Saturday, December 31, 2011

No, He’s Free!

Yesterday, on the site where I was removing a dead pine for a household, their dog was in the back yard, contained in an area enclosed by a four foot high wrought iron fence. When I first approached the area the dog was happy and wagging her tail and came gingerly toward me. As it drew near it began to snarl and growl and bark threateningly. This continued as I worked. No kind and soothing words had any effect.

One of the neighbors came past on the other side of street with her dog on a leash. The dog was quiet and demonstrably happy, walking in step with his master.

I called over to the lady, “Your dog doesn’t seem to be angry.”

She called back, “No, he’s free!”

I found the observation worthy of note. Her dog was on a leash, yet was free. The other dog, freely roaming within the fenced back yard was not free.

What was the difference from the perspective of the two dogs?

The difference was the presence of the master.

Naturally I made the association to myself in the greater relationship.

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Later, when the master of the dog of this household came home and put her dog on her leash to take her for a walk, this dog, too, was transformed. No barking. No snarling. Attention fixed on the master’s countenance. The same was true when the husband stood with me talking.

But when they went back inside the house, the dog returned to the snarling and barking.


What a difference the master’s loving presence makes!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You lied to me by telling me the truth?

In the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides there is an amazingly perverse but true to life conversation. I quote it below but it can also be read here or heard at POTC: Angelica lies to Jack by telling him the truth.

Angelica: I need years, Jack. Not for me. For my father. I am truly the daughter of Blackbeard.
Jack Sparrow: You've fallen for your own con, love.
Angelica: No. He is my father. The lies I told you were not lies.
Jack Sparrow: You lied to me by telling me the truth?
Angelica: Yes.
Jack Sparrow: That's very good. May I use that?
Angelica: I'm sure you will anyway.
Jack Sparrow: Mmm, of course I will.

Another quote reflecting perverse reality is when Jack says: “The Black Pearl in a bottle? Why is the Black Pearl in a bottle?”

If one desires it can be heard at: POTC: Ship's in the bottle .

It is astounding to realize how often the truth is misused in the manner that Jack discovers through Angelica’s use of the truth to deceive him. When the truth is spoken apart from its context it misleads and deceives. When the truth is spoken in connection with people’s false presuppositions so as to allow them to form their own conclusions regarding the statement based upon their false presuppositions, deception is the result. This is true also when a false presupposition is first stated or alluded as truth and then the true statement is made.

The devil boldly attempted this with the Lord Jesus. It worked on other humans with great success. But Jesus is the Truth. The Truth cannot be deceived or overcome by misuse of true statements. The Truth is more than the sum of the many and various articles and particular true statements. And so, Jesus did not argue with the devil. He did not try to prove the truth. He simply countered the misuse of a true statement with another true statement that showed the false and wrong use of the first statement. (Matthew 4:1-11)

If the first Adam had done this, his wife would not have been deceived. Instead, he stood by and allowed her to defend the truth with her own reason. He listened as she added to the Word that he had taught her and did not interject with a loving and gentle corrective. Good intentioned people have added their own presumptive reasoning to the Word ever since. Once this occurs, the Truth is lost to them and they move ever farther from it in their own deluded perception.

The woman, whom her husband later in the loving response produced by the Gospel renamed Eve, or Life, imagined that she had to overcome the misuse of God’s Word with additional requirements or restrictions. The devil spoke the truth deceptively. God did say not to eat of every tree of the garden, but He did not say it in this way. Moreover, by presenting it as a question, the devil craftily inferred that it was something to question. He challenged the woman’s understanding, to which she responded defensively rather than simply responding in faith. She could have simply responded saying: “Yes. That is correct. He told us not to eat of every tree. The one tree is not for us to eat.” But instead, she decided to add an additional restriction, she added that God said that they neither could touch it. Once she made this false addition, she was no longer protected by the Word of God. Now she had begun to rely upon her own self and her own reason.

Notice that the devil did not come to tempt the Man, but the woman who heard the Word through the Man. Moreover, the devil did not present his temptation directly as an mighty angel, but through a lesser creature, a very beautiful creature, one that would not have caused alarm. This was one of the creatures that Adam named, one that had been placed under Adam’s province. Through it the devil could speak without being obvious. A simple question coming from a lower creature would not seem out of place., especially since this command was not given to the lower creatures but only to Adam and all who were generated through him and of him.

In the movie Jack Sparrow says: “The Black Pearl in a bottle? Why is the Black Pearl in a bottle?” If Adam had known who was in the serpent, he would have asked what an angel was doing in the serpent. Jack is a wicked man who surrounds himself with deception and acts deceptively and wickedly. It is no surprise that he would encounter a deceptive use of the truth and then want to use make use of that himself. Adam was innocent and naive to such things, yet once he became a son of the deceiver, he, too, turned to more deception, trying to hide his nakedness, that is, his openly manifested sinfulness, with inventions of his own, namely, fig leaves sewn together.

The Truth, spoken honestly and forthrightly, ends the facade. It shows God for who He really is, and in contrast, sinners for who they have become. The Truth shows the depths of God’s love, how far it reaches, how far it moves Him on our behalf. His sunshine does not shine only for believers, but for all. His rain falls upon both as well. He came to the world, born as a man, to give Himself to us and for us, taking our sin and our consequences. He rose again with the same humanity still as His own, so that the renewed relationship or communion would be absolute. He established His Church so that this Truth would be proclaimed and received. Through His means of grace administered in this Church people continue to be called out of the darkness into His light of forgiveness and restoration and healing and peace.

The devil hid himself in a creature in order to deceive. The Lord manifested Himself in Jesus to make the Truth known. The devil continues to deceive through convincing mankind that the truth can be found through a microscope and through conjecture. The Lord comes to us visibly as a man and openly declares the Truth, leaving no room for conjecture. And to those who hear Him and are moved to believe His Word again, they find that things really are just as they have been told.

      And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas — Divorce

I learned today of the Christmas Eve judgment regarding the Gibsons in their divorce settlement.

Mel Gibson divorce: Details of settlement remain private

Mel Gibson’s Ex Awarded Over $400 million in Divorce Settlement

Mel Gibson Loses Half of His $850 Million Fortune to Ex-Wife in Divorce

The third link includes an ABC video in which a male anchor announces the divorce and turns to a female anchor who gleefully spills details, and a female reporter presents further information. As the video returns to the female anchor she continues her gleeful exuberance over the huge settlement, and concludes, saying, “The court documents will keep most of the details of the settlement private, so we may never know if they have to split that island in Fiji that Mel bought a few years ago.” The video fades as the male anchor gently and quietly comments: “Yeah, some details really should remain private. Shouldn’t they, Lara?”

Indeed, Sir. Indeed! Thank you for that.

What a shame! Over three decades of marriage brought to an unhappy end. I do not know the reason for the Gibsons ending of their marriage, and it is none of my business beyond the fact that I grieve for them. As for the settlement, especially since Mel purports to be Christian, the faith that rightly holds that a husband and wife are joined as one flesh, certainly their possessions should have been counted as an equal sharing. But the money is a small matter contrasted to what has ultimately been lost to them both. Certainly they both should be able to live exceedingly comfortably with a half billion dollars each. But what have they of their lifetime together beyond the money? What have they sacrificed to the god of unforgiveness?

Sad. Very sad. What a way for them to celebrate the nativity of the Lord Jesus.

Divorce is an evil thing, ordinarily. However there is a divorce that is to be counted as good tidings of great joy! The Lord Jesus was born into this world to bring to effect a great divorce that would be a cause for everlasting rejoicing. He came to end our marriage to sin. In the Scriptures the Lord speaks of this great divorce in which He declares us to be everlastingly divorced from sin and its horrific consequences.

I have written more on this blessed topic in a couple of precious blog posts: The Necessity of Divorce and A Christmas Divorce.

As we have entered into the season of Christmas, surely this light shining in a dark world is good news.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have a Farcical Christmas — Not

Merry Christmas!

What does this mean?

Some add, “Keep Christ in Christmas!” or “Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Do these really give a more clear definition and better understanding?

All of these are good sayings. But do those who use them even understand what they mean?

Below is a video that was produced by an atheist. It contains the words “damn” and “hell” as expletives. When I first viewed it on the website of a recent blogger acquaintance, I had to turn it off because of the anger that I experienced regarding the farcical perspective from which it displays faith in God.

