Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Year in Review

2007 was a year of tremendous blessing. The first anniversary of our time in Oklahoma happened in February. For a secular company, I have greatly enjoyed working with Dobson Communications. I have a good working relationship with my peers. I earned the highest award for IT. It was an award of Excellent Customer Service. It is nice to be appreciated for the efforts I make in my job. I was also happy to have earned this in less than one year of service. Later at the end of June, I would discover that Dobson was being acquired by AT&T. As I write this, I am now an employee of that huge company, though my day to day work has not changed much. Whether I stay with AT&T for a while or not, the Dobson acquisition gave me needed impetus for furthering my pursuit of self employment. I have investigated several possibilities, including copywriting, real estate investing, and pulling telephone cable. Any of these options would allow me to work for myself, incorporating the help of my children, at least more than what they are able to currently do in my corporate position. I am still happy with my employer, though the shake up is a wake up call not to get “too comfortable.” Change is most likely on the horizon sometime in the near future. Whether this change is just a transfer to self employment, or yet another move, remains to be seen. Thankfully we can trust in the providential hand of a loving Father God who ordains all things according to His good pleasure.

For the first half of 2007, we were relentlessly working our way toward the goal of 400 gold coins in Jamestown, Virginia in Vision Forum’s “Jamestown 400: Our National Treasure Hunt.” We had a great time and learned a lot of history along the way. On May 14th and 15th, we, along with 100 other sleuths, were up into the wee hours of the morning working on the final two days of the Jamestown 400. It was exhilarating as we received our “Congratulations!” from Jack as we solved the final clue. A month later, we were exploring the hallowed grounds of America’s founding, first in Williamsburg, then Yorktown, and Jamestown on the last day. My family and I managed to stay in the hunt on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, not being eliminated until Friday morning when the top three finalists went on to hunt for the physical gold. While we were disappointed not to actually get to dig for treasure, we realize that God has foreordained all that comes to pass. In His plans, He willed Melanie Thomas to become the “Fifth Trustee.” We were thrilled, however, to make it to the final 14 contestants, and for the opportunity to search for clues in Jamestown, when most of the contestants were eliminated after Williamsburg or Yorktown. This will truly be a time we will remember for the rest of our lives. It has also renewed a fire within me to learn all I can of history when on vacation. This Jamestown trip definitely tops my list of all time favorite vacations. The souvenirs we have from our Jamestown hunt are a three ring binder packed full of research, some 3 foot by 5 foot maps downloaded from the Library of Congress, and printed off at Kinko’s “just in case” (we never had to use them), a contestant t-shirt, and a ton of memories that we will cherish forever.

Sheri was an amazing trooper during our Jamestown hunt, as we packed our family of 8 into a very small hotel room for a week. Not to mention that this was June, and she was pregnant with our seventh child, Samuel Davies Southerland. He was named after the famous Virginia missionary who we learned more about in…the treasure hunt, of course! Samuel was born on October 29, 2007. After hoping for a VBAC, and changing doctors for that purpose, Sheri wound up getting yet another cesarean section after Samuel decided to turn sideways on the night of his birth. He was born at 3:15 AM Monday morning.

On November 15, 2007 my father’s mother, Gran-Gran, as she was known by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren went home to be with Jesus. Gran-Gran left a godly heritage for her family. She always stressed the importance of prayer. As I’ve mentioned more than once in this blog, Gran-Gran is the one who taught me to read and instilled in me a love for reading. My family and I will miss her greatly. Indeed, we already do. However, with the passing of a loved one, I am reminded of God’s plan for life. We lose those we love, and God blesses us with children that carry on the heritage to the next generation.

Finally, this is the first year that we, as a family, have stopped celebrating the holiday commonly known as Christmas. I have studied this out for several years. Our church has been a great encouragement in this area, as two other families also hold to these convictions. We visited family as they celebrated this holiday. It seemed to go well. I hope that the name of Christ was glorified in our actions and that we were a witness to them as we shared our reasons for not acknowledging a day that has never been commanded in scripture, promoted by the Roman church, and thoroughly mixed with pagan ritual.

All in all, 2007 has been an outstanding year. We have grown spiritually (and in numbers!). 2008 seems to be poised to bring us closer to many of our goals. Michael will turn 13 in December. As I prepared for Brittney’s “rite of passage” when she turned 13, a large focus of 2008 will be the final preparations for Michael’s ceremony. I have great plans that I will share in later blogs. I am excited to see the things that God has planned for us this year.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 2 - Section 2

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 2

SECTION II. – Conviction of SIN and WRATH, carried on more deeply and effectually on the heart.

So proudly forward is the bride, and now
Stern Heav’n begins to stare with cloudier brow;
Law-curses come with more condemning pow’r
To scorch her conscience with a fiery show’r
And more refulgent flashes darted in;
For by the law the knowledge is of sin. (1)
Black Sinai thund’ring louder than before,
Does awful in her lofty bosom roar:
Heav’n’s furious storms now rise from ev’ry airth, (2)
In ways more terrible to shake the earth, (3)
Till haughtiness of men be sunk thereby,
That Christ alone may be exalted high.
Now stable earth seems from her centre tost,
And lofty mountain in the ocean lost;
Hard rocks of flint and haughty hills of pride,
Are torn in pieces by the roaring tide.
Each flash of new conviction’s lucid rays
Heart-errors, undiscerned till now, displays.
Wrath’s massy cloud upon the conscience breaks,
And thus menacing Heaven, in thunder speaks:
“Black wretch, thou madly under foot hast trod
Th’ authority of a commanding God;
Thou, like thy kindred that in Adam fell,
Art but a law-reversing lump of hell,
And there by law and justice doomed to dwell.”
Now, now, the daunted bride her state bewails,
And downward furls her self-exalting sails;
With pungent fear, and piercing terror brought
To mortify her lofty legal thought.
Why? The commandment comes, sin is revived, (4)
That lay so hid, while to the law she lived;
Infinite majesty in God is seen,
And infinite malignity in sin,
That to its expiation must amount
A sacrifice of infinite account.
Justice its dire severity displays,
The law its vast dimensions open lays.
She sees for this broad standard nothing meet,
Save an obedience sinless and complete.
Her cob-web righteousness, once in renown,
Is with a happy vengeance now swept down.
She who of daily faults could once but prate,
Sees now her sinful, miserable state.
Her heart, where once she thought some good to dwell,
The devil’s cab’net filled with trash of hell.
Her boasted features now unmasked bare,
Her vaunted hopes are plunged in deep despair.
Her haunted shelter-house in by-past years
Comes tumbling down about her frighted ears.
Her former rotten faith, love, penitence,
She sees a bowing wall, and tott’ring fence.
Excellencies of thought, and word, and deed,
All swimming, drowning in a sea of dread,
Her beauty now deformity she deems;
Her heart, much blacker that the devil’s seems;
With ready lips she can herself declare
The vilest ever breathed in vital air.
Her former hopes, as refuges of lies,
Are swept away, and all her boasting dies.
She once imagined Heaven would be unjust
To damn so many lumps of human dust,
Formed by himself; but now she owns it true,
Damnation surely is the sinner’s due:
Yea, now applauds the law’s just doom so well,
That justly she condemns herself to hell;
Does herein divine equity acquit,
Herself adjudging to the lowest pit.
Her language, “Oh! if God condemn, I must
From bottom of my soul declare him just;
But if his great salvation me embrace,
How loudly will I sing surprising grace!
If from the pit he to the throne me raise,
I’ll rival angels in his endless praise:
If, hell-deserving, me to heaven he bring,
No heart so glad, no tongue so loud shall sing.
If wisdom has not laid the saving plan,
I nothing have to claim, I nothing can.
My works but sin, my merit death I see;
Oh! mercy, mercy, mercy, pity me!”
Thus all self-justifying pleas are dropped,
Most guilty she becomes – her mouth is stopped.
Pungent remorse does her past conduct blame,
And flush her conscious cheek with spreading shame.
Her self-conceited heart is self-convict,
With barbed arrows of compunction pricked:
Wonders how justice spares her vital breath,
How patient Heaven adjourns the day of wrath;
How pliant earth does not with open jaws
Devour her, Korah-like, for equal cause;
How yawning hell, that gapes for such a prey,
Is frustrate with a further hour’s delay.
She that could once her mighty works exalt,
And boast devotion framed without a fault,
Extol her nat’ral powers, – is now brought down,
Her former madness, not her powers, to own;
Her present beggared state, most void of grace,
Unable even to wail her woful case,
Quite powerless to believe, repent, or pray:
Thus pride of duties flies and dies away.
She, like a hardened wretch, a stupid stone,
Lies in the dust, and cries, Undone, undone!

