Comfort From Above

Moon and Venus

I caught this shot the other night of Venus and the moon and it reminded me not only of the celestial glory God provides for our entertainment, but of the many ways He leaves big flashing dots for us to connect.

Luke 1:37 tell us, “For no word from God will ever fail”.   Of course not.  He gave us light, separated day from night, made days, years and calendars  and created signs in the sky to help us navigate and mark the different seasons.

Those signs, among many other things,  all point to Him and His unyielding, uncompromising and never-ending love for us.  Sometimes all we need to do is look up to be reminded of this.

And so He made the stars also…..

Indeed.

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The Birth of Liberty-Day 4

founding-fathers                      Photo Credit: Library of Congress, painting by J. Trumbell

It’s the 4thof July and so today we celebrate America’s separation from British rule, formally ratified through the Declaration of Independence.

It’s important to remember just how revolutionary this document was; both in laying out the ideals and principles of our young nation’s new government and in justifying breaking off from the oppression of Great Britain. It was the philosophical basis of a government that exercised power only by consent of the governed, which was truly a radical concept for this time!

Most of human history to that point consisted of government ruling over its people with power always ceding to the wealthy and politically connected.  The Declaration of Independence and its inspired creation, the Constitution, flipped this on its head and outlined the conditions of a free people whose rights and liberty are derived from God, not man.

Liberty was of course high on the minds of its authors, the Founding Fathers, who understood that for people to truly live well, the oppression of government must be tamed so the dignity and freedom of the human spirit can thrive.

So enjoy today’s festivities with your loved ones; the BBQ’s, the fireworks, the games, the fellowship.  Just don’t forget to share a toast (perhaps with a Sam Adams Boston Lager?) in celebration of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the foresight and extreme sacrifices from those that came before us.

Cheers and Happy Independence Day!

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.-Patrick Henry

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”Thomas Paine

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”-Benjamin Franklin

“The security of a free Constitution,” depends on “teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; . . . to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness,” and to unite “a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect for the laws.”  –George Washington

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”-Thomas Jefferson

“Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported . . . cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . And the preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks, is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.”-John Adams

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security” –Benjamin Franklin

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”-Thomas Jefferson

Previous posts on this series of quotes from our Founding Fathers can be found, here, here and here.

 

 

 

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The Birth of Liberty-Day 3

Did you know that nobody really knows exactly how many federal criminal laws/regulations there are on the books? And that each day the average person is breaking at least 3 of them without even knowing it?  And that every year Congress continues to criminalize a new crime each week?

James_Madison

Photo Credit: oll.libertyfund.org/quote/177

This surely was not the case when Founding Father James Madison was alive, but he certainly could have predicted it.  Madison helped write the U.S. Constitution and Federalist Papers and eventually became president himself in 1808.  He was very keen to this type of danger saying:

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.”

Well today there are over 5,000 federal criminal laws and somewhere between 300,000-500,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. Even if just a misdemeanor or an arrest that doesn’t result in a conviction, the end result can still be disastrous in terms of lost money, time and reputation.

A large and powerful government enforcing Increasingly complex and incoherent laws that its citizens may or may not know they are breaking, takes us far, far away from the concept of individual liberty so cherished by our Founders. In fact it is a form of tyranny that’s leading us down a bad path that someday will be impossible to get off of.

Will we wise up before it’s too late?

This is part of a multi day series of quotes from our Founding Fathers. Here are links to days 1, and 2 respectively.

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The Birth of Liberty-Day 2

As we move on from Day 1 in this series of quotes from our Founding Fathers, we come to Samuel Adams, second cousin to John Adams and a major architect of the American Revolution and in helping to shape the political culture of the young country.

Samuel Adams

Photo Credit: wikipedia.com

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

This quote holds particular significance for us today, as so many seem not just fine with the ever increasing amount of government interference in our lives, but eagerly demanding it.

Government is force of the most powerful kind. It has complete authority to legally threaten and initiate violence against its own citizens, with a vast army of officers empowered to use various methods of enforcement, up to and including the lethal type.

