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Archive for October, 2017

A New Canaan
Of U.S Constitution, and the first
Amendment let me not discredit
Founding Fathers nor their sagacity:
Their New Canaan was but one continent,
Pity them, for conscience of pilgrims
Still shackled fast to the fleshpots o’ Europe
Cast the new resolution more o’ the old
feuds, -amid alarums and skirmishes
Taint the new soil, where bisons roamed free;
In the shackles of proud race the new
ever mire’d foul, they made their home as of old;
With their guns drew their fate in New Canaan.
Original:
OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
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Mystical Moment- By the sheer beauty of uncut stones stored in heaps before him the pirate experiences what St.Teresa of Avila would have well understood.

The Horrible History of Captain Black Hand is available through Amazon.com. For mere $15 treat your loved ones for Halloween. Kids will love it and the old will have a whale of time while reading eleven horrible adventures of the pirate.

 

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Without fully touching on the nature of God one cannot understand the theological term of Predestination. Let me quickly run through what these are.

The Will of God cannot run contrary to His attributes Power and Wisdom, dimension of which is infinite. Thus  where his Wisdom touches an abstract idea of love it cannot be conceived as apart from his will. His love is evident in his creation calendar. First He made all that were needful for man and on the sixth ‘day’ He observed, “…Behold it was very good.(Ge.1:30)” God entrusted the creatures under the care of Adam after he had endowed him with his living breath. He inducted him into service as it were. Naturally we see God trusted in his stewardship when God brought His creation to him and  left choice of their names(Ge.2:19) to him.  God’s trust in his own Power and Wisdom working through him is unmistakeable( When Calvin makes Total Depravity as a central plank in his doctrine he is undermining God’s sovereign Power and Wisdom. Liberality of God in such gifts we can conclude are examples of Love in expression.

Man’s moral choice, whether killing a life form,- be it plants or animals, was not altogether any new element introduced. Adam correctly exercised it when found no helpmeet among animals. It is part of his Gift, wisdom and is entered under the divine Will. What is death to us? Dissolution of physical reality that the body holds for us. Whereas death holds altogether a different significance to Him. It cannot be otherwise, seeing Power and Wisdom are inextricably woven into the Will. Also significant is the testimony of Jesus who speaks of his Father thus. “You do err, not knowing the scriptures…God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Mt.22:29-32)”. I shall cite another example. God gave double of everything Job had lost  (Jb.42:10) He had seven sons and three daughters before Satan afflicted him. In the end when God blessed he was given the same number and not double mind you, of children. His children who were dead to him were already in the presence of God.( Jb.42:13),

Holy Spirit reveals God by the generic term  Elohim in the Creation Account. From John’s account we know God the Son was also present (Jn.1:3-4,1)  God is the Father of lights. Jesus Christ is revealed as the light of men. The spirit in extending God’s attributes make the Will envelop the whole cosmos to give it space. Trust that God extended to Adam connects with Jesus symbol of which is light*. This natural phenomena is not in terms of light having to travel light years but in terms of man’s power and wisdom howsoever is limited. Inspiration of the Holy Spirit is to render a believer overcome his physical limitations. Some Bible scholars have erred in ascribing double predestination,

God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. As Just God his Power and Wisdom he scattered liberally and in sending his Son with a clear mandate (‘whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life’) is in harmony with His nature.  Just as He entrusted Adam with naming the creatures He left judgment to the Son since His Fullness is in the Son. (For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell-Col.1:19-KJV) .Jesus expressed divine Will in no uncertain terms. ’Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’(Mt.18: 14) He also proved with his life.

Core Will is a term to explain Will of God in  totality.  This is necessary owing to our finite understanding of time. Divine Will commands certain attitudes and conduct from man. It has a finite time frame. Man is judged on this basis. Whatever judgment God determines on these has a Time frame,

In order to demonstrate predestination in working and how we are part of eternal plan of God let me quote two passages one from the Epistle to the Hebrews and the other from the Book of Job.

