Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Benjamin Franklin's creed

"Here is my creed.  I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe.  That he governs it by his Providence.  That he ought to be worshipped.  That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children.  That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.  These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion..."  ~Benjamin Franklin (Letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University)

How's that for a non-religious Founding Father?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principles 27-28

YAHOO!  I finally finished it!  It took me an embarrassing 13 months, but here I am entering my last post on The Five Thousand Year Leap.  One thing I did notice is that it was less necessary for me to use the dictionary in these last few chapters.  Ha!  Maybe my vocabulary understanding is expanding?
I definitely recommend this book...even if it takes months to read.  It isn't for lack of interest but simply because I wanted to take the time to fully comprehend its message and because I have a full life of books, children, and responsibilities.  None of which I regret.  This book can be purchased here.  Thanks for going through it with me.

To read this series from the beginning, go here.

Principle 27: Avoiding the Burden of Debt

Well, the title of this chapter alone is enough to send us spiraling into depression...the emotional kind, not the monetary kind; though that sorta goes with the territory, I guess.

"...when you run into debt; you give to another the power over your liberty." ~Ben Franklin
Hence, the squeeze we are starting to feel from China.

Debt causes bondage.
To whom or what are we enslaved?

  • to the one we are indebted to; 
  • to the fear of the risk of any change in location or profession; 
  • of our own spirit - conscience and therefore against our own happiness.

The Founders saw debt as a "temporary handicap...alleviated at the earliest possible moment."  I think I'll start crying now.  IMPOSSIBLE.  So, it seems.  Though my knowledge of God proves to me that nothing is impossible with Him, but we must depend on Him. (Mt. 19:26)  Ok, I think I'll start crying again.  When will we get our heads out of our butts and start looking to God for answers?!  His presence is ridiculously obvious, yet we rationalize and deny His existence and refuse His guidance.  And aren't we so much better off because our own brilliant (note the sarcasm) ideas? NO.

The Founders "felt that the wars, economic problems, and debts of one generation should be paid for by the generation which incurred them." that the subsequent generations would be free.  But now we force our posterity into economic bondage from the moment they are born.
"When we trace the history of the national debt, we find that the policy laid down by the Founders has been followed by every generation until the present one." (p.209)
And why is that?  Because during the Great Depression government got too big for its britches and overstepped its authority and now we are paying dearly for it...or not paying.  The shackles of debt are locked on us.

Click it and weep: U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time.

Principle 28: Manifest Destiny

"The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race."

We are special.  We are unique.  We are God-blessed.  And I won't ever apologize for it.  God has set us apart.  May He continue to rest His hand of grace and peace upon us, though we now find ourselves in a place where we absolutely do not deserve it.  "When we are faithless, He remains faithful." (2 Tim. 2:13)  That being said, I do sense that one day enough will be enough and justice will reign in our land.  We don 't want justice.  We want grace.  But it will only come if we surrender ourselves to the perfect will of God.

I hear the phrase "manifest destiny" often and have never known really what it meant, so I did an internet definition search and this is what came up:  the doctrine or belief prevalent in the 19th century that the U.S.  had the God-given right to expand and possess the whole of the North American continent.  This sounded a little off to me...the idea that we are to selfishly conquer ---honestly, it sounds like a lie to me.  
"It is extremely important to distinguish between a sense of mission, and the spirit of perverted chauvinism associated with the idea of 'racial superiority.'  The former is a call to exemplary leadership and service.  The latter is the arrogant presumption of a self-appointed role to conquer and rule." (p.216)
or as John Adams put it:
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." (emphasis added.)
Pardon me, but the Founders' intent regarding manifest destiny is a wee bit different from the propaganda of revisionists and liars that is so prevalent in our American culture today.  How important it is that we know the truth!  And how inspiring it is!  Until this present generation, America has been looked at as a nation to imitate and admire.  It has been a coveted dream by a world starved of freedom.  But now we are saturated with a generation entitlement-minded lemmings; we have a president who bows and apologizes to tyrants all over the world; a media embarrassed by American success and exceptionalism.

In conclusion:
"The Founders knew they were sailing into uncharted waters, and the knew their ship of state was entirely different from anything else on the face of the earth.  True, they had examined every kind of political operation known to man, and they had abstracted from history every lesson and precaution they could learn, but their own product was unique, bold, and filled with the promise of a better day." (p.218)
"Happily for America, happily we trust for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course.  They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society." ~James Madison (emphasis added.)
So, let us never take for granted the miracle of America.  Let us not let our guard down.  Let us not sleep on the watchtower but be alert.  There are plenty who hate our freedom and there is a darker enemy behind it all who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  Be on you guard.  Be in prayer.  Be thankful for the rarity of freedom on the earth and that we are participants thereof. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pastor Steve

I want to take a minute to give my pastor props.

