Sunday, July 29, 2012

The mind

Yesterday morning I woke up with a song on my mind, and that I did not get out of my mind until I got so busy with other things that it finally faded away. This morning I had to think a minute or two to recall what song it was! It was a song with the words "I have returned to the God of my fathers, to the same simple faith, as a child I once knew..." This was once a popular song, though it wasn't particularly among my favorites. But I suppose I heard it quite a bit on the radio.

So with no rhyme or reason I woke up with a song on my mind that I had not thought of in years, and wouldn't have had a reason to think of. Yet it was there, racing through my head and back again, over and over.

The human mind is an amazing, and peculiar, thing. Things like this song, instant recall of something by a crossword puzzle clue, and other experiences tell me that whatever enters the mind is in their somewhere, even when we don't know the "buttons" to push to recall something we want to remember.

One significance is that we ought to be careful what we put in there, because it is there to stay, for good or evil. One way to counteract the evil stored therein is to "let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus..."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chilling winds and biting cold

Chilling winds and biting cold,
They will chill us to the soul;
And our frozen hearts as well
Are feeding on the depths of hell.
With Thy Holy Spirit, Lord,
And the preaching of Thy Word,
Warm our hearts, breathe on the soul
Till only Thee our eyes behold.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The cows are right

The cows are right; we should eat more chicken. I ate lunch at Chick-A-Fila today -- not because of the flap that is going on about it, but because I like it. (Well, maybe a little because of the flap, since I had to eat somewhere.) The local restaurant is none the worse for wear. Maybe some folks (or maybe just mayors) in Boston and New York don't want Chick-A-Fila, but I drove around the parking lot three times without finding a parking place. I finally had to park in a vacant lot and walk.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Psalm 66

1 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. 3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. 4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. 5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. 6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. 7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: 9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. 10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, 14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. 16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coming soon

Are you coming? You're invited.

Three weeks from today (d.v.) the 157th Anniversary/145th Consecutive East Texas Sacred Harp Convention will start in Henderson, Texas at 9:30 a.m. The Convention is scheduled Saturday and Sunday, August 11-12, 2012 at the Henderson Civic Center at 1005 Hwy 64 West in Henderson, Texas.

Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

We sing from the The Sacred Harp, 2006 Cooper Revision
See links above for more info; For more info, e-mail Robert Vaughn, rl_vaughn -AT- (substitute @ for -AT-)

Sacred Harp Singing FAQ

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"The End."

Death is another page of life,
And God the author turns
Each page carefully one by one,
To reach one scribed "The End."

By the blogger, 7/13/12

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Christmas Evans became a Baptist

The Bible makes Baptists: the Story of Why Christmas Evans became a Baptist

Christmas Evans, a Welsh Baptist preacher, was born on Christmas day in 1766. He preached fervently and effectually to the Welsh people from about 1787 until his death in July 1838. He gives the following account of how he became a Baptist.

"A person of the name of Amos had left the (Presbyterian) church at Llwynrhydowen, and had been baptized at Aberduar. He came to see me, and I began to assail the Anabaptist heresy, as I had been accustomed to consider it. But Amos soon silenced me. I attributed my defeat to my ignorance of the New Testament, and therefore began to read from the beginning of Matthew, to prepare myself for the next interview. Having read the New Testament through, I found not a single verse in favor of Paedobaptism (i.e. baptizing infants). I met frequently with passages in the Old and New Testaments referring to the circumcision and naming of children, their bringing up in the 'nurture and admonition of the Lord,' etc. but with none making any mention of their baptism; while about forty passages seemed to me to testify clearly for baptism on a profession of faith. These scriptures spoke to my conscience and convinced me of the necessity of personal obedience to the baptism which Christ had ordained. After a little struggle between the flesh and spirit, obedience and disobedience, I applied to the Baptist church at Aberduar. I was cordially received, but not without some fear on my part that I was a rank Arminian still."

This took place in the summer of 1787, four years after his conversion. At age twenty, he was baptized in the river Duar by Timothy Thomas.

(From The Baptist Waymark March-April 1996 via Christmas Evans by B. A. Ramsbottom, p. 24)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Bible makes Baptists

"The third case in point is the capital of the state of Parahyba. We had no missionary, no preaching, no Baptists in that capital. Quite a number of disciples were made under the preaching of a Presbyterian missionary. In a little while after reading their New Testament, they got dissatisfied with Presbyterianism and went to the missionary and asked him if there wasn't anybody who did things like they did in Bible days. He tried to satisfy them but couldn't and then told them where they could get a Congregationalist preacher, as one of the things they did not like was the Presbyterian form of church government. The Congregationalist preacher came up from Recife. After talking with these folks and trying to satisfy them, and failing, he told them they were Baptists. They had never heard of the Baptists. They had simply read the New Testament and it had made them what they were. They got in touch with a Baptist missionary down at Recife and he came out and baptized 40 of them and organized them into a church. That was the first New Testament church in the state of Parahyba." -- From "Brazil Needs Gospel Preachers" in News and Truths on September 27, 1922. H. Boyce Taylor, editor, Murray, Kentucky. Via Brother Ben Stratton and the Landmark Southern Baptist Yahoo group. Parahyba is a state in the northeastern part of Brazil.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Still more Sacred Harp quotes

"There's a song in this book for every human idea." -- T. C. Bailey, Arab, AL, 1959

"God Himself, in the beginning, set all things to music, even before man was made..." -- J. S. James in The History of the Sacred Harp, 1904

"Why leave us longer in a three-cornered state of affairs, but come together as a family whose chain is now broken and give us the privilege of working under one vine and fig tree?" -- C. J. Griggs, 1936, A Sketch or Brief History of the Sacred Harp Song Book

"It takes a pound of practice to get an ounce of improvement." -- Hugh McGraw

"The more you sing this music the more you think you might like to put together some of it yourself. Of course you are unencumbered by any kind of training in musical composition -- innocent of any experience in the field -- but why let little things like that stop you? After all, that's part of the tradition too, isn't it?" -- Ted Johnson, quoted in Public Worship, Private Faith.

