Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Hymn, "The Praises of the King!"

The hymn for today is about the coming of Heaven's own Light, Jesus Christ.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Hymn, "Unto the Land"

The hymn for today is an intercessory prayer for the place of your residence.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Better Than I Deserve


A while ago, in my reading, I came across somethinga detail, but an important one, reallythat I had never noticed before. It was something that got me thinking, and that got me prayingand that got me pondering.
It got me praying and then pondering because it immediately struck me as a detail that hides an essential truth.
If you make a daily habit of reading the Bible, then over the years you tend to come to notice certain qualities of composition that crop up in the efforts of the Biblical authors. One of those qualities is that even the smallest details can be very, very important.
As I was reading in the 11th chapter of Matthew’s account (in the NASB) I noted a list:
The blind receive their sight,
the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised, and
the poor have good news preached to them.1
Did you notice that the first item gives us more detail than the others do? Are you, perhaps, wondering why? I know I was.
That’s what got me prayingand then pondering. Why, I wondered, is it that the writer, here, treats sight as somehow different from the rest? Why is it that sight gets treated as a personal possession?
I have rarely relied on a particular translation to bring a lesson in the Scriptures, preferring to dig into the original languages instead, but there are times when translation can also be inspired.
In this case, the translators had some options. They could have kept all of the items in the same sense, bringing a consistency to the passage, thus: the blind look, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers cleansed, the dead rise, the poor evangelized.1
Or they could have put all of them in the sense of receiving. They made a different choice, though. They chose to make one passive and possessive, thus separating it from the rest.
I think that was inspired translation, bringing it into accord with John 21:22, where Jesus rebukes Peter, saying (according to the NCV), “If I want him to remain until I come, that is not your business. You follow me.”
Many are those who forget to focus on the Shepherd rather than on other sheep. This busybody attitude can leave a person feeling superior to the others around them. And that is a danger, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.2
The other day, in Bible study, I noted that, in the passage we were studying, the Mosaic Law is referred to in the singular, rather than the plural, meaning, of course, that it is all one law—not a collection of many laws, but just one law.
In the garden, Adam and Eve had but one law: do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—one law. Just one. And even though they had only one very simple law they could not even obey that, but rebelled against God’s command. God’s Law is one law, and if you break any one part of it, you have broken all of it.
The details of what you did are irrelevant to the fact that you are a law breaker. The one who thoughtlessly squashes a grape that is not theirs to take is equivalent to the one who takes the life that is not theirs to take. Both are law breakers.
Therefore, the one who thinks themselves not as wicked as some other person—any other person—is sinning by testifying falsely to themselves about themselves. They are, in fact, lying about themselves.
The fact that it is about themselves does not make it any less a rebellion against God. It is, therefore, a thing of wickedness and evil and must be confessed and repented of. God is no less offended by your simple thoughtlessness than by planned wickedness and evil.
Recall, if you will, Jesus’ assessment of the second most important command in all of Scripture. What does He say? You must love your neighbor as yourself.3 Taking it directly from the version of Scripture they would have had, love your neighbor as yourself would be αγαπησεις τον πλησιον σου ως σεαυτον.
Αγαπησεις, being a form of the word αγαπαω, means to sacrifice yourself for the sake of another. Considering yourself above another is a direct slap in the face of the command to consider that other to be above yourself, and is, therefore, a direct slap in the face of God. It is rebelliousness, it is wickedness, it is evil, and it is sin.
Sin must be repented of, or it will cast you into hell.
Do you, now, see the abjectindeed mortaldanger to your eternal soul of seeing yourself as some sort of self-ordained overseer of the Christian walk of those around you? Can you walk more obediently to John 21:22?
The blind receive their sight.1 They are not given the sight of others, but their ownand they do not earn it, but it is given to them. It is given to them by God, though they do not deserve it.
When I took the photograph you see in the masthead4 (with the native version below) and showed it to one of my ministry fellows before adding the self-silhouette and Visions of Love that allow it to be used in a masthead for this newsletter, their exclamation was, “That’s a postcard!” And in a certain sense, it is a thing of beauty, but it is also a warning.
Do you remember the old admonition, “red sky at morning, sailor take warning” advising sailors when it is not wise to sail? That sky is nothing if not a brilliant, gaudy, indeed angry red.
Look closely, and notice that civilization is in darkness with the heavens on fire above. Indeed, it looks as though angry red flames are shooting across the sky over that place that holds itself in such high esteem over those who struggle in their midst.

