Friday, December 2, 2016

The Meaning Of The Fireproof Scripture at Dollywood

The heartbreaking headlines read things like:
Extent of Tennessee wildfire damage revealed; at least 13 killed
Out of the smoke has risen another headline:
BURNED BIBLE PAGE FOUND IN DOLLYWOOD FIRE
You may have already seen a picture of the burned Bible page, since it’s probably been shared a million times by now.
Isaac McCord, working at Dollywood, was cleaning a spot in Craftsman Valley with his coworker when he saw a piece of paper in a puddle.
The edges were burned, but much of the page was preserved. It was from the first chapter in the Book of Joel, King James Version, of the Bible. Verses 15, 19, 20 and chapter 2 verse 1 were clearly preserved. Isaac broke into tears after reading the passage. He transcribed what he could read as follows:
Joel 1:15  The day of the LORD is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be!
Joel 1:19  To you, LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
Joel 1:20  Even the beasts of the field pant for you because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand

Out of, 1,189 Chapters, 23,145 verses, in the Bible, one page; a few short verses, were preserved. The content couldn’t be more relevant.
What are the odds?     
Do you know what Joel was talking about?
The passage is a warning. The day of the LORD is near…”
It’s a call to repentance. “To you, LORD, I call…”
It’s a call to unified action… “Blow the trumpet…”
The book of Joel is quoted by Peter: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” on the day of Pentecost. The day the Holy Spirit descended like, tongues of fire (Acts 2). It’s the day Jesus spoke about when the disciples would be “endued with Power from on High” (Luke 24:49). That day about 3,000 were saved in one sermon, by a fisherman. Many consider that day to be the start of the Christian Church.
The Hebrew name for Joel; Yo’el means: Yahweh Is God.
Joel writes about when disaster struck without warning. An ominous black cloud descended upon the land—the dreaded locust.  In a matter of hours, every living green thing was stripped bare. Joel, God’s spokesman, proclaimed the plague was judgment for sin.  
Yet, Joel declared, as bad as it was, future judgments will make that plague pale by comparison. In that day (which is yet to come) God will destroy His enemies, but bring unparalleled blessing to those who faithfully obey Him.
God uses Joel to say “I will restore the years…” destroyed by “My great army which I sent among you.” Even though it was your own fault, it was your own sin that caused the great army of devourers to succeed against you—even still, I will forgive; I will restore all that has been taken…even the years.
God, who never changes, still longs to restore, still calls out. Even in the midst of the burning, devouring chaos, there is hope. Although, this Scripture was written to Israel many years ago, it was also written to us, today, especially today.
  
Other fires are started this time of year, millions of them, on purpose, for another reason, a good reason. Folks around the globe are lighting the first candle of Advent—the hope candle.   


iluvu & pray4u every.single.day

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Missing the whole at the holidays

Rox was busy, like always, making turkey with all the fixin’s, like always…but, this year was different. 
She let out a sigh, “we’re out of milk.”
“I’ll go.”
I grabbed the keys and drove past twinkling lights and driveways filled with cars—I smiled. I love holidays.
But then, I remembered my wife’s sigh, my smile dropped. I thought of our empty driveway and made a sigh that sounded a lot like hers.
Holidays. That’s when the whole family gets together for a feast. At least, that’s the way it used to be. But now? Well, now, where do we…I mean, how does…um, what do we do when, the whole family, isn’t whole anymore? How can we be thankful when one of the things we’re most thankful for has fallen apart at the seams?
Lately we’ve seen a whole lot more hospitals and funeral parlors than wedding chapels and baby showers. But the latest death, the one that’s caused, the sigh to fall from our lips, isn’t a physical death, but a relational one.
My dad, who just spent his first Thanksgiving in heaven, always said the saddest sound ever heard was, Taps. I believed him until just the other day, when I heard my seven year old grandson say, “divorce.” I heard the quiver in his voice, watched him blink a few times and wipe the back of his hand across his eyes.  An old familiar pain pierced my heart…but it was nothing compared to the sword ripping his in two.
I don’t really remember the rest of my trip to and from the store. I’m pretty sure I got the milk. And I remember asking God, right out loud, for help.
I think, before their heads get filled with all kinds of fodder, kids must have a direct line to the Father. Because, when I got back to the house our ten year old granddaughter, Neveah, had turned our humble little Thanksgiving meal, into a formal feast, with our very own maitre d’.  She had helped prepare the food and set the table. She created little folded menus which stood next to name tags. The towel she draped over her arm matched the plates.
We sat in our assigned seats and Nevaeh wrote down our orders. She handed the order to my wife, who fixed the plates from a card table placed next to the hutch where all the food was on display.
When everyone was finally seated, we held hands and prayed. As we ate we took turns saying things we were thankful for. This was the part I thought would be hard, but we made it all the way around the table without a hitch…after the third round the sparkle had returned to the eyes of the kids and my wife’s laughter bounced off the walls again.  
I didn’t forget the empty spaces at the table. They didn’t get filled. Relationships weren’t restored and the dead didn’t get raised. But, in the midst of the eye twinkling laughter, the food and the chatter, I saw hope. Ever since God created the first family by joining Eve with Adam, and as long as there’s one family on the planet, there is hope. Getting together as a whole family to have a feast is God’s idea. It’s what makes every person on the planet do it, no matter what race, color, status or creed.
Family, it’s God’s design to make us whole as a person, a home, a neighborhood, a town, a nation, the world. After all, if we go back far enough, we are just that—family.
iluvu & pray4u every.single.day, my brother, my sister… my family.




