On Beggars and beneficial Work

While reading on the Christian theology of vocation I ran across this quote on those without a vocation, or what might be called free-loading, or welfare culture today. It is worth considering well.

“Hence we may learn sundry points of instruction; first of all that it is a foul disorder in any Commonwealth, that there should be suffered rogues, beggars, vagabonds; for such kind of persons commonly are of no civil society or corporation, nor of any particular Church: and are as rotten legs, and arms, that drop from the body. Again, to wander up and down from year to year to this end, to seek and procure bodily maintenance, is no calling, but the life of a beast; and consequently a condition or state of life flat against the rule: That every one must have a particular calling. And therefore the statute made the last Parliament for the restraining of beggars and rogues is an excellent statute, and being in substance the very law of God, is never to be repealed."

A Treatise of the Vocations, William Perkins, 1605, p.910

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PT10&id=RLyOAAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Posted in Uncategorized

Seeing your real spiritual self

"When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how I spiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer."

Paul Miller, A Praying Life, (Navpress, (c)2009), p.31

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Support Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan

Act in the case of Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan and her baby and toddler in prison.

We strongly urge the administration to take action in the case of Dr. Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who with her toddler and newborn baby (who pending the proper documentation are American citizens) is languishing inside a prison in Khartoum. While Meriam awaits execution for the “crime” of converting to Christianity, her children are forced to be at her side in a prison that a 2008 U.N. document reported as having an infant mortality rate of one per day in the summer. No innocent child should be in this situation. We urge you to pressure the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children so she can escape execution and possible death of her children and be rejoined with her husband in the U.S. Please grant her expedited safe haven in the U.S., where she could seek asylum.

You can sign the petition here:

http://wh.gov/loPZV

Posted in Uncategorized

Too many chiefs: and the need for Submission in the Christian life

 

Submission is a dirty word in America. We are a people who threw off the yoke of aristocracy in order to become a people where everyman is his own king. The only problem with that idea is that many chiefs make for much war in the camp and too few Indians doesn’t make a tribe. The scriptures give us an insight into the life of a people when everyone is his own king.

 

The book of Judges records the result: when everyone does what is right in his own eyes, sin abounds, oppression results, deliverance is needed, and then the cycle starts all over again. All of that is because when a people can’t submit to God they are unable to submit to one another in little things and in big things. And when they can’t submit to one another then fights break out, lawsuits abound, angers flare, etc.

 

Contrary to what many think, submission isn’t the belief that some are more valuable and others are less valuable, rather submission is the willing laying down of one’s rights in order to see God’s plans and purposes fulfilled. No person has an inherent right to lord his or her power or ideas over another, nor does any husband have an inherent right to demand the deference of his wife. But when each party understands that God is the sovereign Lord then he or she is able to accept the ordering which The Heavenly Father has laid out in the Scriptures. Children submit to parents, wives submit to husbands, church members submit to church leaders and all submit to God. Submission is God’s divinely ordained way of keeping peace in the community and ensuring that a family, a church or a nation can move forward in fulfilling God’s plan to declare among the nations the gospel message of Christ crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended.

 

So what does this look like in daily life? For the child, it means obedience to the parents’ requests. Submission may mean using “Please” and “Thank you.” It may mean saying, “Yes, sir” and “No, sir.” It definitely involves carrying out chores without grumbling or complaining. For the wife, it means laying aside her preferences in order to carry out her husband’s. This isn’t demanded; she willingly renders it for the furtherance of peace in the home. Submission means that when a disagreement on the direction of the family arrives, the wife will lay aside her purposes in order for her husband to lead the family. For the church member it means trusting God to guide the leadership of the church towards Christ-likeness. When there are disagreements over church plans, styles, or preferences the membership defers to the leadership of the Church. When church leaders ask members to actively do or refrain from doing something, the member accepts the direction of those responsible before God. Submission requires caring for the reputation of the one who is leading. It means not speaking evil of a leader or seeking to undermine their authority.

 

And for the every believer, submission to God means carrying out His plans and purposes. It is the ordering of our lives around God’s instruction and desire, instead of our own. In all of these things, submission calls us to consider others better than ourselves. Submission calls us to love one another, to seek peace and pursue godliness. Submission is the invitation of God to become like Christ by humbly following Him. As Hebrews 5:7 declares, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

 

But submission is only possible for us if we recognize the authority and sovereignty of God Almighty, as Jesus did. For when we realize that The Lord is actively leading and overseeing our world, then we can believe that every authority has been installed by God and that as long as the leadership’s directions and demands don’t contradict the written Word of God, then the Lord has allowed them to request such and so from us and the Lord will use these requests for our good.

 

As you can see, submission requires a high degree of trust in God. It is a radical call for a radically individual society. So let me ask a few questions: Do you desire a quiet life? Do you desire a peaceful church? Do you yearn for a godly family? Do you yearn for holiness in your life? Then learn to practice submission. For as the Word says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) and “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17)

Posted in spiritual formation, Uncategorized

On Living for God

“Two themes came to preoccupy my thoughts. First, the conviction that no man can do properly what he is called upon to do in this life unless he can learn to forget his ego and act as an instrument of God. Second, that for him personally the way to which he was called would lead to the Cross, i.e., to suffering, worldly humiliation, and the physical sacrifice of his life.

