Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday, October 31st, Reformation Day

Flung to the Heedless Winds - Martin Luther

1. Flung to the heedless winds
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.
And from that scattered dust,

Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed
Of witnesses for God.

2. The Father hath received
Their latest living breath,

And vain is Satan's boast
Of victory in their death.
Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim
To many a wakening land
The one availing Name.

Tuesday, October 31st, Reformation Day
A Call to Fasting and Prayer

Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther
on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences

by Dr. Martin Luther, 1517

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imp
osed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of
it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on p

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions o
f the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so
far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences
], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the
souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."

83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the

84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?"

85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?"

86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"

87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?"

88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?"

89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?"

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would
be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Time and clocks

You have them everywhere. They are with you all the ... time ... . In every room, on every street corner, on your wrist, in your phone, on the computer screen.

Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack Tick tack

Can you live without them? Would you even consider such a thing? I doubt that. I wouldn't. Sometimes I feel enslaved by time convenances, by our own way of putting humanity into snares of minutes and hours. Do not misunderstand me - I hate it when people come late. But at the same time I hate the chains.

Yesterday we had one more hour to dispose of, so to speak. The winter time is on, the summer time is off. Somebody decided that for the sake of profit and environment this would be a good solution, and we bought it. The obvious consequence is for me to run around the house and adjusting my various clocks forwards or backwards, every six months. I do not like it. The same applies to my car, to my VCR, to my mobile phone. My computer serves itself, luckily for me.

My point is - modern man has used technology to improve his life, but sold his freedom in the process. Everything has got a price, and your time does not belong to you, that is why it is measured, regulated, chunked, portioned, checked, sanctioned, divided. That is why you have to observe its flow everywhere you look. This is slavery, a subtle kind, but still ... A convenient one, no doubt, but still ...

It is a virtue to respect others by keeping your appointments. We have this kind of society, and this kind of arrangement. As long as we remember the higher plan of things, that is. We live here and now, so we must adapt to the conditions and find the meaning of them, not forgetting the Creator of Time, Space and Matter.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. (Gal 4:1-8)

??The Bible in Fair Language??

Category: outrageous

Read this: www.germany.info/

This "Bible" is already being sold in Germany, starting on the 25th of October.

What kind of "Reformation" is this?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I can do all things

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Phi 4:4-13)

Amazing words written by an amazing man.
We are but fragile butterflies in the hands of God. He might crush us in an instant, yet He protects us and preserves us for eternity. "
Do not be anxious about anything" - everything will be given to you if you ask. This is that simple. I cannot stop being amazed over the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel. Cleansed off of any residue of false teachings I may now fully admire its power in the Message and in the Form. This power enables every possible goodness of my heart, the goodness I did not possess, but which has been given to me in abundance thanks to God's Grace. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Indeed I can.

Glory to the Living God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Peace.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Coming to God

Once upon a time there was a nation which became special in the eyes of God. He chose them, led them, punished them and rewarded them, He also gave them His Word. They preserved it, but did not understand it. He gave them His Son to believe in Him, but they did not. Some of them did, though, and those few shared the Word of Gospel with others.

Years were passing, and generations came and went, and the Word of God, now complete and solid, became the written basis for His followers. But they did not know how to read it. Some knew, but many did not. Those who did not know, became very powerful and persecuted those who knew. Fortunately for those who knew they were able to escape the persecutions and settle down in the New World. And fortunately for me.

What I have been thinking of are the differences in the ways of coming to God. There are people who were born and raised having the Bible as an obvious part of their lives, and being born again is to them a natural consequence of their paradigm. They are those whose ancestors had escaped and found freedom of confession.
And there are people born and raised in the distorted truth, almost truth, having been convinced about this 'truth' all their lives. Besides, they have been indoctrinated that those others are mere heretics and to beware of them is the best thing to do.
Still another group are those deceived by liars and wolves, taught about the exclusiveness of their false faith, not allowed to even look at some other options.
And finally a very large group of people who believe in emptiness and chaos rather than in fullness and order being the origin of it all.

Christians - evangelical Christians - reformed Christians, (i. e. believing in the Doctrines of Grace), are people coming from all of those groups, and then some. They believe in the one and only Truth, but their way to it was not the same. Their experience previous to salvation differs from one another. This supplies Christianity with a much needed and broad platform for the further spreading of the Gospel.

