Time to get busy

Are you really sure that you belong to God?

Your baptism was ok (it’s just a symbol of your commitment to God)…but don’t you know that you must do some things to be a Christian?

You need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

You need to really work at not sinning. Where there is sin in your life, you must cut it out. Extinguish it.

You need to forget about worldly things and get serious about studying the Bible and get serious about sacrificing yourself for others.

Are you giving enough to the church?

Are you giving enough to the homeless and the elderly in the area where you live?

Are you focusing enough on the inward person, on your spirituality?

Are you praying enough?

If you think that there is room for improvement in any of these areas, don’t you think that might be a sign that your decision for God was really a lie?  Maybe you were just trying to save your own skin and you really aren’t that concerned about pleasing Christ, or helping your neighbor.

If that’s the case, then you really ought to reconsider if you really are one of God’s children.

We’ll lay it all out for you. We’ll supply you with the proper list of  what you should be doing, and what books you should be reading, and what Biblical principles you should be practicing. We’ll tell you exactly how emotional you need to get, and just exactly the best way to get those ‘feelings’ that will prove to yourself (and others) that you really belong to Jesus.

 Remember, He really knows you and really knows all your most secret thoughts and fantasies. You can fool others, and even yourself…but you can’t fool God.

He knows all about you.

Are you sure you’re living the Christian life?  Are you sure you are even a Christian?

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This is why the Reformation was necessary.

This is why it is still necessary.

What say you?

 

 

 

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‘In Small Corners’ by Howard Nowlan

 

“I just want her back”    Agent Tom Greer   "Surrogates" 412px x 229px by degrootk

Whilst Director Johnathan Mostow’s latest Sci-Fi release gained only mediocre reviews from the critics, Surrogates raises some major issues in relation to human identity.
Set around a decade from now, we are presented with a society where people appear cushioned from pain and harm by living much of their lives via the safety of being wired to a substitute alter ego – a robot which engages with the world, allowing dreams and fantasies to be fulfilled without danger or, apparently, remorse or guilt. Into this paradise, however, comes death, a murderer which destroys both ghola and user in an instant, exposing the terrifying frailty of the ‘system’ that everyone considers ‘safe’ and strengthening in our principal characters the fact that this virtual existence has merely distracted from but in no way dealt with the true wounds and trails of being human.

Key to the story is the manner in which two leading characters deal with the agony of loss.
Detective Tom Greer, played by Bruce Willis, and Inventor of the Virtual life, Dr Lionel Canter, come to epitomize two very different reactions to our reality, and in Greer’s final choice in the film, we find ourselves facing a hard question – ‘how real about ourselves do we really want to be’?

The issues raised in Surrogates will become pressing to all of us during our lives. Amidst the bobbing and weaving to solve the crime, Willis’ character seeks to look beyond the immediate and the superficial (both in the case, and in his experience) to reach for deeper answers to the void of his society and his life.

As someone who knows well the manner of personal trails conveyed here, I’ve found myself several times this week pondering several of the issues the movie raised. How many of us are reduced, even imprisoned, through the tragedies that real grief and loss bring upon us? How often can life become little more than a nightmare to be avoided as much and as often as possible?

Tom Greer, like us, whilst having moments of brilliance, is a deeply flawed and wounded man, but that realization motivates him to ask the right questions and to seek a better answer.

At its very heart, Christianity is about facing the real world. It’s not about fanciful illusions, where we just accept ourselves as a slightly evolved species, essentially just here for a good time, but a faith which drags us before the deepest longings and understanding in our souls – that the beauty we know in love, the majesty we view in creation, the passion we encounter in life, resonates with the fact that there is much, much more going on than the oft vaunted facile/popular escapism (philosophically and practically) often tagged ‘life’.

Jesus Christ came to not only return significance to His handiwork, but to define that ‘weight’ in our lives – intimacy, profoundly genuine, with God, with each other, and with creation. That is the objective of divine redemption.

Facing the pain of who and what we are is not easy, but as in the movie, it is as this is done, in the light of Christ’s teaching regarding our true wonder (made by God) and our catastrophic fall (rebellion from Him), that reality will once more fall into place, and freedom can be found in God’s healing grace and mercy.
Life now is stained by the horror of our enslavement to lies and their consequences, but the day is approaching when that will be over, and humanity will start afresh, healed from these times.

                                                                                                   – Howard Nowlan

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 To me, this is the theology of the cross.

It calls a thing what it really is and does not attempt to soften it , or bury it underneath a more palatable reality.

I’ll repeat the question asked in the piece above, and in the movie,

‘how real about ourselves do we really want to be’?

 

Please check out Howard’s blog at http://wwwjustifiedsinner.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

The Left’s religious-like dogmas

  From   Jewish-World-Review

 by Dennis Prager   Oct.27, 2009          

How is one to rationally explain the Democrats’ belief that the government taking over another one-sixth of the American economy is a good thing?

