Sapphire Sky

June 30, 2011

Freedom

Filed under: politics, economy, etc., video, World etc. — Anthony Biller @ 6:53 pm

June 23, 2011

Friends Forever

Filed under: encouragement, marriage and family, video — Anthony Biller @ 6:34 pm

Excellent article by Michael Hyatt on how to become your spouse’s best friend.  He recommends the following very simple three step process:

1.  Make a list of what you would want in a best-friend.
2.  Now become that person for your spouse.
3. 
Keep sowing the seeds, until the relationship blossoms.

 Please read the entire article: How to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend

 

June 20, 2011

Weeping…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — theosdoulos @ 5:56 pm

Weeping…
In the last 3 years, I have wept deeply over four significant life moments:
1) For deeply hurting someone close to me
2) For the loss of a ministry position
3) For my Dad’s death
AND most recently 4) For the death of an unsaved friend

I have found in each of these life moments a profound sadness I have not experienced for much of my life. I also find myself weary, deeply weary of life’s disappointments and goodbyes. Upon reflection I find each of these life moments to hold a unique place in my thoughts. I do understand that weeping is truly an emotional release perhaps sort of a burst of deep sadness. Yet for each of the four life moments mentioned above that sadness has a different quality altogether.

Weeping as a result of deeply hurting someone close to me was excruciating, but I found forgiveness and truly that faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). On the other hand, my sorrow for a job loss proved to be momentary especially when I experienced a renewed sense of freedom along with the healing grace from family and friends.

No one can prepare you for the death of a parent. My sorrow increased from the moment I heard the news to the moment I saw his lifeless body in the casket prior to the funeral. However, my weeping was mixed with great hope of seeing him again in heaven. Even so, there are times I am surprised by a memory of him and find I am fighting back tears.

In all, these first three have a different ending that the last one will never have. These life moments I have already described have joy attached – forgiveness, grace, and hope. But this last one I’m fearful will linger with me in a wholly different way.

I knew Nick less than a year. He was friendly and outgoing. We were fans of many of the same sports teams and often kicked such subjects around. For the last three months he was my protégé at work. He was a good sales man and I knew he would do well as the months progressed. At age 32, he still wasn’t married, but looking for Mrs. Right. On the matter of spiritual things, he grew up Catholic but the importance of God and church had faded in his life.

Nick heard the truth that you can’t earn your way to heaven. He knew that Christ was essential to eternal life. Yet he felt he had enough religion for now. After all he was young and had much of his life ahead of him. He received a fair share of evangelism, even though I’m not sure how much he saw the truth lived out. I sought to be an example of Christ every day we worked together. At the end, it wasn’t enough. My friend, as far as I know, went to bed Friday evening and died in his sleep without trusting in God’s one and only provision for eternal life.

So my sorrow has an edge that cannot be undone. No do-overs in life after death. There never has been. The Bible says it is appointed for man to die and after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). I wish my friend had his judgment cancelled because of Christ.

As with any sorrow, I have but one thing to do: Rest in the sovereign, loving and grace-filled hands of our heavenly Father. He alone comforts my heart.

June 19, 2011

Only a Dad

Filed under: marriage and family, Poem — Anthony Biller @ 11:18 am

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling striving from day-to-day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Edgar Guest

THANKS DAD! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!

A Father’s Prayer

Filed under: marriage and family, Poem — Anthony Biller @ 11:15 am

Lord, strengthen me that I may be
A fit example for my son.
Grant he may never hear or see
A shameful deed that I have done.
How ever sorely I am tried,
Let me not undermine his pride.

Lord, make me tolerant and wise,
Incline my ears to hear him through.
Let him not stand with downcast eyes
Fearing to trust me and be true.
Instruct me so that I may know
They way son and I should go.

When he shall err as once I did,
Or boyhood’s folly bids him stray,
Let me not into anger fly
And drive the good in him away.
Teach me to win his trust – that he
Shall keep no secret hid from me.

Lord, as his father now I pray
For manhood’s strength and counsel wise,
Let me deal justly day by day,
In all that fatherhood implies.
To be his father, keep me fit,
Let me not play the hypocrite.

Edgar Guest

June 18, 2011

HANDS OFF OUR HIRING!

