Tuesday, January 30, 2007

There is not much doubt that Americans are religious and believe in God for the most part. In fact, the preambles of the State constitutions almost all refer to God in some way. Here they are.

Alabama 1901 , Preamble . We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Alaska 1956, Preamble . We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble . We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.

Colorado 1876, Preamble . We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble . Through Divine Goodness all m en have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble . We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble . We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble . We, the people of the State of ! Illinois , grateful to Almighty God for the civil l, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble . We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings estab lish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble . We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble . We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording u s an opportunity ... And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble . We...the people of Massachusetts , acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe .. In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ..

Michigan 1908, Preamble le. We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Minnesota , grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings

Mississippi 1890, Preamble . We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble . We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness .. Establish this Constitution .

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ...

Nebraska 1875, Preamble . We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble . We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V . Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble . We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico 1911, Preamble . We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty New York 1846, Preamble . We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Pream! ble . We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those

North Dakota 1889, Preamble . We , the people of North! D akota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble . We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble . Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this .

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2.
All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble . We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preambl! e . We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble . We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble . Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble . Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author
of Existence has bestowed on man .

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty w hich we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other

Washington 1889, Preamble . We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble . Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm
our faith in and constant reliance upon God ..

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble . We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility;

Wyoming 1890, Preamble . We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties .. establish this Constitution.

Gratitute to God and pleas for His guidance were common in these documents. We need them both today.

Thoughts on Psalm 46:1-3 (NASB)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Times of trouble come to all of us. Believers are not exempt from trouble, despite what some might tell you on television. And we all know that, don’t we? We all have friends and relatives die. We all get sick, and some get really sick. Some have financial trouble, marital trouble, kid trouble, job trouble and even church trouble. Trouble is out there and will always be.

The promise is not that we will not have trouble, but that God will be there to help us in trouble. This verse says God is three things in times of trouble, our refuge, our strength, and our very present help.

God is our refuge. A refuge is a shelter from trouble or danger, as in your house being a refuge from a bad thunderstorm. God is our shelter. We can run to him when trouble comes and look for shelter from the storm. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that, when we bring our anxieties to God, his peace will guard our hearts and our minds.

God is our strength. Sometimes we just feel weak. Our problems are too much, or they have gone on too long, and we just do not feel like we can continue to bear them, much less solve them. But God not only gives us strength, he IS our strength. We fall on him and he lifts us up and strengthens us so we can continue on.

Finally, he is our very present help in times of trouble. He will help us in the present, not just in the future. He is there with us. We can pray for wisdom, for discernment, for relief, and he is there.

And it doesn't matter what the trouble looks like. Even if mountains slip into the sea, he is there for us. Therefore, we do not need to fear. If you are afraid, don't look at the problem, look at God. The physical things we see are a present reality, but so is the nature of our unseen God. Put your trust in him, call to him for help, and do not fear the world.

If you would like to investigate an inmate’s prison status [where housed, parole eligibility dates, etc.], this is the site for all Texas inmates:
[Go to “Online Offender Search.” You may need to hold down the control key when you click “submit request.”]

Also, the state-wide victim assistance information can be found at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim Services site:

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice general site is: http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/

Federal bureau of prisons “Inmate locator” can be found at
This site includes defendants who have served time and have been released.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I lost some things along the way.
Some I noticed, and missed.
Some just fell away and were gone.

I lost some things, yes,
But found myself: Older, wiser,
Hurt, but healed.

Sometimes I turned my head to look
As if I might see what I had dropped
But stumbled instead, losing precious time.

So now I look straight ahead,
Knowing what is lost is gone,
But there is still much walking to be done.