But then I asked myself, “But who is presenting this farcical perspective?”

I myself cry out against this as I observe it amongst those professing to be believers. I will explain this further below the video.

Be warned that this video is offensive. It attacks religion and religionists and especially targets Christians. It also contains offensive expletives. It is about the same as watching David Letterman or a typical TV sitcom, or at least from what I remember of these from when I watched TV.

If God Were a Car

There are plenty of fallacies in the presentation of this attack on Christians and the God of the Bible that I could address, things that are dishonestly presented because they misrepresent what the Christian faith actually teaches. Sadly, however, those who prepared this video are accurately representing what they have experienced and observed. They are not the ones responsible for this farcical representation but are merely recording what they have observed from people claiming to be representatives of this faith.

I read on the profile page of one convert from Fundamentalistic Christianity to the religion of Atheism how badly she suffered under the pretense of Christian faith that she experienced. She shares how badly she still suffers from the abuses that she experienced from these charlatans. I know these abuses myself. I have witnessed others who have suffered them. Moreover, I, too, have been severely abused by those pretending to be representatives of Christ and His faith and Church.

As this video very vividly portrays, the so-called Christian Church that predominates the landscape has no unity of doctrine, except to say that in some way or other Jesus is believed in.

The most farcical of the representations of the Christian faith are those made by the so-called Conservative Christians. They pat themselves on the back for their self-purported faithfulness to the true faith while they do not adhere to it. They write marvelous expositions of what the Bible says, but then deny it within their fellowships and church bodies and synods.

As one who grew up within that which calls itself the Elsie Mess, or the LC-MesS, the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, I will use my own experience as the example.

The LC-MS claims to be a stalwart bastion of the Christian faith. She prides herself on the fact that she demands that her pastors give a quia subscription to the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She boasts of unity in doctrine and practice.

As one example of this farcical claim, I heard today of a congregation of the LC-MS in which on the altar/table of the Lord’s Supper the pastor and congregation set two sets of chalices and of the individualistic communion trays. One set has wine. The other set has grape juice.

This is the Sacrament and particularly the portion that the Lord Jesus named as The New Testament in His blood. (1 Corinthians 11:25) This is the very definition of the Church of the New Testament. Yet even within one congregation there are FOUR divisions/schisms regarding how they partake of it. Where is the unity of which the apostle speaks in the preceding chapter? Even within the same congregation there exists no unity regarding how to partake of the blood of Christ?!

What does this say of those who say “I believe”? What does this say of them when they say that they are one in the faith? What do they believe together as one? How will anyone observe oneness among them?

And what of the LC-MS? Where is the unity? Their president says that he believes that it may someday be possible to achieve 80 percent unity, and the conservatives and confessionals applaud him for this. 80 percent unity? What does this mean? What honest person speaks of such? This is what one expects from those seeking political office. Where does the Bible in which they claim to believe speak of 80% of anything? Yet this stalwart bastion of faithfulness to the Bible admits that even 50 percent unity is not even a reality but only a goal.

From this, then, the landscape broadens to the many schisms that are so vast that the various confessions do not even resemble one another. Yet they all claim to be Church. Not only this, but they generally even acknowledge one another as Church.

So what is the person from the outside to conclude?

This video very aptly shows what is concluded.

Who can effectively argue against their conclusion?

This evening, throughout the world, Christmas will be celebrated. By most it will be entirely a farcical observance.

But Christmas is very real. The Christ who gives Himself in the Mass is real. His gifts are real. His gifts are real gifts, given freely, without charge. The peace on earth and goodwill toward men heralded by the angels is real, when it is received where it is promised, in the Christ Mass, administered as it was ordained by the one who performs what He promises.

The needy do receive what their hearts long to receive. The poor are blessed in their spirits and bodies. They gather to the One who comes through gentle means that can be tasted and felt and seen. Though He has ascended far above to do for His beloved what He has promised and so cannot be seen with the eyes in the bodily form in which He walked with His disciples and touched the sick with healing and the hurting with comfort and then gave Himself bodily to suffering and death on their behalf, nevertheless, He has provided means by which He does come today bodily to work the same miracles. In His true Church the saints do gather to these means and they do receive healing and comfort and forgiveness and regeneration and peace and justification and sanctification and true unity and goodwill.

If those who have been injured by frauds and those who have been deceived into believing that no-god is all there is, if such souls desire more, this God offers Himself freely for the everlasting blessing of all who will hear and receive Him. The price tag is far greater than the $15,000.00 demanded in the video, but the price has already been paid by this God Himself. This is what the babe born in Bethlehem is, the price of our everlasting blessedness. This is God’s only-begotten Son, given for the sake of the redemption of the world from all that is awry. This is the price that only God could pay. And it has been paid.

This truly is cause for rejoicing. This is cause for celebration! This truly is Joy to the Word, for the Lord IS Come. His blessings flow far as the curse is found. In this person, this little baby, the power to drive the farce back into the darkness is with us in flesh and blood. The table is prepared. All is ready. He stands and calls to one and all to partake freely, in accord with His promise and Word. Come and see that the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Refrigerator

Friday evening Stephanie went to our refrigerator to put away some items and discovered that it had quit working. The frozen food was mostly thawed. We scrambled to move the food items to the backup refrigerator that we purchased a year ago. Yes, Stephanie knew that our aging refrigerator could give out and snapped up an inexpensive used one.

We called our friend at Abel’s Appliance yesterday, Alan Meyer. He is a delightful fellow who views his life as one of service in the name of the Lord. He intentionally works to keep his prices affordable. He does not even charge special “emergency” or “weekend” fees.

Today I forgot to ask for a new business card, as we conversed over many matters of the faith as they are declared in the Scriptures. But I do have one of his older cards to display until I obtain a newer one. This one was an older card when I received it years ago. Today, rather than 16 years of experience he has 31 years of experience.

The writing at the top is mine as I wanted to have his name handy. Thankfully, our need for appliance repair is infrequent enough that I need to have my memory refreshed or else I forget his name. Thus I wrote it for my frail memory’s sake.

Our refrigerator is working again and our bank account was not severely depleted. Moreover, even my spirit was refreshed through the opportunity to visit again with a very dear man and friend.

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Václav Havel's View

I found an article regarding the recently deceased Czech leader, entitled, Living Responsibly: Václav Havel's View, an article that I found very informative and interesting.

Frankly, until today, I was ignorant of this man and his role in the struggle of mankind for knowing the truth and for understanding who we are. I saw some blog posts contrasting this man and the recently deceased ruler of North Korea. This motivated me to study more.

What I learned about Kim Jong-il is horrifying. What I have learned of Václav Havel is truly a contrast.

Two places where I learned of Kim Jong-il and his so-called leadership are: On the Death of A Diabolical Dictator – North Korea’s Killing Fields and Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader, dies. Both of these have videos that reveal the dreadful ways of those who promote themselves as saviors, in the stead of the one who gives Himself as Savior, whose great gift to the world we celebrate Sunday. The videos at “The Guardian” show how powerfully the people of North Korea, or at least the ones shown in the videos, were persuaded by the closed and controlled state media.

Truly the man Václav Havel stands in contrast to this. I find it amazing how American he is, unlike most of us who have enjoyed the freedoms afforded to “real Americans.” He offers a strong warning to America, to Western Civilization, and to the world.

Havel stands as an example of how even one who does not believe in the God who reveals Himself in the Bible can still benefit temporally from the statutes, commandments, precepts, and judgments therein recorded. Havel himself received these temporal benefits, and through his belief in the high morals and ideals many others benefitted as well.

It is sad, though, very sad indeed, to realize that temporal benefits do not equal everlasting benefits. For this man openly declared concerning the rumor that he had become a Christian: “genuine conversion, as I understand it, would mean replacing an uncertain ‘something’ with a completely unambiguous personal God, and fully, inwardly, to accept Christ as the Son of God.… And I have not taken that step.”

This means that he will be standing with Kim Jong-il forevermore. He will not suffer as greatly as the monstrous dictator, but he did reject the life of everlasting blessedness that the Lord Jesus purchased for him.

