Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praise the Savior

Praise the Savior, all ye nations,
Praise Him, all ye hosts above;
Shout, with joyful acclamation,
His divine, victorious love.
With my substance will I honor
My Redeemer and my Lord;
Were ten thousand worlds my manor,
All were nothing to His Word:
While the heralds of salvation
His abounding grace proclaim,
Let His friends, of every station,
Gladly join to spread His fame.

Benjamin Francis (1734-1799)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving day yesterday. It is by the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. His compassions do not fail.

Abounding Compassion of God; or, Mercy in the Midst of Judgment

My soul, repeat his praise,
Whose mercies are so great,
Whose anger is so slow to rise,
So ready to abate.

God will not always chide;
And when his strokes are felt,
His strokes are fewer than our crimes,
And lighter than our guilt.

High as the heav'ns are raised
Above the ground we tread,
So far the riches of his grace
Our highest thoughts exceed.

His power subdues our sins,
And his forgiving love
Far as the east is from the west
Doth all our guilt remove.

The pity of the Lord,
To those that fear his name,
Is such as tender parents feel;
He knows our feeble frame.

He knows we are but dust,
Scattered with every breath;
His anger, like a rising wind,
Can send us swift to death.

Our days are as the grass,
Or like the morning flower;
If one sharp blast sweep o'er the field
It withers in an hour.

But thy compassions, Lord,
To endless years endure;
And children's children ever find
Thy words of promise sure.

-- Isaac Watts, 1719

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We need Jesus

"We need Jesus; He doesn't need us...By the way people talk about ministry today, you would think that the success of the Kingdom turns on us -- that God is passively waiting for us to get on with things...Ministry is not your gift to Him. It is His gift to you." -- In "The Sanctification of Ministry Failure" by Art Azurdia

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Patriotic" Millionaires

Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength are begging a congressional super-committee to raise their taxes. Ha! I say, have at it. Raise the taxes on every member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength! Leave everybody else alone.

I'm no millionaire; not even a thousand-aire. I'm a just-getting-by-aire. But on a more serious note this sticks in my craw for at least two reasons. One, to call themselves "patriotic" millionaires because they want more taxes has a subtle implication that those who don't want more taxes aren't patriotic. I'd be interested to know how many of these "patriotic" millionaires are taking every deduction and credit that the IRS allows. All of them, I'd bet. This fades into number two. If they want to support the government so much, let them go ahead and start sending in donations. Why wait for a slowing moving government to send a bill. Go ahead. There's nothing stopping you! Even my little weak mind knows there's more to your agenda than patriotism.

Friday, November 11, 2011


On Tuesday Nov. the 8th the Personhood Amendment in Mississippi was defeated at the polls by a 58 to 42 percent margin. This amendment would have defined the term 'person' or 'persons' to include 'every human being from the moment of fertilization'. I had not followed this closely, but had expected this would pass in Mississippi. I'm not sure what happened.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

God writes straight with crooked lines

Her life with Him was full of signs
That God writes straight with crooked lines.
Dark clouds can hide the rising sun,
And all seem lost, when all be won!

[From a poem written in 1969 by Jeremiah Denton, while a prisoner of war in Vietnam]

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Lord, save me

When Peter was about to sink beneath the violent waves of old Galilee, he cried out, "Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30) We could learn a lot from Peter's plea.

Peter's prayer was brief and to the point. "Lord, save me." Only three words. Some people believe they will be heard because of much speaking, and for a pretense make long prayers. Yet, the model prayer can be recited in about thirty seconds. Jesus's prayer in John 17 can be read in about four minutes. Solomon's prayer of dedication of the temple in I Kings 8 can be read in six minutes, and is probably the longest prayer recorded in the Bible. This is not to say long prayer is never desirable. On one occasion Jesus asked his disciples, "Could ye not pray with me one hour?" But the length itself does not tune a prayer to God's ears.

Peter's prayer was directed to The One who could help. "Lord." LORD, save me. He didn't cry out "Lord, save me" in hopes that James and John would throw him a life preserver. Some who don't really believe in God nevertheless speak highly of prayer, whether hypocritically or ignorantly. But prayer for prayer's sake is of no benefit. Prayer is "to God". He that cometh to God must believe that He is.

Peter's prayer was urgent. "He cried." With the hymn writer, we and Peter might agree, "Do not turn away thy face, Mine's an URGENT pressing case!" All formality was left off and Peter got right to what he wanted. When prayers are urgent, we pray right where we are. It's good and right to come to the house of prayer, and to meet God in our prayer "closets". But if we ought to pray without ceasing, pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and so forth, then any place we ought to be ought to be a place of prayer. "Where’er they seek Thee Thou art found, And every place is hallowed ground."

Peter's prayer was personal. "Lord, save ME." We should pray for others. Give US this day OUR daily bread, etc. But sometimes we perhaps think we are pious by asking for others and not ourselves. But our personal prayers for our personal needs actually acknowledge our dependence on God. Lord, save me, I can't save myself! ("Every prayer is an acknowledgement of our weakness and dependence . Who would ask that of another which he thinketh to be in his own power?" -- Thomas Manton)

Peter's prayer was answered. "...immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him." The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. No doubt it was fervent. "Near-death" experiences create fervency. But all our prayers should be fervent. If any man ask anything according to His will God hears. Peter's need was heard. He was saved.

This is not to say that we should apply this all as some kind of cold formula for answered prayer. We Americans like our "12-steps", methods and formulas. But, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (And be thankful the Holy Spirit helps our infirmities in prayer.)

Jesu, my Savior, Brother, Friend,
On Whom I cast my every care,
On Whom for all things I depend,
Inspire, and then accept, my prayer.