Friday, December 29, 2023

The Most Important Question

What is the most important question anyone can ask? Christianity says that it is the question of how all will die. This is not the question of what way will they die, but it is the question of the state of the soul when they die. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, (1899-1981) explains in his sermon, "Two Ways To Die", how many simply wonder if they will die rich or poor, lonely or surrounded by friends, in war or peace. Yet, while these may be important questions, the most important is whether or not one is right with God. 

Jesus teaches that all who die in their sins and apart from Him will be condemned. While many may believe that they will continue to exist after they die, this is still wrong if it does not include the Bible’s teaching in the final judgment, resurrection of the dead, and necessity of believing the gospel. What, then, is the right way to die? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the only way to die in peace is to believe that Jesus is who He says He is, and that He has done what He has said He will. It is to believe that Jesus is the only savior of the world and that He has redeemed all those that believe in Him.

In a blink of an eye, we will exchange realities when we die. (2 Corinthians 5:8 – “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”) We will either be with Jesus, our souls present with Him in Heaven, or we will be apart from Him, our souls permanently residing in Hell. That is what the Bible teaches and I believe it to be true. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Peace In A World Go Mad

In 2023, we live in a world devoid of peace. We have two major wars going on at this present moment, with a third conflict with China over Taiwan looming on the horizon. Crime rates are up, economic despair is rampant, and we go through our days besieged by voices, all clamoring for our undivided attention. 

Are you seeking peace in your life? 

When the birth of the Messiah was foretold in Scripture, He was called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and ironically, the peace He promised would only be ushered in by His death: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:5).

The reason that I introduced the narrative of Jesus Christ into our conversation is that it is my belief that peace without Jesus is fleeting at best. 

To put it in a more contemporary term, you need to look outside yourself to find your source for peace. 

Only a perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful God, who proclaims His love for you, can promise the following, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Is. 26:3). Even the night before Jesus died, He promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Finally, He also said to them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

In this world you will have trouble. 

But rejoice, Jesus has overcome this world.

Friday, December 08, 2023

Friday, December 01, 2023

God With Us

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:16-17)

It is so difficult sometimes to separate our perceived reality from the spiritual reality that God wants us to embrace. It's like the famous story of the wise old professor who would greet his class with the greeting, "Enjoy today, today!" And as would happen on almost a daily basis a student would grumble and remark that his day was not going the way he thought it would. The response from the professor would always be the same, "Don't worry, it will pass." Then another student who was riding the high of a good day or week would respond to his question in a positive manner and the professor's response would be the same, "Don't worry, it will pass.". The point behind the question is life is fluid, circumstances will change, embrace the moment. 

And if you are a believer, then God is with you in every moment.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Alexander The Great

"Alexander The Great" - the very name evokes images of epic battles, grand conquests, and a larger-than-life persona. His achievements as a military leader are legendary, and his legacy has endured for over two millennia.

But what was it that made Alexander such a successful commander?

First let's draw a comparison to another great general, Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon is credited with utilizing the idea of separate, self-sufficient army formations. Before Napoleon, every nation had an army with a general. This army had one supply train, one chain of command, one army camp when not moving, and always fought more or less together.

Yet, Napoleon's greatest strengths might have been his charisma, political leadership, and diplomat skills. His military skills, as great as they were, lacked the vision and planning of leaders such as Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. For example, I doubt that either one of those military leaders would have made the mistakes Napoleon made in invading Russia, where his army started off with over 600,000 men and only 100,000 returned. Napoleon fought in over 60 battles, and lost 7 of those conflicts. 

Alexander the Great fought military campaigns for over fifteen years and never lost a battle.

Friday, November 17, 2023


Have you ever wondered about the existence of Hell?

Christ spoke about Hell eleven times in the scriptures. He did not say, “And the unrighteous will enter the house of God and be happy forever,” or “the impenitent will be destroyed and exist no longer.” 

Rather, He said explicitly that there is a place called Hell (Gehenna); that people go there, and that it’s forever. In speaking about the suffering in Hell, he described it as: “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46); “everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41); “the fire that will never be quenched” (Mark 9:43-46); “the worm that never dies” (Mark 9:44). Of course, many of the things Jesus said during his earthly ministry can be construed in different ways. But not all of them. Certain statements he made simply preclude misinterpretation. Those having to do with Hell are in that category.

C.S. Lewis famously said: “In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of Hell is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what he does.”

