Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reasons For Keeping Our Eyes Wide Open

If you have been following the news you are aware that North Korea has performed an underground nuclear test, launched several short range missiles, revoked the treaty on which the peace between North and South has (shakily) stood for decades, and declared that condemnations, interventions, or further restrictions, embargo's, etc., would be treated as a declaration of war. That is what's happening in Asia.
Now the Runt of the North is nuts and the world knows that, but then so was Stalin, Hitler, Hussein, and all the rest after their ilk; and look again at what they did. And look again at what the newest generation of crazies are doing to the world and the innocents who are trapped between guns and barbed wire. (No, I have not forgotten about Iran).
Here at home there is another development that should give Adventists (and all others who believe all the books of the Bible including Daniel and Revelation). Obama has nominated a Hispanic woman to be the next Supreme Court Justice to replace David Souter who is retiring to New Hampshire. Of course you already know that these are for-life appointments and undoubtedly there will be a fight, along some sort of political or ideological lines, over her confirmation; which may not happen. But if it were to take place the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States would represent only one church. I won't say which one but will merely opine that Rome would have reason to be ecstatic to have a hand so deeply embedded into our nation's heart of judicial thought and decisions.
A neighbor brought me (today) the latest edition of "World"; a magazine dedicated to following global religious developments. From an article (pg.44) titled "Dividing the Unity" I submit to you the following full and complete quote: "Evangelical Lutheran Church In America: The Church Council approved a task force proposal to allow gay clergy and transmitted it for decision by an August assembly. Crucially, the council asked the assembly to require only a simple minority for passage instead of the two-thirds normally required for major policy changes. Three members of the task force issued a dissent in late March, contending that the proposal from majority colleagues is 'contrary to Scripture and the apostolic faith' and would 'splinter our congregations, alienate many of our members, further divide the unity of this church and, we believe, grieve the heart of God.'
But the ECLA intelligentsia (emphasis added) largely disputes current church teaching. A statement endorsed by 129 theologians insists that biblical texts on homosexuality 'are not directly pertinent to the 21st-century discussion' because they deal with rape, or with Old Testament ritual that does not bind Christians, or bypass issues like 'sexual orientation,' or presuppose one particular interpretation of 'nature.'
The Presbyterian Church is having its own battle over the same issue and here is the quote of a sample of their thinking from the same page: "...groups like More-Light Presbyterians ...said the denomination 'is moving remarkably close to removing the barriers so that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people can faithfully answer God's call to serve.' "
I am choosing to restrain adding commentary. Instead we will let the words and the times they portend speak for themselves.
Well, on second thought, I'll add this; it seems obvious and odious that churches among us are the most guilty of making God and His word of none effect and have heaped to themselves teachers who will speak words that will scratch their itching ears.
Go Figure. God Bless. e.c.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Quote of Consternation

The EW quote I posted a day or so ago, I memorized more than fifty years ago. I had no peace from reading and memorizing the words regarding Christ's return with ... "a retinue of holy angels..."
The reason peace was absent was because I didn't understand the Gospel...the good news of the Christ, His sacrifice, and the work of the Holy Spirit. For years I thought that the perfection required of the redeemed was something I had to do...something I had to achieve.
Naturally, this brought continual and continuing consternation(for years) as I was stuck in the pernicious and erroneous rut of perfectionism. I didn't understand that it is the Grace of Jesus Christ and His Grace that makes one perfect.
When I came to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, then came peace. The quote that was once consternation has become beautiful as I look forward to the return of Jesus with all His angels.
Take courage and read the quote again; not with a sense of what you have to do to be perfect in the sight of God but what Christ has done in dying on the cross and imparting His righteousness to every person who, by faith, will accept His gift free gift.
God Bless. e.c.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Work To Be Done While It Is Called, Today

I have decided to let EW deliver the message for the Blog this morning, for what she has to say is far more important and compelling than anything I could compose.