Filed under: biz, legal, and professionalism — deborahlawyer @ 10:07 am

“Separation of church and state” is a tiresome phrase that activists have twisted to eject religious expression from the public square—restricting religious liberty.  But sometimes church and state do need separation: When churches select the persons who will carry out its spiritual mission, the state has no business breaking and entering the sanctuary under the guise of “discrimination” or similar employment laws.  In that context, “separation” protects religious liberty.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken a case with critical implications for churches and other religious organizations (Hosanna Tabor-Lutheran Church and School v. Perich).  Cheryl Perich taught parochial school after being trained in Lutheran theology and “called” by the church congregation as a “commissioned” minister.  She consented to internal dispute resolution procedures applicable to church clergy and accepted tax benefits that only clergy may receive.  Her duties included teaching religion, leading students in daily devotions and prayer, and leading school devotions in rotation with other teachers.  After developing narcolepsy, she took a leave of absence.  The school arranged for another teacher to complete the school year and would have worked with Perich for a smooth transition back to the classroom—but she showed up with a doctor’s note and demanded immediate reinstatement, threatening to sue.  The church congregation rescinded her call and she sued, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Normally there are two sides to every story and a disgruntled employee like Perich is entitled to her “day in court.”  But when a church selects persons integral to its spiritual mission, the First Amendment says “hands off our hiring.”  The state has no business requiring a church to retain a “ministerial employee” who no longer satisfies the criteria for its ministry.  And when a church operates a religious school, the teachers are its lifeblood, carrying out the school’s spiritual mission.

See Death of a Christian Nation, Chapter 13 – “Behind Church Doors.”

June 17, 2011

“I’m a biblical creationist.”

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 6:22 pm

What’s in a name?

Sometimes controversy.  A boy named Sue, fundamentalist, fascist, liberal (or liberals renaming themselves (again) “progressive”), etc. … Names can evoke powerful responses.  Some say controversial names generate interest.  The label or mislabel of something or someone often introduces presumptions or starting points for how people, ideas, and things are initially perceived.

Answers in Genesis recently published an interesting article on whether the name “young earth creationist” is the most accurate name for those that read the first chapter of Genesis literally regarding origins.

“I’m a young-earth creationist.”

To evolutionists, a person claiming this title is akin to saying, “I’m an anti-science mystic.” To Christians who have compromised with naturalistic presuppositions, young-earth creation implies just one more opinion on the earth’s beginning.

Many Christians have conceded to uniformitarian dogma by imposing theories on Genesis like the day-age view, gap theory, and the framework hypothesis. Christians taking on names—progressive creationist, theistic evolutionist, or even young-earth creationist—implies Genesis 1–11 does not have one clear interpretation.

By making our primary title “young-earth creationists,” we seem to agree that the debate is merely over the scientific evidence of the age of the earth. We get caught up in arguments over whether the fossil record, radiometric dating, and celestial bodies are evidence for a young or old earth. While examining the evidence is valuable, the issue is not the evidence itself. The main issue is our starting point for interpreting the evidence—either fallible human opinions or infallible Scripture (Psalm 119:1602 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the title of those who hold to biblical authority should identify their starting point.

“I’m a biblical creationist.”

This title accurately conveys the biblical Christian’s starting point. Two starting points exist: man’s opinion or God’s Word. Creation compromise positions come about when Christians start with man’s opinion of long ages and then reinterpret Scripture to fit the uniformitarian beliefs of God-rejecting naturalists.

See the rest of this excellent article at: Don’t Call Us Young-Earth Creationists

June 15, 2011

A Third State Poised to Block Taxpayer Money to Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider

Filed under: politics, economy, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 5:34 pm

North Carolina poised to defund Planned Parenthood after House votes to override veto

From the Washington Times: For 2009, Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 332,278 abortions, saw 7,021 prenatal clients and made 977 adoption referrals. That means for 97.6 percent of its 340,276 pregnant clients, abortion was Planned Parenthood’s provided “service.”

June 16 Update: Planned Parenthood said on Thursday it is considering a legal challenge of North Carolina’s decision to eliminate state funds to the organization because it provides abortions.

June 9, 2011

Slavery & Empire – Thank you My Father’s World!

