25 August 2007

Immigration and other problems across the pond

Never doubt that the demon-besotted devotees of the false religion of Islam are capable of about anything (except virtue, rational thought, and just about anything good). Comes now a report out of Brussels, Belgium, that bastion of post-Christian life in the Europe that is fast transmogrifying into Eurabia, that shows how far and how fast that rot has come. Scenes from Eurabia: Women Should Know Their Place goes into some detail on it. Coming soon to your town.
What is amazing is that the self-described liberals refuse to condemn such things, it would seem that upholding the sacrament of infanticide takes precedence over all else.

Today's Reading August 25

This day's Old Testament portion is Psalms 124, 125, 126, and 127. Relatively short passages, primarily. You may recognize some of them. Like,

Chapter 124
1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
or, from 127,
Chapter 127
1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Where is my security but in the Lord? Everything else may fail (believe it, I know) but He is ever faithful,
This evening's New Testament passage is from 1st Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 1 through 24. While we do not have a copy of it, it is evident from the text that the church in Corinth had written him with some questions on the order of ''how now do we live?''.
In this passage, Paul is addressing some vexing issues with respect to marriage and divorce, with some attention to the situation when one of the partners in a marriage is a believer and one is not, the matter that is referred to elsewhere as being ''unequally yoked''. He also spends some time addressing the question of whether one should be married at all, and whether - if Christ was to return soon - one should instead forgo marriage and instead be completely devoted to the work of the Lord. I think that our Catholic friends will forgive me if I say that the question is still with us, and that there are those who have been called to the unmarried life. But not all are called to that.
We do frequently encounter the ''unequally yoked'' matter, and it is a problem. I have often had the experience of standing in or near a church pulpit and looking out over the congregation, and seeing too many married women whose husband is rarely - or never - with her. I have seen the reverse, though it is much rarer. I have seen occasions wherein he is affiliated with one church and she is affiliated with a different one. I have seen occasions where one of them becomes a Christian and the other will have none of it. That happened in those days as well, and was no easier for them. Yet, as Paul points out, sometimes having that witness under the same roof may often result in the salvation of both, and it certainly affects the children as well.

Chapter 7
1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

24 August 2007

Another ''celebrate diversity'' moment.

Aren't you proud of what multiculturalism has brought us?
Me neither
Check this from Michelle Malkin. I know it's true that - in the eyes of God - all men are created equal. But all cultures are not equal, and quite a few are just plain evil and disgusting. That takes in ALL the places where Islam, the worship of a demon, holds sway. Read the story and be sick.
Good commentary too over at Captain Ed's site.

Today's Reading August 24

It is still dark here, but I had a good feeling during the night. Perhaps something good will happen today.
This morning we look at some more of the Psalms - 120, 121, 122, and 123.
These are all good, but I particularly love 121 and 122 both. You may recognize some of this:

Chapter 121
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
A lot of memories come back when I read this and recall the many things He has done for me. Or,

Chapter 122
1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

This evening we are in 1st Corinthians chapter 6
Paul packs quite a lot into a relatively short passage. While the whole passage is below, there are a few things highlighted
vs 9-11, particularly vs 11. Paul issues a warning against the immoral behavior of the saved, reminding them (us) of past sins and warning them (us) against falling back into that life. Yes, I know there's a big can of worms there and I don't want to go there right now.
vs 18-20 get into a warning against the very powerful sins going under the name of 'fornication', essentially meaning any sexual behavior outside of marriage of a man and a woman. How some of our more ''progressive'' and ''tolerant'' friends reconcile that I am not certain.
Finally, pay some attention to the opening of the chapter, a warning about lawsuits between Christians. How many times in the last few years have we seen this? We even see lawsuits between church members and church officials, as in some of the breakaway Episcopalian and, I believe, Methodist churches. And lawsuits charging ordained ministers and priests with lewd behavior and perversions against children. This is not, I think, what being a Christian is all about. If Jesus said to pray for our enemies, how much more should we pray for the people in the next pew?

