An "ad Dei Gloriam Ministries" Blog from a Christian World and Life View
In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.For a brief history of Memorial Day, and drawings in honor of those who gave their lives for our nation, see our Memorial Day 2014 Tribute on our main website. May God Bless all our Veterans and their families.
In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage -- not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.
I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.
Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice…
The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.
Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II, they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, “just the best darn kids in the world”. Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.
As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.
Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.
- President Ronald Reagan, May 31, 1982, speaking after he placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Studies (and personal experiences) have shown that physical fitness (exercise and proper diet) contributes to increased discipline, mental alertness, better sleep, better memory retention, higher energy levels, lower rates of depression, decreased illness, increased production and many other general health benefits that can favorably affect our spiritual training. Likewise, a healthy spiritual life leads to a clear conscience (less stress) that generally benefits our physical lives.
Stress can negatively affect both our physical and spiritual well-being. In the physical realm, it can be caused by such things as financial problems, marital issues, job demands, illness, or numerous other situations. In the spiritual realm, stress is almost always caused by guilt, brought on initially by unconfessed sin. At times, guilt can even hang on long after we've repented and been forgiven, but we must learn to trust God and let it go.
This is not to say that all guilt is necessarily bad. Good guilt serves as an early warning system spiritually, just as does pain or discomfort to us physically. When we experience pain (or other abnormal symptoms) in our physical body, it alerts us that something is wrong. Depending on the severity, we may need to seek professional medical help to remedy the problem. If we continue to ignore them, much more serious problems would likely occur. Similarly, when we experience spiritual problems, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin (makes us feel guilty over our sin) so that we can turn to the Great Physician, confess our sin, and remedy our spiritual problem. If we continually ignore the conviction of the Spirit, our conscience can become seared and much bigger spiritual problems will develop.
Preferably however, we should not wait for a symptom to manifest itself. For this reason, many people have regular examinations by their doctor to discover and address any concealed physical issues before they develop into real problems. Spiritually, we should take the attitude of King David the Psalmist who wrote “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Ps 139:23-24 - NLT). When the Spirit’s “examination” turns up any spiritual problems, we should immediately confess and repent. Failure to do so will lead to diminished fellowship with God and even hinder our prayers (Ps 66:18). In almost all physical or spiritual cases, the earlier we detect any abnormalities, the easier the treatment and recovery.
In the end, whether physically or spiritually, we should do everything for the glory of God.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin (Ps 32:5). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1Jn 1:9). So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1Cor 10:31).
Only a small percentage of our presidents have been evangelical Christians, but until the past 50 years or so, virtually all recognized the providential hand of God in the establishment of our nation, and the abundant contributions that Christianity has made throughout our nation’s history. Even in the last five decades, the majority have either been supportive of Christianity and religious freedoms, or at least remained relatively neutral.
To illustrate, we’ve assembled a small sampling of quotes by a number of US presidents on the subject of God, the Bible, and our country’s Christian foundation. As we read these, let’s pray for another great revival in America.
The total number of surgical abortion clinics left in the U.S. is now 582. This represents an impressive 12% net decrease in surgical abortion clinics in 2013 alone, and a 73% drop from a high in 1991 of 2,176... Planned Parenthood clinics account for 29.55% of all active surgical abortion clinics (172 of 582) and 93% of all clinics that offer the abortion pill only. Each year, Planned Parenthood is responsible for about a third of all abortions done in the U.S.Our state of Texas led the nation with 11 closings, primarily due to the passing of a new law that required abortionists to maintain local hospital privileges. Pennsylvania and Maryland also enacted new safety rules for clinics. According to the Americans United for Life 2013 Life List, over 60 pro-life laws were passed last year.
Yet, less encouraging facts remind us that the fight is far from over. Even though reported abortions by Planned Parenthood fell 2% from the previous year, the organization still accounted for 327,166 abortions last year, or about 900 of the over 3000 babies that are murdered on an average day. PP also continues to receive over 500 million dollars a year (about 45% of its income) from Obama and his fellow Dems. In addition, most of their atrocities are covered up by their supporters in the media. So we must be ever vigilant in continuing to educate the general public of the truth.
To that end, we'd like to share a video produced by the Texas Alliance for Life. This must-see pro-life video provides an excellent concise history of legalized abortion in America since 1073, interspersed with a few personal testimonies.
Please pray that we'll be the generation to end the abortion holocaust.
Professor Michael Eric Dyson made the remarks to substitute host Joy Reid on the Ed Show last week while attempting to recruit the LGBT community to join with “African-Americans” as common victims of the “right” on the heels of the remarks made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. We’d like to thank our friends at Newsbusters for being one of the few dozen that still watches MSNBC and brings us the few highlights worth considering.
