Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Observation on John 21:11

"Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken." John 21:11
This verse comes near the conclusion of the famous story in John 21, where the disciples have caught nothing after fishing all night. A man they do not yet recognize tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, where they catch all those fish; the disciples then realize that it is Christ.

Here is the part that jumped out at me today (a part not previously noticed): There were not merely 153 "average" fishes; they were 153 "great" fishes! The Greek word for "great" here is megas, the familiar word from which we get mega- and similar roots in English. Mega-, of course, refers to something which is unusually large in size, mass, etc.

The point here is this: When Jesus Christ gives us something, it is not just the "average" sort of thing we can get anywhere....it is great! His blessings are not only abundant but also exceedingly above what we ask or think. No doubt the fish those disciples ate that morning were also delicious and nutritious, in addition to being sizable. God's gifts are always good and always great.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hymn of the Week: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Charles Wesley wrote this hymn to commemorate the first anniversary of his salvation. The hymn has been set to no less than seven different tunes (Azmon is probably the most common, but Lyngham is my favorite) and the poem actually consists of nineteen stanzas. The entire poem can be read here, but here are a few selected stanzas:

Aside: Note how the third stanza, like my previous post, discusses the "name of Jesus."

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Name of Jesus

"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:31)

"9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:9-11)
In just a few moments of study, and with these two verses to catalyze the process, here are several thoughts about the name of Jesus Christ:
  • It is not to be blasphemed or taken in vain (Ex. 20:7).
  • His name is "hallowed" (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2) and is to be "made holy" by us.
  • All manner of spiritual things are to be done "in His name" (Matt. 18:5, 20; 28:19-20; Mark 9:41; Luke 9:48; Acts 2:38; 10:48; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; Heb. 13:15)
  • Miracles were done by the apostles in His name (Luke 10:27; Acts 3:6, 16, 4:10; 16:18)
  • Preaching is to be done in His name (Luke 24:47; Acts 9:27)
  • Salvation comes through believing in and calling on His name (John 1:12; 3:18; Acts 2:21; 4:12; Rom. 10:13)
  • Sanctification comes through His name (1 Cor. 6:11)
  • Prayers are to be in His name (John 14:13-14; 16:23-24)
  • Those who "hold fast" His name are praised (Rev. 2:13)
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." (Col. 3:17)
And there is much more! Take a little time to make a study of this yourself—it will be most rewarding.

Thoughts on John 20:28

"And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."
The story is a familiar one: Thomas, absent at the Lord's first post-resurrection appearance to the disciples, tells the disciples that "except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." (vs. 25). A week later, Jesus meets His disciples again, and virtually quotes Thomas, inviting him to do just what Thomas claimed he wished to do.
Notice how quickly Thomas's tone changed. Immediately aware of his error, he believes and says just one sentence.

As Jesus said in the preceding verse, it is better for us to believe Him without seeing Him; but our response should nevertheless be the same: To call Him "My Lord and my God." There is no mystery in the Greek here; the sentence is both simple and plain. Do we call Him this, and live our life as if we believe it? Or do we refer to Him as something less, living in a manner that denies His lordship over us?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One More Reason Not to Vote for Guiliani

It has now been reported widely (click here to read a typical example) that former New York City mayor and current presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said he will be rooting for the Red Sox in this year's World Series. Giuliani is typically a very strong Yankees fan—this is perhaps his most endearing trait. The comment was made in Massachusetts, which is close to New Hampshire...

And here I thought that Hillary Clinton was the only one who stooped low enough to flip-flop baseball loyalties for political gain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Beautiful Evening in Michigan!

This beautiful sunset, as seen from my back yard this evening, is yet more evidence that we have a wonderful Creator God. I even had a friend, driving by my house on the highway, within minutes of this photo being taken, who commented on this. Did evolution cause this beauty? We think not.

This bottom photo was taken less than two minutes before the top photo. Notice the incredible change in color!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Humor for all of you teachers out there...

A teacher enters a room to find two boys arguing. She asks them why they are arguing. One boy replies, "We found a $10 bill on the floor. To decide who gets it, we're having a contest to see who can tell the biggest lie." "That's terrible!" exclaimed the teacher. "When I was your age, I didn't even know what a lie was!" The boys gave the teacher the $10 bill.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thoughts on the Red Sox

With just a few outs to go, it appears that the (grrrr....) Boston Red Sox will be facing the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. My wife, a Cleveland Indians fan, and I, a New York Yankees fan, trying to think biblically about this, came up with a few verses that sum up our thoughts on the matter:

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" Psalm 2:1

"Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause." Psalm 35:9

"But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied." Psalm 38:19

"22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.
23 Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually." Psalm 74:22-23

"Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me." Psalm 102:8

Jeremiah, questioning the Lord about the wicked, asks, "Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter." (Jeremiah 12:1-3)
And Psalm 108:13 is our hope for next season: "Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies."

