“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Brave Mom -- Lorraine Allard

In this day and age of abortion on demand, and eugenics, this story is amazing.

In a world where narcissism reigns, especially in the area of the abortion debate, this woman is a shining gem. All we hear is that women have the right to decide what to do with their body (although conveniently neglected is the right of the baby), and then we are treated to a plethora of so-called stats that tell us how many women would die of either complications or 'back-alley' abortions should this 'right' be repealed. (just an FYI, almost all abortions are for convenience, and not life-threatening).

Interestingly, Lorraine Allard got very little airplay here -- guess this simply does not accord well with what the feminists and liberal community might want to portray -- a mother willing to give up her life for a child. It sounds strange in our ears, doesn't it? We are so used to mothers killing their children (I speak not only of abortion, but of the number of women who have killed toddlers etc.) And so unused to true sacrifice in a parent.

I do not know the faith of this women, Lorraine Allard, but I applaud her for being a true mother -- one who went the distance to give her son a fighting chance at life!

I may revisit the idea of self-sacrifice soon, but did not want this to go unnoticed.

The Challenge

Well, I am going to try and take Timmy Brister's challenge (found here http://timmybrister.com/2008/01/07/join-the-2008-puritan-reading-challenge/). I cannot get it to hyperlink, and quite frankly, I don't feel well enough to work through it at this point.

Likewise, try as I might, I cannot get the 'button' to show up in my sidebar, but if you go there, you will see that there is a challenge to read a Puritan book/month for the entire 2008 time frame.

Here is the list, and yes, I am getting a late start, so Mr. Sibbes might have to wait until I can squeeze him in during another cycle.

Timmy Brister’s Puritan Challenge:

January: The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes (128 pp)
February: The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel (221 pp)
March: The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson (252 pp)
April: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (253 pp)
May: Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan (225 pp)
June: The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (130 pp)
July: A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge (287 pp)
August: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (228 pp)
September: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton (224 pp)
October: The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie (207 pp)
November: The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter (256 pp)
December: A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine (148 pp)

I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Update



Well, the doctor was able to drain the oil, make some external laser repairs, and some conjunctiva work. I have a sterile air bubble in my eye which should dissipate after a few days. Just a reinforcement.

If all goes well, this should be the final retinal surgery -- I then have a cataract surgery in May. Pray that this surgery holds!

Thanks for everyone's concerns, cares and prayers.

Ray

Monday, January 21, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

I am going in for surgery tomorrow to drain the oil out of my right eye, and have a previous repair reinforced. The doctor will then fill my eye with gas to keep the reinforcement in place.

I am also having the left eye looked at while under (while he has the hood up, he is going to check the whole engine).

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of worship and music, I thought I would post a brief thought on one of my favorite hymns; a hymn that has been of great comfort to me over the years.

Anyone who reads this blog with any degree of regularity (I know you're out there), will be familiar with this story, but it was brought to my mind again as I prepared for tomorrow's surgery.

In the 1870s Horatio Spafford was a successful Chicago lawyer and a close friend of evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Spafford had invested heavily in real estate, but the Chicago fire of 1871 wiped out his holdings. His son had died shortly before the disaster.

Spafford and his family desperately needed a rest so in 1873 he planned a trip to Europe with his wife and four daughters. While in Great Britain he also hoped to help Moody and Sankey with their evangelistic tour. Last minute business caused Spafford to delay his departure, but he sent his wife and four daughters on the S. S. Ville Du Havre as scheduled, promising to follow in a few days. On November 22 the ship was struck by the English ship Lochearn, and it sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband the brief message, "Saved alone."

When Horatio Spafford made the ocean crossing to meet his grieving wife, he sailed near the place where his four daughters had sunk to the ocean depths. There, in the midst of his sorrow, he wrote these unforgettable words that have brought solace to so many in grief:



When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


There is nothing more I can add to that. When I realize that Christ has regarded my helpless estate and paid for me with His own blood, it truly is well with my soul!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Good News!

Wow -- this is not frivolous::

A Texas court has decided that chimps cannot sue a facility in Texas.

Now, doesn't that make you feel better?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

'Happy' Worship

So, as I begin looking at music in general I wanted to start with some basics.

1) - Not ALL contemporary worship music is bad.
2) - Not ALL Hymnody is good.

With those basic two points, I shall begin to do a brief examination of the status of worship music. The first thing that is disturbing today, (and I believe that I have touched upon this before), is that most people consider 'worship' the musical/singing piece of a service only.

