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April 10, 1963 -“Experiencing minor difficulty. Have positive up angle. Attempting to blow.”

theleansubmariner

“Experiencing minor difficulty. Have positive up angle. Attempting to blow.”

I wasn’t quite nine years old when the USS Thresher went down for its final dive on April 10, 1963.

I am sure I remember the news but I am also sure the significance of the tragedy did not reach all the way inside of my boyhood psyche.

That would not come until I went to submarine school in January 1973 and learned much more about the event and its aftermath. Being in New London at the submarine base, you can almost feel the ghosts of all those who perished in submarines. I would feel it again when I went on my first dive on the USS George Washington later that year.

A shipmate of mine reminded me today that the anniversary is coming up tomorrow. I went back into the archives on the Library of Congress site and read…

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The Patriot Act… a bad idea for a Republic

Amazing when you think that George Orwell warned us of this in 1949 (when 1984 was first published), yet it seems that many within the government have used it as a primer rather than a warning!

theleansubmariner

When the terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, the country was shocked to see the depth of our vulnerability. It is the hallmark of any society steeped in personal liberty and freedom that a certain amount of risk will exist. People who have bad motives and evil intent will find the loopholes and attack the most vulnerable. It was in that spirit that the original Patriot Act was passed.

The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act) was a landmark Act of the United States Congress, signed into law by President George W. Bush. The formal name of the statute is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, and the commonly used short name is a contrived acronym that is embedded in the name set forth in the statute.

Opponents of the law have criticized…

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The coming storm

Mister Mac speaks what many (most?) are thinking. Now is a good time to fall on the Grace Jesus offers before it is too late.

theleansubmariner

Warning: If you don’t like posts about Patriotism, stop reading now.

 

I was taking inventory of my life in the last few days and here is what I think I found.

First, I was born an American which means that because of decisions my ancestors made, I wasn’t born in Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, or any of a dozen places listed in my DNA report from a reputable DNA service. 

Second, Because I was born an American, I am included in the words that stated 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.”

You are correct if you recognize those words from the Declaration of Independence.  Those words were written to express the frustration of a people who felt that the government that they had was no longer looking…

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Galatians 2:20

http://www.bible.com/111/gal.2.20.niv

Galatians 2:20

Bring Them To Me

Strength for Today

Matthew 4:17,18: “They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

Isn’t so much of life like this?

I have little faith. “Bring it to me.”

I am nearly out of strength. “Bring it to me.”

“My hope is nearly gone. “Bring it to me.”

My pockets are almost empty. “Bring it to me.”

My heart is breaking. “Bring it to me.”

My goals are crumbling. “Bring it to me.”

My joy is fading. “Bring it to me.”

My sense of peace has all but disappeared. “Bring it to me.”

The hymnwriter wrote, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” We come at the beginning of our relationship with God, having nothing in our hands. We live most peacefully if we are able to continue in that same way…keeping our hands empty, with…

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Who’s In Charge?

2020

Talk about four-letter words!

More and more, I found myself shaking my head and wondering, “Who’s in charge here?” 

It began with President Trump’s ongoing vilification over one trumped-up accusation after another that kept Congress focus away from conducting the country’s business. The Chinese virus’s release worldwide and the contradictory messages that the ‘experts’ broadcast had people isolated from each other for (so far) nine months.  Then the ‘mother-of-all elections’ with the outcome still in doubt (at least to any thinking Americans) with no end in sight as the year draws to its stormy conclusion.

A nation in turmoil and a media feeding frenzy that keeps the water boiling has many (including me) wondering, is anyone in charge?

Recently, while listening to some gospel music on iHeartRadio, one that seemed to remind me that I had let my focus shift from the vertical to the horizontal and thus given the enemy of my soul more power in my life.  Don Francisco released the album “Forgiven” in 1977, the lead song being “Jesus is Lord of the Way I Feel.”  Yeah, it seems that the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket (to coin a phrase), but Mr. Francisco’s song was a wake-up call to my heart.  Quoting from one of my favorite books (Habakkuk 3), the song is a clarion call to keep my focus on the One who most definitely is still in charge.  I can get upset all too quickly and lose my focus when I read some of the stories from the few news outlets on the web that I follow.  However, listening to Don Francisco preach from Habakkuk 3 in the song or a slow, careful reading and study of that part of Scripture serves to remind me that nothing has or can happen apart from God’s will.  As my old friend Job once remarked;

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no plan is impossible for You.
‘Who is this who conceals advice without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I do not know.
‘Please listen, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent, sitting on dust and ashes.”

