Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In the Name of Jesus...

John 3:18 [NKJV]. "He/she who believes in Him is not condemned; but he/she who does not believe is condemned already, because he/she has not believed in the name* of the only begotten Son of God."
It's my job to walk the dogs morning and evening. It's not a hard job; we walk, we pause, they sniff, and I think. This morning I was thinking about a Bible phrase.  Until now I haven't done even drive-by thinking about the matter, let alone a slower walk-by kind of thinking. Prayers are almost always closed with the phrase; "...we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ..."
For years and decades I've heard and said these words without giving thought to three specific words; in the name.
In the past I've talked about [Hebrew] HaShem which means simply, TheName and just a few days ago I wrote about the I AM, which was God's reply when Moses asked, "Who shall I say sent me?"  To the Jews, the name of God is too sacred to be reduced to anything like a nickname, which is why they write G-d, and speak of TheName.
During breakfast I voiced my thoughts and asked my bride for hers. She gave me a gem; one which I think reaches into the heart of the question, the name?
Here in essence is what she said: Over time, there have been so many false Gods and so much false worship that to pray, to worship, to live in the name of Jesus marks believers as distinct and different from every form of false and pagan worship...past and present.
Paganism is very present tense. Online pagan worship sites allow one to design their own altar to Diana (Artemis) the goddess of the Ephesians (see Acts 19:35).
It may seem a small point to argue, but in the light of the horrific battle between good and evil, I will say that it is important for believers to put the forces of evil on notice when we speak of the Christ, and when we pray in the name* of Jesus Christ. There is only one God and His Christ. The enemy is forced to fall back simply because of the power in and behind  TheName.
Say the name aloud...say and pray it frequently. That Name is the source of Power to overcome all other malignant names under heaven, which leads me to close with the verse that goes like this: ..."for there is no other name* under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." [Acts 4:12]. *Emphasis added.
Have a blessed the Name of Jesus the Christ. e.c.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Westboro Baptist What???

Fred Phelps, his family and church family, are giving Jesus Christ and Christians a really bad name. These are the folks from Topeka, Kansas who make it practice to parade near military funerals bearing signs that read "God Hates You," Thank God For Dead Soldiers," and other such tripe. But that's just part of the story. One familywas so upset with their antics that they sued Phelps for invading their time of grief and wounding them again on the day of their deep, naked  family pain and distress. The family of the soldier won a court decision and an award. Of course, Phelps appealed and the latest result is that the decision was reversed by the 4th Circuit Court and the father of the dead Marine has been ordered to pay Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church 16 thousand dollars to reimburse them for what it cost to prepare for the trial.
The church (frankly, I hate to use that word to describe this collection bad nuts and dolts) is claiming free speech rights and for some arcane reason the appeals court sided with Phelps. Interestingly, the case will be heard by the Supreme Court later this year but for some reason known only to the judge, the reversal decision was made without waiting for the High Court to debate and decide whether these kinds of demonstrations constitute harassment or will be allowed contine to by hiding in the shadow of the constitution..
To his credit, the attorney for the Marine's family is working pro bono (for free). Following the online article, there was a slew of comments and, as expected, some spoke of their disgust with religion and churches en toto. With Westboro claiming to speak for God who can blame them.
The foundational reason for the reprehensible actions of this alleged church is that God is punishing America for embracing homosexuality and is doing so by killing men and women in the armed forces. There is fuzzy logic but this is not only fuzzy, it contradicts every Biblical-based aspect of the character of God: of which Phelps obviously knows nothing.
Like I said, Phelps and his phake church are a phront phor phony Christianity as they work like the devil to do the work of the Devil.
If you can, go figure. e.c.

Where never is heard...