The answer is religion.

Given the huge economic failures the left itself attributes to Medicare and Medicaid and given the economic collapse or near collapse of these systems in other countries, the left’s prescriptions can only be explained in one way: The left has made its views a form of religion.

Most individuals on the left are not religious, but virtually all people, secular and religious, liberal and conservative, yearn to believe in dogma, i.e., absolute beliefs that transcend reason. For people on the left in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, belief in the state – the notion that the state can do a better job at helping people and making a good society – is one such dogma. This applies especially to educating the young and to health care.

Examples of left-wing dogmas that transcend reason are as numerous as any religion’s catechism. One example is the belief that men and women, boys and girls, are basically the same, that the vast majority of characteristics we ascribe to male and female natures are in fact socially induced. This irrational dogma was virtually universally believed and taught by the left-wing faculty when I attended college, and remains so today.

Another is the belief that manmade carbon dioxide emissions are heating the world to the point of imminent worldwide catastrophe, including island nations disappearing underwater, mass starvation, inundation of the world’s major coastal areas and much more. The fact that the world has been getting colder for the last eight years is as irrelevant to most people on the left as the absence of archaeological evidence for the biblical exodus is irrelevant to believing Jews and Christians. That includes me; I do not believe in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt because of scientific evidence, but because of faith. But unlike the left’s belief in manmade carbon emissions leading to unprecedented and calamitous heating of the planet, I admit my belief is a leap of faith. And my belief in the exodus will not ruin Western economies. In other words, my non-scientific belief in the Jews’ exodus is innocuous, while the left’s non-scientific beliefs (though shrouded in scientific jargon and promulgated by scientists who put dogma over science) are forced on societies.

One cannot understand the left if one does not appreciate the world of dogmas in which most left-wing thinkers live. What the monastery is to monks, the university and the mainstream media are to the left.

That is the only way to explain the left’s belief that government-run health care, having the government take over so much more of society, raising taxes yet again, expanding government even more and increasing the number of people employed by the government will all be good for America.

Dogma explains why it is useless to point out to the left how the left has economically crippled California, once the most prosperous, most adventurous, most successful “country” in the world (it has an economy that would make it about the seventh-largest country in the world). Likewise, it does not matter to blacks what Democrats have done to their cities. As they watch their cities crumble, they will once again vote overwhelmingly for the party that oversaw this destruction.

None of these facts matters because religious-like dogmas are not derived from facts.

In addition to dogma, the left relies for its policies on “hope,” which it often substitutes for analysis. People on the left rarely vote based on reality. They vote based on “hope.” That’s why the word “hope” is so much more significant to the left than to the right. The last two Democratic presidents ran as candidates of “hope.” The right doesn’t have “hope” candidates because conservatives don’t live on hope. They live in reality, meaning that people are not born basically good; that investing men and women with great state power leads inevitably to abuse of that power; that people stop innovating if they are taxed too highly; and that a perfect health-care system is understood to be impossible.

(continued-here)

 

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I think Mr. Prager makes some interesting and valid points.

 

What say you?

 

 

 

 

Silencing the Church

 

 

Hat tip to anti-itch-meditation blog.     ________________________________________________________________

 

Please pray for the persecuted Church, wherever it may be.

Thank you.

 

 

Baptism Today

P1670398 

This morning out little grandbaby ‘Chloe’ will be baptized.

She will be adopted into God’s family and given all the promises and love and forgiveness that all of God’s children receive.

Her old sinful self (she’s almost 8 months old!) will be put to death in the water and the Word of baptism (she will participate in Christ’s death), and the new person will be raised out of that water and the grave by God’s Word and the resurrection of Jesus Christ Himself.(Romans 6)

During her life she will share in the sufferings and the grief and the sorrows of our Lord, and she will know the Joy of His resurrection and share in that Joy also, and the Hope of the New Kingdom.

She will be taught and reminded of these facts all throughout her life, that these realities will stay with her, and that she may be kept in the one True Faith of our Lord Jesus.

 We thank the Lord for His graciousness that He would have these little ones come to Him. We thank Him for His gracious gift of Holy Baptism…the forgiveness of our sins, life, and the salvation that only He can give.

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Some of you may not like this.  That’s ok. 

But we absolutely love it!

 

 

 

 

Mr. Jablonski’s empty lot

Clean Up by Free_Spirit1983

I was sitting with my best friend Mike, enjoying an RC cola after we had thrown the football around awhile, when Mr. Jablonski drives up in his new gold colored Lincoln Towncar.

“That pickup belong to one of you boys?”

“Yes sir”, Mike replies, “it’s a 68 Datsun pickup…it aint pretty but she drives.”

“How would you boys like to make fifty bucks apiece cleaning up one of my vacant lots?”

“We’d love to, sir” Mike and I replied.

