Wednesday, November 04, 2015

“Belagcholly Days” by Anon.

[note: this one is best read out loud holding your nose--it may help]

Chilly Dovebber with his boadigg blast
Dow cubs add strips the beddow add the lawd,
Eved October’s suddy days are past–
Add Subber’s gawd!

I kdow dot what it is to which I cligg
That stirs to sogg add sorrow, yet I trust
That still I sigg, but as the liddets sigg–
Because I bust.

Add dow, farewell to roses add to birds,
To larded fields and tigkligg streablets eke;
Farewell to all articulated words
I faid would speak.

Farewell, by cherished strolliggs od the sward,
Greed glades add forest shades, farewell to you;
With sorrowing heart I, wretched add forlord,
Bid you–achew!!!

– Unknown, collected in Frederic Lawrence Knowles, A Treasury of Humorous Poetry, 1902
(ht: Futility Closet)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Photoblog: File Your Negatives

in the back of the book--right where it belongs!



Monday, October 12, 2015

"Overheard on a Salmarsh" by Harold Monro

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.
        No.
Give them me. Give them me.
                No.
Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I want them.
                No.
I will howl in the deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.
              No.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Little Words (a silly poem)

What are they?

You don’t know?

Should I know?


You should know.


Must I say?

Three little words.

What are they?


I am waiting.


Well, say them.


How could you?



Why don’t you?

Don’t you know?

Find your voice!


Three little words.

Three little pigs.

Three little birds.


Care for more?

I have more.

So many more.


Three little words

Make it simple--

“Eight little letters”


O You live!

O Vile You!

I Love You!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Scenes From A Hike

8.86 miles in 2:33:37 with 20# ruck-sack.



Caption  this (below):













Soaked in sweat, but it was worth every drop.



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Randoms

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (Nelson Mandela)

Here's a pumpkin link to kick off "that time of the year."
Ok, I found this Boston/Nirvana mashup--but it what happens at the 3:00 mark that really got my attention:



How cool is that?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Taking Tires For A Drive I Suppose

Got the top down, wind in the treads . . .


Monday, September 07, 2015

Photoblog: Guilty Pleasure

I confess: I have a guilty pleasure.
I cook bacon.
On my grill.
At sunrise.
On Sunday mornings.


Friday, September 04, 2015

Good News for Bad People

"But believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better. It is, rather, good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. The message of the Christian faith is that because Jesus was strong for us we are free to be weak. The gospel of grace, in other words, frees us to let people see us at our worst so that they can see God at his most gracious best."

(Tullian Tchividjian)

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Courageous Spirituality (part 4): “Array God’s Power”

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Cor 4:5-7, ESV)

The power of God is meant for display. Paul pictures our body as a jar of clay into which God has placed the treasure of the gospel. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Paul tells us in verse 6: the reason they preached Christ Jesus as Lord and not themselves was because they saw the glory of God in the face of Christ. Once God reveals the darkness of sin by bringing in the light, who can keep that to themselves?

Part of the beauty of God’s glory is that He is consistent. The same God who shines this light is the same God who created light (Gen 1), the Father of Lights (James 1) who sent His Son to be the Light of the world (Jn 8:12). In other words, our task is not to store the light of His glory, but let His glory be seen through us. We are merely containers. Lanterns, if you will.

He shines through us “so everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.” (2 Cor 4:7b).

This means we can:
  1. Be secure: Receive your ministry the way you receive mercy because the way you receive mercy affects the way you give ministry. 
  2. Be sincere (open and honorable): There is no need for secrecy. 
  3. Be straight. No need to distort the Word of God (2 Cor 4:2b).
  4. Be singular. Preach Christ Jesus as Lord (2 Cor 4:5).

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Good Question!

Ok, so the other night my wife and I visited our local Chinese Buffet and as customary, received our fortune cookies with our check.

My wife's said: "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

My fortune cookie was empty.




Monday, August 31, 2015

Courageous Spirituality (part 3): "Acknowledge the Enemy"

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4, ESV)

One inherent characteristic of an adversary is his need to remain undetected. Even an enemy who hides in plain sight does so with the intent to remain unseen. When we acknowledge our enemy, we do not merely say he exists, but point him out with neon light. The apostle Paul in writing to the calls out the enemy of the church: Satan.

