Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy Oakland Should Occupy a Jail Cell

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is not facing the hardships of supporting a culture of community disrespect.

An open ally of protest movements in the port city when she was a councilwoman, now Quan has called out the police to restore order to a fractious city still turning on the empty catcalls of the "99%" against the wealthy and ephemeral "1%"

Enough already! Political problems require political solutions, not anarchy, not rampant disrespect for people and property. Individuals have a right to be heard, but not at the expense of the other "99%" who have chose to walk in maturity and take on these trying times without trying other people's patience or the limits of a civil society.

There is a glimmer of optimism in the midst of these awful manifestations of populist upheaval: voters across the country are witnessing the effects of a liberal education which does not liberate the mind, yet instead shackles individuals into the entitlement mindset that the powerful few and pulling the strings at the expense of the man. In fact, the disorganized many are afflicting everyone else, putting to shame once and for all the "hope and change" that President Obama promised to usher in three years ago.

On Lawmakers Above the Law -- Dan Walters

Sacramento lawmakers above the law -- could it be otherwise? After the voters in this state have tried to get their representatives to enact timely balanced budgets, they still fail, even when they now require a simple majority to pass a budget.

Quid custodiet ipses custodes? More laws do not create meaningful oversight over Sacramento, just more rules for legislators to violate when passing pet projects or blocking important bills to assist the financial welfare of the state. Ballot initiatives fail precisely because they expand the scope of government power, even when attempting to rein it in. What we need in the Golden state is less government altogether. Nevertheless, state Controller John Chiang did the right thing last year by suspending the pay of Sacramento politicians who failed to pass a balanced budget on time without gimmicks, failures, or loopy loopholes.

Shame on those legislators for suing to prevent the ballot the initiative designed precisely to prevent them from skirting their responsibility to the voters of the state of California. We need leaders in the statehouse who will put the needs of the state ahead of their limited political agendas. We need leaders who understand that "compromise" is not nearly as dirt a word as "bankruptcy".

California has too many courts, too many laws, too many excuses. If legislators just sat back and did nothing, at least we would not have to worry about more excessive attempts to make right what has gone so terribly wrong in this state.

We Shall Overcome? We Already Have, and More!

One afternoon, I was listening to the local high school choir sing the hymn:

"We shall overcome"

In the Body of Christ, we have already overcome! We do not have to try and win:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 37-39)

What is the Love of God, specifically?:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

And of course:

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)

How does this translate into victory:

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5: 4-5)

Jesus Himself testifies to this in the Revelation:

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3: 21)

Every believer sits in Christ Jesus, and where is He? At the right hand of the Father, even now!:

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
(Romans 8:34)

and

"God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

How great, then, is this victory, in which we sit with Christ in high places?

"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church" (Ephesians 1:22)

and

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)

Christ is above all power and principalities, all things that would afflict us, all troubles that would try us. He makes intercession for us continually, ever justifying us, putting to shame any condemnation raised against us. We have nothing to fear, past, present, future. No one can try us. No one can separate us from Him.


Why, then, do so many believers see so little victory in their lives? It all depends on what they are focusing on:

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)

We need to remind ourselves that we are one with Him -- and that He is greater than any trial, trouble, or tribulation. He is at work in us, through us, around us, even if we do not see it or sense it through our natural senses:

"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

"(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" (2 Corinthians 5: 6-7)

No longer thinking on what's in front of us, let us remember who we are, and whose we are.

We have already overcome in Him. No matter what circumstances may face us, we can rest in the faithful knowledge that He cares for us, that He is one with us, and that in Him we have more than they victory!

Today, every believer can claim by faith: "I have overcome!"

Letter to the Indianapolis Star

To Governor Mitch Daniels and the people of the state of Indiana:

Mitt Romney is the establishment favorite, yet he commands very little respect outside of the small cadre of career politicians who merely want to win the White House. A Massachusetts moderate with a questionable record on free markets and limited government, Romney has flip-flopped on many issues, has even authored a medical insurance mandate which differs very little from the federal mandate which Obama and a determined Democratic congress passed, and which the next president must repeal.

The American people deserve a president with a demonstrable and respectable resume of accomplishments, an executive who has limited government by enacting free market principles, has saved the taxpayer millions of dollars, and have saved jobs in the process. We need a committed conservative who can command the respect of national, social, and fiscal conservatives.

Governor Daniels fits this profile very well. Please reconsider your decision not to run. I am convinced that a number of donors, unhappy with the current stock of candidates, would be more than happy to support your entry and surge into the national spotlight. There is still time to collect the requisite number of delegates to force a brokered convention. Perhaps you could command the respect of wary Romney supporters who want someone better.

To the people of the state of Indiana, your governor has done so admirable a job with you, why not let him serve the rest of the country. We need leadership, we need commitment to limited and constitutional government, and we need integrity that can integrate the disparate elements of the Republican party to stop President Obama and restore this country back to a firm financial footing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Theology of Glory vs. Theology of the Cross -- One in the Same!

In some strands of theological discussion, there is a divergence over two theologies.

One, the Theology of the Cross, suggests that Christians are called to live a life of suffering, imitating the Passion of the Savior. The other, the Theology of Glory, emphasizes or prominence and blessed state in our Lord and Savior.

This division of suffering and glory is pure folly. Man seeks to break down and analyze things, creating divisions. Paul railed at the Corinthians against this hateful vice of division in the Body of Christ:

"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1: 11-13)

Regarding the challenges we face in this world because of our flesh, versus the glorious promise of the Holy Spirit shed and indwelling in us through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ. the gospel and the writings make clear that they are two sides of the same coin:

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)

Yes, there is a trying, crying, dying world out there. Yet within us is the very power which raised Christ from the dead (cf Ephesians 1: 17-19), and through His Finished Work we are more than conquerors (cf Romans 8:37):

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

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

"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8: 18-19)

A believer recognizes that he lives in a fallen world, that he lives in a fallen body, that he still possesses a fallen mind which must be renewed (cf Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 3:18).

Yet we also have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2: 16) -- we have the Holy Spirit, the peace of God that rules in our hearts (cf Colossians 3:15).

Paul also exhorts believers not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Christ has done all things for us, in us, and through us:

"Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

"Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

"And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." (1 Corinthians 3: 21-23)

The real "cross" is not the sufferings of this world, which are slight compared to the glory within us (Christ in us, the hope of glory -- Colossians 1:27), but rather the working out of the salvation which God has already worked in through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)

The challenge for the believer is to walk in glory by faith, not resort to his own efforts by sight. This transformation is a cross for the flesh, which manifests the power of God from faith to faith, from glory to glory.

There is one "theology": the gospel -- there is one suffering: our flesh subdued from day to day by the Holy Spirit working within us. There is unending glory: Christ in us as we are transformed into His likeness! (cf 1 John 3:3)

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 29 Part II

Have I been persecuting Jesus by a zealous determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty and yet have hurt Him in doing it, I may be sure it was not my duty, because it has not fostered the meek and quiet spirit, but the spirit of self-satisfaction. We imagine that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord – "I delight to do Thy will, O My God."

