Saturday, June 24, 2006

 

Unpredictable Blogging Ahead

Out-of-Town family arrives later today for several days. Things are likely to be unpredicatable posting wise.

 

Finger Lickin' Links

My wife loes antique jewelry, but these are pretty ugly.

So, How do you feel about this?

Go ahead, make my day. How'd you like that staring down at you?

Been there, seen this, Laer makes a great point in his first paragraph.

Religious equivalency run amok. Christian evangelism to hasten the end times equals Ahmadinejad's desire to nuke Israel to achieve the same end? It requires actual stupidity not to see the difference.

I can think of 1001 uses for this. All of them will get me in trouble.

Mark Roberts keep slooking at PC(USA) and its recent debacle.

And here I have been told it's a pollutant.

Tony Snow v Helen Thomas - priceless.

If only we Presbyterians had problems like this. Sigh.

Ahem - Challies! - how to deal with Andrew Sullivan - and it's not declare his entire church apostate.

I tried these, it didn't heal faster. There's a sermon in this one, think about it - pastors that's a freebie from me to you.

Off color joke alert: No doubt his wife paid the settlement out of sheer joy. Sorry, it was just too easy.

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Comic Art

THOR IS ANGRY!

With this Kittens dressed as vikings - abomination!

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Friday, June 23, 2006

 

On Success - A Personal Testimony

I had the wind sucked right out of my lungs yesterday...

I have had a client for almost 20 years. We haven't see each other much physcially in the last 15 years or so. Once the working relationship was firmly established it was just too easy by phone, fax or email. I saw him with my own two eyes for the first time in about 3 years yesterday.

We started our businesses at the about the same time and have grown together. He grew at one of those startling paces, making millions and millions. I chose a slower path. At his height my friend could have bought and sold me out of pocket change. I consider myself a wealthy man, but by his standards I live in public housing, drive wrecks, and my European vacations are phlebian.

His business has hit hard times, in fact its completely broke and in receivership. He personally is close to BK, though the work I am currently doing with him is to try and salvage value from some of his remaining assets to avoid that.

When I last saw my friend he was well into the downward financial slide, but there was plenty of reason to hope, unlike now.

Did I tell you we are virtually the same age, my friend and I?

What I saw yesterday was a man physically broken, more reminiscent of my grandfather at 85 than a person of my middle age. My heart sank, I had to work not to cry. My immediate reaction was to offer, right then and right there, to pray for him. I stifled this impulse because I know he would have found it insulting, both because of it reflecting on his current position and health, and because of his feeelings about faith.

This is an old story, perhaps even cliche, but now it is mine and I need to tell it.

My friend devoted himself night and day to his business, and often chided me about lost opportunities I had because I did "silly" things like honored the Sabbath and did church things in evenings during the week. He married an employee and it was obvious she understood where his first love lay. He was, and is, a man who without his successful business has nothing - and now that he actually has nothing, by all appearances it is actually, physically killing him.

My friend was successful beyond most of our imagination, and it is killing him.

I am not sure I have ever been more grateful for My Lord and for the love I share with my wife, who is herself a gift from God, than I am right now.

Please pray for my friend - and for me. I am overwhelmed with the desire to reach out to him and tell him why our paths have been so different - why, as we both reach our 50's, I am attaining the height of my capabilities and blessings and he finds himself on death's door and on the verge of financial ruin. But I don't sense that God has yet opened the door for that - I wish He would, pray for that opening too.

And then - pray for the church. Pray that the church does not get lost in the same dreams of success my friend did. Pray that we all get lost only in the Lord.

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I Just Love The Smell Of Links In The Morning

Once again we learn that when it comes to environmental concerns - There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Unfortunate airline name. I surprized they had any passengers.

Lost in the PC(USA) dismantling itself. Joe Carter along the same lines.

An interesting way to talk about sin. But we probably still need to remind people it is sin.

Yeah well, I STILL love the place.

Think about it. Great stuff.

In my business, I've met hundreds of this guy.

It is now necessary to have a permit to take a dump. Anybody besides me think that is just a little too much government oversight?

This makes far too much sense.

Praise the Lord this is not my line of research.