Think of it: so many parts in the Body of Christ; all so special and unique, and all so needed. Everybody brings his own special gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of us all. It enriches us all and makes The Potter satisfied and glorified.

(if I delay,) you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
(1Ti 3:15-16)

Friday, October 27, 2006

What is really important

Even if you are not born with this question on your lips, you live with it every day until the day you die ... or ... until the day you find the answer, or you think you have found it.
And then there always seems to be a problem, because some day you realize that what you considered an answer was just another question. And you start over, and over, and over

How many times have you started this journey? I myself do not dare to count. Sometimes it was a person, sometimes an idea, other times a job, once or twice an educational path, two times my children, once a human authority - and I was always spiraling back to the beginning, richer in experience, poorer in time and strength to try again.
Lost in quest, more and more disillusioned, less and less hopeful. Liv
ing an ordinary life, trying my best, rejecting any thought of being wrong, yet being wrong all the time.

Am I making any sense here?

I guess you just have to live through certain things to finally understand the awkwardness and absurdity of it all. Some people need a short time, some need looooooong time, and some still never manage. Sad but true.

So what is really important? Are you ready? It is not you at all. It is God's relationship with you, and your taking him as your Savior and Your Lord, for every single hour of the rest of your life. The sooner you do that, the better for you. This is so simple. No human philosophy, no human psychology, no human science or understanding can do what God does. And it is not only the question of Heaven, life and death, but also these small steps of faith leading you towards sanctification and spiritual growth, towards people walking the same path, towards real freedom and towards a rich and fulfilled life of obedience and love of God.
I am not very theological now, just personal and simple. Forgive me if I made some doctrinal mistake (I hope I did not). Write me if I did. Comments are always welcome.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
(2Pe 3:18)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Works of Grace

How many such discussions I have already had - I do not even remember. Many. About works, grace, faith, catholic confusion, their disbelief, impossibility to make them understand. And even when I almost am there, at the farthest point of their reasoning and I almost can touch their grasping the idea - they fall away and return to their standpoint of works for salvation.
So if I may quote a perfect, concise description of the idea, this will be of great importance.

This is an excerpt from "The Gospel according to Jesus", by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

"We must remember above all that salvation is a sovereign work of God. Biblically it is defined by what it produces, not by what one does to get it. Works are
not necessary to earn salvation. But true salvation wrought by God will not fail to produce the good works that are its fruit.
So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
(Mat 7:17)

No aspect of salvation is merited by human works, but it is all the work of God.
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
(Tit 3:5-7)

Thus salvation cannot be defective in any dimension.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Eph 2:10)

As a part of his saving work, God will produce repentance, faith, sanctification, yieldedness, obedience, and ultimately glorification. Since he is not dependent on human effort in producing these elements, an experience that lacks any of them cannot be the saving work of God.
If we are truly born of God, we have a faith that cannot fail to overcome the world.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
(1Jo 5:4)

We may sin
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
(1Jo 2:1)

-- we will sin -- but the process of sanctification can never stall completely. God is at work in us,
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
(Phi 2:13)

and he will continue to perfect us until the day of Christ.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Phi 1:6)

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
(1Th 5:23-24)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Must-Read (updated)

Do not blame me - I read so many texts that I sometimes forget the source. I found this book discussed on a blog :-) and consider it very important to read, hence the suggestion.
I skimmed it and may recommend it warmly. It is a sound view of science from the biblical perspective.
I will never cease saying that getting knowledge of science is important for a Christian in this time and age. We have to know how to defend our faith against the ever popular and ever stronger flood of evolutionism and its children. It is them, and not us, whom the Bible calls "made foolish":
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
(1Co 1:19-21)

The real understanding is through the Word of God:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
(1Co 2:12-16)
Look what God values and holds dear, and what is nothing to Him, and keep up hope and trust in Him:
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (1Co 3:18-20)
And remember this always:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever.
(Psa 111:10)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Every Day in Grace

Every Day in Grace
I have not explained the title of this place, I suppose I should for those who come by and wonder.
The origin of this title was taken from the obvious - Doctrines of Grace, as confessed and professed by Christians who are otherwise called Calvinists.
I think it is very unnecessary to label the believers of the True Gospel, even more so if the label is to be referred to a person and his name, and even more so when the doctrines were formalized many years after this person's death. But done is done, and let it be so, maybe there is a purpose in it - to make people alert and aware still more?
I find it sad that not all Christians take those doctrines as they are - true and real, the only possible logical and deep way of understanding everything and truly humbling oneself. It takes a leap of courage and readiness to do that. It does not come as the first possible solution or the first answer to this primary question: "Why, God? Why me? Why now? Is it really time and place?" Kicking and screaming I asked these questions, until I read about TULIP. Then I stopped kicking and screaming. It took me some time...

