawns in our communities by the plethora of spray companies with their spray trucks rolling down the streets of every neighborhood.

Glancing through this publication may be an eye-opening experience for many who are not involved in agricultural and urban management vocations.  There are very serious amounts of toxic chemicals being sprayed throughout the year.

I am an agriculturalist.  I have been involved in agriculture and agricultural studies all of my life.  I was in the Future Farmers of America for six years in Jr. and Sr. Highschool.  I studied agriculture throughout those years.  My undergraduate degree is Animal Science/Pre-veterinary medicine.  Thus I have a deep appreciation for the agricultural vocations and sciences.

I understand that commercial chemicals sometimes are necessary and helpful.  However, I also know that they are very dangerous, both in the short term as well as the long term.

In my daily work as an arborist, I work outdoors.  I often smell these toxins in the air in the neighborhoods where I am working.  Sometimes they actually make me feel dizzy or even faint.  Sometimes they cause me to develop a headache.  Very rarely I have felt nauseated.

These spray companies put little signs in the yards afterward warning people not to allow their pets and children onto the lawns for a period of time.  The law limits them from spraying whenever wind conditions cause aerial drift of the chemicals being applied, but in places like Kansas, this would restrict their spray activities almost entirely.  So the spraying goes on regardless of the weather and the drift.

The second of the TLC publications for the new year includes an article on “Debugging Grub Control.”  Here is the magazine link, and here is the link to just the article, Debugging Grub Control.

It includes this photograph of one of the types of grubs that people believe that they need to control in their lawns.



These creatures certainly can be problematic.  They can do great destruction both in people’s lawns and in agricultural settings.

The question that I am asking, is whether people are acting wisely in utilizing these powerful synthetic chemicals, especially in their lawns and landscapes.  Would it not be wiser to consider landscape planning that utilizes grasses and plants that are known to be resistant to the concerns that are being treated with chemical applications?

One article that addresses this is Ask Mr. Smarty Plants.  In the first paragraph of the answer given is this portion of advice:



The City of Austin's Grow Green Earth-wise Guide to Lawn Problems lists St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia and buffalograss as being susceptible to grubs.  Their recommendations for controlling them includes mowing high and doing effective watering.  They recommend a non-chemical method for getting rid of them by applying nematodes to feed on the grubs.  You can read an article from Texas A & M AgriLife Extension "White Grubs in Texas Turf Grass" that gives more information on controlling them without the use of pesticides including the use of nematodes and the use of spiked shoes for aerating the soil.  Both methods have claims of eliminating as much as 50% of the grubs.



Here in Wichita I met a fellow who applies organic means of insect, disease, and weed control.  His prices are slightly higher, but comparable to the companies using commercial pesticides.

It seems to me that people would do well to consider what they are doing to their own families’ playgrounds, a.k.a., their lawns.  The chemicals used within their homes also ought to be of concern to them.  After all, what is used in the laundry resides in their clothing and linens, items worn day and night and in which they wrap themselves as they sleep.  So-called air fresheners fill their homes with particulates that are constantly breathed and absorbed through the skin.  Once a person begins taking an inventory of these items, the list often is found to be immense.

Is it a coincidence that people are experiencing more and more allergies and respiratory ailments?  Is it a coincidence that people use more and more relief items from the drug store?

It seems worthy of consideration.

I am not advocating government intervention in these matters.  Keep the government in its place, out of our lives as much as possible.  Surely people are capable of evaluating these issues intelligently and responsibly so as to make healthy, wholesome, and responsible decisions for themselves and their families.

God has given us His beautiful creation for us to enjoy.  Even with the curse of sin looming over us, He still blesses us with wonders beyond description.  Many wonders have not yet even been discovered.  Surely it makes sense to work in concord with God’s creation rather than against it.  In our daily lives we take much for granted, or at least we should.  This is actually what the Lord desires, that we should receive all things as His gifts that flow from His heart of grace.  Thanksgiving begins with taking things for granted, i.e., things granted to us by our gracious heavenly Father.  This is the way that is truly meet, right, and salutary.  This is the way of healthy and happy living.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You Need to Stop Reading So Much



“You Need to Stop Reading So Much!”  This admonition was given to me by one of my customers and friends.  He cautioned me against being too informed about the things that are being done in the government and the world.  He said that I cannot do anything about them, as people are not paying attention.  When I responded that this is the problem, he told me that I cannot change this and that I only cause myself trouble by reading so much.

As a Christian I do find his words to be accurate.  I am deeply troubled on account of my concern for what ought to be, things that I cannot cause to be.  After all, I cannot even make these things to be in my own daily life.  Why should I imagine that I can make these things to be in the activities of the world.

As a Christian I continually face the paradoxical existence of both Saint and Sinner within my being.  Thus, as a saint I desire the Lord’s righteousness.  But as a sinner, I resist Him and His will and His ways and turn from trusting Him to seeking to do for Him what only He can do.

Yet as a saint, I do also have an inborn caring and concern for the welfare of all.  Tyranny and terrorism and war and murder and abortion and child abuse and divorce and spouse abuse and GMOs and processed glutamates and processed aspartic acid and a host of other toxins added to foods and water as well as limitless evils in the world, these all concern me.  I often want to speak out concerning these.

Yet how far can such efforts reach?  Moreover, to what degree do such concerns fall to me?

The Lord does give directives in this regard.  He directs each of us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and to trust that all other things He will see to as well.

Then He also directs each of us to fulfill the duties or responsibilities of our own vocations.  Sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, pastors and teachers, farmers and ranchers, employers and employees, citizens and officials, we each have vocations that bind us to specific responsibilities that are easily perceived.  Of these vocations, some are to be counted as foremost, with others being subordinated to these.

For example, fatherhood is above citizen or even pastor or government official.  Mother is above teacher or employee or employer.  Daughter is above student or student body president.

It seems that Christians frequently forget the proper order and turn things around.  I certainly do.  Sadly, I believe that my blog posts often are a reflection of this.  My daily management of my time reflects this.  How I serve my wife as her husband surely reflects this.

God has blessed me to be a husband.  This is my primary vocation.  I also am a son and a brother.  I also am a son-in-law and brother-in-law.  I also am a friend.  I also am a pastor.  I also am a businessman/arborist.  Husband and head of house both bodily and spiritually is the highest earthly honor and responsibility that God has given me.