The Master's Men Conference

Yesterday, October 20, I attended the Master's Men Conference at Faith Baptist Church of Davison, MI. This was my second trip to the conference; six other men from my church also drove the 150-ish miles to attend.

As with previous years, it was a great, uplifting, and convicting time. It is a blessing to be among such a large group of men who, like me, desire God's will and work in their lives; and who enjoy singing and hearing the preaching of the Word.

Steve Pettit was the main speaker. His two messages were convicting about what characteristics the godly man should demonstrate and in what activities (Bible reading, meditation, prayer) he should participate. There were also about a dozen "breakout" sessions to choose from; each man could choose three during the day. Our group collectively attended nearly all of them.

If you ever get an opportunity to be in that part of Michigan next year (or any year) for the conference, and you're a man, I encourage you to go.

Hymn of the Week: I Will Praise Him

No matter what the circumstances of life, the proper response is praise. The reason for this praise is that He, as only He could, gave Himself for our sins, making possible escape from eternal damnation. It is offered freely to us. To accept His gift is both simple and wise, and I hope and pray all who read this accept.

I Will Praise Him (Words and music by Margaret J. Harris)

When I saw the cleansing fountain
Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing,
When He said, “Wilt thou be clean?”

Refrain

I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

Though the way seems straight and narrow,
All I claimed was swept away;
My ambitions, plans and wishes,
At my feet in ashes lay.

Refrain

Then God’s fire upon the altar
Of my heart was set aflame;
I shall never cease to praise Him
Glory, glory to His Name!

Refrain

Blessed be the Name of Jesus!
I’m so glad He took me in;
He’s forgiven my transgressions,
He has cleansed my heart from sin.

Refrain

Glory, glory to the Father!
Glory, glory to the Son!
Glory, glory to the Spirit!
Glory to the Three in One!

Refrain

Friday, October 19, 2007

How Michigan can learn from New Jersey!

A news item on Foxnews.com informs us that a whopping 49% of adult residents of New Jersey would rather live somewhere else; furthermore, 51% of those folks actually plan on doing it. Is it because New Jersey's reputation for political corruption or environmental pollution (was it the Pulaski River that once caught fire? Or was it a different body of water?)? Do people not like the climate or the shoreline?

No. Far and away the most common reason given by those desiring to leave was high taxes. High housing/cost of living was second.

Clearly, the economic forces at work that produce high housing costs and high costs of living are not in the full control of the NJ Legislature. But taxes are. New Jersey's taxes on income, sales, and property are among the highest in the country—and this is why so many people want to leave. Note this quote from the article:

"But a Rutgers University report released last week found that New Jersey, with nearly 9 million people, is experiencing a population loss and said the number of residents who had left the state more than tripled from 2002 to 2006, with 231,565 people moving elsewhere.

The Rutgers Regional Report, which examined U.S. Census Bureau and Internal Revenue Service data, noted 72,547 people left in 2006, ranking New Jersey fourth — behind California, Louisiana and New York — among states with the highest population losses in the nation."

What can Gov. Granholm and the leaders of Michigan learn from this? First of all, tax hikes like the ones foisted upon us eighteen days ago are not going to have desirable economic effects. In case you haven't noticed, New Jersey is anything but a hotbed for new and expanding companies. Second, tax hikes are not going to have desirable demograhic effects. People are already leaving Michigan in increasing numbers—United Van Lines can provide you with evidence should you require it.

And for those who choose to remain and suffer...there are not going to be desirable morale effects, either.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thoughts on Baseball's Wild Card...

The Colorado Rockies are in the World Series. Congratulations are due; after catching the Padres at the very end of the 162+1 game season, they swept the Phillies and Diamondbacks. They are the hottest team in baseball right now.

They were also the Wild Card team, having finished in 2nd place in the NL West. This marks the sixth consecutive year in which a wild card team has reached the World Series. The AL Wild Card team, the Yankees, finished their playoff season much too quickly.

