My first grandbaby

Her little nose, mouth, and cheeks look just like her mother's. I am so delighted with this answer to prayer. Perfectly healthy even though her mom is almost past that threshold of optimum childbearing years. God is infinity, undeniably, indescribably good!

Perfect example of vitriol at work -- Allen Bauer and Amanda Carpenter

Funny thing how social media unleashes the kind of venom that can spark "true" debate on Twitter. Allan Brauer came down with a case of Foot-In-Mouth disease when he cursed Ted Cruz's speechwriter and senior communications officer Amanda Carpenter's children on Twitter. (Google it and see the many facets of partisan spins on the story.)

The thing about Twitter is most people think it is very much like a live conversation... which it is, but then again it is not. Every tweet from every tweep is logged into the Library of Congress as a cultural and national narrative. This has been ongoing since 2010.  So now the question to ask if you are wondering if something is ethical or not is: Would I want my great grandchildren to read this in a Twitter archive? Instead of the question: Would I want this action to appear on the front page of the newspaper.

I wonder if this is an actual cultural and national narrative? Only about 8% of America's population have a Twitter account, and far fewer than that actually Tweet regularly. For some it has the fascination of a snake charmer, for others it is a daily chore because it is part of a marketing plan. For still others is has that scintillating draw similar to the hope men had to see the nicely turned ankle of a woman alighting from a carriage. You might see it, you might not, but when you did the thrill was worth the glimpse.

Bauer certainly caused a stir when he hoped Carpenter's kids died from debilitating diseases. Does anyone think Bauer would have said this to Carpenter's face...with her children standing there? Would he have said this in a letter?

Why does anyone think that what is said digitally in any capacity -- phone call/message, Twitter, chat room -- won't come back to haunt them over and over again? Take a note children what ever appears on the Internet will haunt you all the days of your life. You might think it is scrubbed or deleted or overcome by an apology, but today more than ever a lapse in judgement is a worse curse on your career than ever before.

What's the question of today? Would a twerp  tweet a tweep and it not go unnoticed?

Does vitriol win friends and influence people on the net?

If you read your news online, and also read comments below the news story, you've been exposed to some of the worst vitriol available to the planet.

I wonder if people just spew out venom and acid because they can, and because they can remain anonymous. No wonder we are having problems communicating.

A study was published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication about this very thing. Anderson, Brossard, Scheufele, Xenos, and Ladwig (2013) studied the uncivil comments concerning a fairly new technology: nanotechnology. They wanted to see how perceptions and attitudes developed over time. Surprisingly, more than 1,300 products are made using nanotechnology and are being sold as you read this.

I am quite sure that you have been the recipient of flaming or online incivility if you have been on the Internet for any length of time. It comes with the territory, which is a sad statement in itself. If, like me, you frequent Christian blogs and Christian publications you have received less vitriol than if you frequent political blogs or news blogs. I know I probably should use my Christian influence in a much broader sense on the Internet, but frankly I don't have that elephant hide as much as I used to. I don't have the compelling of the Holy Spirit to evangelize for Christ in the forums that are so filled with ire, venom, and hate. I frankly do not believe they listen to God's voice so I know they won't hear me... been there, done that. Don't get me wrong. I'm the first in line when it comes to witnessing for Christ when I know the fields (hearts) have been prepared for seed-planting. I just fear to tread those stony grounds that are cracked from lack of moisture, and have hardened to concrete.

Gojira, the original 1954 monster, breathing atomic flames.
Interestingly in face-to-face interpersonal communication, incivility can be curbed with nonverbal isolation such as removal from the meeting. Incivility can be curbed by those sitting next to the heckler. But online there are limited consequences for incivility. Of course the moderator can ban the person, or others can reprimand the person. The crux is that incivility never sways me to change my opinion about the topic under discussion... I am swayed about the person by the person's incivility but not what his or her opinions are.

