Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Thanks guys for such a memorable evening!
Here are a few pictures…..
All the gals
After the hilarious "Pride and Prejudice" skit
The servers and the girls
Monday, December 10, 2007
"I believe in the power of the [memorized] Word of God to solve a thousand problems before they happen, and to heal a thousand wounds after they happen, and to kill a thousand sins in the moment of temptation, and to sweeten a thousand days with the 'drippings of the honeycomb.'"
Friday, December 7, 2007
Once He has gone out of his way to prove my guilt and display His righteousness, He proceeds to pronounce judgment upon my blasphemous, sinful self. What is His verdict? Not Guilty.
Just as he has gone to the depths to show me my sin and guilt though His law, He has also persuaded me of His love by providing my salvation though the obedience of His Son Jesus Christ.
In these acts the depth of his character is displayed. Not merely just his wrath, or just his mercy, or just his righteousness. But all of His glorious attributes intertwined in one magnificent plan of redemption for His glory. In the midst of all this is little old me. Forgotten by God at this point, right? Emphatically, no. He has graciously included me in the greater plan for His ultimate glory. What a great God we serve!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We ask again: what does it mean for God to give us wisdom? What kind of gift is it?
If another transportation illustration may be permitted, it is like being taught to drive. What matters in driving is the speed and appropriateness of your reactions to things and the soundness of your judgment as to what scope a situation gives you. You do not ask yourself why the road should narrow or screw itself into a dogleg wiggle just where it does, nor why that van should be parked where it is, nor why the driver in front should hug the crown of the road so lovingly; you simply try to see and do the right thing in the actual situation that presents itself. The effect of divine wisdom is to enable you and me to do just that in the actual situation of everyday life.
To drive well, you have to keep your eyes skinned to notice exactly whats in front of you. To live wisely, you have to be clear-sighted and realistic -- ruthlessly so -- in looking at life as it is. Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses. Most of us live in a dream world, with out heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; we never see the world, and our lives in it, as they really are. This deep-seated, sin-bred unrealism is one of the reason why there is so little wisdom among us -- even the soundest and most orthodox of us...
But what... is wisdom? "Fear God and keep His commandments" (eccl. 12:13); trust and obey him, reverence him, worship him, be humble before him, and never say more than you mean and will stand to when you pray to him (5:17); do good (3:12); remember that God will some day take account of you (11:9, 12:14), so eschew, even in secret, things of which you will be ashamed when they come to light at God's assizes (12:14). Live in the present, and enjoy it thoroughly (7:14, 9:7-10, 11:9-10); present pleasures are God's good gifts. Though Ecclesiastes condemns flippancy (7:4-6), he clearly has no time for the super spirituality which is too proud or too pious ever to laugh and have fun. Seek grace to work hard at whatever life calls you to do (9:10), and enjoy your work as you do it (2:24, 3:12-13, 5:18-20, 8:15). Leave to God its issues; let him measure its ultimate worth; your part is to use all the good sense and enterprise at your command in exploiting the opportunities that lie before you (11:1-6).
This is the way of wisdom. Clearly, it is just one facet of the life of faith. For what underlies and sustains it? Why, the conviction that the inscrutable God of providence is the wise and gracious God of creation and redemption. We can be sure that the God who made this marvelously complex world order, and who compassed the great redemption from Egypt, and who later compassed the even greater redemption from sin and Satan, knows what he is doing, and "doeth all things well," even if for the moment he hides his hand. We can trust him and rejoice in him, even when we cannot discern his path. Thus the preacher's way of wisdom boils down to what was expressed by Richard Baxter:
Adore your heavenly King,
And onward as ye go
Some joyful anthem sing.
Take what He gives,
And praise Him still
Through good and ill
Who ever lives.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
What Wisdom is Not
But what sort of thing is God's gift of wisdom? What effect does it have on a person? Here many go wrong. We can make clear the nature of their mistake by an illustration.
If you stand at the end of a platform at York Station, you can watch a constant succession of engine and train movements which, if you are a railway enthusiast, will greatly fascinate you. But you will only be able to form a very rough and general idea of the overall plan in terms of which all these movements are being determined.
If, however, you are privileged enough to be taken by one of the higher-ups into the magnificent electrical signal box that lies athwart platforms 7 and 8, you will see on the longest wall a diagram of the entire track layout for five miles on either side of the station, with little glowing worm lights moving or stationary on the different tracks to show the signalmen at a glance where every engine and train is. At once you will be able to look at the whole situation through the eyes of those who control it: you will see from the diagram why it was that this train had to be signaled to a halt, and that one diverted from its normal running line, and that one parked temporarily in a siding. The why and the wherefore of all these movements becomes plain once you can see the overall position.
Now, the mistake that is commonly made is to suppose that this is an illustration of what God does when he bestows wisdom: to suppose, in other words, that the gift of wisdom consists in a deepened insight into the providential meaning and purpose of events going on around us, an ability to see why God has done what he has done in a particular case, and what he is going to do next. People feel that if they were really walking close to God, so that he could impart wisdom to them freely, then they would, so to speak, find themselves in the signal-box; they would discern the real purpose of everything that happened to them and it would be clear to them every moment how God was making all things work together for the good. Such people spend much time poring over the book of providence, wondering why God should have allowed this or that to take place, whether they should take it as a sign to stop doing one thing and start doing another, or what they should deduce from it. If they end up baffled, they put it down to their own lack of spirituality.
Christians suffering from depression, physical, mental or spiritual may drive themselves almost crazy with this kind of futile inquiry. For it is futile. Make no mistake about that.