" We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us." {Mar 221.1 (Excerpted from the book, Maranatha).
God Bless. e.c.

Friday, May 22, 2009

And Let The Waters...

It was three weeks and one day. Yesterday we turned on our newly plumbed system and...Praise The Lord...we have water. There's cold water, there's hot water, there's shower water...water, water everywhere and not a drop of leak. What an opus.
We were both growing a bit weary of having to carry heavy buckets of water for all our needs...but we survived. So I guess it's back to blogging on a more-or-less regular basis.
Tomorrow I am substituting for the regular SS teacher and the topic is, Rest. I'm really looking forward to this topic and plan to spend a lot of time in Hebrews, chapter four, verses nine and ten.
God Bless, and have a Happy Sabbath. We will! e.c.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Water...Water; I Need Water

Next Wednesday will be the third week that we have been without water at our place. When we went south I knew that there was a small leak that had to be fixed when we got back but I just shut everything off and didn't think about it again until we got home.
Then the hammer fell. We thought it would be a good idea (as long as the leak had to be fixed anyway) to do a little more plumbing and set up the washing machine that has been sitting in the garage since we moved here.
Well, nothing is ever simple and this is turning out to be a plumbing Rubic Cube. I keep cutting and gluing; measuring and soldering; but so far I don't have the stupid thing fixed. I think the word "stupid" more clearly expresses my plumbing "patience" and skills than it is a commentary on the tasks at hand.
Anyway...with every forecast of a "done-date" something shows up (like installing a whole-house water filter to take care of the problem of rust in the water) so the "done-date" gets pushed into another week.
We are using hoses and buckets and of course I'm the water boy because the buckets (for doing dishes, flushing, bathing...sort of...and cooking) are too heavy for Jeane. I think I'm starting to lose courage...but I can't quit. I have to go now; Jeane needs another bucket of water.
Have a Happy (running water) Sabbath. P.S. I haven't had much time for blogging. e.c.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Body Count

With distressing and depressing regularity we are subjected to reports from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and every part of the world (including Chicago) where people are being bombed, blown up, shot, stabbed (87 times, in a report from Germany), dying from starvation, disease, and pestilence.
And Satan is laughing; he is overjoyed.
With the death of each soul Satan can carry with him on the way to his impending perdition, Satan scoffs in the face of Jesus and holds his trophies by their hair like a Guinean head hunter.
The Devil finds joy in the sadness of Jesus, and what saddens our Lord most is to lose one of His children for whom He suffered and died. Death is the epicenter of the war between Good and Evil: The death of God on the cross for those whom Satan sweeps into eternity by death while in his service.
And what is that service? Serving Satan is our default mode as children of sin with nature's that are sinful. We do not naturally choose God. What is amazing is that He chose us before we were and He signaled His ongoing choosing while on the cross.
Whenever we understand and acknowledge His choice of sinners, redeemed from sin, as His friends He says to the Father..."Each one ...even worth the suffering and humiliation of the plan...I'm glad we did it...for them, and for Heaven..."
Of course I only imagine such a conversation but it's based on what I read in the Bible; that there is "...more joy over finding the one lost sheep that the ninety and nine that are safe in the fold..." [Matthew 18:12 and 13]. There we see how important we are to Jesus. If it is true that the value of the diamond is reflected in the price tag, then how is our value set when we realize that we have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ?
Think about it.
God Bless. e.c.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where To Keep Our god?