This is wrong-headed; worship is what takes place when God's people gather together and involves singing, preaching, praying, the ordinances and invocation/benediction. For far too long, the modern church has downplayed the preaching of God's Word and built up an emotional outlet that many call the 'worship service', until in the modern world what we have is 2 hours of singing (and sadly, many of the songs are inane), and 5 minutes of 'preaching' which usually involves not much more than a pep talk to the gathered throng.

I find it interesting that many churches today, especially the 'top' growing churches, advertise NOT that they preach the Word, but that people need to come and be involved in their worship experience. And when you dig a bit, that usually means professional musicians and songs all about US!

Recently White Horse Inn did a series on 'Happy, Clappy, Worship', and spoke of the very real fact that almost ALL worship music is one-dimensional -- that is, that almost all worship music is 'happy'. How many churches sing through the Psalms, or sing laments?

Recently our worship leader came up to me and told me that he had penned a lament out of the Psalms and would it be OK to prepare it for our church? I very much encouraged him, as we spend far too much time singing songs that get our 'happy' emotions going, but far too little time singing out in our pain as David did.

Something that struck me while I was listening to the White Horse Inn broadcast was Rod Rosenblatt's statement that the 'requirement' to be 'happy' within the modern church is a new form of legalism. One is often discouraged from being anything but artificially pumped up by happiness. And this is reflected by the songs and preaching style of many mega-church pastors.

Their messages are ALWAYS Anthony Robbins-like, and the songs that their worship teams sing are happy, happy, joy, joy.

You may disagree with me, but that was one of the things that I enjoyed about Casting Crowns first CD. They spoke of pain, doubt and worry. They addressed God in these areas, and spoke of trusting Him. Now, I don't know if I agree with everything they ever wrote, who does, but their CD was a breath of fresh air in a CCM market so often over-saturated with sappy nonsense, and contrived happiness.

The church should get back to singing the Psalter, singing through the Psalms -- and letting true emotion out -- the pain and contrition of David in Psalm 51, the sorrow in Psalm 77. Not every song needs to be a Psalm, or a hymn, but the full range of emotion should be dealt with, not just one facet.

An example of the 'sanitized' worship that I am talking about is the modern worship song -- His Steadfast Love Never Ceases.

Below is the song:

The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases
Robert Davidson

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning.


Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord.
Great is Thy faithfulness.


Now, now compare that with the Scripture it was taken from: let us hear from Jeremiah, just to give context to these words. I am only going to put the first 26 or so verses in from Lamentations 3 -- I recommend you go read the rest!

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy;
though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear lying in wait for me,
a lion in hiding;
he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me
as a target for his arrow.
He drove into my kidneys
the arrows of his quiver;
I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul,
therefore I will hope in him.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.


See how different the steadfast love of the Lord is? In the song, it is some 'good' thing that never really specifies, and is bouncy and happy. In the Lamentation it is AMIDST the agony and pain of the destruction around Jeremiah that he finds the steadfast love of the Lord. We need to KNOW the steadfast love of the Lord in these times!

Now, if you like the aforementioned song, that is fine, the song is not incorrect, just incomplete. God is there and sovereign, and not every day is going to be a good day -- and that is when we will need Him most!

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm Back

I apologize for the length of time between posts. I made no resolution regarding posting, so I am not breaking any resolutions either! :-)

I have been in California and just catching up at work after the holidays. Anyway, I am trying to decide what to post on this year. I am not all that political, which can be seen by my few political posts -- you might consider me an idealist, or maybe just an old-fashioned goof, and I do not add much to the plethora political blogs out there, so I will try and comment infrequently as regards that.

I have been contemplating posting a bit on the creeds, but there are plenty of places to get that information. I have also considered trying to be more series-oriented in my posting. It will all have to wait, as I am still in contemplation mode right now.

There is one subject I am doing some personal study in, and that is 'worship' music. This is a subject that has been much debated and written about, but I feel that there are some positive directions I see this going in.

I may touch upon that a bit -- for now I will leave you with this:

Check out Indelible Grace.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Here we go again!

Why won't this man stop?


Sadly, so many Christians rally around him and defend his 'prophetic utterances'... Although he misses every year, and modifies his 'prophecies' to fit the times, thousands of Christians still defend him as a 'prophet'...

Sad....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Isn't it good to know that, with all of the unrest in our world, we serve a sovereign God? May 2008 be a time of blessing for you.