Some interesting statistics on Wild Card participants:

  • The Wild Card has been around since 1995. In thirteen seasons, with twenty-six wild card teams, nine have reached the World Series (34.6%). Keep in mind that Wild Card teams only make up 25% of playoff participants.
  • Of the eight previous World Series participants who were Wild Card teams, four have won the Series (Florida in 1997 and 2003, Anaheim in 2002, Boston in 2004), and four have lost (NY Mets in 2000, San Francisco in 2002, Houston in 2005, Detroit in 2006).
  • Six of the nine Wild Card teams to make the World Series are from the National League.
  • Florida has only ever made the playoffs twice—both times as a Wild Card team—and won the World Series both times.
  • The NY Yankees have made the playoffs three times as a Wild Card team (1995, 1997, 2007), and have lost in the first round all three times.
  • 15 of the 26 Wild Card participants have won their first round series. 9 of those 15 won their second round series.
It hasn't always been this way. From 1995-2001, the fourteen Wild Card participants advanced out of the first round only six times, and to the World Series only twice. Since then, in six more seasons:
  • There has been a Wild Card team in the World Series every year since 2002. In 2002, both teams were the Wild Card participants.
  • Wild Card teams won three straight World Series from 2002-2004.
What is the point of all this? I am really curious to know why the Wild Card teams, especially in recent years (and with the blatant exception of my Yankees), have done so well in the playoffs. Why? Although some of them have been really good teams with the second-best records in their leagues, others have "dragged" themselves in (see: 2006 Tigers), and yet, they do well. Why is this? And why can't the Yankees make any good come from being the AL Wild Card team?

I don't know. Do you?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wisdom From a Computer Failure

In one of my occasional forays into the blogosphere, I was blessed to have the opportunity to encounter the blog of missionary David Hosaflook. David and my brother-in-law went to Albania way back in 1992 when they were college students; David eventually went back as a full-time missionary, where he still serves.

In the post previous to the one I quote below, David explained that a few weeks earlier, there was a surge of electrical power which wiped out his surge protector and left him computerless for about a month.

As we all should (but frequently do not) do, he took a spiritual lesson away from this unfortunate experience. I quote his post here, from an entry titled "Running on Battery Power":

"After the incident recorded in the previous post, my computer kept working on battery power, but it could receive no more electrical power. The battery was charged but I knew it was a matter of time before it all shut down.

"I thought about my life. How often do I run on spiritual battery power, old times of prayer and meditation which recharged my batteries but, without daily charging, will leave my processor slow and my screen dim, eventually powering down completely. I know the Holy Spirit should not be compared to energy, since He is a person. But we all know the reality that He is our power source in the spiritual journey.

"Battery power on a laptop is great while on the go. And thank God for spiritual battery power in times of overload--there are some times when we will just not be able to have good "quantity time" alone with God.

"But remember, battery power only lasts so long."

Thanks to David Hosaflook for allowing me to quote him here. You can click here to read his blog.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hymn of the Week: Mansion Over The Hilltop

Ira Stanphill's classic hymn reminds us of the importance of contentment, a theme through several recent posts. It is my riches in heaven that are more important, for they will not rust or become corrupted. What little I may have here is but a most minor sacrifice compared to the riches and blessings that await me some day, if I serve my Lord faithfully.

Our world today has it backwards. Completely backwards.

Mansion Over The Hilltop

I'm satisfied with just a cottage below,
A little silver and a little gold;
But in that city where the ransomed will shine,
I want a gold one that's silver-lined.

Refrain:
I've got a mansion just over the hilltop,
In that bright land where we'll never grow old;
And someday yonder we will never more wander,
But walk the streets that are purest gold.

Tho' often tempted, tormented and tested
And, like the prophet, my pillow a stone,
And tho' I find here no permanent dwelling,
I know He'll give me a mansion my own.

Refrain

Don't think me poor or deserted or lonely,
I'm not discouraged, I'm heaven bound;
I'm just a pilgrim in search of a city,
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.

Refrain

On the Topic of "Kid's Times" in Church

The Sharper Iron website (see link at right) recently featured an article by Pastor Aaron Blumer on Why Churches Should Have "Kid Times" (read his article here), to which a rebuttal was composed by Pastor Greg Stiekes (read his article here). Blumer's article focuses on some good, practical reasons for the practice, while Stiekes's article primarily focuses on the fact that (a) the Bible is rather silent about the practice, and (b) the Bible emphasizes, as did society in Bible times, a family-centered, family-oriented teaching environment. Stiekes also emphasizes that Blumer's views are primarily practical and experience-based and not Bible-based.