Monday, November 13, 2023

Hatred and Forgiveness (John Ortberg)

" . . . knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV)

Friday, November 10, 2023

6 Characteristics of Successful People

Because I never trusted my talents, my looks, or my luck, and had little or no business connections, I decided to study what successful people did and tried to mimic it. Then I studied what unsuccessful people did and tried to avoid it. I read many books on this subject, graduated from the Dale Carnegie course on Positive Thinking and Public Relations, which culminated in co-founding a company that bundled this information in short, easy-to-digest courses that we taught to medium / upper-level executives of major companies such as Southern Foods, Coca-Cola, etc.

Now my life has consisted of many ups and downs, but I firmly believe that with God's help, we can all live a life that honors Him and serves others, and that to me is the definition of a successful life. 

So without further ado, here are my six traits shared by successful people (with an emphasis on the life of Andrew Carnegie):

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Van Morrison - In The Garden

 Rarely does a week go by where I don't partake of the beauty and genius of Van Morrison's music. 

Friday, November 03, 2023

The Power of The Cross

"The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,

I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,

I’ll expose so-called experts as shams.

So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered stupid—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so cheap, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”"

(1 Corinthians 1:18-31) The Message Translation

Friday, October 27, 2023

Prayers From The Anglican Church

“Father, what we do not know, teach us;

What we have not; give us,

What we are not, kindly make us

For Your Son’s sake.


~ an Old Anglican Prayer

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them,

that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast

the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

~ an Old Anglican Prayer

"Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you most 

humble and hearty thanks. for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all people; 

We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; 

but above all for your inestimable love." 

~ an Old Anglican Prayer

Friday, October 20, 2023

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

"Fellow countrymen: at this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends is as well known to the public as to myself and it is I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

"On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it ~ all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place devoted altogether to saving the Union without war insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war ~ seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. 

And the war came.

Friday, October 13, 2023

George Washington's Farewell Address

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the Executive Government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of and continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this previous to the last election had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea. I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

Friday, October 06, 2023

Lincoln and Stanton

Edwin M. Stanton was a complex and driven man — who combined the moral certainty of an Old Testament prophet with the compulsion of a crusader: He served his country without fail during the Civil War as Secretary of War in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. “His abilities were great and they were combative abilities. Whether because of his timidity, his ambition, or his fierce nervous ardor, he battled savagely,” wrote historian Allan Nevins, who noted that Stanton “had been a stubborn champion of the Union in the darkest months of its history. He had dealt with treason and stratagem without mercy. His patriotism was of the most unflinching kind.”

Fellow Lincoln cabinet member John Palmer Usher later wrote that Stanton “. . . was devoted to the cause he was striving to serve and gave all his energies to it. Night after night he remained in his office until a late hour and sometimes until daylight; not infrequently would his carriage be found standing at the door waiting for him when daylight came.” Stanton aide Albert E. H. Johnson recalled: “While President Lincoln in everything he did or said was to one purpose, the exercise of power within the scope of the constitution, Mr. Stanton was for saving the Union whether the constitution was saved or not, since war with him could brook no hampering or limiting bounds, and as he said, to save the constitution at the expense of the Union, would only result in destroying both. This point of view also greatly illustrated one of the many differences between the two men, Lincoln, having a heart greater than his head — the other, Stanton, having a head greater than his heart."

The Lincoln-Stanton partnership was an awkward one. “No two men were ever more utterly and irreconcilably unlike,” one of Stanton’s aides recalled decades after the Civil War. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote: “The secretiveness which Lincoln wholly lacked, Stanton had in marked degree; the charity which Stanton could not feel, coursed from every pore in Lincoln. Lincoln was for giving a wayward subordinate seventy times seven chances to repair his errors; Stanton was for either forcing him to obey or cutting off his head without more ado. Lincoln was as calm and unruffled as the summer sea in moment of the gravest peril.; Stanton would lash himself into a fury over the same condition of things. Stanton would take hardships with a groan. Lincoln would find a funny story to fit them. Stanton was all dignity and sternness, Lincoln all simplicity and good nature.”

Friday, September 29, 2023

Quotes from John Bunyan (Author of The Pilgrim's Progress)

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ”

“What God says is best, though all the men in the world are against it.”

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, and sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”

“He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.”

“Dark clouds bring living waters, where bright skies bring none.”

“One leak will sink a ship, and one sin will destroy a sinner.”

“I will stay in prison till the moss grows on my eyelids rather than disobey God.”

“Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Brooksie (by Joe Posnanski)

Note: Brooks Robinson died today. I recall like it was yesterday watching him scoop up ball after ball in the 1970 World Series which I watched on our little black/white TV in the kitchen. He became one of my top 5 favorite ball players of all time. He was born in Little Rock and visited there on a regular basis, so when I moved to Arkansas in 1996 that was one of my goals, to meet the greatest third baseman who ever lived. That never happened but for all kind of other reasons that run together in my brain, I'm really sad that he no longer exists on the same planet as the rest of us humans. 

