the dark night…and we were made for this

“The soul, however, cannot be perfectly purified from these imperfections,
any more than from the others,
until God shall have led it into the passive purgation of the dark night,
of which I shall speak immediately.
But it is expedient that the soul, so far as it can,
should labor, on its own part, to purify and perfect itself,
that it may merit from God to be taken under His divine care,
and be healed from those imperfections which of itself it cannot remedy.
For, after all the efforts of the soul,
it cannot by any exertions of its own actively purify itself
so as to be in the slightest degree fit for the divine union of perfection
in the love of God,
if God Himself does not take it into His own hands and purify
it in the fire, dark to the soul.”

St. John of the Cross, p.14
An Excerpt From
Dark Night of the Soul


(courtesy the web)

I can never remember a time when I have felt so desolate,
so angst ridden, so forlorn and dare I say, depressed.

And it’s because I no longer know this Nation of ours.

I don’t recognize…us.

There is so much that I want to say.
So very much that needs to be said.

So much I want to say about the lies, the indoctrination, the falsehoods,
and the division—

I want to scream…”Don’t you get it???
He’s doing this…he’s nothing but thrilled that we are tearing
one another a part…

And so, again, don’t you get it…don’t we get it?
This is exactly what he wants…
it’s what he’s planned now for eons.

We are in the midst of a tribulation.
A time of division.
A time of lies.
A time of sinister diversion.

We know that this is currently his battle because
this is his realm.
Yet at the same time we know the ultimate
victory will be ours because our Savior lives.

Yet the frustration remains, that this battle must be fought.

And it feels like a raging maelstrom that has us all
in the center of its grip.

However we, both you and I, have been made for this time.

God has prepared both you and me…
The task at hand is not easy.
It will not be easy.
It will not be kind.
The Father is asking us for our all.

The question is…will you give your all…
or will you ignore the coming storm?

Will you face the enemy head on, telling all who
have ears to hear that he is a liar?

Or will you turn and pretend nothing is happening.

So the question remains…will you speak?
Will you act.
There is little to no time in which to decide.
Time is of the essense
The goats have been cast to one side while the sheep to the other.

Give us strength oh Lord…

Luke 21:9-26:
New International Version

When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened.
These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Then he said to them:
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be great earthquakes,
famines and pestilences in various places,
and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you.
They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison,
and you will be brought before kings and governors,
and all on account of my name.
And so you will bear testimony to me.
But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you
will defend yourselves.
For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries
will be able to resist or contradict.
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters,
relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
Everyone will hate you because of me.
But not a hair of your head will perish.
Stand firm, and you will win life.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies,
you will know that its desolation is near.
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,
let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.
For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment
of all that has been written.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women
and nursing mothers!
There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners
to all the nations.
Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

change vs tradition and why some things just seem to matter

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


(then and now—an enduring relationship—Elizabeth and Philip)

Change, they say, is the one constant we can always count on.
A constant that we human beings do not always embrace.

We all like knowing that some things will always be there.
Anchors, if you will, that help keep us tethered in the often tumultuous sea of life.
Life, it seems, is a place where we are often tossed about like a rag doll.
We yearn for the sights and sounds of those things we know and have known
that call out to us of the familiar.

I think we often call them “roots”…

Now granted a few of us embrace change, the truth is that most of us loath it.

Doors close while windows open—and yet trying to convince us that the closings
can be a good thing is an entirely different matter.

In yesterday’s post, I touched on the notion of tradition—
for me it was a bit of a family tradition…
Granted, it might be a tradition that is rooted in some good ol southern grease,
it’s a tradition none the less and one I’m glad to be able to pass on and share in.

I found that yesterday’s quote by Somerset Maugham, tradition is a guide and not a jailer
actually speaks volumes to the times in which we are now living.

And we are indeed living in some very strange times!!!

We have been pleading for life to become “normal” again, yet at the same time,
we are in the full throws of the birth pangs of unchecked helter skelter change.

It is a time when we see a society throwing out both the baby and the bathwater
along with anything else that speaks of where we’ve come from and of
the things that “they” deem as unnecessary baggage.

Tradition, to our society, is no longer seen as a warm embrace but
rather that of a jailer—a set of chains that must be severed and cut.

Be it a statue…
the name of a street or school…
a television show…
a movie, music, actors, actresses, musicians
values, morals, religion, et el.

If it was, it is to be no more.

And so it was with the recent death and passing of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, that
I was once again reminded of this notion of tradition and change.

For all of my 61 years, there are but a few things in this world that have remained constant.