Satan is a person, “the god of this world,” not a principle or force and certainly not a polar “opposite God” but a created being who rebelled against God. “Well,” someone asks, “if Satan is not a god, why is he called one here?” Go back to John 12:31 when Jesus calls Satan “the prince of this world.” Paul later echoes this in Ephesians. Notice carefully how Satan is not called “god” but “god of this age.” Satan has no attributes that make him deity, but the way the world responds to his influence is obvious. He is god-like.

Satan has a plan which is to blind the minds of unbelievers, preventing them from seeing the light of the gospel. One way he does this is by creating controversy in the church. This is one reason Paul calls him out. “But,” someone may say, “Satan does not bother me.”

Is it possible for people to be influenced by Satan without knowing it? Consider the following before you answer: 
  • “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” (1 Chron. 21:1)
  • “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back [part] of the price of the land for yourself?’” (Acts 5:3)
  • “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” (1 Cor 10:19-20)
If Satan can influence people who are after God’s heart (David) or to people in the church (Ananais and Sapphira) or the Corinthians themselves, isn’t it possible that unchurched people could be influenced as well?

“Ok, it’s possible, but I’m a good person.” May I ask a few more questions?
  • Have you ever told a lie? “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He . . . does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (Jn 8:44)
  • Have you ever stolen anything? “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (Jn 10:10)
  • Have you ever hated anyone? 1 Jn 3:15, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 Jn 3:15) and “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning. . .” (Jn 8:44)
If you’ve done any of these things, and God judges you by the 10 Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty? 1 Jn 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

Finally, Satan has a place. He is "the god of this world." He is no ruler of hell. Satan blinds the eyes of the unbelieving!

Think of it: mankind has three sets of eyes: physical eyes to see what is written in the Bible, the truth of the gospel; intellectual eyes which can discern propositional truth, know meaning; and spiritual eyes (working with the conscience) to know the significance of gospel. When eyes are closed nothing is seen. This is why Satan works to blind them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Photoblog: Mt. Mitchell Trail

My second climb up the mountain, but on a different trail.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Courageous Spirituality (part 2): "Announce God’s Unchanging Word"

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2, 5)

The apostle Paul was accused of being self-serving, sneaky but his defense is an appeal to conscience and false accusations are betrayed. Living in truth means one is not bound to explain and defend every statement, every action; rather, it is to live openly before the Lord. When we live in obedience to His Word, we expose what is right, what is wrong and conscience will agree. This is where God does the fighting.

When it comes to the way we use our words, we preach Christ Jesus the Lord. Paul defines his ministry in 3:6 as being “of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit” in other words, he is responsible to obey God’s Spirit in delivering the message of forgiveness of sins in Christ in order for people to become the spiritual men and women God intends them to be: called out of the world into a living body of which Christ is the head. By preaching, there is a public announcement with authority. Preaching means God keeps no secrets, requires no secret knowledge, no hidden wisdom. It is the open proclamation of heavenly matters, the beginning of legislating the matters of heaven here on earth.

Again the subject of our conversation (if you will) is God’s anointed Savior of Man’s Sins. He is the one to whom all bow the knee. If anyone accuses you of having an agenda, it is must be Christ. This is why we follow our words with service to Christ (4:5). Put words and work together to amplify the Lord in the sight of others.

The bondservant of Christ serves the body of Christ for the sake of Christ. Christ makes our service to you possible; otherwise, it would never have happened. Go back to the previous chapters and think about that imagery of Moses veiling his face. Paul and team were not preaching themselves as if their faces were glowing, nor were they covering their faces so no one could see the glory faded. Instead, they proclaimed the eternal glory of Christ.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

"Atheists Don't Have No Songs"

Steve Martin contributes to the Atheist Hymnal--enjoy! (video focuses about :10):

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Courageous Spirituality (part 1): “Accept God’s Call”

2 Corinthians 3 laid the foundations for true spirituality--but what do we do once we have it? Once we obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit allowing Christ to lift the veil of spiritual blindness and He writes on our heart what is on His mind for all men to read, “now what?”

