Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oops. Missed One...

US Treasury Building
For insight and clarity for President Elect Obama’s appointee to the position of Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!”
—Matthew 25:23

O Exalted Lord, You reign in perfect faithfulness over us—as individuals and as a nation. You have done great and mighty things in this country, and I praise and thank You for Your goodness to us, even in the midst of economic crisis and challenge.

God, we pray that President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice for the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, to have a heart like the good stewards celebrated in Matthew 25. Give him great wisdom, integrity and understanding about how to deal properly with our country’s economic concerns. Give him insight beyond his own experience so our nation will be able to meet the needs of its citizens. We give You praise and honor for hearing and responding. In the name of Christ our Lord, amen.


People dancing on a beach in front of the rising sun.
For God to revive our nation as we look to the future with hope

Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
—Psalm 80:18

O Holy God, only You are worthy of the praise of our lips and the songs of our hearts. Only You are worthy of glory and honor and majesty above all rulers, powers and authority! All hope is found in You and there is no hope apart from You. You are the Lord and master of time and I am so grateful that You look on us with love and compassion.

Today, O God, our nation is in need of a fresh wind from You. We are wearied by sin and disobedience to You and Your ways. We fall short of Your standard, and worse, we sometimes deliberately move away from You and toward sin and evil that will steal, kill and destroy. Revive us today, O Lord, revive us. Bring a spirit of repentance as we seek Your face. In Your kindness, renew our passion for holiness and righteousness today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

For Wisdom In Choosing The New Secretary Of Transportation

A steel bridge over a river.
For God’s choice of Secretary of Transportation to be identified, so our nation’s roads, railways and skies will be safe and free from attack

And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."
—Isaiah 57:14

Oh Mighty God, how magnificent and vast is the world You have made! I praise and thank You for its great diversity of places and peoples; I praise and thank You for the privilege of traveling from one place to another and of meeting You and those who love You there. The created world is amazing, God, and I thank You for connecting us in many ways.

Today, I pray for the person of Your choosing to be identified to serve our country as Secretary of Transportation. O God, provide someone who is passionate for excellence in our roadways, railways, ports, rivers and skies! Provide the ideal person who will serve with diligence to keep our nation safe and travel smooth in the new administration. I pray this in Your name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For Americans To Be Faithful To Pray For The New Administration

Base of the Washington Monument
For citizens to be faithful in interceding for all leaders of the new administration

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
—I Timothy 2:1-2

Glorious God, You are awesome and mighty, lifting up those who You desire to lift up and putting down those You desire to put down. You love it when Your people come to You with longing for righteousness and godliness. You love it when Your people come to You in prayer.

Lord, we do that now on behalf of all the leaders in the new presidential administration. Regardless of their leanings or alliances, Lord help us to put our political agendas aside to pray fervently for all those in authority, knowing that You have placed them there. They were chosen by You to lead for such as time as this, and they are worthy of our intercessions. Enable us, O precious God, to be faithful in our calling to pray. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

For America's Laborers And The Secretary That Will Represent Them

For wisdom and discernment in the selection of the Secretary of Labor, that those who need jobs will be enabled to get them and that our nation’s workplaces will be kept safe

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
—Colossians 3:23

Oh Holy God, in Your wisdom and kindness, You made us with the need to work! Thank You for the blessing of toil and the fulfillment it brings. Whether we labor with our hands, our hearts or our minds, O Lord, we labor unto You for You are the ultimate One to whom all glory is due.

Ours is a nation of workers, Lord. I ask You today to bless the laborers in our country by raising up a gifted and godly person to serve as Secretary of Labor. May You designate for the new administration the ideal one to give their gifts and talents in this way. In Your powerful name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Presidential Quote

President Harry Truman"Through Jesus Christ the world will yet be a better and a fairer place. This faith sustains us today as it has sustained mankind for centuries past. This is why the Christmas story, with the bright stars shining and the angels singing, moves us to wonder and stirs our hearts to praise. Now, my fellow countrymen, I wish for all of you a Christmas filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and many years of future happiness with the peace of God reigning upon this earth."

—Harry S. Truman, December 24, 1952

And if every person who calls himself a Christian would do as Jesus did, the world would be so improved that we would no longer recognize it. God help us to do so.

Get Over It

A yellow-handled claw hammerIn an article I saw today it would appear that the gay mafia (who look simply FABULOUS in their Italian suits and coordinated accessories) are offended with President-elect Obama's choice to have evangelical pastor Rick Warren deliver the inaugural invocation.

"Gay rights advocates are criticizing President-elect Barack Obama's choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, saying it shows disrespect for a constituency that strongly supported his campaign.

