My Only Comfort

Yesterday after I wrote that I felt a bit overwhelmed after listening to Naomi Wolf and running across other upsetting news items, I started working on cleaning up my house. My brain needed a break from thinking about how we are losing our freedoms and I had plenty of potential for creating order and beauty. Meaning, my house was a wreck!

As I was washing dishes a chorus started going through my head, “It is well with my soul.” And I thought about how no matter what happens on the outside, I can be OK on the inside.

When I was sorting through stuff that didn’t belong on a bookcase, I found a bulletin from church with a quote on the front by C. H. Spurgeon. Here’s part of it: “No man is really a Christian who finds his hope and confidence within himself; he must be looking away from himself to God in Christ Jesus……..What a sweet thing is the calm leisure of faith! Fret and worry, hurry and haste, are all slain by the hand of faith. That is the description of what a Christian ought to be, “waiting upon the Lord:” depending upon God, expecting from God, and patiently waiting for God, till He shall give the desired blessing.” Hmm. So, what is the blessing that I desire? Most of all, that I see His face and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Does all this mean I’m OK with our country apparently moving in the direction of a dictatorship? No way!!! It still breaks my heart to think it could happen. So, what do I do with a broken heart? This morning, in the 3rd verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!” we sang, “Jesus! what a help in sorrow! While the billows o’er me roll, even when my heart is breaking, He, my comfort, helps my soul.”

Then another good quote, this one by A. W. Pink, on the front of our bulletin about how God is a solid rock that we can stand on when everything is being swept away around us. And there was the scripture from Isaiah 54:10. “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”

I asked one of our pastors what the mountains and hills represent and he said it was the worst thing a person could conceive of happening. And “LORD” is in caps by the way, because it means the God who makes covenant with His people.

I intend to continue reading and watching news and writing about what is going on, upsetting as it is. But I pray that I won’t lose my focus on the Rock, the ONE thing I can count on, which is God’s unchangeable character and love for me.

It’s All Crazy

Ever since I watched the Naomi Wolf video last Saturday (which you can see on huffingtonpost.com) I have been a bit overwhelmed. I’ve been trying to digest what she has said and on top of that, learning a bit about Blackwater (!!!!) and other groups like them (!!!!!), listening to the retired Army Intelligence guy who was almost escorted out of an audience for asking Donald Rumsfeld an uncomfortable question, trying to find out who the legislator was whose quote I read in a book back in the mid 1980’s who said the homeschoolers wouldn’t fit in with the New World Order they were planning (that was televised, too!), thinking back over a few decades of government and social changes to see if it makes any sense, learning that King George wants money for bunker-busting bombs, but we are only doing sanctions not planning to bomb Iran – yeah, right. My house is a wreck and I was really sleepy so I slept late today.

I thought I should have a cup of tea and look and see how things are going with Ron Paul and check my email then take care of my house. What did I find? The House passed to the Senate for consideration by Senate committees, H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. I looked it up and at the very beginning it says, “An Act To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.”

WHAT??!!!! “Prevent”? We prevent neighborhood crime by having Neighborhood Watch. What does FEDERAL crime prevention look like? We haven’t really had that as far as I know. Has Neighborhood Watch been part of our lives for a whole generation in order to – or did it just work out that way? – prime us for the idea of people spying on each other? I have wondered that for years but now I’ve finally said it.

And what “other purposes” are they talking about? I had to print it out and will read it later. Oh, gee…..I just rubbed my forehead and looked at this act and found something else alarming……”The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.” So, do they want to do something about that? Know what this reminds me of? China. They control what their citizens can see on the internet in China. Are we even considering doing that here??!!! Sounds like it. I’m still on the first page.

Aw, shoot. My tea is getting cold and my house looks the same as when I just sat down to see how Ron Paul is doing and check my email. Someone please tell me I’m still asleep and I didn’t wake up to this nightmare.

Sanctions on Iran

So today we put sanctions on Iran. Their military and three banks and quite a few big businesses are all tangled up. What I mean is that the military runs the banks and owns the businesses. So, now Washington says no one in this country can do business with any business in Iran. It’s almost impossible to know if they are connected to the Revolutionary Guard. So, they are all off limits.

And Washington wants to make life difficult – and how they plan to do that, I don’t know – for any other country who does business with Iran or allows their citizens to do so. Well, let’s just bully the world. Nothing like making Russia mad. And China. And Venezuela.

