DISCUSSION FORUMS
MAIN MENU
Home
Help
Advanced Search
Recent Posts
Site Statistics
Who's Online
Forum Rules
Bible Resources
• Bible Study Aids
• Bible Devotionals
• Audio Sermons
Community
• ChristiansUnite Blogs
• Christian Forums
• Facebook Apps
Web Search
• Christian Family Sites
• Top Christian Sites
• Christian RSS Feeds
Family Life
• Christian Finance
• ChristiansUnite KIDS
Shop
• Christian Magazines
• Christian Book Store
Read
• Christian News
• Christian Columns
• Christian Song Lyrics
• Christian Mailing Lists
Connect
• Christian Singles
• Christian Classifieds
Graphics
• Free Christian Clipart
• Christian Wallpaper
Fun Stuff
• Clean Christian Jokes
• Bible Trivia Quiz
• Online Video Games
• Bible Crosswords
Webmasters
• Christian Guestbooks
• Banner Exchange
• Dynamic Content

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter.
Enter your email address:

ChristiansUnite
Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2017, 09:10:54 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
277688 Posts in 26446 Topics by 3790 Members
Latest Member: Goodwin
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  ChristiansUnite Forums
|-+  Theology
| |-+  Completed and Favorite Threads
| | |-+  Elizabeth Elliot Devotions
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 30 31 [32] 33 34 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Elizabeth Elliot Devotions  (Read 87255 times)
nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #465 on: March 12, 2007, 02:06:03 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
The Path of Lonliness


Why Funerals Matter - Page 1

When a dear friend died recently I found myself unexplainably disappointed when I learned that there would be only a memorial service. I wanted a funeral, and I was not sure why. Even more unexplainably, I wished there had been a "viewing" or wake--a chance to see her face. Is this wholly indefensible? I am sure that it is wholly human, but is it mere idle curiosity? Is it crass, or childish, or pagan, or materialistic? Is it hideously ghoulish?

"Christians do not need to make much of the body. We believe in the Resurrection. We know the person is not here but There." Thus I argued with myself.

''Who wants to see somebody dead? Wouldn't you rather remember him as you knew him, strong and healthy and alive?" That makes sense too.

"Funerals are meaningless ordeals, pompous, expensive, emotionally costly, and serve no purpose other than conventional and commercial. And as for viewings--what can possibly be the point of coiffing, painting, powdering, and dressing up a corpse, stretching it out lugubriously in a satin-lined mahogany box with its head on a fancy Pillow, for People to stare at?'' What indeed?

I could not come up with immediate rejoinders. There did not seem much logic in my protest. Didn't it spring from emotions alone, and those perhaps crude and primeval? Yes, very likely. But crude and primeval emotions may be eminently human and not necessarily sinful. They may even be useful. How do we know? Well, back to the Bible. What does it say?

The Bible does not say "Thou shalt have funerals," or ''Thou shalt not have memorial services."

When Jacob died there was the final scene in which he blessed each of his sons, then drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was "gathered to his people." Then Joseph threw himself on his father's body and wept over him and kissed him and commanded that he be embalmed. The Egyptians went through the customary seventy days of mourning. Then Joseph carried the body to Canaan, accompanied by a huge retinue of servants, elders, relatives, friends, chariots, and horsemen. Seven more days were spent in "a very great and sorrowful lamentation."

When Moses died God buried him, but the people of Israel wept for him thirty days. Joseph's bones were carried by the people of Egypt to be buried at Shechem.

Stephen was the first martyr, stoned to death, and it says "devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him." It was right and proper that a man killed for his Christian witness should be buried by those who shared his faith--devout men. It was right and proper that they should grieve greatly, that they should grieve together, and that they should grieve "over him," which I take to mean literally over the grave.

Only last week my friend Van found her little black dog which had been lost ten days before. But she was dead--drowned in a pond where she had apparently fallen through the ice. Little Nell was Van's friend, and Van grieved for her, but she thanked God she found her and knew at last what had become of her. She lifted the wet furry thing in her arms and looked into her face and talked to her. Then, of course, giving her back to death, she buried her.

