New Under the Son

 
 
 
Hebrews 8:
 
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

 10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

 


 

 

Dear Visitor:

 

 

In all likelihood, changes to content will be most frequent on this page.
 
New issues coming to mind; new revelations coming to bring focus to the "faith once delivered to the saints"; personal milestones; poetry.
 
I hope that you will be blessed with this pot pourri. I will caution however that errors do occur, prejudices do raise their nasty little faces and the "glass darkly" still holds us back.
 
In any event, glad to have you visit!  Wander the beach with me, collecting beautiful shells of discovery in our faith.    Doug
 
 

 
 
 

Church On The Hoist

 
 
 
 

  
 

The Sign Read...

 


I drove by this little unassuming building. Nothing really suggested that it was a church, but it had an orderly, colourful spring garden in the front, a rude cross in the middle of it and a sign over the door which read as follows:

Assembly of the Banquet Guests, Holding Nothing in Their Hands, and Desperate for the Generous Host To Arrive That They Might Kiss His Pierced Feet, and Feast and Act Upon His Every Word

Sounds like a good place. No presumptuous labels such as Glory, Victorious, World-Wide, Full Gospel, Shekinah or Soaring. Perhaps too they have caught the message that the Host has sent out the invitation to both good and bad (Matthew 22:8-10). They need only come, give thanks and hear. He will accomplish the rest. And He does.

Interestingly enough, the sign had thirty-three words. Significant number.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Assurances in Christ

 

I have spoken to people at times about the blessing and indomitable hope of a present assurance of salvation.

The look on their faces tells me that they do not get it. They are still thinking in terms of some giant chalkboard somewhere, some giant tally, where all of their good points and all of their bad have been listed. The net gain or loss of their good works determines their ultimate fate. Joy in the presence of the Lord, or anguish forever to be separated from His glory and peace. They are thinking and behaving as did the people of the Old Testament. They are waiting for their day of "reckoning" (at its root an accounting word).

But Grace tells us to remember that day when we confessed our sinfulness and trusted in the obedience and "dues-paying" of another, the Lord Jesus. Remember Romans 10:

8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

It is like the story of the man who knelt at the Gospel Tent Meeting and "made his peace". At the end of the service he came back to that very spot with hammer and spike and nailed the sharp bare metal into the ground. He turned to one at his side and said, 'I intend to leave it there. In the future whenever I am being challenged as to what has been accomplished this night, I will be able to return and behold the place of my change, my new birth. This is a done deal.'

In the new family likeness of Jesus, we have family entitlement, ongoing family safekeeping and guidance and blessed assurance of approaching glorious family reunion, secure against all evil and woeful judgment.

Yes, saved in three senses of the word. Past. Present. Future.

On this Easter Morning (April 8, 2012) we rejoice in Christ's resurrection. God was saying in this fulfilment of prophecy (Psalm 16), 'Jesus is the one; the foretold suffering servant who would stand in for your sins; pay the price of law; unveil the sure inheritance of mercy; trust in His FINISHED work.'


Note: One day years ago, I was feeling quite dejected about some issues, and walking from the bus along the railroad line to the east limit of our factory property. On the ground was a railroad spike, loose beside the rail. I picked it up. Symbol of intense suffering at Calvary. Symbol of my liberty and assurance. Even then I knew the story of the Gospel Tent. I still have the spike.
 
 
 

 

Help to a New Believer

 

Congratulations you have found the pearl of great price! Culture a thankful heart. God didn’t have to take the blinders off, but He did for reasons best known to Him. Do not be in too much of a hurry to explain your discoveries to unsaved friends or family. You need time to solidify. You need grounding in the scriptures. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit you have a newfound capability to discover life, order and hope in the Bible. Focus on the Gospels, particularly Luke. It is more to receive an impartation of the life of Jesus into your spirit, than it is a matter of education. We don’t “learn the Christian life” as much as we receive life from Jesus as a governing dynamic. It is more about impartation than imitation.