(1) Rom iii. 20.
(2) Wind, or quarter.
(3) Isa. ii. 17, 19.
(4) Rom vii. 9.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s a Wonderful *Lie*

Here’s little pop quiz. Which of the following three Christmas pop culture sayings contains the absolute truth?

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Long time ago, in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day

If you answered “none of the above,” then you can skip this article, as I suspect you already know what I’m proposing here. If you answered either #1 or #2, you need more help than I can offer you. However, if you believe, as the majority of American society does, that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day, read on. I may be able to enlighten you a bit.

Does the Holy Bible really say that Jesus was born on Christmas Day? If you think so, please email me the book, chapter, and verse where this is stated. ( I know for a fact that the date of Christ’s birth is never given in the scriptures. However, there is a way we can know *for sure* when Christ’s birth did *not* occur. In Luke 2 verse 8, we read the following:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
(Luk 2:8)

It is well known that shepherds in Israel brought their flocks in from the fields sometime in October and did not take them back out until March due to the frigid temperatures. Therefore, though we can’t know the date of Christ’s birth, we can say with a certainty that it was not December 25.

So, why December 25? That may be a good topic for another blog entry, but the short answer is that this is the date for the winter solstice. When the Roman church desired to “win converts” among the pagans, they decided that a good tactic was to dress up their existing holidays in Christian garb and allow them to continue. That’s exactly what we see happening with Christmas, Halloween, and Easter.

But to return to the original purpose of this article: Should we continue in promoting a lie as we celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25?

Step back for a moment and imagine yourself as a non-Christian (if indeed you are a Christian). First, you have someone explain to you that their God is a man who was born of a virgin. This is impossible in nature. Next, this same God-Man grows up and is violently murdered. But three days later He rises from the dead. At this point, you are thinking: Surely this is a myth because these things *don’t* happen. Your friend is assuring you that God’s Word is true and it can be trusted. Later that year in December, you see your friend commemorating Christ’s birth. When you ask him where that is found in the Bible, he opens to the book of Luke. However, in searching through Luke, you never find the date given. In fact, the date is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Yet your friend hangs on to his “traditions” regardless of its status as a myth. It could be that your friend even tells his children of a man in a red suit that comes down the chimney bearing gifts. At this point you, as an unbeliever, relegate all your friend’s stories to the category of fairy tales…virgin birth, resurrection, Santa Claus…they all look the same. Your friend has failed to uphold the truth of the Gospel through his vain imaginations.

Dear Christian: Is your Gospel message intermingled with lies? Could it be that God did not give us the date of Christ’s birth for the very same reason we are never given a picture of Him? God has ordained the means with which we are to worship Him. Annual observances of His birth are nowhere commanded. Just as we are not to worship a supposed image of Christ, we are not to commemorate a supposed date of His birth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You’re Brainwashing Your Kids!

“You’re brainwashing your kids!” Recently that accusation was thrown my way by someone observing the “different” way we are raising our children. Ignoring for now that I don’t own any goats, I praise God that I am “brainwashing” my “children.”

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deu 6:4-9)

Although the person accusing me of brainwashing certainly did not mean it as a compliment, I rejoice that outside observers can readily see that I have taken this verse to heart. When the world looks at us they should immediately be able to see a difference. If they don’t, we should question whether we are really making a difference in the lives of our children.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
(1Pe 2:9-12)

My wife and I are not seeking to raise children. What? We have seven of them, and we aren’t seeking to raise children?! No, my friend, we are seeking to raise godly men and women who will carry this torch of reformation to the next generation. If you try to raise children, that’s what you’ll get…little children in adult bodies. So we opt instead to raise adults. No one has to teach them to be immature. They do just fine learning that on their own. Yet maturity is something that must constantly be taught. So, what’s the risk in raising adults rather than raising children? Well…we might just end up with mature men and women trapped inside the bodies of “teenagers.” Would that be so terrible? Earlier this month I learned of a young man who was mature beyond his years. He died in a car accident at the age of 19. Please read the following tribute to Michael Billings and listen to the sermon he delivered at age 17. Here is the link:

Oh, that my children would have this level of maturity at 19… Hmmm, I bet Michael Billings was “brainwashed” by his father.

Friday, November 16, 2007

XMAS by A.W. Pink

Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain. (Jer. 10:1-3)

Christmas is coming! Quite so; but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote its source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Saviour’s birth. It is? And who authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharoah’s (Gen 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And who is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, Is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any truly born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are vain; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo 3:2).

Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under cloak of honoring the Saviour’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little ones with you out of Egypt (Exo 10:9,10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present-day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb 11:25) Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little ones a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask the Lord’s blessing?

There are those who do abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the “festive season,” yet are they nevertheless in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas” namely that of exchanging “gifts.” We say “exchanging” for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all: great care has to be taken that the “gift” made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in return for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

But what are we to do? If we fail to send out “gifts” our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them – by letter if at a distance – that from now on you do not propose to send out any more “Christmas gifts” as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that “Christmas merry-making” is entirely a thing of the world, devoid of any Scripture warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and now that you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph 5:11); that you are the Lord’s “free man” (1 Cor 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in bondage to a costly custom imposed by the world.

What about sending out “Christmas cards” with a text of Scripture on them? That also is an abomination in the sight of God. Why? Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deuteronomy 22:10, 11 typified this. What do we mean by an “unholy mixture?” This: the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish “Christ-mass.” By all means send cards (preferably at some other time of the year) to your ungodly friends, and Christmas too, with a verse of Scripture, but not with “Christmas” on it. What would you think of a printed program of a vaudeville having Isaiah 53:5 at the foot of it? Why, that it was altogether out of place, highly incongruous. But in the sight of God the circus and the theatre are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.” Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the Holy name of Christ; the former are not.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov 4:18) Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is a growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He was, when on earth) with a “Merry Christmas,” then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.

Beloved fellow-Christian, “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (Jas 5:8). Do we really believe this? Believe it not because the Papacy is regaining its lost temporal power, but because God says so – “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). If so, what effects does such believing have on our walk? This may be your last Christmas on earth. During it the Lord may descend from heaven with a shout to gather His own to Himself. Would you liked to be summoned from a “Christmas party” to meet Him in the air? The call for the moment is, “Go ye out to meet Him” (Matt 25:6) out from a Godless Christendom, out from the Christ-deserted “churches,” out from the horrible burlesque of “religion” which now masquerades under His name.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36). If every “idle word” is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment-seat of Christ before us. His “well done” will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from countless souls.

Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived “too strictly” on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were “too extreme” in “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11)? We may gain the good will and good word of worldly religionists today by our compromisings on “little (?) points,” but shall we receive His smile of approval on that Day? Oh to be more concerned about what He thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think.

“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo 23:2). Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do: to “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the Saviour, “Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thou crown” (Rev 3:11). Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word” (Psalm 119:101)

Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is, “Be thou an example of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Is it not true that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?” Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?” Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s Truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and Worldly customs. – A.W. Pink

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good Bye Gran Gran

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
(Ecc 7:1)

This morning, I received a call from my father. His message was that we have lost my grandmother. Gran Gran, as she was known by her grandchildren, stopped breathing this morning at 3:15 AM. She was truly a virtuous woman.

Gran Gran taught me to read when I was around three years old. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read, and I remember going to Kindergarten and reading the “note to parents” at the top of my worksheets. She furthered this love for reading by taking me, my brothers, and my sister to the library…regularly. We’d check out the maximum of 25 books each…so that between the four of us we’d tote 100 books back to her house, half of which we’d have already read or previewed before we got home.

