Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Back Home

I had a lot of fun and saw lots of awe-inspiring scenery. I was reminded of how much I love this land, and how the country is worth defending against those who would destroy it -- all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Chapel of the Holy Cross -- Sedona, AZ

Wupatki Ruins/Sunset Crater National Park -- AZ

South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Monument Valley, Utah
Wilson's Arch outside of Moab, UT
South Window, Arches National Park, UT
Turret Arch, Arches NP, UT
Royal Gorge Bridge
Boot Hill, Dodge City, KS
Wilson's Creek Battlefield near Springfield, MO

All the photos in this post were taken by me -- click to see the larger images.  The Grand Canyon was impressive, but then so was Monument Valley and the Arches National Park, Sedona, Palo Dura, and the Royal Gorge.  I don't have a bucket list.  These are just places I always heard about and had never gotten away to visit until now. 

America is a great land with many great people being yanked around by a pathetic bunch of losers whose time is very short.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Further West

I talked to this raven at the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert in AZ.

 Lots of great views and the petroglyphs were cool.

Sedona is worth a visit.

Monday, October 5, 2015

On the Road

We stopped at the OKC National Memorial.  My friend took lots of pictures.  I am touched by this one.

Some wild turkeys in Palo Dura Canyon State Park. (Photo credits:  P. Lowry)

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Devil

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. -- John 8:44

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

I do not know what the devil is.  I am not a dualist, but I suppose material creation needs some sort of antipodes, an un-life against which life pushes, and a darkness in which the light may shine.  I know not what he is, but I know there is a devil.  I know, too, we are at war with him.  Frankly, right now, he seems to be winning, in part, perhaps, because we tend to ignore him. 

Someone was talking about a woman who wanted to be blind so she put bleach in her eyes.  In more enlightened and reasonable times, we would have considered this an indication of mental illness.  In far more enlightened times, we might see it for the demonic destruction that it is.  So, too, would be the case with Bruce Jenner and many others who are systemically and consciously mutilating and destroying their bodies in an attempt to destroy the soul. 

A young man who goes into a school and murders people, for whatever reason, is not just “crazy” or in need of help, he is an agent of evil.  He has sided with Abaddon, the destroyer, against life and against God.  The president who stands up and calls me “complicit” in that act of evil is an agent of Satan, the accuser. 

But maybe I am complicit.  Have I have sat back too long and refused to confront evil, to call it out for what it is when I see it?  Have I been too willing to let the devil slide?  Have I looked away from immoral and unrighteous lifestyles and said that it was, after all, none of my business what other people do?  It is past time for Christians to stand up and tell America the truth. 

The nation is in decline because we have substituted government for God.  We have built our ethics and morality on the shifting sands of scientism, and we are shocked when the winds of reality bring it down.  We have rejected spiritual wealth in favor of material prosperity, and we are rapidly approaching the point where we will have neither.  We have said that God has no place in our public square, and the void has been filled with the idolatry of celebrity, lust, promiscuity, perversion, faithlessness, and deception to the point that our children are held captive to fear of the wickedness that oozes out from it.

Obama is not the problem.  He is a stooge and a dupe, the symptom of a disease that rots the core of our culture.  No presidential candidate is going to save us.  Or doom us.  We have doomed ourselves by serving Mammon and doing the devil’s will.  We have created monsters, and they are coming for us. 

As much as I love my carnal weapons, we will be saved, as we talked about recently, only by spiritual weapons, weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.  The shield of faith will guard our hearts, but we also need the sword of the Spirit -- to live and to speak the truth.  It is time to stop accommodating the walking dead.        

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.  -- Colossians 2:16-17

You know Plato’s allegory of the cave, with those in the cave trying to determine that which they could not see from the shadows cast upon the wall which they could see.  Christ cast the shadows that are seen in the Law and the Prophets, in the rituals and festivals of Leviticus, and in the history of Israel. 

More than that, His shadow falls across all lands and peoples.  The myths, legends and folktales of every human tribe, clan, and nation carry glimmers and glimpses of the truth seen in the dancing shadow of the Word.  We can only take all of these things seriously when we recognize their limitations.  We understand that there are not many truths but One to which all the shades, reflections and fragments point. 

In place of “the substance belongs to Christ”, the KJV will say, the body [is] of Christ.  If we go out in the sun, as our bodies come between the sun and the earth, they throw a dark image upon the ground.  Apart from mirrors, photographs, still water, or some shiny surface, this is all a person may see of himself or herself.  We can determine the general shape of our bodies, but most of the details of our identity cannot be ascertained.  So it was with God. 

