Monday, September 28, 2009

Modern Family

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Town Hall

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's a Marathon

St Paul compares the phenomena of sports competition with the Christian life. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." (1Co 9:24) And again, "...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.." (Heb 12:1) And we are, of course, admonished to "...earnestly contend for the faith.." (Jude :3) Contend?..Yes..that is, compete, fight, battle, contest, dispute....all these... synonyms for contending for the faith.

Should we not be going to battle against heterodox ideologies as opportunity arises? "Thy Kingdom come..." involves our activity. One of the most interesting and telling verses that I’ve read in my journey through the Bible this year is the verse in II Samuel 11:1. The NASB reads this way: "Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab....etc, etc." As I recall my wife and I both chuckled when we first read this verse. The spring...when kings go out to battle. Imagine that! This seemed to be an annual ritual. First battle, then defeat or victory... and then do it again next spring. The NBA..National Battling Association begins in April..each year. But this particular spring...King David stayed at Jerusalem..and sat this one out. What happened while his forces in the field were battling the enemies of Israel’s God? David fell into the deepest sin of his life. Not only committing adultery, but also fully complicit in the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. The entire sad tale may be read in the 11th chapter and is summed up by the writer thusly: "..the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord." (vs 27)

Therefore, it seems to me that we are most productive, whether in secular work, or contending for the faith, when we are in the heat of a battle. I have a friend who owns a grocery store and each year he must schedule vacations for all his employees. He once had a request from a particular employee for a continual 3-week vacation. He facetiously told the employee, "if we can do without you for 3-weeks..we don’t need you!" So it is in living out the faith that has been once delivered to us. There are no vacations, no time off, no breaks, no let up. In my denomination our Lord has provided ample opportunity to defend the orthodox doctrines of the Reformed Faith. As Christians we are, all our lives, being equipped, or perfected..for what?..for the work of the ministry. " and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:.." (Eph 4:11-12) Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we are in the ministry, a race as Paul calls it. "So..let us get in shape, get off the cheeseburgers and things that hinder our effectiveness and run our race with cheerful endurance as a marathon with an eye toward the finish line." (my paraphrase of Heb 12:1)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bible

Sometimes I feel that I have been drawn closer to my earthly father now even more than when he was with us. How? Through the books that he read. I have told you before about "A Box of Old Books". Well...I’ve run across another. Sometimes you read something that you must immediately share. Such is the case with the following verbatim quote from a recently discovered book in the box:

From Leander S. Keyser, "A System of Christian Evidence", 1924 Third Edition Revised. And..lest you jump to the wrong conclusions regarding the word "evidence" in the title let me preface with Keyser’s own quote, "Human reason cannot give the final word of assurance in matters of religion. Experience proves this; for, however expert the Christian apologist may be, he cannot convert men by reason;...the Holy Spirit must give the assurance of truth, pardon and salvation": (below...are his thoughts on The Bible)

The Bible a Special Divine Revelation

1. The Probability of a Special Divine Revelation.
If there is a personal God, the probability that He would reveal Himself in a personal way is very great. He has, indeed, revealed Himself more or less clearly in nature and reason; but surely He would scarcely think a general, impersonal revelation sufficient for His rational creatures. This would be particularly true if they should fall into sin and danger. Why would He not go to their rescue? An earthly parent would. Moreover, should not every one be glad to believe that God has come to man’s help in a clear, definite, loving way, just as the Bible reveals? One would think that all persons would welcome such a revelation and rejoice in it as good news indeed.

2. The Possibility of a Special Divine Revelation.
A being who could not reveal Himself above the natural order of His creation would be a very limited being, and therefore could not be God. If this great universe is in the hands of a helpless God, we are of all creatures most hopeless and miserable. Who can or will believe that this cosmos is built on such irrational principles?

3. The Need of a Special Divine Revelation.
The status of the heathen world proves this need. They have had the light of nature and reason to guide them through all the centuries. Has the result been satisfactory? Is there even an unbeliever who would care to exchange our civilization for theirs, or, if he had to make a choice, who would prefer their religions to the Christian religion? Perhaps God has left them to their own ways without special revelation partly to prove to the world that such a revelation is necessary.

So far as regards the philosophers, observe the vagueness and uncertainty of their teaching and speculations; their inability to solve the very problems that are most vital to human welfare—the problems of sin, of pardon, salvation, immortality, etc. Plato speculated about sin, but could come to no definite conclusion; he did not know whether the gods could forgive sin, and even if they could, whether they ought. He also expressed the hope that some time a special divine revealtion would be vouchsafed to mankind because of the great uncertainty of human reason. Moreover, no two philosophers agree; in fact most of them undermine one another’s speculations......The status of heathen religions and the lack of consensus among philosophers certainly demonstrate the need of a special divulgence from God.

4. Why God made a Book
Books are the best method of preserving the truth in its integrity and transmitting it from generation to generation. Memory and tradition are very untrustworthy. Therefore God acted with the greatest wisdom and also in the normal way, giving His revelation to men in book form. In no other way, so far as we can see, could He have imparted to mankind an infallible norm that would be available for everybody, and that would continue intact throughout the ages, and from which all people could procure the same standard of faith and practice. Subjective experience would be too obscure and variable unless it were directed by a higher and more certain authority. A universal standard must be an objective one; therefore a book.

Keyser concludes this section with these words: If we reject the Bible we must admit that we know little or nothing about God, creation, man’s origin, design and destiny, the cause and raison d’etre of sin and suffering, and of a way of salvation. The door of the future is shut down against us, and we beat against it in vain. A well-known non-Christian scientist declared not long ago that the origin of man is wrapped in complete obscurity. Then, if we know nothing of man’s origin, we know nothing of his purpose and his destiny. Thus without the Bible the universe is indeed a "riddle," as the materialist Haeckel has called it. All is gloom, uncertainty, nihilism.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Busy Bee

Recently I discovered a colony of bees that were just a little too busy around my front entrance. These are not the usual kind of bees that you would see nesting underneath the house-siding or in a tree. These bees were what you call "ground bees". Please note that I refer to these critters in the past tense. Through an Internet search I discovered that there really are such creatures as "ground bees". They prefer the dry soil up near the foundation where a normal rain cannot reach, protected mostly by eaves. How to get rid of these little pests became the project of the week on my "honey do" list. We have grandkids that come frequently through this area and I’ve heard that bees are attracted to "sweet things"..which my grandkids are...most of the time.

I discovered that the best method for verminating was to boil a big pot of water, grab an old window screen or screen mesh, toss over the entrance hole and then immediately pour the boiling water over the mesh into the hole. The mesh blocks their escape....and you know what the boiling water does. I might add, once you have poured out all the boiling water...then run like the wind...back into the safety of the house! Now here’s the real trick. This must be done in the dark while these critters are sleeping, like at 10:00 PM. It's really dark at 10pm! After checking the area this morning, I can proudly say.."mission accomplished". Now if President Obama was chastised for swatting a fly during an interview what should I expect if a wild-eyed "greenie" reads about this wholesale slaughter perpetrated last evening. I guess I could be in "hot water".