Before I go further I must make certain that you recognize something about me: I am not better than you. I am no paragon, and today I have been getting reminded of that unalterable fact. There is a standard reply that I like to use whenever anyone asks how I’m doing. Today, for some reason, I got away from that habit. Let me, therefore, address its logic with you.
There are some truths about real life that even the most ardent Christians can be loath to face and address. Rather, they prefer to skip merrily to the cross, thumbing their nose at what is very likely the most powerful created being that God has ever created, and giving that being no respect whatsoever. The arrogant impudence of such behavior should be shocking to us. Alas, it is all too common a thing.
Just who do we think we are that we should behave toward one so powerful as though they were nothing more than an object of derision and laughter and scorn. When we do such things we are thinking too highly of ourselves—far too highly.
As I wrote earlier, the one who thoughtlessly squashes a grape that is not theirs to take is equivalent to the one who takes the life that is not theirs to take. Considering yourself above another is a direct slap in the face of the command to consider that other to be above yourself, and is, therefore, a direct slap in the face of God. It is rebelliousness, it is wickedness, it is evil, and it is sin.
Paul addresses this fact when, in his letter to the Romans, he writes, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.2 He further addresses it when he writes, the wages of sin is death.5
We are not better than the most fallen of the fallen.
Like them, we, too, have rebelled against God. Far more, we are the more responsible, for we have received grace, if indeed we have not falsely believed.
There are hearts that I long forsouls that I would see—but I do not deserve them. If I am to have them, it shall be by grace, for I have no merit of my own.
Indeed, “How many bridges I have burned! Oh! All the pain that I have earned!” We are the more responsible because we know God.
Yet, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,2 and, the wages of sin is death.5 So, how, logically, shall we properly respond when being inquired with regarding the condition of our soul?
Better than I deserve!”



1Matthew 11:5
2Romans 3:23
3Leviticus 19:18
4In the PDF tri-fold, this article has a masthead different than the one on this web page. Download the PDF version to see that masthead.
5Romans 6:23

Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Hymn, "Oh, Lord, Forgive Those Souls"

The hymn for today is a plea, both for yourself, and intercessory, that righteousness be seen by grace.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Friday, December 25, 2015

New Hymn, "Jesus Has Come to Earth This Day"

The hymn for today is about looking to our salvation. See how many different Scripture references you can find.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Hymn, "Heaven Opens for Thee!"

The hymn for today is a hymn of humble repentance and salvation.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Hymn, "King of Peace"

The hymn for today is a prayer of humble repentance and intercession.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

New Hymn, "A Thousand Years" — ONE THOUSAND DAYS!!!!

The hymn for today counsels patience.

This hymn marks a thousand consecutive days that I have written at least a hymn a day. This could only have happened by the power and grace of God, for I have not the strength, the ability, nor the righteousness.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Hymn, "The Battlefield"

The hymn for today is an exhortation to do battle for the Lord.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Hymn, "Hallelujah, Bethlehem!"

The hymn for today is a celebration of the coming of the Christ.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

New Hymn, "From the Dawning of Time"

The hymn for today is a treatise on the person and purpose of Jesus Christ.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Homeless Rights; New Hymn, "Praise to Jesus Christ, the Lord!"


The hymn for today is, most obviously, a baptismal hymn, but also a hymn of deliverance (play it on MuseScore for a limited time).
In my own spirit, I am taking this as a message from the Lord (regarding our ongoing difficulties with the city) to not worry; He’s got this! And it is in complete keeping with what I was told, by God, at the beginning of all this: That we would lose the battle in order to win the war.
It is as Scott Egan stated in the news conference held, filmed, and shown yesterday (and to be shown again tonight, tomorrow and Sunday), the Federal government is getting sick of the government of this metropolitan area, and of the treatment being leveled at the homeless by haters and governments nationwide. The Justice Department has already called it a violation of the Constitutional Rights of those who are homeless as embodied in the Fourth and Eighth Amendments: freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.
When it became known that the United States was using sleep deprivation techniques against their prisoners in the war on terrorism, the world went ballistic. How, then, can it be seen as right to use those same techniques against their own citizens who have not even been accused of crimes and misdemeanors?
LET THEM SLEEP! LEAVE THEM ALONE! HELP THEM!
Help, Lord! Shine Your Light of Righteousness into that despicable place where men are treated like dogs and dogs like men! Amen!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New Hymn, "As the Light of Heaven Shines"

The hymn for today is an exhortation to live in peace whenever possible.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Hymn, "Heaven's Light"

The hymn for today is a hymn of exhortation away from sin and to the Light.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Hymn, "All is Well"

The hymn for today is a hymn of encouragement and exhortation.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

On the Celebration of Perditious Events: New Hymn, “Thou, Immanuel!”


74 years ago, today, the nation in which I live was wickedly attacked by a cowardly enemy—an attack which was not deserved.

Today, this nation is, once again, under attack, and the enemy is, again, a cowardly one, but today, those attacks are fully and completely deserved, for materialistic profligacies and perversions rule the nation as never before—and God is ridiculed, vilified, slandered, and hated in the public square—and the nation levels no rebuke.

Thinking themselves wise, they have become fools, staggering drunkenly in the filths of their profligacies toward their own destruction.

God would level forgiveness, but they hate God and everything to do with Him, and they refuse to turn from their ways.

But those who do turn, God will forgive and bring them into the Light of His mercy and grace and peace, shining His Truth into the darkness of their formerly wicked lives.

For it is by grace you are saved, through faith (and that not of yourselves—it is the gift of God) so that no one should boast.

Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Come quickly!
Amen!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New Hymn, "The God of Israel"

The hymn for today is about the advent of the God of Israel.

Play it on MuseScore for a limited time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Hymn, "The Son of Man"

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

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