monday miscellany

~ A prayer on God’s goodness in our suffering.

~ A warning on taking “judge not” out of context. And another article on that oft abused and misunderstood verse.

~ Mark Steyn on the corrupt IRS:

So we know the IRS is corrupt. What happens then when an ambitious government understands it can yoke that corruption to its political needs? What’s striking as the revelations multiply and metastasize is that at no point does any IRS official appear to have raised objections. If any of them understood that what they were doing was wrong, they kept it to themselves. When Nixon tried to sic the IRS on a few powerful political enemies, the IRS told him to take a hike. When Obama’s courtiers tried to sic the IRS on thousands of ordinary American citizens, the agency went along, and very enthusiastically. This is a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States, and for that reason alone they should be disarmed and disbanded — and rebuilt from scratch with far more circumscribed powers.

~ Speaking of the IRS, here’s a political timeline

~ Forgive us these faults:

Newton lays out a convicting and specific example of the kinds of Christian people who coast on their strengths but do nothing about their weaknesses and so rob themselves and others of joy and God of his glory. These blemishes are often seen by their bearers as mere “foibles.” Newton says they “may not seem to violate any express command of Scripture” and yet, they are “properly sinful” because they are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to exhibit.

These “small faults” mean that large swaths of the Christian population have little influence on others for Christ. While our faults always seem small to us due to the natural self-justification of the heart, you can be sure they don’t look so small to others.

Be sure to read his list at the end.

~ I’ve previously linked to Paul Tripp’s God’s Will for Your Wait. Here is a peek at part 2:

Always remember that God is never separate from your wait. He is the Lord of waiting. He is the liberal giver of grace for the wait. Because your wait isn’t outside of his plan, but a vital and necessary part of it, he’s with you in your wait.

And remember…God isn’t so much after the success of your life or ministry – he’s after you. So as you wait, tell yourself again and again: waiting isn’t just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.

~ Truth, conviction, and Jesus are relevant:

Churches, often for good reasons, want to increase their membership. So to get people’s attention, they operate under the assumption that they must be relevant. They look around and say that self-improvement is relevant. Practical is relevant. Fun is relevant. Being just like the culture around us is relevant.

All this relevancy is making us irrelevant by removing every true and glorious thing from Christianity that makes us unique. Where is Jesus? Where is the Gospel? Where is the context for the actual Bible passage being cited? Where is our connection to history and the great Christian thinkers? Where is the theology? Where is the centrality of God in every message? Where are the answers that every human being cries out for? We would trade these weighty things for a boring sermon we could have heard on Oprah?

Read the whole thing and the Atlantic Monthly article to which he links.

~ There has been so much disturbing news this week that this was probably overlooked by many of us: laptops and phones can be searched based on hunches. If that sounds fine to you in an Obama administration, then just imagine that power in the hands of someone you do not agree with.

~ Your computer is bugging your house. I second his recommendation to watch The Lives of Others.

~ When everything is a crime, data-mining matters.

~ Eliminate these 8 things from your daily routine. There’s some wisdom here, and some things I need to eliminate.

Now, off to work I go. Happy Monday!

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miscellany

Once again, a collection of all manner of things I’ve noticed here and there around the web:

~ Why are Christians such bad tippers? Come on, fellow believers! We can do better.

~ A timely devotion from the Femina gals from Psalm 37.

~ Why not a waiting period for laws?

I’d like to propose a “waiting period” for legislation. No bill should be voted on without hearings, debate and a final text that’s available online for at least a week. (A month would be better. How many bills really couldn’t wait a month?)

And if the bill is advertised as addressing a “tragedy” or named after a dead child, this period should double.

After all, people want waiting periods for guns. Yet, statistically, the percentage of guns involved in crimes is much lower than the percentage of politicians involved in crimes.

~ Oh, I’d love to be there for this!

~ 7 things Democrats would have freaked out over if Bush had done them

~ So true.

~ Strange facts about America’s ‘poor’:

How do the poor live? For starters, a poor child in American is far more likely to have a widescreen plasma television, cable or satellite TV, a computer and an Xbox or TiVo in his home than he is to be hungry.

How can that be? In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked parents living in poverty this question: “In the last 12 months, were [your] children ever hungry but you just couldn’t afford more food?” Some 96 percent of poor parents responded “no”: Their children never had been hungry because of a lack of food resources at any time in the previous year. Only 4 percent of poor parents responded “yes,” their children had been hungry at some point in the year.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for ABC or CBS to beam out that information.

~ 10 sure signs we’ve lost our minds

~ Who are you to judge?

~ Cute, cute, cute gifts featuring Jane Austen quotes

I hope you’ve had a weekend full of good things and are starting your week well,

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“…fated to end in villainy and abuse.”

whitehorsekingFrom The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin Merkle:

Once more, the king’s approach was marked by both conservation and innovation. First, Alfred stressed throughout the preface to his domboc [legal code] the importance of shunning rash or novel alterations in the legal code. Alfred insisted that justice was an eternal virtue — a virtue defined by the character of God and passed on to mankind through divine revelation. Therefore, hasty and ad hoc decrees that addressed immediate national problems without taking the time to reflect on and consider the eternal principles of justice were fated to end in villainy and abuse. Only those laws that had been founded on the eternal principles of justice, had stood the test of time, had been passed on from generation to generation, and had received the approval of the wisest of counsellors should be enacted and enforced by a just king.