Here is a major problem in Oswald Chambers' theology. We do not work for God, for we can bring nothing to Him. Like the Prodigal Son or like Cain after his confirmed conviction before the Lord, we bring nothing but our lack, our emptiness, our eternal sin debt.

Anything that we do, we do as a result of the gift of God's grace through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Promise which He has released through His Son -- The Holy Spirit (cf Acts 2)

Regarding the present and direct will of God, look no further than First Thessalonians:

"Rejoice evermore.

"Pray without ceasing.

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

This is a result of the Holy Spirit living within us, guiding us as we dwell in the Kingdom of God, righteousness, peace, and joy in Him (cf Romans 14:17)

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 29 Part II

God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. "I know this is what I should do" – and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We have shown our ignorance of Him in the very way we determined to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, we hurt Him by our advocacy for Him, we push His claims in the spirit of the devil. Our words sound all right, but our spirit is that of an enemy. "He rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." The spirit of our Lord in an advocate of His is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Paul wrote it best:

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Philippians 3:3)

Why should we? He provides us all things through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

"We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His." Such a statement is not possible. If we are not serving the Lord in the Spirit, then we are serving Him in our own efforts, in the flesh. We have fallen from grace (cf Galatians 5:4), and no one can be justified by the flesh (cf Galatians 2:!6)

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 29

But It Is Hardly Credible That One Could Be So Positively Ignorant!
Who art Thou, Lord? — Acts 26:15


"The Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand." There is no escape when Our Lord speaks, He always comes with an arrestment of the understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you in the language you know best, not through your ears, but through your circumstances.

When is He not speaking? His unmerited favor is never-ending.

We are called to received the goodness which He has released and releases evermore to a fallen world.

Are we believing? Are we receiving? The Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh (cf Joel 2:22; Acts 2:17).

We are saved by grace through faith (cf Ephesians 2: 8-9), and this faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17)

We have an ongoing inner witness, His peace, within us:

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3: 15-16)

The Spirit within us brings the Kingdom of God:

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)

And Christ Himself is our peace (cf Ephesians 2:14)

There is no real matter of wondering whether we are hearing from Christ or not. Through faith we receive the gift of righteousness, which cleanses us from all sin and brings with it the Holy Spirit, who guides us at all times into all truth
(cf John 14:17)

There is no spirit of ignorance in the believer, to him who trusts in the indwelling of the lord, for we are complete in Him (cf Colossians 2:10)

Do I Have to Be Baptized in Order to Be Saved?

Another unremitting heresy is stealing away the power and glory of the Cross in the Body of Christ.

This heresy insists that a believer must be baptized in order to be saved.

Many who support this wrong teaching quote a verse in the last chapter of Mark:

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16: 16-18)

In verse 16, Jesus states that he who does not believe will be damned -- the qualification of baptism is not mentioned. Belief in Him is the one "work" that saves, the transmission from death to life:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Paul did not tell the Romans that they also had to be baptized in water in order to receive so great a salvation. He explains more in depth that the baptism into Christ is part of the spiritual mystery of the gospel, of which water baptism is a sign:.
So, let's consider the Baptism that Jesus is speaking of in this passage. For a full explanation, Paul's epistles clarify this matter.

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2: 10-12)

The baptism which matter is the one in which we have died, and are dyed, in Christ; we are now colored, covered, and contoured with the righteousness of God in Christ. This baptism through the Spirit of God receives an open presentation through water immersion.

Yet a believer will still go to heaven to be with the Lord, even if he or she is not baptized. In Luke's gospel, the Holy Spirit records a final confession between one of the thieves with our Savior:

"And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23: 42-43)

One can safely guess that the thief who plead for Jesus' remembrance was not himself baptized with water, yet Jesus guaranteed him place and prominence in heaven with Him!


In fact, Paul comforted himself for not baptizing certain members of the Corinthians church, who had turned the ritual into a fleshly battle of preeminence:

"I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

"Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

"And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." (1 Corinthians 1: 14-17)

For Paul, the crucial element (pun intended) is the Cross -- His Finished Work. To then claim that one must be baptized in water contradicts the glorious declaration of our Lord and Savior on Calvary:

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30)

"Finished" means that -- completed, accomplished, done! Nothing else needed.

Despite these numerous proofs from God's Word, those who claim that water immersion is essential for salvation quote this verse:

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3: 5-8)

"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit" is the sticking point.

Here, Jesus is speaking of the Baptism of John:

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." (Matthew 3:11)

Yet here, even John exclaimed that his baptism was incomplete, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would more than compensate. Repentance is made complete not just in acknowledge the Finished Work of the Cross, but in the reception and inception of the Holy Spirit in the believer:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

"(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
(John 7: 38-39)

As long as Jesus was on the earth, before He was glorified following His death on the Cross, He was still under law. Hence, he had to be baptized by John:

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

"But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

"And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." (Matthew 3: 13-15)

Here, Jesus is not speaking of His righteousness as God, but to fulfill the imputation of righteousness upon him as man. Furthermore, at this baptism God the Father indicated to the world that here was His beloved Son, and the Spirit of God alighted upon Him! The water baptism is a type and shadow of receiving the Holy Spirit! The baptism of the Holy Spirit -- this is the baptism to which Jesus refers in the last chapter of Mark. The baptism of the Holy Spirit -- this is the baptism to which Paul refers in his epistles. He even demonstrates the superior efficacy of this second baptism to the believers in Ephesus:

"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

"He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

"And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

"And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

"And all the men were about twelve." (Acts 19: 1-7)

As long as Jesus was on earth not yet glorified, there was still a need for a water and then the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. After His death, the immersion into water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit baptism which everyone received when believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, there is no need to be baptized in water to be saved; from the account in Luke, to the explanations given by Paul in Acts and throughout his epistles, there is not constraint to a man's status in Christ when he believes on Him for salvation.

Paul even warned his readers in Colossae against the heresy of those who pressed on others the necessity of feasts and rituals:

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

"Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians 2: 16-17)

Baptism is an important formation for one who demonstrates to the world that he has been saved by the death and resurrection of Christ. Yet no one can deny or contravene this truth, one which Paul repeated in his letter to the Ephesians:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
"Not of works, lest any man should boast.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2: 4-10)

Paul could not put it more plainly: by grace we are saved through faiths, not by works -- including baptism, whose importance Paul does not hint or suggest in this passage.

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 30 Part III

Shall I tell my "Eli" what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences – I must shield "Eli," the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli; he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your "Eli;" but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.

The issue for us is not that we are trying to be amateur providences, but rather that we fear the reprisal of men, that we love the praise of men more than God:

"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12: 43-44)


It is disturbing to read Oswald Chambers speak of the maiming of the members. Jesus did not actually insist that we cut ourselves in order to make ourselves holy.