I definitely found myself relating to the illustration above. Too often I think that I am specially privileged by God to make sense of His plan. This is extreme pride on my part and this type of thought process must be mortified quickly.
Tomorrow I will post what Dr. Packer has to say about what wisdom is.
Monday, November 26, 2007
This is one of my favorite verses on trusting God. Charles Spurgeon has broken this verse down and shown me the real meaning of it….
“Trust in Him”- To trust in God is to cast our burden on the Lord, when it is too heavy for our own shoulder. In a word, trust in God is that high act of exercise of faith whereby the should, looking upon God is lifted up above carnal fears and discouragements. The holy duty is indeed never out of season.
“At all times”- I might mention many times in which we might trust in the Lord, but they are comprised in this little word “all,” and a precious word it is. When you are full of fears, then you shall bring the little word “all” unto him, and say, I have nothing to encourage me to come to thee but that precious little word, “all.”
“Pour out your heart”- The word “pour” plainly signifies that the heart is full of grief, and almost afraid to empty itself before the Lord. What does he say to you? “Come and pour out all your trouble before me.” He is never weary with hearing the complaints of his people; therefore you should go and keep nothing back; tell him everything that hurts you, and pour “all you complaints into his merciful bosom.” Make him your counselor and friend; you cannot please him better then when your hearts rely wholly upon him.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son"
With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I thought it would be a perfect time to write about thankfulness and contentment. It's an original idea I know! I realize that I can far too often complain about what I don't have, instead of focusing on all that I have been given by our gracious God. In one of her books, Elisabeth Elliot said that, "Thanksgiving brings contentment." It's true that gratefulness is a great way to foster contentment! And the number one thing I should be grateful for is my salvation.
"My heart is never satisfied. I always want more. I've learned good gifts alone don't bring contentment. Well, maybe for a while, but not for a lifetime. Not even gifts from God. They alone don't satisfy. Plus, gifts can be taken away. What then?
Although it's right for me to be thankful for all the gifts God has given me in good health, a loving family, food, and so on, there is something more that I must be most thankful for. Christ Himself. Nothing satisfies like the ultimate gift of Christ, given through His work of salvation. There is nothing else I should be more grateful for, and nothing else that can bring about soul-deep contentment, no matter what the circumstances of life may hurl at me." - Danielle Ayers Jones
If I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to the worst circumstances possible, could I still be thankful? Like Job, who lost everything, could I still praise God? I hope so! I hope that my contentment lies in the arms of my heavenly Father and not in the things of this world. Tomorrow when I wake up I hope my first thoughts are not how excited I am about the impending feast a few hours away, but how grateful I am in knowing that I have been saved from eternal wrath, judgment and separation from God. Without that truth, nothing else matters.
"If I should suffer need,
and go unclothed, and be in poverty,
make my heart prize thy love,
know it, be constrained by it,
though I be denied all blessings."
- A Puritan Prayer -
Monday, November 19, 2007
The Good Wife's Guide:
1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. this is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people!
3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives
5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper ect. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
6. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
7. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet
8. Be happy to see him.
9. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
10. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first -- remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
11. Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
12. Your goal: try and make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
13. Don't greet him with complaints and problems
14. Don't complain if he is home late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
15. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
16. Arrange his pillow and offer to take of his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
17. Don't ask him about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
18. A good wife always knows her place.
Now thats my kind of woman ;) On a more serious note, though some of this is excessive, I think (very tentatively) that this article does offer some good pointers on how wifes can serve their husbands. Most likely this article would offend many women in today's world, but I believe their is some scriptural support for it.
If you examine the structure of such passages as Proverbs 31 or Titus 2, the language very much falls into place with the concept of this article. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not advocating some of the lines such as "his topics of conversation are more important than yours", all I am saying is that if both husband and wife alike have servant oriented dispositions toward each other it establishes a foundation of Christ-like love that will lead to a God glorifying marriage.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I was shackeld, chained, content there to be,
But by your will you chose that I should go free,
It is by the blood of your only begotten,
That you have reminded me, and I have not forgotten,
Of the price that has indebted me so,
That has raised me, saved me, and allowed me to know,
The one and true God in all His majesty,
It is by His grace that now I am redeemed.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
If I am serious about growing in godliness, I should be serious about storing God's word in my heart. I am sometimes scared of myself, because I know how prone my flesh is to sin. How prone my heart is to wander. But God has provided me with something to help guard myself! He says that His word has the power to protect us. The power to help keep my way pure. The power to help me not sin against a Holy God. How kind of the Lord to provide His children with such a means of grace! I am painfully aware of my need to steep myself in the scriptures in a deeper way. The following quote convicted me greatly and also encouraged my to step up my pursuit of God through His word in order to grow in holiness and bring Him glory.
"Mark it down - your progress in holiness will never exceed your relationship with the Word of God." Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
“Though the grace of God and the merit of Christ are not the same, they always go together in our relationship with God. We cannot experience one without the other. In terms of order, God’s grace comes first. It was because of His grace that God the Father sent His only Son to die in our place. To say it another way, Christ’s death was the result of God’s grace; grace is not the result of Christ’s death. But it is also true that our experience of God’s grace is made possible only by the death of Christ. God is gracious, but He is also just in an absolute sense; that is, His justice cannot overlook the least infraction of His holy law. Because Christ completely satisfied the justice of God, we can now experience the grace of God. Yeas ago I heard a simple acronym of grace expressing this relationship: Grace is God’s Riches at Christ’s expense.” -Jerry Bridges-
Ephesians 2:4-7-“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with his and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
"God’s grace shall never be wanting to those who sincerely desire to know and do their duty… The increase of gold lowers the value of it, but the increase of grace advances its price. The more men have of that, the more they value it." -Matthew Henry-
Heavenly Father, As another day has gone by I am once again astonished by your kindness and faithfulness to me. I pray that I would value Your great grace above ALL else. May I be someone that is satisfied and touched by Your grace ALL the days of my life.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Paul uses his opening statements to pack in more theology and doctrine than we do in all our letters combined. Within the first seven verses, 132 words and 18 lines of Romans Paul establishes numerous thesis that he later goes on to explain in greater detail. Oh ya, he did it all in one sentence :) (in case you didn't know it, Paul is the king of run-on-sentences).
