Monday, December 29, 2008

"Who Let The Dogs Out?"

Two items in the news caught my eye this morning during my daily cruise of the Internet. In the article, "As if Things Weren't Bad Enough", Russian professor Igor Panarin is predicting a dire future for the U.S. due to collapse of national financial institutions and the nations unraveling moral fabric. The date set for this collapse is June 2010. Hmmmm.
Come with me back to 1990 when the government set up a special agency that specialized in the sale of physical assets of the 747 failed S & L's; the Resolution Trust Corporation; a title that inspires little trust.
"A tight-knit group of former senior government officials who were central players in the 1990's Savings and Loan bailout and who are seeking to capitalize on the latest economic meltdown, are enjoying a surge in new business in their work now as private lawyers, investors and lobbyists."[quoted from NYT online news].
There's going to be a fire sale and thieves in suits are positioning themselves either to buy or directing clients to buy distressed bank assets. John L. Douglas, who helped create the agency that administered the last bailout (R.S.T.), gloatingly boasts, "It's a good time to be me." [ibidem].
Perhaps the most interesting member of this pack of hounds is L. William Seidman. And guess what:Billy was the first chairman of R.T.C., who, along with a few friends, "...are serving as advisers — sharing ideas with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama — even while they are separately directing investors or banks on how to best profit from this advice."
Seidman goes on to say, “It is an enormous market,” .... he has already joined two such potential money-making efforts and is evaluating proposals to participate in a third. “I am enjoying this.”
Let's see; Panarin predicting moral and financial collapse 2010; the pack of old dogs from the 1990's bailout still running tight; William Seidman advising Obama and then telling clients how to position themselves in order to maximize profits from what he (Seidman) whispers in Baraks' ear??? Curious! is a good word just about now.
"What is obvious to former R.T.C. officials is that, like the last go around, a great deal of money will be made by a select group of investors and business operators, particularly those with government contacts. The former government officials said in interviews that much of what is motivating them is a desire to help the nation recover from this latest stumble. But they acknowledge they intend to be among the winners who emerge." [Emphasis added] Pullleeesee...Somebody bring an emesis basin..and quick. The overarching/unconvincing words of sacrifice, duty, patriotism, and big bucks should be an emetic to every thinking American.
But there's a spiritual lesson here...let's see...okay, here's the text; straight out of Revelation. "For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every ship-master, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." [Revelation 18:17-19]. As the quote goes, "Get ready, get ready, get ready!" For What? For the end of all things! What else?
God Bless. e.c.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I HATE To Be Sick

Well, so much for flu shots. The "Vengeance of Christmas", I call it.
I was minding my own business busily stuffing chocolate in my face all the while thinking, "This is stupid, Ed." I didn't know that within 24 hours I'd be in bed, hacking and coughing, shivering, cursing (in a Christian sort-of way), words like "aw shucks, " phooey," "rats," and others that don't require confession or repentance.
Here I am 96 hours later, still hacking, still having muscle pain, grousing, impatient, having no clue what to do or what to write. Perhaps I should go back and read my previous post of healthy eating (and subsequent) healthy living. That's 30 for now.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm Stuffed!!!

Thanksgiving...come Christmas...come dinners...come overeating...come indigestion...come Alkaseltzer*(m.r.)... come misery...come regrets...come illness...come resolutions......come Thanksgiving.....ab initio/back to beginning...
Once upon a time there was a church which took seriously the words of Paul who wrote; "...whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do do all to the glory of God." [1st Corinthians 10:31]. And so this church began to tell believers (and the world) that God designed a diet for man at Creation that would promote health, vigor, and longevity.
Some in the church believed and invested their lives, their health, their eating, and everything they did, in the teachings of the word of God.
A book was written offering advice to the church and to individuals how to best eat and drink in order to maximize health. Interestingly, Joseph Bates was a pioneer in what we have come to call "Health Reform." The chronology of Bates' health reform goes like this:
1821 giving up ardent (strong) spirits
1822 gave up use of wine
1923 gave up tobacco
1824 stopped using all forms of alcohol (beer, etc)
1831 swore off tea and coffee because "it is poison".
1843 February: "I resolved to eat no more meat. In a few months after, I ceased using butter, grease, cheese, pies, and rich cakes.
It's interesting that Joseph Bates (the real founder of Seventh-day Adventism [cited in George Knight, Joseph Bates, 2004] practiced (and gently taught) vegetarianism. Interesting too is the fact that the emergent SDA church began to follow a health dietary path more than forty years later. Bates also refused to eat between meals. [ibidem].
It is no secret that Seventh-day Adventists are some of the healthiest people on earth: But not all: Probably no more than 50% of church members walk/jog the path of healthy living.
The penalties for overeating, obesity, snacking, and unwise dietary choices can be unforgiving: diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart attacks), stroke, cancers, etc. This is NOT to say or imply that one can assign all cancers to diet. Some are cursed with a genetic predisposition to cancer. Moreover, on this earth, bad things happen to good people.
Health reform has a way of sifting one's friends (by default) such that one tends toward those who are like minded. Joseph Bates lived life in its many hues; experienced sea captain, wealthy retiree, health reformer, social reformer (freedom for all Americans), student of scripture, impoverished preacher (following 1844), ardent supporter and promoter of the true Sabbath, church leader, and writer.
One could do worse than to emulate the principled life of Joseph Bates as he lived it to the full in Jesus Christ.
God Bless. e.c.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blog, Blog, Blog!!!

