A New Era

cute couple

Welcome. This is intended to be a news and information site, with lots of stops in between. Feel free to barge right in and join – or begin – any conversation. I only ask that you observe the generally practiced niceties which we sometimes call “netiquette.”

  • Don’t swear at one another
  • Don’t take the Lord’s Name in vain
  • Don’t make personal attacks
  • Verify when possible.
  • Enjoy

Striped Candy

 

From the church bulletin at Limington Orthodox Presbyterian Church this morning (9/25/2016).

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.—Acts 2:42

Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractithons that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.  (A.W. Tower, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 135,136, 1966).

Preparing for That Iceberg

I have often remarked that with the way health care is being managed in the US, I half expect to be put on an iceberg and allowed to float away and perish. This thought is based upon a tradition among some Eskimo peoples to do exactly that when people got to old to contribute to the general welfare of the society. Note the past tense. I believe this practice may be out of vogue today. But, maybe it will be revived in America.

Consider the story of Barbara Wagner, an elderly woman in Oregon.

She was a lung cancer patient who was presented with the “choice” to end her life.

Wagner said: “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.” See the whole story here.

th-2There are numerous stories like this all over the nation. It’s variously called senicide or senilicide. One supposedly civil or dignified manner of doing this is called “doctor-assisted suicide.” Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California have all passed legislation which call for “compassionate aid in dying.” More states are expected to follow suit. After all, it will see money and reduce the old person’s drag in the community.

Daniel Callahan, an influential bioethicist and co-founder of the prestigious Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute in New York  argues for a cease-fire in America’s “war against death,” calling on us to surrender gracefully; Americans thus “may die earlier than [is now common], but they will die better deaths.”  Read more here.

th-2Now I am very aware that there are some complex ethical questions involved regarding stewardship of our God-given resources. Sometimes “heroic measures,” or extraordinary life-sustaining treatment may be vain attempts to ward off the inevitability of death. These are decisions which must be made on a case-by-case basis, with the understanding that we do not lean toward the taking of a life because it’s easier than living.

I offer two good reads, one from a very practical perspective written by a woman who went through the death of her husband and position paper from a conservative denomination.

I am rapidly approaching the age at which the metaphorical iceerg may become a reality for me. What will that look like? It may be refusal of medical care.It may be the offer of pills to end it all.

God’s Word is not silent in this matter. It teaches that we are made in God’s image. It also teaches that he is in control of our lives and our deaths. We are not to try to usurp the authority which is His alone. It also teaches that we are to live and learn through suffering, not to give in and quit, though we may desperately desire to do so. Peter wrote tht suffering is part f the Christian life.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9, ESV).

Listen to the Apostle Paul who struggled with the decision of whether to live or die.

Yes, and I will rejoice, or I know that brought your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ  will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me  to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is  to depart and  be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.    Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,  so that in me  you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Do not, my friends, buy into the spirit of the age which devalues human life. We already, as a society, kill millions on the birth end of the life journey. Let us work against that scourge which is abortion and be vigilant in protecting the elderly as well.

 

Nothing New Under the Sun

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl. 1:9).

thAs I read in the book of Nahum, the Old Testament prophet, this morning, I came across an interesting term to describe the nation of Assyria. Nahum 2:1 describes Assyria as “the scatterer.”

This reminded me of the official policy of deportation carried out by the Soviet Union during its reign of terror and oppression  beginning at the end of World War II. Large numbers of men, women, and children in the occupied nations of the Soviet sphere were torn from their families and homelands and sent to far-flung outposts of the Soviet empire. Many of the men were separated from their families and sent to prison camps.

In Nahum 3:1 we read, “Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder—no end to the prey!” This verse refers to the city of Ninevah, representative of Assyria. The lies involved are likely the dishonest diplomacy practiced by Assyria in its international affairs. This deceitful dealing is detailed in Isaiah 36:16-17. Such also was the diplomacy of the Soviet Union.

The Assyrian Empire ceased to exist in 612 BC, having been destroyed by joint forces of several of its neighboring nations. The Soviet Union was dissolved in January 1992, after its client nations decided that they had had enough.

There are two points to this little exercise in historical comparison. The first is that it is true that there is nothing new under the sun. Nations still act in manners which were practiced long ago, carrying out mass deportations to weaken defeated populations and carrying out diplomacy by deceit and at the point of a spear, gun, tank, or other weapon.

The second point is that no nation is so big, so important, so powerful that it cannot fall. The Soviet Union was thought of as “the other super power,” along with the United States. Today it is gone. But what of the United States? Is its time near an end?

