Friday, August 28, 2009
I saw this cartoon of Moses and Aaron at the Red Sea, where Aaron's got his floatie on just in cast the whole sea crossing thing doesn't work out, lol. Just had to smile! Because it is so true of human nature. When that one moment arrives where we have to push off and live what we say we believe, it's a pausing moment: do I really believe that God has spoken? And am I really willing to trust His voice over my own -- my natural desires, inclinations and comfort zones?
As I thought about it, I realized that hope is all about trust.
When the ancient words tell us to Hope in the Lord, when God speaks through the prophets and says, "Hope you in the Lord and renew your strength!" what does it mean, except to trust in the Lord, even to the exclusion of our own natural wisdom?
When the psalmist tells us that God takes pleasure in those who wait for Him, he is speaking of a kind of expectant waiting, where we wait in trust, expecting God to keep His word, even in His timing.
Likewise, delighting in the Lord is also about placing one's whole being in what God delights in, the highest order of trust... we cannot escape trust! Hope is inextricably linked with trust, but it then is also forever linked with the character of God: the joy of the Lord then becomes our strength, our heart and character remade in divine intent: a paradox, a miracle of grace and transformation.
So, loose the floatie! Trust. Jump in. Enter the miracle. Journey.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
O city of our God
The Most High himself shall sustain her
On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded;
the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of our God.
I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me;
behold Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia:
in Zion were they born.
Of Zion it shall be said, ‘Everyone was born in her,
and the Most High himself shall sustain her.’
The Lord will record as he enrols the peoples,
‘These also were born there.’
The singers and the dancers will say,
‘All my fresh springs are in you.’
I joy’d when to the house of God
Words: Scottish Psalter (1650)
I joy'd when to the house of God,
Go up, they said to me.
Jerusalem, within thy gates
our feet shall standing be.
Jerus'lem, as a city, is
compactly built together:
Unto that place the tribes go up,
the tribes of God go thither:
To Isr'el's testimony, there
to God's name thanks to pay.
For thrones of judgment, ev'n the thrones
of David's house, there stay.
Pray that Jerusalem may have
peace and felicity:
Let them that love thee and thy peace
have still prosperity.
Therefore I wish that peace may still
within thy walls remain,
And ever may thy palaces
Now, for my friends' and brethren's sakes,
Peace be in thee, I'll say.
And for the house of God our Lord,
I'll seek thy good alway.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
If the Lord had not been on our side
If the Lord had not been on our side,
let Israel now say;
If the Lord had not been on our side,
when enemies rose up against us;
Then would they have swallowed us up alive
in their fierce anger towards us;
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us
and the torrent gone over us;
Then would the raging waters
have gone right over us.
Blessed be the Lord!
he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowler;
the snare is broken and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
Those who trust are like Mount Zion
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
The hills stand about Jerusalem;
so does the Lord stand round about his people,
from this time forth for evermore.
The sceptre of the wicked shall not hold sway
over the land allotted to the just,
so that the just shall not put their hands to evil.
Show your goodness, O Lord, to those who are good
and to those who are true of heart.
As for those who turn aside to crooked ways,
the Lord will lead them away with the evildoers;
but peace be upon Israel.
A Song of Divine Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
Love is patient and kind,
love is not jealous or boastful,
it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way,
it is not angry or resentful.
It does not rejoice in wrongdoing
but rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things and believes all things;
love hopes all things and endures all things.
Love will never come to an end,
but prophecy will vanish,
tongues cease and knowledge pass away.
Now we know only in part
and we prophesy only in part,
But when the perfect comes,
the partial shall pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
But when I became mature,
I put an end to childish ways.
For now we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror,
but then we will see face to face.
Now I know only in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known.
There are three things that last for ever,
faith, hope and love,
but the greatest of these is love.
W originally killed the "End of Life" counseling pamphlet/questionnaire created for the VA which apparently has just been rolled out by the Obama Administration for use against the borderline VA patient population of veterans.
What remains too often unstated is not the impact of the questions, but the damage done by the process itself which requires the target to submit obediently to the process of confessing their deepest fears and darkest self-effacing doubts to a dominating third-party who sits in judgement; a third party whose purpose and implicit goal is to accelerate the death of the human target of such questionnaires.
Admittedly, my familiarity with the invaluable work of Victor Frankl predisposes me to a deep bias against the european eugenics traditions which have infiltrated and corrupted our medical schools under this Orwellian ruse they call "Bioethics." Rudy Rummel's work on Democide speaks volumes to the morbid productiveness of such political largesse. These "enlightened" medical and political professionals pushing Obamacare are more of the same old crowd, all they way down to the true believer psychosis that's whispers in their ear how they indeed are doing the right thing.
