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Archive for the ‘Cultural commentary’ Category

Have you noticed something missing from conversations in all forms of media- personal, electronic, written-about the debacle at Penn State? How about from the discussion of failed politicians, NFL or Hollywood celebrities, or riots or divorces in hometown America?  Euphemistically entitled a condition, exceptionality, syndrome, genetic disposition, problem, societal ill, disease, tendency, aberration, failure, inequity, mistake, debacle, addiction, heinous crime against humanity, acting out to name a few, this banned word denies the similarities of the list above. These replacements share two qualities, one for most of the words in the list and a second for all of them.  In the smaller group, including terms like genetic disposition, syndrome, and tendency,  blame is shifted to a different cause.  The similarity of all of the words is a denial of the real cause.  Have you guessed the true identity and name of the banned word?  Am I allowed to write it?  The word is sin.  The problem it so clearly points out is rebellion against God perpetrated by the sinner. Because of our pride resulting in selfishness we don’t want to admit to sin.  But ignoring and denying the problem does not allow for the recognition of the solution, so we Christians must talk about it. But beware because you may talk about God and that He is love and that He is good and that we should act nice and so on but if you mention sin you will be shunned or worse.   But since “through the Law comes the knowledge of sin,” (Romans 3:20) sinners will not recognize their need for a Savior or be saved if they are not taught that there is a righteous standard that all have failed to meet from a righteous God to whom they are responsible. 

If you don’t believe me that this word is banned try bringing it up in conversation. You need not be so direct as to mention a particular sin or even a particular person’s sin. Just talk about sin in your community resulting in some ill like family break-up or eventual death or even flowers wilting and see how far it gets you. Why?  “Let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof; for your people are like those who contend….” (Hosea 4:4)  But be warned, “Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4:6)

If you can add to my euphemistic list it would be instructive as to the depth of our….. tendency.

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Does this sentence seem strange and yet all too common to anyone else besides me?

“Tip: Be the master of your own domain – make this blog creatorworship.me for just $24 per year.”

Thus goes the ad at the top of my Dashboard on this blog. I want to say, “No, please read the subtitle of the blog and comprehend that though I struggle with self-absorption like the rest of the planet, I am fighting the tendency by way of the influence of the Spirit within.”

Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains.

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I was asked the following in an interview recently: “What does it mean to be educated?” After clarifying that the interviewer actually meant “well educated” I directed him to Psalm 119:97-100 and Proverbs 1:7:

 
“O how I love Your law!  It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts.”

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

His summary question caused me to think of all that might be needed to be “well educated”: “Is it possible to have a large amount of schooling but not be well educated?”   I have made some small additions to what I responded to him but essentially here is the graph I came up with then to answer his question and explain what I considered “well educated” to mean:

x-axis: study includes both depth (specialization) and breadth (number and variety of subjects);  study may be acquired through schooling, tutoring, or self-study      
y-axis: experience involves interaction with the surroundings and skills training and practice                  
z-axis: moral training begins with God’s Word and proceeds to thought application to all of life events         
x and y axes begin a zero and may be positive however z-axis factors may either be positive or negative; factors are multiplied together.

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If the students at the school where I teach selected me to be their faculty speaker at graduation, here is the speech I would deliver to them.
    Class of 2010, congratulations on the progress of your education to this point of graduation from high school.
Congratulations to your parents and relatives and friends who have loved you and encouraged you and helped you to this place and time.
    As you mark this occaision and move on to other pursuits I would like to look back and review with you some lessons I believe you should have learned in school and look forward to apply them to wherever you may find yourself….
[details in the next post….a list of the topics here]
1. Life is full of tests.
2. Integrity is the glue of society.
3. Atoms are real but cannot be touched.
4. You cannot touch without being touched.
5. Bored is not a circumstance; it is a state of mind.
6. The scientific method is a useful tool in everyday life.
7. The speed of light is constant and so are many other things.
8. Proper grammar is useful for your progress.
9. You are more than the sum of your parts.
10. History does not repeat itself; it is linear.
I can’t much imagine being asked to speak but if I did are you curious about what I’d say?

