Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oppose Dangerous Global Internet Treaty

The pace is really picking up. It is no wonder that people, including myself, feel as though it is impossible to keep up and stay informed regarding all of the actions the government is enacting against us.

See Oppose Dangerous Global Internet Treaty.

It is frightening to see how Obama and his administration along with most of the Congress of both houses is stepping up the pace for the world government takeover and simply steamrolling over our Constitutional rights.

Time is short.

I have heard some say critically both in past elections and currently, that voting for someone outside of the mainstream establishment would cause gridlock.

My response is to sigh and say, "How wonderful!"

My opinion is that the best thing we can hope for is that an absolute gridlock in Washington DC would develop so that the rascals can't do anything whatsoever. I believe that one of the best things we can hope for is a president who will veto everything the Congress passes. Just put someone in office and give him a big rubber stamp that says, "No! Absolutely no!"

Let him use that rubber stamp until it is worn to a nubbin.

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Leaping beyond Leap Day

Today was Leap Day.

It leaves me spinning to realize that even with the extra day of Leap Day, we have already come to the close of the second month in 2012. Even with the extra day of February 29th, tomorrow is March. Wow!

I've often felt that Leap Day put an unfair burden on anyone born on this day. Of course, this is primarily connected with the silliness of celebrating birthdays, but still, when asked about one's birth date, it must be awkward to have to explain that one was born on February 29th of whichever Leap Year it occurred.

Not a big deal, I suppose, but still something that bounces around in a mind that is always pondering something or other.

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Cute Sarcasm

I'm not fan of sarcasm, but sometimes it is used well. I'm too serious for most people to perceive when I am trying to make a joke. No one expects me to use humor. So I tend to leave this tactic to those who can do it well.

This video makes me laugh. It seems to me that Tom Woods does a really good job of pointing to the folly of how "conservatives" and especially Republicans are acting in the current political interaction.


A Dozen Things Non-Ron Paul Voters Are Basically Saying

Americans Enslaved Both to and through Apathy

According to Wichita: Population Profile, the total number of city residents for the year 2000 was 344,284. The age categories are listed by 5 year increments, but that still allows one to consider the primary voting age population of 20 years and older. Subtracting the numbers for those under 20, 102,704 from 344,284 leaves a total of 241,580 people of voting age. And this number does not count 18-19 year olds.

So out of 241,580 people, 26,305 voted in the February 28 special election regarding the City Council’s attempt to misdirect tax money for private gain. This is slightly less than 11 percent of those who could have voted.

What does this mean?

It seems to indicate at least three things.

  1. that the perception among the citizenry regarding whether their efforts can have a genuine and substantial impact upon the actions of the government and government leaders is becoming more negative
  2. that people are pressed so hard to fight for personal survival that fewer and fewer people are investing the time and effort required to make informed political decisions
  3. that fewer and fewer people believe that they are empowered to learn sufficiently the issues on which they would vote

During my activities earlier in the day I spoke with a number of people regarding the special election. I spoke to about a dozen people, small businessmen who serve the community with their businesses, intelligent businessmen who are well educated and hard workers. They all said that they did not know enough about the issue to vote responsibly. When I shared the details with them, details that were in the local paper and easily accessible on the Internet, they were appalled by the facts. They all were enraged by what was being done. Yet not one indicated an intention to go and vote against what they counted as being wrong. Not one.

Perhaps some did decide to go and vote. I hope so.

But what is wrong that less than 11% actually voted?

We receive no television broadcasts in our home. We no longer receive the newspaper because of the endless lies and misrepresentations in it. Yet I knew about this issue.

Why?

First, those who were seeking to steal the tax money kept calling me trying to convince me to vote in favor of it. These calls were of the type that I recognized as deceptive propaganda, simply by the language and approach utilized. This alone made me investigate.

But there were also billboards all over town. There were mailings of propaganda. There were radio advertisements. There were campaign lawn signs on the street corners.

What is happening that people no longer hear or see? How is it that people no longer perceive?

Is this merely apathy, or is this something more?

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Why Are Christians So Hateful?

One of the questions that I sometimes encounter is the question of why Christians are so hateful. Have you encountered that question? Have you asked that question yourself?

The answer to this question may surprise you.

The answer is that they are not. Christians are not hateful.

If in your perception Christians are hateful, consider the following possible explanations.

  • Those whom you are judging as hateful are not really Christians.
  • Those whom you are judging as hateful are being judged according to your own prejudices and hatefulness.
  • You do not understand as clearly as you imagine the actions of those whom you are judging.
  • You do not understand the reasons for the actions that you judge as hateful.
  • The hatefulness that you observed was indeed hateful, but something from which that person or persons would repent if confronted in the name of the Lord and with His Word.
  • Those you judge as hateful are unaware of how their actions affect you or others.
  • Your perception of hatefulness is one that views everyone as hateful, with one possible exception, namely yourself.
  • You hate everyone, including yourself.
  • You have experienced so much hurt in your life that everything and everyone is viewed with fearfulness of being hurt.
  • You really don’t have a clear definition of love.
  • Your definition of love is skewed.
  • You simply don’t like Christians and refuse to admit that they show love in their lives and actions.
  • You have adopted a religious or philosophical or world view that does not allow you to see Christians as loving.
  • You are a hypocrite.
  • You are simply a moron.
  • Various combinations of the above.

The fact is that Christians are not hateful. Many who claim to be Christians are hateful. But Christians are not hateful. Christians are, however, sinners whose lives do have sinful actions. Some of these sinful actions may indeed be hateful actions. But one who is truly a Christian will acknowledge such actions as sinful and wrong and be turned from them through honest confrontation. While a Christian may indeed display a sinful and hateful action, such cannot continue in a Christian. It is not possible. The Epistle of 1 John makes this as plain as it is possible to state the matter. Read it and see.

Thus, if you honestly believe one who professes to be a Christian to be acting contrary to true love, as the Lord Himself defines it through His own sacrificial life and through His Scriptures, kindly address this matter of concern with that person. But don’t make an everlasting fool of yourself by insisting that Christians are hateful or unloving, because the facts are against you.

If you are one who professes to be a Christian and you persistently hear that you are unloving or hateful, consider the source of the accusation. Then examine yourself in the light of the accusation and in the light of God’s Word. Hear the concern for what it is. If it proves to be false, then simply walk away from it and leave it behind. If it is true, then trust the one whom you confess as your God and receive the change of heart and mind that He promises to work in you through His means of grace. Receive His forgiveness and love for yourself, live in it for yourself, and let it pour forth to all whom you encounter in your walk of faith.

Finally, remember that this is a continual event in the life of a Christian. Hearing the Word of the Lord so as to be turned from that which is false and wrong to that which is true and good, namely, Christ and His means of grace in His Church, this is the life of a Christian. True Christians are a rare find. It has always been so. Thus rejoice when you do find one and embrace that one as a brother or sister.

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After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

From the “Journal of Medical Ethics,”

After-birth abortion:
why should the baby live?


Can you believe that this is actually the title of the paper that was presented?

People mocked the Pro-Life supporters for warning that this was the next step.

Here is the abstract from the article:


Abstract

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.


This is hard to believe, even though it is the anticipated next step in the eugenics agenda.

The actual paper is found at After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?.

A condensed report of the paper can be viewed at Ethicists Argue Killing Newborn Babies Should Be Allowed.

From the body of the report, here is the basic argument:


The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her. This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.


So now new born babies are not persons.

They are human but they are not persons who have a right to life.

Mentally retarded individuals are persons but have no value and therefore no right to life!

The beginning paragraph for the conclusions section says:


Conclusions

If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.


This is no longer a “slippery slope.”

This is an Avalanche!

  • Now both the unborn and the newborn are not persons but only potential persons and therefore have no right to life.
  • Also, now, the mentally retarded, though persons, have no value, and therefore no right to life.


  • Who’s next? It is not much of a stretch to say that people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and Cerebral Palsy have no value and therefore may be killed.
  • Next, those with AIDS may be counted as a burden and having no value and may therefore be removed from the roles of the living.
  • Next, the unemployed?
  • Next, the uneducated?
  • Next, the uninsured?

Unless you are in the elite group defining the list, sooner or later ...

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Representation Made Possible Through Efforts of the Vigilant

I was very pleasantly surprised by the this announcement at the KWCH 12 website:


(WICHITA, Kan.)—

After months of robo-calls, mailers and yard signs on both sides of the issue, Wichita voters voted no to giving the Ambassador Hotel a majority of the guest tax revenue it generates. Here's a look at the results:

No: 61% or 16,198 voters

Yes: 38% or 10,107 voters



To read the reported reactions of both sides after the election see:

Wichita votes down Ambassador Hotel tax incentive

"Vote No" group says hotel vote sends clear message

The article goes on to say:


Usually guest tax revenue generated by hotels goes directly to the Convention and Visitors Bureau. However, the incentive package approved by the Wichita City Council council would have allowed the developer to keep 75% of the guest tax to put back into the hotel.