Here is a list of just some of the content in his greeting:
1. He acknowledges himself to be a servant of Christ
2. The doctrine of election
3. His particular calling to preach the gospel
4. The faithfulness of God
5. The fulfillment of prophecies concerning Jesus Christ
6. The incarnate deity of Christ
7. Faith in future grace
8. The purpose of Christs sacrifice
9. The Glory of God
10. The majesty of God
12. The proof of Christ's existence through the scriptures
14. His greeting to the Romans
Did I mention Paul did it in one sentence?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Our standard of judgment should be that which God commands us to in Scripture:
"Make no distinction." (Acts 11:12)
"Judge not, that you be not Judged" (Matthew 7:1)
Clearly, when we judge others we are in outright sin and rebellion toward God. In His grace, when he called us, Paul says that "he made no distinction". there was nothing inherent in us that caused God to choose us or to not choose others. It was based solely on His will and His glory. If God makes "no distinction" then how can we? (I understand that there may be differences here but we can still draw some conclusions to this parallel).
In the book of Acts, when for the first time Peter shares the Gospel with the Gentiles, he is severely rebuked by his fellow Jews for associating with the uncircumcised. Peter's response was examplery to say the least:
"As I began to speak (to the Gentiles), the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"
The Spirit had told Peter to go with the Gentiles because he was to "make no distinction." Once the apostles heard this they followed suit by saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life." The real question that I had to ask myself after I read this was, "have I made the same mistake as the Jews initially did? have I made some people out to be Gentiles in my life?"
God forbid that this would happen often, but unfortunately it does. Many times, by just the simple smallest judgments I make a distinction between someone. This is an immense roadblock for sharing the gospel with others and being that incarnate love to them that Christ was to us. This is what we call a "bridge burner." What could have been an opportunity to share, has now become an obstacle to evangelism.
Every time I make a distinction I am telling God that his plan for salvation is flawed. "Clearly he is not chosen Lord", "Obviously she is not included in your redeeming love." how stupid does this sound?! Yet it happens every day by Christians everywhere, including myself.
I pray that we have the same attitude as Peter did 2000 years ago. It is vitally important that we see everyone as sinners who are in desperate need of a Saviour. When we say that "maybe he needs it more than she does" or vice versa, we are playing the fool. Pray to God for grace that we may treat everyone as He has so mercifully treated us. Pray that God will grant us opportunities to share the abundance of wealth that has been so graciously given to us without distinction.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Thank You for the Cross
Thank You Lord for drawing me
Out of millions lost
Thank You Lord for saving me
Haven't You been good
Haven't You been so good
Glory to Your name, glory to
Your holy name
Thankfulness and praise
For grace and mercy never changing
Haven't You been good
Haven't You been so good to me
Favor on my life
Always watching over me
My darkness turned to light
And heaven's arms enfolding me
Haven't You been good
Haven't You been so good
Out of millions lost
Thank You Lord for saving me!
I can’t imagine where I would be today without a savior. He has once again been SO faithful to me!
Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love for thousands.’”
Saturday, November 3, 2007
But how are we to meet these baffling and trying situations, if we cannot for the moment see God's purpose in them? First, by taking them as from God, and asking ourselves what reactions to them, and in them, the gospel of God requires of us; second, by seeking God's face specifically about them.
If we do these two things, we shall never find ourselves wholly in the dark as to God's purpose in our troubles. We shall always be able to see at least as much purpose in them as Paul was enabled to see in his thorn in the flesh (whatever it was). It came to him, he tells us, as a "messenger of Satan," tempting him to hard thoughts of God. He resisted this temptation and sought Christ's face three times, asking that it might be removed. The only answer he had was this, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." On reflection, he perceived a reason why he should have been thus afflicted: it was to keep him humble, "to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations." This thought, and Christ's word, were enough for him. He looked no further. Here is his final attitude: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Cor 12:7-9)."
J.I Packer "Knowing God"
Monday, October 29, 2007
“The very concept of ‘self-control’ implies a battle between a divided self. It implies that our ‘self’ produces desires we should not gratify but instead ‘control.’ We should ‘deny ourselves,’ and ‘take up our cross daily,’ Jesus, says, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Daily our ‘self’ produces desires that should be ‘denied’ or ‘controlled.’” –John Piper-
How do we strive against our fatal desires? Paul answers: “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)
Remember that if we exercise self-control by faith in Christ’s superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory!
Father in heaven, I pray that you will work in me the will to fight sin that my will desires. I confess that there is a war within me. I grieve over the remnant of my corruption. Help me to have the desire that there is nothing greater then the love of your son Jesus Christ! Grant that I would treasure Him above all else.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Little know facts about Chuck Norris:
When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.
There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.
When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.
Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
1. Stopping for directions three times on the way driving down just to make sure we were going the “right way.” Oops! Did I just say that out loud? Sorry Jonathan!