Here is what a professional writer, Joe Posnanski,  had to say on this subject:

"Dad’s favorite ballplayer was born left-handed. Think about that for a minute: Brooks Robinson, the best who ever played the hot corner, was born with the one physical quality that should have prevented him from ever playing third base. All his life he would do everything else left-handed — he shot a rifle lefty, he played tennis and ping pong lefty, he signed autographs left-handed.

When Davey Johnson saw his hero sign an autograph left-handed, he decided to try writing left-handed too, hoping it would make him into the same sort of heavenly defender.

It did not. But how could it?

Friday, September 22, 2023

God Is Near

"The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you." 2 Chronicles 15:2b

"I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me." Psalm 16:8 (NLT)

Here's a crazy question . . . 

How do these two verses belong in the same Bible?

Friday, September 15, 2023

24 Things I Miss

Twenty four things I miss about Chattanooga in no particular order:

1. Lookout games at Engel Stadium (So much history!)

2. Luther (The Voice of Chattanooga)

3. Walking the marble floors of the gigantic (or so it seemed at the time) American National Bank downtown location

4. Dr. Sages (At the top of the Holiday Inn downtown) a great place to listen to live music!

5. Town and Country Steak House (Located downtown by the river) great food and memories!

Friday, September 08, 2023

Does God Want Us To Be Happy?

This week's article is from a acquaintance of mine that I briefly knew when I worked in Rome, Ga. His name is Jonathan Huggins Huggins and he is the college chaplain at Berry College in Rome, GA. 

"Everyone wants to be happy.  At least, that seems to be the case. Even when people do things that will ultimately make them miserable, one could argue that they are still trying to make themselves happy. The problem is, we often look for happiness in all the wrong places (Isaiah 55:2, Jer. 2:13). But does God even care about our happiness? I mean, is it really that important? Is it just a nice additional quality that one might be lucky enough to experience if you have the right personality or set of circumstances? Or is happiness essential to life, and therefore essential to life with God? Is happiness a constitutive aspect of Christian faith and living?

Friday, September 01, 2023

The History Of Engel Stadium

In 1929, while the country was in the throes of the Great Depression, entrepreneur extraordinaire Joe Engel came to Chattanooga with a cash offer in his hand for Chattanooga’s minor league baseball team. Engel believed in baseball, and he believed in Chattanooga. Acting as an emissary for Clark Griffith, owner of the major league Washington Senators, he purchased the Lookouts from Sammy Strang Nicklin, a Chattanooga-born big leaguer who had helped the New York Giants win the World Series in 1905.

On that same trip, Engel also brought $150,000 for the purpose of building a gleaming new ballpark to replace Andrews Field, which had acted as the Lookouts’ home field since 1911. The new stadium was completed the next year.

Into the 1930s and beyond, Engel promoted the Lookouts tirelessly, and through his influence, a baseball game at Engel Stadium became more than balls, strikes, outs, and runs. It was a spectacle.

Friday, August 25, 2023

The Scariest Passage In The Bible

Article by Justin Dillehay (TGC | January 7th, 2020)

"Christians may disagree over what constitutes the scariest passage in the Bible. But most would agree Jesus’s concluding words in the Sermon on the Mount rank near the top.

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21–23)

It’s frightening to think about going to hell. It’s even more frightening to find out too late that you’re going to hell when you thought you were going to heaven. And still more frightening to think that not just a few, but “many” will have this experience. Some people think they’re Christians, they call Jesus “Lord,” they even do mighty works in his name—and yet they’re not truly saved and never were." 

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Faithful Practice of Prayer

If you and I reflect the habits and beliefs of a lot of the western world's church members, then our prayer life is to put it gently, non-existent. 

We all fall short. We all, in our pride, set God aside. Yet to gloss over this failure is to relinquish the power of God in our lives. This week so many of us have been praying for our mission team in Vanuatu. And it is making a difference! But God desires that same level of passion and commitment in all the causes that He chooses to advance His Kingdom. 

So how can we pursue a more fruitful, consistent prayer life? The wrong solution is simply “to try harder.” God doesn't want us to turn prayer into another "To Do" item on our daily checklist —that approach misses the entire point of prayer itself.  

