Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Thoughts on Psalm 140

As I've previously explained here on the blog and on my Facebook page, I have been richly blessed in recent months in reflecting on certain Scriptures along with a few friends. 

Our approach is simple enough – read the selected Bible book or passage, study it in whatever depth one has time for, consider personal applications of the text, and then post a few of one's own reflections on an email thread. Thus, everyone in the group (there have been 8-12 of us invited to that thread) can benefit. Using this method we have so far explored the Book of Esther, then Habakkuk, and now we're looking at three successive Psalms: 139, 140, and 141.

The invitation still stands for others who might want to join in. And with that introduction to the exercise, here's my latest on Psalm 140.

Dear friends,

While awaiting further responses to Psalm 139, Claire and I are also moving on to Psalm 140, one of those imprecatory psalms that unbelievers find so scandalous.  “How can a spiritual person pray for harsh judgment against others?” they ask.  And thus, standing in judgment of the Holy Scriptures, they defend unbelief and spiritual pride.  They assume that these imprecatory psalms and the Bible teachings on judgement, hell, etc., prove that they themselves are more compassionate and just and loving than is God Himself.  And then, having dismissed conviction, they conveniently dismiss all biblical matters and go their own way. Too bad.

Anyway, I’ll make my response to this spiritual exercise by doing two things. First of all, to share a perspective on praying against the wicked, I post a link to a brief essay I originally wrote 2 years ago for the blog. It’s entitled “Praying God’s Arrows Will Fly.” 

And secondly, stemming from this morning’s reading of Psalm 140, I give you 4 quick prayers that are applications for my life today.

1) Lord, as we take our stand against abortion outside Planned Parenthood today, please deliver us from “violent men who devise evil things in their heart.”  Rescue us from abortion zealots who hate us for our winsome witness for You -- whether they are employees, escorts, counter demonstrators, angry passersby, and so on.

2) Father, please protect me from those traps and nets and snares the enemy has set for me.  Guard me and guide my every step.  Keep me in humble dependence upon Your Holy Spirit so that I do only Your will and keep myself pure in heart, firm in the Faith, and obedient to Your every teaching. Don't let the devil steal my confidence, focus, joy, purity, focus, or any other blessing.

3) Father, defeat the schemes of the devil and his minions in our nation.  Let them not succeed but, in fact, let frustration, shame, and scandal be the outcome of their actions against You and Your anointed.

4) Keep ever in my mind, Lord, that You are righteous and just and all-powerful.  You WILL judge the wicked in holiness.  You WILL “maintain the cause” of Your people and reward them in due season.  Let me hold fast to Your promises, Your character, and Your enabling power to live always for You.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Writing Persecuted Christians

In recent days I have posted a few of the letters from the latest Vital Signs Ministries letter-writing party...and I have briefly described in those posts why and how we conduct this important ministry of advocacy and encouragement.

Well, there is another audience that we frequently address in these quarterly meetings and that consists of the persecuted believers listed by Voice of the Martyrs website. We so appreciate VOM's efforts to serve those imprisoned and otherwise persecuted simply because they serve Jesus Christ. And we believe that the wonderful procedure they have created to write letters -- in the prisoner's own language! -- is a blessing beyond measure. 

I post below a sample letter from those we sent out last week. (By the way, our cards and letters to these dear saints are always in cards or on stationary that includes inspirational scenery because we want to add beauty to the blessings of encouraging content.)

Dear -----

When one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers. Many Christians around the world are standing with you. The Lord is your shepherd and He will be with you. I pray you feel the arms of our Lord surrounding you.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me."

Romans 8:18 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Revelation 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

To see how it works (including how the phrases and Scriptures YOU select for the body of your letter are translated), simply follow this link.


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Prophets vs Profits: Principled Protests to Businesses

Here's a couple of letters I recently sent to businesses that have completely lost their moral bearings. Why write? Because it's a response decidedly more consistent with Christian sanctification (including the proclamation of God's truths to the world) than is tolerant silence, indifference, or other moral compromise. Indeed, I post these letters in hopes that others (including yours) will be forthcoming. Have at it!

The first letter was directed to Postmates, Burger King, Dr. Pepper, and Cottonelle for recent ads they promoted as part of their "Pride Month" advertising. Those ads included "humorous" references to homosexual acts.