Job 42:1-6 NASB

No, I still do not like what is happening and have no clue what God is doing, but I know He does all things well. 

4 Days

8 Days

Spot on and all the more sobering when you realize that WE could be seeing the end of the founders’ dreams.

Is This the End of America?

In my devotions this morning, one writer made reference to Isaiah 6, where the prophet sees the Lord.  Considering what precedes this section of Scripture in Isaiah, that he had called out to a rebellious people warning of coming judgment unless they repented, Isaiah’s response is one of abject horror and despair.  Why?  If anyone could stand in God’s presence, surely it would have been Isaiah.  It’s as if no matter how righteous any descendent of Adam is, before a holy God, we are filthy deserving of nothing but God’s righteous anger.

This had been a time of national crisis following the death of King Uzziah in 740 B.C., the entire nation of Judah was in turmoil providing an opportunity for looking anew at their relationship with the God of Jacob.  As in our own country today, it seemed that Judah had lost its way and was adrift from God and His Word.  Isaiah, in an earlier plea to the nation (Isaiah 5), the prophet had warned the people of coming judgment unless they repented.  Surely this would mean that Isaiah was in good standing with God, right? 

Some time ago, while doing a field day clean up in our home, we lifted the coffee table off of the area rug we had in the living room.  We had vacuumed around the coffee table without moving it, and to our eyes, the area rug was clean of the usual pet hair, crumbs, and dirt that usually accumulates in any household.  But, when we took the coffee table off of that one area, we were confronted with how the area rug should look and were taken back at the difference between what we perceived as clean and what was truly clean.

So, Isaiah’s response upon seeing the Lord was a natural outgrowth of his understanding not only of Judah’s sin but his own as he stood in the presence of God.  I once heard a man say something that, at first, shocked me, but the more I thought about it, the more accurate it was.  He had been told that apart from God’s grace and the completed work of Calvary by Jesus, even someone viewed as righteous as Billy Graham would bust hell wide open.  When we compare ourselves with others, especially those who are recognized by society as evil (Idi Amin, Adolph Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc., etc., ad infinitum), we can seem to be pretty well off.  But that comparison gives anyone doing so a false sense of security as Isaiah and others found out.

Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”  Isaiah 6:5 NLT

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Isaiah 6:5 NIV

“Woe to me! I [too] am doomed! —because I, a man with unclean lips,living among a people with unclean lips, have seen with my own eyes the King, AdonaiTzva’ot!”  Isaiah 6:5 CJB

America is at a crossroads that will determine how long we, as a nation, shall go on.  Voices have been calling for some time for the dissolution of that upon which our country was founded.  We seem to want to decide for ourselves, apart from any outside interference, what is right and good.  The sexual revolution with abortion on demand rejected what God had said about the purity of the marriage relationship as well as the value of life itself.  This pattern continued as the idea of there being more than two genders (at last count, I think there are supposedly over seven!) based not upon science (though some argue for scientific justification of such), but upon how one feels about oneself.  This is now to the point where national stores allow men in women’s bathrooms; this pattern is repeated in public schools and even in prisons!

“All things are equal, and nothing is forbidden,” is the cry of these modern-day ‘prophets.’  What once was sacrosanct, is now considered old-fashioned and passe’.  Recently while one group was deemed to be selfish and self-serving for demonstrating peacefully for businesses to be allowed to re-open, others who rioted in our streets, causing tremendous damage, as well as the injury and deaths of many, were lauded as heroes.  What was right before is now thrown aside, and I have to wonder (perhaps as Isaiah had) what would be the end result.

“The Upward Look (6:1–4)

With the upward look, Isaiah saw the Lord (6:1). We know when that was (740 B.C.) and that Uzziah was one of the great kings. His death was a time of national mourning.

Times of national crisis are opportunities for people to have a new experience with God. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way. Recent events have been opportunities for revival in our land, but I haven’t seen much indication that it has taken place.

