Victory on the Blue-Green

Today another chariot-load

See them Father

The smiles, the joy

The diverse cultures

Registering surprise

The angels launching

Into their happy chores

The Family keeps arriving

As expected

The Spirit is so

Effective down there

So drawing

The Word full of life.

Now you just say it

Father

And I’m on my way

Clouds part

That little place

Of blue and green

Stops its bickering

And its mendacity

And oppression

The patient, plaintive ones

Stellar in faith

See my arrival

My house-cleaning

My wrath

The wrath of a Lamb

My vindicating

And all the knees bow

Everywhere

And all the tongues confess

“Jesus is Lord”

To the glory of you

Father.

Amen.

Sung Like a Well Trained Champion

It was the spring of 1984. Thirty years ago now. Cars of Canadians converged at the Fox Theatre, downtown Detroit, Michigan. Mixed crowd lined up out front. Absolute accord in the exciting anticipation of a night of worship and excellence. Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patti.
Never forgot it! And inside, singing and rejoicing as if from another world. (Doug)

Smith

There was a young student in ministry who took a walk with Smith Wigglesworth. Smith was sporting a dashing new hat. He was a rather fancy dresser. They stopped on a bridge, leaning on the rail to discuss some point of scripture. The wind got hold of Smith’s hat and pitched it into the rapid waters. He had no immediate outcry. He turned to his young friend with a wry smile and said, “We’d best be getting back to the house. With all that lies before me over the next few days, I dare not catch cold.”

Calm. Prepared. Wise. Full of Bible. Full of Spirit-harvested compassion and power. This man’s legacy defies the usual impression of “Pentecostal”. So many have images of manifestation gone wild, of excitement, of raucous worship. That is not Pentecost. That is wishful thinking and flesh.

The calm of Galilee; the smile of the kindly Teacher-Healer-Messiah: the wonder of the Comforter from above come to indwell and to guide; the power-to-witness endorsement of the gift of tongues. That is Pentecost.

http://justhappeneduponthis.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/stephen-full-of-the-spirit/

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.

Send the Dog Yelping…

One story of Smith Wigglesworth always brings a smile. He had been visiting a woman on some matters of counsel and she had accompanied him to the boulevard fronting her house in order to wait for his ride.

Her little dog followed them with an imperious air to a spot dangerously close to the roadway.

“Now go on back to the porch, Rusty. You shouldn’t be out here near traffic.” She threw in a sweeping hand gesture for good measure.

No response. Just a cheeky look which seemed to say, ‘Nope, not gonna happen.’

A second rebuke with words something like, “Now do what you’re told. Scoot!”

Five perky steps in the opposite direction. Then nothing…

“Rusty, don’t make me get the switch.”

At this point Wigglesworth clapped those big plumber’s hands, and with the booming voice which could rival Niagara, commanded “Be gone! Now!”

A yelp. A tail between the legs. A cringing retreat to the front porch. A peeking out from behind railing pickets.

“And that Madam,” Wigglesworth noted, “is how we must deal with the devil in the name of Jesus.”

Stupendous Claim

March 31

He is not here: for He is risen. – Matthew 28:6

Christ died in love for us. But if He had only died, and had not risen again, His sacrifice would not have availed for us. If He could not conquer death for himself, He could not be our Saviour. But the grave could not hold Him.

When the women came they found the stone rolled away, and the angel watcher said to them, “He is risen.” We have for a Saviour one who fought every battle that we have to fight, and was always victorious. He is able, therefore, to deliver us in any conflict.

Jesus appeared often enough after He arose to convince all His friends that He had really risen. Then He went back to heaven to receive all authority. His last act was to send out His disciples, bidding them to win all nations for Him. That was a strange commission for One who had died on a cross to give to a dozen plain peasants.

It was a stupendous claim to make for Himself, that all authority over the nations was now His. But so it was.

J. R. Miller