Monday, December 29, 2008
It was a discipline, having read reviews, pro and con, to attempt an unbiased read. Most will probably suggest my failure.
First blush, I loved it!
It was a fictional dream. Job: 33:15-18 God, forbid, the ministry of dreams!
Can God do this?
Does God do this?
Is this the “norm”?
As to the latter, NO!
As to the former, I don’t know.
God can do whatever He likes! But, and If He does, my suspicion is, he will prompt the recipient in the manner in which he provoked The Apostle Paul ( 2 Cor. 12:7-10.) .
As it pertains to each and every attempt of a believing author, I am driven by Isaiah’s admonition: “…Isaiah 8:20 and Matt. 22:29.
Ain't that a beach!
We are left with propositions!
Feelings are so much more substantial, whatever a "...feeling..." is?
Where does God get off with leaving us with propositions, when Moses and the others had visions, dreams, visual manifestations, etc.?
Somehow, I get the idea the "bar' has been raised in terms of The New Covenant?
Does this suggest God intends to treat me as an Adult?
Much of what the author writes falls into the category for me, of, “..take it or leave it..”.
But this quote resonated as I considered my experience of the church and the average saint over the past 50+ years!
How often have we/I heard the mantra, “…ignorance is bliss…”?
Well, ignorance, i.e. wilfull ignorance is personal and culpable responsibility for the believer. (Proverbs 24:11, 12) (Prov. 31: 8, 9)
How I wish the author, IMHO, had a more correct view of the New Covenant.
The issue IS NOT, what would Jesus do: but, what are we to do in a New Covenant context?
Jesus was a son of the Old Covenant.
I am a son of the New.
Correspondingly, our conduct is slightly different.
At the same time, my model: if you will pardon the seeming irreverence: is NOT Jesus.
I am a son of the New Covenant. He was a son of the OLD
Though I greatly admired the example of Paul and Peter, and acknowledge my falling short of their example, still I am a son of the New Covenant which they inaugurated and saw fulfilled; but under which they never truly/fully lived.
History is unfolding in the context of The New Covenant. The “…stone cut out without hands…” destroyed the 4th kingdom and the kingdom of God now reigns!
Our perception of that reign must be captive to the text, versus our interpretation of said texts!
I suspect this post/comment will elicit a measure response.
Friday, December 26, 2008
What a year!
Personally, I can’t recall an era more confusing than that which we have experienced under Bush II.
IMHO, since 1937, the year of my birth, we have moved from a Republic ( though one being seriously undermined by our oligarch FDR) to a Homeland with nary a concern being expressed by the population at large.
Somehow, that brings to mind the teachings of someone named Adolph!
Talk about a testimony to the effectiveness of the NAE!
Time was when education meant something other than indoctrination!
Back in those days, politicians “feared” the electorate!
Ask yourself: today, who fears whom?
Today, the electorate fears the politicians and their henchmen!
Orwell was prescient, to be sure; only 20-30 years off target!
Today, Newspeak dominates.
Definitions are as amorphous as a fart in a tornado!
Still, thank God, the issues are as clear as in the day of Elijah on
Oops…that is, if your epistemology is grounded in “…the word of God, written…”.
How is this for an appeal to disciplined Bible Study?
Given his role as Apostle to the Gentiles and Pioneer of the New Covenant, it behooves us to seriously consider his admonition to the church at
How equipped are you for this exercise?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
While listening, I found nothing distracting, neither the actors/readers nor the music. It all seemed to flow naturally!
I especially appreciated the introductory segments! Though I may personally disagree with certain aspects, the whole was well presented and whet one’s appetite to continue.
Candidly, the reading of the text and introductions to each text is the best part.
The supplemental DVD comments tend toward confusion.
My hope is the purchasers will listen first before watching the DVD.
While I readily acknowledge the NexGen is more aurally and visually oriented, one must still contend with the fact God left his revelation in a written format. My opinion is, He expects His saints to read and think.
Listening to the Word spoken is legitimate; but, even so, one must acknowledge the bias of the speaker.
Therefore, it behooves one to read!
In fact, the written Word is far, yea, far more important than personal testimony, etc.
Hopefully, this medium will whet the appetite to read the text of scripture.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Given the proclivity of Western Christianity to programs and efficiency, we have opted to in attempt to “mass produce” disciples via our awesome programs.
If you doubt the awesomeness of these programs, simply visit the plethora of websites devoted to discipleship,
It is staggering.
Instead of being “person” centered, we are “program” centered.
Once we entertain that idea, we lose sight of the biblical teaching of the uniqueness of each individual.
Once we entertain the idea the individual is part of a program to be managed, not someone unique, to be personally ministered to, we lose sight of the individual.
Discipleship, or to use a New Covenant term, equipping the saint, is a life on life process.
It is a mutually accountable relationship where disciple and discipler are committed to one another and God in a life on life experience.
Neither is committed to an agenda, save for adherence to The Faith.
Each is eager to please God and advance The Kingdom. Neither seeks to manipulate the other into a particular mold; but each is confident on God the Spirit and His particular plane which is discovered to them in the process!
THIS is the Joy of New Covenant Equipping.
Sadly, IMHO, this is what has been lost over the past few centuries.
As a result, we have raised up generations of Clones who continue to perpetuate the same old headaches.
To get out of the current malaise, we need to return to our First love and His objective: disciple/equip individuals.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Extremely well written, it seemed lacking in one respect. It lacked a clear articulation of The Faith.
Upon reflection, this seems to be representative of the current religious climate: strong on subjectivity, weak on objectivity.
The Faith is objective.
My experience of The Faith is subjective and reflective of my personal paradigm of understanding, orientation, etc.
This trend away from the objectivity of The Faith has been developing over the past few hundred years til at the moment, the antipathy is bordering on the vicious.
‘Course, we now call the vicious “post-modernism”, but it is vicious nonetheless. Euphemisms do have a way of disarming and confusing things.
It's tolerance warmly embraces the sympathetic while savagely attacking the antithetic and has successfully lobbied to establish the antithetic as “hate crime”.
My personal take is this has come about through ignorance of and the failure to personally embrace The Faith.
What Jude penned in the late first century is still of import in our generation…we are to contend for The Faith.
Are you able to articulate The Faith?
Or are you satisfied to respond with the phrase of the defeatist hymn, “You ask my how I know He lives, He lives within my heart”?
Small wonder we are apologetic pushovers!
The Apostle Paul admonished the saints at Corinth to stand fast in The Faith.
For the past two weeks, I have been unable to get this biblical prophet off my mind!
I have awakened every morning thinking of him.
He was contemporary with Jeremiah, who was at least 20+ years older.
He was also contemporary with Daniel.
He was born during the reform movement under Josiah, undoubtedly experienced the ministry of Jeremiah, the death of Josiah, the agony of the first deportation to Babylon, and then deportation with Jehoiachin in 597 BC.
All of this by age 25!
After 5 years of captivity among Israelites harboring a false hope of restoration and subject to the ministry of false prophets, Ezekiel, son of Buzi of the family of Priests is visited by God.
Talk about a paradigm shift!
Through his ministry, we are privileged to see God’s utilization of this man as a pedagogical device.
Though we do not see the same words as those of young Mary, we do see the same obedient conduct.
Thoughts cross my mind: am I currently a tool in God's hand?
Am I willing to be a tool in God’s hand in my generation?
Friday, November 28, 2008
This is a gripping tale of the triumph in the midst of and over the tragedy told by one who experienced the sustaining power of grace throughout.
It is the story of Karen James
As one reads, he or she begins to feel as if actually present, feeling the anxiety, anticipating the next call, grappling with issues of The Faith albeit in a relatively shallow manner.
