Sunday, June 30, 2019

Where Jesus Is

In or before 1898, Charles F. Butler and James M. Black wrote Where Jesus is, ’Tis Heaven, which first appeared in The Chorus of Praise for use in Sunday Schools, Young People’s Meetings, Revivals, Prayer Meetings, and All the Social Services of the Church (J. M. Black, editor, New York, NY: Eaton & Mains, 1898). Charles F. Butler wrote the words, and James Milton Black wrote the music. The song has appeared in many hymnals since. That Jesus makes heaven what/where it is remains a popular idea among believing Christians.

The author the words is unknown to this writer.[i] The Chorus of Praise has “C. F. Butler” in 1898, but in other books the hymn is variously credited to C. M. Butler and C. J. Butler – even B. F. Butler. James Milton Black is a well-known composer and songbook editor. He was born in South Hill, New York in 1856, but spent most of his life in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He served at the Methodist Episcopal Church as a Sunday School teacher. Black died in 1938. He and his wife are buried at the Wildwood Cemetery in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Probably his best known song is When The Roll Is Call Up Yonder.

1. Since Christ my soul from sin set free,
This world has been a heav’n to me;
And ’mid earth’s sorrows and its woe,
’Tis heav’n my Jesus here to know.

2. Once heaven seemed a far-off place,
Till Jesus showed His smiling face;
Now it’s begun within my soul,
’Twill last while endless ages roll.

3. What matters where on earth we dwell?
On mountain top, or in the dell?
In cottage, or a mansion fair,
Where Jesus is, ’tis heaven there.

O hallelujah, yes, ’tis heav’n,
’Tis heav’n to know my sins forgiv’n;
On land or sea, what matters where,
Where Jesus is, ’tis heaven there.

Soul Stirring Songs (1918, John T. Benson) has a 4th stanza by R. E. W. (apparently Robert Emmett Winsett, 1876-1952)

4. When I have Christ within my soul,
And by his blood cleansed and made whole,
There’s peace and joy beyond compare,
With Christ, my Lord, ’tis heaven there.

[i] He Saves to the Uttermost, which begins “I was once far away from the Savior,” is credited to C. J. Butler, but also to Chas. I. Butler. I do not know whether this is the same person.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Three quotes related to Bible verses

John 17:11 ...Holy Father...
"Holy keeps him at a distance. Father brings him near." -- Ravi Zacharias

Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
"Jesus’s life was not leaking out of him; he was pouring it out." -- Farrell Shepherd

Ezekiel 14:9 "I the Lord have deceived that prophet - A deep truth lies beneath these words, namely, that evil as well as good is under God’s direction. He turns it as He will, employing it to test the sincerity of men, and thus making it ultimately contribute to the purification of His people, to the confirmation of the righteous, to the increase of their glory and felicity." -- Albert Barnes

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Treaty of Versailles

Treaty of Versailles
"World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Negotiated among the Allied powers with little participation by Germany, its 15 parts and 440 articles reassigned German boundaries and assigned liability for reparations. After strict enforcement for five years, the French assented to the modification of important provisions. Germany agreed to pay reparations under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, but those plans were cancelled in 1932, and Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent actions rendered moot the remaining terms of the treaty."
The Armistice of Compiègne had effectively stopped the war November 11, 1918, but the Treaty of Versailles officially ended World War I on this day 100 years ago.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

According to Wikipedia, “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among a group of U. S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

The idea is the brainchild of those who oppose of the Constitutional process of electing U. S. Presidents by electoral vote but rather desire them to be elected by a majority popular vote. The NPVIC therefore aims to make an end-run around the Constitution – rather than changing it head-on with an amendment. It would “ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is elected president.”

