Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, September 26, 2008

Leadership & Authority ?

Luke 1:17, "He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." There was a definite purpose to the coming of Elijah to the people of Israel, there was definite purpose to the appearance of John the Baptist; in time, history and place these men and many more of God's chosen prophets have provided the pronouncement of a need for change to take place in the hearts of people.

There have been statements made that this generation will not or would not recognize a prophet of God, whether that be Elijah, Elisha, Daniel or any other of the Old Testament men or women who served as Judges or Kings of Israel. This I believe is quite possibly a very true statement, but not for the reasons being given by the authors of the statement.

I do believe there may be some recognition problems with a Prophet among us, but, it is because of the fact that the hearts and minds have not been adequately prepared for the arrival of those Prophets. There is also the issue of the desensitizing which is happening because of so many false teachings and the value given to those teachings as being a prophetic voice. Then there is also the issue of the hardening of the hearts with regard to listening to the most fundamental of teachings and instruction, the value given to servitude and sacrifice and the lack of preparation of the heart for the Days of Elijah, when ...

...we note that there are certain character traits of these men;

-they possessed or more appropriately were possessed by God’s Spirit which dwelt in them
-they lived a life of continual self-denial, in New Testament language taking up their cross
-they had an ardent, fervent zeal to make Christ known
-they lived a life of fidelity and courage in rebuking vice by exposing the mind-set behind it and by raising to prominence a Christian or Godly mind-set
-they were the driving force behind a reformation and were instruments used by God for effectively communicating that among the people.

"Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence: live
In pulses stirred to generosity;
In deeds of daring rectitude; in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self,'
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge man's search
To vaster issues."

Great men of history have been used to inspire people to greatness of effort and thought for their lives. These men were used to revive the patriarchal spirit of those saints and pioneers of faith who have gone before and have prepared hearts to receive the Lord Jesus.

The call has been and always will be to holiness. 1 Peter 1:16, "...because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." Holiness is perfect deliverance from sin. Holiness must exhibit freedom from anger, malice, blasphemy, hypocrisy, envy, laziness, selfish desires, worldliness, deceit, contention, covetousness, or any evil desire or tendency in the heart. In holiness there is no doubt or fear, God is loved and trusted.

Holiness is not absolute perfection, it is the perfection derived from obedience of the heart, recognizing in humility the desperate state of man in relation to the perfect holiness of God and aided by the almighty power and boundless grace that only God can give.

The Christian life is warfare, and we must fight the good fight of faith. God requires me to love and serve Him with all my heart, God promises me that if I will return -to the Lord and obey His voice ... with all my heart, and with all my soul, that He will circumcise my heart ... to love Him with all my heart, and all my soul. He promises that He would "grant (me) that (I), (would) be delivered from the hand of (my) enemies, (and) might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of (my) life." Luke 1:74,75

That is what the leadership of the Church is called to do: to prepare the Church to live without fear; to prepare the Church to love and serve God; to prepare the Church to 'stand upon the promises'; to prepare the Church to be holy and righteous; to be prepared to receive. Leadership is about being aware of the hearts of the individuals; it is about making the individuals aware of their insufficiency, incompetence and ineptitude to appropriate the blessings of God without a contrite and broken spirit. It is about awakening a realization that without the fullness of God's grace and Spirit in their lives there lies no opportunity to experience the victory of salvation. Leadership is about stirring up a sense of dependence, creatureliness (understanding our life as being owned by God), gratitude, and unmerited existence without which life is just a living rebellion. Leadership is about building faith in light of the reality of personal inadequacy, human dependence, utter lowliness and the lostness of the soul and in that removing self-satisfaction and pride. Leadership is about bringing people to their knees in absolute poverty before a holy God. God is not the Author of the 'answer book' for the existential problems contained in 'The Mystery of Life". God is not the provider of the 'extra' wisdom we need to make the right decisions. God is not the buttress or bulwark of our independent philosophical conjecture. God is the pillager of our human self-reliance. God is not the signing authority, the power of attorney enabling the individual to continue as master of their own fate. The cross is the signature of God sealing the death warrant on all egotistic and pretentious attempts at relationship with God. Leadership is about bringing the authority of God in the matters of the life and soul of the Christian to the forefront and that which is divinely established and divinely guaranteed demands a bending submission in light of a divine revelation in time by which the Bible, the Cross and the Church are presented with the weight and force of an absolute and transcendant authority, God.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Know You're...