The story has so many threads one may persue…
One may revel in the excitement, spirit of daring and measured risk-taking of Kelly James, without such men and women would we have ventured to the Moon or across Australia’s outback? Yet, there are three kids who will continue to venture into their lives without the presence of a Dad, not to neglect Karen herself!
As a believer, these are the very tensions designed by our Sovereign God to be wrestled with during our tenure under the New Covenant.
By no means do I want to cast a shadow on Kelly’s actions/passion; other than to note he is not an exemplar!
Karen’s record is not meant to be a theological treatise. It is an anecdotal testimony of her perception of sustaining grace.
But, again though she is not an exemplar, she is without a doubt to be commended for her fidelity during the trial.
At the same time, one is moved to thank God for the fellowship of the saints in her experience!
Being an ENFJ, I admit to using up a few tissues during the read. But following every resort to tissues, I would have to put the book down and ask myself, aside from my physiological/subjective response, what of theological substance is being presented?
My answer: very little.
Do I, would I recommend the book? Certainly. Every believer’s testimony has value and this is Karen’s.
She is to be commended for sharing with us.
My thanks to her.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
He also alerted us as to the first step downward in a move from one’s intuitive awareness of God.
In his writings he informs us that those who depart from God and their intuitive awareness are thereby darkened in their understanding. From then on, nothing makes sense, everything is unfair, and they are:”victims”.
Life, for them leads them to Solomon’s conclusion.
But for those who bow beneath the awful hand of God in Christ, life takes on another dimension.
Though, as a result of their bowing, it does not logically follow they are provided with answers, their confidence is in The One who controls all things according to His plan.
Their heart is at rest, irrespective of external circumstance.
Paul refers to this as “…the peace that surpasses understanding…”
So, today, I am thankful. For:
My faithful and awesome wife of 50+ years.
My five children, all of whom, to the best of my knowledge, are part of Christ’s fold.
My fourteen grandchildren, many of whom, though at the moment, not all, own Christ as their King.
My six great-grandchildren for whom my prayer is: come to yield to Christ, whom to know is Life Eternal.
Am I not a blessed man?
To be thankless, is to be stupid!
Thank You, Lord!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I doubt it.
Too many are wont to say or think “saviour”, in small case “s”.
But, President-electOBama, and every other self appointed political “saviour” is just that, self appointed.
Seems to me, since Adam, every driven individual on the political scene is a “saviour”. He or she is convinced their solution is the one which will usher us into “nirvana”, finally!
We, like sheep, believe them!
The Saviour manifested Himself and completed His task over 2 millennial ago!
Nothing remains to be done, in terms of individual salvation!
But, in terms of societal salvation: mercy, how much remains to be done!
And to think that He, the sovereign God of Creation has left it in our hands to work out-good grief! Can you believe it?
OBama is only this generation’s tool.
He may well be a subtle tyrant.
He may be less than that.
You’re obligation and mine is to function, in terms of the New Covenant, as Shamgar of old!
Are you up to it?
My focus was taken from Psalm 119:71 & 75.
In my reflection, I asked, what might God be endeavoring to teach us via sorrow?
Surely, in His economy, it is not pointless!
Then, and presently, I hasten to admit, my personal experience is vicarious.
For most of my life, it has been my blessing to enjoy good health. In the providence of God, I have been favored with 50+ years of marriage to the best thing that ever happened to me, outside of Salvation!
I have also been blessed with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, many of whom own Christ as their own, and, thankfully, none of whom either reject or scorn Him, and all of whom bless my life beyond measure!
In the years that have ensued, be it in my life, theirs, or the lives of those with whom I have been privileged to associate, I have learned of the “sisters” of Sorrow.
I suggested seven;
Glory of God
Then, I came across this poem:
He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would have said Him 'Nay,'
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire--not the Master's hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o'er the fire, tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
Thank God for Sorrow and her Sisters
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Nowhere, in 1500 pages of fine print, sans pictures, can one get the impression God created and stands aloof from it, as the Diest would suggest.
Far too many passages suggest His intimate involvement, much to our dismay given our first parent’s succumbing, in what seems to be minute detail.
Our immediate response is, “…does that make me an automaton…”?
No, it makes you (and me) creatures. Creatures who, as the Apostle Paul declared on Mars Hill about 2 millennia back, “…live, and move, and have our being in Him…”. And, perish the thought, he was quoting one who did not adhere to Christian thinking?
Does that bother you, humble you, make you feel less than a god?
In contradistinction to sticks, stones, water, and the Animal kingdom, you have been blessed by this Creator with Rationality! You are not instinctually driven, but seem to have choice. You are, Imagio Dei.
In almost every instance, absent the Gun of the “…powers that be…”, you act freely. In those actions, you feel as if you are “…in charge of your destiny…”!
Then, voila, it comes crashing down.
The answer is, biblically, rational…”…He works all things after the counsel of His will…” .
Creatures are not, Ultimately, in charge. He is.
It is at this crucial juncture your temporal destiny lies.
Will you respond as a creature….or as a rebel…?
Therein lies peace of mind, without the assistance of pharmaceuticals.
Monday, November 17, 2008
As you observed them, did you wonder if they thought themselves to be free?
Did you wonder “do they know what water is”, while they are observing your “antics”?
They are content in their environment and any thought as to the environment never enters their mind, til you jerk them out!
Similarly, I wonder, do we ever really acknowledge our status as creatures til we are “jerked out of our environment”?
We intuitively believe we are in control of everything til we are “…jerked out…”.
We believe, as the serpent suggested in the beginning, “…you will be as gods, determining…”
Such “jerking out” may come with the birth of a child with massive birth defects; it may come as a spousal defection; it may come when you, in contra-distinction to all you have been taught “play the fool”, or in those situations when you are a “victim” of circumstances.
Whatever the circumstance, it is apparent to you, “I am NOT in control!”
At such times, one is well advised to utter, as Mary did, “…be it unto me…”.
IMHO, real spiritual growth does not begin til one acknowledges “creatureliness”!
Til then, it seems to be a competition between supposed deities!
How’s that for a manifestation of Eph. 3?
As I perused the web site for Home Church Central I discovered the archive of his writings. In so doing, I also discovered my purchase of his Christian Anarchy back in ’88. Back then, I only worked my way through Chapter 1 and, being grossly mistaken in my understanding of Anarchy, lost interest and book marked my last read!
Over the past 20+ years, I have come to embrace the “Minarchist” position, politically, wrestling with how it comports with The Faith.
Though I may be premature, my initial take is, The Faith, politically and religiously, is anarchist and therein lays its power and influence!
Eller speaks of the various “arkys”, i.e. powers, be they political or religious. Each seeks to utilize “imposition” versus persuasion!
“Imposition’ via indoctrination: i.e. “Oath of Allegiance”; Pledge of Allegiance; “obey the State”, etc. In the church, we see the same pressure via Statements of Faith, membership commitments, etc., all of which arte far more explicit than the NT.
Mercy, how that smacks of POWER, i.e. imposition. And we all know the impact of POWER, be it political or religious.
Anyway, at the moment my focus is: how does one develop a New Covenant Shamgar?
What is the new Covenant “ox goad”?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
In each of those circumstances I sensed a commitment such as implied in this motto:
If I falter, push me on.
If I stumble, pick me up.
If I retreat, shoot me.
It may be suggested the motto is more fitting or suited for the young and idealistic.
Probably so; but, somehow, there seems to be something within which resonates in the breast of every man. At least those who still claim to have chests!