Although Church attendance is helpful, a good “round-table talk” regimen with a few trusted friends of faith will progress you more resolutely at this point. A good book for you to get is The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey.

In your prayer times speak naturally and pause often to determine whether the Lord is whispering something back to you. Your spirit will know when this occurs and you will probably receive some suggestion of a scripture or two to back things up. Prayer is not just a matter of keeping your own jaw flapping.

On our blog herein take a look at the poem Returning With Thanks; also the poem The Closet.

 

 

 
 

Returning With Thanks

 

Were there not ten

With my blessing

Leprous one moment, and then,

Sent for the priest’s

Absolution,

Clean and recovered again?

 

Was there but one

Back to thank me?

He, a Samaritan too.

Shameless he bows.

Adoration.

Here at the feet of a Jew.

 

Oh there’s much more

For the thankful.

Those who remember each grace.

They are made whole

From the inside.

They shall discover my face.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Obliteration


 



I'm watching as my sand runs out
I'm living to the full
I gather all the good times up
I strive and push and pull.
I like the pace, oh yes I do
And many call me blessed
It's like a nose and grindstone thing
I seldom get to rest.
But then last night I turned the dial
And got a preacher's rant
That Jesus was the only way
But man, I won't... I can't.
The end is just the end you see
I mean to put it off
And gather all the chips I can
Before this frame I doff.
And nothing-ness is my next step
No pain and no regret
No Golden City for the saved
No flames of wrath I bet.
And when my last breath leaves the show
That guy says I will wake
With endless wails and God elsewhere
With Truth I failed to take.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Seamless Transition

 

 

 

When I have slipped this shell

And kissed each loving face once more

And find strange buoyancy

To float weightless

To that distant shore.

When pains have fled

And duties suit a former time.

And eyes new-sparkling

Marvel at all joys now mine.

I haven’t one, not one

Investment come matured

That I can thank

For this and bliss

‘Til now obscured.

Oh Jesus, you are all

I have to praise

And walk with, laughing

Through unending days.

And being here, I sense

All fear is gone

And up ahead the saints

To love and be loved

Halcyon.

 

 


 

 

Harbour Piloting


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Goderich Port)


He was Irish and he was eloquent. He pastored a large downtown United Church in London. He held many parishioners whom I loved in the palm of his hand. But he could not pilot them safely to shore.

Friends of the family had heard of the uncommon faith encounters of Doug and Hilary. They decided to cool the enthusiasm about the “born again experience” by sending a tape of one of this man’s sermons to us.

Everything in that message built up to the assertion that the term “born again” had only been mentioned once in scripture by Jesus in John 3, and there it had been mis-translated. The Lord had not said “born again” to Nicodemus, but rather “born from above”. Yeah, so what?

In either rendering from the original language it was clear that the Teacher of all teachers was saying that a second life-giving experience was essential, and that that transaction was as mysterious as the winds.

But let us keep going and look at scriptures affirming this strange entrance into aceptance with God. The Psalmist said it in Psalm 51. Jeremiah said it in chapter 31. Ezekiel said it in chapter 36. John the Beloved in his Gospel said it in chapter 1. Peter the Big Fisherman said it in his First Epistle chapter 1. Paul said it in Galatians chapter 6 and in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. The anonymous writer to the Hebrews said it in chapter 8. James the brother of the Lord said it in chapter 1.

There you have 8 different sources together with Jesus speaking to the new birth, new begetting, new creation or new covenant written upon the heart by God’s own sovereign act. You see, it is not all up to us. There is tremendous hope in this fact, and particularly when the Psalmist reminds us that the Eternal One is plenteous in mercy (Psalms 86 and 103).

This Irishman, this pulpit-weaver of words, will stand out in my memory as one with grand homiletics but lousy Bible comprehension and delivery (hermeneutics). Friends, beware of enticing words and agendas of men.

A Texas preacher, far less sophisticated, by the name of Bert Clendenning told an arresting story coming from an unforgettable dream. He saw a handsome young man walking across a frightening area of burning ground. He had a look of grim determination upon his face. He would stop and reach down and pull up a head out the flames, examine it, then put it back down and try again. The dreamer had the impression that the place represented Hell. He asked the young man about his purpose.