Once upon a Tuesday dreary
As I pondered thoughtless and weary
That, I'd written days before
Mindless drivel designed to bore
There came a tapping at my door
Irritating tapping at my chamber door

Opening, I thot to find a Raven
Rather than Raven there was a man
Garbed in brown with a matching van
Packages wrapped and taped in hand
Grinning as though this was something grand

But better I knew
And had not to guess
Santa had sent him
To the wrong address.

Merry Christmas to all sufficiently dour
With faces twisted to grimaces sour
As nearer comes the expectant hour
When relatives appear with gifts to shower
Who clean the table and ice box too
And ride clear of the mess hailing
"Merry Christmas," to you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Call Him, Ezekiel

Ezekiel came to church totally smashed, looped, intoxicated, drunk. (Thank you Lord he was there). We talked.
He came the next week; not so drunk, but drunk still. Ezekiel (a pseudonym) is homeless, lives in a doorway, attended all the recent satellite fed meetings given by Mark Finley. The man has given his heart to the Lord. I wish you could hear the power of his witness and listen as he quotes Scripture. One of his greatest--if not the greatest--desires is to reach his fellow homeless friends with the Good News of Christ and His Love.
I thought I would do a good and generous thing and invite Ezekiel to Denny's for dinner after church because there was no potluck that week; so Denny's it was.
Ezekiel was shy about ordering but we insisted he get what he really wanted; and he did. I was out to play the part of a real missionary so I insisted he order a take-out for later or to share. (I'm really into the "feed the hungry" thing and feeling all warm and righteous about it by now). We leave Denny's.
Now there's just one more thing to do; have prayer with the man and send him off until we meet again at church next week.
I pray.
Then Ezekiel prays (caught me off guard with this).
My words were weak, sort of spineless and maybe a little rote.
But Ezekiel prayed. I could tell you what he prayed but I won't because it's too private, too honest, too deep, too sincere, too moving to desecrate by mere repetition.
So who was blessed?
I was!Deeply, indelibly, incredibly, permanently. Lord, help me to always remember the prayer of Ezekiel. I know You will.
Do this one thing: Pray for Ezekiel. God will know who you mean.
God, Bless Ezekiel and thank you for the blessing You sent me through Ezekiel!

"Leave A Message!

This was taken straight off the "Wired" Internet news site; No kidding.

"An increasing number of people are now being buried with their cellphones. Funeral directors think that having a cellphone in the casket is the same as being buried with other mementos such as a picture or a piece of jewelry, reports MSNBC.
It's also comforting for relatives and friends to know someone who's already in the other world has their phone.:

O.K. But my (so-to-speak) mind began working on the question: "What kind of a message would be best left on a phone of one dead... until the battery went dead.
"Hi! This is Ed, as you know, I'm dead, but go ahead and leave a message after the beep. "I'll get back to you as soon as I when Jesus returns."
There is a fascinating epistemological/study of the methods and grounds of knowledge/ question embedded within the frank foolishness of the issue of phones for the dead.
If the Word of God is true and trustworthy, and, if it is true that the dead are completely unaware of anything and everything [you can find this in the books Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Matthew ( in the words of Jesus), in the writings of Paul, and in The Revelation.], then, cell phones in caskets are symbolic of some and the sum of man's fears of death and most particularly what lies beyond.
To the question, "What lies beyond?" The answer is...nothingness! No Heaven. No hell. No sublimity. No eternal torture. Nothing...until the "...the Lord descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and the dead in Christ arise first, and we who are alive and remain are caught up together in the clouds with Him and so shall we ever be with the Lord..." with no need for cell phones, ring tones, text messaging, battery packs, or charging devices.
That's the good news of the Gospel and most probably bad news for cell phone devotees and funeral directors.
God Bless. e.c.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just One Note?

Writers do NOT like to be edited, critiqued, criticized, ignored, annoyed, or spoken to before breakfast. None of this sets well with a writer. Not to worry, because I'm not really a writer. I'm more of an observer or commentator who thinks outloud and/or on paper; kind of...
Anyway, two kind readers pointed out (gently, after breakfast) that I am guilty of singing just one song; a one-note song at that. So, what is a ponderer to do? On what shall I excogitate/think? It ca't be national or internation human misery, wrought at the hands of despots who never seem to die (like Mugabe and Castro).
No--thinking too much on this kind of stuff is depressing and tends to twist one's spirit into shapes God does not call on us to endure. Worrying about the world is not (to be) my job. I'll just have to leave that to God because I don't think He gets headaches or ulcers. He knows something I don't know: A lot of things, actually.
Therefore, my assignment for today is to have a Happy Sabbath and enjoy the kind and gentle company of my wife and our friends at church. So if you don't mind, I'm going to "clock-out"my mind and get ready for church.
God Bless. e.c.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What's In The Circle?