Tuesday's special election means the guest tax generated at the hotel will be spent to promote tourism.


Wow! Imagine that! The tax will be used for the declared purpose instead of for personal gain (city council approved and legalized theft).

The vigilance of those who gathered the signatures on the petition to force this vote by which the city council was held accountable for their double dealing paid off. The people were made aware of this unethical handling of tax money so that they reacted and voted it down.

Imagine if the American people woke up and voted this way in the Republican primaries and caucuses! Imagine if they voted to nominate the only candidate who is calling for the Federal government to stop raping the nation and giving the people’s hard earned money to the globalist elite!

Could it happen?

I did not think that today’s special election would actually succeed. What a wonderful surprise to be proven wrong.

If it happens at the national level I will likely wonder whether I’m dreaming.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Harsh Words

Can one say what needs to be said about corruption without being harsh?

In the post below I struggled over using the words “cheated” and “lied” for the actions of the City Council. Even after posting it I wanted to restate it somehow. It sounds discouragingly harsh, even wrong, to say such things.

As a Christian who honors the 8th Commandment, who desires to speak well of my neighbor and to put the best construction on everything concerning my neighbor, who also honors the 4th Commandment and wants to honor all who hold the position of city father, how can I not ache when I say such things? How can I not feel that something is very wrong in this situation and even with myself?

Such is the terrible effect of these kinds of actions on the part of our parents and leaders. When they do not act honorably they force upon us a burden that we should not have to carry.

Sadly, these people were elected by the citizens. Much money was spent on the campaigns, and typically, those who spent the most won the election. Most people are not equipped to discover facts that extend beyond the advertising and media coverage. After all, how can the average citizen gain access to these facts?

I did invest time and energy researching what I could. I did learn what the big money was buying, and I voted for candidates whom I thought were not going with the flow of the money. As usual, they lost.

Does it do any real good to cry out against these things? Is there any real advantage, any real gain, to saying what no one wants to hear?

I often think of Jeremiah, the prophet of the Lord who was told even when the Lord called him to be a prophet that those to whom Jeremiah would speak would not listen but would fight against him. By Chapter 20 the poor prophet was weary and cried out:

For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. (Jeremiah 20:8-9)

He was weary of crying out against the leaders and the people. He wanted to shut up and say no more of the harsh words. But he could not keep them in as they burned like a fire in his heart and bones.

I often have also wondered how Adam felt when his son, Cain, murdered Abel. It seems that the Lord spared Adam from having to confront Cain. The Lord Himself confronted Cain. I suppose that this really was to spare them both, for the punishment should have been to put Cain to death. Yet Cain was spared.

Surely there is a lesson in both of these examples. Confrontation with harsh words should always be with the intention of serving the good. Cain was confronted with harsh words and even with exile in order to work conversion/repentance. Adam before him was confronted for the same purpose. Centuries later Jeremiah was given harsh words to speak in order that the people and their leaders would be called to be converted, too.

Surely this is what is right and good today as well. Surely harsh words need to be spoken, but should always have the good as the goal.

The truly hard part of this is the unworthiness of the one speaking the words. For as I examine myself and as any other speaker examines oneself, who can stand blameless before those to whom one is speaking?

God grant that His grace prevail, first in the heart of the one speaking, then also in the hearts of those who hear.

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Taxation without Representation

Taxation without representation is alive and well in Wichita, Kansas. But that is the way in America, today.

Tomorrow we Wichitans have the extremely rare occasion of being able to vote against local corruption and deception.

A local group has fought hard against the big money of Wichita to try to keep a gross injustice from being perpetrated. The City Council has cheated and lied to us. These so-called leaders have given unfair precedence and favor to one developer and future local hotel owner over all the others.

A special sales tax that is supposed to go toward the promotion of Wichita and its businesses, a sales tax that all of the motels and hotels must charge to their customers, will be treated differently for this hotel. This hotel will be allowed to keep 75% of this tax while all the others must pay it to the city.

Is this fair?

Is it in any way right to pass a tax for a specific purpose and then use it for something else, to use it to promote one group of developers over everyone else?

Is this how we want to treat people who invest their own money in business in Wichita? Do we really want to penalize those who have invested in this area and depend upon fair business practices in order to survive?

For more information, visit Tax Fairness for All Wichitans.


A couple of weeks ago I prepared a much longer article on the details of this issue, but did not want to post it. The group, Tax Fairness for All Wichitans, has put the information together and posted at their web site. Do Wichita a favor and learn the facts and then vote against this unfair City Council action tomorrow, February 28th.

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Are You a Coward?

I’ve often wondered that about myself.

I’ve faced persecution. I’ve faced betrayal. I’ve faced slander. I’ve faced physical threats. I’ve faced financial hard times. I’ve faced loss of home. I’ve faced loss of income. I have faced physical injury and sickness and even surgery. I have faced the likelihood of death. I have sometimes stood in defense of others at possible peril to myself in various ways including all of the above.

Yet I have never faced the kinds of horrible persecution and imprisonment and torture that Christians in some other times and lands have faced, some even in the USA. I’ve seen movies. I’ve read historical accounts. I’ve read the Biblical accounts. And I’ve read and viewed recent accounts.

Frankly, these things make me afraid. I have often wondered whether I would be strong in such times.

I have concluded that I most certainly would not. I have concluded that I would shrink back in fear and cowardly shame, like Peter did in the courtyard as he was challenged concerning his association with Jesus. I am convinced that I, too, would deny my Lord, even with cursing. I am convinced that I, too, would take up the sword to defend myself.

However, I also know that my strength for such times will not come from within me. My strength shall not come from looking to help from the government or from a church body or from a congregation or from family or from friends.

My strength shall come from the one who is far above all of these things, who sits at the right hand of God. My strength shall come from His Holy Spirit, poured out from heaven to me in my baptism. My strength shall come from years of affirmation from hearing His Gospel and from partaking of His blessed Supper. My strength shall be the pure and unadulterated Word of God, who made Himself to be flesh for me and gave Himself for me even unto torture and execution. He boldly, courageously, lovingly, and even joyously bore all these things on my behalf and has promised to carry me through whatever trials that I shall face in my own walk through life.

And so, though I know that I would surely be a coward, I shall nevertheless stand unmoved and without fear, because I stand upon the sure foundation of His promises and have my life in Him.

Still, though, I consider myself and I fall to my knees trembling, needing to hear again and again His gracious promises. And so I pray and I eagerly look for the next offering of His Sacrament. There my life and hope and confidence are restored and again I am strong to go forth in His name.

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Is America Asleep?

Is America asleep? Are the people of America in a coma?

Here is a video that shares facts that should be of grave concern to every American, and for that matter, to every person in the world.



This sort of reporting is uncommon, but very much needed.

Are people paying attention to what is happening? Are people considering where these things are leading? Does this make your spidey sense tingle? Does this raise the hairs on the back of your neck?

Is anyone in the government acting on behalf of the people? Is anyone fighting to protect the people?

Here are two sites sharing the names of the senators and house representatives and how they voted regarding the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act:

Senate Vote on Conference Report: H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

House Vote On Passage: H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

As these reports show, very few of the elected officials voted against this act.

Is it time for the American people to react to this? Is it time for the American people to change their voting criteria?

If anyone is interested in what the current candidates for the office of President say regarding this issue, well, the Democrat incumbent has taken his stand. How about those contending for nomination among the Republicans? Ron Paul already voted “No.” He continues to speak out vehemently against this act and others as being unconstitutional and tyrannical. How about the others? What do they say? Shall we let them tell us?



The three who speak in this video clip from their debate make their positions quite clear.

In case Santorum seems ambiguous, he does seem to try to avoid clarity. So here are a few more places where he speaks, in case you need to hear more.

SCARY Rick Santorum WAR Pro-Life Liberty Freedom NDAA

Santorum question on NDAA at Rivier college

Santorum on the NDAA

A search on this topic will provide many more links. But when one cloaks his views with ambiguity, that in itself is an answer. One’s voting record is harder to conceal.

In the following video an excellent evaluation is made regarding how this position relates to the US Constitution and what it was written to protect. Romney’s debate answer is highlighted and then Gingrich’s statement of his position is also included.



This individual has done a very good job of setting before us what is at the heart of this issue and why Americans should be concerned.

