On the Road in Kentucky

(First portion of this blog written around 3:00PM…)

Well, my wife is driving and I’m not connected to the Internet, so I’m trying to take advantage of a recommendation I read once on Web Worker Daily and cleaning out my Inbox.  It’s one element of implementing the David Allen stuff that I have not been able to do, yet.

In doing so, I keep coming across things that I had set aside for a variety of reasons, planning to get back to, but never actually revisiting at all — often the way of things in the wayward Inbox!

Some of the items I had flagged for good reason, but some of them I flagged merely because they had a nice thought or idea that I didn’t want to lose but didn’t have anything place to put them.  E-mails with good quotes seem to have frequently fallen into this latter category.  Here’s some I had put aside…

Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes (from my Simpleology subscription e-mails): 

  • “Shallow men believe in luck.  Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
  • “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”
  • “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.”
  • “Doing well is the result of doing good.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero quotes (same source, different time):

  • “We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.”
  • “Great is the power of habit. It teaches us to bear fatigue and
    to despise wounds and pain.”
  • “In so far as the mind is stronger than the body, so are the ills contracted by the mind more severe than those contracted by the body.”

In other news: The trip has gone fine so far.  A LOT of rain!  I would say that it rained during 75%-or-so of our trip, the dry time being the very beginning.

[Later, back at the ranch…]

Well, we’re off the road and at our hotel for the evening somewhere east of Nashville.  Sure enough, the rain continued the entire way here — even through our extensive leg-stretching, dinner-consuming, children-exercising break walking around the Opryland Mills Mall.

I was curious to know if Georgia experienced any of this rain, given the public prayers for rain offered yesterday by the governor of Georgia, Sunny Perdue.  So I jumped online here at the hotel (unlike a Hilton I stayed at once, this hotel — like almost all others in the solar system — offers free wireless Internet) and Googled “governor pray for rain.”

The result of this quick search was a blog entry by a Fox News reporter, Lauren Green, who mentions the situation, as well as a Fox special on miracles coming up (predictably) during the Christmas season.  The title sounds completely annoying: Miracles: Fact, Fiction or Faith.  However alliterate, it’s annoying because it makes faith sound like it is a third alternative — something magically between fact and fiction.  But the show, itself, might be worthwhile.  We’ll have to see.

But I did find her comments about God’s will, law, and love interesting.  Here’s the paragraph:

Dr. Keith Boyd of Trinity Baptist Church in New York City, says prayer is a way to converse with God, but that not all prayers are answered the way we want or expect. The person must ask God what’s on his or her heart, but that the bottom line is that God’s will, must be done. Now how do you know what God’s will is? We don’t. But we know God’s law and God’s love. And God’s law is not just a set of arbitrary rules and regulations, but a description of who God is, His very character. So aligning yourself with God’s law can at least put you in the same ballpark of understanding his will. But it still doesn’t assure us of getting what we asked for. After all, God is not a genie. He is not a fairy godmother, sent to give us everything we asked for.

Did you catch that?  Let’s say it again, it was so good!  (Emphases mine.)

Now how do you know what God’s will is? We don’t. But we know God’s law and God’s love. And God’s law is not just a set of arbitrary rules and regulations, but a description of who God is, His very character. So aligning yourself with God’s law can at least put you in the same ballpark of understanding his will.

Hmmmm…  “God’s law… is a description of who God is, His very character.”  I’ve heard that somewhere before…

I like the comment about God’s not being a genie to be called on to make our wishes come true, as well, and have been working on a sermon about that very idea.

I don’t know if those thoughts were Dr. Boyd’s or Ms. Green’s, but they’re good thoughts!  Give her some credit and click on the link to read the whole blog here: “Georgia is Living on a Prayer for Rain.”

That’s all for now — I’ve got to help get some kids ready for bed (although I must admit that the missus has already done most of the work) (as usual).

Take care,
Wallace Smith

6 thoughts on “On the Road in Kentucky

  1. Merrilee

    It’s 11:40pm central. Northern Georgia has a storm moving across it and Lake Lanier is currently under yellow & red on the weather.com radar map.

    Last night, a small system moved right over the lake. I hope & pray people are taking note.

  2. Hi Mr. Smith,

    Don’t you think the comments of Dr. Boyd were a little … weak? Sure, he was right in saying that if we align ourselves with God’s law, we are on track toward aligning ourselves with and understanding God’s will. And you could hardly ask for a better definition in principle of what God’s law is. But either he didn’t want to offend people by overplaying that “horrible, restrictive thing” called God’s law (and that maybe the lack of rain was happening because people were breaking that law), or he really was operating on the basis of partial ignorance. Either way, it’s too bad.