Will all those who love to complain please stand up. OK, now that we know who you are, please sit down.
A plague has been loosed on the church; a plague of complainers and complaint. Doubt, discouragement and their firstborn, complaint, are a drain on the spirit of the church and a barrier to the Spirit. It is easy, O so easy to fall into the pit of complaint and self pity. I have done this, over and over again, and paid a price more than I wished to afford.
With the death of my father, my first stepfather, then my second stepfather, I found myself, like the prophet Jeremiah, up to my armpits in the muck at the bottom in a well of dispair. Unlike Jeremiah who was put into the well, I went to the well by my own will. Go figure. Anger with God over the deaths of these spite of fervent prayers for healing...left me doubting and railing against God; not just in word, spoken and written (pages of pointedly angry poetry) but also in deed. Indeed, there was a better way but I did not take it.
You may have noticed that I refer to the third chapter of the epistle of John because of the nine times the words "believe, believes, or believed" appear in these 36 verses. John is writing; three times Christ says "believe:" three times He says "believes" and once he says, "believed." The final verse...and the last time this chapter speaks of belief reads..."He/she who believes in the Son of man has everlasting life; and he.she who does not believe the Son of man shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him," (Genderized pro bono.)
Is it as simple as John 3 makes it sound? If the Bible is the Word of God and if seven of these words are red-lettered, the answer has to come from the mouth of God; and it is "Yes!" But the issues of life don't feel easy because they are not. Life seldom feels easy, especially today, as our son (even now) is having his fifth back surgery. (Pray for Bernie and the surgeons). I believe that God grieves for us as we grieve for those we love who come under the merciless assaults of the devil.
In the sum of life's difficult, abstract, and very real experiences, there is the pain and joy of birth, growing pains literal and spiritual, and the pains of loss; part or all.  Each of us knows too much about these issues. As a church the Bible exhorts us to "...lift up the hands that hang down..."
John has more to say in his first letter; words I have memorized and use to remind myself, others, and God. First John 5:13..."These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may [contine to] believe in the name of the Son of God."
Take time today to read John chapter three and 1st John chapter five. Underline, circle, or highlite every time you encounter the words "believe, believes, or believed", then ask God to implant the joy of His Spirit in the hearts and minds of His church, His people, and there will never be heard a discouraging word.
"And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." [Isaiah 9:6]
Blessings in His Name. e.c..

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny

...or so they say. This historical phrase from the biological sciences meant/means that the developmental stages of a human from the fertilized ovum to birth essentially expresses the stages of evolution; the subject of which is much debated on the campuses of many (historically) Christian colleges. World magazine recently told the story of one college that fired the Board of Directors and is searching for dedicated men and women who will encourage the teaching and modeling of fundamental Christian beliefs: e.g. Creation. Ejected board members are planning to file (or have filed) a civil suit.
The issue of Creation vs. Evolution is now being fought in Adventist Colleges...who prefer to call themselves universities. ("university" has a more sophisticated sound to it than does "college;" such as in, Loma Linda University vs. College of Medical Evangelists.) I digress.
Follow this thread of thought and decide whether or not  you agree: If Seventh-day Adventist institutions of "higher" education abandon teaching Creation in favor of Evolution, goes Creation so goes goes Creator so goes goes Sabbath so goes any shred of excuse for continued existence of the Church.
Reading Revelation 14: 6 and onward goes something like this: ...And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the Earth; to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Saying with a loud voice; 'Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come; and  worship Him who made heaven, earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters...
My summary of the last sentence of the verse is this: One cannot truly worship God outside the context of His claim as Creator.  Probably sounds a little judgmental to some but one has to draw a line. God has drawn lots of lines and we have to figure out both what is the line, and on which side we wish to be. The Ten Words (Commandments) are a good example of drawn lines. As with survey lines, one needs to know boundaries so as to rightly build and not face condemnation from the Building Inspector. I've had that happen both literally and spiritually. Tearing down what one has built is costly and depressing. I can't afford to be depressed!
Blessings as you think on these things. e.c.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