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” (2 Cor. 4:1) In other words, “we are not wearied to the point of fainting.” The source of living true spirituality comes with the courage found in God’s mercy which we receive by faith. Mercy is an attribute of God requiring a closer look because we often find God’s mercy at work when God’s people are in trouble. 
  • “And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” (2 Sam 24:14)
  • “When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us!’” (Mt 9:27)
  • “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting [me] into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Tim 1:11-13) 
Look carefully at what Paul has written: he had his spirituality all worked out, but after Christ transformed him he recognized the spirituality he made for himself was in ignorance. He needed the mercy, the help of God, to have true spirituality and to live it out. Once he allowed God to write spiritual values on his heart, then he understood what was on God’s mind for his life, which is why he could write in an outburst of praise, “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (1 Cor 1:3)

We don’t have to grope our way around in blind faith trying to figure out the mystery of God’s will for our lives. We can find comfort from the Father of Mercies as we grow in active faith to know what He wants us to do. This does not happen all at once, but in little steps as we have opportunity to serve through service ministries and community involvement.

True Spirituality is not wearisome--busy, yes, but not wearisome. Some people do spiritual things (good deeds) to show God their spirituality but biblical spirituality is God’s Spirit at work in you, mercifully setting you free to do everything you should. Let the Spirit be spiritual for you and manifest the fruit of His labor in you.

Courageous Spirituality accepts God’s call, connecting His mercy with His ministry.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Recent Books by Theological Liberals

“The Errancy of Inerrancy”

“New Bible Deconstructionary”

“Quarrel Majority: Schismatic Evangelicals and the Schismatic Movement”

“The ‘God is Dead’ Movement Is Alive”

“Unitarianism: A Religion for Atheists With Children”

“Declaring War On Complementerrorism”

“The Low-Down on Higher Criticism:

“Critical Mass: The World Has Enough Catholics Already”

“For I Don’t Know The Plans I Have For You: The Openness of God”

“Relativism Is Always True”

  • (ht: BN and “Off The Record”, Wheaton College, Vol 1, No 1, 2005)

Monday, August 03, 2015

We Do Not Lose Heart! Courageous Spirituality (Introduction)

"Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart . . . Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:1, 16 NASB)

Since nobody does it better, the Lion has the floor:



It’s been said that “fear” has two meanings. The first is “Forget Everything And Run.” That’s how it is sometimes. We see courageous people do courageous acts, but one little thing happens to us and we crumble. The second is “Face Everything And Rise.” This is courage. 

Webster defines courage as “the ability to do something frightful, difficult or dangerous.” In other words, courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it. The great Phillips Brooks preached: “Oh, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

The last series of posts explored True Spirituality through 2 Corinthians 3--where true spirituality comes from and what it looks like. We even explored the question about how the world is impacted by True Spirituality. Our new series through 2 Corinthians 4 will help learn what one actually DOES with true spirituality. How do we live it out in a world that has us playing the flinching game, filled with so many “jumps?” How do we live truly spiritual lives courageously?

If God’s Spirit has written on your heart, take courage! 
Stay tuned! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Randoms

Ever buy something that was not as cool as advertised?

Here are some even worse game show prizes!

Here are some faces in strange places.

"Common People" by William Shatner and Joe Jackson ain't so common:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Freedom of True Spirituality (part 3)

What does true spirituality look like when the Holy Spirit has His way? True spirituality looks like freedom! “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Rev. Eric Foley, CEO of Seoul USA, asked members of the North Korean underground church how Americans could pray for them. They answered, “You pray for us? We pray for you!” When I asked why, they responded, “Because Western Christians often put so much faith in their prosperity and political freedoms that they don't know what it's like to have to depend completely on God. And because of that, they often do not get to know Him in all the ways He invites us to.'"

One North Korean prisoner described the pitiful conditions he experienced, but being a Christian in prison is the only place to enjoy freedom in Christ: "It's like seminary," he said. "I prayed for others daily. My faith grew by leaps and bounds even as my body decayed."

True Spirituality looks like Jesus.

There is a difference between an impressionist and an impersonator. An impressionist communicates an interpretation.



An impersonator takes on the persona (voice, gestures, etc): i.e. imitators



A truly spiritual person will look like Jesus, “transformed into the same image.” Not merely copying or interpreting, but a metamorphosis if you will. Many look to Jesus as a role model, so they study, practice, impersonate, but never become. Becoming like Jesus culminates in a glory that never fades.

Think on these:

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)

Being created in His image, we are halfway there. Just let Him author your spirituality and receive His Holy Spirit for the touchdown.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Freedom of True Spirituality (part 2)

“But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. . . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:14, 17-18)

When Christ removes the veil, our lives are transformed and we can be truly spiritual. We can be free to do everything we should spiritually. If we remove the veil ourselves, we momentarily ignite our own glory but this eventually fades.