And this is the so-called Church’s fault. For where would he turn to hear the unadulterated Gospel today? Where would he look to see the holy catholic Church standing in perfect unity of doctrine? Where are the means of grace administered today in accord with Christ’s ordinance? And yet all of these divisive heretics (opinion holders) say that these divisive self held opinion promoters are the Church and are saved. Why then would someone like Havel be inclined to believe in “a completely unambiguous personal God”? From whom would he even hear of such a God so as to believe in Him?

Sadly, frighteningly, poor Mr. Havel is not alone in this confusion that fills the world through the so-called Church of tolerant deviance. When one considers how many victims this view of Christianity claims, who is the more monstrous tyrant, the little ruler of North Korea, or the pastors and other leaders who deny the efficacy of the means of grace and the true unity of the Church of God on earth? And of those who deny the efficacy of the means of grace and the true unity of the Church, who does it most powerfully, those who outright deny that God works salvation through these, or those who teach that they are true means of salvation but then allow that salvation can be received while rejecting them (and thereby the One who ordained them)?

The warning that Mr. Havel spoke to America, to Western civilization, and to the world certainly should be taken seriously by those who call themselves Church. Moreover, if Mr. Havel were able so to do, he would, like the rich man who called out to Abraham in whose bosom Lazarus rested, surely he would call out to the Church unitedly and honestly to warn his brothers concerning who Jesus really is and what Jesus has accomplished for us all.

Christmas, that is, the Christ Mass, is this Sunday. Never mind what this means TO the world. Isn’t it time that Christians first acknowledge what this means FOR the Church so as then also to be able to proclaim what it means FOR the world?

Is it possible that in spite of the infidelity of those who claim to be the Church that somehow, even with the lack of clarity and honesty of their preaching and practice, that somehow the Lord miraculously brought Mr. Havel into the true faith so that he also rests in the bosom of Abraham? This is a question that we have no business asking, for the Lord has nowhere given such a promise. Mr. Havel most certainly could have been converted in his last moments. But this is not our concern. Our concern is that he did not hear it from us! Furthermore, our concern is whether or not we will hear God calling us to repentance ourselves.

Throughout the world people will be singing:

Oh, come, all ye faithful, triumphantly sing:
Come see in the manger our Savior and King!

Where has He promised to be found? Where has He declared His manger to be? How has He said that sinners are to come to Him? Through what means has He said that sinners enter into the kingdom of God? John 3 How does His apostle say that sinners are empowered to be born as sons of God? It is through a decision? Is it through bloodline and heritage? John 1:12-13 How does He say that His blood of forgiveness is given and received? Matthew 26:27-28 Oh that together with one voice and as one true body the Church would gather for the Christ Mass and sing:

To Bethlehem hasten with joyful accord;
Oh, come let us adore Him, Oh, come let us adore Him,
Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

More Flu Information & Warnings

     Here is another article regarding the flu, flu shots, and why flu shots are not the answer, in fact, not even safe: Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Don't Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer's. Additionally, Dr. Blaylock has at his own web site this article: The Truth about the Flu Shot! . This article has much more information. The information, especially regarding the deliberate deceptions propagated by the government, is very disturbing. But Dr. Blaylock also shares very helpful information that is worthy of reading.

     At the end of this article Dr. Blaylock includes information regarding steps to take to help prevent the Swine Flu. I will reproduce these here:

Protection from the Swine Flu

  • This flu is transmitted mostly by physical contact rather than by being exposed to coughing by infected individuals. You can use a hand sanitizer and clean commonly used surfaces, such as computer keyboards, telephone speakers, countertops and door handles with sanitizer cloths.

  • Avoid exhaustion and extreme exercise, both of which lower immunity and greatly increase one’s risk of serious reactions to the infection and even death. Get at least 8 ours of good sleep each night.

  • Avoid foods that suppress immunity, such as high sugar intake and consuming foods or cooking in oils that suppress immunity and increase inflammation—such as the omega-6 oils—corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut and soybean oils.

  • Avoid excessive intake of omega-3 containing EPA (anything over 100 mg per serving). EPA is a powerful immune suppressant, even though it reduces inflammation. This increases your risk of getting infected and having difficulty clearing the infection. The DHA component of the oil does not appreciably suppress immunity, but significantly reduces inflammation.

  • If you are exposed to people in high-risk situations, such as in crowded offices, theaters, airplanes and other forms of public transportation, take beta-1,3/1,6 glucan 250 mg every other day. It is to be taken on an empty stomach with any liquid. If you began to feel ill, take the beta-glucan every day until your illness clears and then every other day for one week afterwards.

  • Take a well-balanced vitamin/mineral. I like Extend Core ( This will supply you with all the vitamins needed to support immunity, which is especially important for those over age 50—the age of nutrient-based, aged-associated immune suppression. Take the vitamin capsule with each meal.

  • Vitamin D3. Children and pregnant women should take 2000 IU a day and adults should take 5000 IU once to twice a day. You should also take 500 mg of calcium citrate a day.

  • Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) that is high in gamma-tocopherol, the anti-inflammatory form of the vitamin. The dose is 400 IU a day.

  • Buffered vitamin C 1000 mg three times a day taken on an empty stomach to prevent excess iron absorption. One should avoid taking iron supplements during infection, since it worsens the infection.

  • Curcumin 250 mg and quercetin 250 mg dissolved in one tablespoon of extravirgin olive oil. This greatly reduces inflammation and autoimmune development and has direct antiviral effects by inhibiting protein kinase C. Take the mixture three times a day with meals. It can be mixed with foods as desired.

  • Avoid all fluoride products, such as fluoridated mouthwashes, toothpaste and fluoride treatments. Fluoride has been shown to increase flu virus budding, making it easier to produce more virus within your body. It is also a cellular toxin.

  • Avoid other sources of mercury, such as contaminated seafoods and other mercury-containing vaccinations. Dental amalgams, in my view, should be removed by a specially trained dentist (see www. for a list of such dentists). Mercury greatly increases one’s risk of developing an autoimmune disease and suffering from neurological damage.

  • Avoid smoking. Smoking damages the protective cells lining the lungs and nicotine is a very powerful immune suppressant. This is also true for nicotine patches and gums.

  • Keep well hydrated. Drinking several glasses or cups of strong white tea (either as iced tea or hot tea) a day also reduces viral growth and protects the lungs against viral and bacterial damage.

  • Eat a diet containing at least 5 servings of high-density fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked. Avoid a high intake of breads and other high-glycemic foods. Avoid excessive red meats and eat more chicken and turkey that is organically raised.

     For more information please see the articles mentioned above.

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God Bless You for Your Goodness

Saturday evening, I went to retrieve my T-post puller from the chipper truck so as to be able to replace the broken top bar/lever and as I put it into the cab of my pickup I tore a hole in the headliner. Boo hoo.

Then I went to Blockbuster to pick up a couple of free videos. From there I went to Braums to buy the gallon of milk that Stephanie requested.

As I drove into the parking lot I observed a frail looking man hobbling toward the sidewalk beside the store building. He very cautiously toppled over onto the raised sidewalk. I parked the truck and walked over toward him asking as I walked whether he was alright. He was half lying and half sitting, bracing himself with his arm. He informed me that he was not hurt. Then he looked up and said that he was staying in a motel about two blocks away. Furthermore he informed me that he had no money but could use a sandwich and milk.

I knew when I walked to him that I was setting myself up, but I had to check. I did not want to buy this man’s supper. I told him, I don’t have any spare money either . . . I cannot afford these things for myself . . . but I’ll get you something to eat.

I asked him, “Can you manage to walk into the store to pick out a sandwich.” He replied, “Yes, I can do that.”

He truly had difficulty walking. He told me that his legs cramp badly. I asked him what caused his legs to cramp. I could not tell whether he said “AIDS” or “Age.” I asked again. I still could not understand. Then he added that he was 68 years old. The cause of his cramps did not really matter, but I cared about his condition, and wondered whether anything could help him.

His hands were as thin as the rest of his body and were covered with callouses, but not the kind that my hands have from hard and abusive work. His callouses were the kind that people have from sleeping and living in harsh weather.

According to my flesh, I did not want to help this man. I have been taken advantage of many, many, many times. Now I was going to spend more on him than I spend on myself in a week. I did not really want to help him, but I had no choice. My heart, or more accurately, the one who lives in my heart, overruled my selfishness and fearfulness.

The fact is that if I did as I really want, I would do nothing else than go around helping people. But I have little resources left to utilize. I have spent myself and my resources, and also my wife’s. And so, I tend to think that I need to protect myself and my wife from what the Spirit moves me to desire. I find myself relying not upon the Lord but upon my own false presumptions.