I had heard of this concept and its movement before, but had not paid much attention to it. However (again according to Wikipedia), “As of June 2019, it has been adopted by fifteen states and the District of Columbia. Together, they have 196 electoral votes, which is 36.4% of the Electoral College and 72.6% of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force.” Commenters both pro and con say that this initiative is (1) designed to ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is elected president, and (2) that a state’s electoral process change would come into effect only when it would guarantee that outcome. [emp. mine]

According to its proponents, this measure is constitutional because Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution says, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…” Their point, then, is that the appointment of electors falls under the purview of the States. Detractors, however, note that the power of the state is to choose electors, but they cannot tell him for whom to vote. Some also believe it violates the Constitution’s compact clause by states entering into a compact to change the outcome of the presidential election. The initiative is not merely a state changing its electoral process but multiple states entering into a compact one with another to accomplish a designed result.

Here are two quotes from a report by the Congressional Research Service on National Popular Vote. First from the “Summary” (unpaged) of “The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact”:
The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct....” Any state that joins the NPV compact pledges to award all its electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state. The number of electoral votes won by the national popular vote winners would depend on the number of electoral votes controlled by NPV member states. The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact. [bold mine]
Second, from page 20:
Whether the NPV initiative requires congressional consent under the Compact Clause first requires a determination as to whether NPV even constitutes an interstate compact. At times, its supporters have resisted framing the initiative as an interstate compact, arguably out of concern for running afoul of the Compact Clause’s provisions. For example, Professor Akhil Amar has argued that because the initiative does not create a “new interstate governmental apparatus,” the NPV should not be considered an interstate compact, as NPV compact signatory states are merely exercising power collectively that each state could exercise on its own. It is unclear, however, whether the creation of a new interstate governmental entity formed out of an agreement between two or more states is necessary, as opposed to sufficient, in order to deem an agreement as being an interstate compact subject to the Compact Clause.
The Congressional Research Service finds that it is unclear whether this National Popular Vote Compact is “subject to the Compact Clause.” This is mainly where the debate will be and where the compact will be challenged in court. When I first heard the idea of a state allocating their electoral votes to the “popular-vote-getter,” it did not seem to me that it would be unconstitutional – since states already determine how they allocate their electoral votes. For example, states already decide whether the winner in their states get all the electoral votes, or whether to parcel them out.[i] I had not considered a possible violation of the Compact Clause or that states were colluding one with another. However, it is worth considering the fact that states are compacting (from a positive viewpoint) or conspiring (from a negative viewpoint) to effect a change in the Constitution without going through the process of amending it.

Whether or not it is constitutional, I do not like the idea. First, I think the present Electoral College system works and has served us well from the beginning of our Republic. Part of the initiative seems like sour grapes. Democrats have recently lost twice under the rules, so now they want to change the rules.[ii] Secondly, under this compact a state overrides the intent of the popular vote of its own citizens! How weird and arrogant would want to throw away the votes of their own people. If enough American citizens want to elect the President of the United States by nationwide popular vote, let them do it through their representatives presenting a constitutional amendment rather than states working around the Constitution. If so, let it be a true popular vote, rather than a mongrel system – one that hangs on to the Electoral College while not reflecting the will of the people who voted for their electors.

Best yet, let’s leave it alone!

Here are two links on the topic

[i] 48 states have a winner-take-all system – the winner of the majority of the votes of the citizens of the state will receive all of the state’s electoral votes. Two states – Maine and Nebraska – divide their electoral votes proportionately by congressional district, instead of giving all the electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote.
[ii] Both George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016 lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote, thereby becoming president. In addition, the following men lost the popular vote but won the presidency – Benjamin Harrison in 1888, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, and John Quincy Adams in 1824. Harrison and Hayes won by electoral vote. In the case of Adams (the first year the popular vote was even recorded) no candidate had enough electoral votes and the House of Representatives decided the outcome of the election.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jesus, Our High Priest

