Book Review: The Unexpected President

Our 21st President was originally put into the role of Vice-President when James Garfield was selected to be the Republican Nominee. Garfield wasn’t even thought of as a possible candidate when the Republican convention started. Due to nobody getting enough votes, Garfield was finally chosen as a candidate that everyone could agree on. In order to get New York state to vote Republican and to appease the political machine, Chester Arthur was put on the ticket as Vice President.

Unexpected Presidency

Four months after Garfield started his Presidency, he was shot. Two and a half months of battling infection, he died, making Chester Arthur the 21st President of the United States.

Arthur did not want the Presidency, he would have been happy ruling over the Senate and not having the pressures and workload of being President. Arthur also had a huge battle on his hands and it was a public relations battle. Due to him being a Stalwart and part of the Conkling political machine, everyone thought he was a puppet for Roscoe Conkling.

Notable policies that Arthur was credited with was Civil Service Reform (which went against the Stalwarts and Conkling), Chinese Exclusion Act, and building up the Navy. Arthur went into the Presidency viewed as a sleazy politician and end being fairly respected by both sides of the aisle.

Arthur made a half-hearted attempt to gain a second term. He wanted to be chosen but didn’t really want to take on the second term as his health was failing. At that time many did not know that his health was failing, and wonder at his lackadaisical effort at getting a second term. Shortly after leaving office he died of cerebral hemorrhaging. Before his death he had most of his papers burned trying to erase his ways of being a Stalwart along with the things he did to continue the Conkling political machine before becoming President. The Presidency changed Arthur from a sleazy politician to a respectable man.

I enjoyed the book The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur. Chester Arthur was a President I didn’t know much about before reading. You don’t hear a lot about him and not taught much about him in school. I’ve posted about this before, that I want to read a biography about each of the Presidents. Chester Arthur was my 25th President Biography I’ve read. It was hard to find a book about him. He’s not one written about very much.

If you’re wanting to find out more about a President that you hardly hear about, understand some of the corruption going on after the Civil War, this would be a good book to read.

If you’re interested in more of the books I’ve read, check out my reading list here.

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Out Of This World

Today marks the 243rd birthday of the United States of America. It’s a time that we shoot off fireworks and watch Joey Chestnut eat way too many hotdogs. American’s that the time to remember how fortunate we are to live in this country. We have so many freedoms and we should be thankful for that. We like to take pride in our country, just like every other country does. But we need to remember this is not our home.

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. –John 18:36

We get so caught up in our pride for our country that we forget that when our time here on Earth is done, we will go to another kingdom, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t matter how powerful your country economically. I will not matter how strong your country’s military is. It will not matter if your country has won 1 gold Olympic medal or hundreds of them.

Nothing matters about your country when your time on Earth is done. All that matters is where you are going when you die. When you have to give an account for what you’ve done, God will not care if you say you lived in the United States or some other country. In fact, the more blessed you were by the country you live in, the more God will expect from us.

Happy birthday America!!! I’m very blessed to live in this country. I don’t always agree in the direction we’re heading, but I still feel blessed to live here. Thank you to our troops who protect us and allow us to have the freedoms that we do.

Beatitudes — Peacemaker

We are called to be peacemakers, not to be the one causing conflict. We should always choose to go the peaceful route unless there is no other option.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God-Matthew 5:9

The “peacemakers” have been reconciled to God. They have peace with Him through the cross. They now strive by their witness and by their lives to bring others, including their enemies, to peace with God.

Why does peacemaking stick out so much? It’s contrary to our nature, to our flesh. Naturally we are more apt to lash out when we don’t get our way or when we want to influence a situation. We want our way, we let our pride get in the way.

All wars are due to one side wanting their way and either they use force to get it or they retaliate to the other side wanting their way. We are to be peacemakers. This doesn’t mean that we let people walk all over us. We should standup for ourselves and what is right. When we are called to be a peacemaker, we’re being called to be the calm in the storm. We are to help the conflicting parties see each other’s view point.

When we are in a non-peaceful mindset our mind is not on God. Have you ever noticed when you’ve had a bad day or angry at someone, your thoughts are always on getting even or wanting revenge? How do we expect to have a healthy relationship with God, if we have that mindset. When we have a peacemaker mindset, we are aligned with God’s viewpoint. His creation was to be a peaceful one, and therefore we need to have that mindset.

