Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
As Christians, we lose our way many times and at many seasons. The following piece by Samuel Johnson spells out the process as well as I've ever heard it. If you have missed your mark may this encourage you.
“Son,” said the hermit, “let the errors and follies, the dangers and escapes of this day sink deep into thy heart. Remember, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigor, and full of expectation; we set forward with spirit and hope, with gayety and with diligence, and travel on a while in the straight road of piety towards the mansions of rest. In a short time we remit our fervor, and endeavor to find some mitigation of our duty, and some more easy means of obtaining the same end. We then relax our vigor, and resolve no longer to be terrified with crimes at a distance, but rely upon our own constancy, and venture to approach what we resolved never to touch. We thus enter the bowers of ease, and repose in the shades of security. Here the heart softens, and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to enquire whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not, at least, turn our eyes upon the gardens of pleasure. We approach them with scruple and hesitation; we enter them, but enter timorous and trembling; and always hope to pass through them without losing the road of virtue, which we, for a while, keep in our sight, and to which we propose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation, and one compliance prepares us for another; we in time lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees we let fall the remembrance of our original intention, and quit the only adequate object of rational desire. We entangle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through the labyrinths of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back upon our lives with horror, with sorrow, with repentance; and wish, but too often vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of virtue. Happy are they, my son, who shall learn from the example not to despair but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavors every unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors; and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. Go now, my son, to thy repose; commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence; and when the morning calls again to toil, begin anew thy journey and thy life.”
Samuel Johnson, photo by Yiannis G.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
In the last week the scripture 2Cor. 1:5 “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ”, has captured my attention. I began to ponder, ‘what are the sufferings of Christ today?’. During His earthly ministry he suffered many ways, physically and emotionally, but today the physical sufferings have ceased, so as I began to consider what might His sufferings be today and what does it mean to have the abundant sufferings of Christ today.
We know there are thousands living in countries where faith in Christ is considered illegal and people suffer, in some cases brutally, for Christ. Surely this is to share in the sufferings of Christ. But for those where no persecution exists, is there another application? I think there is, and I think it applies to the emotional and spiritual suffering that Christ and all of heaven suffers today as a result of sin; wars, oppression, greed, addictions, poverty and each of us can add to the list of evils that pervade our cultures. As I watched “Precious” the other night I was keenly aware that the emotions of compassion and sorrow were in this day the “sufferings of Christ”, rising up in me. Just like two thousand years ago when Jesus would rescue
So as 2Cor. 1:7 says that the believers in
To sum up, like the old hymn “In The Garden” states ---”I’d stay in the garden with Him, tho the night around me be falling; but He bids me go, thru the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.” Yes, His voice is calling through the voice of woe, and I think this is His suffering today, and we are to share in it.
Photo by Maciej Dakowicz
Photo by Maciej Dakowicz
Saturday, April 03, 2010
I watched the movie “Precious” last night. It is the story of extreme abuse, the world that few live in but a reality for some that most of us cannot even imagine. The story is heart wrenching and defies description. When watching it is hard to imagine such parental madness but a percentage of the men at the center come out of this mad distortion of human behavior. At one point a warm “peace-maker”, pictured below, speaks of the power of love only to be rebuked by the victim quoting the evils that have come to her through those that “love” her. It was a powerful and moving show with acting almost too real and graphic. I found myself yearning throughout much of the movie just to reach out and hold the victim, somehow to rescue her from her world of perversity. I think it is an adult movie that every adult Christian should see; it’s a peek into the sin crazed laboratory where drug abuse, violence, suicide and all manner of evils are birthed and conjured.
In the midst of what seems to be the overcoming power of naked evil, the movie is filled with subtleties where goodness and love begin to take root and feeble attempts to imitate them begin. To watch this movie is to share in "the sufferings of Christ" as He and all of heaven suffer as they watch this dramatic battle of good and evil play out. Watching this white field that desperately needs workers of love to come and rescue. Sadly the workers are few but even the little that is portrayed, and that by flawed servants, takes root.
Matt and Eric, I think you will both see this as a learning movie and come away with insights helpful in the work you do and have done.
Too disturbing for those under 18 in my opinion.