Friday, July 14, 2006

One Day You Will Die...

A tired looking seagull landed on the roof of my parent’s cottage on Tuesday morning... it was obvious he was in some distress. The kids were the first to notice the bird and we watched off and on over the next hour as the life slowly drained out of him until his head flopped over and he was dead.

Death of any kind is a sobering thing.
Jonathan Edwards, when barely 20 years old, resolved this:
Resolution 9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.”
North America is a deathless culture. We have sanitized and secularized death to the point that we only need think of it for a few brief moments at a “memorial service.” But our Bibles are full of reminders of the brevity of life. Life is compared to a mist, a flowering plant, grass, a vapour – things that are here but for a moment. We fool ourselves into thinking 80 or 90 years is a long time. Just ask the resident of a nursing home how fast their life went.
Are you prepared to die?
Have you thought of how your heart will one day wear out and perhaps how you will face with some awareness the inevitable cessation of your body’s life? Have you pictured the world without you? Have you imagined what others will summarize as “your life” when they gather a few days after your expiration to remember you?
Are these morbid thoughts?
I do not think so. They are real thoughts. One day I shall die (unless the Lord returns during my life) and at that moment I will stand before the Maker of all things. Am I prepared to look upon glory?
Did that seagull wake up Tuesday morning knowing it would die? I don’t have a clue. But I do know that 10 out of 10 humans will die.
Why shrink from thinking about the inevitable?
We need more Christians that “sober up” with a good meditation on their own death – who then live with more zeal and more passion to redeem every day God blesses them with in this life.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kyle Did it - One paper clip for a house

one red paperclip

You have probably already heard about this, but Kyle MacDonald finally got his house - one year after he offered to trade his one red paperclip.

Can't wait to see the pathetic surge of knock off's from this!

Rural Routes - Last One (I promise!)

This is me gladhanding the crowd along the parade route.

I have met two state senators and several members of congress at these parades. It cracks me up. They ALWAYS come to me... I must look like an easy vote. Anyway, I always shake their hand and tell them I would never vote for them in a hundred years - to which they look back at me with great bewilderment.
Then I tell them I am Canadian and can't vote. At which point they get really antsy to get away from me and on to someone who counts, but my devious side always works at engaging them in some interesting conversation as I continue to grasp their hand and all my in-laws sit there and giggle.

It is fun for me.

Not so sure about the politicians!

So, I thought I would give the meet and greet thing a shot. How's my smile? Think I have the makings of political career?

In America? Posted by Picasa

More on Rural Routes...

This was the cake my neice made in my honour... I believe it is a Maple Leaf... although it bears a striking resemblance to a marijuana leaf. (I thought I would just get that out of the way for all you comedians out there!)

Anyway, it was a great cake... and I was honoured!

 Posted by Picasa

Getting in Touch with My Rural Side

We love to go to Indiana every year for the days surrounding Independence Day (or, "The Celebration of Your Rebellion Day" as I like to refer to it).
This year was no exception. First there was the Fireman's Festival parade... mostly fire trucks, home made floats and a lot of tractors (such as this fine Canadian specimen below!).

After grabbing 7 pounds of Tootsie Rolls (the most repulsive candy ever created - and apparently the cheapest, as that is what 99% of parade participants tossed at my kids) we all went to bed waiting for the 4th.
"The Fourth" is short-form for a happy day in America. We spent it with all the relatives by Grandpa's pool - a big Pizza Hut lunch (thanks Grandpa!) followed by body-wrecking games of pool basketball, soccer, and the Annual Charlie-Ball tournament. Wait. There was no Charlie-Ball Tournament this year. How did we miss that?
That night it is off to the town park to watch lots of fireworks - and cringe every time my 4-year old runs wildly with a burning sparkler in his hand.
Sometimes I make fun of America (sorry, Derifter), but it really is a remarkable and blessed country. And frankly, it is a treat to "be American" for a week of the year. Just don't tell my rebellious relatives! Posted by Picasa

George Muller Quotes (4) - On Why Getting Up Early to Pray and Read the Word is a Good Thing

(You can read post one here - On the danger of reading Christian literature over the Bible.)
(You can read post two here - On why we need to have private devotions.)
(You can read post three here - On what to do during private devotions.)
(You can read a brief biograpy of George Muller here.)