One is led to wonder if this lack or absence is symptomatic of the wimpiness of present day Christianity?
Christianity need not look to the Corps, French Foreign Legion, or to the Israeli military for its model of commitment.
We look to Paul, Ignatius, Athanasius, and a host of other saints down through the ages of church history who did not count their lives dear unto themselves…
Soon, and very soon, similar days may be upon us.
One wonders what history will record?
No, in the shadows we will see an army of Shamgars rise, resist, educate, motivate, empower, and multiply to the glory of God, the advance of the kingdom, and the consternation of the "...powers that be...
In their respective generations they will be anathema.
But, in the annals of the kingdom's advance they will be counted among the "...vanguard..."
Fools for Christ's sake!
Friday, November 7, 2008
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
The came the offer of Golden Handcuffs, though, quite naturally, they were not referred to so crassly. No, they were called benefits to enhance ministry.
“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the faithful Church hid her gentle hands
And solemnly answered “Nay!
Initially, the church commendably says, No.
I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”
But, the process is one of wooing, not demanding. It is a process of adjusting the terms of consideration.
“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there.
Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain.
The sky to me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe.
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”
And the church thinks, “there’s truth to what is being suggested”. Things are difficult and making them better could well enhance and advance to cause of the gospel, so
Half shyly the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the loss of a non-negotiable comes about not as a result of a frontal assault and pitched battle, but something as easy as a simple “adjustment”, read: compromise.
And the old World grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low: “Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”
Now the topic shifts to one of adjustment to things as they really are, read: cultural adjustment, contextualization.
The Church looked down at her plain white robes,
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.
“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.
“Your house is too plain,” said the proud old World,
“I’ll build you one like mine;
With walls of marble and towers of gold,
And furniture ever so fine.”
So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold.
Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.
There-were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
But the poor who were clad in shabby array,
Sat meekly down outside.
“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine.
My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”
So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside,
As the widows went weeping by.
By now, the church is too caught up in the new reality. The right kind of people are coming by, the church begins to believe she is becoming relevant, and does not recognize the paradigm shift which has taken place.
Then the sons of the World and the Sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The church never admits this aspect. She engages in mission trips, local social ministry involvement, never realizing she looks like every other statist agency, save for the fact, at times, religious words and a few hallelujahs are heard, here and there. And, here ministry activities are always greatly appreciated by the State, her “walking partner”!
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside:
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”
Thus was the battle lost. It wasn’t something blatant, obviously offensive undermining the church’s mission and calling.
It never is.
It is always an obscuring of focus on a non-negotiable, what I refer to as “…the point of the wedge…”
Once the wedge has entered, separation is effected and the battle lost.
The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame.
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne:
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich, and hast not known
That thou art naked, poor and blind,
And wretched before my face;’
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”
(Matilda C. Edwards)
The poem focuses on the poor and the widow, obvious concerns in the era of the poem’s author.
But, in my brief lifetime, I believe I have seen the manifestation of two significant wedge points: church incorporation via 501C3 and the issue of the Sanctity of Human Life (SOHL).
Under the 501C3 rubric, the church became an agent of the state.
Under SOHL, the church acknowledged her submission, willing to negotiate a non-negotiable.
And only the angels could tell them, apart
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Years ago, I heard this phrase in the context of a believer, Vance Havner, speaking as to his current status following his wife’s translation to heaven.
Shipwrecked on God and stranded on omnipotence.
That describes, precisely, my present posture regarding our supposed involvement in participatory government.
The will of God is now known, relative to the highest office in the land. Barak Obama is our President.
What that means is anybody’s wildest guess.
Is it a blessing, a curse, or a combination of both? I suspect there are hosts of folk in each of the positions.
From my perspective, is it probably the latter.
But, for me, there is one obvious obligation: I am to pray for him. This I will do, daily.
The primary objective of that prayer is the well-being of the believing community.
The content of the prayer is not stated explicitly; simply its goal.
I do rejoice in the election of an African-American, as I would have rejoiced had we seen a woman in the second highest office in the land.
Only in America, generally!
But, ultimately, my allegiance and focus is on the King of Kings and His program for humanity.
Sooner or later (as it has in the past), this will find me at cross purposes with our government.
Someone far wiser than me referred to government as a beast needing to be chained. Another said it was a “dangerous servant and a fearful master”.
As a believer, I am obligated to wrestle with the statements of the Lord Jesus and his Apostle , Paul.
I am obligated to “render” and to “submit”; the parameters of which are not in Caesar’s court.
Ain’t that a beach!
How much easier it would have been had I been presented with a “laundry list” of actions!
I do pray President-elect Obama would experience an epiphany on the Sanctity of Human Life and reject, categorically, FOCA.
If he doesn’t, I trust it is not in God’s sovereign plan I become a “drag on society” and need to be “put down” for the sake of those following me!
Shamgar! Where are you?
Monday, November 3, 2008
Two more days and it will be all over!
At that moment, we will experience the end of the governmental distraction commonly referred to as The National Election cycle.
This is the time in our national psyche when we are led to believe we actually we have a say in our governmental circumstance.
That it really is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
We are bombarded with the importance of the individual vote and our civic responsibility in exercising that option.
If you are a Christian, even more weight is added to the argument! Thank you Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson!
Well, if you believe that slice of propaganda, you evidence the fact you are in all probability a product of Public Schooling!
That slice of fantasy ended in 1861, IMHO.
As one who was seduced by that mentality for too many years, let me rise to say, “…forget it…”
Why continue to participate in a charade?
Regardless of one’s vote, the elite within the Beltway has done and will do what is “best” for us peons. They know what is best, for they are numbered among those seemingly gifted to guide the rest of us.
Somehow, it reminds me of the election process in the old Soviet Union or the other host of dictatorships around the world!
For me, personally, I choose to register my dis-satisfaction via abstinence.
I determined to cease participation in the charade a number of election cycles in the past.
To be honest, I had faint hopes when Ron Paul attempted to run within the system but, when I saw how the clones and media treated him, the handwriting was on the wall!
The elite are currently in charge and will continue til they wreck this country.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
When did non-negotiables become negotiable?
Was I out to lunch or in the restroom when this decision was made?
Seems to me, non-negotiables represent “the point of the wedge”.
Once the point of the wedge is introduced into the issue, and allowed to stand, the issue is lost.
It is at this point where our politicians snooker us!
They suggest compromise as the be all and end all of politics.
Don’t they say the art of politics is compromise?
But, non-negotiables are just that: non-negotiable!
As soon as we begin to negotiate, we have lost!
Whenever your politician says to you, “…I agree in principle, BUT…”
Know, immediately, you are in the presence of one committed to “…the many…” at the expense of “…the one…’
The one who gets “screwed” is YOU. And your neighbor!
Jesus said, “…render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…”
I find it instructive He did not delineate the things within Caesar’s purview.
Instead, He left it to you and me to determine.
Caesar’s always want you and me to think they have a divine mandate and listing of thing which are theirs.
But, the listing is to come from us; not from the Caesar!
And here is where we fall down. We are so damn lazy!
We run from the obligation of holding Caesar’s feet to the fire daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
Instead, we seek to take refuge in the idea that The State is ordained of God, sent down from heaven, and to which we blindly submit.
Small wonder we are in the current fix!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Since leaving the Boy's Farm in '55 and enlisting in the USMC, my life has been characterized by a focus on books. Guess one might label me a bibliophile.
I have not only been given to collecting, but reading; and though I cannot say I have read every book on hand, I have read a host of them!
In the ensuing years I have managed to collect a library of in excess of 10K books.