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -- Winston Churchill"

A modest little person, with much to be modest about."---- Winston Churchill"

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."-- Clarence Darrow"

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."-- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)"

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"-- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)"

Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."-- Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."-- Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."-- Groucho Marx"

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."-- Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."-- Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend... if you have one."-- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."-- Winston Churchill, in response

"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here."-- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."-- John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."-- Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."-- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."-- Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy."-- Walter Kerr

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."-- Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."-- Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."-- Thomas Brackett Reed

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."-- James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."-- Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."-- Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"-- Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."-- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."-- Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than llumination."-- Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."-- Billy Wilder

The U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population but over 23% of the world’s incarcerated people.

The U.S. incarcerates the largest number of people in the world.

The incarceration rate in the U.S. is four times the world average.

The U.S. imprisons the most women in the world.

In case a liberal critic tells you that America is cheap regarding health care, remind him or her that 43 million Americans are on Medicare.

Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary, and a Calvinist, has his own blog. He said God has predestinged who will win the Super Bowl. I think that is more a matter of Deteminism than Calvinism, but you can read his blog at: http://www.netbloghost.com/mouw/.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Go here to see great workplace posters from Demotivators. Example: that which doesn't kill me postpones the inevitable.
I'm not the only one skeptical of the global warming craze. Governor Rick Perry said today there's a lack of scientific consensus on whether human activity causes climate change. Perry does not want the state at a competitive disadvantage due to regulation that is not warranted. The last thing I read said cows put out much more gas than humans, and the increase in cattle was likely more harmful than an increase in cars. More support for the eat more chicken campaign.

One big problem no one talks much about is how short the time frame of measurement is. We have only been recording temperatures for 100 years. Since the very people who decry global warming claim the earth is millions of years old, how can you know this is not part of a normal cycle? Even for the period we have recorded temperatures, we know there have been warmer and cooler cycles.

We need more information before we take drastic actions. Sometimes the remedy causes more damage than the problem.

David Heddle at He Lives has a good post on eugenics. Richard Dawkins, mentioned frequently here as the Fundamentalist Evolutionist and Anti-Christian, advocates for it. He thinks it has been long enough since Hitler for us to give it a go.

Of course, if you believe we humans are just another bunch of animals, as does Dawkins, why not breed them for what you want? Of course, he expressed it nobly, as in, we would breed for mathmatical ability. But you know that would not be the limit. We would breed for football players, sexiness and who knows what else. I don't want to know what else.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Michael Haykin has an interesting post on the responsibility of theologians to communciate with the rest of the world of faith. Here is the money quote: "If God has called a person to a life of theological scholarship, such a person has a responsibility before God to “communicate lucidly” with the church. And also to recognize that he is responsible to the church for his doctrine and thought."

While faith cannot be intellectualized, the greater problem for evangelicals, and Southern Baptists, is an anti-intellectual mode that shies away from deep thinking. This creates a real gap between the seminary and the lay person. I really believe one of the jobs of the pastor\teacher is to impart theology to the laity. We get lots of practical living tips loosely based on scripture in today's preaching, but precious little theology or doctrine. As a result, few Baptist lay persons have much of a grasp of basic doctrine and are easily influenced by non-orthodox thought and writing that appears in much popular Christian literature. You cannot lament the ignorance of the people if you don't teach them.


"The people who sneer at what is called Calvinism might as well sneer at Mont Blanc. We are not in the least bound to defend all of Calvin's opinions or actions, but I do not see how any one who really understands the Greek of the Apostle Paul or the Latin of Calvin and Turretin can fail to see that these latter did but interpret and formulate substantially what the former teaches."

(The street that runs along the north edge of the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is named after this Calvinist Baptist preacher.)


I picked up my new glasses today. I hate to go to the doctor, of any variety, and generally postpone it as long as possible. The anti-reflecting material on my old pair was coming off in spots, making it hard to see and making the glasses look mottled to others. People were bugging me to get a new pair. Finally, at the end of the year, I had unused funds in the flex plan I had to spend. So, on the last day of the year, I went in for a check up and ordered a new pair.

Boy are the lenses clear. I can see much better without the peeling material problem. Plus, they have convenient stap on sunglasses.

All is well that ends well, and I (hopefully) won't have to return for 2 years.