Most everyone I know who loses someone they love reassures themselves that their loved one is “in a better place.” Unfortunately, often times this is not true. Indeed the scripture says that “wide is the gate that leads unto destruction, but narrow is the gate that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gran Gran is one of those few who entered that narrow gate. She was a woman of prayer. She told us often of the power of prayer and let us know that she prayed regularly for all of us. She trusted in her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Gran Gran and Pepaw gave me my first “real” Bible with my name on it. I carried that Bible into the government school system and became a thorn in the flesh to the bureaucrats employed there.

Gran Gran left us a heritage of knowing God and living out what we say we believe. Her favorite book of the Bible was Proverbs. Chapter 31 describes her well.
Gran Gran, I miss you already. But we have a hope unlike that of the world. I will see you again at the feet of Jesus.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Samuel Davies Southerland


Samuel Davies Southerland

born 3:15 AM 10/29/2007

weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 oz

20 1/2" long

He is such a blessing. Samuel is named for the Revolutionary War preacher and missionary to Virginia during the mid 1700's. He was also a president of Princeton University back when it was the College of New Jersey. Davies is described as one of America's greatest preachers. He saw many souls come into the Kingdom under his ministry. Though I had heard of him before this year, I was reminded of him through the Jamestown 400 Treasure Hunt. Samuel Davies played a part in the hunt as the answer to the question about a "prophet" who declared that George Washington would play a very important role in his new country...before Washington became famous.

My prayer for Samuel is that he would touch many lives and call forth God's elect from the four corners of the Earth. Like his namesake, Samuel will be used mightily of God in His Kingdom.

Friday, October 26, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 2 - Section 1

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 2

SECTION I. – Of a LAW-WORK, and the workings of legal pride under it.

So proud’s the bride, so backwardly disposed;
How then shall e’er the happy match be closed?
Kind grace the tumults of her heart must quell,
And draw her heav’n-ward by the gates of hell.
The Bridegroom’s Father makes, by’s Holy Sp’rit,
His stern command with her stiff conscience meet;
To dash her pride, and shew her utmost need,
Pursues for double debt with awful dread.
He makes her former husband’s frightly ghost
Appear and damn her, as a bankrupt lost;
With curses, threats, and Sinai thunder-claps,
Her lofty tower of legal boasting saps.
These humbling storms, in high or low degrees,
Heav’n’s Majesty will measure as he please;
But still he makes the fiery law at least
Pronounce its awful sentence in her breast,
Till through the law(1) convict of being lost,
She hopeless to the law gives up the ghost;
Which now in rigour comes full debt to crave,
And in close prison cast; but not to save.
For now ‘tis weak, and can’t (through our default)
Its greatest votaries to life exalt.
But well it can command with fire and flame,
And to the lowest pit of ruin damn.
Thus doth it, by commission from above,
Deal with the bride, when Heaven would court her love.
Lo! now she startles, at the Sinai trump,
Which throws her soul into a dismal dump,
Conscious another husband she must have,
Else die for ever in destruction’s grave.
While in conviction’s jail she’s thus inclos’d,
Glad news are heard, the royal Mate’s propos’d.
And now the scornful bride’s inverted stir
Is racking fear he scorns to match with her.
She dreads his fury, and despairs that he
Will ever wed so vile a wretch as she.
And here the legal humour stirs again
To her prodigious loss, and grievous pain:
For when the Prince presents himself to be
Her husband; then she deems, “Ah! is not he
Too fair a match for such a filthy bride?”
Unconscious that the thought bewrays her pride,
Ev’n pride of merit, pride of righteousness,
Expecting Heav’n should love her for her dress;
Unmindful how the fall her face did stain,
And make her but a black, unlovely swain;
Her whole primeval beauty quite defac’d,
And to the rank of fiends her form debas’d;
Without disfigur’d, and defil’d within,
Incapable of any thing but sin.
Heav’n courts not any for their comely face,
But for the glorious praise of sov’reign grace,
Else ne’er had courted one of Adam’s race,
Which all as children of corruption be
Heirs rightful of immortal misery.
Yet here the bride employs her foolish with,
For this bright match her ugly form to fit;
To daub her features o’er with legal paint,
That with a grace she may herself present.
Hopeful the Prince with credit might her wed,
If once some comely qualities she had.
In humble pride her haughty spirit flags;
She cannot think of coming all in rags.
Were she a humble, faithful penitent,
She dreams he’d then contract with full content.
Base varlet! think she’d be a match for him,
Did she but deck herself in handsome trim.
Ah! foolish thoughts! in legal deeps that plod;
Ah! sorry notions of a sov’reign God!
Will God expose his great, his glorious Son,
For our vile baggage to be sold and won?
Should sinful modesty the match decline,
Until its garb be brisk and superfine;
Alas! when should we see the marriage-day?
The happy bargain must flee up for aye.
Presumptuous souls in surly modesty,
Half saviours themselves would fondly be,
Then, hopeful th’ other half their due will fall,
Disdain to be in Jesus’ debt for all.
Vainly they first would wash themselves, and then
Address the fountain to be wash’d more clean.
First heal themselves, and then expect the balm:
Ah! many slightly cure their sudden qualm.
They heal their conscience with a tear of pray’r;
And seek no other Christ, but perish there.
O sinner! search the house, and see the thief
That spoils thy Saviour’s crown, thy soul’s relief,
The hid, but heinous sin of unbelief.
Who can possess a quality that’s good,
Till first he come to Jesus’ cleansing blood?
The pow’r that draws the bride, will also shew
Unto her by the way her hellish hue,
As void of ev’ry virtue to commend,
And full of ev’ry vice that will offend:
Till sov’reign grace the sullen bride shall catch,
She’ll never fit herself for such a match.
Most qualifi’d they are in heav’n to dwell,
Who see themselves most qualifi’d for hell;
And, ere the bride can drink salvation’s cup,
Kind Heav’n must reach to hell and lift her up:
For no decorum e’er about her found,
Is she belov’d; but on a nobler ground.
JEHOVAH’S love is like his nature free,
Nor must his creature challenge his decree;
But low at sov’reign grace’s footstool creep,
Whose ways are searchless, and his judgments deep:
Yet Grace’s suit meets with resistance rude
From haughty souls; for lack of innate good
To recommend them. Thus the backward bride
Affronts her suitor with her modest pride.
Black hatred for his offer’d love repays,
Pride under mask of modesty displays:
In part would save herself; hence, saucy soul,
Rejects the matchless Mate would save in whole.

(1) Gal. ii. 19.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


This is a tired subject. How sad it is that every October sincere Christians need to give reminders to their fellow believers on the evils of halloween...

Regardless, I did just that in a Toastmasters speech today. I gleaned much of my material from the following website:
A Puritan's Mind

Bottom line...reject this evil holiday. "Reformation Day" is a much better "alternative" (if such a thing is needed):
Reformation Day 2006

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life

And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.
(2Ch 22:7-9)

We see here God’s “Wonderful Plan” for Ahaziah. The scripture says that the destruction of Ahaziah was “of God.” In other words, God providentially ordained Ahaziah’s destruction.

Consider this:
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
(Rom 9:21-22)

So, how then, can I make the claim, “God has a wonderful plan for your life?” We must ask ourselves this: It is “wonderful” according to whose purpose? You see, God is not a created being put here on behalf of man. Rather, we are created beings put here on behalf of and by God. We know that all of God’s plans are just, and that all of God’s plans and purposes *will* be fulfilled. Man is not able to thwart the will and purpose of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
(Rev 15:3)

God’s ways are not our ways. If we had our way, we would always be happy, healthy, and wealthy. There’s nothing wrong with desiring health for ourselves and our loved ones. Likewise, abundance is generally much less nerve racking than poverty. Yet, we should be careful never to let these human desires for health and wealth trump our desires toward God.

Let us have the attitude of Job as he strived to “maintain his own ways,” he still placed utter trust in God, and in His sovereign plan for Job.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
(Job 13:15)

The next time you hear a mega church or TV preacher declaring “God has a wonderful plan for your life…” take it with a grain of salt. There’s likely a bit of deception in his message. What he wants you to think is that “God really wants to bless you, if you will only let Him. One way you can let Him, is to ‘sow seed’ into my ministry.” Rest assured that the most likely person to “get rich” with this “plan” is the preacher himself.

