The Gospel and the Statue of Liberty

Long ago, seemingly in… no, not seemingly… IN another age (before everyone walked about with a connection to the whole world in their pocket; before we had a World-Wide Web; before 95% of the nation knew who Bill & Hillary were…), I used to hear a song regularly on a local Christian radio station. The song was about the Statue of Liberty.

I was young then and didn’t focus too much on learning all the words. I just knew it was a beautiful, patriotic song — like “God Bless America” is. What stuck in my mind was the opening line about New York Harbor and the phrase “and all who see her”. Every now and then, an old memory is triggered in my mind; usually this involves some scent or some song. Today, the memory was of these two snippets from a song and I did the obvious: I looked to see if it was available on Youtube.

I posted the result of my search below. My brief research revealed that the song’s full title is “The Cross is My Statue of Liberty” and it’s by Neal Enloe of The Couriers.

I posted the different performances below in the order that I found them. When I looked at the Youtube notes below the first video, I saw that the one who posted it was considerate enough to include the lyrics and his personal thoughts on the song.

As I read the lyrics, I was reminded of The Star-Spangled Banner. By that, I’m referring to the fact that most of us only think about the first verse of our national anthem. I never paid any attention to what was being said in the second verse “The Cross is My Statue of Liberty”. Now I’m aware: the first verse speaks to how fortunate we are to live in the USA; the second speaks to how blessed we are to be counted among those of God’s Kingdom.



Beware! The Spirit of Rebellion is a Killer!

Embedded below is an appeal for unity made by Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, as the church prepares for their General Conference Session (that takes place every five years). There is a major dispute taking place over the church’s refusal to ordain women as pastors. Just like so many other issues that divide the United States between “right wing” and “left wing”, this spirit of deep division has infected the church.



I just watched the video and it’s past midnight as I’m typing this. It could be that I didn’t hear every word spoken but I was struck by this message of love, passion, unity, and spirit/spirituality — not for what WAS said. Rather, it was what WASN’T.

Specifically, I speak of obedience. Since I was in diapers, I was made to understand that without obedience to The Will of God as revealed to us in His Word, all talk of “love” is just noise. There is balance in Scripture. When one chooses to only focus on certain statements from The Holy Bible and reject or simply ignore others that don’t fit comfortably into his/her agenda, he/she will fail to understand the “narrow path”. Worse, an opening is created for that first cunning ploy of the serpent — to make us question what God really said and, then, whether He really meant what He said.

There are too many examples of God’s children wandering off course trying to be like the world or doing what they think is right (like Uzzah) — even if God explicitly told them something contrary.

I don’t know Jackson well enough (yet) to have an opinion of him. I do, however, have an opinion of what he said in this video. I do not enjoy being lied to. He stated, “We are committed to our world church. We, as a division, that is, all of us, have demonstrated this faithful commitment to our church from the very beginning. By God’s Grace, we will remain faithful… The [NAD] has always demonstrated a spirit of cooperation with our world church. By God’s Grace, we will continue to cooperate.”

I watched this presentation (106 minutes long) last night that clearly shows the deadly spirit of rebellion, not “cooperation”, that is alive and possessing the NAD. President Jackson is either in denial or intentionally being “less than truthful” (as a politician might spin it).

  • Like Cain, who decided that God should accept whatever sacrifice he was willing to make and then was enraged to the point of murder when his way was rejected, we have those who are ready to fight anyone who dares to challenge their will.
  • Like the fools who built the Tower of Babel, we have those who’ve become too “smart” to be restrained by God’s Word.
  • Like the children of Israel who demanded a king, they’re too focused on the ways that “seemeth right” to people — but those ways lead to death.
  • Like Saul, who chose to disobey God and then wanted to offer the fruits of his disobedience to The One Whom he disobeyed, we have those who act as though their service to God is a favor they’re doing for Him (or as some of them say, “Her”).
  • And, like Lucifer, the father of discontentment himself, they cry “unfair!”

