Saturday, January 13, 2007
Barbara Boxer Should Sit On It And Rotate Links
And here we find Boxer's German relatives.
Someone who may be dumber than Barbara Boxer, but only maybe.
And, when it comes to Jimmy Carter, he was right.
Another gene my wife and I DO NOT share besides "Y".
From hence, road confusion.
What else you gonna do on Saturday?
Is it weaponized, and can they use it against the cat?
Is there nothing people won't cheat at? The honor of the fish story is forever besmirched.
Tasteless, perhaps, but a crime?
Kirk and Spock at Boarding School. The mind boggles at the possibilities.
Related Tags: Barbara Boxer Is An Idiot, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Few ideas have been more enduring in the history of comics than the idea of the speedster. You know, someone that can run really, really fast.
Far and away the preiminent speedster has been DC Comics Flash. But he is not a single character. Beginning in the Golden Age, the character has spanned four generations with the current alter ego Bart Allen. Spanning generations with classic heroes has become a bit of a DC specialty, never better done than with this character, matched perhaps by Hourman.
But while Flash may be the most widely known such character, they are innumerable. DC owns many of the trademarks at the moment. As one of the surviviors from the Golden Age, they bought up all they could to reduce competition for the Scarlet Speedster.
And yet, now those characters show up in the title with great frequency; the affect being that the title character has become almost a brand for the speedy hero. Marvel too has its speed demons, most notable Quicksilver, but it has never used the type to the affect that DC has.
As one of the quinessential memes of comics, I thought it might be fun to do a series on the various speedsters. We've looked at some before, but never really tackled it as theme, there is much to examine.
For one, why, like flight, does this particular "power," have such appeal? What does it say That the Flash has come out as the preeminent speedster? This and more will be examined as this series goes forward.
Related Tags: comics, comic books, comic art, speedsters, The Flash
Friday, January 12, 2007
What they all have in common is a devaluation of Scripture, a devaluation of theology, and an elevation of personal experience. [emphasis mine]Ever more evidence that we reduce religion and faith to something we put on, as opposed to something that we allow to transform us. We have changed religion from an institution to a lifestyle, but still we have not let it be that which God intended it to be. We forget, all the effects we seek from religion are real, and true, and available, but they are by-product, not product. It's like buying an engagement ring because of the setting and then getting ripped off because there is paste in the setting. It's the stone that matters.
Dallas Willard has said
Christian spiritual formation rests on this indispensible foundation of death to self and cannot proceed except insofar as that foundation is being firmly laid and sustained.Our experience is ruined. It is not reliable. We must forgo that which we experience for the sake of that which He experienced.
We must simply lose our lives - those ruined lives about which most people complain so much anyway.
The Christian "experience," proceeds in precisely the opposite direction that most people think religion is pointed. We do not find ourselves in Christ, WE FIND CHRIST! And unless we put ourselves aside, our view of Him will always be blocked.
Willard is big on the spiritual disciplines - but even they can be problematic, for they too are experiential. They can become, unto themselves, idols. They can become the source of "spirtual metrics" and we measure our progress towards holiness in hours on our knees instead of true transformation.
We have so far to go.
Related Tags: experience, tranformation, religion, faith, spirituality, self-denial, Christ
Links That Make You Say Hmmmm.....
Jimmy Carter continues to ignore the first rule of holes.
And now, soccer will be fashionable in LA - people will still leave before it is over, and when he goes, so will the crowds, ask Wayne Gretsky.
Laughing at Hitler? Mel Brooks certainly does. It strikes me that if we cannot laugh at evil, it becomes sacred.
I thought we are all open and accepting of homosexuality now? I also thought "drama" was more a gay man than lesbian issue.
TO THE BATCAVE!
Oldie, but goodie if you have some time on your hands.
Do you think maybe this should have had one of these?
Interesting science or double entendre? HEY! - I link to 'em, I don't write 'em.
"Neighbors from hell" - defined. Problem is, I'm not sure which one sets the definition.
Are we talking porcine or human variety?
Now here is a SciFi movie - Bunnyzilla meets Catzilla - in the end they just eat each other.
Related Tags: Jimmy Carter, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.
There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.
We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
All you need to be assured of success in this life is ignorance and confidence.
Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom.
It's a good idea to obey all the rules when you're young just so you'll have the strength to break them when you're old.
Let us not be too particular: It is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.
Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
If a person offends you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch for your chance and hit him with a brick.
Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
There is no use in your walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful near home.