John Calvin, said that prayer is “the chief exercise of faith.” So if prayer is about faith, where does faith come from? It comes from hearing the word of God. If we desire real change in our prayer lives, then we must be consistent in our pursuit of God's wisdom and truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ and our faithfulness in prayer are tethered together, never to be torn apart on this side of eternity. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Six Things You Might Not Know About "Peanuts"

1. Schulz’s lifelong ambition was to be a cartoonist.

A Minnesota-born barber’s son, Schulz dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from a young age. He had a less-than-distinguished academic record, but outside the classroom, he drew constantly and read newspaper comic strips with his dad. When Schulz was 15, he published his first drawing, a picture of his dog, who later served as the inspiration for Snoopy. Following his high school graduation in 1940, he worked odd jobs and submitted cartoons for publication in magazines. However, Schulz received “nothing but rejection slips,” as he later noted.

2. Schulz wasn’t a fan of the name Peanuts.

In 1947, one of Schulz’s local newspapers, the St. Paul Pioneer, started publishing a weekly comic panel he’d created called “Li’l Folks,” which featured the forerunners of the Peanuts characters. In 1950, Schulz sold “Li’l Folks” to the United Feature Syndicate after being turned down by other syndication companies. Due to worries about potential copyright infringement, the syndicate opted to rechristen Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts, likely after the Peanut Gallery where the live audience of kids sat on “The Howdy Doody Show.” Even after Peanuts became hugely successful, Schulz said he never liked the name and wanted to call the strip “Good Old Charlie Brown.”

Friday, August 04, 2023

New A.I. Shows Signs of Human Reasoning

[From the New York Times article "New A.I. Shows Signs of Human Reasoning" by Cade Metz]

When computer scientists at Microsoft started to experiment with a new artificial intelligence system last year, they asked it to solve a puzzle that should have required an intuitive understanding of the physical world.

“Here we have a book, nine eggs, a laptop, a bottle and a nail,” they asked. “Please tell me how to stack them onto each other in a stable manner.”

The researchers were startled by the ingenuity of the A.I. system’s answer. Put the eggs on the book, it said. Arrange the eggs in three rows with space between them. Make sure you don’t crack them.

“Place the laptop on top of the eggs, with the screen facing down and the keyboard facing up,” it wrote. “The laptop will fit snugly within the boundaries of the book and the eggs, and its flat and rigid surface will provide a stable platform for the next layer.”

The clever suggestion made the researchers wonder whether they were witnessing a new kind of intelligence. In March, they published a 155-page research paper arguing that the system was a step toward artificial general intelligence, or A.G.I., which is shorthand for a machine that can do anything the human brain can do. The paper was published on an internet research repository.

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Pursuit Of Beauty

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Beauty can infect our working hectic lives, if only we allow it. The thing is, and stop me when you've heard this before, our daily choices can quickly become our daily ritual. 

Do you see the difference?

Friday, July 21, 2023

Reaction Video to John Denver's "Annie's Song"

I don't know if you are a fan of these reaction videos that are all over YouTube, but this is one of my favorites. This is one of my Top 10 songs of all-time, a nearly perfect marriage of lyrics, vocals, instrumentation, and arrangement. I've lost track of how many times I've heard this song, but it never failed to move me to tears. Part of that may be the stunning delivery, his purity of voice, and a realization of the history behind this song. But whatever the reason, this may be the greatest love song I've ever heard. 

NOTE: In retrospect, perhaps, a tie between this song and Gordon Lightfoot's song, "If I Could Read Your Mind" for the title greatest love song. 

Either way, both songs always pierce the core of my heart each time I listen to them. Let me know if either of these songs have that effect on you or maybe list your favorite love song in the comments below. 

Until next time . . . 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Atlanta Braves | Halfway Through The 2023 Season

The Atlanta Braves are going into the second half of the MLB season with a shot at breaking records.

The team entered the All-Star break with a 60-29 record, the best in all of baseball and on pace for 109 wins. That's just seven off the 2001 Seattle Mariners' record-breaking 116-win season. Are we saying the Braves are going to reach that incredible mark? We are not. But still, the team's dominance is something to behold. Here's just a sampling of Atlanta's incredible 2023 season, by the numbers.

The Braves have a history that's the envy of most other franchises, but this season is special even by those lofty standards. For one thing, they reached 60 wins in just 88 games, which ties the record for the fastest to 60 wins in franchise history. The kicker here is that the teams they tied weren't even called the Braves at the time. We have to go all the way back to the 1893 and 1884 Boston Beaneaters, who later became the Atlanta Braves, to hit that mark.