[Tweet “Let’s be frank about what’s REALLY #unfair: Jesus, Our Creator, had to die for our #sins.”]

It is our choice to focus on self rather than God, on our will rather than God’s Will that made His sacrifice necessary.

Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace from wikimedia (MO edited)

Whatever happens next month, this church is ALREADY split and events like this aren’t new (please note the point of “equality” raised by Korah’s gang in Numbers 16 — and the result). I didn’t intend to type so much but this appeal from my heart only scratches the surface. I conclude by pointing to, as is my custom, Hananiah; Mishael, and Azariah.

Like we see with Noah’s family, and Lot’s family (most of it anyway), it is only a tiny fraction that remain loyal to God when the situation gets hot (or wet). The majority reveal that they were never really God’s. Of all the Hebrews taken to Babylon, only three would not bow to the symbol of man’s power to be defiant.

The same deadly, defiant spirit that had the Israelites build the golden calf — right after witnessing the awesome Power of God in Egypt and being shaken by His Voice at Sinai — that same rebellious spirit is working more aggressively than ever, right now, among God’s people.

Crisis? There is no crisis that can touch those who cling to The Master’s Hand. The crisis is just a storm that swirls around them. I say “them” rather than “us” because I look at what happened to Peter (when he denied Christ thrice) and, as much as I insist, as sure as I believe I am, I just can’t know what I’ll do until the heat is applied.

To Your Health and For His Glory!
Brother Tony O
Connect with me now on LinkedIn if you believe in being “rich toward God”!

Building “Credit” on LinkedIn: Connect Your First Level Connections

What?

Your first level connections on LinkedIn are often not connected. You can introduce them.

Why?

By reviewing your first level connections carefully, you can uncover common interests and complimentary skills… in other words, you can identify people who might benefit from knowing each other. If new friendships are created among your close contacts, your bond with them will be strengthened.

More than that, you’re influence among those closest to you will increase as being helpful naturally triggers reciprocity.

How?

Contact both parties and let them know you want to introduce each to another close contact of yours. When they both reply positively, choose which one will receive the introduction and go to the profile of the other contact and…

  1. Select the “Share Profile” option from the down arrow next to the buttons in the header box.
  2. Enter both recipients’ names in the top box of the compose message page,
  3. Modify the message to explain how they could benefit from knowing each other, and
  4. Click “Send Message”.

The message will go to both and include contact information so the two members can connect to one another.

Further reading:
LinkedIn Help: Introducing Two Connections

Speaking Bluntly: Stupid People Shouldn’t Vote, Mr. Obama!

Although the pro-Obama crowd loves to tag any criticism of his ideas and actions as “racist”, I’m not going to allow their obsession with hate to silence me. I recognize that most African Americans aren’t going to like to hear my opinion on responsible voting because the United States has an ugly history of using absurd, arbitrary tests to deny citizens their right to vote but we’ve allowed that abuse to push us to the opposite extreme. We use guilt trips to urge disinterested individuals to insert themselves into the nation’s business decisions. Rich or poor, male or female, whatever your race, you should not be voting if you don’t understand the options.

Sidenote: Our elections are no longer about solutions. In place of substance, we’re given a show… as Agassi used to say in commercials “image is everything”. So, is it any surprise that Washington is dysfunctional? The most capable leaders don’t get elected because they actually have an interest in working for the people. This can’t happen when your sole focus is on keeping your job. All the way up to the President of the United States, we don’t have leadership or service. We have self-serving leeches who run never-ending campaigns!