2. Meeting new people
3. Seeing old friends
4. Once again hearing excellent preaching
5. Being convicted during and after the preaching
6. Going to meetings before each session with Todd Twining’s excellent wisdom and encouragement.
7. Biblical fellowship after the singles gathering
8. The house of prayer
9. Watching people get blobbed
10. Spending time and joking with my parents back at our chalet
11. Shopping in the resource center while I was supposed to be working the resource center
12. Getting a good laugh while watching all the various acts of talent on Saturday night
13. Being once again refreshed with Gods abundant grace.
There are some atheists and even some Christians who admit that theism and Christianity have shaped the core institutions and values of America and the West. But now that we have these values, they say, why do we still need God and Christianity? Oddly enough, the answer is supplied by Nietzsche.
Nietzsche argued that since the Christian God is the foundation of Western values, the death of God must necessarily mean the erosion and ultimate collapse of those values. Remove the base and the whole building will slowly crumble. For a while, Nietzsche conceded, people would out of custom or habit continue to respect human life and treat people with equal dignity, but eventually there would be ferocious assualts on these values, and practices once unthinkable such as the killing of people deemed inferior or undesirable would once agian occur. This is precisely what we have seen in our time, and Nietzsche predicted that it will only get worse.
If we cherish the distinctive ideals of Western Civilization, and believe as I do that they have enormously benefited our civilization and our world, then whatever our religious convictions, we will not rashly try to hack at the religious roots from which they spring. On the contrary, we will not hesitate to acknowledge, not only privately but also publicly, the central role that Christianity has played and still plays in the things that matter most to us."
by Dinesh D'Souza
Although D'Souza makes some good points, I would dissagree on one major premise. It's not the intolerance of Americans that will ultimately lead to the destruction of our value system, but the over-tolorance. We have taken equality to a new level that was never intended by our forefathers. Political correctness, tolorance of gays and lesbians, the Fairness Doctrine, all of these are indications of a failing system. As Christians it is our biblical to charge to be intolerant of sin. This does not mean that we view gays and lesbians as less than or unequal to other sinners, but that we take a stand and say that homosexuality is wrong.
While the world wants to fade everything into shades of gray, we must make clear distinctions between right and wrong, truth and untruth. Christians cannot allow themselves to be diluted and wishy-washy because, ultimately, we are representations of Christ and his gospel. Constantly I have to remind myself of Pauls instructions "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Well here is some of the Best:
- Landon missing a turn, allowing for 2 hours of good conversation
- 6 guys in a camper, and everything that goes with that. except for the smell.
- Hearing Sound Doctrinal Teaching on the Great Doctrine of Justification
- Seeing the Bride of Christ unified to Worship their Savior
- Watching everybody "spit some mad game"
- Todd Twining.
- Singing "There is a Day" especially when lead by Todd
- Really good Biblical Fellowship
- Losing every game of Volleyball and a butt kicking in football
- Being Convicted
- Being Convicted again
- Leaving with a more profound understanding of the Cross
Why? Because the universe doesn't have to be this way. There's no particular reason the laws of nature that we find on Earth should also govern a star billions of light years away. there's no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone mathematical ones. So where did Western man get this idea of a lawfully ordered universe? From Christianity.
Christians were the first ones who envisioned the universe as following laws that reflected the rationality of God the creator. These laws were believed to be accessible to man because man is created in the image of God and shares a spark of the divine reason. No wonder, then, that the first universities and observations were sponsored by the church and run by priests.
No wonder also that the greatest scientists of the West -- Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Newton, Leibniz, Gassendi, Pascal, Mersenne, Curvier, Harvey, Dalton, Faraday, Joule, Lyell, Lavoisier, Priestley, Kelvin, Ampere, Steno, Pasteur, Maxwell, Planck, Mendel, and Lemaitre -- were Christians. Gassandi, Mersenne and Lamaitre were priests. Several of them viewed their research as demonstrating God's creative genius as manifested in his creation.
If modern science has Christian roots, so do our most basic political institutions and values. Consider Thomas Jefferson's famous assertion in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal'. He claimed this was 'self-evident', but one only has to look to history and to other cultures to see that it is not evident at all. Everywhere we see dramatic evidence of human inequality. Jefferson's point, however, was that human beings are moral equals. Every life has a worth no greater and no less than any other.
The preciousness and equal worth of every human life is a Christian idea. We are equal because we have been created equal in the eyes of God. This is an idea with momentous consequences. In ancient Greece and Rome, human life had very little value. the Spartans, for example, left weak children to die on the hillside. Greek and Roman culture was built on slavery.
Christianity banned infanticide and the killing of the weak and 'dispensable,' and even today Christian values are responsible for the moral horror we feel when we hear of such practices. Christianity initially tolerated slavery -- a universal institution at the time -- but gradually mobilized the moral and political resources to end it. From the beginning, Christianity discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. Slavery, the foundation of the Greek and Roman civilization, withered and largely disappeared throughout medieval Christendom in the Middle Ages.
The first movement to abolish slavery completely occurred only in the West, and were led by Christians. In the modern era, first the Quakers and then the evangelical Christians demanded that since we are all equal in God's eyes, no man has the right to rule another man without his consent. this religious doctrine not only supplies the moral justification for anti-slavery but also for democracy. Yes the idea of self-government is also rooted in the Christian assumption of human equality. One reason the atheist philosopher Nietzsche hated democracy is because he understood its religious foundation."
Although Mr. D'Souza (yes he is a Mr. now) passed over a few historical facts, and misrepresented others, he still has some valid points. However, Christianity (the religion) is not primarily responsible for the revelation of science and human equality. God is. This is where humble orthodoxy comes into play. We cannot bludgeon the world over the head with sayings like "we were responsible for", and "we knew it first". If we are to rightly handle any truth, we must present it in humility, understanding that in God's great mercy he has revealed it to sinful man. This is true for either the gospel or the foundations of this earth. God is sovereign over all and must receive the glory for it all. And He will :)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
"Popular efforts to tuck Christianity neatly aside as a footnote to this country's history and to deliver a secular society will fail. Why? Because the faith is inextrecably tied to our values , our institutions and even modern science.