2 Chronicles 7:12 teaches, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The United States is awash in wicked ways. There is only one way to save it. A return to the worship of the one, holy God is required. God is gracious.

Wickedness is not new. It began in the garden of Eden. It grew exponentially. God always gave mankind the option to return to Him. After the first murder, chronicled in Genesis 4, sin grew and spread in the earth. But there were people who turned from the mayhem and turned to God. The last verse in that chapter tells us that “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

It’s not too late for America. Turn to the LORD and call upon His Name.

 

 

 

 

Coram Deo Farm Weekend

A couple of weekends ago, Sandra and I spoke at a conference at a farm in Thorndike, Maine. At the Coram Deo Farm website we find this description of the mission of the farm:

Coram Deo Farm has been established to provide an educational environment for those interested in homesteading and sustainable farming practices. We plan to provide instruction in composting, renewable energy design and installation, husbandry, and organic farming and permaculture.

Our goal is to incorporate homesteading courses in a way that glorifies our creator by applying Biblical principles and theological thought to the practice of self sufficiency. In this process we hope to encourage a young generation of potential farmers to support themselves and be a gracious example among the community by offering a portion of their crops to individuals in need.

At this first weekend of events at the farm, I spoke three times on the topic: “Is God Green?” We talked about the history of “environmentalism,” some of the hot-button topics such as the “greenhouse effect,” global warming/cooling/climate change, and population. Then we addressed the Biblical view on the creation and its Creator and application of Biblical principles.

Of course, we concluded that God is Green.

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Some twenty-five to thirty adults attended the talks and many children were in attendance. Sandra spoke to a group of women on the topic: “Nurturing an Organic Lifestyle,” addressing the idea of developing a lifestyle of harmony from the inside out. She also introduced the ladies to her Old Testament friend, Naomi.

BTW, we slept in a tent.

What is Really Responsible for Orlando?

The cause of the shooting in Orlando is SIN. The cause of all the mass shootings – and not so massive shootings – is SIN.

Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens will not erase anybody’s sin nature. If ALL guns are gone, then man in his ingenuity will find other ways to kill. He already has quite a track record in that regard.

God made man with the ability to think and create. Mankind has used these gifts in deplorable manners.

Let’s pray for those who were injured in Orlando and the families who lost loved ones.

Let’s pray for revival.

Let’s pray for the police, medical personnel, chaplains, and others reaching out to help in this heinous situation.

A Political Aside

This post did not go up when I scheduled it. Maybe better late than never.

It has been a while since I posted a political piece. So, here we go. Before I began what will basically be a rant, let me ask you to:

pray that I’m wrong.

In the Bible book of Daniel chapter 5  we read of Belshazzar, King of Babylonia who was holding a big banquet. During the banquet he saw a human finger write a message on the wall. That message was mene, mene, tekel, parson.  Try as he might, Belshazzar could not find a wise man or astrologer who could interpret this. Then the queen suggested he call upon Daniel, a Jewish exile. Daniel interpreted the inscription. It was not positive. In fact, the king died that very night.

Well, I believe that the handwriting is on the wall for the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. I believe that I can interpret it – and it’s not good.

thI believe the election is over. It’s rigged and the winner is already determined. Consider this. There have been one caucus and one primary so far. On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders has come out of the two events with a tie Decided by flipping a coin six times) and a decisive win. Yet he is very far behind in the delegate count. I haven’t even described the “coin-toss victory” of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. There were six tosses to decide the winner, and she won each of them. How likely is that? Well, according to one political blog,

We find that the percentage odds of correctly calling the outcome of 6 coin tosses exactly 6 times by chance is 1.56%, or rather, the odds are that this exact outcome will occur by chance just once in 64 opportunities.

Which is also to say that there was a 98.44% chance that this outcome would not occur by chance.

It seems fixed; rigged; settled. OK, so the Democrats, by means of “Super Delegates” choose Hillary to be their candidate. What of the general election? There is another party,  after all, isn’t there? The Democrat machine seems to have many tools in its arsenal to take care of that as well. Consider these factors:

  • The liberal Media (Is that redundant?)
  • Illegal voters (Illegal aliens, dead voters, and multiple ballot voters)
  • Democrat-dependent voters (Keep them fat and happy; give them a ride to the polls; give them a new phone and EBT card)
  • The Republican Party acting like the church (being divisive and shooting their wounded)

The Democrats are not going to leave this election up to the legitimate voters and the Supreme Court as they were forced to do in 2000 with the Bush-Gore race being decided by the justices. They cannot afford to be legit, especially with a Supreme Court seat likely to be waiting to be filled.

