Thursday, February 23, 2017

Devotion 12: Be Not Satisfied!

Although the Presence of Christ in us today is a marvelous thing and we are to be joyful and content in our present circumstances, especially if we allow the visible and tangible manifestation of Christ be revealed via the ministry and gifts of the Spirit in the Church, nevertheless, the Bible encourages us not to be satisfied with our present state of separation from the full and absolute Presence of God in Christ. "...without my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart is faith within me" (Job 19:26b-27). "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple...When Thou didst say, Seek my face, my heart said to Thee, Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek (Psalm 27:4,8). "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:1-2). "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth" (Psalm 73:25). "...we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). "Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 2:20c). "Father of Jesus, love's reward! What rapture will it be, Prostrate before Thy throne to lie, And gaze and gaze on Thee."*

*Poem by Frederick Faber quoted in, "The Pursuit of God," by A.W. Tozer, p.40.

Devotion 11: Everthing to be Revealed

"...the day of the Lord will come...and the earth and everything done on it will be revealed."
2 Peter 3:10
New American Bible

All men, on the last day, will receive hindsight and experience regret when all they have done in life - intentions included - are exposed to them.  It is then that men will finally know for certain that (a) all that he was doing was, while he was doing it, being evaluated by a supreme Judge, and (b) in all that he was doing - the good and the bad - he was not entirely unseen as he may have thought when doing it.

There are men today who dismiss the right of God and others to judge their intentions and actions and beliefs. These men, while admitting they may not be morally perfect, nevertheless, think of themselves as beyond the bounds of another's right to cast moral judgments (unless it is of affirmation) against their actions or lifestyle. They feel themselves free to do as they please without any hinderances or contraints applied by another's moral judgments.

However, soon, as we draw nearer to the last days, these men, in hindsight accompanied with deep regret as every second of their life is exposed to them, will earnestly wish they had not refused faith in Christ and His divine right to call them to judgment.

"The last word, when all is heard:  Fear God and keep his commandments for this is man's all; because God will  bring to judgment every word and work, with all its hidden qualities, whether good or bad."
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NAB)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism

Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism by Deborah Jian Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I give this book 3 stars for two reasons (1) it made me more aware of conservative evangelicalisms attitude, as a whole, as perceived by the liberal, progressive Christian culture, and (2) it has made me more sympathetic to the concerns of progressive liberal Christians.

That doesn't mean I agree with the views held by the author - there are many theological positions the author takes of which to strongly object without apology - but it does mean I appreciate her perspective and, more importantly, the insights provided regarding the church's attitude she perceives (not altogether unjustified) within white conservative evangelicals towards people of color, women, and queer "christians."

As I read it, this book seems to explicitly challenge conservative evangelicals (particularly white) to hear the other side - the liberal, progressive evangelical - and to acquiesce to it's position accepting them as genuine Christians and, therefore, opening the doors of their churches to their participation in the Christian community. The author seems to suggest that this is what is happening in any case and, sooner or later, a change that the conservative evangelicals must embrace if they are to be spiritually and culturally relevant.

Whatever position you hold, whether you are progressive or conservative (but especially the latter) this is a book that should be read, in particular, by conservative evangelical pastors; and not necessarily to persuade a change of mind as to one's theological, Biblical, and cultural views but more to gain a better understanding of how the attitude and actions of the conservative white evangelical community has affected others and to gain a more sympathetic ear to the complaints of Christian liberal progressives.

This may be a book that annoys those who are already firmly and uncompromisingly settled with a theological or cultural attitude that resists change or, at least, seeking understanding. If your one of those kind of evangelical conservative Christians, then I hope you will allow yourself, at least, this once to be annoyed and read this book.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: War Hawk

War Hawk War Hawk by James Rollins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Perhaps because I have two Shepherds (see pics), I give it 3 stars. I wouldn't say it was a page-turner, but it was an enjoyable read and the interaction between dog and owner was interesting, although it seemed the a bit fantastic. But in Rollins "Author's Notes" at the end (p.505), he shared that Armed Service expert veterinarians and dog handlers confirmed that "not only are such action [depicted in Rollins' book] plausible, if anything these dogs could do much more"!

An interesting aspect of this book is that Rollins delves into a variety of issues - his characters suffer from PTSD, the "mathematical genius" Alan Turing and it's possible uses in drone warfare, and corporations starting wars. Actually, there is much going on and perhaps that is what keeps one engaged in reading.

Like I said, it's not exactly a page-turner, but it is an enjoyable read, especially if you're a dog-lover.

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