 The findings of the study show I am not alone in how I am
affected by incivility. Polarization among blog readers (for the study) happens and is attributed to the vitriol. Bottom line lesson to be learned  is when you evangelize -- don't spew atomic acid like Godzilla. It won't change any minds and only stirs up flames.

You signed Lt. Gen. Boykin delivered

Family Research Council

You Signed, We Delivered
September 17, 2013

Dear Gina,

Your message was heard! On September 12th, I, along with members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition, met with senior Air Force officials at the Pentagon to express our concerns over the burgeoning hostility towards Christians. Thanks to you, I was able to deliver five boxes filled with 218,988 petitions to senior Pentagon officials urging them to cease the onslaught of persecution and discrimination against our military members.

In addition to your petitions, I ensured that Pentagon officials had a copy of our report:
A Clear and Present Danger: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military which gives clear examples of incidents of hostility to military religious freedom. Without your support and willingness to take the time to sign these petitions, this would not have been such a success. We at FRC and the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition thank you for standing for the faith alongside the service men and women who serve our country so faithfully.


Lt. Gen. (US Army-Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin
Executive Vice President

Dear Gen. Boykin,

THANK you! I pray that each person signing that petition prays hard that the Joint Chiefs of Staff take to heart what We The People are saying.

Why is it that one or two squeaky wheels can move the mountains that the Majority love to live with? Why is it the one had the power to remove prayer from our schools? Why is it that it takes more than 200,000 people and a general to get some stopped up ears open enough to hear? Sigh...

Less than satisfied

I'm not sure why I'm stuck on this satisfaction theme, but I am less than satisfied. This is different than being content. I am content to rest in God's providence, provision, perfectness, and protection. I know He has a plan, and since His eye is on the sparrow, I know He watches me -- Ethel Waters' special song.

My Spirit is at peace, there is no worry or fretfulness that bothers me. Yet... I am less than satisfied.

I have family, and it is sweet. I have a ministry and it is sweet. I have two Bible study groups (one online and the other on Thursday mornings). I teach Sunday School. I sing in the choir and we are working on our Christmas cantata. yet, that is not enough. I hunger for that which is beyond my reach for now.

I am jealous that my Dad is enjoying the magnificence of Heaven, and our sweet Savior’s voice. I ache to be there, too. To fall at His feet, and to bask in His presence.

It is enough that Jesus died for me and that He has saved me. Yet, I know in my Spirit there is more, so much more and I yearn for my Beloved Bridegroom.

 And yet He is satisfied with leaving me here for a time. But soon... soon... “We will dance on the streets that are golden and every tongue and tribe and nation will join in the Song of the Lamb.”

On that day, what a glorious day, we will be satisfied. We will be filled with the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. No more tears, no more longing and yearning for something just beyond reach for it will be there, with Him, that we will be satisfied.

Why did Moses need a name for God?

Have you ever wondered why Moses asked God, "What name shall I give the
Israelites when they ask?"

Perhaps it is simply that names connoted character or aspects of a person.

" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " Exodus 3:14

YHWH -- self sufficient, I AM, no beginning, no end, eternal, infinite, forever. LORD God.

Several places we find YHWH written before the word  'ĕlôhı̂ym which is translated God, but is actually the word Gods, plural (in Hebrew im is the same as adding s to mean plural). I never thought about it before, but if you read it translated, it is Self-existent, self-sufficient God.  Hebrew lexicons tells us that Elohiym means that God is intensified, while other scholars say that it is an obscure reference to the Trinity.

When God told Moses that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He was preaching a huge sermon. He was saying He is the living God of humans that had lived and were living. God testified that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still alive. He did not explain then or later, but God assured Moses that physical death was not the end of the person who believed in Him.

Instead of a god of stone or wood, the Israelites would be freed by the one and only God who is I AM. The name to a Hebrew is all important.

In Numbers 13:16 we see something amazing happen.  These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua. NKJV

The Message puts it this way: Numbers 13:16  These are the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land. Moses gave Hoshea (Salvation) son of Nun a new name--Joshua (GOD-Saves).