Friday, July 07, 2023

Friday, June 30, 2023

Freedom Of The Press

"The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. ... [W]e are asked to hold that ... the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the Judiciary can make laws ... abridging the freedom of the press in the name of 'national security.' ... To find that the President has 'inherent power' to halt the publication of news ... would wipe out the First Amendment and destroy the fundamental liberty and security of the very people the Government hopes to make 'secure.' ... The word 'security' is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security... . The Framers of the First Amendment, fully aware of both the need to defend a new nation and the abuses of the English and Colonial governments, sought to give this new society strength and security by providing that freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly should not be abridged.[16]"

From Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's opinion that elaborated on his view of the absolute superiority of the First Amendment | June 30th, 1971

For more information on this Supreme Court decision, click HERE

Poems by Ellen Sturgis Hooper

Poems by Ellen Sturgis Hooper

I Slept, and Dreamed that Life was Beauty

"I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty;

I woke, and found that life was Duty.

Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?

Toil on, sad heart, courageously,

And thou shalt find thy dream to be

A noonday light and truth to thee."

Monday, June 26, 2023

Citizens Of Heaven

As believers in Christ, we are citizens of another country and subjects of our glorious King. Our loyalty does not belong to an earthly kingdom, or tethered to nationalistic obligations. Our loyalty belongs to Jesus Christ, and our citizenship belongs to Heaven. We are simply sojourners, enduring the prelude before the main act, placed on this earth for a brief life-span, to accomplish His objectives and to advance His Kingdom. To be fixated on earthly things that will pass away is a fool's quest and a waste of our true talents. Instead we should fix our hearts on the coming king, longing for Jesus to restore creation to His standards once again. Our relationship with Jesus, and all the gifts that He freely gives us as recipients of His grace is all that matters. 

Our eternal home is a gift from God, but it is only through faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus that we have a full assurance of our heavenly inheritance. Our heavenly citizenship does not depend on any of our own works, but on His work. The passage to heaven is not an open way to all, but is available to all who place their allegiance, trust, and devotion to Jesus Christ. 

"What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"  (Mark 8:36 NIV)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Imago Dei

Our highest dignity and purpose can only be found in the identity we have received from God, and no other identity formed or edited by us can even come close. Here the formulas of addition and subtraction are flipped and the will of God is seen in its glory. For only when we lose ourselves can we then become the highest and purest creature that God originally intended for us to become. For if we have been made by God, then no shadow or facsimile identity can ever satisfy - yet the core will of man is opposed to the things of God and our flesh must be put to death daily for us to achieve our glorification through the will of God. 

"Image of God" or "Imago Dei", which is the latin translation, has its origins in Genesis 1:27, wherein "God created man in his own image..." This biblical passage does not imply that God is in anyway human, but that humans were created in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual essence. Thus, humans reflect God's divine nature in their ability to achieve the unique characteristics with which they have been endowed. These God-given qualities make humans different than all other creatures: free will, rational understanding, creative liberty, the capacity for self-actualization, and the potential for self-transcendence.

Friday, June 16, 2023

C. S. Lewis

When impressed with my own talents and ego, (which admittedly doesn't occur as often as I've gotten older but still happens more frequently than it should), I sometimes think back upon an essay that I wrote in college featuring the creativity of C.S. Lewis. 

In the late seventies I was not only living primarily for myself, I was foolishly apathetic about the presence of God in my life. God, of course, would not allow this choice to proceed unchecked, yet in His mercy He allowed me a rope of some substance, so that when I reached its end the pain would be substantial enough as to generate a recalibration of my passions and priorities. 

Yet what I find interesting is that even during this time of rebellion of The Truth, I found myself drawn to the books of C.S. Lewis, on of the great apologists of our time. My first journey into his creative world was found through his science fiction series, "The Cosmic Trilogy" and then his seven volume series, "The Chronicles of Narnia", followed by "The Great Divorce", "The Screwtape Letters", "Mere Christianity," and finally what I consider one of the pinnacles of his writings, "The Problem of Pain." (My personal favorite among his non-fictional works)

It was still early in my discovery process of his writings that I researched his creative output for the sake of my essay and I remember calculating the sum of his writings that started in 1940 and culminated around the early 1950's. It was later in life that my appreciation for his work grew in proportion as I looked anew at his volume of work during that ten year period. 

Monday, June 12, 2023


In my teenage years there were several artists that were taboo in my friend circle. That is not to say that they were not awesome talents, I believe it actually speaks more to our limited cultural taste in our developing years. Yet there were artists that we would publicly ridicule and reject and then in the privacy of our bedrooms and stereo units we would then design our "mix tapes" with the songs of those artists being a big part of those mixes. And the king of this hypocritical stance during those years was my love for the group, Bread. 

Now I would love to confess that my appreciation of the music of Bread was a reflection of my growing musical sophistication, but that would run counter to the intent of this blog, which is transparency. So my truthful reason for including Bread songs was that it seemed like every girl I knew loved their music. 

And I mean they really loved Bread songs.