Institutions really…

That of family,
Our Nation,
our three tier form of governing of check and balances,
the Seat of Peter…that of a pope guiding the Catholic Church,
and that of the British Monarchy.

And for those 61 years of mine, whereas various leadership has come and gone,
family has sadly come and gone, the map of the world constantly remains fluid,
the Queen, along her Prince Consort, have been what seems to be the only two worldly constants.

They wed 12 years before my birth.
She became queen 6 years before my birth, the same year my parents wed.

As far as I was concerned, she, and they, simply always…were.

Over the years the Royal family has ebbed and flowed in the fickled minds of “the people”
The relevance of a monarchy has often been questioned.
It is no secret that the Windsors are certainly a fractured family lot.
And why Americans should even care is an entirely different conversation.

And yet, Elizabeth and Philip have remained.

Philip, a bit of a curmudgeon, was known for having a wicked wit,
a twisted sense of humor who enjoyed telling off colored jokes and whose comments
would be often better kept unsaid.
Many often felt he possessed a sense of apparent arrogance.

He was assumed to be one of the haves in a world of have nots.

Yet I dare say that most generations after mine probably have no idea that Philip
was truly a product of the school of hard knocks.
His life really was that byproduct of a terrible dysfunctional upbringing.

Born royal, yet as a child he was stripped of home, throne and identity.
His family exiled.
His mother was institutionalized.
His father ran off with a paramour.
And his four sisters married Germans, moving to Germany and supporting the Nazi cause.

Philip would be left literally alone as a child.

He had no money, no home and no family to speak of.
He was the definition of a latch key kid…a kid with neither latch nor key.

He joined the Royal Navy at age 18.

He had no choice but to become a strong self made man—it was either that or
simply succumb to a cruel world, turn over and die.

I myself was not always a keen fan of Philip but this is coming from a person who
had never met nor known the man—so my perceptions came from things read and images seen.
No personal encounter so no real reason for a like or dislike.

But what I do know is that Philip believed in tradition–he was a staunch believer
of tradition and being disciplined by such.
Yet oddly, he was one who could also readily embrace change.

He demonstrated such an adaptation to change with a proclivity for the
rapid growth of technology.
Something that many of his generation often found confounding.

He also demonstrated his ability to change when the stability he had so yearned for,
found finally in his marriage and quickly growing young family, would be forever transformed.

Philip was a part of that Greatest Generation, having served as an officer in
His Majesty’s Royal Navy.
He loved the ocean and felt most at home when at sea.

He was athletic, dashing, smart and keenly disciplined.
He was a man’s man— a trait that this current culture of ours does not deem as
much of a positive trait.

Yet on the other hand, I for one find strong masculinity a refreshing and a most positive trait.
I believe in the importance of strong male figures in the lives of our growing children.
Our children so desperately need examples and guidance—they hunger for it.
They need to know and see what it means to be willing to go the extra mile.
They need to see sacrifice and even disappointment while one manages to keep that oh so
British stiff upper lip. Watching as one opts not to complain or whine…
but rather watching as one rolls up sleeves and jumps in with both feet…
and just starts doing.
Being proactive and not reactive.

Sadly and even oddly, it seems one grandson was lost despite having such a personal
stalwart example.

Philip demonstrated such perseverance when he gave up the Naval career he so dearly loved
in order to support his young wife as a newly crowned Queen.

Going from the head of his household to suddenly having to spend the remainder of his life
always walking one step behind his wife must have been demoralizing…
and yet he never skipped a beat.
We don’t know what went on behind closed doors, but what we do know is that when
it mattered, Philip did what had to be done.

He had to renounce who he was, in order to become a young queen’s servant and consort–
renouncing himself only to have to reinvent himself.
That’s what true men do—

Elizabeth did not lord this over her husband, but rather keenly understood the mix
of emotions that came with the sudden death of her father the King and how that now
altered her marriage forever.

The important lesson here for all of us is that both Elizabeth and Philip each knew that
there was something greater than themselves…and that was
the wellbeing of a Nation and that of its people.

People like Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip matter because they teach us lessons.
They teach us that one often has to let go of self and selfish wants in order to
do for and serve others.
True leaders lead by example—not by agendas nor by self-seeking interests.

This couple has demonstrated a depth of perseverance for over 70 years.

I think we are all the better for their example…

What others offer is up to us as to what we opt to receive.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

indissoluble bond

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this:
it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government
with the principles of Christianity.