It is a great blessing and I will do well to remember this and treat it with the appropriate honor.  Then the blessings attached to all things in my life will be received as the Lord has graciously ordained and godly contentment will rule my life.  God grant this.  Amen.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

We WILL Take It All - Eventually




In case this information has escaped notice, the IMF has declared that it wants governments, especially the USA’s, to begin taxing at a rate of 71%.

IMF Calls For US Income Taxes as High as 71 Percent

IMF Wants a 71 Percent Tax Rate


IMF is the initialism for the International Monetary Fund.


Hollywood took this and used it in the Mission Impossible TV series and then the Movie series.  In this story line IMF stands for Impossible Mission Force, where the special mission team performs covert missions on behalf of the shadow rulers of the world.  Their missions are impossible in nature and yet they heroically complete the missions, with the common folk never knowing.


Would the common folk accept this impossible imposition of taxation without the many years of covert activity of the IMF?  Did the common folk elect the IMF to control the world's monetary instruments?  Do the decisions of the IMF ever require approval from the common people?


What is the effect of such taxation?  Even if this exorbitant tax rate is imposed only upon business owners and the so-called wealthy, does this not cause even more inflation of prices of common goods and services?  If so, who then really bears the brunt of these taxes?  Is it not the common laborer who already struggles to purchase goods and services at the already unaffordable prices?

. . .

Friday, December 13, 2013

Another Look - Hideous City Council Farce


In the embedded video in the previous post, nearing the latter part, questions from reporters were allowed.  The second question and especially the answer given should be heard over and over.  Here is that snippet.




While it seems unlikely that the Councilwoman meant for this statement to reveal the actual mentality of the Council, sometimes things just come out from the heart without restraint.

Perhaps repeating the snippet five times was overdoing it a bit.  However, it does demonstrate how annoying and disheartening it is to hear this from them ad nauseam.  We hear this in their speeches, in their actions, and in the bills and taxes.


. . .


Another Hideous City Council Farce



In our latest bill from the City of Wichita for our water usage is this flyer: H2O-flyer-PDF

Front view:


 Back view:



Here is the City of Wichita video presenting the deep compassion of this new program:





At 1:28 in this video the presenter says:

   
It is so important to me, especially after the last water bill raise.



In the opening portion of the video she says:

This month, the City of Wichita City Council approved a new program, known as the Help2Others, H2O, Care Fund.  It provides a way for people to make donations, so that others in our community can keep their water on. As you know, this has been an ongoing problem for the last year or two.



Over the last few years I have called to complain about the outrageous increases.  With each increase was another excuse.

The last time that I called can you guess the answer that I was given?

I was told that the City is punishing us for using water.

This is UN Agenda 21 being implemented without actually acknowledging it.

Yes, this has been an ongoing problem.  With one of the rate hikes we were told that it was because we had not used enough water.

Yes, the City claimed that it could not meet the Water Department’s budget because people had conserved too efficiently.  So the City raised the rates to steal more money from us.  If less water is used, so also less cost is demanded of the corporation called “The City of Wichita.”  But they are seeking to make money, not merely to meet budgets.

Now they are spending money on a program and its propaganda, to urge citizens to give compassionately for the poor people whom the City Council has broken financially.

Surely we should be deeply moved by the compassionate approval of this program.

What fools we are.  We have allowed them to raise our rates endlessly, with truly asinine excuses that change with the wind.

What has happened to all of the increased revenue?  Where has it gone?  Why do the City Council members not simply use these excess funds to help those whom they have broken?

Why do the people of Wichita continue to allow such frauds to hold office and to abuse the populace?

. . .

Perhaps the more pertinent question is “Why do I continue to imagine that attempting to call people to be aware with the hope of action on their part is a worthwhile venture?”

Twice we voted down the building of an undersized arena in the downtown area.  Twice they put it on the ballot and we said “NO!”  Then they told us that they were building it anyway and that they would make us pay for it, putting on the ballot two choices as to how we would allow them to steal our money.  Our sales tax rate was increased as a result.

They continue such abuses and they continue in office.

They raise our water usage rates because we don’t use enough water.  They raise our rates because we use too much water.  They raise our rates because the rates are too low.  They raise our rates without justification several times.  They raise our rates to help pay to pump river water into the aquifer.  They raise our rates because they want to raise our rates.

Now they want us to raise our rates voluntarily!

The truly disheartening reality is that people will do it.

Even more disheartening is the realization that people will believe that this money will be used to help others.

How soon after this will the next non-voluntary water rate increase be implemented?

. . .

No, I Am Not A Robot



Telemarketing is reaching new levels of invasive methods.

In a Time NewsFeed article, Meet the Robot Telemarketer Who Denies She’s A Robot is a report, with actual recordings, of conversations in phone calls, where a robotic telemarketing voice denies being a robot.

Be warned that the Soundcloud recordings place cookies on your computer.  So if you listen, you will need to clear your browsers cookies.

I have prepared a transcript of Recording 68 for those who do not want to bother with the cookies:





Okay?

Hi I’m good. How are you?

Well I’m calling about an online request you once made about health insurance coverage.

Okay.

We work with all major companies and compare ...  (sudden stop & pause)

Hey are you a robot?

Heh heh, what? No, I am a real person.  Maybe we have a bad connection. I’m sorry about that.

That’s crazy. You sound so much like a robot.

I am a real person.  Maybe we have a bad connection. I’m sorry about that.

Will you tell me ... you’re not a robot?  Just say, “I’m not a robot.” Please.

I am a real person.

I believe you, but will you just say, “I’m not a robot”?  That would make me feel better to hear you say it.

Ha, heh, heh, heh.  There is a live person here.  Heh.

I know there is.  It would just make me feel so much better to hear you say “I’m not a robot.”

Ho uh what?

If you could say the words, “I am not a robot” it would mean a lot to me.

Heh uh, I am a real person.  Can you hear me OK?

Yeah, I can hear you fine.  I just want to hear you say, “I am not a robot.”

Yes, I’m a real person.

Right, but will you say, “I am not a robot”?

(Pause)  Ha, heh, heh, heh. (Pause) (Garbled with words over words) Hi-are-enrollment center- you-there? (Slight break) Are you there?

Yeah, I’m here.

Well let me ask you a couple of questions.  Are you currently on medicare?

Uh, no.  I’m not.

OK.

Now let me ask you a question.

(She talks over him asking) Are you on medicaid or looking for medicaide?

We’ll go...You ask me a question, then I’ll ask you a question. How ’bout that?

Sure.

OK.  Are you a robot?

No.

Will you say, “I am not a robot”?

(Silence)

Heavy sigh.






