Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Hymn, "God's Baby Boy!"

The hymn for today is an exposition of Jesus Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

New Hymn, "Faithfulness"

The hymn for today is an argument in, of, and about faithfulness.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

New Hymn, "In Creation, Walking"

The hymn for today is a discussion of the destination of the faithful.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Hymn, "I See the Lord!"

The hymn for today is an admonishment to look and see the Lord in whatever circumstance of life.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

New Hymn, "When I See Your Smiling Eyes"

The hymn for today displays the joy that comes from greeting the Gospel.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

New Hymn, "Unto the Living God"

The hymn for today is an admonition to not fear those who can only send you to Christ.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

New Hymn, "Let Us Go Up"

The hymn for today is a depiction of the martyr witnessing for Christ.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Hymn, "Be Still, Thou, My Pleading Heart"

The hymn for today is about ignoring white-washed sepulchers in favor of the blood of Christ.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Hymn, "To Jesus Christ"

The hymn for today speaks of the path to bring you to Christ.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

New Hymn, "Look Upon Thy King!"

The hymn for today is a shout of joy at the coming of the King.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Hymn, "The Way"

The hymn for today is about a steadfast faith, buoyed by God.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Hymn, "In Glory from Above"

The hymn for today is about entering, eternally, into the courts of the King.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

New Hymn, "God upon Calv’ry

The hymn for today is also about God's glorious work in salvation.

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Wrestling with Your Doubts

This morning, the Spirit has been wanting me to pray for a certain much loved—and missed—friend. Not wanting to hurt I did not want to. Oh, I popped off a prayer that was theologically accurate and correct, but it was perfunctory and completely devoid of heart and feeling and emotion, as though a robot had written it. I then told Him, “She wanted her distance! Let her have it! Let her see where that brings her!”
Wait for her!
Tell me something. When you wait for the return of the Messiah do you just sit around moping until He comes? How often, in fact, do you even think of Himat all?
Oh, He’s coming back! He has promised, and I trust Him!
As it is written, “Where is the promise of His coming?” 1 Is it really that easy for you to just brush off that question? Does it not, in truth, twist the knife of doubt in your heart when you hear it? If not, why not? Where is your love for His presence?
I have said that I hurt when I think of her, so I don’t want to think of her. Why do you not hurt at His absence?
Ponder that!
Have you ever dared to consider the possibility that you do not hurt at His absence because you have never felt His presence? If He is a friend that stays closer than a brother, why have you never felt Him with you?
I hurt at my friend’s absence. Her distance is like a plague upon my very soul—because I have felt her presence. Having known her for long years, I have, from time to time, even held her in my arms. I have, indeed, felt her presence. And I far prefer it to this absence.
I have felt the arm of God resting across my shoulders as He stooped down to point out a future marriage to me.
Prior to that, a young woman, in the Bible Study of which I was a part, had prayed openly and emotionally for a husband, and as I echoed that prayer in my heart, asking God to hear her prayer and grant her a new husband, I heard Him say in my Spirit, “I already have.”
It was then weeks later that I found myself at the back of the sanctuary, lacking a seat, when that arm came across my shoulders. From that point I shared the experience with two witnesses, so that the verification of it should be independent of me, telling them also who it was that had been pointed out to me, God saying, “There he is! That’s him!”
Sometime following, at the Bible Study, that young woman announced her engagement to the very man God had pointed out. Another woman there called her boyfriend, to tell him. It was not known to her that he was one of my witnesses, so she was quite shocked when he told her what her message for him was. “God told Bill and Bill told me,” was his explanation to his girlfriend, and I had not had to utter a word to her about it.
I have felt God’s arms around me.
When He is distant my life is a death-borne trudge. I can tell you that I much prefer His presence.
Can you be so very certain of His presence in your life? Can you offer it up as independently verified as I have just done, that God has graciously provided an event that could have happened in no other way? If you have really felt His presence, why do you not hurt at His absence?
I ask such things in keeping with the admonition from Scripture to “Work out your own salvation.” 2 Be certain, in other words, that it is genuine, not fake.
I would not have you suffer that awful shocking surprise when on the day of judgment, Christ says, “Away from Me! I never knew you!” 3
I do not bring these questions to rob you of genuine peace, but of false. You must needs make certain of your salvation in this life, or it will be too late.
There will always be those who will strive to throw the monkey wrench of doubt into the machinery of your faith, and I have no doubt that, if you do not know me, you will be seeing me as one of those. So long as you refuse to lump us all into the same tiny box, I will have no objection to that.
There is, you see, at least one distinction among that group of people. At one side, you have those who wish to make you doubt because they wish to destroy your faith, while on the other hand, you have those who wish to make you doubt because they wish to drive you to defendand therefore strengthenyour faith.
The result of this is not in the hands of either of these groups; rather it is in the hands of the one who has been made to doubt. The result, you see, of this testing will inevitably expose the genuineness of the character of your faithor the utter lack thereof.
The one who is made to doubt and never reacts by rebuilding their faith and trust in God is the one who was never really of the faith at all. As it is written, they left us because they were never really with us. 4 In the Greek it says, “because they did not belong to us.” They were not ours, in other words.
We do not know, for an undisputable fact, who, at the very core of their spiritual being, really belongs to Christ, and whom to Satan. We are not given such things. We do, however, have the evidence of our eyes. In other words we can observe, with our eyes, the actions of their lives and determine just how closely those actions match with what the Scriptures tell us to expect from a genuine believeras we are commanded.
And we are so commanded. Do not let the sophistry of the pseudo-intellectual unbeliever get you off track; we are so commanded. We always have been.
How are we to live in obedience to Matthew Chapter 18, or Ezekiel 3 or 33 if we are never to make judgments? Only let your judgments be rooted in truth, rather than the false sophistications of those who love to bloviate, acronyms marleying around behind them wherever they go.
The one who is made to doubt and never reacts by rebuilding their faith and trust in God is the one who was never really of the faith at all. Do not run from your doubts, or wish them ever away, for they are the tool shed for the sharpening of your spiritual wits. Rather, embrace them and do battle with them, that the reflexes of your spiritual being may, in the future, be the quicker to raise your shield against the wiles of the satanic authority that seeks to blind you to the way.
No receiver learns to catch a football without raising their arms, no soldier learns to fight by staying in the barracks, and no Christian learns to answer doubts without ever engaging them in their own lives.
I have said that it hurts when I think of her, so I do not want to think of her; I know because of the hole she leaves behind. That hole would not be there if she had never been there in the first place.
In the same way, you will know that He has been there when you note that He is not. If you can live your life as profligate as you want to be, and never feel so much as a twinge, then you know that He has never been there in the first place, that you are not His, and that your claim of His name is a falsehood and a lie. If you can engage in things that His Word calls abomination while never even feeling regret, then quiver, wail and quake, because yours is a Godless fate.
If, though, your heart does quail when He, it seems, sets sail, then let your joy ring out by wrestling with your doubts.
12 Peter 3:4
2Philippians 2:12
3Matthew 7:23
41 John 2:19