Isaiah went into the temple. The earthly throne was empty, but Isaiah saw God on His throne. Regardless of what goes on down here, God is still on His throne.

Vines Expository Bible Notes, Copyright © 2020 by Jerry Vines. (emphasis added)

God told Isaiah that his commission was one of woe, speaking to Judah that they would hear and see but not understand and repent leading to God removing them from the land just as He had already used Assyria to remove Israel (the northern kingdom). 

Then I heard the voice of Adonai saying,

“Whom should I send?
Who will go for us?”

I answered, “I’m here, send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people:

‘Yes, you hear, but you don’t understand.
You certainly see, but you don’t get the point!’

10 “Make the heart of this people [sluggish with] fat,
stop up their ears, and shut their eyes.
Otherwise, seeing with their eyes,
and hearing with their ears,
then understanding with their hearts,
they might repent and be healed!”                                          Isaiah 6:8-10 CJB

This may seem almost evil on the part of God; after all, it seems as though He is going to destroy the nation, not allowing them to repent.  When you review the history of Israel and Judah, you see many times that God extended mercy and grace to them over their history.  Even a potential war among themselves following the death of Solomon was not warning enough of their wayward path.  Yet even with prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah pleading with the people, they went on their way to destruction.  Why?

The excerpt from Vines reveals what had not happened to Israel and Judah; they had neglected to look up and see that God is always on His throne.  In our country, where it seems that no place is protected from the mayhem and strife occurring, we must stop looking at others and find our focus upon God.  Only with such a focus will we individually and corporately find our way again.

Only then can we hope to indeed remain, “…one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.                                                                                2 Chronicles 7:13,14 ESV (emphasis added)

We, the Church, must remember that the burden is upon us to bring about change.  We cannot rely on any political solution as those will change with public opinion; it is not external to us that needs to change but, as the old gospel hymn puts it:

“It’s me; it’s me, O Lord, standing in need of prayer…”

https://hymnary.org/text/not_my_brother_nor_my_sister_but_its_me

We must remember how Mordecai admonished Esther when she had been asked to intercede on behalf of the Jews:

“…Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.”

Esther 4:14 b

This is the time for the Church to step up and make a difference; to show the world and our nation that violence is not the answer to any injustice.  Pastor Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s and, through non-violent demonstrations brought the impact of Jim Crow laws and segregation into the public spotlight that would not allow them to be overlooked any longer.  We can and must do the same now.  Remember God’s reply when Isaiah asked for how long he would be ministering the word to Judah:

“Until cities become uninhabited ruins,
houses without human presence,
the land utterly wasted;
12 until Adonai drives the people far away,
and the land is one vast desolation.
13 If even a tenth [of the people] remain,
it will again be devoured.”

Isaiah 6:11 CJB

God willing, this will not be our country’s end.

Who You Gonna Call?

I long for the American that I grew up in; yes, we practiced ‘duck and cover’ under our desks at school, there was no Internet or home computers, and phones came with a cord.  One thing that I do not miss of that time (the ‘50s through the ‘60s) is the systemic racism that did exist (DID exist), but for me, it was a gentler, kinder time.

Growing up in a military family, I was already ‘integrated’ as all the Armed Forces had been so since after WW 2; sadly, my Mother carried an attitude toward ‘persons of color’ she had learned from her parents in England and passed on some of that to me.  As I related in a previous blog, even as a 5-year-old kid, there was a questioning of why this ‘separate-but-equal’ existed.  We have not yet reached Dr. King’s dream, but up until recently, it seemed that such was something that could be accomplished.  The economy had grown under new leadership, and the chances that brought to our country did include all people.

Those in the leadership of the Democratic party seemed bent on overturning the election of a sitting president through innuendo, falsehood, and fabrications that caused an incredible amount of wasted time, loss of focus, and (sadly) an increasing polarization between many in this country.  Imagined threats to our Republic perceived only by those of the Left have further harmed not only the country but caused growing tension nationwide.  Despite being exonerated on all charges, it seems the Democrats are bound and determined to prevent the re-election of President Trump even if they have to destroy our nation to do it.