As a preacher of the Gospel this is an issue that concerns me powerfully. This is as Pro-Life as issues can be. This is directly connected to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” My neighbor is not only the person who agrees with me, but also my enemy. My neighbor is not only found on my street or town but every person in the world. This law empowers the government to act tyrannically in every part of this country as well as throughout the entire world. It empowers the president and the military to condemn someone as a terrorist or enemy combatant and to make that person disappear, without witnesses, without a subpoena, without any due process.

The upcoming election gives the people of America one more chance to stand against this tyranny. Will another opportunity remain beyond this one? Considering the acts against the Constitution perpetrated in previous administrations and the unabashed violations of the current administration, what will another four years bring if Americans do nothing?

More and more people are talking about open revolution. People are talking about arming themselves for armed revolt. Bloodshed will surely be the result of such actions.

The time for action is now, not later. The appropriate and godly action is through the electoral process. Once the Constitution has been overthrown the time for action is past.

This is especially true for Christians. True Christians do not rise up with arms against the ruling authorities. They defend their neighbor even with force against common thugs, but not against the ruling authorities. They cry out against that which is wrong, even if it brings persecution of frightening proportions, but they do not take up and usurp the power of the sword.

The Lord Jesus made this unmistakably clear on the night of His betrayal with His admonishment of Peter. Earlier in the evening Jesus asked His disciples whether they had any swords, and they answered that they had two swords, to which He replied, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:38) Two swords obviously are not enough to fight against the authorities, but only to keep violent criminals at bay. But in the garden, when the temple guards were sent by the Sanhedrin, Peter drew his sword and the Lord Jesus chastised him sternly, and then healed the man’s ear that Peter had cut off. Even in defense of the Lord Jesus against the tyrannical and ungodly Sanhedrin such acts were forbidden.

Later the same is observed in the actions of all of the disciples. Never did they take up arms against their persecutors. Never did they resist the ruling authorities, except to defy their demands that they stop preaching in the name of Jesus. They suffered being arrested and imprisoned. They suffered being beaten and scourged. They suffered false accusations. They even suffered being unjustly executed.

Armed resistance is not the way of those who trust the Lord. This is the way of the world, of unbelievers. Those who believe the Gospel and trust the Lord their God obey the laws even when they are unjust. They only disobey when the laws demand that they personally enter into sin through obedience to these unjust laws. But regarding themselves, they suffer the injustices done to them, appealing to what is just in the laws, calling upon the authorities to do what is right. They cry out against injustice done to their neighbors, but do not resist with force.

Those who argue against this argue against the Lord Jesus in whom they claim to trust. Those who deny this deny the Lord Jesus, whom they claim to follow.

After the resurrection and ascension of their Lord and after His outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, never again did any of the apostles rely upon the sword for their protection. Ever after they relied upon the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Taking up the sword is not an act of courage but of cowardice. A coward is afraid to endure injustice and will do whatever is necessary to avoid suffering injustice for oneself. This was Peter’s reaction in the garden. He was unwilling to suffer the injustice by which the Lord Jesus proclaimed that He would win salvation for all of His enemies. Peter opposed this after his great confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. He did not understand it as Moses and Elijah discussed it with Jesus atop the mount of Transfiguration. He did not understand it in the garden. He did not understand when thrice he denied even knowing his Lord, once even with cursing. But after Pentecost, he was changed. Now he had the courage of the Love of God at work within him. Now love ruled so that even as his Lord suffered injustice with courage and mercy and forgiveness, so also did Peter.

Peter died a torturous death. But the Gospel that he proclaimed spread throughout the entire world.

Today there still remain a few who actually believe this Gospel. They hear the Holy Spirit’s call and are gathered by Him to the precious means of grace. They rejoice in God’s goodness and look to their brethren, to their neighbors, and even to their enemies and persecutors with the same love as they receive from their Lord. They lovingly cry out against what is wrong and energetically cry out with the goodness of the Lord for all. They enthusiastically proclaim God’s mercy and grace and peace and love in Christ.

Frightening times are coming upon us. We need to be absolutely certain of the faith by which we shall endure. Whether or not now is the time that the prophesied worldwide tyranny is manifested, we need to remember the Gospel of our salvation and the hope that it gives us. This Gospel empowers us to receive and to give love freely, without fear.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crap! Crap! Crap!

I am really tired of all of the crap!

Yet I find myself neck deep in it every day. Everywhere I turn, more of it. It piles up all around me. It stinks! It makes moving forward in a positive manner seemingly impossible.

Thank God for Sunday and the divine service! Thank God for the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer)! Thank God for the Creed! Thank God for the Catechism! Thank God for the gift of my loving and faithful wife! Thank God for the life that we share in Him!

Suddenly the crap is gone!

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Crap!

How much of what is wrong in the world and in the nation really needs to be reported and recounted? Surely there is a need for warning about things that are dangerous and destructive. But there seems to be no end to it! There seems to be a necessity to point to the evils that are and will be coming, but is there a limit to what needs to be said?

Ultimately, the Gospel is what we need to hear. Warning of the bad things that are happening and of what is to come ultimately needs to serve the purpose of showing the foolishness of imagining that fixing these things is within our power, so that instead of trying to make things right ourselves, we lift up our heads and see that our redemption draws nigh.

We need mostly to hear God’s promises. We need to hear that He is in control of all things. Many times Christians say this as a cop out, as a sort of trite saying. But He is in control and He is working to bring us unto salvation.

And this is why “God is in control” must never be used as a cliche. For we are dependent upon certain things and we must not allow those to be diminished in our lives. The truth must never be compromised. The Gospel must never be mingled with alternatives. The means of grace must not be reduced to mere symbolic acts on our part, but must be guarded and kept for the powerfully efficacious restoratives that God declares them to be.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Excitement of Positive Psychology



The following video is exciting. It is energetic. It is fun.

Watch it. Enjoy it. Then, I’ll share how the truth is even better!





The Truth:

Psychology is not about the brain.

This concept has been abandoned by the modern pseudoscientists.

Psychology is not about the brain.

The pseudoscientists have taken true science and minimized it to something less. It still has many powerful aspects of the truth, but it does not have the full and limitless power of the truth.

Psychology is not about the brain!

Psychology is about the SOUL!

This includes the brain and the electrochemical reactions within the brain and the rest of the nervous system and the rest of the body. It includes the mind, which is more than the brain. It includes the emotions. It includes the physical condition. It includes the ego or personhood and thereby includes esteem and worth. In short, it includes the entire living being of a person.

Psychology is about the SOUL! It is Soul-ology, or Soul-knowledge.

When we approach matters of happiness and health within the understanding that a person is not a composite of parts but is actually a being, a living and functioning body with absolute integrity and dependency throughout, a body that is made to be integral through the incorporation of the spirit so that it becomes not a mere lump of structured organic material (clay/dust/ash), but a living soul, then we move beyond conjecture to actual knowledge of the truth. Then we deal not with suppositions but with what is.

This is what true theology provides. This is what God declares so that we may know with certainty what we otherwise stumble to discover and hypothesize.

Through His apostle, Paul, the Lord informs us:

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

If we pay attention to what is declared here, which is fully integral with what is declared throughout the Holy Scriptures, we learn the true meaning of positive psychology.

Unquestionably, thinking positively and enjoying our daily activities produces good, healthy, positive changes in our hormonal and other chemical levels. What Shawn Achor shares in the video above has valid points, as far as they go. But they are not really the truth. His facts only tell part of the story. He does not deal with the entire person, not even with the person’s mind. Instead of the mind he studies the brain and the responses of the brain’s chemical activity to behavior modification.

This approach ignores the fact that life is more than cellular activity. Life for humans is much more than even life for the animals. But even for the animals, life is more than merely having cells and organs and body parts that are alive. We are able to produce living cells in a laboratory. We can even produce living brain tissue. We can keep a dead person’s body alive through artificial respirators and dialysis machines and heart pumps and chemical infusions. But we cannot make that composite of living cells and organs and body parts to live as a person. A human being is more than such a composite. A human being is a living soul.

This is what the Lord reveals throughout His Holy Scriptures, beginning in the beginning, in Genesis 2. “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.”

This is the connection that Adam broke by turning from the Word of the Lord to his own ways. Adam’s attempt to remedy this was to deal only with the physical, for he did not have the power to revive the spirit. This is why modern psychology has divorced itself from treatment of the soul and merely deals with the physical symptoms.

This is why St. Paul directs us to fix our affection on things above. Actually, he literally says, “Upward mind yourselves.” Our minds with all that this includes we are to turn upward. But this is not a vague sense of looking for more positive and happy thoughts and feelings. This upward turning of your thoughts and feelings and reasoning and understanding has an object. That object is Christ, into whom we have been baptized and thus have our place with Him already in the heavenly abode so that the things of this earthy turmoil are ineffectual against us. Through our baptism we are made to die to the world and alive in Christ. And this new life of freedom and joy is hidden to those whose eyes are closed to it.