Quoted from a thoughtful comment here.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I don't take it personally when people call me lazy, because in my heart I know I'm not lazy. I just choose not to work.
Jon Voight quoted at Inside the Beltway:
"We are witnessing a slow, steady takeover of our true freedoms. We are becoming a socialist nation, and whoever can't see this is probably hoping it isn't true. If we permit Mr. Obama to take over all our industries, if we permit him to raise our taxes to support unconstitutional causes, then we will be in default. This great America will become a paralyzed nation."
More here. Worth reading.
Why are people scared? The government is about to take over one-sixth of the nation’s economy, even though soaring deficits make it clear that it can’t properly handle what’s on the plate now. It just fumbled a stimulus package and a program to kill old cars, and somehow people have the notion that this competence will continue with something more vital — their health care. They don’t want the government in charge of those decisions and invading their personal lives. The only surprise here is that elected officials didn’t see this coming, although clearly the White House had an inkling — which is why they tried to rush the bill through to a vote.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"For true love is inexhaustible;the more you give,the more you have.And if you go to drawat the true fountainhead,the more water you draw,the more abundant is its flow.”
Saturday, August 08, 2009
C.S. Lewis speaks:
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Consider these words in an age when the national deficit gets tripled+ in two months, and moral language is used to force even worse fiscal abuses and future indebtedness on the nation... it's urgent, it must happen, "it's for the good of the people." Note: When politicians start talking about the good of the people meanwhile excluding themselves from the mandated 'good,' it's not good -- benevolence is not the point.
It's the worst kind of hypocrisy and the point is not benevolent. This mind-boggling dept is going somewhere... and the blatant hypocrisy of the leaders should be a neon sign, to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
All honest Americans should be asking incisively, what is the unspoken chain behind these all these initiatives, in the forms now forced upon us:
- government takeover of industry
- government takeover of finance
- health care 'reform'
- deficit spending
Friday, August 07, 2009
When he comes who is the Spirit of truth, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority; he will speak only what he hears. He will make known to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
Dear Father in heaven, grant your Spirit to us, your children. May something from you be revealed on earth so that divine strength and divine truth, not what is only human, are with us in all we do. Keep courage alive in our hearts even when things look dark. May powers of peace and healing be revealed through us because you are near and your kingdom is all around us. You can do all things, also things beyond our understanding. With your help we do what we are able, but we cannot do what you do.
We trust in you, and we believe that through your power and your Spirit you will take possession of our whole lives and the lives of the many who sigh in their hearts for absolute truth.
Christoph Blumhardt, Lift Up Thine Eyes: Evening Prayers for Every Day of the Year. Reprinted from www.bruderhof.com. Copyright 2002 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
To be "thought of" kindly by many and to "think of" them kindly is only a diluted benevolence, a collective illusion of friendship. Its function is not the sharing of love but complicity in a mutual reassurance that is based on nothing. Instead of cultivating this diffuse aura of benevolence, you should enter with trepidation into the deep and genuine concern for those few persons God has committed to your care.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Words: William Tidd Matson (1833-1899)
Lord I was blind: I could not see
in thy marred visage any grace;
but now the beauty of thy face
in radiant vision dawns on me.
Lord, I was deaf: I could not hear
the thrilling music of thy voice;
but now I hear thee and rejoice,
and all thine uttered words are dear.
Lord, I was dumb: I could not speak
the grace and glory of thy name:
but now, as touched with living flame,
my lips thine eager praises wake.
Lord I was dead: I could not stir
my lifeless soul to come to thee:
but now, since thou hast quickened me,
I rise from sin's dark sepulchre.
Lord, thou hast made the blind to see,
the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak,
the dead to live: and lo, I break
the chains of my captivity.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
"The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Romans 2:4
The Cross of Christ is much more than a refuge from the repentance produced by God's holy law—it is the great and constant source of the truest repentance we can know. As the Cross retires from religion it becomes a religion more and more emptied of repentance.
... Culture, even moral culture, ousts theology, and its retreat goes with the abeyance of repentance. A humanist Christianity brings no repentance, or but a sentimental at most. There is a great phrase of Luther's which says "Theology makes sinners." Theology does. Orthodoxy does not, and philosophy does not, and litterae humaniores do not, nor does social reform. But theology does. It makes—not pedants (it is too near life), and not saints (it is too near the burning bush)—but it makes sinners, for God's love there makes repentance.
