Spending a few days on one of the Florida Keys, it is easy to find oneself operating on island time. Island time is an approach to life that lets the rest of the world go by as you enjoy whatever it is you are doing at the time. It can be sitting on the beach, strolling down an avenue featuring all sorts of interesting shops or enjoying seafood at a waterfront restaurant. Often you can go for hours and have no concept of what the time is… or even care.
It’s great therapy for us task oriented, type A personalities. We can get ourselves so wound up tight with schedules and commitments that we are constantly chasing after the urgent and neglecting the important things in life. We often know there are more important things we should be doing, but they have to wait until this project or that activity are completed… then other non-priorities intrude to keep us from what we believe we really should be doing.
Sometimes just sitting on the beach helps put things into perspective. How many things in our lives that we believe just have to be done, don’t really matter at all. Getting away from the pressure and demands helps keep things in perspective.
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Long ago, Eve was minding her own business as she strolled through the Garden of Eden. She knew what God had told her, but as she passed by the forbidden fruit, a serpent spoke to her with the advice that the fruit that was off limits would give her knowledge that she did not have. Knowledge is a good thing, but she did not understand that not all knowledge was beneficial. It sounded good to her and she fell for satan’s lie… and we all have been cursed with a sin nature.
There is often the temptation to take shortcuts to our worthy objectives. We often are so wrapped up in the pursuit of our godly goals that we don’t always look at the methods or the appropriateness of the path we choose. We don’t always remember that God looks at our heart and our efforts, that we are required to be obedient, and this does not mean we will always be successful… but in doing so, we will always be pleasing to our Creator.
Jesus gave us the example of how to deal with this kind of temptation. He knew that ultimately he would rule the nations, but the devil offered Him a shortcut. Matthew 4 records the conversation:
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Recently I received an angry response to one of my postings where I took the government to task for attempting to be the supplier of everything we need. This person said that he, too, was a Christian and that I was like so many others on the “religious right” who were more interested in politics than in meeting the needs of the poor in our nation. This person said that, like me, he was opposed to abortion and homosexual marriage, but that supplying the needy was of greater importance to him.
This got me to thinking. My degree is from a fairly liberal university near Philadelphia where the likes of Tony Campolo and Ron Sider were elevated for the students to see and emulate. I even had a theology prof who did not believe in hell or the wrath of God. All these arguments I had heard before, but the number of people who profess to be Christians who follow the ways of, what is essentially, an anti-Christian government astounds me. It is for these people that I write this article.
We are told that God’s Word talks far more about helping the poor than the social issues that fight for every day. This is true. I cannot argue about the importance of reaching out and helping the less fortunate. James 1:27 tells us “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” We do have a call to look after those in need. However, it is a personal obligation – not something we can pass of to others to do.
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by Ron Cappelli
We hear people talking today about how bad things are in politics, especially about all the partisan bickering and the nasty, negative ads that candidate run against each other. President Clinton, while he was in office, decried “the politics of personal destruction” and when Barack Obama ran for office in 2008 he talked about how he was going to bring a new tone of cooperation to Washington politics. Yet, it seems that every year the meanness in politics only gets worse.
At the same time we speak with great veneration about our Founding Fathers and the high ideals they gave us as contained in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and Conservative groups talk passionately about returning to those founding principles. Yet, because most people don’t know their history, they are unaware that what we are seeing today in the political process is nothing new.
The United States federal government officially began in 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as its first president. Eleven years later, in 1800, Americans were preparing to vote again for a president. By then there were two parties – the Federalists and the Republicans. Each party nominated two candidates. The Federalist nominated John Adams and Charles Coatsworth Pinkney while the Republicans nominated Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
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A few days ago, I took a little trip back to the time when it was almost a cliché to have a southern sheriff run a speed trap scam to separate Americans – and possibly a few illegals – from their hard earned money as they pass through their jurisdiction. I had been warned about three little towns along Rt. 301 in central Florida, so I was prepared when I rolled on through these three little towns.
Someone had the concern for his fellow citizens to create a billboard warn unsuspecting motorists that they were approaching a speed trap a few miles up the road. It was a simple sign – black with white letters telling people to watch out for officers in the bushes. It was a simple act of rebellion rarely seen today.
The situation became even more interesting as I entered the first town of Lawtey. Instead of running a few miles per hour over the speed limit… people were actually driving below the posted limits. This was different. I saw first hand what the town fathers were trying to do to the people – locals and out of towners alike. The people were afraid of the police – afraid of getting a ticket just for driving through town.