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Beatitudes–Pure In Heart

We need to make sure to guard our heart’s, we need to stay pure in heart. If our heart is not pure then our whole relationship with God will fall apart.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God–Matthew 5:8

The “pure in heart” are those who have been delivered from sin’s power by God’s grace now strive without deceit to please and glorify God and to be like Him. First, they seek to have the same attitude of heart that God has a love of righteousness and a hatred of evil. Their hearts, which includes their minds, wills, and emotions. Second, only the pure in heart “shall see God.” To see God means to be His child and to dwell in His presence, both now and in the future kingdom.

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” Holiness is being separated from sin and being set apart for God; it is to be close to God, to be like Him, and to seek His presence, righteousness and fellowship with all our hearts. Above all things, holiness is God’s priority for His followers. Holiness was God’s purpose for His people when He planned their salvation in Christ.

Second, Holiness was Christ’s purpose for His people when He came to this earth. Holiness was Christ’s purpose for His people when He gave Himself up for them on the cross. Holiness is God’s purpose in making us a new creation and in giving us the Holy Spirit. Without holiness there is no nearness to or fellowship with God. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.

If we want our relationship with God to grow, if we want to good prayer life, we have to have to strive to be pure in heart. Otherwise, our relationship and prayer life with God will falter and not fulfill the possible potential it could be.

Beatitudes–Merciful

We need God’s mercy, but we also need to remember that God gives us mercy and we must be willing to be merciful to others.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.–Matthew 5:7

The merciful are full of compassion and pity toward those who are suffering either from sin or sorrow. The merciful sincerely want to make such suffering less by bringing those people to the grace and help of God through Jesus Christ. In showing mercy to others, we “shall obtain mercy.”

In Mark 11:25 says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. No Christian fool themselves that they have faith sufficient for answered prayer if they secretly hold animosity or bitterness in their hearts against anyone.

We need to remember that God forgives us for all of our sins and mistakes. We need to have that same kind of mercy towards others. By no means are we deserving of God’s mercy, and therefore we have to try to be just a merciful to others.

Psalm 41:1 says, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” We always need to keep in mind the ones less fortunate than us. We should be willing to help where we can. One day we could be in their shoes.

Beatitudes–Hunger and Thirst

If we’re not feeding ourselves spiritually we will hunger and thirst spiritually, no matter how satisfied we are physically.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.–Matthew 5:6

The foundational requirement for all godly living is to hunger and thirst after righteousness. This type of hunger is seen in Moses, the psalmist and the apostle Paul. The spiritual condition of Christians throughout their lives will depend on their hunger and thirst for the presence of God, the Word of God, communion of Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit, righteousness, and the return of the Lord.

The Christian’s hunger for the things of God is destroyed by worldly anxiety, deceitfulness of wealth, desire for things and life’s pleasures and failure to abide in Christ. When the hunger of believers for God and His righteousness is destroyed, they will die spiritually. For this reason it is essential that we be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work in our lives.

Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” A big prerequisite for salvation is spiritual hunger and thirst for forgiveness and for the right relationship with God. We must repent of our sins and draw near to Him in faith; and hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness and the power of His kingdom continue to be vital conditions for receiving the fullness of His Spirit.

Then in Isaiah 65:13, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed.” We can physically be full, and physically not be thirsty, but if we don’t have our relationship with God right and receiving our spiritual nutrition then we’re going to be spiritually hungry.

When we get so hungry that we will eat anything in the house, even that food that we bought some time ago and we always pass up because it doesn’t sound good; that’s the hunger we need for God. That thirst that we have when your mouth starts getting so dry and you would be thankful for a couple of drops of water just to wet your mouth; that’s the thirst we should have for God. Not sometimes, but all the time. We should be striving to know Him more by His Word and by having a relationship with Him. Reading the Bible will only satisfy the hunger a little bit. To fully have our hunger satisfied we need Him and only Him.

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Beatitude–Meekness

The “meek” are those who are humble and submissive before God. They find their refuge in Him and commit their way entirely to Him. They are more concerned about God’s work and God’s people than about what might happen to them personally. The meek, rather than the aggressive, ultimately inherit the earth.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.–Matthew 5:5

Meekness

Meekness is the complete opposite as what we are taught to be. We seek meekness as being a wimp, coward. But Jesus was meek. We teach our children to be aggressive, to go after what they want, almost at any cost, yet God says that the meek will be blessed.

In Psalm 37:11 we are told again that he meek will inherit the earth. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” The one’s that dedicate their life to God are the one’s that will inherit the earth. That doesn’t mean preachers, evangelists, or missionaries will be the only ones to inherit the earth. Everyone that seeks God’s will to do what he has for them to do on this earth.