But the Lord’s love lives in me and is greater than my lack of love, and so this man and I walked slowly to the entrance to the store/restaurant. I cannot remember whether or not I asked the man his name.

As we walked, he said, “God will bless you for your goodness.”

I responded with a bit of a smile, “God has blessed me. He blesses me even though I do not do well.”

He said, “Yes. Yes, of course.”

As we entered, the little eating booths were near and he approached the closest one and sat down. I asked what kind of sandwich he would like. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked whether he wanted a warm sandwich or a cold one, and he said that a cold one would be fine. I said that I did not know where those were kept, and again he shrugged. I inquired regarding the kind of milk that he would like me to purchase for him. We buy the skim milk, that has not been corrupted through homogenization, so I asked first whether he would like skim milk. He preferred the homogenized, and requested a half gallon. I did not find the cold sandwiches and thought, “He really does not need a cold sandwich. A hot sandwich would be much better.” And again I also shrank back at the thought that it would cost more money, too.

I went back and told him that I could not find the cold sandwiches, but perhaps he would enjoy a nice burger instead. His eyes lit up a bit and he said that would be nice. So I went and ordered him a third pound deluxe cheese burger, and then went to select the milk. By the time I paid for the milk the sweet counter clerk had given him his burger and it was half consumed. I went to him and gave him his milk.

He turned and thanked me repeatedly with statements of “God bless you” and the like. He reached out to hug me saying, “I love you,” and more blessings. As I bent over and hugged him I told him, “I love you, too.” As we hugged, I saw a dried and crumpled leaf fall to the floor, a leaf that he likely picked up from lying on the ground.

He again told me that he was staying two blocks away, from which I did not know quite what to understand. As he was not done eating, I only thought of his need for time to finish and did not even think that he may have been telling me more. Besides, I feared what more he could be implying. I “kindly” reminded him to be careful crossing the street.

At the time, it was a genuine comment of care, and I think that it was even spoken innocently. But what was he really telling me?

Afterwards I thought of much more. Here was a man who was barely able to walk into the store. Why did I not offer to wait and take him to his motel?

Moreover, whom did this man have? He apparently is all alone in the world. Was he asking for someone to be with him for a little while?

This man thanked me for what I did. But I did not even tell him about the love of God in Christ. I did not even tell him about the life that Christ purchased for him. With Christmas only week away, I did not even speak of the good news of the birth of God in the flesh to save us. Instead, I left him with thoughts of what a kind and loving man he perceived me to be.

What a load of crap!

I cried when I came home and realized more fully how selfishly I acted. Here was a hurting and lonely man who may not have lived another day. I had the bread of life and the Lord’s righteousness to give to him and I gave him the filth of my “righteousness.” I gave him a burger and some milk and hug and a mere snippet of the Gospel.

Two days later my eyes still fill with tears and I choke as I ponder this.

Over my lifetime I have helped many people. I have paid for motel bills for weeks on end. I have paid medical bills. I have taken people to the hospital and to doctors and sometimes paid their bills. I have shared the Gospel, the pure Gospel with many such people, only to have most of them become angry and some even to curse me, when I said that I had no more money to give.

And so I have become sometimes jaded and hard of heart, or at least not as eager and willing to be used and abused.

Yet I know that I cannot be the helper of the entire world. I can only give what I have received. I have God given responsibilities to my wife, to be home at a reasonable hour, to attempt to provide for our financial needs, to be available to her, etc.

In the end, a person has to say with Luther:

     If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.

People love to quote this from Luther apart from the greater context. But for those who are struggling with the reality that “all of our righteousness are as filthy rags,” this is blessed comfort. It certainly is not an excuse to choose to sin. It is, however, redemption, as we all learn that even our best intentions and best efforts are still corrupt and fall short of the glory of God. The merits of Christ are what make our deeds to be counted as righteousness.

And so we may go forth in true faith and “sin boldly” with our Spirit led consciences, doing good in as much as we are able, trusting not in these for any merit, but looking only to the merits of Christ which are accounted as ours through the faith that the Holy Spirit gives us in Baptism.

Since this is so easily misunderstood and often misapplied, a brief additional word of explanation. For example, a Christian may offer gentle and holy counsel to a hurting person of the opposite sex. That person, moved by the love that is demonstrated can begin to feel attraction to the lover. That attraction can begin to move toward sexual desire, which then tempts both persons to fornication in their hearts. And so the good and loving efforts become sinful thoughts.

Moreover, since we are by nature sinners, everything that we think, say, and do is corrupt.

Our only hope is Jesus and His merits that are accounted to us for His sake within the sanctity of His Holy Communion. To this we flee from our “good works” as well as what is more easily recognized as sin. And so we do our corrupt “good works” boldly, even though even the best of them are still impure and damning according to their own worth, trusting in Christ and His redemption alone.

And in this, while we continue to learn to trust Christ more and more fully for our redemption, we also learn to trust Him again and again as we grow fearful and jaded and thereby hindered from even those things that we would be moved by God’s love to do. We then in faith go forward, not looking back to our past failings, nor fearing our present and future failings, but trusting in God’s grace in Christ we “sin boldly,” giving thanks to God for His merciful goodness. How wonderful it is to realize that we have this doctrine declared in the Athanasian Creed, teaching us that the catholic faith is this very doctrine that at the last day our failures will be counted as good works in accord with this faith given by the Holy Spirit, even though all stand as condemned according to their own works apart from this faith in what Christ has earned for us.

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An additional realization:

This man said, likely unaware of the greater meaning, “God will bless you for your goodness.”

Actually, he was entirely correct, since Christ is my goodness. Indeed, with Christ as my goodness, God does bless me for His sake.

+ + +

Rain, Rain

Today it is raining so that I cannot safely do my work. The forecast for tomorrow is snow!

Farmers of crops, especially here in Kansas where the annual rainfall is precious, are known to say, “We never complain about moisture. We always need moisture.” There are, of course, variations to this saying.

Indeed the rain is cause for giving thanks, yet my sinful shortsightedness is not always thinking thus. Moreover, my flesh thinks back to this past summer when we desperately needed rain and the Lord withheld it. I have found myself praying, “O great, Lord! Why did you not send this when we really needed it?!”

Thankfully, the Lord has trained me for many years through His Scriptures and through the prayer that He gave to us and through the General Prayer of the Church. Through these He has taught me to hear His answer to my complaints. Through these He directs my heart to trust His wisdom and graciousness even when my perception cannot see this.

If I am willing to hear this, there are many things that accompany the rain for which to give thanks as well. My old body receives another day or two of rest from harsh labor. I have time to study and to call the repairman for our refrigerator that quit working. I could actually go on throughout the rest of the day listing all that is good that the Lord is working through today’s weather.

With this view St. Paul says that speaking to one another psalms and hymns and spiritual chants we will find ourselves giving thanks always, over all things, in the name of the Lord of us Jesus Christ to the God and Father. (Ephesians 5:19-20)

I continue to marvel at the Church’s liturgy as it has been handed down to us. How blessed we are to have the psalms and hymns and spiritual chants organized for us to utilize in this way.

So, let it rain. Let it snow. Let the sun bake the earth. We have the divinely ordained refuge of the holy Liturgy of the divine service, through which the Lord serves us what we need most and satisfies our souls and bodies together.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Respect for the Elderly

Yesterday as I worked in a neighborhood in which I have worked on other occasions, two young boys came home from school and approached me. I have met them before. Actually, one came home from school and the other is home schooled. They are nine years old and in the fourth grade.

My work intrigues people, especially young people. My equipment is impressive. I have chainsaws and pole saws and power pole saws and ropes and shears and trimmers and a big truck. Probably the most impressive piece of equipment is the brush chipper. I have used this machine for over a decade and every time that I use it I still feel awed by it.

Young boys are full of energy and questions. As I reached into my boots to pull up my socks I was asked, “Do you keep money in there?”

“No, I answered, “there is no money in my boots, but they do cost a lot of money.”

“How much do they cost?” he asked.

To this the other boy responded, “You don’t ask the elderly that kind of question, how much their clothes cost!”

“He’s not elderly!” the first boy retorted.

“Yes, he is!”

“No, he’s not!”

