a monthly devotional journal
Issue No. 116
[Editor's Note: In this issue, each article is prefaced by several news excerpts quoted from today's press. These excerpts are indented, to set them off from the original material.]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court struck down Monday student-led prayers at public high school football games. The high court, by a 6-3 vote, declared that allowing a student to lead the crowd in a Christian prayer over the loudspeaker before kickoff violates the constitutional requirement on separation of church and state. The school district's pregame prayer policy allowed for a student to give a brief invocation "to solemnize the event, to promote good sportsmanship and student safety and to establish the appropriate environment for the competition." The decision marked the first time the Supreme Court had addressed the issue since 1992, when it said public schools may not require at graduation ceremonies prayers by clergy members that contain biblical phrases and mention God.
US Representative Henry Bonilla (R-TX) expressed his dissatisfaction with the high court's decision. "The Supreme Court sent the wrong message to our children today. It said we must abide by the principles of freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion."
LOS ANGELES (AP June 20) - A peaceful celebration of the Los Angeles Lakers' first championship since 1988 deteriorated into mayhem as hundreds of fans torched two police cars, vandalized businesses and set dozens of small bonfires in city streets. Vandals smashed the ground floor windows of the Kaiser Brothers Oldsmobile-Honda dealership and damaged eight showroom cars. A nearby dealership also was damaged. In addition, a computer store was looted, street lights were broken, newspaper racks overturned and bus benches tossed into the streets. The crowd had been mostly peaceful until nearly an hour after the game, when fans began throwing debris at limousines. The crowd smashed the windows on a white sport utility vehicle and a television news van. Dozens of men used boards and tree limbs to strike the vehicles, while others looted the van. As the crowd was cleared away, smaller groups used trash and Pacers T-shirts to set small fires.
Our reactions vacillate between shrill anger and slumped defeat. Our emotions roller coaster from the exhilarating ascent of triumph, down through the plummeting abyss of defeat. We feel one day helpless, and the next superior against the foe. We are left disconnected, our sensibilities fragile and shattered, as if just waking from a bad dream in which the world has become inverted and strange.
Every believer dwells as a displaced alien in the place of his birth--an odd arrangement that leaves him feeling homesick for a place he's never seen. Every believer, in varying degrees, feels like a traveler who has awakened after a long night's journey in a strange bed in a strange room, in a country not his own.
In January 1982 Linda and I went on a five-week vacation to Egypt and Kenya. We departed San Diego, California, at 7:30 in the morning on the 19th, and four hours later arrived in Washington, DC. We finally departed for England after a four-hour delay because of snow and ice. About nine hours later we landed in Manchester to refuel, then proceeded to London. After a brief layover, we departed London for Cairo, arriving at 9:00 the evening of the 20th. Out the window of the plane we noticed scruffy looking soldiers sporting machine guns. Linda and I looked at each other and wondered just what we had let ourselves in for. But after a perilous ride from the Cairo airport to the Mena House hotel in Giza, hard against the pyramid plateau, we finally were settled into our room by 10:30 that night.
Without exaggeration, upon rising the next morning, my brain and body not only felt as if they were still in another time zone, but as if I had landed on another planet. The only things familiar were a few pieces of luggage--and the woman with whom I was sharing my room. Everything else was utterly alien to my experience. I fell out of bed and pushed aside the curtain that led out onto the balcony of our room. Rising before my squinted gaze were the massive stone edifices of the great pyramids of Khufu and Khofre, kings of Ancient Egypt's 4th Dynasty (c.2627-2513 BC). My nostrils inhaled the scent of spices and perfumes for which my senses had no reference. Below my balcony passed people speaking in tongues I had never heard.
I was no longer in Kansas, Toto.
Sometimes that is how we feel as believers living on earth. We were born here; we are people of the soil. Our bodies are built for this earth's gravity, our lungs are shaped for the atmosphere we breathe, our senses are tuned to the sights and smells and tactile experiences of this temporal plane.