Friday, June 09, 2023

A Foundation That Will Never Fail

With each passing year I find the world less populated with people that I grew up with, shared life with, and who constitute a large portion of my life memories. But I don't believe that we are to spend our lives fixated on the past, because our true destinies lie before us. So for me there is no greater reminder of my purpose on this earth than my daughter. Which leads me to the topic of this week's blog, three essential beliefs that I pray that my daughter, her future husband and children will all embrace. 

1. The Bible Is the Inspired Word of God

According to Barna, less than six percent of adults in 2022 believed that the Word of God was infallible —meaning God’s Word contains no errors, is completely true and applies to our lives today. That is a huge drop in previous surveys and can only be viewed as a victory for the enemy. Yes, the same enemy who's primary goal for you and me is to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. The enemy understands that in his quest to erode our faith, his first step is to introduce doubt into the equation. And this is exactly the worldview that our culture has embraced. If God's Word cannot be trusted, (and by proxy God Himself) than all bets our off regarding what we believe and how we choose to live. It is my personal belief that the Bible cannot be treated as a buffet, only selecting the verses and stories that you agree with, because at that point we have shifted the authority from God to ourselves. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Friday, June 02, 2023

The Role Of Ambition In A Christian's Life

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine." Elvis Presley

Living the Christian life is not only difficult, it is impossible. And one of the main reasons it is impossible for us to live for Christ (in our power) is that we are fighting a spiritual war on two different fronts. We have our internal battle, our constant tug-of-war between our spirit being led by Christ and our flesh being led by our desires, because we were born with a sin nature. (Romans 7:17-24) We also live in a world that has been marginalized and diminished by the curse of our original sin which has resulted in the distortion of God's desire for this planet. 

Then we have to factor in the presence, power, and influence of an ex-angel, who driven by selfish ambition, pursued his own agenda and rebelled against God. His rebellion resulted in not only his banishment from Heaven, but also of one-third of the angels that had lived in paradise before this choice. Now these fallen creatures have one goal, to steal, kill, and destroy as many humans for their cause as possible before their time runs out. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Who Do You Belong To?

[From Reflections: My Time? My Body? My Soul? C.S. Lewis Institute]

One of the subjects C.S. Lewis addressed in his book "The Screwtape Letters" was the topic of ownership. In this book, Lewis is writing from the devil’s perspective — showing us his temptation playbook. In one letter, senior devil Screwtape writes to his nephew Wormwood:

"The more claims on life… that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him…

You must… zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption “My time is my own”… You have here a delicate task. The assumption which you want him to go on making is so absurd that, if once it is questioned, even we cannot find a shred of argument in its defence. The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon his chattels. He is also, in theory, committed to a total service of the Enemy…

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Tireless Searcher

"Life is hunger, thirst, and passion for an ultimate object, which looms over the horizon, and yet always lies beyond it. When this is recognized, man becomes a tireless searcher." 

- Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Death of Stonewall Jackson


General Stonewall Jackson's last words:

"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Guiney Station, Virginia | May 10th, 1863

To walk through the door of Guiney Station is to be transformed, as if transplanted by a time machine of sorts. The door through which you have entered is one hundred and sixty years old, and the stories it could reveal would be endless. The room itself, the bed, the blanket Jackson clutched at death, and the ticking clock on the mantle, all present when Jackson died, combine to create an sensation that is similar to walking in misty fields, searching, looking for the familiar and yet being tugged into an awareness of history that is rarely found on this planet. This is the place where General Jackson died, where his soul was ushered into eternity, thus changing the history of the United States of America. 

NOTE: I have shared my feelings in past writings about this man who still casts such a shadow over the Civil War and the Confederacy. If you are interested, you can read that HERE

Such a poetic farewell from Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson probably astonished those who surrounded his deathbed that quiet sunny Sabbath in rural Virginia, twenty-seven miles from the bloody battlefield of Chancellorsville. More true to form had been his hallucinatory ravings the previous several hours, mostly commands, terse and to the point, that brooked no contradiction—“Push up the columns! Pendleton, you take charge of that. Where’s Pendleton? Tell him to push up the column!” Only his wife knew the gentler side of his personality, rooted as it was in loneliness and insecurity. To everyone else on the wider stage of Civil War topography—what was becoming, in point of fact, the bloodiest war ever fought on earth—“Old Jack” presented a picture of total mayhem, the hunter who, if he had his way, would never grant quarter to an enemy. “Draw your sword and throw away your scabbard,” was his battlefield credo. “Give them the bayonet! Kill them, sir! Kill every man!” 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Pathway Of Our Desires

Much has been written throughout the ages about the central battle of our life: desire. What we desire is crucial because in the end, we get what we want. Either we die wanting what God offers, or we die not wanting it. Either we love what and whom God loves, or we don’t. (To quote Bob Dylan, “They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody …”)