Mark Roberts continues on PC(USA). Mark, something to think about - what the vote does is change us from a denomination to a convention. We just became Baptists.

When it comes to black holes, he knows more than almost anybody, but not when it comes to climate. Keep your nose in theoretical physics where it belongs.

I was going to write about this until what I wrote about happened. Amen.

Oh My... Is there no limit to self-absorption? (HT: Nancy Pearcey)

He's in St. James Palace, London. (For those not into the Brit scene, that's the official residence of Charles, Prince of Wales - now it;s funny joke, isn't it.)

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Friday Humor

Dear Abby:

My husband is a liar and a cheat. He has cheated on me from the beginning, and, when I confront him, he denies everything. What's worse, everyone knows that he cheats on me.I t is so humiliating. Also, since he lost his job five years ago, he hasn't even looked for a new one. All he does all day is smoke cigars, cruise around and shoot the breeze with his buddies while I have to work to pay the bills. Since our daughter went away to college he doesn't even pretend to like me and hints that I may be a lesbian. What should I do?

Signed, Clueless

--------------------------

Dear Clueless:

Grow up and dump him. Good grief, woman. You don't need him anymore.You're a United States Senator from New York. Act like it

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

 

Way Too Busy To Write Links

I wish I could find it funny. Sadly, more people buy into it than don't.

Because there is time to be wasted. (HT: A Fly In The Soup)

PC(USA) walks the plank comments: Mark Roberts - Mark Daniels - Hugh Hewitt - more Mark Roberts - Russell Smith

Is it still a bad idea we went to Iraq?

Release your inner artist. Check the URL - it;s a pretty funny joke.

When you can't win the arguement - dismiss.

Have you been following this? Some people need a life, and just their own, not someone elses.

There is no truth to the rumor that I am responsible for this billboard.

Oops! Now, pick your punchline - "God obviously did not want this church moved," or "Only in Kentucky."

Has been for decades, so read this headline as - We need funding.

What do you think Magento will throw around in the next movie?

Tapscot gets serious about blogging here and here

At least we are not the only church with schizophrenia.

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Illuminated Scripture


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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 

The Pot Is Now Boiling And The Frog Is Unaware

Well, we went and did it yesterday. My denomination PC(USA) said, essentially, "We cannot agree, we don't want to fight, so we won't take a stand". We will now find ourselves in the somewhat unenviable position of having one church over here ordaining homosexuals and one over there that won't. And should same-sex marriage ever become the law of the land, we will see the same thing happening on that issue.

On first blush, I have to say, I am not sure people have thought this through carefully. Suppose my congregation decides not to ordain homosexuals, but, because our pastor is on vacation, we need supply to serve communion and moderate Session. (These are things, for the unintiated, that we require an ordained pastor to do.) Now suppose the only available supply is homosexual, an individual whose ordaination we do not recognize? What happens? We are then forced to either recognize ordination of homosexuals, or violate the rules about office.

I realize ordination happens on the Prebytery level, but what of the congregation that does not support homosexual ordination in a Prebytery that does? In the end that is exactly how I think the scenario I just described will happen. A non-homosexual ordaining congregation will have to realign with a different Presbytery that is geographically too distant to grant supply, thus homosexual supply will become almost inevitable. (BTW< once all that rellignment has occurred, can real schism be far behind?)

This is insidious. In my opinion, it is over. We have schism, but it will not be dramatic, it will be one congregation at a time. Either conservative congregations will be forced out when they fail to accept homosexual supply, or they will be forced to accept it. The so-called "local option" is, simply, unviable - we are too interrelated.

More importantly, what am I to do? Do I go back on Session so I can have the strongest possible voice in what my congregation does? Do I attempt to influence my congregation from off Session? - it could be argued I am better at that. Do I join the local PCA congregation? - which is unfortunately composed of graceless conservatives, but at least they are not apostate.

That's the problem with a no-decision decision like this. It's not a compromise, it's a cop-out. Pray for us. - Pray for me.

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Sad To Be In PCUSA Today Links

Gen 9:16 - When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

How do you talk? Apparently, I might be a redneck. (HT: BHT)

Blogs matter.