Yet the world does catch glimpses of it as the saints are gathered into the name of Jesus to partake of His life given in the Sacrament. This regular renewal of the life of Christ in us continues with us in our daily activities so that the freedom and joy of the Gospel permeates our activities and our displays of emotions and of God’s goodness.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this is that it does not require any real effort on our part. Rather, it is the outflow of the new life and new understanding that God gives to us through faith. This outflow of positiveness remains undaunted even when every other thing seems to fall to pieces. This is much more than programing oneself with positive thinking. This is a direct connection to that which is above all the trouble and sorrow and defeat of this fallen world.

This is the power of the Gospel.

I have seen suicidal people comforted and turned from their despair. I have witnessed many dying people consoled so that like Stephen, they saw the face of Jesus as they were dying. People with AIDS and cancer who were being eaten alive and in perpetual immeasurable pain that even morphine could not dull, I have heard them say, “I am at peace.” I have heard despairing people with advancing necrosis from diabetes with multiple amputations kept alive through dialysis and feeding tubes say, “I believe that I have faith again, and I am content.” I have seen a woman comforted whose mother for years shoved a fireplace poker inside her. I have seen how the Gospel brought peace to people with visions of spiders and snakes and rats chewing on their brains. I have observed the power of the Gospel to set free a man living with the shame of having molested his daughters and to free the adult daughters so that they were empowered to forgive their father. I have counseled people who suffered years of other forms of abuse, too.

I’ve witnessed the power of the Gospel accomplish these things for people over and over.

And this is much more than merely being conditioned through mental and emotional gymnastics or drug manipulation. This is true healing. It is a setting free of the spirit so that the entire soul is freed to live again without the dominance of these other things. God has the power to do for us what we absolutely cannot do for ourselves. No matter how we try to seduce our brains to believe positive things, we cannot overpower the things that ultimately defeat us.

But God has! He not only can but He has! Christ took all of our suffering and anguish and misery and died with these on our behalf. Then, on the third day, He raised Himself again, not only mentally, not only emotionally, not only spiritually, but bodily. He did not leave our humanity behind, but raised it up and carried it to the very throne of God in heaven.

Moreover, He provided the means through which we are joined with Him in His body to be partakers or communicants of the fullness of this victory. As St. Paul admonishes, we have been made to be more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Rom. 8:37)

The victory is already won for us in Christ. We do not have to achieve victory, for it is already ours. Moreover, this victory is a “beyond or over victory.” It is over and above all victories that we would seek for ourselves. This victory is not merely temporal, but everlasting. It is far above merely overcoming the disappointments and even the terrors of this world so as to live out our time until we die. This victory extends beyond death unto the resurrection. No amount of positive thinking can touch this. This is freedom that cannot be taken away. This is hope and joy and peace without end.

Interestingly, in Shawn’s presentation, he counters the false approach of seeking to achieve happiness through success and various other goal oriented methods with yet another goal oriented method.

Thus he really is running in a big circle ending up right back at the starting line again. This circle or cycle cannot be broken or escaped without a total change of perception.

What is the problem? What is missing in this understanding that always brings people back to the same failing methodology?

What is missing is the understanding that happiness is not achieved but received.

Happiness is not something that we achieve for ourselves but what we receive as a gift from the one true source of happiness. When God rejoins us into His Holy Communion of grace, mercy, peace, love, and joy, we live in this communion. Life is not a goal. Life is a gift from the Creator. All that we seek to obtain is already given freely. By seeking to grasp this or obtain this for ourselves, we cut ourselves off from the Giver. We set ourselves up in our imaginations as though we were able to do what only He can do. When we hear Him for who He is, as our loving and gracious Father who freely gives all good things without any requirement of merit or effort on our part, then what He gives we receive. Then we look not to ourselves and what we must change in our lives to that which He has already done in Christ and we find that our lives have been changed. When we are restored through the means that God has ordained, all that we would strive to change in ourselves we discover He has already done for us. Then we simply go forward and enjoy what He has done by grace through faith (Ephesians 2).

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What a Sellout!

As I have been following the news concerning the “Republican” candidates, a recent development has been that the notion of Romney and Paul forming an alliance could be a real and true development. This notion is out of the blue, and yet I found myself being sucked into it. As I pondered the possibility, I thought of the many other sellouts throughout my lifetime. How many of those who claimed to be proponents of what is right and true were actually the opposite of what they claimed? I wondered whether Paul was finally being shown to be just another fraud. I began thinking that if this were true, Paul would never have my respect and trust again.

But what seemed to be apparent just did not fit with anything that Ron Paul actually said or did himself. So I researched on my own. More and more I concluded that Ron Paul was being set up and misrepresented in order to make people think that Ron Paul was really just like the rest. After watching two videos I was nearly absolutely convinced that this was all a mainstream ploy.

The following two videos can be found at Ron Paul on CNN State of the Union 2/19/12.



In this first video the CNN propagandist tries to establish an association between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Ron Paul very politely acknowledges that there is a tiny agreement on one issue, that of taxes. He also politely acknowledges that Romney seems to have a better management style than the other two candidates. But then he proceeds, still politely, to state unequivocally that all three of the other candidates are the same and that he is uncomfortable with them on all any of the issues, saying, “But as far as the issues go, I’m uncomfortable with all three of them. I think, I think that they’re the status quo, and that they’re not change. . . . they don’t really want to change anything. That’s what I’m offering.” At this point the woman quickly ends the interview.

In the following clip the same CNN woman attempts to present the notion that the Ron Paul candidacy is an impossible win scenario. Over and over she presses this notion, which the congressman politely shuts down with facts. In polite frustration she closes the interview.



Yesterday I was excited to have my conclusion affirmed by what is stated in this article and interview at Insider Says Talk of Paul-Romney Alliance is “Establishment Trick”.

Here is the video of the interview for ease of access:

Lew Rockwell Dispells Ron Paul VP Rumor as "Establishment Trick"


Wow, this is really in-your-face honest appraisal and apprisal!

Frankly, I am very weary of researching this sort of thing as well as “reporting” it on my blog and in conversations. I really do not like doing this.

However, I am not as weary of this as I am of so-called Christians who perpetually say that they must choose the lesser of two evils. They do this in their church bodies. They do this in their congregations. They do this in their jobs and other secular associations. They do this in their voting practices. They do this in their own life decisions.

So where exactly do they stand regarding the truth?

What exactly marks the typical Christians as Christian?

Where do Christians today actually turn to hear the truth? How is the truth really defined? How much compromise can be made and still have the truth?

In mainstream Christianity the truth is hard to identify. What do “Christians” really believe? What does it really mean to be Pro-Life? What does it really mean to love peace? Where is forgiveness really found? What does love really look like? Does the Gospel actually have a clearly defined and unalterable message?

I really am tired of studying politics. Yet how can I ignore them? How can I simply turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what is happening around me? How can I not be concerned about the globalist agenda that is in full bloom in every corner of the world and especially in these formerly United States of America? How can wars upon wars and millions upon millions of war tragedies not concern me? How can I not be concerned as I see my neighbors struggling for survival in a country that has unprecedented abundance of resources and opportunity?

Yesterday I stopped at the deli in the supermarket and bought a quarter pound of fried chicken livers. The price per pound the last time that I purchased any, about six months ago, was $3.99/lb. Yesterday the price was $4.99/lb. The lady explained that with fuel costs rising, etc., that prices continue to rise. I reminded her that this already happened with the last fuel price rise and that the prices never went back down. All she could do is shrug, and I acknowledged the futility of complaining to one who has no say in the matter. She just smiled, as most people do when I acknowledge this, be it with a phone customer service person or a bank teller or the grocery store clerk.

But as I paid for my lunch purchase, another lady shared her heartbreaking experience from the day before. She shared that an elderly lady said that she was torn between two choices. The cashier asked her to explain and the lady shared that she did not know whether she should spend her money on food or medicine.

On the Food! The medicine is killing her. But so is most of the food! This is the problem. We are being duped into believing that this is a choice. We are being duped into believing that the government sponsored drug programs are helping us and that we actually need these destructive chemicals and that we should not be concerned about the poisons that are being added to our foods and our water and our toothpaste and even in vaccines. Moreover, we are being told that the Federal Reserve is the answer rather than the cause of our financial woes.

And people continue to watch the same farcical news programs and follow the same fraudulent medical and nutritional advice. They keep looking for salvation from politicians who say one thing and do the opposite. They keep turning for the truth to churches where tolerance of mingled doctrine and practice is called “fellowship” and “faithfulness.”