Dag Hammarskjold, Markings

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Israeli crimes against Tent of Nations

Israeli forces destroy 1,500 fruit trees near Bethlehem

Submitted by Ben White on Tue, 05/20/2014 – 07:22

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/israeli-forces-destroy-1500-fruit-trees-near-bethlehem?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=0e8c30c4cd-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-0e8c30c4cd-299170805

Mobile phone images show the Tent of Nations before and after it was attacked by Israeli forces (Facebook). tentofnations.jpgIsraeli forces destroyed an estimated 1,500 fruit trees [apple, apricot. grape and olive] belonging to the Tent of Nations farm outside Nahalin village, in the Bethlehem region of the occupied West Bank yesterday morning.

Owned by the Nassar family, the farm lies just below Neve Daniel, an Israeli settlement, located in the Gush Etzion bloc. The property has long been targeted by Israeli occupation authorities seeking to confiscate the land and remove an obstacle to settlement expansion.

According to the family, soldiers arrived at their land early in the morning, and in a couple of hours uprooted some 1,500 apricot and apple trees, burying them under piles of soil. “This is going to make it very difficult for us to recover and rehabilitate the land,” Daoud Nassar, a member of the family, told me. Photographs are available on the project’s Facebook page.

The family was preparing for harvest, with international volunteers set to come in June to help with picking the apricots and apples. Daoud said that they have been harvesting the trees for a number of years now, using them, among other things, for jam-making.

Two weeks ago, the Israeli military issued the Nassars an order to stop cultivation. The family responded to the order through their lawyer. Yet before the legal process could run its course, “they came and smashed everything,” Daoud added.

“We are very frustrated. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Why destroy a tree? Why destroy a tree that will give fruits very soon? Why destroy the land?”

Daoud Nassar urged international supporters to wait for updates about how best to respond to the latest developments, as the family plan their next move.

[IMPORTANT: Please reference www.FOTONNA.org as the main website to post official news and instructions about facts and plans for action]

Posted in political

Choirmaster’s pitch pipe and life

We are like members of a choir which is singing together unaccompanied; possibly we do not know each other very well, and we are not used to singing together. Gradually, though we do not hear it, we drop lower and lower, and the choirmaster has to give a little toot on his pitch pipe to remind us of the level at which we ought to be singing.

Isn’t this rather like our tendency to live day by day, doing the same things over and over again, meeting the same duties and the same people, while we are often working at great pressure, rushing to get things finished, and breathlessly trying to "cope"? Whether we enjoy this pressure – and I am sure that some of us do like it – or whether we hate it, very often the effect is the same: without being aware of it, our "note" is dropping all the time, our prayers are becoming more formal, or more irregular, or more languid. When we are able to secure a little leisure, we find it increasingly difficult to make the most of it; we are "distracted," or "dissipated" in the sense in which Pascal uses the word.

To revert to our parable of the choir; the note on which our lives are being lived is dropping all the time – and we don’t notice it, we need a sudden and urgent reminder, to pull us sharply, as the choirmaster does when he sounds his pitch pipe. We need something to pull us together and to help us to screw the note of our lives up again. (Olive Wyon, Consider Him)

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Rev 22:1-6 The Water of Life

  1. Every good garden makes use of 4 things well
    1. Water features
    2. Trees
    3. Harness Light in ways that illuminate
    4. Bring blessing, life Continue reading
Posted in Revelation, Sermons

Christian Healthcare Anyone?

Imagine a major medical expense that threatens to drain your bank account. Your copay or deductible is $3000, $5000 or more. The insurance bills have paid a big portion but you are still left with a substantial cost. No imagine that same scenario, but you don’t have insurance. Is your heart racing? It doesn’t need to. What if your bills were $100,000 but within 30 days you had received 300 checks covering the cost of this medical catastrophe? And what if, many of those checks came with notes of encouragement and prayers for you recovery from people all of the country who were praying for you? Does it sound too good to be true?

It’s not. This is the world of Christian healthcare sharing – faithful believers providing for the needs of one another, bearing one another’s burdens. The Christian healthcare-sharing network I recommend is Samaritan Ministries. Each month faithful believers send monthly checks to one another covering the cost of health needs that weren’t incurred because of unchristian behavior. These Christians are active in their churches, submissive to their leadership, engaged in lifestyles conducive to health and are committed to caring for the needs of other believers. And best of all, the Affordable Care Act recognizes these networks as meeting the demands of the law.

With the looming Obamacare mandate for health insurance, many are scrambling to get healthcare insurance. But there is a better way than supporting an insurance industry that wants to get rich off of you. There is a better way than having to provide abortion coverage for those living in immorality. There is a better way, you can live as a Christian caring for other Christians in need.

If you would like more information, please visit www.samaritanministries.org

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Revelation 22:1-6 The Garden

There are points of similarity and contrast in the Gardens of Revelation 22 and Genesis 1-2.

The points of similarity are as follows:

    1. Both Gardens with are watered by a river – Gen 2:10 and Rev 22:1
    2. Both contain the Tree of Life – Gen 3:22  and Rev 22:2
    3. God is present in both gardens –  Gen 3:8 and Rev 22:3

But there are also notable differences in the gardens.

    1. City as well as a garden – In revelation, the city is pictured as containing a garden, but in Genesis only a garden is there without a city.  God has reclaimed the security of the city, but melded the beauty of the garden and rid it of the filth of city sin.
    2. Tree is available and accessible where it wasn’t in Genesis.
    3. There is no natural light in the Revelation garden for God’s glory illumines everything, where the sun and the moon illuminated the garden in Genesis.

Oh to live in the presence of God, surrounded by his glory.  What an undeserved gift made available in Christ.

Posted in Devotional, Genesis, Revelation