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
Don't part with illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
Be careful to get out of an experience all the wisdom that is in it; not like the cat that sits down on a hot stove. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again...and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
Related Tags: Mark Twain, joke, humor, wisdom
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I don't understand Evangelicalism's obsession with wiping out the past. In many parts of the American Church today, a flagrant disregard for what and who has come before us dominates all expression toward God. It's as if today's Christians must live in a self-imposed vacuum. We are told by the more "learned" to build no Bethels. Soon, forgetfulness washes over us like a dulling fog.Modern evangelical faith is built on such a fragile base. Like an army which has stretched it's supply line to long and thin, but still focuses on the battle, we risk losing the war we have fought so well.
I have told the story before, but it is worth repeating many times. In the Soviet Union, religion was actively and openly oppressed, killed, murdered, harmed. But the tradition or religion and its many artful expressive forms had wormed their way so deeply into the fabric of the society, that they had to remain. Cathedrals and churches of unparalleled architectural beauty - Icons, ancient in the writing simply could not be removed from view. Even Stalin knew the power of the governed, and he dare not step too far. Besides, such things occassionally brought visitors, which brought much needed hard currency.
By the time I visited there, genuine faith was very hard to find, but mere months later the Iron Curtain fell and in rushed the faithful to attempt to restore it. They found fertile ground. No, more, they found ground plowed and ready for planting. Why? Those forms that seem so idolatrous, so extravagent, kept alive in that nation a hunger for the Spirit. The gospel, instead of being a message from another planet, was a message that provided true meaning to that which surrounded them.
As I ponder the evangelical landscape, the undistinctive architecture, the lack of adornment, I wonder what would be left if the kind of oppression and supression the church experienced in the Soviet Uniion came here? The buildings are too easily and unnoticably convertable to factories and offices. There is no liturgy seared into the minds of the generation to come springing forth in times of stress and desparation, and thus given to the next generation.
What, I wonder will we leave behind? If nothing, we have most assuredly failed.
Related Tags: faith, religion, tradtion, Russia, The Soviet Union
Teenage Mutant Ninja Links
On expertise. As someone who makes a living being an expert, this sounds good to me.
Tolerance, it's a wonderful thing.
The ultimate geek skill. No video games involved.
Finally, a genuine environmental problem. Let's form a foundation, we need commerials, ads, PR campaigns, books of regulations, and mostly funding in the billions for floss science. This too!
I'm sure Moby Dick was too.
Sounds like a reason to use your service weapon to me.... But then, it is Wisconsin and drinking is more sport than anything else there.
How come the Brothers Grimm, and Disney, left this part out?
Yet another SciFi script in the offing. Not just rabid, Rocky was undergoing horrible, horrible mutation because of exposure to alien starship exhaust....
Speaking of which, a sequel inspired.
A man needs what a man needs.
Related Tags: National Council of Churches, expertise, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Achieving Genuine Peace
During a recent ministry trip overseas I was presented with some astounding statistics on Muslims coming to Christ. As the sources are involved in restricted access areas, they do not want their names mentioned as sources, neither can I personally confirm the accuracy of these reports. However, for your interest and information: I?ve been informed that there are now over 50,000 believers in Afghanistan. Before the war there were less than 100 Christians in the country. Today there are more than 400 Christian missionaries in Afghanistan, operating in each of the 34 provinces, for the first time in Afghan history. One of the missions involved in Afghanistan claims that there are today over 50,000 Afghan Christians.I have a friend that took a brief mission trip to Afghanistan immediately after we invaded, he can tell some fascinating stories.
Another mission involved in Iraq claims that, in the year before the war in 2003 there were only 3,000 known evangelical Christians in Iraq, and only six evangelical churches. Today there are more than 25,000 Iraqi believers in 25 churches in Baghdad alone. And hundreds of new churches in other areas of Iraq.
I love hearing these stories, but I am disappointed that The Reformed Evangelist did not point out the utter importance of this evangelistic effort. There is far more at stake in evangelizing the Islamic world than just the precious souls of those that find Jesus. Our souls too are at stake.
As the insurgency in Iraq demonstrates, the violent strain in Islam is significant in numbers, it is not just a few crazies. And they are highly motivated. They simply will not stop. And with Iran on the verge of the bomb, and Europe less than a generation away from being essentially Islamic, we could find ourselves in a Cold, and perhaps even genuine shooting, war with the forces of Islamism. Bottom line, we cannot kill them all. Something must be done to destory the violent tendencies of this branch of Islam.