You see, sometimes we are fooled into believing that everyone wants to go to Heaven, but that isn’t true. Heaven is not your own personally designed paradise; it is the Kingdom of God with all of its values: forgiveness, chastity, love of all (including our enemies), and generosity, among many others. In addition, God is at the center, not us. Many people don’t desire some or all the values of the Kingdom of God and thus die in a state of indifference or opposition to what God is offering. For example, some do not want to love their enemies or live chastely. A loving God will not force them to love what or whom He loves. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Sarah Winchester and the Winchester House

In my twenties I traveled substantially across the American West, taking in such natural wonders as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Yosemite, and much more. But one of the most fascinating stops of all of those trips was a visit to the Winchester House, also known as the Winchester Mystery House. This house stands as an testimony to the famous saying, ‘If a lie is printed enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it can become an article of belief, a dogma, and a substitute for the real thing’. Put simply, it is a prime example of the adage that you can't always believe what you hear. 

When I took my tour of this famous house the tour guide emphasized repeatedly the love of the occult that Sarah Winchester possessed, (pun intended) and how this devotion motivated her architectural decisions when building and expanding her home. Stories were weaved about rooms designed to trap or repel ghosts, staircases with mysterious numbers of steps, bells that were used to summon spirits, and many more stories designed to highlight the mystery about the house and its construction. 

The truth, however, is found in none of these sayings. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

"Faith Keeps Our Hope In Sight"

[Excerpt from an article by Pastor Chuck Swindoll]

Is it really possible to smile through the difficult trials of life?

Well, if anyone had reason for resentment rather than rejoicing, it would have been Nancy and Ed. Back in 1995, their close friend, widowed with two teenage children, died of cancer. Nancy and Ed adopted her children, which instantly grew their family of four to a household of six.

A few months later, as Nancy and Ed rehearsed for their church’s annual Christmas program, their house went up in flames and burned to the ground.

The next weekend, neighbors organized a search party to sift through the ashes for anything valuable that may have survived. They found a piece of paper, well-preserved, with a timely message encouraging a smile:

Contentment: Realizing that God has already provided everything we need for our present happiness.

For Nancy and Ed, that simple statement was like hearing the voice of God from a burning bush! He saw them. He heard them. He was with them.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Monday, May 01, 2023

If You Could Read My Mind

If you could read my mind, love

What a tale my thoughts could tell

Just like an old time movie

'Bout a ghost from a wishing well

In a castle dark or a fortress strong

With chains upon my feet

You know that ghost is me

And I will never be set free

As long as I am a ghost, you can't see

Friday, April 28, 2023

Ghost Stories And Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is a national park in south-central Kentucky, consisting of the longest cave system known in the world. The Green River runs through the park, with a tributary called the Nolin River feeding into the Green just inside the park.

The cave system has formally been known as the Mammoth–Flint Ridge Cave System since 1972, when a connection was discovered between Mammoth Cave and the even-longer system under Flint Ridge to the north. As of 2022, more than 426 miles passageways had been surveyed,  over 1.5 times longer than second-longest cave system, Mexico's Sac Actun underwater cave.

One of my favorite childhood memories was taking a tour of Mammoth Cave and the guide stopping us in a part of the cave known as the Great Room and then extinguishing all our light sources. That was my first experience with total darkness, darkness so deep it makes you question any other reality, and the immense impact those moments can have on one's psyche.

The cave, as you can imagine, has also spawned many tales of the supernatural which even taken with a grain of salt, make for great campfire fodder.  

Friday, April 21, 2023

Old Faithful

I'm continuing an informal series of posts about places of interest that I have visited in my life. One of my favorite destinations was Yellowstone Park and one of the most intriguing sites in that park was the Old Faithful geyser. 

Old Faithful is one of the most well-known geysers in the world.  This incredible natural feature has been drawing visitors for more than a century. However, despite its celebrity, there is still plenty most people don’t know about Yellowstone’s most popular geyser.

So here is a brief history of Old Faithful, along with a few little-known facts about this famous landmark for a better understanding the next time you tour Yellowstone.

Old Faithful was named by the Washburn Expedition of 1870, who explored the area that would later be called Yellowstone. Members of the expedition entered the Upper Geyser Basin after traveling down the Firehole River and saw the geyser, which they called Old Faithful because of the regularity with which it erupted.