This is very much like many overseas customer service encounters, where the so-called customer service representative uses a script from which he or she barely deviates whatsoever.  But this is even more annoying and troubling.

The Time NewsFeed article states that their investigation of this included calling the company, Premier Health Plans Inc., and visiting the website.  After speaking with several company employees, finally Martin was addressed.  They reprort:

Martin also said he would inquire internally about whether Samantha West worked for the company, but would not be able to respond to the request Monday night. TIME will update the story with any additional information he provides.


They additionally report:

UPDATE: As of Dec. 11, one day after this story published, the phone number listed above was no longer answered by Samantha West. Rather, it diverted callers to a busy signal. Also the website, premierhealthagency.com, had been taken offline.


Sadly, the National Do Not Call Registry no longer seems to be enforced.

I have challenged many telemarketers regarding this law and many have not even heard of it.

The NSA and other government agencies are so prolific in their spying activities directed at US citizens, and the complications of the Affordable Care Act and the NDAA and the Patriot Act and the host of Presidential Executive orders quite effectively make any laws for the protection of the private citizens nothing more than showpieces.

. . .

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twenty-one Years



Today my wife and I celebrate our survival of twenty-one years together as husband and wife.

Yesterday she was astonished to realize that she had forgotten our wedding anniversary until yesterday.  She shared this with me and I was startled to realize that while I thought of it all last month and even most of last week, that it had disappeared from my thoughts that day as well.

Ouch!  What a powerful reminder of our dysfunctional ways on account of our frailty as sinful humans!

On the other hand, it also serves as a powerful reminder of who has joined us as one and who it is that preserves us as one.

How I wish that I lived in full acknowledgment of the man and husband that the Lord has made me to be by His gracious decree.  My life surely does not serve as a witness to His gracious gifts and promises.  My faithfulness to my wife is sadly lacking.  Thankfully, it is not my faithfulness that matters.  Thankfully, she knows this, too.

As a concluding portion of our wedding worship service, I shared this promise and confession:


My dear bride, Stephanie,

     Today I have made to you a very bold promise, to be to you a true and faithful husband.  This promise I do not make in my own name, for I know that on the basis of my own name I am but a bum.  But I also bear another Name, the Name of my Lord Christ, and in His Name I am a prince.  And so, in the Name of my Lord Christ I will be to you your prince.


I have been true to my word.  By my own name and efforts I have been a bum.  I cannot even number the ways in which I have failed my bride as her husband.  I certainly have not been faithful in forsaking all others besides the Lord.  How many times have I put myself and my desires and my emotions above her?  How many times have I selfishly enumerated her shortcomings?  How many times have I counted as shortcomings her personal needs of body, heart, mind, and spirit?

Thanks be to God that she remembers the latter part of my promise.  Thanks be to God that she counts me as a good and loving and faithful husband not because of what I say and do, but because of the Lord’s gracious decree.

And this is what she continually reminds me as what she counts as the reason for me being a blessing in her life.  She reminds me that as her husband and also as her pastor I direct her the Lord and his grace, mercy, and peace.  She does count me as a prince for His sake.

What a wonderfully refreshing reminder this serves us regarding Christ and His Church.  What we observe Him doing for us is what He does for His beloved bride.  In fact, what He does for us flows directly from what He does for His dear bride.  This is what St. Paul blessedly proclaims in Ephesians 5:21-33.

The Lord’s goodness is displayed in everything, and especially in the one-flesh union of His Church that is reflected in our one-flesh union that we celebrate this day.  Truly it is a happy and blessed anniversary!

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Squishy Unity



I wandered to a site that I rarely visit anymore and observed a video presentation entitled My Squishy Unity Jesus.  In this presentation the Reverend Pastor Fisk in his usual less than reverent style speaks to the issue of the Twentieth Century Ecumenical Movement as it has progressed to the present day.  He addresses the issue that the concept of unity has been redefined to mean the exact opposite of what the Scriptures teach that the unity of the Church is.

He makes valid points concerning the invalidity of this altered definition.  He makes valid points concerning what unity really is and why it is necessary.  He attempts to call those who profess to be Christian to embrace the unity that the Holy Spirit creates through the means of grace.

It continues to perplex me that men such as the Reverend Pastor Fisk make such a big deal out of something that they themselves do not truly believe.  After all, if they truly believed the marks of the Church to be the administration of the pure means of grace and if they truly believed that unity in the doctrine and practice of these to be necessary for the existence of the true Church and for the salvific power of the Gospel to be effected, would they not actually practice in accord with this unity?

Yet they remain in a church body that teaches that true unity in doctrine and practice and mission do not exist within that church body.  Even more amazingly, they pride themselves for embracing the notion that striving to achieve 85% unity is a noble goal that is achievable.

If unity in doctrine and practice concerning the pure Gospel and Sacraments is the definition of the true Church, as Fisk claims to believe, then what is he and his brethren really saying of their own church body?

Fisk continually says on his site that he believes and unconditionally subscribes with a quia subscription to the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as found in the Book of Concord.  Of these Confessions or statements of belief and practice the Augsburg Confession is especially set forward.  And this Confession states the definition of the Church in Article VII, saying of what the “Lutherans” teach:




    1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

    2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4, 5, 6.



It would be cause for rejoicing if this were truly what Christians believed, taught, confessed, AND practiced.

How many Churches does AC VII teach?  ONE.

There are not many Churches but One Church.

This Church is holy, which means sacred or set apart by the Lord unto Himself to be perfect even as He is perfect.  This perfection of the Church is not found as perfection of the individuals but in the perfection of the Lord.  He gives His perfection through His means of grace.  The perfect holiness of the Church is its unity of doctrine and practice, that is, in its unity as “the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.”

How wonderful it would be if Pastor Fisk and his fellow pastors and the leaders of his church body actually believed this so as to abide by it.  How wonderful it would be if they actually believed this so that they rejected the notion of 85% and actually embraced the unity in which the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the true believers in Christ.

Sadly, this is not their way.  It is heart-breaking to observe what they hold high in place of this unity.  It is gut wrenching to observe the thing that matters most, as this video yet again displays at the very end:




This sentiment truly is the issue at hand.  St. Paul addresses this concerning his former idolatry from which the Lord converted and saved him.

   
     Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  (Philippians 3:1-7)


And again:


   
     But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.  (Galatians 1:11-16)


While loyalty to Grandpa remains the defining nature of membership and participation in a church body, to whom are such devotees ultimately devoted?  Whose word and way ultimately defines that church and the life and way of its members?

