Daniel Hewett

Encouragement and exhortation

Refuge in God

December 4th, 2012

Psalm 57:1 says:

I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

I was struck tonight with a greater meaning.  God wants us to take refuge in Him during times of trial and oppression.  I was thinking “why don’t we always just stay in the shadow of His wings” – Why bother leaving?  I think the point of the second half is that God desires us to soar.  He doesn’t want us to stay hunkered down.  His desire is for us to experience freedom.  He is not implying that we should leave him, but rather we are free to fly in His presence.  When a crisis comes, we need to hide a little.  We need a little more protection and a little more comfort.  But when it’s done, it’s time to take off and see the world God has created.

 

Ellen as an analog to the Government

November 20th, 2012

One of kids had the “Ellen” show on the other day.  Everybody loves her, because on every show she gives lots of things away.  On this show, everyone in the audience got a Coldplay video, and a few people got a $1000.  One family who had their home destroyed by the hurricane was getting a bunch of work done.  The list goes on and on.  She does all sorts of nice things for people, and she is very popular for doing so.

I don’t discredit the show, or Ellen, or her talents.  But what is really occurring? Is Ellen giving of herself, or is there something else going on?  Who pays for this?  This is where I see her as the analog for the government.  Many people see the government as the benevolent organization that helps people out.  There is some truth to that, but from whence does it truly come?.  Enter Ellen.  Instead of watching Ellen, watch her commercials – those “Evil Corporations” that are so mocked are the ones who are handing money to Ellen so she can give it away and look like a kindly person.  But step back again, and you will see that the corporate costs are just passed on to the consumer.  So who is the generous one?  You!

Now, I am not trying to knock her show, or what she does. I don’t even think that it is even bad.  The problem is how people see it.  Wonderful, giving Ellen bringing joy to every one.  In reality, it’s somewhat of a lottery funded by the sponsors.  If you get into the show you get some stuff.  If you are needy and someone passes your name to Ellen you might get a lot of stuff. Not a bad thing overall, but there is a subtle lie to the whole thing.

The analog is that the government works the same way.  Some people get stuff “from the kindly government”, but behind the scenes others are paying, often quite reluctantly.  The government comes off as the “kind person”, and the ones who pay are ignored, or even reviled.  So let’s put the spotlight to those who are really helping.  Thank you to those who buy the goods that sponsor the show.  A big thanks to the wealthy, who fund most of the rest of the country.  You are the true givers – even if you have no choice!

 

 

The new dreams of today’s children

August 24th, 2012

The dreams of today’s children

Chick-Fil-A – What is the real controvery

August 3rd, 2012

August first was a day of great division.  Unfortunately, most people don’t understand what the day was about.  Dan Cathy is the CEO and founder of CFA, and was asked a question during an interview on his opinion on homosexual marriage.  Dan said he was opposed.  What followed was outrage from the left and the media on his beliefs.  The Mayors of Chicago and Boston said they would fight against Chick-Fil-A ever getting into their cities.

So what is the real fight?  The left would have you believe this is about hating gay people, but they reality is, is that a man had an opinion on a subject, and the “open-minded” left declared that that opinion must be punished – with extreme prejudice.  Dan Cathy gave his opinion as Dan Cathy – he did not say “This is the Chick-Fil-A corporate position”.  As a result mayors and others began making illegal plans to block and harass Chick-Fil-A.

The support on August first was NOT about homosexuality, or Christianity, but rather there are a lot of people who are getting really tired of being told what they can think.  For decades, the left has been telling us to “have open minds”, and to “respect all opinions”, but now that they have a taste of power, they are ready to crush any dissenting opinion.  This is a Waterloo event. It has nothing to do with the Church.  The left would like to paint it as the “Big Mean Right Wing Fundamentalists against the poor loving homosexuals”, but in reality neither really has anything to do with it.

The agenda is also shown in the repsonse which is a “Gay Kiss-In” at Chick-Fil-A.  The point of the homosexual community here is not to love or show their side, it is only set up to offend those in the store.  It is an in-your-face event, again designed to punish.

We are careening toward a totalitarian society. Our rights are being stripped daily as congress passes law after law limiting them, and the President continues to sign executive orders stripping our most basic rights.

As the left so often likes to quote:

First they came for the communists
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

There is a breaking point, and I think for many we have reached it.  The left will continue to speak of the hatred by Christians, because it advances the left’s agenda.  They will continue to push this as David (the Homosexuals), vs. Goliath (The Right), and all the while they will run over the rights of everyone until they have complete power.