Speaking of Melchicedec, the King of Salem St Paul states that Abraham gave him a tenth part of all in tithes. He goes on to add, ‘And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law…’

“For he (Levi) was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchicedec met him.(He.7: 10)”.

Now for the other.

When the Lord finally confronted Job out of a whirlwind he asked, ‘…Where was thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding (Jb.38: 4)’. Levi was in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to the King of Salem. By the same token when God laid the foundation of the earth we were all dead in sins because of Adam, and without a ray of hope. We have been preordained in his Will for punishment. But in obeying the Son and by our faith we have received grace. He blotted out the writing against us and nailed to the cross. (Col.2: 14). This is what St Paul terms as ‘mystery of his Will’ (Ep.1: 9) the key to which is the atoning work of the Son.

As a result we figure as overcomers in Core Will, which ‘he hath purposed in himself’. Thus by the blood of Christ Jesus God shall establish us children of obedience in Core Will.

All that required for such a turn around was our faith, which comes from hearing the Word. “…Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Ro.10: 17)”. This is the kind of faith that death cannot silence.  Cain slew Abel but his blood could catch the ear of God.

God cannot deny himself. His divine Love spreads outwards through his Son and as Jn.3:15-16 makes it clear the call is to even the little ones. Predestination when man interprets it relying on authority,  as lawyers and scribes in the time of Jesus did, is narrowed. Jesus castigated them. The same spirit works still.

Consider this verse. “Notwithstanding they (sons of Eli) hearkened not the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them (1 Sa.2:25) As mentioned in the example of Job we were all under condemnation because of Adam. Also the verse in the gospel of Luke clues us in the condemnation abides with those who reject the counsel of God by rejecting the Son( Lk.7:29-30)

Because of our faith we were justified through his Son unto salvation. In rejecting the Son is tantamount to a state where we are rejecting God the Father . All authority is given to the Son (Jn.5:22,27). God is the Will while the Son is fulfillment. The Spirit in setting down two narratives from the Father and the Son respectively made the sons of Eli foreordained as it were, because they rejected the counsel of their father.

  • The Spirit tags persons with qualities in this case light. Glory of Adam in the presence of God is light. When he chose to step out of God’s Will he felt naked meaning his glory left him. It connects to Jesus in whom was the light of men. Thus the Spirit informs us of Children of light and of darkness.

benny

 

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Abraham

 

“Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness…(Jas.2:23)”

Before he could be called as the friend of God there had to be an actual body of shared experience between them. It is supplied by faith: the arc of life that Abraham could trace from the land of his fathers unto his last day on earth was marked by faith. Between eternal God and man a bond need not be shared on physical plane alone. What connected God in heaven and Abraham on the earth? In spiritual terms it is called faith. Abraham became the Friend of God because of faith.

It was God’s choice to elevate him to such a position that he shared his Intent with him. Before he judged the cities of the plains he said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do…?(Ge.18:17) ” Here we have the proof of friendship in that he shared confidence with the patriarch. In dreams and vision God reveals his intent to man and as such basis for friendship can only be made real by faith. It works both ways. God demonstrated his Faith when he called him out. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee…(Ge.12:1-3).” He was seventyfive years old when he set out, “not knowing whither he went. “…Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness (Ro.4:3).

His circumcision was a sign: seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?(Am.3:3)” Abraham demonstrated his faith when God called him out; he went out without knowing but trusting in God. Here we can how their bond was forged and the term ‘friend of God’ aptly fitted.

Holiness of God is what his Name implies. He changed the name of Abram to Abraham, signifying he was the father of many nations. He was ninety-nine years old. “Neither shall thy name anymore be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham…(Ge.17:5)”. Name as we had already discussed has spiritual significance; so righteousness of God is imputed to him not because of circumcision but by faith. Holiness is not anything we earn because of works but our lives produce spiritual fruits by abiding in him. Our holiness cannot be apart from our relationship with God through his Son. Years ago I had written on the flyleaf of my Bible: ‘There is no holiday from holiness.’ That is for one who is in Christ holiness is his life and it is an abiding life as Abraham did. “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Here we shall discuss two points which are relevant for us, ‘….upon whom the ends of the worlds are come (1 Co.10:11).’ The promise was not to Abraham alone but also to us. By faith God’s covenant is with us as well. “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek on to come (He.13:14).” We read how Patriarch Abraham lived in the land of promise.