Pastor Rick Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is one of a new breed of evangelicals who stress the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes. But the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, said Warren's opposition to gay marriage is a sign of intolerance.

'We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination,' the group said in a letter to Obama, asking him to reconsider."

Oh waaaaah! Get over yourselves! I feel a deep level of disrespect by the way the homosexual "lobby" is forcing itself on my life. I am confronted by homosexual perversion almost everywhere I go. Want respect? Act respectable.

And here's a little tip, y'all: just as many evangelicals helped to get Mr. Obama elected. You didn't get it done by yourselves. He's not your little lap dog who has to bark when you say so. You are not the only people in America, and your agenda isn't the most important one. In fact, your agenda isn't important at all. Hate to break it to you.

Or is it wrong for President-elect Obama to invite someone who represents a constituency of roughly 18 million American adults to the table as well? Most likely, that number is low because it is based on Barna's fairly strict definition of evangelicalism.

I am personally shocked but quite pleased with Mr. Obama's choice. I'm sure that your heretics will eventually get their say too. So if this post or Mr. Obama's decision offends you, here is a hammer. Build a bridge and get over it.

For The Protection of Our Parks and Open Spaces

Sunlight shining through smoke or fog in the woods.
For God’s wisdom and strength to guide President Elect Obama’s choice of a Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, that our nation’s extraordinary national parks, natural resources and open lands may be cared for with excellence

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
—Genesis 1:12

Creator God, You made the world and everything in it. You blessed it all and said it was good, and You gave to us the powerful gift of creativity. I thank You for that gift and for the way that You continue to be glorified through the creative gifts that You lavish on all You have made.

Lord, we thank You for guiding President-Elect Barack Obama to choose Ken Salazar to lead the Department of the Interior. We ask You to lead him as he makes plans to protect the creativity You, God, have revealed in our nation’s parks and open spaces. Please give Secretary Salazar all the grit and determination he needs so he will be ready and able to tackle the issues that must be faced in the care of our country’s open lands. We thank You for this, in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Recognizing Our True Condition

A beautiful desert scene with a rainbow, cacti and some Native American art engraved in some stones.
For a passionate desire to walk in God’s love and light to sweep across our nation, resulting in obedience to His commands

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.
—II John 1:6

O Lord God, You are light and there is no darkness anywhere in You. You are love and there is no ... evil anywhere in You. I praise and thank You for the security and hope this brings me today. You are victorious over every form of darkness, and I praise You for this, in Jesus Christ!

Holy God, You know the great darkness that lurks in our country, and You see how innocents and wise ones alike are fooled into thinking that darkness is light and wrong is right. I ask for Your truth to be shown in our country today, that together we may desire to walk in Your love, spurning evil and dark ways. Do this, because of Your kindness and love I pray, O holy God, amen.

***The picture above is really striking. Does anyone know where this is? I think I'd like to visit there sometime.***

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Stench Of Moral Decay

Collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001There are times when I just feel the sadness and frustration of watching America's slide into depravity more than others. Tonight is one of those times. I look at the corruption that is so rampant and I see the perversion that is so prevalent and all the while more and more of the society is trying to marginalize those who stand for truth, and I frankly begin to welcome the judgment of the Lord.

It has taken much to get me to this point, because I know that the "Day of the Lord" is a dreadful thing. I know that many lives will be lost - and many souls will be as well. What could be more dreadful than that? It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of a righteous God. I am reminded of the words from Jonathan Edwards' sermon:

It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one second; but you must suffer it for all of eternity. There will be no end to this extreme horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains.
My God, what a dreadful end!

I think that the only way that I can even hope to stomach such a thing is knowing that God is patient and that when He chooses the time to unleash His judgments against a people that it is the perfect time to do so. The people will have earned His wrath in full, and they will be beyond hope of repentance. (Well, I would also add that I do have hope, knowing that judgment will remove the stumbling blocks from our nation and will bring the purification of our land once again.)

Still, it saddens me to see what seems like the entire world running as hard as it can run to utter destruction. Yet this is the very picture painted by the Scriptures. Why am I surprised? I guess it is partly because it is so foolish and unnecessary. And perhaps I am also shocked by how evil men's hearts really can be. I have always been a little naive.

Today I read about Russian warships doing joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy and visiting Cuba. The government and Pentagon seemed very unconcerned. This seems very foolish and arrogant to me. The Russians would have never pulled such a stunt when Reagan was in office, and we would have never taken it so lightly either. Hubris is a dangerous sin.

I also read about the arson of Sarah Palin's church, and of the numerous frivolous lawsuits being brought against her to discourage her from ever even THINKING about running for office again. God help her!

