Friday, April 28, 2017

The Gospel & the Christian’s Reward

God purposely puts an offence in the message of the cross to render it unattractive to self. As a result, those who would seek Him and find Him cannot do so under the power of self, nor from the primary motive of self. Real Christianity is foolish from the world’s point of view,; “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable..” Paul concludes that, from the world’s perspective we lose in this life. But doesn’t Hebrews 11:6 tell us that “he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him?” Yes, but many of the heroes of the faith in that chapter do not look like they were rewarded, unless we have an erroneous view of rewards! Upon a closer examination, it becomes obvious that the rewards experienced by these people were of another nature than those commonly sought after by the world or offered by the church.

When we tell the lost that “God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives,” we must be very clear as to what that plan might entail. If we mean wonderful from the world’s point of view, we not only give false expectations, but also encourage them to seek themselves in religion. Ultimately God’s plan for all these heroes of faith was wonderful;, but before they could arrive at their reward some had to travel the path of “trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” In essence, the way of faith that leads to rewards always directs its travelers down paths of self-denial and self-sacrifice, rather than self-indulgence.”

"The Alluring Brightness of His Glory: Cherishing the Preeminence of Christ above the Counterfeit Offers of a Consumer-driven Christianity" ;R.L. Coursey; (West Bow Press, 2017); page 71

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

Whoever you are, come, celebrate this shining happening, this festival of light.
You, the devout, God’s unshakable lover, and you the servant brimming with thanks.
Come, walk into the joy of your Lord.

You who began before sunrise, come for your stipend.
You who waited till nine in the morning: the feast is for you. And you, the not-till-noonday starter, do not hesitate; you shall not lose a thing.
You who began at only three in the afternoon, have no scruples, come!
And you who arrived just before sunset, forget you were late. Do not be bashful.
Our Master is magnanimous and welcome the very latest with the first.
He will not entertain you less, you of the eleventh hour,than you the dawn toiler. No, not at all.
To this one he gives, and on that one he showers rewards.
Whether you were a success or whether you only tried, he will greet you, make much of your effort, extol your intention.

Let everybody, therefore, crowd into the exhilaration of our Savior.
You the first and you the last: equally heaped with blessings.
You the rich and you the poor: celebrate together.
You the careful and you the careless: enjoy this day of days.
You that have kept the fast, and you that have broken it: be happy today!
The table is loaded. Feast on it like princes.
The milkfed veal is fat. Let no one go hungry.

 And drink, all of you: drink the cup. The vintage is faith.
Feed sumptuously all: feed on his goodness, his sheer abundance.
No one need think he is poor, for the universal empire is emblazoned, wide open for all.

No one need mourn uncountable falls, be they over and over.
For forgiveness itself has reared from the tomb.
No one need fear death; for our Saviour himself has died and set us free.
He confronted death in his own person, and blasted it to nothing.
He made it defunct by the very taste of his flesh.
This is exactly what Isaiah foretold when he declared:
   “Hell is harrowed by encounter with him.”

Of course it is harrowed.
For now hell is a joke, finished, done with.
Harrowed because now taken prisoner.
It snatched at a body and – incredible – lit upon God.
It gulped down the earth, and gagged on heaven.
It seized what it saw, and was crushed by what it failed to see.

Poor death, where is your sting? Poor hell, where is your triumph?
Christ steps out of the tomb and you are reduced to nothing.
Christ rises and the angels are wild with delight.
Christ rises and life is set free.
Christ rises and the graves are emptied of dead.
Oh yes, for he broke from the tomb like a flower, a beautiful fruit:  the first fruit of those already gone.
All glory be his, all success and power…for ever and ever!

Translation by Paul Roche.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

On Culturally-driven Christianity

Many, who would never embrace a false religion, would eagerly embrace the counterfeit offers of a culturally-driven Christianity. While Christianity should always be communicated within the confines of any given culture, it must never be defined by it. Christianity loses its capacity to transform culture, whenever it adopts a strategy that necessitates accommodation to the transforming influence of culture. If Christianity is to have any transcendent value, it must transcend culture, rather than emulate it; otherwise, it relinquishes its transcendent quality to merely fluctuate on the ceaseless tides of human preference.

"The Alluring Brightness of His Glory: Cherishing the Preeminence of Christ above the Counterfeit Offers of a Consumer-driven Christianity" ; R.L. Coursey; (West Bow Press, 2017); page xii of the preface

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Corrugate Fiberboard Edge

Corrugate Fiberboard Edge

The Flickr Monday Macro group's theme for February 7, 2017 was "the space between".

The fluted sheet creates "the space in between" the two liner boards. The nature of the fluted design also creates its own "space in between" the curves of the fluted material.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

God the Rightous Creator

"It is He who has made us and not we ourselves." 
Psalm 100:3b (Some translations differ...)

 
 

 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’" Acts 17:24-28a

 Thought: God the Creator is holy and righteous in all He does. We, His creatures, owe Him all homage and obedience. He alone is to be worshiped. At the root of every sin is rebellion against our Creator.  God does not argue with us about whether He exists or not. He simply declares He is the one who is;  the "I AM..."

 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

An Alaskan Winter View

IMG_3887

View from the Gulkana Airport near Glennallen, Alaska, USA, December 26, 2016.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"The world has changed..."

Another year is winding down. A year of change in so many ways. The following quote from he Lord of the Rings movie sums up my thoughts on this year:

"The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it." ~ Galadriel

I did not vote for Trump or Clinton. I voted for a 3rd party candidate and am waiting to play the "I told you so..." card. Contrary to all the Trump naysayers otherwise, my 3rd party vote was not "wasted", nor was it a "vote for Clinton". That is simply mathematically and statistically not true and never was true even philosophically.

In the Republican primaries, we voted for other candidates because, if we frankly admit it, Trump scared us. After he tied up the Republican nomination the over all line of thought was "Who do you fear more?" Many who opposed Trump in the primaries voted for him in the general election because they feared Clinton more.

OK.... But one thing has not changed. You feared Trump... Yes, you feared Clinton more, but the fact remains you feared Trump and there has not been a lot other than wishful thinking to change your reasons for that fear.

So now what? Talk to me a year from now after Trump has been in office for most of a year.

What are you going to do do if and when a President Trump does something that really goes over the top as well as far across the line; something you feared?

Yes, Clinton would have been even more egregious, but the point is Trump will be egregious. And when his time is done, the damage will be done and there will be little to none chance of going back and fixing it. And you voted for him...

My reply to you will be I told you so... Don't blame me. I didn't vote for either one of them. God judges nations and America is not immune from that judgement.

"Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

(Psalm 2)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Our High Priest

Thus, we are comforted each and every moment that our high priest ministers for us in the Holy of Holies. The prosecuting attorney is ejected from the courtroom. The case against us is dismissed because our sentence was executed on our high priest himself. But we are not only exonerated, we are actually declared "righteous," as if we had lived perfectly before God. And so we have only a defense attorney before the throne of God. He pleads our case, and the Father accepts his meritorious intercession as sufficient for our right to enjoy his eternal presence forever. "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (Heb. 4:14 NIV).

There are no candles to light, no buttons to push, no aisles to walk, no rededications or resolutions to do better. Nothing will suffice but the intercession of the high priest whose ministry is far superior to that of Moses. For Moses brought us to Mount Sinai where God appeared in terror, clad in lightning and surrounded by peals of thunder. "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel" (Heb. 12:22-24 NIV).

"We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostles Creed", Michael Horton, (Word Publishing, 1998), pages 143-144