Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good and evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
'Twixt the darkness and that light.
"Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And 'tis prosp'rous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses
While the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they have denied.
"By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.
"Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above His own."
-James R. Lowell, 1845
Find the history of this hymn here.
P.S. I know I already posted something for you to think on, but I was playing the piano tonight and came across this hymn and thought I would post it too. The style is almost hard to understand, it is so poetic; but if you read it carefully and think about it, you'll find it a blessing, I think. Remember who is in control of all history, no matter how prosperous and widespread evil may seem to be. This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially as the presidential election is approaching us so quickly!
"The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men" (Psalm 11:4)
"[God's] work from the very beginning has been revelation-- a throwing aside of veil after veil, a showing to men of truth after deeper truth. On and on, from fact to fact, He advances, until at length in His Son Jesus He unveils His very face and character. When he is fully known, we shall know the Father also. The whole of creation, its growth, its history, the gathering of all human existence, is an unveiling of the Father.
He loves light and not darkness. Therefore He shines, reveals. There are infinite gulfs in Him into which our small vision cannot see. But they are gulfs of light, and the truths there are only invisible through excess o their own clarity."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
FAITHFUL. "When I came to the foot of the hill called Difficulty, I met with a very aged man, who asked me what I was, and whither bound. I told him that I am a pilgrim, going to the Celestial City. Then said the old man, 'Thou lookest like an honest fellow; wilt thou be content to dwell with me for the wages that I shall give thee?' Then I asked him his name, and where he dwelt. He said his name was Adam the First, and that he dwelt in the town of Deceit. I asked him then, what was his work, and what the wages that he would give. He told me, that his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his heir at last. I further asked him, what house he kept, and what other servants he had. So he told me, that his house was maintained with all the dainties in the world; and that his servants were those of his own begetting. Then I asked if he had any children. He said that he had but three daughters; the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, and that I should marry them all if I would. Then I asked how long time he would have me live with him? And he told me, As long as he lived himself.
CHRISTIAN. "Well, and what conclusion came the old man and you to, at last?"
FAITHFUL. "Why, at first, I found myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair; but looking in his forehead, as I talked with him, I saw there written, 'Put off the old man with his deeds.'"
CHRISTIAN. "And how then?"
FAITHFUL. "Then it came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his house, he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his house. Then he reviled me, and told me, that he would send such a one after me, that should make my way bitter to my soul. So I turned to go away from him; but just as I turned myself to go thence, I felt him take hold of my flesh, and give me such a deadly twitch back, that I thought he had pulled part of me after himself. This made me cry, 'O wretched man!' So I went on my way up the hill.
"Now when I had got about half way up, I looked behind, and saw one coming after me, swift as the wind; so he overtook me just about the place where the settle stands...So soon as the man overtook me, he was but a word and a blow, for down he knocked me, and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again, I asked him wherefore he served me so. He said, because of my secret inclining to Adam the First: and with that he struck me another deadly blow on the breast, and beat me down backward; so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So, when I came to myself again, I cried him mercy; but he said, 'I know not how to show mercy'; and with that knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me, but that One came by, and bid him forbear."
CHRISTIAN. "Who was that that bid him forbear?"
FAITHFUL. "I did not know Him at first, but as He went by, I perceived the holes in His hands, and in His side; then I concluded that He was our Lord. So I went up the hill."
CHRISTIAN. "That man that overtook you was Moses. He spareth none, neither knoweth he how to show mercy to those that transgress his law."
FAITHFUL. "I know it very well; it was not the first time that he has met with me. It was he that came to me when I dwelt securely at home, and that told me he would burn my house over my head, if I stayed there."
"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:19-26)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45).
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season a clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
"In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue The theme of God's salvation and find it ever new;
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
"It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through:
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens no creature but is fed;
And He who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
"Though vine nor fig tree neither their wanted fruit should bear,
Though all the fields should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet, God the same abidng, His praise shall tune my voice;
For, while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice."
-William Cowper (1731-1800)
This is one of my favorite songs!! It is an old hymn, but I came to know it through SoundForth's CD "A Quiet Heart", and by a newer tune by Craig Courtney. This song has really blessed my heart as it causes me to reflect on the beauty and constancy of the Lord, and that, no matter what is going on around me, I can rest and trust in Him. Isn't our Lord wonderful!? In Him, "I cannot but rejoice!"