  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rich Rulers & Poor Mothers


Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

“Good teacher, how can I get to heaven?” the young man asked.

As He often did, Jesus answered the question with a question.

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. …” That, was the answer. The Answer. I AM the Good One, The Way to eternal life. If you called me Good because you know and believe that I AM the Son of God, then, you know Me, you know, the Truth, and you have found your way to heaven.
Unfortunately, many don’t see it as being so simple, they think the way to heaven is through religion, through good works, thus Jesus added: “You know the commandments: ‘Do not...Do not...Do not...,’”
Jesus was asking, the young man, which way he believed. He gave the Truth, (I AM the way) and then, He gave the, technically, politically correct, religious answer, and let the man decide.
The young man had a choice. He could have answered like the Gentile (Syro-Phoenician) woman who begged Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter.
Jesus answered her with the technically, politically correct, religious answer, telling her that the Messiah had come for the Jews first. She didn’t argue the religious point, (that would’ve been a waste of time—arguing about religion always is). She simply played the relationship card… “Yes, Lord—” she said—“ but even the puppies under the Master’s table eat from the children’s crumbs.” She understood that mercy triumphs over judgment(James 2:13).
In God’s deck, relationship trumps religion, every.single.time.
The rich kid could’ve said, “Yes Lord, but no one is righteous, all have sinned, Your words hold the keys to eternal life.”
But, his heart wasn’t there yet, he looked at is as one more acquisition, one more asset to add to his fat portfolio. So, instead, he slapped his resume on the desk. “I’ve done all that since my youth…”
But, down inside he knew, that even though he looked good on paper, even though, his sins were low and his good deeds were high…he still knew something was missing. A gnawing emptiness told him there had to be more. That is religion. That is works. That is why religious folks fight each other. (Notice I said religious folks—not Christians—there’s a huge difference. Not everyone who says, “I’m a Christian,” actually is one).   
Religion cannot fill the void meant for relationship.
The rich young ruler walked away feeling sad and empty; the poor outcast mother with the wild child skipped away feeling like she just found out she was heir to a King.
Until we reach the reckless abandonment of the desperate Syro-Phoenician woman, until we’re ready to lay down our religion, our title, our very lives, and pick up our cross and follow Jesus through the steep, straight and narrow; we are just looking for some good thing, but missing God…we’re just going through the motions.
That’s why Jesus looked at the young man, loved him, knew him, gave him the answer, again; this time, with a little more detail. I see you have an unhealthy love for money, you trust in good deeds and riches. You’ll need to break those chains, and then, come and follow me. Don’t worry, I own the whole world— you won't miss a thing.
When we see relationship before religion, before dos and don’ts and works…we’ll drop our banners, our titles, our pretty walls and petty differences and just obey the simple gospel of love. Then, instead of just calling Jesus, “Lord, Lord” He actually will be.
And then, the only unanswered prayer Jesus ever prayed, will finally be answered. “I do not pray for these (his disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (me & you); that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21

iluvu & pray4u everyday,
Doug



Monday, November 7, 2016

Republican Platform vs Democratic Platform vs Biblical Platform...a Christian Voters Guide

Please forgive the 'rough-draftiness' of this. I’ve been extremely busy lately and I simply ran out of time.