Can you think of a better way to do that destruction than to introduce them to Christ? I have no hope that we can convert the terrorists, but the peaceful majority is ripe for the picking. Do you honestly think the average joe in Iraq likes what is going on around him?
But we are going to have to get very serious about our evangelism. This "Jesus loves you just the way you are" stuff appeals to us pampered Americans, but people in the Islamic world need a Jesus less touchy feely and more "tearing through the Temple." Are we prepared to show that side of Christ to them? Do we even know Him?
To do the evangelism that is necessary in this part of the world, we have got to work on ourselves a bit and take our faith far more seriously than we do.
We will save souls, and we will bring genuine peace.
Related Tags: Islam, evangelism, Iraq, Afghanistan, peace
Speaking of Europe, it appears Poland had a very capable space program, but only using very charismatic astronauts.
Meanwhile, science finds God and predicts "the future." Of course, with the former, the powers are quite limited and ungodlike, and with the later no one will be around to test the prediction. Hmmmm.... I know!, we'll look for friends.
Why if the left, even pretty far left, is involved do we read words like "moderate" or "improve image," but if anyone even slightly right-of-center gets involved, we read words like "insane"? Oh and by the way, I wouldn't turn to either of those two to improve anything.
Voting is a right, but shouldn't there be some standards?
Knew this when it started, first time I ever flew into Newark....
The truth about how pastors view thier congregations.
Why geeky science, especially geological scientists, should never, ever be entrusted with public relations campaigns. There are PR firms for such things. It is a pun beneath even this blog.
Stunt as "art." That explains a lot of what passes for science these days.
How to drive your cat nuts and have them drink form the toilet at the same time.
Related Tags: global warming, science, astronomy, geology, public relations, joke, wisecrack, humor, sarcasm
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Who Do We Serve?
- Is your ministry strategy creating a ?buzz? in your community?
- Do volunteers ?own? the ministry of our church?
- Do we exceed the expectations of our first-time guests?
- Are people having fun?
- Do people accept change as normal?
- Are we addressing the REAL issues of REAL life?
- Are we building a church of ?leaders??
Is anybody besides me just a bit horrified by this list of questions? Particularly that they are asked without context of any sort other than "growing church." These questions beg the question, "What precisely are we building?" These are the same kinds of questions one would ask if one was building a community center of some sort. Where are the questions like:
- Are people encountering Christ and His Spirit when they come to our church?
- Are we leading people to deeper levels of discipleship?
- Is the love of Christ evident in all we do?
- Do the people that come to this church experience the transformative power of the Holy Spirit?
- Are we a beacon of Christ in the community?
I could keep going, but I'll spare you. The questions asked and the questions I propose come from two very different perspectives that can be summed up in one simple question: Who does the church serve?
With all the talk of attracting people to the church, I wonder if this very fundamental question gets asked, do we serve the public or do we serve the Lord? Consider:
Luke 11:23 - "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters."In this passage, Christ challenges us that we must overtly and decidely pursue His causes and His ways, and if we do not, if we serve the church memebership and not the Lord, we are, by Christ's definition "against Him."
I wonder if it has dawned on all the church growth consultants and people like that that when we cater to the community to draw them in, we cater to the fallen, to the sinful, to the broken. It seems to me that if we take our theology seriously, that if we believe in original sin as we say we do, we understand that we should appeal tot he higher, not the lower.
It's an oft-quoted, almost to the point of triteness, scripture, but I think Joshua said it best:
Josh 24:15 - "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."Related Tags: Lord, service, church, building, questions
Big Wheel Keep On Turning Links
Whackos at war! As for me, I shall eat as much beef as I can and fart profusely while driving my gas-gussling V-8. Speaking of cattle, I like a little herb butter on my steak, but this is ridiculous.
Obviously, we must ban toilets, especially automatic ones. On the other hand, what would these women do? Besides, they are handy for trapping leopards. And what about these little guys? So many issues, it's impossible to know what's "correct"!
Gotta be a democrat.
This must mean we live in God's navel.
Where I want to work.
Related Tags: freedom, religion, environment, cattle, toilet, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Monday, January 08, 2007
We are addicted to customs that have lost their lustre: The Men?s Bible Study that attracts only two longtime members every Saturday morning. The Annual Strawberry Festival run for the past 30 years by Miss Dotty which is supposed to raise a little money for the church library (also run by Miss Dotty).I do not agree with all of her conclusions and asides, but the central concept is an excellent one. Our church is dying because we are addicted to unhealthy stuff - the question is really "What?"