First of all, the law forbade the Jews from hurting themselves in the first place:

Now let's look at the full context from which Chambers quotes Jesus:

"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

"And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5: 29-30)

Jesus spoke these words in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus brought the Law back to its moral, pristine, and impossible height. In no way are we expected, through our own efforts to maintain these impossible standard. On the contrary, Jesus was making the point that if we insist on maintain our own righteousness, we would have to resort to maiming ourselves, causing irreparable damage.

A righteousness that exceeded that of the Pharisees (cf Matthew 5: 20) can only be given to us. We do not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; rather, the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, brought to life and eternal vitality through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

Then

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)

And finally:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

If we are trying to prevent the suffering in someone else's life, it is borne on the devilish sense of guilt, on condemnation, that if we really "loved" someone, we would not let them endure any hardship.

Yet there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (cf Romans 8:1).

We cannot presume to love anyone better than Christ, we died for us and gave us His life for us (cf Galatians 2:20)

Have You Forgotten Your First Love?

Are you cold, dead, kind of out of sorts? Do you feel as if God is a million miles away, not interested in you?

I guarantee, God is not the problem:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

If not He, then it must be me! Jesus the glorified Son of God addressed the problem, the core issue for the church at Ephesus:

"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

"And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." (Revelations 2: 2-4)

The Church at Ephesus received one of the greatest exhortations from Paul, to whom he had shared the direct revelation that they sit in high places with Christ (cf Ephesians 2: 6), that they just needed to open the eyes of their understanding to know the unsearchable riches of Christ in them (cf Ephesians 1: 17-18)

In Revelation, Jesus did not upbraid the Ephesians for doing the wrong the things. He recognized "their works, labour, and patience" (v. 2). They did not sin, they did not defame the name of the Lord, they had labored for His name, they had not grown tired.

In reality, though, their work had become more important than the Lord. When Jesus says "thy labor", the original text reads:

"κόπος, kopos: laborious toil, which also means, Short Definition: trouble, toil, involving extreme weariness and deep fatigue.

Jesus never meant for His people to labor like this!

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

Here, "labour" renders the verb form kopiaó κοπιάω, derived from the same noun form κόπος, kopos. Jesus appeals to all who are burdened, working to exhaustive extremes, burdened -- and He offers to rest you!

The Ephesians had forgotten their first love, not merely because He was not their primary focus, but more importantly because they were not living in His strength.

What does Jesus mean by "first love"? We can find the answer in John's first epistle:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10)

and

"We love [him], because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)

They were trying to do all their good works from their own strength; instead of relyin on the Finished work of Christ's Cross, they were attempting to be and do good on their own -- no wonder they were tired!

The fifth verse of Revelation 2 supplies more evidence that it was not their disobedience per se, but that a works-oriented righteousness had percolated into the church:

"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." (Revelation 2:5)

Where have we read about "thou art fallen before?

"For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5: 3-4)

The Ephesians were plainly told that they sit in high places with Christ (cf Ephesians 2:6) Sadly, they had fallen from this grace by trying to serve God in their own strength instead of receiving and releasing His power. Yes, they did good things, but we have been redeemed from the curse of the law so that we did not live out dead works, but rather in the life of the Spirit.

Christians become tired, they become weary, to the extent that they begin believing and acting as if they have to earn God's favor or produced obedience on their own, through their own efforts.

In order to be obedient, we are called to be faithful, to trust in Him. That is the work which Jesus has called us to:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 29)

By believing on Him, receiving the gift of righteousness (cf Romans 5:17), we then produce fruit of righteousness:

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

"That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1: 9-11)

and

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5: 22-24)

It's the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not of ourselves! He produces it, we believe it and receive it and release it to the world!

Even James slams the false notion that we must produce the works of righteousness of ourselves:

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

"Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2: 21-24)

Now, many have misconstrued this passage to suggest that James is preaching works-righteousness. On the contrary, he points out clearly that Abraham's faith brought forth obedience. Faith cannot exist along -- it produces obedience. Only if a man claims to have faith, but does not produce works of righteousness, then one can question whether the man has faith to begin with. Even when James writes that Abraham, "by works was faith made perfect." Here, "perfect" renders the word "τελειόω
teleioó, or complete, accomplished," the same word that Jesus cried out on the Cross before He breathed His last (cf John 19:30). The faith was already there, justifying Abraham, but it was produced to its completion when he offered Isaac on the altar to the Lord. The work itself did not save him, but was a result of his saving faith in the Lord (cf Genesis 15:6).

The Ephesians during the writing of Revelation had replaced right believing with attempting to live right first. Yet Paul counsels the Philippians to "abound in all knowledge and judgment", lit. discernment, or understanding. The more that we know the Finished Work of the Lord, who He is, what He did for us, and He continues to work for us, in us, and through us, then we produced fruit of righteousness!

Yet if we try to be obedient on our own, acting as if we can do it ourselves, attempting to make something of ourselves by our own efforts, we will fall, we will fail, and we will flag out.

Jesus even declared that we could do nothing without Him:

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)

So, if we find ourselves working for God instead of God working in and through us, we will lose our "first love", neglecting that we do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13), that He is supply all our need (cf Philippians 4:19). The proof of His neverending goodness is in the Cross:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)


So, what do we do if we find ourselves tired, worn out, having forgotten our first love? Jesus tells us in John 15:

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. "(John 15:2)

Here "taketh away" renders the word
αἴρω airó, which means "to raise, take up, lift"

In ancient Israel, a vintner would not heedlessly discard a vine which was not bearing fruit. Instead, the farmer would place a rock underneath the vine, so that the plant would heal, gain strength, and then bear fruit.

Rest in Him, or rather, let Him rest you! (cf Matthew 11: 28-30), for the tendency among many believers is to strive harder, do more, work more if they feel far from God. Instead, believe on Him. Grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, you will be further vetted in the infinite greatest of your First Love, the One who loved you first, and His grace will supply and provide for you to will and to do for His good pleasure!

Reflection so on "My Utmost" January 30 Part II

Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it 1 Thess. 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

The Holy Spirit is always speaking to us.

It is true, though, without a doubt that the Holy Spirit will remind us of key scriptures:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14: 26)

And

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:" (John 15: 26)

He speaks to us -- we do not have to conjure or cajole Him to speak!

Chambers seems to draw the inspiration for this passage from the Old Testament. After Hannah gave her miracle son Samuel to serve in the temple of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Him:

"And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

"That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

"And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.

"And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.

"Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

"And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.

"Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place." (1 Samuel 3 :3-9)

Now, in Samuel's day, there was no open vision -- the word of the Lord was precious.
However, that was in the days of the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant, the Word of God came and dwelt among us:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

"The same was in the beginning with God.

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1: 1-5)

Then:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Of course, for every believer Christ lives and dwells in us through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf Colossians 1:27; Galatians 4:19); and we dwell in Him, too (cf Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:3; 1 John 4:4)

He is always speaking, always making Himself known. Our job is to hearken diligently (cf Deuteronomy 11: 13; 28:1)!