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

New Hymn, "Only When God is Near"

The hymn for today speaks of the necessity of being near to God.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Hymn, "Holy to the Lord!"

OK, so I read Zechariah 14 today. So sue me. ='D

The hymn for today is about the coming of the King.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Missing Voice

As you might have noticed, one of our number has chosen to leave our fellowship. They will be missed. Should they choose to return, they will be welcomed.

New Hymn, "Oh, Lord, Deliver Me"

The hymn for today is a prayer to be granted True Seeing, so that Satan's schemes cannot deceive.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

New Hymn, "God of Ages"

The hymn for today is, as the Text Title says, the crying out of the bruised reed. Taken from Isaiah 42, the passage reads, in the World English Bible:

Behold, my servant, whom I uphold;
my chosen, in whom my soul delights—
I have put my Spirit on him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout,
nor raise his voice,
nor cause it to be heard in the street.
He won’t break a bruised reed.
He won’t quench a dimly burning wick.
He will faithfully bring justice.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
until he has set justice in the earth,
and the islands will wait for his law.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

New Hymn, "For You"

The hymn for today is a clumsy notion of repentance.

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An Open Letter to Ana Marie Cox

Ana Marie Cox has Gone Public with Her Faith in Christ, and, since they have removed the commenting feature on that site, this is a response, of sorts.


First off, greetings! I would be most curious to know how long it has been since your conversion. You might have been living the adventure for a while, or you might still have all of that grand adventure ahead. I have no way of knowing which it is.

You do mention a certain aspect of the public expression of Christianity, that those who hate to be confronted by their own wickedness refer to as "judgmental". Just as I have no evidence as to how far in your past your conversion experience is, I also have no evidence as to its genuineness or lack thereof. As you will learn, Christians are commanded to be observant and decisive about what they observe, and are even given guidelines by Jesus as to what evidence will back up claims to Christ, and what will betray a claim's false nature (you shall know them by their fruit).