Everyone worships something. Maybe they don't acknowledge or realize it but everyone has their god; a favorite god. Where these gods are kept makes for interesting thought, insight, and introspection.
I used to keep my god aboard our thirty-foot trawler, Third Angel. That boat got more of my attention, money, and affection than God. Third Angel was my god and she was kept in slip B13 at Chula Vista Marina.
Some keep their god in the vanity mirror where they spend time studying her, putting on her face and searching for new lines, wrinkles, or tiny blemishes. The blemish is obvious and doesn't need a lighted, magnifying mirror.
Others store their god in the garage; washed, polished, and under a dust cover. This god goes to church once a week, on shopping trips, but is especially keen on car shows.
The god in the refrigerator is a favorite and is worshipped at least three times a day; sometimes more than that with little in-between worships.
Children like to play hide and seek indoors on rainy days and the closet is a favorite place for play. It can be a crowded place but somehow there are those who manage to keep cramming little-gods into the overstuffed great-god of the closet. Some of the little-gods go to church...regularly where sympathetic worshippers "Ooh and Ahh" in admiration.
Then there's the god of High Definition who is watched by the hour, and hour, and hour. It doesn't really matter what High Definition god is saying; worshippers just keep watching and laughing at jokes and lines of every color.
The bedroom-god is a sensitive and delicate subject. This god is worshipped by fantasy, in magazines discretely hidden, on secret computer sites, and in ways hidden and obsessive. "Marriage" is not the name of this god; this god is naked lust.
A desk either in the home or the workplace is another place to hide your god. Sitting at the desk, "working", usually draws compliments; "He/she works so hard and such long hours!" Even some who work for the Lord make a god of their work.
Everybody worships something. I/we need to make certain that we worship the Creator God and not a god of our creation. Jesus Christ is the only Way to a life purified, sanctified, and made ready for heaven. To be a child of God is better than being possessed by any of our possessions, vanities, lusts, obsessions, or addictions.
Take thought at whom or what you worship. Everybody worships something.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Hate Sin And Fir Needles

As you have probably read, or know, we live on a lake; on a sloped lot; and we are surrounded by evergreen trees; most particularly, and irritatingly, Douglas Fir and Hemlock.
I hate fir needles! They are everywhere! Outside the ground is covered with the pesty things and they just keep falling and falling all day long, every day, all year long. Sweep them up; they come back...and with a vengeance.
Absolutely the most irritating thing about fir needles is the little pointy, bendy, hookie, thingy at one end that lets them stick and work their way into any kind of rug. Open the trunk or hood of the car and there they are, all soggy and happy, resting by the thousands in places normally inaccessible to leaves and other falling dendritic debris; not so with fir needles.
So for those who say they love the fragrance of the trees of the forest? Fine! Come on over and help sweep up, vacuum up, rake up, and pick up fir needles. They are a lot like the Egyptic plagues of lice, frogs and flies.
Which brings me to the point of my rantings about fir needles: Sin is everywhere! It invades our minds, our hearts, our nature and is, in the hearts of those who refuse the Christ, like a fir needle because each sin in our life comes with a little bendy, pointy, sticky thingy that works its way into the crevices of our minds and hearts so that we can't sweep up, vacuum up, rake up, or pick up fast enough to keep our lives free of sin's fir needles.
What am I to do? I hate sin and fir needles! The Bible says, "...let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus also..." Thank you Lord because now I know what to do about sin in my life. You take my life Lord and cover me with the canopy of the Holy Spirit.
But just one more thing Lord: What can I do about fir needles? You know I hate them. And may I ask a question Lord? Did You create them with that little bendy, sticky, pointy, hookie, thingy on the end or is that one of Satan's cruel little jokes? I want to know Lord so when I get to heaven I'll wait my turn in line to talk to You about fir needles.
Does God have time to talk to me about something so trivial as fir needles? I think so; particularly when, for me, they repressent the ubiquity and tenacity of sin.
God Bless. e.c.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Piglicically Correct