We seem to be witnessing an aggressive attempt by leading atheists to portray religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as the bane of civilization. Finding the idea of God incompatible with science and reason, these atheists also fault Christianity with fostering a breed of fanaticism comparable to Islamic radicalism. The propsed solution: a completely secular society, liberated from Christian symbols and beliefs. What it misses, however, is the larger story of how Christianity has shaped the core institutions and values of the USA and the West. Christianity is responsible for even for secular institutions such as democracy and science. It has fostered in our civilization values such as respect for human dignity, human rights and human equality that even secular people cherish.
Consider Science. Although there have been many civilizations in history, modern science developed in only one: Western Civilization. And why? Because science i based on an assumption that is, at root, faith-based and theological. That is the assumption that the universe is rational and follows laws that are dicoverable through human reason."
I don't know Dinesh D'Souza, I don't even know if he/she is a he or she! But I do know that he/she made some very accurate and prophetic statements. We live in a culture that is slowly beginning to reject God and replace it with science, all in the name of seperation of church and state. We co-exsist with thousands who strongly believe that God does not exsist and that anyone elses public belief in God infringes on their personal rights of freedom. Without doubt, we live in an increasingly secular world that desires nothing more than to see the Christian God banned from our culture. As Christians, it will be our responsiblity to stand for truth and for the Glory of our God. In so saying, I think the questions we must ask oursleves are, "Am I prepared? Can I rightly contend for the Faith? Do I know and understand Scripture?"
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
ARE YOU A GOOD PERSON?
Narrator: Meet Mr. Nice Guy. If good people go to heaven, he will be the first in line.
Mr. Nice Guy: Well... I try to do whats right.
Narrator: Have you kept the ten commandments?
MNG: Pretty much.
Narrator: Really? Do you mind if we look at them?
MNG: Ummm... all right.
Narrator: Have you ever told a lie?
MNG: Yeah, who hasn't?
Narrator: What do you call someone who lies?
MNG: A liar.
Narrator: Have you ever stolen anything?
Narrator: But you just told me you're a liar...
MNG: Hmph. Well, I did steal some candy once as a kid.
Narrator: What do you call someone who steals?
MNG: A thief.
Narrator: Have you ever looked at a women with lust?
MNG: Of course.
Narrator: Jesus said, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)
Narrator: Have you ever used God's name to curse?
MNG: Well, yeah, but only because that guy really deserved it!
Narrator: that's called blasphemy. "the lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." (Exodus 20:7).
Narrator: By your own admission you're a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. And that's just four of the ten commandments.
MNG: OK, so I'm not perfect.
Narrator: Actually, its worse than that... sin isn't just doing things we shouldn't. It's also not doing the things we should. "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17). There's more... suppose we could put a device in your brain that would record all your private thoughts for a week... and then play them on a movie screen for your friends and family to see.
MNG: that would be embarrassing!
Narrator: "God knows the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21).
MNG: Well... compared to some people I'm a saint!
Narrator: But the standard is God's law, not other people. Besides, even if you sin just five times a day, in one year, that's 1,825 sins! if you live to be seventy, you'll have broken God's Law over 127,000 times! You'll have to answer for every sin on judgment day, when "each of us will give and account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)
MNG: But won't God just forgive me?
Narrator: Try that in court. "Mr. Judge, I know I keep breaking the law but can't you just let it slide?" Only a corrupt judge would do that. A good judge would say, "Justice demands that you pay for your crimes." God is a holy, righteous judge. He hates sin! Jesus warned that God, in his wrath, will cast all who sin against him into eternal fire "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". (Matthew 13:42)
MNG: 'Gulp'. Then how can anyone get to heaven?
Narrator: There's only one way... If a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free! God loves you so much, he sent his son Jesus to suffer and die for you sins. Then, he rose from the grave -- defeating death! You can't earn eternal life. It is God's gift to all who humble themselves and come to Jesus. "Turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:21). He will forgive your sins and give you a new heart! "If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation!" (2 Corinthian 5:17).
Even though this might have been a little "corny" in some parts, I still think it did an excellent job of showing our need for a savior, and how God wonderfully bridges that gap through Jesus Christ. In addition, I thought the wealth of Scriptural support was very helpful. Not only was it applicable to the point the Narrator was trying to make, but it was convicting as well (as all scripture is). When I finished reading, I couldn't help but thank God for the "track" that was being handed out to hundreds of other students, and ask that he use it to draw the hearts of the lost.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The following is a story from C.J. Mahaney's book "The Cross Centered Life"
On Monday, Alice bought a Parrot. It didn't talk, so the next day she returned it to the pet store. "He needs a ladder", she was told. She bought a ladder, but another day passed and the parrot still didn't say a word. "How about a swing?" the clerk suggested. So Alice bought a swing. The next day, a mirror. The next day, a miniature plastic tree. The next day, a shiny parrot toy. On Sunday morning, Alice was standing outside the pet store when it opened. She had the parrot cage in her hand and tears in her eyes. Her parrot was dead. "Did it ever say a word?" the store owner asked. "Yes," Alice said through her sobs. "Right before he died, he looked at me and asked, 'Don't they sell any food at that pet store?'"