He is a man who stands strongly on his convictions and is not afraid to speak what is right even though it may not be popular or politically correct.  One of my favorite mentor ladies, Sally Clarkson, often says that if you take a stand you become a target.  Thus has been the case with my beloved pastor.  Because of his unwavering commitment to God's ways according to the Bible, he has come under intense scrutiny of the community.   Surprisingly he has even become a target of people once involved in our own fellowship.  Yet, in it all he handles it with grace and logic and confidence.  As does his precious wife.

I admire Steve because he not only is deeply passionate for God's Word but is also passionate for the condition and history of our country.

He is a devoted teacher of the Word and a loving shepherd of the flock God has put before him.  His teaching is quite possibly the best scriptural teaching I have ever been under.  He obviously loves the Word and immerses himself in it - exhaustively researching and studying so that he may share it with us.  And how we love it!  We are well-fed, encouraged, and motivated to not only hear the Word but to be doers of it as well.  He is intimately involved in the workings of his church and encourages accountability, service, and right relationships.  I personally have been encouragingly confronted by him on several occasions and his exhortation has been gentle and right.  I love that he is a peacemaker and not a peacekeeper.  He confronts when something must be confronted and doesn't allow for an unhealthy status quo.

I know his job is not an easy one, but it is a blessed one.  And he is absolutely the right person for it.  I know he is encountered with opposition, criticism, and hostility.  As unpleasant as this may be, he remains patient, kind, honest, and uncompromising.

Steve, you are a treasure to your "flock."  We adore you and are so thankful for you.  This post has not even touched the surface of your character and integrity nor has it sufficiently expressed our deep appreciation for you and Marian, but I do hope it is an encouragement.

Many blessings and much prayer for you and your family,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

photo booth

There's an icon on the toolbar at the bottom of my screen on my Mac.  It says "photo booth" and it scares me because I don't know what it is and have never taken the time to figure it out.

Enter Silas.
"Mom, I want to do something on your computer."
I now know what photo booth is.  Thanks to Si.

Mystery solved.

wise children are a delight.

"The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, 
and he who begets a wise child will delight in him."
~Proverbs 23:24

Thank You so much for my precious boys.  
As I see the awful strife a foolish child can bring.  I just want to thank you for two boys whose hearts are Yours; who want to please us and You...even at this young age.  Help us to guide them well in all truth.  How much we need You.
Please cause my children to have hearts fully devoted to You and unwavering.  Standing up against a perverse and foolish culture.  Not caring if they are the only ones.  Help me to impart that two these two precious souls.  Help me to be the same so I can lead by example.  No compromise.  No turning back.  No giving up.  Doing what's hard for the eternal glory of Your pleasure and presence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cast out the scoffer.

I know I'm being repetitive, but a constant theme continues to appear in my reading of Scripture and for the sake of my own family and those close to us who are struggling with a wayward, disrespectful, offensive "child" living in their home; I hope that God's Word will give them direction regarding how to deal with such a one.  And maybe You need a clear Word from Scripture as well.  If not, just bear with me while we move through this trial. (To read my previous post on this subject, click here.)

"Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, stife and reproach will cease." (Proverbs 22:10)
Ironically (or not) I read yesterday Scriptures definition of a "scoffer."
"A proud and haughty man---'scoffer' is his name; He acts with arrogant pride." (Pr. 21:24)
Webster's Dictionary definitions:

  • "scoffer" =  one that mocks, derides, or reproaches in a language of contempt 
  • "scorn" = to hold in extreme contempt; to think unworthy; to disdain; to slight; to disregard; to neglect
  • "haughty" = proud and disdainful; having a high opinion of one's self, with some contempt for others; lofty and arrogant
  • "proud" = daring; presumptuous; possessing a high or unreasonable conceit of one's own excellence, either of body or mind
As I write, I wonder how to apply this to my own life: rebellious teenagers aside.  Who are the scoffers in my life?  Will I also be obedient and cast them out?  Who causes contention?  --- From another angle, in what areas am I proud and haughty?  O Lord, deliver me from those.  We all know that pride goes before a fall.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the result of greatly delighting in Scripture

"Praise the Lord!  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.  His descendants will be mighty on earth;  The generation of the upright will be blessed." ~Psalm 112
When I read this today, my heart leapt!  Didn't I just say that I love, love, love God's Word!?!  ;)

And since I do, it is promised that my children will be mighty!  Hallelujah!  And so will yours if you delight in the Word of God!  We are raising a generation of world changers who will be mighty on this earth.  Start out by immersing yourself in the very Word of God!  "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Mt. 6:33)  First things first.
"His delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates both day and night.  He will be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, whose leaf does not wither.  In all he does, he prospers." ~Ps. 1:2-3
To think that America's Founders and Constitution Framers were raised with an emphasis on God's Word.  And look at the result!  A free nation.  A generation of patriots who accomplished something no one ever had before.  Heroism, courage, integrity.  Generations that catapulted the world into innovation, creativity, and technological advances incomprehensible.
How we need a generation like this now.  Let's do it ladies.  Saturate ourselves and our children in truth, love, faith, and hope through deep Biblical understanding.