They also want to add all 125,000 members of the Revolutionary Guard to the terrorist list. You know, the one that includes animal rights activists.

AND today there was a request for more money for military purposes to include bunker-busting bombs. And they tell us they are not preparing for war. Where are our journalists who are supposed to dig into this stuff and get the truth? Bush did say if we bomb Iran, it will be WWIII. It sure will. Does he think that no one wants that? Does he think all these countries who sell arms and uranium and oil to each other and hate us wouldn’t be glad for the opportunity? Is he paying attention to our dollar? Does he understand that China is only capitalist as long as they need to be? Does he understand their dialectical philosophy and their view of the evolution of society? Does he realize they will dump our bonds if it suits their purpose? We are borrowing 2 or 3 billion a day, mostly from China, to be in Iraq. Does Bush think China will loan us money to fight Iran? Is he aware that China controls the Panama Canal? There are more ways than bombs and bullets to fight and we could be hit so many ways, it makes my head spin.

The “List”

This is unreal. Well, I wish. According to http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-23-Watchlist_N.htm there are almost 755,000 names on the government’s terrorist list. This is a list of names of people who shouldn’t be crossing our borders either by air, land or sea. Do you really think, even with differences in spellings that could put a person on more than once, that there are anywhere NEAR that many terrorists??? It depends on the definition. It has been expanded to include animal rights activists. I wonder who else? Expanding the definition is part of the expansion of
government control on the way to a closed society, by the way. They start with people most people don’t identify with and keep adding folks.

The so-called experts say the list is so long and cumbersome it’s almost impossible to use it. They also said, “Homeland Security has not done enough to use the list more broadly in the private sector, where workers applying for jobs in sensitive places such as chemical factories could do harm.” Really???

Since there aren’t that many terrorists, even when you count animal rights activists, why are so many people on this list? I don’t think it’s always by ‘mistake’ that they are added. Naomi Wolf isn’t a terrorist and if you saw the video I mentioned in a previous blog – or read her book, “The End of America” – you know some people are on the list who don’t know how or why they are on it. A man in Denver told Ms.Wolf that he, a retired military man, is on the list and so is his teenage son! And I guess if you fit their unknown criteria, you will have trouble finding a job at certain places.

I guess about the only good thing is that it is so cumbersome it’s just about useless. What on earth is the criteria for making this list? If you are tazed during a political speech for asking a question, would you make the list? If you don’t want the US to torture people and have secret prisons (black sites) do you get to be on it? If you think it’s a joke do they add your name? This is NOT the country that I was born in half a century ago.

Seriously, I think they need to know who should not be coming into this country but this is so stupid. Like my husband just said, “They may just snatch you up one day, huh?” I guess that is why it is so long? To intimidate us? Sorry to be so rambly…it’s hard to put all this together. I’ve been thinking for days about “The End of America” and Naomi Wolf’s speech and will be writing more later. And I hope I’m not so rambly next time.

Germany – Early, 1930’s/America, Now

Hey, Folks. Got one for you here….

This has something about Ron Paul in the title but it is not about Ron Paul. He is only mentioned in regards to the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007.
http://dailypaul.com/node/3764

This is a 45 minute talk by Naomi Wolf. She is an author who has an elderly friend who kept telling her that different things that have happened since we started this “War on Terror” are like what happened in the early 30’s in Germany. She thought it was rhetoric and brushed it off. Finally, she started reading Goebbels and things about Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pinochet…and now she has written a book, The End of America. In the book and in this talk, she tells the steps a leader goes through to close down a society. She said there is a blueprint for this. And it starts with “Invoke a terrifying internal and external threat. And very often this threat can be real. And they’ll hype it or use it manipulatively.” Next comes “Create a secret prison system where torture takes place that is outside the rule of law. And very often they establish military tribunals that will also strip prisoners of due process.” It goes on to creating a paramilitary force (such as Blackwater, which patrolled in New Orleans after Katrina) and a surveillance apparatus aimed at citizens and more. She gives examples of these things happening here and now. These are documented things we have heard in the news. And they are some of the same things these dictators did. She is on “the list” to be searched at airports and had a letter from Homeland Security placed in her luggage. It’s a riveting 45 minutes!! OH! And I wondered what on earth this firing of US Attorneys was all about. We heard so many conflicting stories. Now I know since I saw this video.

The good news is that it is not too late!! Millions of us together can fight back and one way is to urge our representatives to support the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007.