It's good to get old because one may have already posted  a particular topic, forgotten about it, and so gets another free shot.
We're talking here about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Their Hebrew names have meaning:
Daniel - God is my judge
Hananiah - God has favored
Mishael -  Who is what God is
Azariah - Jehovah has helped
The meanings of these four names can be arranged and rearranged to form a single meaningul sentence. For Example: Who is what God is? God has favored, He is my judge, and He has helped.
The same is true for the Babylonian names given them by Nebuchadnezzar (in the same order)
Daniel - Belteshazzar - lord of the straightened treasure
Hananiah - Shadrach - royal [or] great scribe
Mishael - Meshach - guest of a king
Azariah - Abednego - servant of Nebo
Rearranging their Babylonia names we get: Royal lord of the straightened treasure [who is the] guest of a king [and  servant of Nebo.
Nebo was a Babylonian diety who presided over learning and letters; corresponding to the Greek Hermes, Latin Mercury, and Greek Thoth.
That annoying corner of my mind has been emptied so perhaps I can go back to sleep. Good morning all. e.c.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

There once was a boy from Tacoma...

Sixty-three years ago things were different at "J" street on Mckinley Hill in Tacoma,  a lot different. On any weekday we would ride our bicycles as far as wanted...just so we were home in time for supper. It was nothing to walk to Bummer's Gulch or walk the railroad tracks in the gulch between Avenues Mckinley and Pacific.
Summer time saw picnics in the neighbor's backyard, on a blanket under the spreading plum tree. Those were days of innocence and relative safety. I  remember teachers from McKinley school; Hansen, Knutsen. I once wrote a note to Mrs. Melgard that read, "I love you." She replied, "I love you too Buddy when you do your work." In the 6th grade someone gave me a Valentine's Day card showing a large man holding up (obviously too small) boxer shorts and scowling at the clerk. The card was signed "Guess who?" I couldn't guess then and still have no clue. I still have the card; still waiting for the trickster to 'fess up.
One of those bicycles took me to the end of the least to the end of Mckinley Avenue. Somehow I thought it went on and on. It was the main street of my childhood; the one where we caught the bus; where we went to Safeway, to Kavame Hardware, to school, to the barber, and my dad to the taverns. ( I can name those taverns because I spent a lot of time standing outside waiting for my dad to come out.)
It's hard to think of a neighbor who used their front door. There was an alley between the streets so I would cross, knock on the Gregg's door and ask, "Can Penny and Chuckie come out and play?" Almost always the answer was "Yes."
I remember one evening at Gregg's; we ate popcorn till the tub was empty. Still hungry I made one more pass at the 'Old Maids' but not a one of them would yield. "There are all too hard" I said, and Penny's dad added, "I know. I tried all of 'em." Lots of laughter, one red face, a memory for life.
Our security system was a skeleton key to the back door. My dad watered the lawn with a hose. The grass was mowed with a push mower. We stole golden delicious apples from Mr. Peterson and gave all the worms we found to the Pierce's on the corner; they fished a lot. Once I got to go with them.
Our car was grandma and grandpa. Whenever  a family picnic was brewing (emphasis on brewing) I would go to the end of the alley,  sit in Seisem's back yard and watch for grandpa's car to turn off McKinley Avenue and start down 36th street, then run full speed up the alley and yell, "They're coming!"
Those were hard/easy days. Hard, because we were poor (I didn't know we were poor) and because my dad was in and out of the hospital 25 times before he died at a mere 45 years.  Easy because those were safer days for children to run, play and stay out till dark. My dad's whistle was loud and distinct and could break up play from two blocks away. There are more stories. Lots of 'em. Maybe I'll write again about the boy from Tacoma. e.c.