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The young man was serious. “We can’t know what is true.” He was asked if there is any objective truth, that is, things that are always true regardless of your opinion or mine? “No, I don’t think so.” Furthermore, “all religion is just man-made ideas about who God is,” and “logic may not be right”, that is, may not lead us to the right conclusions in evaluating whether an idea is true. Do you agree even in part with the statements above? Probably many of you do because these ideas are taught in various forms of media, schools, conversation, and even from pulpits. But is it really true that we cannot know anything, and is there nothing that is always true in every situation?

It is very hard to discuss worldviews or beliefs if the other party is not willing to admit reason as a trusted way to evaluate truth. I suspect that such a disbelief in reason does not really exist. First of all, people act on what they believe. I don’t know of anyone who refuses reason consistently to run traffic lights, or jump off of high places unprotected, or ignore all social norms, or break the law totally unrestrained. It is simply too difficult to consistently ignore all reason, and one who does ignore it probably does not live long. Secondly, I think the fact that people operate on reason otherwise but refuse it on issues of worldview suggests they don’t want answers. Reason is necessary for survival and well proven by experience and practice in such areas as science and law to work well in evaluating truth claims.

Logically, then, “we can’t know what is true” is a self-defeating argument because it says there is one thing we do know, namely, “we can’t know what is true.” An even more self-defeating argument states that there is not anything that is always true, that is, absolute. If you say there are no absolutes then that is an absolute statement. If you think there may not be absolutes, or we can’t know for sure, then there is the possibility of absolutes about which you are ignorant and which may be found. And saying all things are true breaks the law of non-contradiction, which states that two contradictory statements cannot at the same time and in the same sense be true. For instance, stating that ‘God exists’ and ‘God does not exist’ cannot both be true.

So then, does God exist? In a recent talk at a local church entitled “God and Science”, Prem Isaac showed the reasonableness of God’s existence. One way he did this was by applying the Law of Causality: If an object had a beginning it must have had a cause. A corollary law states that the cause cannot be the same as the effect. Now people as diverse as Big Bang theorists, ancient cultures, all of the major religions, and primitive cultures all say that the universe had a beginning. Therefore, according to the Law of Causality, the universe had a cause. And because the universe has space, time, matter, and energy, the cause of it cannot have any of these. If you say that the cause does have these characteristics it is a mere secondary cause and not the ultimate cause itself. Unless you simply give up on the law and declare an endless chain of causes, there must be an un-caused Cause which is eternal (outside of time), immutable (not made of matter), without size or shape (doesn’t occupy space), immutable (does not change as the universe does), powerful (to create all), and intelligent (since there are laws, information, and design). This infinite cause is what we call God.

There are many more logical steps from there to the God of the Bible, based on the reliability of Scripture. Perhaps we can develop a few of these, but here is what God declares in Isaiah 45:5 about Himself, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.” And Peter says of “the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene”, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10,12) He is the eternal, transcendent Cause who also showed up personally in time to save those who would receive His gift. The mind (reason), the universe, and the Scripture testify to Him for those who will listen.

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On the hallway wall next to the door is posted “Room 417 Storage”.  In this fairly new facility it is used as an occasional office.  The majority could not tell you where it is or for what purpose it is utilized.  I was assigned to sit in silence in Room 417 with three other people for two and a half hours.  I’m a teacher; you figure it out.  Here are my impressions of the space, the activity, and our path.