It is quite symptomatic, in my life, anyway. The only thing I knew about so called Calvinists was that the are workaholics, honest and very boring people - imagine that! And that they believe in God in a very strange way. Ha, and who would suppose that several years later I should find myself embracing the very same doctrines... Lord's ways - who should know them?

God has a peculiar sense of humor :)

But seriously - this IS the real Gospel, Gospel of Grace, of Freedom in Christ. I shall not try to be wise and write more - go to the links on the right side of this blog for more food.
But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.
2Pe 3:18

Monday, October 23, 2006

Leave me alone

This little person knows what he doesn't want.
Like my son yesterday in church - he also knew that. He was completely 'anti' to everything and everybody, and there was not much I could do about it. It was hard to watch, and even harder to swallow, but when things like that happen in public places, you have to play along. The problem was that his brother went to another place for his Sunday School, and the little one wanted to follow, but had to stay. This made him furious...
Stubborn to the point of hurting himself in the process, but not wavering one millimeter from his standpoint. It is fascinating, though, how they can keep it up. One day you have a sweet baby, and next day this little monster opposing you and trying your patience.
Frankly, I have no idea what the sermon was about. This is unfortunate, but I was forced to somehow control my offspring, and it took my whole attention away from the pastor. Sorry, Ron.

I pray next Sunday will be better.
My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my part forever.
(Psa 73:26)

Sunday, October 22, 2006


1Co 15:1-58
(1) Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,
(2) and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
(3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
(4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

(5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
(6) Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
(7) Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
(8) Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
(9) For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
(10) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
(11) Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
(12) Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(13) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
(14) And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
(15) We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
(16) For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
(17) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
(18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
(19) If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
(20) But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
(21) For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
(22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
(23) But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
(24) Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
(25) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
(26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
(27) For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.
(28) When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
(29) Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?
(30) Why am I in danger every hour?
(31) I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!
(32) What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
(33) Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."
(34) Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
(35) But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?"
(36) You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
(37) And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
(38) But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
(39) For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
(40) There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.
(41) There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
(42) So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
(43) It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
(44) It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
(45) Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
(46) But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
(47) The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
(48) As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
(49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
(50) I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
(51) Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
(53) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
(54) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
(55) "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
(56) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
(57) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(58) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

    John 14:6
    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me"

    Romans 3:23
    "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

    Romans 6:23
    "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

    I Peter 1:18-19
    "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition by your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"

    Romans 10:13
    "For whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.

by R.C. Sproul

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Resting and waiting

Saturday. Finally a Saturday, after an extremely hectic week at work. Well, every week is like that when you are a teacher. I do not complain, though, just state the facts.

I am resting now, checking my mail, doing some necessary housework, looking after my children.
I am also waiting, hence those chairs, mental chairs that are empty, waiting to be seated on, I am waiting for some unexpected guests who now have a huge campaign of knocking at our doors and telling us about their image of God. Jehova's Witnesses. In case you do not know, now is a very active period in their work, and you shall see some of them at your doorstep soon. Be prepared. Do not tell them off. Talk to them, show them that you care, show them your Hope and your Lord.

You can take some good pointers while listening to
How to Witness to a Jehovah's Witness by Erich Grieshaber, while you get some good laughs, too. Worth listening and taking notes.
For more systematic apologetics on cults go to
Walter Martin's Religious InfoNet, a site providing answers to life's difficult questions and reasons for faith through the ministry of Dr. Walter Martin.
1Jo 4:1-6
(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
(4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
(5) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
(6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

PS. It is Sunday evening now, October the 22nd. Two girls came by, leaving a brochure about false religions. I invited them back next week, as I felt we did not have enough time to talk.
Pray for me that God may help me show them the true LIGHT of Jesus and His LOVE.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dangers of driving a car

Yes, I would be wondering, too, if I saw this picture together with this topic. No, I have not run over a homeless person.