Then I read about the corruption in Governor Blagojevich's administration and saw the connections between him and Jesse Jackson Jr. I read about how Blagojevich will likely be impeached because he refuses to resign - after being arrested on federal felony charges. (Is anyone else puzzled by this? What, does he think he can pardon himself?)

Finally I read about the Newsweek article that tried to make it sound as if the Bible and Jesus endorse homosexual marriage, and also about a "leader" in the evangelical movement that said that such unions should be allowed.

This is why I rarely read the news anymore. And this is why I take hope in judgment when it comes... but how I dread it.

Contrary to popular belief it is not hateful to tell a person that they are headed towards destruction. It is one of the greatest demonstrations of love that a person can give. This is especially true when that warning is coupled with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But how many know the true Gospel? How many churches actually teach it? How many know that our right standing does not come because of anything that we do or don't do, but it comes as a result of God's grace through faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us through His death on the cross and through His resurrection?

How many teach that grace demands obedience to Jesus? Is belief truly belief without corresponding obedience? Can a person walk in his own way if he has truly been converted? True grace inspires obedience. True grace is based on a walk with the Spirit of God and living life based on His laws being written on a person's heart. True grace leads us to sin less - not more. As the Apostle John wrote, a person who claims to be walking with God yet walks in sin is a liar and the truth of God does not dwell in him.

Salvation is not a "get out of hell free" card. Salvation is the trading of masters. You are either a slave to the devil or you are a slave to Christ. There is no middle ground. If you are a slave to Christ you should be seeing a dissipation of the sins of the flesh and conviction about the ones that remain. If there is no difference in your life before you were "saved" and after, perhaps you had best re-examine your conversion. It sounds like you are still a slave to the devil.

Yes, it is true that God is love, but He is also jealous, just, holy, righteous, pure, patient, merciful, vengeful... the list goes on. If we focus on only one of His attributes, we put ourselves in grave danger of error - error that has not only temporal but also eternal consequences.

Wisdom and Compassion for Shaun Donovan the Future Secretary of HUD

A homeless person
For insight and wisdom for President Elect Obama’s choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, so the homeless may be helped and those in difficulty with their housing situation may be assisted

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
—Matthew 25:40

Loving God, in Your goodness and love You have sought us out and offered us the free gift of salvation. We praise and glorify You for such extraordinary love; it is expressed in the love we show for one another, especially those in dire need.

Lord, we thank You for leading President-Elect Barack Obama to choose Shaun Donovan to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. We pray that you will give him great compassion and wisdom, enabling him to see the needs of others above his own at all times. May he be willing to fight for “the least of these” as an advocate for those who otherwise might have none. Heavenly Father, let Your will be done through the work of Shaun Donovan and his team, in the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

For the New Secretary of Homeland Security

9/11 ground zero in NYC
For God’s guidance and blessing for President Elect Obama’s selection for Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano

Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.
—Proverbs 20:28

O loving and faithful God, Your power and grace hold all things together, keeping us secure and safe no matter what is happening in the world around us. I praise You for being the ultimate and only true source of security and hope. I praise You for the many ways You offer Yourself as our refuge. Thank You for this truth, O Lord most high!

Today I bring to You the need for Your grace, wisdom and help for President Elect Obama’s choice for Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. I pray that You will strengthen and guide her as she prepares to lead this important department of our government. Bless her with Your favor, that her skills and abilities may be enhanced by You as she plans and prepares. I pray this in Jesus’ holy name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

For Wisdom for Tom Daschle

For wisdom for Tom Daschle, President Elect Obama’s choice of Secretary of Health and Human Services, that the healthcare needs of citizens will be met

This is what the Lord Almighty says: Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.
—Zechariah 7:9

Mighty God, all praise to You today for Your goodness, Your might and Your supreme wisdom. Thank You for choosing to live in us through Jesus Christ, and thank You for making us one in You, a people capable of showing compassion and mercy to each other.

Today we ask You to guide with Your wisdom and strength Tom Daschle, President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The medical needs of our nation are great, Lord. From the young to the old, good health is a precious gift we cannot afford to take for granted. Give to Mr. Daschle, O God, the grace to champion the healthcare needs of all Americans. Do this, Lord, for us, to Your glory, in the name of Christ, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Inspiration To Pray For The President

For citizens to be bold in prayer for the new administration

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.
—I John 5:14-15

Holy God, how I praise and thank You that I can freely bring my requests and concerns to You today and every day! No matter what is going on in the world, You invite me to ask of You with confidence and faith that You hear and You respond in accord with Your sovereign will. I thank You for this profound truth, O mighty God!

