Thursday, October 15, 2015

America’s Great Need

The state of our nation coupled with the perception of our citizens brings about much fear for the future of the USA.  For seemingly the first time in history, we have lost our way to such a degree that people (at least what the ‘polls’ tell us) do not understand what is required to have a safe, strong, and stable nation.  It appears that at least half of the citizens have little clue about what made and makes us great, the sacrifices required, and the attention which must be given to our Liberty – “IF” we are to survive.
Admittedly, I have not watched (and probably will not watch) the Democratic Party’s Presidential debate, but I have watched some snippets online.  What I saw and what I see in the substance of the debate concerns me greatly.  Before you choose to attack me for what I’m about to write, just remember these are on MY THOUGHTS, not yours, not a Political Party’s, and certainly not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, these are some of the truths that I have gleaned from watching this disturbing process.
The first hint of how far away from our “Founding Fathers” vision for this nation is seen in the fact that Bernie Sanders is even allowed on the stage.  I am ‘stunned’ that a self-proclaimed SOCIALIST is even being validated by any true American.  I cannot find the right words to describe my feeling; ‘stunning’, ‘shocking’, ‘frightening’, and the list goes on but none seem sufficient.  Haven’t we learned anything from history?  Socialism broke the back of the old Soviet Union and will ultimately break the back of the greatest nation to ever exist on the face of this planet, the USA.  To think that a Socialist is receiving this much attention in America, is disheartening at best and heartbreaking at worst.
Then there is the “Hillary” factor.  In the aftermath of our current president being elected (who is probably our first Muslim-Socialist president) one of my good African-American friends said to me, “Isn’t it great that we elected an African American President?”  My response was and STILL IS this, “It was time for us to elect an African American as President, I just wished it could have been a person who possesses American ideals, morality, and ethics.”  Today, I wished I had been wrong about this president, but I wasn’t.
With every news conference, executive order, the approach to social programs (I.E. socialist), his anti-Christian policies, and his inability to work with people who are not of his mindset, he proves that my thinking was and continues to be, accurate. 
Today, many want this country to have a ‘female’ president.  While I am not philosophically opposed to this, wouldn’t it be great to look at qualifications and not feel the need to have unspoken ‘quotas’ to fill our top position (I.E. race, gender, etc).  We need the most qualified LEADER we can find.  This includes a history of service, integrity, and accomplishment.
Hillary seems incapable of seeing her past through transparent glasses.  Her words are “I’m not here to talk about emails” and my response is, “Well, you better be because if you are to be the “Commander-in-Chief” of this nation, you better be trustworthy with matters of national security.”  It is highly disturbing that the ‘mainline media’ is giving her a pass on this issue.  Already found are over 400 ‘Classified Emails’ handled carelessly, placed illegally on a private server, & thus made available to hackers and others.  The emails are a big thing that needs ‘big-time’ explanation.  If we don’t vet this issue now, then if she happens to sit in the Oval Office, will we either be forced into a war because of her lack of discernment and discretion or will we surrender to our enemies (of which the list is growing because of our country’s growing weakness)?
But if we are not going to talk about the emails, how about Benghazi?  As Secretary of State, she sat on her hands and (this is hard to believe) until American Ambassador Chris Stephens and 3 other American were killed.  As of this date, the truth of this night has been avoided by the main stream media, has been so politicized, has been ignored by her constituents, and the Republican are so afraid to push the investigation, that she will likely never have to answer for it.  SO, she probably don’t care to talk about that. 
Well then, let’s talk about Whitewater.  No?  Then (and the most frightening) let’s talk about the almost 50 people who are connected to her and Bill through political means or business deals who are dead from seemingly unexplained or suspicious deaths.  Even the Liberal-leaning  “Snopes” has to explain away the deaths because they cannot deny that the people are dead.  So the explanations of each person’s passing, which is suspicious, if no other reason than, the timing and manner of death.  My observation is that being in business with the Clintons is dangerous, either to your natural health or ????????????????
Let’s say that if half of what is known or suspected about Hillary is untrue, that still leaves much to be concerned about when she is running for the TOP OFFICE in the land.  The “I’m not here talk about that” line that she learned from her husband SHOULD NOT be allowed to stand because it is not allowed to stand with other candidate.
Here is my reason for writing this article. 
Are these candidates really the best leaders that America and Americans have to offer? 
Have we become such a people that our choice to lead us comes down to a Socialist and/or a person who has more baggage than a Kardashian on a World Tour? 
Please tell me that the Democrats (and even Republicans) have better options for us.  If not, our continuation as a nation may be in question.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Rule of Law

Kim Davis spent 5 days in jail at the hands of the United States District Court Judge David L. Bunning.  Think about that, 5 days in jail!  While many might believe that she ‘deserved what she received because she broke the law’, the truth is, there was ‘no law on the books to break.’  She was incarcerated because the APPOINTED judge took issue with how the ELECTED county clerk performed her job.  This incident is one that most ‘Older People’ would have never deemed possible in the USA – and candidly, is not possible UNDER Constitutional Rule of Law. 

Our Founding Fathers who penned our founding papers and Framed our Government, were deep thinkers.  In fact, we have VERY FEW (if any) people today who think as deeply as did these men.  They were able to set up in abstract what we know in substance.  Their “Crowning Document” is known as the US Constitution.  This is a relatively short, interesting, and binding document.  Well at least, it’s SUPPOSED to be binding.  Well, until the last 7 years, it has been ‘somewhat’ binding.  From the Founders & Framers, it was SUPPOSED to be binding which is why every elected officials takes his/her oath of office by declaring to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC.” 

The Constitution is genius in setting up the three branches of government with checks and balances to make sure no one arm of the government oversteps its authority.   All of us know the responsibilities of each branch;  The Legislative Branch is to pass or make Law, the Executive Branch is to enforce the Law, and the Judicial Branch is to interpret the Law.  This is either 9th Grade Civics or 11th Grade American Government. 