Often our lives our filled with many distractions that we forget what is of first importance. This story about Alice and her parrot really reminds me of how distracted I am in my own life. There are so many other things that I find to do rather than study God's word. God calls each and every one of us to place the gospel of first importance. "The way we can find out what is of first importance in our life", C.J. says, "is by asking ourselves a few questions."What are you most passionate about? What do you think about when you can think about whatever you want? What do you love to talk about? What defines you.
By asking myself these questions, I quickly found out that my life is certainly not centered on the gospel as it should be. What's your life centered on?
Father, oh how I have fallen short of what you have called me to do. Please forgive me for the many times I have focused my attention on everything else but you. Lord, give me strength to carry out the rest of my days walking in your footsteps. Help me to have a strong desire to follow your word and to study it. I am nothing without you, my Savior. I lift your name up. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Due to a recent transfer of my father's job, he and my mother will shortly be moving to Little Rock, Arkansas for a one-year stay (God willing). In light of this, after church Sunday there was a reception held in the lobby to bless and encourage my parents before they leave next week.
The entire affair, from the delicious food to the heart-warming words of thanks and encouragement can only be attributed to the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. How else could such love pour forth? What else would motivate the preparation and participation? How else could such emotional and spiritual tearing take place? The answer is simple. Because everyone in the room has been saved from the wrath of God by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any sacrifice that my parents have been, and any investment that they have placed in others lives is due to their salvation and nothing else .
The common bond that we all share in Christ was on full display Sunday. In fact, it is on display every Sunday; A collection of varied individuals with varied backgrounds, all with one common goal: to bring glory to God by thanking Him for my parents and what they have meant to many because of His grace.
From the Lord is has been received and to the Lord it shall return. How else could a Sunday like this have occurred?
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way
Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way
I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me
Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other
"East to West" - Casting Crowns
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Click. KSJN plays softly. Click. I turn it off in three seconds. It is 6:00a.m. I want Noel to sleep till 6:30. I slip out from under the sheet and quilt and tuck them in around her again. “God, I’m tired. Help me.” I can hardly move. My eyelids are paralyzed. I can lift them with fingers. Not necessary. My blue energy boot slippers and terry cloth robe are in their usual spot on the floor by the bed. I could find them in my sleep.
I’m sitting on the edge of the bed. “Maybe I should sleep in this morning. Noel can get the boys off to school. I might get sick if I don’t get more rest. I’ll be more efficient. I spent half of my ‘day off’ at the hospital…. Get off of me, Satan! In the name of Jesus Christ, the Almighty, get off my back! God, I’m tired. Help me…. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up like with wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary” (Isaiah 40:31). The slippers and robe are on now. The night-light in the bathroom spills out into the hall. I creep by the open door of the boys’ bedroom on the way to the basement. “God, thank you for my sons. Oh, how I love my boys! Wake them up in righteousness, Jesus.”
The basement has no heat, but one room is finished and has a carpet and a sofa and a desk. Click. I turn the three-way lamp on low. It is 6:05. The Bible is open on the couch from the day before. There is an orange pillow for my elbows. I throw the brown sweater Noel made me over my head like a monk’s habit (to keep off the draft from the window) and begin.
“God, I’m tired. Help me. Please, open my eyes so I can see wonders in your Word. Oh, God. Mighty God! ….ext.
“And now my wife, Lord. Thank you for her. Protect her form harm and from the evil one. Give her joy in the ministry with me……ext.
“And finally, my sons. Even in their sleep, Lord, turn their hearts to you. And when I wake them with your Word, sow that seed in humble, open soil….ext.
I meditate on Mark today and try to see the inner meaning of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand….ext.
The grandfather clock sounds half the Westminster chime. It is 6:30. My heart is full. My eyes are open. My faith is alive. My joy is warm. My conscience is still. My hope is strong. I will awaken them all with love!
Taste and See, Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life. – John Piper
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Then I shut the hood (also with great authority) and, proud fool that I am, got back into the car and turned the ignition once more - as if my having merely stared at the engine was sufficient to repair it; as if the broken parts were now calling to one another, "He's seen us! Get back together, quick!"
Yet as I turned the key again, the same violent shriek issued forth.
Only at this point did I finally go back in the house to do what I should have done earlier: I telephoned the repair shop to notify them of my car's condition - fully ready to pass along to them my firm conviction that the problem was not the window-washer fluid container.
Now you might assume that in a normal being, such ineptness couldn't possibly coexist with any significant measure of pride. Someone as unskilled as I am would, naturally, be humble right? However, without a doubt I can assure you that both incompetence and pride are very evident in my life.
The sad fact is that none of us are immune to the logic-defying, blinding effects of pride. Though it shows up in different forms and to differing degrees, it infects us all. The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it's where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about.
John Stott has clearly thought about this and wrote the following: "At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."
We've seen promise of humility - the gracious support of God. But we must also be aware of the great perils of pride - not just occasionally or under certain circumstances, but at every stage and in every sphere. Throughout our time on this earth, and in every arena of our lives, you and I share a common greatest enemy: pride.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
John 12:36-“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you many become sons of the light.”
THE DESPERATE SITUATION WE ARE IN
So what is this desperate situation that only Jesus can rescue us from? Notice the words “perish,” “condemned,” and “wrath of God” in the passage bellow….
John 3:16-18, 36- “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned; but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God….. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
“The desperate situation we are in, Jesus says, is that we are under the wrath of God. This is owing to our sin. God is just, and His anger is rightly kindled against human attitudes and behaviors that belittle His worth and treat Him as insignificant. All of us have done this. In fact, we do it every day.” –John Piper-
GOD SENT JESUS TO DIE IN OUR PLACE
The amazing truth is that God has sent his Son Jesus into the world not to add to this condemnation, but to rescue us from it. The way Jesus rescues us is by taking the condemnation on himself, and dying in our place.
