Black List

Black List by Brad Thor

Just finished reading “Black List”, a fiction book by Brad Thor, the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

The books started with a quote by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) more than three decades ago, on August 17, 1975 in which he said, “[America’s intelligence gathering] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left.  Such is the capability to monitor everything:  telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.  There would be no place to hide.”

The story develops around the intricate nature of many governmental agencies and their non-governmental organization (NGO) counterparts working together to accomplish specific tasks.  Through technologies and many unconstitutional policies drawn up during crisis (remember who recently said, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid….”? Answer: Rahm Emanuel) the government via its many tentacles keep track of every citizen’s digital “bread crumbs”, such as e-mails, telephone conversations, social media posts, credit card transactions, (energy) smart meters, etc. Continue reading “Black List”

Sunday Hymn 01.20.13

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount-I’m fixed upon it-Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.

Robert Robinson, 1758

taken from the Blue Psalter Hymnal, #314

Celebrating 18 years together

Today we are celebrating our 18th anniversary.  We’ve gone through a lot of things during the 18-year period- job changes, a couple of moves, the birth of Tryphena- to mention just a few.  We also grew older physically.  I, for one, am thinning on the top.

We fought
We cried
We laughed
We hugged
We played
We prayed
….. and we are still madly in love.

Thank you, Lord, for the good 18 years.  Thank you for your many blessings, and for guiding us.  We beseech you, Father, to grant us your love so that we will grow in our love to each other, and to you.

Here are some pictures of then and now.













Sunday Hymn 11.25.12

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure: Save from guilt and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no languor know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grade;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyelids close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.

Augustus M. Toplady, 1776

taken from the Blue Psalter Hymnal, #388

Connecting the Dots

Welcome to a new America!  Yesterday we re-elected President Barrack H. Obama.  Yay to an Indonesian President and his powerful machine!  I believe this will inaugurate a new era in our country and his 2nd term will fundamentally transform this country into a new country, dare I say USSA?!

Many things are working together to transform this once a great country.  Among other things in the last decade I have noticed the following changes took place:

What is going on here, and where are we going from here?  Last night I watched this movie that a good friend of mine sent me.  It is a long movie, but it helped me connect the dots.  If you’re concerned about the future of our country, you gotta have to spare a little over an hour to watch this movie!  It is worth watching, and it will prepare us to stand guarded.  Please read these posts that I wrote in the past, too:

  1. In Search of Spirituality
  2. Children Education:  Public or Private?

Click below to watch the movie:
AGENDA:  Grinding America Down


In the Garden of Beasts

“That you have found me… among so many millions is the miracle of our time!  And that I have found you, that is Germany’s fortune!”  -Adolf Hitler

In the Garden of BeastsI just finished reading “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin”, a nonfiction book by Erik Larson that tells in somewhat graphics about the ascent of Hitler from chancellor to absolute tyrant.  In 1933 President Roosevelt appointed a new ambassador to Germany, and the book was based on first-hand eyewitness experience of the Dodds family living in Berlin.  There are a few things that I saw as striking resemblance of what happened then with what is happening nowadays:

  • On the surface everything was fine, but underneath a foundational transformation was taking place.
  • Everything changed quickly in one day without warning.
  • People were immune to their surrounding.  They applauded evil as good and good as evil.
  • Only few people saw what’s coming.

Continue reading “In the Garden of Beasts”

Finding Christ in the Book of Joel

How many times have you heard sermons on Joel?  In my 40+ years going to church I don’t recall a sermon on Joel, no, not even once.   Perhaps some verses were referenced a few times here and there, but never had I heard a complete sermon on this minor prophet.  That’s not until a few weeks ago when our pastor started preaching on this Minor Prophet book.

It has been very edifying to hear him exegete this book verse by verse, and how, out of the doomsday message that the Prophet brings to the people of Israel, the Gospel is proclaimed! Continue reading “Finding Christ in the Book of Joel”

Friendship and Redemption

I just watched a few years old movie “Kite Runner” based on a fictional story book by the same title authored Khaled Hosseini.  It is one of a couple of good movies I saw this year.  If you’re looking for some good movies to fill your holidays this year, I would recommend this one.

It tells a story of a bond between two Afghan boys, Amir who came from the higher class Pashtun, and Hassan from the lower caste Hazara.  They lived in the pre Soviet Afghanistan, and even though they were very close friends at first, through some incidents they grew cold to each other and finally Amir accused Hassan of stealing his watch. Continue reading “Friendship and Redemption”

What is Your Only Comfort in Life and in Death?

If you’re asked this question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” what would be your answer?

Last weekend the youth group from Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Carbondale, PA took some time to walk around at a local event and asked this question to people willing to participate in this 1-question survey.  Below is what they found out.  How about you, what is your only comfort in life and in death?

The Heidelberg Catechism which follows the outline of the book of Romans, answers that question as follow:

That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redemmed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation.  Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.

Sunday Hymn 06.05.11

God, Be Merciful to Me
(Based on Psalm 51)

God, be merciful to me, On Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou, Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within, Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

My transgressions I confess, Grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace And provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgement just, Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

I am evil, born in sin; Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art, Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow, Wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust By Thy wrath and judgement just,
Let me contrite heart rejoice And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face, Blot them out in boundless grace.

by Richard Redhead, 1836
Taken from the Blue Psalter Hymnal, #94