White this is clear and maybe simple, it is certainly not the case today.  For the last 7 years, the leader of the Executive Branch has refused to enforce laws it didn’t like (I.E. DOMA, Immigration, etc) and led by the POTUS, it has attempted to transform an Executive Action into Legislation.  For more years than this, the Judicial Branch has attempted to transform a ‘LEGAL OPINION’ (which is all the courts are authorized to do) into LEGISLATION.  At the same time, the Legislative branch seems to argue more about Politics and their own personal careers than to ‘care for the public interest’ which is honestly what public servants are supposed to do.  It seems to me that the only one NOT TRYING TO PASS MEANINGFUL LEGISLATION IS THE ONE BODY WHO IS CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MAKING LAW.  In a vacuum, something or someone always attempts to fill the void, right or wrong.  This could well be what is happening in the halls of Congress and Legislatures across the USA.

When the Supreme Court offered its “Opinion” on Obergefell vs Hodges, it was just that, an opinion.  (By the way, it was an opinion offered by at least 2 Justices who were biased before the received the case, these two were not objective in their deliberations and probably should be removed from the bench because they didn’t recuse themselves from this case – but this is another blog).  Their opinion does not constitute law UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.  The next Constitutional step was for the CONGRESS to take up the action of the Court in order to pass legislation that they deemed legal, in light of the Constitution.  Furthermore, when Judge Bunning sentenced Kim Davis to jail (against the desires of the Plaintiff’’s attorney), he was not acting in accordance with any law, but his.  Again when any judge takes the law into his own hands, the law should take HIM into its hands and remove him.  Every Judge MUST be held accountable to the Constitution or BE ASSURED that he will face legal action.   In his defense, this activity did not begin with him, BUT it should serve as a warning for us that our Judicial system is out of control and must be reigned in.

When Judges, who  are just as fallible as any of the rest of us, offer Opinions – many things form and forge those opinions.  Judges do not always get it right.  While I have and hold deeply religious beliefs about this particular case, for the millions of ‘non-religious American’, this case might be your ‘Victory Dance’, but if left unchecked YOU might be the next American to be jailed because a judge took it on himself to invoke punishment not outline in law.  This is dangerous for our republic.

A judge does not possess “Ultimate authority” to do as he/she wishes and under the “Rule of Law” as set up by our Constitution, is limited BY LEGALLY PASSED LEGISLATION as to what the sentence for any crime might be.  For Kim, she was in contempt of court BECAUSE Judge Bunning acted ILLEGALLY.

My call today is for us to return to the Rule of Law from the Rule of Man (I.E. judges making decisions based on their preferences and feelings.)  This Great Nation was not founded on the “Rule of Man” but the “Rule of Law” which was also based on the “Law of God.”  Until around 1930, one of the basic textbooks for legal training was “Blackstone” (1763).  He put down in word what had been practiced since around the 10th or 11th Century.  His book was used widely in the development of our system of government and jurisprudence and is based largely on Biblical Principles.  Since 1930, we have seen a dramatic shift from “Rule of Law” to the “Rule of Man” and are witnesses to the Courts saying we have “RIGHTS” of which the Framers would have no knowledge, certainly would not guarantee, and certainly not protect.

You may like the direction our country is headed because you may be one who adheres to the “Rule of Man” premise.  I urge you to be careful, the next person who is wrongly incarcerated might well be you!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Christian or Muslim - A Letter from & for the Media (and US)

Over the past couple of days (and more) I have observed, admittedly with some amusement, as the media has attempted to call Donald Trump out for not correcting the reporter who called President Obama a Muslim.  Candidly, I was not going to write about this until I heard one of the other candidates say these words, "Yes, he (Trump) should have corrected the reporter because I have many times."  Had he left it at this, I would probably not be writing but then he went on to say, "The President has stated that he is a "Christian by faith."  This statement touched a nerve in me - from a Biblical perspective.

I'll admit it, I am one of those who remain unconvinced about the President's true faith, but this issue runs more deeply than just with President Obama.  Inasmuch as the POTUS is simply a citizen of this great nation who has been elected or selected by the populous to lead our country, whatever spiritual truths apply to us still apply to him.  NOW TO THE ISSUE.

One of the non-biblical concepts of our day is that a person "tells you what they believe" so they are called by the name of that belief system.  In other words, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a New Ager, an Islamist, and even a Christian ascribe to certain beliefs, so they wear the name of that set of beliefs.
While this is popular, when it comes to being a Christian - this concept is certainly not Biblical or rather unbiblical.  The word Christian appears only 3 times in the New Testament and not one time is there an instance of a) a person referring to himself as one, or 2) this name simply referring to people who only 'believed' in Jesus and His way of life.

While this is a blog and not a sermon the bottom line is this:  In Acts 11 (the first time Christ-followers were called Christian), it had little to do with what they believed and more to do with how they behaved because of what they believed.  In other words, they were "CALLED" Christian because they "ACTED LIKE" & "LIVED LIKE" Jesus, the Christ.  Taken a step further, legend has it that the name "Christian" was not intended as a compliment in those days, but rather, a negative nick-name because the people of Antioch could so clearly see Jesus in the lives of these followers.

Throughout the centuries, that concept has changed until today where declare 'ourself' to be a Christian.  It almost seems we have "Corinthianized" this name.  Whether we are in fact a "Christian" or not, it would seem, is for someone else to determine.  That said, there exist such a warped sense of who & what Jesus Christ was, that few would know the true Jesus if He came to our culture.

With this understanding, we come back to that original issue that has been made about our President. Is he a Christian or not?  The evidence is in his actions, his policies, and his words.  Were I to list them all this blog would be too long to read or write, but here are just a few (& perhaps not the most egregious);

2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.
November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law.
September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.”
October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House.
November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial.
November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity.
April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes.
April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes.
In June, 2013 - His DOJ defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God.  Another youth program was also defunded because it permitted voluntary prayer.
June 2014 - Official U. S. government personnel, both civilian and military, in Bahrain (a small Arabic nation near Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran) must wear clothing that facilitates the religious observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
March 2015 - A decorated Navy chaplain was prohibited from fulfilling his duty of comforting the family (or any member of the unit) after the loss of a sailor because it was feared that he would say something about faith and God. He was even banned from the base on the day of the sailor's memorial service.

