Not Even Blushing

Jeremiah 6:

13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.

Take a look at the churches today. Are they honestly addressing the hurt of the daughters and sons of their people? Or are they too much dedicated to keeping the merry-go-round of program going. All must be smiles and positive comment. The worldly pre-occupations of the people (covetousness) must be given appropriate “teaching”. So-called sermons on prosperity and fulfilling lifestyle take up precious time from the pulpit.

Jesus said that he came to act as physician for the sick and heavy laden. We won’t even acknowledge that we are sick. Envious. Gossiping. Posturing. Haughty. Insincere. Prayer-less. Cowardly in testimony. Unsympathetic. Unfamiliar with the real Jesus of the Gospels.

I remember Steve Brown of the Key Life radio broadcast saying something to the following effect:

‘Find a church of messed up people who know that they are messed up and not reluctant to admit it, but are honestly in love with the righteous Elder Brother Jesus, and seeking more each day to understand and walk in His footsteps and to seize opportunities to pass on His promises and warnings.’

The prophet Jeremiah, in addressing the religion of his day saw a frail papier mache edifice about to crumble, although many of the right words and religious forms continued to issue forth. Our churches sound the part, but are departing from the heart, honesty and healing of the Gospel. Similarly they are not checked, convicted or found blushing.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

Evangelist

He was there for them
And they knew it
And his smiles and songs
Would brighten up the tent.
And the energy needed
To get through it
Was a joyful package
Timely, Heaven sent.
He was just like them
Nothing really special
Save that Jesus had
Arrested all his heart.
And accordian and banjo
Played their favourite
Songs of Zion
Building faith
Salvation to impart.
They were hurting
In a town
Close to rock-bottom
And the government
Showed little of relief
But the preachers
Set the stage for
Life abundant
Triggered simply
By repentance
And belief.
“He is here!
The Master yearns to do
His business
And to liberate
Where Satan has deceived.
And you’ve heard
The words of Gospel
Transformation.
Who is ready to
Step forward and receive?”

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

http://momentsmidstream.blogspot.ca/2011/02/rag-of-man.html

Today’s Slant

Here’s how I am feeling about the posting process these days. I sent this to Bill over at Unshakable Hope. The man is an inspiration. I intend to treat him as if there is absolutely no personal handicap. His brilliance is often the brilliance of Christ through yet another vessel of clay.

My remark was as follows:

Bill you are part of the reason I blog. Someone who keeps an open ear for additional insight; who remains teachable. That is not to say that I see myself as “teacher” and the readers as “pupils”. I have often said to Anthony Gomez (Salvoes in Faith) that we are all fellow travelers exploring a beach and discovering, quite by Providence, beautiful seashells. We share this interest and delight and the gracious Lord feeds such hunger and curiosity. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Today I discover; tomorrow it’s you.

One other comment. Perhaps you feel a compunction to reply to every comment. Don’t do this. It may become banter. Singing to the choir. Better you pour your time and remarkable technology into another hum-dinger of a message…or just simply how you are feeling as one of the members of today’s flock…Doug

Anthony knows something about my change in momentum in blogging. I am under no tight time-table. It is very possible to go on long after the speaker has finished his message. That becomes only an insult to the listeners.

Has there been a lot of production over the past 5 years? Yep.

Four blogs on Wordsmith. Three on BlogSpot. Two sites on Google. One Channel on You Tube. Two Facebook accounts. Participation on three poetry forums. Over seventy-five faith booklets at issuu.com/dewane.

I have said it folks. I have nailed my position in Christ soundly to the wall. I will not sing to the choir anymore. If blogging cannot be proved to be a mighty instrument of testimony to the un-saved, then I am moving on to something else with a creative and spiritual legacy well recorded.

And how much of this has really been for me, anyway? Every blogger seeking to walk as Jesus walked must ask such nasty questions..Doug

Ain’t Gonna Rain No More, No More…The Film Noah: Doing Violence to the Word

I knew that there was controversy.

Genesis 6 “sons of God”, whoever and whatever they were, portrayed as rock-encased Transformers, once angels, employed to build the Ark and to stave off the attacking hordes. The so-called “watchers”. A vicious warlord seeking to gain control of the boat, surviving the Flood and hiding among the animals, waiting for his chance at mutiny. Son Seth’s wife amazingly transformed from barrenness and giving birth to twin girls who were at peril briefly of sacrificial death at the hands of their Grandfather. Son Ham’s near act of patricide. The Patriarch’s total misunderstanding of the role of God’s mercy in the whole episode. His wife’s near rebellion in the stern performance of the assignment, and the pain of two of the sons not securing wives before the Deluge (scripture says 3 sons had 3 wives on board. Genesis 7: 7). All of the creatures on board put to sleep by some strangely potent incense. Malarky.