Isaiah 53:4-6-“We esteemed stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to His own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
“The reason Jesus demands that we believe in Him is that there is nothing we can add to this rescue form the wrath of God. Jesus became our substitute. The sins that should have brought condemnation on us, God laid on Jesus. God’s love planned an amazing exchange: Jesus endured what we deserved sp that we might enjoy what he deserved- eternal life!” –John Piper-
John 14:11-“Believe me that I am the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account the works themselves.”
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
After being a believer for so long, I can sometimes become discouraged with what seems like a slow growth process concerning my sanctification. For every step forward, I feel like I take two steps back. Maybe that is why I could so identify with the words from J. Hudson Taylor.
“I hated myself; I hated my sin…I felt that there was nothing I so much desired in this world as holiness, nothing so much needed. But so far in any measure attaining it, the more I pursued and strove after it, the more it eluded my grasp; till hope itself almost died out… I cannot tell you how I am buffeted sometimes by temptation. I never knew how bad a heart I had. Often I am tempted to think that one so full of sin cannot be a child of God at all.”
Some may be surprised to find that these words were penned by one of the most revered heroes in the Christian church. J. Hudson Taylor was a nineteenth-century missionary to China. A renowned man of extraordinary faith, sacrifice, prayer and devotion. While serving in China, he found that every day he felt oppressed by his sin. Help came in the form of a letter from a fellow missionary.
“Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power; trusting Him to subdue all inward corruption; resting in the love of an almighty Savior;…this is not new and yet ‘tis new to me. I feel as though the first dawning of a glorious day had risen upon me.”
In a later letter to his sister, Taylor communicated that he was as happy as he had ever been. What caused such a changed…even in the life of a believer? Taylor said, “I am as capable of sinning as ever, but Christ is realized as present as never before.” Fixing our gaze on Jesus is a powerful thing when we are seeking to be holy. Paul the apostle says it this way: "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."-2 Corin 3:18. So, even in my daily struggle against sin, I know that there is hope. I know that I don’t have to fight this battle alone. I can live my life hoping that my battles are achieving glory for God. But I can rest, knowing He has already won the war.
~Holy God, there is none like You and I thank you for sending Your precious Son as a sacrifice for my sins. Help me to hate me sin as You do, but not to make it bigger than You. May I live my life in the shadow of the cross, living in all joy and gladness because of what has been accomplished! Help me to walk humbly before You and the people in my life.~
"John 6:35- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger."
HIS YOKE IS EASY, AND HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT
"Therefore, His demand that we come to Him is not burdensome. It means coming to the one who has become everything to us. Jesus did not come into the world mainly to bring a new law. He came to offer Himself for our eternal enjoyment and to do whatever He had to do- including death- to remove every obstacle to this everlasting joy with Him." -John Piper-
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11)
When Jesus demands that we do things- like “come to me”- the essence of these demands is that we experience that life that most fully savors and spreads His supreme worth. When we come to him, he is the burden-lifter, the soul-satisfier, and the life-giver. How awesome! Coming to Jesus means coming to drink. And the water we drink in fellowship with Jesus gives everlasting life. "Jesus stood up and cried out. 'If anyone thirsts, let his come to me and drink'" (John 7:37)
"Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The Water that I will give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14)
The demand that we come to Jesus is the demand to come to the fountain of life and drink. How grateful I am that I can go to my savior when ever I am in need and be refreshed by His love and mercy.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
"There can be few more alarming sights than the sight of what we would be were we left to ourselves, of what we are by nature in and of ourselves. It is a sight which few of us are able to bear for any length of time. That is why such experiences are usually brief , pointed but not prolonged. God shows us enough to make us see our need, to break down any illusions we may have had about ourselves. Like a skilled surgeon his knife work is fast, accurate and clean."
I don't think Mr. Ferguson could be more right. Thank God that He does not leave me to myself where there will be certain failure. The sad thing is, is that God must repeat the process over and over again. Somehow I attribute any success I have to myself, which leads me abandon the wings of my Father and attempt to fly solo. In the end, as I am plummeting toward certain death and destruction, the Lord once again swoops in and shows me His grace. Amazing isn't it?
Monday, September 24, 2007
I just wanted to let you all know of an outstanding message on the subject of modesty by C.J. Mahaney titled, "The Soul Of Modesty." It is probably the best message I've ever heard on this subject and I highly recommend it.
Check it out!
You can download it free here....
Friday, September 21, 2007
Potter, have thy way!
My heart—so very hard!
My Master’s molding clay,
Feels a pot broken, charred.
Come again; soft’n my heart!
Fountain, quench my thirst!
My heart—so very dry!
The Spring once loved first,
Now broken cisterns, lies.
Come again; drench my heart!
Healer, let me see!
My heart—so very blind!
Open my eyes to thee,
With thy salve, love so kind.
Come again; unveil my heart!
Lover, fan my fire!
My heart—so very cold!
The flame of my desire,
but a mem’ry, of old.
Come again; warm my heart!
Father, comfort me!
My heart—so very torn!
My tears flow endlessly,
From soul, downcast, forlorn.
Come again; hush my heart!
Oh, Spirit of God, come!
Renew the passion of my soul;
Come again, and make me whole!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
“John 15:4-5- Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
1. Abiding means trusting in Jesus’ love:
“John 15:9- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
“Not to abide in Jesus’ love would mean that we stop believing that we are loved by Jesus. We look at our circumstances and we conclude that we are not loved by Jesus any more. That’s the opposite of abiding in the love of Jesus. So abiding in his love means continuing to believe, moment by moment, that we are loved.”