This is only a snippet of dozens, if not hundreds of ways that President Obama has shown his true beliefs and commitments to something and someone else other than Jesus Christ.  He is on record as saying there is more than one way to heaven which is in direct opposition to the Bible and to the words of Jesus.  He is on record as saying "We all worship the same God".  Not only does this counter the claim of every religion of man, but our Heavenly Father says, "I am the one true God and you are to have none other besides me."

Perhaps the reason that Mr. Trump (or anyone else) should not correct a brave person for expressing their view that President Obama is Islamist - is - because that is where his allegiance seem to lie and his support seems to go.  

Scriptures clearly state things like this:
"You will know them by their fruit"
"Where your 'treasure is', there is where your heart is" (emphasis mine)
"Out of the overflow of the heart, a man speaks"
"Be not deceived God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that he will also. reap."

This blog brings me no joy.  Many of my friend whom have a deep admiration for our current president will be highly offended.

For me, Jehovah God, Creator God, Sustainer God, and even our Savior God, is highly offended when His name is reduced to the level of the 'gods of this world' and invoked when not honored.

Based on actions, words, and policies - I would not & do not correct someone referring to our current president as an Islamist.








Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ON Social Media - BE CAREFUL

The rave of the day is "Social Media".  Social Media is 'US" telling people about what we're doing, where we are, the important days in our lives, our grandchildren (I like that), and even "What we're eating."  Some of the funniest posts, at least to me, are ones where someone actually pulls out a device and takes a picture of what they are about to eat.  This borders on either cruel or bragging!! :)

Now don't mistake this post or my attitude as being 'agin' all of this because I'm not.  Honestly, Social Media has reconnected me with friends who I have not seen in 25+ years and I love that.  Today, those friends who would have been alive only in memory are today only a keystroke away.

Having said all of that, there are some dangers we need to consider and some cautions we need to take as we share our lives on Social Media. Consider this, in the past few months I have heard more than one person say, "How can they post something about God working in their lives today, when yesterday they told such a horribly 'off-colored' (yes, some people still use that term) joke or story?"  Candidly, I've seen those posts and thought - seriously?

It seems to me that as new as Social Media is, that we are still learning how to use it.  To those who profess Jesus as your Savior and wear the name "Christian", I urge us to be cautious and careful as to what you post on Social Media because it could, in fact, destroy your ability to speak for Christ.  For years we have said, "Protect Your Testimony."  This is my call for all today.  Be careful.

When I read something well spoken, I try to share it with all in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Ron Edmondson, the Senior Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, has written a blog about this very issue (so there is no reason for me to 're-invent the wheel).  Click the following link - and consider what He has to say.


Be Blessed today

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Anatomy of a Sick Church - Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay, has built a career on helping God's church to become all that God wants it to be, I read his blog fairly regularly.  He has studied the church, taught in Seminary, conducted research on the church, and served (probably still does on a limited basis) as a Church Consultant for many church who need a course re-direction.   I find many of his blogs have the quality of taking what we "Know to be true" & putting it in words for us to assimilate.  This blog is very short & simple - but right on point...While you may not enjoy this reading, maybe it will assist your thinking.  Grace..



Monday, July 20, 2015

Donald Trump for President????

Admittedly, I am not a "Political Analyst", but I am finding our presidential race (just getting started) to be a little intriguing.  However if the pundits will sit up and pay attention, it is also REVEALING.
This election is stacking up, in my humble opinion, in a very sad way.  But most of our elections of late have been a precursor to what we might see next year.  It matters not what "Political Party" you are from, already this has to be disheartening while at the same time, somewhat enlightening.

On the Democratic side, a person carrying a famous name, Clinton, is seeking to use that name to win the Oval Office.  Better said, it almost seems like she is not really 'seeking' the office but EXPECTING to occupy it.  To me (my deeply felt, believed, & HIGHLY PERSONAL opinion), she has approached this campaign more like, 'from victory' instead of 'for victory.'  In other words, she believes that she IS the next President & the First Female President.  All the problems in  her past seem not to matter.  Personally because I'm older, I still remember the Whitewater scandal, I have read the large list of people close to her and her husband whose lives have ended tragically and violently, AND I CANNOT get past Benghazi.  In our system of jurisprudence you may plead the 5th amendment, but that shouldn't work in politics.  She carries so much baggage that her, in the Oval Office, is possibly more frightening than President Obama.  Now Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed "Socialist" (Sanders Socialist Successes, Wednesday, April 22, 2009), seems to making noise to rain on Hillary's destiny as the nominee of the democratic party.  So, this party's choices are someone who has proven herself untrustworthy VERSUS a Socialist....Our current president must be proud.  However, both of these candidates are reading the right notes, following the right talking points, & evading questions put to them with POLITICAL PRECISION.  But we do not have a glimpse into what makes them tick and what decisions they might make if given the Oval Office.

On the Republican side of the race, I've lost count of those who are seeking the office.  However, the one who is the dark horse and who is making a great deal of noise right now is (I can't believe I'm writing this), Donald Trump.  Reading the polls is a little amazing.  This businessman is giving life-long politicians grief as he moves from one uncensored comment to another - while at the same time, inching up in the polls.  Why is this?  (A SIDE NOTE:  His remarks about John McCain were certainly some he should apologize for because, McCain (like his politics or hate them), served this country with distinction on the field of battle and gave up years of his life as a prisoner of war protecting our ability to disagree.  In my book, he is an American hero, even though I disagree with many of his policies.)

For me, I have not decided who I will cast my vote for and when I do, probably you will never know who it is because, I still believe that who I vote for is my concern and no one else's.  Sorry to be so abrupt.  I weary of hearing the question, "Who are you going to vote for?"


