Friday, December 31, 2010

One Question


The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: Quest for Freedom, 1939 - 1976

Artists must learn to become activists.  Artists must somehow yearn to become activists who speak up and speak out, giving an artistic voice to the voiceless and raising some sense of cultural and social consciousness in the society that surrounds them.  Without doing so, the artist leaves a void instead of a legacy along with a mere dent rather than an impression on life in his or her times.

One Question (originally, published in Words from the Underground by Bruce Jackson)

There is an alert.

Someone sounded the alarm.

They sang out like a herald,

Crying out for change.

Someone said something must be done.

Yet, I raise a question:

Who will do it?

Who will lead the change?

The ones who ask for it merely scatter.

The ones who said it was necessary cringed.

No one stepped up.

No one stepped out.

Who will lead the change?

Who will it be?

 
The question lingers on.  Will you lead the change?  Answer for yourself.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Eden to Egypt- Day 24

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it. - Genesis 19:13 (NKJV)

Sodom was bound for destruction. Gomorrah was bound for destruction.  The men who visited the city appeared to Lot, the relative of Abraham, and warned him to depart from the city because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord.  Imagine that.  You live in the midst of mayhem and in a den of debauchery, but it seems normal to you until someone says that it will be destroyed.  Take a long hard look at Lot's situation and think about where you are today.  Do your surroundings grieve the Lord? Is the sin that has settled in and taken root around you impairing your vision of what the Lord despises in His own sight?

There was a plan in the works long before these men even arrived at the city gates of Sodom that evening.  It is obvious from the previous chapter of Genesis:
20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
God had His mind set on wiping out the entire inhabitants.  Yet, in the previous verses, He acknowledges Abraham as "right and just," seeking not to hide His intentions from the man whom He had chosen (verses 17-19). 

In His dialogue with Abraham, God hears Abraham's rationale as the man asks: Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  It then becomes a narrowing down from fifty righteous souls to forty, all the way down to ten, in order that the righteous not be wiped out with the wicked.

Are you the one, like Lot, caught up in the bright lights of the city and immune to the pungent odor that offends the very nostrils of the Lord? You live among those who do evil and seem to get away with it at every turn.  Yet, your voice is silenced somehow.  You fear speaking out against it.  You take the position of one who is in the vicinity but not involved.  Is that you?

Or, could you be like Abraham? Could your relationship with God be so strong that He shares with you and speaks intimately with you? Does He lay burdens upon your heart of atrocities that seem to linger without an outspoken word? Does He show you how people are caught up, chewed up and spit out by the system with any systems of support? Does that sound like you?

Be sure to take note of Abraham's response to God's words.  He did not breathe a sigh of relief and say that it was not his place or his concern.  He did not thank God for bypassing his domain.  He asked about those who might be righteous within those cities.  He showed compassion. 

We all should be concerned when we hear of a Katrina, wild fires, earthquakes and other so-called natural disasters.  People die in such times.  Our hearts should still ache for those families who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombings, 9-11, and other terrorist attacks.  It should pain us when lives are lost needlessly in our midst or in our times.

Will you be Lot or Abraham?

Lot?

Abraham?

A Voice in the Wilderness: A Pastor's Journal of Ground ZeroThe choice is yours today.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Crime

Christmas With the Kranks

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
-Judges 2:10 (NLT)

This holiday season has disturbed me a bit.  No, it's not because me artificial tree looks like it needs a stimulus package or recovery funds.  I can deal with that.  It's not even because we have Christmas on a tight budget this year (and every year).  It certainly isn't due to the fact that my Christmas savings account was empty before I had purchased a single gift for anyone.  None of that is a big deal to me.

The Ice Harvest

These holiday criminals have me puzzled.  They prey upon households that tend to be the people who really don't deserve to be robbed blind if there ever such a list existed.  For instance, a woman from our church and a family friend spent much of early December helping prepare for our church's Angel Tree celebration for the children of the incarcerated through Prison Fellowship.  Yet, her house was robbed and ransacked just days before Christmas.  My neighbor who never fails to speak or wave and who always seems to be ready to offer a cheery smile was robbed the day before Christmas as I grumbled about losing a gift card for one of my family members.  Here I was complaining about the $30 card I had lost, but this man and his family were wiped out in an instant.