Sometimes listening to music in my car is very intense, and because I did not have the car yesterday, and the vehicle I was driving does not have the best sound in it, the more I enjoyed '
my' sound this morning. One song in particular made me slow down, think, and finally brought me to tears, literary. And it is dangerous to drive and cry, believe me.
If you have any chance to listen to it - please do. It is this one:

Asleep In The Light, Keith Green

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don't you care, don't you care, are you gonna let them drown,
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job's done.

Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it's all I ever hear,
No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,
And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can't you see it's such sin?

Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away, as you smile and say,
God bless you, be at peace, and all Heaven just weeps,
Cause Jesus came to your door, you've left Him out on the streets.

Open up, open up, and give yourself away,
You've seen the need, you hear the cry, so how can you delay,
God's calling and you're the one, but like Jonah you run,
He's told you to speak, but you keep holding it in,
Oh, can't you see it's such sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can't fight, cause it's asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you've been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can't even get out of bed,
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed.

How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job's done,
You close your eyes and pretend the job's done,
Don't close your eyes, don't pretend the job's done.

Come away, come away, come away with Me, My love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.

You can even listen to this song and see it performed by the author on YouTube.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I was thinking of the fact that many, many new words have come to usage in my life... Here is just an unordered selection. Enjoy!

  • Grace
    For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
    (Joh 1:17)
  • Love
    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    (Mat 5:44)
  • Atonement
    And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
    (Rom 5:11)
  • Obedience
    Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
    (Heb 5:8)
  • Holy
    For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
    (Luk 1:49)
  • Savior
    Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus:
    (Act 13:23)
  • God
    Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
    (Mat 1:23)
  • Sin
    Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
    (Joh 8:34)
  • Trust
    Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
    (Heb 13:18)
  • Guard
    Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
    (Eze 38:7)
  • Word
    Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
    (2Ti 4:2)
  • Redemption
    Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
    (Heb 9:12)
  • Preach
    Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
    (Col 1:28)
  • Righteousness
    Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
    (Tit 3:5)
  • Sacrifice
    By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
    (Heb 13:15)
  • Father
    That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
    (Mat 5:45)
  • Spirit
    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    (Mat 5:3)
  • Son
    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    (Mat 3:17)
  • Fruits
    Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
    (Phi 1:11)
  • Ministry
    But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
    (Act 20:24)
  • Believer
    And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever?
    (2Co 6:15)
  • Judgment
    and he saith with a great voice, Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.
    (Rev 14:7)
  • Church
    Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
    (1Co 14:19)
  • Perfect
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
    (Mat 5:48)
  • Sufficient
    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
    (2Co 12:9)
  • Creator
    Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    (Rom 1:25)
  • Dwell
    And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
    (Rev 21:3)
  • Cross
    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
    (Mat 10:38)
  • Resurrection
    For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
    (1Co 15:21)
  • Life
    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
    (Rev 22:17)
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(2Ti 1:13)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


[...] Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. And he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that have understanding; he revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast now made known unto me what we desired of thee; for thou hast made known unto us the king's matter.
(Dan 2:20-23)

The autumn is here, definitely. I can feel it in the air, I can smell it in the wind,
I can almost touch it on my skin. Winds are no longer friendly and warm, the air smells fallen leaves and smoke, the cold air is penetrating my warm clothes and chilling my bones.
We go inside; we no longer like it out, when the sun rays are scarce and distant. Darkness is approaching and closing us within its arms of grey and black, until the time of first snow giving some light to the long northern night.
Now, more than ever, is a good time to appreciate those we have around us, whom we love, who love us, who are not always our priority, but who are faithful and kind anyway. Family, dear friends, spouses, children, pets...
Time flows slower in the autumn, we have nothing to woo us and make us uneasy, we find rest and peace within this blissful darkness of the evenings, when we lit a candle or two, sit in front of the open fire, listen to good music and just ARE.
The world is much too busy a place very often. We need this quiet season to understand it.
For me autumnal days have always carried a notion of peaceful sadness about them, the realization of time passing, of an inevitable change, of some sort of hope coming in the springtime. Now it is not sadness anymore, just peace of my soul, finally knowing the nature of the hope and the certainty of it at the same time.