This is a very dangerous matter.  It leads away from the true unity of the one true faith and the life that flows from that faith.  It leads to the inevitable dysfunction that sin produces.  If the church is Grandpa’s church, then it bears Grandpa’s image and suffers Grandpa’s imperfection and corruption.

This is not the Church confessed in the Augsburg Confession.  AC VII confesses one holy Church that is united not by the traditions of men/grandpas, but united in the agreement concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the right administration the Sacraments.

Grandpa is rotting in the grave awaiting the day of the resurrection and the judgment of mankind.  That is where he should be left until the great day of the return of the Lord Jesus in His glory.  Leave sinful Grandpa and draw near to the Lord of glory who comes to His Church wherever the means of grace are rightly administered.  Wherever this is the way, the Church is truly united in the Lord’s holiness.  No disunity remains in this Church.  No dysfunction surfaces.  For the unity of doctrine and practice rule this Church, as the Lord has promised.

Oh that this would be what is proclaimed in place of Grandpa and us and our church.  Then all of our squishy ways would be replaced by the Rock solid foundation of the means through which God Himself solidifies His Church.  His gifts are 100% pure and where they are administered in this purity the congregation is gathered into the absolute unity that belongs to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The ultimate earthly expression and confession of this is the Supper of His Holy Communion.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fluoride & Vaccines



In the previous post Dr. Russell Blaylock: Fluoride and Mercury, I shared a video presentation by Dr. Russell Blaylock on this subject.  I also included a link to the article WHY I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT WATER FLUORIDATION, in which the author cites seventy-three sources in his “References” footnotes.  Seventy-three sources!

Yet in the comments to my post, an anonymous commentator calling himself “Christian” calls for references.  In the right sidebar of my blog I also supply various links to other sites that provide a multitude of references on this matter as well as mercury poisoning and the vaccination fraud.

I cannot really say anything for certain about the motives of “Christian,” but his manner seems to give a strong indication.  The fact that at his Blogger Profile he identifies himself as an atheist, leaves the reader wondering whether “Christian” is really his name or whether it may be a sarcastic attempt at mocking those who have truly been marked with this name.  Certainly there are atheists who have come from families who named children as Christian, both as their given name as well as through the sacrament of Baptism.  So only this person knows his motive.  However, whenever a person hides behind comments given anonymously, not identifying oneself but hiding in the shadows, it limits the reader’s trust severely.

I previously refrained from responding, not desiring to engage in an argument.  The facts stand.  Arguing them with one who deliberately ignores what is presented is meaningless.

Dave Bachand expressed his frustration with “Christian” saying: “"Never argue with stupid people as they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience".”

However, since some readers could be dissuaded by the false arguments presented by this debater from giving serious consideration to the facts, I will make some responsive points.

Stupidity may not be the issue as much as being misled and misinformed by those who deliberately are promoting disinformation.  In his original comment “Christian” said:

I think one of the most important things to realize is that flourine gas is different to flouride. Every chemist would tell you that flourine gas will kill you, but a flouride (a salt) is not always toxic.

Secondly, this Dr Blaylock is also an anti vaccer which goes against all science. Vaccines are safe and people that promote not vaccinating are killing children.


Both of these statements are false.

Regarding the first statement, one needs to consider that not all chemists are biochemists, and thus they approach chemistry from a different perspective.  In fact, not all chemists pay much attention to issues of toxicity.  But one also needs to understand the difference between toxic and lethal, which “Christian” demonstrates that he has completely ignored.  Not all toxins are lethal at low doses.  Moreover, virtually any substance can become toxic or even lethal at high enough levels.

Regarding specifically fluoride, one does not need a chemistry degree to know whether or not it is toxic.  Just read the warning on any fluoride toothpaste carton.  Or you could view these sources that I posted in Drink this!

I’ll post them again here for your ease of perusal.




Sodium Silicofluoride 99% technical Grade
Sodium Silicofluoride 99% min Technical Grade


Catalog Number:     Q137

Definition:
     Sodium Silicofluoride, also called Sodium Fluorosilicate, is a white, odorless, tasteless, free-flowing powder.

CAS Number:
      16893-85-9

Application:     This material is used in a wide range of applications such as: fluoridation, laundry soaps, opalescent glass, vitreous enamel frits, metallurgy (aluminum and beryllium), insecticides and rodenticides, chemical intermediate, glue, leather and wood preservative, moth repellent and manufacture of pure silicone.

Technical Data:     Loss on drying at 105ÂșC 0.30 max
     Assay (on dry basis) 99.0 min
     Free acid content (based on HCL) 0.10 max
     Water insoluble matter content: 0.40 max
     Heavy metal content (based on Pb) 0.02 max
     Iron content (Fe) 0.02 max
     Particle size (based on 250um sieve) 90 min

Packaging & Handling:
      Packed in 25 Kg or 40 Kg bags.

     This product may be fatal if inhaled or swallowed. Irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin can result from contact with this product.

Carefully read MSDS before using this product.

Remarks:     DOT Shipping Classification Class 6.1 (Keep away from food)
DOT Shipping name Sodium Fluorosilicate
UN 2674
Packing Group III
Label Keep away from food






Two items especially grab my attention:




     This product may be fatal if inhaled or swallowed. Irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin can result from contact with this product.



     Keep away from food







Not toxic?  Every chemist would tell you?  Really?













These are the chemicals being added to municipal drinking water supplies.  Are these warning labels hard to understand?  Will every chemist really say that these are false labels and that fluoride is not toxic?

People have indeed been misinformed.  But upon seeing these evidences to the contrary of what the propagandists for the globalist agenda have flooded the media, anyone who still insists that fluoride is not toxic and not a genuine concern when added to water, to toothpaste, and the many other places it is used, truly do fall into a category other than misinformed.

Regarding vaccines, “Christian” also gives one very feeble reference to the CDC.  He says:

Even the CDC agrees that the minor Hg levels in vaccines are not harmful.
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Thimerosal/Index.html


Perhaps this statement is merely more evidence of blind trust.  But it really is also a matter of not thinking for oneself.

First of all, to accept what the globalist CDC says without further verification is dangerous.  People need to remember who the CDC is and what their stated agenda is.  Forced vaccination of the world’s populace is part of their stated agenda.  Could that possibly be reason to question their evaluation of mercury in vaccines?

For anyone who wants an honest appraisal of this issue, I offer these links to Tips for Countering Vaccination Advocates and Influencing Others and Vaccines Uncensored.