So, will the Democrat machine thwart God’s will? As the Apostle Paul was wont to answer to many a question (usually posed by himself), μει  γενοιτω. This is variously translated: “may it never be”, “God forbid,” and “No way.” Romans 13, verse 1 states, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” In 1 Peter 2, verses 13-15, we likewise read,

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor  as supreme,  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

God institutes the authorities. Governors are sent by Him.

Be not fooled, friends. No matter how this election turns out, God is still in charge. He has a plan – and it may be time for punishment for the arrogant nation known as the United States of America.

I predict that Hillary has already won.

PLEASE PRAY THAT I AM WRONG.

Contest Finalist – Part Two

As I posted last week, Sandra and I had quite a bit of success in a writing contest sponsored by the group Almost an Author (A3). Here is the text of the second piece which earned me the finalist award. It was in the category of “article.” ENJOY.

Fresh 2015 Voice

We Can’t Go Back

I’m at the age when various groups of which I’ve been a part are planning and/or holding reunions. I’m not much of a reunion — or nostalgia — fan. I’ve only ever been to two reunion events. The first took place more than ten years ago. It was not a school reunion, however. It was a gathering of former crew members of the USS Georgetown, the ship on which I served more than fifty  years ago, when I was on active duty with the U.S. Navy.

We old fogies had a good time. We wore nametags, because some of us had changed just slightly. We watched some grainy super 8 movies, mostly having to do with our antics when we crossed the equator together. We sat there in amazement, wondering who those slim young men on the screen were — and where they’ve gone. We all spent time visiting with one another and walking around Key West, a port of call with which we were all familiar — decades ago.

Key West has changed, just as I and my shipmates have changed. We all got older, raised families, and did other things that are pretty normal. Most of our families are grown now, and some of the wives aren’t the same ones with whom some of the guys started out married life. Key West went from a sleepy town with a Navy base to one of the premier tourist destinations in the country.

You can’t go back.

Most of us realized we were not going to relive the days of our youth by visiting Key West. Our bodies wouldn’t have handled it if we had tried. I have come face to face with this realization numerous times in the past few years.

A few years back I took my youngest daughter to visit the city in which I had grown up and the high school from which I had graduated (fast forward a few more years and I attended another reunion – the 50th anniversary of my graduation from that same school!). The reality was somewhat shocking. None of the houses in which I had lived were still standing. The school had bars on the windows and doors — and probably hadn’t been swept since I graduated. My daughter grew to have a better understanding of the socio-economic background from which I have emerged. I learned a few things, too.

You can’t go back.

It’s good to have memories — and it’s important to actually think about creating memories as we go along in life. It’s good to remember both the good and the bad in our own biographies. The good we can improve upon. The bad, perhaps, we can learn from. But we can’t change any of it.

The most important change in my life since “the old days” was one over which I had no control. For His own reasons, God chose me to be one of His own. In 1978, a dozen years after I separated from the navy, I was enlisted in God’s army. Now I am on a career path which leads to eternal life.

I don’t want to go back.

Fortunately, we can alter our present and our future. I was reminded, more than once, while in Key West, that I could easily have been voted “least likely to succeed,” if they voted on such things aboard the Georgetown. I drank hard and fought often and generally kept myself in trouble. Shipmates told me they are surprised at “how well I’ve turned out.”

Me too!

When I left the Navy, I went to college; not because of a thirst for knowledge, but because the G.I. Bill gave me money to do so. My attitude and my behavior didn’t change much. But things are very different now. God has ordered my steps. He has allowed me to have the kinds of background and experiences and education which some people find helpful. His hand has been obvious in my life. Just when I thought I was going to sneak off to Maine and become a semi-retired type, a congregation recruited me to be its pastor. I have been called upon to use skills and education for which God had prepared me, but which I have scarcely used in the past few years. And I have plenty to share with these people to whom He sent me.

Then I “retired” from that congregation in Maine and lived and ministered in Prague, Czech Republic.

You can’t go back. I really wouldn’t want to, but it is fun reminiscing about “the good old days.” We just can’t live there. We have to move on.

We of the USS Georgetown talked about the next reunion. It never happened. I guess once was enough. I enjoyed that reunion, but I’m glad to be back in the present. There’s never a dull moment in the adventure.

By the way, I also can’t go back and visit the USS Georgetown. It was decommissioned in 1969. My understanding is that it was sold as scrap metal to the Gillette company. Maybe I shaved with part of it this morning!