(1) A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
(2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
(3) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
(4) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
(5) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
(6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
(7) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
(8) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psa 121:1-8

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This is not much. Just 50 posts.
But anyway, I am sort of proud of myself, being able to keep this commitment and writing every day. New kind of discipline, something I used to do when I was younger and had much more time at hand, only I did not know it.
Why do people write, anyway? One could suppose that all has been written already, but yet there are still new novels and books of poetry coming and it never ends.
I live in a country that prides itself with Nobel Prize in Literature, choosing a splendid author each year and pampering him or her in December, with parties, receptions, speeches and gifts. This is a country where people love to read books, or, at least, loved to read books, pre-computer era, so to speak. Nowadays the picture is somewhat different, but still many do read.

Why do I write? Here? To express the new me, the one nobody knows, really, the one that came to be this year, by the Grace of God. It is hard to be silent about it. Especially when the people close to you are overwhelmed and do not wish to listen again and again.

This joy bubbles inside of me and seeks the way to be shown. So this is a good place to start, when you are a computer freak and a loner privately. I set my next goal - next 50 posts. In 49 days.

For Him.
Isa 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
Luk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Search for Spirituality

Every time I open a popular magazine, almost every time I watch TV, very often when I talk to people - I can see it is hype to write, talk or dream about some spiritual value, truth or revelation. Media today are flooded with articles and programs on yoga, crystals, meditation, strange philosophies, inner peace - you name it - it is there.

Some distant places offer many impressing programs of personality boosting by songs, mantras and massages (very special ones), more or less honest people try to make money on healing and various types of dubious therapies, others propose to solve all your problems by looking in crystal balls or by reading satanic cards. Everything goes - except Christianity. Everything is legit - except the Truth of God.

Close to where I live there is a popular fair hall, organizing many fair events with a multitude of themes and targets. The latest one was New Age Fair, which I did not visit, but I heard people commenting on a lot. The most attracted customers are women. They went there in bunches to see, touch, experience and buy. Their husbands were rolling their eyes in dismay and horror - not because they believe all that, but because the wives have suddenly become very different, alert, aware of spirituality, interested in the techniques of meditation, willing to invest money in the things sold there.
I listened to those sad men, and I just wanted to cry out: 'Why don't you supply your women with the real spiritual guidance? They are hungry, starving for truth, but you do not even care!'
I kept silent, because nobody would understand... This is a godless society, yet people feel hunger and look for answers, finding, unfortunately, only the fast food of New Age...

2Ti 3:1-7
(1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
(3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
(4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
(7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

When This Passing World Is Done (Psalms)

I would like to end this psalm-triad with this one, as I am studying Romans presently and enjoy the reading immensely.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call,
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

When the praise of Heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.

When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I’m captive led;
Oft I fall—but still arise—
The Spirit comes—the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.

Oft the nights of sorrow reign—
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns—
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.

(Words: Ro­bert M. Mc­Cheyne; these words ap­peared in the Scot­tish Christ­ian Her­ald, May 20, 1837, in a po­em ti­tled “I Am Debt­or.”
Music: Mount Zi­on (Sul­li­van), Ar­thur S. Sul­li­van, 1867)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

O, this is blessing, this is rest (Psalms)


“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed in Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” — Isaiah 26:3.

O, this is blessing, this is rest —
Unto Thine arms, O Lord, I flee:
I hide me in Thy faithful breast,
And pour out all my soul to Thee.
There is a host dissuading me, —
But, all their voices far above,
I hear Thy words — “O taste and see
The comfort of a Savior's love.”
And, hushing every adverse sound,
Songs of defence my soul surround,
As if all saints encamped about
One trusting heart pursued by doubt,

And O, how solemn, yet how sweet
Their one assured, persuasive strain!
“The Lord of hosts is thy retreat,
The Man who bore thy sin, thy pain.
Still in His hand thy times remain —
Still of his body thou art part;
And He will prove his right to reign
O'er all things that concern thy heart.”
O tenderness — O truth divine!
Lord, I am altogether thine.
I have bowed down — I need not flee —
Peace, peace is mine in trusting Thee.
And now I count supremely kind,
The rule that once I thought severe;
And, precious to my altered mind,
At length, Thy least reproofs appear.
Now to the love that casts out fear,
Mercy and truth, indeed seem one;
Why should I hold my ease so dear?
The work of training must be done,
I must be taught what I would know —
I must be led where I would go —
And all the rest ordained for me,
Till that which is not seen I see
Is to be found in trusting Thee.
(author unknown)

Friday, October 13, 2006

In Heavenly Love Abiding (Psalms)

In Heavenly Love Abiding

In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him

Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free.
My Savior has my treasure, and He will walk with me.

