Looking Back might Help…

In today’s very troubled world, as threats & turmoil seem to increase almost daily, concerned citizens of the United States would want to be able to choose hope. But faced with such constant danger & unrest around the globe, when ‘around the globe’ can be as close as your television screen, or iPad, it is often hard to maintain optimism, isn’t it?

Fortifying me in this regard are periodic visits back to our Revolutionary beginnings. A wealth of understanding and vision abides in the words of our Founders. Renewed faith, hope and joy are so often the treasures I bring back with me, after time spent in a meeting of the minds with such as George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. These men, and their compatriots, lived in a time of boundless possibilities. We’ve ‘been there, done that’ and may be sadly jaded, or deadened, but not so those stellar patriots that gave us, and in fact ARE our heritage. Like the blood of Abel, these men “still speak”.

To renew your hope for America, it might be helpful to catch a glimpse of how our Founders saw her…and us. We are not separate from them. Though over two centuries have passed, and technology, industry and corporations have transformed our lifestyles – there yet remain those voices from the times when quill & ink on parchment, and horse & carriage were the order of the day. There yet remains in many of us the blood & spirit of the patriot. Some may not realize it – but they will, with God’s help.

~~~

Today, we know that America prevailed in her war for independence. Now, it seems obvious that it should have been our victory, and those who deliberated, decided & fought that Revolutionary War knew they would triumph. We sit assured that we were meant to win. But back then, they were not assured. The Founders did not know. No militia fighter, nor soldier in the Continental Army, knew. A victorious outcome was not a foregone conclusion in their minds.

Afterwards, Washington speaks of “…the magnitude of the prize we contended for…. (We today, who by inheritance daily partake of this glorious prize, possibly do not view it that way. We need to be reminded.)  Washington had seen the coming battle as being not only for the liberation of the thirteen colonies from English tyranny, but for the rights of all mankind. He believed that ‘the destiny of unborn millions’ would be impacted by whether America stood, or fell, during and after her Revolution. Before 56 other valiant patriots counted this struggle to the death as being worthy of their lives & fortunes, and so declared it in writing, George Washington did the same: “It is my full intention, to devote my life and fortune, in the cause we are engaged in, if needful.”  

He knew the outcome was doubtful, and spent “many anxious days and watchful nights” in the pursuit of that outcome.  The Founding Fathers in general were intensely aware of ‘the improbability of their undertaking’, according toArthur M. Schlesinger informs us that author of The Cycles of American History.  The mighty Roman Empire, which Alexander Hamilton considered to be ‘the utmost height of human greatness’ (The Federalist) – and to which the fathers of our republic turned for instruction in achieving their own aspirations of free men governing themselves – fell nonetheless.  Why would one presume the thirteen colonies could do any better?   

And yet, as it came to pass“…the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor”  Washington considered to be “the parent of future happiness”. How many of us believe that ‘Heaven was pleased’ to grant us this prize? Such an advantageous outcome Washington called “the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing.”

This Founder, about to retire (he thought) after leading the thirteen colonies through an eight-year-long war, must have known a depth of satisfaction few ever will. He saw this land as being a “theatre…designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity” and as being given “a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation.”

How can we today read such words so full of import, almost bursting from General Washington’s heart, and not be even just slightly encouraged? Going forward, maybe some of us might know a renewed spark of excitement.

~~~

 

 

 

Note:  Unless otherwise specified, quotes referenced above are taken from “George Washington: In His Own Words” (Maureen Harrison & Steve Gilbert, eds.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forcing Christmas

It used to be different, for me.
It used to be that my ‘Christmas-ing’ activities were focused, concentrated into a month or so of decorating, gift-buying, tree trimming…the usual! I liked that. I miss it. Anymore, and especially this year, it seems like everything is blended together. Between working in the retail field, where signs of the holiday start showing up way too early! and blur the seasons together – and spur of the moment Christmas shopping, etc., when I have the time & energy – it just isn’t anywhere near as satisfying.

Last two years, I wasn’t even able to get my Christmas tree up, the way things went in my life!

So, this year, I was determined – Christmas tree or bust! And, yes, I’m watching its twinkling lights right now…but something’s still missing. I think it’s the absence of focus.

Most people with whom I’ve spoken seem to feel the same way. Between rough personal situations and (in my opinion) economic/national & world events, our focus is shattered. I think many may not realize the impact of years of terrorism awareness, or the threat of the loss of our American liberty being exerted through an administration that, in part at least, surely seems to have Socialist leanings. But, though one may not consciously realize these things, they are felt anyway. I believe there is a threatening spirit leaning upon America, producing fear and dread in many of her citizens.

And, as the logo of Canada Free Press expresses, ‘Because without America, there is no Free World‘, what affects the (so far) Land of the Free affects all peoples, eventually.