That was what we had been deprived of in my late friend's decision not to have a funeral. The memorial service was held eleven days after her death, and when we entered the church there was nothing of her there. It would only have been a body, of course--but it would have been the "earthly house of this tabernacle" in which our friend had lived, through which we had known her, and it would have been the resurrectible body. It was long since deposited miles away in a mausoleum. We could not see her face. We could not even see a closed box with the knowledge that what was left of her was inside it. She had died of that most feared of diseases and no doubt its ravages were great. She had not wanted any of us to come near her during the last four or five weeks of her life. We understood her feeling. It is doubtful that she was in a position to understand ours. It was too late. I write this so that thoughtful people can consider the matter before it is too late.

We longed for the privilege of entering into her suffering insofar as it would have been possible. She was too ill to talk. We understood that. We would not have asked her to. If we had been allowed only to slip into the room for a minute, hold her hand, pray briefly or be silent, we would have been grateful. Perhaps a little of the loneliness of dying would have been assuaged for her, and a little of our sorrow and love communicated. I am sure that we, at least, would have been helped. But it was not to be. Even after she died, we to whom she had meant so much needed to establish a last link. That, too, was denied.

====================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #466 on: March 12, 2007, 02:07:16 PM »

Why Funerals Matter - Page 2

Several months ago a friend from New York wrote of the death of a child she had been close to. ''I have mixed feelings about private funerals. Does that seem harsh to you? I so badly wanted to be with them in their grief, and I think a lot of others felt the same way. It was almost more than I could do, having an errand at the church, to walk past the hearse and out of sight before the family arrived. There will be a memorial service, but not for several weeks. I guess I am very old-fashioned or something. It is not a morbid hankering to 'view' the body, but the sight of a coffin brings home the reality and gives an outlet for grief, in my experience, as nothing else can."

Yes, my heart said, she is right. Now, after many years, I have sorted out why it mattered to me that we had only a memorial service for my first husband and real funeral for the second. In the first case, we had no choice. He was murdered, and the body was not found for five days. It was deep in uninhabited jungle from which transportation would have been nearly impossible. My second husband knew he was going to die, and we had time to discuss the funeral together. I don't remember his saying anything about a viewing, but I made that decision without difficulty as soon as he died. I knew that I had missed something when Jim died. Add had been beaten down by cancer and the last weeks were horrifying. Somehow it was a relief to see his face one more time in a different setting from his sickroom. The face was thin and aged and pallid, of course, but this time free from pain. The strength of the features was still there, the brow, as somebody observed, still noble. I could say good-bye to him then in my heart and resign him to the grave.

When I was nine years old, my best and almost my only friend died. I remember the hot July day when I was playing in the side yard and my mother came out to tell me that Essie had gone. I remember my parents driving me up Broad Street in Philadelphia to the funeral parlor where she lay in a white dress with her golden curls around her face. She was nine years old too.

Nobody said to me, "But it's only a body. The spirit has flown, you know." Nobody needed to. I could see that. But I could also see my friend who had led me on many a wild chase through vacant lots and back alleys and had scared the wits out of me with terrible tales of giants she had run across. She was very quiet now, very subdued. My playmate was dead. The sight was very real to me. It was not a shock. Children are not shocked at things. It is their elders who cannot face reality. I was awed and solemn, and I thought about it for years afterward. It was a very wise decision of my parents to take me to the funeral.

I appeal to Christians. Plan your funeral now. If you are "getting on in years" it may be possible even to choose the minister and discuss things with him. If death seems more remote, at least write down the fact that you want a funeral, and choose hymns and Scripture passages to be used. Don't be too dogmatic about the practical arrangements. Leave those to whoever is responsible for disposing of you, so that it will be easiest for them.

But please remember your friends. They are the people to whom it will matter greatly to be allowed to bid you farewell, and to grieve in company with others who love you. Don't make light of that.

C. S. Lewis, that wise man who seems to have thought through almost everything, writes in his Preface to Paradise Lost: ''Those who dislike ritual in general--ritual in any way and every department of life--may be asked most earnestly to reconsider the question. It is a pattern imposed on the mere flux of our feelings by reason and will, which renders pleasures less fugitive and griefs more endurable, which hands over to the power of wise custom the task (to which the individual and his moods are so inadequate) of being festive or sober, gay or reverent, when we choose to be, and not at the bidding of chance" (Oxford University Press, 1952, p. 21).