Then the Christians throw up their hands and cry, “How can this be?”

Duh!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disturbing Notion of Religious Freedom

This article disturbs me: Restore Religious Freedom in America

While I agree 100% that what is being foisted upon us in this outrageous regulatory program of the administration is wrong and should be overturned, I find it disturbing that the “religious” imagine that doing so will restore religious freedom in the country. I find it disturbing that they seem to be oblivious to the usurpations of freedoms that span many decades.

For example, I remember when the LC-MS bowed down to certain changes in the IRS code so that the church body actually changed its definition of “ministry” and “minister” so as to keep certain income tax exemptions for teachers. So then, teachers, both male and female teachers, suddenly became ministers, a term previously only used for males connected with the pastoral office. This gave stimulus for many successive new definitions and understandings.

As I have learned regarding the ways of conservatives I have coined a phrase that seems to fit their mantra: “Compromise is absolutely unacceptable until it becomes expedient.”

Who can even count the compromises that have been made by the religious in the name of expediency.

As further example from my former church body, I did a search of the LC-MS web site using their internal search engine, searching for “501 c 3.” Here is the first screen of choices that was displayed.


In my perception the following recurring mantra is powerfully explanative:

We accept Visa, MaterCard, American Express and Discover.

Is this what is really meant by “religious freedom” that must be defended?

After all, has not the biggest ruckus arisen in connection with the regulations that require paying for these abortifacients and such?

If the real concern is the issue of compromising doctrine and especially practice, why did the mainline churches make the other compromises without hardly batting an eye? Why do the church bodies currently promote “fraternal” insurance and financial groups that already provide coverage for abortions and same sex relationships and such?

Why is this important? If I agree that the government is not to interfere with religion, that government is not to sanction and even promote and pay for abortifacients or even contraceptives, why speak with concern about the discontinuity of the religious groups crying out in this matter but not others? Why not simply praise them for this action?

The issue of concern is what is being compromised and lost. The issue of concern is the pure Gospel and the pure administration of the means of grace. The issue of concern is that the true definition of the very power of God unto salvation is being reduced to something that has no power to save and help and heal.

If the pure Gospel is compromised and thereby lost to the churches, what else really matters? Why even bother having churches if the pure Gospel is sacrificed on the altars of expediency?

What positive difference does it make to prevent a baby from being sacrificed to the gods of lust and avoidance of inconvenience and fear and responsibility, if in place of the Gospel they are given a worthless substitute?

Dear pastors and Christians, preach the Gospel as it is given from heaven and it won’t matter whether the government demands coverage for abortions and contraceptives and abortifacients. If the Gospel is preached truly and the Sacraments are administered rightly so that people truly hear and believe the Gospel, the demand for these unholy things will fade to nothing. People who truly hear and believe the Gospel love life and babies and honor marriage. If the Gospel is truly preached so that people live by faith, who will ask for these contraceptives even if insurance does cover them?

Moreover, if the churches were truly united in this Gospel so that the Church was clearly seen standing as one, what politician would dare even to suggest such things let alone to impose them forcefully upon the Church or even upon the populace? Then such a politician would never be elected.

Christians should not cry out as though they are being betrayed by their politicians. They should not cry out as though the politicians are betraying the Gospel. Rather they should look in the mirror and be converted again. Then the freedom that the Scriptures teach would be more than a slogan or political talking point.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Save Christian Pastor Nadarkhani from an Iranian Death Sentence

Here is an update on Pastor Nadarkhani Yousef from the ACLJ: Save Christian Pastor Nadarkhani from an Iranian Death Sentence. The ACLJ is calling for signers of a petition to the US Congress to support the Congressional Resolution introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts demanding the immediate release of Pastor Youcef.

I do not know how effective such a resolution will be, especially concerning the USA’s hypocrisy in such matters and in it’s dealings with Iran, but at least it is a way for me to make at least some statement to the Iranian government on behalf of Nadarkhani and all who suffer similar injustice. What other contact can I have? At least this is something.

Frankly, if Nadarkhani is a true believer in Christ, then going to be with the Lord will be a blessing. Yet life in this world is God’s gift, too. Moreover, remaining in this world and giving witness to God’s grace in Christ is a precious privilege. Furthermore, this injustice should be prevented. It is nothing less than murder if he is executed. Why should his family be robbed of his life with them? Why should such hatred be promoted and perpetrated?

Such is not uncommon in this world. Sadly, inexcusably, such has often been done by those pretending to be of Christ, too. How can it be that even today many so-called Christians are calling for such wickedness to be done upon the people of Iran?

Where will it end? It will end with the Lord’s return in glory. Until then, the true children of peace will endure such abuses, looking beyond this vale of sorrow and trouble to the everlasting abode that the Lord has prepared for them. Until then we continue to cry out, not with hateful anger, but with righteous anger that has peace and love as its motive. Yes, righteous anger is proper as it moves one to cry out against evil, not with murderous hatred, but with a desire for loving confrontation that leads to forgiveness and reconciliation both regarding fellow men and God.

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Surrendering the Hallelujahs



During the season of Epiphany, I had a subdued dread of the coming of the surrender of the singing of the hallelujahs and of the Gloria in Excelsis that we observe during Lent. It amplified my sense of the reason for which the Lord Jesus was born into the world and the reason for the Epiphany.


While I count the traditional omission to be valuable, it always causes me to experience feelings of angst and uneasiness. But then, that is the purpose. And it does work effectively in my soul.

Today is Ash Wednesday and the more austere time of the Church Year has come.

As I observe the situations in the world, observing the encroachment of times of austerity imposed by globalist elites, I find myself wondering whether the time may come when I set aside this tradition. It may be that worldly conditions become so austere that my need for the perpetual hallelujahs will prevail.

Of course, the liturgical practice does not remove the hallelujah from me, nor from the Church. It only removes it from the formal worship. It only serves as a reminder of the fact that metanoia is a never ending need and that true expression of hallelujah is only possible because of the Holy Spirit’s working of metanoia in the heart, mind, and soul.

It is hard really even to realize fully what the Lord’s second coming will establish. No more sorrow. No more tears. No more need for metanoia. Simply everlasting hallelujahing in the newness of life in the glorious fullness of the Lord’s presence! Truly everlasting uninterrupted joy and jubilation is impossible fully to fathom, but I surely do look forward to it with eager anticipation!

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Quinquagesima

The Old Testament Reading appointed for Quinquagesima, the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, is Isaiah 35:3-7.

     Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Especially enlightening is a literal translation of verse 4:

     Say to the hasty of heart, “Be strong! Fear Not! Behold your God! Vengeance will come, recompense of God! He will come and save you!”


Here is what Dr. Luther wrote in his commentary on this passage of Holy Scripture:


     3. Strengthen the weak hands. This is wonderful comfort that is to be understood not in a physical but in an internal sense, because it shines under the appearance of the cross. For this church of Christ is extremely poor and wretched in appearance, since its poor, distressed, naked, imprisoned, and dishonored are the refuse of all and loathsome to all men for the sake of Christ’s name. And the members of the church are exposed to all, to Satan and to the craftiness and power of the world and the flesh. They are like “the offscouring of the world” (1 Cor. 4:13). It is as if people were saying: “They are to be regarded as a misfortune and a monster. If we could only be rid of these scoundrels.” With all their might they exert themselves to expel and exterminate this utterly loathsome Christian people. So we see today that all the most criminal people are less disturbed than the members of this church. Therefore the inward joy of the spirit fights with the grief of the body exposed to the cross. Therefore the prophet comforts them with exceedingly great consolations. Strengthen. This is a command. As long as Satan is awake he will not stop attacking us. It is for us to stand in the battle line against his stratagems.
     Weak hands, hands that are so weary. Give medicine to those hands so that you become strong again. For Satan has two ways of fighting. He would gladly cast the faithful down suddenly from their joy and faith and into fear and despair. Secondly, he cunningly strives by long lasting torments and by the unremitting pressure of the torments to tire them out. It is as Cyprian confesses: “Satan did not want the captive brothers to be killed in this life, but he preserved them in a long life and distressed them with unremitting aggravation to the point of exhaustion.” These are extremely powerful attacks. Against Satan’s continuous attack we must set our continuous divine help. The devil is a spirit at leisure and thinks of nothing but to take us by storm. We ought not have slack and idle hands over against his deceptions. Have we not experienced in these ten years how he tried by various forces to frighten us away from faith in the Gospel? First through the terrors of the papists, then through the world’s disgrace, then through murdering tyrants, through the fanatics, the schismatics, and fatherly flatteries. The church must diligently oppose his stratagems.
     4. Say to those who are of a fearful heart. ln Hebrew: “To those who are hasty and speedy in heart,” who are not steady and firm but want to run away and give Satan the victory.
     Be strong. We ought to strengthen ourselves with these words and say, “Though all devils were rolled into one, my God is still greater.” The afflicted must be comforted with such spiritual consolations of the Word, not with any fleshly comfort which does nothing for troubled consciences but with spiritual comfort and with the living Word of God they must be ruled and strengthened. Why? Because
     Behold, our God, etc. By those words he indicates that our God is absent but will come very quickly to avenge and save us. These are words of promise for the future, for God first permits people to condemn and persecute His church, as though He were absent, and then He will come very quickly, visit vengeance upon the adversaries and tumult upon the world, and save His church. This is truly hard for the flesh.
     With the recompense of God. He will come and save you. Do not avenge yourselves. He is the God of vengeance, He will fittingly requite them and save you. Thus we see that vengeance always comes before they carry out their plan. So Jerusalem, opposing the Word, was stormed by the Romans; then Rome perished, and so will our papists. Thus the Spirit comforts us, as if to say, “Remain godly and constant and be lifted up. The Lord will come in time of trial, and He will avenge and save you.” So he comforts the church that is exceedingly hateful to the world and Satan and besides does not shine with outward splendor. On the contrary, it is pressed down by a very heavy cross; it is also beset and harassed by a variety of internal evils, such as weakness of faith and falling into sin. Beyond all these, Satan, the tempter, fights against it.
     5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened. In that time when the church will flourish in the midst of drought and will be cultivated in the desert, the blind will see plainly, etc. This is taken literally with reference to the miracles of Christ and the church, as we read in the last chapter of Mark (Mark 16:17, 18), signs that were necessary to confirm the new Word, signs that were added to the glory of the church, signs that are not done physically in the last time of the church, now that Christ is no longer weak. They were necessary then as a witness to the Jews, who ought to have recognized the church of God. Allegorically, in the time of the Gospel there were opened (1) the eyes of the blind, or ignorant, as we see happening today; (2) the ears of the deaf, who now accept the Gospel; (3) the lame walking in their own superstitions, as Isaiah calls all idolators lame, people who walk around in some sect of their own. They limp on one leg. They do not walk in an upright faith. Then, however, when they accept the Word by faith, they walk upright and leap for spiritual joy in Christ.
     (4) And the tongue of the dumb sing for joy, namely, it will glory in a strong confession, and the mercy of the Lord shown to us is proclaimed and boasted; and they will say: “See how God has rescued us from the darkness!”
     For waters shall break forth, that is, they are parted and distributed. As a spring flows forth in moistening streams, so this church, which was desert, should gush out in streams of the teachings of the Gospel, always one stream leaping from another into one city and then another, although in the eyes of the world it might seem forever desert.
     7. The burning sand shall become a pool, that is, where formerly there was total dryness, there will now be not only streams but also pools and springs. Thus the church will grow in such a way that elsewhere and in other places our streams will become springs. The Word of God will come in abundance.
     In the haunt, that is, where formerly the serpent was and the dragon reclined.
     The grass shall become reeds and rushes. Dragons and serpents like above all to be in dry places, as we see from experience today. As this was formerly a desert, most dreadful in dryness, but now because of the exceeding abundance of moisture has become a place where reeds and rushes grow, so there was nothing but heat, dryness, and ungodliness as long as the Word was absent, but now with the preaching of the Word it is moist and joyful. The serpents and dragons are those who teach ungodly things and with their most pestilential teachings take possession of men’s souls and consciences, like Erasmus, Zwingli, and Oecolampadius, whom also Christ calls a brood of vipers (Matt. 23:33). Our lazy bishops and clerics are not worthy of this name, yes, they are scarcely dung and vomit. In the haunts there will be the highest fruitfulness of the Gospel and of fertile hearts, which, having come to faith, are made fruitful by the Word, teach others with their gifts and help others participate. This is the fruitfulness and abundance of the Spirit.


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Quoted from:
     Luther, M. (1999, c1969). Vol. 16: Luther's works, vol. 16 : Lectures on Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (16:300). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.


Speaking of Defense

Speaking of defense, why do so many Christians speak of defending the Gospel?

As a stinking sinner I look to the Gospel as my defense, not the other way around.

As a pastor I proclaim and call upon the Gospel to defend and comfort and save sinners (and the Church), not the other way around.

Think about it. . . .

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How Do You Spell Defense?

This article Even Defense Contractors Support Ron Paul For President and the accompanying video amaze me. The more that I observe Ron Paul the more that I admire him. I continue to be amazed at his calm responses to the deliberate attempts by media establishment enforcers to misrepresent his statements and positions. I am amazed by his calm yet effective overturning of their blatant fraud.

As I watch or hear or read this man I almost dare to have hope for the country.

Regarding politicians here is a question:

How can one know when a political candidate is being honest?

Answer: When his campaign rhetoric matches his voting record and actions.

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For how many in the last fifty years has this been the case?

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Veterans, Active Military march in D.C. for Ron Paul

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Amazing Scene



Have you ever seen this?





For additional photos and the accompanying story see: Yosemite waterfall turns to 'flowing lava' in rare February spectacle caught on camera.

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I have to laugh at myself regarding the name of this National Park. I grew up with Yosemite Sam cartoons, and yet whenever I see this word my first inclination is to pronounce it as Yose-mite. I have to retrain my mind every time that I see this word and try to pronounce it.

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You Stinking Hypocrite!



Hypocrites, hypocrites everywhere!




This includes my own mirror.

That is, of course, the first place that we each need to acknowledge the reflection of hypocrisy. After turning to the Lord to remove the log from our own eyes, then we see the specks in the eyes of others more clearly. Suddenly what we previously perceived as such an enormous cause for judging others shrinks in our perception.

Certainly there are some monstrous things being perpetrated in the world. But how many of these are actually my responsibility? In a nation where I have a role in the election of those who govern, I do have the obligation to do what I can to be informed. I have an obligation to cry out on behalf of those who are wronged and to cry out for that which is right. But even then, how far does this responsibility extend?

The Lord instructs that my first concern should be regarding my own thoughts, words, and deeds. Then I also am to see to my own family. In this connection I am to judge or discern the Lord’s body so as to be certain that where my household congregates is truly the Lord’s body where His true Communion is. (1 Cor. 11; Matt. 18)

These certainly are sufficient to keep my heart and mind occupied.

But I am not to be like Cain. I am to realize that I am also my brother’s keeper. I am to look beyond myself and my own family and the congregation to which the Holy Spirit gathers us, looking next to those whom I can identify as my brethren in the Lord, and then also to my neighbor. This begins with my prayers to the Lord on their behalf, both generally as in the Our Father, and specifically as I become aware of my neighbor’s personal needs. These prayers for my neighbor will also move me to do what I am able for my neighbor directly. This even extends to issues regarding the city council and eventually even to the vote that I cast for the President of the country.

But when I do these things in honest acknowledgment of all that I observe, I am always back in front of the mirror, being confronted with my own failures, my own sin, and my own hypocrisy, from which I need for the Lord to turn me, directing me again to His grace in Christ. Then, having received his forgiveness I also am empowered to forgive myself. Then I am set free to do the same for everyone else whom I encounter, first forgiving them from my own heart, and then, in that freedom, proclaiming to them God’s forgiveness in Christ.

Imagine what the world would observe if indeed all who professed to believe in Christ actually lived as He has declared. Imagine if this is what the world observed as the way of Christians. Imagine how differently from the current perception even Christians would perceive the Church.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“Big Brother” Energy Control

Surely this is not new to most people, but it deserves to be mentioned.

Yesterday yet another mailing arrived urging us to “Join the partnership where helping you save money, helps all of us save energy!” Naturally, this mailing came from one of the big corporations that also continue to pretend to be “saving trees” by sending mailings about “going green” by allowing them to control my account electronically without paper mailings.

The program being promoted is called WattSaver®. The key information is found in the footnote:


*WattSaver works like this: On the hottest weekday afternoons from June through September, demand on Westar Energy’s system is at its highest. At these times, we may cycle your central air conditioner or heat pump on and off in 15 minute increments in a coordinated effort to reduce energy demand. These cycling events will normally last about four to six hours or less. During that time, your thermostat will display “SAVINGS” and the system fan will continue to circulate air throughout your home or business. Cycling events will occur infrequently and only on weekdays — never on weekends or holidays. You may choose to not participate in a cycling event once per month.


Like good little automatons we are expected to volunteer and believe that this is for the sake of “saving energy.” These “thermostats” are to be connected to the Internet. What else will be monitored through these “thermostats”?