“Yes, he is! He’s probably 53!”

For the rest of the day and on the way home and even now as I think of it, I cannot help but to laugh. I’ve been laughing for hours.

I said, “You’re close.”

“How old are you?”





I am not certain, but I think that what was meant is that one should show respect for one’s elders. But, to nine year old boys, 51 is elderly.

Who can argue? The AARP has begun pestering me to join their corruption. And for my line of work, I am way beyond the age of those who climb and trim trees. My body certainly agrees with the boys.

And so I have a joyous time of laughter at one boy’s innocent questioning and the other boy’s desire to be respectful.

+ + +

(Leviticus 19:32) Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.

(Proverbs 16:31) The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flu Season Warning

Many years ago, when I was attending the seminary and living in the dorm, I received my first and only flu vaccination. The seminary nurse was offering it to us at a much reduced cost.

That year I had the worst case of the flu that I have ever experienced. When I later spoke with the seminary doctor (who volunteered his time weekly) he said, “That is why I never recommend the flu shots. In my experience at least 65% of those who receive it suffer the flu from it.”

I learned my lesson.

An article by Dr. Brownstein gives the same informaiton: Flu Season Mild So Far -- Expert Urges: Don’t Get the Shot.

Please see the article. One of his comments there is: “I do not recommend people get the flu shot,” he says. “It has never been conclusively shown to protect people from the flu and has not been shown to prevent it in the elderly.”

Alternatively, he advises that you:

  • Frequently wash your hands.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Make sure you get adequate vitamin D.
  • Supplement with vitamin C

These are explained in more detail at Flu Season Mild So Far -- Expert Urges: Don’t Get the Shot.

Additionally, we need to be sure to have sufficient rest/sleep. Our body and immune system become weakened when we are sleep deprived.

- - -

The Real Face of St. Nicholas

An article entitled “Have You Seen St. Nick? I Have” showed photographs of a forensic reconstruction of the face of Saint Nicholas of Myra based upon the dear saint’s skull. A link was provided to Anthropology Update: A Visage of Saint Nicholas where some additional information was available.

These are the photographs on that site:

These were compared to one of the ancient icons of Nicholas:

When I first read the comments of “Cool” and the like as well as some of the brief explanations concerning the handling and examination of Nicholas’ skull and bones, I was appalled. But then I thought that perhaps I should learn more on the subject before reacting.

I performed a search for “reconstructed face of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra” and found a web site with the following article: The Real Face of St. Nicholas. This site gives additional information as well as additional icons of St. Nicholas. Among the information shared was this statement:

The image and the process to create it were featured on a one-hour television documentary, The Real Face of Santa, produced by Atlantic Productions for BBC 2 and also shown on the Discovery Channel.

So I searched for The Real Face of Santa and found the following three part YouTube movies (about 15 minutes each):




In the third part the statement is made: “If the sixty-two sailors had not stolen the bones of Saint Nicholas, we would not have Santa Claus.”

While the doctor seems to have meant this in a positive perspective, the perversion of the notoriety of the dear saint and his gracious ministry is a travesty. It began with idolatry and greedy grasping for prosperity through desecration of the bones of saints. Worship of relics and of the saints replaced the grace of Christ that the saints proclaimed. This is the worst desecration of all. And eventually the Church becomes a house for tradition and sentimentalism and fantasy. The merits of Christ become secondary and even tertiary and finally entirely buried while works-righteousness is raised up as the way of salvation. Then such horrid doctrines as purgatory are invented and propagated so as to feign relief for those who realize the hopelessness of works-righteousness.

I find myself wondering how much of my investigation into this matter was morbid curiosity. I know that I wanted to know more about the history of the saint.

Does it matter what he looked like? Shall I put confidence in the arrogance of those who imagine themselves able to reconstruct even the hair and skin color with nothing but the shape of a skull and their presumptions regarding the people of that era and locale?

More importantly, should a saint today follow the idolatrous practices of those who save bones and other relics and direct people to pay homage to them, while stealing the pure Gospel and Sacraments from the saints?

If we want to honor the saints, why do we not listen to them regarding what is the right and holy way? Why do we make gift giving equal to the “Christmas spirit” while neglecting the doctrine by which the one true and necessary gift to mankind is received? St. Nicholas reportedly reacted violently to the theft of the true faith that Arius perpetrated among those gathered for the pure proclamation of the Gospel. The Lord Jesus acted similarly in the temple courts on two occasions. Should those professing to be of this faith today take notice of this?

What is more in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” or “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”? Whose face is the face of Christmas anyway? Whose face did St. Nicholas direct people to seek?

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I Believe In . . .

The Christian Creeds, particularly the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, clearly state “I Believe in . . .” These are credos, statements of faith.

Many people today, and in times past but even more so today, reduce these to “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” They insist that this is all that really matters and that it does not matter what form this confession of faith assumes. Very often, if a person is asked to explain what the person believes and why, the simplistic “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and that is what matters,” will be what is given.

Occasionally an additional “Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior,” and “My Lord lives in my heart,” will be stated rather vehemently.

OK. How does Jesus come to be a person’s personal Lord and Savior? How does He get into one’s heart?

To step back and ponder this question from another perspective may be helpful.

If a person has a dreadful infection and that person adamantly declares, “I believe in antibiotics!” does this save the person from the infection? How do the antibiotics get inside the person to do the saving from the attacking bacteria? If a physician tells the person, “You need to be injected with this antibiotic or you must take it orally in order for it to have effect,” will saying, “I believe in antibiotics and that is what matters” accomplish the same thing? Will the infectious invading organism be driven out by saying repeatedly with sincerity “I believe in antibiotics and that is what matters”?

Regarding sin and salvation from sin, the Scriptures very plainly teach that Jesus is the answer. But do the Scriptures leave it at this? Do they not give specific answers regarding how Jesus gets in to accomplish this salvation?

How is it that when St. Peter plainly says in Acts 2 that Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and for imparting the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then says again in 1 Peter 3 that water saved Noah and his family and today we have the antitype of Baptism which now saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, how is it that people think that this can be ignored, or worse, rejected? When St. Paul in Titus 3 calls it the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, how is it that people think that this is not a “basic doctrine” of salvation? How is it that when Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3 that no one is able to enter into the kingdom of God except through water and spirit, that people insist that Baptism is not necessary and can even be rejected as a means of salvation?

The same is said regarding the Holy Supper. St. Paul warns the Corinthians that misuse of the Supper is equal to falling asleep or death. He equates the eating and drinking of the Supper with forgiveness and with communion in the body and blood of Christ. How can this be treated as anything but the very life of the Church? The Lord Jesus says:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:53-58)

How can anyone imagine having a personal relationship with Jesus apart from the communion of His body and blood?

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two of the ways in which the Scriptures say that Jesus comes to us and enters into our hearts and lives. The other is the preaching of the Gospel, which of course, is included in these two Sacraments.

So why do so many people imagine that these can be reduced to only hearing and believing? Is this what the Scriptures teach? Is this what Jesus says?

Many people struggle with the Scriptural decrees that say a person is saved through faith apart from works and on account of these cannot hear what the Scriptures say about this being worked through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper by the Lord Himself. Instead of hearing God declare that these are His works many people insist that these are their works.

Why is this? If the physician orders the nurse to give an antibiotic by hyper dermic injection when the patient is at the office, and then prescribes an oral form of the antibiotic to be continued throughout the course of the treatment, does the patient then say that the injection was not one’s own work of healing but that swallowing the pill or liquid is? And if in the hospital an attendant washes an infected wound and applies antiseptic to the wound, does the patient insist that by allowing this that a work has been done on the patient’s part?

Yet this is what people who reject Baptism and the Holy Supper say of them. But by saying these things, what do they say of the Holy Spirit who inspired the apostles and evangelists to record what Baptism and the Supper do?

Is it a small thing to call the Holy Spirit a liar and a fraud? Is it possible to deny the inspired doctrine that has been recorded and to have true faith in the God whose name is invoked in Baptism? Is it possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus that depends upon true faith while saying that He does not do what He promises in the Holy Supper?

How much of what Jesus and His apostles and Scriptures say does a person believe in? How much of what is recorded in black and white can be minimized and reduced and interpreted without losing it altogether? If a person has a personal relationship with Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior, how much of what Jesus has commanded for the discipling into His kingdom (Matthew 28) will a person ignore or reject?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

How many more times will this be played or sung? Argh!