Dear Burger King,

I recently read the details of your recent use of explicit homosexual references in what you considered humorous ads for your products.  We are only two of many who find that particularly crass and mean-spirited. We will be demonstrating our protest through our consumer decisions and will pass along the word to others.

And this next letter was sent to companies whose response to the reversal of the evil Roe v Wade law was to scream loudly against any and all restrictions to abortion and then to go so far as to pledge the financing of an abortion and related expenses to their employees who decided to have an abortionist destroy their babies. Unbelievable.

Those companies? 

* Amazon.com    * Bank of America (The nation's second-largest bank)
* Cigna    * CNN    * Comcast (The parent company of NBC/Universal)
* CVS Health     * Dick's Sporting Goods    * Estee Lauder 
* Hewlett Packard     * Ikea      * Kroger      * Lyft
* MasterCard     * Microsoft 
* Paramount (The media conglomerate which owns CBS News)
* Patagonia     * Paypal     * Procter & Gamble    * Starbucks 
* Target    * Tesla    * Uber     * Walt Disney     * Yahoo

Dear Dick's Sporting Goods,

I write to express my extreme disappointment for your cruel zealotry regarding the dismemberment and poisoning of preborn boys and girls. I refer, of course, to your support of Planned Parenthood, the nation's #1 abortionist, and your support of unlimited abortion without the slightest regard to the little innocent children which will be abortion’s victims. That is so very mean-spirited...and sad. But to then go further in the actual enablement of that horrendous violence by financing the abortions of your employees goes even further beyond the pale.

We are but two of the many Americans who will also express our disappointment with your cold-hearted company by our consumer decisions. And, yes; we will pass the word to others.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Check Out These "Light-Shining" Letters

Following up on my blog post describing a very successful letter-writing party last Tuesday evening (details here). I'll print off a few samples of what was written in that ministry event. 

Perhaps it will encourage you to write a few!

Dear Justice Thomas,

It is with a grateful heart that I write to thank you for voting to overturn Roe v Wade.  This has been a long time coming and is well past time, due to no fault of yours.  Your tireless advocacy for life and for righteousness is very appreciated. The violence that has been directed towards your family and the harassment of your wife over or by the January 6th circus is unconscionable. We pray for your protection and good health and many more good years before you go to receive your great reward for your work.

Regards, JM

Dear Justice Barrett,

Thank you so much for standing for life. I would like to encourage you to stand firm and know that prayers are being said for you and your family. You have one of the most important jobs in our country.  Please continue to work for the best decisions for the people in our great country.

Sincerely, J&JL

Justice Amy Coney Barrett,

As Mordecai said to his cousin/niece Esther, “Who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”  We have prayed for you and for your family, for healthy, wisdom protection. Congratulations that you are eternally known for voting to overturn Roe v Wade.  It was such an affront to women and such bad law. Thank you for standing in the gap to protect vulnerable women and their children.

Much work still to be done but your work on the bench is great and historic and significant, thank you!!

Regards, JM

Dear Justice Gorsuch,

Just a quick but deeply appreciative note to thank you for your defense of the Constitution, your defense of moral and scientific fact, and your defense of the sanctity of preborn life in voting to reverse Roe v. Wade.  What an opportunity this now represents for America!  We’re praying God will bless, protect, and keep you on course!

D&CH

Justice Kavanaugh,

Praying for you and your wife daily. Be strong, sir; all this temporary.

Bound for Glory, AN

Dear Justice Thomas,

I have written earlier to thank you for your noble service to America, especially in your defense of “original intent” in Constitutional matters.  Your brilliant defense of the sanctity of life over the years has finally bore the most wonderful and amazing of fruits; namely, the reversal of Roe v. Wade and we thank God for helping you stay the course against such extreme (though unjust and even irrational) opposition.  We will be forever grateful to you.

D&CH -- VSM

P.S. Our next Book Brunch deals with "Created Equal" come September, but we’ve started it early.  It's terrific!

Dear Justice Roberts,

Your failure to vote to reverse Roe v. Wade was a grave disappointment.  Of course, you have disappointed so much of America many times before with your lukewarm ethics, your compromised values, and your sloppy decisions.  But to fail to finally get this – of all things – straight…that takes the cake!