But it is this public fascination with Donald Trump that might teach us a lesson today, if we and our politicians will allow it.  Mr. Trump is a businessman, a shrewd businessman.  He is tenacious and he is not accustomed to answering to anyone, nor (at least it appears) does he allow anyone to frame his words, his opinions, nor his actions.  He is what he is and what you see you get.  Now, I have opinions about his qualifications to sit in the Oval Office, but that is not the reason for my words.

Why - I repeat "WHY" is Donald Trump 'ringing the bell' of so many Americans today?  This is not from scientific research, but rather, from my personal observation.  It is because when you hear Donald Trump speak you HEAR Donald Trump.  It seems to me that the American people are tired of hearing talking points provided by a candidate's team of people who have carefully coached their candidate to avoid certain words and phrases, redirect a question to a topic that is preferred, or simply talk in general about general things without getting specific on anything.  The American people are tired of the "Polished Political Rhetoric" which has now landed this country in the worse shape she has ever been in and are now looking for some straight-talking people who say what they believe, believe what they say, and are willing to stake their political careers on it.  These type of people are NOT politicians, they are STATESMEN - and Statesmen seem to be in short supply.

To all politicians (though none will ever read this) I ask, "Can we stop hearing what your advisers want us to hear and start hearing YOUR HEART for whatever political position you want to occupy?"  Let's bring some candor back into politics which might bring some integrity back to the process.  This may be the reason that politicians are considered so dishonest.  Perhaps they have never answered one question based on THEIR TRUE BELIEFS but rather on the belief of some 'team' who coach them into saying what 'their team' believes will get them elected.  After all, once you are elected, you seem to show your true colors.

Let us learn once again about speaking your true feeling.  A political office is a public trust.  We are trusting these politicians to say what they'll do and do what they say.  For me, I am not sure that Donald Trump is qualified to hold the position of the President Of the United States or would make a good President, but I am sure that I want a President who speaks clearly, distinctly, truthfully, & let's us know what in his heart because "THAT" is what he will be committed to.









Monday, June 29, 2015

A Day In Imfamy

June 26, 2015, is a day that will live in infamy.  The USA has now come under attack from inside its legal system, the very system which the framers of our Constitution setup to protect her citizens.  Year ago I heard it said that this nation would fall from the inside, without a shot ever being fired, and it now appears those "may be" prophetic words.  The Highest Court in the Land, presided over by 9 'NON-ELECTED' lawyers, accountable seemingly to no one, given specific powers in Article III of the Constitution to interpret laws that the "Congress" has passed, in one decision, has broken so many judicial rules, traditions, and principles laid forth in the founding papers and ensuing decisions, that a person could write for weeks (and many will) about their flawed action.
At the outset, as deeply as I believe this decision to be morally wrong, I also have a deep belief that the manner in which this decision occurred flies in the face of how the US legal system was designed to work.  This was an issue which the US Supreme Court should have deferred to the individual states as a matter of law.  There is no 'expressed right to marry' in the US Constitution and the 10th Amendment clearly affirms that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  While admittedly, I am not an attorney, the Constitution (at least in the early days) was deemed to have been written in language that didn't take a Harvard attorney to interpret or understand.  Those last 3 words if not the last two phrases seem to have been minimized or deleted in the minds of the 5 LAWYERS who have taken it on themselves to overturn the will and belief of the majority of citizens in order to defer to the minority.
However, in this case the stakes were so high that, in my opinion, at least 3 Supreme Court Justices were so willing to compromise the reputation of the Highest Court in the Land as impartial that they were unwilling to recuse themselves from these proceedings.  In lower courts across this land, as a matter of integrity and policy, judges are expected to recuse themselves from any case to which they could be seen to have a bias.  This is the responsibility of the sitting judge.  One of the checks and balances for the lower court judge is the appellate system.  If a judge does not recuse himself and makes a decision on a case in which he has connection, the next court can overturn his decision based on judicial bias.  However, the "Supremes" have no such accountability.  In this case, because these 3 justices wanted to make sure that what THEY WANTED to be law, was DECLARED to be law by legislating from the bench, SO they stayed in the case and ultimately decided this landscape-altering change in a less than 'fair' way.
As you can tell, what is striking about this landmark decision is that, as opposed to the findings of the majority as I am, I am as deeply troubled about the slippery slope on which this action places our system of jurisprudence.  You may support THIS DECISION, but what happens the next time, when this bias in a case goes against you and you don't feel the process was fair.  TOO LATE, precedent is set and precedent is everything in the legal arena. In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts concludes, "If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it." (Emphasis Mine)
Having read most of the decision of the Majority (which is now, for the time being, the law) and having read the minority's report, I walked away with a clear understanding that the issues here are both moral as well as legal. Morally this decision places the USA on par with Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the WORLD in Genesis 6 where the Bible says, "God regretted He made mankind and was grieved in His heart." Beginning on 6/26/15, the door is opened for all sorts of Biblical Immorality and places Christian churches on notice about the 'exercise' of their faith when their faith collides with the intent of this decision.  
Noticeably absent from the majority's decision when speaking about people of faith is the word 'exercise.'  We can practice our faith and we can even teach our faith, but can we continue to exercise our faith and follow the instructions of Jesus?  Can you imagine how the courts are going to rule when those cases come before them where a church refuses to allow a same sex couple to become members or to use their facilities to marry?  The truth is, churches will welcome same sex couples to attend, worship, study, and learn just as the church welcomes every or any person.  However, the bar is raised for membership.  While some churches may conclude that 'same sex' is consistent with the Christian's life, many if not most, do not accept this to be an authentic Biblical view.  Very quickly this is going to get ugly for those of us who view the Bible, faith, God, and truth in the latter way.
It is true that many were heard cheering on June 26 all across the land, but it is equally true that this was not the majority of the population.  Knowing this truth brings into focus that this issue has many "moving parts."  Those who are cheering deeply believe that this drastic change in millennia of definition, tradition, and even understanding surrounding marriage is going to bring the fulfillment which so many people seek.  (Rarely, if ever, does a 'legal decision' bring about this type of change because these issues are matters of the soul)  Ultimately, these who cheer and adhere will become the broken people with hearts that will need a divine touch and divine love to recover from their deep hurt.  These broken hearts may not become apparent for years (should our Lord choose not to return), but it will happen.
Additionally and not articulated in the oral arguments before the court nor in any of the Amicus briefs which I have read, is a recognition of the laws of nature (God's designed nature) that, in the human experience, it still takes an "X" and "Y" chromosome to procreate.  Two of the same gender can not bear children, it is an impossibility.  At some point and from somewhere, there must be a contribution by the other gender in order for new life to form.
At the same time the cheering was loudly heard, flags were waved, and news agencies began the reporting in favor of this decision, within the majority of citizenry (which includes people of Biblical faith) tears were shed and prayers were uttered.  Not surprisingly, POTUS played to the crowd (not the majority, but the crowd) by saying, "LOVE WON TODAY."  For my two cents worth, such a weak leader continues his weak leadership by attempting to play to the crowd and there were definitely winners on that day, but it was NOT love that won.  True, he seems to be getting his way in most things these days, but his leadership continues to 'grease' the moral and legal slippery slope on which he's placed us.  However, I think I'll wait until later to write about this issue.