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By now you most certainly heard the news of the death of conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, at the age of 43. He was a boat rocker and, to the progressive left, a trouble maker. His goal in life was to “destroy the institutional left.” Just as his work was loved and respected by many, it created a host of enemies.
While it is not unheard of for someone his age to die of a heart attack, it does raise questions, and suspicions. I’m sure most of us at least know of someone else who exited this life at a young age – and it reminds us that we never know how much time we really have… that if there is something to be done, it needs to be done now! Whether it is telling your family you love them, or there is an unfinished task on your agenda, there is no time like the present – and none of us are promised tomorrow.
The story went out quickly that a heart attack ended his life. This is unusual as we are normally told that the cause of death was undetermined pending the autopsy to be performed by the LA coroner. The fact that Breitbart exposed corruption at ACORN and broke the Weinergate story and was working some video tapes that could destroy the President that were to be released this summer, and suddenly, is no more, causes one’s mind to wander to thoughts of the final scenes of the Dustin Hoffman film Wag the Dog.
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Driving through various shopping centers and office complexes around my home, I am seeing more empty stores and offices where functioning business that employed people in my neighborhood had been only a few short months ago. These stores with the “For Rent” signs are not just pieces of vacant real estate. Each one represents an economic tragedy for those involved.
If it was a mom and pop business, it often is the death of a dream. It could also result in major financial loss, family breakdown and evaporation of retirement security. When someone opens a small business, they often put everything they have, financially and emotionally, into it. Then government at all levels comes along and pokes, prods, tweaks and controls them to the point where operating decisions are no longer theirs… and they are still struggling to make a profit to keep things going.
However, perhaps the most damaging thing that governments, particularly the national government, are doing to small businesses is the destruction of the economy where people are loosing jobs and having to cut their spending… with both small and large businesses. It’s difficult to operate a business when your potential customers simply do not have the money to buy your wares.
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For a racing fan, Sunday was a difficult day. The Indy Car circuit lost one of its’ shining stars. Two time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, lost his life in a fifteen car pile up during the season finale. Anyone who has been around motor sports where drivers strap themselves into their brutally fast machines and tempt the grim reaper on a regular basis knows this sort of thing can happen.
Fortunately, over recent years, the sport has become safer with each passing season and the introduction of all sorts of innovations and rules. It is commonplace to see cars flipping and gyrating across the track, leaving a trail of flying debris and finally smashing into a “soft” SAFER barrier, only to have the driver pull himself from the wreckage and wave to the crowd. We have been lulled into false belief that the engineers have solved the safety problem and that the drivers are indestructible.
Today was a dose of reality as Wheldon’s car was launched into the air and the cockpit slammed into the catch fence intended to keep the spectators from danger. Immediately after this tragic event, there was talk about changes in these necessary fences to make them safer. How they do that, I’ll leave to the engineers who have done amazing work in making the tracks safer for all concerned. I applaud their efforts, as every death like this is a tragedy. The thing I believe we need to remember, is that the human body was not constructed to crash into relative solid objects at over 200 mph.
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I just read an interview with new RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and, while he seems to be a good, dedicated man, it left me somewhat concerned about the future of our country. His predecessor, Michael Steele also is a good man, and he tried to do a good job. Yet, even if the new guy gets it all right, we need to be sure it is the job that needs to be done.
He has been hailed as the answer to the party’s financial woes. Woes that stem from the $23 million dollar debt left by the man who held the job before him. Somehow Steele is blamed for this financial fiasco as if his lack of fund raising skills was solely responsible for this debacle. Let’s think about this for a bit.
The Republican Party is the one that trumpets its dedication to fiscal responsibility. The thrust of the party line is that our national government running up unconcionable debt is the result of two factors – the amount of revenue and the amount spent. Yet, the party finds itself struggling under a load of debt… debt not all incurred by the former chairman. Like a less than successful football team, they seek to change their fortunes by changing the coach. The new guy seems to be doing fairly well as his efforts during his short tenure has reduced that debt by 2 million dollars. Read more of this article »
The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. Read more of this article »
Eleven O’clock Sunday morning about two hundred freedom loving Americans gathered at the Bell Tower on the grounds of the Capitol of Virginia for the first rally in the Constitution Ride Across America. They heard from several patriotic congressional congressional candidates as well as from Daren Gardner who will be traveling across the country bringing attention to the value of our historic Constitution For the United States of America… a document valued by many, but disregarded by those who see it as a hindrance to governmental expansion sought by our progressive would-be masters.