But as believers in Christ, our bodies have made a home for the Holy Spirit, and we are in the process of being transformed from our earth-likeness into the likeness of His Being. We are caught in that awkward middle ground where, at different times, we can feel estranged from either. And sometimes our joy can be vanquished by despair with the growing realization that though we haven't moved, we now dwell in a land not only foreign, but overtly hostile to what we are becoming.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court refused to let a public school district require that the teaching of evolution be accompanied by a disclaimer mentioning "the biblical version of creation" and other teachings on life's origin. The Tangipahoa Parish school board in 1994 voted to require teachers to tell students about to study the theory of evolution that [it] is "presented to inform students of the scientific concept and not intended to influence or dissuade the biblical version of creation or any other concept." The disclaimer drafted by the school board also said: "It is the basic right and privilege of each student to form his-her own opinion or maintain beliefs taught by parents on this very important matter. Students are urged to exercise critical thinking and gather all information possible and closely examine each alternative toward forming an opinion."
Three parents of students sued in federal court to challenge the policy, and a federal judge blocked its enforcement. The judge said the disclaimer was unconstitutional because it had a religious purpose. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the disclaimer had to be struck down but cited a different reason-it had the effect of promoting religion.
President Clinton Issues A Proclamation Recognizing June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
June 11, 1999
Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month; and, earlier this month, the National Park Service added the Stonewall Inn, as well as the nearby park and neighborhood streets surrounding it, to the National Register of Historic Places.
America's diversity is our greatest strength. But, while we have come a long way on our journey toward tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect, we still have a long way to go in our efforts to end discrimination.
Our greatest hope for a just society is to teach our children to respect one another, to appreciate our differences, and to recognize the fundamental values that we hold in common. As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, earlier this spring, I announced that the Departments of Justice and Education will work in partnership with educational and other private sector organizations to reach out to students and teach them that our diversity is a gift.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 1999 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate our diversity, and to remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.
[Signed] WILLIAM J. CLINTON
By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10 nasb
God can seem to be a long way off in a place like the one in which we live. The sincere believer strains to hear His voice amidst the din and clatter of a fallen, obstinate society. The noise of commerce, the shrill cry of the huckster, the effervescent shriek of the media--all combine to muffle the sweeter music coming from heaven.
In the early moments of our salvation, once we realize that it is only our heart that is floating a few feet off the ground, in our zeal we embrace the challenge of being salt and light to a world wallowing in darkness. We take as our marching orders the words Jesus spoke to His followers in the Sermon on the Mount:
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16
For a while we glory in being different, in being set apart from others around us. Our heart aches with the desire to spread beyond ourselves that which has changed us.
At some point, however--early on for some, later for others, never for a few--the exhilaration from being different wears down to being more of a burden than a badge of honor. At some point we either long to return to the familiar, or long, with even greater zeal, for the unseen--and the uncomfortable dichotomy strains our relationship with both.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. C.S. Lewis
Abraham (Abram) knew what it was like to leave everything familiar to dwell in a land not his own. God had moved his father's family out of Ur, in lower Mesopotamia, up the Euphrates River to Haran, in upper Mesopotamia. In both cities his family was steeped in the culture of multiple gods--in fact, Haran was the center for the worship of the aptly named moon-god, Sin, and the family of Terah, Abraham's father, was not set apart from this culture of idol worship.
Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods.'" Joshua 24:2
It is hard for us to put ourselves in his place, for most of us have been raised in a monotheistic culture. Even if we've chosen not to participate, we have been surrounded by the traditions, the worship, and, more importantly, the Word, of Jehovah. And even if we have been an adherent to a faith outside Christianity, Judaism or Islam, we at least have been aware of their existence, and a passing familiarity with their common worship of the one God.
But Abraham had none of these to fall back on. He was born and raised under a religious system detestable to a God he would eventually serve, anathema to a new religious system he would ultimately found. Abraham was not a Jew, but a Chaldean, and had no point of reference--no written word, no traditions, no practical experience--for the voice that suddenly spoke to him.
The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and
your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
"I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him. Genesis 12:1-4a
So at the age of seventy-five, Abraham packed up his family, left the familiarity of the Chaldean culture, and journeyed south, into Canaan, the promised land.