John Quincy Adams


(detail from a triptych I created before retiring,
based on the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald)

I found this followup article to yesterday’s post…an article that actually preempted
my post from yesterday by a couple of day’s…a penultimate of sorts from
the Washingtonexaminer.com

With a similar observation, the article by Kimberly Ross, notes that
“For the first time in 80 years,
the number of Americans with dedicated church attendance has fallen below 50%.
According to a Gallup poll released Monday, only 47% of those polled confirmed that they
are members of a religious body.
This is quite a decline from previous years of polling,
which saw the number hover around the 70% mark for several decades.
Unsurprisingly, the downward trend began around the dawn of the new century.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/what-does-declining-church-attendance-mean-for-our-society?utm_source=deployer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Beltway+Confidential&utm_term=Post+Up+Opens+2020&utm_content=20210401154409

And whereas I do fret and truly worry about how and where our liberally woke , Antifa laced and
oh so socialist minded society seems to be racing…gunning for our Judaeo Christian foundation,
I continue to find hope—glimpses of light that remind me that no one on Earth can nor will silence
the Resurrection of Life eternal.

I have read that God will not, cannot, ever be silenced…
yet in that proclamation however,
there is not a guarantee that the United States is destined for the ride.
The ride that connects the dots from Resurrection to Return.

And yet that very question remains in the minds of many of the faithful in our Nation.
Can we, will we be able to work toward remaining in that time line…or will we not.
Maybe we shouldn’t care.
Maybe we should.

Seek while He still may be found…

“Our national discourse is fraught with anger and tension.
There has been great struggle, sacrifice, and sadness over the past year.
There is uncertainty surrounding both economic and public health.
With challenges still remaining, there is no better time to seek spiritual guidance
and hope at places that foster relationships and fellowship.”

The only truth to cling to, not our current reality

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD!
There is no one like you, and there is no God but you,
as we have heard with our own ears.

2 Samuel 7:22 NIV


(my current reality in what was once a kitchen / Julie Cook / 2020)

My current reality is obviously upside down.

Despite my angst and trepidation, let alone this world of mine being turned up on its head…
the one that I do know is that all of this mess is temporary.

And just like that…we all know that this Nation of ours is also obviously turned upside down.

And as to whether this mess in our Nation is temporary or rather a marker of an ending,
is yet to be seen…yet in the end, the one thing we do know is that all of this will mess
will eventually pass away…

Meaning this too is only temporary…but the thing is…we just don’t know how long it will last…
But that really doesn’t matter.

None of this mess really matters–

Because in the end, there is only One thing that truly matters…
Only One thing that truly matters and actually remains–as a constant.

Whew!

Thank goodness.

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.

Psalm 102:25-27

don’t walk around with a bucket on your head

“By slow, thoughtful watching, you can gain much,
as against working up a wild, panicky condition.”

Ernest Vincent Wright, Gadsby

The Mayor thought that putting her toy bucket on her head and walking through the house
was a good idea.

It was fine for a while…

It was all fine and good until she ran into the Sherrif and knocked him over.

So there is indeed a moral to the tale of the Mayor’s haphazard choice…
actually, there are probably several morals.

But the one thing I’m finding as somewhat reflective of the times in which we now live…
is that The Mayor is not the only person walking around with some sort of
a bucket on her head.

The difference is that we just can’t see the buckets on the heads of those
caring little for those they tend to be running into or over whereas we
can clearly see the Mayors.

The Mayor, we hope, would not intentionally plow over her younger brother
when seeing him clear as day.
However, there are so many of our fellow human beings who are not wearing buckets
on their heads, blocking their vision, but who are none the less plowing into
and over their fellow members of humankind…and the thing is they don’t care.

Now granted the Mayor may not have cared too much about running over her
younger brother…that is until she was scolded…then she really cared.

Sadly today our fellow man, or woman, scolded or not, cares not.

We’ve witnessed this plowing into and over one another,
pretty much daily for the past four years, all because we are a deeply divided country.

Our fellow countrymen, and women, show very little care
or concern for those who are on the opposing side of not just politics but
on opposing sides of pretty much everything in life in general.

For example, Mr. Biden has spoken of a mandate given to him by the people…
what with his win of the White House.
Now since that win has not been officially verified by the powers that be, that
kind of talk is slightly premature.
This has been a razor-thin election, once again.

Mandates are not found in near 50 50 votings.
50 50 is a near-perfect split…mandates tend to come
from landslide results.
The masses demanding their will.

We have a split of the masses on two varying sides with each vying for their
own mandate…and they, we, you, me will continue plowing into one another until
that mandate of choice is met.

Something has got to give…

I believe a Divine scolding is in order…

Get ready, because that scolding is coming.

What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?

