‘He Gave Me a Song’

I had never heard this hymn before, it was the first one that came up on YouTube this morning–and wow! He Gave Me a Song, sung by the Greene Mountain Men’s Choir. And we enjoy the settings by the hand of God the Father.

‘He Who Would Valiant Be’

I have no idea whether the hymn I selected will appear here. Everything on this computer is chaos today.

What I wanted–and I don’t know if that’s what you’re seeing–was He Who Would Valiant Be, accompanied by video of a scenic, soothing little ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Pray for my head not to explode today.

Something to Think About

Image result for images of nursing home patients on park bench

When I go to visit Aunt Joan at the nursing home, I usually visit with a couple of the other residents. Like, why not, as long as I’m there? They might appreciate a visit.

So I was talking today with the woman in the room across the hall from Joan, telling her about Joan’s travels all over the world, back in the day. Gloria wanted to know if Joan ever visited Barbados, because that’s where she was born and raised. We got to talking about Barbados, and Gloria asked me how old I was. It turned out she’s only one year older than I am.

One year. That’s not much. And yet she’s in the nursing home and I’m still playing basketball, when I get the chance. What a world of difference is packed into that one year!

I think the lesson God wants me to take to heart is this: to take no blessings for granted, but to treasure them and be thankful for them while we have them. Once again I found myself thinking, “Well, my aunts worked diligently and were able to do the things they most wished to do. They lived solid Christian lives and were a blessing to everyone who knew them.” And which of us can say the same?

‘We’ll Bring Back the Mammoth!’

Image result for images of marx toy mammoth

The classic Marx toy mammoth

The Original Sin was to disobey God in order, as the Serpent put it, to “be as gods” (Genesis 3:5). That sin is very much with us today.

Scientists have announced a plan to bring back the extinct woolly mammoth by messing about with mammoth DNA and Asian elephant DNA, cutting and pasting and “editing genes” to create a mammoth embryo ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/16/woolly-mammoth-resurrection-scientists ). Then they can re-introduce a population of mammoths to the Siberian tundra to combat global warming! Oh–and as an added benefit, they predict these techniques can soon be refined so as to “reverse aging” in human beings.

As much as I would love to see a woolly mammoth, what I would be seeing here would not actually be a mammoth,  but rather an elephant that’s been tampered with to make it look like a mammoth–a counterfeit.

Does anyone honestly expect this to work out as advertised? Do a lot of us need to see Jurassic Park again?

Somehow reading stuff like this makes me feel like I’m getting stupider, not smarter.

Come, Lord Jesus, come–and save us from the folly of our worldly wisdom.

Two Fine Books About the Parables

I sort of stumbled into this assignment, and wound up reading two books for review: Parables by John Macarthur (2015) and Notes on the Parables of Our Lord (1861) by Richard Chenevix Trench.

I’m not done with them yet, but I can hardly wait to review them. You don’t have to be a theologian to enjoy these books–which is good, because I’m not. What you have, in both of them, is good, solid common sense guided by God’s word and the Holy Spirit.

This morning I read what they had to say about the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-15). It’s the one about the rich landowner who hires men to work in his vineyard. He keeps going back to the employment center, throughout the day, hiring more workers, until, “at the eleventh hour,” with only one hour of daylight left, he hires the last of them.

Then he does something unexpected: he pays all the laborers exactly the same amount, the ones who worked for one hour getting the same as those who worked for twelve.

Hard to understand? Well, yeah–until you read about it in either of these books, each author explaining it so clearly that I couldn’t help saying to myself, “Now why didn’t I think of that!”

Jesus Christ Our Lord wished us to understand his parables, but we also have to put a little effort into it. He wants us to think.

If you get a chance to read either of these books, go for it. You’ll be glad you did.

Hymn, ‘Praise Ye the Lord the Almighty’

I need to rinse my brain out, after that last post, and this old hymn will do it.

All these hymns come back to me from my Sunday school days–and the days of my church, before I went astray. And the church went astray. God has called me back, but my church is still out there making it all up as they go along.

But never mind. I have the tools now to praise God, and you who join in with me. And if that’s not a church, then what is?

Conspiracy Baloney Aimed at Our Lord

We watched the new X-Files last night. Patty is crazy about The X-Files. I’m not. All that conspiracy stuff gets to me.

When the show was over–complete with liberal TV wallah’s definition of “a conservative,” Heaven help us–I checked my blog… only to find still more conspiracy theorizing, this time by a reader.

It is not possible that anyone could be so dense as to spend a minute or two here and not realize it’s a Christian blog. But anti-Christians have this enormous sense of entitlement that empowers them to bad-mouth Christians’ most sacred beliefs, and no manners, either–they’re like someone who barges into your living room and pees on your couch.

So this guy comes on to tell me there was never any such person as Jesus Christ. Nope, you don’t have a Savior. Jesus, you see, never existed. He and the whole New Testament were “written in secret, by the Roman aristocracy–” what? all of them?–“as an antidote to Judaism.” It was all a conspiracy, you dig? A Roman conspiracy against the Jews!

But, Mr. Conspiracy Monger, the Romans had no need to conspire against the Jews. They had this thing called the Roman Army, and when some little nation like Judea bugged them, they sent the Roman Army over to kill them. End of problem.

There is evil at large in this world; and although its face is human, it serves spiritual wickedness in high places.

And in the end, God wins.

Jesus Christ, Lord of All

This image, found in many ancient Byzantine churches, is called Christ Pantokrator, which means “Christ the Ruler of All Things.”

This includes the 28 inches of snow that fell on us yesterday, and the brilliant sunshine that now spreads itself over glistening expanses of pure whiteness.

It is good for us to see Christ in majesty, and to remember that God the Father has promised to put all things under Him.

Just a little thought to start your day.

By the Waters of Babylon

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?  –Psalm 137:1-4

It would not seem unusual for Christians to feel like this, these days. Only the difference is, the Old Testament Jews were carried off captive to Babylon; but for American Christians, their home country transformed itself into Babylon. And it’s worse for Christians in Britain, and the other European countries that once were called Christendom.

Yes, we might sing, with Don McLean, the refrain from Psalm 137. How, indeed, do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

Maybe like this.

Yes, I think: very much like this.

Christians and Reincarnation

Don’t you sometimes wonder just what the churches in America are teaching–or if they’re teaching anything at all, and just leaving it up to the members of the congregation to bumble forward on their own?

The Christian Research Institute–if you’re a fan of Christian radio, you know the CRI is the home of Hank Hannegraaff, “The Bible Answer Man”–reports that 24% of Americans believe in reincarnation… and 22% of professed Christians in America say they believe in it.

Folks, that’s not even trying to get it right! What does the Bible say? [I]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) None of this getting born and reborn over and over again until you get it right, you get “enlightened,” and are rewarded by being absorbed into the cosmic amoeba. If that was really going on, then why did Jesus Christ have to be born, and why did He have to die on a cross?

No, no, no–the only way to mix Christianity and reincarnation is by the firm application of pure brainlessness.

Why aren’t the churches teaching God’s word?

CRI encourages Christians, when they encounter some dork who believes in reincarnation, to ask “Why?” We are advised to ask nicely, so that probably lets me out. An honest answer would probably be, “I dunno–a lotta cool celebrities say they believe in it, so if I say I believe in it, I’ll be cool, too.”

I have yet to figure out how to continue the conversation from that point.