While life's dark maze I tread, And griefs around me spread, Be Thou my Guide; Bid darkness turn to day, Wipe sorrow's tears away, Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside.
When ends life's transient dream, When death's cold, sullen stream Shall o'er me roll; Blest Savior, then, in love, Fear and distrust remove; O bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A Protestant preacher said Tuesday he buried scores of fellow Christians killed on a remote island in eastern Indonesia, victims of religious violence that has been spiraling for nearly two years. There were reports that 161 people died. Smith Dungir said he survived Monday's rampage in the mostly Christian village of Duma by hiding in his church from mobs of some 4,000 Muslim fighters. The violence in Duma was the latest brutal round of religious killings in the Maluku islands, also known as the Moloccas, the once fabled Spice Islands. More than 2,500 members of both faiths have been killed in the past 18 months.
London (CNSNews) - A new and outspoken Christian pro-life group in Scotland has been threatened with legal action if it continues to hand out anti-abortion leaflets to pupils outside schools. Since its launch a year ago, Precious Life has been targeting abortion clinics and contraception advice centers, and this week it began handing out leaflets detailing and illustrating abortion methods to teenagers arriving and leaving schools. Education authorities have warned they will call in the police, and Scotland's biggest teachers' union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), also has attacked the campaign.
The group's leader, Jim Dowson, said in an interview Wednesday, "Seventy-five percent of state [senior] schools refuse any pro-life group, no matter how mild they are, to be involved in the educational process. Yet they allow the pro-abortion camp in. They have the Pro-Choice Action Group in, they have Family Planning in, there's no [restriction] there."
The group has been accused of handing out "controversial" and "graphic" literature to women in a bid to persuade them to change their minds about having abortions. "It's a lot of nonsense," Dowson said in response to the charge. "There's nothing scaremongering about it. It just describes [various methods of abortion]. People say the facts are shocking. Well if even pro-choice people say they are shocking, doesn't that tell us something?
"If you're shocked by the truth, if you're shocked by what you're engaged in, perhaps you shouldn't be engaged in it."
June 21, 2000 (Crosswalk.com) Scholarship money is being set aside for seminarians who say they are gay. The United Church of Christ announced this week it will create a $500,000 fund for "self-affirmed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender" students. The 1.4 million-member denomination also advised wider acceptance of homosexuals by other denominations.
Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered, and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. Genesis 10:15-19
The land God promised Abraham and his descendants was not uninhabited. He and his clan were no latter-day Adams and Eves discovering a virgin territory heretofore unknown. Though from the arrogance of modernity the life of Abraham would seem to be set in the beginnings of time, by then the world was already old. The pyramids Abraham saw in Egypt, when his family moved down there in time of famine, were already almost 1,000 years old.
The principal god of Canaan was El, followed closely by his son, Ba-al (or Baal). Then there were Dagon, Asherah, Astarte (or Ashtoreth), and Anath, followed by a rich and colorful pantheon of lesser deities.
None of this was new to Abraham or his people. They had come out of a religious culture that included these gods and more; he was made of the same stock. Yet Abraham stepped into the bountiful Canaan the bearer of a new faith in an even more ancient God: Jahweh.
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord [Jahweh, or Jehovah]. Genesis 12:8
Torn between the heritage of his flesh, and obedience to his strong faith, Abraham had to find a way to operate amidst both. It wouldn't work for him to be a hermit; he couldn't be a monk, cloistered within the rock walls of an isolated cell. He was a wealthy man, with people dependent on him. Abraham had responsibilities.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:15-17
Abraham participated in life. During his time in Canaan he formed alliances with kings, and went to war against others; he traded, and built his wealth; and in the Oriental way, he graciously received and entertained travelers who happened by. With his wealth and prestige, Abraham could have built himself a palace, established a city and become a king. He could have sunk his stone-set foundations deep into the soil of Canaan, giving him stability, and greater authority among his neighbors.