You will know a true Christian from a false one by the evidence displayed in how they live their lives. Know for a fact that those who are of the world will hate you for this and will make all manner of accusations against you in their zeal to silence you. You, though, are commanded to speak.

There is also the matter of a misapplication of the term "love" as used by Scripture, versus how it is used by those who make excuses for wanton and profligate sin. The command to love one another does not mean that ewe-gooey, lovey-dovey, do-whatever-you-want-to nonsense. That is not Christian love at all, but a deception straight from the lowest pits of Hell. The command to "speak the Truth in love" begins with "Speak the Truth".

Further complicating the matter is the prevalence of false Christians. You threw out a figure of 9 in 10 Americans being people who "believe in God". That immediately begs the question, though, "Ah! But do they believe God?" In other words, do they believe (and therefore act upon) what God has said, or do they just spout the claim while going on and living their profligate lives however they willy-nilly please, and still expect to be welcomed into Heaven in the end? Such people are in for a rude surprise.

The key here is that Christianity—genuine Christianity, that is—is not at all about you claiming Christ, but is about Christ claiming you. If Christ has claimed you, then your entire life is about to change (probably not over night, but it will change). Your hopes, your wishes, your dreams, your attitudes, your affiliations, your likes, your dislikes—all of it will change. Why? Because you are no longer the "you" you used to be; you are a new creation in Christ Jesus—and that makes a huge difference that will show up and evidence and manifest itself to others.

In closing, welcome to the adventure—and welcome to the fight, because as you will no doubt begin to notice, the mark of the beast is already here in this land, and the battle is on.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

New Hymn, "Quiet in the Heart"

The hymn for today describes quietly seeking the Lord.

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Following for Peace

As I said to a brother in the faith yesterday (Saturday, September 26, as of this writing), the world feels a bit different, today. There seems to be a qualitative difference. I have embarked on a new leg of the journey, as though I have boarded a ship to I know not where. Still, I am not alarmed. I know who takes my hand, and I know that this adventure will take me ever closer to Him. So, no, I am not alarmed. I am at peace.
Writing to the church at Philippi, Paul writes about an unfathomable peace, one that is beyond all understanding, associated with doing the will of God, that will mount a guard around your heart and your mind, in Christ Jesus.
This was not some special insight granted Paul while he was in a cushy loft or penthouse. Paul wrote that letter from a dungeon, where he was in chains, guards and prison bars all around him. Do you see the ironic parallel, though? He, Paul, surrounded by guards keeping him imprisoned, writes about a guard set upon keeping you pure.
Truly, I have been pondering that peace ever since I noticed its presence about me. I would never have thought to experience it in connection with doing something that most would see as being self-oriented, and yet, there it is.
It is as though my thought process was like, “OK, I own my own company, now, and it promises a herculean task ahead. OK. Thank You, Lord!”
I think that the quality that most stands out to me is the utter lack of fear, indeed of total and complete confidence. Now, not a confidence in myself, mind you, but a confidence that, yes, this is the right path, and God has got my back (and my front, my sides, and my up, and my down). That He is, in fact, all around. You see, this is not a trust in me, but a trust in the guard all around me.
Do you recall the terror of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, when they were surrounded by an army, and Elisha’s response? “Fear not, for greater are those who are with us, than those who are with them.” 1 There is no one greater than God, so when He is all around about you fear becomes a non-sequitur.
Where there is no fear, there is peace, and that peace takes on an unfathomable character when your past experience is telling you that you really ought to be feeling fear in that situation, but fear has fled the field.
For the humbled man, broken, abused, and pilloried by life, the total and absolute absence of fear is an unnatural situationindeed supernatural. Ever since I can remember, fear has been a constant battle of mine, but on that day, realizing the path before me, shrouded though it is, fear was no where to be found. It was simply goneand that, my friend, made me stand up and take notice.
Even while I was attempting to explain it to that brother of mine, my mind was still trying to wrap itself around what it was taking in, and trying to make sense of it. Even as I spoke to him, trying to seem as if I knew what I was talking about, it was like my mind was saying, “Can this be for real?” All I can say right now is I hope it never leaves.
Quite often in my online adventures I run into people who seem quite unable to hide their loathing of all of the things of God, blaming Him for all that they have ever done to their own lives. Reason and fairness very clearly are not constant companions of theirsindeed, if ever present at all.
At the very mention of Him, they rail and moan and rake, the coals of their hatred never being hot enough for their satisfaction. That and recent events make me question: when you take a gun away from someone, does it make them a better person? Does the vileness in their soul not, in truth, live on? Will they not, in fact, continue scheming their way into Hell? Scripture tells us that merely being angry without cause is the same as being guilty of murder, and this murderer’s weapon is the tongue.
Murder of any variety has a destination of Hell, and the return address is your heart.
What eternal use, therefore, is law upon law upon law when all those around you insist upon violating the most basic and simple law of all: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” 2?
In such a world, where is peace? Why bother taking their gun away when they will simply use their mouth?
You don’t change a society by taking away their weapons; you change it by taking away their hearts.
Through the Prophet Ezekiel God told the Israelites, I will gather you from the peoples and fetch you out of the lands where you were scattered and give you the land of Israel. They shall come there and take away all the detestables and all the abominations of it, and I will give them one heart, and a new spirit put within you, and I will take away the stony heart from their flesh and I will give them a heart of flesh so that my ordinances they will walk and my Law keep and do, and they will be my people, and I will be their God.3
When God revealed that grand plan to the Prophet He said nothing about taking away their weapons, because they would not be changed by that, but would simply make more weapons and use them on each other.
The problem is not the weapons; the problem is the hearts. Their hearts must be changed. If you do not change their hearts, whatever else you do will simply be a waste of time.
Ever since the Umpqua Massacre this has been on my mind: that a man would hate so very much that he would put a bullet in the brain of any follower of Christ that he came across is witness to the condition of his heart and the destiny of his soul.
It is a truth that rages forth in spite of the cynical efforts of the mass media to hide that aspect of the hideocity perpetrated in Oregon against God and His people on October 1, 2015.
Yes, certainly it was a crime against humanity, but it was also a crime against Christianity—a hate crime of most epic proportions—and therefore, a hate crime against God Himself.
What will be your reply? Will you call what is αγαπη4 hate, what is hate justified, and what is unadulterated lust love? Or will you turn your heart to seek the truth instead of insisting upon a lie? Will you seek to murder hate—or redeem it? What is the right path to take?