Trapped in Paradise


It is some sad commentary on us when we think that we are immune to Christmas crimeLook at the world today.  Crime may be on an upswing due to hard times and other factors.  It's unreal out here with the economy and the job market.  However, if we do not see the reality that is before our eyes, we may end up wondering the worst and missing our own miracles.


Home Alone
Imagine the worst and expect the worst.  It comes out like that.  It is like Murphy's Law or a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We tend to live up to the expectations of others and we live out our own expectations of ourselves. Don't let bad things run around in your mind to the point that you embrace cynicism and negativity as part of your outlook on daily living, even the holidays.  Embrace the miracle of what you have been given today and in this moment.  The miracle is that God allowed you to see or hear about it.  Do something about it.  Do something special for the people who had to deal with it.  Take full advantage of today.  Make the most of every God-given opportunity today.

What kept it from being your house? Grace.  Why wasn't it you? Goodness (His, not mine).  Who could have prevented it from happening to them? No one but God.  Then, after all of that line of questioning, you still have to ask: Why did He allow it to happen to them?

I suspect it was done so the Lord could  use you somehow in some special way for someone else.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

From Eden to Egypt- Update

Here is an update to those who may want to know what happened to From Eden to Egypt- Days #20 & #21.  I published each post only at Rev Bruce's Blog.

From Eden to Egypt
I use the Defender's Study Bible by Dr. Henry Morrisalong with The Genesis Record in a way that allows me to study the Scriptures and benefit from a creationist's view on the first book of the Bible that he exhaustively explored and explained.

Day #20- Genesis 12:10
Day #21-Genesis 16:1-2




From Eden to Egypt- Day 23

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”- Genesis 17:15-17(NKJV)

Sarah: Women of Genesis


You have keep this in context.  God said what He would do through Abraham and Sarah in their old age, and then. .  . Okay, okay.  Let me say it another way.  God shared how He would bless the man and his wife with a child, even though they both were beyond the years of conception and . . . Maybe I just should say it a different way.  God informed Abraham that He would use Hs supernatural abilities to rid Sarah of her barren reproach, giving Abraham an heir of his own seed, his own blood, his own lineage.  Yeah, that's right about the place that the old man fell on his face.  In worship?  He was in laughter, creating images in our minds of him most probably nearing tears with an ache in his side to go with it.

Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old?
And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?

That's not the most reverent response to God known to man from the sound of it.  Abraham seems to take it a notch above a snicker with outright laughter if we take this at the surface.  Yet, let us not jump on Abraham so fast.  Genesis 18 complicates the matter even further when the Lord appears as three men approaching Abraham one day. 

Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” So he said, “Here, in the tent.” And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”- Genesis 18:9-12 (NKJV)


THE GENESIS RECORD

Just like her husband, Sarah laughed at the idea.  She, too, saw it as an impossibility for her and her husband to rear children at their advanced years of age.  No matter if it is the Almighty God Himself or these three men entertained by Abraham, the idea presented to both husband and wife seems comical and causes both to laugh.

Was it really a laugh? Was it truly laughter? Were they both the same type of laughter?

The same root word is used in our English translation for "laughter" and "laughed," making any distinction or differentiation between the two difficult.  You would think that both were similar if not the same.  Yet, Henry Morris points out in The Genesis Record that Abraham's laughter was "with joy and surprise... not a laugh of doubt." It is different from Sarah's laughter that warrants the rebuke of the Lord in Genesis 18:13.  Morris calls Sarah's laughter "cynical."  Dr. Morris surmises that "her faith needed to be strengthened."

Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be wit Sweatshirt X-Large WhiteUnlike the interaction with Abraham alone, the theophany in Genesis 18 leads to the Lord questioning Sarah's laughter.  Despite Sarah's denial, the Lord breaks through all of the mess and addresses the child of promise issue again, repeating the promise before both Abraham and Sarah.  Ultimately, He poses the deepest question that could be asked of any believer- whether they need their faith strengthened or not: Is anything too hard for the Lord?
 
Amen Me!