We are addicted to appointing the same people to the same positions: The elder who has chaired the same committee since Eisenhower was president. The church treasurer who won?t let anybody else touch the checkbook. The volunteer who considers the bulletin-folding job her particular domain and yet complains constantly about giving up her Friday mornings to serve the LORD in the church office.
We are addicted to long-term habits so familiar that somebody thinks they?re Biblically prescribed: You can?t teach Sunday School if you are under the age of 30. You can?t serve communion unless the bread is cut into tiny cubes of Wonder Bread. You can't preach the sermon from pew-level. For that matter . . . you've got to keep all the pews even if it means there will never be room for other instruments up in the chancel. For that matter . . . you've got to have pews at all.
(Disclaimer: I do not know the person that writes the blog I have just quoted. Anything that departs from her post from this point on is in no way aimed personally at her, or anybody else)
What are we addicted to? I would answer OURSELVES. So many of the examples she cites are so right on - people protecting their little fiefdoms in the congregation, protecting themselves. But I think this addiction to self runs a little deeper than just church job-security issues.
When such things do change, it can get very ugly and very divisive, and so often its just silly matters of taste. Ever been in a fight over what will be served for food at a church function? Oh dear Lord! The fatties vs. the skinnies - talk about championship wrestling. And in the end, it's the fat people not wanting to be tempted by too many calories (Me- GUILTY!) and the skinny people looking for an excuse at indulgence. God generally fails to put in a showing.
Too often in such conflict we all admit WE have hit bottom. We talk about not playing fair, and getting along better - but the confession is merely coporate and does not address the central issue. The central issue is the ME focus on both sides and the confession addresses how we fight, not how we let go of ourselves.
When, I wonder, will be hit the real rock bottom? When will we stop trying to fight fair and just let go? When will we give up our desires for our fellows? When will we follow the example of Christ?
Related Tags: church, fight, addiction, rock bottom, self-sacrifice
Monday Master Links
And then temper your sadness with pride that this nation still produces such men.
There is more truth in this video than in most newpapaers when it comes to environmental matters.
(HT: Jonah Goldberg) John Miller adds more. I've been in one of the regions featured, though not the specific area - there is little exaggeration here.
Environmentalism goes interplanetary - seriously, I am not joking this time.
At last the truth can be told. Environmentalists think the earth is falling apart because they can't engineer anything themselves, so they figure God must not be able to either.
Yes, it's true, we are under regulated, throughout the world. Whatever you do, be sure and push that regulatory agenda! Or Else.
Laer and some great global warming rants - one and two.
Joe Carter sorts the latest stem cell findings for us.
I'm not a big fan of bureacracies, but they are persistent. Example one - Example two.
Just in case we need to go there.
Just because it's interesting - most fail to realize the extensive and ground-breaking engineering that is gun design.
Talk about double meaning - it could also mean "What happens when that Disnoey dog drops a load ony our foot," and carry the same connotation.
Related Tags: hero, military, environment, global warming, over regulation, stem cell, joke humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Colts, 'Dogs Victory--O-Rama Links
Oh, here's an idea - Doctor Who features time travel and an object bigger on the inside than the outside, very scientific. I would guess the new science minister in Britain does not know much actual science.
It's good to know the ACLU is on the job. This strikes me as trivial and stupid even for them.
Either the most disgusting thing I have ever read, or a blatant attempt at extortion. Disney has gone down hill in its hiring practicies in the last few decades, but I'm putting my money on the later.
Geeky and bored? This link's for you!
Hello, God, I'm...Hello, God, I'm...Hello, God, I'm...Hello, God, I'm...Hello, God, I'm...
"I don't know, one minute I'm grazing peacefully, and the next I'm flying through the sky. My name's Bubba and I am a moose abducted by aliens."
...And a goat to be named later. Same story, different joke.
This'll shake you up
Related Tags: sports, ACLU, science, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Sermons and Lessons
John Clifford, Baptist divine, was born at Lawley, Derbyshire, in 1836. He was educated at the Baptist College, Nottingham, and University College, London. He has had much editorial as well as ministerial experience and has published a number of works upon religious, educational and social questions. The Rev. William Durban, the editor, writing from London of John Clifford in the Homiletic Review, styles him "the renowned Baptist preacher, undoubtedly the most conspicuous figure in his own denomination." He speaks of "the profundity of thought," "simplicity and beauty of diction," the "compactness of argument" and "instructive expository character" of this preacher's discourses.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins. - Apostles' Creed.