Flatulence in the news - see it's not necessarily a bad thing!

So what happened?

What will you do? - What shall I do?

Becasue when your butt mass is increasing exponetially while you are pretending to play sports, you want that perfect experience.

If it wasn't for the fact that I love my Episcopalian brethren, this would make me feel a bit better about being PC(USA) today.

OH NO! - We're all gonna die. Give me a break.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Speaking of flatulence, apparently the planet does it too.

Because some people cannot deal with reality - I Love London by the way.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

Free To Be Reformed, Or Not

BHT linked yesterday to two great posts by John H. Armstrong examining the "truly reformed" phenomena. The first post asks 10 great questions and the second is devastating.
There is very often more psychology involved in these debates than theology, at least in one fairly observable sense. Time and again I have watched as fear, insecurity and the need for approval and control all drive such debaters and their agendas. For folks who confess the sovereignty of God it does make you wonder a great deal.
I don't think it is fair to debate the psychology of any blogger, particularly one I have never met, but when Armostrong uses the word "control" I had a fascinating thought.

As the TR crowd hammers at the Roman Catholic church over and over again one is forced to reflect on the fact that one of the ways the Roman Catholic Church came to have to problems it had that resulted in the Reformation was because it had an enormous amount of control. It was a poltiical entity as well as a spiritual one. And as the cliche (most of which are very true I must remind you) goes - Power corrupts.

More, as the Reformation proceeded we saw absolutely that affect on the reformed. Calvin's Geneva was not a nice place, and Cromwell's England? - they brought the Stuarts back out of self-defense for crying out loud. As Dan reminds us, even the Reformers were fallible.

At the very heart of being reformed, and particularly evangelical reformed, is the idea of personal choice, and the freedom to make it. Implicit in that is respect for those that make a different decsion than we do. Respect does not entail agreement, but it does mean reasonablness in our discussions with them.

Thus it seems to me that part of being reformed is that we avoid the perjorative, the back-handed, the insulting. We disagree, we discuss, we argue, but we don't take potshots, and we don't engage in the kind of dilettantish insinuation that gives one plausible deniability.

The very heart of the Reformation is that the TRUTH of the gospel could not be hidden from view. If we really believe that - we do not need to stifle that which we consider less than true, all we need do is confront it with truth.

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LINKED - An Exercise In Spreading The Pathetic Levels Of Traffic This Blog Enjoys

With great power comes great fueds.

We make a difference, we really make a difference!

When you need a life...

Sadly, we deserve this ridcule.

It's official, Tim LeHaye is a whore. (First item)

And they Bush capitalized on 9-11 for his political desires. (HT: Greenie Watch)

Smart Thanking

Lesson to environmentalists - there is no such thing as a free lunch.

My spider-sense is tingling - there is a bad movie in the making.

Better than nothing, and from my hometown no less.

Great point!

Which is a far fry better than what he could have eaten. By the way, its was juuuuust right.

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The Terrorbuster Saga

INSTALLMENT #14

Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog

While he was cooking up his new "Rob Self" identity, Carter had once again hacked into US homeland security systems. The information he had gathered was soon making its way, in various disguises, to DOE NEST teams, FBI, local authorities and everyone else who needed to know.

Knowing it was Sophiaskia material made it easy for the NEST team to find out what warehouse had the material. A paperwork check revealed it as unclaimed. Pretty soon the whole dock and warehouse was staffed with FBI agents.

Eventually, a truck came to claim the crate, but it was obviously hired. They followed the truck which delivered the material to one of those 5000 square foot industrial bays in something that looked like a mini-mall except with overhead doors. Every bay in the U-shaped development had a sign except for the one that took delivery of the crate.

Then the stake-out began. They identified 20 people routinely coming and going from the unit, though they were rarely all there at the same time. Background checks ensued. Three or four of them were already on the watch list, but most of them were new. All the newbies were followed and portfolios compiled.

When the FBI felt like it had gathered all the intel it could, their raid began, not only on the industrial unit, but on the homes of everyone they had noted coming in and out of the place.

In the industrial unit itself the terrorists were constructing dirty bombs on a level unimagined. Investigators found two dozen of the things in various states of assembly. They also found logistics plans to explode them all simultaneously, one each in various metropolitan areas. They could have brought the country to its knees.