In a claustrophobic room
Painted white no decor there
Neither flower nor mind could bloom
Though florescent lights and vented air

 

 White noise from conditioned air
Abundant plastic, metal too
Nothing the senses would find fair
Though clean and bright and also new

 

Sanitized of all that harms
Disease, sharp corners, tanning rays
Not a thing the spirit alarms
Though emergency exits map ways

 

Thus the danger to our lives
All is well but dead inside
No awareness that life never thrives
Except in Sonshine and change of tide

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      On my classroom wall is posted the statement, “Bored is not a circumstance; it’s a state of mind.”  From the frequency of gaming, surfing the web and channels, and various other vicarious pursuits of entertainment coupled with short attention spans and lack of excitement for anything short of amazing I would say it is a common state of mind.  Other evidences may be harder to see: boredom with marriage, the job, the church, or life itself.  As Thomas Dubay puts it in The Evidential Power of Beauty boredom is “an insipid tedium with existence itself. Reality [is] a colossal blah.” (p.73)  What is the cause of this state of mind?  Part of Dubay’s answer is as follows: “The personal inability to perceive truth and beauty is related as first cousin, if not sibling, to a lack of wonder, which in turn, often if not always, arises from jadedness, from a perduring and even disgusting boredom caused by excess and overindulging” (p.72)  He is in fact repeating himself because jadedness means dullness brought on by excess.  So many people are seeking out more amazing, more sensually beautiful, or more violent stimulation to stave off boredom but these things are causing it.  In fact, “fully jaded men and women, old or young, marvel at nothing.” (p.73)  One area where this dullness is resulting in a desire to ramp up the stimulation is the immodesty of dress in public and in every form of media.  I think that the following statement relates to this idea: “It is one of the notable sadnesses of our time that so many are incapable of fascination with the deeper levels of human beauty, especially those rooted in the spirit, levels that far transcend physical attractiveness.” (Dubay, p.64) To summarize, boredom occurs because over stimulation dulls the mind so that it cannot in turn “perceive truth and beauty”.

          But if over stimulation were the primary cause would it not be eventually self-correcting when the stupor of dullness persists?  Would not the bored soul stop pushing forward into continued boredom?  I believe the answers are no.  The bored person is addicted to the stimulation of senses because he or she is trying to fill a great void, an emptiness in their soul brought on by their own sin or very frequently the hurt caused by someone else’s sin.  Jeremiah 2:13 says that people “hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”  Obviously the answer is not pouring in more stimulation to relieve the boredom or hurt because the void can never be filled that way.  As a friend of mine said recently, when people are so focused on themselves they cannot help but become bored.  They need to focus on something outside themselves. 

       You may say, “What’s the big deal.  Someone is bored.  Get up and do something; get over it.”  I am not referring to a momentary Tuesday afternoon lack of something to do.  As I have observed it this boredom is a growing disease that is robbing people of purpose and happiness.  To the unbeliever I would say, you need Jesus who can heal your sin and your hurts.  As He has said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  God’s salvation is sufficient but that salvation will need to be worked into a person’s life through a growing relationship with God that will heal hurts.  The believer who is bored has either given up ground or never taken it from the enemy.  The first part of the verse above about broken cisterns says, “My people have committed two evils: The have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters”.  Our primary focus must be God.  Part of the solution for the believer may be to fast from mere entertainments and seek more profound beauty.  “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)  Seeking God will increase your thankfulness and erase the dullness of reaction to beauty and truth.  The dullness of boredom can be erased by knowing and serving God rather than things or ideas or self.

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The United States is not a Christian nation any more than the Northern Kingdom of Israel was a godly nation in the days of Elijah.  King Ahab and his father had made sure of that by not merely carelessness with God’s commands but actually having ”forsaken the commandments of the Lord” (I Kings 18:18).  As it says in Nehemiah 9:26, “they…cast Your law behind their backs.”