5:1 Our Eternal House In Heaven

1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Paul continues in this chapter to talk about why he does not lose heart. He does not lose heart because he knows, even if his earthly body is destroyed, he has a heavenly or eternal house or dwelling coming.

The phrase “earthly tent” is a metaphor for our physical bodies. Our physical body is a temporary dwelling, as is a tent. A tent is more fragile than a house or a building. The word “if” does not mean death is ultimately uncertain, but that Paul is making an “if\then” statement (a “conditional” in Logic). If “A” happens, then “B” happens. If the tent is destroyed, we have a building to take its place.

Some day our earthly body, or tent, will die. But our spirit does not die. Psalm 146:3-4 says the spirit will depart and the body returns to the ground. Why does it say “return”? Genesis 2:7 says the Lord god formed man from the dust of the ground. The body came from the ground and it will return there. That verse also says God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. The spirit came from God.

When Adam sinned, not only was he separated from God, but his physical body became perishable. In Genesis 3:19, God said Adam would return to the ground for that is where he was taken from.

Ecclesiates 12:7 says the body returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it. That is what death is for us. It is a separation of body and spirit.

Our spirit returns to God at death. Paul said we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven. Some say Paul is talking about the body we will ultimately have. But, that comes later, at the resurrection. Paul was not talking about the resurrection as he was in 1 Corinthians 15, when he said Christ would return and we would be raised and given glorified bodies. Instead he is talking about physical death.

So, I think the “building” in this verse is our eternal home, heaven. We will exchange the temporary for the permanent, the fragile for the durable. Paul says 3 things about this building. First, it is from God. Second, it is an eternal house in heaven. Third, it is not built by human hands.

Jesus told his disciples, in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are man rooms [dwellings]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Jesus has prepared a place for us that we will receive at death.

I don’t believe the Bible teaches that we go to sleep at death and awake at the resurrection. Rather, I believe it teaches that, at death, we go immediately to heaven to be in the presence of Christ. That makes sense in this passage, as Paul says he has comfort in that, even if he is killed here, he has a dwelling with Christ in heaven that is better than life here. In Philippians 1:23, he says he desires to depart and be with Christ, not take a long nap, the “Big Sleep”, if you are a Raymond Chandler fan.

In Matthew 22:31-32, Jesus referred to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and said God is the God of the living. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, angels carried Lazarus at death to Abraham’s side, or to heaven. (see Luke 16:22). The rich man went directly to Hades and suffered.

At the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Christ. (see Matthew 17:3). Jesus told the believing thief on the cross, today you will be with me I paradise. (see Luke 23:43) Hebrews 12:22-23 says we have come to the city of the living God and the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says this: (Q.37) "The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves, till the resurrection."

The Heidelberg Catechism teaches us to confess that "my soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head" (Q & A 57).

Richard Baxter said: Rebirth brings us into the Kingdom of grace, and death into the Kingdom of glory.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in soul sleep and rewrite the passage of the thief on the cross to accommodate their view (I say to you today…). Roman Catholics believe the soul goes to Purgatory to be purged of sins. There is no scriptural support for this.

Our dwelling in heaven is not made by human hands, but prepared by Christ for us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I don't know about you, but here in Fort Worth we'd like to see a little global warming! The temperature is dropping, we've had tons of rain and the weatherman said to expect an ice storm late tonight. The ice is supposed to stay on the ground until Tuesday!

Where is Al Gore when you need him? I thought it was supposed to be warm? Plus, I'm here by myself and that makes it colder.

The Baby went back to college today. We packed her car in a thunderstorm. You heard right, we had a thunderstorm as a precursor to the ice storm, complete with thunder and lightening. She took off and I was glad she got out before any ice came.
Of course, most of the time, the weather folks over sell the ice and snow thing and nothing happens. But they said "cross their hearts" this time.