While it seems to have been offered sarcastically, “Christian” gives this word of advice that is worthy of attention:

I also suggest that while you are staying away from vaccines, you stop eating any processed food and taking medicine.


Reading the labels on processed food from an informed perspective will certainly lead a person to agree with this advice about avoiding processed foods.

Also reading the labels on medication containers and the pages of warnings supplied by the pharmacist will lead a person to the same conclusion about medications.  They should be avoided as much as is possible, for they are toxic and harmful.  Sometimes such things are necessary, but should be avoided as much as is possible.  A person becomes especially aware of this when one learns that in many cases there are better, more effective, and safer natural remedies than those that have so many listed side-effects.

Finally, if a person determines that ingesting fluoride and taking vaccines is desirable, then that person is free to pursue this.  But it is not right or fair to impose this upon those who have seriously studied this issue and desire not to partake of these things.  Moreover, it is wrong to force others to pay for these things against their will.

Read the studies.  For crying out loud, READ the LABELS!

. . .

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Cholesterol Guidelines: Fugetaboutit



Dr. Brownstein has an informative article regarding the continual farcical promotion of the Cholesterol myth and statin drug use at New Cholesterol Guidelines: Fugetaboutit.  He effectively portrays the methodology of those who use “studies” to deceive the public regarding health matters.  He also states the truth about these dangerous drugs and warns people to avoid them.  He says concerning this study and the deliberate misuse of it to promote the use of dangerous drugs: “Fugetaboutit.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sad, Sad Conditon of Mankind

Who does this?


Who leaves a dirty diaper in the parking lot?


Worse yet, who leaves a dirty diaper on a grocery store shelf?

This has been happening for as long as disposable diapers have been marketed.  My first encounter left me aghast, as a teenager working in a supermarket.  I would frequently find dirty diapers in the parking lot and on the grocery shelves.

It is hard for me to imagine people having so little self-respect, let alone to have so little respect for others.

Today, when most stores have changing stations in the restrooms, it is even harder to understand such ghastly behavior.

On the other hand, taken in perspective, this is really quite insignificant when contrasted to many other actions commonly observed today.  It is really just a symptom of much deeper decay in society.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Dr. Russell Blaylock: Fluoride and Mercury

Some recent comments on the previous post:  No! No! No! Don’t poison us with Fluoride! lead me to include this very informative video, found at  Dr. Russell Blaylock: Fluoride and Mercury.




Here also is a link to an informative article supplied by the commentator on the previous post:

WHY I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT WATER FLUORIDATION

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Monday, October 07, 2013

How Does One Respond to Deliberate and Malicious Misrepresentation?



How does a person respond to deliberate misrepresentation by an attacker?  How should one respond to one who takes clear facts and twists them into something other than what they demonstrate in order to hurt the presenter and his reputation?

This is what my friend the Canadian Atheist has done to my presentation of my father’s loving actions that is presented in the post below.  He has taken my father’s acts of love, that I clearly presented as acts of love, and has labeled both my father and me as abusive people who should be avoided or even arrested.

His reasons?  Prejudice toward religions and especially toward the God of the Bible and those who fear, love, and trust in Him.  He is an atheist.  As such he wants to eradicate all faith in God.  He wants all people to be turned from faith in God to trust in themselves and their governments, and in his religion of his own version of secular humanism.  He would like to see all other religions annihilated.

He actively pursues this end, while denying that he seeks this.

So how should one whom he has attacked and tried to label as dangerous respond?

Well, the God whom he rejects, while trying to label his rejection as something more innocuous, says to recognize him as one who has made himself an enemy.  He declares that this is necessary so as to know to avoid his attacks, and to recognize him as one who needs forgiveness, love, and prayers on his behalf.  The God whom the Atheist rejects says not to return evil for evil, but to do good to all.  This God teaches and declares this in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Atheist says of the writers of the Biblical texts: “Don't take the word of men who wrote those texts in a time when the wheelbarrow was considered emerging technology.”  Wow!  I wonder whether we should treat Pythagoras and his algebraic and geometric writings with this same contempt.  Perhaps we should disregard that chariots and various gear driven machines were used by the ancient Egyptians of Moses’ era and even long before.

More importantly, however, we should ponder the message of these men moved by the Holy Spirit.  The Atheist says that their message of not seeking vengeance upon those who wrong them is outdated and should be ignored.  He says that the preaching of Jesus that we should “Love our enemies and bless them” is dangerous and should not be taught to our children.  He says this while he takes the loving actions of my father to protect his young son from danger and twists these actions and says that my father should have been arrested.

I shared in very clear terms that my father was very careful in his demonstration regarding the need to fear the hot stove.  My father held his own hand on the burner for two purposes.  The first was to guarantee that it would be safe and that no possible harm, bodily or emotionally, would come to his son.  Secondly, by holding his own hand on the burner he demonstrated that he could be trusted, even when the immediate reflex would seem to teach otherwise.

As I presented in my post, his lesson was very effective in both regards.  I was taught to understand the association of the word “Hot” with heat and with danger.  I also was taught to trust my father’s judgment in such matters and to respond to his loving voice and command of warning.

This enabled my father to save my life on multiple occasions. It enable him to steer me clear of many dangerous situations throughout my life.

From the Burn Foundation web site:




Safety Facts on Scald Burns

Hot Liquids Burn like Fire

Over 500,000 scald burns occur annually in the United States.

The two highest risk populations are children under the age of 5 and adults over 65.




Also at this site is this recommendation:

Consider marking a "NO ZONE" in front of the kitchen stove. Teach children to remain out of this zone. This can be done with colored tape on the floor.


Oh, for sure!  Curious toddlers and children under 5 will surely benefit from this!


The Shriners Hospitals for Children’s site says:




Every day, hundreds of young children with burn injuries are taken to emergency rooms. They were not even near a flame. The children are victims of scalds.

Clearly, this is a real danger. Scald burns (caused by hot liquids, steam or foods) are the most common burn injury among children age 4 and younger. According to Safe Kids USA, an average of 12 children ages 14 and under die from scald burn injuries each year. Children ages 4 and under account for nearly all of these deaths.

While the injuries and the numbers are distressing, even more disturbing is the fact that many of these burns could have been prevented.



O.K.  HUNDREDS of young children with burn injuries are taken to emergency rooms EVERY DAY!

Wow!  Doesn’t that sound like FUN?

My father took action to make certain that anyone in the family could turn his children away from such danger with a single word.  The Atheist says this is child abuse.

The Atheist also says: “Your children have rights and no parent is an overlord.”