Should Christians Support Ron Paul?

Yes, but only individually. Not as a group. I actually think everyone should support Ron Paul. The way I look at it, he happens to be a Christian. I support him because he votes in ways that uphold the Constitution. Consistently. For 20 years. His religious beliefs don’t have anything to do his ability to understand and stay in line with the Constitution. I’d rather my brain surgeon be at the top of his class and who cares what religion, rather than a Christian who was a strong ‘C’ student who will be praying as he saws his way into my head. Wouldn’t you?

Anyway, I’ve read some discussion lately where folks were suggesting that those of us who support Ron Paul should write letters to “evangelical leaders” telling them why they ought to endorse him. It seems that a lot of people don’t realize he is pro life. The theory is that these “leaders” – and I can only remember the name of one of them – and I am a Christian – have such influence over us Christians that it will shift massive numbers of us over to the Ron Paul camp.

Personally, after thinking about this a bit, I’ve decided I hope these “leaders” – and I can only remember the name of one of them – don’t start trying to tell me who to vote for at all. I won’t listen to them anyway.

And, another thing. I don’t want to see GROUPS of people lining up expecting to get some kind of special treatment from Ron Paul. They won’t get it. He is not for GROUP rights, but for INDIVIDUAL rights. In that way, he has a unifying effect on people. He doesn’t see us as some-certain-race-Americans, or some-certain-religion-Americans, or some-certain-sexual preference-Americans. He sees us and treats us all as individual Americans. If we see ourselves that way we will lose all this ridiculous mess of Political Correctness and herding of groups by their leaders.

Let’s get back to the idea that we are all Americans with equal INDIVIDUAL rights under the Constitution. And let’s all, individuals together, support Ron Paul.

The Work We Do

A couple days ago I had a conversation with a friend who had a stroke a few years ago and had to quit her job. She also had cancer surgery last year and her health is just generally not that great. This lady loves to work in her flower beds and said she enjoys cleaning her house. She does all sorts of crafts involving paint, silk flowers, ink and rubber stamps. The word “purpose” kept coming up. She seemed to be trying to accept where God has her and knowing there is a purpose to her life. She said she believes God has a reason for everything.

She’s not doing anything that would make the news or earn any awards and she seemed to be struggling with really getting what she believes to ‘sink in’. You know how that is. You know something but it doesn’t seem like you really ‘own’ the knowledge. It hasn’t gotten into your bones yet.

While listening to her, I thought of God and Adam and Eve and the garden He wanted them to tend. (That’s in Genesis 2:15.) I told her she is creating order and beauty and that is what Adam and Eve were doing when they tended the garden. It was the work that God gave them to do. And she is doing the same in her home and yard. It’s the place where God put her to tend; to create order and beauty.

Yesterday in church it all hit me again for my own ‘garden’. All those things we do each day that seem so mundane…laundry, dishes, wash the car, pick up your stuff and put it away, trim the bushes, pull the weeds…and on and on it goes, right? When we do these things we are doing the job God gave to man way back in the first garden. We are creating order and beauty. Just think of the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that we feel when things are in order. Then when we include art and music it gets even better. I just kind’a got all jazzed and ready to tackle this little ‘garden’ of my own. I hope this inspires you, too.

Thoughts on What I Read Last Night

Sometimes at night I just kinda’ flip through my Bible and see where I land. Last night I was doing this and I saw something underlined in Luke 12 and stopped to check it out. “Take heed”….”beware.” Jesus was telling folks not to be covetous…well, here’s the whole thing: “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ ”

So, why wouldn’t Jesus get involved in this dispute? He was a peacemaker, after all. And there seemed to be a problem between two brothers. I figured John Calvin might have said something about this in his commentary so I took a look. Turns out Jesus was being true to His calling. We should also be true to our calling. That would be the thing that is in your heart to do, whether it is ‘ministry’ or ‘secular’. He was not here to set up an earthy kingdom. He knew the Jews expected Messiah to do just that so he was not going to give any wrong impressions by acting as a judge. He also didn’t want anyone saying He was out to overthrow the Roman Empire. His Kingdom is not of this world, which really leads right on to what he said about possessions.

When Jesus said to beware of covetousness, he was warning us about a disease that flows out of the life in us…..John Calvin said, “….”‘our life consists not in abundance’.” These words point out the inward fountain and source, from which flows the mad eagerness for gain. It is because the general belief is, that a man is happy in proportion as he possesses much, and that the happiness of life is produced by riches.” (Had to quote him. I couldn’t have said it better.)