Note that it is the Constitution FOR the United States of America… not “of”, as many people think of it. There is a difference, “of” refers the past and, possibly present, where the word “for” is past, present and future. The document was formed by our history to guide our future. Now there are those who want to change our future from one of freedom to one of bondage. We may have just a short window of time to put a stop to it – hence the ride.
At each rally, a state legislator will receive a copy of the constitution and sign a pledge to work to keep the US Constitution as the guide for government in our great country. The first one to receive the copy, was citizen legislator and small business owner, Delegate John Cox of Hanover County, appropriately representing the district that was Patrick Henry’s home. Read more of this article »
The recent ruling by a Federal judge that the National Day of Prayer is an unconstitutional exercise of the national government should come as a surprise to no one. The courts have been moving in that direction for the last hundred and forty or so years. They have moved from affirming the value of Christianity in maintaining the public good to neutrality to outright hostility at times.
The aptly named US District Judge Barbara Crabb noted that she was not opposed to prayer or that her ruling should not be interpreted as disparaging its value. However she was basing her decision on “case law”… and therein lies the problem. What she is really saying is that she is not looking at the constitution… she is not looking at statutes enacted by legislators… but that she is looking at the decisions of other judges. That somehow these men and women in black robes were equal, if not superior to our founding documents and the elected representatives, at least in their own minds and in the minds of those who choose to accept their self-serving pronouncements.
The rulings she cited came, for the most part, from people hostile to the founding principles and citizen values. These people, were of the opinion that laws and documents did not necessarily mean what their creators intended them to mean, but what the judiciary could decide they meant as whims took hold. For many of us this is called “legislating from the bench”, and is the reason selection of judges is vital. The results of this deification of the judicial branch are self evident. Read more of this article »
This weekend I took had several political meetings scheduled where we would once again plot and scheme about ways to retrieve our freedom form the clutches of the Obama regime. However, my wife and daughter had gotten tickets to take our four year old grandson to the circus. I had a choice to make. Sure there will be other circuses, and of course, there will be other meetings. For this time I had to consider what it is we are fighting for. If we are not fighting for these little ones to have the life we had, we have missed the point the point of the entire struggle.
Had I made the other decision, I would have missed the excited anticipation and the unmitigated joy in the young boy’s face as he watched the high flying trapeze artists, the clowns and the jugglers. It would be hard to imagine the boy having a better time, and this is one that I didn’t miss.
This is not to say we should be neglecting our civic duty and our debt to those who came before us and bore the pain and suffering to give us our freedom. It is to say that we to occasionally take a break from the battle and remember what it is all about. It’s not just the superiority of our intellectual arguments that should drive us. That would make us a humorless and clueless as our progressive opponents… they just think they are right. It is about the the people who are hurt by the fallacious policies. Read more of this article »
First of all, let’s make it clear that this is not a commercial for Nike. In fact you can wear almost any kind of footwear and take advantage of the ideas discussed here. However, as the phrase tells us, there are times when you just have to set aside personal hang ups, fears and lack of confidence and quit waiting for someone else to get things done. In the Richmond area this weekend we saw the folks that pulled off the Richmond Tea Party put together an event that attracted up to two thousand people who love their country and are looking to see how they can help.
Most of these people were either never politically active or had dropped out of the effort sometime in years past. They were not professional organizers, political, community or otherwise. Yet they pulled together representatives from around fifteen organizations, attract a couple thousand people and television coverage. They filled the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds with organizational displays, food vendors, games for the children and even a couple of dunking booths for the older children.
These average citizens found themselves pulled form their yard work, honey do lists, even time from their jobs and businesses. What pulled them away from the more mundane tasks that occupy most of us? Most likely it was the same thing that thing that caused you to begin reading this post… a recognition that things are not right in our wonderful country, and a desire to set them so. Read more of this article »
Now we are hearing from many moderates in the mushy middle that the Republican Party should set aside some of the social issues and concentrate on economic issues where “everyone” can agree. I have mixed feelings about this message. On one hand we have the hypocrisy displayed by those pushing this view point as we have seen precious little economic common sense from those who want to elevate that to the top of Republican agenda. On the other, there is an element of truth to the position… but not for their weak kneed reasons.
