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Further Along My Passage

November 2013
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Autumn Shack

“The boundless space, the endless time, the infinite energies, and the innumerable complexities of the matter of the universe all unite in irrefutable testimony to the God of creation.  The most fundamental principle of science, as well as the most universal rule of human experience, is the Law of Cause and Effect, stating that no effect can transcend its cause.  Thus the great cause of the universe must be infinite, eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient.  And since we as living, feeling persons are able to think about all this, that cause must also  be a living, feeling thinking Person.  This is the great lesson engraved on the textbook of the universe for all to read and learn.  The whole creation, indeed, declares the glory of God.”   Henry M. Morris in Teaching Universe.

Autumn Creek

Preparing a sermon the subject of which was “Connecting with the Holy Spirit”, Robin Martin asked me to share my thoughts.  The following is what I shared with her via email:

        “The more I have studied the Bible, the more convinced I have become that reading Scripture prayerfully is God’s intention to connect with us to Himself- Person to person.  Sixty six books written primarily by 40 authors under the guidance of the Holy Spirit over hundreds of years, the Bible is God’s guidebook for living.  Certain passages from Scripture have become anchors for my belief that our Lord speaks to us through our passages into Old Age.  Romans 8:28 applies for the believer through every problem, every crucible, no matter how devastating it may at first seem to be.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”  

          “I have learned to look for His purpose in every crisis.  The Old Testament’s narrative on Job is a chronicle of God’s faithfulness through Job’s multitude of troubles.  Job’s testament of faith should be that of every child of God:  [Oh that my words were now written!  Oh, that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen in a rock forever!  For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.]

          For pilgrims in search of the deepest assurances of the Christian faith, I would direct them to John’s gospel, perhaps a first place to begin a journey of Christian faith.  Literature is replete with stories of those who have come to a saving faith in Jesus through reading John’s gospel.  One of the most dramatic is that of Ravi Zacharias.  Hospitalized as a teen ager after attempting to commit suicide, a hospital chaplain visited Ravi with his mother at his bedside and gave him a New Testament.  He directed Ravi’s mother to read to him John chapter 14.  These words from Jesus to His disciples became the catalyst for Ravi’s acceptance of Jesus as His Redeemer and Savior:  “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever....I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you....because I live, you shall live also. Interestingly, and not coincidentally, years later Ravi returned to India to visit his grand-mother’s grave.  While a caretaker was scraping dirt off of the grave marker, his wife Margie grabbed Ravi by the elbow and said “Look!”  Under his grandmother’s name were these words:  “Because I live, you will live also.”

 

Autumn

          Lately, the lyrics to an old, almost forgotten gospel song have been running through my spirit and mind.  The simple words written by Squire Parsons speak a profound truth:

 [The gulf that separated me from Christ my Lord..... It was so vast.... the crossing.... I could never ford..... From where I was.... to His domain.... it seemed so far..... I cried Dear Lord, I cannot come.... to where You are....When I could not come to where He was, He came to me. That’s why He died on Calvary.  He came to me when I was bound in chains of my sin   He came to me when I could find no peace within....Then he reached down and drew me to His side.  And today in His sweet love, I now abide.]

 

 SoCal Autumn

 

 

 

Wisdom Quotes from Henry David Thoreau

It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.” Blessed are they who never read a newspaper, they shall see nature, and through her, God. - All good things are wild and free.  There is no remedy for love, but to love more.  When it is time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.... Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” 

 

 

AUTUMN LEAVES 

 

 

 

As the Advent season rapidly approaches, ponder these words from Malcolm Muggeridge, transcribed from a speech he gave near the end of his life.          

Thanks to the great mercy and marvel of the Incarnation, the cosmic scene is resolved into a human drama.  God reaches down to become a Man and Man reaches up to relate himself to God.  Time looks into eternity and eternity into time, making now always, and always now.  Everything is transformed by the sublime dream of the Incarnation – God's special parable for fallen man and a fallen world.  The way opens before us that was charted in the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The way that successive generations of believers have striven to follow, deriving themselves the moral, spiritual, and intellectual creativity out of which have come everything truly great in our art, our literature, our music, the splendor of the great Cathedrals, and the illumination of the saints and mystics, as well as countless lives of men and women serving their God and loving their Savior in humility and Faith.  It's a glorious record – not just of the past, but continuing now.  The books are open, not closed.  The Incarnation was not a mere historical event like the Battle of Waterloo, or the American Declaration of Independence – something that's happened, and then was over.  It goes on happening all the time.  God did not retreat back into Heaven when the fateful words “It is finished” were uttered on Golgotha.  The Word that became flesh has continued and continues to dwell among us, full of grace and truth.  There are examples on every hand; we have but to look for them.  For instance, the man in Solzhenitsyn's labor camp who scribbled sentences from the Gospels that he pulled out of his pocket in the evening to keep himself serene and brotherly in that terrible place.  Then, Solzhenitsyn himself – a product of this world's first overtly atheistic materialist society who yet can tell us in shining words that “it was only when I lay there, on rotting prison straw, that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good.  Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either; but right through every human heart and through all human hearts.  So, bless you, prison for having been in my life.”  What insight, what wisdom, acquired in a Soviet prison, after a Marxist upbringing. ...

           If the Christian Revelation is true, then it must be true for all times and in all circumstances.  Whatever may happen, however seemingly inimical to it may be the way the world is going and those who preside over its affairs, its truth remains intact and inviolate.  “Heaven and Earth shall pass way,” Our Lord said, “but my words shall not pass away.”  Our Western Civilization, like others before it, is subject to decay, and must sometime or other decompose and disappear.  The world's way of responding to intimations of decay is to engage equally in idiot hopes and idiot despair.  On the one hand, some new policy or discovery is confidently expected to put everything to rights: a new fuel, a new drug, détente, world government, North Sea oil, revolution, or counter-revolution.  On the other, some disaster is confidently expected to prove our undoing:  capitalism will break down; communism won't work; fuel will run out; plutonium will lay us low; atomic waste will kill us off; overpopulation will suffocate us all or alternatively a declining birth rate will put us at the mercy of our enemies.  In Christian terms such hopes and fears are equally beside the point.  As Christians, we know that here we have no continuing city.  The crowns roll in the dust and every earthly kingdom must sometime flounder. 

           Whereas we acknowledge a King men did not crown and cannot dethrone, as we are citizens of a City men did not build and cannot destroy.  Thus, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome – living, remember, in a society as depraved and dissolute as ours, with its “TV” of “the Games” which specialized, as television does, in spectacles of violence and eroticism – exhorting them to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in God's Word, to concern themselves with the things that are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal but the things that are not seen are eternal.  It was in the breakdown of Rome that Christendom was born.  And now, in the breakdown of Christendom, there are the same requirements and the same possibilities to eschew the fantasy of a disintegrating world and seek the reality of what is not seen and is eternal – the reality of Christ.  In this reality of Christ we may see our only hope, our only prospect, in a darkening world. 

Excerpt from a speech by Malcolm Muggeridge, The True Crisis of our Time

 

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:  because I live, ye shall live also.  John 14:18-19

A piece of autumn!