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Archive for March, 2008

Failure

OK, I know right off that you are thinking with titles like this and the last entry that I need major help. But I believe that a biblical worldview is big enough to accomodate the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly, not to mention the easy, the hard, the big and small, the temporal and eternal and everything else.  So what’s the purpose of failure in the Christian’s life, who are suppose to “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)?  And how about the non-Christian who has no clue or the one who does and openly hates God? “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).  You can allow disappointment, trials, and failures to produce humility in you or God will humble you sooner (Ah, what grace to be stopped and turned around.) or later (Oh, what sorrow will be theirs to find they should have heeded His voice.). My poem attempts to point out the grace in failure, though at times it feels harsh.  Click on Failure to read it.

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Recently I was driving with my family (essentially down to two children that once was 5) in our van. I asked one of my sons (vaguely enough to not be pushy but specific enough to try to be involved), “What did you do today?” In typical teenage non-answer fashion he said, “Nothing.” In a moment of exasperation at being pushed away again I replied, “You mean all is dark, cold, and silent?” This come back received comment and I thought later that I could have added “vacuous expanse, hopelessness, worthless, non-communicative, forgotten, dry, and dead“. Afterall nothing is the lack of something: darkness the lack of light, cold the lack of thermal energy, silent the lack of material medium disturbance, and so forth. Nothing is so opposite of God. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). “His throne was ablaze with fire” (Daniel 7:9). As to sound “His voice was like the sound of many waters” (Revelation 1:15) and the sound of a gentle blowing… and behold, a voice came to him” (Daniel19:12,13). And furthermore you should “know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) because “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things (Eph. 4:10). All hope is found in the “Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress” (Jeremiah 14:8 ). And “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). You can do that when “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) reigns in your heart. Of His worth Peter (first letter 2:6) says Christ is “a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Christ is the very communication of God for “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,…., and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,14). And though He is God “He remembers that they were but flesh” (Psalm 78:38 ) and remembers us in our low estate” (Psalm 136:23). But He doesn’t leave us there giving us “living water, a very “well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14). In fact He said, “I am the bread of life (John 6:33), “the resurrection and the life (John 11″25).

So you see God is anything but nothing. Can you imagine Jesus sitting by the Sea of Galilee and being asked by one of His disciples, “What are you doing?” and Jesus replies nothing. Nothing! Hardly. But he was found “in the stern, asleep on a cushion” (Mark 4:38 ) you may say. That is a useful activity in its time, not at all like the condition of the sluggard of whom it is said, “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man” (Proverbs 24:33-34). There is nothing. No, physical rest is good and spiritual rest is better. We are even urged to “be diligent to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11) which seems a contradiction in terms until you realize that your natural man wants to do nothing (unbelief) and your new man has to do something (belief) to enter and remain in rest. I will not go so far as the pope did recently to elevate the practice of “nothing” to the level of a deadly sin (all sins are eternally threatening). But our God is active, alive, filling all things. We should be involved in something according to His will rather than shrinking back to nothing.

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Pastor D. was preaching an excellent sermon this morning on unity in the church. I heard most of it loud and clear with the abundant and well placed Scripture references. But I missed the last half of the introduction and the first point because of a thought process set in motion by his thought provoking illustration. “…..What makes a battering ram work so well? What if individual soldiers took knives and started cutting sticks off of the log……..What would happen if they went up to the gate one at a time and started beating on it.”

Well, aaaaaactually, thought I, though his analogy was intended to point to the need for unity against the common enemy of the church, the ram works because of momentum which is mass x velocity.  Now the battering ram has plenty of mass but not so much velocity.  If the individual soldiers could produce the velocity of say a tornado the small size of their sticks would not be a problem.  They might well punch holes in the gate.  At lunch I conveyed this lack of attention to the point of the illustration.  Leinadcaro lit up so I indulged the moment.  Somewhere along the line someone figured out that the battering ram works better slung from a frame by ropes or chains.  The frame being mounted on wheels is much easier to move but the real power comes from the increased speed of the swing due to the gravity pulling the ram down.  Leinad responds that angular momentum is involved.  Oh yes, the acceleration due to the gravity becomes the angular momentum of the swing.  If the ropes are longer (bigger frame) the moment of inertia is larger resulting in a larger angular momentum.  Metal ends were added to the ram’s head end at some point increasing the impulse force by decreasing the time of impact because the metal doesn’t compress like the wood (impulse = force x time).  If the metal has one or more sharp ends the pressure exerted increases the force exerted on the gate yet again.  Leinad immediately thought that a charge on the end of the ram would send the explosion through the gate even as modern bunker buster bombs and tank penetrating charges do now.  If not the recoil of the ram due to the charge might finish the job upon its return swing.             
The next point in the sermon was about sound doctrine and a subsequent one concerned freedom to have diversity within the unity of the body.  This reminded me of the Scripture, “He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as teachers…..”  The was a purpose for which He did that but some of us get distracted during the sermon by non-spiritual thoughts.  Oh, yeah, it was “for the work of the service”. Sometimes I wonder what service I’m supposed to render.

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The 20th century was bloody for frequently ideological reasons rather than merely power hungry reasons.  What ideology and logical framework drove this madness?  Would you be surprised to find out that some of it was driven by madness occurring in the United States that still exists?  Could a 19th century biologist exert any influence over such atrocites as communism and Nazism?  Click on Darwin and Tyranny (10th in a series) to see some evidence to answer these questions.

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If I Wrote a Book

If I wrote a book forsooth          
It would have poetry for sure
And musing on beauty and truth
Even stories and science pure

I guess I was in a poetry mood today because the real one about what I thought I’d write came out like the following you should click on: The Book I’d Write

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