“It’s right behind the Safeway market on Strathern St.  Just chop down all the weeds and clean up the trash and broken glass. It should take the better part of a day.  Here’s 20 bucks up front to pay the dump fees…I’ll pay you rest after the job is done.”

“We’ve busted plenty of bott…” I nudge Mike in the side. “We know the lot”, Mike says. I ask Mr. Jablonski if we can start on it in the morning, and he says that would be just fine.

Mike and I show up at eight o’clock the next morning with a few yard tools we borrowed from home. We bought  a bunch of hefty bags at the Safeway, and went to work.

It had to be the hottest day of the Summer and we busted our tails cutting and bagging the weeds, and cleaning up the broken glass, much of which we had honed our pitching skills in days past by placing an empty RC cola bottle on a rock and then betting who could be the first to break it with a rock at 30 paces. I was expert at this skill.

It’s about 3pm and we are bagging the last of the debris and loading it into the truck packed to the gills for the third time, when a guy walks up and says, “Hi guys, I’m Leon…Mr. Jablonski sent me over to help you clean up his vacant lot.”

We looked at each other in disbelief and said, “Well were just about finished, but you can pick up that broom and sweep off the sidewalk.” He did, and we went back to loading and tying down the truck.

A few minutes later Mr. Jablonski pulls up and without getting out of the car ays, “Fine job boys…fine job. That’s just what I was after! Come on over here boys.”

Dripping sweat and covered in dirt (except Leon), Mike and I…and Leon walk over to the driver’s side of the Towncar.

Mr. J. gives me 50 bucks…two twenties and a ten. He then gives Mike 50 bucks…two twenties and a ten. Mike says, “Mr. J., Leon just got here about 15 minutes ago.”

Mr. J. said, “I know, I know…I sent him over. I didn’t know how far along you boys would and I figured you could use a hand.”  Leon stands there, almost embarrassed now, and then Mr. J. holds out the money, “Here Leon, take it.” It was two twenties and a ten, 50 bucks, just like we got for busting our rear ends all day long!

Mike and I looked at each other in disbelief.  Mike started to say something and I nudged him in the ribs.

“See you boys, later…thanks for a job well done!” And Mr. J. drove away.

That feeling of accomplishment and pride that we were feeling was overtaken with our annoyance and puzzelment that Leon could waltz over here when we were almost done…and make the same amout as we did!

Leon was thrilled to death!  He said, “that was the easiest 50 bucks I ever made in my life!”

We said our goodbyes, grumbling under our breath as Leon skipped down the street…and we headed to the dump.

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No. That story did not happen. Not like that, anyway. I cleaned up a couple of vacant lots when I was younger, but the Leon scenario did not happen.

You probably recognized the ‘workers in the field parable’ right off the bat.

Isn’t this the way we are? Isn’t there some part of us that hates it when we strive and others don’t and yet they seem not to be punished, and they even make out as well, or sometimes better than we do?

Isn’t it hard for us to understand how God could be so gracious to little ones in baptism, without having to make any confession of faith or have any understanding at all, up front?

Do you ever feel like the two disgruntled boys felt?

 

 

 

 

Assurance of Election

 

The following is from our friend David at Five Pint Lutheran http://fivepintlutheran.blogspot.com/2009/10/assurance-of-election.html

Thank you, David!

Enjoy!

I have been asking a question to those who believe in Limited Atonement. “How, if Jesus did not die for every person, do you know you are died for?” The answers are numerous but all involve some type of inward peering. A fellow Lutheran reminded me of an article contained in the Canons of Dordt which shows this inward peering to be quite consistent.

Article 12: The Assurance of Election
Assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word– such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.

The problem with all this turning into oneself for assurance is that oneself is where the problem sits. Either one will notice the absence of the above mentioned fruits of election and be cast into despair worse than before. On the other hand a person may notice these things or set about to work them up and be filled with pride and arrogance toward others who have not worked up these items. What a dreadful place to look since we are such dismal failures that we need saving by another. Why should we look to ourselves for any assurance?

Mark 7:20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” ESV

We see in the above statements of Jesus inward peering is the last thing we should be doing. Deceit and pride come out of the heart of a sinner. This is why we must always be looking outside ourselves for salvation and assurance of the same.

This is where Jesus points us for assurance:

John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread [3] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus [4] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. ESV

We see here a tangible way in which Jesus comes to us for the forgiveness of sin. Receiving the true body and blood of our Lord gives us the assurance we are forgiven and have eternal life and will be raised on the last day. In these promises we have Jesus located to bring the fruits of his life, death, burial and resurrection. Coming totally from outside us. No maudlin or prideful peering inwards to do spiritual measuring which are never accurate due to our sinfulness.

Lord may your body and your blood be for my soul the highest good!

Amen. †

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Well, how about it?

I’d especially like to hear from you if you have another take on the ‘assurance’ of our salvation .

Thank you.