If it is a Christian funeral, we will be reminded in word and hymn that we do not "grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again; and so it will be for those who died as Christians; God will bring them to life with Jesus," and "we who are left alive shall join them, caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14, 17 NEB). Let funerals be, then, for Christians, celebrations in the presence of the mortal remains, visible signs of those glorious invisible realities which we believe with all our hearts.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #467 on: March 12, 2007, 02:08:39 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


A No-Risk Life - Page 1

The risks people are prepared to take these days are certainly a different set from what they used to be. I have been reading what Dickens and Kipling said about travel in their times. The reason I have been reading Dickens and Kipling just now when I am also trying to catch up with Solzhenitsyn and C. S. Lewis (I never catch up with Lewis--I have to start over as soon as I've finished one of his books because while I am always completely convinced by his argument I find I can't reproduce it for somebody else so I have to go back) is that a friend asked me to take care of some books she had just inherited from a rich aunt.

But it was risks I started out to write about. Dickens describes a journey into the Scottish Highlands:

When we got safely to the opposite bank, there came riding up a wild highlander, his great plaid streaming in the wind, screeching in Gaelic to the post-boy on the opposite bank, making the most frantic gestures.... The boy, horses and carriage were plunging in the water, which left only the horses' heads and boy's body visible.... The man was perfectly frantic with pantomime.... The carriage went round and round like a great stone, the boy was pale as death, the horses were struggling and plashing and snorting like sea animals, and we were all roaring to the driver to throw himself off and let them and the coach go to the devil, when suddenly it all came right (having got into shallow water) and, all tumbling and dripping and jogging from side to side, they climbed up to the dry land.

Kipling, in a speech made more than sixty years ago to the Royal Geographic Society, looks forward to the possibilities of air travel:

Presently--very presently--we shall come back and convert two hundred miles across any part of the Earth into its standardized time equivalent, precisely as we convert five miles with infantry in column, ten with cavalry on the march, twelve in a Cape cart [which I found is a strong, two-wheeled carriage used in South Africa], or fifty in a car--that is to say, into two hours. And whether there be one desert or a dozen mountain ranges in that two hundred miles will not affect our timetable by five minutes.

Traveling nowadays means what it has always meant: facing risks. Take air travel, for example. There is of course the total risk--a crash--but most of us, when it comes to actually getting on a plane, are not preoccupied with that possibility. We are much more conscious of the sort of risk that calls forth no very high courage. Weather, topography, sources of food and water along the way hardly concern us at all. We expect the aircraft itself, the radar, the pilots, the mechanics, the caterers, and the stewardesses to do their jobs and we forget about them from the start. We worry instead about whether we will get stuck in the middle seat between two (perhaps fat) people who use both arms of their seats, whether we'll have legroom after we've stuffed our bag underneath the seat in front of us, and whether a talkative seatmate will ruin our plans to get some serious reading done on a coast-to-coast flight.

There is a white paper bag in the seat pocket reminding us of another risk, ''motion discomfort,'' which has superseded what sounds like a worse one, airsickness. The stewardess's voice comes over the intercom at takeoff, while another stewardess goes through a pantomime, telling us where to find the emergency exits and what to do in "the extremely unlikely event of a change in cabin pressure," and we pay no attention.

The apostle Paul was shipwrecked three times. He had to spend twenty-four hours in the open sea. He wrote to the Corinthians:

In my travels I have been in constant danger from rivers and floods, from bandits, from my own countrymen and from pagans. I have faced danger in city streets, danger in the desert, danger on the high seas, danger among false Christians. I have known exhaustion, pain, long vigils, hunger and thirst, doing without meals, cold and lack of clothing.

Well, Paul, once in a transoceanic flight in something called a jumbo jet my daughter watched a movie for a whole hour before she realized that the sound track she had plugged into her ears was for another movie. (What do I mean by "flight"? ''Movie"? "Sound track''? Never mind. They're all of them hazards you never had to cope with.) On top of that, the reading lights didn't work, there was no soap in the lavatories, no pillows or blankets on board although the air-conditioning was functioning only too well, and they served dinner at eleven o'clock at night and breakfast at one in the morning.

=====================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #468 on: March 12, 2007, 02:09:58 PM »

A No-Risk Life - Page 2

We take risks, all right. But what acquaintance have we with the physical hardships which used to be the testing ground for a man's character and stamina? We know nothing of the necessity of covering ground with our own two feet for days or weeks or months at a time, every step of which must be retraced on those same two feet if we're ever to get back to civilization again. We haven't felt the panic of isolation beyond help. When a book like Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors appears, it becomes a best-seller for we recognize then the hermetic seal of our civilization.