Be blessed,

Psalm 1

If you know me at all, you know that I love, love, love God's word.

I have many favorite verses:
Psalm 30:5,11-12
Romans 8:28
Proverbs 10:19
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
James 1:5

And another one of my very favorites is Psalm 1.
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does he shall prosper."

The picture of the man who studies diligently the Word of God and does not let culture or contrary opinion sway him.  Resulting in a firm and solid foundation; strength; confidence in knowing what the truth is.

I have no idea where I heard this, but I refer to it often:
People who are trained to recognize counterfeit money never study counterfeit money.  They only study the real thing so that if anything other than the real thing passes through their hands, it is immediately recognized as a fraud.
And so we ought to be with the truth.
Truth is not relative.

Truth is Jesus.
Jesus is God.
God is truth.
And Jesus is the Word of God.
God's Word is truth. 

We need not go anywhere else.

Are you struggling with an emotional problem?  You don't need a secular psychologist.  All you need God's Word and people who know God's Word who can counsel you.

Do you want to have a godly perspective of what is going on in our world?
Many Christians have made it their reasonable service to make known the things that concern and affect us in this world. (Links to various resources with a Christian worldview can be found in the side bar of this blog.  Just go to the section: "Stay informed on the issues...")  The government-run media isn't giving you the truth.  The anti-God media isn't giving you the truth.  Don't waste your time.  Don't waste your mind.

Everything we need is in the pages of scripture.  Everything we need is within the Body of Christ.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."  (2 Peter 1:3)
 "And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;  and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them all, as anyone might have need." (Acts 2:44-45)
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, sand some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-12)
I often share articles of interest (written by Christians) with people; and unbelievers who are privy often send me secular articles with ungodly perspectives.  Granted, we ought to be willing to see both sides of a situation.  But, if you know something is wrong because God says it's wrong, then, really, do you need to research the opposing perspective?  No, you don't.  Cling to the truth.  Don't jumble your mind with "every wind of doctrine." Knowledge abounds. (Dan. 12:4)  Useless knowledge abounds, too.
"...we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." (Ephesians 4:14)
Trickery of men.  Cunning craftiness.  Deceitful plotting.

Wow, methinks Paul is tellin' us what he really thinks.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly..."   Let's just obey God on this.  It is one of the very first lessons I ever learned as a Christian and so vital.  I hope this encourages you.  It is so easily applicable.  Just don't seek out counsel, advice, or information from an ungodly source.  God has provided everything we need.

Be blessed, 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Don't bite the hand that feeds you"

...and for goodness sake, if you're on the other end, stop accommodating the biting creature!!

We know some people who are struggling with a child who has become increasingly deceptive, and wickedly defiant.  It is apparent that peers and culture are heavily influencing this one.  Since we are indirectly involved, it has caused me to ponder the best course of action.  My natural leaning is to let the rebellious child go as a prodigal and not allow the demonic presence that is following this one into the home.  But, is this right?  Some feel that grace should be offered and offered and offered even to the sacrifice of their own personal health and life; and even if it takes decades to occur.  I can certainly see the love in this scenario, but it doesn't seem right to me.

"A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again." (Proverbs 19:19)  The NLT puts it this way:  "Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty.  If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again." (emphasis mine.)

I don't think this verse is advising whether or not to rescue such a person, but is telling us that if we do, we will have to do it again and again and again.  We must choose if we want to be a slave to a fool or to let them go on their own.  It is clear that appeasing/rescuing them will not result in turning them away from their bad behavior.

To what extent do we associate with fools?
What if they are Christians?
What if they are family?

It does seem to infer that constant contact/living with/intimate friendship is to be avoided.

"Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul." (Proverbs 22:24-25)
"An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression." (Proverbs 29:22)

Proverbs 13:20 tells us to walk (alluding to a long-term relationship) with the wise and that if we associate with fools, we will suffer harm.  

"Bad company corrupts good morals." (1 Corinthians 15:33)  Do I really want the goodness in my home corrupted?  This is a no-brainer.  NO!!!

It is clear that we are not to keep company on an on-going basis with those who are being foolish and with those who will negatively influence us.  The danger is that we may also join them in their sin; and that we will suffer harm.