 

The Republican Deficit of Strategy

March 21st, 2012

The Obamacare contraception debacle has revealed that the Republican (R) party’s has either no ability to understand strategic and tactical thinking, or they are complicit with the goals of the Democrats (D). The D’s have implemented the perfect strategy against the Republicans. They issue a giant, unconstitutional program – Obamacare, then extend it in a controversial way – contraception. The R’s then demand that we roll it all the way back to… Obamacare. Mission accomplished. We now accept Obamacare as the new baseline of normal.

We do this over and over. Part of the problem is that the D’s are the activist party, and the R’s are the inactivist party. So the R’s want to have things stay the same, while the D’s are always pushing. As a result, the R’s get tired, and allow the D’s to push them – just not as far as the D’s are trying to go. The net result is that the D’s drive all agendas, the R’s just slow it down. We still get to the place they want us to get to, it just takes more time.

Even under George W. Bush we suffered this same thing.  Congress (D) would propose a huge new program, and GWB would compromise and put in place a slightly smaller “huge new program”. We have the inability to recognize the preciousness of our freedoms, and we are willing to let ourselves get pushed slowly down the road to serfdom. We will complain all the way, but ultimately we will comply.

Until we are ready to tell the government “stop bringing home the bacon”, they will continue to take all that we have, and remove all of our freedoms.

 

Finding your purpose

September 12th, 2011

I was listening to some interviews from some people who survived, or helped out in New York and the Pentagon after 9-11.  One of them was a man who survived at the Pentagon.  He talked about when he came home and talked to his son, there was some discussion about all that happened, and the fact that he had survived.  His son asked him “Now that you survived, what are you going to do with your life?”.   He was struck by the question and wrestled with it for days.  At first, I though “What an experience!”, and “What would I do?”.  Then I thought about it for a few minutes, and realized that we all are given the same “gift”.

It was obvious that the man on the radio was nearly killed, but each day we also could ask “Why was I not killed today?”  Really, there is no reason I shouldn’t be.  But the real question is:

“What will I do with my life, because God has chosen to give me another day?”

Book of Job #26,#27

August 28th, 2011

The next few chapters are the final speech of Job.  This is his summary of all that has transpired.  Job starts with his assessment of Bildad, but pay close attention to Job’s understanding of the natural world.  There are things in here that scientists did not identify until hundreds or even thousands of years later.

1 Then Job replied:

2 “How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
4 Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

5 “The dead are in deep anguish,
those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
6 The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destruction [Abaddon] lies uncovered.
7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Verse 14 is marvelous.  In essence Job is saying we don’t really get the tiny things that God does, so how will we understand His greater works.  Job starts with praise of the magnitude of God. However in the next chapter his complaint begins:

Chapter 27

1 And Job continued his discourse:

2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
3 as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
4 my lips will not say anything wicked,
and my tongue will not utter lies.
5 I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

Job is really digging his heels in.  He is correct that he did cause these problems through his sin.  But his frustration is overwhelming him.  The pain has become unbearable.

7May my enemy be like the wicked,
my adversary like the unjust!
8 For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
when God takes away their life?
9 Does God listen to their cry
when distress comes upon them?
10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?
Will they call on God at all times?

This is oddly comparative and judgement at the same time.  I think Job is categorizing his “friends” as his enemies, and asking the question “Will they call on God when in distress?”.  Job cranks it up a notch:

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;
the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12 You have all seen this yourselves.
Why then this meaningless talk?

13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
14 However many his children, their fate is the sword;
his offspring will never have enough to eat.
15 The plague will bury those who survive him,
and their widows will not weep for them.
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust
and clothes like piles of clay,
17 what he lays up the righteous will wear,
and the innocent will divide his silver.
18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
like a hut made by a watchman.
19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
a tempest snatches him away in the night.
21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
22 It hurls itself against him without mercy
as he flees headlong from its power.
23 It claps its hands in derision
and hisses him out of his place.”

Job has turned the tables, and has begun the assault on the three others.  “How will you do when the end arrives?”  “What is your place before God?”.  Good questions, and ones that need to be answered.

 

 

Book of Job #25

August 21st, 2011

1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 “Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
3 Can his forces be numbered?
On whom does his light not rise?
4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
5 If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
a human being, who is only a worm!”

