Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hollywood Battlefield

Probably most of you already know about the nine-part posting on U-Tube that examines the messages (explicit, implicit, subliminal) that are embedded in many movies and other media outlets. It's called "Hollywood Battlefield."
The viewpoint was given from a Christian perspective and the obvious objective was to warn young people (I estimate several hundred in the audience) about the dangers in watching what we/I have thought of as "harmless" fantasy entertainment. What disturbed me most is that I grew up reading, watching, and listening to just the kind of stuff that was highlighted.
These were not kids off the street; they were straight out of our church...the SDA church. One movie in particular (Fight Club) was the most offensive.
The speaker how many had seen the film and most in the audience raised their hands. Then the speaker asked, "Where in the movie do they talk about God?" Out of the hundreds only one raised their hand. The point was hammered home when a clip of the movie was played where the dialogue was about God.
Obscene language was edited out but the speaker let the clip hammer home his point. When the camera panned the faces of these young people there was evidence of shock and disbelief. Rapid scene change is a tool used to divert one's attention from dialogue and keep it focused on imagery. The brain is so engaged in the scenes that the filth of the scripting goes unnoticed; except that it becomes embedded in the subconscious and a part of who we are, what we think, how we think, and how we relate to a lost and dying world.
If you are brave, if you want to be informed for the sake of your children and grandchildren, then take the time to watch all nine parts of Hollywood Battlefield (they are sequential and you have to click to play each one).
My source for this post was not some sleazy yellow journalism rag, it was...The Pacific Union Adventist Family Recorder; June 2009, page 5: "One Girl's Vow."
Leave a comment and let me know what you think...whether or not I am overstating or exaggerating.
This is worth our time for the sake of our youth.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thought Provoking...Yes?

Yesterday we were reading about the life of Christ and the statement was made that His life exemplified the "principles of righteousness." Of course my mind immediatly went to the question; "What are the principles of righteousness?"
So the answer to the question (obviously) is to be found in His life. How did Christ live His life, that by emulating it in the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can demonstrate the principles of righteousness?
He never bruised a tender reed nor quenched a smoking flax. Meaning that there were no insults nor meaness that would cause hurt feelings (the tender reed) nor discouragement (the smoking flax). He went about doing good, the depth of which I can only imagine. His words and actions were always healing to those in need. His anger was always righteous and never hurtful. We know He fed the hungry and healed the sick.
But here I have a problem because I can't feed five thousand or five hundred nor can I cleanse a leper nor restore a withered hand. However.....I can feed more than five thousand with His words; by speaking, writing, teaching, etc. I can heal those who are sick at heart with words of encouragement and by being a sincere and ready friend. I can show a genuine interest in people and count no one as unworthy of my time, means or abilities. I can be the hands, the feet, and the messenger of the Christ every day that I committ my life to Him and lean on His strength and power.
Today...while it is called, Today... I will make the decision to open my life to Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. (See Hebrews Chapter 4 and the discussion on the significance of, "Today.")
Speaking of which...have a blessed day in Jesus Christ and determine to be a blessing to others.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thank You Lord! No Surgery

The trek to Silverdale yesterday started with prayer and trepidation but the trip home came to the accompaniment of gratitude and praise to God.
The doctor said that while my lower back "looked" worse on the MRI films than it did three years ago, and that it was involved a new, lower level, that there was not indication for another, and more invasive surgery. Understandably, that was all good news, so I guess that I can just keep doing what I'm doing; work a little (or a lot) hurt a little (or a lot) and try to ignore the whole issue.
Meds are an option but I try to take as few as possible because they affect my memory and at my age I needs something that effects memory....what was I saying? (smile).
I read the other day that world hunger now affects 1 billion people. That's one 7th of the population of the world. Now there is something to be concerned about. I think about the fact that after (almost) every meal, we have leftovers. We probably throw away enough leftovers gone stale to feed a family. Something is definitely wrong here in this tragic unbalance.
Probably we could give to the poor until we had nothing more to give and still there would be the poor and the hungry. The answer is to share what we have when we can. Perhaps that includes the grimy looking guy standing at the exit to Black Lake Blvd., but perhaps it also means the person sitting next to us in church about whom we know nothing. And why do we know nothing? That will be another post.
It's time to have breakfast, worship, take my meds and go to work. Blessings to all.
If we're going to work, let's labor for the Lord and the "lost." e.c.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

So I'm Confused: What's New?