What we have is a side by side comparison of the Republican Party Platform, the Democratic Party Platform (their bibles, if you will) and most importantly, (as a Christian) the Holy Bible.

Listed first is a comparative key word search. I think you’ll find it quite revealing.

Next I’ve copied and pasted information directly from the platforms regarding the key words; followed by what the Bible has to say about those topics.

I’ve entered very little commentary; I believe the data speaks for itself.

This is written directly to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray you will vote. It is not only a right, but a responsibility as a good steward of freedom. I pray you will vote according to the platform that was written in blood, spilled by God’s own Son, The Word made flesh.


If you would like to view copies of the party platforms I can email you PDF copies or you can go to: http://www.christianvoterguide.com

One more thing: I think this is important. If you agree, please pass it along. 


BIBLE: Republican: 3. Democrat: 0
GOD:  Republican 16. Democrat: 3
CHRISTIAN: Republican: 8. Democrat 1
TEN COMMANDMENTS: Republican: 1. Democrat: 0
MARRIAGE: Republican: 19. Democrat: 0
ABORTION: Republican: 35. Democrat: 6
ISRAEL: Republican: 19.  Democrat: 9 (Side note: Iran: Rep: 7. Dem: 16)
CONSTITUTION: Republicans. 79.  Democrats:  7
AMENDMENT: Republican 46. Democrat: 5
FOUNDING FATHERS:  Republican: 1. Democrat: 0
TRADITION(al): Republican: 24 Democrat: 2

BIBLE: Republican: 3. Democrat: 0
Republican:
·         A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry,
·         A Republican commander-in-chief will protect the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities

GOD: Republican: 16. Democrat 3
Republican:
·         God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual, thus producing human equality; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail; that there is a moral law recognized as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”; and that American government is to operate with the consent of the governed…
·         We believe that people are the ultimate resource — and that the people, not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources.
·         Every time we sing, “God Bless America,” we are asking for help.
·         In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable rights of its citizens. These constitutional rights are not negotiable for any American.
Democrat:
·         Democratic platform uses the word God, 3 times each time in conjunction with the word ‘given’ as in God-given. We believe every person has a right to reach their “God-given” potential.

CHRISTIAN: Republican: 8. Democrat 1
Republican:
·         We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage
·         We support the rights of conscience of military chaplains of all faiths to practice their faith free from political interference. We reject attempts by the Obama Administration to censure and silence them, particularly Christians and Christian chaplains. We support an increase in the size of the Chaplain Corps. A Republican commander-in-chief will protect the religious freedom of all military members, especially chaplains, and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities.
Democrat:
·         We are horrified by ISIS’ genocide and sexual enslavement of Christians and Yezidis and crimes against humanity against Muslims and others in the Middle East..



TEN COMMANDMENTS: Republican: 1. Democrat: 0
·         “We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage”

MARRIAGE Republican: 19. Democrat: 0
Republican:
·         Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.

Democrat:
·         Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
·         Democrats applaud…that LGBT people—like other Americans—have the right to marry the person they love.  

Bible:
·         Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[e] him.”… So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
 because she was taken out of Man.”

·         Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2: 18, 21-24)

ABORTION
Republican:
·         The Fifth Amendment:
Protecting Human Life

The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

Democrat:
·         We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood
·         We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.
Bible
·         “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

ISRAEL:
Republican:
·         We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state
Democrat:  
·         Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations…Israel always has the ability to defend itself. Finally, Democrats recognize that the Iranian people seek a brighter future for their country and greater engagement with the international community. We will embrace opportunities for cultural, academic and other exchanges with the Iranian people. We will embrace opportunities for cultural, academic and other exchanges with the Iranian people.

Bible:
·         For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the people who are on the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 7:6).
·         This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her (Ezekiel 5:5)
·         The Land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me (Leviticus 25:23
·         "To your descendants I will give this land" (Genesis 12:7).
·         "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever... (Genesis 13:14-15).
·         "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. 15:18-21).
·         I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates (Exodus 23:31)

GLOBAL WARMING (CLIMATE CHANGE)
Republican:
·         Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.

Democrat:
·         Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.  