2. Abiding means trusting in Jesus’ word:
“John 8:31-32- If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“This cannot mean merely, “Keep my commandments.” Rather it means, “Keep trusting my word. Keep trusting what I have revealed to you about myself and my Father and my work.”
The context of John 18:31-32 confirms this: “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free’”
Is the observer of all things.
Iniquity cannot hide from His sight,
My darkest corners are brought into light.
With my sin, it is the Lord that I scorn,
His Word I despise and disobey.
Transgression is on my very breath,
Why must I believe in this certain Death?
In the secret and quiet places I sin,
But with boldness affront the Will of the Lord.
Praise be to Jesus Christ, I shall win!
For it is "the Lord who has also put away my sin."
"I shall not die."
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Give me a passion
To see your glory
A heart that worships you alone
Cleanse me forgive me
For my self-seeking
That I might see to make you known
I want to serve You
I want to please You
My one desire is to
See the name of Jesus
Lifted high above all things
And the knowledge of your glory
Fill the earth
To see the name of Jesus
Lifted high above all things
And a fragrant offering
Ascending to the king in every place
Your heart your passion
To give all nations
Gladness and joy in Jesus Christ
Rivers of blessing
Mercy and kindness
Purchased by your great sacrifice
So we join our voices
To sing your praises
Our one desire is to….
The other day I was listening to the song above and I found my self crying out to God as I realized how often I fail to lift my savior “high above all things” when it comes to evangelizing and living out my convictions. If that is a struggle for me how then can I lift God “high above all things”? Undeservingly Gods grace is always there and I can repent for my fear of man and lack of fear in God. What a beautiful and glorious Savior I serve to do that for me!
“Titus 2:11-12- For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Father I pray that you would reign in my heart and let my soul be satisfied in you alone and nothing in this world. I want to serve you, I want to please you, my one desire it to see Your Holy name lifted “high above all things.”
Monday, September 17, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
MoveOn.org, and the new standards of Democratic debate.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:01 a.m.
Important as was yesterday's appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the events leading up to his testimony may have been more significant. Members of the Democratic leadership and their supporters have now normalized the practice of accusing their opponents of lying. If other members of the Democratic Party don't move quickly to repudiate this turn, the ability of the U.S. political system to function will be impaired in a way no one would wish for.
Well, with one exception. MoveOn.org, the Democratic activist group, bought space in the New York Times yesterday to accuse General Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House." The ad transmutes the general's name into "General Betray Us."
"Betrayal," as every military officer knows, is a word that through the history of their profession bears the stain of acts that are both dishonorable and unforgivable. That is to say, MoveOn.org didn't stumble upon this word; it was chosen with specific intent, to convey the most serious accusation possible against General Petraeus, that his word is false, that he is a liar and that he is willing to betray his country. The next and obvious word to which this equation with betrayal leads is treason. That it is merely insinuated makes it worse.
MoveOn.org calls itself a "progressive" political group, but it is in fact drawn from the hard left of American politics and a pedigree that sees politics as not so much an ongoing struggle but a final competition. Their Web-based group is new to the political scene, but its politics are not so new. More surprising and troubling are the formerly liberal institutions and politicians who now share this political ethos.
In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times, after saying that President Bush "isn't looking for the truth, only for ways to confound the public," asserted that "General Petraeus has his own credibility problems." We read this as an elision from George Bush, the oft-accused liar on WMD and all the rest, to David Petraeus, also a liar merely for serving in the chain of command. With this editorial, the Times establishes that the party line is no longer just "Bush lied," but anyone who says anything good about Iraq or our effort there is also lying. As such, the Times enables and ratifies MoveOn.org's rhetoric as common usage for Democrats.
Late last week, for instance, we heard it said of General Petraeus that, "He's made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual." This was from Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, said Thursday that General Petraeus would not be the author of his report; it would be written "by Administration political operatives." He opened yesterday's hearing, moments before General Petraeus was to speak, by saying, "We cannot take anything this Administration says on Iraq at face value."
So far, only two Democrats that we are aware of have repudiated this political turn. Joe Lieberman, already ostracized from the party for dissent, called the MoveOn ad an "act of slander that every member of the Congress--Democrat and Republican--has a solemn responsibility to condemn." And Joe Biden, after the MoveOn ad was read to him on "Meet the Press" Sunday, replied: "I don't buy into that. This is an honorable guy. He's telling the truth."
These are the exceptions. Another of the party's activist groups, Democracy for America, released a statement about the time General Petraeus began to speak: "It is offensive that our commander-in-chief has ordered a four-star general to mislead Congress."
As General Petraeus finished his statement yesterday, Senator Chris Dodd's Presidential campaign spammed an email about "the accuracy" of the report: "The fact that there are questions about General Petraeus's report is not surprising given that it was brought to you by this White House." Thus in Mr. Dodd's view, General Petraeus, returned from the Iraq battlefield, is a complicit ventriloquist's dummy.
Can this really be the new standard of political rhetoric across the Democratic Party? There was a time when the party's institutional elites, such as the Times, would have pulled it back from reducing politics to all or nothing. They would have blown the whistle on such accusations. Now they are leading the charge.
Under these new terms, public policy is no longer subject to debate, discussion and disagreement over competing views and interpretations. Instead, the opposition is reduced to the status of liar. Now the opposition is not merely wrong, but lacks legitimacy and political standing. The goal here is not to debate, but to destroy.Today General Petraeus testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Its Democratic Members include Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer and Jim Webb. This would be the appropriate setting to apologize to General Petraeus for the MoveOn.org ad. Or let it stand.
(HT: Denny Burk; and Jenn for telling me about his great blog)