Isaiah 10:3

Pluck up your courage

Now a Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.
G.K. Chesterton
from In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
(Acorns /Rosemary Beach /Julie Cook / 2020)

I think that we could easily insert the word “Christian” in Chersterton’s quote verses the word “Catholic” because that’s what we as Christians do…we believe that there is indeed something and Someone who is indeed much wiser than ourselves.

And for the record, I am still managing to navigate this “new” WP format. I am not a fan of the boxes that hem in the quotes that I paste into the body of the post but… I will continue to see if I can manage to keep the text body fonts the same…and if not…well, we’ll just take the good with the bad.

That’s a concept that many folks in this nation of ours care not to think about, let alone do…that being, taking the good with the bad.

“What is this brightness—with which God fills the soul of the just—but that clear knowledge of all that is necessary for salvation? He shows them the beauty of virtue and the deformity of vice. He reveals to them the vanity of the world, the treasures of grace, the greatness of eternal glory, and the sweetness of the consolations of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them to apprehend the goodness of God, the malice of the evil one, the shortness of life, and the fatal error of those whose hopes are centered in this world alone. Hence the equanimity of the just. They are neither puffed up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity.’A holy man’, says Solomon, ‘continueth in wisdom as the sun, but a fool is changed as the moon.’ (Ecclus. 27:12). Unmoved by the winds of false doctrine, the just man continues steadfast in Christ, immoveable in charity, unswerving in faith.”
Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 135
An Excerpt From
The Sinner’s Guide

Not what they appear to be…

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many;
the intelligence of few perceives what has been carefully hidden
in the recesses of the mind.

Phaedrus


(thinkstock)

I can vividly remember, years ago one evening we were watching the evening news…
This was during a more innocent time…a time when I still believed the news was news…
It wasn’t biased, not false, not politized, nor polarized…
Peter Jennings was reporting a story about a rather odd yet obscure figure.
An ingénue sort of an individual–but in this case, the figure in question was male.

He appeared to be like some tall and lanky yet benign sort of goat herder.

There was some film footage of him walking amongst a rocky terrain complete with staff in hand.
He wore a robe-like covering with some sort of religious drape or scarf along with a
tribal hat which was covering a greying head with a long greying beard to match.

He seemed harmless enough but watching him, I had a distinct disturbing feeling.
There was something about this “goat herder” that I found very very troubling.
Little did we know then that this news story was the first blip on the radar.

Bill Clinton was the current president of the day.
This was a blip on his radar…a blip he allowed to simply pass him by.

This seemingly innocuous man was actually Osama bin Laden and he was just
making a name for himself on the Western airwaves.

Little did I know that evening, all those years ago while simply
watching the evening news, that there would be a 9/11 thanks to this “goat herder”.
Nor did I know, or any of us know, that there would an onslaught of dominos
falling one over another—
all heinous acts carried out under the banner of Allahu akbar.

And so, over the years, much like when I first saw that image of Bin Laden,
there has been another man who seems innocent enough at first glance but has
given me that same sense of foreboding…
his name is George Soros.

I’ve written about him before starting back in 2016.
Here are four links to four posts featuring Mr. Soros.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/should-we-go-or-should-we-stay/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/we-live-in-both-dark-and-light/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/this-is-what-should-keep-you-up-at-night/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/why-do-important-people-scare-me/

Once again I’ve caught another recent article featuring the likes of Mr. Soros.

It’s an article written by Robby Starbuck who is a Cuban-American producer and director.

The article is about how George Soros wants to remake America.

Why Aren’t We Allowed To Talk About George Soros’s Plan To Remake America?

According to Mr. Starbuck,
Since 2015, George Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas, Colorado,
California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states.

Since 2015, George Soros has been executing a plan to reshape the country through
local district attorney elections by pumping unprecedented amounts of money into races
that typically only see candidates spend in the low five figures.

Here’s why he has an interest in these local races. Soros is exploiting the reality
that all politics are local in some way. To transform America,
you have to transform the way towns and cities operate.

Mr. Soros is Hungarian by birth and whose family were non-practicing Jews.
The family fled Hungry during Nazi occupation by obtaining false papers, changing the family
name from Schwartz to Soros and claiming they were Christians.

From everything that I’ve read, I still can’t understand Soros’ divide and conquer mentality.
But one thing I have discovered is that if you criticize Mr. Soros, you are considered
antisemitic.
An unspoken hands-off perimeter has been put up around this very enigmatic man.

Why criticizing a non-practicing Jew is considered antisemitic is beyond my soul.

Mr. Starbuck surmises that “the left’s assumption that questioning someone’s political
spending is equivalent to questioning his dignity as a person is itself a deeply
bigoted assumption, designed solely to silence dissent and shut down debate.”