I am looking for the preacher who steered me wrong. He’s gotta be here too.”

(Note: The term “pilot” in this context has always fascinated me. Perhaps it started with reading the book Sky Pilot released in the early 1900’s by a Canadian Prairies preacher and author using the pen name Ralph Connor. He offered some of the earliest and best of so-called Christian fiction.)






A Table Before Me

 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.



This interesting statement is made in Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm.

This is God as host preparing delightful things for His flock:

A freedom from condemnation - The old mess has passed; totally made new and clean by the blood of Calvary. There is no longer the grinding weight of guilt for past stumbling. There is a ready place to go for absolution, should one fall again.

An Elder Brother who identifies - There is no temptation that Jesus did not experience during His earth walk. But he withstood all heroically and did not sin. We may be confident that He will ever be the reliable hiding place and counsel when new temptations/trials hit.

A confidence in the Lord's guidance and protection - Our past experiences in the faith tell us that there is no place of greater safety than at the Shepherd's side. There have been rescues. There have been sunny vistas. There have been bowers filled with the song of his creatures. And that wonderful settling sense of His presence even unto death.

Refreshments have come in surprising ways - Just when you think you are caught in a hard place without a way of escape, the Lord arrives, and the shadows flee, and the bracing thrill of His availability is like a long draught of cool water. His words of comfort and direction to the inner man have special blessing at such times.

We have the constant sustenance evidenced in the bread and wine - Things sanctified, broken and poured out by our Great Rescuer Jesus in order that we might not suffer judgment; things that speak to a world-wide mystical family rejoicing in all of His deliverances and compassions until He returns to take up His throne.

And the journey is perilous through a fallen world. There are influences close at hand that would seek to defile, defame or destroy. Although they report to the Prince of Darkness, they are aware of the power and presence of irrefutable Righteousness, and they see evidences of the same in members of the flock. They will be weakened in their resolve, and terrified by the prospect of mercy, recompense and judgment winning the day.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Fiddle

 

YouTube Video

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Ship of Ships

 

April, 1912

 

It is sinking

Irreversibly.

Whistles abate.

Bells diminish.

The chuggings of

Lower quarters

Grind and wheeze.

Rowings are heard

‘Gainst the waves.

Tempo setting in.

Lifeboats all dispatched.

But too few.

Friends call to each other

Cross the darkness.

Deck fires paint a cracked

Flash on the brine.

Great ship lists

Horribly

To the fore.

Stragglers and those resigned

Sit at lounge chairs,

Awaiting inevitability.

Hands held.

“I love you” spoken.

One baleful voice

Cries through the fog

(As if alone, where

Crowds had just streamed,

Voices discordant.)

“Herbert, dear,

I’m waiting for you.”

Atlantic cold

Clarifies the strains

Of small orchestra.

Dignified departure.

Debussy.

And this had been

The Ship of ships.

Frigid saline fingers

Thanking the ice;

Grabbing more and more

Of its girth.

Pulling it down.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Open Letter to the Bruised

 


Dear Neighbour:

Have you been hit hard? Sickness? Money pressures? Unemployment? A broken relationship? A grievous death? Monotony and depression?

Memories have become debilitating assailants. The answer is not in looking back. This morning's sunrise was something new. The fresh air entering your window something God-given. Never lose sight of the fact that you are under the watchful eye of heaven.

Suffering is our common lot in a fallen world. But for many, the testimony has been "a coming through". Get out there in the society, if only for the exercise and fresh air. You will see many other stories of challenge right around the corner. You will also see the many simple niceties. Parents with a beautiful little child. Elderly with the grace and distinction of a former generation. Teenagers with the wide eyes of romance. Public servants doing their duty with courtesy and a smile.

And in this venture, smile. Seek to engage. Render a simple service. Converse spontaneously. People are hungry for this sort of connection. They are too hurried. Their surprise at your approach will give way to warmth and response.

Your focus on "sad self" will be forgotten for a moment or two. Perhaps you will experience the seeds of friendship. Perhaps, in passing, a bit of information will come which holds the key to your victory. Perhaps 'a merrier heart will work like a medicine'.

God designed us to be social "critters". His Son taught us to pray "Our Father..."

Finally friend, be on the lookout for your "coming through". Trust in His wonderful resources of mercy.

Regards,
Doug
 
 
 
 

 
 



Thou Makest the Outgoings of the Morning and Evening to Rejoice

 

 

A radiant glow
As day begins
And dew creeps from the barley
And songsters pipe
And smells ignite
And workers up right early.
What news they ask
How fares the world
And will it note my passing?
Few bob to earn
Few friends to greet
But nothing spare amassing.

 

And soon ’tis gone
The clock rolls on
And muscles ache and falter.
Will Ted be missed?
A grand-son kissed
And christened at the altar.
And evening’s glow
Helps us to know
A shadow world is creeping.
But not for long
Hope’s glowing song…
The Son will raise the sleeping.

 

(suggested by Psalm 65: 8b)





 

 

 
Letting Go
 
 
 
 

This is a hard one Father

She’s further away now than ever.

Where gone that little girl

In delicate spring dress

Skipping away with us

From the Meeting Hall?

 

The friends came

Of dubious influence

With smirks and smeared

Rebellion.

The curfews ignored

The substances tried.

 

The studies neglected

And then abandoned.

Her Mother’s tears

At the lessening calls

A Big New City tried

A daughter lost to us.

 

And now we shiver

Thinking of her common day.

The mistakes, the men

The miasma and muck

Of it all, Lord.

She’s out of reach.

 

But your arms

Are big, Father

You see, and operate

Through innumerable agents.

Undertake now we pray

Our daughter on your altar.

 

Note: This one was provoked by a video I saw this morning featuring the testimony of just such a runaway woman who sank lower and lower until she came to an apartment in New York City just down the street from the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The story of her recovery relates one revelation and healing after another. The prayers of devastated parents were answered.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Blood and Water
 
 
 

 

Aye, there was a death alright.

Sent me back to finish off

The three of them.

Clubbed, smashed legs

For the two rogues.

Breathing becomes impossible.

Third one looked already gone.

They told me He’d been different;

Calm, connecting with some Spirit.

Eyes closed, serene

Like a worker in a well-earned sleep.

He seemed out of place.

Nasty business for One

Who had taught peacefully in town.

So I’m told.

Feeling the ugliness of my job

I thrust with spear,

Bringing on a queer eruption

Of blood and water.

Happens sometimes.

Convulsive internal rupture

Confirming death.

We spared His legs.

Those who remained

Around the cross

Were all in tears.

As if something great had broken

Inside them too.

(1 John 5: 6-8)

 

 


 

 

 

Most Marvelous Name

 

 

(Painting by James Tissot - Jesus Teaches at Soloman's Porch)

Say the name

And watch waters

Part before you.

On the one side

Smiling faces

Touched by grace.

On the other

Clear discomfort,

Cold suspicion.

And a charge

That you are clearly

Out of place.

 

Say the Name

And the demons

Look for cover;

And a shaft of

Light invades

Where darkness reigned.

And a glimpse of

Hope uplifts

The weary sufferer.

Rest and rescue,

Timeless Gospel

Still the same.

 

Say the Name

And a cloud of

Watchers hovers closer.

Those who fought

And felt the cut

Of unbelief.

Smiling now in

Halls of Glory

With their Saviour.

Praising “Jesus”

And forgetting

All their grief.

 

 


 

 

Revelation Nineteen

 

 

 

Down He comes

With hosts of white-robed

Saints a-riding

Time has lapsed

For Babylon’s charade

Wicked thrones

And merchants brought

To judgment

Wearers of that

Godless brand

Dismayed.

No more shame

Assaults our

Prince of Meekness.

Now He comes

In triumph

With His reign.

Darkness flees

He speaks and

Armies crumble.

Earth will never

Be the same again.

Look to Zion

Once encircled

By the vicious

Now at peace

With songs and order

All around.

See the Lamb

With kings and courts

Attending

His the seat

Where righteousness

Is found.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Here For You 

 

Here For You with Matt Redman

 

 

 


 

 

 

Love's the Thing

 


Do not self-improve.
Do not even try.
I dispatched my Son
And I watched Him die.
And I heard His friends
Beg the reason why.
(That they needn't die.)

And this holy life
That you strive to score
Is not bought with sweat.
Not to be a chore.
Simply probe the depths
Of my love's rich ore.
(And I have much more.)

If you must repent
Of a single slight,
Let it be your coldness
Again last night.
I was there for you
Just to hold you tight.
(To make all things right.)

It's the love you miss
In this very hour
That will save and cleanse
And endue with power.
I have plans for you
And will see them flower.
(Let my mercy shower.)
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

The Constancy of Christ

 


(Taken from a letter from Samuel Rutherford to Alexander Gordon of Garloch, 1637)

If Christ were as I am, that time could work upon him to alter him, or that the morrow could bring a new day to him,or bring a new mind to him, as it is to me a new day, I could not keep a house or a covenant with him. Bit I find Christ to be Christ, and that he is far, far, even infinite heaven's height above men; and that is all our happiness.

Sinners can do nothing but make wounds, that Christ may heal them; and make debts, that he may pay them; and make falls, that he may raise them; and make deaths, that he may quicken them; and spin out and dig hells for themselves, that he may ransom them.

Now, I will bless the Lord that ever there was such a thing as the free grace of God, and a free ransom given for sold souls: Only, alas! Guiltiness maketh me ahamed to apply to Christ, and to think it pride in me to put out my unclean and withered hand to such a Saviour. But it is neither shame nor pride for a drowning man to swim to a rock, nor for a ship-broken soul to run himself ashore upon Christ.
 
 
 

 

 

Ananias

 

 


I had the strangest leading
Early upon rising
Why me, would be
Anyone's guess.

But here I am
On my way to
Straight Street
Walking into trouble.

Never before
Such strong impression.
A vision of one
Suffering God's will.

The rabbi Saul
Sent only for peril
For our people.
Prison for Christ's flock.

The house of Judas.
Here it is.
And Saul abed,
And sightless, much in prayer

Now, what to say?
God help me.
Useless I am!
But for Your Spirit.

This room? Oh yes.
Well, Brother Saul,
New marching orders today
Only believe.

And eyes again
To see each
New assignment
The Lord hath need of thee.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

A Good Fistful

 


God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4)

When I see the blood I will pass over you. (Exodus 12)

I have found a ransom. (Job 33)

In wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3)

I have called thee by name. Thou art mine. (Isaiah 43)

Time and again I see these themes popping up in scripture. They are all answered in Jesus. Only believe.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Perhaps Just Curious?

 


Some of my friends lovingly tease me for the significance which might be attributed, I suggest, to the chapter and verse placements of some key Bible concepts. They remind me that in the original language there was no such format, simply run-on text. But I have observed some things. Consider the following:

  1. John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  2. John 10:10 - The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life,and that they might have it more abundantly.
  3. John 13:13 - Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
  4. Matthew 23:23 - Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
  5. Romans 5:5 - And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
  6. Romans 12: 12 - Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:13 - And now abideth faith, hope,charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
  8. Galatians 3;3 - Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
  9. Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
  10. 1 Timothy 6:6 - But godliness with contentment is great gain.
  11. Hebrews 8:8 - For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
  12. Hebrews 13:13 - Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
  13. Psalm 37:37 - Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
  14. Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
  15. Exodus 12:12 - For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
  16. Deuteronomy 18:18 - I (God) will raise them up a prophet (Jesus) from among their brethren, like unto thee (Moses), and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
  17. John 15:15 - Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Is there a suggestion of pattern here? Curious. It is as if the single verse encapsulates the message of the entire chapter.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Seven Words Selected

