#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And Now for Something Entirely Different

I read through my last few blogs and realized that I haven't shared much happiness, laughter or funniness lately. Therefore I must correct this situation immediately!

Call in the Silly Sailors, the Bombadiers of Belly Laughs and the Army of Incompetent Clowns. When our pastor reaches this point, he pulls out his old faithful jokes that still garner laughs - some out of genuine humor and some out of politeness. However, I don't have much of an arsenal. I'll have to dig in my dog anecdotes closet or my Broadway lyrics library or my own pratfalls and mis-speaking history.

That said, hmmmmm. About dogs. Dogs are funny people with funny habits and funny ways of communicating. My brother-in-law, who has a one-year-old baby, recently told me that dogs have more intelligence than a human being up to the age of two. Now, I absolutely believe everything that my brother-in-law says, but I wonder if he might not be a bit biased in this recent revelation. His baby girl is developing her voice and learning to understand words. She has no teeth, yet, and has a wobbly walk. Gates guard all the stairways in their house. Her babble is hilarious and is beginning to sound like sentences. Our dogs do that, too. My husband is convinced that our dog Larry says, "Hello you!" Both species seem to communicate quite well, despite the language limitations.

However, unlike our dogs, our little niece does not choose to sleep on electrical wires, rush outside to bark at the neighbors on the other side of the fence, chase snarling raccoons up trees or roll in foul-smelling objects in the yard for perfume. I'd say that gives her a definite edge in the intelligence arena.

Thus ends my discourse of the day. Unfortunately, the Humor Army, Navy and Air Force failed to show today. Maybe tomorrow.... Maybe someday...

Postscript: Our fierce guard dogs had their first tangible tangle with a skunk this past week. Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap makes for the best internet remedy we have discovered so far - plus it would make a great science experiment!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Being Hated

Matthew 10:22 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved."

Knowing that you are actively hated can be a frightening thought - especially if those who hate you can also hurt you. Hate can also be incredibly painful when it comes from family members or those who have been close to you. However, followers of Jesus should not be surprised by hate, nor should they fear it.

In Matthew 10:16-22, Jesus warns his twelve closest disciples of the cost of following him: "Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. Be on guard against men [whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues, And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles (the nations).

But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death.

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved from spiritual disease and death in the world to come]."

Notice that Jesus said not to be anxious. And, why could he say this? Because the world does not have the power to hurt his believers. Our earthly physical bodies will be shed when we die anyway - to be replaced by with new ones. Our duration after death is eternal, our duration on earth is very short.

While Jesus warned his twelve disciples - and therefore, all of his followers (even to this day) - he also promised a life of fullness and abundance. In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."

Believers live in this strange position of being hated and persecuted but also having a life full of abundance. 1 Peter 5:8 says "...your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." But verse 9 continues, "Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."

Christian persecution certainly exists in America - often in the form of "Christians" who disagree with other Christians' faith and practice. How tragic this is considering that this country was founded to guarantee freedom of religion. Persecution is not, however, surprising. Jesus guaranteed that his followers would experience persecution. And, Jesus' promises never fail even when governments' promises do.

The one thing that Jesus' followers can not do is to hate back or to nurture hate for their oppressors. If they did so, then the thief/the devil/the roaring lion would win. Jesus said that hating someone in your heart is the same as murder. Hatred and fear are sin. Sin separates us from the goodness and abundance of God.

Therefore, "Fear not! If God be for us, who can be against us?" Or as young David put it, "Who is this uncircumsized Philistine!" Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Believers will be hated, but don't need to hate back because they experience such great love from their merciful, just, loving and patient God. Endure!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

from Citizens for Legal Responsibility

In the ongoing process of research for my novel, I have been reading about judicial corruption in the state of Illinois - which has no shortage of public corruption, as everyone knows. I found the following discussion of judicial responsibility very interesting and wanted to share it here for the purpose of further educating voters making decisions in this election year.

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that "if the magistrate has not such jurisdiction, then he and those who advise and act with him, or execute his process, are trespassers." Von Kettler et.al. v. Johnson, 57 Ill. 109 (1870)

Under Federal law which is applicable to all states, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that if a court is "without authority, its judgments and orders are regarded as nullities. They are not voidable, but simply void; and form no bar to a recovery sought, even prior to a reversal in opposition to them. They constitute no justification; and all persons concerned in executing such judgments or sentences, are considered, in law, as trespassers." Elliot v. Piersol, 1 Pet. 328, 340, 26 U.S. 328, 340 (1828)

The Illinois Supreme Court held that if a court "could not hear the matter upon the jurisdictional paper presented, its finding that it had the power can add nothing to its authority, - it had no authority to make that finding." The People v. Brewer, 128 Ill. 472, 483 (1928). The judges listed below had no legal authority (jurisdiction) to hear or rule on certain matters before them. They acted without any jurisdiction.

When judges act when they do not have jurisdiction to act, or they enforce a void order (an order issued by a judge without jurisdiction), they become trespassers of the law,and are engaged in treason (see below).

The Court in Yates v. Village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, 209 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1962) held that "not every action by a judge is in exercise of his judicial function. ... it is not a judicial function for a judge to commit an intentional tort even though the tort occurs in the courthouse."

When a judge acts as a trespasser of the law, when a judge does not follow the law, the judge loses subject-matter jurisdiction and the judges orders are void, of no legal force or effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974) stated that "when a state officer acts under a state law in a manner violative of the Federal Constitution, he "comes into conflict with the superior authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his official or representative character and is subjected in his person to the consequences of his individual conduct. The State has no power to impart to him any immunity from responsibility to the supreme authority of the United States." [Emphasis supplied in original].

By law, a judge is a state officer.

The judge then acts not as a judge, but as a private individual (in his person).

Citizens for Legal Responsibility.

Coming soon, a study on the improper use of indirect civil contempt as a punishment tool rather than a coercive one.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winds and Quakes and Truth

An earthquake shook northern Illinois this morning. Strangely enough, I hadn't been feeling well and slept very badly. I was awake even before the quake occurred and even had a premonition of it - vaguely wondering how people would deal with an earthquake in the middle of snowy winter.

The quake emanated from a town about 20 miles from my own, and I heard it even before I felt it. I heard a rumbling sound outside and then felt the shock waves in my bed. It seemed to last forever. While the shaking lasted, I felt disconnected from it and observed the phenomenon with interest. A moment after it passed, I felt the terror and weight of divine judgment. This little earthquake was just a nudge compared to the shaking in Haiti, but power of it – beyond human control or understanding – certainly humbles one in the face of the Almighty's power.

Human life is indeed fleeting and fragile. However, we were born and continue to exist by the grace of God and by His voice of truth. What a blessing to serve an all-powerful God who deigns to speak to us and, most remarkably, loves us!

1 Kings 19:10-12 (Amplified Bible)

10He replied, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

12And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Joy and Pain of Funerals

Today I went to the funeral of a friend of mine. She had been a healthy woman in her early 40's. Two weeks ago, she died unexpectedly and almost instantly of a brain aneurysm. Although, I felt heart-broken at our loss, I rejoiced in her victory. Karen is rejoicing in heaven with Jesus. She lived an exemplary life on earth and left an incredible legacy of giving and goodness.

The church was filled with friends, family and co-workers. Karen was a much-loved woman. She was from Jamaica and I loved the lilt in her voice when she spoke. I imagine her dancing under heavenly palms with the only bridgegroom she has ever known, Jesus himself.

Revelations 21:2-7
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."

And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."

Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son."