Mr. Soros is a golden calf to the Left and I suspect it has everything to do with both
his money and his power.

Mr. Starbuck notes that Soros has spent an unbelievable amount of money on the campaigns of
progressive left DA’s across the country.
The assumption is that if you can alter the leaders of the law, you
can alter the cities themselves, if you can alter the cities, you
can alter the states, if you can alter the states you can alter the Nation.

Starbuck explains:
Buying Prosecutors Who Are Soft on Crime
Since 2015, Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas,
Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states
such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Arizona.
In 2016, Soros spent $2,000,000 on a single sheriff race in Maricopa County, Arizona,
helping the leftist candidate, Paul Penzone, win.

In Philadelphia, Soros spent an insane $1,700,000 to elect Larry Krasner DA.
Soros has also given millions of dollars in grants to candidates in other states.
These enormous contributions have a correspondingly enormous impact.

Although his efforts haven’t been universally successful,
the vast majority of Soros-backed candidates have won with Soros donations
pushing them across the finish line.
Here are just a few examples:

$2,000,000 to fund Kim Foxx in her Cook County (Chicago, Ill.) re-election bid.
$1,400,000 to fund Aramis Ayala’s campaign to become state’s attorney of Orlando, Fla.
$1,150,000 to fund Jake Lilly’s run to become DA of Jefferson and Gilpin County (Denver) in Colorado.
$958,000 to fund Joe Gonzales’s run to become DA of Bexar County (San Antonio, Texas).
$650,000 to fund Jose Garza in his Travis County (Austin, Texas) re-election bid.
$750,000 to fund Joe Kimok in his Broward County, Fla. state’s attorney race.
$583,000 to fund Kim Ogg’s run to become Harris County (Houston, Texas) DA.
$583,000 to fund Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in her race to be Arlington County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$500,000 to fund Jody Owen’s run to become Hinds County, Miss. (Jackson) DA.
$406,000 to fund James E. Stewart’s run to become Caddo Parish, La. (Shreveport) DA.
$392,000 to fund Steve T. Descano’s bid to become Fairfax County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$275,000 to fund Diana Becton’s bid to remain as Contra Costa County, Calif. DA.
$147,000 to fund Darius Pattillo in his run to become Harris County, Ga. DA.
$116,000 to fund Kim Gardner’s re-election bid as St. Louis circuit attorney.
$107,000 to fund Raul Torrez bid to become Benalillo County (Albuquerque, N.M.) DA.
$89,000 to fund Scott Colom’s bid to become DA of Lowndes County, Miss.
That’s just a partial list, but it surely corroborates Gingrich’s point that Soros
“paid for” the outcomes of those elections, notwithstanding Harf’s unsubstantiated denial.
In 2018 The Los Angeles Times reported that Soros spent $2,700,000 on California DA races alone,
and another $16 million on 17 DA races in other states.

So my question is why would a billionaire businessman and supposed philanthropist spend billions
of dollars to alter campaigns all across the country?

Could all that money not be better spent on say feeding hungry children worldwide?

Starbuck also wonders as to why the big-spending and seems to have an idea.

“That leap from remaking our justice system to remaking America may seem like a long jump to some,
but law and order is the core of America’s existence.
Without law and order, you don’t have a country.”

And thus I wonder, are we not witnessing a nationwide cry from our liberal progressive left
to defund the police…a cry to throw out the law, throw out the order,
throw out the rules…all for a seismic shift in what might soon to be considered a
“former” America?

And so for a nation to have no order, no law, no rule…one is left with only one thing–
anarchy.

I will piggyback off of this thought of a downward spiral tomorrow with
more of a prophetical Spiritual take…but just remember that if you remain silent,
if you know what is taking place is wrong, but opt to say nothing, choosing to ignore
what is happening by looking the other way…the life you think you know and love will not
always be there.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/19/why-arent-we-allowed-to-talk-about-george-soross-plan-to-remake-america/

to be saved, we must first lose

But there must be a real giv­ing up of the self.
You must throw it away ​“blind­ly” so to speak.
Christ will indeed give you a real per­son­al­i­ty:
but you must not go to Him for the sake of that.
As long as your own per­son­al­i­ty is what you are both­er­ing about you are not going to Him at all.

C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity


(scene from The Chosen when Jesus heals Mary)

To be saved, we must first lose.

The concept of losing doesn’t make much sense to the mind of a 21st-century individual.
Especially to a 21st century American…losing is not something Americans are accustomed to.
Nor is it a concept on the minds of many Americans who are busy with protesting
rioting and looting…losing is not on their radar.