Instead, Abraham remained in his tents. While others about him were establishing dynasties, Abraham was establishing his faith; while others built monuments to themselves, Abraham was building a relationship with God. While others bent their will to the dominance of lesser gods, Abraham--though he knew those other gods well--bent his will, instead, to the Lord of Lords, the one made not of wood or stone, but of Spirit.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 nasb
My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
My Father's own Son, the Saviour of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is reigning forever on high,
And will give me a home in heaven by and by.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth;
But I've been adopted, my name's written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They're building a palace for me over there;
Tho' exiled from home, yet still I may sing:
All glory to God, I'm a child of the King!
I'm a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Saviour,
I'm a child of the King.
Harriet E. Buell
Gay-rights order prompts GOP lawsuit
By DAVID YEPSEN, Des Moines Register Staff Writer
Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson, a Republican from Dows, said Saturday that he and other GOP lawmakers soon would sue Gov. Tom Vilsack, challenging his gay civil-rights executive order. Iverson made the announcement at the Republican state convention in Des Moines. Iverson's announcement topped the list of the GOP attacks unloaded on the Democrats. Vilsack, a Democrat, "has undercut the constitution," Iverson charged. "The constitution is the fundamental law of the land in Iowa, and now the governor has begun to legislate laws by executive order."
At issue is an order Vilsack signed directing state agencies not to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It applies not only to gays and lesbians but to transsexuals - people who have undergone a sex change or who identify more closely with the opposite sex than their own.
To "John," a high school junior, it was just like any other day. Until he got to physical education class. The teacher had something new to present. "We will now attempt to teach you the different categories of drugs," the teacher said, "and their effects and hopefully how to make a knowledgeable choice, using your own value system." It wasn't long before, according to his value system, John began experimenting with drugs, first with marijuana, and gradually with stronger substances. Before long, he was hooked.
John ended his addiction the only way he thought he could-he committed suicide. The note he left behind for his parents was simple and poignant: "I did it because I couldn't think or nothing." It was only after his death that his parents discovered that he had been subjected to "Values Clarification" training.
What are rules for? Who makes them? Children, even very young ones, know that some things are just plain wrong. They also know that they have to follow rules. But children also think some things should be up to them, and they begin the process of sorting out the difference early. Thoughtful grownups can help children to understand and appreciate the need for social rules. At the same time, grownups can contribute to children's sense of themselves as socially competent by helping them to sort between when things are to be governed by social rules and when (and in what contexts) a child's behavior is really a matter of personal choice. In saying this, I make two assumptions.
1. Children are acting, do act, and will act according to their understanding of themselves and of the situation.
2. The teacher's job with regard to these issues is two fold: a)to support each child's initiating actions and interactions in a way that fosters their understanding of self, and of others; and b) to ensure that the group of people (adults and children) involved runs fairly, safely, and smoothly. Grownups...must always be aware that the enforcement power they use may not adequately recognize the needs of children to act on their own understanding.
In dealing with questions that come up in classrooms, there are often one or more simple solutions to a problem that could be applied by the teacher. But further consideration suggests that the children can figure out solutions for or between themselves if they are given the chance and a little support. Doing this enables children to begin understanding themselves as powerful in co-operative situations. When we as teachers are faced with a complicated situation that involves conflict or some other problem, it is useful to think about the kinds of issues involved so that, rather than imposing answers, we can better support children's efforts. (from Rules, Right and Wrong, and Children: Analyzing Situations for Understanding and Leadership in Preschool and Elementary School Contexts, Elsa K. Weber, Ph.D.)
Yet those who hope in the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not
Isaiah 40:31 nasb
Though we are born into this world--though we have the mud of earth clinging to our feet--we, as Christians, are no longer of it. So long as we stubbornly cling to it, we will remain unformed, and unhappy. The Christian has God living inside him, and the more his feet remain stuck in the muck of this earth, the more miserable will be his spirit. The closer we are to God, the more we share His vision. There is no one higher than the Lord, and from His vantage point the view is limitless.
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn men back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men.
"For a thousand years in your
sight are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:1-4
Man's perspective is limited, his frame of reference brief. But God sees around the bends in life, and while it is true that we will never know precisely what lies around the corner, the closer we live to God, the less we will concern ourselves with what is there. God's perspective is at once historic, contemporary, and prescient. He sees yesterday as well as today, and tomorrow as clearly as the day before.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Rev. 1:8
The historian's perspective on current events is always superior to that of the person who lives only in today. This perspective certainly does not guarantee comfort, but it does guarantee context, and a superior foresight regarding the consequences of actions.
