Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hope in Despair

Encompassed with clouds of distress,
And tempted all hope to resign,
I pant for the light of Thy face,
That I in Thy beauty may shine.

Disheartened with waiting so long,
I sink at Thy feet with my load;
All plaintive I pour out my song,
And stretch forth my hands unto God.

Shine, Lord, and my terror shall cease;
The blood of atonement apply,
And lead me to Jesus for peace –
The Rock that is higher than I.

Speak, Savior, for sweet is Thy voice,
Thy presence is fair to behold;
I thirst for Thy Spirit, with cries
And groanings that cannot be told.

"Hope in Despair", by Augustus M. Toplady

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wrong again

I'm still here. Either I missed the rapture or Harold Camping got it wrong.

Harold Camping is a religious quack who "discovers" deep mysteries, while missing simple statements of our Lord such as "no man knoweth (or will know) the day or the hour." Some people never learn.

Much of the news media revealed they are journalistic quacks. How many times did you hear yesterday was "the end of the world". A simple click of the mouse would have revealed that wasn't exactly what Camping said. But what did they care; they just found something they could manipulate.

Christians, don't be discouraged. Let us keep looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. False prophets will get it wrong. Scoffers will increase. But He that shall come WILL come, and will not tarry.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Syrup in the buttermilk

On a number of occasions I heard my Dad tell of one of his grandfather's habits. He said at meals (mainly supper, IIRC), Grandpa Vaughn would always have two glasses of buttermilk. The first he drank "as is", but to the second glass he added syrup. This was ribbon-cane or sorghum syrup, raised on his farm and cooked at his syrup mill.

Last night I found myself with a glass of buttermilk in hand and a jar of sorghum syrup on the kitchen counter. This memory raised up and tempted me to try it -- sorghum in the buttermilk. I must say it wasn't bad. Not nearly as bad as I imagined. In fact, I could grow to like it.

This whole thing got me to wondering. Was this concoction just my great-grandfather's peculiar quirk, or was that possibly some old bygone Southern favorite?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

John Jay study on child abuse

Yesterday I heard National Public Radio report on a research study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States. This study, commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S., was designed "to analyze the pattern of clergy sex abuse" of minors.

There seems to be a lot of criticism of the study. One criticism I have, not of the study itself, is that the online information is difficult to navigate -- especially to figure where certain info reported in the news will be found in the study. This may be as much a defect of the news reporting as of the online set-up.

But what caught my attention was NPR saying something about this child sex abuse having nothing to do with homosexuality. I may or may not have heard correctly on the radio. All the online news reports I found say that the study concluded that the sex abuse was not caused by homosexuality. With this second statement I agree. With the first I would not.

We have reached a point in the homosexuality debate in the United States in which both sides, pro & con, tend to define people as either "heterosexual" or "homosexual". This creates a unclear thinking. A person is either male or female. We need to return to this common sense thinking based on simple facts.

Sexual behaviour itself does not define who we are, but what we do. Human sexual behavior is a choice. Whether married couples engaging in heterosexual sex, adulterous heterosexuality, homosexuality, bestiality, or whatever, all of these are chosen behaviour. One's personal identity is not the same as what sexual choices he or she chooses to engage in.

BTW, though clergy child sex abuse may not be caused by homosexuality, the majority of the acts are homosexual. The study found 4 out of 5 alleged victims were male.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three things about the Bible

II Timothy 3:14-17 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The Bible is inspired. All scripture, not just parts of it, is given by inspiration of God. God is the eternal source of His word. It existed with Him in eternity. "Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). "Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever" (Psalm 119:152). God used men as the pen through which the "ink" of His word flowed (II Peter 1:21). The fact that God is the inspiration, the source, of the holy scriptures guarantees us that it is truth, faithful and believable in all points. "Every word of God is pure" (Prov. 30:5).

The Bible is preserved. Some folks who defend verbal inspiration, after espousing it, run to a place of retreat that cannot be challenged. They claim that ONLY the autographs -- the original writings of Moses, David, Peter, Paul and all others -- are inspired. Certainly I agree with them that the original writings were inspired! Not only that, I would agree that this is where the immediate inspiration took place!! But I cannot accept that only these autographs are the inspired word of God, for that theology in fact leaves us WITHOUT the inspired word of God. Paul told Timothy that from a child He had known the holy scriptures. But much of it had been written thousands of years before Timothy was born. How could he know them? Because God not only inspired the holy scriptures, He also preserved them! The holy scriptures of Timothy's day existed in copies of the originals and translations of the copies. Yet he KNEW the holy scriptures. Let us not run as frightened children from the doctrine of God preserving His word even to us in this generation! "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever" (Ps. 12:6-7). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt. 24:35). "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever." (I Pet. 1:25).

The Bible is sufficient. The scriptures that Timothy knew and Paul espoused were profitable, so profitable as to throughly furnish the children of God with every nourishment needed to grow to complete maturity in Christ. We have His word; we need no other. What shall we believe? It is profitable for doctrine. What are we doing wrong? Is it profitable for reproof. What should we do instead of the wrong? Is it profitable for correction. What is the basis of morality? It is profitable for instruction in righteousness. The Bible, the holy scriptures, is a complete curriculum to school the born again child of God. Add not thou unto His words.

II Peter 3:2 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Moses, Aaron, and Joshua

HYMN 124, C. M.

Moses, Aaron, and Joshua.
*Joshua, the same with Jesus, and signifies a Savior.

'Tis not the law of ten commands
On holy Sinai giv'n,
Or sent to men by Moses' hands,
Can bring us safe to heav'n.

'Tis not the blood which Aaron spilt,
Nor smoke of sweetest smell,
Can buy a pardon for our guilt,
Or save our souls from hell.

Aaron the priest resigns his breath
At God's immediate will;
And in the desert yields to death,
Upon th' appointed hill.

And thus on Jordan's yonder side
The tribes of Isr'el stand,
While Moses bowed his head and died
Short of the promised land.

Isr'el, rejoice, now Joshua* leads,
He'll bring your tribes to rest;
So far the Savior's name exceeds
The ruler and the priest.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II, 1707

Monday, May 09, 2011

Meeting, this weekend

Lord willing, I will be preaching at Grace Herald Baptist Church Friday and Saturday nights (13th & 14th) at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday morning the 15th beginning at 10 a.m. Brother Johnny Wright in the pastor. We invite you to come.

Grace Herald's church house is on Hwy 323 just west of the intersection with TX Hwy 42 at Old London/New London, TX. This is roughly 15 miles northwest of Henderson traveling out Hwy 323.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Where is your refuge?

"It is a peculiar happiness to observe, that in matters of spiritual concern, the philosopher and ploughman (if truly regenerate) have the same feelings, speak the same language; they all eat of the same spiritual meat, and drink of the same spiritual rock that follows them, and that rock is Christ. Hence that similitude of experience, or to speak figuratively, that strong and striking family likeness which obtains among the converted people of God, in every period of time, and in every nation under heaven.

"They all, without exception, feel themselves totally ruined by original sin; they, all without exception, take refuge in the righteousness and cross of Christ, and unite in ascribing the whole praise of their salvation to the alone free grace and sovereign mercy of Father, Son, and Spirit."

-- Augustus M. Toplady (author of "Rock of ages, cleft for me")

Monday, May 02, 2011

Never fear...

...your federal government is looking out for your interests, targeting dangerous criminals such as an Amish farmer selling raw milk.