One of my sons hassles me for the collection; given the electronic availability of many of the ones I have on hand; still, there is to me, something to be said for having the text in hand, etc.!
Anyway, in reflecting, I have thought to list those which, at the moment, come to mind as having impacted me significantly. They represent a broad spectrum of thought, reflective of my personal journey, theologically, and politically and provide an insight into why I think the way I do.
Through Gates Of Splendor: Eliot
A Christian View Of Men And Things: Clark
Faith and Saving Faith: Clark
3 Rs: Clark
My Utmost For His Highest: Chambers
Pursuit Of God: Tozer
Conceived In Liberty: Rothbard
For A New Liberty: Rothbard
Human Action: Mises
Defending The Undefendable: Block
Aborting America: Nathanson
The Least Of These: Young
The Nazi Doctors: Lifton
Holy Disobedience: Buzzard-Campbell
The Cost Of Discipleship: Bonhoeffer
The Parousia: Russell
The Cross and the Parousia: King
The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement
God in heaven!
Can I last for another week?
Every political pronouncement from these candidates prompts me to step outside and wretch!
How dumb do they think we are?
Dumb and dumber, I suspect. We are to believe a “bailout” is a “rescue”!
How dare they refer to The Constitution! Both parties abandoned it long ago.
How dare they speak of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”? Decades ago, we were relegated to the status of serfs with the “privilege” of voting.
Wow. I get to vote for their choices. Ain’t that a hoot!
Somehow, participation in a coercive system doesn’t smack of freedom to me.
Shay’s Rebellion and The Whiskey Rebellion signaled things to come.
Government is a necessary evil, given Adam’s impact. But, it is an evil which demands eternal vigilance on the part of the governed.
Never, for a moment, should we trust in government or those governing, be they believers or non-believers. We must call to mind the corrupting influence of government and its associated powers.
We need to chain them down with a written document enumerating their powers, and then resolutely refuse to grant them another link in the chain!
Oh, well…let me go outside and puke.
That’s the only realistic relief I can anticipate at the moment.
Come election day, there will be a host of additional links added to the chain that binds ME.
Monday, October 13, 2008
There are not only two options, i.e. Republican or Democrat (the political reality, irrespective of the seeming third party option). There is a third. Not voting is also a principled stand.
Today's politicians speak pejoratively regarding the lack of voter turn out, assuming irresponsibility on the part of those who do not turn out. Might it not be a reasonable deduction to suspect dissatisfaction and disillusionment on the part of the non-participants, having realized the system is now rigged?
We were once and for a very few brief years, a Democratic Republic. We are now worse than a Radical Democracy where at least the vote counted. We are now, if you will excuse my label, a political dictatorship. First off, our votes are now generally electronic, with the electronics under the control of the politicos. Then, if our votes seem to contradict what the politicos have in mind, our courts declare our vote "out of bounds".
A very sorry state, to be sure.
Personally, I doubt the populace will wake-up/rise-up until voter turnout is in the area of 10-20%. I, for one, have not participated in the national charade for some time now. In my mind, the only vote which seems to count is on the local level, i.e. township or county.
In this day and age your vote, especially on the national level, is always lost.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Adrian Dean Horien
Monday, October 6, 2008
Isaiah warned us hundreds of years ago regarding those who offer new definitions, but we seemingly never learn. Our current politicos tell us of chaos just around the corner unless we follow their lead. When the House rejected the argument of the experts the other day, seeming panic ensued, and pressure was brought to bear bringing those out of line into conformity. We heard phrases such as chaos, moral danger, grave danger, and the Media talking heads expostulated as if they really knew what they were talking about.
By no stretch of the imagination am I an economist, but I do have a memory and have lived long enough to recall these failed programs were their ideas. Did anyone hear an admission of personal responsibility for any failed program? Was anyone held accountable? Did any national heads roll?
No, that level of accountability is only applied to serfs.
Every time I make an honest mistake on my check book, my bank hammers the snot out of me with associated charges. Recently, my account was hacked by someone in Europe, and I was charged for their electronic intrusion. The fault lay with me because I had an account.
Aside from hammering serfs when they are not responsible, these beltway bandits operate according to a different standard, and redefine good and evil. Because we are good serfs, products of Public Indoctrination, we go along, because we are fearful and have learned that if we say anything, ask anything, our names are placed on a Terrorist list. Can you believe it? Personal responsibility and legitimate patriotism are now defined as Terrorism.
Isaiah, you had it right. Shamgar, where are you when we need you?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
For almost 20+ years of my pilgrimage in The Faith, I sought “…The Secret…”.
I read the Deeper Life Literature.
I sought the experience testified by these saints!
But, try as I might, I was never able to gin it up.
For a while, I was tempted to consider myself a second class believer; unable to measure up!
Then one day I came across 2 Peter 1:16-21.
Peter seems to imply one’s relationship with the text of scripture is more reliable than the sensate encounter!
That insight blew my mind!
The scriptures are objective to me and my personal experience, as with everyone else.
My subjective experience is just that, subjective. It is not verifiable. We each feel, something.
But, God, in His wise providence, left us a written record, against which we bring captive every thought; every experience; yea, everything.
Talk about Liberation!
At that moment, the implications of The New Covenant began to dawn on me.
Could it be God was dealing with me as an adult versus child?
Mercy…did this have implications heretofore ignored?
God, dealing with me as an adult?
Monday, September 29, 2008
For some time now, I have been troubled by the classic view/perspective on Judges 17:6 and 21:25.
Everyone assumes “anarchy” to be detrimental to the “…body politic…’
On the side of those who argue from scripture, the assumption is, the “Stain of Adam” presupposes “chaos”.
At the same time, one might argue from scripture the impact of Romans 2:14, 15 and John 1:9 in terms of the created order.
God is not the author of confusion. (1 Cor. 14:33)
Irrespective of “Adam’s Stain”, it seems to me, God has organized His creation to function orderly, even in the face of Adam!
Might it not be possible God’s plan is NOT for some sort of “communism” but rather an environment whereby biblically informed, individual righteousness is manifest in the social construct?
Recent manifestations within the life of CCV suggest such impact.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I casually picked up a book at a local discount house the other day. The price was more than reasonable and the title provocative.
In my mind, it would be a reasonable balance to another book on my shelf!
Well, I began to read the book while returning from Chicago the other day, and my socks began to be “blown off”!
The book is Rethinking Christ and Culture, a Post-Christendom Perspective, by Craig A. Carter, Brazos Press, 2006.
At the moment, I am only ½ way through the book but it is really serving to challenge my paradigms.
Especially challenging was another view of the traditional Just War Theory.
Hopefully, in the days ahead, my intent is to share these and other insights relative to one’s remaining “tough, tender, and teachable” for Jesus’ sake and The Kingdom’s advance.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
He remarked, as I recall, that one’s philosophy of history could be likened to the incoming tide. That is, at any moment when one looks at a particular wave, it might be advancing or retreating, yet the position of that particular wave does not describe the state of the tide.
The tide is still advancing, i.e. incoming!
The tide is not “in” til the last wave has made its advance to the furthest reach, and begins the long recession til the next advance.
At that moment, I thought, this is a terrific analogy of the advance of the kingdom of God.
Recently, given our nation’s current financial fiasco, thanks, but no thanks to our inept and interfering governmental elites; I caught myself looking at the "position of the wave”! The look tended toward discouragement.
Then, this morning, in my devotions and while reading through the HCSB One Year Bible, the author of the devotional readings, Selwyn Hughes, made a comment which reminded me of Lee’s observation. Hughes said, “…don’t focus on the wave, but on your assurance the tide is advancing..!”
I needed that reminder!