I am my wife and our friend discussed these two articles, and found ourselves of one mind on the topic. Both men make good points, but they may be setting a fine example of "How the pendulum can swing too far in either direction." We believe that Blumer's points are not only practical but wise. There are times for, and benefits in, taking the younger children and teaching them in a separate environment more suited to their learning level. Should they always be in a separate "service" while their parents are in the "main service?" Of course not. We agree with Stiekes that the parents do, in fact, have the most primary responsibility for the upbringing and teaching of the children, and that it is good for the children to be in the "main service" with their parents. Do they always need to be there? No.

I am exceedingly thankful that at my church, there are both times of teaching for my children apart from the adult service, and that there are times when they are expected to be in the auditorium with their parents, learning from our pastor. My children benefit in a variety of ways from both. I am grateful for the godly ministry and examples of the various people who serve the Lord by serving and teaching my children. This augments and reinforces what they are taught at home. If I thought that these people would somehow stunt or harm my children's spiritual growth, I would promptly remove the kids from their influence.

It is of primary benefit for children to see, model, and learn from godly parents, but it of additional benefit for children to see, model, and learn from other godly people, too. Those other godly people help my wife and me to fulfill our God-given responsibilities as parents.

In closing, our friend (ever the practical mother) also pointed out this practical nugget, overlooked by both pastors and me:

"...then when you invite a totally unchurched family to your church, you better be prepared to help that family know how to keep their children quiet in church. I don't know many unchurched children who have been trained to sit for an hour or more without some distractions to the parents. That can be frustrating to the parent and cause them to not want to come back if it's going to be so much trouble. And then what about the bus ministries. You mean, you're going to bring in a bus full of (usually) unruly children (without their parents....usually) and make them sit unattended in a church service?"

Young Adults and Fundamentalism

I and my wife and a friend of hers have had an ongoing e-mail dialogue this week which has been rich in spiritual discussion. The first topic of interest is why so many Christians of our generation (we are all 36 or 37 years old) have either (a) abandoned fundamentalism for "other forms" of Christianity—or none at all, or (b) begun to embrace "radical" views on everything from KJV-only to homeschooling to not even putting their young children in Sunday School. The frightening lack of discernment in the area of parenting by our generation was also discussed, as was the appalling carnality which is now accepted as, well, acceptable in a Christian's walk.

I found our friend's comment to be right on the mark. She said:

"My take on the seeming shift in our generation's standards and hence, their choice of church philosophy is a stronger influence from the devil. I really believe being in the last days that he is working harder and attacking stronger. I think there is truly a "dumbing down" in a lot of our churches in what is being taught as far as doctrine and scripture so that those coming up have no idea who God truly is and what it means to be holy and to live a holy life. "
As Christians, we must "smarten up" about the Word teaches concerning doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Only when we learn how God wants us to walk—and commit to doing it—are we going to be able to walk in a way that pleases Him.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Abortion May Be a Greater Tragedy Than You Think!

According to these two stories from Foxnews.com (click here and here to read them), worldwide abortions in 2003 were down to "only" 41.6 million.

Here are some quotations from these articles (my commentary is in a different color):

"One in five pregnancies worldwide and one in three pregnancies in Europe ends in abortion, according to a new study published in a special female-focused issue of the Lancet.

"The study also found that, on average, 90 percent of women worldwide will have an abortion before the age of 45, based on 2003 data. However, many women will have had multiple abortions and many none at all to come to this average. [To put this in more statistically-understandable terminology, the average woman will have 0.90 abortions by the age of 45.]

"Although the statistics may seem startling, worldwide rates of induced abortion actually fell 17 percent from 46 million to 42 million between 1995 and 2003." [Later in the article, it uses the 41.6 million number instead, but even that only represents a decrease of 9.565%. When reading or hearing statistical data in the media, make it your habit to be highly skeptical. Reporters are not statisticians, and they can be easily misled]

"...Of the 41.6 million abortions worldwide, 35 million were in the developing countries, and 6.6 million in developed countries.

"The worldwide induced abortion rate fell from 35 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 1995 to 29 per 1,000 in 2003.

"That same year, 48 percent of all abortions worldwide were unsafe (up from 44 percent in 1995), and 97 percent of unsafe abortions were in developing countries. In developed countries, 92 percent of abortions were safe. [Read the article for a morbid definition of what this means. No abortion is safe. At least one person dies every single time.]