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Lyrics

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:

Santa Claus is coming to town!

He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice.

Santa Claus is coming to town!

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

So...You better watch out,
You better not cry
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Little tin horns,
Little toy drums.
and rummy tum tums.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Little toy dolls
that cuddle and coo,
Elephants, boats
and Kiddie cars too.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

The kids in Girl and Boy Land
will have a jubilee.
They're gonna build a toyland town
all around the Christmas tree.

Oh....You better watch out,
You better not cry.
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why.

Santa Claus is comin'
Santa Claus is comin'
Santa Claus is comin'
To town.

I hate this song. It teaches the exact opposite of the spirit of Christmas. Rather than the comfort and joy of God’s grace it teaches that one must make oneself righteous. Moreover, because all children know that what it demands is impossible, it teaches that holiness is but an illusion.

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:

Santa Claus is coming to town!

This makes me angry when I hear it. This is not what Saint Nicolas taught at all. He taught God’s grace in Christ Jesus.

This song teaches the exact opposite of what the season of Advent and then Christmas teaches. Advent and Christmas teach us that Jesus came in answer to our cries and our pouting. Because of sin, we have genuine reason for our tears and our sorrow. Jesus came to be born as the Savior from Sin and all the consequences of sin.

The Lord does not command that we not cry. Rather, He commands that our crying be directed to Him with the assurance that He has heard our cries and has answered them, even before we feel the need to cry. His answer is from eternity. It is part of His everlasting love toward us.

Moreover, Jesus did not merely come as a baby. He continues to come to us today through the ordained means of grace. He continues to urge us to cry out to Him and to look for Him in the manger of the altar where He gives His body and blood for our comfort and relief.

Here is a hymn that expresses the true spirit of Advent and Christmas. When the other garbage spews forth from the radio in the car or the speakers in the store, here is a hymn that will give comfort and peace and assurance instead:

"Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel"

Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home:
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Here we are taught to cry out in accord with the promises of God. He wants us to hear Him and respond with cries for His mercy and salvation. He wants us to cry to Him in expectation that He will indeed give us relief.

Moreover, beyond trusting Him so as to cry to Him as He has commanded us, what does He demand? Even the faith by which we trust Him He gives to us as a gift! He has established His Church on earth for us so that we have a safe haven into which we may gather even as He calls us to do. He is present for us eager to bestow His grace upon us. This is the message of Christmas. This is the God of Christmas. Immanuel, “With Us God.

So, now, as you watch out,
Lift up your sad eyes,
Stand with me and shout,
With all of your cries,

Jesus Christ is coming to town!

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Ho! Ho! Ho! FDA Approves Hangover Pill!

Ah! Just in time for the Holy Days!

FDA Approves Hangover Pill

Blowfish: The first-ever FDA-approved hangover pill

“Blowfish, already available in stores in New York City, is an over-the-counter tablet similar to Alka Seltzer that contains 1,000 milligrams of aspirin, 120 milligrams of caffeine, and a stomach-calming ingredient.”

From what I recall, this is a more expensive version of Anacin or Bufferin, with perhaps more of whatever the “stomach calming ingredient” may be. This way one does not feel the hole that is being eaten through the stomach lining.

So, now the season can be fully celebrated with gluttony and drunkenness.

Season’s Greetings!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Save a Tree?

Have you received information from banks and credit card companies and other creditors urging you to “Save a Tree” by allowing them to cut you off from having your bills and statements mailed to you as actual physical documents? Have you been bombarded by the “Go Green” promoters?

Have you ever wondered why? Have you ever felt bewildered by the amount of paper that is wasted in mailings that promote this propaganda? If these companies and banks are so interested in saving trees, why do they send monthly and even weekly mailings trying to entice us to add yet another phone line or to supply answers to inane and often irrelevant questions on customer service surveys regarding customer service that does not actually exist?

What is the real agenda? What is the real motivation?

Have you figured this out yet? It is really very simple if a person has one’s eyes open to more than what is promoted in the propaganda.

But to the real point of this question, does not using paper truly save a tree?

This is a very different question than whether or not recycling is worthwhile. Conservation is not only a good and worthwhile idea, it is godly. It is the way of those who are grateful to God for His wonderful gifts. Making the best use of God’s gifts is the way of those who know God’s love and in turn love God and neighbor.

Sadly, though, very few people know what being a conservationist really means, just as most people really do not understand what being a conservative means.

I am an arborist as part of my vocation. I care for trees. I help people to maintain their trees and shrubs so as to have attractive, safe, and enjoyable properties. This involves pruning for safe and solid structure, pruning to remove disease, pruning for shape and appearance, and sometimes it involves removal of a tree or bush and sometimes also the stump. Some of the woody material can be saved for a lumbermill. Some can be saved for firewood. Some can be pelletized for wood burning stoves and for municipal power plants. (Yes, cities are purchasing pelletized tree waste for economical and environmentally friendly power sources.) Much of the tree and shrub debris can be chipped to be used as mulch. This is conservationism in practice.

This has developed into an enormous industry. For some examples, check out some of the issues of Tree Care Industry Magazine. It is amazing!

Regarding the “Saving a Tree” propaganda, I would like to provide a couple of links to articles that supply very helpful answers, real answers.

EarthAnswers - Are We Running Out of Trees?

How Are Trees Grown for Paper?

The second link is especially worthy of notice in this matter of “saving trees.” This is information that I grew up with. I learned these things from my father and from working with nature and from six years of FFA, and from my undergraduate studies in agricultural and biological sciences. But most people have the perception that has been promoted by the banking and credit industries for their own reasons. Most people receive the bombardment of circulars and catalogs and such and feel badly that “trees are being killed.” They are very surprised when I explain to them that the trees that are being used for paper are actually planted and raised for that very purpose and that if it were not for the paper industry, these trees likely would never be planted at all. Yes the paper and lumber industry, especially in North America, actually leads the way in preserving trees and forests!

I was very glad to find that TAPPI is working to supply this information. It is very helpful to be able to refer people to resources that verify these facts.

From their publication, “How Are Trees Grown for Paper?” here are a few very informative quotes:

How Are Trees Grown for Paper?

Trees are planted and grown specifically to make paper. Trees that are cut down for paper production do not come from our favorite park or wilderness area.

When some people hear about trees being cut for paper, they might think of their favorite oak in the backyard, neighborhood park or wilderness area being cut to pieces. They might think of birds, squirrels and other creatures being robbed of their homes.

The good news is that the production and use of paper are not causing forests to disappear.

The good news is that the production and use of paper are not causing forests to disappear.

Is this what is being taught by the propagandists who teach that allowing them to press us into utilizing electronic communication only is equal to Going Green?

Where do trees for making paper come from?

Most trees used for paper come from forests called managed timberlands. Even though the trees in these timberlands may look like “woods,” they are an agricultural crop - like vegetables on a farm. The trees are grown to be made into products for human use. Not using paper in order to save trees is like not eating salad in order to “save” vegetables.

In fact, many forests might not exist in the first place if trees weren’t planted and harvested by industry. It takes from 10 - 20 years for trees to grow until they are large enough for harvesting. During that time, those trees are part of a community of plants and animals, and their environment space is known as an ecosystem. Trees provide a place to live (or habitat) for many species of plants and animals, and they add oxygen to the earth’s atmosphere.

Isn’t this wonderful news? Why does the government not tell us this? Why does the media not tell us this? Why are we being pressed instead into surrendering our use of paper products to those who want to restrict our communications and especially our financial communications to electronic sources only?

Will we run out of trees if we continue to cut them down for paper?

No. More trees are planted every year than are cut down. This is due in most part to the success of managed timberlands. Whenever trees are harvested, more trees are planted to take their place. Timberlands can be managed to produce trees and forest products forever.

Trees are a renewable resource. As long as we manage timberland and plant trees to replace the ones cut down, trees will continue to grow and grow and grow.

In some ways, this process is similar to growing vegetables in a garden. We plant the vegetables and let them grow until they are mature enough to harvest. When harvest time comes, we collect the vegetables and eat them. Next spring, the process begins again when we plant a new crop. As long as we continue to plant and harvest, the process goes on and on.

More trees are destroyed by fire and insects than are cut down to make paper. And, on an average, when a tree is harvested for making paper, five more are planted in its place.