You know you're a Prairie Boy from Saskatchewan if:

-you have seen a paving crew worker wearing a Winter Jacket and shorts;

-you have started the day using your car's defrost, used the AC in the afternoon, and the heater that same night;

-you have plugged in your cars block warmer and used the AC in the same week;

-you know the 2mi/1mi system of rural navigation;

-you know at least one person in every other province or territory;

-you know that the average IQ in every province or territory went up because of that fact (including Saskatchewan);

-you know why Saskatchewan highways are better in Winter;

-you know the odds of finding an approach in the Winter are directly proportional to the help available to get unstuck;

-you know what a road allowance is;

-you know what a correction line is;

-you have given directions which included a bin;

-you have given a deer the right-of-way;

-you have seen a Moose, Deer, Fox, Coyote, Rabbit, Skunk, Badger, and Antelope on a road trip of less that two hours;

-you know what a Harvest Moon is;

-you know a Hutterite;

-you know your way around a least one major city (two hours away);

-you measure distance in time travelled;

-you have received a ticket for trying to shorten a distance travelled;

-you have followed a grain truck which is making the longest left hand turn in history;

-you realize people are afraid of commitments - they won't use their turn signals;

-you know that on any long-weekend farmers move large equipment on the highway;
-you know that the ditch is not a bad place to be;

-it takes you two weeks to recognize someone after they bought a new truck;

-you hate people who lease trucks;

-you wave to everyone you meet on the road;

-everything South of the South Saskatchewan River is called the 'Banana Belt"

for more try this site;


Monday, September 22, 2008

Faith Revisited 2

It is dangerous to suggest that arriving at God's truth, appropriating God's wisdom, having knowledge of God, is the end result of a journey of discovery, the result of much investigation and study. God is not so unloving or so unjust as to have given the salvation of man to only those who excel in academics, to those who are members of the intelligentsia.

"God is not so cruel as to have left us in the miserable plight that the most saving and necessary truths have to be laboriously assembled for himself. We are not a lot of amateur detectives on the hunt for clues in a cosmic whodunit. For that would be an abandoned world, a world on which God had virtually turned his back - a world in darkness from which God's light had been withdrawn. Men have need to fabricate neither their creed, nor their moral code, nor their picture of the purpose of the universe. God chose not to leave his world in darkness. He chose to lay open in it the revelation of himself. That is what Christianity is all about. ...Christian Faith is not a human fabrication but a divine gift. When people encounter the Church and her message, they do not come up against the opinions of men; they come up against the word of God."

I have on many occasion had to drive at night. There have been instances when there has been no moon and on those occasions the night can be as black as black can be. I have had occasion to drive in winter at night with the illumination from a full-moon reflecting off the snow covered countryside. The contrast is night and day. The light of the moon although not necessary for safe travel, provided by its illumination such enhanced visibility that on occasion it was possible to turn off the headlights and still be able to see clearly. The Church like the moon is not a instrument of man, but a creation of the Divine mind, it is before us. God could have devised another method of salvation, a more pleasant means of restoring man's fellowship with God, but speculation of other means of salvation, like speculation about the moon or the Church, only destroys the intent and purpose of God and diminishes the Church as the manifestation of the fellowship of God's people claimed by Jesus as His own. Matthew 16:18, "...and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." We are not to be concerned with what God could have done or what He did not do, but, with what He did.

The Church as an object of illumination and purpose of the glorification of God is not enhanced nor diminished by the operation of man. This statement may be met with opposition. Faith not only believes the promises which God has given to His saints individually, but also lays hold of those given to the Church collectively. Faith must lay hold of this promise, "When the Enemy shall come in like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19).
Psalm 147:2, "The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
Zech. 6:12, "Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord;..."

On the rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

The rock that gave out water for the thirst of Israel was a type of Jesus. (Num 20). They ‘did all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ’ (1 Cor 10:4). This rock was a representation of Christ in four things—
It gave drink to the people in the wilderness when they came out of Egypt; Christ gives drink to them that forsake the world for him.
The rock yielded water by being struck by Moses’ rod; Christ gives us drink, even his blood, by being struck by Moses’ law (Num 20:11; Isa 53).
The water out of this rock was given to the thirsty— Rev. 21:6, "...and He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
The water of the rock in the wilderness ran after the people; they drank of that rock that followed them— ‘He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out, they ran in the dry places like a river’ (Psa 110:7). "They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor 10:4).