What I can take heart in is this, "The Throne in Heaven is Still Occupied!  Jehovah still governs in the affairs of men."  Life as we have known it in the USA may have been changed forever (OR until Congress calls the hand of the "Supremes") or until our Lord returns for those He has redeemed, but the words of Jesus still ring true.  He says, "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and NO ONE comes to the Father except through me."  My prayer is for our nation to not take the path of ancient Israel who abandoned God and lost their identity, His blessing, and their land. 
Whether you agree or disagree with this decision, not only has the morality of our country been changed as of June 26, but also the legal nature of our court system.  It is indeed a DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Sad Day" - FINAL CHAPTER

After my post yesterday entitled "Sad Days Among the SBC", someone pointed out that "State Conventions at their annual meetings were voting to decrease the percentage of CP money which remains in the state" and then they asked, "WHY?"  This is my response to that question and statement.  Let me be clear.  I do not perceive this person to have responded in a mean-spirited way and I do not respond with animus in my heart.  Rather, it is with a deep love for Southern Baptists, with all of her facets, that I respond (and I do not question the love for Southern Baptist of the one I am responding to).  However, as Forest Gump might say, "That's all I have to say about that" (for now).  So I will move forward as there is much Kingdom work to be done.  Grace to you.

The honest reasons that I blog so little are many. First, I really don’t have the time to sit in front of a computer and type all day. Second, I don’t see the ‘positive’ impact from it….GRIN….that being said, I just happened to open this up again this morning so I will respond to the statement that “States are voting to cut percentages” and to your question of “WHY?”  After that, I’ll probably move on to the other things my day demands.
You are absolutely correct that state conventions (those assembled once a year) are voting to cut percentages. The reason, as I see it (everyone will not agree), is because the State Execs and their Staff are leading their Finance teams to respond to the GCR (Grand Currency Redirection, oops no, The Great Commission Resurgence – sorry) that was voted on in Orlando. The reason that the process is so slow is not because they are being ‘bull-headed’ or ‘uncooperative’ but rather, the leadership is trying to do this in such a way as to give the staff members, who are to be eliminated by the change in the financial structure, time to make a natural transition to another position. This has happened many times already in the state where I reside (this is an observation from the outside as I have no inside knowledge). These cuts are being proposed by the leaders who are attempting to cooperate.
Sincerely, I have heard no one, in the groups I’m a part of, believe that the this redirection of money is in the best interest of the Kingdom over the long term. Certainly, it may help IMB & NAMB in the short term (but I believe, that will be short lived). The general consensus among people I speak with (admittedly not in the thousands, but perhaps a hundred or more) is that as the states are weakened, the CP will become weaker and weaker which will make the “PIE” (gifts to the CP) become smaller and smaller. All of us know that the CP giving is down – this is a matter of record. However, if we continue withdraw the one place (State Conventions) that ‘fertilize’ (as it were) the seed of CP giving, the pie may well disintegrate completely. And we would return to where we began as a denomination, with Societal Giving. The very thought of this gives me a headache. Call me an ‘old-fogey’, but we already have too many Sundays where we are asked to place the emphasis on something else other than the God we are supposed to WORSHIP. (I.E Memorial Day, Independence Day, Right to Life, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, groundhog day {okay, maybe that is over the top - LOL}, etc)
Sincerely, I do not believe that you nor the majority desires to KILL STATE CONVENTIONS, but what I DEEPLY believe is that the ongoing de-funding of these entities will ultimately deploy “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” Recently, I read an article in the Alabama Baptist that one of the changes which are being made (on a year’s trial basis) is that, beginning July 1, the Evangelism Department will be entirely part-time. The leaders have thought it through, have a plan, and are attempting to work the plan so that we have a ongoing, vibrant, & consistent evangelistic emphasis in the state and they are to be commended for such work. To me, this is Exhibit A of what I call “Unintended Consequences.”
You may ask, “Jerry, what is the answer?” My response, “Systemically, I don’t know.” I offer that no ONE person holds the systemic answer to our difficulty. It will require a team effort of people who see the value in every facet of Southern Baptist Life (I.E National, State, Associational, institutions & entities) coming together, praying it through, & offering a comprehensive resolution.
That said, “I know” what “you know”and what we both deeply believe. The real issues which confront us – are not systems, programs, or even theologies. The real issue is a spiritual one. When persecution (Like we are seeing at the hands of ISIS) makes it way into this country, into our communities, and walks into our church buildings, we will be forced to face up to the true spiritual issue. I fear when this comes, CP, IMB, NAMB, and the SBC will be the least of our worries. Call it a colloquialism, but what we need is real, authentic, heaven-sent, landscape-altering REVIVAL in GOD’S CHURCH. We need a “Pentecost” among God’s people. Then these discussions will be moot.
Thanks for hearing me out. I pray that each of us will keep our eyes on the ‘prize’ and finish the race “HE” set before us. Grace to you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sad Days Among the SBC


After reading a 'national blog' (whatever that is), this was and is my response.  For me, these are sad days among Southern Baptists.  At a time when we need to expand our 'cooperative spirit', it seems the divisive nature of mankind is running rampant among us.  Grace.