Here's a small assignment: Draw a circle on a piece of paper. Now draw another much smaller circle in the center of the first larger center. Consider the large circle as your (two dimensional) sphere of influence for Jesus Christ. What is it, or Who is it that occupies the very center (the innermost core) of your influence?
Don't be too hasty to make a decision. If the answer isn't, Jesus Christ, it's a wrong answer; I would opine.
There is no good work you can think of that will justify the displacement of Jesus from the center of each of our lives. There is no program or project, however worthy in the eyes of the church and/or the community that will countenance elbowing Christ from the epicenter of our best plan(s). If we, if our church, if the Church Board, if any pastor, or person, or peoples labor for any purpose other than that which lifts up Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world; as the Lamb of God; as the Lion of Judah, then that purpose is pursued in vain.
Of course, should one be so foolish as to place themselves in the center then, in agreement with king Solomon, "All is vanity."
The purpose of the church is to present Christ to a dying world: This is its only purpose. Food baskets are good, but not just twice a year on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (People get hungry more often than that.) Giving warm clothing to those who can't afford a new coat is a good thing, but warm coats do not offer salvation. Only the righteousness of Christ brings White raiment that covers all our sins [See Zechariah chapter 3].
No church exists that can feed all the hungry, clothe all the naked, visit all the prisoners, care for all the orphans. However...every church is peopled with believers who believe Christ asks them (personally) to go and tell everyone who will listen what Jesus has already done for them. This is our assignment from Heaven: First and Foremost! Any questions?
Food is good, warm clothes are good, visiting is good, caring for orphans is good, building shelters is good, digging wells for clean drinking water is good...a whole lot of things are good; but "good" is all that they are.
What is "best"? That brings us back to the center of the circle: Jesus Christ is the only hope for the "best solution" for all who are hungry, thirsty, cold, imprisoned, orphaned, sick, dying, enslaved, addicted...and the list goes on and on to sickening inconclusiveness.
In conclusion, if Jesus Christ is not at the epicenter of all our efforts we labor in vain. Re-evaluate, re-assess, re-assign, replace everything not Christocentric with all things Christocentric. I can't begin to suggest what (for any person) what that means for them. I can only suggest the process of searching our hearts and afflicting our souls as we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us into all things profitable for reaching souls for Him.
God Bless, e.c.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Character of God In Christ Jesus

This just in: It has come to our attention that (another) controversy has reared its (has to be ugly) head within the ranks of believers and it has to do with the Character of God.
Some look with horror on what they call, "The God of the Old Testament," and choose to ignore the "Bible" that was studied by Jesus, Paul, and all other believers until the words of His chosen became what we call the "New Testament."
Here is another point many may not know: Whom do you think it was that created the world(s)? Whom do you think it was that led the Jews out of Egypt? Whom do you think it was that sent fire to fall on Mount Carmel in the contest between the prophets of Baal and Elijah? Whom do you think it was that visited Abraham, ate dinner, and revealed the promises?
If you're thinking Jesus your thinking is right; and if not, well figure out the answer.
So this controversy, so called, about the character of God; what is it? The best I understand is that some cannot rationalize God as Love, and God as Destroyer. This should not be necessary but let me try to explain.
In Revelation right on back to Genesis there are always (at least) two aspects of God that are clearly revealed in symbols. The first is God (read, Jesus Christ) as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the second is Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world [Revelation 13:8].
We have spoken before about God's "Strange Act"; His act(s) as Destroyer of all things evil [Isaiah 28:21].
What would you propose as a final solution to the problem of sin? Destruction or Pardon. God pardons those who ask to be forgiven and who choose the path of obedience; they choose to live in harmony with the principles of the government of God in order to be safe to admit into the kingdom of God in Heaven. Christ speaks of "...those that inherit His Kingdom..."[James 2:5].
Some will share the inheritance (because they are the rightful heirs) and some will be disinherited because they have no authentic credentials to prove themselves heirs. And what are these credentials? The spotless robe of Christ's Righteousness and their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
There should be no controversy except perhaps in the minds of some who think themselves smarter than God and who pride themselves in asking corrosive questions; corrosive because they are designed to erode one's faith. But we (the editorial "we" embodied in " is the patience of the saints;) are those that keep the commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus..." [Revelation 14:12][NKJV].
Part of the "patience of the saints" (I guess) is being patient and loving with the few "excitable's" who would, if they could, mislead us and redirect our attention away from Christ and onto the minutiae of issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ as the heart of the Gospel and His role as the Lion and the Lamb. (Thanks, George!)
Anyway, be wary of anyone who might appear to project themselves as being smarter than God and His prophets. There is no controversy except the Great One, and that is all about whom we will choose to worship.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Pandemic Of Greed