Matthew 16:18, "...and I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The true meaning of "the Rock," in this passage, is the declaration of the truth of our Lord's Messiahship and Divinity, which Peter had just confessed. It is as though our Lord had said, "You are rightly called by the name Peter, or stone, for you have confessed that mighty truth, on which, as on a rock, I (Jesus) will build my Church." "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The meaning of this promise is,--that the power of Satan shall never destroy the people of Christ. He that was the instrument of the introduction of sin and death into the first creation by the temptation of Eve, shall never bring ruin on the new creation of the believer by overthrowing the faith and hope held in the promises of God. The mystical body of Christ shall never perish or decay. Though often persecuted, afflicted, distressed, and brought low, it shall never come to an end: it shall outlive the wrath of 'the tolerant', the politicians, and the persecutors; it will outlive the false teachers, the false prophets,and the false doctrines; it will outlive all change, ebbs and flows of each age and vocabulary; because its very foundation is the unchanging God. Hebrews 6:17-20, "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability (unchanging essence) of His counsel (wisdom, purpose, volition, object), confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever...."; the true Church never dies. Like the bush that Moses saw, it may burn, but will never be consumed. Every member of it shall be brought safe. In spite of falls, failures, and short-comings,--in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil,--no member of the true Church shall ever be cast away. (John 10:28.)


Drive it like you stole it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Faith Revisited

If the origin of human faith and value is reduced to the facts that history or science can give us, the life direction that a person's faith and value supply, are lost. The values and meanings that animate us as human beings must be located in the mystery of being, or literally nowhere, and the mystery of being is real, leaving the possibility of and the need for faith open --- and so our faith, our lives are defined at the same level as we confront the mystery of being.
The questions must be asked; How does one establish a coherent sense of self? How does one act when a clear understanding of one's life situation leads to confusion, not clarity?
1 Cor. 2:7, "...but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,..." This verse may have more understanding if it was translated as, "We proclaim the Divine wisdom hidden in a mystery."
The Young's literal translation says, "...but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a secret, that God foreordained before the ages to our glory,..."
and the Darby translation says, "...but speak God's wisdom in [a] mystery, that hidden [wisdom] which God had predetermined before the ages for our glory:..." The word mystery with us is commonly used in the sense of that which is beyond comprehension; the word properly denotes that which is concealed or hidden; that which has not yet been known;
The un-wanting soul sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul sees only what it wants.
Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

Self-absorption and self-importance are vain and self-destructive. Every age has had its conceit and vocabulary. The true wisdom is God's and is eternal, absolute and superior to all other attempts of understanding the randomness, ambiguity, senselessness and diversity of the pursuit of knowledge and self-determination. Self knowledge with emphasis on that knowledge begetting humility, is the path to a comprehensive understanding of the desires, ambitions, the heart and soul-longings of man and the working of God in aligning those objects with the purposes, thoughts and plans of His. Jeremiah 29:11-14, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
1 Cor. 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

The deepening pursuit of the meaning of life leads many on different paths seeking to resolve the dilemma of the vacant, vacuous and purposeless life. We can design, create, plan and intend to increase our awareness of our inner self, our spiritual being, to find our essence and to live life feeling fulfilled and justified, but, the mystery remains, the imprisonment of the soul still exists, the prison bars are merely hidden in the canvas of life by the layers of paint and gloss. There still exists a mystery, the layers of paint we add separate the true portrait, that depiction of reality that exists as painted by the original artist, from the intended masterpiece. We are counterfeiters painting on the canvas of life a forgery. We still do not know. We still cannot comprehend. The great truth lies not in who we are, in who we can become, in what we can attain to or achieve, but in the reality of a living God and that God manifested in all of His creation, this existence as a result of His intelligent design incorporating all the imagination and wonders of a mind incomprehensible to man; that mind seeking love and fellowship with His greatest creation, man; man created in the very image of the Creator; man whose design and purpose was the fulfillment and purpose of the mind and heart of God. We are not the masters of our life.

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self requires strength;...