"I continue to read, with interest, the ongoing disrespect and disparaging which goes towards the State Conventions.  For me (no I am not a YOUNGER GEN person) it is indeed sad.  It is sad that we feel like we have to 'tear down' that part of the SBC structure which has built us up.  
My experience only extends to the last 40 years, but in this time I have watched as the staff of state conventions have given unselfishly of their time and giftedness to extend and expand the Cooperative Program and thus, the Kingdom of God.  They have spent a great deal of time away from their families to assist the local church.  They have worked tirelessly to educate and inspire member churches to 'cooperate' (hmm, what a word) together for both ministry and mission.  These State Missionaries have been a resource for churches, small & large.  Many of these state missionaries received 'pay cuts' to assume these responsibilities which they felt 'called to.'  And they approach their task at the state level with a sense of 'divine call.'
Has some money (the christian word, 'resources') been wasted along the way?  Surely it has, but I would submit 'very little'.  But what church ministry has not done the same?   I submit that it is the State Conventions, given the task of promoting the CP, that have done a pretty good job.  
Additionally, I know personally of two state conventions who now are operating at less than 50% of the personnel than they used to have.  Have they cut any of the services and help to the local churches? Probably, but more often than not, the answer is no.  Has their service became a life-saver for many churches?  I would answer 'YES!'  So rather than 'cutting the ministry to the local church', the other staff is now attempting to assume the responsibility of 3, 4, or 5 people.  
(Expecting a vicious attack to my words) I expect some will counter: "If they can do this, then the other people were not needed and this reduction of state missionaries is good."  Problem is, our state missionaries are relegated to doing their jobs 'okay' instead of 'well.'  Yet, the States and their Missionaries are still forging ahead with plans to help the local church because they know that the greatest mission field in the world today, is the USA.  This begins in what we affectionately call, "THE MAINLINE STATES."  I live in one of those states and while the darkness pervades the culture, our state missionaries are 'on point' trying to assist their churches in being revitalized, reinvigorated, revived & on mission for our Lord.  
The one thing which has not been said about the State Conventions is that they helped to build the 'base of support' so that there is a 'larger pie' of money to fund needed ministries and missions.  Let us not be surprised if, as we starve the states, the CP suffers more and more.  I have little interest in arguing the 60% or 50/50 or any of the rest BECAUSE, I trust those in leadership.  I am privileged to know close to a half-dozen of the State Execs personally.  Each one of these men is doing his best to make the best Kingdom use of God's money given through the CP.  Each Exec is highly-aware that the organization he leads is funded by "God's Money." What a responsibility!
Sincerely, in my humble opinion (and sincerely, I mean all of my remarks in a humble way ), I tell a story to illustrate what I feel is happening among the SBC.
A farmer told his neighbor, "I'm going to ween my mule off of food."  The neighbor express his doubts, but left the farmer to his plan.  Three months later they ran into each other at the feed store.  The neighbor said, "Well, did you get your mule weened off food?"  The farmer said, "You know, I tried to do this gradually.  The first week I gave him half of what I had previously fed him.  The second week I halved it again.  The third week I did the same.  The fourth week I had him down to almost nothing & was so proud."  "Yea and then," asked the neighbor?  "Then that mule up and died on me."
Killing State Conventions, I believe, will not strengthen the LMCO, Missions, or the CP.  On the converse, I believe it will ultimately kill the SBC.  It will not be quick or easy, rather it will be slow and painful.  THE IMB and NAMB may get a bigger slice of any pie that is left - but I deeply believe, it will be a very small pie."

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

NEW BOOK

This is a little eerie.  Yesterday I posted the writings of another pastor's blog entitled "10 Ways to Kill a Church" and the same day James Schupp's book, "Who Killed My Church" arrives in the mail.  James and I now have a friendship which has begun and continues 'online'.  He lives in Texas and after years of Pastoring, is now planting a church.  I say that to express that, over the years, he has accumulated some knowledge about the state of and reason for a 'dying church.' 
His book, "Who Killed My Church", is an easy read that is packed full of truths and EVERY FOLLOWER OF CHRIST probably needs to read it.  I had the privilege of reading the manuscript several months again as it was being prepared for publication.  Here is the link. It is worth both the money and the time.

Monday, June 01, 2015

10 Ways to Kill a Church

Wishing I had more time to read and stay up with the modern day 'politics & problems' of our nation, but realizing that I have to choose and pick what I study, the Church of the Lord consumes more & more of my time and reading.  From the Bible to other books and then to 'blogs.'  I try to be 'choosey' and glean the best.  Sometimes I accomplish this and sometimes not.  I just read this blog by a brother who just happens to be an African-American Pastor.  His grasp of the church is good so I offer you HIS WORDS (which I believe to be RIGHT ON POINT).. Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to sit and talk with him. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Thom Rainer's Blog

Everyday my email box is filled with dozen (okay - over 50) emails from all kinds of people, causes, & 'sale pitches.'  Most of them I delete (twice - to make sure their gone) and move on.  Attempting to 'unsubscribe' is a joke as it seems that I may actually get unsubscribed to the specific thing I am attempting to STOP, but it may just be me, but it SEEMS that for everyone I unsubscribe from, I received two new pieces of mail - EVERYDAY. 
Through newsle.com I receive highlighted events and blog.  One of those blog which I receive is about Dr. Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  I would be lying if I said Dr. Rainer & I agree on every issue.  However, in several years of reading his blogs - he seems to have a good hand on the pulse of our churches most of the time. 
Today, I received an email from Newsle and the lead story was "THOM RAINER - 9 Traits of Church Bullies."  Reading it was both informative and saddening.  The church today & her belief system (The Bible) is under such attack that to think of this type of attack is disheartening at best.  However, I believe this is an informative read that will help many people, so I share the link:  Thom Rainer: 9 Traits