Burdened by so much that is taking place around this pain-racked Nation of ours,
I turned to a new devotional written by the writers of The Chosen.

The following was the entry for Day 3:

To save our lives, we must lose them.

That’s a mind-bender, for sure, but clearly vital to understand.
Jesus said it to the disciples after they’d already dropped everything to
follow Him from town to town.
They sacrificed their careers, homes, and relationships for the man
they believed was the Messiah.
Life as they knew it had turned upside down,
but more would be required of them, and Jesus was doubling down.
He knew what lay ahead. He knew He was leaving.
And He knew they would become pillars of the early church,
in charge of spreading the truth about salvation to the world,
disciplining the masses, and claiming Christ in the face of imprisonment, torture, and death.
They would lose their lives on earth—figuratively and literally–
for the sake of all they would gain in heaven.

And they did it well because their testimonies,
their personal stories of what Jesus had said and done,
were potent demonstrations of His transformative love and power in their lives.
They shared the gospel with an unstoppable, contagious, relentless passion that—
to be honest–seems kind of rare these days.

How come?
Well for starters, they weren’t in love with themselves or their own stories.
They weren’t branding their Christian narratives for maximum personal benefit,
approval, or sump[athy…or for clicks or likes.
They weren’t assigning themselves the hero role or belaboring their “before Christ”
dysfunction with all its juicy, sensationalistic tidbits.
When you look at biblical examples it’s amazing how few words are given to their broken pasts–
the almost exclusive focus is on Jesus.

Take Mary Magdalene.
The fact that she was delivered from seven demons is a crucial aspect of her
testimony because it showcases Jesus’authority and why she responded to Him
the way sed did.
And then that’s it.
That’s all the detail we need to know.
In other words, her autobiography wouldn’t have been titled
The Dark Years with three hundred pages dedicated to describing the monsters within.
Fascinating?
Sure.
But powerful and effective and glorifying to the one who rescued her?
Not so much.
There’s a reason we meet Mary subsequent to her healing—because that’s where the real story is.

There are a few other things we know about her:
(1) she followed Jesus and financially supported His ministry until His crucifixion,
which means she gave everything she had to follow Him;
(2)she endured the crucifixion and stayed close to Jesus while He suffered and died;
and
(3) as mentioned in “Delivered”, she was the first person He appeared to after
He rose from the dead, and she was the one He sent to tell the disciples
the universe-altering news.
All because the old was gone and dead.
Jesus had given her new life.

Which means that even if you’ve been a believer for all of ten minutes,
those minutes are entirely more relevant than the twenty, forty,
or eighty years of darkness prior to your conversion.
Reason being, we’re called to represent Jesus and to die to the lives
He saved us from. When we do that, and when He stays the hero of the story,
our words and lives become real-time, potent demonstrations of
His transformative love and power.

The Chosen
40 Days With Jesus

where ‘the part’ reflects ‘the whole’

“The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is an image of young boys in Atlanta, swarming a vehicle,
while attempting to peddle water.

And the following is a recent news story regarding these “Atlanta waterboys”
I’ve cut and pasted part of the story—the full link follows.

Once you finish reading the news story, I will share a little story,
that happens to be on a more personal level,

It has become a common sight around the city of Atlanta —
groups of boys selling bottled water at intersections of busy city roads.

Recently, some of those kids have started to get violent with drivers.
Now, several victims are calling on the mayor, Atlanta City Council and
Atlanta Police Department to put a stop to what many are describing as a growing problem.

In an interview with Channel 2 Action News on Monday,
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms described some of the teens as
“up-and-coming entrepreneurs.”

She’s even created an advisory committee that’s going to come up with possible solutions
for the kids who want to continue selling water in a safe manner.

But Channel 2′s Michael Seiden has spoken with victims who say enough is enough
and that it’s time to get the kids off the streets before someone gets killed.
Antoinette Stevens said she is still in pain following a frightening encounter
with a group of teenagers selling bottled water on University Avenue in
southwest Atlanta on Friday afternoon.

She still had the black eye to prove it.
“I gave him a couple dollars, and then all the other boys ran up to my car and were like
‘Oh, give me a dollar. Give me some money,'” Stephens said.
That’s when she said one of the boys reached through her window and snatched her purse.
Stephens said she tried to chase after him,
and another teen jumped into the driver’s seat of her car and took off.
“I jumped through the window and tried to get my car.
Try to get him to stop. And he drove into oncoming traffic and crashed the car, and then ran,” Stephens said.
She said that was when she hit the ground, leaving her with a black eye.
Stephens showed Seiden photos of her damaged BMW.
She picked it up Sunday after spending several hours in the hospital.