 

          So Elijah comes along to chide Israel, God’s people for turning godless, right?  No, hear what he said: “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.  But the people did not answer him a word.” (v.21)  The challenge that Elijah gives these wayward people is actually an idiom, or word picture, in the original language.  As Charles Ryrie conveys it the question should read literally, “How long are you hopping between two forks?”  Picture someone, who is not well endowed with balance high up in a tree, trying not to fall as he jumps between two branches, wanting to discover which is easier to perch upon.  Their choice was between the covenant keeping God, the Creator, Who was the Originator and Sustainer of Israel on the one hand.  On the other hand is Baal, whose name means ‘lord’, an idol who is the fertility god and rainmaker and highly favored in the palace to the risk of life and property if you did not worship him.  So the people ‘play both sides’ or ‘ride the fence’ as we say.  “The people did not answer him a word.”  What can they say?  He has described their procedure.  When you are desperate or needy apply to this God for help; when it’s safe and convenient declare for that one. 

 

And how is it different in America?  “I believe in God.  I go to church.  I’m a Christian.”  But all too frequently under the surface you will find a humanist, who is one who “upholds human [as opposed to God’s] reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism.”  Based on this stance they are apt to say things like the following. “If it’s an unwanted child wouldn’t everyone be better off if it were aborted?”  “God could have created using evolution.”  “How I dress is my own business.”  “I just couldn’t live with him/her.”  And in numerous other ways we ignore God’s Word for our own preference.  Elijah’s challenge to you, America, is declare for God and live for Him or stop pretending and live for your idol, yourself.  God hates vacillation, for He says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm…I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). 

 

See where complete departure from God gets you.  Of course, many are refusing to acknowledge God and our society is coming apart at the seams, beginning with the family.  Elijah challenges those people as well:  “Elijah said to the people, “let them [the prophets of Baal] choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, ‘That is a good idea.’” (v.22-24)  The prophets of Baal dance and sing, pray and yell and cut themselves all day long, “but there was no voice and no one answered” (v.26).  The path we as a people are taking is failing as fast as the day comes to an end.  We will not succeed apart from God because there is no truth for living life there.  And we will not succeed in wavering between two opinions.

Americans, Burke County residents, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).  It is a good way and a way of life and truth.

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A common thought and pronouncement in our culture is, “That’s not fair.”  But we don’t really want fair ultimately because then we would all be in a world of hurt.  And that world is called hell.  What we want is privilege. Privilege is offered to all who will accept it by admitting they have done wrong and trusting the Savior to rescue them from fairness, that is, hell.  Without hell there would be no need for a Savior.

         

          So why not choose to believe that there is no hell and no Savior?  There are several problems with that decision.  First of all, if there is no hell it is not fair or logical.  If there is no hell then God is not just because everyone who does bad things no matter how heinous gets away with it.  If you execute them they either go to heaven or cease to be.  This lack of belief in hell is one of the reasons I believe there is an ongoing occurrence of mass murders followed by suicides.  If someone kills a dozen people and then kills himself he thinks he has avoided all punishment while expressing his deep anger and controlling his own destiny.  We need to teach people about hell so they will have a vague sense of the torture that awaits those who neglect the Savior for control of their own destiny.  God says, “He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7) and “The soul that sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). 

 

          So how about having a Savior?  Is that fair?  Is that just?  An evil person does a horrendous crime to another individual or to a whole nation and later believes that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  How can God be just to let this monster off the hook?  He is just because Jesus took the punishment on the cross by being “marred more than any man” (Isaiah 52:14) and by being “sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 6:21).  On the other hand, why should someone who told a “little white lie” be committed to hell?  It is because “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).  So, if you want fairness you cannot eliminate hell and if you want privilege you cannot eliminate the Savior.

 

          Secondly, you cannot arbitrarily refuse the existence of hell and believe in God because God’s Word says it exists.  Jesus speaks of hell frequently in His great sermon as when He says that anyone who speaks to his brother “’you fool’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell” (Matthew 5:22).  Later in Matthew 10:28 Jesus warns us, “Do not fear those unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  You may object that you do not believe the Bible or do not accept all parts of it.  Then you are creating your own god.  How do you know this god exists and what is your basis of authority for this belief?  My authority is the Bible.