DH

This next letter was sent to several companies
that have been pro-abortion zealotry.

Dear Disney, 

Just a quick word of disappointment for your cruel zealotry regarding the dismemberment and poisoning of reborn boys and girls through abortion. Indeed, your company's support of unlimited abortion (without the slightest regard to the little innocent child which will be abortion’s victim)…well, that’s both sad and desperately mean-spirited.  However, for your company to then go further by the active enablement of that horrendous violence is beyond the pale.

We are but two of many who will also express our disappointment with your cold-hearted company in our consumer decisions -- as well as passing the word to others.

Dear Kroger's,

I have been a long-time Bakers shopper.  I have my favorite store.  I know where everything is located.  I use my Bakers Plus card and get money off my fuel.  I have ordered special cakes from the bakery. However, I am so disappointed that you have been so vocal in your support for abortion.  Why?  Do you support the employees that choose life for their babies?  If so, you certainly aren’t vocal about that. The best thing a business should do is be the best business it can and stay out of politics! From today on, I will begin begin shopping elsewhere.

CH

Dear Samaritan's Purse,

I am amazed and delighted to see the work you are doing for hurting people the world over. You send me a prayer booklet which I use every day.  So many lives are being touched and transformed by the work you are doing for Jesus. May God continue to bless the work He has called you to.

DK

Dear Don Bacon,

I was very disappointed to learn that you voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which affirms and further encourages same-sex marriage. This is a great assault on our Creator’s definition on marriage.  I know you have made statements about being a Christian, but how can a Christian stand for something our God hates? Our culture is falling away from what God calls good and is embracing destructive behavior. Prayerfully you will fear the Lord as you lead.

DK

Dear President Biden,

I was shocked beyond belief when you were defending – by word and policy – those citizens to the lawmakers who were defending Roe v. Wade, in spite of the Supreme Court overturning it.  Shame on you for claiming to be an active member of the Catholic Church and defending the killing of innocent children from abortion when you are fully aware of their stand for pro-life!  As former President Reagan said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Pope John Paul II, “America, you are beautiful and blessed.  The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless.  If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”  Deuteronomy 30:19

I beg you as President that you seek God’s truth on the abortion issue.

Sincerely, DP

Dear Police Chief Schmaderer,

Vital Signs Ministries is holding a quarterly letter-writing party and, among the other political and moral topics we address in our letters, we like to thank local heroes who risk so much to keep us safe.  We are greatly appreciative of all of you and the “Blue” do!

( Signed by all present)

Dear Fire Chief Olsen,

Vital Signs Ministries is hosting our quarterly letter-writing tonight and, among the political and moral issues we tackle in our letters, we also like to send along our thanks for local heroes who serve us so well…like you guys!  So please know the fire and rescue heroes are dearly appreciated by those signing below.

(Signed by all present)

Dear Attorney General Garland,

Among the most egregious derelictions of your duty has been your failure to actively, effectively protect Supreme Court Justices as stated in U.S. Title 18, Section 1507.  Please, before someone is hurt, do your job!

DH

Dear Franklin Graham,

I want to thank you for the wonderful work you and your ministry are doing.  You inspire me with “love and good deeds.” Thank you also that you always share the Gospel wherever you go.  That is primary.  That is the basic message everyone needs to know.  Being forgiven and knowing Jesus is the starting point for good for us all.  Franklin, you and your ministry are often in our thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for your perseverance.  (I Cor. 15:58)

Sincerely, LS

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

Wow, what a letter-writing party last night! While the rain drenched the neighborhood, 13 of us were comfortably situated around tables in both our dining room and living room writing letters of advocacy, courteous protest, encouragement, and thanksgiving. 

As is our pattern at these quarterly events, we conclude the letter writing itself after an hour and 20 minutes. And yet, incredibly enough, we ended the night with 137 cards and letters! Yet that's not the whole of it because two of our "regulars" who couldn't attend because of a leg injury, nevertheless took part in the ministry by writing 14 cards and letters of their own! Way to go, everyone!