An ancient longing for danger, for challenge, and for sacrifice stirs in us--us who have insulated ourselves from weather by heating and air-conditioning and waterproofing and Thermopane; from bugs, germs, pests, and odors by screening, repellents, insecticides, weed killers, disinfectants, and deodorizers; from poverty by insurance, Medicare, and Social Security; from theft by banks, locks, Mace, and burglar alarms; from having to watch others suffer by putting them where somebody else will do the watching; and from guilt by calling any old immorality a "new morality," or by joining a group that encourages everybody to do whatever feels good.

We don't risk involvement if we can help it. We try not to turn around if anybody screams. Responsibility for others we'd rather delegate to institutions, including the government, which are supposed to make it their business to handle it.

I saw a man on television just a few days after Mr. Ford became President telling us that what America needs is a little more honesty. Because of technology, the man said, people have to be more dependent on each other than they used to be (Oh?) and therefore we need more honesty (Oh). Probably, he allowed, our standards have never been quite what they ought to be and it's time to hike them up a notch or two.

How do we go about this? Take a deep breath and--all together now--start being honest? Ah, the man had a plan. I waited, tense and eager, to hear what it might be. Popularization was what he proposed. Make honesty the In Thing. If everybody's doing it, it will be easy. In fact, the bright-eyed man told us, it would take the risk out of it.

Funny, I always thought righteousness was supposed to be risky. I was taught it wasn't easy, and I found it hard when I tried it. It's never likely to be either easy or popular.

"But I'm not asking for a change in human nature or anything," the man on the TV insisted, "only a change in attitude." And the round-eyed artlessness with which the remark was made and with which it was received by the TV host was breathtaking.

I'm for civilization. I'm all for certain kinds of progress and I accept quite gladly most of today's means of avoiding the risks that Dickens and Kipling and all of mankind before them had to run, but to imagine that we shall whip off the dishonesty that is characteristic of fallen human nature everywhere as painlessly as we whip off one garment and put on another, to imagine that by simply taking a different view we shall come up with a no-risk brand of honesty, is a piece of self-deception and fatuity to make the mind reel.

Plato, three hundred years before Christ, predicted that if ever the truly good man were to appear, the man who would tell the truth, he would have his eyes gouged out and in the end be crucified.

That risk was once taken, in its fullest measure. The man appeared. He told the world the truth about itself and even made the preposterous claim "I am the Truth." As Plato foresaw, that man was crucified.

He calls us still to follow him, and the conditions are the same: "Let a man deny himself and take up his cross."

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #469 on: March 12, 2007, 02:11:22 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture: Proverbs 3:7-8 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Proverbs 10:19-19 Philippians 2:5-8 Galatians 6:2
The Path of Lonliness


Shortcut to Peace - Page 1

"Later he said to Marjorie, 'Brenda tried to be confidential about Beaver this evening.' "

"'I didn't know you knew.'

" 'Oh, I knew all right. But I wasn't going to let her feel important by talking about it.' "

Lines from Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust

* * * * *

A Christian man who for many years has been helping alcoholics who want to be helped: ''I make it clear from the start that I don't want to know where they've been. I've heard all that. I only want to know where they're going.''

* * * * *

''She's been seeing a psychiatrist for months, and says he's really fantastic, says she's just beginning to understand why she's been acting that way toward her husband.'' "But does she really need to know all that?"

* * * * *

Most of us enjoy talking about ourselves, our problems, our escapades. We want to defend our mistakes (''I was really down that day") and explain our failures ("Couldn't get my head together"). People who are willing to listen make us feel important. Analysis not only exonerates us of full responsibility for bad behavior but even lends dignity. Sin, of course, is highly undignified. We dignify it by calling it something else. Trauma, hurts, "syndromes," and the whole pattern of ordinary human reaction to them are respectable. We would far rather discuss processes and symptoms than make the radical turnaround that means repentance. It is nicer to be soothed than summoned. As long as we are "undergoing treatment," or "in counselling" we can postpone decision.

I don't want to knock psychology, unless theology is being put at the mercy of psychology. That's dangerous.

Psychology may be a science, but it is certainly not an exact science. Psychiatry is even less exact, though it has risen almost to the place of supreme authority in our time. One theologian has called it "the anti-Christ of the twentieth century." I know one psychiatrist who has quit the field altogether and returned to general practice because, he says, "psychiatry does not exist. It is a pseudoscience."

