Monday, May 30, 2011

memorial day 2011



In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

on noticing others (fred smith)

Good post from breakfastwithfred.com, which sends out practical advice from that great Dallas businessman and motivator, Fred Smith (now deceased):

I regularly eat in restaurants before 6am.  It is always gratifying to find someone who is cheerful at that early hour.  It may be a waitress, hostess, or customer.  Yet I am ashamed to admit how rarely I tell the person how much it means to meet a friendly individual first thing in the morning.  Doubtless this person is making a genuine effort to do this.  Lately, I have made an effort to recognize this good trait.

I complimented the woman who poured my second cup of coffee at the cafeteria for doing it with great style.  As I spoke the words, she began glowing, knowing her skill had been acknowledged.

Bill Mead, former CEO of Campbell Taggart, had a unique sensitivity to extraordinary, though small, abilities of others.  Consequently, he was welcomed by all.  He showed me part of relationship excellence is growing in the recognition of superior qualities in others.  Superior is enough; genius isn’t necessary.

My good friend, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones makes a big deal out of saying “thank you for that smile.”  I often think when I am in Dallas traffic how far a smile goes when someone lets me change lanes.  I have noticed the habit of waving thanks has started to become common place ----I like that.  When we wave we let the other person know we know we didn’t get it done by ourselves….not a bad thing to recognize.

Once, a friend repeatedly thanked a grouchy news vendor who never returned the gratitude.  When the man was asked why he kept on thanking the vendor he said,
“I can’t let him control my manners.”

When we rationalize ingratitude by saying, “If others are not noticing the good I do, why should I notice the good they do?”  This is definitely not the attitude of excellence.  How much better it is for us start the good.

I challenge you to take one day and use each and every opportunity to recognize others…whether they return the thanks or not.  It will change you, I promise.

One quick word of caution:  be specific and be real avoiding the phoniness of flattery.  As a golfer there is nothing worse than playing with someone who insists on complimenting every shot, good or bad.  One of the most amusing and distasteful rounds I ever played was with a salesman who consistently complimented his prospect’s 122 shots after giving him everything within 20 feet of the cup.

 

behold our God!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

sunday quotes -- the chastening of God

 

David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD..."  (2 Samuel 12:13-14 ESV)

"I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. (2 Samuel 7:14-15

The Chastening of God  (2 Samuel 12:1-14)

--God’s conviction of David’s sin (1-9).
--David’s confession (5, 6, 13).
--The consequences that David will face (10-14).

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”   (Hebrews 12:5-6)

“…in religion, repentance is self-centered; the gospel makes it God-centered. In religion we are mainly sorry for the consequences of sin, but in the gospel we are sorry for the sin itself.”   (Tim Keller, “All of Life is Repentance”, PDF here.)

“A full conviction of sin is a great and shaking surprise to a guilty soul.”  (John Owen)


"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin."  (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

“A sense of defilement before God is not morbid, neurotic or unhealthy in any way.  It is natural, realistic, healthy, and a true perception of our condition.”  (J. I. Packer)


“The sword of justice no longer threatens us, but the rod of parental correction is still in use.”  (C. H. Spurgeon)


“I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves.  This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact.  Perhaps you have imagined that this humility in the saints is a pious illusion at which God smiles.  That is a most dangerous error… because it encourages a man to mistake his first insights into his own corruption for the first beginnings of a halo round his own silly head.  No, depend upon it; when the saints say that they – even they — are vile, they are recording truth with scientific accuracy.” 
(C. S. Lewis, in The Problem of Pain, chapter 4, “On Human Wickedness.”)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

malum complexum -- many sins in one

What follows is an excerpt from Thomas Watson's A Body of Divinity, (4:2:104-05), on the seriousness of the first sin by Adam.  (Slightly edited for archaic terms)...

The aggravation of Adam’s sin.  Wherein did it appear to be so great? It was but the seizing of a fruit. Was it such a great matter to pluck an apple?  It was against an infinite God. It was malum complexum, a voluminous sin, there were many twisted together in it; as Cicero says of parricide, ‘He who is guilty of it, he commits many sins in one;’ so there were many sins in this one sin of Adam. It was a big-bellied sin, a chain with many links. Ten sins were in it.
 

(1) Unbelief. Our first parents did not believe what God had spoken was truth. God said that they shall die the death in the day they eat of that tree. They believed not that they should die; they could not be persuaded that such fair fruit had death at the door. Thus, by unbelief they made God a liar.  Worse: they believed the devil rather than God.
 