Jesus is our High Priest.
Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Jesus is not our High Priest according to the law of Moses.
Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Jesus is our High Priest through a miraculous incarnation. He identifies with his people and makes reconciliation for their sins.
Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
triumphant resurrection
Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus is our High Priest by a divine calling. He did not take it on himself, but was called of God.
Hebrews 5:4-6 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 5:10 called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Melchidsedec’s priesthood preceded the law and Levi.
Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 6:20 whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 7:15-16 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Jesus is our High Priest by a perpetual oath. It is founded on the oath of God, “The Lord sware and will not repent.”
Hebrews 7:20-21 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (for those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
Hebrews 7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Jesus is our High Priest through an everlasting life. His life is endless, no beginning or end, so his priesthood has no end.
Hebrews 7:24-27 but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 7:15-16 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

We have an High Priest. His name is Jesus.
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Jesus, our great High Priest,
Has satisfaction made;
Ye weary spirits, rest;
Ye mourning souls, be glad:
Charles Wesley

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

God actively controls his creation

Several years ago (about ten to be exact) I wrote a post on God’s pleasure and man’s free will. The primary take-away for readers seemed to be about limited atonement and unconditional election – even though I actually wrote about God operating sovereignly in his universe and his prerogative – even when it bumps up against man’s “free will.” Perhaps there is a fear that admitting this fact will break down one’s argument against limited atonement and unconditional election. I do not know. Though initially the incredulity of “who doesn’t believe God is sovereign” was cited, things quickly proved, in my opinion, that many people believe God cannot and does not operate sovereignly in his universe – if that operation violates their philosophical train of thought. The evidence for God moving, turning and/or changing the will of man was dismissed as using “a few select verses,” “a few verses here and there,” even though about three dozen scriptures were referenced. Even if a “few” those verses are, nevertheless, inspired historical accounts of God dealing with people. They reveal something about the character and work of God. If these verses do not truly record his dealings, we are adrift on a sea near treacherous rock and shoal. Scripture itself should transcend the grid we place over scripture to interpret it.

The inspired grammar of the Bible plainly shows that God did actively, not passively, change and/or control men’s thoughts and actions – deliberately, not accidentally. In revisiting the subject, I present the following texts for your consideration.

God stopped Abimelech from sinning.
Genesis 20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

In connection with the common way pregnancies occur, God still controls the outcome.
Genesis 29:31 When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
He also controls the outcome when “with men it is impossible.”
Luke 1:34-35 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

God meant (chashab, planned, ordained) the evil committed against Joseph by his brothers to bring about good.
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart against the Jews, that He might deliver Israel and destroy the Egyptians.
Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
It is a popular reply that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh hardened his own heart. However, God said (several times) he would and did harden Pharaoh’s heart long before any mentions of Pharaoh hardening his own heart.

God turned the heart of the Egyptians against Israel, before and after Moses came.
Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
Exodus 14:17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
The Egyptians did not make a free will decision to drown in the Red Sea. God hardened their hearts to follow Israel to die in the sea.

God hardened Sihon’s heart and made him obstinate, and then judged him.
Deuteronomy 2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.

The Lord delights in destroying/judging when it is needful.
Deuteronomy 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

The Lord hardened hearts of the Canaanites.
Joshua 11:19-20 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

God sent an evil spirit between the men of Shechem and Abimelech, ending in the punishment of both for the murder of 70 people.
Judges 9:23-24 then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: that the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.

The Lord blinded Hophni and Phinehas in conjunction with bringing judgement upon them.
I Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.

God, using Satan, provoked David to number Israel.
II Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
I Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

The Lord intervened in the counsel of Hushai and Ahithophel, resulting in the judgement/death of Absalom (and ultimately the suicide of Ahithopel).
2 Samuel 17:14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

God was in control of Ahab’s death – He determined the cause, the events, and the instrument.
I Kings 22:23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
I Kings 22:34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
God also kept Jehoshaphat from being killed. II Chronicles 18:31 - And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.

God turned the heart of the Assyrian king to favor the people of Israel.
Ezra 6:22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

The Lord by His counsel stops, changes, brings to nothing the counsel of man.
Psalm 33:10-11 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Kings – not just Abimelech, Pharaoh, Sihon, and Darius – are in the Lord’s hands.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

The Assyrian king was a mere rod in the hand of God.
Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.

