Tuesday, June 30, 2009

God's help is sure, but His methods seldom guessed

Say not, my soul, 'From whence...?'

Words: Thomas T Lynch (1818-1871)
Tune: St. Ethelwald

Say not, my soul, 'From whence
'Can God relieve my care?'
Remember that Omnipotence
Has servants everywhere.

God's help is always sure,
His method seldom guessed;
Delay will make our pleasure pure,
Surprise will give it zest.

His wisdom is sublime,
His heart profoundly kind;
God never is before His time,
And never is behind.

Hast thou assumed a load,
Which few will share with thee,-
And art thou carrying it for God,
And shall He fail to see?

Be comforted at heart,
Thou art not left alone;
Now, thou the Lord's companion art;
Soon, thou wilt share His throne.

Put all your faith in God's great goodness

Put all your faith in God's great goodness

Words: Amos Cresswell (born 1926) based on Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten by Georg Neumark (1621-1681)
Tune: Neumark

Put all your faith in God's great goodness
and hope in him for every day;
through all your anguish, pain and sadness
his shadow guards along life's way:
and if he leads you by the hand
you never build on shifting sand.

When we are lonely and despairing,
when visions fade and hopes are dim,
he comes, our depths of sorrow sharing,
invites our faith to turn to him;
he never will forsake his child;
his hold is form though storms are wild.

Our Lord is present in our weakness,
for this he left his heavenly throne.
His power and strength lie in his meekness,
'You will not agonise alone;
I drank the bitter cup for you;
my crucifixion proves this true.'

Sing, pray and tell the mighty story;
God comes to us in vibrant Word.
The wonder of the heavenly glory
is seen by us in Christ, our Lord.
Our God has never left in need
a soul who trusted him indeed.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

A joyous dance in the fountain of Life

Psalm 36:9 For with you, O LORD, is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Isaiah 41:18 "I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water."


The role of true men & women in the life of a nation

Will our nation perish for lack of true men & women?

See how the ancient cities fell because their men were citizens and no more. They had no heavenly citizenship. They were not kindled by the vision of the righteous city of God, growing up through all the cities of men. They did not seek first the Kingdom of God. What have we among us to make men, to make good men and discredit bad ones? What is to protect us from that nation-killing passion for sport and pleasure, for instance, which is breeding gamblers and bleeding citizenship, which throngs to football but cannot be dragged to service?

We are in more danger from the slow perdition of subtle selfishness and popular materialism than from gross and palpable wickedness. The one is the soil in which the other thrives. On what is our citizenship, our public spirit to live in future? The men, who have done most for our cities in the past, have been moved by the faith, brotherhood, and Kingdom of God.

What are we trusting to, to keep that flame alive and burning in time to come? What is the tendency of our current religious life? It is making true humans or religious consumers, citizens or sectarians, mere delegates of interests, mere self-seekers even in their Salvation, mere fugitives from Hell?

"The sheep of my pasture are men, saith the Lord."
What a text! And when God would save the world, He sent it a Man to set up a Divine Kingdom out of all the cities of earth. And if our public life is not made by men who are made by Christ, we have nothing to look for but the doom of the old Empires. The men we need are men who are not only unashamed of a Christian faith but men who consult the will of God in private about every great public movement or step in which they are engaged.


P.T. Forsyth, "The Ideal City," preached at the Congregational Church, Llandrindod Wells, on 20th July, 1913. From Revelation Old and New: Sermons and Addresses by P.T. Forsyth, edited by John Huxtable (London: Independent Press, 1962).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The relation of Christ to human self

First order: True to Christ = true to self

Christ is ours not because He represents our best but because He redeems our worst, not because He set a seal to our manhood but because He saves it, not because He elicits it but because He gives it. You must not tell men that the way to understand God is to understand the human heart, nor that the way to be true to men is to be true to their own selves. We are not true to men till we are in Christian relation to them; and that comes from being true to Christ and to the Word of His grace.


P.T. Forsyth, Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind, 83.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God

Hidden with Christ in God

How can we who died to sin still live in it?—I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.—He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.—Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

We are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.—“Just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us.”—Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.—“Because I live, you also will live.”

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”


Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:2; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:15; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 5:20; John 17:21; 1 Cor. 12:27; John 14:19; Rev. 2:17

O be not thou dismayèd

Praise God! Praise God with singing

Words: Johann Roh (fl. 1529-1547) tr. John D. Libbey (1830-1892)
Tune: Komm

Praise God! Praise God with singing,
Rejoice thou Christian flock!
Fear not though foes are bringing
Their hosts against thy rock;
For though they here assail thee,
And seek thy very life,
Let not thy courage fail thee;
Thy God shall turn the strife.