As President-Elect Barack Obama makes preparations for the new administration which will begin on January 20, I pray for a quickening in prayer on the part of all Americans. Stir us to intercede for the new President that he will know beyond all doubt that he is being upheld and supported. Thank You, holy God, for the blessings and freedoms we enjoy in this nation to freely pray for our elected officials. May we never abuse or take this privilege for granted. In Your name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jonathan The Soup Salesman

Jonathan D. Eller in his Journey To Bethlehem costumeWell, you didn't ask for it, but here it is anyway: me in my full Journey To Bethlehem regalia. It turns out that I am a soup salesman. Didn't really think that was the job of a guy at a campfire, but soup sales is what I now do. My character's name is Jonathan. It helps that I already have a Hebrew name!

The backdrop in this picture is actually not my set. I think that this is the seamstress tent... which has none of the connotations of a Terry Pratchett novel, mind you. This is, after all, a church production.

One thing that I am very glad for is that I don't have to sing this weekend. Three nights of hollering ,"HOT FRESH SOUP! SOUP FOR SALE! CHICKEN SOUP - CURES ANYTHING YOU'VE GOT! CHICKEN SOUP! LAMB STEW! LEEK AND LENTIL SOOOOUUUUUP!" and I doubt that I'd be worth anything on Sunday morning.

I am extreeeeeeeemely tempted to actually make some soup while I am out there. There is already a cauldron suspended over my campfire. Chickens are on sale at Food Lion this week for 69¢ a pound, and it would certainly be warmer if I stayed with the fire more. Plus there would be the wonderful smell and of course the tasting of the soup. I've just about convinced myself! The only problem is that I'll have to have a much better fire than the one that I had tonight. It was kind of lame. But a little charcoal and I'd be in business! And as the Good Book says, "When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick!"

If you are anywhere near China Grove, NC you should really come out one of the next two nights and check it out. I think you'll be impressed!

Journey To Bethlehem Begins Tonight

Jonathan D. EllerHi folks! Journey To Bethlehem begins tonight at 6:30! I would recommend coming early if you don't want a long wait. The line is generally well underway by 6:00. The location of the event is 602 Stevens Street, China Grove, NC 28023.

I will be in the "cast." When you come into the village I should be on the left-hand side of the road sitting next to a fire wearing a red-striped garment big enough for a backpacker's tent! (Oh the folks from What Not To Wear would have a field day with it - horizontal stripes and everything!) I should be in or directly next to the bakery scene. I forgot to get my picture taken in costume the other night, but will endeavor to do so tonight.

It is going to be cold, but I think you'll really enjoy this production. I hope to see you there!

A Good Steward Of American Resources

A Windfarm
For discernment in the selection of the Secretary of Energy that our nation may become energy independent, wisely stewarding our resources

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight.
—Proverbs 3:21

Heavenly Father, You have laid out the oceans and rivers, the mountains and valleys; You set the planets on their paths and You know the name of every star in our universe. You created Earth as the home for Your creation, for man and woman and all the creatures of Your vast imagination.

You’ve made us stewards over this planet and the resources we need to power our civilization. We ask You to place into the position of Secretary of Energy the individual that You know will treat these resources as a sacred trust, one not to be taken lightly. God, give our President-Elect sound judgment and wisdom as he makes this key choice for his administration. In the name of Jesus we pray and are grateful to You, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For Excellence In Education

Teacher in a conference with a parent and a child.
For God’s choice for the Secretary of Education to be discerned so that our nation’s schools and teachers may be strengthened

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
—James 3:1

O Lord Jesus Christ, You are the great teacher of all persons. You taught with wisdom and truth words that bring meaning to all lives—today and in the past. I praise and thank You for being our Great Teacher and the one in whom all truth holds together.

For the sake of our nation’s students, schools and teachers, Lord, I ask You to identify and bring forth the person best suited to be Secretary of Education in the new administration. Because of Your love and passion for children, O God, help newly-elected Barack Obama as he chooses this vital cabinet member. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.


It is always nice to achieve a goal, and today I did. I had set a goal to do an average of one post a day on this blog at the beginning of the year. Today I hit that goal with a total of 366 posts. (It's leap year.) I have actually done far more posts than that this year which is actually pretty amazing to me. Between the other two blogs that I maintain (OK, one of them could hardly be called "maintained" lately.) I guess I have done at least 500 posts. (I just checked, between the two of them there are 154 additional posts.) Granted, some of them are repeats of other posts, but regardless, I am pleased. It is all gravy from here.

Last month I also achieved another goal in regards to this blog. I had long been attempting to manage an average of two posts a day for a month, but had never achieved it before last month. I actually had 64 for the month of November. Add to that breaking 10k page views and it has been a good quarter!

