Dr. Ben Carson’s excellent speech at the Values Voter Summit 2013.
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1, ESV)
This is one of my favorite passages, it uses three parallel trilogies that increase in intensity describing what a blessed man does not. He does not walk, stand, or sit, each action becoming more committed to evil than the previous action. …with the wicked, sinners, or scoffers signifying a progression of occasional ungodly influence (wicked) to outright deliberate and intentional evil (scoffers).
I see verse two as what prevents the man from unintentionally going down that path to being a scoffer. Continually reading and meditating on Scripture enables him to recognize ungodliness so that he doesn’t “walk” near it in the first place.
The man becomes like a tree that is transplanted near streams of water–and as a result will eventually bear fruit and prosper.
The Hebrews word for wicked here doesn’t necessarily mean complete and utter evil; it usually means a man without a relationship with God. He may still do good works, but God determines he is evil since God knows the heart of man.
Chaff = husks of grain that blow away in the wind. The main idea is the wicked are worthless, they have no value to God. I don’t think David intended this but I could also see it meaning the wicked go wherever they are influenced to go. They have nothing to constrain their wicked desires or passions.
God will separate the righteous and wicked. They will not be together in judgment.
The way = one’s whole manner of life, from what directs it to what is produced.
The Lord knows the way of the righteous (being known by God is equated with Salvation), the wicked (those who do not have a relationship with God) will perish.
|Kris actually hit some targets!|
In January I picked up a Mossberg 500 and finally got a chance to shoot it this weekend. Dave & Melody (and their puppy) came along and showed us a great shooting spot not too far out of town. This was Kris’s first time firing a gun and she did very well, even hitting the targets! We also got to try some of Dave’s guns, including a Taurus .40.
- The two most popular pump-action shotguns are the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. They are both great guns, I went for the Mossberg because of the ambidextrous tang safety (I’m left handed).
- 12-gauge is very versatile and you can get shells for just about any purpose from bird-shot for waterfowl to refiled slugs for Moose hunting.
- I wanted a pump-action because they’re extremely reliable (and also a lot cheaper) compared to semi-automatics. The action can be worked very quickly.
- It’s designed to work under harsh conditions; built with loose tolerances like an AK-47, it will fire in just about any condition even if it gets dirty and wet.
- Magazine holds 5 shells and can drop a sixth round directly into the chamber. Mossberg also sells tactical models with a shorter barrel and extended magazine that holds 7 or 8 shells but that more than doubles the price in the current market.
- The kick isn’t bad with #7 target shells, but both Kris and I had sore shoulders after going through 40 rounds. If I was only going to target-shoot all day I’d probably go for a 20 gauge, but I think 12 gauge is the best for an all-purpose gun.
- Death by a person controlling a gun: 31,000
- Death by Car Accident: 32,000
- Death by Suicide: 38,000
- Death by Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,000
- Death by Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,000
- Death by Diabetes: 69,000
- Death by Alzheimer’s: 83,000
- Death by Accidents: 121,00
- Death by Stroke: 129,000
- Death by Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,000
- Death by Cancer: 575,000
- Death by Heart disease: 598,000
- Death by a person choosing to abort her baby: 1,212,000
Last Sunday our Scripture Reading was Psalm 23, it is a solemn reminder that we constantly live with death. There isn’t a second of relief from the possibility of loved ones or ourselves dying at any moment. But it also is a comforting passage, as Christians we are comforted by Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we will receive goodness and mercy, and our ultimate fate after death is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
A Psalm of David.
As I meditated on Psalm 23 last Sunday it reminded me of our recent experience of losing a son last December 23rd. …which I’ve been meaning to share on my blog. One of my sisters, Noelle, started a Christmas tradition where on each day of Advent we email each other what we did that day and how it relates to Christmas, so I sent this letter to my family:
On Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Benjamin Bryan wrote:
The 23rd Day of Advent was sad for us, Kris had a miscarriage and we had to go into the emergency room and spend most of the day at the hospital. I called Dave (a friend from church) to come watch Eli–I broke down crying…somehow he gathered I was at the hospital and came to pickup Eli. The doctor and at least one of the nurses were Christians, I really couldn’t have picked better people to get us through this, and being in a small town we pretty much had them to ourselves. A few hours later Kris and I held our son. He would fit in the palm of my hand and I could see his fully formed hands, feet, ears, eyes, nose…. while we were crying I asked Kris what we would call him, she didn’t know so I said, “how about Paul?” So I named him Paul Bryan. I told Kris I was going to let God give him his middle name. God has probably given him a much cooler name than Paul by now anyway. I was amazed at the support our local church gave us, Jess (one of the pastors) came by to visit us immediately following the church service and Jim (another pastor) got me in contact with a grave place and told me the church would pay for the cemetery plot and service. And since Kris is supposed to rest for awhile Andrea the farmer lady arranged for people to bring us gluten free food. So at least we won’t starve while Kris tries to rest. …our church also offered us much more help that we declined, they’re doing far more than we need already!I know people try to find reasons for things like this, and I don’t know if it’s possible to know what that is. The reality is we live in a fallen world and so death happens. I have some comfort that God’s divine providence works out for our good, but that doesn’t mean things are supposed to be this way. Our world should be perfect the way God created it, but it isn’t. That’s why God sent His Son, the reason we celebrate Christmas, to die for our sins so that we might be saved. Because of Christmas we’ll one day live in the presence of God in a world where there will be no death, no sadness, and no sin.After Eli went to bed (and he barely noticed we were gone all day, he didn’t want to leave his friends when we went to pick him up) Kris and I watched the Making of Charlie Brown Christmas (thanks Mom!), which happened to be on YouTube. Then we went to bed, it took a long time for me to fall asleep, but I finally did.Love,Ben
Current U.S. Debt: $16,800,000,000,000 (as of 4/7/2013) 
Earlier this week I calculated out how much national debt we have per employed person (155,500,000 employed people as of Feb 2013 ) in the U.S.: $108,039. Add in the all the state and local government debt  and it’s $115,756 per working person.
I have a plan to fix it. Assuming we balance the budget now, and I’ll assume only the highest earning 50% of working people can afford to help pay off the debt because a lot of people are only part time or minimum wage so that leaves $311,152 of debt per “rich” working person … I have a plan to pay off the U.S. debt in two generations. If the Feds keep interest rates on bonds around 2% and the top 50% of wealthy working persons pay an extra $10,000 (it’s like having an extra mortgage) in taxes per year we can pay off all the debt in 50 years. (so by the time my kids are retired they would live in a debt free United States). We could even pay it off faster if we made government smaller and more efficient.
I also think in exchange for paying off the national debt those people should get some perks after they’ve paid off a certain amount, like tax free distributions from their retirement accounts and property tax exemptions.
If we are to become serious about paying off the U.S. Debt we need to stop spending money on anything unnecessary. Even local city and state taxes need to stay low while people have that extra burden. Fixing potholes and building roads where they’re needed and making sure our infrastructure is safe is still important, but spending money to narrow the roads and put in new sidewalks and make parks look prettier isn’t really needed until the U.S. is out of debt.
Think what you do when you run in debt: you give to another power over your liberty. — Benjamin Franklin
Our U.S. debt is a moral issue. If we don’t make a plan to fix it, consider that we are enjoying entitlements and benefits for ourselves while we sell our children and grandchildren into slavery.
 http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ April 7, 2013
 http://www.ilo.org/washington/ilo-and-the-united-states/spot-light-on-the-us-labor-market/recent-us-labor-market-data/lang–en/index.htm April 7, 2013
 http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/ April 7, 2013