We had a very rough, very dark, approximate idea of how He was.  Then we saw, as it were, His face in Christ Jesus.  Truthfully, I do not know what the Lord looked like physically, but I know Him through His life, His words, and His works.  We know His love, His willingness to give Himself up for our sakes.  

One final thought:  imagine for a moment that a child walks out into the sun to play near the base of a statue.  For a time, his shadow is visible, but as the position of the sun changes, the shade of the statue falls upon him, and his shadow is swallowed up.  Is he now a captive of the lifeless idol above him? 

At times in life, we seem to be caught up in things, captured and held in thrall by the idols of this world.  Their dark shadows overwhelm us.  They loom large between us and the light, filling our near vision and causing us to fear.  All we have to do is step out into the light.  Once again we will see our image on the ground, and it will look like Christ. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! -- Psalms 27:14

It is human nature to cling and hold back – cling and complain.  Let it go, someone says.  You don’t understand, we reply.  If you were in this situation, if it were your child, your spouse, your house, your job, ….  Meanwhile we tell ourselves and anyone who can be cornered to listen how it ought to be.  Endlessly.  I don’t think this is what the Bible means by waiting.  Waiting requires a surrender of potential.

The highest point in Missouri is a place called Taum Sauk.  It seems like it is 1700+ feet above sea level, not exactly Everest, but it a true mountain created by volcanic uplift as opposed to erosion.  A few miles from the peak of the Taum Sauk ridge, on Proffit Mountain sits theTaum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station.  Water has to be pumped to the upper reservoir of the generating plant, so the power station is really a giant backup battery to supply electricity for AmerenUE customers during peak demand.  Pumping water to that elevation creates a huge amount of potential energy.  We were given an idea of just how much energy on December 14, 2005 when the upper reservoir failed and poured a billion gallons of water down  into Johnson’s Shut-Ins StatePark.  Thankfully no one was killed.  The park superintendent, his wife and children were swept away in the flood but survived.

The water in the upper reservoir naturally sought “rest”, the lowest point it could find.  Its unleashed potential scoured a tree-covered hillside down to the bedrock before it found that rest. 

The intentional, controlled release of potential is beneficial.  If I voluntarily surrender to the Lord’s will and to His timing, I will find my rest in due season.  On the other hand, if I stubbornly cling to my high place, refusing to seek the lowest point of servitude, I will eventually have a dangerous and destructive fall. 

I belong to the Lord.  I am His servant.  What does a servant do?  He waits on his Master.  My potential is surrendered constructively and purposefully at the appropriate times in that service. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Changing Worlds

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. -- Hebrews 11:16

Making the world a better place sounds like a good idea.  I think, sometimes, those who reject God and criticize believers -- especially the followers of Christ, are disappointed, perhaps even frustrated that we have not, through the power of God, gotten rid of evil and corruption. 

Utopian plans and schemes are towers of Babel.  The foundations may start out well enough, but before the builders reach the heavens, there is conflict for their goals and their visions are no longer one.  The utopias – even the Christian ones, will invariably come up short. 

There is a saying that some people are so “heavenly minded” they are no earthly good.  C.S. Lewis, though, somewhere in his writings, suggested that it was really those most oriented toward heaven who ended up doing the most good on Earth.  If heaven is our goal, we get Earth thrown in.  When we seek only the good the world has to offer, we get neither. 

Living in the kingdom, living the kingdom life, transforms the world around us.  Anyone can see it on a smaller scale if they fall in love or have a child or grandchild.  The presence, even the thought, of a loved one lifts the soul and spirit, makes the darkest day brighter.  The world becomes a slightly better place because there is someone we love.  The kingdom of heaven, with its law of love, does the same thing on a grander scale. 

The kingdom of heaven is within you, Jesus said.  Love cannot be imposed by external forces.  I may comply with the laws of an earthly kingdom but I cannot be made to love, and without love, there is no transformation.  It is possible to manipulate people with fear, hate, lies and deception.  They will go along with the plan, to some extent, for a while.  It all ends, as we saw in the last century, with bloodshed, millions dying by violence and starvation – all for the “greater good” and the glorious utopian dreams of the well-intentioned. 

But they reply, The blood-letting was done by mad men.  Indeed, it is the mad who rise to rule where God is locked out, and men become mad when they have the power of life and death. 

Love or death is the only choice reality offers.  Experience the metamorphosis of love.  Enter the kingdom of love and let the God of love rule in your heart.  The world will change.