Interested in more details? Well, I think the August LifeSharer letter may present more information plus, in the next few days, I will be posting several samples of last night's work on Vital Signs Blog. But for now I'll tell you that among the targets for last night's letters were Supreme Court Justices (24 letters and cards), businesses guilty of pro-abortion zealotry (36), political officials (19), Christian ministry heroes (13), local first responders (5), and Christians imprisoned for their Christian faith in China, Eritrea, and Iran (14). 

The photos, by the way, show the pile as Claire sorted them and then me selecting a representative few for public viewing. Thank you so much to Don, John, Keith, Carol, Jim, Jean, Allen, Cindy, Patrick, Mary, Deb, Lynn, and Dan -- you guys are aces!

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Progressives Stay the Course...And Are Picking Up Speed

* "GOP Leaders to Religious Right: We Don’t Care About Marriage. Even Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act is too “extreme” for GOP elites to support." (George Neumayr, American Spectator)

* "America’s woke Army is facing a recruiting nightmare" (Glenn H. Reynolds, New York Post)

* "House Democrats Don’t Mind Emptying Out Emergency Oil Reserves To China" (Tristan Justice, Federalist)

* "Michigan AG says 'drag queens make everything better,' suggests 'drag queen for every school'" (Jessica Chasmar, Fox News)

* "Ship of Fools: 62 Percent of Biden Officials Who Handle Economic Policy Have Zero Years Business Experience" (Matthew Boyle, Breitbart)

* "NYC Mayor Eric Adams shares plan to house 3,000 illegal immigrants in hotels after they overwhelmed homeless shelters: Demands taxpayer cash from Biden to help" (Paul Farrell, Daily Mail)

* "Michigan Gov. Whitmer Deletes Pro-Life Programs from State Budget" (Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart)

Lawlessness Unleashed (Part One)

Here are just a few examples of the waves of leftist injustice, hypocrisy, and unmitigated lawlessness which threaten to overwhelm America. Indeed, the moral ground may have already been unalterably eroded. 

* "Biden’s DHS Reveals Nearly 1K Illegal Aliens with Arrest Warrants as ID Allowed to Board U.S. Flights This Year" (John Binder, Breitbart)

* "Climate activists embrace extreme tactics, violence as deadline to 'save the planet' draws near" (Thomas Catenacci, Fox News)

* "Public School Employee Who Advocated for LGBTQIA+ Learning Gets Busted in 'Sex With Minors' Solicitation Sting" (Jim Thompson, Red State)

* "Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Buys Millions In Chip Stocks Right Before Vote On Massive Chip Subsidy" (Gabe Kaminsky, Daily Caller)

* "Climate activists expand tire-slashing operation beyond NYC. Here are the cities they've hit." (Thomas Catenacci, Fox News)

* "50 illegal migrants on terror watch list have been caught at the border so far this year - more than total number apprehended in last five years" (Keith Griffith, Daily Mail)

* "Biden judicial nominee on board of prison 'abolitionist' group" (Houston Keene, Fox News)

4 Thoughts on Psalm 139

As I've previously explained here on the blog and on my Facebook page, I have been richly blessed in recent months in reflecting on certain Scriptures along with a few friends. Our approach is simple enough – read the selected Bible book or passage, study it in whatever depth one has time for, consider personal applications of the text, and then post a few of one's own reflections on an email thread. So it is that everyone in the group (there have been 8-12 of us invited to that thread) can benefit. Using this method we have explored the Book of Esther, then Habakkuk, and now we're looking at three successive Psalms: 139, 140, and 141.

The invitation still stands for others who m might want to join in. 

And here, by the way, is this morning's response to the latest project:

4 thoughts upon the latest reading of Psalm 139:

1) The “cosmic perspective” of God’s omnipresence is, of course, a dramatic theme in this psalm.  We are reminded that God’s holy presence encompasses outer space, the depths of the ocean, the womb of an expectant mother, even the mysteries of the nether world.  And yet the overarching point of verses 1-18 is made in the very beginning; namely, David is amazed and deeply appreciative of God’s omniscience as it affects him personally.  “You have searched me and known me.”  Wow!  The hand of God which threw the stars and planets throughout the universe, and scooped out the Mariana Trench at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and shaped the unimaginably precise elements of the DNA makeup in every simple person in history, is the hand which is gently, lovingly “laid upon” each believer to guide and protect.  Wow again! 