 
 
 

SIT YE HERE, WHILE I SHALL PRAY – Jesus took the eleven from the Upper Room to Gethsemane and the favoured three to a more intimate circle where he would pray and ready Himself before arrest. His mortality needed their company, support, compassion and prayers, as before He had needed rest, reception, food, fellowship or contemplative time. He knew that they did not understand the darkness of the hour and would not come under its burden. Charitably, He told them to sit while He undertook the heavy task of will-struggle, petition and tears. It is always thus in spiritual transactions; His to DO and ours to sit and trust that it has been DONE in His sufficiency.
 
 
(See our other page "Gospel Gems: Seven Words Each".)
  
 
 
 

 
 
 

The Gentle Humourist

 


He was able to laugh
At the little things.
At the irony of our lot.
At the play on words,
At the twig to pride,
At the frequent trials he got.

He was able to laugh,
And a tonic proved
To his friends when faced with pain.
How his joke or song
Could relieve the wrong.
Helping them to hope again.

He was able to laugh,
As the years progressed
And the things of youth slipped by.
When the trips and chores
And the Great Outdoors
Were but memories, and a sigh.

He was able to laugh
At the final bell,
When the umpire shouted "Game!"
Sensing paths once trod
Had been mapped by God,
Who had always known his name.
 
 
Note: Thinking of my dad Jack Blair (1922-2010).
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
I'm Gonna Rock Yo' World
 
 

Japan's earthquake. Haiti's earthquake. North Africa's revolts. American financial debacle. Iceland's volcano. Coalition of world's stock exchanges. Fall of General Motors. Bankruptcy of Ireland, Iceland, Portugal  and Greece. Aids rampant in tropical Africa. Gunman slaughtering kids at camp in Norway. Warlords tried for crimes against humanity. "Occupy" protests troubling the world's financial centres. Abortion on demand. Honour killings. Massive oil spills. Politicians campaigning on inconsequential platforms. Women enslaved or ritualistically mutilated. Baby girls left in the gutter. Children pressed into commando service.

We appear "lost at sea" with a world of shakings, fear, violence, insincerity, duplicity, greed and godlessness. In casual conversation, neighbours and workmates admit that "things are getting worse, aren't they".

This morning, and quite randomly, I turned to the last chapter of Revelation (22) and read the following:

11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.


Somehow it all fits. Are we alarmed enough to ready ourselves and those in our sphere?
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Sing/Sanctus Real
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

The Twenty-Seventh

 

 

 


The how and why of worship at church may be found in this Psalm:

3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Particular attention should be given to each of the italicized phrases. If our gatherings miss these points of focus, there must be an adjustment. I will pass comment on just a few:

enquire - We must come with expectation and not fuzzy "Sunday morning heads". With the preparation of personal prayer we have asked that specific questions be addressed, or we will engage with a trusted fellow believer on such points at the appropriate time. Growth necessitates that we present our own questions.

shall hide me - There is sanctuary in the presence of our God. A respite from daily pressures and worries. A fortifying reminder of His keeping care.

set me up upon a rock - One is reminded of the opening verses of Psalm 40. That rock, of course, is the sure foundation of the Gospel. The merciful bestowing of God's favour and shepherding for the simple asking through Christ. Let all other tempting stories of interest, current affairs or personal anecdote be set aside.
 
I will sing praises unto the Lord - Not the professional praise team, not the overhead video...I will sing. Delightfully modulated breath given back to the Giver.

Thy face, Lord, will I seek - Far beyond doctrine and observance one comes to a recognizing of the face, the countenance, the nature and names of our God. To grasp these is to grasp peace, assurance and a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Put not thy servant away in anger - We do not get what we deserve. Because of who He is and what He promises, we have reconciliation and fellowship.
 
 
 

 
 
 
Offering of Faith
 
 
 
 
 
 
In January of this year (2012) evangelist and master storyteller R. W. Schambach passed away. He was 85. My discovery of this development got me browsing for Schambach materials. I discovered a video where he spoke of the greatest miracle in his experience; some 26 illnesses and defects in a four year-old boy from Tennessee.