The plans were terrifying in their implications. This "cell" was not limited to Arab-Islamic extremists. They had recruited a few American extremists, some from the heavily African-American "Nation of Islam," but most were simply disaffected nutcases in the mold of Timothy McVeigh. They used these Americans in a most insidious way.

The American recruits had been used to contact various American groups like environmental extremists, white power groups, black power militants, and so forth. These groups comprised the distribution network for the dirty bombs. The Homeland Security net had just gotten a lot bigger.

They also found evidence of a cell leader who had never been to the unit, He was a ghost; they had no way to trace him. Papers referred to him only as "Mohammed's Right Arm." Documents seized in Afghanistan had also made mention of such a figure, but that was all that was ever known of him.

The public was never told of the cell or its mission. It was judged that the implications were more than the average American could handle.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

 

Cling To What Is Good...

Rom 12:9b - Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Being from the bible, that is, needless to say, pretty good advice. Been thinking a lot lately about clinging to what is good.

On Friday, there was an excellent piece by Michael Barone in OpinionJournal
Historians may regard it as a curious thing that the left and the press have been so determined to fit current events into templates based on events that occurred 30 to 40 years ago.

While you are considering that piece, be sure and check out the comments from Dadmanly and especially this from Captain Ed.

"Template" is the key word there. Past experience, whether personal or historical creates templates into which we try to fit things, and often they don't fit. History may repeat itself, but not in the detail and emotion that so many try to force it to.

Speaking of history, I was reading some the other day and it dawned on me that it is quite possible to review the entire history of my denomination, rooted as it is in the Church of Scotland, and never encounter TULIP, or The Institutes.

We tend to think of the Reformation in theological terms, but it was much, much larger than that. It was, of course, eccelesiastical, but from a historical standpoint, it was geo-political. Wars and civil wars were fought, maps were redrawn, potentates dethroned, and in England even the body of democracy unseated.

I wonder, when we claim to be "reformed and always reforming", if we cling a bit too much to the historical template of the reformation instead of just the theological ideas that have become so important. Think about it, were wars really fought over theological ideas? I don't think so. Wars were, and are, fought over political power. Wars, to some extent, are about tribes.

Tribes may be defined by ideas, or race, or any lots of other things. But tribes do not war over what defines them, they war over which tribe is in control. In the the case of tribes defined by ideas, they war is over, not the idea itself, but the ability to press the idea onto those not in the tribe, not sharing the idea. Such is human nature, perhaps a sign of insecurity, such is certainly the nature of sin.

Have you ever thought about the fact that in the grand scheme of things, God spread the good news beyond the Jews and to the gentiles not through politics, but through the power of the ideas and His grace. Why didn't Paul raise an army? I think because the truth is so powerful, far more powerful than any army.

It should be painfully obvious that in the Godblogosphere we have tribes. Because this is an idea place, those tribes are defined by ideas. But that is all we have here, ideas - there is no political power to be won, so why do we have wars? - And we do have wars! I think it is more than just insecurity.

I think it is because we impose on the ideas, and hence the tribes, some of the historical templates of the Reformation and other periods of history. Why, for example, in certain corners of this virtual world is it not sufficient to merely discuss reasonably the errors in Roman Catholic thought? Why must we resort to declarations of satanic status - to dismissal and minimization? Likely because the template tells us that we are in a geo-political struggle with the Catholic Church, something that was really left behind several centuries ago.

But insecurity does play a role because most telling about this approach is that it shows we have no faith in the ideas that define our tribe. If we truly believe that our ideas are truth, should we not be able to rely on that truth to carry the day? Why then must we resort to the perjorative, the accusative. the dismissive?

We should be better than this. We are supposed to be the brightest of the bunch, instead I am struck by how often we are just the tribal juvenile.

I must admit, sometimes I get pretty worked up about this particular issue. In a place that is supposed to be about intellect, and that routinely bashes the left for its small-mindedness, I become a bit incensed when I find similar small-mindedness on my side of the aisle. It's not an excuse, but it's because I believe so much in our side, it pains me deeply to see us shooting ourselves in the foot, and being guilty of the same sin we so often deride.