Today is Sunday, 21 June, the summer solstice (longest day of the year), the first day of summer, and Father's Day. We went to church and I've been a little confused all day. Maybe I'll blame it on the solstice thingy.
Actually, here in Shelton our church shuts down for two weeks during campmeeting and because we have animals (campmeetings don't allow animals of any stripe) we can't go. So, while having dinner with some lovely Christian neighbors one lake away (Spencer), the subject came up and they recommended we visit their church; The Skokomish Valley Community Church.
The pastor is a retired Coastie (Coast Guard) who plays a really good guitar and preaches the word from the Word. I guess I first got confused when we stopped by WalMart on the way home. I kept thinking things like, "This is Sabbath...I'm all dressed up...and I don't shop on Sabbath.
I swept the deck after dinner and one of the walks and kept having the same kinds of thoughts. You could have heard me talking to myself..."It's OK to do a little sweeping e.c 'cause this isn't Sabbath, it's Sunday." Oh! OK."
My fathers day gift was a small hanging dragonfly lamp done in leaded glass. It's made at the New Mexico Museum and is guaranteed for the life of the original owner...but you have to be over seventy to buy one. Just kidding.
I'll have to find my way through this confusion again next week because we're going back. Jeane will fix some food that she can eat for the potluck and it will be so healthy and lovely that no one else will want the whole grain pasta topped with asparagus pesto and pine nuts she made die for...but not from.
So much for confusion. It's back to reality and back to the back doctor for a review of the MRI I had done three weeks ago. Please pray for me that no one uses the "S" word; "surgery", in case you're wondering.
God Bless and stay close to Christ. He IS coming soon. e.c.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Driving Miss "Crazy"

Well, the time has come again to talk about driving, drivers, road rage, and the nutsy stuff one encounters daily while following the yellow lines.
I used to get upset a lot...but now just a little...sometimes not at all...when a (genderless) driver would do something less than prudent. Here's how it happened; I was watching the Christian TV program, Breath of Life, (one of my favorites), when the speaker (let's well) was talking about how he used to get upset with other drivers who committed rude or foolish driving errors. Here was his point: (paraphrased) ' You see, these other guys don't know where they're going, but I "know where I'm going" (speaking of heaven), so I can take my time, and be courteous. ' Why should I get angry with people who have no idea where they're going, but are always in a hurry to get there."
I thought; "What a great idea and way to deal with my own emotional reactions to rude drivers." So now, this is what I practice. Coming home yesterday some person in a red truck pulled into traffic right in front of me so I had to brake, and instead of getting all upset I said; "I forgive you brother/sister because you don't know where you're going. I know where I'm going. I'm going to heaven...soon. " Lord, help that driver to go to heaven too.
This kind of driving is a whole lot easier on one's mind mind and stomach than the ranting (and sometime cursing) I used to do.
Do you know where you're going?
God Bless. e.c.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Short Version

After my wife proofread today's earlier post she said it was too pin-headed. So, here is the short version: Ezekiel 20:12 and Hebrews 4:9-10 are saying the same thing; that keeping the 7th day Sabbath of the Lord is a sign/symbol of our sanctification and of righteousness by faith. There. I said it. (smile) e.c. ...she didn't really say, "pin-headed", those are my words. Hers, as always, were more gentle and loving. Am I lucky or what?