Back in the '60's Schambach was praise leader and lead-in speaker for revivalist A. A. Allen. They were holding a week long meeting in Birmingham. Every day people in the congregation would fill in prayer cards with specific needs hoping for the ministrations of the evangelist. A mother approached Schambach on the final day desperately in need of attention for her deformed son - blind, arms and legs curled up, tongue lolling, deaf and dumb, body hunched in fetal position, no male organs, no feet only stubs- 26 afflictions in total.

Schambach could hardly restrain the tears as she related how her money was almost used up in offerings and motels over the week. He promised that whatever the outcome of the day he would ensure that mother and son got an attendance before Brother Allen. He had been told that the woman was down to her last twenty dollars with a return trip to Tennessee still costing and a doctor's appointment on the next day.

The praises were concluded and Allen took the podium. Short, red-haired, quick moving with the commanding low voice of a lion of faith. The first order of business was to be the offering. He stated that tonight would be a special "offering of faith", a giving of something that one could really not afford to give for the glory of God. (Schambach later learned that the mother's last twenty bucks went into the bucket.)

Allen said that the Spirit was taking him on a journey. 'He saw a hospital delivery room, a maternity ward, doctors holding a pathetic baby in consultation...ten, fifteen, no twenty-six different afflictions, a woman in a Ford automobile crossing the Tennessee-Alabama state line, she was in this tent, she was here for her baby now four years old. Ma'am come on up. Jesus wants to operate!'

And so it began - a loosening and a straightening of every problem in plain sight. People in the front rows were ecstatic. Schambach was transfixed and wide-eyed. And then came the feet. No feet, remember? The stubs took proper shape in seconds; a creative miracle. The once clouded eyes now a vivid brown, and looking for the first time at his heroic parent. The silenced vocal chords now uttering for the first time "Mamma".

And all ignited with an "offering of faith", and compassion all around.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Seven Words Selected

 


AND YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME – With the incoming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Guide, it was inevitable that believers would take Jesus and His message with them as they went about their ordinary affairs. They were constantly being witnesses. They were a people wondered at. A look, a word, a gesture would have the fragrance of Jesus, and would often open a way for more specific testimony. They were constantly encountering God-ordained opportunities to minister, just as the Good Samaritan had experienced “as he journeyed” on his way to Jericho. (Luke 10) Jesus promised such opportunities, then and now.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
That's the Spirit    
 
 
http://issuu.com/deedub51/docs/that_s_the_spirit
 
 
 

TO LOVE CHRIST AS WE OUGHT

 

Jesus advised His disciples that it was expedient that He return unto the Father in order that the Spirit might be released into the Church. It is my impression that the Church commenced when the disciples saw the resurrected Lord. (At Pentecost spiritual power and boldness was given for the believers to "witness unto Him".)

After that reunion there were treasured sessions on and off over a forty day period until the Ascension. Christ came and went. Unrecorded marvels were taught and shared. He was getting them ready to move away from the tactile and into the fellowship of faith.

Thomas well knew the pleasure that the Lord derived from those who could not see the Master but who believed, and resorted to the fellowship of prayer and watching and trusting.

It was promised that when the Lord went away He and the Father would send another Comforter, Who would bring to remembrance the teachings of Christ, Who would bring calm in the midst of the storm and Who would inspire love for the Saviour and the kind of unity enjoyed in the Trinity.

In my own experience, when conviction of sin reached its critical stage, and the words of Jesus were touching me in an unprecedented way, I knew that I had to discover the Spirit. There was blockage there. So often in the Church in our prayers the naming of the Father made sense as Creator, Law-giver and Protector; the naming of the Son as Forerunner and sacrificial Lamb. But the naming of the Spirit? Who was He? Or it? An emanation perhaps? A collective spiritual response?