I ask only that we remember this is an idea place, there are no politics over which to war. Take off the template of history and cling only to that which was good from it. See this place for what it really is. We can accomplish great things, but only if we do so together, and only if we cling to the good, and only the good.

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Blue Plate Special Links

On the value of scientific consensus.

Narrow escape. Yep, they're still trying to get us.

You need these for small talk. People will of course think you are weird, but at least you'll have somethng tot talk about.

Life imitates bad television. What am I saying? - no one remembers "Manimal"!

In the words of William Shatner on SNL, "Get a life, move out of your parents basement!"

A big fat controversy.

This makes one wonder about Mary Maitlin and James Carville's kids.

When we do weather reasearch on historical records, records based on instrumentation and other tools far less sophisticated than what we have today - how much can we know for certain?

One man's pet is another man's dinner.

More on when dogma replaces science.

Thowing out the baby, the bathwater, and the bassinet.

Which I suppose is better than eating it -- see above.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

 

Happy Father's Day


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Links For Dad

Just in case Dad has a dangerous bat encounter

Something to keep dad busy today.

No doubt, scientists this smart are dads.

Dads need to prayer for the church in Zimbabwe.

Something for pastor dads to think about, "the most basic practical division among evangelical pastors today may be between those who pursue faithfulness and assume relevance and those who pursue relevance and assume faithfulness."

Something for dads to think about when it comes to religion and society.

An inspriational dad. (HT: SmartChristian)

WaPo suggests stifling religion in the name of diversity. Dad's should see who is really behind a suggestion like this. (Screwtape I'm thinking)

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Sermons and Lessons

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

George Adam Smith, divine, educator and author, was born at Calcutta in 1856, and educated at New College, Edinburgh, Scotland. For years he was professor of Old Testament Language, Literature and Theology in the United Free Church College, Glasgow. He is author of "The Historical Geography of the Holy Land," "Jerusalem, The Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Time to A.D. 70" (1908). He was generally regarded as one of the most gifted preachers of Scotland.


ASSURANCE IN GOD

Preserve me, 0 God. - Psalm 16:16

The psalmist lived in a period when belief in the reality of many gods was still strong, and when a man who would follow the one true God had to prefer to do so against the attractions of other deities and against the convictions of a great number of his fellow countrymen that these deities were living and powerful. That stage of religion is so distant from ourselves that we may imagine the psalmist's example to be of no practical value for our faith, yet in such an imagination we should be very much mistaken indeed, for, to begin with, consider how much you and I today owe to those believers who so many centuries ago rejected all the gods that offered themselves to the hearts of men except the true God, and who chose to cleave to him alone with all that passionate loyalty which breathes through these verses. But for them you and I could not be standing where we are in religion today. As the eleventh of Hebrews reminds us, we are the spiritual heir of such believers. It is to their struggles and their faith and their victories that we greatly owe it that we have been born into an atmosphere its which no religious belief is possible to us save in one God who is Spirit and Righteousness and all Truth.