From the video and transcripts:
Dyson: Jesus was a Jew who, around whom a religion was made. So the anti-Semitism of many of the Christians is ironic to begin with. And then secondly, the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual stuff - look through the Bible. There’s a lot of interesting things. The same men who will stand up in the church of all men, ‘I put my God, Jesus, overall women. I love him more than I love her.’Of course, Ms Reid agrees with Dyson throughout the interview, praises him for his Bible knowledge, and ends the segment by hoping the audience will consider Dyson’s words alongside those of Jesus. The article also points out that neither Reid nor Dyson (or apparently the executives at MSNBC) realize that “humans can love without sexual intimacy”, giving parents and children as an example.
Hmmm. Do you really? That sounds interestingly homoerotic to people who are outside your religious traditions. I’m not suggesting it is but I’m suggesting that there are some very interesting, subtle, narrative tensions within the Bible itself and within Christianity beyond that.
It is also obvious that neither the professor nor host has a clue as to how to interpret the Bible. We’ll just mention two basic aspects, context and original language. Beginning with the latter, the professor may not be aware that the New Testament was written in Greek, not in English. The Greek language contains four words for “love”, agape, phileo, eros and stergo.
In the Bible, human love for Jesus is always given as agape (Godly, selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love) or phileo (brotherly love). By his description, the professor attempts to substitute eros love (physical attraction or passionate desire) which can be used in a positive sense relating to husband and wife, or negatively for a number of forbidden acts, but is never used in the Bible with respect to loving Jesus.
Turning to the aspect of context, Ms Reid opened the segment by saying that anyone can manipulate the Bible to support any argument or position. It is somewhat ironic that, although the host was directing her comment to those she perceived to be intolerant of behavior that is condemned in Scripture, her guest then proceeded to make erroneous statements about the Bible in an attempt to prove his point. In reality however, Ms Reid's opening statement is only true to a point. In order to support a false argument, one must disregard the most important interpretation principle, that of regula fidei (rule of faith) or analogia fidei (analogy of faith). This rule basically means that we should interpret any portion of Scripture within the context of the whole because Scripture (when properly understood) will never contradict itself. The “tensions” spoke of by the professor are introduced by those who either don't understand the Scriptures or twist them for their own agenda (or both).
Thus, even though a person may not have a working knowledge of the original language, they can still understand the basic meaning by consulting related Scripture passages. In our case, we could look at the descriptions of love (agape) in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1Cor 13:4-8).Would a person without an ulterior motive equate these characteristics of love to physical or sexual attraction?
We find much more of “love” in the the second, third and fourth chapters of John’s first epistle. In addition, it also contrasts the professor’s version of worldly love with Godly love, “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world” (1Jn 2:16). The letter (and John’s Gospel) also makes multiple ties between our love for Jesus and our obedience to Him.
Students of the Bible should not be surprised at the lack of ability by the professor and members of the media to properly understand Scripture. The Bible tells us
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1Cor 2:12-14).Returning to the second chapter of John’s first epistle, immediately after contrasting worldly love with Godly love, John follows with a warning to us about the many antichrists that we'll encounter, describing them as “those who are trying to lead you astray” (1Jn 2:26). Therefore, we must regularly put on all our armor, particularly by studying and properly interpreting the Word of God.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.The empty suit currently occupying the White House often compares himself to Lincoln (aided by his adoring media), yet these words would be foreign to him. We've previously documented the differences between BHO and Lincoln on our National Day of Prayer. When asked by a reporter for a self-assessment in comparison with former leaders, BHO credited Lincoln as being only one of three presidents that has been as good a president as himself. The other two were FDR, whose war on free enterprise led to the Great Depression, and LBJ, whose "War on Poverty" has cost the country trillions of dollars and actually increased the poverty levels.
Yet, when our nation marked the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address earlier this week, BHO was a no-show. He did join with many other politicians, celebrities and others in filming a recital of the address to encourage the others to memorize the speech. Unlike every other participant however, he purposely left out the words "under God" in his version of the address. While Lincoln encouraged and defended religious freedom, BHO has used his influence to suppress freedom of belief and speech in the military, government, schools and other public venues. To Obama, it is the federal government rather than the Creator that is autonomous and responsible for the blessings we enjoy.
Further evidence for President Lincoln's reliance on the Almighty is seen in his proclamation issued the following year (Proclamation 118 on Thanksgiving Day, October 20, 1864).
By the President of the United States of AmericaUnfortunately, the moral state our nation has deteriorated much over the past century. We must hope and pray that our nation will return to the worldview of reliance on God rather than government or self.