Do not for one second assume that as we listen, nothing is happening. On the country, the Word of God is powerful and alive:

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

and

"And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." (Mark 4:20)

His word is already bearing fruit. The Lord is already speaking. Just let His word settle in your heart, and which His will take place, bear fruit, and nourish all.

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 30

God never speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God’s voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand," that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

God's Spirit ministers to us all the time.

Our one one goal is to seek His Kingdom, receiving the glory which He has accorded to all of us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within us (cf Luke 17: 21), not something that we have to seek for ourselves, but rather the gift which God the Father wants to release to us (cf Luke 12: 31-32)

As we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, we find ourselves by grace willing and doing the very things which God is working in us to do (cf Philippians 2: 12-13)

So God comes into us because we believe on the Finished Work of His Son Jesus Christ. He works within us, and He releases through us His great and exceeding abundance.

What is the believer supposed to be doing, then?

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

What is the result of our believing on Him?

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

"(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7: 38-39)

His Spirit flows through us, nourishing a dry world saving all who are willing to receive Him by the Finished Work of Jesus Christ.

For the believer, it is not a life of doing, but of believing. God takes care of everything, so we have no reason to act as if God is not going to do anything unless we move first:

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 19)

and

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5: 6-7)

We do not need to find out what His will is -- His will is to live within us, and we allow Him to do as He pleases, as He has nothing but blessings and favor to accord to everyone who trusts in Him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Space Exploration: For Real?

Newt Gingrich wants to build stations on the moon.

Ron Paul gave a witty retort: send the politicians to the moon. With the way they have run the federal government, the moon will soon run out of moon rocks and atmosphere. Then he responded wisely: space exploration is fantastic, but a private matter entirely.

Why are we investing money in going to the moon or to Mars? What about defending our borders? What about asserting a sound fiscal policy so that we can live in this country, on this planet peaceably?

We do not need to explore space. We need to fill up the vacuum of leadership in Washington that is sucking away our country's future. We need stars who command legislative respect, who will spend less time trying to count the stars and catalogue the planets, who will invest more time keeping government in check and respecting the rights and powers of the states and the people.

Ron Paul: Running and Running Strong

Is he a third party candidate?

Is he really running for President?

No matter how many pundits and debate mediators question his standing, no matter how many columnists have dismissed his candidacy, Ron Paul is steady.

Paul's performance in every debate is unmatched, not so much for flashy wit or established resumes, but for consistent and constant pleading of the case of free markets, limited government, and free people.

He has a devoted following. Unfortunately, not enough voters are following him to the polls in his support. He has practically skipped Florida to campaign in the February caucus states. An odd strategy, perhaps, but he may have a chance to gather greater support through retail politics, in contrast to the tsunami of adds flooding forth from the Romney campaign.

If he can inspire a committed core of voters to participate in the Nevada and Maine caucuses, then the Texas Congressman may put himself in strong enough play to contest more delegates in the Super Tuesday primary in March. California may then become a viable battleground state for the Congressman, where his libertarian views on social issues may appeal to a broader base of liberal voters looking to support something authentic, not just different.

If Congressman Ron Paul is interested in more than preaching a cause, though, he needs to sharpen his criticism and launch the necessary truthful attacks to dissuade undecided voters from a New England moderate. He is the only candidate who is discussing real budget reform. He commands the greatest respect from American military personnel. He respects the states and the people based on a proper rendering of the United States Constitution. It makes little difference the unusual nature of his foreign policy, which he has successfully asserted time and again is more in sync with the conservative philosophy of the Republican Party.

Paul is running, he is running strong, let us hope that he is really running for President and not just to make his presence and political views known.

Rick Santorum Packs up to Pay His Taxes

Rick Santorum has no money. He was a one-hit wonder out of Iowa, rolling along on his strong social conservative credentials.

He was the last of the anti-Romney surge candidates(not counting the quiet and steady rise of Ron Paul). Unlike the other more well-financed candidate, Santorum roused the last-minute enthusiasm of Midwestern farmers, many of which can proclaim their enthusiasm without donating funds to support his campaign.

He has galvanized the social conservative base. Even rabid columnist Michelle Malkin has thrown her supported behind the Pennsylvania Populist.

He has contacts with lobbyists. He supports Big Government, but he does not flip-flop on issues. He does not hold diverse and divergent views which would offend the GOP base. He is strong, sensible, and committed to the well-being of the American people and the country.

On Self-Deportation -- Feasible and Appropriate

A free market, classical liberal approach to the problem of illegal immigration would require a limited effort by the federal government, without unduly burdening the states and the people.

Free market economist Milton Friedman blasted the overgenerous welfare state far more than the mere presence of illegal immigrants in the United States. Do not blame unscrupulous employers exclusively or the teeming masses longing for political freedom. Public services at public cost create the greatest draw for illegal immigration. Limit the handouts, and fewer individuals will find support for themselves. As Governor Romney suggested in Florida, they will then just leave.

Newt Gingrich commented that elderly illegals would not leave the country -- yet their entrance and presence in this country does not comprise the greatest burden to this country.

Add to the reduction of easy handouts from the public sector, a streamlined program that provides a means for employers to verify the status of prospective workers, and illegal immigration will slow to a trickle. Of course, verifying the employment status of an individual must remain within the reins of the state as much as possible.

Beyond deterring illegal immigration, the United States must also streamline the naturalization process -- make legal immigration easier. A resident of India, for example, has to wait an average of thirty years before becoming naturalized. The federal government must also suspend quotas restricting migration from different parts of the world.

Plato's Wrong Take on Many Issues

Ancient Greek philosophers were the first ponderers to question the ethnic properties of their nation's wisdom. Just because a man was a Greek or a Persian, for example, did not mean that one's beliefs were better than another's.

Unfortunately, they placed undue emphasis on the mind, discounting the power of cultural forces, free of government intervention.

Aristotle discounted the possibility of a city growing beyond the hearing of a town herald, yet libertarian economist pointed out that the mentee of Plato wrote this while living in a city of size and scope considerably greater than a farming town.

In his seminal work "Republic" Aristotle's broadminded mentor Plato claimed that a common store system was an ideal economic system for a society, one in which every producer in a community would contribute according to his ability, from which every person would partake according to his need.

Following the 1620 landing and settlement of the Separatist colony in North America, Plymouth founder William Bradford repudiated this ideal socialized economy promoted by Plato and other ancient philosophers. During the Pilgrim's first winter, half the settlers passed away implementing the common store system. Because every individual was guaranteed something, many refused to work. Those who owned and tilled property had little desire to share their wealth, or whatever they shared proved insufficient to provide for everyone.

When Bradford scrapped the system, furnish a plot of land privately to each Pilgrim, each person had enough for himself and his family, plus extra produce to sell. For the second winter, the foodstuffs were so ample, that the Pilgrims invited the local Indian tribes to celebrate with them.