Underneath the falling leaves, Messiah looks on
At the rending of the place He has poured His Love
And the sorrow streaks His face With undying Love
As He contemplates the fate Rendered from above.

Jesus, Christ, Messiah, Lord of all there is, told those following Him to take up their cross—daily—and follow Him.
He who made the universe, and therefore holds governance over it, nevertheless executed, not those deserving, but humility, taking on the reek of the sinful form, and allowed those deserving of the penalty of death to instead execute it upon Him.
Αγαπη4. Love. Self-sacrifice. Take up the cross.
Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Father of Eternity. Prince of Peace.
Do you want peace?
Do you want real peace?
Do you want True Peace?
Which do you prefer, the easy road of eternal torture and the undying fire of everlasting torment? Or would you prefer real, true, genuine, everlasting Peace?
Then why not follow the Prince of Peace?
Take up your cross—daily—and follow Him.
12 Kings 6:16
2Luke 10:27
3Ezekiel 11:17-20
4A-ga-pay. It is a Greek word meaning to sacrifice of yourself for the sake of others; that is, self-sacrificial love.

Friday, October 2, 2015

New Hymn, for Umpqua, "Real Change"

The hymn for today is a call for change—for real change!

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The Heart of Change

Changes in the hand will not
Bring to the man real change;
Take away his scabbard and
He’ll fashion slings to maim!
Changes must come in the heart
Of there will be no change,
For what rests within his heart
Will surface once again!

God, unto the Prophet, spoke
Of bringing on real change;
Nothing said He of weapons,
But of the heart to change!
“I will take their stony heart
And make in them a change
That will bring about a world
Where nothing is the same!”

Sin resides in everyone,
And must be brought to blame;
If you never face this fact,
Then all will stay the same!
Nothing will change for the good,
If hearts you do not change;
Ever weapons will be made,
And people will be maimed!

God, upon Mount Calvary,
Enabled the real change
That can bring the world to Light
And open Heaven’s gate!
By the mercy of the Christ
We enter into change;
When we take up our own cross
We enter Heaven’s gate!
©2015 William F. Maddock

Thursday, October 1, 2015