(2) Ingratitude, which is the epitome of all sin. Adam’s sin was committed in the midst of Paradise. God had enriched him with variety of mercies; he had stamped his own image upon him; he had made him lord of the world; gave him of all the trees of the garden to eat (one only excepted), and now to take of that tree! This was high ingratitude; it was like the dye to the wool, which makes it crimson. When Adam’s eyes were opened, and he saw what he had done, well might he be ashamed, and hide himself. How could he who sinned in the midst of Paradise, look God in the face without blushing!
 

(3) Discontent.  In Adam’s sin was discontent. Had he not been discontented, he would never have sought to have altered his condition. Adam, one would think, had enough, he differed but little from the angels, he had the robe of innocence to clothe him, and the glory of Paradise to crown him; yet he was not content, he would have more; he would be above the ordinary rank of creatures. How wide was Adam’s heart, that a whole world could not fill it!
 

(4) Pride, in that he would be like God. This worm, that was but newly crept out of the dust, now aspired after Deity. ‘Ye shall be as gods,’ said Satan, and Adam hoped to have been so indeed; he supposed the tree of knowledge would have anointed his eyes, and made him omniscient. But, by climbing too high, he got a fall.
 

(5) Disobedience. God said, ‘Thou shalt not eat of the tree;’ but he would eat of it, though it cost him his life.  Disobedience is a sin against justice. It is right we should serve him from whom we have our subsistence. God gave Adam his allowance, therefore it was but right he should give God his allegiance. How could God endure to see his laws trampled on before his face? This made him place a flaming sword at the end of the garden.
 

(6) Sinful curiosity. He meddled with that which was out of his sphere, and did not belong to him. God smote the men of Bethshemesh for looking into the ark. (I Sam 6:19.) Adam would be prying into God’s secrets, and tasting what was forbidden.
 

(7) Lust. Though Adam had a choice of all the other trees, yet his palate grew wanton, and he must have this tree. Like Israel, God sent them manna, angels’ food, ay, but they had a hankering after quail. It was not enough that God supplied their wants, unless he should satisfy their lusts. Adam had not only for necessity, but for delight; yet his wanton palate lusted after forbidden fruit.
 

(8) Sacrilege. The tree of knowledge was none of Adam’s, yet he took of it, and did sacrilegiously rob God of his due. It was counted a great crime to rob the temple, and steal the silver vessels; so it was in Adam to steal fruit from that tree which God had peculiarly enclosed for himself. Sacrilege is double theft.
 

(9) Murder. Adam was a public person, and all his posterity were involved and wrapped up in him; and he, by sinning, at once destroyed all his posterity, if free grace did not interpose. If Abel’s blood cried so loud in God’s ears, ‘The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground,’ (Gen 4:40); how loud did the blood of all Adam’s posterity cry against him for vengeance!
 

(10) Presumption. Adam presumed upon God’s mercy; he blessed himself, saying he should have peace; he thought, though he did transgress, he should not die; that God would sooner reverse his decree than punish him. This was great presumption. What a heinous sin was Adam’s breach of covenant!
 

One sin may have many sins in it. We are apt to have slight thoughts of sin, and say it is but a little one. How many sins were in Adam’s sin! Oh take heed of any sin! As in one volume there may be many works bound up, so there may be many sins in one sin.

 




just asking...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

is technology neutral?



Here are some excerpts from a Friday Five interview with John Dyer on this topic: 
...tools and technology are not neutral because while we use them to transform the world, they transform us in turn. And they don't just transform our bodies. They also transform business and culture.

I'm not so concerned with whether or not technology offers us a "net plus" as I am with helping us recognize that technology always brings a "net change." ... Focusing all our time on whether technology is "bad" or "good" tends to blind us from all of these other very significant changes that technology brings.

A parallel trend [the affect of abundance] appears to be happening with information. We now have access to the greatest sermons, research, and Biblical tools humans have ever created, and yet we spend most of our time updating Facebook and watching funny cats on YouTube. In other words, we have trouble distinguishing between easy-to-consume information and the information that truly nourishes.

This has been a pattern for humanity. Abundance often leads not to more abundance, but to decay. So there is no silver bullet, no install-this-software-and-not-that-one-and-you'll-be-okay solution. Instead, we have to do the hard work of cultivating technological discernment.

...there's a nice example in the Scriptures of how to do this. 2 John 12 says, "Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete."  In this passage, John carefully distinguishes between the communication technology of his day ("pen and ink") and being face-to-face, which he calls "complete." He seems to recognize the value of writing while also acknowledging that it doesn't offer the completeness that embodied life alone can offer. Recognizing a downside or incompleteness to the technology available to him didn't stop John from using it; rather, it ensured that he always used technology in service of, and as supplemental to, embodied life, not as a replacement for it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

hawking on the afterlife

Stephen Hawking answers an interviewer's question in a recent Guardian article, where he compares heaven to a “fairy story” for “people afraid of the dark.” ... 

