Tuesday, November 12, 2019

When You and Your Parents Don't Share a Common Faith


In recent years, Taylor Swift and other songwriters have earned a reputation for writing songs that publically express some very personal feelings or events. But they've got a long way to go to match the heartfelt transparency Keith Green displayed in "Song to My Parents (I Only Wanna See You There)".




I need to say these things 'cause
I love you so
And I'm sorry you get angry when I say that
You just don't know
That there's a heaven waiting
For you and me
I know it seems every time we talk
I'm only tryin' to just make you see

And it's only that I care
I really only want
Just to see you there

Please try and overlook my
My human side
I know I'm such a bad example
And you know I'm so full of pride
But Jesus isn't like that
No, He's perfect all the way
I guess that's why we need Him
'Cause by ourselves, there's just no way

And it's only that I care
I really, really only just want to see you there
To see you there

Close the doors
They're just not coming
We sent the invitations out long, long, long, long time ago
We're still gonna have a wedding feast
Big enough to beat them all
The greatest people in the world just wouldn't come
So now we'll just have to invite the small

And it's only that I care
I really, really only want
Just to see you there

Isn't that Jesus?
Isn't that Joseph and Mary's son?
Well, didn't He grow up right here?
He played with our children
What! He must be kidding
Thinks He's a prophet
Well, prophets don't grow up from little boys
Do they? From little boys?
Do they?
©1977 April Music



Truth is...it's a hard thing to put a desire for a smooth, peaceful relationship aside in favor of the desire for an eternal one. Talking to our parents or other dearly loved family or friends seems scary, but if we really love them, and Jesus is really real, their rejection of Christ should scare us even more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How to Succeed in Politics


This has never aspired to be a political blog, but Clement Eaton has made some observations that certainly contain facts and point out a deeper truth.


The voters failed to elect their superior men to office. To obtain the [votes] of the people it was not necessary for a politician to have a superior education or a brilliant mind. Rather, he must be able to sense the common man's discontents, his economic grievances, his prejudices, and his dreams. The successful politician was, as a rule, a vigorous or eloquent speaker, a man who could devise popular slogans and organize political workers, and who gave the common people a feeling of their own importance. As party warfare developed into violent partisanship and as sectional tensions arose, the politician who had strong convictions and had taken a courageous public stand on issues was often pushed aside in favor of a candidate of availability.



In the spirit of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story, it may surprise you to learn this is a quote from the book, Henry Clay and the Art of American Politics, and is talking about the voters of the 1830s and 1840s.


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Truth is...What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I Am Loved: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #22


If you go to TimothyKeller.com, you are immediately greeted by a picture of Keller apparently speaking from a pulpit or lectern. In large type, like a banner across the top of the page, is this quote:


The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.

That's a pretty good collection of words right there, and it relates to Jesus Quote #22 in two ways:

     1.   It covers similar ground...talking about how Jesus has an effect on what I think about myself.
     2.   Its source is the same person.


Tim Keller


The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.


Truth is...While I have often said that God loves us so much He would rather die than live without us...and there is truth in that statement...I am also reminded of something Rich Mullins said: "I grew up hearing everyone tell me 'God loves you'. I would say big deal, God loves everybody. That don't make me special! That just proves that God ain't got no taste. And I don't think He does. Thank God! Because He takes the junk of our lives and makes the most beautiful art."

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Something to Stop Praying About


It might surprise you that in a book titled Pray Big, the author (Alistair Begg) actually spells out something he thinks we should all STOP praying:


Mouth Taped Shut

I want to erase the two words that shut most of our prayers down. Here they are:

"Be with..."

If you were to record my prayers, I have a sad suspicion you'd hear a lot of "be with": "Dear Lord, I pray you will be with Tom as he goes to work, and be with Mary also, who's having her wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday, and be with...and be with...and be with...and be with us all. Amen."

This is unimaginative. It's limited. It's certainly not spiritually ambitious, like Paul is. And it is, I think, unnecessary. Jesus said, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). He's promised to be with Tom and with Mary. It's a bit of a waste to make the sum total of my prayer for them the request that Jesus would do what he already said he'd do, and has already started doing.

Search the Scriptures, and you won't find a prayer recorded that just asks God to "be with" his people. The prayers of the saints have far more weighty, far more spiritual concerns.