There once was a boy from Tacoma
     Known for its pulp-mill aroma
The stench of the mill
     Killed grass on the "Hill"
Ev'n so, twas my "sweet homae"

Shalom...more than just a word

Only a word; expressed here in Hebrew; one known to the world but not by the world. There is no peace. Perhaps in the days of Melchizedek, King of Salem. But even then Abraham returning from a battle (every day there is a battle and is a battle) gave tithe to Melchizedek. Here is a dash of etymology on the word "shalom" from Wikipedia...not exactly an Oxford equivalent.
Shalom (שָׁלוֹם) (Sephardic Hebrew/Israeli Hebrew: Shalom; Ashkenazi Hebrew/Yiddish: Sholem or Shulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye. As it does in English, it can refer to either peace between two entities (especially between man and God or between two countries), or to the well-being, welfare or safety of an individual or a group of individuals. The word is also found in many other expressions and names. Its equivalent cognate in Arabic is salaam, sliem in Maltese, Shlomo (ܫܠܡܐ) in Syriac-Assyrian and sälam in Ethiopian Semitic languages from the Proto-Semitic root S-L-M... "Shalom" and "Salaam" meaning "peace" in Hebrew and Arabic respectively. In Hebrew, the root of the word (usually in a three or occasionally four letter format) (Also Wikipedia).
So whence cometh peace? "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." [John 14:27]. Lord, let peace (pachem, pax) be more than a word in our lives.
Shabatt Shalom. e.c.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Texas Town Cross Over Play's "Gay" Christ

The title of this piece is the title of a post by writer Joseph Abrams; dateline today.
The eye of this latest "gay" storm is Stephenville, Texas, and a Tarleton State University student whose student-director "class project" is a take off on Terrence McNally's 1998 play, "Corpus Christi."
Twenty-six year old university student John Jordan Otte says that his motivation for the work is to "bring people together" and help gain acceptance for gay Christians, who he said often feel alienated from their churches. Otte [has] said he is a devout Christian.
Christ is portrayed as the "King of Queers" and is said to perform a "wedding ceremony" for two disciples.
Understatedly,according to Abrams, religious Stephenville residents are a little "cross"...which is an interesting choice of words...about the whole thing and local pastors are campaigning to prevent the play from showing. But this is a university town and school officials have already rescheduled the play to an inconvenient time, limited attendance, and increased security.
Here is where the mind of the Essayist starts to kick in. Christ is not just King of Queers but also of all sinners including (but not limited to )liars, thieves, adulterers, whisperers, pedophiles, murderers, and every other color of sin and perversion for which He suffered and died. The problem is this; those who find fulfillment in things evil don't realize they are subjects of a different king...the author and king of all evil; HaSatan (Hebrew for Satan). Christ is King of all Creation whether or not said Creation acknowledges or is aware.
Isn't it interesting too that "church ladies" and pastors get atwitter over certain in-your-face behaviors...they...we...I...find objectionable, but remain silent on others. Taking a page from the Apostle Paul I embedded "whisperers" between "adulterers" and "pedophiles." [See Romans 1:22-32] Some churches block or restrict admission of known pedophiles access to church and thus to children in the church. No lo contendre. But who will say we should forbid "gossipers" (read, whisperers)from attending. Who spoke out against the philandering of FDR, JFK, or WJC, to name three (Democrats all...[smile]...moving right along).
Hell is just as hot for gossiping as it is for adultery, homosexuality, and pedophilia. Obviously [to the Essayist], churchy indigence isn't merely a matter of abhorrence of sin; it's more our abhorrence of certain sins. The church...your church needs to treat sin as does God and to do the same with sinners.
"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" [1st John 4:20]. Lord, I have a question: Does this mean I need to love those Paul included in his long list? Those both on the street and in the church? and God said, "Go figure!" Oh my. That's a hard thing to do.
Think on these things. e.c.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And not a shot was fired