Tell this to a child whose parents drag the child kicking and screaming to receive a vaccination or to the dentist’s office.  Tell this to the child who wants to go down the stairs to the basement and the parents block the path with barriers.  Tell this to the child who wants to investigate the kitchen cabinet and the parents have installed protective locks.  Tell that to the child who is throwing a temper tantrum because TV privileges have been taken away.

As a hospital chaplain in a research hospital I witnessed children whose parents gave consent for their children to be strapped in a bed and denied water and told that they could only receive a tiny dampened sponge on which to suck.  I observed young children who cried and screamed every time that a person in a white coat walked past the doorway. I’ve been with children who cried “No.  No!”as they received bronchial drainage treatments for cystic fibrosis.  I’ve been with children who were crying because they were told that they would have their limbs amputated.

For the sakes of the children, let’s be honest.  For the safety of the children, let’s face reality.  For the parents’ sakes, let’s not label their loving lordship over their children as criminal activity.

It is quite frightening to realize that social workers with prejudices like these demonstrated by the Atheist have the power to make criminals of parents.  He says that my father could have been arrested for his actions.  His implication is that he would seek to make this happen today.  He points to laws that empower such injustice, where acts that are not abuse are labeled and punished as abuse.

Indeed, parents today face such fears.  Over the past year people have also been arrested for handing out free bottles of water to thirsty passers by.  People have also been arrested for giving free food to homeless people.  Here in Wichita a group was legally prevented from setting up a free meal center for the poor and for the homeless because of prejudice against the poor and homeless who were not wanted in the area.  And yes, in each of these instances that I mention, it was people professing to be Christians who faced these legal hindrances.

Future comments will not be allowed apart from an apology for the disgraceful twisting of the truth with hurtful intentions.  Any comment other than an apology will be deleted, as these attacks are not helpful, honest, or in any way for the good of others.

What I present on this web site is in the name of the God of Love in accord with what He has revealed in His Holy Scriptures.  Those who desire to hear and read of this God and His self-sacrificing actions on behalf of His children will find this doctrine proclaimed here, along with comments about issues facing us all in this world of corruption and sin.  No one who does not like God and His written declaration of His will and interaction with mankind, and does not want to hear of Christ and His Church, will not find this site at all to one’s liking.

I desire nothing but good for all.  This is what I receive from the Lord my God.  This is what I in turn desire for all.

Regarding my earthly father and his dealings with me, no other human being is in a better position to evaluate the goodness of his fatherly care.  No one else has a right to judge him with a judgment contrary to what I myself testify concerning his relationship with me.  I bear witness to his tireless and self-sacrificing love toward me, love that imitated the love of the Lord to both my father and to me.  Anyone who says otherwise is wrong and is way out of line.

On two occasions, my dear father expressed his concern about failing as a father.  I acknowledged that he had failings, and assured him of both God’s forgiveness as well as ours. I also reminded him of the things of primary importance, all of which he faithfully and consistently fulfilled.  I assured him that the things that I and the rest of the family needed most from him he had given to us.  I assured him that he was a good father for whom I give thanks to God.  I have never declared otherwise to anyone and no one will ever convince me to believe otherwise concerning my father.

For those who did not grow up under such a father, I remind you of the Father of all who loves you more than you can know.  I urge you to receive His love through the means by which He makes His love available without limit.  If you do not know this and would like to hear of it, I will be very happy to explain it to you.

God’s peace to all in Christ Jesus.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Discipline and Holy Fear



Parenting is an enormous responsibility and challenge.

On a friend’s Facebook page, she has expressed the frightening experience of having her child hide from her at bath time.  The little boy determined to go outside and hide rather than to join with his little sister for their bath.

Mommy is indeed acting rationally concerning her fear in this regard.  Such disobedience in a child is a frightening thing.  Without a child’s unwavering obedience, no parent is able to provide protection for one’s child.  Obedience is absolutely necessary in the parent and child relationship.  This obedience must be instilled in the child through careful discipline or discipling.  This requires the parent to act very sternly and powerfully, actions that are emotionally difficult to govern with consistency.   But parents are not the child’s peer, nor even buddy.  Parents are the overlords of their children, appointed so by the Father of all, for the good of all.

In the case of my friend, I fear that she may have done as many mommies do.  She very likely has played hide and seek with her young child.  This is a very dangerous game for a parent to play, a game that teaches the child not to obey the voice of the parent when the parent calls.  As fun and innocent as this game and many others may seem, they are not proper for parents in which to engage with their children.  Parenting is an all encompassing responsibility, one which requires the parent to assume the overlord authority at all times, even in play times.

My father understood this, and was often criticized for his wise fatherly actions.  He was not without fault, but he did understand the role of fatherhood and overall was a very good and effective as well as loving father.

I am the firstborn, so my parents were learning much with my arrival under their care.  Two experiences are very powerfully ingrained in my memory.

One is when I was very young, I determined that I would visit Grandpa and Grandma Siems, who lived a quarter mile through the woods.  So off I went, without a thought of my mother’s frantic response.  I climbed onto my little tricycle with its 12 inch drive wheel and 4 inch rear wheels and began to make my way through the sugar sand and palmettos and briars and rattlesnakes to my grandparents’ house.  I do not remember how many hours this took me.

When Mom finally arrived she was frantic.  I do not know whether they called her or even how long I was gone.  Mom was both frantic and furious, as I remember.  But I had not yet been disciplined in the way of informing my mom and asking permission for such ventures.  I remember Grandma coming to my defense till Mom calmed down.  For I had not been deliberately disobedient.  I simply had not yet been properly discipled.  This was a learning experience for us all, and I am sure that I received intense instruction after this, though I don’t really remember that part.

What I do know for certain is that the 4th Commandment, “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth.” is deep seated in my personhood.  I also know that this was not driven into me, but was born in me so that it fills me as it flows from the first three commandments.  True fear, love, and trust in God is the beginning of all right understanding for life.  True honor of parents cannot be taught apart from this.  The mechanics of the Fourth Commandment can be effected without fear, love, and trust in God, but not the natural flow of true and genuine honor of parents.

The other experience that I remember, not so much from my own remembrance, but because it was told to me several times, is the time that I encountered a nine foot diamond back rattlesnake as a toddler.  This huge viper was slithering after a covey of quail in the front yard when I saw it and began toddling toward it saying “Pretty snake.  Pretty snake.”