Paul, writing in the first chapter of Romans, makes a blanket condemnation of all ungodliness [verses 18 and 29] then goes on to list a lot of "ungodly" things that people do.
Having thought about Madoff (yesterday) and Stein Bagger (today), I decided it was time to sound off about "covetousness" and " maliciousness" from Paul's list. [Note: concerning Madoff, this man was once President of NASDAQ!] He singlehandedly destroyed those fortunate and unfortunate; taking money from philantropic organizations whose good works for the unfortunate was derived from the growth of monies "entrusted" to his company. He stole in excess of 50 billion dollars. [How long does it take to count fifty billion dollars?]
To my one good eye it looks like wickedness in the world has reached record ,pandemic proportions. Madoff's exploits a.k.a. exploitations, stagger the mind, defying explanation or descritption by a single noun or string of nouns. Enough of Madoff, already.
One commentator called Bagger's exploits the end of "Nordic rectitude." Being Norwegian, I'm not surprised at such stupidity from the Danes. It's kind of like during WWII when the "brave Danes" threw sticks of dynamite at the Germans. But then the Germans lit the fuses and threw them back. (It's a joke, folks).
So what did Bagger do? Well, it seems he owned some sort of a computer manufacturing or supply company and the stock was soaring. On the day he was to be honored as Entrepreneur of The Year he fled a hotel in Dubai, flew to America, drove to San Francisco and turned himself in. He was sent back to Denmark where the whole mess spilled on the press. Blagger was taking investors money and using it to buy his own products so that it would look like the company was thriving.
Is that brilliant, or is that Dane dumb?
Perhaps the most curious bit about this latest covetousness installment is that none of the company bean counters had a clue or smelled anything rotten! That's Denmark. No...that's too harsh. That's me. That's you. That's us. That's the kind of stuff that sinners do. So why am I writing? I don't know. I guess I am stunned by the bold salacity and magnitude of what seems to be a pandemic of greed. I am stunned by what seems to be evil, of record proportions, emerging at record rates in a world in collapse before our eyes.
The writing will stop for today because if I were to start in on any of the other issues listed by Paul I'd have to go to bed, pull the covers over my head, and wait for the coming of the Lord! Sin is just too depressing. "Good Grief", Charlie Brown!
God Bless; we need it. e.c.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cultural Religion

"I'm a third generation (Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God, Adventist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Atheist, Whatever) and I see no reason to change."
Well, how about this: you don't really believe the stuff you were taught growing up but you keep going to church...or whatever. Why would anyone stay in a church that teaches stuff they don't believe? That's an easy question and so is the answer: Your church is little more than a cultural habit.
Church is the place you go for socializing, friendship, dating, conversation, belonging, etc. [It's the place you feel at home; the most comfortable] [Notice worship is not on the list; well, maybe habitually so, but mostly with a wandering mind]. Worshiping without believing is not really worship; it's pretending--worship in order to fit in--or at least look like you're fitting in.
Question: if one doesn't believe in what they're doing, what does it profit?
Answer: _______________ (provided by reader)
Name a church...any church...look around...go ahead...nobody's watching because this is all pretend. Anyway, in every church there are folks who have been there forever and they'll be there forever...even after Jesus returns...because they have no idea what they're doing there.
Anyway, go figure why you go to church, and if you can't figure, then figure why you should stay there.
Remember the story of the sheep and the goats? Well, the sheep gave thirsty folks drinks of cold water, naked folks got clothes, prisoners got visited, and so on. The goats; they kept on grazing in the same field for the same reason and never had a clue why they were there, except perhaps grazing is what goats do so they kept on grazing.
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