Words: Anna L. Waring, Hymns and Meditations, 1850.
(Hear the melody at cyberhymnal.org)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What is your worth?

Not that I suddenly started to evaluate my assets. Everyone believes that he or she is worth a lot, right? We often say to ourselves that there is no one better or wiser or nicer or more beautiful or... Well, you know the drift, and have been there many times, haven't you?
Now there always are people who evaluate you in various ways, positively an negatively. You do that, too, judging others according to your views and beliefs.
What I have in mind are my direct impressions after some hours spent on being educated about salaries this morning.
Question: Are you satisfied with your salary?
Answer: Of course not!

(There was not one person in the audience who said they were...)
We always want more, even if we have enough. Human nature, carnal heart, egoism, self-gratification, envy... The endless collection of reasons for wanting more and desiring more.
Why? Love of self, a human in the center of things, survival of the fittest?
Now please do not misunderstand me. I have lived through many years of so called communism, a system where everyone was supposed to be equal. A terrible system, unfair, bloody and crippling abilities and motivation. Nobody was happy - except the guys on the top. But I wonder -
were they happy? Or maybe terribly miserable, really? Can a happy person do terrible things to others? Doubtful, isn't it?

Is it possible to evaluate a person with money value? How much do you cost? I feel almost violated in my principles. I have no price, though my boss is presumably forced to see me this way once a year. I am not envious of her job in this respect. It must be extremely stressful to rank people who work with you and to put a price tag on each and every one of them. To be just and fair in the process as well, to get to know everybody's strengths and weaknesses, to treat them with due respect...

What does the Bible say?
1Ti 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward.

It is a given that we must eat to survive, and that the food we eat costs money, and that the money must be earned earnestly. We are also obliged to provide for those who depend on us, our children and our family members. So it is fair to demand a decent salary.

But is it your value?

Certainly not. Being a Christian, your value lies not in gold and silver, but in your truthfulness to the Lord and to His Word. He valued you high, saved you by His Grace, provided for your faith in Him, and promised never to leave you.
You are worth everything to Him, for He
Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This is my on-going comfort, that even though a man puts a low value tag on me, my God values me as high as Himself.
What a wonderful God we have!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

To be a parent

There are many things I had known nothing about before I became a mother. In fact, when I look back, it is as if I were another person then. My priorities were on me and my life, my duties were about me and my pleasures, my marriage was joyful and carefree, everything was embedded in my self-fulfillment.

And then came HE, our first-born son, and turned our world upside down completely, in a split second we found ourselves, I and my husband, as people who knew absolutely nothing, but who were forced to know a lot about new things. The confusion was immense, the joy was even bigger. I had known EVERYTHING about being a parent - up to his first cry in the delivery room :). He is still good at surprising me with his temper, moods, likings, choices and talents. He is nothing I had dreamed about, and everything about him is lovable anyway. He is becoming more and more like his father, responsible but joking, clever but goofy, gifted but a bit lazy, stubborn but soft at heart. He is a tough cookie, a challenge for me, an everyday lesson of humbleness and love.

His BROTHER came five years later and swept us off our feet. Looking very much alike his big bro, this one is entirely different a person. Stubborn as well, but able to turn things around to his advantage in such a way that we do not know what hits us.

The boys love each other and love being together, supporting each other when needed.

It is a wonder. Children. God's gift to us, and the huge responsibility put on our shoulders. How can this be, that I, an ordinary person, was given this task of raising those two sweet boys? Two lives that love me unconditionally, trust me and listen to me? How did it happen?
Having children is probably the most natural thing in the world, yet the most miraculous one as well, I think.