COVID-19 was initially perceived as a viable threat to our nation’s health, going by the information we had received from China and the World Health Organization (not necessarily two distinct sources as we later found out).  A plan was devised to protect our populace by essentially placing most of us under house arrest and curtailing any and all traffic with China.  The media was filled with the impending deaths of millions of our citizens, and panic seemed the order of the day.  The governor in our state (North Carolina) chose which businesses were deemed ‘essential’ and could continue operation and which had to close their doors indefinitely.  What I found ‘interesting’ about his choices (and the decisions of other Democratic governors) was how the so-called Planned Parenthood baby-murders would continue, liquor stores remained open (in N.C. they are run by the state; apparently Governor Cooper wanted there to be no decrease in the revenues from this ‘vital’ industry), and all the big-box stores (with deep pockets to donate to said governors?) while the small businesses had to either close outright or jump through innumerable hoops to operate.

The media kept harping on the severity of COVID even after ongoing research showed it to be no more a threat than the usual seasonal flu.  Calls began to reopen our nation and get our economy booming again, but we who supported such were called selfish and uncaring as we wanted to be out in public again.  The major media outlets painted all such protestors (who were always peaceful and never caused damage to any business or threatened the police who had to enforce Cooper’s edicts) as selfish and causing danger to the nation.  The supposed plan to reopen our state (and other Democratic-run states as well) stretched out indefinitely, the lack of income from their businesses had caused many family-run stores or shops to shut their doors for good.  Again, the main-stream-media stepped in with hype about these demonstrators, reporting on them while being duly cautious by wearing a mask, but taking the mask off when the cameras were not rolling. 

Then four police officers in Minneapolis, MN, conspired together to cause the death of George Floyd. 

Suddenly COVID-19 was no longer a story; overnight, it completely disappeared from media outlets.  Many were shocked and disgusted by the behavior of these four men and their flagrant disregard for Mr. Floyd; in the video recorded of this, it was as if these men knew they were causing Mr. Floyd to die and just did not care either about this or how many people filmed it with their smartphones.  Why?  Why did they not only put him in the car when he was already handcuffed?  True, despite what the media reported, this man was a known felon, but that does not excuse how he was apparently murdered in cold blood (looking at the expression on the face of the officer who was kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck, it was as if he was watering his garden at home, not snuffing out a life).  One death at the hands of four men, a needless tragedy that it seems has sparked many more deaths and the destruction of too many businesses to count.  Why?

During the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s, Dr. Martin Luther King chose to emulate the behavior of his Savior, Jesus Christ, and that of Mahatma Gandhi in demonstrating for integrating our society as the founding fathers saw it.  Yes, there were many of those demonstrators (named and those who just disappeared) who were killed during this time, but they did not seek vengeance against those who did violence to them.  By their behavior, they shamed them and all of us with the rightness of their cause and opened a new chapter in the history of our country.  Demonstrating against those specific men who killed Mr. Floyd in a peaceful manner would have had the same result.  But, there seems to be a movement in this country to destroy the many things that make us a free nation, and now law enforcement appears to be the primary target.  Why?

Cries of police brutality and systemic racism are all over the media and make the law enforcement community appear to be nothing more than a bunch of KKK goons (by the way, that organization and the Jim Crow laws they supported were gifts to our nation from the Democratic Party).  The supposed systematic killing of any person of color by the police became fact overnight when it is actually quite the opposite.  Look at any statistics recorded in any city in our nation, and you will see that more white people are killed by the police than black even though a disproportionate amount of violent crime is done by black men and women.  But again, the media and Democrats have painted a picture that all law enforcement everywhere are guilty of racism and so must be punished.  Why?

What plan could the media or Democrats (or anyone) have for demonizing the police, sparking all the riots and destruction nationwide, and engendering the unrest that is occurring?  Another question that I have; why, when we protested in public for reopening the economy, were we vilified in the press, but these rioters who are bent on wholesale destruction and looting seem to be hailed as “…mostly peaceful demonstrators…” by the same media.  There have been many genuinely peaceful demonstrations, and I do applaud that, but the large-scale war on our law enforcement community is an attack on all of us!  Disbanding the police will do nothing but hand our nation over to the anarchists.  As the line from a famous movie put it, “Who you gonna call?”