(September, 1839 [34 years old]) I want to encourage all believers to get into the habit of rising early to meet with God. How much time should be allowed for rest? No rule of universal application can be given because all persons do not require the same amount of sleep. Also the same persons, at different times, according to the strength or weakness of their body, may require more or less. Most doctors agree that healthy men do not require more than between six or seven hours of sleep, and females need no more than seven or eight hours.

Children of God should be careful not to allow themselves too little sleep since few men can do with less than six hours of sleep and still be well in body and mind. As a young man, before I went to the university, I went to bed regularly at ten and rose at four, studied hard, and was in good health. Since I have allowed myself only about seven hours, I have been much better in body and in nerves than when I spent eight or eight and a half hours in bed.

Someone may ask, “But why should I rise early?” To remain too long in bed is a waste of time. Wasting time is unbecoming a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus. His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord. If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting the time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the saints and unbe­lievers around us.

Just as too much food injures the body, the same is true regarding sleep. Medical persons would readily agree that lying longer in bed than is nec­essary to strengthen the body actually weakens it.

It also injures the soul. Lying too long in bed not merely keeps us from giving the most precious part of the day to prayer and meditation, but this sloth leads also to many other evils. Anyone who spends one, two, or three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.

It may be said, “But how shall I set about rising early?” My advice is: Do not delay. Begin tomorrow. But do not depend on your own strength. You may have begun to rise early in the past but have given it up. If you depend on your own strength in this matter, it will come to nothing. In every good work, we must depend on the Lord. If anyone rises so that he may give the time which he takes from sleep to prayer and meditation, let him be sure that Satan will try to put obstacles in the way.

Trust in the Lord for help. You will honor Him if you expect help from Him in this matter. Pray for help, expect help, and you will have it. In addition to this, go to bed early. If you stay up late, you cannot rise early. Let no pressure of engagements keep you from going habitually early to bed. If you fail in this, you neither can nor should get up early because your body requires rest.

Rise at once when you are awake. Remain not a minute longer in bed or else you are likely to fall asleep again. Do not be discouraged by feeling drowsy and tired from rising early. This will soon wear off. After a few days you will feel stronger and fresher than when you used to lie an hour or two longer than you needed. Always allow yourself the same hours for sleep. Make no change except on account of sickness. (Autobiography, 117-119. Emphasis mine.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

George Muller Quotes (3) - On What to Do During Private Devotions

(You can read post one here - On the danger of reading Christian literature over the Bible.)
(You can read post two here - On why we need to have private devotions.)
(You can read a brief biograpy of George Muller here.)

May 7, 1841 (36 years old).
The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.

Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend (although I am unworthy) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God—not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.

When we pray, we speak to God. This exercise of the soul can be best performed after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God. Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us. We may profitably meditate, with God’s blessing, although we are spiritually weak. The weaker we are, the more meditation we need to strengthen our inner man. Meditation on God’s Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials. What a difference there is when the soul is refreshed in fellowship with God early in the morning! Without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day can be overwhelming. (Autobiography, 139)

Spurgeon Kills a Man

Running Well - » Killing Old Rhodes:
D.R. offers the remarkable story of SIX YEAR OLD C.H. Spurgeon rebuking a sinning church member! Read the whole thing at his blog, but I have included the results of "the kill" here.

"“I’m very sorry indeed, my dear pastor, to have caused you such grief and trouble. It was very wrong, I know, for I always tried you and wouldn’t have done it if I’d only thought. I was a-sitting in the public just having my pipe and mug of beer, when that child comes in–to think an old man like me should be took to task and reproved by a bit of a child like that! Well, he points at me with his finger just so and says, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah! sitting with the ungodly, and you a member of a church, and breaking your pastor’s heart. I’m ashamed of you! I wouldn’t break my pastor’s heart, I am sure.’ And then he walks away. Well, I did feel angry, but I knew it was all true and I was guilty; so I put down my pipe and did not touch my beer, and hurried away to a lonely spot and cast myself down before the Lord, confessing my sin and begging for forgiveness. And I do know and believe that the Lord in mercy pardoned me, and now I’ve come to ask you to forgive me; and I’ll never grieve you any more, my dear pastor.”"