Bildad does not have the hindsight that we have, nor can he “see behind the curtain”.  God declared Job as righteous, and he declared that boldly.  One of the mistakes the is often done is to compare man to God and declare the we are just worms and maggots.  But do not forget that we are the crown of God';s creation, and that God himself declared the man was “very good”.  Apart from Him we can do nothing – we are nothing.  But in Christ, we are majestic and glorious.

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him

God has a glorious destiny for us. Walk in it, and delight in it.

 

Book of Job #23, 24

August 7th, 2011

Wow, it’s been almost three months since my last post on Job.  I guess this what it means by “it just takes time”.  For the past three weeks I’ve been sick, and occasionally my wife will ask me “What can I do for you?”.  My answer is usually, “Nothing, I just need time to pass”.   Sometimes that is the only thing we can do is wait.  And waiting is hard.

The last time we listed to the Book of Job, Eliphaz had just blasted Job.   The book goes on:

1 Then Job replied:

2 “Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

The real frustration here is that God seems to be nowhere to be found.  Did God make a judgement?  Can Job present his case?  He does not know for God does not seem to be ready to speak.  The breeds frustration and anger.  I know that for me in my extended illness the biggest question is why?  I would be OK with it if I knew where it was going. Or if a Doctor said you have “x”, and it will take “Y” days/months/years to get better.  But instead things get a little better, and then they get worse.  I realize in the big scheme of illnesses, what I have is fairly minor.  I don’t have cancer, or some other great trial.  However, each day is still a trial.  In the mean time, Job is also getting weary:

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.

I feel like I understand this feeling.  After two weeks of my illness, I went to church, and we sang “You Won’t relent until you have it all, my heart is yours”.  The song was penetrating, as I realized God takes whatever He wants.  I don’t mean that in a negative way, rather we need to recognize that all that we have is His.  This includes life, health, property, everything.  All that we have is on loan.  When God says he wants it all, it means that all things must ultimately be used, and directed to Him, in recognition of who He is.  If we try to hoard it as something of our own, He will take it away.

Chapter 24

1Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces;
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.

This is the universal cry of Man.  We want to see God’s judgement on the things we see as wrong done on a quick and predictable timetable.  We also want a lot of mercy and grace when we fail.

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.

18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?”

Again, wow!  In spite of all the complaints Job admits that God is just, and the sinners end is the grave.  There is no ultimate glory from those who reject God.  Their time is fleeting, they hide in the night, avoid they day, and are ultimately rewarded with death.

These are powerful words.  Job still sees God as the one who is just.  It will be interesting to see what his friends have to say next.

 

Insight on Job

July 18th, 2011

I feel like I am going through Job in order to experience and understand God in a much deeper way.  (Un)fortunately, that path may have some similarities to Job’s.  Job starts with the destruction of his property and family, but then his health is taken away.  Job sits on the ground scraping at boils with broken ceramic.   Sometimes it’s hard to fathom the misery, especially when we can quickly read through it.  It takes time. (Perhaps this should be our theme phrase).

I am relating to Job a bit better based on the things that have happened to me in the last few months.  Almost two months ago I was hospitalized with diverticulitis.  I only had to spend a day there, but then the follow-up treatment is several days of fasting, followed by slowly adding new food into the diet.   The two weeks ago I got different kind of infection, then Saturday I came down with E. Coli.  So for three days, again its no food, and very nasty symptoms.  I’ve had E. Coli twice before of the last two decades, but this time I got a new symptom: itching over my entire body.   It wasn’t severe, but it was constant. It never lets up.  So I am exhausted, irritated, and generally not feeling well.  If you ever had any kind of stomach flu, you know the usual symptoms can be brutal (I won’t detail them here, thank you).

But itching is new.  It makes me yearn to have the other symptoms instead.   The problem is the itching is non-stop.  It grabs your attention.  It’s like having someone sitting next to you, interrupting you every five seconds demanding your full attention.   I got about two hours sleep last night because I could never get sleepy.  Like a constant dripping faucet.

Back to Job.  He obviously had it much worse, but as I go through this, I still have to ask “What are you doing here God?”  How long do I get to go through these things?  Today, I can still praise Him.   I would like health to return, but if this is the path He wants to take me on, then let’s take it!  At least that’s what I say today.  I hope that he strengthens me to be victorious and continue to praise.