- The one who lives only in today may consider it expedient to appease contemporary rulers such as Saddam Hussein, or the leaders of communist China, but the historian knows what resulted when Great Britain's Neville Chamberlain--along with most of the rest of the world--appeased Adolf Hitler in 1938: world war.
- The one who lives only in today may see no harm in electing corrupt and amoral leaders--men or women without moral sense or principles, incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong. As long as they do their civic job, where's the harm? The historian knows, however, the ignominious end such societies quickly reach that follow that path of logic.
- The one who lives only in today may be troubled over both natural and contrived tragedies that cost many lives, sensing trends that will continue unabated. But the historian, while experiencing just as much sorrow over the loss, knows that such tragedies have regularly occurred throughout time; they are the natural ebb and flow of this earth and its people.
The more we keep God at arm's length, the smaller we feel in comparison to Him. Distant from Him, we feel inferior, manipulated, helpless; it becomes easier to think of Him in mechanical terms, like some great and mysterious mechanized beast--uncaring and unknowable. Though supposedly aligned with Him, when our spirit remains detached it becomes easier to think of Him in almost hostile terms.
When tragedy strikes we become angry at God, cursing Him for being so stupid and unfeeling. How dare He be so unfair! How dare He be so wrong! But that response betrays our distance from God; it reveals that we are up to our necks in the muck of this earth and its ways. Distant from God, it is impossible to have His perspective. With our spirit in closer communion with His, we may have just as much pain and loss, but we will be comforted in the moment by the clarity of God's perspective.
Standing at the bottom of God's mountain we can feel only small and insignificant. Gazing upward from our earthbound perspective, His lofty heights appear to lie beyond our grasp. They seem unattainable. If we but begin climbing, however, one stone at a time, we immediately leave the clutching grip of the soil. Though still far away from the peak, we immediately begin to see it draw nearer--and the earth become smaller.
The higher we climb, the more accurate our view becomes, for we are then able to take in a broader sweep. From our higher vantage point, we can see the sturdy rock within reach of the quicksand; we can see the water hole that lies just a few feet beyond the dry desert; and we can see the cool oasis that lies just beyond the next sun-parched dune.
Although socialization theorists have viewed moral internalization as stemming primarily from parents' influence on children through their parenting practices, structural-developmental theorists generally have proposed that the hierarchical nature of parent-child relationships constrains children's moral development. This has led to a predominant focus on the formative role of peers and social institutions such as schools in moral reasoning development and a relative neglect of the role of the family. In this article, parents' role in moral and social development is discussed from the perspective of social domain theory, an approach that is structural-developmental in origin but that departs in significant ways from previous theorizing.
According to social domain theory, children construct different forms of social knowledge, including morality as well as other types of social knowledge, through their social experiences with adults (parents, teachers, other adults), peers, and siblings.
Social domain theory focuses on children's active construction of knowledge from varied social experiences and different interaction partners, including parents as well as peers. Numerous studies have documented that young children have ample social experiences with physical and psychological harm, fair distribution, and the violation of rights through their experiences of rules, rule violations, misdeeds, and peer conflicts. These types of experiences are hypothesized to lead to the construction of moral concepts.
More specifically, children's experiences as participants in moral conflicts and as victims of and observers to moral transgressions lead to the construction of abstract notions of fair and unfair, right and wrong. Children generate an understanding of the wrongness of moral conflicts and rule violations from their experiences of the intrinsic features of those acts, such as their harm or unfairness.
(from The Role of Parents in Moral Development: A Social Domain Analysis, Judith G. Smetana, University of Rochester)
According to the "best" minds, virtues and even the basic concepts of right and wrong can no longer be considered the foundation stones of ordered society. Instead, they are supposedly the causes of individual stress, guilt and many more of our social ills. Children are being taught that they are to be their own authority on questions of morals and values with no reference to fundamental ethical precepts that have been the driving force of civilization for centuries. Today "everyone has a right to his own opinion, his own way of life" as long as he is "comfortable" with it--even if this way of life harms, abuses or destroys others and himself in the process.