Chapter 6
1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
Gen 2:24 Matt 19:5 Mark 10:7 Eph 5:31
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

23 August 2007

Today's Reading August 23

Bad morning.
This morning we finish our time in Psalm 119, starting with verse 105 and continuing to verse 176, the end.
This passage contains some familiar and memorization-worthy verses, as well as the whole being worthwhile. For example,

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
or perhaps,
126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

This evening we continue in 1st Corinthians with chapter 5. Paul is starting to talk about church discipline. This is a difficult subject in some places, and utterly rejected in others. As a result, we have actively practicing homosexuals occupying not only the pews, which is bad enough, but occupying high leadership positions in a number of ''mainstream'' denominations. We also have persons guilty of a number of other sins in the pews, but homosexuality seems to be one that is, somehow ''celebrated'' as if the Lord has changed His mind on the matter. Paul here is taking on other behaviors, in this case a sexual liaison between a man and his father's wife, but the principle is the same - here that action is also being celebrated. Paul comes down hard, leaving us without an excuse. He makes it clear that we are to be holy.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

22 August 2007

Today's Reading August 22

A bit before dawn here.
Psalm 119, verses 49 through 104
The Psalm of praise and the excellence of the Lord's word continues.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

There are those who think of the Bible, in particular the Old Testament (Christians are, unfortunately, quite prone to this) as a bunch of dry rules that, if followed, were intended to get you into Heaven. I don't see it that way, as if somehow you were checking off the do's and dont's for the day, trying to earn a merit badge or the like. No, I think of it as developing into the kind of person that the Lord intended, rather like developing the character of being a good student by regularly studying hard, becoming G-d's person by doing the things that He said to do. We can argue the effectiveness of that - clearly it has and had its failures. But it's not a worthless exercise either.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny

And there is something to be said for developing the disciplines and the habits of a believer.
This evening's New Testament passage is 1st Corinthians chapter 4
Again, this is a letter to a group of believers, not an exposition of the Gospel to the unsaved, and therefore deals with the issues of a church
There is a lot here, I am drawn to part of it:
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
Recall that the Bible, or rather the New Testament as we know it, did not yet exist. So for guidance and direction, what did these early churches have? The Holy Spirit, of course, and thanks be to God. But of teaching and written doctrine there was but little. So what Paul - and the other disciples, evangelists, and teachers - were doing was to say ''Look at me! See how I lived. See how I taught. See how I dealt with questions, and with disagreements, and with persecution and opposition. Follow me, as I follow Christ.'' They didn't have the Book. But they did have the followers, of Christ, and were urged to follow that model.
I worry about that. I'm not sure that I would want others to model their lives, their speech, their approach, to how I do things, knowing all too well my own sins and failures. 'Course, the closer I walk with Christ, the more visible my own sins and faults are, to me at least. But, and Paul is right, others should be able to follow us. Others, particularly those outside the church, ought to be able to discover the character of Jesus by watching ours. They may read me, before they want to read the Book. And that is something that sobers me considerably.

21 August 2007

Today's Reading August 21

This morning is a little bit rough. Friday afternoon I was led to believe that I would be getting a job offer yesterday. Late in the afternoon I was contacted and told that the answer is NO. Yes, I'm everything and more that they said they wanted. But .... It seems that the plant manager of one of the plants that I would have been responsible for supporting, located in the greater Dallas area, is unhappy that I don't speak Spanish. It appears that a large portion of their hourly workforce is, ummmmm, ''undocumented'', meaning illegal aliens from Mexico, something that had been concealed from me during my visit there. So, once again, an American gets stuck because the leaders of the nation refuse either to obey or to enforce the law.
I hope you'll forgive me if I'm just a bit bitter.
This morning's passage is Psalms 119, verses 1 through 48. This Psalm is the longest of all, the longest chapter in the Bible, I believe. We will be here a few days.
My primary study Bible here has this subtitled as ''Meditations on the Excellencies of the Word of God'' . This Psalm is broken up into sections each subtitled with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus verses 1 through 8 are under aleph, 9 through 16 under beth, and so on. That serves a couple of purposes, and this is a VERY long section. (It's also a neat way to learn the Hebrew alphabet - we once had a lady wanting to know where she could see some of it in order to make a banner or something : we told her to go look up this Psalm and she would find all the characters in the sub-headings in her own Bible. She'd never noticed before.)
The Psalm lives up nicely to that subheading as you will see. Just start with the first few verses and the direction becomes clear, I think.