O be not thou dismayèd,
Believing little band;
God, in his might arrayèd,
To help thee is at hand.
Upon his palms engraven
Thy name is ever found;
He knows, who dwells in heaven,
The ills that thee surround.

His purpose stands unshaken-
What he hath said he'll do;
And, when by all forsaken,
His Church he will renew.
With pity he beholds her,
E'en in her time of woe;
Still by his word upholds her,
And makes her thrive and grow.

To him belong our praises,
Who still abides our Lord,
Bestowing gifts and graces,
According to his word;
Nor will he e'er forsake us,
But will our guardian be,
And ever stable make us,
In love and unity.


The state of affairs in economy

A long term reckoning on the way

Robert Samuelson comments on the current state of affairs, and the runaway welfare state of America [note: italics mine, hat tip Instapundit]:

In theory, expanding public welfare could offset eroding private welfare. President Obama’s health-care proposal reflects that logic. The trouble is that the public sector also faces enormous cost pressures, driven by an aging population and rising health costs. The Congressional Budget Office projects the federal debt will double as a share of the economy (gross domestic product) to 82 percent of GDP by 2019.

Any sober examination of figures like these suggests that the system has promised more than it can realistically deliver. We are borrowing not to finance investment in the future but to pay for today’s welfare — present consumption. Sooner or later, the huge debt will weaken the economy. Nor would paying for all promised benefits with higher taxes be desirable. Big increases in either debt or taxes risk depressing economic growth, making it harder yet to pay promised benefits.

The U.S. welfare state is weakening; insecurity is rising. The sensible thing would be to decide which forms of public welfare are needed to protect the vulnerable and to begin paring others. Our inaction poses another dreary parallel with GM. It was obvious a quarter-century ago that GM the auto company could not support GM the welfare state. But the union wouldn’t surrender benefits, and the company acquiesced. Inertia prevailed, and the reckoning came.

The same cycle, repeated on a national scale with sums many multiples higher, would be correspondingly more fearsome.

With these underlying realities, it gives new light to the congressional threats Obama used in order to pass his budget and stimulus, and the subtle way he gifted unions in the auto takeovers. Take another look at the debt proposed by this administration -- what is now appearing as a best case scenario:

The best economists are saying even this untenable offer is going to be much worse. One has to ask: Are we are witnessing a collective will to destruction in America?

Is there a way to reverse this decline?

What does revelation say?


Friday, June 19, 2009

Life in a fishbowl

Ah! What a remarkable picture, on several levels!

Here's one takeaway: Life in a fishbowl swims a fine line between wonder and dinner.

Can I get a witness? :-)

The meaning of destiny conferred

The soul's value as an ever-present, ever-living reality

Men will still hear of the soul if it be a true soul that speaks — no smatterer, and no self-seeker. They will still hear of the great value of the soul. They will even hear of its absolute value, its pearl of price for whose sake all other pearls are but a currency, and all other ends but means… This is the Christian, the New Testament faith.

The Hebrew idea was different [than the Hellenstic]. The Jews thought of the soul as immortal not in itself but in a destiny conferred on it. They thought of its immortality and perfection as given by God. Its destiny was there as the result of the will and choice of God. That destiny was due to the divine purpose, and it existed there, not in the soul’s fibre, so to say. It was written not in the soul’s creation but in its Creator, not in its germ but in its Maker. Accordingly what was said to pre-exist was not the soul in its independent nature, as a sort of fiery particle forming an exception from the great universe of inert existence, but the will of God for the soul, its destiny as a purpose and choice of God. And as the purpose is that of God, to whom all things future are present, therefore in Him our destiny is an ever-present and ever-living reality. Thus the soul’s absolute and final value was found in Christ, in the pre-existent Christ, eternally chosen, God’s personal purpose, eternal and unbegotten, in whom we were and are created.


P.T. Forsyth, "The Preacher and the Age," Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind (Independent Press LTD: London, 1953), 94-95.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crowns of glory are His right

Crowns of glory, ever bright

Words: Thomas Kelly (1769-1855)
Tune: Harts

Crowns of glory, ever bright,
Rest upon the Victor's head;
Crowns of glory are His right,
His, who liveth and was dead.

Jesus fought and won the day;
Such a fight was never fought;
Well His people now may say,
See what God, our God, has wrought.

He subdued the powers of hell;
In the fight He stood alone;
All His foes before Him fell,
By His single arm o'erthrown.