You had a health scare and spent time in hospital in 2009. What, if anything, do you fear about death?

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

Kevin Staley-Joyce in First Things gives a succinct and, I think, accurate response:
It’s the usual critique of religion-as-wish-fulfillment, coupled with Hawking’s philosophical materialism. But, as usual, the usual arguments are well and ready for a response. Those acquainted with Ivan Karamazov will recall his apparent belief that if there is no God, anything is permitted. One can hardly imagine a scheme for wish-fulfillment as comprehensive as that made possible by atheism. And second, if heaven is merely a fairy story peddled to believers to console them from fears and earthly suffering, why, we should ask, does the Christian tradition place so much emphasis on the possibility of hell?

Monday, May 16, 2011

not moderately important

"One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important."  

(C. S. Lewis, "Christian Apologetics" from God in the Dock)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

why we allow women to speak at the Lord's Supper

Recently we had someone challenge us on the propriety of allowing women to share and pray aloud during the Lord's Supper remembrance.  (He was from the Plymouth Brethren background.) This is what I wrote for him...


Why we allow women to share and pray during the Lord’s Supper...

During our Lord’s Supper service we enjoy a special time of open sharing and prayer.  We invite all believers gathered with us, whether young or old, male or female, to share Scripture or pray or suggest a hymn to sing.  It is our desire that our worship at this time be informal, open, and led by the Spirit.  (See Joel 2:28f.)

Some assemblies do not allow women to speak during this service, citing the following passage:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.  (1 Corinthians 14:33-35 ESV)

If this were an absolute prohibition of speech, it would be surprising in light of the earlier passage, 11:2-16, where the Apostle Paul assumes that women are permitted to pray and prophesy during church meetings.

Careful attention to the context is important.  Verse 29 introduces the necessity of judging the validity and meaning of prophecies given in the assembly: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.”  (14:29-30)  The issue is avoiding disorderliness (v. 33) and to maintain a proper sense of authority (“submission”, v. 34).  This is borne out by the statement that the kind of speaking not allowed by the women at this time is inquiry: “…if they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home”, that is, verbalizing questions which examine the meaning and authenticity of these prophecies.  The Apostle Paul would see that such inquiry is part of church authority and teaching, which is a role retained for the male leadership (1 Timothy 2:11).

In conclusion, when it comes to prayer, praise, singing and the sharing of Scripture during worship we believe that all may participate – “on… your sons and your daughters… your old men and your young men… the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”  (Joel 2:28-29 ESV) 

A better and more full treatment of this can be found in D A Carson's excellent article at bible.org here.  

O, for a closer walk with God lyrics

O for a closer walk with God
A calm and heavenly frame
A light to shine upon the road
Leading to the Lamb

Where is the blessedness I knew
When once I saw the Lord
Where is the soul refreshing view
Living in His Word

A light to be my guide
The Father's presence at my side
In Your will my rest I find
O for a closer walk with God - leading to the Lamb

So shall my walk be close with God
With all the hopes made new
So purer light shall mark the road
Leading to the Lamb

Music: Keith Getty
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway's Thankyou Music/MCPS

Friday, May 13, 2011

why write with a fountain pen?


OK, some people have asked me about this... uh, eccentric hobby of mine, collecting and writing with fountain pens.  I saw this post over at Writers Bloc.  So, check that out.

Then below I copied a few of the posted remarks made by people at the Fountain Pen Network...

Fountain pen users are young and old, male and female, students and professionals, but they are usually people in professions like law, medicine, teaching, writers, artists and clergy.  Notice some of the themes listed below: "nostalgia, ergonomics, aesthetics, pleasure, dignity, quality..."



"Fine pens are a sign of history. It recalls a time when quality was more impressive than quantity, when everything wasn't disposable. When you bought something to last and not be obsolete in 2 years."

"Writing in a journal is just more of a pleasure with a fine pen. Both from a tactile and visual sense."

"Possessing and using a fine pen says that you care about quality, and about being a gentleman."

"It means that I can write for a long time without getting hand cramps. It means that I can choose from hundreds of different colored inks."

"Looking forward to using a nice pen makes homework more palatable."

"It's such a radically different paradigm than a Bic or PaperMate ballpoint: rather than disposable, it has served me and its previous owners faithfully since 1948! It's refillable! It writes first time, every time!"