So, people have always thought more stuff would make them happier. Do we ever learn?

From Luke I went to Matthew chapter 6 and read all those neat things Jesus said about not worrying about our basic daily needs being met. Not only does He tell us that we don’t need stuff to be happy, He also says He will take care of our basic daily needs. He tells us that our heart will be with our treasure and says to seek His Kingdom and righteousness, and we will have all we need.

For a long time I was fuzzy on what that meant exactly…seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. I got a pretty good summation in a sermon a while back. Commitment to God’s Kingdom is submission to God’s will. It’s not my will but Yours…His Kingdom and His Righteousness means to want His will – not my wants, comforts, etc., – it’s God’s interests first.

God’s interests and ours are not always exactly the same. We want the comfort and security of a nice bank account, for example, and He wants to mold us into the image of His Son. He wants to see the fruit of the Spirit like in Galatians 5…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. So, sometimes the very thing that comforts us, whatever it is for you and me, is the very area where He puts the squeeze on us. And for one who is seeking His Kingdom first, that has to be OK.

Oil

Well, it’s not what it used to be with Mortimer and me. I’m speaking of Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editorial-in-Chief of US News and World Report magazine. I used to read and agree with almost everything he said. Not anymore. Today I was reading his column in a back issue – Sept. 10, 2007 – and thought since it wasn’t about Iraq and it wasn’t about Homeland Security and issues of our personal freedom, this would be a pleasant read. We would once again have harmony. It was not to be.

He was writing about oil. He lays out our precarious situation with the oil producing countries and the control they have over us. He even said oil could go over $100 a barrel and cause a world-wide recession. (I think Fred Thompson needs to read that part! He looks at our economy as if it stands alone, according to his discussion in the debate yesterday.) Up to that point, Mortimer and I were thinking alike and I was enjoying it so much.

Then he used the words, and these are his VERY words – “Keeping oil safe for the West.” I was probably one of the last people on the planet (whose mind could be changed!) to believe we actually would fight a war for oil. It’s one thing to believe we’re doing that very thing and not liking it, but to believe we would do it and, should do it, is something else!! He says we have to have ships and troops and alliances to protect supply routes.

He goes on to say we should raise taxes on the oil companies in order to curb demand. So, he DOES know that would raise prices on everything, including FOOD? Higher gas taxes would put a terrible crunch on the disappearing middle income class who are re-appearing in the lower income class. Does he want to cause a recession?

It gets even worse. He believes the Federal Government should “devise a way of meeting environmental concerns while seeking reliable domestic production of energy at home.” Why does the government have to do this? Don’t they make things worse the more they try to ‘help’? Couldn’t the companies and consumers work this out? I, for one, would keep an eye on these companies and hold their feet to the fire so they are careful how they do things. “We the people” can make them be environmentally responsible.

Well, bless his heart, Mortimer realizes we are ‘over a barrel’. I just don’t agree with him on the solutions.

Should Travel to Foreign Countries Be Restricted?

“A non-interventionist foreign policy is not an isolationist foreign policy. It is quite the opposite. Under a Paul administration, the United States would trade freely with any nation that seeks to engage with us. American citizens would be encouraged to visit other countries and interact with other peoples rather than be told by their own government that certain countries are off limits to them.”

The above is a quote from Ron Paul on his website at www.ronpaul2008.com.

Have you thought about what would happen if American citizens were told we could travel freely to any country in the world? It is only in the past year or so that I have considered this idea.

Of course, some places are really dangerous but we could check that out for ourselves before we travel. If the State Department would feel better about keeping their list of dangerous countries, let them, but let adults make up their own mind about where they want to go.

So, what would be the result of Americans going wherever they wanted to go? How could a country that is trying to control its own citizens handle keeping the tourists in line? I remember the Cold War…a few folks from the US went to Russia. They were told where they could go and they were followed. What if a LOT of people at once went to a country that wanted to control tourists? Would they limit the number of tourists? What if dictatorships began to tell us to stay away? Wouldn’t that make it clear to anyone who thinks a totalitarian government is a good thing that it’s not at all? If the people who live in a country without freedom keep seeing a lot of those who have it, wouldn’t they want to do what they could to have this for themselves?

Just something I wonder about sometimes. You know, if what you are doing isn’t working but you continue to do the same…you’re a slow learner!