Hopefully I can keep it up next year! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Discernment Of And Obedience To God's Will

Bald Eagle in front of a waving American flag
For the new administration to desire to know and do God’s will in all things

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
—Ephesians 5:17

Awesome God, You see all and You know all! You rule over history and time, yet You are neither bound nor governed by them. I praise You because You are sovereign and You know both the beginning and the end, for Your will shall be accomplished.

The discernment of Your will, Lord, is a challenging thing for the layman as well as the leader. As we seek You in prayer and through Your Word, You make Your will manifest for each and every situation. Do this, O God, for our nation’s new leaders, from President-Elect Barack Obama downward. Give this administration an unquenchable need to discern and carry out what You desire for our nation. We pray this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For The New Secretary Of Commerce

The US Treasury Building?
For great wisdom and discernment for Bill Richardson, President Elect Obama’s choice for Secretary of Commerce

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
—James 4:13-15

Holy Lord God, in Your wisdom You see the nations and their affairs with clarity and power. You are sovereign and in control of all that takes place between nations and economies, commerce and trade. I praise You for the blessing and privilege of trusting in You in all things at all times. You are holy and good, O God!

Today I bring before You Bill Richardson, President Elect Obama’s choice for our nation’s new Secretary of Commerce. I ask You to strengthen and guide him as he prepares to serve, so that commerce in our country may thrive, and so our nation and her citizens—particularly those who live at the margins—may prosper. In Your righteous and powerful name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Monday, December 08, 2008

True Justice

I think it is a picture of the US Supreme Court Building
For God’s grace and wisdom to be with President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, that the White House will have the finest legal representation possible

For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face.
—Psalm 11:7

Holy Lord God, Your judgments are perfect and all Your ways are true. You love justice and You exercise mercy, even when we do not deserve them. You desire that we are holy and pure in You, and You desire the same for those who serve in our federal government.

Today, O Lord, we ask for Your wisdom to be given to President Elect Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder. We ask for You to guide Mr. Holder that he may serve with integrity and honor and will not be swayed by partisanship or influence. Grant, Lord, that he may represent our President with the highest standards. In the name of Your Son Jesus we pray, amen.

This is the post that I missed the other day (Friday I think). You may notice that the picture is the same as one that I posted several days ago. Well, PPT crossed the pictures up. I have put the correct one on the post for Rahm Emanuel.

Choosing A Good Secretary Of Agriculture

A farmer checking grain in the field with a John Deere combine in the background
For God’s choice to be discerned in the selection of Secretary of Agriculture, that our nation’s farms and food supply may be well cared-for

Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields.
—Psalm 144:13

Awesome God, all things are Yours, and Your mercy and goodness characterize the works of Your hands. With You, Lord, there is no lack. There is plenty, and there is full provision.

Knowing this, Heavenly Father, we now ask You to bring into position Your chosen person for the Secretary of Agriculture. Our nation is a bountiful one; we need the best management of our farms and food supply. Give President-Elect Barack Obama insight as he chooses the one to serve in this vital position. We thank You, O God, for You care about every government official and desire what’s best for our nation. We give You glory for that, and praise You as we pray in the name of Christ, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

All Hail The Chief

President George W. Bush hugging a grieving young girl.A whole lot of people don't like President Bush. I think that is a real shame, because I am convinced that he is a good man who has accomplished far more than the media will ever give him credit for. He is far smarter than most of the people who have mocked his intelligence. And I would be shocked if the historians give him a fair shake either. As I heard one person say not too long ago - if they got bad press when they were in office, the historians generally don't treat them any better. He is a better man than we have deserved.

Has the President made some mistakes? Sure. There are some things that he could have done better. But can you name one President that the same could not be said of?

I wish that he had done a better job of communicating with the American people and helping them to buy in to the direction that he was taking the country. I don't know if that was so much his fault or because the media could be blamed for that failure too. All I know is that President Bush was handed a whole bunch of things to deal with that I wouldn't have wanted to tackle. And I think that his responses to most of these issues were as good as anyone could have done - certainly better than anyone that he ran against. Perhaps we are about to find out if the left wing can do any better. I'm not holding my breath.

Mona Charen wrote a good article that highlights some of the President's accomplishments while in office. It is worth a read. I still hope that President Bush will end up with a positive legacy as he leaves the White House. I think in some ways he has accomplished that. If President Obama is successful in removing the troops from Iraq in an acceptable manner it will be totally because of President Bush's leadership and his willingness to do something unpopular for the sake of this country. And President Obama is already finding out that President Bush's warnings about big talk on the campaign trail were wise. Now that he is seeing the same information that President Bush saw, his tune has changed a bit.