Also in the Republic, Plato argued that men choose to enter public life not because they want to but rather because they fear the perverse or crooked diligence of another. He based this argument on the fact that political statesmen will not serve unless they receive a salary. However, there is nothing perverse or contrived about earning a salary for one's service. In fact, one can argue that the paucity of remuneration invites corruption in city, state, and national government. Men seek power to aggrandize their fortunes and their future, to fulfill the deep-set ambition that fosters or plagues or mankind.

These errors in political thought reflect a fundamental naiveté among the Greeks. Like many secular adherents, the Ancient Greeks believed that man was basically good. It was from a lack of knowledge that he sinned or erred. The notion that human nature was flawed, requiring an innate infusion of the Spirit from the divine, they dismissed as fluffy, folksy folly.

No matter how pronounced the intellect of man, at his core he has a sin nature:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

"I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17: 9-10)

Paul wrote in Romans:

"Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." (Romans 7: 13-15)

No matter how much effort or confidence man places in his own efforts -- his flesh -- he will fail. Of ourselves we can do nothing (cf John 15:5)

It is an offense to man that of himself he is imperfect; moreover, he is incapable of perfecting himself. Nevertheless, only the Finished Work of Jesus Christ can make man perfect, the righteousness of God in Christ.

California GOP and the 2012 Presidential Election

Florida is shaping up into another win for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scored a significant victory in the South Carolina Primary, pulling ahead of establishment front-runner Mitt Romney by double-digits.

In Florida, Gingrich is taking on a fired-up Romney, one who recognizes the threat of the Core Conservative Corps resisting his ascendancy to the GOP nomination. No matter what the outcome on January 31, Gingrich has pledged to stay in the race until the Summer convention.

Congressman Ron Paul is quietly gaining strength. He has already invested forced and finances in order key battleground states. He is primed and ready for the Nevada Caucuses in February, where retail politicking may better advance his cause than a blanket media blitz.

Former Senator Rick Santorum has packed up and left for the rest of the campaign. He has no money, and he has demonstrated a weak showing following his questionable surge of victory in Iowa. He is looking less and less like a viable candidate.

If this contest drifts into a fight among three candidates, California may end up playing a large role in determining who the next GOP Presidential nominee will be.

The socially moderate, fiscally conservative South Bay may be just the push that propels Ron Paul from quiet but gaining outsider into a prime contender for the nomination. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate, a wealthy man who got wealthier while companies downsized or declared bankruptcy. Despite the moderate degree of support for ObamaCare, Romney's role in Massachusetts may not appeal to Southern California voters.

More than Romney or Gingrich, both of whom have also profited from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congressman Ron Paul has articulated the frustrations of the Occupy Movement, coupled with the growing strain and disillusionment of students with degrees and debt but no jobs. Young people are flocking to the integrity and ingenuity of the Texas Congressman, where many youth now are suffering from the withdrawal and discouragement of a youthful president whose policies have done everything to stagnate job growth, stall the economy, and ruin the line of credit for students who want to earn a higher education and a higher wage.

Rick Santorum's traditional brand of social conservatism may not sell very well in the Golden State, where GOP stalwarts have faced the reality that a competitive statewide party must embrace moderation on social issues in order to compete.

If the GOP stands a chance of competing in California, a focus on fiscal issues without heady emphasis on social problems is their best bet. If Ron Paul attracts enough young voters, including the growing number of disillusioned college students weighed down by student loan debt, he may score an upset victory, or at least take a strong second place finish.

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 28 --- On More Thing

But It Is Hardly Credible That One Could So Persecute Jesus!
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? — Acts 26:14


Why or how was Saul persecuting Jesus, exactly?

He was killing His disciples, that his certain.

Yet Paul's greatest offense was believing that He could attain to the righteousness demanded by God through His obedience:

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

"Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

"Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3: 3-6)

By anyone's standards in the Ancient World, Paul had an impressive resume. He was a Jew among Jews, a Pharisee among Pharisees. The magnitude of his zeal propelled him to persecute the brethren of the Body of Christ. Yet following his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Paul shared thus:

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

"And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3: 7-9)

Whatever righteousness Paul was seeking, he knew that he could never acquire it. He cast off everything, trusting in the righteousness accorded to all who believe in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ.

The greatest persecution, the grief that afflicts the Holy Spirit, is trusting to our own efforts, attempting to earn from God what He has given. Many charitable works are accomplished from this spirit of merit or presumption, in which many believers are trying to earn something from God or attempting to demonstrated their righteousness. Our works are borne from our righteousness in Christ, not the other way around. Let no man spoil this blessed truth for us!

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 28 -- Addendum

Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set upon our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus.

Why are we obstinate, self-willed, demanding our own way?

Do we not realize that we sit in high places with Christ?

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

And what do we know about Jesus' exalted state of honor, sitting at the right hand of the Father?:

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)

Jesus Christ has made us alive in Him. We died with Him, now we are raised with Him, by faith in His Finished Work. He has forever blotted out the Law, which was deadset against us, as none of us can keep the Law. We are free of the condemnation that the law brings, which Satan and his minions had used against us, for Jesus satisfied the righteousness of God and the demands of the Law by dying for our sins.

All principalities and power are under Jesus' feet"

"He [God the Father] wrought [great power -- see v 18-19] in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1: 20-21)

No matter what may be bothering you, it is already a defeated foe:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

These forces are under His feet, and since we sit in high places with Him, these enemies are under out feet, as well!

Why are we stressed about ambitions, then? His Spirit works in us, He has promoted us far above all trials and troubles, and He supplies all our needs:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)

Winning Over Every Wind of Doctrine

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there is no greater title than King of Kings, Lord of Lord -- and His opinion is the one that counts.

In the Body of Christ today, congregants do not know or believe in the One who has saved them. Like Job, they have heard of Him, but they do not know Him, and they do not know Him because they believe that which is not true concering Him.

Paul warned believers to beware of this trend:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4: 11-4)

The diverse winds carry us far away from God's intent for us.

The account in Mark 6 demonstrates the power of contrary winds against the Body of Christ:

"And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

"And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

"But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

"For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

"And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered." (Mark 6: 47-51)

In v. 48, "winds" translates the original word "ἄνεμος, anemos, which means "the wind", and also "fig", when refered to the context of empty doctrines, the same word which Paul uses in the Ephesians 4:14.

Therefore, to read the winds contrary to the disciples as a figure for empty doctrine is more both accurate and acceptable.

Now, in Matthew 14, the gospel writer records the faith of Peter, who wanted to meet Jesus on the water:

"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

"And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." (Matthew 14: 28-29)

As long as Peter kept looking at Jesus, heeding His voice, Peter was fine, walking on the surface of the water, notwithstanding the storm that was sweeping the disciples' boat. Then the wind caught Peter's attention:

"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30)

Here, "the wind" is ἄνεμος, anemosm, representing also contrary doctrine. The wind was strong, "boisterous", ischuros: strong, mighty powerful; yet the hand of the Savior was stronger, whose arm is not so short that it cannot save (cf Isaiah 59:1)

In the Body of Christ, every time a believer inadvertantly heeds diverse and damnable doctrine, he will lose his footings. Yet like Peter, if we call out for Jesus, He rescues us!