Should this be cause for concern?

Let’s see, to what other forms of monitoring our personal information and persons are we already subjected?

  • all cell phone and traditional phone calls are monitored for both contacts and conversations
  • all phones can be utilized as listening devices
  • all modern cell phones can be utilized as tracking devices (GPS)
  • all Internet searches are tracked and recorded
  • all web sites and blogs are monitored
  • all e-mail messages and chat messages are monitored
  • all banking transactions are monitored
  • all non-cash (and most cash) purchases are monitored
  • all health care and medications are monitored
  • all accredited educational activities are monitored
  • all driving activities are monitored through traffic cameras
  • most newer automobiles are monitored through various tracking devices installed both for govermental and banking agencies
  • all tax deductible donations are monitored
  • all incorporated groups, including religious organizations, are monitored
  • all transportation by air, sea, train, bus is monitored

  • and the list goes on . . .



Do people not realize that with these Internet controlled thermostats that total control over heating and cooling is entrusted to whomever gains access? What if a “virus” shuts down the system? What if . . .?

Do people really want to surrender control of these matters to someone in India or Malaysia or wherever? What will customer service be like when the thermostat goes haywire?

Do people really want to have TSA or Homeland Security or FEMA tuck them into bed?

The sad thing is that even though I refuse to volunteer to have such a thermostat installed in my home, most Americans will volunteer, especially since it is “free.” Oh yes, “free,” as in everybody pays. But since the majority will volunteer, they are actually volunteering me, because once these are installed in enough homes and businesses, they will be declared to be mandatory for all.

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* here is a definition of automaton, just in case this is a new word to you, especially definition #2.
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Scientists Hail Alzheimer's Breakthrough

Yep! They surely do! Alzheimer’s is breaking through in ever increasing numbers and those who stand to profit from it are excited. In Scientists Hail Alzheimer's Breakthrough it is reported:


Scientists who have generated brain tissue from human skin are claiming a major breakthrough.

. . .

Their findings were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Created cerebral cortex cells — those that make up the brain’s grey matter — will allow them to "recreate brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, in the lab," they wrote, providing "previously impossible insight."

It may also allow them to develop and test new drugs to stop the diseases from progressing.


In this article there is not a single mention of the things that have been proven to promote the neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Autism. Not a word is mentioned about scientists being excited to be able to warn people about the chemicals added to their foods and water and vaccines and household items that are directly contributing to these neurological disorders.

Not one word is stated about what people could be doing to help prevent the onset of these diseases.

Why not?

Such things cannot be patented. Such news would reduce the false perception of the need for new drugs. If people were avoiding the things that cause these diseases, what need would there be for such elaborate and expensive research? If people stopped developing these neurological problems, what need would they have for drugs to treat the symptoms? If people (and insurance) did not purchase these expensive drugs, who would pay for these “scientists” to grow brain tissue (and whatever else) in laboratories?

When one ponders the “testing” that is done, on whom are these tests performed? Presumably on people suffering from Alzheimer’s. If so, who “volunteers” them? Do these test subjects even know?

Does anyone ask these questions? Does anyone care?

If people with Alzheimer’s are volunteered for testing, on whom else can this tactic be used? How about the military personnel? How about all who are exposed to whatever comes from chem trails? How about people who drink municipal water and rural water? How about children in the government schools?

For more information regarding the food additives that the government and so-called scientists are not providing, check a few sources like these:

Truth in Labeling.org

MSG Hidden Sources

MSGTruth.org



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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Comments and the 8th Commandment


Last night someone left an anonymous comment to the post immediately preceding this one. It was full of heinous accusations against someone not actually named, so one is left to guess. Presumably the accusations were directed toward Mr. Rubio.

I deleted the comment. The comment was anonymous, unclear, and slanderous and libelous. It was hateful and vicious. The accusations were unsubstantiated.

This is not the way for this blog.

If the matters on which this person commented are true, they are certainly important. However, that manner of reporting them is wrongful and unwelcome.

This blog has as its foundation the Word of God, Jesus. Jesus is not about condemnation and destruction of persons. He is about salvation, redemption, forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation. Thus, while what He declares, certainly includes the Law which shows us God’s holiness from which we fall monstrously short, His primary declaration is the Gospel of forgiveness and life. Because we never ever measure up to the standard of the Law of God’s holiness, it always accuses and condemns us. But the Lord is not willing that anyone should be left standing condemned. His gracious will is that all should hear the restoring power of the Gospel and to be converted from the condemnation and ways of unbelief to the new life of justification and sanctification.

Thus He has given us the Eighth Commandment. Luther’s explanation does a wonderful job of showing the full intent of this declaration.


The Eighth Commandment.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

What does this mean?—Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.


Like all of the Commandments or Words of the Decalogue, this can only be rightly understood when our heart is enlightened by the Gospel. The Gospel directs us back to the Lord so that we hear what His true intention is. His true intention is not to accuse and condemn but to rescue and restore. Thus, when we truly understand this as applying to ourselves, then we, like our loving Father, look to others with the same gracious intent.

Another Scriptural way of saying this is that we learn to love our neighbor as ourselves. Once we truly learn God’s love, we then begin to love ourselves, and that love changes how we look upon others so that we love them in the same way as we love ourselves.

When we seek to condemn and destroy others, we have forgotten true love of self. For the viciousness that we display toward others demonstrates that we have forgotten our own need for God’s grace and mercy and have ceased abiding in His peace and love. Thus His love no longer constrains us because we have turned away from His loving countenance to our own deceived thoughts.

We need to remember that the old adage of “Sticks and stones” is not true. It should really say “Sticks and stones may break our bones and words can truly crush us, but the Lord’s grace is truly sufficient for us to give us the strength to endure and forgive and love.”

Certainly sin has to be denounced. Certainly evil must be restrained. But this must begin with each of us. Only then can we justly speak concerning others. Only then are we able to see clearly so as to speak for what is good.

We do indeed need to be aware of what is wrong around us, especially when these things can bring harm to others. There is an appropriate way to warn against these things. Unsubstantiated and vicious accusations are not the way. The proper intent of crying out with warning about the past deeds of others and especially of people in positions of leadership, is to warn against a propensity for the recurrence of such evil deeds.

But what if that person has been converted from those ways? Should we not first be certain to know whether or not the person has been turned from the ways of destruction and wickedness? Should we not be certain that we are dealing with what is and not merely with what was? And should we not provide evidence for any warnings that we make?

I know that in my own life that I must always be on guard against my own sinful nature. Even then, I must remember that the power to overcome my sinfulness is the power of God’s merciful love toward me. God’s love is what changes me from a vicious hatemonger to a lover of self and neighbor. God’s love is what turns me from one who lashes out thoughtlessly to one who cares for those who could be hurt by my words and actions.

Words truly are powerful. They can build up or they can tear down. They can rescue or they can destroy. They can defend or they can attack. They can comfort or they can condemn and cause shame.

Truly caution needs to be used in how we speak. I certainly fail in this regard and need to be called back continually from such failures to the love and mercy of the Lord. In this posting I hold this necessity before one and all that we may all be continually converted by God’s gracious work through His Holy Spirit.

God’s peace to all in Christ Jesus.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

The Insane Lust for War and Fighting


Today I received notice of a statement made by the man who has been touted as the “crown prince” of the Tea Party movement. That title in itself causes me to recoil. But his statement is horrifying to me. He said:

“. . . the idea of a nuclear Iran is so catastrophic that there’s virtually no price too high to pay to avoid it.”

This is quoted from Rubio: No Price Too High to Avoid Nuclear Iran.

At CPAC kicks off with Marco Rubio the following is reported:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), widely considered to be a contender for the vice presidential nomination, drew loud applause when he spoke of “the American example” and the need to spread American values globally.

“What happens if we diminish? What happens if we retreat? … That space will be filled by someone else [and] the only nations capable of filling that void are totalitarian nations like Russia and China. … the greatest thing we can do for the world is be America,” said Rubio, to thunderous applause.

This is what people are applauding? Have people completely lost their sense of what is right?

Like most of these people, Rubio purports to be a Christian. Have these people never read:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:17-18)

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:14-15)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? (Matthew 5:43-46)

Love your enemies. Pray for them. Where are the prayers begging God for peace so that advancement of war would be unnecessary?

St. Paul admonishes: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Does this “crown prince” sound as though he has even the slightest desire to avoid war? When he says “. . . there’s virtually no price too high to pay . . .” is there no one who realizes what this means?

How many lives will be sacrificed? And without even trying to prevent it?

And these people imagine themselves to be listening to the Holy Spirit? These people imagine themselves to be followers of the same Lord who says, “Pray for them”?