We'll also see if the new President is any more successful in handling the economy than President Bush was. I personally believe that what has happened would have happened even if the most brilliant financial minds the world has ever known had been in charge. I believe that this economic downturn is a judgment against our country and is something that the Lord has allowed to turn our hearts back to Him instead of trusting in Mammon. But we shall see.

I don't care one jot how the world or the historians view President Bush. In my book he was a fine man and a good President, and I am proud that I voted for him twice. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I pray that God blesses you and gives you great joy.

Andy Not Barney

Barney Fife putting his bullet in his pistolThis post isn't meant to disparage our law enforcement officials. I have a high respect for most of the people who lay their lives on the line to protect us, and I have some respect for all of them. In fact, my Grandfather was a police officer in Salisbury for 25 years. However, there are those on the force who would do well to read the article I read today by Paul Jacob and pattern the enforcement of their duties more after Andy Taylor than after his deputy, Barney Fife.

Now the antics of Barney Fife were plenty fun to watch on TV, but if any of you have ever been stopped by an overzealous cop, you know that there is nothing funny about encountering one in real life. I once had to endure a frisking and vehicle search once because a cop (who stopped me for a burned out headlight) noticed that I had a billy stick in the back seat of my truck under all of the other junk that was laying on the floorboard back there. He acted as if I was going to whip that thing out from the back seat and come through the window and beat him to death with it before he could get his pistol drawn! I had forgotten it was even back there!

And bad guys beware, if you happen to get stopped at a traffic stop here in my hometown, you'll get the entire squad pulled up around you. I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone stopped here with 3 or 4 blue-light specials parked behind. (Perhaps I am naive, but ALL of these people can't be dangerous criminals, can they? If so perhaps I should move!)

And then there was the recent experience that I had where I was given a ticket for an out-of-date inspection tag. Before you all start saying that I should have had it inspected, understand how things work here in NC. Everything here is now done electronically. If you haven't had your car inspected within a reasonable amount of time from the due date, the state sends you a letter letting you know that it must be done by a certain date or you will be fined $250. There is no court involved. You either get it done or you send them a check for $250.

One night I was riding home from a football game when I encountered a traffic stop in town. As I said earlier, my inspection was out, but instead of reminding me that it needed to be done, he gave me a ticket and informed me that if I got the car inspected and took the proof to my court date that the DA would throw it out. I sat there 10 minutes waiting for him to write the ticket. He took 10 minutes to write it. Then I had to waste my time and gas to drive to Salisbury for court. The DA's office spent I don't know how much time preparing the documentation for the docket and then the DA spent an additional 5 minutes talking to me. The end result? The ticket was dismissed and the court didn't get one red cent from me. My point being why did the officer waste all of that time and expense when the whole thing could have been resolved much more cheaply had he let the state send their letter?

The sad fact is that cops are trained to do petty, stupid stuff like that, and the rationale is that they might catch a fugitive or axe-murderer while doing it. I'm sure that they do occasionally, but it would be nice if some of the yahoos were reigned in every once in a while.

And for those of you out there protecting us and using a little common sense about stuff like that, my hat is off to you. Thanks for your service.

Do Not Forget

After effects of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor
Today is the 67th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. There has been much written about this event, (there was a good article today) and as more and more information comes to light it is clear that the outcome of that day could have been much different. I am also reminded that arrogance, incompetence, and naivete led to the loss of 2,403 lives. It also left 1,187 wounded. We would do well to learn the lessons of December 7, 1941 and not put too much faith in our ability to negotiate, our safety here at home, and in the competence of those who are leading us. As the old adage goes, "Those who don't know history will be doomed to repeat it."

It is actually very interesting to me just how often history does repeat itself. I recently visited the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, NC with a friend and learned from one of their videos that the British Parliament had many of the same difficulties and arguments over the American Colonies that we have had over the war in Iraq. Interesting, huh? (By the way, they have done some incredible work on that museum over the past several years. It is really something to see, and the park is a great place to visit whether you are interested in history or just want a good place to walk, hike or whatever.)

Anyway, I do want to take a moment to honor the lives lost there at Pearl Harbor all those years ago, and to thank the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend our nation throughout history. You guys are my heroes.

The Mind Of Christ

Woman holding a lit candle.
For President-Elect Barack Obama’s team of advisors to be renewed in their minds as they discern God’s will for the new administration

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of Your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
—Romans 12:2

Awesome God, how great and majestic You are! All You have made reflects Your intricacy and complexity; You are so great and Your domain so vast I cannot comprehend it! Glory and honor and praise to Your name, O mighty God! You are Lord of all things both large and small.

Today, I bring before You President-Elect Barack Obama and his team of advisors and counselors, asking that they be renewed in their minds as they lay plans for the new administration. Give them hungry hearts that seek You and Your face, Lord, so they may cooperate with You in bringing about Your will for our nation. Guide them as they lead us into the future, I pray. In Your Holy name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What's Up...