Not only does He draw us out of the depths, but He then makes our standing in Him more sure, more certain, more stable!:

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Romans 5:20)

No matter how much we may fail, Jesus' grace is sufficient for us, and in our weakness His strength is made perfect! (cf 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

The gospel and its truth, for Jesus is the Truth -- is simple:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Moreover, there is another Wind, or Spirit, who always guides us into truth and wisdom, a wind that Eve did not have -- The Holy Spirit:

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)

In his first Epistle, John testifies of the supreme power of wisdom in the Holy Spirit:

"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." (1 John 2: 20)

followed by:

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

Christ is simple; He is easy to receive. Church denominations and religious make complicated what He has already made plain. As Jesse Duplantis asserted, it takes a "good" theologian to mess up what God has made so simple to understand. The winds of false and limitig doctrine may be blowing in the world, but if we stay on the rock, the assurance that in Christ we are made the righteousness of God (cf 2 Corinthians 5:21), and therefore need not pay attention to rituals, reason, or other rival causes. Know that you are safe in Him forever, and nothing will ever able to shake you!

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 28 Part II

Is the word of God tremendously keen to me as I hand it on to you, or does my life give the lie to the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of one thing only – a perfect oneness with the Father, and He says, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." All I do ought to be founded on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that I can be easily put upon, easily over-reached, easily ignored; but if I submit to it for His sake, I prevent Jesus Christ being persecuted.

If we are looking at our own lives, then when are not looking at the Savior.

Peter made than mistake once, and even then Jesus helped him when he faltered and failed:

"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

"And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

"And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

"Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." (Matthew 14: 28-33)

Even Isaiah declared before the coming of the Messiah, that just to look upon is salvation:

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:22)

When you look upon Jesus Christ, when He becomes greater, when the things of this world become lesser -- the times, the troubles, the trying trials all -- then the victory which He is and has given to every believer (cf Romans 8:37) becomes greater and manifest in our lives.

Maturity in Christ is to know Him who has been from the beginning. Jesus not just as Savior, not just as mighty warrior, but as God all in all, and that there is none beside Him, no one else who can save!

We do not have to busy ourselves with making sure the Jesus is not persecuted by our conduct, by our wronging thinking, speaking, or doing. Instead of trying to be good in our efforts, let us grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (cf 2 Peter 3:18). By looking upon, by increasing our knowledge and awareness of His power, His supply, His love, we are transformed from glory to glory:

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

John also spoke of the glory that invades a believer who knows and believes that he will be like His savior:

"1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3: 1-3)

Thoughts on "My Utmost" January 28

Am I set on my own way for God? We are never free from this snare until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire. Obstinacy and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set upon our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Jesus. Whenever we stand on our dignity we systematically vex and grieve His Spirit; and when the knowledge comes home that it is Jesus Whom we have been persecuting all the time, it is the most crushing revelation there could be.

Such a discussion seems almost frivolous:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." 9John 14:6)

Talk of any other way is doomed to loss and confusion. We must seize upon the truth that every believer is one with Him -- there is no going away from Him:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

then

"Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways." (Psalm 139:3)

and

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

"Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalm 139-7-10)

Even when we try to run from God, He is actually leading us and leading the way.

Well did the writer of Hebrews declare:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13: 5-6)

He will never leave us nor forsake us! His grace is sufficient to us, even in all our weakness, when His grace works even greater in us! (cf 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

Oswald Chambers makes a great "to do" about what we want to do, as if our willing to do something would endanger us by placing us outside of the will of God. These indictments can be very confusing for the believer. Are we then to sit and do nothing, waiting for an overt prompting from the Holy Spirit? Such reticence is unnecessary and unbiblical:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)

He is at work in us, around us, and through us:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

"(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:38)

As no believer can say "Jesus is Lord" without the Holy Spirit, it therefore follows that everyone of us has the Holy Spirit flowing out of us, nourishing all. The problems occur when we try to do things ourselves, acting as if God is not with us at all doing anything:

"For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5: 3-4)

We cannot do the law. Let the Spirit flow in you:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." (Galatians 5: 16-18)

The Holy Spirit working in us does not lead us astray! Instead of fretting about whether what we are doing is pleasing to the Lord, forcing ourselves to be good and holy, let us walk in faith, receiving evermore the gift of righteousness ( cf Romans 5:17), which in turn produces fruit of obedience (cf Galatians 5: 22-23)

There is no Loneliness for the Believer

I struggled with loneliness for a long time. I did not like that I was so alone with my thoughts. It seemed to me that most people were having such a wonderful time with others, but for some reason I felt isolated, at a distance, set apart. Even while I was talking with other people, I felt that a part of who I was never connected with the person across from me or with anyone else.

Loneliness is not the absence of people in one's life. Some of the loneliest moments for me occurred when I was with other people, but I had nothing in common with them. I usually felt snubbed or ignored. When I wanted to get involved, I found that I struggled just to be heard, just to be noticed.

I never felt connected to anyone. I always felt that I was missing something.

Only Christ Himself can resolve this aching emptiness in the human heart -- no one or nothing else!

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

"World" is better translated as "eternity". We have eternity within us, and only "eternity plus" can fill it -- God.

During his exile to Patmos, the apostle John relates the staggering appearance of Jesus resurrected:

"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1: 8)

Followed by:

"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Revelation 1: 18)

In the final chapter of the final book of the Bible, Jesus Christ the First and the Last declares:

"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22: 12-13)

Jesus is everything, whatever a human being lacks, He fills it.

He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48)

He is the Water of Life (Revelation 22: 17)

He is the Door (John 10:7)

He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)

He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:17)

He is the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World (John 1:29)

He is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14)

This peace, the world cannot give or take away. This peace obliterates the savage lack the afflicts the lonely soul, the outcast and lost, those who know the need Someone, but have yet to find Him.

In Christ, there is no loneliness, no loss, no lingering pain. All is complete, for every believer is complete in Him! (cf Colossians 2:10)

On Mosquito Bites

Father Ronald Rolheiser is missing out on the power of God's Grace.

He comments that contrary to the whistful hope of English poey W. H. Auden, people do not dance at the presence of grace. They become vengeful, unhappy, easily perturbbed by life's little difficulties.

Grace is not something which we must "fervently pray for", as he suggests. Grace is a person, Jesus Christ:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

and

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
(John 1: 14, 17)

Grace is not something which a believer has to seek; instead, the person of Jesus Christ already lives within the believer by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul indicated the proper prayer of a believer:

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

"Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1: 15-18)

We have received everything already through Christ buy the Power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. Rather than trying to search for what God the Father has already given us, rather than assuming that trials and circumstances can ruin what God has already gifted to us, let us pray that the Lord would open our understanding to the immense riches of his grace (cf Ephesians 3:8). No mosquito bite can undo or overcome what Christ has done and who He is within us!

"

Janice Hahn Turns Her Sights to South East Los Angeles County

I though that Congresswoman Janice Hahn actually cared about her constituents!