Bible:
·         Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
·         The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein Ps. 24:1
·         While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
·         But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:10-13
·         Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. ~Jesus: Matthew 24:35

SEXUALITY:
Republican:
·         We renew our call…that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.

Democrat:
·         We will oppose all state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals, including legislation that restricts the right to access public spaces…
·         (* NOTE: “public spaces” refers to transgender bathrooms, showers etc. In other words: If Johnny feels like he’s really Suzy, he should be allowed to use the same bath and showers as our daughters)

Bible:
·         Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God…the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord…Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? …For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” …Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

FOUNDING FATHERS:  Republican: 1. Democrat: 0
·         “We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers.

AMENDMENT: Republican: 46. Democrat: 5
            Republican:
The First Amendment: Religious Liberty

·         The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, as the first freedom to be protected. Religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. As George Washington taught, “religion and morality are indispensable supports” to a free society. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson declared that “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square. As a result, many charitable religious institutions that have demonstrated great success in helping the needy have been barred from receiving government grants and contracts. Government officials threaten religious colleges and universities with massive fines and seek to control their personnel decisions. Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America. We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control. We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party. We encourage every state to pass similar legislation. We likewise endorse the efforts of Republican state legislators and governors who have defied intimidation from corporations and the media in defending religious liberty. We support laws to confirm the longstanding American tradition that religious individuals and institutions can educate young people, receive government benefits, and participate in public debates without having to check their religious beliefs at the door.
Our First Amendment rights are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights.

The Second Amendment:
Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.

The Fourth Amendment:
Liberty and Privacy
Affirming the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we call for strict limitations on the use of aerial surveillance on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders for illegal entry and activity. We oppose any attempts by government to require surveillance devices in our daily lives, including tracking devices in motor vehicles.

The Fifth Amendment:
Protecting Human Life
The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.
We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.
We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women who face an unplanned pregnancy. In order to encourage women who face an unplanned pregnancy to choose life, we support legislation that requires financial responsibility for the child be equally borne by both the mother and father upon conception until the child reaches adulthood. Failure to require a father to be equally responsible for a child places an inequitable burden on the mother, creating a financial and social hardship on both mother and child.

The Fifth Amendment:
Protecting Private Property
The Framers of our government knew, from history and experience, that when private property is not secure, freedom is at risk. That is why the Fifth Amendment declares that private property may not be “taken for public use without just compensation.” The Supreme Court’s Kelo decision undermined this safeguard by allowing local governments to seize a person’s home or land not only for vital public use, but also for “public purpose,” which thus allowed the government to seize it for transfer to private developers or other private entities. We call on any state legislatures that have not already done so to nullify the impact of Kelo within their jurisdiction by legislation or state constitutional amendments declaring that private property may be taken only for true public use, and we join House Republicans in supporting the Private Property Rights Protection Act.

The Ninth Amendment:
The People’s Retained Rights
The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution declares that “[t]he enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This provision codifies the principle that our national government derives its power from the governed and that all powers not delegated to the government are retained by the people. We call upon legislators to give full force to this fundamental principle. We welcome to our ranks all citizens who are determined to reclaim the rights of the people that have been ignored or usurped by the federal and intrusive state governments.

The Tenth Amendment: Federalism
as the Foundation of Personal Liberty
Federalism is a cornerstone of our constitutional system. Every violation of state sovereignty by federal officials is not merely a transgression of one unit of government against another; it is an assault on the liberties of individual Americans. Hence the promise of the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution gives the federal government very few powers, and they are specifically enumerated; the states and the people retain authority over all unenumerated powers. In obedience to that principle, we condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansionDemocrat:  None regarding adherence to established Amendments to The Constitution. Three new amendment proposals; Two protesting current abortion amendments.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Re Pete