"Globally, there were 31 abortions for every 100 live births in 2003, while in Eastern Europe there were more abortions than live births, 105 abortions for every 100 live births, more than double the level of the next highest world region, Eastern Asia (51 abortions for every 100 livebirths).

"Eastern Europe also saw the biggest decrease in abortion rates between 1995 and 2003, down 50 percent. The authors attribute this decline to an increased use of modern contraception methods."

From the second article:

"Women are just as likely to get an abortion in countries where it is outlawed as they are in countries where it is legal, according to research published Friday.

"In a study examining abortion trends from 1995 to 2003, experts also found that abortion rates are virtually equal in rich and poor countries, and that half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe."

"...Abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal mortality worldwide. About 70,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions. An additional 5 million women suffer permanent or temporary injury." [I can't help but think about the sowing-and-reaping principle here, or the fact that God does punish sin.]

Just for comparison purposes, the number of 2003 abortions worldwide is approximately equal to the total 2000 combined population of California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Contentment: The Attitude I Should Have

From the third stanza of Ira Stanphill's famous hymn:

Don't think me poor or deserted or lonely,
I'm not discouraged, I'm heaven bound;
I'm just a pilgrim in search of a city,
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.


Just another thought on contentment.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Democrats! Don't Forget This:

I hope that Democrats, in particular, will remember the following things:

1) It was the Democrats who worked so hard and so deep into the night to raise your income and sales tax burdens last week. Jennifer Granholm and your Michigan legislators should spring to mind when Election Day 2008 rolls around.

2) It was most of the Democratic presidential candidates who have "withdrawn" from the primary race to be held 1/15 (Hillary hasn't backed out, so she'll get a cheap win—but does she really care, so long as she wins??).

To contrast:

1) Nearly every Republican legislator in Michigan voted against the recent tax increases (There were a few exceptions, including my own state senator, but I think most of them are ineligible to run again due to term limits).

2) All of the Republican candidates for president came to the debate in Dearborn yesterday. All of them either came to Mackinac for the big Republican Leadership Conference last month or they wanted/planned to come.

Here's the difference: Republicans, for the most part, want to serve for the best interests of the people. Democrats, for the most part, don't seem to care about the best interests of the people—they just want your vote on Election Day so that they can do whatever they please. Stereotypical? Perhaps. But observe what each does....which, after all, is our duty as citizens.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thoughts on Contentment, Part 2

The thesis in the evening's sermon was this: Too many people today are satisfied—and they shouldn't be! They are content to be unsaved, saved but sour, spiritually mediocre, inconsistent, worldly, hypocritical, self-centered, "average," etc. Our pastor summed up five wrong ways of "contentment:"

  • When contentment really is complacency.
  • When contentment really is compromise.
  • When contentment really is carnality (read 1 Cor. 3).
  • When contentment really is callousness.
  • When contentment really is carelessness.
He also gave us some ways to avoid this wrong sort of contentment:
  • Be in and under the Word.
  • Be "being sensitive" to the Spirit of God.
  • Be submissive to the authorities in your life.
  • Be involved with people.
  • Be active with your faith, exercising and expressing it.
  • Be growing in grace and wisdom.
  • Be honest and willing to change.
(Thanks to Pastor Rawsthorne at Faith Baptist Church, Mattawan, MI)

Thoughts on Contentment, Part 1

Yesterday (Sunday 10/7/07), our Pastor spoke in both our morning and evening services on the subject of contentment from Philippians 4. Here are some key points from the morning sermon:

We can be content. It is possible to be content whether we have much or whether we "suffer need" (vs. 12). Verse 13 reminds us that we can do all things Christ wants us to do.

Giving is a closely related concept to contentment. The Christians of Philippi demonstrated a desire to help both Paul and others. Paul also desired to see them bear "fruit that may abound". These Christians, especially Paul, also demonstrated an attitude of gratitude. In verse 19, there is a promise of provision—contentment is admittedly easier when you recognize that your needs will be met! We do not always know when God will meet our needs, or how, or in what specific way; but His provision in His time is always best for us. Notice that the passage ends with a pronouncement of praise in verse 20.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hymn of the Week: Love Lifted Me

"I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore..." is how James Rowe began the song; but praise the Lord that though we once were sinking, we can be lifted up by His salvation!