Filed under: books, homeschooling — Anthony Biller @ 10:59 pm

… he suddenly realised what liberty really meant: freedom to bow to the dictates of love and to give yourself to its voluntary slavery.  Apart from the discipline of love, freedom was a dreary wilderness without compass or direction, a desert full of mirages, promising everything but yielding nothing.  Patricia St. John, Twice Freed

For years, our family has used the My Father’s World (“MFW”) curriculum to homeschool our children.   I have MFW to thank for some of my most enjoyable moments this year.

For us, MFW provides the best blend of Charlotte Mason, Classical and Unit Study methods consistent with what my wife and I believe.  The authors (the Hazell family) started the curriculum while raising their children while serving as missionaries in Siberia.  We were also initially attracted by how the Hazell’s gave a lot of thought to engaging preschoolers while teaching multiple grade schoolers.  Later, we’ve come to appreciate the Hazell’s moderation, flexibly ramping up quantity and substance consistent with the developmental stage of a child’s mind.  In any event, MFW is a good fit for us.

Consistent with many homeschoolers, I love books.  So do the Hazells.  They’re thoroughly Charlotte Mason when it comes to learning through quality literature.The Hazells promote Book Baskets (weekly lists of books that correspond to lessons, where the books are kept in baskets each week for the children to read at their leisure), assign family read alouds and offer suggested reading lists (age specific chapter books).  MFW is a giant apple for the book-worm.  Thanks to them, we circulate hundreds of library books through our house every year.

The recent pleasure, for which I owe the Hazell’s a special “thank you,” originated from several of MFW’s family read aloud books and a suggested corresponding movie.  Specifically, our children’s MFW curriculum called for us to read aloud Twice Freed by Patricia St. John and The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.  MFW suggested that we also watch Ben Hur around the same time.

I hadn’t previously read the books.  Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of either.  What a pleasure and blessing it was to read each to our family.  Great books.  Moving.  Well written.  Thoughtful and they brought to life the history our family was learning.  Ben Hur fit with the readings perfectly as well.  Regardless of whether you homeschool or use MFW, these are great books to read and enjoy with your family.  Thank you Marie and David!

June 3, 2011

Obama 2012: A Solid Record for Review

Filed under: politics, economy, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 3:04 pm

Victor Davis Hanson’s review of President Obama’s accomplishments on the economy, foreign policy, and promised “New Civility” here.  In 2008, candidate Obama had the benefit of a very limited record in public office and was able to avoid details of what he would pursue.  Many filled in the details of what they thought he would do, and a large number of voters filled in details of a moderate who would cross the aisle.  President Obama’s reelection campaign will have no such luxury in 2012. Hanson provides an excellent preview.

Federal Healthcare Law: Mandate Madness

Filed under: biz, legal, and professionalism — deborahlawyer @ 2:28 pm

You’ve been hearing about it in the news for over a year now—since Congress rushed to enact the 2,700-page “Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act” over the strong objections of the American people.  Never before has the federal government required every American to purchase a product or service—merely for existing, rather than for voluntarily participating in an activity the government may regulate. 

Congress knew there were constitutional questions.  Congress knew that legal challenges were on the horizon.  But they rushed forward, ignoring the will of the people and the Constitution.  Just minutes after the Act was passed, the lawsuits began.  Cases are now winding their way through the federal appellate courts.  Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Richmond, VA, is hearing oral arguments in two cases.   Other circuits will soon weigh in.  Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court will have to weigh in.

Deborah, author of Death of a Christian Nation, has written briefs for the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits about the constitutional deficiencies in the new law.  Congress asserts power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which allows it to regulate interstate commerce.  But the decision not to purchase health insurance is inactivity—not the sort of economic or commercial activity Congress may regulate.  The federal government is a government of limited, specifically enumerated powers.  The health care law stretches the elastic too far and threatens to destroy any limits on congressional power. 

America is a land of liberty and freedom—not a land where the government compels every citizen to purchase a particular product or service.  Americans pay taxes but law-abiding citizens decide where to live, what to eat, what to wear, what to drive, what to buy.  The implications of the health care law are frightening.  It is important to care for the poor and sick, but not at the expense of basic freedoms Americans cherish.

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