Hello, friends. I sure am glad we have some global warming or I'd be freezing to death! Wow, this is the coldest that I can remember it being this early in a long time.

It is not a good time to be heating with fuel oil either. The price per gallon delivered was $2.94 last week when I called. It gripes me to pay that much for it... especially when gas has gotten back down to $1.62 a gallon! Seriously! I never thought I'd ever see that price again - at least not without someone coming up with a very viable replacement for petroleum in automobiles.

I tend to believe in conspiracy theories, and I have one of my own right now. I believe that the oil companies are pushing the price down to keep people from investing in research into alternate fuel sources and technologies. I doubt it is true - especially since I just made it up - and since the oil companies have rarely shown that tomorrow's dollars are as valuable to them as today's. Still, I pray that the prices stay low until there is a viable alternative. If I were a wealthy man that is where I would be spending my money....

Things have been interesting on many fronts lately, which is generally not a good thing. I have found that "interesting" often is an euphemism for "bad." Terry Pratchett said as much. "Their biggest curse is 'May you live in interesting times.'" I guess in some ways that is the case here, but I am learning that life is always an admixture of good and bad: even in the best of times there is a 'fly in the ointment.' But even in the bad there is some good to be thankful for. Knowing this is good defense against an unrealistic hope for perfection here. I'd say that it can also be a good defense against a bad attitude, but my own experience has shown me that I can use it as an excellent excuse for one. Oh well!

God is good, though, and patient, and for that I am most grateful. I'd have been cosmic vapor long ago had He not been. It is because of these characteristics that I have hope that the balance of bad versus good will soon be moving in a more positive direction, and hope is a good thing.

This afternoon I wrote another sonnet. I'm up to 22 now. I don't guess that is too bad, having started in September with them. The only problem that I am having with the poems right now is that I have just about expended all of my Roman Numeral knowledge. I managed to get through school without learning past the 30s, but I guess I'll have to learn them after all! Perhaps I'll post this latest one, but I need to check with the subject of the poem and make sure that she doesn't mind.

Tonight I am going to watch a performance at my parents' church. They are doing a singing Christmas tree or something like that. I can't remember exactly what it is called. Both of my parents and my Dad's sister are supposed to be in it. Unfortunately, my Mom has laryngitis and will not be singing tonight. I am a little disappointed, because I had looked forward to hearing her sing (she had a small solo), but I am sure that it will still be good. I am going to go with my pastor and his wife and another couple who are good friends from my church. I'll be meeting up with other family there too. I'll try to take a picture or two before they get things going.

That being said, I'd better go and get myself ready because it will be time to go soon. Hope your Advent season is going great and that all is well with you!

For Rahm Emanuel

A businessman writing in his calendar
For Wisdom for President-Elect Barack Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel

I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity.
—I Chronicles 29:17

Mighty God, I worship You in humility and obedience today, and I honor You for Your faithfulness and consistency in all Your ways. You are good and orderly and wise. I praise You in all things, O Lord.

Thank you for leading the President-Elect to call up a brilliant and dedicated person to serve as Chief of Staff, O God. Guide Rahm Emanuel as he steps up to serve the new administration as White House Chief of Staff, helping him to serve with faithfulness and integrity. Through Mr. Emanuel’s work, may the President’s staff honor You fully, and may relationships between the President and other leaders be managed with excellence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

God Enhanced Abilities

Two men praying
For God’s grace to fully rest on the President- and Vice President-Elect enabling them to act beyond their innate abilities

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
—2 Corinthians 9:8

Mighty Lord, You know all things, and nothing is hidden from You—even the deepest intentions of hearts. Your knowledge and authority rule over all the affairs of humankind, and Your ways govern over all our ways.

God, thank You for being a God who can provide more than we are able; give more than we ever need. There is no limit to Your provision or to Your ability, so let Your grace blanket our President- and Vice President-Elect and let them seek You, and You alone, for the ability to govern. Generously give them more than they expect, and allow them to abound with Your wisdom and direction so they make wise choices as they serve. We praise You for doing this, O Lord, in the name of Christ Jesus, amen.

Here is one that I didn't get a while back. I missed yesterday's too and it wasn't in the archives yet. I'll post it as soon as I can.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Updated Information For Journey To Bethlehem

Cast members on the Journey To Bethlehem float in the Landis/China Grove Holiday ParadeHello, friends. I have some finer details about the upcoming Journey To Bethlehem pageant that my church will be doing next weekend. The dates are December 12th, 13th, and 14th (that's Friday through Sunday) from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

The church is located at 602 Stevens Street in China Grove, NC (28023). You may want to use MapQuest or Google Maps to get driving directions from where you are.