None Of My Business

What would you say is the difference between person and persona, and which is most authentic, important, and valuable? If you said, "person", you are correct.
Person is who and what we are. Persona is what we project or how we wish to portray or project ourselves to others. Persona is the facade of You that others see; sadly it is what is too often judged. Persona is the target of all advertising. Person is the object and target of the love of God.
Time spent in front of the mirror is persona-invested. Time spent in the Word of God is person-invested. No one should have to tell you which is the more enduring and protected of the two investments.
When others take authority to "judge" us by what they see, both the process and the outcome are too often shallow and are false either in part or entirety. The Bible says that " looks on the outside but God looks on the heart..."[ I Samuel 16:7].
Appearance is an emotion-based commodity that trades well in the shallow markets of the world. Character is mind and heart commodity that trades well in the markets of heaven.
It is for these reasons that the Bible says, "Judge not that you be not judged." [Matthew 7:1].
People are starting to come out of Babylon [Revelation 18:4]; both the one that is Biblical and incorporated, and their own personal Babylons of drugs, alcohol and "whatever". Shall we judge them? No! Shall we embrace them spiritually and literally even if they come wearing the perfume of the liquor store, if they smell of tobacco, if their clothes don't look like our Sabbath clothes? You answer the question: But for Christians there is really only one answer. Those who think of themselves as religious have more options, none of which are traded in the character-markets of heaven.
Perhaps now you see the point of today's title; "None Of My Business." And if you don't, here it is; Other peoples opinion of me is none of my business. It changes nothing and I would be at fault if I were to allow myself to be influenced (be driven, constrained, restrained, controlled, manipulated) by what others think. (I am being generous here in using the word,"think" to illustrate what goes on in the minds of those who judge an other's persona.)
"Let this mind be in you ,which was also in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 2:5]. The Essayist recommends reading verses 5-11 to catch the full flavor of what Paul is saying. If we allow the Holy Spirit to give us a mind like that "...which was also in Christ..." we will not judge, we will not look on appearance, we will value the person rather than the persona.
God Bless. e.c.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Each of my sons is, to some extent, a life-experienced philosopher. Philosopher #4 and I were having breakfast yesterday at Denny's; the most affordable place in town. I was chewing when out of his mouth came this: "If you have expectations you are setting yourself up for resentment."
"Wow," I said. "I have to process this one for a minute." Processing complete, I injected, "You're right!"
His point is, in my opinion, immune to attack. It is, as philosopher #2 would say, "Spot on!" Think about it. Whatever situation we enter in life (marriage, job...), whomever we encounter (supervisors, peers, neighbors, relatives...) when we enter with expectations (pay attention here) of outcomes, rather than, personal standards, goals, objectives...that stand independent of expectations, if our expectations are not met we are setting ourselves up for being resentful because of what others did not, could not, or would not deliver!!!
If however we reject our expectations of what we think others should do or be, while disappointments may come--and they will--we have done what we can to insulate ourselves from the corrosive effects of resentment.
Anger is the Siamese Twin of resentment. There is no surgery, yet devised, that can separate the two. The world is full of angry people. Our personal worlds are full of angry people who have nurtured resentment and cultivated anger for decades. Family gatherings are a great place to plant seeds of resentment.
Thanksgiving is the biggest day in the year when families get together. Allow me a hypothetical: You are the host/hostess for this year's dinner and are doing all the worry, all the food preparation, all the cleaning, all the cooking--except the turkey--because you expect a sister/brother to bring the turkey. There was talk of this and so this is your expectation; you own it. Family arrives but no bird. Who is most upset? you are of course. Is resentment born in your heart and mind to be borne for hours, months, decades, against the one(s) you expected to do their part? Yup, it is.
So, to try to avoid looking as dumb as a turkey they make excuses and try to plant the blame on you. Truth is, they did bring a turkey, but it was themselves. They get over it, rationalizing all the way home; over the river and through the woods. You don't. You're stuck with the curse of the dead turkey that didn't show up for dinner.
Speed-shift to spiritual applications.
What were the expectations of The Christ when He came to live as the Son of Man to save mankind? What were they? Did Jesus expect the Jews to embrace Him as the Messiah? Did He expect people to believe that He was Whom He said He was? Did he expect gratitude and worship from those he healed or fed? Jesus asked, "Ten were healed but where are the nine?" Only one leper returned to say, 'Thank You.'
Did Jesus expect there would be no insults, no mocking, no pulling-out of the beard, no wagging heads, no spitting, no flogging, no cross, no nails, no shame of nakedness, no spear in His side? You know the answers.
The amazing thing is that He endured it all without expectations. Oh, there were goals and objectives, of course; the redeeming of you and me. But we are far from Calvary in time and space; but He did it anyway. Think about this: Would you give up your life for those who hate and reject you? Most probably not.
Jesus did what He did with one objective, one goal; to save the relatively few who would say, "I believe, Lord!" Perhaps we can see more clearly how valuable we are to Jesus Christ. The saved of every age represents a fragrant remnant, a residue, distilled and purified from the masses, from the messes we call life.
Ours is not a life of mere expectations. No! It is much more. Ours is a life of hope and patiently waiting. It is coming, "I can almost hear the trumpets...of the Midnight Cry, when Jesus comes again..."
God Bless. e.c.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Governor, Who? From. Where?

Am I surprised about the depth of corruption and shallowness of character still warming the governor's chair in Illinois? Not really.
But I have questions: Is the populace of Illinois so uninformed, so misguided and clueless that they elected this clown without consulting the frontal lobes of their brains? Has corruption so perfused the fabric of day-to-day (Daley) governing that "Ethics, Morality, and Honesty," are posted in every Chicago PD, as "missing?"
This man is not a governor. He's a foul-mouthed caricature of a man who hoisted the Jolly Roger as he pirated Illini self respect and posted it "For Sale" on the Internet.
Having been "caught" on FBI wiretaps spewing venom, his reaction has been to go on the offense: And offensive he is. Not since Richard M. Nixon have I heard such "large" words from such a "small" man.
As I said, I'm not surprised. I see it as just another broken thread in America's fabric of civility, honesty, and hard working folks.
Here's that text again that sort of sums it all and puts it in place: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man." And here's what Jesus was talking about: "And God said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.' "
[Genesis 6:13].
The earth is filled: With what? How long a list shall we make? Don't bother. The blog would be so long it wouldn't post. I apologize for taking time to shine the light on this buffoon. But then, it's dark, really dark in America these days and especially in Illinois. Heads up! Jesus will put and end to the madness, and soon; very soon
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's A Blessing...And A Curse

There's something about having too good a memory that, as Monk would say, is a blessing...and a curse.
I can remember phone numbers from childhood, the minutiae of places, people, events, and sometimes it just drives me nuts. Some things deserve to be forgotten; things that are corrosive to one's spirit; abrasions on one's mind that never heal; weeping wounds requiring a daily change of dressing; words that reverberate in the gyri and sulci of my brain.
So what is one to do?
Somebody said, "Pray". What do you think, I'm stupid, and haven't thought of that; haven't done that?
God is there to carry us (you, me especially) through the muck of this life all the while forgiving us and wrapping us daily in a fresh, new, clean, white robe of His righteousness.
Sometimes children come in from play and are so dirty you can't even let them in the house. "Take your clothes off and stand right there" is the order given, and the water goes to the child rather than the child to the water (read bathtub).
Christ says to the fallen world; "Wait here. I'll be right back." And so he comes with soap and water of the Spirit and a fresh robe of His righteousness.
When Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after His crucifixion He essentially said, "Wait here. I'll be right back.!"
And so we wait, and we hope, and we get dirty in the grime that no TV-pitched-cleanser will remove. (Not even the stuff sold by the annoying guy with the high-pitched loud voice. "Hi. I'm Billy ****). Yeah. That one.
Anyway, where was I [just kidding]. Don't let cynics, critics, friends, family, or any annoying individuum rob you of your hope. Look up each day and think of Jesus saying, "Wait here. I'll be right back!!!"
God Bless. e.c.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stop: No Presbytides Allowed!