“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob…for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (He.11:8-10).” We are pilgrims and sojourners on this earth and as such we are nomads, or birds of passage. For us any undue entanglement with the fashions of the world and in the customs, traditions that convulse men can only bode ill. For either or principle dictates we have time for doing so much and no more. We are as branches from the true vine that is Christ, and we can only produce fruits by abiding in him. We cannot be as well tumbleweeds being driven hither and thither by fashions or trends the worldly set up as distraction to their shallow lives. Is it a life for producing worthwhile fruits that we desire? Or do we leave sum total of life as stubble of withered branches that at the end of the day is only fit for burning? Our confidence is that we shall be with our Lord Saviour when our earthly life is done. There shall be a day designated as day of the Lord. Those who are in Christ have passed from judgment and whatever happens to the earth cannot harm us. St Peter exhorts us to be in all holy conversation and godliness…we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness… (2 Pe.3:10-14).”

The life of Patriarch Abraham instructs us where righteousness be found. For us the new earth and the heaven is a place founded on the risen Christ. It is a compact city whose maker and the builder is God. When God promised Abraham he named specifically ‘ all the land of Canaan’ and this is to be for an everlasting possession. We need to accept it as God’s promises and it is eternal.

We read God’s promise to King Solomon after he had dedicated the temple. “And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer…I have hallowed this house, which thou hast it, to put my name there forever…(1 Ki.9:3-6) It was however conditional. Israel was unfaithful and God accordingly cast them out and ‘Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people.’

A remnant of Israel shall be gathered and they shall realize their folly in having rejected Jesus Christ in his first advent. We have this verse in the gospel of John, “He came into his own, and his own received him not (vs.11) “All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him (Re.1:7)” On his second coming he shall reign as Messiah, the prince of Peace for a thousand year that shall be known as the Millennial Reign. After he hands over this kingdom he himself shall be subject to his Father so He is in all and through all.

In the New earth and new heaven there shall be no temple therein. “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it (Re.21:22). Significant is the use of the title Lamb in this context. Why not the Son instead? The Spirit clues us in familiar symbols the House of Israel and the Gentile nations to inform us of eternity. His promise to Abraham is fulfilled, all families of the earth alike are blessed (Ge.12:3) Therefore we need pay particular attention to the symbol of the Lamb and to the Lord God Almighty as unifying elements than as distinct entities.

(Selected from The Immanuel Factor-Heroes of Faith)

It is available through Amazon.com.

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This sketch is among three which I did today. Here is Virgin Mary in the house of Elizabeth who having received her cousin is back to her chores. Here she is watching while her help does the washing. You can see the courtyard and service yard.

Mary cries “Holy is his Name”  It is part of Bible Truths in pictures

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Cheap Nationalism

‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’ so said Samuel Johnson,1775. But bone spur that prevents you from drafting is god-sent.

Here is a news item from npr.org/scott neuman of 23 Oct.2017

In a week that saw two of President Trump’s predecessors issue thinly veiled warnings about where the country is heading under Trump’s leadership, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain fired off what appeared to be a long-delayed riposte to the man who once mocked his war record.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on C-SPAN, McCain spoke on the 50th anniversary of his being shot down over North Vietnam — an event that led to his capture by communist forces and a 5 1/2-year stay in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said, in an apparent reference to the diagnosis that allowed Trump to be medically disqualified for service in 1968.

He had referred to half-baked spurious nationalism that is loud on pledges but short on honoring it when nation needs most. It is hypocrisy.

Benny

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