And we’ve learned she’s not alone.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/victims-attacked-by-kids-selling-water-atlanta-streets-want-them-gone-mayor-works-solution/5HQCVRJGIRDXHCD5KAMYCZCUBU/

So a couple of weeks ago, I was up in Atlanta visiting the Mayor and Sheriff.
That means that I was also visiting their parents.

Our son is working from home (who isn’t these days) and often puts in a 12 hour day.

After he got off work, it was after dark but he was wanting to just get out of
the house for a bit.
So we all loaded up in his Ford F150 truck to head to a nearby Walgreens inorder
to pick up some things for the kids, like diapers, etc.

Next he thought a nice drive through Buckhead seemed warranted.
What with all the new buildings going up and everything being lit up,
he thought the kids would enjoy seeing the big buildings and shiny lights.

He pointed out to me where, just a few weeks prior, rioters had smashed windows
and burned shops, restaurants and businesses along Atlanta’s famous Peachtree St.

Thankfully things were being lovingly put back together again.

This was the same area that my mom had grown up in both before and after the War—
long before the current boon of highrises and sky scrappers.
She and my aunt would make their way along the same sidewalk we were passing,
on their to school each day.

My dad and mom’s houses still stand on a nearby small side street.

We had made our loop and were headed home when we stopped for a red light at the large
intersection between Lenox and Phipps Malls.
There are probably 6 lanes of traffic here and it is a very busy
and a very congested area.

Suddenly, in the dark, a team of young black boys popped up on both sides of our vehicle
bamming on the windows holding up bottles of water.

My son was so taken off guard, it scared him to death.
Both my daughter-in-law and I were familiar with these “waterboys”
as we’d each encountered them…albeit in broad daylight where things
are more readily seen.

These kids had on dark clothing, the street lighting was minimal at best and they
were more than reckless as they darted in and out of the moving traffic.
Traffic that most likely did not even see them…before it would be too
late and potentially deadly.

My son kept motioning to the boys to move on as we weren’t interested in buying water
at 9 PM on a Friday night. He kept repeating through the rolled-up window
“No buddy, no thank you”…
I was in the back seat sandwiched in-between both kids in their car seats when
one of the boys tried opening the door where my 14th-month-old grandson sat.

What would have happened had the doors been unlocked?

Thankfully the light turned green and the kids quickly moved on to the car behind us as
we made a hasty retreat.

My son was so disturbed and shook up because he knew that he could have easily run over
one of the boys as they did not care that they were weaving in front of and
in between moving vehicles.

I told him that they do the same thing near the airport but I’ve only encountered them
during daylight hours.

Once home he did a little investigating and discovered that these waterboys
are also known as ‘Atlanta’s yummies’.
They are kids that gang handlers put out on the streets to see what they can hustle while
also peddling water.

Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms has made it known that she feels that these kids
are just trying to make a few dollars in order to make ends meet at home.

“Youthful entrepreneurs”, she calls them.

Entrepreneurs my foot!

This is not some sort of lemonade stand.

Just days following our incident, a motorist was gunned down by one of these boys
for refusing to buy water.

And so now we have this most recent story about the woman who was robbed and
carjacked by these “waterboys”

There have been stories of the trash and mess the boys leave behind on various street corners.
The fact that many of the bottles are simply used bottles and refilled.
And so when police officers attempted to round up the boys, the Mayor put a stop to it
as she proclaimed these are kids trying to make a buck.

This mayor is the same mayor whose name has been floated around as a possible
VP on Biden’s shortlist of contenders.

As mayor, I would hope her first thought would be to keep the kids safe, keeping them
off the streets, especially at night.
Also, their aggressive behavior, along with the increasing stories of violence,
should be a small clue and wake up call that selling water is not exactly their
sole intent.

So when we have mayors and other elected officials content and turning a blind eye to
groups of roving kids harassing drivers and threatening violence, why then are we
so surprised that these same elected officials find that the escalating violent riots plaguing
cities across this nation, is nothing more than mere expressions of civil frustration?

62 nights of on-going violent national eruptions—while some of our legislators such as
Jerry Nadler call it all nothing but a myth.

A myth that cities burn each night and windows are smashed and businesses
and livelihoods are destroyed.
The searing images are no myth.

If our elected officials can’t be trusted to take care of the youngest citizens in
their charge… why then would we begin to think that they can take care of the adults?!

We must be willing to take back our Nation.
We must pray for our Nation.

Posterity!
You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!
I hope you will make a good use of it.