To add insult to injury, Starbucks closed and sent their people home. Wimps! Fortunately, I had some Christmas blend courtesy of Bruce and Cindy, so I made about 100 cups and am working my way through them. The temperature must be dropping again, because the heater has come back on. I better go pour another cup.

To top it all off, the Little Woman had to go to work. The last time she went to work before an ice storm, she was stuck there for 3 days because other nurses wouldn't come to work. They are probably the same people who closed Starbucks.

The final straw is that hardly anyone will come to church tomorrow, even if we have it. It's hard to work hard preparing a Bible Study when you don't think anyone will come. The good news is, Bible Study is always good for you.

It's too bad I can't do it at Starbucks tonight.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Calvinist Gadfly is challenging readers to memorize a verse per week in 2007 as a New Year's resolution. I think it's a worthy resolution. Try it.
Sorry, I forgo the link. Go here to read White's post.
James White points out that the members of the singing group, Phillips Craig and Dean are United Pentecostal and the problems that raises. I didn't know they were. UPC is not Trinitarian, therefore, not part of the orthodox Christian tradition. That's a shame.

Monday, January 01, 2007


From Shirona, on Monk, referring to politicians: "I never vote. It only encourages them."
Domestic violence has dropped by about 50% over the last 10 years. That's a good sign. Domestic violence is overwhelmingly a crime committed by men against women. It often involves alcohol use. Filing cases for the district attorney always exposes you to many abuse cases. Most involved drunk men. Some were paranoid and believed their wives were messing around. Others just were controlling and angry and punished their wives for doing anything they did not want them to do. One man beat his wife because she stopped at the local convenience store and bought milk on credit because she had no money. Obviously, the problem is in the man, not the woman. Publicity, punishment and societal disapproval seem to have worked to a great extent to reduce this crime. Now, if we could change the men themselves, we could eliminate it.

But, you know how hard it is to change.


Adam Air, operating out of Indonesia, has lost a plane. The plane was only making a two hour flight. Representatives say it hit very bad weather. Aren't you supposed to check the weather before you leave? Don't you have a way to call them and say there is bad weather and you need to change your route?

Flying in Asia is always an adventure and one I would like to avoid, except where someone else offers the service. It's like rolling the dice to fly on many of these airlines. Last year, Adam Air had a plane lose its communications systems for 4 hours.

It may be because they don't have much practice. They've only been in operation since December 2003. We can only hope the plane landed safely somewhere.

Well, we are here. You have enjoyed your New Year's Eve, or not, and have arrived at 2007. If that depresses you, remember the date is a totally artificial construct that basically means nothing other than a way to organize your papers or checks.

We watched Pretender episodes until right before midnight, then the Little Woman wanted to turn the channel and watch the ball drop. We did, although I can't figure out why. What I really can't figure out is why a million people crowd into Times Square to watch it live and in person. I thought New Yorkers were supposed to be sophisticated, but here are a million of them crowding into this square to watch a big colored ball with pretty lights slide down a pole. Don't even try to tell me it was all tourists.

Richard Dawkins wonders how we can believe in God after all these years. That one isn't hard for me, but I wonder what it is about gaudy colored lights that makes human beings go crazy. We string them all over our houses at Christmas, then at New Years we light up places and shoot fireworks. We shoot fireworks on Independence Day and after out door concerts and for almost any reason, just so we can see the pretty lights and go "ooooh".

I wonder if Richard Dawkins likes fireworks? Or stays up 'til midnight to watch the ball drop? It's not very evolved.

The good thing about New Year's Day, otherwise known as January 1, is we get to eat black eyed peas. The Little Woman soaked them in water over night. That makes them softer and also seems to remove the gas, for which I am grateful. Then, she'll cook them with onions and other stuff and it will be really good. It is a tradition for us. It is not sophisticated: in Iowa people won't eat black-eyed peas, they only feed them to pigs. Which is what the Little Woman is doing in a sense.

So, Happy New Year to you. I hope you are happy this year. May only good things come your way. May God bless you richly.