"Using fountain pens lets one try and out and experience many pieces of carefully designed, well-built machinery -- but not only that -- the designers have often gone to great lengths to marry the utilitarian qualities of their design to beauty, grace and style, drawing on their creative and artistic faculties, not just their engineering skills."

"I write with fountain pens because I like them. I like how they write, how they feel, and the little bit of extra fussing that goes along with them. I suspect the only statement I am making to the folks who know I use fountain pens is 'He's weird.'"

"What's important though, is it's fun to scribble with a fountain pen... something no one would dream of with a ball point."

"I love the effortless way a good nib floats over the page when you write with it."

"Everyone hates me because I don't have sore hands at the end of any essay-based test."

"They are reminders of an earlier time and place, giving me a continuity with previous generations."

"Writing with a fountain pen is therapeutic and calming."

"There's less effort than ballpoint and ink comes in heaps more colours. So do the pens (designs, nibs, colours etc). More fun and my handwriting is way better."

"The ultimate green writing instrument -- nothing to throw away."

"I like to use my fountain pens purely for the pleasure in it - I love the feel of the pen, the weight, the way it glides on the paper. I like the variety in the inks, the ritual in filling and caring for my pens. I like to watch the colour of the ink subtly deepen and change as the writing dries on the page. This is a pleasure I simply do not get from a basic disposable pen. There is nothing that I wish to convey or promote my use of fountain pens - I use them simply for my own pleasure."

"I LOVE the color possibilities, and the variety of pens and nibs. It's magic to me."

"I love the touch of geekiness fountain pens have to them."

"I like to think I respect the person I'm writing to by using a quality writing tool and ink. I've never really thought of it, but if there's something I want to express with the use of fountain pens, it's this: I value and respect you."

appeal to authority

I first read the post "Why Do You Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead?" by John Piper in A Godward Life, entry #60, which is a bit fuller than what follows.  He wrote this previously to his church on Easter in March 1988.  


What I appreciate here is the validation of an appeal to authority, if the authority is in fact reliable.  When people have asked about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead I've felt I must always begin to enumerate historical evidences, and there's certainly a place for that.  

The answer, "because the Bible says so" sounds so naive, whereas a phrase like "science has shown" sounds so authoritative.  But, as Piper shows, both are appeals to authority.  Read on...

The odd thing about this question [Why do you believe Jesus rose from the dead?] is that I usually have to sit and ponder a while to remember some answers that begin to sound compelling to non-Christian seekers. At first this seems phony: If I believe it, why do I have to study-up to support it?

But when you think about it a little longer it’s not phony at all. If I can’t remember how I met my wife, it doesn’t mean I’m not married. And if I can’t find words to account for the affection in my heart, it doesn’t mean there is no such thing as love. Memory lags. Words fail. But neither means I have no basis for love.

But still, shouldn’t we be able to give a simple answer right off the bat? I mean, if we deal with Jesus as living every day, shouldn’t we be able to say why in the world we do that? Yes, I suppose we should.

What kind of answer might that be? Well, we might say, “I believe Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible says so.” Someone will object: “That’s just an appeal to authority.” So it is. But that’s the way most people answer questions about why they believe things they can’t see.

Ask the typical secular American why he believes in viruses or radiation or pulsars or evolution. Virtually everyone will say something like this: “Because science has shown…”

What they mean is that they don’t know how to demonstrate why certain unseen realities exist. So they are willing to base their belief on the testimony of an authority—in this case a group of scientists. This is especially true if the belief helps make sense out of the world.

The reason that saying, “Because the Bible tells me so,” sounds unacceptable while “Because the scientists tell me so” sounds acceptable is that more people appeal to scientific authority than to biblical authority. And large majorities always make opinions sound normative and obvious. But in principle you are both doing the same thing.

Are the men who wrote the New Testament a good authority on the resurrection of Jesus? Are the scientists who tell about unseen viruses a good authority? That question must be answered. But now we see that we are playing fair. Most of us are more at home telling others why we trust a witness than we are at demonstrating resurrections or radiation.

At least for myself, I find Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude to be the sort of men I would trust with my life more quickly than a host of secular authorities. And when it comes to making sense out of the world (of guilt and fear and pain), the incarnation and the cross and the resurrection of Christ go a lot farther than viruses.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

t. s. eliot

Here are my favorite T. S. Eliot quotes:

"When the Christian faith is not only felt, but thought, it has practical results which may be inconvenient."

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? It is for lack of wisdom, not lack of information, that the people perish."

"Disillusion can become itself an illusion If we rest in it."  

"Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen." 

"It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous.
Resign yourself to be the fool you are.
You will find that you survive humiliation
And that's an experience of incalculable value."

"What is hell? Hell is oneself.
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone."