Freedom has always been at risk. Right off the bat, you have the serpent slithering around in Eden. In your own lives, haven’t you noticed how, when something good arises, along comes some kind of problem, an obstruction or, yes, threat! to accomplishing or keeping whatever the good thing is? Doesn’t always show up instantly, but often, it does show up!

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For myself, I have reached, in a sense, an impasse. I am standing in front of truth from which I cannot back away. I have to face it. I must accept that a possibility exists which, before now, would’ve been unimaginable to me. This is real life. There is danger here.

I had NO IDEA how much of past world history has been forged by Muslim invasions and conquests. I cannot repeat this enough. I have no starch left in me, right now. I’ve been floored. And assimilating this horrible information has neutralized much of my Christmas spirit, because, going forward, I can see that it could happen again. And it could happen here, in America.

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But in addition to this, I’ve also gained a much fuller understanding of the ‘Big Picture’. Which is very, very helpful! Biblical knowledge meshes with history, and voila! My understanding of the invisible forces behind the visible is only confirmed, once again! My trust & belief in the Scriptures is solidified and, yes, confirmed once again! And, as is His way, once again the Savior brings Life out of death.

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At this point in time, America is still a free country. This year, though purse strings have been tightened for most, we still have the freedoms we’ve known, and can still celebrate Christmas, if we want to, in the manner we’d like. That right there is alot to be thankful for, and for which to rejoice & be glad. This unprecedented, glorious experiment in democracy, this government by the people is unlike ANY other, in all of known history. We may be living in its demise, but it isn’t done yet…there’s still time. We are still a free nation.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been forcing Christmas this year…because I think that Christmas exists, as hope in our heart. Jesus Christ is called ’the hope of glory’ in us who believe. It’s an inner thing! On the football field, isn’t there that “Push ’em back, push ’em back, waaaay back!” chant? Well, I’ve been pushin’ it out! Push it out, push it out…waaaay out! We’re told to work out our own salvation, in fear and trembling, because it is God who is at work in us, so…kind of fits this analogy, I think. I don’t want to give up, not really. And though I’m writing about Christmas celebrations here, much more than that is at stake.

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Now that the Worst is Over…!


Well, here I am, finally working on a post from my new netbook! It has been a difficult, frustrating couple of months for me, with constant setbacks & disappointments. None of you even have the time to read about all the glitches and dare I say, even opposition in the spirit to my attempts to improve my Internet situation.

Yet, here I am…

The Scriptures speak of God giving the treasures of darkness (Isaiah 45, v.3). ( I’ve always loved this verse! as well as the one in Exodus 20, speaking of the “thick darkness where God was.” I find such concepts comforting, encouraging. I love how, with the Lord, things can be inside out & upside down but still, it’s Him at work. Fear not.) The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, also declares that He will break in pieces the gates of brass, and do some serious damage to the bars of iron! (I’m paraphrasing a bit on the last one!)

Can I tell you how very much the above phrases described me & my banging-my-head-against-a-wall recent struggle with cyber-space techno wizardry. Joking & exaggeration aside, I don’t know if I’ve EVER been so obstructed in anything I’ve ever tried to do. I had made a decision that if I could not get faster Internet, I would have to simply cease & desist from online activity. My blog would be shut-down for a year or two, until I’d saved enough money for a really good computer system. I would find a more ‘normal’ full-time job…(okay, really, I thought I could actually do this!) I meant business. Therefore, with each successive disappointment came increasing despair.

I’ve learned a few things.

Though I’m sure I will not, and have not always, follow(ed) my own advice, this time I did – LISTEN to what God is saying to you. When my netbook arrived, my first almost crushing blow fell. A critical part didn’t fit. NO one seemed to know anything! Without finding an answer to this dilemma, I was hung out to dry, and there wasn’t a chance of reaching my goal. Weird thing, from the gitgo, I had a very clear witness in my heart not to return the netbook. A calm, steady witness. I knew it was God, and I knew what I heard.

Like I said, you don’t have the time for me to go into a laundry list of the problems & pitfalls that befell me…suffice it to say…they were there! But I made the decision not to send the computer back, regardless of the outcome. Any outcome. And if it was a waste of a few hundred dollars…so be it. There are things more important than money, and besides, with the Lord, what’s a few C notes? He can more than cover me for that! (And I must tell you that I am never this relaxed about what, to me, is kind of alot of money, so…this alone validates the whole ‘witness of God’ thing.)

An astonishing outcome,looking back, is that the solution to another difficuty, which would’ve been a worst case scenario, and seemed unsolvable, was in place all along, right IN the computer. The answer was always there. Interesting…hey, am I stretching it if I say, as Jacob did, “Surely the Lord is in this place: and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:16) ?