How did we get here? I’ve complained for years that no corporation would allow people who were not stakeholders to participate in their decision-making by voting. It’s undeniable that we have millions who vote in our national elections who pay no attention to what our government is up to and it’s stupid to encourage uninformed people to vote. Isn’t it bad enough that our Congress votes on bills that they clearly don’t read (as they are thousands of pages long)? I’ll dig deeper into this point on legislation when I have more time but this blog post was prompted by the latest Obama scheme…

Obama pointing at YOU and MEMr. Obama, still emotionally wounded by the butt-kicking he took in November 2014 and recognizing the advantage Democrats have in numbers plus the fact that emotional, uninformed voters are more likely to be wooed by the Hollywood-slick marketing of his creative team, is now prepping us for mandatory voting!

So, now that those who voted for him have wearied of his moves, he wants to force stupid and/or uninformed citizens to vote or be fined (taxed)! Again I say, this is pushing us to the opposite extreme and it’s not good. Is this the only way progressive liberals can keep us on their schedule for re-structuring our government?

In Maryland, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1. The Democrats’ candidate for governor, Anthony Brown, was not only a man of color like Obama, he was running in the shadow of the White House and he was one of the few candidates who wanted to be seen with the PotUS. Heavily-favored Brown was handily defeated 51% to 47% by the Republican Larry Hogan. Now, Hogan has to work with a bitter, battered and bruised Democrat-controlled legislature to deliver the corrective measures he campaigned on (no hope of that happening) and will surely only serve one term because the Democrats are going to drag their members to the polls (by the gonads, if necessary) in the next election.

The spectacular rebuke of Obama in Maryland could not have happened with his mandatory voting scheme in place. What people (who think like he) don’t want to accept is that NOT VOTING is a choice. If you don’t like your options (frequently the case) or don’t even care what the options are, what sense does it make to force your involvement? Only a poor leader whose group has superior numbers would float such an idea.

Change Just for Change’s Sake is Stupid

…and so is voting just to vote. Activity is being masqueraded as productivity. Like the horrible deal Mr. Obama is going to make with our enemy Iran, where he won’t accept the obvious wisdom that no deal is better than a bad deal, there are times when one just needs to step back, turn away, and “let it go”. If I don’t like my options or I don’t study the issues, not only should I be able to choose not to vote, I should be advised to stay home — without having to pay another Obama tax.

Irrational, Paralyzing Fear

What are you afraid of? Anything that others might consider irrational? Like clowns? closets? or the dark?First Time Sewing

I love machines. I marvel at the advances humans have made in the last century due to the creation and improvement of machinery. Computers, in particular, have had a hold of my fascination ever since I first watched a Star Trek rerun. Those blinking colorful lights had a hypnotic effect, I suppose.

But, as much as I love machines, there has been one machine that I’ve been afraid to touch and I didn’t give it much thought until yesterday — I’m paralyzed by a fear of sewing machines.

I’m not afraid to touch them (so you can stop laughing at me). I am afraid of using them. I think a part of it may be uneasiness about working with needles but, more than that, I’m afraid of messing up the stitching of fabric. Yes, I know that the stitches can be pulled out and the work done over but I’m a bit of a perfectionist — I stress over efficiency, namely, doing the job right the first time. The thought of pulling out a bunch of stitches to redo sloppy work grates my nerves.

Further, I don’t have a clear picture in my head of the mechanics. How does a needle pumping away on only one side of the fabric stitch multiple layers together? I don’t get it and we tend to fear what we don’t understand.

As a result of signing up for a quilting class with my daughter, I was just struck by the intensity of my fear yesterday. I thought this would just be an opportunity to learn a new skill while completing a fun project. The whole process of putting a quilt together appeals to me because I’m a “puzzle person” who is attracted by the shapes, patterns, and the exercise of designing new art.

When the time to sew arrived, though, I backed off and let my daughter have at it. It’s funny how satisfying it can be to watch your child attack challenges that paralyze you… and her first lines were so straight! (Big, toothy, eye-twinkling smile!)

I’m going to conquer my irrational fear by studying how these marvelous machines work. I will master sewing, period.

Do tell, what “silly” fear stops you in your tracks and how do you plan to overcome it?