Faith is appropriated in relation to the actions we take with respect to what we believe. The mystery lies in the depth and wonder, width and breadth of a God who is really beyond our understanding, but Who in a desire to have our love chose to reveal Himself in a manner we could understand but which still leaves the immensity of His thought outside the realm of our natural and rational thought. God created an anomaly and it is into this quagmire of philosophical investigation that God places us, as we attempt to deal with the world around us and the abundance of contrary ideas to that wisdom which is found at the Cross. It is the Cross that creates the problem of our faith, because in its absolute, excruciating absurdity it flys against the popular opinion of God as being the strict and harsh Judge and Condemner of man, and displays the hidden wisdom of the God of abundant Mercy and Grace and Love. It is said in Luke 11:33 (NKJV) "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. Luke 8:16 (NKJV) "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. Jesus was hung on a cross, on a hill, beside a highway, during the day so that all could see, He was the light that was seen around the world and He said, "...and I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Questions of Faith

Is there a God?

Is the Bible the true revelation of that God?

Is Jesus the only way to relationship with God?

These are questions that demand an answer that involves a definition of truth. The meaning of the word truth extends from honesty, good faith, and sincerity in general, to agreement with fact or reality in particular. The term has no single definition about which a majority of professional philosophers and scholars agree, and various theories of truth continue to be debated. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute. The important aspect of the definition is the statement that truth must be in agreement with fact or reality.

The secular definition of truth refers to an opinionated, self-absorbed basis of judgement, exclusive from any authority refuting claims to self-government or self-realization. Variables like environmental assessment, perception, survival, reality, subjectivity, the majority view and numerous other classifiers are attempts at creating a truth that is palatable and non-threatening to the conscience and which places man as the judge of what truth is.

Christianity imposes divine revelation as the anvil of truth, the benchmark. The classifiers of truth for the Christian are that: they are supernaturally grounded (mystical) not developed from nature; Christian truth is objective (truth is truth eternally) and not subjective (truth is subject to time, place and circumstance); truth is a revelation of God not a construction of man; truth is discovered by enquiry and from that enquiry the knowledge gained affirms the truth of the object, it is not a product of election, majority rule or changing dynamics; truth is authoritative and not personal choice; truth is absolute complete in itself; perfect; consummate; faultless...viewed apart from modifying influences or without comparison with other objects; actual; and real, it is not determined by what is likable or dislikable.

We did not create or invent God and He declares His right as God in all of creation. Our existence, this world and all that is in it was His idea. It was not created to glorify man, but to glorify God and He takes His pleasure in our actions in accordance with the understanding of that truth, that we are here for Him.

We did not design the way of salvation, the sending of His Son to redeem our lives from separation from His truth, from His love. It was not our plan and the only option available is to accept or reject that plan. We did not write the Bible, or the Creeds, or develop the doctrines of our faith, we are only the witnesses, we only attest to the validity of our personal experience as revelatory of the work of God in our lives. If you don't like it the only one to blame is God. You can't tamper and mess with it because it is faultless and perfect in design.

Christianity is not the easy street to salvation, no one likes self-sacrifice, being referred to as a worm or a sinner, confronting our faults and errors, being at odds with our friends, family, society and culture, standing as a condemning presence in a world fraught with the pursuit of personal happiness. In these aspects Christianity in not easy to accept, to explore, to explain, to swallow. And sometimes it really sucks on Sunday morning about 8:30.

The point is we are here because it is the truth, it is alive, it quivers in our lives, it grows and infuses all that we are with God.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Irreconcilable Differences

At a certain point in time the opportunity for reconciliation passes by, and in certain situations may never be again. The obvious is the death of one of the parties. This of course removes the possibility of reconciliation and for the most part would diffuse the entire situation, but that is entirely dependant upon the depth of pain inflicted.

But what of the living; specifically those living in relationship; there seems to be a place in time where the aspect of forgiveness, intrinsically linked to reconciliation becomes a question of the redemption of the time that was lost feeding in the bile of the affliction. It would seem that at a given point in time dependant upon the variables of personal character, temperament, social aptitude, etc. that a person would look at a situation involving their forgiveness of a person for past wrongs and would be unable to forgive because the time left in life would not be adequate for the restoration of the relationship.