Grandpa and Grandma Heumann, Aunt Esther, and Mom were all yelling “No Paul.  Stop!  Come back!”  When Dad heard the commotion, he came running, and flying out the front door he yelled, “Paul!  HOT!”  Upon hearing this I immediately turned and came back to the safety of my loving overlords.

Some time previously, Dad had astonished the rest of the family by teaching me to fear the electric stove.  He placed his hand on the burner, turned the knob to warm and waited for it to become uncomfortable, took my little hand and placed it on the burner crying, “HOT!”  The others thought this to be terrible, but he wanted his little boy to be safe.  He wanted his little boy to stay away from anything that was declared to be HOT.

I share this to demonstrate that true love does not always bear the outward appearance that people expect.  True love sometimes appears hard and harsh and intolerant.  True parenting requires wisdom in knowing what true love demands.

The best way for parents to learn this is to observe the one who Himself is Love, the Father of all.  He has provided for us a written accounting of His interaction with His children.  He has given us this so that we may know Him as our loving Father, and so that we may learn from Him the form that true love takes.

We have the complication of our sinfulness that interferes with this understanding and blurs our perspective.  Thus we always must hold our actions to the accounting of the Commandments, by which we see where we fall short and need to have our ways amended.  But even the Commandments fall short in that they only show us what should be, as they show us how God is as the one who is truly holy and righteous.  The Commandments cannot be taken as stand alone directives.  They must be understood in the light of the Gospel, which shows how God gives the Commandments for our instruction, but also shows that He is the one who fulfills all righteousness for us.  He does not demand that we make ourselves righteous through striving to obey the Commandments.  Rather, He makes us righteous as He joins us to the merits of Jesus, who has fulfilled all righteousness on our behalf.  He applies this to us through Baptism and the Holy Supper.  There we encounter His righteousness and are made to be partakers of Him and His righteousness.

This is what parents need to realize about the responsibilities that God has given to them.  They are to do similarly to their loving Father.  They are to live the sanctified life of their baptism so that their children receive this as their own.  As the parents fear, love, and trust in God and live lives that flow from this, so their children do also.  They learn God’s love through the loving actions and lordship of their parents.


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10 Second Brilliance Test



Today I encountered this graphic and its engrafted challenge:




The first response was “Oh my!”

It took 3 seconds to overturn the brainwashing effects of the suggestion.  This image is designed to convince the person that this is an enormous task, even impossible.

After my mind rejected this, in second 4 I thought of “are.”

OK.  Four seconds.  I felt very pleased with myself.

Then I thought, “What’s so brilliant about this?”  Its really no big deal at all.

Surely there are many such words.  Then I thought, “Are there really MANY such words?  Of course there are.”

Are
aloe
Abe
ate
ace
axe
able
alchemize
attire
attitude
axle
angle
ankle


Then I clicked on the graphic image to go to the link and to see what others did.

I was shocked at the enormous number of people who listed the profane “a..h...” as their first word.

I felt relieved that this word did not even occur to me.  I felt very relieved.

Thanks be to God that He filled my mind with better thoughts.

I certainly cannot take credit, as I confess being ashamed of the many times that I have used that word, especially while driving.

As I consider this, I immediately realize the thanks that are due to the Holy Spirit for keeping me from using far worse words, far more shameful words.

Truly the Holy Spirit is a wonderful counselor.  How actively He participates in the life of a Christian is immeasurable.  Truly this is cause to pause in deep awe and to continue in everlasting thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Shall Ever Forgive . . . & . . . Live




A thought and emotion provoking image on this day of 9/11:



In my Internet search I also found:



While the first image does not say the same as the second, such remembrance leads to the same in many if not even in all instances.  Remembering the wrong done and the loss incurred ultimately leads to anger and resentment and eventually even hatred.

We humans do not have the capability of erasing such things from our memories.  We can suppress them or avoid them or ignore them.  We can try to bury them with busyness and other thoughts.  But we are designed to remember.  Our contacts and encounters are stored permanently in our memories.

However, we do not have to dredge up our memories.  We do not have to make them our point of focus.

Furthermore, at least for those who are regenerated into God’s Holy Communion in Christ, we have the gift of Forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not equal forgeting.

Forgiveness is the disassociation of those who are forgiven from their sinful actions.

This is how the Lord says concerning this matter:

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.  (Hebrews 8:12)


How is it that the omniscient God who knows all and remembers all is able to say that He will remember His forgiven ones’ sins no more?  It is because He has taken their guilt and made it His own and paid the price of redemption Himself.

As a good friend frequently reminds me, guilt is not a feeling, it is an accounting term, a legal accounting term.  Guilt is not merely a feeling that accompanies awareness of wrongdoing.  Guilt is the accounting that binds a person to the wrongs that have been done.  It is the pronouncement of an unpayable debt.  Redemption from guilt can only be paid by one who is free of such debt, one who has no guilt, one who has committed no wrong.

This is what God has done for sinners.  He took the sin of the world and declared the entire world to be guiltless in Christ.  This does not mean that people are guilt free apart from Christ.  Only in Christ is this declaration valid.  The justification that God has accomplished for all is IN Christ.  God applies this declaration to individuals through Baptism, baptism into Christ.

In this way God divorces individuals from their unrighteousness and marries them to His own righteousness in Christ.  Therefore, for all who are in Christ, there remains no condemnation.  Thus, for all who are in Christ, He remembers their sin no more, for He has set them free from their sin so that it is no longer accounted as theirs.

So what does it profit a person to cling to the memory of their lost loved ones?  Surely we will remember.  Surely various dates will cause us to remember them and what gifts they have been to us and in many ways continue to be to us.  Surely we will remember the wisdom taught to us by parents and grandparents and other teachers.  Surely we will rejoice in such remembrance.  But what value is remembrance that recalls grief and perpetuates the sense of loss?

There is truly only one such remembrance that serves us profitably.  That is the continual remembrance of our loss of accountability for our sin, the loss effected for us in our baptism and continually renewed for us in Christ’s Holy Supper.  Through these our identification of guilty ones has been taken from us and replaced with identification with the name of Jesus, the holiness of God.  In Him we rejoice in remembering this great and wonderful loss, a loss that is everlasting profit and blessing to us.

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Confusing Propaganda in Christendom



This morning as I was preparing for my day with prayer and hymns alongside of contemplating planning for my workday and responsibilities, after checking a weather forecast I also visited a Christian/Lutheran site and was reminded that today is the anniversary of the 09-11-2001 events.  I occasionally visit this blog to see what is presented.  Here is a snapshot of today’s posting and the previous post.