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Truth is...we can all understand the intent behind our "be with" prayers. Maybe we could expand them into prayers pleading that our friends and family would actually sense God's presence and walk boldly into whatever circumstance they find themselves, knowing that Yahweh, the creator of all that is, loves them and will never give up on them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Keith Green Isn't Feeling Like Himself


Here we are at the seventh song on Keith Green's first album (For Him Who Has Ears to Hear), and Keith is speaking on behalf of Lucifer.

I kid you not.


Lucifer, Satan, Fallen Angel

Instead of singing, "Hey, people, Biblical truth is still Biblical truth! Satan is not a fairy tale!", Green puts on the persona of the chief fallen angel and proudly sings "No One Believes in Me Anymore (Satan's Boast)".


Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As time keeps slippin' away
I can imitate the brightest light
And make the night look just like day
I put some truth in every lie
To tickle itching ears
You know, I'm drawing people just like flies
'Cause they like what they hear
I'm gaining power by the hour
They're falling by the score
You know it's getting very simple now
Since no one believes in me anymore!

Oh, heaven's just a state of mind
My books read on your shelf
Or have you heard that God is dead?
I made that one up myself
They're dabbling with magic spells
They get their fortunes read
You know, they heard the truth
But turned away
And then followed me instead
I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
No one's watching for my tricks
Since no one believes in me anymore!

Everyone likes a winner
With my help, you're guaranteed to win
Hey man, you ain't no sinner!
No, you've got the truth within
And as your life slips by you believe the lie
That you did it on your own
But don't worry
I'll be there to help you share
Our dark eternal home
Our dark eternal home!

Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As day slips into day
The magazines, the newspapers
Print every word I say
This world is just my spinning top
It's all like child's play
You know, I dream that it will never stop
But I know it's not that way
Still, my work goes on and on
Always stronger than before
I'm gonna make it dark before the dawn
Since no one believes in me anymore!

Well, I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
You know, no one's watching for my tricks
Since no one believes in me anymore!
Well, I'm gaining power by the hour,
They're falling by the score,
You know, it's getting very easy now
Since no one believes in me anymore!
No one believes in me anymore!
No one BELIEVES in me anymore!
©1977 April Music



Truth is...It wouldn't be fair to expect a song to take the place of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters in just three minutes and twenty seconds, but this could certainly be Side One, Song One of an album full of music inspired by that classic book.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Health Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be


One good thing about a longer commute: I've been listening to the podcast, Truth for Life, featuring my favorite Scottish preacher, Alistair Begg. I started listening because I loved hearing his brogue, but he really is a solid, interesting Bible expositor.


Alistair Begg

I'm also currently reading a book by Begg, Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle, wherein he looks at the prayers of Paul contained in his letter to the Ephesians.

There's an interesting section in the second chapter, "Prayer is Spiritual (But Not Impractical)," that makes me take a pause:

     Praying about health (which, if we had the chance to listen in on the prayers of Western Christians, would likely come in at number one) is rare  -  almost non-existent  -  in the Bible. So why are we praying about it so much?
     It's because we don't want to die.
     We want to live. We've got a sneaking suspicion that what we've got now, this side of death, is actually better than what God has for us then, on the other side of death. So we want to hang on to what we've got. But instead, we need to believe  -  really believe  -  that these things are true:
God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ  -  by grace you have been saved  -  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)
     You have now been raised with Christ into the heavenly places. You have been made part of a family that will never come to an end. One day, you will live in a new heaven and a new earth. You will see your God face to face and, with a heart no longer burdened and distracted by sin and a body no longer broken and decaying in frailty, you will praise him.
     And you and I just want to pray that we'd stay healthy and live long?! All that matters may be brought before God, but what we bring before God is not always what matters most.


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Truth is...It is so easy to get caught up in what we can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch and lose "sight" of what's most important. I'm not saying it's okay to be "so heavenly-minded that you're no earthly good," but there's no value in living life the other way around, either.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Your Love Broke Through


Like every good tale of spiritual conversion, Keith Green's "Your Love Broke Through" starts by describing what he was like before Jesus, continues with what it was like meeting Jesus, and ends by declaring what life is like while following Jesus.




Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down and I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds that hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I've been blind all these wasted years and I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise

Like waking up from the longest dream
How real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy
That blinded me
Until your love broke through

All my life I've been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch you just rolled away the stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy as just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt your gentle touch again
It's like the power of the wind

Like waking up from the longest dream
How real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy
That blinded me
Until your love, your love broke through
©1976 April Music/King of Hearts Music



Truth is..."Sharing your testimony" really is just that simple. And not all that different from "Amazing Grace," eh? "I once was blind, but now I see."