She ran for the Congressional seat vacated by Jane Harman in 2011. She was supposed to represent the needs of the South Bay, from San Pedro to Santa Monica.

Now, she is turning her sights back to the San Pedro and South Los Angeles, where government subsidies and liberal politics have caused for more damage than the violent crime and gangbanging that have plagued that area.

I pity the residents of the newly-carved 44th Congressional District. Brainwashed into believing that the state has all the answers, the voters will have to choose between and ethical and fiscally challenged Congresswoman and a legacy-politician who has done nothing but run for higher office.

Hahn wants to focus on jobs. Why not focus on less government altogether. I commend her desire to end the United States' military presences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead of investing taxpayed moneny in creating jobs, she ought to work with the much (and falsely) maligned Tea Party caucus and demand that the federal government return as much taxpayed money as possible back to the people!

She has never ceased to unjust upbraid the Tea Party movement, a caucus of Congressman committed to paying down the national debt and ending the outrageous deficit spending which is harming our dollar, scaring away future investments, and hampering and business development in this country.

Government does not create jobs, Congresswoman Hahn. Government creates mandates, regulation, and waste. Government unchecked creates deficits and debt that diminish our economy and erode our liberties.

If Hahn really cares about the plight of the LA regions hit with higher unemployment, she should support limited infrastructure and a sound fiscal policy, then get government out of the way. I have yet to see any proof that government investment solves economic problems or stimulates moribund economies.

South East Los Angeles County has already contended with small government corruption, from Bell to South Gate. Big Government corruption is the last thing that struggling area of the country needs to deal with.

Men Are Simple (But Not Stupid!) -- Response to "Men Are Simple"

Men do not think too much, I guess. Most women I think would appreciate that.

Much of what takes place in this life does not require reflection so much as decision and action. Most women I think are looking for that in a man.

Diligence helps, and men have that. Women care for the detials, but there would be no project in the first place without the man's direction.

I cannot say that I completely agree with the limited trinity of focus mentioned by Jennifer Evans -- work, food, sex -- but I would say that a man's drive can drive him to anything if properly motivated.

I also agree that women tend to read way too much into everything. I loved Evans' witty remark that "Women are offended,complimented, annoyed and joyous often by the same statement." You would think that most women would realize that they are the author and finisher of their own moods.

I am not of the opinion that these movements of the male and female brain or genetic, as most would suggest. Cultural, definitely. Who really wants a man who analyzes everything do death? Who wants a women who is so blunt and oblivious that she skips over the extras?

Last of all, I want to share that I am glad for once that a woman did not lambaste a man for being simple -- that, in a way, the simplicity of man is in itself a manifestation of his intelligence!

Thanks for your thoughts, Ms. Evans!

Margaret Van Norman Passes Away

I never like reading obituaries, especially about people whom I have known and worked with. The proximity of death is an uncomfortable thing.

When I read about the passing of Margaret Van Norman following the resurgence of cancer, I was very dismayed. I always remembered what a fun spirit she was at Hermosa Valley School, where she taught the primary grades.

She was able to have a sense of humor, even in the midst of her cancer treatment. Once, when one of her eyelashes had fallen into a book (for the chemotherapy had caused all her hair to fall out), she joked to one of her students that a bug had wandered onto the page. If she could laugh about things like that, why could't I see the lighter of tough times, too? Last year, she informed me that her cancer had gone into remission. Sadly, I was not aware that it had resurged fatally.

I know that she had a wonderful impact on many at that school, including me. I hope that her memory stays strong with the many students whom she taught and the staff she worked with.

Response to "Raising the Bar"

Hermosa Beach is a beautiful place. Everyone wants to play and party there, but what happens after the bars close has no place in the well-known and well-respected beach city.

Does a man need to drink himself silly in order to have a good time? Is it in the best interests of those who live and work in Hermosa Beach that they must contend with deviant public drunkenness at length every weekend? Every year Hermosa Beach peace officers must displace time and resources to handle public drunkenness, urination in public, and drunk driving. In 2009, the county as well as the city lost time and taxpayer money over a frivolous trial prosecuting two men for relieving themselves in public, but who refused to own up to their behavior. A jury of unrelieved peers found the wet offenders guilty, but the damage was done -- the public wasted its time and attention on private waste in public.

Jim Lissner's campaign to frustrate the issue of liquor licenses in the city is commendable and understandable. It is government's role to protect the rights and well-being of individual citizens in the community, not to frustrate private enterprise; however, free enterprise is no longer free to the extent that its sale and salience harms the public good.

If new businesses in Hermosa Beach reap a huge profit by extending the sale of intoxicating liquors in their establishments, perhaps they would also like to shoulder the cost of maintaining law and order in the city, too? Instead of stalling the acquisition of a liquor licenses, why not compel these establishments to pay the cost of clean-up and security on their properties? Why not affix a yearly city charge to combat the public disturbances that inevitably plague a drinking establishment?

Imagine the investment that Hermosa Beach would enjoy, knowing that the city's residential tax base would no longer be responsible for keeping the peace beyond the call of duty expected from sworn officers in a small community. Mr. Lissner would no longer have to appeal to the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, because new regulations would either demand a firm commitment to public safety from future restaurateurs, or they would decline to seek a liquor license in the first place.

Hermosa Beach already diverts limited resources to handle outrageous and unnecessary conduct. The city is also investing limited resources to educate people about the danger of public drunkenness -- as if they do not know already!

Why not invest these funds toward supporting the struggling school district? Instead of bars for drinking, why not promote bars on sheet music, or monkey bars for children to play on? The Hermosa Beach parents and youth deserve the greater share of time, energy, and money which is currently diffused into maintaining public safety.

Federalism at Work: Brewer vs. Obama

The state of Arizona has plenty of reasons to be upset with the federal government.

The Obama Administration has done an abysmal job of protecting the borders of the country. Every year, the largest number of illegal immigrants comes through the Arizona border.

When Arizona pushed a controversial law to pressure law enforcement to check the status individuals in the country, the President filed a federal lawsuit to block the legislation. What will the chief executive of the United States permit, then, if he will not allow the Sunshine state to protect its own borders and enforce the federal immigration laws which Obama has neglected?

On the Arizona tarmac, Brewer shared some tense words, pointing out her frustration literally and figuratively with the President. Apparently, he was upset with the Arizona governor's open candor in her recent book "Scorpions for Breakfast". While defending the Arizona immigration law, she chided the President for lecturing her like a child during one of their summits together at the White House. Of course, President Obama's vanity is well known, his elitism produced by his abject adherence to progressivism. A philosophy of government which disdains checks and balances while trumpeting the wisdom of the experts over the well-being of the individual, Obama has pushed regulation, legislation, mandates all to bear down on the states and the people.

Finally, a governor has had the courage to defend the power of the people in her state and talk back to the chief executive. Federalism is at work in Arizona, where a cordial yet committed governor demands responsible action from the government. When Washington fails to deliver, she took up the need of her state and constituents, refusing to hold back her dismay and disdain for the President's aloof arrogance.