When thinking of your material needs, let us look at Paul’s response to such matters.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
(Php 4:12)

The secret is contentment in your circumstances. Holiness is not determined by your success or your poverty. It is not determined by your health or your sickness.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
(Mat 6:33)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

One Year as a Blogger

It was exactly one year ago today that I launched my blog. I started with our Family Vision Statement.

A lot has happened over the course of this past year. I’ve read many times of fathers leaving journals to their children. I’ve found this blog to be a modern representation of that concept. By leaving this digital record of my thoughts, my children will be able to see where their father stood on issues, both political and theological. They will be able to have a lasting record of comments from friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers. To the extent that I put family pictures in my blog, they’ll have a digital scrapbook…though in many ways I think it’s best for that to be a little more private.

I hope to be able to look through the annals of this blog and witness my own spiritual growth.

While I haven’t posted to the blog daily…I’ve tried to at least keep it somewhat up to date.

Stay tuned for more opinionated columns about Christianity, family matters, and other highly important issues of which we should all be aware.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What is the Chief End of Man?

Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. – Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1

When I learned of the Doctrines of Grace, and I moved away from an Armininan point of view, several key points of understanding in my Christian walk opened up to new revelations. This point is one of those realizations. Why do people “accept Jesus Christ?” Isn’t it because they would rather spend an eternity in Heaven rather than an eternity in Hell? Dear friend, most likely that was my initial reason for accepting Him. This is an entirely selfish reason. I believe it was Spurgeon who declared that we should serve Christ even if He were to send us to hell. We should serve and worship Him anyway, because He is deserving of all service and praise. We are all deserving of Hell. It is His grace alone that purchases our salvation. I saw this video today at Scott Brown’s blog. I believe it speaks powerfully to the issue.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Parenting Toddlers

The other day on my lunch break, I was eating by myself in a restaurant when I noticed a young mother who brought her two children with her, alone, to the restaurant. The little girl looked like she was about four years old. The little boy was about two or three. It was a pizza buffet and the mother had already managed to get her children their food. However, in the process of putting down her purse and picking up the two year old to put him in his chair, the four year started running around the restaurant. She had a big grin on her face as her mother began to chase her. Situating herself with several tables between her and her mother, she was amused while her mother obviously was not. In frustration the mother ignored her and walked back to her son, who was gleefully taking all this in. After losing her mother’s attention, the little girl began to sheepishly make her way back toward the table. The mother noticed her daughter approaching the table and went to her to have a few “words.” Meanwhile, the little boy saw his chance for escape. With a big smile, he bolted up on the platform where I was sitting. The mother ran after her two year old. Fortunately, he wasn’t as fast as his big sister, so he was arrested and brought back to his seat. As I left the restaurant, the mother, exasperated, was standing guard over her two little darlings, still with no pizza on her own plate.

I don’t write this to pass judgment on the mother. Indeed, I don’t even know who she was. I also can’t say that my children have always been on their best behavior at all times. What I do know, though, is that I could take all six of my children to a restaurant, without my wife, and they would stay in their chairs if I tell them to. The 1 year old is the only one who would need to be physically restrained to make this happen…and we’re working on her. :-) Now, my children are 14, 11, 10, 5, 3, 1, with #7 due in November. My older children are a very big help with the younger children. So, maybe it would be a better point made if I stated that I could take my three youngest children out for a meal and not have them running all over the restaurant.

In any case, there are a few fundamentals that we ingrain in the heads of our toddlers.

- Obedience is mandatory.
- Reply with “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” when given a command.
- Hold my finger as we are walking.

Children are to obey their parents at all times. A parent should always have the best interest of their child in mind when exercising this authority. In any case, if they are abusing this responsibility, they will answer to God for it. If I tell my child to stay put, or to “come,” it very well could be for his own safety. I refuse to put my children on one of those “kid leashes” that you see sometimes in the mall or at the zoo. It is not funny for children to disobey. In the case of the above mentioned mother, somehow her children had gotten the idea that it was funny to run away from mom. If I were this mom, I’d make this “not funny” quicker than my children could get out the first laugh.

Our children aren’t always consistent in the use of “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am.” But when they are not, we simply repeat the question or command. I’ve actually found that the 3 and 5 year old are much more consistent than our older children. I truly believe that it is because we have always expected it of the younger ones, but the older ones lived on this Earth for several years before this became a “rule.” Habits formed early last a lifetime. Habits formed later are a little bit harder to cement. The use of “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” provide a constant reminder to the child that the parent is their authority. It teaches them a regard for other authority as well, especially when they observe their parent speaking in the same respectful way to an adult who is older than the parent or to an authority figure, such as a police officer.

Lastly, there’s nothing as frustrating to me as trying to hold a toddler’s hand while he squirms and tries to pull away from me. So, I have decided that I rarely hold a child’s hand. Unless there is imminent danger, like we are crossing a busy street or something, I have the child hold my finger. In this way, we return to the first point of unquestioned obedience. When my son, Paton, who is three, holds my finger, I know that he is doing it of his own will after being instructed to by me. Secondly, I think it’s easier for his little hand to grasp my finger than to fit around my bigger hand. This also shows a submission to my authority and is an acknowledgement that he needs his daddy to protect him.

By setting a few expectations and enforcing the rules, we can ensure a safe and pleasant environment for our children whether we are in public or in the privacy of our own homes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interesting Links

I’ve run across a few interesting web links this week that I’d like to share with you.

I’m a book lover. I’ve gotten some emails concerning this site from a yahoo group of which I’m a member. If you like old documents that unashamedly proclaim truths and convictions that were held by many of our founding fathers, check out: I may not agree with all the works you will find here, and the host’s “kum by ya” type of “tolerance” attitude leaves a bit to be desired for those with the backbone to proclaim that Jesus is the “Way the Truth and the Life and no man comes unto the Father but by [Him].” John 14:6 In spite of their notice reading,
“We make such non commercial speech and electronic communication available in our private efforts to exchange and advance understanding and promote well being, good, peace and harmony for all that includes but is not limited to spiritual principals, human liberties, learning, religious, economic, scientific and social ideas.”
I think it’s a great resource, with many/most of the works declaring the exclusiveness of Christianity as the only true faith, though the folks at Dayspring Gatherings may want to think otherwise.

I’m sure you’ve most likely heard me lament the fact that I have ever so much more reading material than I can probably get through, even in my lifetime, and I keep collecting more all the time. I found a great place to index my library. It’s called Once you start entering books that you own, they make recommendations for...of course…more books that you may be interested in. You can reference this site from your blackberry…so you can avoid impulse purchases of books that you already own…but have forgotten about. :-)

Finally, because I have so little time to read, but such a desire to, the site provides free downloadable MP3s of public domain books. They are read by “real humans!” (I made this comment because I recently listed to all 13 books of Augustine’s Confessions read by…a computer!)


Thursday, September 20, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 1 - Section 5

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 1

SECTION V. – Men’s vain attempt to seek LIFE by CHRIST’S righteousness joined with their own; and legal hopes natural to all.