Love Lifted Me

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

Refrain

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His bless├Ęd presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Refrain

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Refrain

Friday, October 5, 2007

Words of Comfort

John 14:26-27 is spoken by Christ to the eleven disciples remaining with him:

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus Christ has indeed returned to His Father, where He sits on the Father's right hand now. Hours away from betrayal, crucifixion, and death when speaking these words, He reminds His disciples that they will not be left alone. This undoubtedly served to comfort them many times in the years to come.

Those of us who have accepted Christ as Savior must remember that, no matter how bleak the day, no matter how dark the trial, our hearts need not be troubled, nor should they be afraid. The peace which He gives—the peace that passes all understanding—is given to us. The Comforter, the Holy Ghost, is sent to us. We don't deserve this, but His grace allows it. Meditate on that: Sinners deserving of no better then damnation can receive salvation, the Comforter, and the peace which only Christ can give.

It is a blessed thought: Wonderful Peace

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

—Warren D. Cornell

Maddening News Report, 1st Place, 10/4/07

19% of Democrats in a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll believe that "the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq." Furthermore, another 20% of Democrats were undecided ("Don't know") on the question. It's bad enough that 5% of Republicans and 7% of Independents thought this (with 8% and 17%, respectively, undecided), but 2 out of 5 Democrats have somehow completely missed the point that our country's victory in Iraq is the ONLY possible good outcome!

Read the entire article here; the raw polling data is here.

And then it gets WORSE: While 74% of Republicans have "ever said a prayer for President Bush," only 37% of Democrats have done so. Is it no wonder that (a) we see such venomous hatred of the president from the left, and (b) we see such ridicule, derision, and animosity toward religion from that end of the political spectrum?

By the way, majorities of both parties claim to pray every day, and over 75% of each party claim to have prayed for our soldiers and prayed for the war to end. Something is very wrong here: People will pray for the soldiers (and they should!), but they won't pray for the Commander-in-chief whose wisdom could keep them out of harm's way?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Maddening News Report, 2nd Place, 10/4/07

Foxnews.com reports here that the mother of a 14-year-old boy (and the ACLU) want him to be back in a charter school near Detroit after he was suspended for being in violation of the school's dress/hair code. The violation? He has not had a haircut in 10 years, and the school requires boys to have short hair. So why hasn't he cut his hair?

[Drum roll, please....]

"This is not about a haircut, it's about our deeply held spiritual beliefs," Alecha Benson, Claudius' mother, told FOXNews.com. "These are strongly held religious beliefs that we have had in practice for much of my son's life."

Religious beliefs founded in the Old Testament, if you continue reading the article. So would someone please tell me:

WHAT IS THE ACLU DOING? Are they actually defending the religious beliefs of someone—beliefs based on the BIBLE? At one look, it appears that they are. (There are other interpretations, too, if you read the article.)

So if the ACLU is willing to defend a family's belief that they can keep a "deeply held spiritual" belief, why won't it defend mine? Why do they attack my "deeply held spiritual beliefs" about many things, from Christmas decorations in public squares to how our children should be educated?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Complaint Department—October 1, 2007

#1: The Michigan Legislature, including my very own Republican state senator and the Republican state senator who represents most of my county, voted in the wee hours of this morning to raise my income taxes and to expand the sales tax. Apparently they deemed this an appropriate way to resolve the budget "crisis." Note: The term "budget crisis" is media-speak and governor-speak for "We fooled around for nine months instead of cutting the bloat, fat, and pork from government, to the end that we could blackmail you [in this case, via threat of government shutdown—and does that really constitute a threat, anyway?] and your representatives into accepting unneeded tax increases."

As if Michigan's sorry economy needs tax increases....I believe the phrase is "Last one to leave Michigan turn out the lights."

#2: The Michigan Media, which every single day gives our democratic governor and legislators a free pass. Gov. Granholm has misrepresented the state's budget and needs to a degree that even Bill & Hillary would probably blush at. The Democrats who control the House had failed to even have a meaningful vote on the budget until the last few days...despite having several months in which to get this done. And yet, day in and day out, the media tries to shift the blame to the Republicans or to talk of "gridlock". The real problem is incompetence and foolishness on the part of the governor and her minions in the state legislature.

#3: Why do people feel that (a) they must decorate for Halloween (b) in September? It's bad enough that the chief holiday of witchcraft is thrust upon the God-fearing citizens of our republic, but do we need to decorate for it, weeks in advance, in much the same manner that we decorate to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?

God is good. Life in Him is great. And in heaven, none of these complaints will exist!