Listening to the current crop of “system baptized” political candidates only engenders, within me, disgust and dismay. As I reflect on the past umpteen years, I have seen the fruit of these “ostensible” saviors. I am less free and more chained that I was 70 years ago!
These supposed saviors have used the constitution to “chain” me rather than them!
Still, the “tide” is advancing.
The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of The Lord as the waters cover the sea!
Obviously, not in my lifetime!
I live in an era where the wave is receding, yet the tide is still advancing!
My focus is to be on the author and controlling of history, His word, and not on the momentary circumstance.
I stand rebuked, and repentant! Praise the Lord!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Back in the days when I enlisted in the Nations Finest, we were taught close order drill ‘…by the numbers..’
That is, every step was pre-determined, laid out, and we followed it by rigid rote!
At the time, and to a man, we thought it a pain in the @&&! But, after six weeks of disciplined practice and adherence, you would have thought we were a well-oiled machine!
When we began, we didn’t understand
When we finished, we understood.
Such are the basics of Intentional Discipleship.
IMHO, this illustrates the arena of failure in the local church. She focuses on the product, versus the process, forgetting it is the process which produces the product!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Though we differ in certain areas, theologically, I still love the bird! (Be advised, I am a former Marine and the vocabulary often unconsciously intrudes!)
Why, one might ask? How can you love one with whom you have such significant differences?
Well, Psalm 119:63 and Prov. 17:15 are sufficient admonitions for me.
He loves God.
He has a passion for the people of God and the advance of the kingdom of God.
Aside from that, I am still amazed at his willingness to countenance the contribution of one such as myself within the life of the church. That, alone, to me, testifies to his spiritual maturity.
Truth be known, he reminds me of myself 40 years ago, though he is far more competent than I could ever hope to be!
Then, in terms of the Providence of God, my eyes have been opened to a segment of the Body of Christ for which I had little appreciation, and of which, my theological education had been grossly biased.
But, God, in His infinite goodness, saw fit to prompt me to drop into The Movie Church in Sept. of ’05. Praise the Lord!
Since then, my religious education has been significantly, and might I say, profitably advanced.
But, and this is the reason for today’s post: sometimes my pastor…did I say just that “my pastor?” Is that what might be termed as Freudian Slip".
Well, that is a subject for another post.
Back to my point: sometimes the pastor gets things out of order.
In his passion, he is focused on Christians “doing”!
He is frustrated, and quite naturally, with the proliferation of Evangelical Holy Huddles, read: small groups!
For that, I rise up and call him blessed!
But, at the same time, I would humbly suggest he has things out of order.
Our focus ought to be:
Most of what comes to pass in the evangelical community today is a function of screwed up knowing.
Before Jesus sent the twelve or the seventy out to “do”, they had companied with Him!
Even then, they tended to initially screw things up! (It took a persecution to get them on track!)
If we, as believers are to be competent witnesses, whose lives evoke the questions Peter refers to in 1 Peter 3:15, then IMHO, knowing precedes Doing.
But, and more importantly, Being reinforces what is transmitted, propositionally.
I may be way off base, but it seems to me, after 40+ years in personal ministry, the reasonable order is:
And, I still love this pastor!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
A good friend of mine posted the following in his blog:
Something awful is happening to a family from our church! Lifelong Perkiomen residents Jim and Sue Umstead (14 Wartman, Collegeville) are being forced to sell their family’s farmhouse on 9.8 acres. Another 1.1 acre property near it sold for $130,000! Their property is worth at least $700,000! They are being unethically FORCED to take a tiny fraction of that! Are we going to stand by and allow our Township Supervisors STEAL our neighbor’s home and land and put our children in harm’s way? Mr. Umstead is fighting brain cancer! After the last township meeting he was so distraught he had a seizure! We must stand up and fight for them! All they want is to keep our schools safe from strangers wandering from the trail onto school property! All they ever wanted was to keep their property for open space for their horses, their grandchildren and all their township friends to enjoy!
To learn how you can help visit this website -
Eminent domain has long been a club for "government", read: those few parties with vested interests and access to "...the powers that be..."
Sometimes, "we", the people can exercise the "powers" which supposedly reside with us.
I might this be just such an occasion?!
Power to the people
Friday, September 12, 2008
For my part, though having made a profession of faith years before, I had long since strayed and was heavily involved in my career is the USMC.
But, God had other plans.
The pastor of the church my wife attended was only semi-literate from my perspective. He had come to The Faith in the hills of NC and his wife had taught him to read. He subsequently attended a NC Bible institute and began preaching at this Baptist Mission church.
He, his wife, my wife, and my wife’s Sunday School teacher began to meet and pray for me and my restoration to The Faith, unknown to me.
In historical context, this was the months prior to the assassination of JFK, while I was attending a course at USC in So. Cal..
When I returned home to NC, this pastor would screw up the courage to drop by and visit us, inviting me to church. His earnestness and sincerity began to grip me, and I relented. Sometime thereafter, under his ministry, I repented of my rebellion and experienced restoration in the faith.
We became fast friends and I grew under his tutelage in terms of my passion for Christ and the things of The Faith. He deeply instilled in me an appreciation for God and His word, and an unconditional willingness to serve Him, whatever.
Well, among other inputs, his example was one prompting me to resign my commission in USMC in ’66 and enter into Missions. Through those years, he and the Sunday School teacher faithfully encouraged and prayed for us.
At one point, I felt led to give him my Bible, back in ’81, seeing his was nearly worn out!
In 2005, the church where we had met and from which he had subsequently departed had a reunion and we both attended. At this reunion, my first pastor returned that same Bible, which is next to me on my desk!
Now, today, just moments ago, I learned he had passed to the other side!
My, how I will miss him, but thank God for his impact on my life!
In my 70+ years in The Faith, I have been blessed of God to have been significantly been marked, indelibly, by a “Few good men” and Pastor David Cox was one of them!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
We discuss the Fundamental Fact and Permanent Principles, seeking to follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition in 2 Tim. 2:15, recognizing the simple truth the Bible was not written TO us, but FOR us.
We completed our survey of the books denominated The Samuels, focusing on the transition from the era of the Judges to that of The Monarchy.
In that segment, God reveals to Samuel, the message of what a King (read: government) will require, i.e. impose on the people. Implicit in this divine disclosure is the basis of “human government”, that being the imposition of “force”.
In the revelation, the people are told that their “king” will TAKE.
Up to this juncture, those doing the TAKING have been the oppressors, against which the likes of my personal all-time hero, Shamgar, have resisted.
Subject to oppression, which resulted from the covenant nation’s rebellion and refusal to adhere to their covenanted commitments, the peoples cry out to God for deliverance which, He, in grace responds and delivers them via “judges” of various stripes.
It occurred to me, chapters 17-21 are really an appendix providing an overview of the era.
I noted 17:6 and 21:25 in my readings and, as a good evangelical, thought “see, this is the fruit of anarchy”, every man/woman doing his/her “own” thing. This is why we “need” government.
But, then, an errant thought intruded itself, which initially troubled me: is “anarchy” the problem, or might it be the standard against which “anarchy” is to be held?
17:6 & 21:25 indicates the standard at that juncture as “…that which was right in his own eyes…”
Wow! At that moment, it hit me! If every man …did that which was right in God’s eyes…anarchy would not be a “problem”, but an expression of responsible conduct in the kingdom of God!
A concomitant thought intruded itself: might not external “government” be the very instrument which keeps men and women in perpetual, personal governmental immaturity?
Was it the objective of my parents to raise me to be "dependent" upon an external force, or did they hope to raise a son "independent" and willingly "interdependent' in a societal context?
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Lorne pointed out a few basics things about Shamgar and his conduct during a difficult time in Israel’s pre-monarchial history. Lorne said Shamgar did:
What he could with
What he had and
Where he was
As I reflected on Shamgar’s model, it dawned on me anyone in the household of The Faith could emulate it. No special training is required, save for a vital relationship with Christ and his word.
Problem often being, we want to do something for which we are ill-equipped and somewhere else!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Oh, yeah-I forgot, government loves and understands us better than our employer, who typically has face to face contact with us on a daily basis.
So government lays the heavy hand of enforcement (read the power of the gun) on your employer, mandating the employer provide a day off with pay; something for nothing!
On the surface, given our personal corruption, we are favorably disposed to the idea..
But, upon reflection, we ought to recognize, “…there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch…”.
Somebody has to pay.
First off, your employer.
Who passes it on to the consumer.
And YOU are a consumer, so you pay!
On top of that, because Govt. intervened on your behalf the”bureaurats” who have to be paid for their involvement; hence, and increase in your taxes!
ALWAYS remember the simple axiom,: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Somebody has to pay, and since it typically isn’t the politician; guess who foots the bill?
Hence, “…there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch…”
In The Revelation, God has privileged us with an insight into His control of human history.
In terms of the divine record, the focus is on Israel and the plan of redemption.
But, by implication, all of human history is encompassed for however long God intends.
So, today; this century and this year, is under His sovereign sway, being superintended toward His intended “end”.
Whether O’Bama or McCain ends up in office; God is still in absolute control; writing straight with crooked sticks!
The Kingdom of God continues to advance, as the incoming tide.
At any particular moment, the “wave” may appear to be either advancing or receding; still, the tide is “coming in”!
At all times, and in all circumstances, the illustration of the Incoming Tide serves me well! Regardless of temporal circumstances, I remind myself, “…the tide is coming in…”
This is the source of my HOPE.
The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea!
My hope is built on nothing-less, than Jesus blood and righteousness!
Monday, September 1, 2008
For my part, I was captivated by the vision of Dawson Trotman, as lived out in the lives of the men I had encountered following my restoration to fellowship with Christ!
Each of these men, Percy Crecelius, Ron York, Skip Gray, and Paul Drake reminded me of the individual who had led me to Christ and who, more than any other man, marked me in terms of Intentional Discipleship, Jim Larsen.
To this day, I am, for better or worse, the “spitting image” of Jim Larsen in terms of my commitment to Christ, His word, my wife, my family, and those who seek to follow Christ. For certain, I will rise up and call his name blessed on any and every occasion!
But, reflecting on the comments of those having part in our recent 50th anniversary celebration, I am overwhelmed thinking of the contribution to our lives and walk with Christ, on the part of all those with whom we were privileged to co-labor. What a blessing!
Each of the aforementioned men “stamped” me, indelibly, and their “stamp” has both kept me and motivated me through these ensuing years!
The memory of these men has served me, as those whom I believe, would embody A motto of either the The French Army or The Foreign Legion on my behalf:
“If I falter, push me on!
If I stumble, pick me up!
If I retreat, shoot me!”
Had we not left the USMC, I doubt I would have encountered this type of fellowship and commitment.
Having left the Corps, in ’66, in the spirit of Abraham, our lives have been enriched beyond measure!
Psalm 84:11 rejoices the heart!
Fifty more to go!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Our devious children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with a host of associates around the USA, completely surprised us with a 50th anniversary celebration!
I am amazed they were able to keep it secret considering the number of months and individuals involved.
Those responsible ought to be employed by our US Intelligence agencies!
It was an evening to remember, for certain.
My former associate from the Sanctity of Life days, Fr. John Mc Fadden, with whom I shared a cell on a number of occasions opened with comments and prayer, and warmed my heart with his love for Christ.
The range of folk present for the evening spanned our years from USMC, The Navigators, Seminary, First Baptist, Newtown Square, National Fulfillment Services, Prison Fellowship, and Christ Community Church. Mercy!
The email comments form folk with whom we were privileged to minister were humbling and encouraging, and brought back such a host of warm memories.
Following the email readings, effected by our children and grandchildren, my brother in the faith and co-laborer in the kingdom of Christ, Mike McHugh, delivered some closing observations. (Bye the bye, he was one of the co-conspirators!)
What a reminder of God’s providential involvement in our lives!
Jan and I want to express our most heartfelt appreciation for the labor expended by those who brought this to pass! What a terrific operation! We are duly impressed!
The evening was a gracious reminder of the goodness of God we have been privileged to experience!
Truly, our cup runneth over
Friday, August 29, 2008
Most would encourage me to "move on", but generally, in the good providence of God, each week three to four men would respond positively.
The session were designed to last 50 minutes,focused on the gospel of John or similar material, and run for 3-4 weeks. During that time, the gospel would be communicated in a manner designed to "...fit the needs of each one..." involved.
It was not unusual to see at least one individual in each group make a profession of faith. For those who did, we would then begin the process of following them up and assisting them in their growth in the faith.
Many subsequently left for Vietnam and our contact would be lost.
Imagine my surprise when, 15 minutes ago, I get a phone call from one of those very men. In the course of our conversation, he remarked about answering the knock on his door that evening and responding positively to my invitation!
He was one of those who did make a profession of faith and has faithfully followed Christ all these years through Vietnam, years as a pilot with American Airlines, etc.
What a pleasant surprise!
Praise the Lord
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Finished volume II of Cottrell’s Trilogy on God and started Vol. III.
Loved it! Highly recommend it, for he exalts Christ and provokes the reader to both search the scriptures and think!
Again, there are fundamental disagreements in our understandings! But, as the Psalmist says, “…I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy commandments…”. Brother Cottrell, IMHO, is in that category and this olde bird has no intent to throw stones!
In a previous post I made reference to “…thinking outside the box…” and suggested such is an intellectual impossibility. All thinking occurs within a “box”.
So, for me, my objective has been to attempt to “think inside” bro. Cottrell’s “box”. This has been my driving motivation to read his Trilogy on God, and hopefully, to conclude with his commentary on Romans.
One of the things I look forward to in heaven is the chance to interact with brother Cottrell and to ask him, “…how do you insinuate the concept of “relative independence”?
Maybe, when he explains it, my response will be, “…Oh, why couldn’t I see that back then?...”
Or, maybe, my response will be, “…What? You can’t be serious?..,”
In any case, we both agree there will be continued learning on the “…other side…”!
Ain’t God awesome?!!!
What would “church” be like if saints were allowed to “…grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ…” in an arena of acceptance versus one of “indoctrination”?
For certain, it would be uncomfortable for the “leadership”!
Leadership is a “snap” when everyone is “…on the same page…”, and a “…pain in the rava…” (as my grandma used to say), when they are not.
But, pray tell, how are we to enable an individual saint to be “…fully persuaded in their own mind…” if we confine their thinking and/or restrict their intellectual explorations, biblically?
If, in the thought of a previous post, we provide/restrict the "box" in which they think?
IMHO, it is somewhat easier to raise up “indoctrinated clones” than what I might refer to as legitimate saints/disciples.
The latter requires management, whereas the former would appear to require leadership?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Though we are on opposite poles, theologically, on a number of points, we are certainly on the same page insofar as it pertains to the place and role of the scriptures. Early on Cottrell declares:
1) The Bible is our source of knowledge of God
2) The Bible is inspired, i.e. God breathed and
3) The Bible is understandable, i.e. perspicuous.
As soon as I read those statements, and in the words of John Wesley, although in a differing context, “…my heart was strangely warmed…”!