The Council Of Laodicea (a.d. 363-4) wasn't friendly to women. Two of the sixty Canons are pointedly forbidding:
Canon 11
Presbytides, as they are called, or female presidents, are not to be appointed in the Church.
Canon 44
Women may not go to the altar
These old boys didn't much like Jews either (so, world over, what has changed in 1 700 years; not a lot). This is what the Council had to say about Jews;
Canon 29
Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.
Like a lot of "Christians these days, the Council had a lot to say--probably a different opinion for each attendee--but if you choose to read all sixty Canons you'll have a difficult time finding even shreds of Scripture. But if one has power and authority (not necessarily from God), then who needs Scripture. That attitude has been around a really long time and it will continue to be exercised until Satan iexorcized.
When my church voted a woman as Pastor a lot of disgruntled's got up and walked out. Makes me think they were leftovers from Laodicea...with an attitude.
Evidently, for those men (almost entirely) who scowl at the thought or reality of a woman pastor, don't read much of what the Prophet Joel has to say.
I remember getting (what I thought was) a kind invitation to dinner, but instead turned into a lecture against women pastors. And all the while the long, long lecture lasted, I was looking down the barrel of a wagging index finger. Nonsense! was my conclusion, and it has not changed. Somehow I manage to make enough trouble for myself without having to endure the bloviating (there's that word again) of grouchy men and women whose minds are mired in the mud of their prejudice.
So what does Joel have to say? Here it is:
"And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. Also on [My] menservants and on [My] maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD." [Joel 2:28-31].
So whom do we heed? The men and women who were prophets of God? or the disgruntled men and women who always were, and always will be, critical of those who labor for the Lord?
God Bless e.c.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"I Wanna'Be Leader"

There is a story--maybe even true--about children who were attending Summer camp. Each parent was asked to fill out an application form for their "camper" and answer a few profile questions so the leaders of the camp could decide which children would make a best fit in each cabin.
The most interesting question was this; "Is your child a leader or a follower ? The applications poured in with the children a few short weeks behind. One parent, concerned about how her child would get along asked the Camp Director, "Which cabin will Bryan (I made that up) be staying in?" (She was a good mother but didn't know that a preposition is not a good thing to end a sentence with) [smile].
The Director took off his cap, scratched his head, and said, "Well lady, we have 877 leaders and 1 follower."
When it comes to doing the work of God, there are some who always want to, and expect to, be leaders. But that is not the way God works. He does not always call the smartest, the most educated, the most loquacious, the most persuasive, or the (seemingly) most pious.
Decision-making, in the work of the Lord should never rest in the hands of a few; it should reside in the minds of many because Satan can more easily influence the mind of one who in turn can influence the few. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit it is very unlikely that the enemy can control the minds of the many. We need leaders, but they must follow the decision of the many and all must be directed by HaRuach HaKodesh; the Holy Spirit.
Who controls your church? Who has the loudest voice in your church committees? Is it the dollar, the deacon, the elder, or the Lord? We are obligated to speak up for the Lord in the Spirit of the Lord; to be wise but humble followers of The Leader. God Bless. e.c.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

...And This Gospel Shall Be...

One of the promises of Christ's return is linked to the preaching of the Gospel. It goes like this: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." [Matthew 24:14].
Think about this: It's already done. Yes, it is! Tell me of a place on the face of the earth where, by radio, satellite radio, satellite television, streaming computer, cell phone, Internet, Ipod, DVD, CD, or cara a cara (face to face), the message of the Gospel cannot be heard. Right! There is no such place. Of course, not all the world will accept the message, but if there is any person who wants to hear the message, it's there. So what does this mean?? It means that the world-wide meltdown that is shaking and reshaping the world is prelude to the coming of Christ.
Should we be afraid? No! This is a good time to re-learn Psalms 91 and John 14:1-3. It's always a good time to memorize Scripture no matter how good or bad times may be, and who will argue that these are not bad times. Skeptics will argue that it's all part of the bigger picture; that is, a cycle. Like the weather, gasoline prices, unemployment, finances, housing prices, food prices, civil unrest, wars and rumors of wars, terrorism, bankruptcy, and wickedness overflowing the land like a flood.
I will be the first to agree in the reality and history of cyclical events. But all of these at once, all over the world? That's not cyclical that's Apocalyptic. The Eschaton is here! (from the Greek, "Eschatos; the last").
So what do we do? Follow these simple directions: Go! (and) "Tell." As I've said before, Go, Tell, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Even so come Lord Jesus.
God Bless! e.c.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Go Figure!!

