and all their adventures in Narnia
had only been the cover and the
title page: now at last they were
beginning Chapter One of the
Great Story which no one on earth
has read: which goes on forever:
in which every chapter is
better than the one before.”
—C. S. Lewis,
The Last Battle
1James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
1My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? 7Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
1Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
13Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Excellent sermon series that covers the premise of “Decision Making and the Will of God”.
These are the podcasts, created of segments of the original messages, so there is a lot of repetition. I am mixing down a single cohesive resource. To be added later.
- WalkInTheWord-20091127-WayOfWisdom-Does God Have a Will for Me Pt 1
- WalkInTheWord-20091130-WayOfWisdom-Does God Have a Will for Me Pt 2
- WalkInTheWord-20091201-WayOfWisdom-Does God Have a Will for Me Pt 3
- WalkInTheWord-20091202-WayOfWisdom-Does God’s Will for You Pt 1
- WalkInTheWord-20091203-WayOfWisdom-Does God’s Will for You Pt 2
- WalkInTheWord-20091204-WayOfWisdom-The Way of Wisdom Pt 1
- WalkInTheWord-20091207-WayOfWisdom-The Way of Wisdom Pt 2
- WalkInTheWord-20091208-WayOfWisdom-Decision Time Pt 1
- WalkInTheWord-20091209-WayOfWisdom-Decision Time Pt 2
Should I or shouldn’t I?
Indeed, if the counsel sincerely offered by Pastor Thompson is correct, the implications for Ted’s marriage decision are very sobering:
- In all the world, there is either no person or only one person who is eligible to be his wife.
- If God wants him to remain single and he marries anyone at all, he is out of God’s will.
- If God has a particular wife chosen and he marries someone else, he is out of God’s will.
- If the woman God has selected for him marries someone else, he cannot enjoy God’s will not matter what he does.
- If either of the pair marry out of God’s will there is nothing they can do to reverse the decision and return to the center of His will. They are permanently stranded in the barren terrain of God’s “second (third, fourth,…) best.”
Chapter 17: Singleness, Marriage, and Wisdom — Pg 283–284, Decision Making and the Will of God, A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View, 1980, Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson.
I want to fit into my Birthday Suit.
It used to be small and soft and cute.
It fit like a glove with room in the boot.
Yes, I want to fit into my Birthday Suit.
I could buy an ensemble off Savile Row;
Double-breasted with waistco’t; gold buttons in row;
Fashioned and tailored with savoir-know;
It’d cost lots of money and contain all my dough.
Gone are the days when first it was fine;
Now stretched, distorted, all bezier lines.
The volume integral I cannot define.
Reminiscing my salad days [pureéd], when first it was mine.
Stretched thin in places, and darted midway;
Taut on the ends, support catenary sway.
Avian footprints imprint both my eyes;
and inverted horseshoe lacklucksters my smile.
Twice the compliment;
Allotted just one.
My beard-holder’s doubled;
With more like to come.
Furniture Disease, diagnosed not in time;
No treatment or tonic may halt the decline.
Gravitation. Migration. Direction? The floors;
What once was my chest, occupies now my drawers.
I suppose I’ll just have to love what I’ve got;
Content with evidences of battles well fought.
Sure, right, tattered, battered, in places threadbare;
The darned thing a patchwork of sewn notions of care.
The elbows gone shiny; cuff buttons not there;
I know not the when, less know I the where.
Rumpled and crumpled with creases and tears;
Rump fabric well felted where posterior meets chair.
I realize it now. I have all I’ve sought;
A lifetime of love, wonderful memories wrought;
My Birthday Suit given, but this one, I bought;
I don’t miss what I once had, near much as I thought.
People ask: “Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?”: or “May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?”
Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every amiable quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it. I will try to make this clear by the history of another, and very much less important, word.
The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone “a gentleman” you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not “a gentleman” you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A.
But then there came people who said — so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully — “Ah but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?” They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man “a gentleman” in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is “a gentleman” becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker’s attitude to that object. (A ‘nice’ meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes.
As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose. Now if once we allow people to start spiritualising and refining, or as they might say ‘deepening’, the sense of the word Christian, it too will speedily become a useless word. In the first place, Christians themselves will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word which we can never apply is not going to he a very useful word. As for the unbelievers, they will no doubt cheerfully use the word in the refined sense. It will become in their mouths simply a term of praise. In calling anyone a Christian they will mean that they think him a good man. But that way of using the word will be no enrichment of the language, for we already have the word good. Meanwhile, the word Christian will have been spoiled for any really useful purpose it might have served.
We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts 11:26) to ‘the disciples’, to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have. There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were ‘far closer to the spirit of Christ’ than the less satisfactory of the disciples. The point is not a theological or moral one. It is only a question of using words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Preface
No longer strewn across my life,
Mental dross to trip and fall.
Reminders of the long ago,
Hang not upon each wall.
Gathered in a cardboard box,
Packed and ordered well.
Flaps folded in and interlocked,
Form corrugated shell.
Place upon a storage shelf,
Away from thought and mind.
Discarded not, disturbing not,
From now till end of time.
Redeem for Joy (Working title, work in progress)
An economy established, most fragile;
Nay Smith, nor Friedman, but God.