"Sing preferably your own songs, brother. Live your own song life and be proud of it. Don't let the I-don't-know-a-thing-about-music inferiority complex trouble you." -- G. P. Jackson in "Sing, Brothers, Sing!" 1945

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wrong, just wrong

From August 2011 to January 2012, Governor Rick Perry (TX) went on the campaign trail for Republican Presidential nominee. We have recently learned that this failed attempt has cost the taxpayers of the state of Texas over 3.7 million dollars.

That is wrong, just plain wrong. The taxpayers of Texas ought not have to foot the bill for the governor's choice to run for president. His campaign fund should reimburse the state. If it is not in his campaign fund, he ought to reimburse the state. If he doesn't have $3.7 million, put him on a payment plan!

Not only this, if truth be told, the state may finance much of the expenses of the campaign of all incumbents who run for office. Have you ever noticed how incumbents start sending out informational material in a big way when its campaign time. Whatever might be spent from taxpayer funds to help run for re-election is also wrong. Just wrong.

Monday, July 09, 2012

I shall not want - Psalm 23

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

I shall not want for pastures. v. 2.
I shall not want for streams. v. 2
I shall not want for paths. v. 3
I shall not want for protection. vs. 4-5
I shall not want for a future, now or forever. v. 6

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Wesley Hymn

Sinners, believe the Gospel word,
Jesus is come your souls to save
Jesus is come, your common Lord;
Pardon ye all through Him may have,
May now be saved, whoever will;
This Man receiveth sinners still.

See where the lame, the halt, the blind,
The deaf, the dumb, the sick, the poor,
Flock to the Friend of human kind,
And freely all accept their cure;
To whom did He His help deny?
Whom in His days of flesh pass by?

Did not His Word the fiends expel,
The lepers cleanse, and raise the dead?
Did He not all their sickness heal,
And satisfy their every need?
Did He reject His helpless clay,
Or send them sorrowful away?

Nay, but His bowels yearned to see
The people hungry, scattered, faint;
Nay, but He uttered over thee,
Jerusalem, a true complaint;
Jerusalem, who shedd'st His blood,
That, with His tears, for thee hath flowed.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Youth, remember God

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

In beautiful figurative language, Solomon expresses to the youth what some of us are learning by experience. The body, like a pendulum, gradually loses its force and life comes to a halt. Let us all, especially the youth, use this wisdom to guide us in the way we should go.

Sin is a reality. The bulk of the figurative description is the first section of Ecclesiastes 12 describes the frailty of the body -- the body ravaged by age, which is the effect of sin. God made Adam and Eve and placed them in the world He had made -- the world that was good. By Adam sin entered the world, with it and all the groaning and travailing of all creation, including our bodies. Eyesight begins to fail; the legs, arms and back go out; ears do not hear; teeth wear and rot and fall out; the body does not sleep; perhaps interest in life itself dissipates and flies away. Sin entered the world, and death by sin (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12). Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Death is a certainty. The Bible makes this clear, as does our experience. There is "a time do die" (Eccl. 3:2). There is one event to the righteous and to the him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not -- they shall die (Eccl. 9:1-6). An old Latin proverb says, "Death is certain, life is not." Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 is a vivid illustration of that. Oh, so many seem so certain in life and of life, but we know not what a day brings forth. It is appointed unto men once to die.

Youth is an opportunity. With this reality of sin and this certainty of death, remember now thy Creator -- in the days of thy youth. George Bernard Shaw, "Youth is wasted on the young." Some of us middle-aged to older folks readily jump on that bandwagon, thinking how the youth may have strength and zeal without knowledge. As well he might have said, "Old age is wasted on the old," for we with knowledge are losing our strength and zeal (and our teeth and our eyesight and our hearing!). Biblically, each season of life has its place in God's design (David said, I have been young and now I am old). Here Solomon points us to that fall season before the silver cord is loosed and the dust returns to the earth. The living know that they shall die. Often we don't live according to that knowledge. The simple truth of Ecclesiastes 12 is to live like you know your going to die. The nuanced truth is that if you are young, take it to heart and don't wait until you get old to remember God. Psalm 90:12 ...teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

While in the tender years of youth,
In nature's smiling bloom,
Ere age arrive, and trembling wait
It summons to the tomb:--
Remember thy Creator, God;
For him thy powers employ;
Make him thy fear, thy love, thy hope
Thy portion, and thy joy. (Thomas Gibbons)

Death does not affect all men in the same way, but it affects all men. How will it affect you, my friend?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

First John and the threefold cord

Orthopraxy. Obedient behavior, I John 2:2-6; 2:28-3:10.
Orthokardy. Loving attitude, I John 2:7-11; 3:11-18; 4:7-12.
Orthodoxy. Right Belief, I John 2:18-27; 4:1-6.

Belief and love enwrapped, 4:13-21.
Relation of practice, love and belief, 5:1-5.

Three-fold cord