I’m not sure if I’m going to share the rest…maybe one day, years from now, in my memoirs! Or maybe, it will remain between myself and the Lord, forevermore.

ooo
I’m not exactly in the groove of ‘GH&Y’, not having been able to keep up with researching, thinking & writing – not to mention the distractions! but now my hope & dreams are restored, and I’m getting my focus back. I’m looking forward to re-acclimating myself mentally and emotionally. (OK, actually, I do have some notes on a recent ‘Meet the Press’ episode, been thinking about a post on it…and Jamestown, Part 2 is awaitin’!)



Convicts & Courtesans


It’s come to my attention that I seem to need more time between my posts on Thomas Jefferson than I did when writing about George Washington. While accumulating the information and inspiration necessary to produce a post of substance, therefore, I detour onto various other topics & issues as well- to buy myself that time. (You can’t rush inspiration…!) Which is why today’s post (which comes as a surprise even to me!) is once again not anything Jeffersonian…


“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.” (Joel 2:21 KJV)
“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (v.25)

Did you know that the most heavily-populated city in Australia, the city of Sydney, began its existence as a miserable, seemingly God-forsaken English penal colony? A thriving metropolis that today boasts well over four million residents once was a dumping ground for the criminal and the unwanted. Once only the destination for murderers, thieves and prostitutes, today this same locale is rated a beta world city, and ranks 16th. in Foreign Policy‘s 2008 Global Cities Index . This motley group of miscreants spawned the city that would eventually “help set global agendas, weather transnational dangers, and serve as [one of] the hubs of global integration.” (Wikipedia, “Global City”, 2008 Foreign Policy Ranking)

Talk about redemption!

As it turns out, this post actually does tie-in with my main Revolutionary thrust. Then called Sydney Cove’s, this harbor’s becoming an established outpost for prisoners was an absolute direct result of the Declaration of Independence, (which as we all know, was written by Mr. Jefferson, our man of the hour on ‘God, History and You’). No longer British territory, England could no longer transport her prisoners to American shores. Another solution had to be found. And so it was, on the shores of Australia instead.

Interesting how, as God and history would have it, both ‘settlements’ were founded out of the necessity of exodus relating to law. In one instance, fleeing the laws of tyrannical government; in the other, government expulsion of lawbreakers. How amazing (Amazing Grace?) that both ‘camps’ have so flourished over time. America the Beautiful and Sydney, world-class city!

God is good.

So here’s how it went down:
In January, 1788, eleven British warships and supply ships landed on Australian shores, bearing among other forms of cargo, over 800 convicted criminals (link) Governor Arthur Phillip commanded the expedition, and his assignment was to somehow create a fairly prosperous, i.e., self-sustaining penal colony. Records indicate that exactly the opposite was what developed. Since the voyage from England to the outpost took about eighteen months,
supplies ran out and were not replenished. Farming attempts had failed, so near-famine conditions existed, and the lack of medicines allowed sickness and disease to abound. A shortage of women led to aberrant and/or violent sexual activity. On the whole, I think it would be safe to say that the colony was on its last leg when help arrived in a rather unexpected form. Expecting food and medicine, instead the prisoners at Sydney Cove got a ship full of females. Desperately needing equipment and supplies, the men got women convicts instead. An assortment of over 200 thieves and prostitutes disembarked the ‘Lady Juliana’ in July of 1789, and basically saved the day.


Girl power! Chicks rule!


(Well, “…male and female created He them.” (Genesis 1:27) Ya can’t argue with that…the guy/girl dynamic has been known to work, and is a basic building block of society, right?)

Please return for more of the story, in Part 2 of ‘Convicts & Courtesans’…

Hope

Several times now, it has crossed my mind that, as much as definite corrective measures must be undertaken to repair and recover our crashing (crashed?) economy, so must there be hope. One is no less important than the other.

I remember reading a statement by Hal Lindsey, a favorite author of mine, whose book “The Liberation of Planet Earth” (now re-titled “Amazing Grace“) I was reading when I, as Christians would say, ‘came to Christ’. (In truth, I would say He came to me…but that’s another story!) Lindsey observed that man can live ‘x’ amount of days without food, and ‘x’ amount of days without water, but without hope, barely seconds. You may not even realize how hope is what keeps you going. We all are looking for the next step, something better, something or something else that will improve the quality of our life, or our day. Even if it’s just your next meal. Hopeful expectations propel us forward. We begin a project, chore or just about anything! because we are expecting to accomplish a goal, see a result. If you believed there would never be that result, would you even start? Why bother? But if there’s hope…