At the moment, I am about ½ way through Vol. II. Stimulating!
Monday, August 25, 2008
"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian."
A. W. Tozer –
God, in heaven! How I love that citation!
We currently live in a Christian “sound bite” era.
Today’s saint is turned off with linear arguments requiring thought. Instead, today’s saint wants to “feel” God. (Whatever that means?).
Today’s saint seeks for a “personal relationship”. Somehow thinking such relationships are not “mind on mind”!
Isn’t it strange to consider the God of the universe values propositional revelation above images and feelings! (Consider the prohibition regarding images in the Ten Words!)
Were such not the case, we wouldn’t be constrained to a Bible, but God would have left us a VHS/DVD!
"Come now, let us reason together"!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
In the good providence of God, I have been born into an era and a geographical location where there is access to a divine record of the thoughts and plans of God for His creation.
Again, in the good providence of God, the eyes of my understanding have been opened to the truths of the gospel, as were those of Lydia, and I have bowed beneath His aweful eye!
My personal response is that of the poet who said, “…why was I made to hear His voice and enter while there’s room, while millions make a wretched choice, and rather die than come…?”
From that perspective, I read the text of scripture and notice two irrefutable truths: the Sovereignty of God, and the Responsibility of Man.
In my readings, I see it everywhere. This morning, I read in 2 Kings 24ff of Israel’s continued rebellion and subsequent captivity in Babylon. Yet, I read where God has fore-ordained it, even engineered it!
Then, I read in the last chapters of 2 Chronicles the reality of Jeremiah’s prophecy of the length of Israel’s captivity and the foreordination of Cyrus’ actions in their release!
How are these seemingly “contradictions” reconciled?
I have learned they are one of “perspective”! There is no contradiction!
As a creature, I view them from the perspective of a “creature”. I have been created to be “responsible”, and responsible to my Creator. I was not created to be an “independent” being. I will always have to “answer” to one higher than myself, in time and in eternity.
I read this divine record, i.e. the holy scriptures, as a creature.
As a creature, and while I read, I recognize, by virtue of the Creator’s enlightenment, the Creator is not subject to anyone, Nay, anything; and is, in fact, in absolute control of every aspect of His creation!
The temptation, because of Adam’s stain, is to rebel and believe that I am “…one who determines good and evil…”. It is at this juncture, perspective is lost!
God is the one who is in control of every aspect of His creation. He is the One who determines “good and evil”. He is the One who determined to “…make man in His image…”, bestowing upon us ‘reason and rationality’. In the good providence of God, we, men and women, “KNOW”, the creature/Creator distinction, yet rebel against it…just as did Lucifer.
The other day, someone asked me, “…what is the abundant life referred to in John 10:10…?”
For me, it is the progressive realization of this creature/Creator distinction on this side of the veil of death.
‘…Why was I made to hear His voice…?
Monday, July 7, 2008
His clean up of the nation’s mess included the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the grossness introduced during Solomon’s decline, and the baseness which his grandfather had fostered!
An interesting aspect being the discovery of the Book of the covenant occurs five years after Jeremiah’s call to ministry. On wonders what other impact Jeremiah’s ministry had on young Josiah?
For certain, at this point in his life, Josiah was a “doer” of the Word, and not a “hearer” only!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
For our part, we select 3-6 words and repeat them over and over! (Matt. 6:7)
Instead of developing a coherent concept of the God of heaven and earth, whereby our answer to Pharaoh's questiuon in Exodus 5:2, is more than Lah Lah Lah, we, todat, and struck dumb!
For all of the problems of the previous age...and there are many...they manifested a more reasonable response to Pharaoh's question than our age's "Kumbyah"!
The world is very evil,
The times are waxing late;
Be sober and keep vigil,
The judge is at the gate-
The judge that comes in mercy,
The judge that comes with might,
To terminate the evil,
To diadem the right.
When the just and gentle Monarch
Shall summon from the tomb,
Let man, the guilty, tremble,
For Man, the God, shall doom!
Arise, arise, good Christian,
Let right to wrong succeed;
Let penitential sorrow
To heavenly gladness lead-
To the light that hath no evening,
That knows nor moon nor sun,
The light so new and golden,
The light that is but one.
And when the Sole-Begotten
Shall render up once more
The kingdom to the Father,
Whose own it was before,
Then glory yet unheard of
Shall shed abroad its ray,
Resolving all enigmas,
An endless Sabbath-day.
Then, then from his oppressors
The Hebrew shall go free,
And celebrate in triumph
The year of jubilee;
And the sunlit Land that recks not
Of tempest nor of fight,
Shall fold within its bosom
Each happy Israelite–
The Home of fadeless splendor,
Of flowers that fear no thorn,
Where they shall dwell as children,
Who here as exiles mourn.
Midst power that knows no limit,
And wisdom free from bound,
The Beatific Vision
Shall glad the Saints around-
The peace of all the faithful,
The calm of all the blest,
Divinest, sweetest, best.
Yes, peace! for war is needless-
Yes, calm! for storm is past–
And goal from finished labor,
And anchorage at last.
That peace-but who may claim it?
The guileless in their way,
Who keep the ranks of battle,
Who mean the thing they say-
The peace that is for heaven,
And shall be for the earth;
The palace that re-echoes
With festal song and mirth;
The garden, breathing spices,
The paradise on high;
Grace beautified to glory,
There nothing can be feeble,
There none can ever mourn,
There nothing is divided,
There nothing can be torn.
‘Tis fury, ill, and scandal,
‘Tis peaceless peace below;
Peace, endless, strifeless, ageless,
The halls of Syon know.
O happy, holy portion,
Refection for the blest,
True vision of true beauty,
Sweet cure of all distrest!
Strive, man, to win that glory;
Toil, man, to gain that light;
Send hope before to grasp it,
Till hope be last in sight;
Till Jesus gives the portion
Those blessed souls to fill-
The insatiate, yet satisfied,
The full, yet craving still.
That fulness and that craving
Alike are free from pain,
Where thou, midst heavenly citizens,
A home like theirs shalt gain.
Here is the warlike trumpet;
There, life set free from sin,
When to the last Great Supper
The faithful shall come in;
When the heavenly net is laden
With fishes many and great
(So glorious in its fulness,
Yet so inviolate);
And perfect from unperfected,
And fall’n from those that stand,
And the sheep-flock from the goat-herd
Shall part an either hand.
And these shall pass to torment,
And those shall triumph then-
The new peculiar nation,
Blest number of blest men.
Jerusalem demands them;
They paid the price on earth,
And now shall reap the harvest
In blissfulness and mirth-
The glorious holy people,
Who evermore relied
Upon their Chief and Father,
The King, the Crucified–
The sacred ransomed number
Now bright with endless sheen,
Who made the Cross their watchword
Of Jesus Nazarene,
Who (fed with heavenly nectar
Where soul-like odors play)
Draw out the endless leisure
Of that long vernal day.
And, through the sacred lilies
And flowers on every side,
The happy dear-bought people
Go wandering far and wide;
Their breasts are filled with gladness,
Their mouths are tun’d to praise,
What time, now safe for ever,
On former sins they gaze:
The fouler was the error,
The sadder was the fall,
The ampler are the praises
Of Him who pardoned all.
Their one and only anthem,
The fulness of His love,
Who gives instead of torment,
Eternal joys above-
Instead of torment, glory;
Instead of death, that life
Wherewith your happy Country,
True Israelites, is rife.
Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, short-liv’d care;
The life that knows no ending-
The tearless life, is there.
O happy retribution!
Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals and for sinners
A mansion with the blest!