I would recommend getting there early - probably by 6:00 if you can. The police will direct you where to wait.

I hope you can come. I think you will enjoy it. If the weather is bad it will probably be postponed. Check here before coming. If for some reason it is called off or postponed I'll be sure to post about it here.

Also check back soon to see a picture of me in my costume so you may recognize me when you're driving through!

Three Laws To Live By

Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments
I am part of a men's Bible study group at my church. This week's lesson was about the concept of heaven. I don't really remember how the materials managed to swing this way while talking about heaven, but one of the questions that we had to answer went something like, "Name some rules that you often impose on others." I thought about it for a bit and then they came to me. They are universal and they are comprehensive.

Here are my three laws to live by:

I. Don't be stupid.

II. Don't annoy me.

III. Don't cause me stress.

Really and truly, it could probably be one rule. Numbers two and three basically offer greater elucidation on the first one.

Please obey these laws. I don't want to have to hurt you.

That is all.

Faithfulness To Pray And Reject Fear

A woman praying in a churchFor faithfulness in prayer by citizens and leaders alike as we look to the future without fear

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and Your minds in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:6-7

Great and marvelous God, we praise You for how You have moved through the prayers of Your people. You have brought great change to our nation as You have answered our prayers and moved us forward since the horrors of 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror.

God, Your Word says to commit all our concerns to You in earnest prayer with thanksgiving. May the citizens of our country unite with our leaders in denouncing fear, choosing instead to stand and declare our trust in You. We rest in the peace You provide—a peace we cannot manufacture or explain—as we look ahead in confidence for the protection of our nation. This we pray in the strong name of Christ Jesus, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wisdom For Secretary Of Defense Gates

The Pentagon
For godly wisdom for President-Elect Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, that our nation’s defense will be supervised and conducted as God desires

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. —Psalm 33:16-19

O Lord God, I praise and thank You today for Your love for all You have made. Thank You for the privilege of knowing You and belonging to You. You reign in power and majesty, and I worship You in appropriate fear and awe, for only You are holy.

Today I thank you for guiding President-Elect Barack Obama to choose Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense. Guide Secretary of Defense Gates as he plans for the shift from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, so the Department of Defense will be led and managed in a wise and godly way, and so that our troops will be well cared for. Encourage and strengthen him as he leads today, I pray in Your name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sonnet XIX

Sunset in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Mountains: A Sonnet To My King
by Jonathan D. Eller

The mountains, Lord, are succor to my soul,
And fill me up when I am feeling low.
But only You can truly make me whole -
There's nothing that can do that here below.
Yet still I'm glad for ridges that are blue
And smoky valleys cloaked in mystery.
For this place always makes me think of You.
Their warm, inviting strength and majesty
Remind me just how Fatherly You are.
So its no wonder that I feel at home
When once again I come from places far
And take the time their passages to roam.
I thank You, Father, for this gorgeous place
You've made to give me courage in my race.

December 1, 2008

For Hillary Clinton and The State Department

For godly wisdom to guide President-Elect Barack Obama as he works with Secretary of State (appointee) Hillary Clinton, that our relationships with other nations will be strengthened

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry.
—Psalm 34:14-15

All-wise God, thank You that knowledge and understanding are found in You alone. You are the source of all wisdom, and we praise You for offering to us Your endless insight and understanding.

Lord, the position of Secretary of State is pivotal for our nation in this time of international concern. We pray for the President Elect's appointee to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that she will be strengthened by You as she prepares to lead this vital department. May she receive wisdom and grace from You and lead with even temper and calm resolve as she works for reconciliation and unity with the nations of the world. Lord, give Your direction and wisdom to Senator Clinton as she prepares to serve in the new administration. Guide President Elect Obama as he works with Senator Clinton, that together they may work to bring about Your will. We thank You, Lord, for leading our new President, in the name of Jesus, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Honoring God

Inauguration at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC
For creativity and thoughtfulness as plans are made for the Inauguration on January 20, 2009

But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.
—Isaiah 32:8

O Mighty and Awesome God, You are the God of the past, present and future, and You see all of time and history in perfect harmony. You are kind and gracious as You guide us in our ways.

As members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies work with members of the new President’s Inaugural Committee to plan for Inauguration Day, may they be guided by You in all their choices. I pray for a good day, characterized by prayer and faith in You. I pray that plans will glorify and honor You in all ways that this new administration may begin on sound footing, honoring You in all things. In Your name, amen.

This is the latest in the series of prayers led by the Presidential Prayer Team for the new President and for our nation. If you are interested in receiving the email with each day's prayer assignment you can click here and sign up.