Does anybody remember how the USSR was brought to its knees? President Reagan and John Paul II joined forces and the US got into an arms race with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We won by outspending them into bankruptcy and oblivion. Guess what. The United States is now a socialist country, and we did it by spending ourselves into oblivion.
I guess the cold-war years were wasted. All the communists had to do was wait for us to move from capitalism to socialism without ever having to fire a shot. A black congressman recently commented on the denouement of the health care struggle and opined, "...I guess everybody knew that when they elected Barak Obama they were electing a socialist..." (Don't look at me! I didn't vote for the man but then I didn't vote; what with being put off by both parties).
The other day I wondered out loud to my wife, "Why don't we just move to Idaho and disappear into the woods." There is a (Quid, Me Anxius Sum?)(What, Me Worry?) Alfred E. Neuman side to me that tries not to go Mad (sorry) with worry but the daily news seems to shout, "Worry!" so I do.
Last Sabbath in the lobby (foyer, if you prefer) I got a lesson about sustainability in times of trouble. A church member works for a large local grocery chain and I asked, "In a local or national emergency, how long would it take for the shelves to empty?" He answered, "One day." So I bought more cans of re-fried beans. He said that meat, bread, and milk are the first to go while produce is last. Maybe it's a good thing being vegan...maybe. Life is still good. A loaf of whole wheat bread, a can of re-fried beans, and thou. And those are my thoughts at 22:37 hours. Blessings. More anon.

Who Is, I AM?

If I were to say that Jesus, the Christ, is the great I AM who would believe it? Many already know, and that is good because "knowing" brings a deeper sense of reverence and respect to one's relationship with God.
The first time we encounter these words is in the Old Testament. Moses is in the desert and wonders at the sight of a bush on fire that is not being consumed. The story begins Exodus chapter three (which should be read for full context). We will pick it up at verse 13. "Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" "And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel," I AM has sent me to you.'" [Exodus 3:13,14]. Here is where it gets interesting: In John chapter 8 the Pharisees are verbally sparring with Jesus with full intention of stoning Him to death for blasphemy because He claims to be God. They say to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 'Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'" [John 8:57, 58].
Why is this significant? Here is why: It means that Jesus (I AM) led the children of Israel out of Egypt; It means that it was the power of Jesus that parted the Red Sea; It means that Jesus gave Moses the plans on the mountain for the Tabernacle in the desert; It means, for Seventh-day Adventists, that it was Jesus who wrote the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone with His finger.
Many contend that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross and done away with as part of the ceremonial law. Sadly, they do err. In Matthew chapter five Christ quotes two of the Commandments (murder, adultery) and in chapter 12 of Matthew He proclaims Himself "...Lord of the Sabbath..." [Matthew 12:8]. This He has authority to do for two reasons: 1) Christ created all things [Revelation 14:7, Hebrews 1:1,2, Colossians 1:15-17, John 1:1-3].
A final thought: If Jesus Christ created all things, then is He not also Creator of the Sabbath? Can mere man undo with the stroke of a pen what Jesus the Christ created and inscribed in stone and into the heart of man with His own finger? You decide.
Blessings. e.c.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stolen essay on Prayer.

"Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth, and will have constant communion with heaven.
We need to have more distinct views of Jesus, and a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities. The beauty of holiness is to fill the hearts of God's children; and that this may be accomplished, we should seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things.
Let the soul be dawn out and upward, that God may grant us a breath of the heavenly atmosphere. We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower turns to the sun.
Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears, before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him...Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up the worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of his children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest." Steps to Christ, pgs. 69,70. Ellen White.
Blessings. e.c.

Monday, March 22, 2010

There is no "Morning After" pill for this....