Scripture is even clearer concerning those who are not Christians.
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness:  And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'  Therefore, 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.'" (1 Cor. 6:14-17)

To reach their hearts for the Lord, efforts must be made.  Short visits.  Letters.  Invitations.  Love.  
Balancing love with discernment, wisdom, and just plain old common sense. 

I think it is ok to welcome them into our home as long as it is for a brief period of time and assuming they are not bringing with them darkness, defiance, or any form of a bad attitude that challenges the peace in the home.

No refusing-to-be-saved, sinful, or wicked person will live under my roof; only those who bring with them the Spirit of God.

Scripture is clear.  (Duh!)  Here, we have been debating it --- using a few scriptures and a lot of useless psychobabble (why do we even go there?) and have only argued and upset one another.  But, the answer is always in God's Word.  How come I take so long to get to it?  Ugh!
Thank You, Jesus, that You bring such clarity!

p.s. To read more on this subject, click here.

"Nick of Time" by Ted Bell

We just finished reading The Nick of Time by Ted Bell.  Awesome!

Nazi submarine.
Evil pirates.
Secret treasure.
Time travel.
Sea battles.

Meet Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill.

Inspire heroism in your kids.  Like Snow Treasure (true story of Norwegian children during Nazi occupation), it encourages us all to courage and sacrifice for the greater good.

It was a teeny bit above Si's head (he's almost 6).  But Brandon (age 7) LOVED it!  It's aim is for kids around age 10+.


Go Si!

My little fire cracker won the Borrego Springs Tee-Ball perpetual trophy for the best sportsmanship!

Yes, Mommy was very near tears.  Such a sweet and enthusiastic boy!

I have the two best boys in the whole wide world!

Here's the vid:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A companion of fools suffers harm.

"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." ~Pr. 12:26
"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm." ~Pr. 13:21
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.  True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the application." ~G. Washington
Who do we let our children associate with?  Our children must be surrounded with the wise.

I can already hear the "Jesus ate with tax-collectors and sinners" argument.  I'm not saying that our children should not be reaching out to others for the purpose of influencing them toward Jesus.  But, I am saying that we must consider whether our children are thermometers or thermostats.  Do my children influence others to do what is right, or are they easily influenced by their peers?  Until they are ready to set the atmosphere they are in, protect them by choosing for them who their friends and influences will be.

Did you ever try this?
Stand on a chair.
Have another person stand on the ground.
Try to pull the person on the ground up to your level on the chair.
It is nearly impossible and much easier to be pulled down to the lower level.
So, it is with peers.  The idealist must be grounded and strong in order to influence the mediocre and foolish.  But the foolish only have to give a little tug to pull the idealist down to their level.

Undoubtedly our children become (or remain) fools if they hang out with other fools, and Proverbs 13:20 says they will suffer harm or even be destroyed.  Yikes!  Is it really worth it to let our kids "do whatever they want" when the end result is destruction?

Jamie and I have had this discussion recently.  I love the Proverbs (and really all of Scripture).  It is so simple.  And if we obey God's ways, then life is pretty black and white and not too hard to figure out.

The other night, a girl we know (please pray for this family) was determined to attend an event putting her in the position to become a companion of fools.   She defied adamantly the counsel of her family.  Her motive was obvious, though she lied about it.  She was admonished and warned.  Her guardians were greatly cautioned.  We were concerned for her safety but for Jamie and I, the situation was out of our hands.  In the middle of the night, we received a call that this girl was in a very serious rollover crash...and her "companion" was was she.  Thankfully, she is alive, albeit pretty beat up.  Jamie went to rescue her (again, for this is not the first time)---she seemed thankful but prideful and unrepentant.

These two verses have flashed in my mind since.
"..A companion of fools suffers harm" (Pr. 13:20); and "A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy." (Pr. 29:1)

Also the Prodigal story (Lk. 15:11-32)...  sometimes we have to allow our children to choose their destructive path until they are eating with pigs and eventually come to their senses.  Granted, we must be pro-active in raising them in godliness and holiness from the moment God places them in our hands.  As parents, we must purpose to reach their hearts.  Not just in moral training...which is important...though focusing on that solely only causes legalism in my opinion.
It is like what Jesus said (Mt. 22:37-40): All the commandments (morals) are wrapped up in these two things: 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Or Matthew 6:33 "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  If we focus on love of God and others, and if we focus on pursuing the very time-consuming job of winning our children's hearts, then morality and obedience to God and to parents will naturally occur.  Granted, nothing is perfect.  But if our children want to please God and us out of love, we have quite a head start.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

While He may be found. A prayer.