Geysers like Old Faithful are only formed under specific conditions, making them relatively rare. Magma under the Earth’s surface superheats pockets of underground water, building pressure that eventually pushes the water upwards. Rhyolite, a volcanic rock high in silica content, lines the tunnel through which the water escapes its underground pocket, creating a pipe that can withstand the incredible heat and pressure as the water erupts above ground.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday, April 07, 2023

Jesus Appearances After His Death

One of the main reason the disciples believed in the resurrection of Jesus is that they saw Him alive after He was dead. In fact, Jesus presented Himself alive on a number of different occasions to His followers.

Want to learn more about Jesus' resurrection? 

The strongest evidence we have on this matter is Jesus' own personal testimony is that He was raised from the dead. "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Revelation 1:18).

In the book of Luke we also see Jesus providing proof to His disciples, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." (Luke 24:39).

What if I told you that hundreds of people saw Jesus after the resurrection? Let's take a closer look at some of those appearances . . . 

Ways I Communicate With Others

This is probably not going to come as a shock to anyone who reads this blog but I love to write. 


But the reasons I love to write may come as a surprise to even those who know me best. Writing and music are my two favorite ways to express myself, for totally different reasons. But first a little information about myself.  

I am at my core an extremely introverted person. Given to my own devices my ideal life would be lived in a small condo, filled with books and endless takeout, a black Baldwin grand piano in the corner, board games on my shelves, and a comfortable chair and table to enjoy all of these bountiful blessings. That is my idea of paradise. If forced to commute to my job my ideal work situation would be in a small office, in a high rise with one window, preferably with no way to communicate with others short of my computer, accomplishing tasks with little oversight and even less communication with the outside world. (All in room cooled to 64 degrees fahrenheit please) 

Okay, you're going to have to give me a moment . . . 

Friday, March 31, 2023

Why We Love Lists

We cannot escape lists. 

On social media platforms we post lists such as 25 Random Things About Me, or My Top 10 Places To Live. We make lists about movies, books, games, music, pretty much anything and everything that we find interesting. 

Some of the most popular articles, podcasts, videos and blogs are a variation of someone sharing their personal top picks in a particular area. There are long lists and short lists, odd and even lists, top 10 and top 100 lists, in fact, there is no shortage to the format that we will pursue to share our personal passions with other humans.

But lists go beyond just sharing information. 

Lists also help us make decisions. For instance, when George W. Bush wanted to find a suitable vice-presidential candidate, he asked his chief-of-staff to draw up a short list, which ironically ended up with Dick Cheney, his chief-of-staff, at the top of that list.

"Enough organization, enough lists and we think we can control the uncontrollable," said a character on the TV show House, and that is another reason to the popularity of list making.

So what are Top 5 reasons we love lists? Let's count the ways:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023

The Toughest Sport In The World Is . . .

[Reprinted from | Page 2 Article | "Sport Skills" |

We sized them up. We measured them, top to bottom. We've done our own Tale of the Tape, and we've come to a surprising conclusion. Pound for pound, the toughest sport in the world is . . .

Boxing. The Sweet Science.

That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.

But don't take our word for it. Take the word of our panel of experts, a group made up of sports scientists from the United States Olympic Committee, of academicians who study the science of muscles and movement, of a star two-sport athlete, and of journalists who spend their professional lives watching athletes succeed and fail.

They're the ones who told us that boxing is the most demanding sport -- and that fishing is the least demanding sport.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Friday, March 17, 2023

The Perfect Game of Chess

According to the Oxford dictionary “Chess is a board game for two players, the object of which is to put the opponent’s king under a direct attack, leading to checkmate”.

In other words the goal of chess is total annihilation of your opponent, to eliminate all hope and potential from their side of the board. One of the things that makes chess so unique from other board games is the fact that there are almost infinite number of positions that can arise in the quest for victory.

Consider this, after each player makes just one move there are 400 different positions possible! After 2 moves – about 72,000 positions possible. After 3 moves – 9 million. After 4 moves – 288 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) positions can arise on a chess boards. And the average chess game is around 40 moves! That translates into 10^50 legal positions in chess that are possible after 40 moves! 

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Freedom of Information Day

On March 16, 1986, President Ronald Reagan designated that day as "Freedom of Information Day," because he believed greatly in that Constitutionally-given right. He believed that a government, shrouded in secrecy, was a clear and present danger to the republic and its citizens. Check out part of his proclamation that he issued on that day: 

"A fundamental principle of our government is that a well-informed citizenry can take part in the important decisions that set the present and future course of the nation. Our Founding Fathers provided in the Constitution and in the Bill of Rights freedoms for all Americans, many of which are promoted by open access to information . . . 

Numerous acts of Congress, including the Freedom of Information Act, are intended to further this principle. Most Americans, having never known any other way of life, take for granted open access to information about their Federal, State, and local governments. They also understand that some secrecy is necessary to protect both national security and the right to privacy."