It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, AD 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State
The first was written by Neil Young, who holds the distinction of ranking second only to Bob Dylan in the number of volumes in my CD collection. Growing up in Canada, he often played in front of his many friends at his favorite hangout known as “Sugar Mountain”, in which only teenagers were admitted. On November 12, 1964 (his 19th birthday), Neil wrote the song Sugar Mountain lamenting the end of his teenage years when he could no longer hang out with his friends.
Oh, to live on Sugar MountainWhile the younger band members continued to play the club, Neil struck out on his own. Shortly thereafter, fellow Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell wrote a song for Mr Young called The Circle Game. My favorite version is the 1974 live performance that ended up on the “Miles of Aisles” album (think large vinyl CD with grooves for those under thirty), but I found a nice video with excellent graphics by Bob Marshall
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You're leaving there too soon.
So the years spin by and now the boy is twentyYet as Christians, our hope is not merely a wish or desire, but a rock-solid expectation based on revelation from God. While we are in some sense “captive on the carousel of time”, we serve a God that is not bound by space and time.
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.
I would also contend that the Christian life is more like a spiral than a circle. Although some events tend to repeat themselves in our lives, we are growing and following a set plan for us as decreed by God before time began. Each year, we are being made into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), although I seem to be getting there slower than many others. Nevertheless, in contrast to unbelievers, we can have this confident assurance that although we may face many hardships, we’ll never have to face them alone or under our own power.
Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.So as we get older, we get closer and closer to the unseen, our real eternal life in which we’ll see our Savior face to face and be re-united with our loved ones who have gone on before. What a glorious day that will be.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2Cor 4:3-16)
At the moment, the series will consist of a main article, currently in progress and subtitled simply as “Dating Bible Events”. This article will discuss various methods and challenges of establishing a Biblical timeline within our modern calendar system. There will also be several spin-off articles on subjects such as the date of the Exodus and Conquest and the life of Christ, both in progress.
Part of the series has already been completed and uploaded. We first mention the article Biblical Genealogies - Interpretation Challenges and Bible Inerrancy Issues. This was uploaded to our Bible Genre section in May, but it also contributes. It was written prior to the “Dating Bible Events” series, but contains much info that contributes to the current articles.
A major challenge we face in translating the dates of Bible events is the various calendar systems themselves, so we composed a Calendar Systems series consisting of an introduction and five parts that we uploaded last week. This sub-series not only examines the various calendar and dating systems, but provides much background on the various political and historical backgrounds for the various nations and time periods in which they developed.
The introduction contains a table of contents with links to all chapters. In part 1, we examine the basic types of calendars and dating systems along with their common components. In Part 2 we explore the political and historical context of Israel, Egypt, Babylon, the Roman Empire and other major nations in which the various calendar systems developed during the biblical era and the early church period.
If you think that “BC” stands for “Before Christ” and “AD” for “After Death”, and thus wondered how the years between Christ’s Incarnation and Crucifixion are dated, you might want to check out Part 3. Here, we discuss the origin and significance of our modern dating system (aka Anno Domini system). In part 4, we look at the historical events that led to its acceptance by Christendom in the midst of the church-state power struggles between the papacy and the Roman political leaders from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. We then consider the development of alternative naming conventions to the Anno Domini system by unbelievers.
In our fifth and final installment, we focus on the historical events that led to the development and adoption of our modern Gregorian calendar system to replace the Julian calendar. We also summarize the methods and process of converting dates between different calendar systems and add some final thoughts on the Anno Domini system as it relates to the Christian era.
He then explained that the first 333 was Jeremiah 33:3, in which God promises “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NKJV). The other comfort was song number 333 in the Vietnamese hymnbook. The elderly pastor didn’t know the English title so he began singing it in his native language. Pastor Morgan immediately recognized the tune as “Face to face with Christ my Savior” written in 1898 by Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck (1855-1934).
As told in Pastor Morgan’s book, Then Sings My Soul - Volume 1, the tune that he recognized was originally meant for another hymn. Its composer was Grant Colfax Tullar who was named after Ulysses S Grant and Schuyler Colfac, the president and vice-president of the US in the year of Tullar’s birth (1869). Years later, Grant was leading the music at a revival in Rutherford NJ. One afternoon, he sat down at the piano in the local pastor’s house and penned a song and music, “All for me the Savior suffered; All for me He bled and died.” The local pastor, Rev Charles Mead reportedly sang the song at the evening service. Due to the events of the following morning however, “All of Me” would never be published.
Read the entire Face to Face with Christ my Savior article, including the hymn's lyrics.
The Real Issue is a blog of ad Dei Gloriam Ministries. We discuss various issues of spiritual, moral, ethical, political, social, philosophical and economic interests. These issues however, are merely symptoms of the central issue, which is how we view God. What we think of God determines our worldview, through which all our thoughts are filtered. So, while we're discussing the merits of various opinions on cultural topics, keep in mind that ultimately, God is the real issue.The Real Issue Home