Nobody believes we don’t need government, it’s a necessary evil that exists to protect our rights and enforce laws that allow a free people to prosper and thrive.  We should be very wary however of the powers we grant to it.

This brings to mind another quote by Gerald Ford, often wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but still no less true.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.

Or more simply, be careful what you ask for….

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The Birth of Liberty-Day 1

 

declaration                                Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress of the 13 U.S. Colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was the official statement ratifying their vote 2 days prior to permanently break from Great Britain’s rule.  Each July 4th from that day forward, people throughout the country and from all walks of life, come together to celebrate the birth of America’s Independence.

We do this in many ways; with gatherings of friends and family, backyard grilling and lots and lots of food/drink, and of course with fireworks.  It’s a highly patriotic time, yet sometimes the essence of what what’s actually being celebrated can get lost in the hoopla.  Indeed, the profoundness of this official declaration of freedom was unlike anything the world had ever seen, the blood, sweat and sacrifices from the men that construed it, immense.

In honor of them and the spirit of those revolutionary times, I’m going to post a Founding Father quote each day through July 4th.  We owe them a great debt, the least we can do is reflect on their thoughts and ponder the importance they hold for us as Americans to be able to live in such free, peaceful and prosperous times.

The first is from John Adams, our first Vice President and second President of the United Sates.  Actually I’m throwing in two because they fit well together.

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve YOUR freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.”- John Adams

Yes, we will never truly know how much that generation sacrificed for us. That in itself is such a tremendous blessing.

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On Grief

San Dollar

I wasn’t in the best of places last Father’s Day. Having lost my own dad the year before, the thought of suffering through a day of watching others celebrate something I know longer had was almost unbearable. Staying off social media and grumbling to myself about stupid, made up Hallmark holidays was about the best I could do.

This year is different. It’s not that I miss my father any less, or that the pain is gone, but my grief has shifted. It’s a symbiotic relationship really that one has with grief; as it changes so do you and as you change, so does your grief. Continue reading

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The Party of Bloat

Say, which political party is it that believes in limited government again? Couldn’t be the GOP now, could it? I think perhaps a long time ago this was so, but today they are just an embarrassing bureaucracy blob that shifts wherever the donor winds tell them too, completely unchained from any principle except self benefit.

This was made abundantly clear after 21 House Republicans  threw a hissy fit over President Trump’s recently signed executive orders  that make it easier to fire poorly performing federal workers and saves taxpayer dollars from going to union related activities. Continue reading

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A class Act

Two things recently caught my eye.  The first was syndicated columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer’s heartbreaking announcement that his life will soon be coming to an end due to an aggressive cancer.

Charles’s unique blend of high intellect and precision writing skills made for brilliant columns and commentary that average Joe’s like myself could understand and appreciate, even if I didn’t always agree with his conclusions, which was rare.  He’ll be remembered best for this, but what’s always impressed me most was his persistence in creating a life of purpose and meaning after a diving accident in college left him a quadriplegic with severe depression.  He is such an inspiration. Continue reading

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Honor Thy Soldier

Today of course is about remembering and honoring those that have served and died for our country.  It should be anyway, but I can’t help but feel something missing from all the tributes lighting up my social media feeds; moving platitudes written over photos of coffins draped with flags, spouses laying on graves, soldier dog tags dangling from head stones, oceans of white crosses.

I mean no disrespect, I know the posts are sincere and come from the heart and certainly make sense in today’s digital era.  For myself though I’m starting to see a troubling pattern.  Where after reading a post that moves me I will click the like button and feel a sense of accomplishment, as if by giving a thumbs up to something honoring our fallen military heroes somehow means that I’ve done just that, when I really haven’t thought much about them at all. Continue reading

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Crabby Corner…

Grocery Bar

10 ways to stop being an a*****e   make the world a better place:

Do not, under any circumstances make the mistake of thinking that others enjoy the music, movie or video game blaring from your phone in a public place. Trust me, we don’t.  Headphones were made for a reason, use them and use them often.

Hang up the phone and actually engage with the cashier who is ringing you up.  Seriously, put down the phone and join the human race. Continue reading

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