That then, was the great choice that the psalmist?s faith was turning to a choice that was no mere assent to a creed that had been fought for and established in previous generations of believers. It was the man's own proving of things unseen and his own preference of those against the crowd and a system of things seen, palpable, and very powerful in their attraction for the senses of humanity. But we are not to suppose that the rival deities, from which this man turned to the unseen God, were to his mind or to the mind of his day the heap of dead and ugly idols which we know them to be. They were not dead things that he could kick away with his feet that these believers had to reject when they sought the living God, but things which he and his contemporaries felt to be alive and powerful; powerful alike in their seduction and in their vengeance. They were believed to be identical, as you know, with the forces of nature they were supposed to be indispensable to the welfare of time individual and of society, and they were fanatically supported at the time by the mass of this man a own countrymen; so that to break from them in those days meant to abandon ancient opinions and habits, to resist many pleasant and natural temptations and to incur the hostility, as was believed, of the powers of nature, to break with customs and with rites that had fortified and consoled the individual heart for generations and been the support and sanction of society and of the state as well. Yet this man did it. From all that living crowd and system, from all those visible temptations and terrors he turned to the unseen, fully conscious of his danger, for he opens his Psalm with a great cry, "Preserve me, preserve me, 0 God!" but yet deliberately, and with all his heart: "I have said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord." I have no goodness, no happiness, that is outside Thee or outside the saints that are in the land, "the excellent in whom is all my delight." Here we touch another great characteristic of all true faith which is full of example to ourselves. It is remarkable how, when a man really turns to God, he turns to God's people as well, and how he includes them in the loyalty and in the devotion which he feels toward his Redeemer. His confidence and the sensitiveness of his faith in and toward God become almost an equal confidence and an equal sensitiveness toward his fellow believers. So it is throughout Scripture; you remember that other psalmist who tells us how he had been tempted to doubt God's providence and God's power to help the good man "does God know and is there knowledge in the Most High? Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocency." The psalmist immediately adds: "If I had spoken thus, behold I had dealt treacherously with the generation of God's children." If I had spoken thus, denying God, I had dealt treacherously with the generation of God's children. Unbelief toward God meant to him treason toward God's people; and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews affirms the same double character of true faith when he emphasizes just these two points in the faith of Moses: "'choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God," and "enduring as seeing Him who is invisible," and God himself through Jesus Christ has accepted this partnership of his people in our loyalty - "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me." I do not believe in the full faith of any man who does not extend the loyalty he professes to God to God's people as well, who does not feel as sensitive to his brethren on earth as he does to his Father in heaven, who does not practice piety toward the Church as he does toward her Head, or find in her fellowship and her service a joy and a gladness which is one with his deep joy in God, his Redeemer. Nay, is it not just in loving people who are still imperfect, often disappointing, and far from their ideal it may be, that in our relations to them we are to find the greater proof and test of our religious faith? In these days such a duty is unfortunately more complicated than with the psalmist. The lines between God's Church and the world is not so clear as it was to him, and the Church is divided into many and often hostile factions. All the more it becomes the test of our religion if our hearts feel and rejoice in the fellowship of God's simpler amid more needy and more devoted believers, however unattractive they may otherwise be.

Consider the way in which the psalmist reached this pure faith in God and in his people. A factor in the process was distaste for the ugly rites of idolatry - "Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer." Idolatry always develops a loathsome ritual. Sometimes it is cruel and sometimes it is horribly unclean, but it always debases the worshiper's mind, confuses his conscience, and hampers his freedom and energy by the burdensome ceremonies it imposes upon them. Standing afar off from them as we do, and knowing that there is no heathen religion but has something good in it, we are apt to think that it does not in the least matter how crude or how material a nation?s faith be if only it be faith in something more powerful than themselves, if it satisfy their consciences and have some influence in disciplining society and helping the individual to control himself. But you have only to see idolatry at work, and at work with the habits of ages upon it, to recognize how terrible it can be in its identification of sheer filth and cruelty with the interests of religion, and how it at once demoralizes and paralyzes its adherents. To see it thus is to understand the passionate horror of these words: "Their drink-offering of blood will I not offer."

It is, however, no mere recoil from the immoral which started the spring of this psalmists's faith in God. That faith was formed on personal experience of God himself. In simple but pregnant phrases the psalmist tells us how sure he has become, first, of God's providence in his life; secondly, of God's intimate communion with his soul. God, he says, had been everything in his life. One does not know whether the psalmist was a prosperous man or a poor one; the inference that he was prosperous and rich has sometimes been drawn, but wrongly drawn, from one of the verses of the Psalm. his indifference to that is clear, hut what he did have he knew he had from God. God, he says, is all his happiness and all his strength - "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance arid of my cup; thou maintainest my lot." Whether poor or prosperous he could say "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." Now that assurance of divine leading is not analyzable, but we know that it does grow up solid and sure in the experience of simple men who have put their trust in God, who have felt life to be a commission from Him and who have done their duty obeying His call. With such men "all things work together for good." Tho life about them shake and darken, they feel their own solidity and have light enough to read the future. Tho stript and stark, they feel the Lord Himself to be the portion of their inheritance and of their cup. The portion of my inheritance the Lord is, i.e., the little bit of land that fell to each Israelite as his share in the promised inheritance of the nation."The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance," as we might say in our Scotch language, "The Lord is my croft and my cup," so they find in Him all the ground and the freedom they need to do their work, fulfill their relationships, amid develop their manhood.