The man sits alone, on shore, near the fire he just built. 
Orange and gold waves waltz with the morning sun. 
The men in the boat are too tired and hungry to argue with the man’s request, so they toss the net. It slaps the water and starts to sink, just as it had done—to no avail—all night long. 
One man yawns, another closes his eyes and rests his head on the side of the boat. The others sit and stare. All listen to waves slap a lullaby against the bow.
No one expects—
The boat pitches and lists as if hit by Jonah's whale. 
“Pull!”
Seasoned fishermen scramble for the net. 
“My God the net’s going to break!”
“Pull!” 
My God?...it’s Him
“It’s Him—my God!"
He jumps.
Usually, folks take off clothes before jumping in the water, but not this man, he puts them back on, and plunges into the sea. 
The man on shore stands, crosses his arms, and laughs right out loud. You needn’t put your cloak on, to come to me. But, it shows evidence of another cloak you needed to wear—humility. It suits you well, my friend. Well done.
“Pull!” The weight of the men, the weight of the fish, the boat nearly flips, the net nearly rips…but the boat holds steady and the net holds fast.
Splash after splash, the swimmer kicks his way toward shore.
It’s Him. I know it’s Him.
Kick.
I’ve got to reach Him.
 Splash.  
I’ve got to repent.
Kick
Tell Him I’m sorry.
A wave hits his face—he gulps water instead of air.
Cough. Splash.         
It’s not him
It is.
            It’s not. Turn back.
The men in the boat groan with the load. One yells, “Hey, come back! Help us lift!”
            Go back. Don’t abandon your friends.
He shakes his head, clinches his jaw and continues to stroke arm over arm toward shore.
            He won’t forgive you. It’s too late. You abandoned Him. You loser.  
The swimmer slows his pace. Why’d I jump? I always do that—jump first, think later. I should’ve stayed in the boat. That’s where I belong. I’m a fisherman—for fish, not men. Now, He’ll think I’m still the same old impetuous, loud mouth traitor…maybe I am. After all, I turned my back on my Friend…not just my friend, but the Son of God.  I denied Him; not once, but thrice. Three times…I’m doomed. I should just quit…sink—let the sea have me. I’m not worthy. 
He stops kicking, his arms go limp. He releases air from his lungs, and slowly descends.
The men in the boat are busy holding the net and rowing toward shore.
The Man by the fire walks to the edge of the water. Remember when I called you to become a fisher of men? It was a great catch that day… remember? I heard what you said: “At your word, I’ll let down the net.” I also heard what you were thinking: “This is dumb…why should I let some preacher tell me how to fish? I know what I’m doing.” …and then, the net broke. This time Peter, the net won’t break—and neither will you.
His lungs burn.
The light fades as darkness pulls him deep.
Death squeezes. Yes, this is where you belong—this is your new home.
Life bubbles from his lips.
All goes black.
All goes still.
Silent.
But for the beating of his heart.
Thump. Thump.
Thump. Thump.
But then, this still, small, voice…Remember when I called you to become a fisher of men? It was a great catch that day…
That was a good day—that’s when I started to see Him for who He is—The Christ. It was before I blew it…before I denied Him…before I sank. But that was then. It’s too late…
Jesus takes one step into the water and stretches out His hand. Peter bar Jonah, I once prepared a fish to swallow a man named Jonah. Something I don’t want to repeat. I want to restore, but the choice is yours… “Come.”
It’s so cold, so dark—so familiar. I remember this place. I’ve been here before… I remember the day, Jesus told me, “Come” and I got out of the boat and walked on water. I actually walked on water. Me. But, like me, like always, I failed. I looked away. I turned from Him. I sank. So, here I am again, in this cold, darkness. It’s my destiny, my fate. I should have drowned that day…but His hand. He reached out His hand...
A brilliant Light penetrates the darkness and Peter catches a glimpse of His hand—only it’s different, wounded—pierced. Alive.
That same voice echoes through the watery grave, “Come.” 
Hope becomes a buoy.
Peter claws toward the Light, and finally staggers to shore, toward the Man by the fire.
But then, he remembers…it was by a fire, I denied Him. 
He stops. His eyes drop from the Man to the fire, to the sand. Tears can’t be seen for the water from the sea, but they’re there, just the same. How arrogantly I declared my allegiance above the others. How gently Jesus warned; “Three times, you will deny you even know Me.”
And now, He repeats three times—three times—the question and the call; one for each denial. “Peter, do you love Me, more than these?” 
Peter can’t repeat the words, more than these. He can only drop to his knees. Not trusting his own heart, he whispers; “Yes, Lord, you know all things, you know I love you.”
Jesus smiles. He doesn’t see the mistakes, the denials, the loser, the quitter, the sin. He sees a man, a friend, a brother, a winner; baptized, fresh, clean and born again.
He helps Peter to his feet. Together they sit by the fire…and feast.

Story inspired from John 21
Dear friend, He still knows...still hears...no matter how deep, no matter how far—He reaches out a nail scarred hand and whispers “Do you love me?”

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20