False culture says "No repentance. Sin is a superstition, a nightmare, the fancy of moral neurotics, the fiction of moral rigorists." False religion says "No more repentance. With your conversion, and your forgiveness, and your new sense that God is love, repentance has done its part. It is a frost to the blossom of Christian trust if it come again. Beware, for the sake of your healthy Christian growth, beware of a habit of repentance. Because some need grace, you may not. Or you may not need it all your life."
But you do not think that the prodigal settled in at home to a life of enjoyable religious interests; that he became a cheery and delightful optimist, of the sympathetic kind, which can be so devoid of any moral insight or measure of guilt. You do not think that he settled into his new spiritual place as dully as he found his brother settled in his social place. You do not think he was prepared to love everybody who was interesting enough to be loved, or important enough for him to wish to love, even if they laughed at the moral regulations of the old man's home or the costly passion of his grace. You do not think that he would settle down to hold his brother's view of their father to be as right in its way as his own, and as deserving of publication to the world.
When was his repentance deepest—on the way back, or in the new home? Was it while he expected his father's word of rebuke, or when he was overwhelmed by having no word of rebuke? Was it under the fear of condemnation, or under the experience of "no condemnation"? Was it in bracing himself for the penalty, or in his shock and bewilderment to find that there was none? Was it not, then, when he was taken aback by the absence of all censure, that he knew what guilt really was—when love was given him liberally, without upbraiding, without parade, or even indication, of its cost?
That is the word of the Cross. "I have seen to the judgment. I can provide for my own holiness. Let us not dwell on that now. That has been seen to. Thy sins are forgiven thee. Abide in My peace."
God says little of what His mercy cost Him—what it cost Him not to make it mercy, but because it was mercy. And in our wicked hours we say that if it had cost Him so much as some believe, He would not have been silent about it. How ignoble! If you did a fine thing which you paid for heavily, how would you regard the person who rasped out that if it had cost you so much we should soon all have heard of it? God is too great and royal to parade what it cost Him to save, and thrust His outlay in our face with His gift. But we cannot let it alone—the full mercy, the dreadful cost. His confessors, apostles, martyrs, say it for Him. The immeasurable love becomes the measure of our guilt. The prayer in an agony means the cost. The love which could find no utterance but the healing heartbreak of the Cross becomes an awful mercy. It is the goodness of God, His holy love, as it sinks in, that brings home to us what Schiller teaches, that "the greatest bane of life is guilt"; because it makes us first know and feel that the greatest boon of life is grace. Only the good know how bad they were. There are no pessimists like those who read the old ruin in the regenerating light. "Repent, for the kingdom of God is here." "Be confounded, for your Holy One is your Redeemer." Our greatest hope is our greatest humiliation. And where grace abounds there does sin abound. The Christian life is repentant praise; if much praise, much grief; if much good labour, also much deep sorrow; if much confidence, much amazement. And sin is always the more deeply confessed for ourselves and our world, because we confess much more than sin—a Saviour to our own worst depths and to the wide ends of the earth.
I found a verse of a foreign poetess once, just one verse quoted, and it set me thinking how the rest could have gone. I have translated the verse, and then gone on to continue the note.
"I was able to laugh, my heart was light,
When I stiffened to Thy displeasure;
But it broke me down to be forgiven
Without rebuke or measure."
I had set my face for a grudging grace,
My rags I was half parading;
But I never did look for the crushing rebuke—
To be taken without upbraiding.
To be stopped with a kiss in upbraiding myself,
To be stript of the rags I clung to;
To be treated as more than servant or son,
To be feted and fed, and sung to.
And of cost to Thee, as of wrath for me,
Thou wert dumb, in Thy lordly way;
Of Thyself unspared while thou sparedst me,
Of the ransom Thyself didst pay.
But can I sit mute in my Father's house?
Or remember without amaze?
Can I ever live but to bless Thee and serve,
And the deeper to grieve in praise?
Do I dream? Can I sleep under mercy deep?
'Twas a whole world's guilt I shared.
And my Saviour feels in me anew
The wound we all prepared.
P.T. Forsyth, "The Goodness of God," Revelation Old and New: Sermons and Addresses by P.T. Forsyth, edited by John Huxtable (London: Independent Press, 1962) [A College Communion address, as reported in The British Congregationalist, 10th August, 1911]. Full address at Paul Moser's Idolaters Anonymous page here.