Just so much fiction. I had not wanted to respond like this. Just another Bible thumper, fastidiously looking for faults. But as the movie progressed I felt literally ill and uncomfortable. Of course the sights and sounds of mass destruction of the human race were heart-rending. (Maybe it was the spicy chicken from dinner?)

Russell Crowe appears disturbingly one-dimensional as the determined messenger of God’s bad news; as the job-site foreman; as the prophet who struggles, with Grandfather Methusela’s help, to get the foreboding visions right. Here a briefer role is given to Anthony Hopkins.

On the good side of things, the scenes of gathering the creatures, of destructive waters coming from every direction and launching the boat, were magnificent. Noah also tells his family the story of Creation and the sinful fall of Adam and Eve, launching the human race into covetousness, self-will and violence. Until late in the film Noah sees his family as no better than the myriads lost in the terrible waters. God simply needs some animal care-takers. “The animals are the innocents.”

But then comes once more that very real Bible theme: “in wrath remember mercy”. The rescued family, holding hands together and praying on dry land, realize their special position in God’s sovereign will and election. There will be a new beginning.

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Hear how Eugene Peterson paraphrases the setting for the story in The Message:

When the human race began to increase, with more and more daughters being born, the sons of God noticed that the daughters of men were beautiful. They looked them over and picked out wives for themselves.

Then God said, “I’m not going to breathe life into men and women endlessly. Eventually they’re going to die; from now on they can expect a life span of 120 years.”

This was back in the days (and also later) when there were giants in the land. The giants came from the union of sons of God and the daughters of men. These were the mighty men of ancient lore, the famous ones.

God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil – evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds – the works. I’m sorry I made them.

But Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah.

No Wiggle Room

An acquaintance from a former house church gathering has launched an inter-faith group and has set up a point of reference on Facebook. She also works part-time as a hospital chaplain, where of course, inclusiveness is the key word.

She is out and about inviting people to drop by the little periodic gatherings to share testimonies and to identify points of commonality in faiths.

I wonder for a dedicated believer how this measure lines up with John 14, Hebrews 13 or Galatians 5. I recall Paul the Apostle saying that he had become all things to all people, but that had to do with wisdom in moderating the approach to the Good News to different groups; it did not have to do with enjoying regular fellowship/meals with them.

And John in his First Epistle is adamant about this dangerous courting of the world.

This sort of thinking has caused others to call me intolerant, unloving and impractical. But I am told in Ephesians without qualification that I am supposed to speak the truth in love.

I have no time for syncretic elbow rubbing. Testimony…yes as the Spirit leads.

Not a Day More

You have been a church member for as long as you can remember. Parents before you.

Attendance may have waivered from time to time, but you still see the process as valuable. You have read a couple of the Gospels. Frequently in Psalms and Proverbs. Perhaps Pastor’s sermon has provoked a little additional study. You try your best to live a good life. You measure yourself against others you admire.

But all this talk about “salvation” that you hear coming from the evangelicals just leaves you cold. Didn’t you get baptized? Didn’t you attend confirmation; take the pledge? What is all this panic?

Jesus said in John 9 that He had come into the world that they that see not might see. He bestows spiritual vision. Gives glimpses of the holiness of God and the inadequacy of self-righteousness. You must pray for this vision while you are still breathing. You must give yourself over more to considerations of the Eternal. This will require that you break through the pre-disposition of men to have to struggle and sweat for anything good. You are suspicious of those words “free for the asking”.

A good help will be found in the reading of Romans 10. At first reading you might hear yourself asking, “Is that all there is to this?” Pray for illumination. Read it again. The Gospel words of promise are timeless. Believe. Submit. Repent. Confess. Be done with men’s foolish efforts for righteousness sake. God has volunteered to pay the tab if you will trust (read Psalm 85).

The threshold of entrance has been made surprisingly simple. Simple to you, but enormously costly to Jesus and the Father. But with the transformation of new birth comes new comprehension, new sensitivity, new loyalty, new purpose, new zeal for the things of Christ. In short order you will acknowledge your blindness of bygone days. You will have become a citizen of Heaven.

Bursting with thankfulness you will be compelled to tell others the Good News in the ways for which you have been suited.

The flesh, the world and the devil will try to tell you that this is all malarkey. Persevere for the prize.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON