Daily Devotional

Sauron’s Creed

Screwtape reveals the Enemy’s intentions:

C. S. Lewis

Now it may surprise you to learn that in His [God, the Enemy’s] efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing.

One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.

We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.
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Oppression and Tyranny

Forced to Celebrate Evil

The spiral of Unbelief into the void is ineluctable.  Getting the “right” to do evil is no longer enough.  Now anyone who refuses to join in celebrating that evil must be punished.

Imagine the following moral monstrosity: the SS had been busy raiding a neighbourhood in down-town Warsaw.  They went from house to house, arresting Jews, then lining them up before putting them on the cattle trucks.  Then they force all the remaining (non-Jewish) householders out on the street, ordering them to dance a jig and chant “death to the Jewish scum”.  Anyone who refuses is summarily shot.

The depravity has grown so extensive and so perverse that to do evil is not enough. Everyone else must join in celebrating that evil–or else. 

Thus, it is not surprising that, overnight it seems, the people being targeted in the campaign of relentless homosexual hatred are those in the celebration industry–bakers, cake makers, photographers, and marriage celebrants.
  It is difficult to imagine a more harmless business than one which makes cakes, pastries, and other delectable food. But no–these people are in the celebration business and, like the Gentile neighbours in the Warsaw ghetto, they must either be made to rejoice in the evil, or themselves be metaphorically shot. 

A fundraising effort led by conservative radio host Dana Loesch on behalf of Memories Pizza of Walkerton, IN is up to $84,000 in one day.  The pizzeria was vaunted into the debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act after the owner told a local news station she would not cater a gay wedding, describing the exact discrimination critics fear the law will embolden.  [The news station had been polling “celebration businesses” as to whether they would participate in providing services to celebration homosexual “marriage”. Ed.]

The pizzeria received furious reaction online, with its Yelp page destroyed, and was forced to close yesterday after threats.  “The news took it totally out of proportion,” owner Crystal O’Connor said on Loesch’s show. “They lied about it.”  O’Connor said her family was holed up in the home.

“It’s 2015, I can’t believe that we would be dealing with such persecution like this just because someone says they want to stand up for a tenet of their faith,” Loesch said. “God bless you for being fearless and for standing up for your faith.”

At last count, when the appeal for financial help ended, just under $850,000 dollars had been raised.  It seems as though plenty of people in the US still have the attitude that it’s not OK to celebrate evil.

But, on the other side, those in the vanguard of the rush to the void have lost all sense of liberty and justice.  Everyone must be made to agree with them and condone their evil, or else.  And when they cannot win by discussion or argument, threats and intimidation become the order of the day–and when that fails, using the government to force acceptance of their perversion upon others is the next step.

Postscript: to add insult to injury, it’s not people in general refusing to celebrate homosexuality that is the problem.  It’s Christians refusing to rejoice in evil that’s the problem.  This, from Patterico

Would Muslim-Owned Bakeries Bake A Wedding Cake For Ben And Steven?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:01 pm
[guest post by Dana]

So, the question of whether Muslim bakeries would bake wedding cakes for gays came up several times in the comments at the Indiana Pizza Place post.

Steven Crowder went to Dearborn to find out:

For these Muslim bakeries, the answer is “no”.

Conservative podcast host Steven Crowder posted hidden-camera video Thursday showing employees at several Muslim-owned bakeries in Dearborn, Michigan, declining his business or referring him to other shops when he asked for a wedding cake with the message “Ben and Steven forever.” Which was fine with Mr. Crowder. “I’m not even saying these Muslim bakeries shouldn’t have a right to do whatever they did — they absolutely should — and many more of them would than Christian bakeries,” he said in his podcast on the website Louder with Crowder.
His video makes a point that has long rankled the right: That Christian-owned shops have been targeted for legal action and derision for refusing to serve same-sex weddings even as gay-rights activists and media outlets ignore business owners of other faiths known for their conservative social views, notably Islam.

No word of the MSM trolling the bakeries in Dearborn, nor outraged social justice warriors crying DISCRIMINATION!
 
Because it’s Easter weekend, I guess.
–Dana

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resting or flailing?

April 2015 (9)Isaiah 25:9-12

9 And one will say, on that day, “See! This God of ours! We have waited for him and he delivered us! This Yahveh; we waited for him! We should be glad, and rejoice in his deliverance.” 10 Because the hand of Yahveh will rest on this mountain, and Moab will be trampled down under him as the trampling down of a bale of straw in a manure pile. 11 And he[1] will spread out his hands in the midst of it, just as the swimmer spreads out to swim, and his pride will be brought low with the flailing of his hands. 12 And he will throw down the fortification of the high point of your walls; he will bring it low; he will cause it to touch to the ground, to the dust.

resting or flailing?

A hermeneutical question presents itself in verse 11, when a pronoun “he” is left for the reader to interpret. Is it God or Moab who is spreading out his hands here? My take on the passage is that God’s hand is resting on Mt. Zion (in verse 10), so it is Moab’s hands which are spreading out, flailing about, because he is being crushed by the LORD in verse 11. The flailing is of no use, however, because Moab cannot keep the LORD from knocking down his walls.

Each generation, new walls go up, and societies pride themselves on the ways they have kept God out. But God is not worried. Those walls are no match to his mighty hand. Let today’s culture flail about, spreading its hands in a futile attempt to stop God from getting through. When the LORD decides to act, he will.

LORD, prove the overwhelming power of your mighty hand today. Destroy the walls that keep our friends and neighbors from you.


[1] Moab.

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resting or flailing?

April 2015 (9)Isaiah 25:9-12

9 And one will say, on that day, “See! This God of ours! We have waited for him and he delivered us! This Yahveh; we waited for him! We should be glad, and rejoice in his deliverance.” 10 Because the hand of Yahveh will rest on this mountain, and Moab will be trampled down under him as the trampling down of a bale of straw in a manure pile. 11 And he[1] will spread out his hands in the midst of it, just as the swimmer spreads out to swim, and his pride will be brought low with the flailing of his hands. 12 And he will throw down the fortification of the high point of your walls; he will bring it low; he will cause it to touch to the ground, to the dust.

resting or flailing?

A hermeneutical question presents itself in verse 11, when a pronoun “he” is left for the reader to interpret. Is it God or Moab who is spreading out his hands here? My take on the passage is that God’s hand is resting on Mt. Zion (in verse 10), so it is Moab’s hands which are spreading out, flailing about, because he is being crushed by the LORD in verse 11. The flailing is of no use, however, because Moab cannot keep the LORD from knocking down his walls.

Each generation, new walls go up, and societies pride themselves on the ways they have kept God out. But God is not worried. Those walls are no match to his mighty hand. Let today’s culture flail about, spreading its hands in a futile attempt to stop God from getting through. When the LORD decides to act, he will.

LORD, prove the overwhelming power of your mighty hand today. Destroy the walls that keep our friends and neighbors from you.


[1] Moab.

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trust and vulnerability

April 2015 (9)

“…teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” 

Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable., 62-63.

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trust and vulnerability

April 2015 (9)

“…teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” 

Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable., 62-63.

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Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow

The After Deck of the Pirate Ship

Douglas Wilson
Whenever I write on things like liberty and taxes, it is easy for some to try to stuff me into the wrong box. And upon my making this objection, some might expect me to go on to say that I hate labels. But actually I love labels, which are the precondition of all honest discourse. Con artists hate labels.

But the label should be accurate. I am no anarchist, and I actually am in favor of both liberty and taxes. I’m against parodies of either, and because these parodies are currently dominating the landscape, they are the problem which must be addressed.

The parody of liberty is found in the libertarian image of the fornicating pot smoker – but you can get high and get laid in a 6′ x 8′ prison cell. There is one who defiantly cries out that he wants more liberty – so that he can enslave himself ever more tightly in chains he has forged himself. But no tyrant has ever been successfully resisted by cluster of lotus eaters, however big the cluster might be. Virtuous people cannot be kept as slaves, and an effete and self indulgent people are made for slavery. It is their native habitat.

But the parody of taxes is the idea that general and indiscriminate confiscation is somehow in accordance with the rule of law. People who are subject to such treatment are not a free people, but rather are a huddled band of prisoners on the after deck of the pirate ship. In case you were wondering, that’s you right now.


To attack the parodies, to attack the distortions, is not the same thing as attacking the true pattern, of which parodies are the caricatures. To defy tyrants is not the same thing as despising the king, and those people are so myopic is to be unable to tell the difference are actually a central problem in all of this. But what we are after is a virtuous citizenry, not a ganglion of lickspittles.

What we need is liberty under law. Law is not the antithesis of liberty, but rather precondition of it. God’s law is the law of liberty. If you won’t live the way God calls you to live, you are living in slavery.

Herod was a limousine liberal, and his onerous tax policies had to be dialed back several times by the imperial government. Complaints about his fiscal policies flowed regularly to Rome, and the response of Augustus was eventually to call for a census and taxation of the entire populace. Judas Galilaeus responded by organizing a tax revolt, which then morphed into a plain old revolt, which was summarily crushed by Rome.

By way of contrast to this Judas, his contemporary Joseph did not join the rebels, but rather decided to file. This is why Jesus was born in Bethlehem – that is where the Imperial office required the Davidsons to be registered. Joseph, a righteous man, did not join in with a tax revolt against the regime of oppressive taxation, when there was in fact such a revolt that could have been joined.

There were two sets of scoundrels in the story. There were the establishment scandals, and there was the Grand Maccabean True Republic of Israel Trailer Park scoundrels. Presented with his choice, righteous and wise men stay with the devil they know, as Joseph did.

So if we want restoration of the republic, the only possible way this can happen is through reformation in the church. When God is worshiped, and the gospel of Christ crucified is proclaimed, people are liberated from their sins. Sin is the place where the tyrant’s hook always goes in. It is the only place where his hook can get in. We are currently governed despotically because we are a sinful people who can be governed in no other way.

When freedom from sin happens, this results in the foundation of all free government, which is self-government. Freedom from sin is that which makes it possible for such freedom to work its way out into the three other governments established by God.

On the foundation of self government, we find three other governments created by God in Scripture. They are family government, church government, and civil government. When people are set free from sin as individuals, then they marry and bring up children in that same liberty. When they are converted from iniquity, they seek out other saints converted from iniquity, and they worship God together. This is the church.
And it is at that place when the stage is set for liberty to flourish in the civil realm. Until then, you can save your energy for sweeping water uphill.

But if I believe this, then why do I write about it so much? Do you think this is centuries off? I do this because all of this is governed by the Word, and when the Word decides to move, He can move fast.
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Daily Devotional

Two of Our Deepest Needs

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1)

John Piper

We as a church are “in” a Father and “in” a Lord. What does that mean?

The word “Father” implies primarily care and sustaining and protection and provision and discipline. So to be “in” the Father would mean mainly to be in his care and under his protection.  The other designation is Lord: we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “Lord” implies primarily authority and leadership and ownership. So to be “in” the Lord means mainly to be in his charge, under his authority and in his possession.

So Paul greets the Thessalonian church in such a way as to remind them that they are a family (in the care of a Father) and that they are servants (in the charge of a Lord). These two descriptions of God as Father and Lord, and thus of the church as family and servants, corresponds to two of our deepest needs.

The two needs that every one of us has are the need for rescue and help and the need for purpose and meaning.

  1. We need a heavenly Father to pity us and rescue us from sin and misery. We need his help at every step of the way because we are so weak and vulnerable.
  2. But we also need a heavenly Lord to guide us in life and tell us what is wise and give us a great and meaningful charge to fulfill. We don’t just want to be safe in the care of a Father. We want a glorious cause to live for.

We want a merciful Father to be our Protector, and we want an omnipotent Lord to be our Champion and our Commander and our Leader. So when Paul says in verse 1, You are the church “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” we can take rest and help from one and take courage and meaning from the other.

For more about John Piper’s ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.
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Rumblings of Discontent

Treachery Afoot

The Washington Post has been a front for the Left in the United States for decades.  So, when this loyal ally of Democratic politicians lacerates the US government’s recent agreement over nuclear development by Iran, one reasonably concludes that President Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry are on translucently thin ice.

Here are the main points of a recent editorial on the “agreement”:

1. The agreement is far less than Obama promised it would contain.  This comes as no surprise, as the President’s vain rhetoric and bluster usually bears no relation to transpiring reality.

THE “KEY parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that “the deal we’ll accept” with Iran “is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, under the agreement announced Thursday, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.