"Half the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important.
They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
To think well of themselves."

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality."

"The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

"The church shall be open, even to our enemies.
We are not here to triumph by fighting, by stratagem, or by resistance,
Not to fight with beasts as men.
We have fought the beast
And have conquered. We have only to conquer
Now, by suffering. This is the easier victory."




 

Monday, May 9, 2011

not your little goodness or mine...

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

(Nicholaus von Zinzendorf, tr. by John Wesley)

"This is Christianity: not your little goodness and mine; not what I am doing and what I am not doing.  Not how much better I am than somebody else; not how much better I am than I once was.  No, your forget it all and look to Him.  You see His perfect spotless righteousness and you know that if you believe in Him it is given to you and you are clothed with it. ...



"How can men and women have peace when they are striving, only to find how unworthy they are?  It is impossible.  But the moment they believe this blessed truth of the kingdom of God and in Christ as God's way of righteousness, then everything is changed immediately. 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.'  It is an end of all my futile struggles." 

(Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Kingdom of God, p. 81)

defending Constantine

Ben Witherington on Constantine.  Fifth in a series of blogs, evaluating Peter Leithart's Defending Constantine and various responses.  Helpful distinction of building culture, rejecting culture, transforming culture... 

Yoder [an Anabaptist writer] would have it that when Christianity loses its beleaguered underdog status it loses something essential, it loses for example its counter-cultural element.    But Christianity was never intended to be counter cultural in the full sense of that term.    Counter-cultural is simply reaction to the dominant culture.  As Andy Crouch reminds us,  Christianity at heart is about building its own positive culture,  and rightly or wrongly that is what Constantine was trying to do.    There is a difference between building culture and transforming culture and rejecting culture and to some degree Christianity was about all three of these things from the start.   It was however only the anti-Christian elements of the culture that was rejected by the earliest Christians such as Paul.  By contrast, Paul says in Phil. 4 that Christians should sift the culture not simply have an allergic reaction to it.  Whatever was noble or honorable or comported with the Gospel in the culture should be affirmed.

Friday, May 6, 2011

nice collection of FPs

Lumachrome has a nice variety of new and vintage fountain pens in his collection.  View his gallery here

the gospel and history

The gospel is more than a message about how I as an individual can be saved.  It is a proclamation of cosmos-changing historical events.  This article by I'Ching Thomas (associate director of training at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore) summarizes this so well.  Here are some excerpts:

The Christian gospel is often condensed into a story that affirms the basics of the faith: God loves us and has a wonderful plan for us.  But we have sinned and are therefore separated from Him.  Jesus Christ on the Cross is the answer to our predicament, and if we will accept him as our personal savior, we will have eternal life.  Though accurate in what it highlights, such a simplified presentation can wrongly convey the idea that the gospel is primarily about individual fulfillment and satisfaction. 
On the contrary, the heart of both the Old and New Testaments is the fulfillment of God's plan.  The story of human redemption is God's complete and multifaceted movement among history and people and nations.  

The person of Christ and the salvation he offers are meaningful to us today because Jesus is historical, because he is the same today, yesterday, and forever. 

Yet today, regardless of worldview, we seem to be unfortunately suffering from historical amnesia, where we have lost our interest and understanding of history.

Where Christ is professed crucified, where his resurrection is proclaimed, we are remembering the historical character of faith, which in turn echoes the all-encompassing sovereignty of God.  Where the invitation to follow Christ is accepted, we step into a narrative that encompasses past, present, and future.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NDP prayer

The 2011 National Prayer by Joni Eareckson Tada, Honorary Chairman:

"Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust.  As our nation faces great distress and uncertainty, we ask your Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon your people — convict us of sin and inflame within us a passion to pray for our land and its people.  

"Grant the leaders of our country an awareness of their desperate need of wisdom and salvation in You until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.
"Protect and defend us against our enemies and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our schools, courts, homes, and churches.  Lord God, send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts.  

"Remember America, we pray.  Remember the foundations on which this country was built.  Remember the prayers of our nation’s fathers and mothers, and do not forget us in our time of need.  In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

the living image

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."  (John 1:14 ESV)

"Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."  (14:9)

"In the Scriptures there is a portrait of God, but in Christ there is God himself. A coin bears the image of Caesar, but Caesar's son is his own lively resemblance. Christ is the living Bible."  (Thomas Manton) 



Sunday, May 1, 2011

childrens memorial

I'll never forget how moving was the Children's Memorial at Yad Vashem.  The faces, the candles mirrored like stars in the night sky, and the children's names being read one at a time.

never forget


The hall of remembrance at Yad Vashem (near Jerusalem).