The world talks of “secrets” to success;well, here’s the secret to true Spirituality: we don’t create our own spirituality ourselves. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor 3:17)

Here’s another way to look at it: if I can’t control my body functions (who makes their heart been and organs operate?) what confidence do I have in constructing my own meaningful spirituality? Christ must do it through His Spirit.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Existence of God and the Power of The Mind

The mind is a powerful thing, but can it stop an on-coming train?



So it is with denying the existence of God--no mind is powerful enough to make the Great "I AM" suddenly not "be". One must move, or be flattened by the reality of His existence.

Notice the man shaking his fist in defiance as the train brings reality to his senses.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Randoms

Re-grow food from kitchen scraps

10 VERY Embarrassing Fitness Gimmicks (it gets better worse on page 2)

Love books? Then you understand.

2 1/2 minutes on a bike . . . on a glacier. Hold on!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Fitness Puzzle

How does one use this piece of equipment? 
Yikes!


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Game's Afoot!

Many who follow us on social media notice from time to time a photograph of this fellow in some very strange places. I suppose now is a good time (as any) to explain:


After moving into our new our new home, this gnome was adopted into the family. Someone came up with the idea to "hide the gnome" so he tends to disappear from time to time. When he is discovered, that person posts a photograph on social media, tagging all players of the game. On rare occasions, visiting friends may discover him.

There is a trick, however. When he is discovered and photographed and posted online, the finder must immediately hide him again. This is a challenge when there are so many family members in the house at any given time--and the more people there are, the more cautious one must be. If he is not found after one week, he is placed in an agreed-upon "home base," which signals everyone that he has successfully remained undiscovered for that period of time.

It's fun for our family and friends! So if you come to the house, you are invited to play--just don't tell anyone. If you find him, snap a pic, post online and tag our family. This is our signal that the game is afoot!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Prophecy and the Reliability of Scripture

"The Bible has a total of 31,103 verses, 8,352 of which are prophetic; they speak of events yet to come. All biblical predictions about the future can be grouped into 737 different predictions. Of the 8,352 verses, 6,312 (or 522 different predictions) have already happened exactly as God's Word said they would. About 2,040 verses, with 215 specific predictions from God about the end of the world, are in process of being fulfilled. . . .

These prophecies can be further divided into eighteen chronological categories (by the timing of the events). There are only five categories of the eighteen left to be fulfilled. Here are the categories: church prophecies, Second Coming prophecies, Millennial prophecies, Final Judgment prophecies, and New Jerusalem prophecies. Each of the prophetic signs that Christ and His apostles gave is very specific. Jesus has explained that as we get closer to the Second Coming, we will witness these events, which will begin at the same time, run concurrently, and crescendo like the pains of a woman giving birth. . . .

In all history-only our generation has seen every one of these events starting to unfold. As Jesus said in Matthew 24, when you see these things happening, know that the end of days is getting near."

(John Barnett, Prophecy By The Numbers)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Randoms

Your body is the only gym you really need.

Tips on "How To Survive A Lightening Strike."

There comes a time in every man's life when he has no choice but to watch the paint dry.

Remember "Wilson" from the movie "Castaway." Well, he's gone, but not forgotten.

Watch out: Flight Attendants have their eye on you! Don't give them something to talk about!

I can sit and watch Spock channel Stan Laurel all day long.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Freedom Of True Spirituality (part 1)

True Spirituality is SPIRITUAL (hence the name “spirituality”). If we produce spirituality out of ourselves, then it’s really“HUMANISM” and we lock ourselves down to this realm in which we die.

“ . . . not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.” [2 Cor. 3:13 ESV]

Moses veiled his face when he came down the mountain for two reasons (Ex 34:29 ff). The first reason is that the people were afraid to come near him. Paul elaborates that Moses veiled his face because the glory faded revealing he was not a spiritual superhero, but human--and humanity comes to an end. 

When we create our own spirituality, we put up a veil, a false front that protects our reputation, our humanistic individuality. Remember the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” There is no freedom in hiding.