"Father, we know that Your hand is gracious to all who seek You, but that Your anger is against all who abandon You.  May You while You may be found and call on You while You are near." (Beth Moore)

Yes, Lord.  ...While You may be found.
Society views You as an impotent fairy tale.  Nothing is further from the truth!
You are abundantly sovereign; the Creator of every enormous and ferocious thing, and every intricate and microscopic thing.  We are surrounded by Your fingerprints and yet blind to the obviousness of them, or worse - we intentionally refuse to see because we want our own way...our own absurd and foolish way.  We elevate ourselves above the star-breathing Creator of the billions-of-galaxies universe.  We are arrogant and stupid.  And You are patient with us --- not willing that any should perish but that all would come to eternal salvation.  Professing to be wise, we become total fools.

O God!  Help us to see the truth and to let truth matter more to us than our own selfish and foolish desires.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reaping what we sow in relationships

I am taking this straight out of Sally Clarkson's book, The Mission of Motherhood.  It is too beneficial to not share.  If you don't have this book, order it now!  (click on the book title to order it.)  It is the BEST mom's book ever written.  I have said many times before that it entirely changed my perspective as a mom and made motherhood fulfilling and wonderful to me.  Being a mom is a woman's greatest calling!  Praise the Lord!  Now that her children are grown, Sally often says, "I have raised my own best friends!"


Taken from ch. 7- "A Strong Friend"
The Relationships We Reap
Galatians 6:7 tells us plainly that we reap what we sow--and I believe this is especially true of family relationships.  If I sow affection, commitment, and encouragement into the lives of my children, chances are I will reap deep, close relationships with them that will last for a lifetime.  If I don't make our relationships a priority, I risk reaping the consequences of a broken, scattered or distant relationship.
My daughter Sarah shared with us at dinner one night that her friends who spend most of their time with their peers tend to communicate negatively about the guidance their parents want to give them.  She expertly mimicked their complaints: "My parents insist that I can't drive my car because I don't have insurance!  But it's my car!  My baby-sitting job is so close I won't get into any trouble!  It's so unfair!"
Sarah said, "Mom, I see it all of the time.   The kids who aren't close to their parents act as though their parents' rules are unreasonable and even as though their parents have no right to thell them no.  They think they should be able to make all of their own decisions."
The problem with these kids, as Sarah sees it, is not just her friends' attitude but the fact that these kids' parents haven't done what it takes to maintain a close relationship with them.  Though children are rightly told to honor their parents, it is certainly easier to honor those parents who have shown honor to their own children by doing what it takes to build a relationship.
The hunger for love, affirmation, attention, and acceptance is a deep drive that will search for fulfillment until it finds it.  A child's first attachment is meant to be with its mother, so lots of loving touches and caresses from her make a difference in the child's future intellect, emotional stability, and sense of well-being.  Time and affectionate attention from a father and significant others is crucial as well.
However, if a child's need for such attachment is not met in the home, he will tend to look for it from his peers or anywhere else he can find it.  In order to fit in with those willing to give him time, the child will tend to adapt his values and morals to whatever is required.  At the same time, a child who does not learn to make healthy attachments and maintain healthy relationships in her family may have a hard time developing intimate bonds with anyone in the future.
As a mother, I have the ability to provide the love, acceptance, and attention my children need to grow up secure and able to develop mature relationships.  I also have the opportunity to model mature love, commitment, forgiveness, accountability, grace, and encouragement for my children.  The home is an ideal environment in which children can experience the growth of mature relationship where give-and-take are learned in the context of real life.  And this ideally includes an understanding of the true power of God's love.
And so I am working very hard
raising my own best friends!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principle 26 - Family

(To read this series from the beginning, click here.)

Principle 26: Protecting the Role of the Family

The family is the foundation of a strong society.


And yet as we look around we see the family undermined from every possible angle.  And so we must do everything to protect it.  If the family breaks down, our country breaks down.  I suggest that we are already seeing that now.  There is no doubt that the USA is not the nation of virtue, integrity, and uprightness that it once was.  With homosexuality, feminism, adultery, impurity, child-abuse, abortion running rampant, it is obvious we have all but succeeded in totally subverting the family.
"In Europe almost all the disturbances of society arise from the irregularities of domestic life.  To despise the natural bonds and legitimate pleasures of home is to contract a taste for excesses, a restlessness of heart, and fluctuating desires." -de Tocqueville (p.199)
I was watching an "innocent" children's film today.  The devaluing of the family was woven in through a character who says he wants a life of adventure; not bondage to a wife and child.  And thus is the mindset of our culture...thanks to the perverse and upside-down media (not unlike this children's movie seeking to indoctrinate at a young age the degradation of the family).
People don't "settle down," but instead feel their oats and live la vida loca because afterall that's what life's about, right?  Having fun.  No responsibility.  Remaining foolish and childish well into the middle-age years.  And not using one iota of a brainwave to think about any significant purpose in life except "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die."  Utter stupidity and a waste of a life.  Yet culture as a whole embraces it and we wonder why people don't marry until they are in their 40s and 50s (if at all), and then can't make the marriage work because they have spent so many years set in their own ways and not learning to compromise and push their selfishness aside to accommodate a spouse they are committed to "til death do us part."  Also, culture has brain-washed us into thinking that we need to enjoy the freedom of single life before we start a family.  "Live your life.  Have fun before you settle down," is the mantra.  Alluding that family life doesn't hold a candle to the free and easy life of a single person.  OR...people do want to marry but are surrounded by a culture that embraces the afore-mentioned mentality and so the wishing-to-be-married person flounders never being able to find someone like-minded.   Not to mention that saturated feminism has confused men and women of their roles so they don't know what the heck to look for in a significant other or how to be themselves.

