Testimony of my mother Catherine Westerfield, March 7, 1950 – June 28, 2001
I can remember my conversion at the age of five so very well. It was a Sunday evening worship service. It’s remarkable, as I look back at how God revealed Himself so clearly – His infinite love for me. I was both in a state of bliss and crying at the same time. He revealed how He chose me, yes me, to be His own from all eternity; always in His love – I would never be without Him. I believed in His death on the cross for me personally, Catherine, and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven to be with His Father. I came to these revelations by the intense drawing of the Holy Spirit. He knew the difficulties that lay ahead in my life. Through all of the abuse and mental problems I never doubted my security of salvation or His infinite love for me. I did question, but never doubted that this was His eternal plan for me.
I won’t go into all the pain and problems I’ve had. God says He will give us trials. They came one right after another except for the period of time when I was first married in 1977 until December of 1983.
But we do not look at our trials as do unbelievers. We do not depend on status among our peers, acquiring possessions or position in life as a way of escaping our true need to simply lean on Christ’s breast and know He is refining us.
I’m not sure at what point, but some time over the past week or two, my 2Wire 3800 HGV-B router was upgraded to new firmware (by AT&T of course), version 220.127.116.11 or rather 18.104.22.168-enh.tm. I’m not positive this fixed it or if AT&T upgraded their firewall policy, but for whatever reason, my NAT loopback works now. This has been a major complaint by both tech-ey customers and AT&T tech’s on various forums I’ve read ever since U-Verse started it’s roll-out a couple of years ago. It’s a pain to work around if you’re doing any port-forwarding on the outside of the firewall and then attempt to access those open ports from the inside of the network outward. Well, if you get upgraded to the latest version or get the latest firewall rules from AT&T, you should be good now.
Theory aside, practically what does the health care legislation mean for businesses and therefore individual employees of those businesses … already? Read the article above. Now, after it’s too late, does everyone see a little clearer that this legislation is merely paving the way for single payer by raising costs to the point that the average person is forced onto the new system their setting up, which was the design of the whole thing to begin with (i.e., here is Obama on record showing his true intentions for health care; do you honestly think he ever changed his position on this from then until now)? This is very unfortunate. It is also unfortunate that any reasonable economic or business discussions concerning this were essentially thrown to the wind in favor of emotional appeals and alarmist cries against anyone who opposed this of insensitivity toward the poor and disenfranchised, which is completely disingenuous and intellectually dishonest, in my opinion.
Nobel Prize winner of economics in the 20th century, Milton Friedman, explains in this old video why entitlement policies, while well-intentioned, are fundamentally flawed at their root. Really wish we would pay attention to even recent history, let alone distant. We’re a very short-sighted people.
It is a sad day … no, not about health care. It is sad to see so many, I would even venture to say a majority of fellow believers (many possibly assumed believers of the verbally violent conservative bent) controlled more by their affections and longings for a temporal, earthly kingdom that will pass away, yes, even America with all of its greatness, instead of the eternal kingdom ruled by Jesus with His might and power that will never pass away. It is sad to see fellow believers more mournful for the loss they feel of their “rights” or privileges that are gifts of grace to begin with, than upset about the tragedy of sin in their own hearts or the tragedy that a great majority of people around us will go to hell under God’s just punishment (think Jesus looking over Jerusalem and weeping). It is sad to see believers more willing to voice their outrage, anger and fear over legislation that will come and go (all the while ignoring His sovereign authority over that legislation to begin with) than voice their commitment to the Gospel and commitment to solid doctrine.
I am not without fault in these areas. I’ve learned the hard way in the not-so-distant past. This isn’t to say I didn’t struggle with these affections during this recent process even. This does not mean I don’t hold the same convictions I’ve always held. And it doesn’t mean I withhold commentary on points of conviction or withhold my involvement in the political process. If anything, we need more and improved discourse concerning all these issues and more to come. It is unfortunate public discourse has devolved into “tweet” snippets of useless rhetoric that does little to address actual issues.
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” – Romans 8:33
Recently, I have been in great need of repeating Gospel promises to myself, almost continually, otherwise my heart has seemed to slip very quickly into bitterness, misery, spiritual depression, anger, and the like. I’m not sure why, but it has been so. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Not me. Knowing Romans 8 to be chock full of promises from God, fulfilled in Christ, I read it and came across this one headline truth that I need pounded into my head and my heart. Romans 8:33 above.
This one statement sums up what the Gospel is about, namely it is God who justifies. The whole Bible itself can be summed up in that one central truth. I don’t justify my existence, or my works, or my interactions with others; God does, more precisely Christ does, and even more precisely in the cross and resurrection. Of course the Bible goes much further than just this simple statement that it is God who justifies. But if you could sum it up, I don’t know how much better you can get. This is what distinguishes the Gospel from all other truth claims of various religions, for each one is all about justifying yourself through what you do. And it is the one central truth I need headlined in my heart when the weight of sin and my own unbelief clouds my vision.
The words ‘piety’, ‘holiness’, ‘righteousness’ amongst others are words few hear today from church pulpits without thinking of the evils of legalism. Even the word ‘religion’ has been lambasted to the point of being equal to that of the ideology of the Pharisees.
What has occurred though to a great degree is that the idea of piety itself, properly defined, in Biblical terms has been left by the way side, in the wake of moving from one extreme to the other. Personal holiness is something that is lightly if ever talked about. We talk about our mistakes or external sins here and there, for sure, but how often are we admonished to pursue virtuous piety, in the terms the Bible describes? It is a shame personal holiness is not advocated the way the Scripture advocate it. The problem is that you risk offending people, which is exactly what Scripture does to sinners (like myself) who are in violation of God’s law. It brings rebuke and correction, something our “enlightened” American society has a hard time with.
For those who are not privy to nerdy, futuristic dystopian science fiction movies, Soylent Green is a classic. By today’s standards, it’s an awful movie (maybe even by that day’s standards as well). It’s pretty bad. Regardless, the plot is of particular interest here.
Released in 1973, the movie portrays a time in the future, specifically the year 2022, when the population of New York City (one slice of the world’s total population at the time) has exploded to a massive 40,000,000 people. Resources are scarce (especially food), poverty is rampant, streets are crowded, and all power has been consolidated into the hands of the government to control the masses of people who are out of control. Because of the lack of food, a company used by the government, Soylent Corporation, produces high-energy ration wafers that the people can consume for nutrition. There is Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow and a new product, Soylent Green. Long story short (here’s a spoiler), Soylent Green turns out to be processed dead people. It’s a sort of secret, government-sponsored recycling program. Yeah gross.