Be blessed today!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

So Many Topics, So Little Time


While admittedly I have rarely been a 'prolific' blogger (mainly because many who believe the world 'needs to hear their opinion' have little basis to feel that way), our country, culture, and even our planet is now seeing things happen at a phenomenal rate. Perhaps the 'rate' by which events are unfolding have not increased as much as my personal knowledge and perception have been awakened to these undesired changes. Furthermore, there is a great possibility that these changes (which have taken place largely over the past 15 years) have weighed on my heart and life as well as is now bearing down on the future of this country, the world, God's church, as well as my children and grandchildren.
Most of my posts have been inspirational in nature and I would desire to continue those types of posts. However at least in the USA, there are many other things to which a spiritual leader (I.E. a pastor) should be speaking – and as time passes I intend to do so. At times you may agree while at other times you may disagree. At times I may write things with the desire to 'stir you up' while at other times perhaps this blog can bring some 'comfort or peace.' After all, it was the "God of all comfort" who called me into this work and to do what I do.

Some of the topics which I plan to write about are;
  • Can ISIS be the prophetic country to the North?
  • What rises to the level of High Crimes and Misdemeanors?
  • Peace in the Midst of a Culture at War
  • Racial Reconciliation – Apologizing for the sins of our Fathers?
  • God's Word to this Fallen World
  • Our Need for Statesmen in Government
  • Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?
  • Why I believe Homosexuality is Incompatible with Christianity?

 

And I've said NOTHING about the function of our Judiciary's ongoing desire to 'legislate from the bench'. We are in a critical time in this nation and the world. I have NO ALLUSIONS OF GRANDUER because these writing may make very little difference, but it's kind of like a man in my first pastorate. He was very old and could not have heard the atomic bomb explode (even if it exploded very close by). He never missed worship unless he was sick. One day he shouted at me, "PREACHER, DO YOU KNOW WHY I ATTEND WHEN I CAN'T HEAR A WORD YOU SAY?" Calling him by name, I shouted back, "I THINK SO, BUT WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME?" With a smile he shouted, "I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW WHOSE SIDE I'M ON!!"

 

The reason I'll write is to let everyone know whose side I'm on. I pray some will read these words and join me on the journey.  I pray it is interesting, inspiring, and enlightening.

 

Friday, January 09, 2015

A Productive Life

In 2006, I had the opportunity to go to Saddleback Church in Southern California for two seminars in one week.  In the process I had the privilege of meeting Rick Warren and seeing, first hand, His heart and passion, as well as sense the heart and passion of the people who make up the Saddleback flock.

For these reasons I am interested in Rick's view on a number of issues.  In one of his recent blogs, he give "9 Actions You must take to Reach Your Biggest Goals."  There are worth sharing with the few who read my writings.  If nothing else, browse the main points.  I pray that God will use these words to stir you to the life He WANTS YOU TO HAVE.
_______________________________________________
Rick says"

1. Determine your present position.

You can’t figure out where you want to go until you know where you already are. You’ve got to know your present position, your current condition. You have to know where you are right now.
Where am I now financially? Where am I now emotionally? Where am I now in my career or ministry? Where am I now relationally? Where am I now spiritually? What’s my GPS right now?
Then you want to ask yourself the question, What would I like to change? As long as you’re alive, as long as you’re breathing, as long as your heart is pumping blood you need a dream.

2. Describe exactly what you want.

I suggest you actually write it down on paper. What do I want to accomplish in the next ten years? Don’t be vague. Vague goals are never accomplished. The more specific you are the better. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. And it needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. It needs to be compelling.
To do that you have to ask four questions:
  • Whom do I want to BE?
  • What do I want to DO?
  • What do I want to HAVE?
  • WHY do I want it?
At Saddleback, we’ve set enormous, huge goals for our church in every decade – in the eighties, in the nineties, in the two thousands and now in the two thousand tens. And every time we’ve set these enormous goals, we’ve had no idea how we were going to accomplish them. God has shown us the ‘how’ once we understood the ‘why.’
Never confuse decision making with problem solving. If you try to solve every problem first, you’ll never get ahead; you’ll never move forward.

3. Find a promise from God.

At this step you don’t focus on your problems. There will be problems in reaching your goal. You focus on the promises, not the problems. Otherwise you’re just filled with fear.
Dozens of times in Scripture, God says “I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you. I’m going to be with you everywhere you go.” You may not feel God’s presence but there is never a time in your life when God is not with you. You need to plug in to that power. You need to realize what is a reality, and the reality is you are never alone. God is already in the future. He already knows everything that’s going to happen. He’s already been there. He’s not surprised or shocked. God is with you every moment of your day. You’re just not tuned in.
The size of your God will determine the size of your goal. If you’ve got a puny (view of) God you’re going to have puny goals. If you’ve got a big God you’re going to have big goals. It’s not me putting faith in myself; it’s me putting my faith in God and his promises. And his promises say ask for anything!

4. Ask God for help.

Is it ok to pray for success? Obviously. What’s the alternative? “God, make me a failure.” Of course God wants you to be all he made you to be. Of course God wants you to develop the talents He’s given you. Of course God wants to bless you so you can be a blessing to other people. When your success helps others and when your success honors God, you’d better be praying for it!
The Bible says this in Hebrews 4, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. [in other words when we pray] There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us [remember ask God to help you] when we need it.” So you need to pray.
Are you praying about your goals? Are you praying about your dreams? Are you praying about your vision? Are you talking to God about them? Your prayer reveals two things. First, it reveals how serious you are about your dreams. If you’re not asking God for this to happen in your life, you don’t really care about it that much. It’s not a real deep desire. It’s just a whim. It also reveals how much you’re depending on God. If you never pray about it, you’re depending only on yourself.
In the second part of this article, I’m going to address the other five actions for reaching your goals, and it starts with sizing up the barriers.
Start thinking and praying through your goals now!