Does no one even ask why such warmongering is being pushed by the establishment? Iran does not even have any nuclear weapons. All that has been reported is that they may be developing the capability of making such weapons.

And what is the result here in America from this frenzy of hatred? Our future prosperity is being obliterated. Our protection from abuses of our own government is being obliterated by the Patriot Act, the TSA, Homeland Security, the National Defense Authorization Act, and countless others. On and on the list grows as the people look elsewhere with hateful eyes, blinded to the destruction of our own nation and society.

Hatred and vengeance and war are powerfully destructive. They carry very high costs.

The saddest part is that those who seem to be the most hateful and vengeful and lustful for blood and war are those who make the most noise about being lovers of peace and liberty and forgiveness.

The Lord Jesus said over and over that the false ones would be known by their fruits.

If Christians spent as much time contemplating their own sinfulness and need for God’s forgiveness, grace, mercy, peace, restoration, and reconciliation as they say others have need of correction and salvation, how much time would be left for blood lust and hatred?

Sadly, when these Christians have brought judgment back upon us all so that unimaginable hard times strike the land, I know whom they will blame and upon whom they will lash out in vengeful wrath. It has been that way since Cain slew Abel. It will continue until the Lord comes again to bring such things finally to an end.

In the meantime, the Gospel is still available for all who desire to hear it and receive it. God’s means of grace still flow freely wherever even two or three have been gathered into Christ’s name. God’s love is still in the world and will be until the very end of this age. For this I only know to say, “Thanks be to God!”

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Way of Big Government and Big Party
& Church Politics


Today I viewed a couple of videos that were very educational and enlightening. For all of my adult life, meaning from 18 years old forward, I have been bewildered concerning the fact that what the groups with whom I have been affiliated always did was the opposite of what they claimed to be. These two videos caused me to think more deeply and to acknowledge things to which I previously seem to have been wearing blinders. It is not that I did not see any of the conflicting information. But I nevertheless seem to have been running like a horse with blinders, or at least blinders with worn spots.

Here are links to the two videos if you’d like to see them.

Republican Party Origins

U.S. Government & CFR Complicity in Foreign Conflicts

Until a few years ago I have been registered as a Republican. My first experience with active participation in the GOP was as a teenager. The Reagan election was my first time voting. But the local GOP meetings disgusted me. I could not believe what frauds these people were. But I thought it was a localized problem and not the actual way of the party. I thought that the officially publicized platform actually meant something. It did to me, but the party only used it as a diversionary tool. It took me many years to realize this. Even then, my sense of loyalty accompanied by inability to find a suitable party to which I could flee, made it a struggle to leave. After all, in order to vote, one must register as something. Moreover, to leave a party that seemed to say the right things in its platform seemed as though I would be denouncing those things and not just the hypocrisy of the party. I did finally leave and registered with another party.

The greater point of this is what I have realized about my more important affiliations in life. Family and church affiliations are the more important ones in a persons’ life. Of these I have been forced to acknowledge that very similar fraud has been a part of these affiliations. One cannot do much about family. Those ties are essentially impossible to sever entirely. They can be stretched to the ends of the earth, but they never seem to break entirely. Besides, the Lord has established this bond and does not want us to sever it entirely. Only from the dysfunction and delusions are we to be severed entirely. Love and honor of parents and family must continue even in the face of total brokenness and dysfunction. Church affiliation is nearly as unbreakable, but not quite. But the pain of such action is nearly unbearable.

This is the issue that I actually wish to address primarily in this post. My own past church affiliation was the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. For most of my life I struggled regarding the discontinuity between what this synod professed to believe and what was actually embraced and practiced. In my very early years I was not truly aware of this conflict, as it was not evident in what was taught in the parochial school and my primary example of Christian life and faith was from my parents, Luther’s Small Catechism, and the Bible. With Luther’s Small Catechism as a guide, what the Bible truly teaches of Christ and His Church is easily discernable.

During one of my theological interviews at the seminary one of the professors asked me, “Considering where you are from, how did you get to be so conservative?” At first I mentioned my pastors. But even without his quizzical look I immediately realized this was not so. Then I mentioned my grandfather and parents, but realized this was not so either. Then I realized and said, “Because this is what the Scriptures teach.” It was not until years later that I realized how helpful Luther’s Small Catechism had been, but then, it is nothing more than quotes from the Scriptures with further exposing quotes from the Scriptures.

So then, what of the professor’s question? Why did he even ask such a question? He asked it because of the fallacious facade of conservatism presented by the synod and her leaders. He knew that I did not come to be a devoted believer in the true doctrine of the Scriptures through the influences of my affiliation with this church body. It simply was not possible. Making a public profession of belief and practice and requiring a “quia subscription” to this does not in itself actually produce such belief and practice.

This is another topic in itself requiring at least another discussion. However, at this juncture I will point to what it does produce. The following graphic says more than pages of explanation:


I experience considerable angst when I visit blogs and web sites of pastors and congregations and of Confessional Lutherans who proudly display this graphic. I visit these blogs hoping to find that these people have become aware of the real problem in their church body. On some occasions I am amazed at the impressive scholarship and explanation of true doctrine, that leaves me ready to rejoice, only to have the concluding statements undermine all that was previously said, leading right back to the same compromised doctrine and practice. On some of these sites this graphic is displayed.

When I see this I sometimes actually cry out: “Can’t you see what you are saying?”

Consider what is declared in this graphic: “Still Attending Grandpa’s Church.”

Herein is clearly stated the real problem. Does it jump out of the graphic at you? Do you see what the problem is declared to be?

Whose church do you say that you are attending? To whom do you say that you look for the faith and for your life of worship? To whom do you ascribe ownership of the Church?

Did you really say: Grandpa’s Church?

Do I really need to draw attention to this further? Well, just in case. . .

Whose Church do the Scriptures declare the true Church to be?

To this people often respond that one is only arguing about semantics. Yep! Semantics are indeed the issue.

From Dictionary.com’s semantics.


se·man·tics     [si-man-tiks]

noun ( used with a singular verb )

  1. Linguistics .
    1. the study of meaning.
    2. the study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form.
  2. Also called significs. the branch of semiotics dealing with the relations between signs and what they denote.
  3. the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.: Let's not argue about semantics.
  4. general semantics.

The commonly misapplied statement of “Let's not argue about semantics.” is used as an example in this definition of semantics.

How is this misapplied? When people use “Let's not argue about semantics.” as a means of bypassing the necessity of agreement concerning the actual accepted meaning of words, then this is a misapplication of the statement. In fact, this misapplication is actually using the term in the exact opposite way that it is meant to be used. “Let's not argue about semantics.” is supposed to mean that the actual accepted meaning of words should be what is used in the conversation rather than using self-devised meanings that lead to confusion of what is really being discussed.

But when people are preaching tolerance as an alternative to acceptance and unity, they prefer to veil their real meaning.

Back to the profession made in the graphic.

The real problem within the big church bodies is that they are indeed preaching faith in the church body and the traditions of the fathers and the sense of familial loyalty, rather than the uncompromised and unadulterated faith in Christ that is taught in the Scriptures.

As long as this is the way, those who are unwilling to sever the ties will continue to say all of the right things only to denounce them in their concluding remarks. This is why the church bodies, which always demand loyalty to themselves, are never reformed. Never reformed.

The Lutheran “reformers” learned this. Though they began with seeking to reform the Roman Catholic Church, they found that it was impossible to do so from within the church body. Reformation is made by an external force, not an internal one.

By way of example, consider a child forming an object with Playdough. If the object loses its correct form, or as is usually the case, it did not turn out properly at all, how does the object become reformed? By reducing it to its original form and forming it all over again. The object is reduced to a ball of dough again, not by the object, but by the creator.

Is this not the very semantic used in Holy Scripture? Is not the Church declared to be the Lord’s Church and even a loaf of dough from which He removes all of the old leaven and forms it all over again as a pure loaf with nothing but pure ingredients?

Here again is the graphic:


In whose image is this church said to be created? Who is actually proclaimed as the creator of this church?

If people continue to insist upon attending the Church of Grandpa, whose word will ultimately be that which is preached and followed? Whose precepts will be embraced?

If it is Grandpa’s Church, then what position of authority is given to the Word of God, Jesus? Can the Rock of the true confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, truly be the foundation of a Church that is built upon Grandpa and his works and words?

Consider the history of the many church bodies that have made their emphasis following in the way of their grandpas. They always, always, always follow the same pattern of resembling Grandpa more and more and resembling the one true body of Christ less and less.

Pointing out such observations is sadly like pouring water on a slanted pane of glass.

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