Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Satan


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Theological Steak
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What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

Making Sense Of It All
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Where are things headed? Is there rhyme and reason to the endless cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring? Is there a plan in place, or is randomness the explanation?

Choices Have Consequences

January 1, 2010

Poets often see things as they are before the "general public" - you and me. Their insight into faith matters needs to be considered, and perhaps could serve as a wakeup call.


This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah 6:16

 

Thomas Hardy, the English poet perhaps best known for his novels, considered poetry his first love. He had early exposure to the church of England, and then was influenced by the Baptists, choosing to reject both influences. But as you will see in his poem GOD'S FUNERAL, he laments the loss of God, with an unmistakable tinge of regret and fear.

 

God is now for Hardy the....

 

Mangled.....Monarch of our fashioning,

Who quavered, sank; and now has ceased to be.

 

So, now that we have "gotten rid" of God, what do we do?

 

'And who or what shall fill his place?

Whither will wanderers turn distracted eyes

For some fixed star to stimulate their pace

Towards the goal of their enterprise?'...

 

Hardy get it - there is no longer any fixed center. Everything is up for grabs.

 

Some in the background then I saw,

Sweet women, youths, men, all incredulous,

Who chimed as one: 'This is figure is of straw,

This requiem mockery! Still he lives to us!'

 

Is this a reference to believers who hold to a risen Christ, against all odds, in every age?

 

I could not prop their faith: and yet

Many I had known: with all I sympathized;

And though struck speechless, I did not forget

That what was mourned for, I, too, once had prized.

 

 

Still, how to bear such loss I deemed

The insistent question for each animate mind.....

 

Hardy refuses to gloss over a culture that chooses to live as though there were no God.

 

And gazing, to my growing sight there seemed

A pale yet positive gleam low down behind.....

 

Hope springs eternal. "It's not so bad," says the crowd. "We'll be allright. You'll see."

 

Whereof, to lift the general night,

A certain few who stood aloof had said,

'See you upon the horizon that small light --

Swelling somewhat?' Each mourner shook his head.

 

This world needs light. And so alternative sources are sought after. The search is ongoing to find something to hold on to.

 

And they composed a crowd of whom

Some were right good, and many nigh the best....

Thus dazed and puzzled 'twixt the gleam and gloom

Mechanically I followed with the rest.

 

Hardy is unable to fight the gravitational pull of the spirit of the age. He gives in without putting up much of a fight.

 

Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways and in the ancient paths. They made them walk in bypaths and on roads not built up. Jeremiah 18:15

 

 

 

 

 






We Tremble Not For Him

June 28, 2009

In the first chapter of Job we see Satan with easy access to Almighty God. They converse, even. And Job's welfare is the subject. Not surprisingly, Francis Quarles (1592-1644) is bothered by this, and seeks resolution in a poem.


In a description of England during 1586, William Harris first mentions a "Bandogge, a huge dog, stubborn, uglier, eager, burthenouse of bodie, terrible and fearful to behold and often more fierce and fell than any Archadian or Corsican cur." It is assumed that the word "Bandogge" originated from the use of strong bonds and chains to secure the dogs.

In other words, a bandog was one scary dog - apparently making our contemporary pit bull look like a poodle in comparison. In discussing Satan, and recognizing God's power over him, as exhibited in Job chapter one, Quarles likens Satan to a bandog - chained, but still ferocious.

ON THE TEMPTER
By Francis Quarles

How dares thy Bandog, Lord, presume to approach
Into thy sacred presence? Or encraoch
Upon thy choice possessions, (in this case, Job!) to devour Thy sporting Lambs? To counterfeit thy power
And to usurp thy Kingdom, even as he
Were, Lord, at least, a substitute to thee?

Why dost not rate him? why does he obtain
Such favor to have liberty of his chain?

Have we not enough enemies to counterbuff now?
Is not the Flesh, the World enough to foil us?
This abroad, and that at home;
But must that Satan, must that Bandog come
To afflict the weak, and take the stronger side?

O, are there not enough, enough beside?
Is there not odds enough, when we have none
But mighty foes; nay, rebels of our own,
Beneath a false disguise of love and peace
That still betray us? Are not these, all these
Sufficient, to encounter and overthrow
Poor, sinful Man; but must that Bandog too,
Assault us Lord? We dare not cast our eyes
Our timorous eyes to Heaven, we dare not rise
From off our aching knees, to plead our case,
When he can commune with thee, face to face;
Nay more, were it possible to do,
Would draw thee, Lord, to his bold faction too.

Martin Luther got it right in A Mighty Fortress...

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.


Francis Quarles gets this as well.....

Lord, lend me but thy power to resist
What foes thou sendest and send what foes thou list:
It is thy battle: If thou please to warm
My blood, and find the strength, I'll find the arm;
March thou in the front: I'll follow in the rear;
Come then ten thousand Bandogs, I'll not fear.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.











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