Had anyone dutifully opened up to me the Fourth Gospel,  the personality of the Spirit would have become abundantly clear. This discovery eventually came, and with it the awesome realization that the help received by Jesus through the Spirit could also come to me. (Acts 10: 38)

Perhaps these few words have removed some clouds for you as well

 
 
 
 
 
 

Galilee Morning
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Passion Flower


It's a beautiful thing to see. Five vivid petals, memorializing the five woundings of our Saviour's body, by forged metal and stabbing thorns.

Two hands, two feet, one brow, wounded for our transgressions.

But one day, meditating upon this, it came to me. There were other wounds. The mutilated back bearing the terrible signatures of scourging. The spear wound to the side, confirming that the victim had indeed died.

Perhaps a flower should have been chosen which presented seven vivid petals. Seven, the number of perfection, the perfectly accomplished work of redemption.

There are other messages in the additional two. Isaiah said in chapter 53 that "by His stripes (lashmarks) we are healed". Can we look for bodily healing in the atonement?

Physicians have commented that the issues of blood and water out of the spear-wound co-mingled, confirm an internal rupture which accompanies death and the breaking of a heart. This wonderful rabbi, Jesus, who spoke such glowing words of promise, who ministered comfort and healing to the afflicted, was truly human. He could hurt. He could die. He dwelt in our skin.

But then He arose to live ever more! And to be "in our corner".

Note: After posting this article I took another look at the picture. Another discovery! The flower has three pistols, wherein rests the reproductive power. A whispering of the Trinity perhaps?
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Exquisite Variety

 


My friend Perry now lives in Kentucky and is employed by Answers in Genesis, a Creation Science institute, publishing house and museum. Not too long ago he sent me a DVD which simply canvassed the beauty and diversity in creation in the realms of animal, insect, fish, bird and plant. There is little narration, but some beautiful classical music as a background. Words are not necessary to give the impression that a wonderfully artistic Designer is at work behind the scenes, happily turning out another variation or colour or enhancement for a species. The film progresses in crescendo of awesome wonder. The viewer is left certain of the fact that he has not just observed an inventory of evolutionary accidents. The recurrence of patterns and design cannot be attributed to the rolling of the dice in some game involving time, chance and organic chemistry.

Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands displayed amazing diversity. Colour for camouflage or attraction of a mate. Beak shape or size for feeding from different plants, seeds or fruits available. Flight techniques suited to environment. His "hypotheses" suggested the evolution of features over time assisted by (1)selective breeding and (2)survival of the fittest. Now no one with functioning gray matter will deny the benefit of these processes. Take a look at the dog kennel or thoroughbred stable. But to write a Creator of exquisite design, delight and variety out of the process is ABSURD. Not even Darwin did this, but rather his more rabid anti-Church successors. (They went on to formulate the whole ape-to-man controversy, which presently is disproved by genetic science and DNA)

Consider the above picture of a flower from Thailand which is very rare, beautiful, specific and thrilling to the imagination. The Parrot Flower. Well done, Heavenly Father!
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Glorious…the Place 

 

What shall we say then?

As time now is fleeting.

Soon must the messenger

Come to his close.

Soon must the poetry

Rest on the bookshelf,

Time working out in its

Commonplace prose.

Focus on Him who

Alone brings refreshing,

Comfort and courage

In life’s every phase.

Christ, our Forerunner

Through every temptation.

Showing a path in

The darkest of days.

Soon comes the trumpet

To beckon the faithful.

Heavenly Zion

The land with no night.

Glorious, the prospect

Of life with the Father.

Glorious the place where

The Lamb is the Light.

 

(Picture of Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland. One of the most beautiful places known to me on earth. So what is next?

"Forerunner"...I love that word.)

 
 

 
 
 Feel free to email a comment or contribution to the following:
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
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Doug Blair,
Jan 22, 2012, 4:10 AM
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Doug Blair,
Feb 25, 2012, 12:08 AM
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Doug Blair,
Jan 6, 2013, 2:36 PM
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Doug Blair,
Apr 29, 2012, 4:42 AM
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