In Roman’s 4:13 it says, “for the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” We’re not entitled to anything through who we are related to, who we associate with, what our lineage is, only through our faith in Jesus Christ. You see many churches today, that want to trace their lineage through people before the Americas were being inhabited. If you can trace your church to one of the disciples, then you’re a real church or you’re more important. These churches have it so wrong. Only Jesus can promise us eternity.

I see meekness as being restrained. Many times we want to get mouthy and say something mean to someone else to hurt them. We want to get vengeance. We want others to know we have wealth or some great talent. Meekness is realizing that all the talents you might have, all the wealth you might have is only through God, and not your doings. Meekness is knowing everything you have could be gone in a split second and you could become the lowest person on Earth. It’s recognizing that God is the ultimate authority.

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Beatitudes–Mourning

The second beatitude is mourning, not necessarily the mourning as we think of it involving death, but mourning at the wickedness of the world.

Mourning

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.–Matthew 5:4

To “mourn” is to grieve over our own weakness in relation to God’s standard of righteousness and His Kingdom. It is also to mourn over the things that grieve God, to have our feelings in sympathy with the feelings of God, and to be afflicted in our spirits over the sin, immorality and cruelty manifested in the world. Those who mourn are comforted by receiving from the Father “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

In Luke 16:20, it says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” We see this in the world today. There are so many things we see in the news that is contrary to our faith, contrary to what the Bible says. The world rejoices these things as advancement in our culture. We should be mourning how wicked our world has come and how far our society has been removed from God.

As Christians we should be deeply disturbed by how far our world has got from God’s instruction. We should be grieving, we should be bothered, we should be sick of it. We have become so accustomed to the way of the world that some of it we take as normal and okay. We should never feel like we belong in this world.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are passed away.–Revelation 21:4

What should bring us joy, is knowing that the Lord is coming back. That all the pain and suffering will one day end.

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Beatitudes–Poor In Spirit

The word blessed refers to the well-being of those who, because of their relationship to Christ and His Word, receive God’s kingdom, which includes His love, care, salvation and daily presence.

Poor In Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.–Matthew 5:3

The first requirement is to be “poor in spirit”. We must recognize that we are not spiritually self-sufficient; we need the Holy Spirit’s life, power and sustaining grace in order to inherit the kingdom of God.

Many times we think we can survive spiritually on our own. We think that our own abilities are sufficient to get us through all of our trials in life. We try to acquire wealth and positions to elevate ourselves in society’s eyes. In Luke 6:20 it says, “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.” We need to remember that what we have here on earth is not going with us when our time on earth is done. After a few years after we leave this world, nobody will remember our wealth or our possessions. In Proverbs 16:19 we are told, “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.–Isaiah 57:15

God, who lives in “the high and holy place,” promises to dwell with those who have a “contrite and humble spirit.” Contrite refers to those who are brokenhearted because of their own sinfulness or the enemy’s oppression and who cry out to God for deliverance; “humble spirit” refers to those who are humble or bowed down by adversity. God responds to the cry of such people in order to revive them with the light and life of His presence.

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.–Isaiah 66:2

God is not impressed with the splendor of anything we build or construct for Him, but He does delight in a certain kind of person; those who are humble in spirit, who recognize their need for His continuing help and grace, and who seek to follow His Word with all their heart.

We need to remember that God does not need us, but we have to have Him. Without God we have nothing, with God we have everything we need.

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Product Review: Dewalt Table

First and foremost. . . I’m am a Dewalt tool guy. They seem to last and they are dependable. This table saw is no different.

A few years ago, I started getting into woodworking, I also moved from an apartment to my own house. All that meant was I had justification to start buying some power tools. One of my first purchases was this table saw.

One of the things I like about this saw is it is light weight. I’ve handled quite a few table saws and they all seem a little heavy and sometimes awkward to handle. This one has places all over the thing to easily grab it and go. Easily fits in a trunk or the backseat of a vehicle.

I’ve ripped all sorts of different boards on this saw and I’ve never really had it bind up. Only a couple times has it bound up, and that was my doing. Has a nice hookup port for your shop-vac so you don’t have sawdust going all over. The fence works well and locks nicely. Can easily make angle cuts.

If you’re looking at getting into woodworking or need a nice table saw to do some around the house tasks that can easily be put away, this would be a good table saw for you. It doesn’t have a lot of space on the table, but I’ve always been able to manage with no issues and I’ve cut plywood sheets using it. This saw also has around a 4.6 out of 5 rating on most sites, so that’s pretty solid. Like I said, it’s worked well for me the last 5 or so years.

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