REFRESHMENT FOR THE SOUL

 Tandem bike riding in Cannon Beach.

Tandem bike riding in Cannon Beach.

Have you breathed in the misty air found along the coast of Oregon as you listened to the rhythmic crashing of the waves? Oh what a refreshing situation that is! Last week Mark and I, along with the Rogers, Hayes, and Stigters, not only found refreshment from our surroundings, but also soaked in five sessions of worship and teaching during the conference at Cannon Beach for pastors and wives.

Although it might be hard to believe someone could preach five sermons on just one verse—we were blessed beyond words to receive that teaching from Romans 8:28. This Thursday morning as we get started with our fall study I’ll be sharing with you the highlights of the highlights from those messages. Then we will jump right into the first chapter of our books on the Psalms.

Although the Bible is full of good verses to encourage and aid us in our daily life, most often I find myself recommending the Psalms to the distressed. So, with great delight I look forward to exploring all the richness of this great Old Testament book with you. If you take it to heart, it could very well be a life changer for you. Please plan to join us this coming Thursday morning from 9:30 to 11. There will be child care for the little ones. I want you to be there.

GOD'S BLESSINGS

Pippa.jpg

Every day the Creator of the Universe pours countless blessings on our lives. In general, these gifts go unrecognized with no thought given to the Giver. But some gifts just cannot be overlooked.  This week Mark and I received a special blessing from God in the birth of our first great grandchild.  Philippa Jane arrived in Chile to her joyous parents Jorge and Naomi.

How blessed by God we are to be given children, grandchildren, and now a great grandchild.  Our greatest longing and prayer for our descendants is that they would know, love, and serve the wonderful God who gave them life, sustains their lives, and gave His life so they could have eternal life.  Having been in ministry for nearly forty years we have seen the unnecessary heartache and brokenness that results when people ignore their Maker and live as they please, as well as, the beauty of lives lived in humble love and obedience to Him.

My daily prayer for my children, grandchildren, and now little Pippa, is that they know, love, and serve the One who loves them with the greatest love of all.

3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

ONE LAST SUMMER COFFEE

Our last morning coffee for the summer will be this coming Thursday morning at my house at 9:30.  This has been a great time of fellowship and prayer all summer.  I hope you can come for our final get together.  Our regular Bible study will begin on Sept. 20th.

I hope this blog will be a blessing to you.

The Pursuit of Power (3)
by Skip Moen, D. Phil.

Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, intoxicating the whole earth; the nations have drunk her wine, therefore the nations are going mad. Jeremiah 51:7  NASB

Mad – The elixir of the gods is power.  It is the aphrodisiac of self-sovereignty.  And it is deadly.  Jeremiah proclaimed that the world of the 6thCentury BC was drunk on the power of Babylon.  What do you think the world is drinking today?  The same toxic brew has been spilling into the halls of government for as long as men have believed they are in charge of their destinies. Today is the 6thCentury BC.  We worship those who wield the sword, proclaim everlasting prosperity and devour the earth.  We are the madmen, consuming ourselves in the rush to have more.  We are a world of bigger barns, storing up our treasures here while God prepares an accounting for our souls. Oblivious of our impending doom, we reel from one barstool to another, leaving in our wake the vast sea of impoverished faces.  Drinking to stay drunk in order not to face the guilt of our pointless excess, we transform the powerful into idols and role models while we vicariously live their unrighteous exploits.

Is the world mad?  How else can it be described?  In a headlong death spiral of disobedience, only insanity can account for the complete disregard of the awe of existence and the call of the Creator.  Men are lauded for their rejection of the fundamental question, “What does God demand of me?”  But this is not an inherited condition, although it is certainly passed from one generation to another.  This is voluntary madness.  It is not only completely unnecessary, it is also completely unexplainable.  There is no reason for sin.  Sin is insanity.  It is the deliberate decision to destroy myself by ignoring the grace, peace and harmony that God offers.  Why would anyone do that?  The question presupposes there is a valid reason for such self-contradictory actions.  There is no valid reason.  There is only madness.

The choice of Hebrew word here is most instructive.  It is halal, the same word that means “to praise” used in conjunction with ministry to God.  Halal includes boasting, shouting, acting foolishly and raging insanity. Consider the spectrum here. On the same scale we find madness and godly praise.  What is the difference?  Only the object of our worship.  To be in one’s right mind is to be in praise of the one true God.  To be insane is to be in praise of myself. Reasonable men, men of sound and righteous minds, are confronted with the inexplicable behavior and thought of madmen when they encounter those who are most surely running the path to self-destruction.  There is no ground for argument or negotiation with such men.  Until they come to their right minds, they are no different than the Gerasene demoniac, dangerous to themselves and to anyone in proximity. The Bible does not apply the terminology of the DSM IV to such men.  It calls them demon-possessed for that is what they are.  Insane.  Self-destructive.  Savage.  Desperate.

Removing the spiritual component of such terminal behavior by dressing it in psychological garb is a mark of general cultural insanity.  Redefining self-inflicted, eternal destruction as “normal” behavior does more to assist the enemy than any decline in morality.  Men no longer fear the inevitable consequences of voluntary madness because today voluntary madness – the rejection of God’s instructions – is accepted and expected even within the Church.  The nations came to the table of the Eucharist and were offered intoxication.  Now who’s drunk?