The Sabbath As Sign And Symbol: Ezekiel & Hebrews

In the book of Ezekiel, Chapter 20, God is making a list of the things He has done for Israel. Ezekiel is writing the words that God is giving him and they go on, verse after verse, after verse.
The one that caught our attention (while reading, Desire of Ages, was verse 12 which reads; "Moreover, I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I [am] the Lord who sanctifies them." Perhaps the most important words in the verse are these, "My Sabbaths, sign, sanctifies" which seem to capture the essence of what God is telling the Jews (and telling us) about who He is and what He has done, and is doing, for us.
Searching out the meaning of these words in Strong's Concordance I find that "Sabbaths" refers to [Strong H7272] the following,
1) Sabbath
a) sabbath
b) day of atonement
c) sabbath year
d) week
e) produce (in sabbath year)
The word "sign" [Strong #H226] is rendered,
1) sign, signal
a) a distinguishing mark
b) banner
c) remembrance
d) miraculous sign
e) omen
f) warning
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof
The word, "sanctifies" [Strong #H6942] is rendered,
1) to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate
a) (Qal)
1) to be set apart, be consecrated
2) to be hallowed
3) consecrated, tabooed
b) (Niphal)
1) to show oneself sacred or majestic
2) to be honoured, be treated as sacred
3) to be holy
c) (Piel)
1) to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate
2) to observe as holy, keep sacred
3) to honour as sacred, hallow
4) to consecrate
d) (Pual)
1) to be consecrated
2) consecrated, dedicated
e) (Hiphil)
1) to set apart, devote, consecrate
2) to regard or treat as sacred or hallow
3) to consecrate
f) (Hithpael)
1) to keep oneself apart or separate
2) to cause Himself to be hallowed (of God)
3) to be observed as holy
4) to consecrate oneself
God, through His prophet Ezekiel and thence His servant, the theologian, Strong, leaves no room for misunderstanding the Word.
When writing to Timothy, Paul said; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness." [II Timothy 3:16] When Paul penned these words there was no New Testament. He was writing about the Old Testament which, of course, the only "Bible" available for the first twenty years the church per se existed. The first book written was probably I Thessalonians and the last books were those of John; including the Book of John, his three letters, and The Revelation. John wrote near the end of the first century.
The second powerful text on the Sabbath comes from Hebrews 4:9 and 10. It reads; "There remains therefore a rest (Greek, Sabbatismos) [Strong #G4520] {1) a keeping sabbath
2) the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshippers of God and true Christians}for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest (Greek, katapausis) [Strong #G2663]has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."
"Sabbatismos "speaks for itself. "Katapausis" is rendered: 1) a putting to rest
a) calming of the winds
2) a resting place
a) metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended.
In conclusion, I will say that these texts and the shades of meanings in their interpretations from Hebrew and Greek, firmly establish the Holy Sabbath day, the one created by Jesus Christ the Creator [Colossians 1:15-17], and that keeping the Sabbath is a sign of our sanctification and of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Know In Whom...

Paul writes; "I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, and not for me only but for all those who love His appearing." [a paraphrase, by e.c.].
At His appearing, Christ says, "I never knew you; depart from me..." Contrast that with the words of Paul; "I know!..." Paul knew Jesus Christ and his friendship with his Saviour grew from the first flash of blinding light until he beloved apostle was served up as a sacrifice to Rome.
Friends talk often. Sometimes conversations are short, other times they are long, but friends talk often. Christ has said, "...I call you friends..." Imagine that! the Creator of all things that exist in all of the universe wants to be our friend. So much so that He became a man, lived His entire life only for others and then, to prove His love and His longing for our companionship, He gave up His life on the cross; all the while despising the humiliation and shame of the entire experience.
What was it that empowered Him to do these things? It was His ultimate goal of enjoying our companionship and friendship through all eternity.
Paul knew Jesus Christ. We can know Him as well; and without ever being blinded by light(actually most of us are already blind to His love) but by walking in the Light. Christ says, "I am the Light of the world. Whosoever comes to me I will in no wise turn away." [another paraphrase]
Decide today, while it is called, Today, to look to Christ and live.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Principle Is Always Exacting

The title of this post was lifted directly from page 278.5 of Desire of Ages, Home Library Edition.
I was struck with so large a truth in so few words.
If one claims to be principled, then the world has the right to expect actions rooted in principle. If right actions are absent, claims of principle are empty. Many churches, and their attending intelligentsia have rejected such fundamental historical pillars as Creation, the divinity of Christ, all of the Old Testament (represented plentifully in the New Testament), the Resurrection, nauseum.
One does not edit principle nor can one do so. Principle is based on something as great but yet greater than any core doctrine of one's religion. Principle is visited and revisited over time in the way a person or a church interprets and maintains a grasp of the essence, and on the permanence, of what they say they believe. Principle is based upon the Power that speaks/writes the doctrine.
If evangelism is difficult it is because many churches and many in the church do not know or do not understand the exacting and perpetual nature of principle. If it were to be any other way, principle would expire and morph into something altogether different. Change has taken place over the centuries and in particular over recent decades and what the world sees today are churches unprincipled and borrow the most appropriate word.
So who would seek to be part of a neutered and unprincipled church that rejects so much of what cost the lives of millions over the centuries? And why did they pay with their lives? Because they understood and accepted the price of principle.
Principle is always exacting and it is never found "on sale" or as a "bargain."
God Bless. e.c.