(1997-2000 Citizens Commission on Human Rights)
The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 28, 2000; 10:52 AM
WASHINGTON -- A sharply divided Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a state law banning "partial-birth" abortions. By a 5-4 vote, the justices said the Nebraska law violates women's constitutional right by imposing an "undue burden" on their decisions to end their pregnancies.
Just about everything about God is reciprocal. Worship Him, and He fills the heart with song; pray to Him, and He brings comfort and consolation; serve Him, and He showers joy and blessings into a life. And, as the prophet tells us, those who find their hope in the Lord will be given new strength with which to walk, to run--to soar ever higher into His presence.
Those who are afraid to dwell in tents--living unsettled, and detached from this world--are afraid that they will lose something valuable by lifting their feet off the familiar soil of earth. In truth, however, they have everything to gain. The one who lives higher gains God's limitless vision and perspective. The one who hopes in the Lord has fewer reasons to hope in anything--or anybody--of this temporal plane.
The reluctance of some to live this way is really not surprising for, after all, what this type of living really entails is surrender, a frightening--even repulsive--contemplation for many. To "wait upon," to "hope in," to "wait for" the Lord means that we surrender our shortsighted, immediate aspirations to His limitless, eternal promises, and some people simply can't wait. We live in a world of immediate gratification--a world in which something's value diminishes exponentially with every minute one must wait for its realization. Most people today haven't the patience to "wait for the Lord."
But God is more generous than that; He doesn't make us wait for everything. This promise is as much for today as it is for tomorrow, and eternity. Those who place their trust in the Lord of heaven receive an immediate result; He is a living God who is surely as alive in this minute as He is in the boundless minutes of our tomorrows. He doesn't want us to only live with Him tomorrow, but today!
The pursuit of God will embrace the labor of bringing our total personality into conformity to His. And this not judicially, but actually. I do not here refer to the act of justification by faith in Christ. I speak of a voluntary exalting of God to His proper station over us and a willing surrender of our whole being to the place of worshipful submission which the Creator-creature circumstance makes proper. The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all we step out of the world's parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings. A.W. Tozer
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found:
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock I stand:
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Issue No. 116
Aspects is Copyright © 2000 David S. Lampel.
Permission is hereby granted for this original material to be reprinted in newsletters, journals, etc., or to be used in spoken form. When used, please include the following line: "From Aspects, by David S. Lampel. Used by permission." Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture is from the New International Version. NIV quotations are from the Holy Bible: New International Version, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission. NASB quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation.
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You are cordially invited to discover the many Christian resources available at our Internet site.
At http://dlampel.com/ you will find periodicals, e-mail list subscriptions, dramatic resources and completed projects--all archived in their entirety.
At our web site you may read all publications and subscribe to those you wish to receive on a regular basis.
You may also review all of our His Company scripts, download them for immediate use, or submit an order for printed versions.
All resources and publications are made available free of charge.
Aspects is our monthly devotional journal. This eight-page publication has been published since 1990--via the Internet since 1994.
Editions: Print, Ascii, Pdf
Seeds of Encouragement is published every Monday morning as a brief, simple reminder of God's presence in our lives.
Reflections by the Pond offers thoughtful considerations of life, nature, and the world in which we live from a Spiritual perspective. It is published every Wednesday.
Songs for the Heart is our newest offering, published every Friday. This brief devotional includes thoughts based on hymns, choruses, or psalms.
At the His Company web site visitors will find a complete catalogue of dramatic and musical resources that both illustrate Scripture and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
All scripts and worship resources are included in their entirety, ready for immediate download. Editions: Print, Ascii, Pdf
Also available at our web site are several completed resources, including...
In Unison is a 19-article series on worship--written especially for worship leaders and the choir.
Editions: Ascii, MSWord
Knowing... is a series of brief devotionals for understanding the God of heaven through the lives of those who called upon His name.