Anyway...that seeming unnecessary tangent leads me to say that the family IS being attacked.  And it must remain a pillar if we want a successful government and nation.
"But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and of peace.  There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness..." -de Tocqueville
"I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me, than to be attended at the seat of government by the officers of state and the representatives of every power in Europe." -George Washington
Washington always preferred to be home with his family at Mt. Vernon than to be anywhere else or to do anything else.

Benjamin Franklin wrote that marriage is the most natural state of man in which "you are most likely to find solid happiness."
"It will be appreciated that the strength and stability of the family is of such vital importance to the culture that any action by the government to debilitate or cause dislocation in the normal trilateral structure of the family becomes, not merely a threat to the family involved, but a menace to the very foundations of society itself." (p.204) (emphasis mine)

If you haven't see The Truth Project, I highly recommend it.  Del Tackett spends a lot of time talking about how often we see sets of 3 in nature and in relationships.

The Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Church: Christ, Leaders, Flock.
Our world (realms): physical, spiritual, social.
Primary colors: red, yellow, blue.
Atom: proton, neutron, electron.
Water: liquid, solid, gas.
Earth: core, mantle, crust.
Man: heart, brain, body.
Egg: yolk, white, shell.
Virtues: faith, hope, charity.
Time: past, present, future.

The Family: Father, Mother, Child.

It is God's design.  Don't touch it.

Schoolhouse Rock got it right.  Three is the magic number.

For the next installment, click here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

alliances (continued)

Ok, considering my what-do-I-think-about-alliances-and-helping-countries-in-need question:

After a short discussion on facebook, and a long one with my fantastic hubby (who thankfully thinks way more clearly than I do), I have come to a conclusion on the above mentioned issue.

Regarding the story of the good Samaritan and James 4:17 which states: "He who knows the right thing to do and doesn't do it, to him it is sin."  These verses are in the context of the individual, and not a nation.

We, as a nation, ought to mind our own business and not involve ourselves in foreign alliances or political affairs unless we are directly threatened or attacked.  Save for the nation of Israel and for this reason:
Genesis 12:3  "I will bless those that bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (re: Abraham)
As a Christian and because of God's faithfulness to His promises, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is absolutely in America's best interest to stand solidly beside Israel.

Charities and individuals should do what they can according to their convictions to help those in need.

We should welcome true refugees (those whose lives are in danger) and offer them sanctuary.  We should also require them (and any immigrant) to jump through the appropriate hoops to gain their American citizenship and prove themselves.  Or help them (refugees) find another ultimate destination in another country.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principles 24-25

(To read this series from the beginning, click here.)

Principle 24: Peace Through Strength

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual ways of preserving peace." ~George Washington
"If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for war." ~George Washington
Basically, let other nations be too afraid to pursue us in war because if they did, they would be utterly annihilated.  Pearl Harbor, anyone?  Surely a sleeping giant was awakened.  Even after 9/ is only the ridiculous global regulations that keep this ridiculous war on terror lasting as long as it has.  If we would be allowed to unleash our fury, this craziness would be over with quickly.

Franklin:  "The very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies.  The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war.  They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent."

...also: "Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you."

If you have read anything about Washington's frustration with Congress during the Revolutionary War, then you know that he battled with them over the provisions the military needed and how Congress refused to comply.  Now, we have a Congress trying to take care of national security and a President that makes cuts first to National Defense.  What?!  Granted, we need to make cuts everywhere, but I'm sure there's a few trillion that can be cut in other areas before we target our military.

The Founders were "peace-loving, but not pacifists."

Here's something that is sobering:  "The foundation for their (the Founders') security in a bustling, prosperous economy with a high standard of public morality; and they saw the necessity for a level of preparedness which discouraged attack from potential enemies by creating a rate so high that the waging of war against this nation would be an obviously unprofitable undertaking." (p.187)  We have trashed our economy, our morality is basically non-existent;  Is National Security next?

