As a teacher, I have to be trained in everything imaginable. One of the most disappointing bits of training was the one I had to do with the Jason Foundation, which is dedicated to preventing teen suicide. There is a teen suicide problem in the United States and I can only imagine that it will not decrease any time soon, given our tendency to think wealth and education are the answers to all our problems.
The disappointment in the training came when they were discussing how to handle those left behind after a teen commits suicide. Their solution? Tell the other teens who are grieving that the perpetrator of suicide “made a bad choice.” Such a vapid response should not surprise us given that the secular world has done everything it can to distance itself from any kind of moral standing, thought, or reflection. All they can do is reduce the decision to commit suicide to one more bad choice in a world full of choices.
I was taking my classes through the play Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when we came to a question about symbolism. I really haven’t said a lot about symbolism, so I wasn’t expecting much from them. Then I started thinking about the symbolism and it occurred to me that the story is an allegory for the gospel itself. I’m certainly not the first person to come up with this understanding of the play. Others have made the case, if you do a search of my title, you can find them.
My wife and I like to bounce around in our reading material. At the present, we have seven books that I can remember offhand that we are reading from when we get together and pray. As you might have guessed, J.C. Ryle’s commentary on Matthew is one of them and Wilhelmus á Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service is another. But Heidi also picked up The Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning and read a few pages from it while we were sitting by the pool. Within just a few lines, we were running to the cross, clinging to Christ and His holiness. (Disclaimer: Please do not get the wrong impression that we think we are holy and the rest of you are not. We really do have to run to the cross in all this because of our lack of holiness.)
The painfulness of holiness is the reason why so few people read the Puritans. This struggle of holiness leads many to buy into the lies of Satan about the Puritans. Just mention the Puritans and the response is: “Salem witch trial!!!!,” a one-time anomaly…but enough for modern man to shut down his brain and not give the Puritans any more thought. This is modern man’s response to anything in our past. Mention the founders of the country, modern man screams “slavery!” Mention the historic church, “Crusades!” Mention the Bible, “Written by men!!!”
I can only say that I have only heard one sermon on the idea that we are to be meek as believers in Christ, and then I disagreed completely with what the pastor said about meekness. His claim was that biblical meekness was like a thoroughbred race horse with a bridle. That pastor was trying to appeal to the mixed-up masculine crowd of our day. As a member of that crowd, I have to confess that what we were taught concerning masculinity, in the correct sense, has been taken from us by the feminist movement of our day. But I’m not advocating we pump out our chests and drive the feminist out of the church. It would be better to look at what meekness is, and strive for what our Lord calls us to be than to look back to John Wayne for some level of guidance.
At some point on Monday morning, my blog passed the 62,284 mark for the year. That was the record for the number of hits this blog has received in any single year, specifically 2012. This means that my blog is in for a record year, given that we have 2 1/2 months left for the year.
Thank you to all my readers. You keep coming back for more and more. Some have left, but that is normal. The fact that this blog has lasted as long as it has, is a testimony of God’s goodness to me. Just when I think I can no longer write, I write again. He opens the door for me to give away part of the truths He is teaching me and I count that as a blessing to the body of Christ.
The things I write are also a testimony of His grace to the world. Please don’t think that I think more of my blog than what it is. But I do know He calls His Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s to proclaim the word even when the dying world is not listening. After all, He does not call men like me to be successful as the world puts it, but to be faithful. I hope that this calling on my life never changes. Here is to another 62,285 visits.
The church doesn’t really need Christian radio to survive. I know that there are many who tune into Christian radio and listen on a regular basis, but the truth is, Christian radio is not necessary for our spiritual growth in Christ. We especially do not need listener-supported Christian radio stations. If a station has to ask us for money, using the typical ploys of telling us we will be blessed by blessing them, then we should donate our offerings to more legitimate ministries such as the White Horse Inn, or Truth for Life, in which their focus is the preaching and the teaching of God’s word. My focus in this post are the stations that play Christian contemporary music, are doctrinally and theologically inept, and take no real moral positions at all.
What prompted me to say this?
As I sat watching my son play soccer, it dawned on me that soccer is not a complicated game. However, it is quite difficult. It is one thing to see what needs to be done in order to move the ball down the field and score. It is quite another getting 10 year olds to do it. But I guess the same could be said about a lot of sports, easy to grasp, hard to carry out. The following photos are of Andy’s (my son) team seeking to carry it out. They did quite well for a while, but their opponents finally overcame the sluggishness both teams were facing for playing so late on a Saturday. The Gunners lost, 3-1.
Andy got to be a team captain and witness the coin toss.
Floating around Facebook is the meme of a cartoon in which one child is asking: “How come God didn’t stop the shooting?” The other child replies: “He can’t, He is no longer allowed in schools.”
The cartoon has made two assumptions that far too many people make in such situations. The first is the assumption that God owes us peace and tranquility in this life. He does not and has never promised such. Jesus came to suffer on behalf of His people and made it ever-so clear that if the world hated Him, as it does, it will hate us as well. That is abundantly clear by this most recent shooting in Oregon. More on this is a moment.
I thank the LORD that He blessed me with this woman. She has been truly precious to me and a wonderful helpmate.