It is, however, with the psalmist's second reason for his faith we have most to do. "I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons." This man held close communion with God. Is it not great to find the testimony of a brother man coming down all through those ages, from that dim and distant past, clear and sure as to this, that he had God's counsel and that God kept communion with him? God had spoken to this man and shown him His will. Yes, he had received what we call inspiration and revelation, and had proved the truth of these in his life. They had led and they had lifted him. Nor had they come to him as many men falsely suppose revelation and inspiration exclusively have come to mankind, by means, namely, that were extraordinary and miraculous. The psalmist tells us of no vision of angels, of no voice from heaven. The Lord had not appeared to him in dreams nor by any marvelous signs; on the other hand, he tells us simply that the divine counsel of which he was so sure, and which he passes on to us, came to him through the workings of his inner spiritual life. That is what he means by the emphatic statement "yea, my reins instruct me in the night seasons," which he adds parallel with the thought, "I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel." According to the primitive physiology of this man?s nation and times, the reins of a man fulfill the same intellectual function which we, with our larger knowledge, know are discharged by the brain. This was how God's revelation came to this brother of ours, through the working of his mind and conscience, but it was in the night seasons that they worked, not in the day and in the sunshine, but in the night when a man is left to himself with only this advantage to his thought: that like the blind he is yet undistracted by the influences which are seen. When he lies down he thinks soberly and quietly about himself and about life and about God, and about the great hidden future that is waiting for him. He was communing with God, who had made his brain and used it as an instrument of revelation. In these thoughts God was communing with man through his reason and through his conscience. You and I are always contrasting God's providence and His grace. We are always attempting to opĀ¬pose reason and revelation; to this man they were one. God's great grace had come to him through God's own providence, and God's revelation was ministered to him through the reason with which he had endowed the creature He had made in His own image. This psalmist's chief and practical help to us men and women today is that he became sure of God not because of any miracle or supernatural sign, on his report of which we might be content indolently to rest our faith, but in God's own providence in his life and in God's quiet communion with him through the organs God Himself has created in every one of us. For all time, whether before or after Christ, these are the chief grounds and foundations of faith in God. So it was in the Old Testament "stand in awe and sin not," "commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still," "be still and know that I am God." So with Christ, "for the kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation, but the kingdom of heaven is within you," and so with Paul, "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God amid joint heirs with Christ." "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,? that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, to the end that ye being rooted and grounded in love may come to apprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ."

God's guidance of his life, first of all, produces in a man a great sense of stability. "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved." He who has found God so careful of him, he whom God hath regarded as worth speaking to and counseling and disciplining, will be certain that he shall endure, provided he is sure of his own loyalty. The life so loved of God, so provided for, and in such close communion with the Eternal is not, can not be the creature of the day, and this assurance stands firm in face of even death and the horrible corruption of the body. The psalmist refuses to believe that he is to dwell in the horrible under-world forever?either himself or any of God?s believers. "Thou must not, thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol, thou must not, thou wilt not suffer thy loved ones to see the pit." To this man it is incredible, and our hearts bear witness to the truth if we have had any experience of God's blessing and guidance. To this man it is incredible that the life God has cared for and guided and spoken to and brought into such intimate communion with himself can find its end in death. Those whom God has loyally loved and who have loyally loved God?for this word badly translated "holy" in the psalms really has that actual significance?those whom God has loyally loved and who have loyally loved God shall never die. As He lives so shall they; they shall never be absent from His presence. Be the future unknown and unknowable, be we ourselves incapable of conceiving the processes by which this mortal shall put on immortality, or where heaven is, or what eternity can possibly be to those who have never lived outside time, yet that future is secure and its immortal character is indubitable - where God is there shall his servants be, and because He is there their life shall be peace and joy, and because He is eternal it shall last forevermore. That thought is the whole of the hope and argument. We are assured of the future life because we have known God, and as we have found him to be true to us and proved ourselves true to Him.

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