Principle 25: Avoiding Entangling Alliances

"Friendship with all...alliances with none." ~Thomas Jefferson
"...the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." ~George Washington

I think this is true.  As we become a more global society to travel to and fro throughout the earth, we begin to want foreign influence.  But we must remember that we are uniquely American and have been exceptional because of our uniqueness.  I certainly treasure the diverse traditions and people of various cultures, but we ought not to try to make our society like theirs because we are not them.  We separated ourselves out intentionally hundreds of years ago and have prospered as a result.  Now, we have so much foreign influence and so many Americans desire it that we are putting ourselves back into the bondage we once freed ourselves from.  If we were meant to be European, we ought not to ever have sought independence from England and battled to the point of great sacrifice of life in the Revolutionary War.  Yes, let's appreciate the beauty of diversity and cultures, but let's be careful to always treasure in our hearts and lives the great blessing of our beloved USA.

I had no idea that the Founders' original intent was that we would be friendly with all nations solely for the sake of having an open market, and never become involved with other countries politically.  I should've made a list from the beginning of this book regarding all the things the Founders' said we are not to do, that we have now done, and find ourselves in the nearly impossible position to back-pedal or reverse course.  So, obviously, we have become VERY politically involved with several nations.
Another one bites the dust.

I have a little bit of trouble with this idea of not allying ourselves with other countries, and yet knowing the good we must do and do it.
"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
Take the holocaust, for example.  Sure, it didn't affect us at all.  We were never in danger. But if you have the ability to save someone from a brutal murderer, ought we to step in and do it if they are totally and utterly helpless to rescue themselves?  (Good Samaritan?)  I just don't know what to think about this.  It seems the right thing to do in the case of the holocaust was to take out the Nazi agenda and rescue the Jews and others who were suffering.  I understand that there are several oppressive regimes around the world and it would not be beneficial (or possible) to be the knight in shining armor in all of these situations...mostly for the reason that we just can't afford it without putting ourselves in an economically compromising position (which we are already in anyway).  This book suggests that in a situation where a group of people are being oppressed or denied such things as food, then we may step in and provide their needs for them, but it doesn't seem to allude that we ought to deploy our resources (military force) to make the situation right.  Still, this one stumps me.

Great!  Now, I'm gonna have to figure out what I think about this whole thing! ;)  Who has time for this?  LOL!  Seriously though, we must know why we stand where we stand and be able to defend our position solidly.  And so, I will be pursuing this in the days to come.

For the next post on this book, click here.

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principle 23

(To read previous posts on this book, click here.)

Principle 23: Importance of an Educated Electorate

I guess it goes without saying that this is my favorite chapter.  It is one of the main reasons why I do what I do day in and day out for myself, my husband, my children, my blog, and pretty much anyone within earshot.   I want the truth known.  I want enlightenment of the truth of our nation's history.  I want the true purpose of current events, legislation and agenda known.

Don't you think it so cool that it was America that first took on the noble venture of educating the whole society?  For what purpose?  So, they would vote well and be involved in their own government.  

"Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
~G. Washington

Now, there surely is a whole lot of emphasis in our current culture on the importance of voting.  Here's the difference between now and then:  the Founders desired for us to be educated voters and to vote well; today much of the push for voting is for the prevailing agenda of immoral culture and government-run schools.  It's a popularity vote for the one who looks best and sounds the best.  We vote for rock stars and not real leaders.  This must change.

"In the American colonies the intention was to have all children taught the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic so that they could go on to become well informed citizens through their own diligent self-study. (Emphasis mine.)  No doubt this explains why all of the American Founders were so well read, and usually from the same books, even though a number of them had received a very limited formal education.  The fundamentals were sufficient to get them started, and thereafter they became remarkably well informed in a variety of areas through self-learning.  This was the pattern followed by both Franklin and Washington." (p. 179)    
Of course, I LOVE THIS!  We just finished studying Thomas Edison. He had a whopping 3 months of school attendance and then was home schooled by his mother and a self-motivated learner.  (No joke!)  The man patented 1,093 inventions in his lifetime and had practically zero formal schooling (he was in attendance but learned nothing).  Teach our kids the basics: reading, writing, math, true history, Biblical standards of righteousness and morality, current events, and the Constitution.  And the world is their oyster!!  Give them a passion and love for learning by modeling it ourselves!

"Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel."

I just want to throw in a couple of important pieces of advice here regarding what we fill our minds with and the minds of our children:
  • Psalm 1:1 "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord..."   We must not accept the counsel of the ungodly.  Choose wisely what you fill your mind with and if it is not God-honoring, then refuse it.  This includes media.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:12 "And further, my son, be admonished by these.  Of making of books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh."   As my pastor put it so well in his message a few weeks ago...  Books are in abundance.  So much so that you can never read them all in your lifetime.  You only get to read so many books, choose well and don't waste your time.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5  "...casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."  If it exalts itself above God or compares itself with God, or thinks it is God---get rid of it!  Tear it down!  Throw it out!  Have NOTHING to do with it.  

