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A Noble Theme

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.  Psalm 45:1

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Matthew 5:18

But it is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.   Luke 16:17

 

 


The Invisible Is Happening

the invisible is happening

Fraglen is about going THERE getting THERE being THERE

O thou whose every promise is balm, every touch life, draw near to
thy weary warrior, refresh me, that I may rise again to wage the strife, and never tire until my enemy is trodden down.
Give me such fellowship with thee that I may defy Satan, unbelief, the flesh, the world, with delight that comes not from a creature, and which a creature cannot mar.
Give me a draught of the eternal fountain that lieth in thy immutable, everlasting love and decree.  Then shall my hand never weaken,
my feet never stumble,
my sword never rest,
my shield never rust,
my helmet never shatter,
my breastplate never fall,
as my strength rests in the power of thy might.

The Servant In Battle excerpt from The Valley of Vision

 The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

            With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.                                     Ephesians 6:10-18

 


A Red Robe of Absurdity


If, as often seems to be the case, we have driven Jesus away, or at any rate back to the catacombs, then we are totally at the mercy of our rulers, whoever they may be and whatever the ideology on behalf of which they purport to govern.

 

 

The only antidote to the poison from Caesar’s laurel crown comes from Jesus’s crown of thorns. He alone can deliver us from the monstrosities and buffooneries of power, as has been discovered by the most perceptive spirits of our time, such as Solzhenitsyn.

Faced with power at its most unbridled and most brutal, they turn for help and comfort, not to Universal Declarations of Human Rights and other pronouncements, solemn undertakings,Covenants and Charters in a similar vein, but to the man wearing a crown of thorns, decked out in a red robe of absurdity and with a court of jeering soldiers.

There alone the sting of power is drawn and its pretentions are exploded, and the princes of this world have no recourse but, like Judas, to flee into the night.
Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990)


How Many Times?

Matthew 18:21, 22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 

 

“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.

It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”
― Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)

Matthew 18:23-35
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.” The servant fell on his knees before him.

‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

 

 

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.“ Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

 

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

 

 

…perhaps the most difficult of all to deal with – FORGIVENESS. I believe this is keeping more people from having power with God than any other thing — they are not willing to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness. If we allow the root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts against someone, our prayer will not be answered. It may not be an easy thing to live in sweet fellowship with all those with whom we come in contact; but that is what the grace of God is given to us for.                                           [Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) Prevailing Prayer p.46]

 

 

 

 


Of Willows and Harps

 

By the rivers of Babel we sat, and there we wept, when we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

Then they that led us captive, required of us songs and mirth, when we had hanged up our harps, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

 

How shall we sing, said we, a song of the Lord in a strange land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget to play.

If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth: yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem to my chief joy.

Psalm:137:1-6  1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

 

 


Seeking God

…it is obvious, that in seeking God, the most direct path and the fittest method is, not to attempt with presumptuous curiosity to pry into his essence, which is rather to be adored than minutely discussed, but to contemplate him in his works, by which he draws near, becomes familiar, and in a manner communicates himself to us.

…though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse. We cannot plead ignorance, without being at the same time convicted by our own consciences both of sloth and ingratitude….

…for no sooner do we, from a survey of the world, obtain some slight knowledge of Deity, than we pass by the true God, and set up in his stead the dream and phantom of our own brain, drawing away the praise of justice, wisdom, and goodness, from the fountain-head, and transferring it to some other quarter.

John Calvin from Institutes of the Christian Religion   Book First Chapter 5


nearer to Dust

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries Bring us
farther from God and nearer to Dust.

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)


The Stone Pavement

Progress and tradition, how do we steadily move forward on the planet without it becoming a trainwreck in twisted metal, crushed bodies, scattered limbs, and billowing smoke? When, and if in some considered opinions, God made humans in “our” image- male and female to be fruitful and multiply – to cover the earth and build families through the generations, how is it we somehow find ourselves down the pike not even knowing which bathroom door to open in order to relieve ourselves? It seems the time has come to manifest in our destiny as to what we truly believe and get on with the task at hand.

Many people sense something is going on. Maybe some can’t put their finger on it, but very assuredly are sniffing the wind trying to grab onto a solid framework of coherent thinking. Why not start with Holy Week and Easter? Is Jesus the Messiah? Did the resurrection occur? Has Jesus of Nazareth proven himself to be the Christ by rising from the dead on the third day? In I Corinthians Paul said if Jesus did not rise from the dead Christians are to be pitied more than all.

Non – believers balk at the assertion of Jesus coming back to life. To these it has to be a cruel hoax,  a serious April fools’ joke, a fairy tale, or a vicious lie. It is a no way no how not reasonable can’t prove it kind of thing. This deduction produces haters in non civil societies with potential for persecution and death to Christians. However, in polite society where 80% of pastors educated with doctorates, much less religious leaders of other traditions, do not believe in the Resurrection, this discussion can be relegated to the bottom rung of anti-intellectualism and dismissed and disregarded at best. At worst, it can begin with scoffing, move towards marginalization, and progress to violence towards believers as tolerance erodes and diminishes the basis of civil society.

Then why even have the conversation if it is so disruptive and impolitic? Who remotely is interested in what Jesus said? Why attend church once a year on Easter Sunday to give a wink and a nod to tradition? It seems rather bothersome. What are lay persons supposed to figure out and believe? Who should “we the people” follow? To whom does the average Joe and Jill decide to entrust their lives and families? Who is the fool? Both cannot be right.

Most, not all, of the religious experts and teachers of the Law are the very ones who had Jesus crucified. So it seems fitting that most, not all, of the religious experts and teachers of the Law in this day and age still do not believe Jesus is the Messiah and he rose from the dead. Although, Eugene O’Neill wrote “Lazarus Laughed.” Maybe Lazarus has some insight into this topic. Someone please dial  the 1 800 number.  With all this progress and with all this tradition what has changed in this regard? Apparently not much. Same old. Except…

Now we, as humans, seem to be moving on passed the idea of owing anything to Jesus of Nazareth who called himself God and was crucified for blasphemy having said it out loud for others to overhear and take note. Humankind is the new breed creator making machines in our own imagine and families in our own likeness. Replicants, androids, clones, and multiplicity of our shining selves are making a hard and fast run on civilization. Anything goes and the possiblities are endless. Pandora’s box has the top blown off to Kingdom come…hey wait a minute… what Kingdom? what come? Anyway, it appears super heroes are the saviour du jour at this point in time.

What to believe – that is the question. When Jesus was buried his disciples’ entire world of understanding was upended beyond their capacity to comprehend. What exactly happened on the third day? What is each individual’s comprehension and conclusion to their Christology? Do you ever wonder what Wonder Woman wonders? Do you believe you can outrun Blade Runner? John Locke wrote ” An  Essay Concerning Human Understanding” published in 1689. Are we any closer to understanding our humanity in point and purpose?

The celestial ball has been tossed. We have been initiated into the scrum and invited to make a decision. There will be neither a tie nor overtime. There will be winners and losers.

 Our time is at hand.

Game on.

walley


a rich storehouse

Knowledge is a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man’s estate.

 

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.          Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)


Desperate Times

You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us;
you have been angry—now restore us!

You have shaken the land and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.

You have shown your people desperate times;
you have given us wine that makes us stagger.

Psalm 60:1-3