This is the first note of personal experience in the Apostles' Creed. We here come into the society of men like John Bunyan and go with them through the wicket-gate of repentance, through the Slough of Despond, getting out on the right side of it, reaching at length the cross, to find the burden fall from our backs as we look upon Him who died for us; and then we travel on our way until we come to the River of Death and cross it, discovering that it is not so deep after all, and that on the other side is the fullness of the life everlasting.
It is a new note, and it is a little surprising - is it not? - to most students of this creed that we should have to travel through so many clauses before we reach it. It scarcely seems to be in keeping with the spirit and temper of the early Christian Church that we should have all this analysis of thought, this statement of the facts of Christian revelation, this testimony as to the power of the Holy Spirit, before we get any utterance as to that individual faith by which the Christian Church has been created, and owing to which there has been the helpful and inspiring fellowship of the saints.
I say it is a new note, but it is fundamental. When the Creed does touch the inward life, it goes straight to that which is central - to that which is preeminently evangelical. Without the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins you could have no good news for a sinful world; but with the assertion of this faith as the actual faith of the man, you have possibilities of service, the upspringing of altruism, the conquest of self, the enthronement of Christ, the advancement of humanity after the likeness of Jesus Christ.
A note it is which is not only fundamental but most musical, harmonious and gladdening. In the ancient Psalms we hear it oft - "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases." It recurs in the prophets: "I, the Lord, am he that blotteth out thy sins; yea, though they be as a thick cloud, I will blot them out." It is the highest note reached by the singers of the Old Testament; but it comes to us with greater resonance and sweetness from the lips of the men who have stood in the presence of Jesus Christ, and who are able to say, as they look into the faces of their fellows: "Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins from which you could not have been freed by the law of Moses." With emphasis, with strength, with fullness of conviction, with gladdening rapture, these men proclaimed their faith in the forgiveness of sins, and though the Creed of the churches travels slowly after the faith of the early Church, its last note sounds out a note of triumph: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting."
It is the crown of the whole Creed. It is the flowering of the truths that are contained in the Creed. Let a man understand God, and let him have such a vision of the Eternal as Job bad, and he is constrained to say, "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." He desires first and chiefly to know that the true relation between the human spirit and God which has been broken by sin has at length been rearranged, and that sin is no longer an obstacle to the soul's converse with a holy God, but that the ideal relation of the human spirit with the divine spirit is reestablished by the proclamation of forgiveness. For, as you know, pardon is not the extinguishing of a man's past; that cannot be done. What has been done by us of good or evil abides, it endures; not God Himself can extinguish the deeds of the past. What forgiveness does is this: it rearranges the relations between the spirit of man and our Father, so that the sins of the past are no longer an obstacle to us in our speech with Him, our trust in Him - our using the energies of God for the accomplishment of His purposes. It is the restoration of the human spirit to right rela¬tions with God. Forgiveness of sins comes, therefore, at the very start of a right life. It is the beginning. All else in the spiritual life succeeds upon this.
I know there is a theory among us, and I am prepared to endorse it, that, if we are trained by godly parents in godly homes, we may grow into the spiritual life, pass into it, as it were, by stages which it is impossible for us to register. We are largely unconscious of these spiritual ascents; they are being made by the gracious use of influences that are in our environment, that reach us through sanctified folk, and we travel on from strength to strength, and, then, perchance, in our young manhood or womanhood, there comes a crisis of revelation, and we discover that we are in such relations with God our Father, Redeemer, and Renewer as fill us with peace, create hope and conscious strength. But I assure you that in addition to this experience there will come, it may be early, it may be late, some moment in the life when there is discovered to the individual spirit making that ascent a sense of the awful heinousness of sin; and though we may not have such a unique experience of evil as the Apostle Paul bad, and become so conscious of it as to feel, as it were, that it is a dead body that we have to carry about with us as we go through life, interfering with the very motions of our spirit; yet we do approximate to it, and it is through these approximations to the Apostle Paul that we are lifted to the heights of spiritual achievement, and are qualified for sympathy with a sin-stricken world, and inspired by and nourished in a passionate enthusiasm to serve that world by bringing it into right relations with God.