John Adams

Satan rejoices…as thuggery reigns supreme

“We are placed in our different ranks and stations,
not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has worked, we too have but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has His work, we too have ours;
as He rejoiced to do his work, we must rejoice in ours also.”

St. John Neumann


(Law Enforcement Today—images of Atlanta on fire…agian)

Satan rejoices…plain and simple.

This thought raced across my mind as I watched, along with the world,
the sheer horror of what had been happening in Minnesota.
A city of civil unrest and a city on fire.

All a result, once again, by another death of a black man in police custody.
Forget that he was in custody for having committed an offense or crime.

Ode to the choices we make.
Ode to the repercussions of our choices.

All the officers involved were immediately found guilty in the court of social media
as the Mayor openly wept on television over what seemed to be a near intentional
killing by some of his city’s police officers.

As the recorded incident spread like wildfire on all things social media,
the ire of mob rule was reawoken and unleashed upon a weary nation.

Pandemic…What pandemic?

A tidal wave of angst-driven hate rolled across Minneapolis, just like any
life-destroying tsunami does—it covered the land in a maelstrom of total destruction.

That same maelstrom, otherwise known as civil unrest,
came washing down to Atlanta, as well as several other major US cities…
even up to the gates of the White House.

It came with the same selfish looting, destruction of property, and raging fires—
all telltale signs of true unbridled anarchy.

The results of banal animal behavior.

It is what we have come to accept as commonplace when social media sends out her tentacles
of half understanding, assumptions, and soundbites.

I just happened to be in Atlanta babysitting when the city of my birth
was once again, set a-light.


(the irony of liberal based CNN under seige)

Atlanta is familiar with burning.
She is known as the city of the legendary Phoenix as she always rises up from
the ashes of death.

I’m not so certain she can continue doing so when it is now her own people
turning on her for no real reason, burning her from within.

But is it really her own people or is it the various organized militant groups
such as Antifa and Black Lives Matters?
Groups who have their own agenda and not the agenda of comfort and solace
to the family of George Floyd.

No…
the fires, the looting and the destruction of property are not showings of solidary
with the death of George Floyd, or for any of those who preceded Mr. Floyd,
those who were also killed at the hands of police officers…regardless of crime, resistance
obstruction or pure innocence.

Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor, US Ambassador, but more importantly
Civil Rights icon, lamented last night while watching the Atlanta riots,’
‘I’m thinking I want to cry’

And I think we all want to cry.

Because the truth in all of this is that the young people who are ranting and raging
across this nation, care not about Andrew Young nor of the sacrifices he endured alongside
Martin Luther King for the betterment for young black men and women, they care about nothing.

This boiling anger is not about justice or injustice.
It is not about civil rights.
It is not about a peaceful approach to wrongs endured.

It is plain and simple…about hate.
Hate of self and hate of others.

And one of the greatest crimes in all of this?

Our elected officials have capitulated…they have given into the anarchy.
They are allowing anarchy to play out before all of our eyes
as they lament their, and in turn, our appeasement to these
hate-filled masses—a yielding at all costs to the demanding and
voracious hate-filled animal within…naively thinking such capitulation will
satiate this monster known as hate.

Colin Kapernick, the infamous football player turned anthem kneeler,
has offered to pay for the defense of the rioters in Minneapolis
calling them “freedom fighters.”

Freedom fighters are our men and women
who serve in our armed forces…those who put their lives on the line
for our own lives and freedom…not the anarchists or looters, or arsonists…

We speak of laws, yet the rioters’ and anarchists we are seeing across our
televisions believe in but one law…the law of hate.

The Old Testament extolled the virtues of the Laws.

The Book of Exodus has a long list of Jewish Laws

Exodus 21-24
“These are the laws you are to set before them:

“Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.
However, if it is not done intentionally,
but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate.
But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately,
that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.

“Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.

“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death,
whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.

“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.

“If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist
and the victim does not die but is confined to bed,
the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other
can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however,
the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time
and see that the victim is completely healed.

Exodus 21:12-19

For the entire list of laws see the link:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+21-24&version=NIV

“Biblical scholars generally interpret “eye for eye,”
which was derived from the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi,
as a restriction on retaliation for personal injuries —
in other words, only an eye for an eye.”

(Politico)

That was the justice code of many ancient nations, in particular
the ancient Jewish Nation.
A nation that longed-for its Messiah.

When that Messiah came, He proclaimed a new law.

That new law was one known as forgiveness.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
turn to them the other cheek also.
And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 5:38-42

May God have mercy on us all and turn the hearts of those who strive for hate…

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:13