We need more leaders in the United States like Governor Brewer, unafraid and unprecedented.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

California GOP Has a Role to Play

By most calculations, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney should be the presumptive GOP nominee. Yet three quarters of eligible GOP voters, myself, have not warmed up to this New England Moderate. Yet following three primary elections, the GOP voters have divided their loyalty among three candidates, unprecedented in modern American Politics.

Residents in the South Bay, along with other GOP voters in the state of California, may have the unprecedented opportunity of influencing the nomination of the future GOP standard bearer come June 2012. In May last year, voters upset what many had predicted would have been a standard jungle-primary tussle between two prominent Democratic stalwarts for the 36th Congressional seat vacated by Jane Harman. Small businessman Craig Huey upset the calculations of the prognosticators as the number two vote-getter. Following the July 2011 runoff, Huey garnered a respectable 45% in a district where the Democratic party enjoyed an 18 advantage in registered voters.

Recognizing the socially moderate yet fiscally conservative presence of the Beach Cities, the winnig Democrat for the CA-36th has voted against the raising of the debt ceiling, has refused to support miliary expenditures for Afghanistan, and has trumpted her support for small businesses, a welcome GOP trend in a confirmed Democrat. Voting more in line with the GOP, she has displayed the salience of Tea Party values all while repudiating the Tea Party message of fiscal restraint and constitutional rule.

The uneasy mix of moderation and conservatism in the Beach cities that sent former State Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall to Washington in 1998 may induce GOP voters to fuse their support for a GOP presidential candidate with a proper respect for faith, family, and freedom.

Romney is the "Establishment" Republican, one who has been pandering to politicians and power bases to make the case for his election. He has been the most consistently polled of GOP candidates, with money and endorsements from major players in the Republican party, y his support has hovered between a stagnant 20%-25%. The other 75%of Core Conservatives want a more consistent candidate, one who can make the compelling case for his candidacy against Barack Obama.

This current split between "establishment" Republicans and Core Conservatives, (divided between the "faith and family" and the finances and freedom" retinue), may find the representative mix in the South Bay to propel the best candidate for the national conference for the summer convention in Tampa.

Former House Majority and Tea Party stalwart Leader Dick Armey charged that the GOP went Big -- Big Government, Big entitlements, Big encroachments into the private and local lives of citizens and counties: issues that resonate with all California voters. Congressman Ron Paul is the most vocal and vibrant for limited government. Newt Gingrich is visible and visceral, a persuasive speaker, an irascible fighter, and determined to best Obama. Neither one of these candidates figure prominently among the "faith and family" crowd: Paul, because his libertarian beliefs; Gingrich, whose actions have not lined up with his professed beliefs. Still, unlike, Congressman Paul, Gingrich corrals faith, family and freedom, so to speak, joining the establishment element of electability and voter viability.

Senator Rick Santorum has championed the cause of faith and family, stressing his consistent record of upholding the sanctity of marriage and the well-being of faith and religiosity in this country. A Big Government supporter, his campaign will probable never gain traction in a state or a country seeking to fix this nation's financial follies.

Whoever wins the GOP Primary, the GOP voters in California will focus on faith and family, financial freedom, or settle for a candidate who stresses both in word but whose record demonstrates faulty adherence at best.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow: Playing Limited Government Conservative

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow faces an uphill reelection battle in her home state. Time Magazine had her polling at 38% approval rating last year. Like many of her colleagues, Stabenow may be forced to take an early retirement in a year when President Obama's statist agenda of abject progressivism has impoverished the states, unemployed many workers, and increased the national debt to $15 trillion.

She and twenty two others in the Democratic caucus face a hostile voting public, furious with a do-nothing Congress which has refused to cut costs, cut spending, or cut the crap.

With this election year looking like her last, Stabenow is attempting to don and deliver on Tea Party rhetoric. However, her walk does not measure up to her fiscal-hawk talk.

She has recently attacked agricultural subsidies as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, but her record on earmarks suggests that she is just one more Washington pol who says one thing to her constituents at home, then votes the Washington line of busting an already bankrupting budget. Legistorm.com indicates that Stabenow has sponsored $3 billion dollars in pork to her state. Hardly a Tea Party stalwart.

Stabenow is also trying to dress herself up as a Blue Dog Democrat, fighting profligate spending; she even campaigned on her support for a Balanced Budget Amendment, yet she reneged on the pledge after her 2006 reelection. She voted for ObamaCare, an outrageous entitlement which robs Medicare and threatens to drag this nation down the road to state-managed serfdom.

One of the most impassioned appellants of the failing auto industry, she supported the tax-payer funded bailout of General Motors, an unfair abused of state funds which inadvertently punished thriving automotive companies while forcing taxpayers to play shareholder to a failing company which has not broken free of overgenerous benefits to rapacious unions.

Her support for the Fairness Doctrine in talk radio is and affront the First Amendment. She has authorized the ban for oil-drilling in the Great Lakes, a move that would free up energy and free the United States from energy dependence to hostile states in Africa and the Middle East. Her positions are to the left of the nations and of little support to her constituents in Michigan.

Stabenow wants to paint herself as part of the limited government solution in Washington, D.C., yet her spending, her allegiance to the President on failed domestic policies, and her continued support for cap-and-trade (minus any meaningful legislation all detail her as unfit to continue for another term as junior senator for the Great Lakes State.

Controller Chiang Controls the Purse Strings

One more lawsuit, one more waste of time and money, neither of which cash-strapped California has.

Proposition 25, enacted by popular vote in 2010, authorized the state Controller to withhold pay from California legislators in the event that they failed to pass a balanced budget.

Chiang deemed that last year's budget failed the "fiscally sound" test, and therefore refused to issue the California Legislature their paychecks. Governor Brown also vetoed the bill.

The point of contention in the lawsuit is not the money which the legislators did not receive, but the power which Chiang exercised, in that he unilaterally declared the budget unacceptable.

Despite the apparent overreach of one department official in Sacramento, this executive efficiency is the kind of leadership that the Golden State has been hoping for and longing for too long. Like a bunch of lazy students cramming together a crappy essay in the wee hours of the day that the assignment is due, Sacramento legislators chose to cram a bad budget down the throats of the Governor and the citizens of California, trying to beat a deadline and get their (undeserved pay). The legislators' accounting gimmicks, rosy projections, and unbacked borrowing have deepened the financial mess dragging the state into bankruptcy. Controller Chiang simply held the legislature accountable for producing an acceptable budget, one that would not require hunting necessary funds or ignoring the blunt and painful obvious: state politician will not summon the political will to make the necessary cuts to save the state, which will certain cost them their political careers.

State Controller John Chiang did the right thing. It is reprehensible that the legislators of California are bickering over receiving their pay later than expected, especially as their lack of fiscal responsibility and oversight have bled the state draw with unfunded pension liabilities, entitlement spending run amok, and taxation that has scared away businesses and investment.