When, therefore, a man says, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth," he is asserting that which, being turned to its full and true use, carries him to this goal, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." For a full and true doctrine of God can only be heartily welcomed when it is associated with the message of the forgiveness of sins. Otherwise the visions of the eternal Power may start in us the cry of Peter: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord." When a man asserts his faith in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was crucified, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, who died on the cross; he is himself asserting his faith in the great purpose for which God sent His Son; even to take away the sin of the world, to make an end of iniquity, to bring in an everlasting righteousness; and so out of that faith he prepared for the response which the soul makes to the workings of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost within him, and he is able to say from his own knowledge of what God has been to him, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
Friends, you have said this again and again, some of you hundreds of times. You have asserted it week by week. What did you mean by it? What exactly was the thought in your heart as the words passed over your lips, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins?" Was it simply the recognition of a universal amnesty for a world of rebels? Was it merely the assertion of your confidence in the goodness of God irrespective of His holiness? Or when you uttered that faith of yours, did it mean that you were able to say, "My sins, which were many, are all forgiven. My sins are forgiven, not may be - that pardon is a glorious possibility only - but are forgiven, not will be forgiven at some future time. I am now at peace with God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ"? Could you say that? Was that what it meant; or was it simply the repetition of a phrase which has been handed down to you by your predecessors, and which you took up as part of an ordered service, without putting the slightest fiber of your soul into it?
Depend upon it, the mere recitation of a creed will not bring you God's peace, it will not open your heart to the access of His infinite calm. It will not secure you that emancipation from evil which will mean immediate dedication of yourself to work for the emancipation of the world. You must know of yourself, of your own heart and consciousness, that God has forgiven you. And if you do get that consciousness, that moment of your life will be marked indelibly upon the tablet of your memory. The dint will go so deeply into your nature that it will be impossible for you to forget it. Speaking for myself, I can at this moment see the whole surroundings of the place and time when to me there came the glad tidings, "God has forgiven you." "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto men their trespasses."
Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Then preach it. Tell it to other people. Let your neighbors know about it. I do not mean by preaching at the street corners, but by getting into such close affectionate touch with your friends as that you shall be able to persuade them to disinter the thoughts of their own hearts, and show the sorrows that are there?sorrows produced by sin. For, believe me, behind all the bright seeming of human countenances there is a subtle bitterness gnawing constantly at the heart, consequent upon the consciousness of failure - the sense of having broken the law of God. I know that hundreds of people go into the church and tell God that they are miserable sinners. They do that in a crowd; it is saying nothing. They no more think of saying it in such a way as to place themselves apart from their fellows than they would of saying: "I am a thief!"
Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? What, then, are you going to do with your faith?
Prove your faith by your works. Every time you ask God for forgiveness you should feel yourself pledged to a most strenuous and resolute fight with the sin you ask God to forgive. The acceptance of pardon pledges you to the pursuit of holiness, and yet we have to keep on with this doctrine, because it is not only the very beginning of the Christian life, but also the continuous need of that life.
We have to say night by night, "Forgive the ill that I this day have done." And if we say it as we ought, as really believing that God forgives us, so that we may not lose heart, may never encourage despair of final victory, we shall get up next morning resolved to make a fiercer fight than ever with the evil that sent us on our knees last night. Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Let the joy of it come to you, and as your own heart overflows with the fullness of that joy, declare unto others God's salvation, and teach transgressors His way. Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? Then find in that faith an impact to obedience to the law of Jesus: 'Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect"; and do not forget that He who begins the goad work in you with His pardon will carry it on to the day of Jesus Christ; so that you may add the last words of the Creed: 'I believe in the resurrection from the dead and in the life everlasting. "
It is not altogether a good sign that we have pushed eternity out of our modern thought. Confronted as man is every moment by a sense of the fragility and the brevity of human life, it is not surprizing that we should welcome everybody who comes with a message concerning eternity.
Is there not, in truth, beauty in the old Anglo-Saxon story of the bird that shot in at one open window of the large assembly hall and out at another, where were gathered together a great company of thanes and vassals; and when the missionary was asked to speak to them concerning God and His salvation, the thane who was presiding rose and said, recalling the bird's speedy flight from side to side of the hall, "Such is our life, and if this man can tell us anything concerning the place to which we are going, let him stand up and be heard." Brothers, a few days may carry us into eternity. "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Strong, hopeful, rich in promise of service is today; tomorrow friends may be weeping, kith and kin full of sorrow for our departure. This life does not end all; we are going to an eternity of blessedness, to progress without limit, to an assimilation with God that shall know no sudden break or failure, but shall be perfect, even as He is perfect.
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