When I look at them while they are sleeping, them being so innocent and confident, I feel the strong desire to protect them at every cost, no matter what. And I want to keep this moment forever. Sadly enough, time goes by and they will grow up one day, but for now I am trying to enjoy all the small moments and seconds of their childhood and remember as much of it as humanly possible.

My life is different now, and I would not like it to be any other way. Never.

There is one VERY IMPORTANT task for me to carry out, though. And that I will:
Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
(Psa 34:11)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fire and Ice

What would the devil say about your life?

Powerful message of all songs from this album makes me really uneasy and thinking about everything I do and say.

Life is not a toy anymore, nor a pastime, nor an accident. Life I know now does not depend on me, but is wholly dependent on God's Grace and Forgiveness. Somehow, of reasons unknown to me, He decided to save me and make me holy, although I am the greatest of sinners, and do not deserve His Love at all.
There is a lot of fire in me, sometimes it burns as it could put the whole world on fire. And I honestly believe that this is nothing unique to baby-Christians. At the same time I understand that this fire must be fed constantly, because it dies out without nourishment, and sometimes can even become ice. This is hard to imagine right now, yet very, very possible.
Very important words come to mind:
Rev 3:14-19 (14) "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. (15) "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

I wholeheartedly agree that the worst condition is that of "in-between", neither hot nor cold, only lukewarm. This is a dangerous, deceiving and treacherous way, to go together with everybody, hoping for benefits from every side of the road. You can either have your cake or eat it, right? Do not hope for some miraculous cake here. You have to choose - or rather - to follow the choice made by God with obedience and gratitude.
If you hesitate, your Enemy will snap you at your weakest moment and swallow you. Radical? Maybe, but the only possible logic of my life from now on, and the only healthy one, as well.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Too much of the good stuff

That is what happens when you do not stop in time - you hurt yourself. Too much sweetness - and next thing you know is a rushed visit to the dentist's, because something happened to your tooth. This can be repaired, though, and maybe you go on eating candy soon, not thinking about the danger for some time.

(Well, the reason I am writing this is my broken tooth and a necessity of visiting my dentist a.s.a.p.)

But there is a deeper meaning to it, as always. Life and the pleasures it offers to us. We take every opportunity of indulging ourselves as far and as deep as it is tasty and nice, not thinking about the dangers hiding behind the corner.

No, wait - not "we". People. It is more politically correct to make it impersonal, right? People love life and wordly pleasures. People are so easily influenced by the temptations presented to them every day, everywhere, they are buying into the world's philosophy of post-modernism and relativism, letting themselves go with the flow of "everything is optional, there is no absolute truth, all can be questioned and twisted around". Such thinking is sweet to the ear, the bitterness of it comes much later, in fact - when it is too late.

What is a broken tooth compared to a broken life, a broken home, a spiritual death? I cannot cease hearing these words:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Rom 12:2)

And there will be no more sweets for me for some time now :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How do you argue?

"Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good?
(Job 15:2-3)

Let us be honest: to argue is not a given talent. And to agree is often impossible.

So how do you argue?

A sound argument should end in some kind of resolving and mutual agreement.
But a sound argument is so hard to carry through, when bitterness poisons your mind and all the boundaries of decency brake at the very thought of being hurt...
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
(Eph 4:25-27)

God's word is very clear here. As always.
Even in anger we are to love one another and resolve our differences as soon as possible. This applies to everybody. It is very easy to hurt those we love most, because they are most vulnerable.
I really am not good at expressing this, especially after hearing a very special song on the subject. This is "Forgive Me, Forgive You" from "Doing My Best", by Steve Camp, a CD from 1990, and still very true.

I don't know if I can forget
All the pain that you caused me
How do I deal with this bitterness
That lies deep inside of me

To turn the other cheek is so hard
When the other cheek is already bruised
I want to be whole again
I'm tired of feeling used


Forgive me, forgive you
Forgive the hurt that we put each other through
I know the Lord will heal the deepest wound
But He begins with forgive me, forgive you

Love must be tender, love must be strong
Just to make it through the storm
We can't trust in our feelings
We must stand in the Lord

For love is a choice that we make
A vow of our will forever to stay
I'm tired of hurting you
So I humbly come to you


When I want to run away
And find someone else just to ease the pain
Then I realize what we could have
And what we could lose
I come running back to you


...forgive me, forgive you
He begins with
Forgive me, forgive you