Supporting Friends Friday: Nicholas on NEO

I’m running into a bit of a problem here with Supporting Friends Friday—I’m running out of friends to support!  Fortunately, my friends are quite prolific creators, so I can always recycle some old ones, and I’m always encountering new bloggers.  That said, I’m having to get creative to keep this series going.

That’s probably not the most flattering introduction for this Friday’s feature, but I assure you, he’s a great writer, and worth your time.  I know him simply as Nicholas, and he is a semi-regular contributor to Nebraska Energy Observer, Neo‘s excellent, long-running blog.

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TBT^2: Nehemiah and National Renewal

This past Monday, it was my responsibility to lead men’s Bible study for the monthly fellowship I attend.  I would love to say I prayed fervently for The Lord to deliver a message to my heart, but instead I do what bloggers and teachers do frequently:  recycle and reuse.

As such, I went back to the tried and true, Nehemiah 1:1-11, the passage from my hit post “Nehemiah and National Renewal.”  It’s all about Nehemiah crying out to God to order his steps amid the fallen state of Israel.

Also, it’s about rebuilding a wall.  Seems wise, yes?

With that, here is “TBT: Nehemiah and National Renewal“:

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Lazy Sunday CXLV: Christmas Cheer

Here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Today it’s all about church and after-Christmas sales.

Technically, we’re still in the glorious Christmas season.  That whole “twelve days of Christmas” isn’t just to flesh out a tedious novelty song; Christians used to (and many still do) celebrate Christmas for twelve days, marking the major events of Christ’s young life.  Really, Christmas ends on Epiphany, on 6 January.  It commemorates the Wise Men’s’ visit to the Christ Child, which represents Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles.

Granted, I probably won’t be writing about Christmas on 6 January 2022 (we’ll see!), but I’m not opposed to squeezing in some more Christmas fun.

To that end, here are some three recent Christmas classics:

Merry Christmas!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Merry Christmas!

Here it is—Christmas Day 2021!  Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas.

It’s been a big year for yours portly, and I’ll be doing a full year-in-review recap soon.

For today, however, I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and share the Christmas Story from Luke 2:1-20.  I still remember my late paternal grandfather reading this passage to us every Christmas when we were children.

Before that, I have one other Christmas Day reading recommendation:  contributor and commenter 39 Pontiac Dream published an excellent piece at The Conservative Woman this week entitled “Have yourself a Cheesy Channel 5 Christmas.”  It’s all about the saccharine-sweet, predictable, but oddly satisfying Christmas movies that Hallmark puts out ever year.  Ponty does a great job of explaining why these picture-perfect, impossibly kindhearted films are so endearing (in part because they are picture-perfect and impossibly kindhearted).

With that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Here is the Word of God (c/o BibleGateway.com; translation is NKJV):

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And [c]behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:5 NU omits wife

  2. Luke 2:7 feed trough

  3. Luke 2:9 NU omits behold

  4. Luke 2:12 feed trough

  5. Luke 2:14 NU toward men of goodwill

  6. Luke 2:17 NU omits widely

TBT^2: Christmas Eve

Well, it’s not exactly Christmas Eve—more like Christmas Eve Eve, which probably has some liturgical significance that my Southern-fried Protestantism doesn’t know or appreciate—but given the way Christmas is falling this year, as well as my own laziness, I thought it’d be worth looking back at this classic Christmas Eve post, with my timeless “Christmas and Its Symbols” post for Flashback Friday tomorrow.

That scheduling also lets me do my beloved “^2” addendum with the titles, adding another layer of Talmudic-esque commentary onto my past scribblings:  the ultimate in authorial self-indulgence.

Of course, the season isn’t about my half-baked musings about Christmas, Christmas Eve, or the rest.  It’s about the Birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.  As I wrote last year, Christmas Eve seems to perfectly capture the spirit of mystery of that night, “a night full of magic, mysticism, and wonder.”  Christmas Day is a flurry of activity:  opening presents, yelling at parents to wake up, cleaning up piles of wrapping paper.  Christmas Eve, especially Christmas Eve night, has always seemed more mystical, more reflective—the true celebration of Christ’s Birth.

It was also the night my Aunt Cheryl—the best one-eyed piano player in Aiken County—used to throw her big, bodacious Christmas Eve bash, featuring her incredible lasagna.  So maybe that’s why it fills my heart with a warm, fuzzy feeling (these days, it’d be a welcome dose of heartburn—totally worth it for a thick section of her lasagna).

This year, I think I’ll be spending Christmas Eve with my niece and nephews, waking up at their house Christmas morning for the second year in a row.  That’s always a fun way to spend the season.  Here’s hoping there’s some Christmas Eve Chinese food thrown into the mix.  God Bless General Tso—he was a bloodthirsty dictator, but his chicken is delectable.