BUT still the bride reluctant disallows
The junior suit, and hugs the senior spouse:
Such the old selfish folly of her mind;
So bent to lick the dust, and grasp the wind.
Alledging works and duties of her own
May for her criminal offense atone;
She will her antic dirty robe provide,
Which vain she hopes will all pollutions hide.
The filthy rags that saints away have flung,
She, holding, wraps, and rolls herself in dung;
Thus maugre all the light the gospel gives,
Unto her natural consort fondly cleaves.
Though mercy set the royal match in view,
She’s loath to bid her ancient mate adieu,
When light of scripture, reason, common sense,
Can hardly mortify her vain pretence
To legal righteousness. Yet if at last
Her conscience roused begins to stand aghast;
Pressed with the dread of hell, she’ll rashly patch,
And halve a bargain with the proffered match;
In hopes his help, together with her own,
Will turn to peaceful smiles the wrathful frown.
Through grace the rising Sun delightful sings,
With full salvation in his golden wings,
And righteousness complete; the faithless soul,
Receiving half the light, rejects the whole;
Revolves the sacred page, but reads purblind
The gospel-message with the legal mind.
Men dream their state, ah! too, too slightly viewed,
Needs only be amended, not renewed;
Scorn to be wholly debtors unto grace,
Hopeful their works may meliorate their case.
They fancy present prayers, and future pains
Will for their former failings make amends:
To legal yokes they bow their servile necks
And, lest soul’s slips their false repose perplex,
Think Jesus’ merits make up all defects.
They patch his glorious robe with filthy rags,
And burn but incense to their proper drags,(1)
Disdain to use his righteousness alone,
But as an aiding stirrup to mount their own;
Thus in Christ’s room his rival self enthrone;
And vainly would, dressed up in legal trim,
Divine salvation ‘tween themselves and him.
But know, vain man, that to his share must fall
The glory of the whole, or none at all.
In him all wisdom’s hidden treasures lie,(2)
And all the fulness of the Deity.(3)
This store alone, immense and never spent,
Might poor insolvent debtors well content;
But to hell prison justly Heaven will doom
Proud fools that on their petty stock presume.
The softest couch that gilded nature knows,
an give the wakened conscience no repose.
When God arraigns, what mortal power can stand
Beneath the terror of his lifted hand!
Our safety lies beyond the nat’ral line,
Beneath a purple covert all divine.
Yet how is precious Christ, the way, despised,
And high the way of life by doing prized!
But can its voteries all its levy show?
They prize it most who least its burden know:
Who by the law in part would save his soul,
Becomes a debtor to fulfil the whole.(4)
Its prisoner he remains, and without bail,
‘Till every mite be paid; and if he fail,
(As sure he must, since, by our sinful breach,
Perfection far surmounts all mortal reach,)
Then cursed for ever must his soul remain:
And all the folk of God must say, AMEN.(5)
Why, seeking that the law should help afford,
In honoring the law, he slights its Lord;
Who gave his law-fulfilling righteousness
To be the naked sinner’s perfect dress,
In which he might with spotless beauty shine
Before the face of majesty divine:
Yet, lo! the sinner works with mighty pains
A garment of his own to hide his stains;
Ungrateful, overlooks the gift of God,
The robe wrought by his hand, dy’d in his blood.
In vain the Son of God this web did weave,
Could our vile rags sufficient shelter give.
In vain he every thread of it did draw,
Could sinners be o’ermantled by the law.
Can men’s salvation on their works be built,
Whose fairest actions nothing are but guilt?
Or can the law suppress th’ avenging flame,
When now its only office is to damn!
Did life come by the law in part or whole,
Bless’d Jesus died in vain to save a soul.
Those then who life by legal means expect,
To them is Christ become of no effect;(6)
Because their legal mixtures do in fact
Wisdom’s grand project plainly counteract.
How close proud carnal reasonings combine,
To frustrate sovereign grace’s great design!
Man’s heart by nature weds the law alone,
Nor will another paramour enthrone.
True, many seem, by course of life profane,
No favour for the law to entertain;
But break the bands, and cast the cords away,
That would their raging lusts and passions stay.
Yet even this reigning madness may declare
How strictly wedded to the law they are;
For now (however rich they seemed before)
Hopeless to pay law-debt they give it o’er,
Like desp’rate debtors mad, still run themselves in more.
Despair of success shews their strong desires,
Till legal hopes are parched with lustful fires.
“Let’s give,” say they, “our lawless will free scope,
And live at random, for there is no hope.”(7)
The law, that can’t them help, they stab with hate,
Yet scorn to beg, or court another mate.
Here lusts most opposite their hearts divide,
Their beastly passion and their bankrupt pride.
In passion they their native mate deface,
In pride disdain to be obliged to grace.
Hence plainly as a rule ‘gainst law they live,
Yet closely to it as a cov’nant cleave.
Thus legal pride lies hid beneath the patch,
And strong aversion to the gospel-match.

(1) Hab. 1:16
(2) Col. 2:3
(3) Col. 2:9
(4) Gal. 5:3
(5) Deut. 27:26
(6) Gal. 2:21; v. 2, 4
(7) Jer. 18:12

Friday, September 14, 2007

Achieve Outstanding Results - With Passion!

Do you have a product or service to sell? Is there a ministry or non-profit organization that you support? You are excellent in what you do, but your challenge is in letting others know about it? I may be able to supply just the boost you need!

If you’re like me, you are a Christian father who has a longing to work for himself. Or maybe you are a Christian lady who supports her family's vision by running a business out of your home. Perhaps, you are a Christian leader or minister who is working to make a difference in the physical and spiritual lives of people everyday. Whether you produce a product, or you simply have good information to share, people can’t support your efforts if they don’t know you exist.

Direct mail advertising is one of the most effective means of reaching your target audience. Using direct mail, you can benefit families by making them aware of excellent materials that they can use to educate their children, spread the Gospel, or make a positive difference in their communities.

As part of my plan to secure self employment, I have invested in a course on writing direct mail. So far, I’m loving it! I can now channel my passion for causes and products I believe in to a means of supporting my family. I see this as a win-win situation all around. You benefit by gaining customers or donors. The customers and/or donors benefit by receiving your excellent product or the blessing of helping ministries in need. I benefit by doing something that I love (writing), and using it to directly support my family.

I already have a sample piece I can share with you that I wrote for my favorite restaurant.

Drop me an email today at to discuss how I can help you bring in the response you need for your business or ministry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 1 - Section 4

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 1

SECTION IV. – Man’s strict attachment to legal TERMS, or to the law as a condition of life.

SAY, on what terms then Heaven appeased will be?
Why, sure perfection is the least degree.
Yea, more, full satisfaction must be given
For trespass done against the laws of Heaven.
These are the terms: what mortal back so broad,
But must for ever sink beneath the load?
A ransom must be found, or die they must,
Sure even as justice infinite is just.
But, says the legal, proud, self-righteous heart,
Which cannot with her ancient consort part,
“What! won’t the goodness of the God of heaven,
Admit of smalls, when greater can’t be given?
He knows our fall diminished all our funds,
Won’t he accept of pennies now for pounds?
Sincere endeavours for perfection take,
Or terms more possible for mankind make?”
Ah! poor divinity, and jargon loose;
Such hay and straw will never build a house.
Mistake not here, proud mortal, don’t mistake;
God changes not, nor other terms will make.
Will divine faithfulness itself deny,
Which swore solemnly, Man shall do, or die?
Will God most true extend to us, forsooth,
His goodness, to the damage of his truth?
Will spotless holiness be baffled thus?
Or awful justice be unjust for us?
Shall faithfulness be faithless for our sake,
And he his threats, as we his precepts break?
Will our great Creator deny himself,
And for full payment take our filthy pelf?
Dispense with justice, to let mercy vent,
And stain his royal crown with ‘minished rent?
Unworthy thought! O let no mortal clod
Hold such base notions of a glorious God.
Heaven’s holy covenant, made for human race,
Consists, or whole of works or whole of grace.
If works will take the field, then works must be
For ever perfect to the last degree:
Will God dispense with less? Nay sure he won’t
With ragged toll his royal law affront.
Can rags, that Sinai flames will soon despatch,
E’er prove the fiery law’s adequate match?
Vain man must be divorced, and choose to take
Another husband, or a burning lake.
We find the divine volume no where teach
New legal terms within our mortal reach.
Some make, though in the sacred page unknown,
Sincerity assume perfection’s throne;
But who will boast this base usurper’s sway,
Save ministers of darkness, that display
Invented night, to stifle scripture day?
The nat’ralist’s sincerity is naught,
That of the gracious is divinely taught;
Which teaching keeps their graces, if sincere,
Within the limits of the gospel sphere,
Where, vaunting, none created graces sing,
Nor boast of streams, but of the Lord the spring.
Sincerity’s the soul of every grace,
The quality of all the ransomed race,
Of promised favour ‘tis a fruit, a clause;
But no procuring term, no moving cause.
How unadvised the legal mind confounds
The marks of divine favour with the grounds,
And qualities of covenanted friends
With the condition of the covenant blends?
Thus holding gospel truths with legal arms,
Mistakes new-covenant fruits for federal terms:
The joyful sound no change of terms allows,
But change of persons, or another spouse.
The nature same that sinned must do or die,
No milder terms in gospel-offers lie.
For grace no other law abatement shews,
But now law-debtors may restore its dues;
Restore, yea, through a Surety in their place,
With double interest, and a better grace.
Here we of no new terms of life are told,
But of a husband to fulfil the old;
With him alone by faith we’re called to wed,
And let no rival *bruik the marriage bed.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Slavery. A Reason for War?