2) Not only the horror but the sheer blasphemy of abortion couldn’t be made more clear than it is in verses 13-16.  Invading the sanctity of the womb for the “search and destroy” action which is abortion is a monstrous crime against the preborn boy or girl resting there.  But this psalm emphasizes the offense it is to the Creator God as well.  We are not our own; we are the precious work of His love.  Make no mistake then; the promotion and protection of the sanctity of life is a very big deal to our Father.

3) Verses 17 and 18 underscore that alongside David’s wonder and praise and thanksgiving for God’s omnipresence are his same responses to God’s omniscience.  God is everywhere. And God knows everything. And both of those are at work in His care for His children.

4) Verses 19-10 present the same character and purpose as other imprecatory psalms and yet even those verses introduce a very personal application; namely, that David’s awareness of the wickedness in God’s enemies moves him not to compromise or weaken his hatred of God’s enemies, but to also look to his own sanctification.  He affirms, “I hate them with the utmost hatred” and yet he expresses his need for the Lord's work in his own sanctification, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

Okay, from my early morning coffee at the West Dodge Panera, that’s it.  I’ll ask Claire to type this up and post it.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Nothing Stays in the Closet Nowadays.

Remember when Hollywood executives sought to cover up the scandalous activity of their stars in order to avoid severe damage to box office receipts?

Today, anything goes. In fact, the executives now holding those high Hollywood posts actually go out of their way to parade, publicize, and even promote the most brazen immorality of the folks they have under contract. They have concluded (rightly so, obviously) that scandalous behavior actually furthers one's career, so vastly different are the moral standards of the public from days gone by. 

Forget Dorian Gray. Nothing stays in the closet nowadays.

Meanwhile, American Christians continue to drink freely from these polluted waters, desiring hipness over holiness, entertainment over enlightenment, and mindless conformity over the counter-culture lifestyle that Jesus commanded.

It’s a very, very sad state of affairs.

As an ancient seer put it, “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Proverbs 25:26, NASB)

From "The News the Left Wants Buried" Department (Part One)

* "Biden Admin Flies Illegal Alien Minors out of Texas for Abortions" (John Nolte, Breitbart)

* "How liberal policies have killed black communities" (Clarence Thomas, New York Post)

* "Justice Clarence Thomas is ‘our greatest living American,’ despite constant attacks from the left" (Brian Flood  & Nikolas Lanum, Fox News)

* "Washington state school board director to teach sexual 'pleasure' class to 9-year-olds at sex shop. The classes will be held at a local sex shop called WinkWink." (Emma Colton, Fox News)

* "'A Drag Queen in Every School' Is Modern Left’s 'Chicken in Every Pot'" (Jarrett Stepman, Daily Signal)

* "Postmates, Burger King, Dr Pepper release ads with gay sexual references" (Sean Salai, Washington Times)

* "Nicaragua approves Russian troop access to country, defies US objection" (Peter Aitken, Fox News)

Something's Happening Here...

"Something's happenin' here. What it is ain't exactly clear."

Most of the readers of Vital Signs Blog remember that classic line from the 1966 Buffalo Springfield song, "For What It's Worth." Well, that certainly describes the state of the establishment media of our day. Something is quite clearly happening and yet they are going to do whatever they can to make sure it remains unclear to the public.

But wait! There are still a few honest journalists out there who remember that their job is to search out the truth, ascertain their stories to be accurate, and then report it with clarity and skill. Check out these important examples:

* "Elizabeth Warren Calls to Shut Down Crisis Pregnancy Centers 'All Around the Country'" (Paul Bois, Breitbart)

* "Grooming children for a life of crime" (Sheila Qualls, Alpha News)

* "The Disappearing American?" (Victor Davis Hanson, PJ Media)

* "Does Iran Have Biological Weapons?" (Maya Carlin, 1945)

* "The Discussion of Holocaust Victim Anne Frank's 'White Privilege' Has Begun" (Bonchie, Red State)

* "Treatment of a general and ‘GI Roe’ shows Army’s free-speech double standard" (Andrea Peyser, New York Post)

* "Studies Show The Electric Vehicles Democrats Insist You Buy Are Worse For The Environment And Lower Quality" (Helen Raleigh, Federalist)