I've learned a few things in the past 24 hours...things that are, at the same time, worrisome and encouraging. For one, I learned that the IRS will be the enforcers of that part of health care that tracks and punishes (fines, etc.) those who do not have (read, buy) health insurance. An estimated 16,000 additional men and women will be hired by the IRS to do this work. (Perhaps this is the face of "jobs creation").
Secondly, I've seen the speed with which government can move to enact (largely) unpopular legislation. The lesson here is that if a majority of legislators are hammered hard enough, or promised pork enough, what is asked will be passed.
We watched the proceedings long enough to feel insulted by the dialogue...maybe 'diatribe' is a better word...until we both reached for the remote and fumbled to quickly find the 'off' button.
Some things cannot be turned off. End time events cannot be turned off. The birth pains (pangs) [Matthew 24:6 and 7] that are contracting the earth with (probably) the meanest immorality since Sodom and the cities of the plain are heightened and highlighted in the daily news. Scientists explain, in a sterile sort of way, why the axis and speed of the earth's rotation have changed with recent large magnitude earthquakes.
Serious national and international events seem to be spreading and picking up speed. Which reminds me of a line from Ellen White: She says, " events will be rapid..." Here is the full quote in context: "The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.--Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11.
Some despise the words, others despise the writer. But who can despise the red thread of truth connecting the 'words' and world 'events?'
God will give us a good day in Jesus Christ regardless of the machinations of political parties.
Be a blessing "...while it is called Today..." [Hebrews 4]. e.c.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Twice Upon A Time...

For now, the news is all about health care reform. My mind is exercised more by the process than the product; the rhetoric, manicured finger chest-poking, political smoke seeping under closed doors, partisan determination, public opinion be damned, all ahead flank speed. What is both fascinating and fearsome about these goings-on is the ferocity of it all.
The message to me in all this is (of course) spiritual in essence and prophetic in particular. Clearly, if the congress and the White House are determined to accomplish, to achieve, they can do so; they will do so. So what has that to do with things spiritual or prophetic? (Thank you for asking). Seventh-day Adventists believe that the government of the United States will eventually repudiate virtually every point on which this nation was founded.
Of course, many sigh, roll their eyes, or snort in disgust and disagreement with this view. Yet, as I watch the health care drama unfold; as I see what determined politicians have set out to change, I am convinced we are witnessing something far more insidious than the mere politics of health care. We are front-row-seated spectators of the mechanics of how this nation can change whatever it is determined to change; and that includes all- and anything(s) political and constitutional.
Already we understand the power of majority...not just from this show of power...but from our perspective of issues clearly moral that stand athwart humanist public opinion. (I won't be making a list: re ipsa loquitor). If the powers of governance can do this once, it can be done again: Twice upon a time, so to speak.
As I write, the powerful and provocative words of Ellen White come to mind. I realize that many have discarded the little lady onto their trash heap of Adventist ancient history. That is their choice. It is my choice to remain faithful to the Word of God and to seek a better understanding of unfolding events, first in the glaring light of Scripture, and secondly in the unfolding of events she outlined more than a hundred years ago. Here are those words: " By the decree of enforcing the institution of the Papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan, and that the end is near." Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 451.
Blessings: we need them. e.c.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Going Home...

Today we leave for home, so this site will be silent for a few days. Blessings. e.c.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How much am I offered for dedication?

In defense of avarice, selfishness (call it greed), Wall Street executives defend multi-million dollar addition to their multi-million dollar salaries... argue that if the institutions they shepherd are to prosper, then to attract and recruit talented men and women it becomes necessary to offer very large salaries. In short, this means that men and women who are wise in financial management can squeeze money out of the pockets of others into their own purse or pocket. This is what it is because it is the way the world (and worldly) to operate(s). No surprise.
Lane change...
Moving from the money stream to the spiritual stream; is is possible that the same principle applies in the management of institutions of the church? Put another way, is the church having to "buy" talent? or, is dedication negotiable?
It is relatively easy to buy talent. If the church does and I are the church... are we also buying devotion to the work of the Lord? You decide.
To the Mind of the Essayist, it appears that the Lord's business is being gradually nudged aside in favor of man's business. When I look, for example, at the medical work from the admittedly out-of-date and limited perspective...I see a system that looks alarmingly like any other medical system in any other city. But perhaps in order to remain relevant and effective such a migration has to occur...perhaps.
The encouraging part is that while we may seem to be corroding from the inside out, there are 7000 who have not bowed the knee to the Ba-al (a reference to Elijah after he fled from Jezebel). These men and women are determined to build for the Lord the best departments, the best offices, the best care they can; and do so amidst political struggles; the first of which began in heaven. These 7000 (symbolic) faithful workers determine to design and order their corner of the work, small or large, by determining to give compassionate care in the name of Jesus Christ; and to do so without having to be bought.
One may sell themselves as a dedicated and devoted worker in the field of God. It is those who buy who are foolish because the transaction is a one way street. dedication cannot be bought.
Don't think about these things too much. Pray! Pray for revival and reformation in all areas and at all levels of our institutions before the hand of the Lord brings judgment on the centers that stand as monuments to the wisdom of man. And pray for the 7000. I know some of them; they are good and dedicated people. e.c.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Just Coincidence