    I think you and I would agree — wouldn’t we? — that God’s will is very much knowable in most cases, especially in this one. What applied to ancient Israel under Solomon surely applies in principle just as much here and now:

    (2 Chronicles 7:13 ESV) 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,
    (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV) 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.

    Many conservative Protestants and Messianic Jews — people who at least respect God’s law in principle as the holy and honorable thing it is — have dared to say these words to our nation. So have we. I wish that Dr. Boyd had done the same.

    What makes the drought more poignant to me, and probably to many others, is that Georgia is in the very heart of the Bible Belt. But then, the “Left Coast” and much of the whole West has suffered drought and fires; and other places have faced their own catastrophes. Could it be that God is showing that false Christianity is no better than unbelief or neo-paganism?

  3. P.S.: “Fact, fiction or faith”…see what I meant elsewhere about many people being slow to realize that there is no such thing as metaphysical neutrality? Facts always must be interpreted in an axiomatic context — that is, in a framework of faith. The only questions are, do you want a faith that leads to the simplest and most complete explanation of all the facts (which is truth), or do you want a faith that leads to something else (which is fiction or error)?

    I can understand your annoyance at that glib phrase. I share it, if only at my own human nature (which would like to absorb that phrase’s underlying hypnotic fantasy as just another pretext to “do its own thing”).

  4. Howdy, Mr. Wheeler, and, yes, we would agree — particularly in general, and generally in particular. 🙂

    I do think that some, at times, are too quick to claim an understanding of God’s will in detail, when they may be at a particular moment in time when it can only be known more broadly. But this is a more rare error than the belief that it cannot be known, to be sure.

    And I intended no critique of Dr. Boyd’s intentions behind his comments, only a directing to what they say on the surface. If he truly believes that God’s will can be at least partially revealed in His law, then he will draw the same conclusions. The degree to which he believes the implications of what he has said is something I might speculate about but would rather leave uncommented in the spirit of 1 Samuel 16:7 — taking what joy I can in the fact that such a marvelous truth was expressed in the world, however shallowly it may have been believed.

    Thanks for writing in, and I hope you are having a wonderful Sabbath —

    Wallace Smith

  5. Dear Mr. Smith,

    *Shabbat shalom* (שבת שלום)! Thanks for printing all my comments here and there. Hopefully it shows that what I say is worth reading.

    (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV) But the LORD said to Samuel, “…For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

    Obviously, you didn’t mean to critique Dr. Boyd’s motives and were glad he got as far as he did in his thinking. I wish in a way that I could be equally glad. But I have a diffferent temperament (I’m infamously a glass-half-empty person, while you seem to be a glass-half-full person), and perhaps also a somewhat different outlook on such people. For “it is written again”: 🙂

    (Proverbs 20:11 ESV) Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
    (Matthew 7:20 ESV) Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

    Herbert W. Armstrong cited the aphorism “a man may be sincere, yet sincerely wrong” for a reason. I believe that why he did so is closely connected to the fundamental strengths and weaknesses he saw in himself and those called to the Work he led, in line with what the Bible says about his Church era. Regrettably, I see some of our brethren put way too much stock in what people like Dr. Boyd say and do, simply because such people are “sincere” and happen to agree with a lot of what we say and do. As time goes on, we are going to be tempted in that way a lot more — even by Catholicism.

    What I’m really saying is that I believe the time has long since passed for half-measures on the part of our country. It has gotten so bad that the “national repentance” we Church of God members long for will require the rejection of our country’s very “Americanism” — including the cherished freedom to worship each according to the dictates of his own conscience. Nothing less than full surrender to God’s government will save our nation from what God says will come upon it. And I’m afraid that Dr. Boyd and his ilk are nowhere near where they should be on that score. Where they are is a beginning — but only a beginning. May they all go much, much further. America needs it.

    שלום
    יוחנן רכב

  6. Howdy, again, Mr. Wheeler —

    Actually, I wasn’t “glad he got as far as he did in his thinking” at all. I was simply happy to see in print words that we have been trumpeting for decades. As for Proverbs 20:11 (one of my favorite verses) and Matthew 7:20, I have not seen Dr. Boyd’s works, nor His fruit. My focus was not on the person at all, but on the fact that “I’ve heard that somewhere before” which I tried to communicate (though perhaps I did so poorly).

    And, really, I’m neither a “The glass is half-full” nor a “The glass is half-empty” sort of person. I’m really more of a “The 4 ounces of water before me is really overdressed” sort of person, I think, but I’m not yet sure what that means…

    Take care,
    Wallace Smith

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