“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.” [2 Cor 3:14-15 ESV]

The second reason Moses veiled his face was because the people were blinded (lit. “made hard”--like stone) in their own spirituality. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne (mid-1800’s) wrote a short story that students and scholars still discuss today called: “The Minister’s Black Veil.” The Parson appears one day wearing a black veil and the townspeople immediate begin to gossip: they never talk about the veil, but instead say the Parson’s lost his mind, or is hiding a shameful sin. Parson Hooper goes about his daily life as if nothing is different, never responding to the people’s whispers. He preaches and does his daily duty, but everyone in town is impacted by the mystery. When he attends the funeral of a young woman, the people guess there was an adulterous affair (he SHOULD wear the veil!) but they can’t be sure. When he attends a wedding the joy turns to gloom as people stare and wonder what’s going on behind the veil.

Even while on his deathbed the Parson wears the veil. The minister uses his dying breath to give us the only clue we have as to why he wore the veil: you are all hypocrites, everyone wears a black veil, shielding their eyes from God as they draw around themselves people who make them comfortable. When the Parson dies he is buried with his face covered.

The Old Covenant was a preview of what was coming and they could not see it. The people were blinded in their own spirituality.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Randoms

Here's Proof that Atheists Don't Exist.

I love the focus of Bottle Episodes. How 'bout you?

When Taunting In Sports Goes Wrong:

Friday, July 03, 2015

God Bless America!


The Land of Freedom

One of the great blessings we enjoy in the United States of America is freedom. We all have the freedom to live our own life, choose our own path, and use our abilities for our own gain as well as for the good of others. We have the freedom to choose our leaders and the freedom to worship God without fear of interference from the government.

Freedom’s Cost

All of these freedoms are great blessings, but they were not won without a cost. Our forefathers took a stand for these freedoms and defended them, whatever the price. Since then, countless brave men and women have stood up to protect this great country, to secure its freedoms, and to promote the cause of freedom around the world. Many of them have paid the ultimate price, and we honor their sacrifice.

A Greater Freedom

There is an even greater freedom which can be possessed and enjoyed by every person on the face of the earth, regardless of their social standing or nationality. This is freedom from sin and its judgment. Mankind has been in bondage to sin long before America was founded. In fact, the power and consequences of sin have governed the world since the first man, Adam, disobeyed God. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The Greatest Sacrifice

Because man is in such terrible bondage to sin and Satan (Heb. 2:14,15), God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). On Calvary’s cross He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ died for sinners like you and me, and thereby paid the penalty for sin. Now He freely offers the gift of God—eternal life—to all who will come to Him (Romans 6:23).

Are You Really Free?

Have you received this gift of life and liberty from the Saviour? It is received by faith alone in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9). When one confesses to God that he is a sinner, and trusts the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour, he is then made free indeed! All his sins are washed away in the precious blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). True freedom for everyone is found alone in Jesus Christ who died for us and rose again.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). What a wonderful blessing it is to be free!

Posted with permission: mwtb

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

True Spirituality (part 7): Hearts and Stones

“You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all . . . Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end.” (2 Cor 3:2, 7)

Have you ever thought of your spirituality as a letter that can be read by anyone? Paul contrasts two kinds of letters: one written on the heart and the other written on stone. Spirituality conveys a message as if it were a written message.

The difference between a heart and a stone include the fact that one is warm and the other is cold. One is soft, the other is hard. It is also true that a heart can be hard and cold but a stone can never be warm and soft by itself. When we engrave words on a stone, the words are locked into the stone’s face. These words are unforgiving because they do not change or move. A stone cannot respond to the message it receives or communicates. The heart on the other hand can respond to what is written and that’s the point. The heart becomes a testimony to true spirituality because it can receive God’s message from God’s Spirit and respond to it.

The stone contains letters (grammar) while the heart becomes a letter (epistle). The stone of law is broken by the builder of the church, who in turn calls out living stones with which to build His church. He is looking for people of true spirituality. Paul will set up another contrast to help us understand.

"Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory." [see 2 Cor 3:7-9]

In short, the contrast lies between the “ministry of death/condemnation” (old) vs. “ministry of the
Spirit/righteousness” (new). The general direction of the text underscores the difference between the old covenant and the new; that is, between the Mosaic law contrasted against a ministry of grace. 

While the law is necessary to define sin, the grammar on the stone (law) keeps one under the guilt of sin; that is, the ministry of death. Grace, on the other hand, releases from the law once the requirements of the law are satisfied and communicates an entirely different message.

Consider  “that which fades away”  vs. “that which remains.” (3:11). Which is better? 
  • That which is permanent or that which fades away? Or;
  • The spirit of life or a ministry of death?
If God does not supply our spirituality, we are as good as dead, spiritually.

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