So now there's Swine Flu; a.k.a. H1N1. Here's what one website says about it; "It's a common respiratory ailment in pigs, but this strain appears to be a subtype never before seen in pigs or humans."
There's a lot of stuff 'out there' these days that can harm us and this pestilence has ratcheted up the fear factor. Did you happen to notice the sudden shift in government press releases about swine flue? I did. No more is it called, 'swine flu', but H1N1 (hog nastiness) instead.
Hmmm. How do you suppose this happened? Well guess what; I have a theory.
Pig farmers of America, unite for your rights of solidarity and profitability! (...thoughts from the pig coalition...'let's give swine flu another name so that people forget about pigs and flu, and when they have forgotten, pork belly's will be popular again, and the aroma of baby-back ribs on the barbie will again waft through the neighborhood.)
Of course, there's a spiritual point to be made here and it has to do with calling sin by its right name. Give sin a new name and people will soon follow on. I could make a long list of things that, to the committed Christian, ought to be repulsive simply because sin is repulsive. How repulsive? we ask. Enough so that Jesus Christ (read, God) died to deliver us from the infection of sin.
Some people are wearing face masks to try to protect themselves from catching the potentially deadly swine flu virus. What kind of a mask does one wear to protect themselves from the sure and certain virus of sin? Answer: The Holy Spirit.
Christ has promised to protect us and never leave us, unless of course we choose to be left alone and on our own. But then that is spiritual suicide and a slap in the face of God when we reject His gift of salvation.
Actually, the whole pig (swine flu) thing is so politically transparent and self serving that were it not for those who have already died and those who are ill, some gravely so, it would be laughable.
Sin is not laughable. It kills! There are no antiviral meds for sin; there is only the blood of Jesus Christ. One symbolic drop is a cure-all, a complete antidote, full protection, an eraser big enough to wipe clean the record of all our sins, and...and an "Admit One" ticket to heaven either by resurrection or translation.
Swine flu it's called; swine flu it is; regardless of those who would be 'piglitically correct'.
Sin it is called; sin it is; regardless of those who try to spin it into a "silk purse".
God Bless. e.c.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What A Welcome...But Then...

We met with friends and family as we traveled "al Norte". Driving through California on old highway 99 was reminiscent of many, many journeys we took to bring our children to visit my family in Tacoma and stay at my "Gramma's" house.
At Thanksgiving and Christmas her house was heavy with the sights and smells of the season. She was 99 when she died and I was 60 years old. I remember her, and I remember that I cried and cried while I told my grandson about my Gramma.
I don't know how I got onto that subject because now I have to get a Kleenex and change the subject.
At Grants Pass we headed West and visited Larry and Bonnie Day. It was a grand reunion (he was one of my Oral Surgery professors in dental school) except for one uninvited and unwelcome guest; Dr. Alzheimer has begun a visit with Dr. Day. Larry still has his great sense of humor, though.
Continuing West we found a lovely RV park on the Coquille River for just $24 a night. It rained all night but it was a soothing put-you-to-sleep kind of rain, and we welcomed it. One might think of it as a kind of condition for coming home....Ha!
There was more visiting in Coquille and Coos Bay, and then, for a moment, I think I caught the scent of the trees and water of Phillips Lake where we live.
We got home late in the afternoon on a Wednesday and then...then came two glorious days in a row with full, warm sun.
Those were just cruel teasers because on Sabbath the rain came down with a vengeance as if to say, "Ha! So you thought I was gone. Well think again 'cause I'm back. And by the way, Welcome home."
Cynical, cynical, cynical. The weather here is cruel (and did I say it is cynical; say one thing and do another).
We are working on the cabin; cleaning, repairing, cleaning, putting things away. The neighbor has two new dogs who think our yard is their toilet. Is dog meat Kosher? Just a thought.
There are many people for us to pray for; aged, ill, accidents, strokes, asleep to the times, unwilling to eat for health...I could go on but its better to pray and be silent in some cases and some of those cases don't live very far away.
This Sabbath we will go to church. Last week my back hurt so much I couldn't attend my 55th reunion at AAA, and Jeane was down with a three-day headache so we hibernated for the day. It was just us and our hot pads.
If my brain awakens the same time my eyes open you can expect an almost daily post.
God Bless. e.c.