The Lord makes “evil” (calamity, war, suffering).
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

God will keep from departing.
Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

The coming to pass of both the bad and the good depend on God and not man.
Lamentations 3:37-38 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

God will cause them to walk in His statutes.
Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Cf. Phil. 2:12-13)

God blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of some of those to whom Isaiah preached, as well as some to whom Jesus preached and preformed miracles.
Isaiah 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

God intends that some hear, not understand, neither be converted nor forgiven.
Mark 4:11-12 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Pilate’s governmental authority was both given and restrained by the power of God above.
John 19:10-11 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above…

The counsel and foreknowledge of God determined the act of crucifixion, even though the doers of the act were wicked.
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Acts 4:27-28 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

God gave some up to uncleanness and over to a reprobate mind.
Romans 1:24-28 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient

Some did not obtain what they sought because because God gave them not the abilitiy to see or hear, but rather a spiritual slumber.
Romans 11:7-9 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

God blinded Israel (at least temporarily) to bring in the Gentiles.
Romans 11:25-26 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob

The suffering of Christians at the hand of evildoers (who are sinning) is according to God’s will.
1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (Cf. 3:17)

God puts in the heart of ten kings to give their kingdoms to the beast, to hate the whore, to make war on the Lamb.
Revelation 17:16-17 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

We live, go here and there, do this or that, as the Lord wills.
James 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (Cf. Acts 18:21; 21:14; I Corinthians 4:19; 16:7; Hebrews 6:3; Proverbs 16:1, 9, 33; 19:21; Jeremiah 10:23, et al.)

Nothing takes place outside of God’s purpose and governance.
Amos 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Cf. Matthew 10:29)

All things that exist do so at the pleasure of God.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
God does not take pleasure in evil in a positive sense, but it exists for a purpose. However wielded for his purposes, it without questions results in his own glory and the ultimate good of his people.

In addition, these verses lay down the principle of God’s absolute sovereignty.
Psalm 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
Psalm 103:19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Psalms 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psalms 135:6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
Proverbs 16:4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.
Isaiah 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Jeremiah 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Ephesians 1:5 having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Ephesians 1:11 in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Monday, June 24, 2019

25 Things You'll Only Hear, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

Paul called the church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” yet many today regard attendance, membership, giving or submitting to the church as optional and even in many cases wrong. The lack of teaching upon the church and the truth it protects has led to a terrible backsliding among Christians today. Error, immorality and apathy are all connected to how we understand the Lord’s church and to our relationship with it.
Kris Minefee, Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Athens, Texas

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara

The following hymn is one that I have heard and like, though it has not been part of my singing tradition. “Children of the heavenly Father” was originally written by Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg (1832–1903). “Lina” Sandell was born on October 3, 1832 in Fröeryd, Småland, Sweden. Her father was a Lutheran pastor who was part of the pietist movement in his church and country. She wrote many religious hymn texts and other poems. Sandell-Berg is called the “Fanny Crosby of Sweden.” In Sing It Again: a Handbook on the Covenant Hymnal (1973), J. Irving Erickson writes of a tradition that “…relates that she wrote ‘Tryggare kan ingen vara’ [i.e. the hymn] while seated on the branch of a large ash tree that stood in the parsonage yard. From that spot on warm summer evenings she could listen to the content twitter of the birds as they hid in their nests among the green leaves, and from there she could watch the stars as they began to appear. Her impressions fortified the biblical concepts of the security of God’s children.” This tradition places the origin of the hymn early in her life, circa 1855, when Sandell-Berg was about 17 years old. In 1867 she married Oscar Berg. She died died July 27, 1903 is buried at Solna Church in Stockholm, Sweden.