On an average, when a tree is harvested for making paper, five more are planted in its place!

Were you aware of this wonderful fact? How many people know that using paper products is equal to Going Green and helping to preserve our forests?

Moreover, as I mentioned above, some cities are turning to utilizing tree debris for producing power. This source of power, when used in these high efficiency power plants, is said to be cleaner than natural gas. While I have not checked sources on that fact, it is true that no new carbon dioxide is produced as it is with natural gas. What is produced from using the wood products is the same as would be through the decomposition process, except that electricity is produced for our enjoyment.

Some cities are going a step farther and are processing their trash in this way, thereby significantly reducing the use of landfills. By using sophisticated sorting equipment, much of what would otherwise go to the landfill is being utilized in the production of lower cost energy.

Why are we not hearing of every city doing this? Why do we not hear of the big power companies doing this?

Why do we hear ludicrous scare tactics regarding the dangers of methane production from livestock and humans? In the Seventies, when I was in highschool, my Ag. instructor informed us about a livestock producer who powered the entire operation and his home with power to spare, utilizing the methane produced on the farm. Why do the city sewage treatment plants not use their methane for power? Why is the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to a global tax and spend former vice president who travels the world in a plane that burns more fuel than most neighborhoods, when there are farmers who have been “saving the world” for decades through genuine innovation and conservation practices?

Isn’t it time for people to become tired of the lies that are designed to steal away people’s liberty while certain elitists are becoming wealthy far beyond filthy? Isn’t it time for people to awaken to the way that the globalist agenda of teaching evolution has blinded the populace to what godly stewardship is and where such understanding originates? Those who appreciate God’s creative genius and graciousness are naturally conservation minded. Those who do not appreciate God’s gracious activity in creation are not.

Consider these articles regarding the way that the Nobel Gore responds to his own climate propaganda;

Al Gore’s Energy Use,
How green is Al Gore's $9 million Montecito oceanfront villa?,
Al Gore's House ,
and then there is his Gulf Stream Jet, which you can Google or whatever for yourself.

If Mr. Gore and his hypocritical globalist elite friends were not seeking to dictate what the rest of the world is and is not allowed to do, there would be little cause for objection to their selfish and wasteful lifestyle. Well, there is of course their irresponsible and massive contribution to pollution and waste. But having large and expensive houses and luxury cars and planes for their personal use is not the problem. The problem is first that they do not want to allow anyone else to enjoy such benefits, and secondly that they are deliberately deceiving people and stealing the truth from us all. By this they are actually hindering the things that could have real benefit to us all. But they own the media. They own the resources. They own the Federal Reserve. Through it they own the government and military.

Through this they indoctrinate the children in the schools to accept their false doctrine and world view. Through this they persuade much of the population to “save a tree” while the elite burn the Constitution and even the people themselves.

What can we do?

First we need to realize that it is not in our power to save the world. We cannot save the country. We cannot save the trees. We cannot even save ourselves.

Realizing this changes our perspective from one of complaining and bickering and fighting and despair, to one of reliance upon the one who does have the power to save us and the trees and the country and the world. When we truly acknowledge Him, we begin to look to the things that He tells us that we can do. We can seek first His kingdom and His righteousness through the means through which He gives them. We can teach the truth to our children and loved ones. We can speak the truth in love to all who are willing to hear it. We can give thanks to God for His creation, for His recreation, for His redemption, for His mercy, for His love, for His grace, for His justification, for His sanctification, for His gifts of every kind. We can rejoice in His goodness and love, loving Him above all things and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We can gather for the blessings that He promises through His means of grace. We can live in peace in as much as it is ours to do. We can enjoy the life that God has given us and we can to the best of our ability utilize the gifts that God gives to us for the benefit of all. This we can do, until the day of the Lord’s Advent at the end of this age.

If everyone, or in fact, if even everyone who professes to be Christian, truly heard this and lived in this way, the world would be very different than it now is. After all, even Gore and Obama profess to be Christian. Wow, come to think of it, even Ted Kennedy claimed to be Christian. Just imagine if everyone who makes this claim actually believed it (and the one whom it confesses)!

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Interesting tidbits regarding “Conservative” Christianity

Save a tree?

Did you know that the original/traditional/liturgical use of the Christmas Tree includes making of the dead trunk the cross for Lententide?

Also, did you know that the Ashes for Ash Wednesday are made from the palm branches used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration?

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Friday, December 09, 2011

Sad Sign

My next door neighbor, who was ninety-one years old, died. The memorial service was conducted. The family came for the precious memories attached to some of his possessions. Tuesday the auctioneer came to tote away the rest. All that remains is this sign:

Everyday this sign reminds me that my old friend is no longer to be found next door. Everyday I walk out to prepare for the day’s work and look to his back yard where he sat and called to me to visit, but his chair is no longer there. Every night I come home and see the same.

Death is not kind. It is a thief. But it is not the master thief, Satan is, who used God’s own words with just the tiniest change to trick our first parents so that they exchanged God’s gift of life for the delusion of free will, and with it, the choice of separation from God, that is, Sin. And the wages of Sin is death. Death is what so-called free will accomplishes. It is not free at all, but people imagine that it is.

Upon listening to the serpent, Adam immediately discovered the trap that the devil had set with the delusion of free will. Previously mankind lived in perfect freedom, the freedom of the communion of God’s holy and perfect will. All things were possible. All things were free. All things were good! But with the choice to “be like God” freedom was cast away for the bondage of “the knowledge of good and evil.” Now everything was corrupted and Adam had no freedom, no ability, to restore what he had destroyed. Now all of his offspring would be in bondage to this delusion, to this hopeless corruption of understanding and knowledge and will. Never again would mankind have the freedom of knowing only good.

This is why we dare not allow the Gospel to be compromised in even the tiniest degree. Any change, any compromise, has the same result as the tiny change that the serpent presented to the woman and through her to Adam. The Gospel is pure. The pure Gospel is life. A corrupted or compromised or adulterated Gospel is death.

Truly, the “For Sale” sign that has been placed over the churches and their preaching and practices is a very sad sign. But the true Church shall stand by the Lord’s promise and decree, and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Wherever the Holy Spirit gathers the few to the Pure Gospel and Sacraments, there the Church still stands, offering the pure water of Life and freedom to all who gladly receive it.

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What are we allowed to say?

Here is an article that should be of concern to all Americans: DHS Shut Down Blog For A Year On False Pretenses.

Why is the Department of Homeland Security now in copyright enforcement?

How far will this be pressed? Will the Federal government begin preventing people from openly and publicly criticizing the government? Feds Order You Tube To Remove Video For Containing “Government Criticism”

The Federal government has already targeted speech/preaching against certain sinful and destructive activities, calling such preaching “hate speech.” If “speaking the truth in love” is targeted as “hate speech,” then the Gospel can no longer be preached freely. If warning someone that the wages of sin is death is counted as hate speech and therefore made to be illegal, the preaching of the Gospel will be outlawed.

These usurpations by the Federal government were not enacted under liberal Democrat administrations, but under the so-called conservative Republican watch. Will America wake up in time to stop the two-party globalist agenda? Nope. They’ll keep voting for their idea of the lesser of two evils. People will continue to believe the lie that victory can be won through compromise. People will continue to vote for those who cover their lies and their evil acts with big smiles and “God bless America.”

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Fighting Addictions

      “Fighting Addictions” is a very suitable title for this topic as it can be received from two different perspectives. The first that a person is likely to receive is the notion of a person who strives to fight against an addiction or addictions. The second is the perception that the addiction or addictions actually fight against the person, both in the effects and affects of the addiction as well as in the resistance to freedom from the addictions.

      This matter cries out for and even demands that a working definition be given. Psychology Today provides a definition that is reasonably accurate entitled What Is Addiction? .

      I will reproduce it here for ease of study:

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, even health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect; this is known as tolerance. Because of tolerance, there is a biological reaction when the drug is withdrawn. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, or gamble or shop, nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn't what matters; it's the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. To treat this kind of addiction requires understanding of how it works psychologically.

No matter which kind of addiction is meant, it is important to recognize that its cause is not a search for pleasure, and addiction has nothing to do with one's morality or strength of character. Experts debate whether addiction is a "disease" or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon. But the lack of resolution does not preclude effective treatment.