For the most part, these are the same people who have helped the previous administration push through very unRepublican expansions of government and federal budgets. Now, they are suddenly talking like fiscal conservatives they know the country is looking for. As far as concerning ourselves with the welfare of the unborn, the ability to keep our guns, the sanctity of marriage and the like, perhaps it is time to take a bigger picture view of the situation. It’s not that they are not critical issues and must be dealt with as we look to preserve our country for our kids and grandkids.
The point is that we are working in a political environment that is not only hostile to our values, but, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security report, hostile to us as individuals. The decision makers in Washington are heading full speed in the opposite direction. The are busy expanding the power of the federal government and using it to push our traditional values as far into the distant past as possible.
So before we can, once again, go on offense and pursue the necessary changes we have to put the brakes on this headlong rush to disaster. The teeth of this administration are the increasing powers they are accumulating. It is only because they can impose their views in the American people that their ideas present a hazard to our well being. Pull these, often unconstitutional, teeth, and their big government interventionist policies cease to be a problem. Read more of this article »
As we approach Resurrection Sunday, it behooves us to remind ourselves (Christians should need no reminder) of the significance of this season. Along with the virgin birth, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ form the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus separates Christianity from all the world’s religions.
Furthermore, the overwhelming number of America’s founders understood the connection between the Christian faith and the rise of these United States. John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
Adams also said, “From the day of the Declaration . . . They [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.”
Then, on July 4, 1837, Adams said these words, “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? . . . Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?” Read more of this article »
As we dig deeper into the governments’ suspicions of American citizens, we see the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) was not the only body looking askance at our everyday activities. We see another coming from the cradle of our liberty, Virginia! In a manual titled “Terrorism & Security Awareness Orientation for State Employees” the public servants were told that along with racist and hate groups, psychopated animal rights advocates and street gangs they should be watchful of people who stood up for property rights and religious extremists. No made mention of Islamofascists… just religions in general. I guess they thought, or hoped others would think, that followers of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson were just as likely to kill their neighbors in large numbers as those trained in Al Qaeda camps in the mountains of Afghanistan.
In a further indication that they are grasping at straws and don’t really know how to identify the bad guys, state employees were told to watch for people carrying such dangerous weapons as: cameras, small tape recorders, maps, notebooks, SCUBA gear and disguises. Now, other than the disguises, it sounds like many of us going on vacation. Anyone who as been to the capitol that Mr. Jefferson designed in Richmond or any of the other historic buildings and monuments knows that some of these things are almost obligatory for tourists walking the city streets. Then they have the gall to watch for groups that want to “influence government or social policy”… as if anyone of would want to do that. Oh yes, that’s what political parties, corporations and public service groups do all the time.
Back in the days of the Clinton Administration, the Phoenix office of the FBI issued a flier called “Freedom in the 21st Century” which told police to watch for such depravity as defending our constitution against the US government and the UN or not being particularly social.
In fairness to law enforcement, there is usually a pattern of behavior that accompanies criminal or terrorist actions. The only problem is that effective terrorists blend into their surroundings and usually don’t call attention to themselves by open opposition to the system. Read more of this article »
February 12, 2009
I was in Charlottesville, VA when I was awakened at 4:35 AM by an intense howling wind. I could not fall back to sleep and then realized the Lord wanted to speak to me through the wind. I sat up and recorded what He spoke to my heart.
THE WINDS OF CHANGE
The winds of change are blowing. I’m sweeping across the land and bringing my ways before a people who will bow to me. To those who will submit to Me, their boughs will not snap or be destroyed but will bend and move where I lead.
I am opening paths where there were none before. I’m clearing ways that obstructed my people before. Just like I parted the Red Sea, I will open up a path that will lead to the abundant life I promise My people. The transfer is coming for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
I am placing mighty treasures in the hands of my anointed ones… the ones who are sensitive to my Spirit. To the ones that hear Me howling in the wind. I’m coming through with such power that there will be no doubt it is the great I Am. Read more of this article »
The church of Jesus Christ has had a long and easy road in America. We were founded so solidly on Biblical morality and inherent freedom that we soon began to think that what came easily was automatic and required no effort on our part. There have been several times in American history that we have fallen for this lie, and had to be jarred back into reality.
The first time was in our colonial days when commerce increased and life was good for most people. The freedom afforded those brave souls who launched out into the unknown of this new world brought prosperity and comfort. Unfortunately, that generation failed to communicate the truth of the source of real freedom to their children. The next generation became self centered and dependent on their “culture” for values. There was little to anchor them against the inevitable tyranny of a selfish government thirsty for funding and drunk on political power and control. When the spiritual awakening began across New England in the early 18th century, renewed faith and devotion to the Bible as an authoritative standard of life fueled the hearts and minds of a generation of patriots who threw off tyranny and gave birth to a truly American idea – the purpose of government is to protect rights given to us by Almighty God, not to grant rights at the whim of fallible human agents.