God made sure Joshua knew that God was doing the work, not men. Such a small verse but such a huge message.

So Fill 'er up!

So Americans go about grabbing all they can to stuff into the God-sized hole that He created in our soul when our soul was created. They stuff new clothes and jewels into the hole, or more parties, or boats and cars, or change wives like they change shoes to satisfy that hunger and soothe the ache that bruises our insides. The culprit of dissatisfaction draws us down paths in search of Shangri-La, the greener grass, the things hoped for and things as yet unseen. Americans search for the American dream, yet when things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 9/11 disaster, and all kinds of economic distress hit American hearts and minds, Main Streets and kitchen pantries, that is when the hearts of Americans turn to the God with eyes to see the misery, the grace to forgive sin, the hand to lift the fallen underneath their heavy loads. We go back to the foundation laid by our forefathers, all the way back to a hill called Calvary and a blood stained cross. That is what has given us great comfort, great courage, great peace, and that is what fills the God-sized chasm.

We live in a land of great freedom, and the land of slavery… addictions… bitterness… rage… unforgiveness… all the seeds of the unsatisfied soul. It would be so much easier to let God carry us than for us to walk on our own two feet. God wants to teach our feet to walk on all types of ground—rocky, grassy, soft dirt, swinging bridges, up hill and down vale. He does not intend to carry us forever. We must walk in order to receive God’s blessings. Our founding fathers knew this and gladly suffered frost, heat, bullets, hunger, thirst, inadequate clothing, treason, life without limbs, and death to give us this legacy of freedom. They did this while trusting and loving and believing God, and giving Him the glory.

With belief, comes action. With action, comes blessing. With blessing, comes pleasure. With pleasure, comes God’s smile… And that is the prize they claimed, then handed down to us! It is what Paul discovered, and why he wrote, “But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,  meekness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” All those wonderful things are ours just because we belong to Him, yet how many of us actually have tanks completely full, topped off with this fruit? Why don’t we? If a live dog is better than a dead lion... just how many are buying dead lions?

So whence does the satisfaction come? Isaiah 58:11  And Jehovah shall always guide you, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

When we run dry, and we always do, we’ve got a huge God who will fill us up with eternal rather than temporary. He has never failed me. Thank God, our forefathers could see Truth, and took heart in troubled times. Thank God for the legacy they bequeathed to Americans. We must continue as they began, and make sure our foundation remains securely upon the Rock.

Shake well before using

It’s the same thing over and over... only the names change. The rich and famous, everybody knows them. We know their faces, their bodies, their tattoos, their likes and dislikes, whether they drink alcohol and drive, or whether they snort cocaine. One dies and the world mourns. One has a baby and doesn’t even know who the father is. One proclaims Christ, but is jailed for drunken assault. Marriages break up, or marriages don’t happen, just the living arrangement. Most are traveling a road that is fraught with pitfalls. A few seem to have that inner light, but that isn’t sensational enough to get the media all excited so we don’t hear of those things often. Closet skeletons occur because they are searching for something they cannot find. Five years or ten years from now there will be other famous people traveling down this same road… and they keep searching for the one thing that will satisfy. 

Where is their security, their satisfaction? I have never known a contented person to drive down that road called Pitfall. It is so sad what I see in their lives; the choices they have made. Destiny is proven a lie, for it truly is a choice how we live our lives and how we align our priorities. Our forefathers recognized Truth and chose to fight for it, but today we are told truth is relative.

Too many people believe a good and loving God would never allow troubles or problems. Some believe that all troubles are the result of sin, when in fact, it is because God is so good and loving that He allows these troubles. One reason for the predicaments we face is that they are common to man. There are many whose problems seem greater and quite a few who we think “I should be so blessed with their problems, and their money.” Give a person a lot of money then unlock all restrictions and I’ll show you a walking time bomb. Too many of the rich and famous suck down temporary pleasure, listening to the call of the world, becoming mesmerized by it like some cobra charmed by the charmer to confirm the pursuit of satisfaction is their life journey and Personal Pleasure is their god. But the charmer never satisfies, so the search goes on.