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Who do you suppose made that quote? It sounds to me like something straight out of Hitler’s Third Reich. Or maybe it is a quote from the Grand Dragon of the KKK? I know what you must be thinking. Surely this quote is from one of the leaders of the Southern Confederacy. Maybe Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson?

No, No, No, and No. I’m sure the answer will shock you, for this quote was made by none other than the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln! Lincoln, you ask? The savior of the black race? Who would have thought it? The truth is that he made this statement in 1858 in his debate with Stephen Douglas, three years before the outbreak of the War for Southern Independence.

It is said that history is written by the victors. So it is that all your life you’ve been taught that the War between the States was fought in order to free blacks from the grip of cruel Southern slaveholders. While this is certainly the more “politically correct” reason for the War Between the States, it, unfortunately, is not consistent with the historical record.

The historical record shows a much different reason…
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

True it was that slavery was a problem in the United States. In fact, slavery existed in the North and the South before the war. Truly, it was Northern slave ships that brought African slaves to the shores of Dixie. The reason that slavery was more common in the South had nothing to do with moral superiority in the North. It was strictly a pragmatic arrangement. The South, being a largely agricultural environment, with it’s wide open land and vast space easily accommodated slave dwellings. Many slaves were actually content to live on their master’s property and to serve them in exchange for the food, clothing, and shelter they received. This fact is shown by the many slaves who defended their plantations and protected the women and children from yankee invaders after the Southern boys had gone off to war. Conversely, in the North, industrialism had overrun the small amount of land in New England. Slavery didn’t work very well there because there was no extra space to keep other families on their small properties. It was much easier to get cheap labor by employing immigrant workers at pittance wages to crank out widgets in their factories. Add to this, the fact that Northerners were generally racists and did not want blacks living close to them. As an example of this hypocrisy, I remember when I was in college my history professor reading a newpaper headline declaring “Yonkers, New York decides to try racial integration.” That was 1988!

In spite of the greater slave population in the South, the real reasons for secession have nothing to do with slavery. It was, rather, an economical issue. The North bought its raw materials from the South. They would produce goods, then sell it back to the South with a large profit attached. When the South resorted to buying its goods from Europe, Northern congressmen rallied together to impose tariffs on imported goods, forcing the Southerners to buy from yankee imperialists rather than pay the high taxes on the goods from overseas. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, goes into great detail on this situation in his 2 volume work entitled, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.

In light of this economic warfare the North was waging on the South, the South decided to legally and peacefully secede from this voluntary union they had entered a short 80 years earlier. Remember what I read earlier? The Declaration of Independence states,
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.

With the election of Lincoln (getting only 40 percent of the popular vote), the South was now being governed without the consent of the governed. Therefore, they claimed the right guaranteed to them by the very document our founding fathers penned, the right to alter or abolish these political ties and to institute new government.

So, what did the war have to do with slavery? Initially, not a thing. The Confederate Constitution explicitly forbad the importation of new slaves into the country. It was a well accepted fact that slavery was a dying institution, and would soon fade into the shadows of history as industrialism began to creep its way down South. Only 1 out of every 16 Southerners owned slaves. Of those that did own them, only a tiny fraction of them owned more than 1 or 2. So, it is quite ridiculous to claim that men would risk their lives to preserve the institution of slavery when 98% of them never benefited from it. They were clearly fighting for their independence, against a strong federal government not too different than the tyrannical English monarchy they had fought in the previous century. What’s more, England, under the leadership of William Wilberforce had banned slavery there in the 1820s. Why then would they support the independence of a slaveholding Confederacy unless the South’s reasons for independence had nothing to do with slavery at all?

Why is it then that you always hear of the North as the liberator of the slaves? Lincoln’s Gettysburg address expressly delineates slavery as the primary cause of Northern aggression against the South. The answer is simply this. Early on in the war, freedom fighters from the South were winning victory after victory against Lincoln’s invading armies. Apparently, “preserving the union” wasn’t a strong enough reason for these yankee armies to continue their attacks against their brothers across the Mason Dixon line. Morale was dropping quickly. They needed a cause. And a cause was found. The radical abolitionists had had a presence in the Northern states for quite some time, even before the war. Previously most “civilized” gentlemen distanced themselves from these terrorist groups made popular through the “al-queda” like actions of a man named John Brown. Yet, when a cause was needed, the abolitionists were happy to supply it. Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin spread propaganda all across the North providing just enough reason for yankee soldiers to justify in their minds piercing their brothers in gray through with a bayonet and raping their surviving women and children. Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic transformed simple imperial domination into a “righteous cause” against an evil, rebellious south land.

So, the next time you hear some yankee indoctrinated student spouting off the supposed reasons for the “Civil War” remind him of the true reasons, and let him know that although you may stifle independence for a season, you can’t defeat a true patriot indefinitely before he rises to claim his God given liberty.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Anonymous Comments

Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
(Job 38:3)

When I set up my blog I decided to allow comments. I chose, however, to require my approval on all comments. Generally, I will allow negative and positive comments on my articles. I do ask that negative comments be free of profanity. Here’s another tip for you. If you leave a negative comment and wish to remain anonymous, I very well may not approve it. Why is it in this day and age that people are so cowardly that they will spout off derogatory comments, but yet they don’t want to stand behind their words?

I have offered negative comments at other people’s blogs before. Yet in every case, I leave my name, and often my email address. You may disagree with what I write. You may want to tell the world of your disagreement. But if you don’t have the fortitude to sign your own name to your comments, why don’t you just keep them to yourself?

My personal theory on why people do this is that they have their own blogs full of ridiculous assertions that can be easily shown to be in error. If they were to venture out and start signing their comments on others’ blogs, those authors may actually visit their blog and shoot gaping holes in all their articles. So, they hide behind an “anonymous” label and take pop shots at leaders who are bold enough to challenge the status quo.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart

…Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
(Pro 5:18b)

Saturday, August 25, 2007, my wife, Sheri, and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. Sheri was my high school sweetheart, though we attended different high schools. We met in a situation that we would not allow our own children to be involved with, a government school high school homecoming dance.

It was October, 1983. Sheri was the most beautiful girl at the dance that night. It was held at her high school, and I was there with another date. Her mother was exercising a large degree of wisdom and did not allow her to date at the age of 14. We were both freshmen in our high schools on opposite sides of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. My date had introduced me to Sheri. So, when this other girl decided to dance with someone else, I took the opportunity to ask Sheri. I’m glad Sheri wasn’t judging me by my dancing abilities. Otherwise, we would never have hit it off. During the evening, I did manage to get Sheri’s last name. As expected, the other girl didn’t last long, and we no longer “dated” after that night. So, I got out the Carrollton phone book and began calling all the last names that matched hers. I found her after about three tries.

Sheri and I went on to date all through high school and the first part of college before we married in 1990, when we were both 21. During our dating years, we were only “apart” twice for short amount of times.

During this time of dating we talked a lot. We’d spend hours on the phone. I’d drive across town on the weekends and spend the day with her. We made our plans, and dreamed of the day that we would marry. One day I woke up very early on a Saturday morning, drove to get her in Carrollton, and made the drive to Galveston. We spent the day together on the beach and dined at the famous Gaido’s restaurant before heading back to the Dallas area. I got her home before midnight that same day.

I will never forget our wedding day. While most guys tend to have a bachelor party the night before the wedding, I was busy doing laundry at the laundry mat in preparation for my new bride. Sheri and I wrote our own vows, and my father presided over the ceremony. As the music began to play and Sheri walked down the isle with her father, I witnessed the most beautiful woman I had ever seen stand next to my side.