I was born and raised in Washington State. It's where I live (with a forty-year timeout in California). Perplexed is my word of the day since I learned that Christine Gregoire (ah, the French), Governor of some, but not me, has given her imprimatur to display ideas and ideology of all who would have something to say. These days that's just about everyone. Consensus is now defined as anyone who agrees with himself or herself. (umm, that was lingua en bucca [tongue in cheek]).
Anyway, the governor, allegedly a woman of faith, has countenanced posting the articles of a-theism next to those of theism.
Don't misunderstand, people are entitled to freedom of expression; I support that and depend on it to post on Blogspot. However, why is it necessary to display conflicting ideas in a way that elicits conflict within one's Nephesh and between those who cherish a different spiritual or traditional view?
Is there something inherently beneficial about conflict? I posit, "No." I'm waiting for something good to emerge from this chapter in the gubernatorial reign of Ms. Gregoire but I am doubtful it will happen.
This seems to be an "in your face" juxtapositioning of conflicting beliefs. And there is no real ideological debate over the two; just smirks at having pulled off something calculated to insult believers.
If the governor thinks this action represents a posture of acceptance and open-mindedness, I count her mistaken. Perhaps she is paying a debt to campaign contributors. Perhaps she is a woman of all faiths and therefore devoted to none. Perhaps she will have something to talk about next time she goes to confession.
Actually, I don't know what is her motive. Like most politicians these days she paints a smiley face and refuses to take calls. Ask me to guess and I will suggest her motive resides within the heart (so to speak) of the two most recent words added to the Lexicon of modern sociological obscenities; "political correctness."
As I once facetiously suggested in the class, Christian Ethics for Dentists, "Whatever!"
Washington State and its governor are the latest inductees in the gyre of national ridicule. Sad!
A small piece of humble advice governor: Learn and live the words to the children's Christian song we knew (even in Washington) over sixty years ago; "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross. Lift high His Royal standard, it must not suffer loss...." Sola Veritas!!
God Bless, e.c.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mumbai, Islam, and Rome

World events are devolving at an alarming rate. That's not news. The world is longing for leadership and there are two contendors for first place: Rome and Islamabad. Unbeknownst to most, there has been dialogue between the two for some time. The following quote (from Samuele Bacchiocchi) opens with a statement by him within which is embedded another most interesting quote.

"In spite of the catastrophic events of September 11th, the Pope continued to work toward a partnership with the Muslims. The basis of this partnership is the belief that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God of Abraham.
A Reappraisal of Islam.
This belief is clearly expressed in the new official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which speaks of the new Catholic relationship with theMuslims in these terms: 'The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.'
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, (San Francisco, CA, 1994) Paragraph 84).
Read in the light of the flames of Mumbai, I find this incredible:The two largest and most powerful religious bodies in the world, at each others throats for centuries, and suddenly all is, or can be, just swell.
Interestingly, neither the Catholics nor the Muslims are big on Scripture. And of course, that is where the invisible church of God reads for "...doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness..." Reading the Bible lets the believer know, in advance, how everything turns out: Id est, how it all ends in the end. (Sorry about that anemic pun).
So what is the last word? "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the Word of truth" [II Timothy 2:15].
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What Is Your Question?

Every teacher knows--or should know--that the absolute best method of teaching is by guided questioning: This is known as the Socratic Method of Teaching after, of course, the Greek philosopher, Socrates.
What every Christian knows--or should know--that the absolute best method of teaching/witnessing is by guided questioning: This is known as Christ's Method of Teaching after, of course. the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
Some of us wring our hands in frustration and worry about how to witness to friends, family, neighbors, strangers... and the answer, of course, is guided questioning.
It is a friendly, non-threatening, generalized kind of questioning. As a humble example let me tell you about two encounters I had yesterday; one in CostCo and the other in Bank of America.
I was picking up a prescription at CostCo so I went up to the empty counter and asked for my meds. The clerk said, "You have to get in line," and I responded, "What line," so she pointed and said, "That line!" So over to the line I ambled muttering to myself, "How come I didn't see the line?"
There I was behind a big guy (it would take almost three of me to make one of him). when I said, "Hi, big guy!" After a little more small talk I asked, "What do you do?" (he knew what I meant). "I'm a plumber," he answered, which led me to the next question; "How's it goin'? "Not so good," he replied; "[It's] hard to make ends meet!" Which opened the door to the next question; "What's your name?" "Rocky," he answered. "So, Rocky, are you a believer?" I asked. "Yes," he affirmed.
Rather than ending on a question I said, "Rocky, I'll pray that the Lord will send you work; are you O.K. with that? He was next up in line so he walked to the counter but before he left Rocky came back to the line, stuck out his hand, and gave my hand a firm and Christian grip. Thank you Lord!
Next up, the Bank of America. All I had to do was cash a small check so I entertained myself by watching the security monitors and thinking, "Man I look old." Well?? So the teller beckoned me to the counter where I rattled off all the numbers I thought she needed to access our accounts. But no. She said, "I need to see your drivers license." To which I quipped, "I don't have a license. It was taken away for driving under the influence....of the Holy Spirit." She handed me the money saying, "I like that!" I knew she was a believer and that the Lord had given me another opportunity to lift up His Name.
"And the point?", you ask; never be afraid to ask a perfect stranger a question to help pry open the door of witness. Jesus asked lots of questions to lots of people. Be like Christ.
God Bless. e.c.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Sabbath; Revelation To Genesis: Part II