Listen to an audio clip of this song and others from the CD "A Quiet Heart" here.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
- Airborne. I actually wrote Airborne a couple years ago, but left so much of it incomplete because I had to do so much study for it. The story is about a young man named Jeff Scharlacken whose dreams are to go to college and to become a pilot. His dreams seem dashed to pieces when his guardian dies and he is sent to help missionaries deep in the jungles of Colombia, where his parents had once ministered before they were killed in the midst of guerilla warfare. Here on the mission, he is caught in between two choices: to follow his own ideas for his life, or to surrender his will to God and make Christ his All. God has to use dramatic circumstances-- like attacks from surrounding guerilla groups-- to bring him to a point of decision. Because this story happens in Colombia, it has been kind of hard to write, because, until recently, I knew very little about Colombia. It's kind of hard to try to describe a place you know so little about! So recently I got in contact with a missionary lady who grew up as an MK in Colombia, and so they are helping me to learn about missionary life, native cultures, and such. I am planning on beginning revisions very soon. I'm already amazed at how much needs changed in it as it is. I think I'm going to have fun with this!
- My 17th century England story that has no title. I mentioned in a post last month. I was able to scrounge up some books at our puny library in town and study those a little, but it was somewhat of a challenge, because my story is supposed to be about true Christians in the midst of religious and political chaos, but the books I got were from a secular viewpoint and so what they had to say on the different religious sects was tainted or uninformed. Today, however, I finally got my hands on a Christian, historical fiction novel set in that era and am looking forward to reading it and seeing what I might learn. Anyway, as I continue to study, I'm going to do with this what I did with Airborne: go ahead and start writing it, and fill in miscellaneous historical and cultural details as I learn. I am trying to at least get the story down now. So far I am on page 9, and it still has barely begun. It starts with the father of the main character Ann (who, by the way, is just a baby at the beginning), harboring an illegal Dissenter preacher at his home. This leads to the father's imprisonment, and the preacher and his son come up later on in the story and play a significant role. I'm having so much fun with this story!! Again, if any of you know anywhere else where I might get a good, detailed, Christian history of this era, please let me know!! :-D
So that's the progress of the pen these days!
"My tongue is the pen of a ready writer" (Psalm 45:1b)
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (John 10:14)
Psalm 23, Paraphrased by Isaac Watts
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
- The Bible will still have all the answers.
- Prayer will still work.
- The Holy Spirit will still move.
- God will still dwell in the hearts of His people.
- There will still be spiritual teaching and healing.
- There will still be singing of praise to God.
- God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
- There will still be room at the Cross.
- Jesus will still love you.
- Jesus will still save the lost.
ISN'T IT GREAT TO KNOW WHO IS REALLY IN CONTROL?!
"But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him" (Habbakuk 2:20).
I read this passage in Jeremiah this morning and was very encouraged and blessed by what I found. Here are some thoughts I had on the passage above.
- Jesus is our Righteous Judge. "He shall execute judgment [justice] and righteousness in the land." Jesus governs righteously. He judges sin and blesses righteousness. He calls people to holiness.
- Jesus is our Savior. "In those days shall Judah be saved." This could be talking about the earthly salvation of Israel eventually; it also could mean that He is the Savior of our hearts. He saves us not only from the consequences of our sin (death and hell), but, more importantly, He saves us from the power of sin. He unshackles us from sin's power and gives us freedom to live in the Spirit.
- Jesus is our Security. "Jerusalem shall dwell safely." In Christ we need fear nothing-- whether it be external or internal foes. He delivers us from evil and will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him. He will not lose us and will cannot lose Him; we are safe in His arms.
- Jesus is our Righteousness. "The Lord our Righteousness." Jesus takes our sin upon Himself and clothes us with the robes of righteousness. It is through Him that we stand before the Father clean and whole and righteous.
- Jesus is our King. "David shall never want [lack] a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel." Jesus was in the line of David, and He is the eternal King. He reigns now in our hearts; one day He will rule the world. We live according to His laws, we walk according to His statutes, we look to Him to guide us and to lead us into battle against the enemy, we serve Him wholeheartedly as humble servants.
- Jesus is our High Priest. "Neither shall the priests the Levites want [lack] a man bfeore me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually." The priests' job was to make atonement for the people. Jesus has done this by offering up Himself-- the spotless Lamb, the final sacrifice-- and He daily stands before the Father making intercession for us.
What a wonderful, glorious God we serve!! He truly is worthy of our praise and devotion!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
He ran thus till be came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart, "He hath given me rest by His sorrow, and life by His death." Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now, as he stood looking and weeping, behold three Shining Ones came to him and saluted him with "Peace be to thee." So the first said to him, "Thy sins be forgiven thee": the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him "with change of raiment"; the third also set a mark in his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bade him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the Celestial Gate. So they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing-
Thus far I did come laden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The man that there was put to shame for me!