It would seem that past wrongs would be met with the mind-set that a renewed relationship would never compensate for the time in relationship lost due to the wrong-doing of one party. Now having said that it would be obvious that there would then be no forgiveness, a wronged party would hold to the convictions of their right to feel wronged and would withhold forgiveness because of the lack of adequate recompense for the time lost. This would be exemplified in those instances of death-bed confessions, those times when people feel the weight of their lives and the history and legacy they are leaving and are unwilling at that time to live any longer with their guilt or shame hanging over them. It would seem almost irrelevant at that time to even bother, for what can be offered, what can be redeemed of the life past, what is there that can be restored, or rescued? It is at this time that the recklessness of life is viewed through eyes opened to eternity, possibly (depending upon belief) to the coming judgement and now in light of that there is to be a change of heart? In this it is seen that even in the magnanimous gesture of forgiveness granted, there may be little of value other than the words which may appease the dying soul, and is that even offered without a tinge of bitterness and a lack of remorse for life ... for death? But what of the heart of that hostage to the irredeemable relationship, the one left holding the pieces of a fragmented relationship, the one who has no hope of ransom?

So why would or is the redemption of the time so critical in life? It becomes a question of the investment in relationship. Time is a non-renewable resource and at various stages in life people come to realize its value and possibly esteem it above all other aspects of life. This becomes apparent in what is commonly referred to as mid-life crises, where we see people affected either adversely or pro-actively in changing the course of their lives to accommodate a frame of mind which has come to realize the brevity of life and wants to impact the world, however large or small that is, with their life. In a lot of instances this mid-life crises becomes an operation of redeeming the time that was lost in the pursuit of avenues of life, which were relevant or necessary at the time, by reconciling that sense of time lost with the sense that life now has meaning. It quite possibly becomes an exercise in creating a history, a legacy, a memory for the immortalizing of life. It quite possibly becomes an exercise of reaffirming lordship of one's life and establishing, if only briefly, a sense of happiness, a pursuit of the material, physical and emotional good fortunes of life.

But what of the residual of the heart, that area that cannot be appeased by the work of the hands or the sweat of the brow or the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness? What of the... What of the time still lost in the irredeemable? What of the irreconcilable differences?

The repentant seeks to excuse their actions, they justify their life's course. The affliction of conscience or impending judgement result in either relief or remorse, to palliate or prevaricate about why and how they lived their life. But, the reality of the repentance is that, there exists no ability to redeem the irredeemable time or restore the unrestorable relationship and with that there must be an addendum (to enable forgiveness) or understanding that that which is lost will never be fully recovered and an acceptance of that fact by all involved.

In my life I live with the irreconcilable, the irredeemable, the incongruous, and this is a result of the things that I have seen and experienced as a part of and as an observer of relationship. It is in this context that I have written the previous paragraphs and further understanding may be had by reading my blog entry http://undertheeagleswing.blogspot.com/2008/01/man-died-this-week.html.
I have seen and experienced things which unless you come from a background like mine you will never fathom or imagine, so as I write about the irreconcilable and irredeemable I am speaking as one who knows the full effect of that thought. It isn't a question of forgiveness because with all the time lost and the fact that time can never be made-up for, forgiveness becomes a redundant and meaningless exercise, in other words it no longer matters, it was then and is now a part of existence. Really there is nothing to forgive because the relationship does not exist. As the years have gone by and attempts were made to establish that which in hind-sight was irreparably destroyed and harmed, it is apparent that, as harsh as this may sound, where there exists no love, where only fear created relationship, where confession and repentance would be wasted on the living, there is no need or requirement for restoration, the time has come and gone. That which was redeemable is lost forever.
Mark 12:2 (NKJV) Now at vintage-time [kairos - a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment], he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers.

A time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment, in an unfortunate twist of time or fate the fruit has fallen from and spoiled on the vine. I feel no remorse for its loss, only a sense of wonder of what could or should have been? A question as to why this happened in this way? And a constant feeling, is the purpose of all this wasted on me? Am I getting it? Am I moving on? Am I passing this on?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Short Story

If you are so inclined to visit http://undertheeagleswingshortstory.blogspot.com/2008/02/short-story.html this is what I have been working on the past week. I admit it is not as I anticipated it to be, and I firmly believe it is a work in progress, so if you are so inclined check back to see what changes and additions have been made.

For anyone who reads this blog, as all things are in my life, this is just part of a journey and the thoughts that go with it in working out the questions.