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man “..thinketh in his heart, so is he.” While this section of Scripture is actually warning us of the deceitfulness of the actions of a certain caliber of man, with a certain mindset, the principle is sound. You want hope to be in your heart. Christ in you, if he is in you, is called “the hope” of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Abraham of Old Testament fame, when informed by God that he, an approximately 100 year old man (whose wife was no spring chicken!) would “…father…many nations”, became the man who “against hope believed in hope (Romans 4:18). Now I’m thinkin’ that a feat like that, a century-old couple having a baby, from whom no less nations would spring forth! is definitely comparable to restoring a national economy. I’m thinkin’ that if one happened, so can the other. (Now, my Bible reading followers know the outcome of this tale of old, but for those who may not be familiar with the rest of the story: Abraham & Sarah’s miracle baby Isaac grew up and became the eventual father of Jacob, re-named Israel, from whence sprang the twelve tribes of Israel. ) Time constraints prohibit a more detailed geneaological retracing, but I imagine it’s possible. For now, my parting comment in this paragraph is: And the rest is history…

(Oh, and for you God-haters out there who may be thinking, yeah, well, look at the mess Israel is in, to you I say, this story’s not over yet. His plans for Israel are still playing themselves out…)

One last Scriptural example (bear with me, my non-Christian readers) – although, again, the import of this statement is more spiritually directed, still…”…he that ploweth should plow in hope…” (1 Corinthians 9:10). The measures that America takes to fix her economy should be taken in hope. As conflicted and oppositional as parties and citizens may feel, or be, over these issues and their origins, solutions can be found. The imperfection of them shall not stop us from hoping for, and striving for, better ones.



Now that the Thanksgiving turkey is long-ago digested, and already becoming but a memory, we turn our attention towards the upcoming Christmas holiday. Like most of the rest of America, I’ll be spending much of the next few weeks preparing for that very special day. With shopping, gift-wrapping, decorating and tree-trimming, I doubt that I’ll manage even one post. ( I hope to prove myself wrong, because as I begin my study of Thomas Jefferson, I find that I am becoming as enamoured of learning about him as I was of George Washington! My excitement at times is almost palpable…) But, ’tis the season, so…Mr. Jefferson may have to be placed on a back burner for a bit.

ooo





Some Christmas Thoughts…though I have always known the meaning of this holiday, for reasons unknown to me I am experiencing its impact anew. Like a rebirth! The Gift is Himself, hallelujah, Christ in you, the hope of glory. There can be nothing, nothing more miraculous than this! How did I not get that? The struggles and burdens of daily living of necessity constrict our vision, and can blind a person to so great a salvation. We carry this Treasure in our earthen vessel, being so often only aware of the earthen vessel. In no way meant to be a condemnation, rather I am pointing you towards great Light!

“…whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death…” (Luke 1: 78, 79)
ooo

I think it is generally agreed that, hands down, Christmas is THE holiday. Worldwide, universal. Though many may not actually, consciously, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, they still celebrate Christmas, in their fashion. I submit that many such persons, whether they realize it or not, are celebrating the Saviour. He is the heart of the holiday. Businesses that stay open for every other holiday will close for Christmas. (I work at one.) Why is that? Why do we celebrate this event in such a spectacular fashion? Why do we use the evergreen tree, a symbol of eternal life? What about all the lights? People love seeing Christmas lights draped, festooned, outlining houses, encircling trees both indoor and out, illuminating the night with warmth, color, and hope.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:6 )

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’ll return .

and now…"Throwing in the Towel!"


Most of us have heard that motivational pearl ‘Winners never quit, and quitters never win’. So it can be a little confounding to realize that, in fact, a person can quit, and end up still winning.

Following the French attack against Washington’s troops, [see previous post] (to avenge the deaths of their men in the forest ambush), and Washington’s surrender, the future first President of the United States of America threw in the towel. It is spectacular to me to learn that George Washington had been expecting his Virginia Regiment to become part of the regular British army, and he himself an officer therein. How much less was his own vision of his future, than the one God had in store for for him! (‘Less’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.) And not only was Washington’s a lesser vision, it was headed in the exact opposite direction of his divine Destiny. I have to cheer for the Lord and His faithfulness to His plan for our nation. He used Washington’s discouragement to steer him in the right direction.

George’s ambitions towards a military career were now seriously thwarted. After his defeat and surrender to the French, the Virginia regiment was disbanded. Hopes of possible advancement in a future endeavor were dashed as well – colonial officers would no longer be allowed to rise above the rank of captain. And all colonial officers of whatever rank would be subordinate to regular British army ranks. With such a reorganization of ranking protocol, Washington saw only demotion in his future…unwilling to accept that, he resigned his commission.

He quit.

(Well, we all know the story doesn’t end there! And so it may hold true for many of you today, that what you think is over in your life may just be a changing of direction, or a temporary hiatus, a step back to re-group or the re-fueling necessary to move forward once again on the right path, the true path of your destiny! )


Thank you, as always, to my readers, may God bless you all, especially those of you who at this time may be uncertain about your own future.

Christina