The undeniable intervention of Divine Authority that directed the American Revolution set America on a pathway to become the greatest and most powerful nation on earth. There had never been a nation founded on the ideas of individual freedom and Divine authority in each citizen’s heart before 1776. The idea of individual equality, and personal responsibility protected by government authority had never been tried. Throughout the remaining years of the 18th century, and the first half of the 19th century, America grew due to this renewed freedom. Again, we failed to pass along to coming generations the source of our freedom. This allowed selfish men consumed with a lust for individual power to promote the evil of slavery under the guise of economic necessity. America suffered terribly under the load of this awful sin until a new awakening brought commitment to its abolishment. It took a terrible war for us to learn that lesson, and many years after that war before we began to fully dowse our culture in freedoms true light. Read more of this article »
Many years ago when I worked at National Religious Broadcasters, we had our annual conventions in Washington DC. The President of the United States would usually address the assembled crowd. This was particularly exciting as this was all happening during the Reagan years.
However for me, the most memorable speaker one year, was Dr. Robert A. Cook from The King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, NY. He was a delightful gentleman who had a way of putting things into perspective. He began his address by telling us that two days before, he talked to the Vice President, and just the day before, he talked to the President. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he said. “But this morning, I talked to God.”
In his own, plain spoken way, Dr. Cook showed he understood the what was important and where the real power lay. As great a man as Ronald Reagan was, he could not walk on water… and, even though this may come as a surprise to some, neither can the man who occupies his office now.
We are told to respect our leaders and pray for those in authority. This does not mean we are to blindly follow and not speak up when we see things are amiss. They are men, only men. We are privileged to live in country where we still have the ability to raise our voices when we see the train is headed off a cliff. With this privilege comes the responsibility to do so! After all, it’s not just about us. We are our brothers keeper.
As a practical matter, then, we need to stay in touch with our legislators, at all levels. We are not doing our jobs as citizens if we don’t and our complaints to others just become ineffective whining… and nobody likes a whiner. We need to be respectful, but keep in mind, they don’t walk on water either.
With the entire Republican delegation finally standing firm against the most recent ‘bailout’ (read ‘pork barrel’) package one has to wonder if backbone has finally returned to the party of low taxes, smaller government and limited spending. For some this represents no change at all. These have been the voices crying out in the wilderness that it is immoral to try to spend our way to prosperity by expecting our children and grandchildren to foot the bill.
For others, honorable men and women, I’m sure, it was the opportunity to vote their conscience rather than playing the role of a good partisan by supporting the party or the president. Still others, the true political types, sensed that opposing this piece of legislation was the best way for them to survive politically since the massive transfer of wealth was now proposed by the rival party and was thus, fair game.
Parties play an important role in our political system by allowing supposedly like minded people to get together and promote shared values… at least that is the theory. Our system of government is set up to operate with a two party system, which is why it is extremely difficult for any other group to attain a major status. We can’t expect this to change under either party leadership.
What happens when party leadership starts taking the entire structure in a new direction – one neither espoused nor supported by the rank and file party membership? Among other things, it reveals the priorities of their members. Do they value party over principle or principle over party? It gets even more complicated when we factor in tradeoffs people make. That is, conceding a point that is not so critical to accomplish something more important. This is supposed to be the essence of politics. Read more of this article »
One of the principles of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is the private victory must precede public victory. What this means is that we have to bring ourselves under control before we can hope to effectively deal with outside situations. If self control sounds like a biblical virtue, it is.
This self control, among other things, means a sense of mission and focus on the issues at hand that denies the many distractions the power to divert you from the path to your goals. The goals themselves are a subject for another day, but for the moment we shall assume that they are worthwhile in themselves and worthy of your best efforts.
So what obstacles requiring self control may you run into while pursuing the public good? Once you stick your head above the crowd to be heard, you immediately become a target for flying tomatoes and anything else those who live in the status quo can throw at you. Your motives will be questioned. Everything you do will be scrutinized… which is one more reason to walk the straight and narrow and keep everything on the up and up.
Then the most trying time of all may come to you. You may succeed. People will complement you. They may hang on every word you utter. You will be invited to things you’ve never been to before. It can be very easy to start to believe you are actually that good. Read more of this article »