Japanese advances in Southeast Asia in early 1942 resulted in equivalent Allied retreats. As each territory fell to the invaders radio messages from European capitals sounded less helpful for their nationals in the Far East.
Hong Kong fell. The Malay Peninsula fell. Singapore, gasp, fell. Borneo fell. Home offices in Europe couldn’t defend their nationals. They could only bid them good-bye and to be of “good cheer”. They could only say how sorry they were that they couldn’t help. They could only order them to destroy all resources, to resist passively, to remain at their posts, to refuse co-operation. They could only bid them Godspeed. Three Came Home, 27
How sad to be so helpless as a government. To fail in government’s primary responsibility of protecting its people. “We’ve reached the end of our authority; don’t look to us for help; do the best you can on your own.”
Christians read Matthew 28:16-20 and Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ has ALL AUTHORITY over HEAVEN and EARTH...no limit, no concessions, no exceptions.... Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever!
Christians never fear that the HOME OFFICE must radio or e-mail or text or phone that it can no longer help us serve. That its resources have diminished. That its power has vanished before enemies too great to resist. That we must retreat before Satan and take refuge in our worship services and Bible studies.
Up-and-Atom, Christians. The One who is in us overcomes all powers against us. Never fear; Jesus is near. Never dread; Jesus Lives and empowers his people. Amen.
When presented at the British Court, Abigail and daughter Nabby Adams had to endure the stifling formality of English diplomacy. When the Prince of Wales entered, one lady made herself conspicuous by seeking his recognition of her daughter. To no avail. He spent an hour conversing with a pretty woman, then left without acknowledging the lady and daughter. Abigail herself said she never felt more demeaned than waiting for a glance, a nod or a smile from British royalty.
God may not answer our request as petitioned. He may not answer at all. He may not answer in the time-frame we feel the need of it. But being in God’s presence through prayer will always lift our spirit, buoy our hope and fortify our discipleship.
Philippians 4:4-7 remains bedrock truth and assurance. Whatever we commit to God in prayer, and however he answers, his PEACE guarantees to “guard”—like a military sentry—our hearts and minds. Our minds to defuse the anxiety. Our hearts to keep it defused. We can mentally determine a course of action; that won’t automatically keep the emotions from undermining resolution. God’s peace garrisons both mind and heart. That peace defies understanding, exceeds explanation and surpasses our discipleship experience. Just by praying to God through Jesus Christ. Christians, exercise your privilege.
I talked to a boy my own age at a Life Recruit Rally in Terre Haute, Indiana. A LONG time ago. We stayed in the same house for the night. He related that he had been in an accident which killed a friend but spared him. Which aroused a question: why did he survive? That led him to Christ for the answer.
I remember, as a youth in Lincoln Christian Church, that a community family had lost a son in a motorcycle accident. It hadn’t been a church-going family. The Sunday following the funeral service, they attended church services. I wondered then, and wonder now, did they return the following Sunday, and beyond?
As a minister I talked with a man about Jesus. He admitted that seeing an accident on the road slowed him down. But did it speed his approach to God?
Allowing for the exceptions, life-experiences will likely average out over a period of years for everyone. The important question is always: will they have brought us closer to God, left us distanced from God or driven us farther from God?
We can’t tell the effect of experiences by immediate tears that fall when loved ones get sick, have strokes or contract cancer and die. Only if the experience rouse questions in us: what about my life? Am I missing something? Have I resisted learning lessons God wants to teach? Do I need to return to Bible teaching I heard when younger, but forsook for something else when growing older?
Keep this principle as a life-rule. Any experience we have that leaves us unchanged before God is a WASTE and a LOSS—no matter how pleasant or profitable. It doesn’t matter how it improves us intellectually, or financially, or relationally, if it doesn’t bring us closer to Jesus Christ. But...any experience that convinces us to question our purpose, our end, our judgment at Christ’s throne, and leads us to Jesus, is a BLESSING for which we should thank God! Whatever burdens of discipleship it imposes.
What impact will any experience have on my faith in Christ? In our end, “in life and death, and life is surely flying, the crib and coffin, carved from the self-same tree”...in “life and death, and death so soon is coming...., escape I cannot, there’s no place to flee....” How will any experience impact my faith in God and lead me to love the Savior?
After tears dry; after memory fades, after we have gone on to other things, where will we be in our relationship with Jesus? Only that matters. Nothing else.
The previous blog criticized the Roman Curia’s attack on American evangelicals—in Catholic countries world-wide, evangelicals have always been hated—who preach a prosperity theology. Not because this writer hasn’t himself criticized prosperity theology, but because the Catholic attack ignores their church’s own prosperity theology of the chosen few to the impoverishment of the vast majority of Catholics.