With that, here is “TBT: Christmas Eve“:

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Supporting Friends Friday: Audre’s New Blog

In hindsight, it seems inevitable, but somehow, Audre Myers went all this time writing without a blog of her own.  She’s long been a contributor to Nebraska Energy Observer and the comment sections of The Conservative Woman (and this blog), but to my knowledge, she never hosted a blog of her own.

Well, that’s all changed.  This past weekend she launched her own blog, Words on the Word.  It’s a Biblical commentary blog in which Audre posts a section of Scripture and provides her analysis of it, and how it pertains to our lives.

As Audre puts it:  “The plan is, I’ll write my thoughts as they pertain to the day’s New Testament reading for Morning Prayer.”

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Let’s Get Biblical: Elijah and the 7000

It’s easy to get discouraged in the face of all the insanity and absurdity of the wokesters, who aren’t just unwashed Antifa thugs picking fights in the streets.  Woke-ism, Cultural Marxism, CRT, progressivism, etc.—whatever name we give it, the ideology dominates our institutions, our ruling class, and our popular culture.

In the face of such totality, it’s little wonder that conservatives and traditionalists grow pessimistic about the future.  Despair is seductive, and misery loves company.

As Christians, however, despair is profoundly sinful.  When we give into despair—into hopelessness—we are denying God’s Sovereignty, His Power and His Plan to guide us through the present storm.

During my pastor’s sermon this past Sunday, he mentioned in passing the passages from 1 Kings 19 in which Elijah curls up under a broom tree and prays for death.  Despite defeating the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel in the previous chapter, Elijah despairs, for he knows that Jezebel has put a price on his head—and he feels utterly alone.

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Lazy Sunday CXXIV: Bible Posts

There are many Biblical commentators out there, each adding their interpretations to Scripture.  I’m very much an amateur in this field, armed with my Pentecostal upbringing and lots of men’s Bible studies.

But that hasn’t stopped me from trying, and I’ve written a few posts attempting to interpret Scripture over the years.  So, with summer rapidly fading—and my prayers going up for a good school year—here are some of those feeble attempts:

  • Nehemiah and National Renewal” (and “TBT: Nehemiah and National Renewal“) – This post was my attempt to shoehorn the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem to the need for America to construct a border wall.  There are some useful parallels though—the construction of Jerusalem’s wall ushered in a period of national renewal in the land, and Trump’s border wall could have prevented further invasion of ours.
  • Nehemiah Follow-Up” – This post went into deeper detail on the spiritual aspects of the story of Nehemiah, which I shamefully overlooked in my haste to equate Nehemiah with Trump.
  • The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity” (and “TBT: The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity“) – This post was part of my The Desperate Search for Meaning series, and focused on the idea from Ecclesiastes that, without God, life is meaningless.
  • Psalm 13 and Patience” – Patience is something with which I personally struggle, and it’s very easy to get impatient with God’s Timing.  This post deals with that idea, using one of my pastor’s sermons to explore the idea in more depth.
  • Let’s Get Biblical: The Wisdom of Exodus 22” – My most recent Bible-based post, this one looks at the rules for social responsibility laid out in Exodus 22, particularly the admonitions to take care of widows and orphans—and the harsh penalty enacted for those who abuse and mistreat the same.

That’s it for this holier-than-thou Lazy Sunday.  Sloth is a sin, but perhaps the Lord will forgive this Sunday’s laziness.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Let’s Get Biblical: The Wisdom of Exodus 22

This past Sunday we had a guest speaker at church, a pastor with a children’s home ministry.  The ministry began with a home in southwestern Virginia, and has expanded to an orphanage in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.  Both children’s homes are in poor, mountainous communities—the former the region where my late great-grandmother lived.  Both orphanages do amazing work with the kids, combining work (like gardening, feeding donkeys, and the like) with play—even a band!

In giving his talk about the ministry, the guest pastor referenced a few passages of Scripture.  Aside from the famous passage from Matthew 19:14 in which Jesus told the disciples to “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” the pastor also referenced Exodus 22:22-24, which deals with how widows and orphans are to be treated:

22You must not mistreat any widow or orphan. 23If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to Me in distress, I will surely hear their cry. 24My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; then your wives will become widows and your children will be fatherless.

It’s a pretty powerful passage, and a reminder that God doesn’t mess around with sin, especially against the weakest and most defenseless.  We like to think that God has “mellowed out” since sending Jesus to die for our sins, but that’s dangerously wishful thinking.  God doesn’t change, and His Wrath is still mighty.

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