Monday, June 8, 2009

This Should Grab Your Attention!!!

Here is the complete story, fully quoted, copied from Fox News online with the author fully credited. e.c.
Evangelical Group Banned From Tulsa Housing Projects, Chapter Leader Says
Monday, June 08, 2009 By James Osborne
A Christian evangelical group that works to improve the lives of underprivileged children says it has been prohibited from conducting Bible study classes in public housing projects in Tulsa, Okla., potentially violating a Supreme Court ruling that upheld religious groups' right to the use of public institutions.
For more than 70 years, the Missouri-based Child Evangelism Fellowship has worked with underprivileged kids, not only to convert them to Christianity, but to improve their lives through education and after-school activities. In one program, fellowship missionaries visit prisons and sign up inmates' children for Bible study programs in an effort to keep them from winding up in jail themselves.
And for more than two decades, the fellowship has hosted a religious-themed summer program in Tulsa's tough housing projects, designed to keep children from falling victim to the temptations of drugs and crime.
But recently, the fellowship was told that it was in violation of a long-standing policy prohibiting religious instruction on public housing property, said Larry Koehn, who heads the organization's chapter in the city.
"They said they have a policy now whereby we can't come in and talk about God or Christ," Koehn said. "We can come in and play games and talk about moral things, but we can't mention the name of God."
Koehn said he was informed of the decision by Youth at Heart, a non-profit company that administers recreational programs for the Tulsa Housing Authority. A company representative said she had been told to refer all calls about the evangelical group to the housing authority.
Chea Redditt, the housing authority president, declined to comment when reached by phone. She later issued a statement saying that religious groups had been present on housing authority property for some time, and those decisions were left to the resident associations at each complex.
Subsequent attempts to get housing authority officials to explain whether the evangelical group would be allowed back into the projects were unsuccessful.
Koehn said he didn't know why the fellowship was being forced out after 20 years. He said Youth at Heart said the rule has "always been in effect, but it's just never been enforced."
Mathew Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based law firm specializing in religious cases, said he will file a lawsuit in federal court against the housing authority if the fellowship isn't allowed back in.
"The rules are fairly straightforward," he said. "Some people dig their heels in and don't want to deal with it.
"There is a mistaken notion if you allow equal access to a religious group, you're violating the Constitution."
The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that religious groups are afforded the same right as any other citizens' group to use and meet in public institutions, including schools and government buildings.
"Prior to that, sometimes they were and sometimes they weren't," Staver said. "There's still litigation that happens, even though that ruling should have resolved 98 percent of all issues."
The evangelical group in Tulsa hosts summer and after-school programs at a number of housing projects around the city, Koehn said. During each one-hour session, about 20 minutes is devoted to a Bible reading, with the remaining 40 minutes devoted to games and other activities.
"Then at the end, there's an opportunity for the children to respond to an invitation to accept Christ as their savior," he said.
Koehn, 58, who has been working in Tulsa as a missionary with his wife since the mid-1980s, said he has encountered similar resistance before.
"Last fall, one of our schools said we couldn't hold a club after school for the same reasons," he said. "I contacted the Liberty Counsel and they wrote a letter to the school board explaining equal access, and they let us in."

How To Evangelize: Step One

"The Holy Spirit, that melts and subdues the human heart will lead men to do the works of Christ." And what might be those works? "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not." [Luke 12:23].
A conversation: Lord, are you really asking me to sell my stuff and give to the poor? to live an impoverished life and get rid of all my stuff? to sell stuff I have been collecting for decades? stuff that defines who I am? stuff that is stored in boxes that haven't been opened in years? stuff that fills my garage, my closets, my cupboards, and my storage site down the street?
The reader can decide whether or not Christ was serious and whether or not we (the church) are serious about Him. After Israel rejected God as their leader ]I Samuel 10:19] because they wanted to be like the other nations around them and be led by an earthly kind, they elected Saul. He was tall, probably handsome and presented a kingly appearance. Israel wanted a king they could see; that the other nations could see and envy. And where was Saul when he was supposed to be crowned king? he couldn't be found because he was hiding among the stuff [I Samuel 10:20-22]. (The NKJV translates "stuff" as "equipment" derived from the Hebrew, keily [Strong's H3627].
So, like Saul, we hide from the work of the Lord in the midst of our "stuff". I'm wondering if there's anybody out there who would take the Lord seriously; leave their stuff; sell their stuff, and devote themselves/ourselves to accomplishing the work of the Lord under the power, direction, guidance, and protection of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ wouldn't really ask us to sell our stuff and labor for Him and His Kingdom; would He do that? seriously?
On this one I guess each of us needs to Go Figure this out by- and for- ourselves.
God Bless! We need it. e.c.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Love Poem By Shakespeare

Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

"Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." [Ephesians 5:25]

Have a happy and peaceful Sabbath. Shabatt Shalom.
God Bless! e.c.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

I hate trying to watch a game of ice hockey because things move so fast that I can't follow the puck. Events are moving so fast in this world from one day to the next that for me, it's like trying to follow the puck.
We can choose to be afraid or we can choose to trust in Christ; the choice is ours (I hope that doesn't sound trite). We are living in a world, and in a time, that is a lot like the from in a pan of cool water that is set on the stove and begins to heat up. We have grown insensitive to the "heating up" of world events to the point where the daily listing of wickedness on the news seems almost normal...almost.
And therein is a problem and a stone of stumbling for each of us. We can deny the pan is getting hotter; we can rationalize that this is just another cycle of good things-bad things that are happening in the world, but I will argue that what we are witnessing is a confluence of events that point directly to the coming of Christ.
Some react with fear because life as they know it is not, and will not, be the same. But Jesus says, "Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid..." [John chapter 14]. Those who believe have every reason to hope and not to despair; that is the lot of those who doubt.
An infinite price has (the torture, suffering, and death of God) has been paid for our salvation and if we choose to believe and accept this, salvation is ours. But those who doubt and disbelieve are like waves on the seal tossed around like a toy boat in a bathtub.
It doesn't matter that we have plans or ideas that are incomplete or unfinished. It doesn't matter that we might lose our "precious stuff". It's only stuff, in boxes, a lot of it stored away. So then what is important? Just one thing: Our surety in the power of Jesus Christ to save us and 'keep us in the hollow of His hand.'
Read the Word of God (Bible) and invite the Holy Spirit into you life each morning; asking Him to give us Christ-like characters that when He appears (soon...and very soon) "...we may be like Him for we shall see Him as He is..."
This is no time for fear. We are approaching the end of the reign of thousands of years of sin and rebellion in the person of the devil; and that is reason for hope.
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From A Mind More Wise Than Mine

Forgive me for not posting more regularly but I have an excuse; too much work to do, too little time, too tired at the beginning and end of the day. Anyway...last night, whilst reading Fundamentals of Education,Christian I came across the following piece in the chapter, The World By Wisdom Knew Not God.
"Through successive ages of darkness, in the midnight of heathenism, God permitted men to try the experiment of finding out God by their own wisdom, not to demonstrate their inability, but that men themselves might see that they could not obtain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ His son, save through the revelation of His word by the Holy Spirit. When Christ came to the world, the experiment had been fully tried, and the result made it evident that the world by wisdom knew not God. Even in the church God has allowed men to test their own wisdom in this matter, but when a crisis has been brought about by human fallibility, God has risen mightily to defend His people. When the church has been brought low, when trial and oppression have come upon His people, He more abundantly exalted them by signal deliverance. When unfaithful teachers came among the people, weakness, followed, and the faith of God's people seemed to wane; but God arose and purged His floor, and the tried and true were lifted up.
There are times when apostasy comes into the ranks, when piety is left out of the heart by those who should have kept step with their divine Leader. The people of God separate from their strength, and pride, vanity, extravagance, and display follow. There are idols within and idols without; but God sends the Comforter as a reprover of sin, that His people may be warned of their apostasy and rebuked for their backsliding. when the more precious manifestations of His love shall be gratefully acknowledged and appreciated, the Lord will pour in the balm of comfort and the oil of joy. When men are led to realize that their human calculations come far short, and are convinced that their wisdom is but foolishness, then it is that they turn to the Lord to seek Him with all the heart, that they may find Him." (pgs. 196-197).
I pray that these inspired thoughts have found a home in your heart and mind.
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.