That we should look, poor wand’rers,
To have our home on high!
That worms should seek for dwelling,
Beyond the starry sky!
To all one happy guerdon
Of one celestial grace;
For all, for all, who mourn their fall,
Is one eternal place.
And martyrdom hath roses
Upon that heavenly ground;
And white and virgin lilies
For virgin-souls abound.
There grief is turned to pleasure–
Such pleasure as below
No human voice can utter,
No human heart can know;
And after fleshly scandal,
And after this world’s night,
And after storm and whirlwind,
Is calm, and joy, and light.
And now we fight the battle,
But then shall wear the crown
Of full and everlasting
And passionless renown:
And now we watch and struggle,
And now we live in hope,
And Syon, in her anguish,
With Babylon must cope;
But He whom now we trust in
Shall then be seen and known,
And they that know and see Him
Shall have Him for their own.
The miserable pleasures
Of the body shall decay;
The bland and flattering struggles
Of the flesh shall pass away;
And none shall there be jealous,
And none shall there contend;
Fraud, clamor, guile-what say I?
All ill, all ill shall end!
And there is David’s Fountain,
And life in fullest glow;
And there the light is golden,
And milk and honey flow-
The light that hath no evening,
The health that hath no sore,
The life that hath no ending,
But lasteth evermore.
There Jesus shall embrace us,
There Jesus be embraced-
That spirit’s food and sunshine
Whence earthly love is chased.
Amidst the happy chorus,
A place, however low,
Shall shew Him us, and shewing,
Shall satiate evermore.
By hope we struggle onward:
While here we must be fed
By milk, as tender infants,
But there by Living Bread.
The night was full of terror,
The morn is bright with gladness;
The Cross becomes our harbor,
And we triumph after sadness.
And Jesus to His true ones
Brings trophies fair to see;
And Jesus shall be loved, and
Beheld in Galilee-
Beheld, when morn shall waken,
And shadows shall decay,
And each true-hearted servant
Shall shine as doth the day;
And every ear shall hear it–
“Behold thy King’s array,
Behold thy God in beauty,
The Law hath pass’d away!”
Yes I God my King and Portion,
In fulness of Thy grace,
We then shall see for ever,
And worship face to face.
Then Jacob into Israel,
From earthlier self estranged,
And Leah into Rachel
For ever shall be changed;
Then all the halls of Syon
For aye shall be complete,
And in the Land of Beauty,
All things of beauty meet.
For thee, O dear, dear Country!
Mine eyes their vigils keep;
For very love, beholding
Thy happy name, they weep.
The mention of thy glory
Is unction to the breast,
And medicine in sickness,
and love, and life, and rest.
O One, O only Mansion!
O Paradise of Joy!
Where tears-are ever banished,
And smiles have no alloy,
Beside thy living waters
All plants are, great and small,
The cedar of the forest,
The hyssop of the wall;
With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,
Thy streets with emeralds blaze,
The sardius and the topaz
Unite in thee their rays;
Thine ageless walls are bonded
With amethyst unpriced;
Thy Saints build up its fabric,
And the corner-stone is Christ.
The Cross is all thy splendor,
The Crucified thy praise;
His laud and benediction
Thy ransomed people raise:
“Jesus, the Gem of Beauty,
True God and Man,” they sing,
“The never-failing Garden,
The ever-golden Ring;
The Door, the Pledge, the Husband,
The Guardian of his Court;
The Day-star of Salvation,
The Porter and the Port!”
Thou hast no shore, fair ocean!
Thou hast no time, bright day!
Dear fountain of refreshment
To pilgrims far away!
Upon the Rock of Ages
They raise thy holy tower;
Thine is the victor’s laurel,
And thine the golden dower!
Thou feel’st in mystic rapture,
O Bride that know’st no guile,
The Prince’s sweetest kisses,
The Prince’s loveliest smile;
Unfading lilies, bracelets
Of living pearl thine own;
The Lamb is ever near thee,
The Bridegroom thine alone.
The Crown is He to guerdon,
The Buckler to protect,
And he Himself the Mansion,
And He the Architect.
The only art thou needest-
Thanksgiving for thy lot;
The only joy thou seekest-
The Life where Death is not.
And all thine endless leisure,
In sweetest accents, sings
The ill that was thy merit,
The wealth that is thy King’s!
Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, O I know not.
What social jays are there!
What radiancy of glory,
What light beyond compare!
And when I fain would sing them,
My spirit fails and faints;
And vainly would it image
The assembly of the Saints.
They stand, those halls of Syon,
Conjubilant with song,
And bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng;
The Prince is ever in them,
The daylight is serene;
The pastures of the Blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen.
There is the Throne of David,
And there, from care released,
The song of them that triumph,
The shout of them that feast;
And they who, with their Leader,
Have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
Are clad in robes of white!
O holy, placid harp-notes
Of that eternal hymn!
O sacred, sweet refection,
And peace of Seraphim!
O thirst, for ever ardent,
Yet evermore content!
O true peculiar vision
Of God cunctipotent!
Ye know the many mansions
For many a glorious name,
And divers retributions
That divers merits claim;
For midst the constellations
That deck our earthly sky,
This star than that is brighter-
And so it is on high.
Jerusalem the glorious!
The glory of the Elect!
O dear and future vision
That eager hearts expect!
Even now by faith I see thee,
Even here thy walls discern;
To thee my thoughts are kindled,
And strive, and pant, and yearn.
Jerusalem the only,
That look’st from heaven below,
In thee is all my glory,
In me is all my woe;
And though my body may not,
My spirit seeks thee fain,
Till flesh and earth return me
To earth and flesh again.
O none can tell thy bulwarks,
How gloriously they rise!
O none can tell thy capitals
O beautiful device!
Thy loveliness oppresses
All human thought and heart;
And none, O peace, O Syon,
Can sing thee as thou art!
New mansion of new people,
Whom God’s own love and light
Promote, increase, make holy,
Thou City of the Angels!
Thou City of the Lord!
Whose everlasting music
Is the glorious decachord!
And there the band of Prophets
United praise ascribes,
And there the twelvefold chorus
Of Israel’s ransomed tribes,
The lily-beds of virgins,
The roses’ martyr-glow,
The cohort of the Fathers
Who kept the Faith below.
And there the Sole-Begotten
Is Lord in regal state-
He, Judah’s mystic Lion,
He, Lamb Immaculate.
O fields that know no sorrow!
O state that fears no strife!
O princely bowers! O land of flowers!
O realm and home of Life!
On that securest shore,
I hope thee, wish thee, sing thee,
And love thee evermore!
I ask not for my merit,
I seek not to deny
My merit is destruction,
A child of wrath am I;
But yet with Faith I venture
And Hope upon my way;
Far those perennial guerdons
I labor night and day.
The best and dearest Father,
Who made me and who saved,
Bore with me in defilement,
And from defilement laved,
When in His strength I struggle,
For very joy I leap,
When in my sin I totter,
I weep, or try to weep:
But grace, sweet grace celestial,
Shall all its love display,
And David’s Royal Fountain
Purge every sin away.
O mine, my golden Syon!
O lovelier far than gold,
With laurel-girt battalions,
And safe victorious fold!
O sweet and blessed Country,
Shall I ever see thy face?
O sweet and blessed Country,
Shall I ever win thy grace?
I have the hope within me
To comfort and to bless!
Shall I ever win the prize itself?
O tell me, tell me, Yes!
Exult, O dust and ashes!
The Lord shall be thy part;
His only, His for ever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!
Exult, O dust and ashes!
The Lord shall be thy part;
His only, His for ever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!
Bernard of Cluny