So much has happened since that glorious day. In that time, Sheri has given birth to six beautiful children, and we are expecting our seventh in November. We have experienced changes in our theology. We have embraced a conviction to homeschool our children. We are now committed to teaching courtship to our own children. We’ve seen a change in the way we dress. We’ve lived in three different states, and multiple houses throughout that time. Every challenge we’ve faced hasn’t always been easy. There are things I have learned and things Sheri has learned, not always at the same time. Yet, through it all, Sheri and I have both taken the time to let each other know that our love is solid, no matter what. I didn’t have the chance to attend my 20 year high school reunion this year, because our Jamestown trip interfered. However, I was involved with planning for it. What struck me was just how many former classmates I had who were on their second or third marriages, or how many were just single again. Every couple has their own story, and I can’t begin to know all the details of their situations. But the fact remains that many were unable to keep their marriages together. Thanks be to God that Sheri and I understand the importance of covenant. We are committed to one another like Christ and His church. I can truly say that our marriage is much stronger now than it was 17 years ago when we were first starting out. I have no doubt that our marriage will stand the test of time until “death do us part.”

It’s amazing to see the difference in the way we grew up compared to the way we are raising our children. It could be that evil is prevalent, and there are things that our parents allowed us to do that would be much more dangerous today. Or it could be that the Holy Spirit is doing a work of reformation in these days, calling parents to homeschool their children, and embrace courtship as the means for finding suitable mates for their children. I believe it is quite possible both of these things are acting together to cause us to raise our own children in a much different way than our own upbringing. I don’t fault our parents. Yet, I have a much different vision for my own family. I believe God is sovereign. In spite of the fact that I no longer believe in dating, I dated my beloved bride before we married. In spite of the fact that my children will not attend government schools, that’s where we met. God preserved us, and graciously kept us pure for one another until marriage in spite of the temptations we faced in a dating situation. So, while we are the “exception to the rule” I praise God that Sheri and I have almost 24 years of relationship, and 17 years of marital bliss.

Sheri, I love you. You are a virtuous woman, truly valued far above rubies. May God’s blessings be upon you all the days of your life. Happy anniversary, sweetheart.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Daddy, Will You Teach Me to Read?

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
(Deu 6:6-7)

My second son, and fourth child, Justin frequently looks up at me and asks me the question, “Daddy, will you teach me to read?” When he asks me this, what he wants to know is if I will sit down and work through a lesson in his book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with him. This is the same text that I have used to teach each of my older three children to read.

It is somewhat of a “rite of passage” in our household to be taught, by Daddy, how to read. When Brittney, my oldest, was approaching age 5 I began to research our schooling options. I had heard of homeschooling, but had not actually considered it prior to this time. By the grace of God, Brittney turned 5 on September 2, 1998. This was one day too late to start government school kindergarten in the state of Texas. So, as I had been researching the possibility of homeschooling, my wife and I agreed that I would teach her at home that first year just to “see how it goes.” If it didn’t work well, we’d just enroll her in school in 1999. Thus began our journey into homeschooling. Homeschooling didn’t only “work well,” it worked extremely well. Brittney developed a love for reading. I loved spending the time with her teaching her how to read, write, and do math. That first year, we did it in the evening after work. My wife grew tired of our evenings being consumed with Brittney and I working on her schooling while she cared for our oldest son, Michael, who was two years younger than Brittney. So, the next year, I continued teaching Brittney math in the mornings. Eventually Brittney gained the experience needed to do most of the work on her own. I also changed jobs, which made it difficult to continue the morning routine. Yet, what remained was that I would teach each child to read, in the evening. Doing reading in the evening only takes about 20 minutes a day. My wife now handles anything else that needs to be done during the day, including teaching them writing and math. We’ve never regretted homeschooling and would not consider any other alternative now.

When Sheri and I were first married, she worked in a day care center close to the IBM building where I was working as a co-op student. Everyday Sheri would go to work she’d witness other people’s children take their first steps, say their first words, sit up for the first time, roll over, and on and on. She felt terrible telling a young professional mother that her child had accomplished a particular milestone. Sometimes she didn’t even mention it, hoping that the child would do the same stunt for their parents during the few hours they had with them after work and before bedtime. I see homeschooling in much the same light. There’s nothing like seeing the light in the eyes of your child as he “gets it” when learning to read or do math. There’s nothing like watching him form his letters as he writes, “I luv you.”

This fall, Justin is “officially” beginning school, though we’ve been working through the “Teach Your Child to Read” book somewhat inconsistently since the spring. He is so excited! His face really lit up when his Saxon math worksheets arrived in the mail about a week ago. Every evening when I come home Justin runs to me and asks, “Daddy, will you teach me to read?” It’s time for me to finish up this text book with him so he can move on to more complicated things. After all, he already takes his turn each evening reading from his own Geneva Bible during family worship. ;-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 1 - Section 3

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 1

SECTION III. – Man’s LEGAL Disposition.

BUT, after all, the bride’s so mal-content,
No argument, save pow’r is prevalent
To bow her will, and gain heart’s consent.
The glorious Prince’s suit she disapproves,
The law, her old primordial husband, loves;
Hopeful in its embraces life to have,
Though dead and buried in her suitor’s grave;
Unable to give life, as once before;
Unfit to be a husband any more.
Yet proudly she the new address disdains,
And all the blest Redeemer’s love and pains;
Though now his head, that cruel thorns did wound,
Is with immortal glory circled round;
Archangels at his awful footstool bow,
And drawing love sits smiling on his brow.
Though now he sends in gospel-tidings good
Epistles of his love, sign’d with his blood;
Yet lordly she the royal suit rejects,
Eternal life by legal works affects;
In vain the living seeks among the dead, (1)
Sues quick’ning comforts in a killing head.
Her dead and bury’d husband has her heart,
Which can nor death remove, nor life impart.
Thus all-revolting Adam’s blinded race
In their first spouse their hope and comfort place.
They natively expect, if guilt them press,
Salvation by a home-bred righteousness:
They look for favour in JEHOVAH’s eyes,
By careful doing all that in them lies.
‘Tis still their primary attempt to draw
Their life and comfort from the vet’ran law;
They flee not to the hope the gospel gives;
To trust a promise bare, their minds aggrieves,
Which judge the man that does, the man that lives.
As native as they draw their vital breath,
Their fond recourse is to the legal path.
“Why,” says old Nature, “in law wedded man,
Won’t heaven be pleased, if I do all I can?
If I conform my walk to nature’s light,
And strive, intent to practise what is right,
Thus won’t I by the God of heav’n be bless’d,
And win his favour, if I do my best?
Good God! (he cries) when press’d with debt and thrall,
‘Have patience with me and I’ll pay thee all.’ (2)
Upon their all, their best, they’re fondly mad,
Though yet their all is naught, their best is bad.
Proud man his can-does mightily exalts,
Yet are his brightest works but splendid faults:
A sinner may have shews of good, but still
The best he can, even at his best, is ill.
Can heaven or divine favour e’er be won
By those that are a mass of hell and sin?
The righteous law does numerous woes denounce
Against the wretched soul that fails but once:
What heaps of curses on their heads it rears,
That have amass’d the guilt of numerous years!

(1) Luke xxiv. 5.
(2) Matt. xviii. 26.

