Picture yourself for a moment a few centuries ago as a passenger on a storm-tossed sailing vessel in the midst of a raging gale. Water is deep in the hold and, despite hours of manning of the pumps by the crew, rising fast. The captain has just issued orders that the cargo on the ship needs to be jettisoned within the quarter hour to make the ship lighter or it will sink. You know this means stores, cannons, and anything else unnecessary needs to be tossed over the side immediately. As yet another wave crashes over the bow, you make your way down the swaying steps to the deck below to see if you can help the crew. Yet rather than seeing them loosing
Is it not easier to hide who we are than who we are not?
To disguise our selfishness is but the work of a moment, whereas the lack of a generous spirit is too big a void to conceal.
To covet a neighbor’s position can be mostly contained within, but a failure to rejoice spontaneously in a friend’s success creates a loud silence.
To talk big about prayer and pray big in public can, like a rug over swept-up dirt, mostly hide the fact that we do not pray quietly in private, but it is not a very good cover up for a long distance relationship with God.
Is this not the way of the Pharisee Jesus exposed so devastatingly?
Because of what the Bible teaches, I do not think the pastor in Florida, who appears to be vacillating on whether to burn Qu’rans or not, should do so. Why?
Well, it is not because I believe that the Qu’ran is a holy book. To be as direct as possible, in its denunciations of Christ as the Son of God and crucified Redeemer; its upholding of a polygamous charlatan as the prophet of God; and its teaching that men are justified by works (i.e. keeping the Five Pillars of Islam), I believe the Qu’ran is a book that contains Satanic lies and is leading millions to the eternal doom of the burning flames of hell. Yet I still do not think he should burn them or Christians should participate in this type of demonstration. Again, why?
First, it is not consistent with the Scriptures on book burning. The Biblical proof-text Pastor Jones might offer for holding book burnings would come from Acts 19:19, where we are told this about the people of Ephesus who had responded to the gospel:
“And many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted […]
Interesting what you come across where you least expect it.
I have been reading the first volume of a trilogy on the 26th President’s life, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. My purpose in reading it has been simply to enjoy learning more about this larger-than-life man. Never did I expect to have to examine my own heart regarding worship the way I did when I came across this excerpt from a letter of Roosevelt. Listen to what then Civil Service Commissioner Roosevelt said about President Benjamin Harrison following a meeting they had just had:
“Damn the President! He is a cold-blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid old psalm-singing Indianapolis politician.”
Though Roosevelt’s rant is typical of him when he did not get his way, it is interesting how he related the President’s action with his worship practices – in Indiana, no less!This reminded me of a similar line I had read long ago but not forgotten in Gene Stratton-Porter’s (born in Indiana) classic book Freckles. At this point in the story the main character Freckles, a one-handed orphan learning to work the once-great lumber lines of northern Indiana, is recounting his experience of how people […]
Setting sun, in its finale,
Drenching clouds with changing hues;
Glowing bits like shooting stars, Fly up then fade from the backyard fire;
Rising fireflies o’er darkening fields, Myriads of tiny angels, signaling the news:
Soon gone are summer sparks, Brief joys of which we never tire.
Slapping thighs, along with a few mosquitoes, As stories meander in the dimming light;
Water’s magnet still attracting Splashing children too soon grown;
Even quieting voices sharing crossesMake hearts glow in the peace of the stilling night;
Summer sparks become dying embersUnless remembrance be over them blown.
Funny how – What I see now:On her back the ladybug Struggling against little thugs,Ants, not gentlemen, with a goal, “Drag her down into the hole.”
Funny how – What I see now:This micro tragedy Reminder of my own trajectory,Sin and death, no gentlemen, with a goal, “Drag him down into the hole.”
Funny how – What I see now:Tiniest red and black providence Reminder of my own recompense,Christ, the Gentle God-Man, with a goal, “Take Me instead into the hole.”
Funny how – What I see now.
If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 (NKJV)
There is a great deal of political outrage today. I regularly hear otherwise calm, quiet people give vent to disgust toward our leaders and their policies. I too have done my share of venting. My poor wife has had to deal with my rhetorical questions during the evening news: “How can they do that!” “What are they thinking!” “Who do they think they are!” She still doesn’t know if she’s supposed to answer or not.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 is a good text to reflect on in these times.
While it’s easy to think we live in times of unprecedented corruption and cronyism, the preacher reminds us that this state of affairs is nothing new. High officials have always watched over each other while consolidating and advancing their power at the expense of others. Some leaders make it a science, but most do it to some degree. “Do not marvel at the matter,” says the preacher.
It’s hard to decide whether this […]