      This definition is as close as the pseudo-sciences will allow. Psychology as it currently functions is entirely bogus as those who practice it do not even acknowledge what the name teaches. Psychology means Soul-knowledge. Yet psychologists and psychiatrists do not even count the soul in their attempts to “help” people with their soul-knowledge issues.

      Nevertheless, this definition does give a good starting point for understanding addiction. The third paragraph is perhaps the most helpful. It comes very close to the real issue for people and their addictions. The term addictive behavior draws very near to the truth, but still falls short. This is because psychologists are unable to deal with the fact that our addictions are our fault.

      We are responsible for the choices that we make. Addictive behavior is a choice. In many cases this choice may be made without understanding the “why” of the choice, but it is nevertheless a choice. Moreover, it is a conscious choice. It may become so habitual that it appears to be an unconscious choice, but it is a conscious choice nevertheless.

      The above definition in the third paragraph comes amazingly close to the truth in saying, “People compulsively use drugs, or gamble or shop, nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction.” This comes very close, so close in fact, that some of the benefits of the truth are actually experienced in limited ways. But the freedom of the truth resides in the truth.

      The following statement shows where this understanding falls short:

      The focus of the addiction isn't what matters; it's the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. To treat this kind of addiction requires understanding of how it works psychologically.

      The focus of the addiction IS what matters. The problem with psychology is that it has divorced itself from that which has need of healing. Without addressing the needs of the soul, freedom from addiction cannot be achieved. Without addressing the needs of the soul, the problem cannot even be rightly understood.

      These psychologists rightly identify emotional stress as a stimulus that triggers a response. But emotional stress is not the real cause of compulsive behavior and addiction. Neither is the focus of addiction “the need to take action under certain kinds of stress.” The focus of addiction is the perception of a need to take action to satisfy a sense of a need that is not understood.

      So what really is the focus of addiction? The focus of addiction is fulfilment. Because of our sinful nature and the inescapable awareness of our incomplete and corrupted image, we feel empty. The true image in which God created us is no longer ours. The holiness of God is vacant. In times of emotional stress we feel this emptiness to such a degree that we become desperate for relief and so we seek to fill the vacuum with something, anything.

      Alcohol and other drugs, sexual activity, sexual experimentation, alternative sexuality, horror movies, thrill seeking and extreme sports, exercise, working for success, hoarding, sadism, abuse of self or others, dieting, overindulging, all of these and many others have been used and abused in attempts to fill the emptiness that sinful humans feel in their souls. The list is as vast as the human imagination. Anything that a person imagines to have satiating value may be pursued.

      It seems that of the most powerful are the sexual addictions. Sexual addictions are expressions of our perverted perspective. Since Adam cut us off from the image of God, which is Christ, we continually search for ways to restore this wholeness. Our perception of self has been perverted so that we cannot see the person whom God created us to be. What we most long for is to be restored to the holy communion of God with Man and Man with fellow Man.

      God created mankind with a holy desire for this communion, this interconnectedness, this unity of being. But sin divorced us from God and the Life that is only in Him. This separation is felt in our very being, in our soul. This is how the Scriptures speak of our existence.

      And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

      God created us to be full of His presence, that we should live in Him. He created us in His image, in His unity, with His own holy desires and will. And the need for this fullness is felt in our soul. We still feel the attractions to God and to one another, although those have become corrupted and perverted. Moreover, these attractions in some ways may actually be felt more powerfully since we cannot find their fulfillment or complete satisfaction.

      Furthermore, we no longer rightly understand the attractions that we have. We were created as sexual beings, to have attractions that would lead to being united in the flesh with another person, that a man and a woman should be joined as one flesh. This is a powerful attraction. And since our understanding of this has been corrupted, we do not rightly understand what we feel. But it is part of who we are. It is who we are. That is why we feel it so strongly. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

      But our attractions to others are not limited to our sexuality. We are designed to desire to be one with all of mankind. And so we feel attraction to all other people. But since sexual attraction develops to such a powerful level as we grow, it becomes our default attraction. And so, when we feel attracted to others, we often become confused and imagine that all attraction is sexual attraction. This is even more pronounced when we prolong singleness unnaturally. God designed us to marry quite young. Our bodies develop and the hormonal activity develops and we feel the powerful drives of these hormones. When these are ignored or suppressed, a person can become obsessed with them. Except for a very few people, God designed us to be united with someone in marriage.

      This being core to our existence, when we feel attractions to others, we can confuse these with our sexual feelings. A man will naturally feel attracted to another man, even feeling a strong desire to express connectedness with that man, and this can be misinterpreted as a desire for sexual interaction. The two attractions are very closely related and thus in our perverted sinful existence we sometimes confuse them. This is why some people think that homosexuality is a genetic condition. And it actually is, because we all are born with it. We all have these attractions and we all have the tendency to confuse them and misinterpret them.

      And this is true with alcohol and drugs and work and play and thrill seeking and anything else that we may choose to utilize in an attempt to fill the emptiness that we feel on account of our sin-separation from God’s holy communion with Him and with the rest of mankind.

      This leads us to consider the answer to this dilemma.

      Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:17-21)

      This is the answer. This is the solution. It is the only solution.

      But this solution is only available in God’s Holy Communion. The world naturally scoffs at this because this answer is spiritually discerned. The worldling’s are dead and are unable to discern these things. Apart from being regenerated through water and spirit into the kingdom of God, apart from the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, the solution to our emptiness and resultant addictions cannot be perceived.

      But for those who are in Christ, those whom God has brought again into the reconciliation that He accomplished in the body of Christ, this makes perfect sense and provides the fulfillment that is needed. This is the answer to our addictions. We need to recognize our addictions for what they are, foolish attempts to take action for ourselves rather than turning to the One who has the power to take action for us.

      God has provided the means for our salvation and justification and sanctification. He has provided the means by which He promises to fulfill our needs of body and soul. This is what St. Paul explains in the quotation above. If we acknowledge our emptiness we can then also acknowledge the source of our fulfillment. If we acknowledge our emptiness, we will turn to God and hear His Word of promise and be filled by the Spirit who answers our pleas and comforts us and restores us to wholeness again. Being filled with the Spirit begins in our baptism. Once the Spirit has been given to us and has taken up residence in us, He continually calls to us to be gathered into the Holy Communion to partake of the Supper of God’s Communion. This refreshes us and renews us in the true faith and in the forgiveness of our sins and in the new life that is in the image of God, that is, in Christ.

      Then, having been so refreshed and renewed, we go forth into our daily activities, carrying with us the divine liturgy by which we were refreshed and renewed together. We continue, being filled with the Spirit we continue to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting ourselves one to another in the fear of God.

      This is the answer. We need to ask ourselves: “With what are we seeking to be filled?”

      When we feel the emptiness and the urge for fulfilment, where do we turn?

      Have you ever tried to think of doing what you know to be wrong while engaging the Lord through prayer and psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? It is not possible. Now it is possible for hypocrites to do this, but not for one who is filled with the Spirit. This is why St. Paul concludes this by bringing it all together with “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

      This is not merely what is commonly understood as fellowship. This is communion, and not a communion of men, but the communion of God into which the Holy Spirit carries us and unites us. This means that we are in a communion where the means of grace are rightly administered in conjunction with the preaching of the pure Gospel. God’s communion is not like the fellowships of men. God’s communion is built upon the purity of the Holy Trinity and the means of grace that He administers. He administers His means of grace in perfect purity and they have the effects that He has ordained.

      So, when we find ourselves enticed toward one of our addictions, what is the answer? Our immediate response will be to turn to the Lord in prayer. Additionally we will begin reciting the liturgy, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These will keep us looking to the Lord until He brings us safely to the gathering of the saints where we submit to one another in the fear of God and receive again the refreshment of the Holy Communion.

      It works just as God has promised.

      One more thing needs to be stated. God’s complete answer, even as St. Paul states it, is even better yet. God’s answer is not that we react to our addictions in this way, but that we continue in this way always. But temptations do come. The Lord assures us that they will come until the Last Day. And thus we will stray from the continual use of the liturgy and will need to be called back to it again. And God promises so to do. Thanks be to God that our salvation does not depend upon our faithfulness, but upon God’s faithfulness! And He cannot be otherwise.

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This article is available with additional information, including comments on the blessing of Confession and Absolution, at the Bride of Christ web site as an HTML file or as a PDF file.

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