Their trials are really no different than what you and I face day today. If you are breathing, you have problems. We all have problems. Some people’s problems seem bigger than other people’s problems. They are not. Centuries ago one man wrote, “You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test the way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.” His name was Paul, and he had the ear of God, yet he was three times whipped with the lash, he was stoned and left for dead, was hungry, endured poverty, twice shipwrecked, never had vast wealth as defined by the world. Yet, he called himself rich. How can someone say that, after enduring such difficulties?

Certainly, troubles have caused men to scrabble miserly for gold, and to sigh “Oh, poor me”. But troubles serve a purpose whether we realize it or not. Troubles are purposed in the Lord. Yes, even those who are not Believers have troubles on purpose. Most of the time, it takes bringing an unbeliever to a place so low that the only way to look is up before it finally registers that only God can fill that deep chasm in the soul. Paul discovered it when he traveled a certain road and submitted to a life full of thorns because he had finally found the richer prize.

However, Americans do have rebellious hearts. 

From as far back in time as 1689 when our ancestors dissented against England’s tyrannical ruling thumb, troubles abounded so the rebels rebelled. But, they all looked to one God. In 1775, John Adams said, “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no king but Jesus!” Inscribed in the front of Thomas Jefferson’s personal bible, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.”  George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Abraham Lincoln said, “I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” Patrick Henry quoted both Matthew and Jeremiah in the very speech he cried, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Unfortunately, it is only the last that is usually quoted or remembered. 

Our founding fathers knew who to lean on, who to pray to, who would carry them in times of travails so insidious their lives could have been forfeit. Down through the decades, Americans hark back to those first days of an infant nation, recognizing God as the founder. “It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men’s lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible,” so said Theodore Roosevelt. John F. Kennedy said, “The rights of man come not from the state but from the hand of God.” When the astronauts of Apollo 13 faced certain death, President Richard Nixon called for all Americans to pray for them. It wasn’t to pray to Fortune, or to Destiny, or to any other god, but to the Lord God Almighty. After 9/11, Congress gathered on the steps in the sun and prayed with one heart to the one true God to protect our nation. They prayed to God who laid America’s foundation on the bedrock of Jesus His Son. 

Troubles put this nation, to the sun test. In the first century, potters would fire a pot and if it cracked, would put wax in the crack which would conceal the flaw. If the cracked pot was unfortunate enough to find the sun’s rays, the heat of the sun would melt the wax and the flaw would be exposed. That is where the word, sincere comes from. Sun-tested. Flaws exposed. The difference is that we have the power and the choice to bring our flaws to God to be worked on, smoothed out and fixed. However, many see that as weakness, lack of control, or even giving up freedom. So they buy the seeds and sow discontent within their hearts, never leaving the vicious circle of despair by choice. Their gods never satisfy and the cravings never end. They lose all hope. Never realizing, as Adrian Rogers once said, “A faith that hasn’t been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.”

Help does not come to the dead. Help comes to the living, breathing physical beings that we are. Therefore, a living dog is better than a dead lion. How can it not be so?
When the storm broke over my life, there was peace because I had deep roots and confidence that God is much greater than any problem or trouble. Our forefathers understood this. They made it plain from the shores of America across the sea to all of England that America had put her hand in the hand with far greater power than King George.

Troubles and trials shake us up, even today. An extremely good teacher once said, “Sometimes God must shake well before using.” This is why bad things happen to good people. Bad choices make for extremely fruitful seeds of discontent, and life is not fair. It never has been, nor ever will be fair. Our sense of justice gets bruised and we rail at what some suppose God is, that invisible ruler with an iron and irascible fist, because blame is the name of the game. Someone must be to blame and it can’t be me, it has got to be God. I say we should reject this kind if thinking. Rejoice in the shaking, and rejoice in the using.