 

          Maurice Rawlings, an initially skeptical emergency room doctor, corroborates the evidence for hell in his book, “To Hell and Back”, by chronicling a number of near death experiences of those claiming to have been in hell.  Why do the popular accounts record “warm lights” but never include these horror stories?  Dr. Rawlings notes, “If the interview is delayed just a little bit…only the positive experiences will be found.  The negative experiences have long since been relegated to the painless portions of the memory, the victim apparently unable to coexist with this painful memory.” (p.33)  His most striking story is about a man whose treadmill test was shortened.  Several times he collapsed and was revived by Dr. Rawlings applying CPR.  He says, “I would reach over and start him up again.  But this time he was screaming the words, ‘Don’t stop! I’m in hell! I’m in hell!’  Hallucinations, I thought…But he was saying the opposite: ‘For God’s sake, don’t stop!  Don’t you understand?  Every time you let go I’m back in hell!’  When he asked me to pray for him, I felt downright insulted.  In fact, I told him to shut up…” (p.36-37).  After the patient’s pleading and the nurse’s “expectant look” he makes up a prayer, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God…keep me out of hell, and if I live, I’m on the hook. I’m yours.” (p.37)  Dr. Rawlings reports, “A religious conversion experience took place…He was no longer the wild-eyed, screaming, combative lunatic who had been fighting me for his life.  He was relaxed and calm and cooperative.  It frightened me.”  He confides that besides converting the patient “this miserable prayer of mine had opened the road to my own salvation.” (p.37)

 

          You can have fair if you like but I prefer the privilege of rescue from hell through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Some old sayings recycled and rehashed for the

days we are in:

Desperate times require desperate measures

          So the old saying goes

But are we willing to take the cure

          Before we’re in the throes

 

If it were a snake beside the path

          We’d all been bit for sure

But will we extract the poison there

          So each one can be pure

 

Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps

          Cannot happen nor would

Since Eve was deceived, Adam rebelled

          We can’t do what we should

 

Problem older than Methuselah

          Recent as your last breath

If not rescued by the Redeemer

          You have no hope but death

 

Right as rain, pure as the driven snow

          Our sin gone by His blood

The Christ has made His beloved so

          By grace’s abundant flood

 

Imitation’s th’best flattery

          Be pleasing in His sight

Now we will and can live for Jesus

          Evidence of His might

 

Oh, lost ones know that the gig is up

          Unless you trust Him too

He died on the cross to rescue you

          And give you life anew

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Let me say it up front. I see most movies after they have gone DVD. I hear most news from a biweekly magazine.  I find out how the ball team did after the season.  By the time I try it out it’s gained the adjective “classic”. That way someone can tell me if it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing. So a friend prevailed upon me recently to read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, saying it was so good and profoundly affected her (couldn’t stop crying or laughing).  I had intended not to read it after several unfavorable reviews.  But she sent it to me and I agreed to read it, so I decided I could evaluate it objectively given the positive and negative input I had received.

          I was struck early in the story with how compelling his tale is, so real and wrenching.  But my first and subsequent contacts with “God” in the story compelled me in a different way.  Mr. Young’s theology is atrocious, in a word, unbiblical. I believe his misrepresentation of the triune Godhead is deepened by the heart rending story and the excellent points he makes about relationship, reconciliation, restoration, and spiritual strongholds. Because he does such a good job of dealing with these ideas many people may be accepting of or overlooking his falsehoods about God. You cannot have a proper or full relationship with a God who does not exist, a figment of Mr. Young’s and perhaps American Christianity’s imagination.

          Consider the following quotes and how they align with Scripture. Papa (the name he uses for Father God) says to Mack, “I don’t need to punish people for sin” (p.120).  Scripture says, “Your sins have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2); “I will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7).  Next he follows up by saying, “It is not my purpose to punish sin” (p.120).  It is His purpose for He is “the One forming light and darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these” (Isaiah 45:7).