2. Obama will likely continue to bluster, blame, and bloviate in defence of the agreement.  He will deploy his usual style of ignoring substantive debate whilst attacking his opponents’ intelligence and integrity.

Mr. Obama argued forcefully — and sometimes combatively — Thursday that the United States and its partners had obtained “a good deal” and that it was preferable to the alternatives, which he described as a nearly inevitable slide toward war. He also said he welcomed a “robust debate.” We hope that, as that debate goes forward, the president and his aides will respond substantively to legitimate questions, rather than claim, as Mr. Obama did, that the “inevitable critics” who “sound off” prefer “the risk of another war in the Middle East.”  . . . . We hope Mr. Obama will make as much effort to engage in good faith with skeptical allies and domestic critics as he has with the Iranian regime.

3. The agreement, by lifting sanctions, will help revive Iran’s economy which, in turn, will help sustain Iran’s increasing war effort throughout the Middle East.

The proposed accord will provide Iran a huge economic boost that will allow it to wage more aggressively the wars it is already fighting or sponsoring across the region. Whether that concession is worthwhile will depend in part on details that have yet to be agreed upon, or at least publicly explained. For example, the guidance released by the White House is vague in saying that U.S. and European Union sanctions “will be suspended after” international inspectors have “verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear related steps.” Exactly what steps would Iran have to complete, and what would the verification consist of?

Meanwhile, senior Iranian officials continue to repeat that a non-negotiable goal of Iran is the complete annihilation and literal obliteration of the state of Israel from the map.  A few years ago, such a declaration would have led to Iran being declared a “rogue state”.   Doubtless Obama’s whimsical fairytale world-view holds that such declarations are merely window dressing and political theatre on the part of the Iranians.  Only a gullible fool would take them seriously.  Obama sees further and deeper than other men.  That’s why he can be believed and trusted by lesser mortals.  Except by inveterate recalcitrants “sounding off”– like the Washington Post editorial board. 

 

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long distance advice

April 2015 (8)Isaiah 25:1-8

1 Yahveh, my God, it is you; I will applaud you. I will praise your name, because you have done a wonderful thing, what you advise from a distance is firmly faithful. 2 Because you have set up a heap of a city; that inaccessible city is now a ruin, a palace of foreigners from what used to be a city; it will not be rebuilt for an age. 3 For this reason, strong people will bring you glory; a city of ruthless Gentiles, they will fear you. 4 Because you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in his distress, a shelter from a rainstorm, a shade from heat. Because the breath of the ruthless ones was like a rainstorm against a wall, 5 the noise of foreigners like heat in a dry land. You restrained the heat with the shade of a cloud; the song of the ruthless ones was silenced. 6 And on this mountain Yahveh of armies will make for all people a fat feast, a feast of aged wines, fat filled with marrow, filtered aged wine. 7 And on this mountain he will swallow the face of the shroud, the shroud over all peoples, and the woven covering over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord Yahveh will wipe off tears from all faces, and he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the land, because Yahveh has spoken.

long distance advice

One of the jobs that Penny and I share involves advising those involved in missions and church work in various countries in Asia and the Pacific. We occasionally have face-to-face visits with the leaders of these ministries. But, most of the time we communicate via emails or Skype calls. Thanks to the miracle of modern electronic communication, we can have an impact on the lives and ministries of believers in many lands – via long distance advice.

Isaiah had given some long distance advise from the LORD to the exiles in Babylon. He told them to be patient, because the LORD was going to deliver them. At some time in the future, the refugees would return. The LORD would swallow up death, wipe away tears, and remove their disgrace.

Those same three promises are ours today. While we may not be exiles in Babylon, we are in bondage. But our king is returning, and he will completely rescue us from that bondage. He will remove from us the penalty of sin (death), the sorrow caused by the curse upon Adam, and the dishonor that has been with us since the fall in Eden.

While we are still here, waiting for Jesus to return and struggling with the consequences of sin and depravity, the LORD has some long distance advice for us. He wants us to trust that what he promises, he will deliver. He wants us to believe that what he promises from a distance is firmly faithful.

LORD, we will stay the course, and trust in your coming deliverance, because your promises are firmly faithful.

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