The best thing that ever happened to Roman Catholic authoritarianism was to learn tolerance of differing religious groups in Protestant America. This nation has historically—with periods of exception—welcomed all religious beliefs, and not a few political persuasions. Believers in Christ have learned to hold firmly to God’s truth in Christ while freeing all without such conviction to live as they please. (IN a strange reversal, American society now welcomes all religious belief EXCEPT for those who insist that Jesus Alone is the Lord and Savior. Since that isn’t the issue under discussion, merely stating it will suffice.)
The point of the blog is: believe what you want: any god, no god or the Living God and his Christ. If you make public statements of your faith or lack thereof, accept criticism from those with a differing view. Don’t expect to publicize your belief without being questioned. Remember: don’t be an anvil if you can’t take a beating. Many Moslems in America have yet to learn this lesson. We won’t object to their practicing Islam. We reserve the right to correct the beliefs that contradict God in Christ. Let the differences be subject to debate, not violence. Let reasoned argument be used, not car or suicide bombs.
America is still the best place in the world to live, despite our moral depravity. Christian are at least still free to live for Jesus. And if it ever happens that we aren’t, we WILL ANYWAY.
The Roman Catholic Curia has again denounced American Protestants, this time the prosperity-theology preachers in America and Central and South American countries. This writer has consistently criticized the Prosperity-Theology so prevalent in television preachers and other mega and meta churches. San Diego U-T, 7/19/18
But the rank hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Curia and its pope must be exposed. The RCC is the richest organization in the world, with an operating budget of $170 Billion. Amazing in itself, when Apple and General Motors have a budget of only $150 Billion. Internet 7/19/18
Francis lies about how concerned he is about poverty, illiteracy and social justice—when the Roman Catholic Church is the greatest oppressor in the world! It never encourages free-thought, free-will or free-markets. It’s always been, and presently still is, wherever it’s the dominant religion, autocratic, dictatorial, prejudiced and the aggressive enemy of any teaching not Roman Catholic.
How can the Curia express concern for illiteracy when the countries they rule religiously are known as illiterates? Or for social justice when they rule their people with an iron-fist of a bureaucracy determined to crush all opposing thought? Or for poverty when so many people want to leave the poverty endemic in their countries for Protestant – America?
Hypocritical, that’s what the Roman Catholic Curia is. And it deserves denunciation by every news organization and government in the world! -End Part I-
Outlaw Sam Bass died at 27 years at the hand of Texas Rangers. He’s lived in Texas myth as a fair-thee-well desperado who tipped conductors and porters on trains after relieving passengers of whatever wealth they had. He and a friend bought a herd of steers on credit, drove it into Kansas and sold it for cash. Then, forgetting their creditor, wasted it on whiskey, gambling, women and horse racing. He and five cohorts robbed a Union Pacific train of $60,000 and split the take. He went back to Denton and shared his bounty with others in drinks and girls.
Why not, when it was other people’s money? Any victim of Sam Bass had nothing good to say. Those who sang ballads in his honor had never felt the cold muzzle of his pistol on their cheekbones. The Rangers, who hadn’t been his friends, boosters or rooters, hunted him down ten months after he became a fugitive and shot him dead. Tales of Old Time Texas, 78
In our society, where defense lawyers, supported by taxes, defend criminals, they dredge up every misfortune possible to excuse the accused’s depredations. Those victimized can’t take such a generous approach. They have paid for the evil and seek no words to excuse their criminality.
Satan, of course, hated Jesus terminally. Jesus had cast him from Heaven in time before time. Then, in history blisteringly defeated him in every encounter. Likewise, those in Christ’s day who refused to leave their darkness, knowing that his light would first expose them before giving them sight, didn’t come to him. But all who wanted their spiritual darkness banished by God’s truth came to Jesus, suffering the blinding light that eventually gave them spiritual sight John 3:18-21, 9:39-41.
If a man’s kept-company determines his value, Sam Bass got what was coming to him and Jesus gets exactly what he came into the world to do: Seek and save the lost who wanted his forgiveness.
Hard traditionalists and power-brokers of politics and position lost every argument they started with Jesus, remaining silent when he tried to start a debate with them. Today’s skeptics have learned nothing from their humiliation when contesting Jesus. While they’re uneducable, Jesus still teaches those who want to lose what blinds them to God and gain what blinds them to the Deceiver.
I thank Oswald Chambers for the idea of this blog and the Holy Spirit for its substance.
Jesus came as God-incarnate, 100% God, 100% human. Believers love that truth. We welcome it in every language spoken, in every song composed, in every book written, in every sermon preached, in every expression of love experienced.
However, its attendant meaning in discipleship also unsettles those who “love his appearing.” For it means that the Invisible, Eternal God, who Incarnated himself in Bethlehem has as his goal living in us as his temple individually, so he can live in the church as his temple congregationally.