Friday, August 17, 2007

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 1 - Section 2

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 1

SECTION II. – Redemption through CHRIST

THE second Adam, sov’reign Lord of all,
Did, by his Father’s authorizing call,
From bosom of eternal love descend,
To save the guilty race that him offend;
To treat an everlasting peace with those
Who were and ever would have been his foes.
His errand, never-ending life to give
To them, whose malice would not let him live;
To make a match with rebels, and espouse
The brat which at his love her spite avows.
Himself he humbled to depress her pride,
And make his mortal foe his winning bride.
But, ere the marriage can be solemniz’d,
All lets must be remov’d, all parties pleas’d:
Law-righteousness requir’d, must be procur’d,
Law-vengeance threaten’d, must be full endured,
Stern justice must have credit by the match,
Sweet mercy by the heart the bride must catch.
Poor bankrupt! all her debt must first be paid,
Her former husband in the grave be laid:
Her present lover must be at the cost,
To save and ransom to the uttermost;
If all these things this suitor kind can do,
Then he may win her, and her blessing too.
Hard terms indeed! while death’s the first demand;
But love is strong as death,(1) and will not stand
To carry on the suit, and make it good,
Though at the dearest rate of wounds and blood.
The burden’s heavy, but the back is broad,
The glorious lover is the mighty God. (2)
Kind bowels yearning in th’ eternal Son,
He left his Father’s court, his heav’nly throne:
Aside he threw his most divine array,
And wrapt his Godhead in a vail of clay.
Angelic armies, who in glory crown’d,
With joyful harps his awful throne surround,
Down to the crystal frontier of the sky,(3)
To see the Saviour born, did eager fly;
And ever since behold with wonder fresh
Their Sov’reign and our Saviour wrapt in flesh;
Who in his garb did mighty love display,
Restoring what he never took away,(4)
To God his glory, to the law its due,
To heav’n its honour, to the earth its hue,
To man a righteousness divine, complete,
A royal robe to suit the nuptial rite.
He in her favour, whom he lov’d so well,
At once did purchase heav’n and vanquish hell.
Oh! unexampled love! so vast, so strong,
So great, so high, so deep, so broad, so long!
Can finite thought this ocean huge explore,
Unconscious of a bottom or a shore?
His love admits no parallel, -- for why?
At one great draught of love he drank hell dry.
No drop of wrathful fall he left behind;
No dreg to witness that he was unkind.
The sword of awful justice pierc’d his side,
That mercy thence might gush upon the bride.
The meritorious labours of his life,
And glorious conquests of his dying strife,
Her debt of doing, suff’ring, both cancell’d,
And broke the bars his lawful captive held.
Down to the ground the hellish host he threw,
Then mounting high the trump of triumph blew,
Attended with a bright seraphic band,
Sat down enthrone’d sublime on God’s right hand;
Where glorious choirs their various harps employ,
To sound his praises with confed’rate joy.
There he, the bride’s strong intercessor, sits,
And thence the blessing of his blood transmits,
Sprinkling all o’er the flaming throne of God,
Pleads for her pardon his atoning blood;
Sends down his holy co-eternal Dove,
To shew the wonders of incarnate love,
To woo and win the bride’s reluctant heart,
And pierce it with his kindly killing dart;
By gospel light to manifest that now
She has no further with the law to do;
That her new Lord has loos’d the fed’ral tie,
That once hard bound her, or to do or die;
That precepts, threats, no single might can crave:
Thus for her former spouse he digg’d a grave;
The law fast to his cross did nail and pin,
Then bury’d the defunct his tomb within,
That he the lowly widow to himself might win,

(1) Song viii. 6.
(2) Isa. ix. 6.
(3) Luke ii. 9-14
(4) Psalm lxix. 4.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Praise the Lord with Instruments!

It is a good thing to praise the Lord, and to sing unto thy Name, O most High, To declare thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy truth in the night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the viol, with the song upon the harp.
(Psa 92:1-3 Geneva Bible)

I love my Geneva Bible. I love all the notes of the Reformers at the bottom of the page. However, when reading any notes we need to remember that the notes are not divinely inspired, as is the Holy Writ of scripture.

The Reformers’ notes in Psalm 92:3 state:
“These instruments were then permitted, but at Christ’s coming abolished.”

I ask my good friends, who are much more learned than me, the Reformers, just where they get such a stance? We are told in Hebrews where the sacrifices have ended.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
(Heb 10:4-9)

We are told in Acts where the rite of circumcision has ended.

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
(Act 15:5-10)

However, we are never told that the worship of the Lord with instruments has ended. What could possibly be the justification for such a stance? I have heard it suggested that the human voice is made by God and instruments are made by man, therefore it is profane to worship Him with instruments. I would ask, “What has changed in this regard since Christ’s incarnation?” If instruments are profane now, then they were profane then. If they were acceptable then, they should be acceptable now. We know that they were acceptable then through many Old Testament references.

Isn’t it a central part of Covenant Theology that we are to continue those things God has commanded unless He specifically discontinues them under the New Covenant? After all, this is the typical reason I hear from Reformed Christians on why the Ten Commandments are still applicable to us.

What I find very interesting is the Reformers notes in Psalm 98.

Sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm have gotten him the victory. The Lord declared his salvation: his righteousness hath he revealed in the sight of the nations. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. All the earth, sing ye loud unto the Lord: cry out and rejoice, and sing praises. Sing praise to the Lord upon the harp, even upon the harp with a singing voice. With shalms and sound of trumpets sing loud before the Lord the king. Let the sea roar, and all that therein is, the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands, and let the mountains rejoice together, Before the Lord: for he is come to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world: and the people with equity.
(Psalm 98:1-9)

First of all, the Reformers attribute the “new song” to the song made in response to their deliverance by Christ. So, we see then, that the Reformers take this Psalm to be prophetic in nature, speaking of the coming Messiah.

Notes, 98:1
1 That is, some song newly made in token of their wonderful deliverance by Christ.
2 He preserveth his Church miraculously.

So, how do they explain the references to instruments here? After all, if the rest of the Psalm is prophetic, then why wouldn’t the instruments be prophetic as well? Here is their explanation:

Notes, 98:6
1 By this repetition and earnest exhortation to give praises with instruments, and also of the dumb creatures, he signifieth that the world is never able to praise God sufficiently for their deliverance.

Hmm…even if they are right in this regard, does this negate the validity of worshipping the Lord on instruments? Rather Psalm 150 emphasizes the importance of instruments in the worship of the Lord, as the very last Psalm.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
(Psa 150:3-5)

Even then the Reformers “poo-poo” this clear command from scripture with the following:

Notes, 150:3
1 Exhorting the people only to rejoice in praising God, he maketh mention of those instruments which by God’s commandment were appointed in the old Law, but under Christ the use thereof is abolished in the Church.

Again, dear Reformers, speak to me through the books you have left behind just where you get, “Thou shalt not use musical instruments in the New Covenant” out of the Holy Word of God. If any “anti-instrument” Christians care to explain this on their behalf, I would welcome their responses.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pennies, Melting, and 1965

According to, pennies minted prior to 1982 are worth over 2 cents each in their copper content alone. In response to this fact, the Federal Government, ever the “freedom loving” organization, has implemented a new law. It is illegal to melt coins for their metal content. It is also illegal to transport over $5 worth of coinage outside of the United States. Punishment is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Welkome to Amerika!

Regardless of these tyrannical restrictions, I have begun to hang on to my pre-1982 pennies. (I’m also keeping nickels, currently valued at about 6-7 cents in metal content.) My reasoning is that the government will surely not continue this madness for long before they decide to make the switch to cheaper metals. Bills have already been proposed to do just that.

Some of my friends and family are making fun of me. They taunt, “So Mike, are you really going to risk prison time or steep fines in order to double your money by melting pennies?” My answer is simply this. Any FBI/CIA/Secret Service agents who happen to be reading this please note this important response. I HAVE NO INTENTION OF MELTING ANY U.S. COINAGE. There. That should clear things up. I have stated on the record that I am not planning on doing anything illegal. Yet, I still want to save them.

Here’s my logic. If someone in 1965 or 1966 had taken this same approach with U.S. dimes, quarters, and half dollars, they would be doing very well today financially without ever having to melt a single coin. 1964 was the last year that U.S. Coinage was minted in 90% silver. If you manage to find one of these coins in circulation, you can sell it to a coin shop for quite a profit. Today, a 1964 dime is worth about 90 cents in its silver value alone. A 1964 quarter is worth about $2.26. A 1964 half dollar is worth about $4.53. These values represent an increase of 906.40% over their face value. A 1981 and earlier penny is currently worth 2.26 cents or 226.22% of its face value. The difference is that it is still pretty easy to find pre-1982 pennies in circulation, though they are getting less common than they used to be. Secondly, it doesn’t hurt anything to hang on to pennies. You have to save 2500 of them just to get 25 bucks in face value, so it gets impractical to store them if you accumulate too many. The worst risk you take is the lost interest if you had that money in the bank. Big deal! What are savings accounts paying now, 1.5%? If you get in a bind and need the money, you can always spend pennies, as they continue to be legal U.S. currency. Copper and Nickel are the last holdouts to the “hard money” this country was established on. A copper penny is “real money” as compared to a bank note. As copper continues to rise, I believe there will be a very real market for copper pennies even if they are never melted. After all, silver coins have value as “silver” though they aren’t melted down for industrial use. I believe the same will be said of pennies in the short term.