1. Children of the heav’nly Father,
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

2. God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

3. Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

4. Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Ernst Wilhelm Olson translated this hymn into English. He was born in 1870 in Sweden, but immigrated with his family in 1878 to America, first settling in Nebraska. Olson is credited with four hymns of his own, and he translated nearly 30 others. Olson titled his translation “A Hymn Born of a Broken Heart.” He died in 1958 in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife are buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Moline, Illinois.

The traditional tune for this hymn is Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara which is a probably Swedish or possibly German folk song dating back at least to the early 1800s.

A sung version on YouTube; This includes another stanza apparently from the original hymn, but sometimes credited to Eliza Hewitt.

Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Every foeman must surrender.

Another stanza may be part of the original. I have not researched it:

Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Cardinal Hosius, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

The cross did not secure God’s love, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

"The cross did not secure God’s love; God’s love conceived the cross." -- Copied

"Long before Zaccheus couldn’t see Jesus, the tree was planted to meet his need." -- Copied

"You can't receive the things of God with your natural mind." -- Robert Skinner

"Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read." -- Copied

"God uses broken people. It’s not like there’s a ready supply of anything else." -- Ben Coleman

"If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours." -- Copied

"Sin dealt with effectively is sin dealt with radically." -- Ed Young

"God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply." -- Hudson Taylor

"I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." -- C. S. Lewis

"Like paleontologists sifting through the dirt, we must excavate what the Bible actually says, while dusting off the cultural dross." -- Rebecca McLaughlin

"Status quo is nothing but Latin for ‘the mess we’re in’!" -- Heard

Friday, June 21, 2019

Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the Son of God

According to the New Testament, Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the Son of God (John 20:311 Corinthians 12:31 John 4:15). More recent uninspired writers, dwelling on a lower plain, tell us that Jesus is a Capitalist or Jesus is a Socialist.[i] The modus operandi seems to be to enlist Jesus in support of one’s social and political philosophy rather than build a biblical philosophy that governs how Christians comprehensively engage the world around them.

In Jesus Was a Socialist, Chuck McKnight brings forth some good points from the Bible that check greed, challenge preconceived ideas, and at the least gives pause to confused capitalistic contentions. Nevertheless, he cherry picks Bible accounts that tend toward his point, fails to engage them earnestly, and miserably confuses the kingdom of God and human government. In Jesus was a Capitalist, Bryan Fischer focuses on one text – the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Fischer’s tack seems to be showing that one exception to the “socialist rule” demonstrates the whole of the socialism argument is wrong. However, in doing so he fails to engage any number of texts that are pressed forward in the service of socialism. Both miss the mark. In attempting to conscript Jesus, we fail to follow Jesus.

Before moving forward, let’s define capitalism and socialism. According to Oxford English Dictionariescapitalism is “An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state” and socialism is “A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

My contention is that Jesus is not a capitalist and Jesus is not a socialist. We should not look for him to side with us, but we should get on his side. Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the Son of God and his kingdom is not of this world. We are his ambassadors while we are here in the world. We are called to go, preach the gospel, and make disciples – not of capitalism, not of socialism, but of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes it may look like we agree with capitalism; sometimes it may look like we agree with socialism.[ii] Who cares? Do we agree with the Bible, and our Lord Jesus Christ who wrote it? That is the question.

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, throughly furnished unto all good works.

[i] There is even a 2010 book titled Jesus Was a Capitalist, by Susie Wells and David S. Wells III.
[ii] Feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and having concern for captives are mentioned and esteemed in the Bible (cf. Proverbs 25:21, Matthew 25:35-40, Deuteronomy 10:18, Matthew 14:14, Luke 4:18). On the other hand, Jesus indicates that there is more to kingdom business than feeding the poor (John 12:4-8), and approves private ownership (Matthew 20:1, Luke 15:12, Luke 16:12; cf. Acts 5:1-4). The kingdom of God is radical in nature and cannot be subsumed under some partisan political program. Jesus commends enterprise and condemns greed (Matthew 25:14-28, Luke 12:15-21). Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.