Where we praise him as God Incarnate—our hope and help, we fear his intention to make a throne room of our mind from which he can rule over us as a temple of his presence. We substitute joyous worship, praise songs and relational preaching to avoid facing the unwelcome truth that Jesus isn’t finished until his Incarnate Presence in history is incarnated in our daily lives.
How clearly Galatians 4:19 is the Lord’s concern manifested through his apostle: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” And how clearly Galatians 2:20 expresses his desire for us: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Paul had a career as the eminent apostle, but a life-purpose of surrendering himself to Jesus Christ alive in him. He never asked “what do I want to be as a person?” Like Jesus! Or “where do I want to go?” Wherever Jesus directed! “Or how should I react in any given situation?” Whatever way Jesus reacted in any situation!
Remember, then, whatever we want our church to be begins with us. Discipleship is the expression of faith in Christ. The church is the expression of every disciple incorporated. To the extent that individuals let Christ’s will be done in them the church will have Christ’s will done in her.
This story comes from the Lincoln Courier Herald, Lincoln, Illinois, 12/16/1919. My dad was 24 years old, my mom 20. It was re-printed in Roots and Branches, published and e-mailed to members of the Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society.
A Chicago lapidary worked in his shop when a laborer entered. He withdrew a “rough red stone” from his pocket and asked the lapidary to cut and polish it. Stunned by what he saw, he asked where he got the stone. The man explained that his father had found it in Hungary 50 years before. He considered it a “pretty pebble.”
The man was surprised to find it in his luggage when he arrived in America; thought his mother chucked it in. It had been in his family since: kids played with it; baby cut his teeth on it; a rat once dragged it into its hole, where they later found it. He had lost it a number of times but always found it again. It became his “lucky stone.” A few nights earlier he had a dream that it was a diamond and worth a lot of money.
The lapidary told him: it wasn’t a diamond; it was a ruby, worth between $100,000 and $250,000. It was later cut into a ruby of 23,940 carats. The man had been a laborer since coming to America. His father in Hungary had been a laborer all his life. They had both toiled to keep body and soul together. And all the while owned an incredibly valuable stone.
A good story is only as worthwhile as its spiritual application. So, here goes. The man was like the one Jesus said stumbled across hidden treasure. But the ruby corresponds with the pearl merchant’s search for the ONE invaluable pearl.
Jesus is the Spiritual Red Ruby, the White Pearl, the Perfect Diamond, the Spindletop Oil Well.
You’ll never find anyone like him, for he’s in a class BY HIMSELF, no one else around! Seek him; he’ll let you find. Own him; he’ll be your Priceless Savior and Lord. Serve him; whatever you do in his name remains a “forever treasure”, now and in the world to come.
The fast-moving Lilac fire of 2017 had its origin at 11:15 A.M. a mile south of Route 76 and just west of Old Highway 395. It spread west, blown by winds that roared through the valley westward, burning discriminately, hopscotching its way back and forth across the highway, destroying mobile homes, and threatening a shopping center and houses.
Interestingly, investigators found where the fire started. To this time, July, 2018, they haven’t discovered why it started. They likely never will. San Diego U-T, 12/1/17
Unlike many fires, the source of sin isn’t cloaked in mystery. It occurs when a person is tempted to break God’s rule, law, word or expectation. The person then, “by his own evil desire...is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” James 1:14-15.
We may not know exactly where our sin begins, though we too can often detect its origin. We know exactly where to put an end to sin: Christ’s gracious forgiveness that he perfected in his sacrifice on Calvary. Whenever we fall into sin, or step into sin, or walk up and embrace sin, Jesus can eliminate it. We have no excuse for our sin, but Jesus has Grace greater than any sin we commit.
The Parade Magazine, May 20, 2018, had a cover story featuring the favorite book reads of women they consider important in American life: four actresses. They also included a PBS personality. They carefully avoided mentioning the books of Joyce Meyer, Terri Blackstock, Janette Oke, Sarah Young or Stormie Omartian and books considered essential to a person’s well-being.
Parade considers only Hollywood types, and their assorted ilk, as worthy models of authority and behavior. They would never consider Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins or Mike Pense as leaders with worthwhile persuasions. And Jesus? The Greatest of all; the Savior from sin; the Lord of every day; the Judge of every single person ever to live—including the women Parade considers above reproach? No, no time for Jesus; no respect for Jesus; no concern for anything he said.
Except as examples of belief and behavior we abhor, because it blasphemes Jesus, we never mention such people. Christians consider contemptible all wealthy, influential personalities and celebrities who hold Jesus in contempt. His example we follow; to it we devote ourselves. Before none other will we bow. To none other will we commit a moment’s time.