This is not hot-off-the-press kind of news; that there have been large, destructive earthquakes in the past few weeks; Haiti, Chile, Turkey, etc. In the past seven days, the world over, there have been over 100 earthquakes magnitude 5.0 or greater. As the Richter Scale goes up just one number (4.0 to 5.0) the strength of the earthquake increases ten fold. This means that a 7.0 would be 1000 times stronger than a 4.0, and a 9.0 would be 100,000 times stronger.
Interestingly, at least two of the recent quakes have changed either the length of the day, the shape of the earth, and/or the angle of axis of its rotation.
God is sending a message to earth's inhabitants but the world would rather listen to Lady Gaga than the Lord. Should we be surprised at either of these conditions? Not at all. In these last days God says that He will arise and '...mightily shake the earth...'
I just checked out a USGS website and counted over 160 earthquakes around the world in the last seven days; each one magnitude 5.0 or greater. Fault lines slip all the time, in fact, everyday. But what is interesting is the increasing frequency of the intensity and destructiveness of these quakes. So, if we listen to the world and its experts and wonder if they think there is anything to this they will most probably respond, "Naaah! This is just coincidence." And I would respond by telling all who will listen that this "coincidence" means that Christ is coming soon. Look up. Our redemption is drawing nigh.
Sabbath Blessings. e.c.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Four Questions

My wife has been reading the autobiography of neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, who is probably best known for the marathon surgery to separate twins conjoined at the head. Carson relies on the Lord first and common sense further down the ladder of decision making.
He writes, that there are four questions he asks when assessing the risk(s) of life decisions:
1. "If I do this, what is the best thing that can happen?"
2. "If I do this, what is the worst thing that can happen?"
3. "If I don't do this, what is the best thing that can happen?"
4. "If I don't do this, what is the worst thing that can happen?"
Good questions all, and while they may or may not originate with Dr. Carson, we can all adopt this kind of analytic approach to decisions we have to make every day that impact our lives and the lives of others.
Here's another good question for the day: What can I do or say that will reveal the love of Jesus Christ to others.
Make it a Monday of blessings. e.c.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Plastic-wrapped desert

As the wind blows, so goes plastic trash. Yesterday, while waiting in the motorhome for my bride, I noticed two long pieces of plastic wrap (about 8 feet each) caught in a tree and wrapped around the bushes. (I owe the title of this piece to my wife). Some days... and yesterday was one of those days...the wind blows all day long, and blows hard enough to make the motorhome sway and nearly change lanes. When it's really bad the highway patrol posts warnings for truckers and motorhomes because it's not uncommon to hear of them being blown over.
Anyway...I guess people can get used to just about anything, including strong winds (biting cold or searing hot) and all sorts of plastic stuck to the fenceline. There is a point here me find it...Oh! I know. In my mind I measure the difference there will be living in heaven where the streets are littered with gold instead of beer cans, paper trash and WalMart plastic bags.
It may be that being 73 has something to do with longing for a better place but I don't think that is the case. The gospel is the "good news" of Jesus Christ. Other than the gospel, there isn't a whole lot of good news from one day to the next. Perhaps you heard about the family from Haiti who survived the earthquake and after losing everything went to live with relatives guessed it...Chili. They're living in such fear that they sleep outside in a garden under a small shelter. Truly, the "sorrows" that Christ spoke of have begun.
The rain at home is starting to look inviting. Our home in heaven will be our last stop. Blessings. e.c.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let not your heart be troubled...