A book is recommended in this chapter which I will soon purchase as we already own The New England Primer and the Blue Back Speller.  I love old school (no pun intended) school books.  (Don't forget the Bible---it is, after all, the original textbook.)  So, we will be getting the Catechism on the Constitution by Arthur J. Stansbury.   I can't wait to teach my children about the Constitution and to learn more for myself too!

"Sermons and orations by men of limited formal education reflected a flourish and style of expression which few Americans could duplicate today.  Many of these attributed their abilities to extensive reading of the Bible.  Such was the case with Abraham Lincoln.  Certainly the classical beauty of the Gettysburg Address and his many other famous speeches cannot be attributed to college training, for he had none." (p.181-182)   
Not only did Lincoln not have any college education, he had less than 1 year of schooling.  He was entirely self-educated by reading.  And he was a lawyer, politician, and arguably one of the very few best Presidents of the United States.  The boys and I attended a President's Day event at the Nixon Library this year where we heard a man give a speech about the Gettysburg Address and how it was written in the language of the Bible since that is what Lincoln was most familiar with.  Beautiful.

Daniel Webster:
"It is not to be doubted, that to the free and universal reading of the Bible, in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty.  The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelations from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow-man."

Click here for the next post in this series.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principles 21-22

(To read this series from the beginning, click here.)

Principle 21: Strong Local Self-Government

The importance of local self-government has been diminished in our own minds, I think.  I know I tend to focus on what the federal government is doing instead of taking action in local concerns.  No more.  If we can't manage what's right around us, how will we ever manage it on a national level.  Also, not recognizing the importance of local self-government causes us to give too much power to federal government...something which the Framers never intended.  We  thus "lose the will to solve (our) own problems." (p.169)

I love that the intent is that problems be solved at the level which they originate.  Why climb the government ladder when things can be settled quietly and on our own?  We expect too much from federal government and we have, as a result, made it far bigger than its original purpose.  We are become increasingly more regulated and really don't have to think for ourselves.  But we should (think for ourselves).

"Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and feral relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each (township) direct the interests within itself. ...the administration of every man's farm by himself..."p.171  (Well, farmers sure don't have that kind of sovereign power anymore.  Heck!  We can't even cut down a tree on our own property without paying out the ear and getting special permission for it.)
The Constitution meant for the States to have far more power than the federal government.  My, how things have changed.

The federal govt was meant to be "small and cohesive and...inexpensive."  Err, uh, what happened?  As I watch our debt clock count upward of $14 TRILLION!!!
"Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which merchants will manage the better... ...a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants."  (Thomas Jefferson)

Principle 22: Government by Law, Not by Men

"To be governed by the whims of men is to be subject to the ever-changing capriciousness of those in power."  Translate: Dictator, Tyrant, Slave driver.  ...where "nothing is dependable. No rights are secure.  Things...are in a constant state of flux." (p.173)

"Even the best of men in authority are liable to be corrupted by passion.  ...the law is reason without passion..." (p.175)
"The American Founding Fathers... Instead of treating law as merely a code of negative restraints and prohibitions, they considered law to be a system of positive results by which they could be assured of enjoying their rights and the protection of themselves, their families, and their property." (p.175)
Obama views the Constitution as a "charter of negative liberties."  Dude!  The cup is half full because of the Constitution, not half empty!  Of course, as I've mentioned in a previous post- they would be negative liberties to him since it reigns in his ability to be the tyrant he so desperately desires to be.  Thank God for the Constitution!  Let us hold it with both hands and defend it with our very lives.  Our freedom is at stake if we turn a blind eye and remain "neutral."

Laws protect us and protect our stuff.  We need laws.  That being said, we have gone slightly (okay maybe more than just "slightly") overboard.  For goodness sake!  Who can possibly keep track of the innumerable laws that have been created out of thin air?  Legislators.  ugh.  Can't they just solve problems that actually occur instead of dreaming up problems that don't exist so they can make laws for the sake of having something to do?  In California particularly, we have regulated everything under the sun.  I just found out today that I am REQUIRED to vaccinate my child with a certain immunization whether my kid ever steps foot in a public school or not.  Who gave the government permission to tell ME what's best for MY child my own home?!  Why am I mandated to do ANYTHING!?  This is a free country, right?  But the government is sliding its slimy hand into my home and demanding that I bow to their wishes for my child.  Kiss my butt!  Protect me and my stuff.  Don't tell me what to do in my own home and family.

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood;  ...Law is defined by rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?"
Most of our laws are incomprehensible.  What a mess.

(For the next post in this series, click here.)