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Children Who Believe..." - A Few Comments on Titus 1:6 by Carson

Defining Elders - 9Marks:

"Does this mean that the children of an elder must be devout Christians? There is a passage in the second paragraph that I read at the beginning of this address (viz. Titus 1:6-9) that is sometimes taken to support that view. I think it is mistranslated in the NIV. The NIV renders Titus 1:6, 'An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.' Does this mean that the children of every leader must be Christians? And if you say yes, then from what age? Two? Five? Seventeen? In fact, the particular term that is used there, 'must believe,' is an adjective that in many places is rendered 'must be faithful.' And in fact, in contemporary first-century lists of social virtues, where moral characteristics are laid out, the word always has that force. I think that what the text is saying is not that the children must be saved – after all, grace doesn’t run in the genes – but that at the end of the day, they must be faithful, not wild or profoundly disobedient.

The verse does not mean that children of ministers are sinlessly perfect. It does not mean that they cannot do some pretty stupid and immoral things. The question really is, how is the home being handled? What kind of discipline is imposed? What kind of encouragement is there? And how are these strengths reflected in the character, the faithfulness, of the children? Certainly it does not mean that when the children have left home and become adults and are outside their father’s purview – when he has no control over them – that they must all be fine, upstanding believers with nothing publicly wrong with their lives, or else their father is disqualified for vocational ministry. Even while they are still children and in his house, what is demanded is neither conversion nor perfection, but the kind of parental discipline that produces "faithful" children. There has to be some kind of display of that least common of gifts, Christian common sense, and grace and tact and discipline and encouragement, and sometimes a yank on the rope and sometimes perhaps an administration of the "board of education" to "the seat of learning," that produces "faithful" kids. Such a combination of modeling and discipline is important because that is also required in the leadership of the church. If you cannot do it at home you certainly cannot do it in the church. If it becomes obvious that the man has lost control of his dependent children entirely, if the kids are thirteen years old and the terrors of the neighborhood, the man is disqualified from public ministry in the church. That is what the text says."

"Ecclesiastes" Pic

As promised, here is a picture of Cleezer - looking sweet after a nice downpour.

If you look close enough you can see some of the battle scars from the life of a working truck. I read somewhere that Hollywood actors have scars placed on them via plastic surgery... not Cleezer. She has lived life for real.

I put fifty bucks of gas in her this afternoon - almost got to half a tank!

And unlike what the Fighter Jet has been saying, her fine 1990's circa quad speaker radio system does play more than country music. Sometimes. Posted by Picasa

Ryle on How Easy Being a Christian Is...

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no self–denial or self–sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to heaven when we die, we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to heaven!"

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of "counting the cost."

George Muller Quotes (2) - On Why Private Devotions Are Necessary

(You can read post one here.)

(You can read a brief biograpy of George Muller here.)

Why Private Devotions Are Necessary

May 7, 1841 (36 years old). The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by thy, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again...

I love Gene Autry. It's a long story.

Anyway, Cleezer got me home safe and sound tonight from the best church on the planet. She continues to run like a beaut!

Here is a little quote from George Muller that I read to the sheep...

On Learning to Value Scripture Over Christian Books

I was growing in the faith and knowledge of Jesus, but I still preferred reading religious books instead of the Scripture. I read tracts, missionary newsletters, sermons, and biographies of Christian people. God is the author of the Bible, and only the truth it contains will lead people to true happiness. A Christian should read this precious Book every day with earnest prayer and meditation. But like many believers, I preferred to read the works of uninspired men rather than the oracles of the living God. Consequently, I remained a spiritual baby both in knowledge and grace.

The last and most important means of growing in the Lord, prayer, was also something I greatly neglected. I prayed often and generally with sincerity. But if I had prayed more earnestly, I would have made much more rapid progress in my faith. Despite my slowness to grasp spiritual principles, however, God showed His great patience toward me and helped me to grow steadily in Him. (Biography, 21)