5. Identify the barriers.

Identify the barriers between you and your goal, between you and your vision, between you and your dream for the next year or two or ten years of your life. The question you want to ask is this: Why don’t I have it already?
There may be relational problems, financial barriers, or educational barriers. There may be emotional barriers that keep you from your dream. A lot of people sabotage their own success because they don’t feel they deserve it.
Faith says, yes I see the problem but I believe God is bigger than the problem. Faith doesn’t deny the problem, it just believes God is bigger than those roadblocks.

6. Create a step by step plan.

To reach your goals, you must plan it one step at a time. You need to think through a course of action. A plan has three parts.
  • A plan has steps.
  • A plan has deadlines.
  • A plan has a schedule.
A goal is worthless until you get it on your schedule because everything eventually deteriorates into work. Eventually you have to wake up from your dream and go to work. So you want to ask yourself two questions as you make a plan. Where do I want to be? And How am I going to get there?

7. Be patient and persistent.

The reason why you have to be patient and persistent is because it isn’t going to happen overnight. The bigger your goal, the longer it will take. The more significant your goal, the more time and energy will be involved.
Too many people set their goals too low and try to accomplish them too quickly. We overestimate what we can do in a year but we underestimate what we can do in ten. I suggest you set big goals and then take a long time to reach them.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. Successful people often do things they don’t feel like doing. Unsuccessful people always do what they feel.

8. Enlist a team for support.

You’re never going to reach your goal on your own. You’re never going to fulfill your vision by yourself. Success is never, never, never a one man show. It takes teamwork. It takes cooperation. If you want to go you’ve got to go with other people.
Why are other people so important to your goals? Because God wants to teach you how to love other people, which is more important than what you accomplish.

9. Pay the price.

There’s always a price tag for fulfilling a dream. There’s always a price tag, a cost for reaching every goal. Never desire the success of another person without first finding out what they gave up for it.
The only thing free in life is salvation, because Jesus paid for our sins to be forgiven when He died on the cross. All you have to do is accept that gift by faith. You can’t work for it, earn it, deserve it. You just say God, thank you for sending your Son to die for me on the cross to pay for all my sins. It’s already been paid for. It’s a free gift. It cost Jesus his life. But for everything else you want to accomplish, there’s a price tag.
Great goals require great sacrifice – of time, of money, of energy, of reputation. As you set goals and count the cost, you need to ask three big questions:
  • What will it cost me?
  • What am I willing to give?
  • Is the cause worth the cost?
 _______________________________________________
Living life, especially living a life of faith, is NOT a solo event.  As difficult as it is for some to face up to, "We need each other."  This is our divine design.  There are no "Lone Rangers" in the work of God's Kingdom - and even if there were, every Lone Ranger needs a Tonto! 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A FUN TIME

Several years ago, Deb and I enjoyed a week long cruise.  It was fun (and "I" would like to go again. Her, not so much with the many incidents on cruise ships these days).  On the last night, some of the guests became (tongue in cheek) "Legends" and put on a show for the rest of the ship.  I portrayed "Frank Sinatra" and had a blast.  The show was fun.  Deb taped this on HER PHONE!!!  Not too bad (I'm talking about the video) for her first stab at it.  Posted on Youtube, I will say "It hasn't gone viral yet."  Listen and you'll know why....GRIN


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Good Christmas Present

I have such a great family, they treat me really good at all times of the year but especially on those Holidays.  Honestly, I have never written anything about them because I attempt to not publicize them at all, but they are great!!  I only mention them because they give me more and better gifts than any man deserves.
That said and understood, this past Christmas week (year 2014) was a fulfillment of the dream of a lifetime. Since the mid-1970's I have attempted to be a 'published' song writer.  During those days I would write out the score and submit to publishers.  The first piece I sent of went to the old "Crescendo Publishing" company out in Dallas, Texas (as I  recall).  It took the company ( after calling every 6 weeks) 13 MONTHS to decide they were not going to publish the arrangement.
In the 1980's I did a 'little better' as the predecessor to "LifeWay" publications picked up my first song and in short order, the old John T. Benson Company picked up my second piece.  That was a setting of Psalm 23 which carried the title, "The Lord is My Shepherd."  This was written for the Singing Churchmen of Mississippi and was later sung by their partner group, the Singing Ministers of Louisiana.  During those days, although unpublished, I was privileged to write and arrange for a couple of year for the Louisiana group.  Also during those days I had close to 10 choir pieces published by an upstart and short-lived company in Memphis, Agape Press.
Along the way, Jim Watson and Jim Whitmire (very successful worship ministers) used  some of my material for their "Youth Choir Tours" (remember those??).  Though friends may never 'see it', every time someone used my material, it was both an honor and an humbling experience.
One of my passions is to create music for the heart.
In the years 1999-2000, my writing but really picked up.  Two wonderful ladies and I partnered together and sang (and recorded) much of my new material.
In recent years God has seemingly, once again, awakened the writing bug in me.  However, just like always, it is frustrating to write and not have an 'outlet' for the new material.  Now for the Christmas gift.
Over 35 years ago I met a man whom I have been honored to call friend for all this time.  He and his wife came to more than one church to sing for us, they stayed in our home, and I visited with them.  William (Bill) Traylor is his name.  Over the past 35 years I have watched as he has led established artist and publishing companies and started new companies of that type, and each time he's led a company, it has experienced phenomenal success.
Back in August 2014, I finished a song that I thought had some marketability & then in October, we finished the demo - so I sent it to him.  Not only did he like the song, after some conversation and connection I, FOR THE FIRST TIME, signed an song-writer's contract.  I have always been a 'slow learner', but it has taken close to 40 years to fulfill this goal.  I am thankful to Bill and his company for their confidence and mainly I've thankful to my Lord for keeping me focused.  I just pray that over the next 3 years, I can make this confidence in me well placed.  I would appreciate your prayers.  This was an EXCEPTIONAL Christmas present.!
(Find a sample of the new song "Finally Home" at www.jerrywatts.net)

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