Bespoke of His heart, when time became time;
In garden where feet divine trod.
A balance contrived by holy design;
In pairs to be joined one to one.
Never again to be separate, till death us do part;
Together until life is done.
Untouched it would remain perfect;
The GDP both joy and life.
These products; harvest of such union;
When man doth cleave he to wife.
Now enter a serpent most deadly;
With him lies and corruption of heart.
Emotions, desires, selfishness inspires;
That serve to tear them apart.
And here inspiration fails me… I’m thinking that it may be that in God’s economy, we are given but a single marriage token to wisely invest. I see in Genesis that God establishes Man and Woman and Marriage… all a simple straightforward plan for which He had to make Man and Woman. I see that man deviated from that plan often in the Old Testament by practicing plurality, but never ever does God endorse that deviation, and usually in every example there’s a little morality tale of that deviation causing no end of heartache and trouble. When Christ speaks of marriage in the New Testament he basically says, “The model you were given was…” and then quotes the establishment of marriage from Genesis. He mentions that because of your hard hearts, deviations were tolerated (but never endorsed… marriage was never ‘ratified’ to include man’s amendments). The the additional treatments of this topic by Paul speak of the ideal and then he goes on to provide some personal thoughts on how to handle the problems that come from situations that fail the ideal… He takes pains to say that he’s not speaking words given him by the Holy Spirit, so even that advice is not ‘canon’ or modification of the original design. I really struggle with this topic… especially because nearly the entire world tells me that I’m dead wrong on this, but I keep coming back to these things in scripture that seem to me… to me… to say otherwise.
They saw the harvest inside me.
They saw what was not there to see.
Purpose which God embedded within;
Created with promise to be.
Hull and husk long fallen and gone;
The surface pitted and battered;
Discarded, deemed worthless and done.
So small the seed holding promise;
Which for lack of nurture and sun;
For rich soil never embracing;
Germination never begun.
Samaritans on the stark lane,
Upon which lay, discarded kernel,
Hopeless. Wretched. Consumed by pain.
God’s sorrow-filled heart apparent;
The song He put there unsung.
Yearning to see the seed planted;
The prelude well written begun.
Examined through lens of God’s love.
Found there what others were missing,
Hidden in quotidian shell.
Warm embrace of earth enclosing;
Showered with undeserved love;
Radiant grace of acceptance;
Infusing the core from above.
New growth breaking free from within.
The process now set into motion;
God’s symphony of joy begins.
Secure roots of hope descending;
Supporting as shoot starts to raise;
Bursts forth from cocooning seedbed;
Lifting dicotyl arms in praise.
This is written as a poor attempt to express boundless gratitude to my friends and family, the love and acceptance of which, have taken me from the broken, hopeless, joyless, and rather feckless man of recent past, to someone who is beginning to embrace life and full of joy and the knowledge that God has a purpose for him.
Looking at him the way she used to look at me.
I knew that look was only for me.
Could only then be for me;
Could only ever be for me.
That look told me that I need never doubt
and would never need to seek or fear again.
The words underscored and reinforced the look.
The look is no longer turned upon me.
I look upon the empty void, and I sorrow.
It’s good to be able to share this here on PoaM in the now and indeed, be able to Look Back and see the terrible hurt I was experiencing then, whilst being able to Look Now and see the healing God has blessed me with, and having confidence as I Look Forward that, even if there are more such sorrows, there will be more such love, healing and blessing.
Left but vapor, will-the-wisp in air.
Tatterdemalion remnants; transparent, ethereal, hardly there.
Gath’ring in what’s left, a soul misplaced;
A scrap, a shred, a cast-off trace.
So light, insubstantial, in hands cupped safe.
Away from harm in Savior’s grace.
So gentle must the gather be; Crush not to dust, the fragments frail.
Careful. Find each tiny piece. Overlook but one and fail.
Nurture spark in tinder bed, fuel for growth now being fed.
Gently blow, give life by breath. Fan the flame that counters death.
Place back within the hollow shell. Seam the tear. Mend it well.
Massage full well ’till felt to beat. Restored now soul and heart complete.
My heart may not remain broken with God’s healing touch.
Playing at house; pretend husband and wife.
If this works out well, we’ll make it for life.
And if it unravels, at least we had fun.
We said pretty things to capture a heart;
Sincere for the moment, playing a part.
The threshold passed, no pathway back.
Joined and committed.
But where have you gone? The fantasy lost.
Summer’s warmth over, panes crazed with the frost.
The silence now speaks, in deafening voice.
But we’re still in love; still each others’ choice.
Fun while it lasted. But moving ahead.
Finding new playmates to pretend to wed.
What we had was special, no one could replace.
Our dream plays again.
Now without me.
Another wound, to hide deep inside.
So many scars, tears of flesh, tears of eye.
Betrayal of heart; pain rending wide.
But we’ve healed.
Inspired partially by Joshua Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Does Anybody Hear Her” by Casting Crowns. June 23, 2011
I don’t usually wri… I -don’t- write poetry. This rather came on it’s own. Not fantastic prose, but it was meaningful for me. June 27, 2011
[I guess I did start writing poetry after this first outpouring. I don’t know if it’s good, but it makes me happy and it helps to take it out and fashion something from it rather than leaving it blocking things up inside. July 30, 2013]