          Young rejects authority structures as un-needed among Christians and nonexistent within the Godhead: There is “no need for hierarchy” (p.124).  Ephesians 1:10 says, “He purposed in Him [Jesus] with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times.”  Jesus said, “We must work the works of Him who sent me” (John 9:4).  Hebrews 5:8 instructs us that “although He was a Son He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”  But Young has his Jesus saying, “We are submitted to you in the same way” (p.145), referring to sacrificial love.  But the Bible says, “He has put all things in subjection under His feet” (I Corinthians 15:27).  It is true that doing things for people out of a sense of obligation is not love but that does not negate roles and responsibilities.  As an example Young’s Jesus character says, “Fulfilling roles is the opposite of relationship” (p.148).  “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25); “Wives be submissive to your own husbands…so that…they may be won without a word” (I Peter 3:1).  Proper fulfillment of roles is a sacrifice of love pleading for relationship.

          Previously my mind and heart have flown caution flags at the idea of representing God in visual images such as “The Passion of the Christ.” This view was suggested to me by a former elder who pointed out that the second commandment warns against idols or images in the likeness of God.  I had thought little of it at the time and even thought it did not apply since the actor was representing the second person of the Godhead faithfully in the form of a man which He was.  But having read this erroneous account, red flags went up and I began to question all representations of God apart from Scripture, from a crèche to Aslan.  Then Young limits Jesus to human needs (hunger) and mistakes (like dropping a bowl of batter).  Jesus is not so limited in Revelation 19 when “He judges and wages war” (v.11) and “from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike the nations” (v.15).  And what of a mere human Jesus “when the doors were shut,…Jesus came and stood in their midst (John 20:19).  God is not represented as a Father and therefore a man as Young’s character suggests because “once the Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering…an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence” (p.94).  Rather, it is in His nature because He is “Eternal Father” (Isaiah 9:6).  Jesus “was calling God his own Father” (John 5:18)  and that upset the Jews.  We are only a reflection of that, poor though we be, not the cause of it. Attempts toward gender neutrality destroy pictures God determined for both man and woman.  The woman is the picture of “His bride”, the Church, who “has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).  And picturing God the Father as a man or woman in flesh is mistaken for “God is spirit” (John 4:24). 

          So despite Young’s insights into relationship with God and among men the ultimate result I believe will not be closeness to God because people will be disappointed as they find God is not who they thought He was.  It results in a wrong view of ourselves as well so that his Jesus says, “I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved” (p.182).  Certainly much referred to as Christian today is not, but it is not something to be ashamed of and retreat from.  Tremendous progress of the Gospel in and from Antioch resulted in “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).  Lord, do such a work in me that I am that kind of Christian.  Help us to be “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (II Peter 1:3).  Oh, Lord, give us that “true knowledge of Him” so that we might catch a fuller glimpse of Him and His promises.

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I was listening to a book on CD with my son as we played Lego’s.  In the The Young Carthagian G.A. Henty has Hammilcar, the general, as he stis astride his horse overlooking Carthage after return from battle saying, “Give her but a government strong, capable, and honest; a people partriotic, brave, and devoted and Carthage would long remain the mistress of the world.”    “Surely she may yet remain so”, pleads his companion.    “‘I fear not’, said Hammilcar gravely. ‘It seems to be the fate of all nations that as they grow in wealth so they lose their manly virtues. With wealth comes corruption, indolence, a reluctance to make sacrifices, and a weakening of the feeling of patriotism. Power falls into the hands of the ignorant many instead of the destinies of the country being swayed by the wisest and best. A fickle multitude swayed by interested demagogues assumes the direction of affairs. The result is inevitable: wasted powers, gross mismanagement, final ruin.'”  I think the virtues are not merely manly or womanly for that matter, but godly.  We have left those virtues, the only true God, Who only could help us. We have voted ourselves into the public purse as I read in a summary of evaluation on how democracy self-destructs.  We are bankrupting ourselves without because we are bankrupt within.  God help us.

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