“When you become consumed by God’s call on your life, everything will take on new meaning and significance. You will begin to see every facet of your life – including your pain – as a means through which God can work to bring others to Himself.” –Charles Stanley

A perspective completely missing in the world, and lacking in some saints. God wants to use you for his purposes and glory. He blesses that you might be a blessing to others. Israel forgot this. Will we miss the Lord’s call as well?

“Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.” –Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell

The book, which I’ve not read, is apparently problematic, doctrinally. But I agree with this phrase.

How about an exercise for a day: remove “Christian” as an adjective from our speech?

jiboia.jpg

A lady in Uberaba (state of Minas Gerais, north of us) found this two-meter snake in a tree limb in her back yard. It apparently was running from the cane-field burnings done this time of year.

Relax, Mom, it was rare enough an ocurrence here that it made national news. Doesn’t happen every day.

In Portuguese, the snake is called a jiboia. Don’t remember the name in English. Somebody help me out. [Dictionary says boa constrictor.]

Pic taken from this news site.

Townhall.com::Gas tax trial ballon::By Alan Reynolds

“New York Times columnist John Tierney had a more viable idea a year ago. He proposed raising gasoline taxes by 50 cents, but only if and when gas prices fell — “an extra dime of tax per gallon whenever the retail price falls by 20 cents.” He also proposed that every dime of extra revenue would be tightly earmarked to go into private savings accounts for every adult citizen (or perhaps children, too) with a Social Security number.”

Some years back the Brazilian legislature passed the Provisional Contribution on Financial Movement (CPMF), a “temporary” tax on all bank account movement. Any time you deposited or withdrew money or checks in your account, you were taxed for it. The money was designated to go to hospitals.

1. No politician ever votes in a temporary tax. Once a tax goes into law, it becomes Mede-and-Persian heritage, i.e., never will get removed. It will likely be increased, but not axed.

2. Politicians love to call taxes contributions, believing in their heart of hearts that citizens love to give them money. Tax is obligatory; contribution is voluntary. But they always did like to play loose with words.

3. In an interview after he left government, the Minister of Health complained that he never saw the color of the monies raised from the CPMF. If American congressmen dipped into the Social Security funds before, why should they keep their fingers off more gas taxes designated for special SS accounts? Do you actually trust government with your money? And what does “tightly earmarked” mean? Laws are as good as those who make them. And those who make them can, tomorrow, remake them and divert tax monies as easily as beavers divert a meandering stream.

So why is a conservative pundit touting a liberal NYT (sorry for the redundancy) columnist’s tax scheme? I don’t profess to understand economics (and I doubt 99% of economists do), but I always thought conservatism existed to get the government off the backs of the people. (My version is, to get it out of their pockets.) So I profess puzzlement, as I do about a lot of what the GOP and associates say and do today, over considering one tax proposal more viable than another. The issue is, if not getting rid of taxes, of reducing them, at least — not raising them.

No wonder the GOP is panicking at these mid-term elections. Well should they be.

Townhall.com::Andrew Sullivan and our times::By Hugh Hewitt

“Adherence to the rule of law defines a conseravtive [sic].”

With some qualification, Hewitt’s sentence might have some good spiritual application as well. Does this jettison grace? Not by any means. It is the use of law one makes that defines whethere he is legalistic or obedient (term which I prefer to “conservative”). If one considers the law as the means by which one may recommend onself to God as just and worthy of eternal life, one’s approach to law is legalistic. If, however, one recognizes that salvation comes freely as a gift from God through the death of Christ, and that the conditions of receiving and maintaining that grace in one’s life are one’s obedience to the commandments of God, then one’s approach to the law of liberty is healthy, correct, and necessary.

From the PreachingNow ezine:

The ones who watch

In his book Stewards of the Story: The Task of Preaching (Westminster John Knox), James Earl Massey relates this story: “Franz Kafka wrote about his vision of a large city at night in which just a few people were awake. Kafka likened it to a military encampment in which everyone is asleep except a few guards on duty keeping watch. Asked why the few are still awake when all the others in the city are asleep, Kafka answered, ‘Because someone must be watching, someone must be there.’

“We who preach owe it to those who hear us, and to our Lord, who called us to be that someone who watches, ready to speak a trusted word as a trustworthy person.”

And who among us are awake and watching?

“Well-known for his competency and ingenuity as a carpenter, my husband was fixing our cottage dock. He removed his watch and placed it on the dock so it wouldn’t get wet. To make sure it wouldn’t fall into the water, he decided to anchor it around a nail. He held the nail against the wood in the center of the band, and with one deft blow he smashed his watch to pieces.”

There’s a lesson here somewhere. Still pondering what it is. 🙂