They have fall'n to rise no more;
Final is the foe's defeat:
Jesus triumphed by His power,
And His triumph is complete.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Living from one true center

Can a faithful person serve both flesh and Spirit?

A religion which teaches men to live from two centres instead of one, and that one the conscience, is a non-moral religion; it serves God and Mammon. It has a fearful looking for of judgment. It has the soul of schism in it, which takes effect in the wars of churches, classes, and nations.


P.T. Forsyth, “Salvation Theological But Not Systematic,” The Justification of God: Lectures for War-Time on a Christian Theodicy (Independent Press LTD: London, 1957), 96.

The potential idolatry of postmodern intuition

A diseased and wasted church

Such views of theology as postpone experience to belief, practice to creed, conscience to assent, or regeneration to impression… are among the chief reasons why the Church has such a weak moral impact on the world, and why its theological foundations seem irrelevant to righteousness and impotent for crisis in history and society. They do not coincide with the foundations of the moral world. Therefore they are regarded as themes instead of being felt as powers. They are treated as academic principles instead of life-giving spirits.

Such considerations help to explain why the Gospel of God’s Kingdom… does not come home to the rations, why it does not take charge of the pubic conscience on a universal scale either to inspire courage or to sustain fortitude.


P.T. Forsyth, “Salvation Theological But Not Systematic,” The Justification of God: Lectures for War-Time on a Christian Theodicy (Independent Press LTD: London, 1957), 95-96.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alaskan child development

Nice, Tegan! 138 pound halibut is one for the books, and good for first place in the fishing derby. Congratulations!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The friendship of the Lord

The covenant of God for the friends of God

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. — “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” — “Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him!”

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.”

Deut. 29:29; Ps. 131:1, 2; Ps. 25:14; Dan. 2:28; Job 26:14; John 15:15; John 14:15-17

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On belonging to God

The surprise of belonging

"He who does what the Lord tells him is in the kingdom, even if every feeling of heart and brain told him otherwise."

George MacDonald, "The Understanding," The Marquis' Secret (Bethany House: Minneapolis, MN 1982), p. 197. Note: Originally published as The Marquis of Lossie, by J.P. Lippencott and Co., 1877.

The positive of negative past

All things work together for good

"The greatest value of the past is how wisely we invest it in the future."

Jim Rohn

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A place of rest in Almighty Hands

Here's a point of meditation for today: rest... rest in Hands much larger than you! Dare to be a child in heart, trusting and dancing to life, perhaps like long ago you trusted... or perhaps like you've never trusted but always longed and hoped to do. The time is now; it's not too late, you are a called, loved child of God!


The loving slowness of awful omnipotence

How God conquers evil
Subtitle: Why this long valley of suffering, waiting and pain?

There are many who think to reverence the Most High by assuming that He can and should do anything or everything that pleases Him in a mere moment. In their eyes power is a grander thing than love. But His Love is higher than His omnipotence. See what it cost Him to redeem the world! He did not find that easy, or to be done in a moment without pain or toil. Yes, God is omnipotent -- awfully omnipotent. For He wills, effects, and perfects the thing which, because of the bad in us, He has to carry out in suffering and sorrow. Evil is a hard thing, even for God to overcome. Yet thoroughly and altogether and triumphantly will He overcome it. But not by crushing it underfoot -- any god of man's idea could do that! -- but by conquest of heart over heart, of life over life, of life over death, of love over all. Nothing shall be too hard for God that fears not pain, but will deliver and make true and blessed at His own severest cost.


George MacDonald, "Down the Hill," The Gentlewoman's Choice, edited by Michael R. Phillips.

A counterintuitive climb: stairway to heaven

Kingdom vs. the world: down vs. up

"How often, on the steps of this world, when you think you are going down, you are really ascending!"

George MacDonald, "Down the Hill," The Gentlewoman's Choice, edited by Michael R. Phillips.

In your hearts enthrone Him

At the name of Jesus

Words: Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877)
Tune: Gute Bäume bringen

At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
King of Glory now.
'Tis the Father's pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty Word:

Mighty and mysterious
in the highest height,
God from everlasting
very light of light:
in the Father's bosom
with the Spirit blest,
love, in love eternal,
rest, in perfect rest.

At his voice creation
sprang at once to sight,
all the angel faces
all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations,
stars upon their way,
all the heavenly orders
in their great array.

Humbled for a season,
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners
unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious
when from death he passed.

Bore it up triumphant
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead,
to the Father's breast;
filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.

Name him brothers name him,
with love as strong as death,
but with awe and wonder,
and with bated breath;
he is God the Savior,
he is Christ the Lord,
ever to be worshiped,
trusted and adored.