There are many texts one could cite that reveal the seventh-day Sabbath keeping lives of Paul, the Disciples, and Jesus. Interestingly, none of these had the "New Testament", per se, because it had not been written. Therefore, we are compelled to conclude that what was known about the Messiah, the Sabbath, righteousness by Faith, Grace, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, etc., was learned from the "Old Testament." On the cross, when Christ cried out the words, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?, He was quoting the first verse of Psalms 25.
QUESTION: What does Isaiah say are the names of the Christ?
ANSWER: Isaiah 9:6, 7 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
QUESTION: By whom were the heavens made? (Psalms 33:6-9
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together in a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.")
QUESTION: What does Moses write about loving God?
ANSWER: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 ("Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.")
COMMENT: Does the reader recognize this verse from the New Testament? Yes!. It is quoted in Luke 10:27 and it is also found in Leviticus 19:34.
QUESTION: Who created the heavens and the earth?
ANSWER: Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
QUESTION: Who is the Creator?
ANSWER: "And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (see above).
QUESTION: Who made man?
ANSWER: Genesis 2:7 "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."
QUESTION: Who blessed and sanctified (made holy) the seventh day?
ANSWER: Genesis 2:2, 3 ("And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.")
QUESTION: What have we learned?
1. Jesus Christ created all things; heavens, earth, man, Sabbath, etc.
2. Jesus Christ created the Sabbath
3. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath
4. Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill
5. Jesus reveals deeper meanings in the ten commandments when He quotes and explains in Matthew chapter five.
6. Paul vigorously defends the law in Romans.
7. God (Jesus Christ the Creator) rested on the Seventh day
QUESTION: Is there a deeper meaning in Sabbath keeping; something deeper than simply "not working"?
ANSWER: Hebrew 4:9-11. [One should read the entire chapter to put the verse in context] "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience."

COMMENT:Keeping the Seventh day Sabbath holy is symbolic of righteousness by faith! In entering His rest on the Sabbath we cease from trying to please God by our righteous works (which we cannot do) and we enter into His rest of righteousness by faith.

QUESTION: Then why does most of the world keep another day? a day which they say is a memorial of the Resurrection?
ANSWER: These direct quotesbelow are not intended to criticize but to show the truth of the matter. "

"The Pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." "The Pope has the authority and often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ." Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop. Cap. (The Pope can modify divine law.) Ferraris' Ecclesiastical Dictionary.They "dispense with the command of Christ???" When the Catholic church is asked..."Why do you feel you have the power, authority and ability to change Scripture to match your traditions?" They answer...
"Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; --she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority." -Rev. Stephan Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, "On the Obedience Due to the Church," chap. 2, p. 174. (Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey, archbishop of New York.)"The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the Church had changed...the Sabbath into Sunday, not by command of Christ, but by its own authority." Canon and Tradition, p. 263
"Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." -James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72, 73.

SUMMARY: So, there it is, from Revelation to Genesis. As Martin Luther said, "Sola Scriptura" (by Scripture only).
It is not my task to convict; that is the work of the Holy Spirit. If the reader seeks more I point them to the only Sure and Certain Source: The Word of God.
God Bless. e.c.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Sabbath; Revelation To Genesis: Part I

Most studies on the Sabbath are rejected by Bible-believing Christians because they have been taught that the Sabbath is a Jewish institution and that the fourth (Sabbath) commandment, a part of the Ten Commandments, was done away with at the Cross. Additionally, Many sincere Christians divide Scripture as relevant (New Testament) and irrelevant (Old Testament). The purpose of this study is to highlight two things: 1) there were no Jews for over a thousand years when God gave man the Sabbath at Creation, and, 2) there is a red-thread of continuity from Genesis through Revelation that connect these two divisions and the manner in which the Sabbath is treated.

1) QUESTION: Who is the Creator?
ANSWERS: (Revelation 14: 6, 7 "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people--saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.' ") (Hebrews 1:1 - 3 "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.") (Colossians 1:15, 16 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.") (John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.)
CONCLUSION: Jesus Christ is the Creator.

QUESTION: Who is Lord of the Sabbath?
ANSWERS: (Luke 6:1-10 [Only verse 5 is quoted] "And He said to them, 'The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." ') (Matthew 12:1-12 [Only verses 7 and 8 are quoted] "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice' [Hosea 6:6], you would not have condemned the guiltless, for the Son of Man is Lord even* [*omitted in NU- & M-text] of the Sabbath."
CONCLUSION: Jesus Christ, the Creator is Lord of the Sabbath.

QUESTION: Were the Ten Commandments abolished at the Cross?
ANSWERS: [Paul makes a lengthy discussion of the law, grace, faith, sin, etc., and the reader should read Romans in its entirety because only key verses are quoted here] (Romans 3:31. "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Romans 7:7 "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, we would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet.") (Romans 7:12, 13 "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful." (Matthew 5:18, 19 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be call least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:27, 28. You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery,' but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul attest to the durability, goodness, and necessity of the law [Obviously the Ten Commandments; because they are quoted] but also to the futility of works, the necessity of faith, belief, and grace [Genesis 15:6; Romans 5:1; Romans 4:2, 3; Romans 3:27, 28; Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4.
More, tomorrow