Daily, the evidence of evil is everywhere we look and in much of what we hear. Except we keep the eyes of our hearts fixed on Jesus Christ it is easy to see the evil and more difficult to see the coming of Christ which is being heralded by worsening conditions in this world. The Bible describes those who "...sigh and cry..." over just such things. Here is the entire text [Ezekiel 9:3]: "And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."
Put in context, the Lord is speaking to "...the man clothed in white linen (who) had a writer's inkhorn at his side." [Ezekiel 9:3]. These verses illustrate judgment; both of Israel and of God's endtime people.
At issue both then and now are the hearts of the Remnant people which will be found in one of only two places: Either in the Lord or in the world. No one can escape the obligation of decision. It is the same today as when Joshua challenged Israel just before crossing into the Promised Land: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." [Joshua 24:15].
The lesson is very simple, actually. Joshua is a type of Christ who is leading His people to an eternal rest in the Promised Land. Jesus is saying through Joshua, '...if you like the world more than Me then go back and stay with the world. But if you love Me more than the world...then follow me'.
While it is called "today" choose the Lord; His walk, His will, His way.
Blessings. e.c.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Three hundred and six times the word "righteousness" appears in the KJV. The first time is in Genesis 15:6 where Moses says that "...Abraham believed the Lord and it was counted unto him as righteousness." God told Abraham to leave Ur and go into a country that would later be called Israel. His obedience to God's request is the first record of righteousness by faith (Enoch aside).
Revelation 19:11 "righteousness" appears the final time. John writes: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."
In The Revelation the Greek word "dikaiosyne" is used as follows:

1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God
a) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God
b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting
2) in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due*

In the Hebrew (Genesis 15:6) "tsedaqah" is applied as follows:
1) justice, righteousness
a) righteousness (in government)
1) of judge, ruler, king
2) of law
3) of Davidic king Messiah
b) righteousness (of God's attribute)
c) righteousness (in a case or cause)
d) righteousness, truthfulness
e) righteousness (as ethically right)
f) righteousness (as vindicated), justification, salvation
1) of God
2) prosperity (of people)
g) righteous acts*

*excerpted from "Blue Letter Bible" (online)

That there is harmony of meaning in "righteousness" from first to last in the Bible is obvious. The beautiful thing about righteousness is this: it is a gift from God to those who believe and follow the Christ. Amen,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Don't make me read....please!

Since being here in CA I've learned that SDA's are a cult. A visiting nurse told the lady of the house who told me, so it must be true. The lady of the house asked, "Now why would she say that?" Well, that's an easy question, actually; someone said it, she heard it, and so it must be true.
Of course, one could actually look up the fact(s) on any issue either in a book (those are things people used to read), or check it out online.
It's so much easier to listen to what the preacher/teacher says and swallow it all as being true...but please don't make me read to find out what is true. That attitude is and will be, the single most deadly fault in endtime issues. Believe what you're told about the Bible but don't be Berean (which is more than a local religious book store).
The Bereans didn't just sit and listen. Luke, writing in Acts chapter 17 and verse 11 says this: "There were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonnica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."
That one should not believe me without reading it for yourself...will form the foundation of decisions made in these last days whether people will reject or accept the Word of God as it is written rather than as it is reintrepreted by lazy or apostate pastors who hold to tradition with an admirable but self destructive tenacity.
Those of us who are unwilling to search the scriptures daily to find out what things are true will choose what we are told...because it's so much easier...
Sadly, the end thereof is destruction.
Find blessings in study and reading the Bible. e.c.