In your hearts enthrone him;
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true:
crown him as your captain
in temptation's hour;
let his will enfold you
in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus
shall return again,
with his Father's glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of Glory now.


Monday, June 08, 2009

God as the basis of covenant success

The Lord God is with you

The Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. — Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”—“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. — “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today. . . Lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’” — “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not given you peace on every side?”

Gen. 39:3; Ps. 128:1, 2; Ps. 37:3, 4; Josh. 1:9; Mat. 6:33; 2 Chron. 26:5; Deut. 8:11, 17; 1 Chron. 22:18

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

If hell is God's then hell is not evil

Serving heaven by learning to hate evil more than hell

The mission of Jesus was from the same source and with the same object as the punishment of our sins. He came to work along with our punishment. He came to side with it, and set us free from our sins. No man is safe from hell until he is free from his sins; but a man to whom his sins, that is the evil things in him, are a burden, while he may indeed sometimes feel as if he were in hell, will soon have forgotten that ever he had any other hell to think of than that of his sinful condition. For to him his sins are hell; he would go to the other hell to be free of them; free of them, hell itself would be endurable to him. For hell is God's and not the devil's. Hell is on the side of God and man, to free the child of God from the corruption of death. Not one soul will ever be redeemed from hell but by being saved from his sins, from the evil in him. If hell be needful to save him, hell will blaze, and the worm will writhe and bite, until he takes refuge in the will of the Father. 'Salvation from hell, is salvation as conceived by such to whom hell and not evil is the terror.' But if even for dread of hell a poor soul seek the Father, he will be heard of him in his terror, and, taught of him to seek the immeasurably greater gift, will in the greater receive the less.


George MacDonald, "Salvation from Sin," The Hope of the Gospel.

Give us ourselves and thee to know

Come, O thou all-victorious Lord

by Charles Wesley

Come, O thou all-victorious Lord,
Thy power to us make know;
Strike with the hammer of thy word,
And break these hearts of stone.

Give us ourselves and thee to know,
In this our gracious day;
Repentance unto life bestow,
And take our sins away.

Conclude us first in unbelief,
And freely then release;
Fill every soul with sacred grief,
And then with sacred peace.

Impoverish, Lord, and then relieve,
And then enrich the poor;
The knowledge of our sickness give,
The knowledge of our cure.

That blessèd sense of guilt impart,
And then remove the load;
Trouble, and wash the troubled heart
In the atoning blood.

Our desperate state through sin declare,
And speak our sins forgiven;
By perfect holiness prepare,
And take us up to heaven.


Monday, June 01, 2009

A divine measure of love

How a man truly loves a woman

A heart has to be taught to love, and its first lesson, however well learned, no more makes it perfect in love, than the A B C makes a philosopher. The man who loves most will love best.

The man who thoroughly loves God and his neighbor is the only man who will love a woman ideally -- who can love her with the love God thought of between them when he made man male and female. The man, I repeat, who loves God with his very life, and his neighbor as Christ loves him, is the man who alone is capable of grand, perfect, glorious love to any woman.

Because his love was towards everything human, he was able to love her as others were not able to love her. To that of the most passionate of unbelieving lovers, his love was as the fire of a sun to that of a forest. The fullness of a world of love-ways and love-thoughts was his. In sweet affairs of loving-kindness, he was in his own kingdom, and sat upon its throne.

And it was this essential love, acknowledging and embracing, as a necessity of its being, everything that could be loved, which now concentrated its rays on the individual's individual. His love to her stood like a growing thicket of aromatic shrubs, until her confession set the fire of heaven to it, and the flame that consumes not, but gives life, arose and shot homeward. He had never imagined, never hoped, never desired she should love him like that. Only from her own lips could he have come to believe that she would view him more than a nobody, a mere burning heart running about in tattered garments.

His devotion to her had forestalled every pain with its antidote of perfect love, had negated every lack, had precluded every desire, had shut all avenues of entrance against self. Even if "a little thought unsound" should have chanced upon an entrance, it would have found no soil to root and grow in: the soil for the harvest of pain is that brought down from the peaks of pride by the torrents of desire.

Immeasurably the greater therefore was his delight, when the warmth and scent of the love that had been from time to him immemorial passing out from him in virtue of consolation and healing, came back upon him in the softest and sweetest of flower-waking spring-winds. Then indeed was his heart a bliss worth God's making. The sum of happiness in the land, if gathered that night into one wave, could not have reached half-way to the crest of the mighty billow tossing itself heavenward as it rushed along the ocean of his spirit!

George MacDonald, The Baronet's Song.