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee

This evening's passage is First Corinthians Chapter 3
There is - or was, a few years ago - in a small church in Lousiville, Ohio, where my brother was married a number of years ago, a banner hung across the front, with verse 11 from this passage,
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
It's a good one, and one frequently forgotten. We were in a Methodist church for a few years - we left for a number of reasons, but one was because the foundation seemed to be John Wesley, not Jesus Christ. We have friends in some of the Presbyterian groups, but too often the foundation seemed to be John Calvin, not Jesus Christ. We have friends in the various Catholic churches, but foundations seems to be the writings of the popes and long-dead clerics, not Jesus Christ. I myself came out of the Mennonite tradition, and too often the foundation was Menno Simons, Conrad Grebel, Joseph Amman, and old-world traditions, and not on Jesus Christ. I am not looking to cause more inter-denominational fights, there are enough of them already. But sometimes the heritage and the traditions are too much the focus, and not the springboard. Watch the foundation.

20 August 2007

And another rape by illegals Aug 20

Here's another one, out of Oregon

Two men indicted in the rape and sexual abuse of two Oregon City girls have admitted they entered the U.S. from Mexico illegally, police say.
Oregon City A Clackamas County grand jury indicted two men this week in connection with two Oregon City girls, ages 14 and 15.

Just what is it they're doing that Americans won't??

Today's Reading August 20

This morning we look to Psalms 116, 117, and 118. All of these are good, I'm partial to 116 but that is a matter of personal taste. Yet the 117th Psalm is pretty familiar too. Growing up in that little country church, we were expected to memorize Scripture. We didn't appreciate it at the time, now I'm grateful for it. And, being kids, we naturally looked for the least effort. Many of us know well the shortest verse in all the Bible, ''Jesus wept''. But that got us only a short reprieve. So some of us looked to very short chapters. Psalm 117 is one of those. But good.

Chapter 117
1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
Rom 15:11
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
Just two verses, but that was all the Psalmist needed to say that day.

This evening's New Testament passage is 1st Corinthians chapter 2.
This is a short little section, only 16 verses long, yet there is much in it. I want to draw attention in particular to two verses in it.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Isa 64:4
The Lord of the universe has, long before we were born, made provisions for those who are His own. We are not an afterthought to Him, and what He has in store for us is far greater than we can imagine. He's quite creative you know.
And there is this,
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Isa 40:14
Indeed we do. The term Christian means ''little Christ''. And I understand that to mean, among other things, that anyone wanting to know something of nature of Christ ought to be able to look at a Christian and learn something of His nature. Most of us have a ways to go on that, but it is nonetheless true. There is, within us, a piece of Him, a seed if you like, that needs to grow.

19 August 2007

A thought for the day

I lead a Sunday morning Bible study class in our little church. This morning, I was privately overcome with the long list of prayer needs, sensing through it all the many hurts, the hearbreak, the need and the sorrow that gave rise to each request.
It fit with the text and the lesson, but it was still hard, knowing those needs were - and are - not abstract and theoretical, but quite real.
This afternoon, I came across a quote that addresses the matter better than I can.

God Whispers
to us in our pleasures,
Speaks to our conscience,
but shouts in our pains

-- C.S. Lewis
and that's true.

Today's Reading August 19

This morning we turn our attention to Psalms 112, 113, 114, and 115
These are primarily Psalms of praise, and the first three are pretty short.
Psalms 112 and 113 are, in Hebrew, an acrostic poem - the first letter of each line beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. For those of us for whom classical Hebrew is not our native language, we miss that element of it.
Yet the imagery is still worthy. For example,

Chapter 113
1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,

Chapter 115
1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?

The reading this evening is from 1st Corinthians, chapter 1.
This is Good Stuff too, as Paul lays out his message to a different group of believers, but also leaves a message for us. There are several themes in this passage, one having to to with the regrettable habit we have of forming factions. But also a reminder that the Gospel and God's message did not first come to the 'respectable', the leaders of the community, those who in men's eye's occupy places of honor. No,
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Isa 29:14
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Jer 9:24

Cost of illegal aliens updated 19Aug

You don't get much better than Mark Steyn so just go over and read this one. Speaking of sanctuary, where's ours?
It has been a long time since I crawled around any lawbooks. But I seem to recall that there are some offenses termed ''malfeasance'' and ''nonfeasance'', terms that describe those who in essence violate their oath of office and either use the office for personal agenda or who refuse to carry out the duties of that office. Seems to me that quite a number of persons occupying what we once termed positions of public trust have fulfilled the elements of those offenses.