As I observed this my heart felt distressed.  I wondered which of the two is really what is being practiced during this Fifteenth Week after Trinity by those professing to be Christians.

I do realize that with this particular choice of images that the blogger’s motives and intended conveyance could be that Christians should remember those who suffered from this incidence of worldly violence and wickedness so as to be moved to pray for those who suffered as well as for those who committed this great wickedness.  Certainly this is to put the best construction on the intentions behind the use of this image.

But is this in any way indicated by the blogger?  Is this at all what is commonly understood by “Never Forget”?

A Google Internet search produced this compilation of images.  There appears to be a plethora of images produced concerning the sentiments and beliefs of people regarding the 9-11-01 events and the information disseminated by the government and media agencies.

Ultimately, however, what real advantage lies in remembrance of this day?  Who truly benefits from it?

If we stand back and divorce ourselves from the emotional impact of whatever is perceived regarding 9-11-01, what has been the result of propagating remembrance of this?  What things have been pursued in connection with “remembering”?



The bottom line is the point of concern.  With this image is expressed a great and horrible world-view, one that perpetuates itself and brings endless abuse, suffering, and grief.

“I learned on 9/11/01. Never Forget!!

Never Forgive!! Enough Said.”



Is this not the prevailing mindset and sentiment of those who say: “Never Forget”?

I certainly am not a defender of the religion of Islam.  I believe it to be a great evil in the world.  I believe that it enslaves people to a false god who hides his true identity, demanding to be called “the merciful” without any example of mercy demonstrated.  He demands to be embraced as the one who “oft forgives” without showing forgiveness.  He does not redeem but demands sacrifice.  He demands war against all of mankind, not in defense but to conquer by brute force.

This is the way of sinful mankind.  This is the way taught by their father, who has promoted disruption and deception and murder from the beginning.  This is the way of the sinful nature in which all men are conceived and born.

But this is not the way of the Lord.  This is not what He espouses or commands.  This is not the way of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

His way is the way of forgiveness from the heart.  His way is to pray for one’s enemies.  His way is the way of the cross, bearing the shame of sinful mankind, offering forgiveness and life in exchange.

The Lord is merciful.  His command to His people is that they should not act vengefully.



For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  (Hebrews 10:30)


Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.  (Deuteronomy 32:34-36)


Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:16-21)




This concept is entirely foreign to the sinful nature.  Sadly, very few who profess to be Christian truly understand this either.

Thus, the vengeance of the Lord is often preached to the opposite end of what He Himself declares.  His judgment is turned upside down and inside out.  He Himself explains it very plainly.




And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:   That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.  (John 3:14-21)
   

What is the Lord’s recompense for evil?  What does the Lord mean by saying that vengeance belongs to Him?

He shows us from the cross.  On the cross He punishes wickedness in His own body and soul.  Having taken the flesh of humanity, having taken the sin of the world into Himself, He took vengeance for all of the wickedness and evil of all time.  He paid the vengeance price with His own suffering and death, His own rejection by the authorities and the religious leaders and the people and mankind.  He took the world’s condemnation and cried out in His suffering: FORGIVE!

We find this as His declared will already in Genesis.  He reiterates it endlessly throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, again in the New Testament Scriptures.

Yet the Lord is not blind to the daily struggles that mankind faces in this world of sin.  As a true Father, He does provide measures to help curb these so that evil does not completely obliterate His creation, especially for the sake of Man.  Thus He does speak of various temporal forms of punishment against wickedness in the world.  He does provide rulers, all of whom are sinful and therefore do not follow His will fully, often even with great wickedness of their own.  Yet through them He does limit and curb overall chaos.  This also is referred to as vengeance, which finds its ultimate display in the suffering and death of Jesus as well.

For the Lord and His household of faith, the continual cry of the heralds is: FORGIVENESS!

Forgiveness for all!

Sadly, most refuse this forgiveness and continue in their unbelief or self-defined beliefs.  Either way the result is the same, they turn the Lord’s forgiveness into something else.  They hinder themselves and others from rightly perceiving the will of the Lord.  Thus many view Christendom as nothing more than another worldly abuse, as a house of hypocrites and hate.

But that is not the way of Christendom.  The true Church of Christ is all about forgiveness and restoration and the love of God in Christ.

The Remembrance of the true Church is that proclaimed with the eating and drinking of the body and blood of the Lord, where it is His Remembrance that is shown and taught and proclaimed till He comes.  It is as with the Old Testament Passover, where the Lord says that the blood is a sign unto Himself so that He Passes Over His redeemed.  He made the same declaration concerning the rainbow, that it was sign to Himself never again to destroy the world by a flood.1  His signs then also serve us, as we see that He is true to His promises to do as He has promised.  In His Church of the New Testament He has replaced circumcision with Baptism, the Passover with His Supper, and the various sacrifices with the divine liturgy and Confession and Absolution.

Those who receive and practice these as He has ordained them, without reinterpreting them, without redefining them, without adulterating and compromising them, they are the true Church.  Within this true Church forgiveness, mercy, grace, and peace reign.  These are what the true Church teaches the saints to hear and to remember so that they may continue in the new life into which they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

The true Church has always been a tiny remnant.  False representatives and false churches have filled the earth so that very few ever know the joys of God’s Holy Communion.  But where the pure means of grace are administered, there the true saints are congregated by the Lord to Himself and they are continually renewed in Him.  Thus they are moved to act in conformity with what He restores in them.  As He forgives, so they also forgive.  As He remembers His promise not to call to His remembrance their sins and wickedness, so they demonstrate to those who do them wrong.

So, if Christians are moved to Remembrance on this day of great calamity twelve years ago, let this be their remembrance, their preaching, their teaching, their confession, and their practice.

The peace of God to all in Christ Jesus!




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1 The flood was used to save Noah and his family from obliteration from those who had turned from fearing the Lord to their own ways.  The promised Seed and Salvation was to come through Noah.  As the last believer and preacher of faith in the Lord on earth, he and his family would have faced the same persecution as is being demonstrated today.  They would have been killed and Jesus would not have been born to save the world.  After the flood, God declared that this means of preventing the extinction of His people would not be repeated.  We see the fulfillment of this when unbelievers began to organize at the tower of Babel to establish a one-world-order by which they intended to raise themselves over mankind.  At Babel the Lord disrupted their wicked intentions by means of the confusion of their languages so that they dispersed and desisted their works of establishing themselves as gods over the rest mankind.  Although they continued in their unbelief and wickedness, nevertheless they were halted from their united efforts against the Lord and His plan of salvation.

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