Science at best is only science, and while we thank God for every realm of knowledge he has allowed men to enter, it is one thing to give it place. It is another to own its sovereign sway. Lewis Thomas, in an essay entitled, "On Science and Uncertainty" (Discover magazine, October 1980), wrote, "It is likely that the twentieth century will be looked back at as the time when science provided the first close glimpse of the profundity of human ignorance....Science is founded on uncertainty....We are always, as it turns out, fundamentally in error. I cannot think of a single field in biology or medicine in which we can claim genuine understanding."

=======================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #470 on: March 12, 2007, 02:12:48 PM »

Shortcut to Peace - Page 2

It would be well to keep Dr. Thomas's statement in mind when we are tempted to think that we shall, through psychological treatment or counselling, arrive at an understanding of ourselves which is deeper and closer to the truth than that which the writer of the Book of Proverbs, for example, perceived.

When my father was editor of a religious weekly a reader once wrote, "What is philosophy? Is it good or bad?" I have no record of his reply but I suppose he told her it was a method of inquiry, and in itself neither good nor bad. Psychology is also a method of inquiry, but P. T. Forsyth said that it cannot go beyond method, has no machinery for testing reality, and no jurisdiction in ultimates. In the sixty or seventy years since he wrote that, we have moved much closer to the edge of the precipice where we abandon the protection, restraint, and control of the everlasting Word and plunge over into the abyss of subjectivism. We need a control.

To change the metaphor: a certain psychological approach which seems to have gained tremendous popularity among Christians reminds me of the jungle rivers that I used occasionally to travel by canoe. They meandered. It was possible to get where you wanted to go by following the tortuous curves and loops, some of them doubling back almost on themselves. It was also possible to get there on foot by cutting straight through a curve, covering in ten minutes what it would take hours to cover by canoe.

To search out and sort out and "hang out" all the whys and wherefores of what we call our problems (a few of which just might be plain sins) may be one route to the healing of certain kinds of human difficulties, but I suggest that it may be the longest way home. I say this, I know, at the risk of being labeled simplistic, reductionist, obscurantist. But where, I want to know, does the genuine understanding which Dr. Thomas says science cannot claim begin? Where does it begin?

No man knows the way to it:
It is not found in the land of living men.
The depths of the ocean say, 'It is not in us,'
and the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
Red gold cannot buy it,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver....
Where then does wisdom come from,
and where is the source of understanding?
....God understands the way to it,
he alone knows its source.
And he said to man:
The fear of the Lord is wisdom,
and to turn from evil is understanding
(Job 28:13--15, 23, 28 NEB).

The ancient and tested source is revealed in a Book whose reliability, relevance, and accuracy all fields of human knowledge continue to corroborate. It is the Bible. My plea is not that we reject the findings of psychology or any other field of study. It is that we start instead with theology, with the knowledge of God. Without that knowledge (given only to those who turn from evil) there is "no jurisdiction in ultimates,'' no knowledge even of ourselves, no certainty of any kind. My plea is that we give the Word a first hearing, take our bearings there, and turn only after that to whatever branch of science may apply to the need in question. Chances are it will be a more direct route to the truth, a shortcut to peace.

========================See Page 3
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #471 on: March 12, 2007, 02:14:05 PM »

Shortcut to Peace - Page 3

The Scriptures encompass the whole man, his whole world, and reveal the Lord of the universe. In them we have not only a perfect frame of reference, but specific and practical instruction, reproof when it's reproof we need, correction when we've gone wrong.

I have found this to be true every time I have tried it. Recently I was in turmoil about some things somebody said to me. I lay awake at night, mentally enacting whole scenes and conversations in which we would "have it out," dragging everything into consciousness, saying everything that was in our minds, pitting what she said against what I said, what she did against what I did, defending and offending, complaining and explaining. I had heard this was what we are supposed to do--get it out, get it up front, express it. But what a devastating business! What a crashing bore! What a way to consume time, not to mention emotional and spiritual energy! The very process itself gives me the chance to add to my own list of sins against her. "When men talk too much," says Proverbs 10:19, "sin is never far away. Common sense holds its tongue."

Psychology describes. The Bible prescribes. "Turn from evil. Let that be the medicine to keep you in health" (Proverbs 3:7, 8 NEB).

"Love is kind. Love is never quick to take offense. Love keeps no score of wrongs. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance" (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, 7 NEB).

"Help one another to carry these heavy loads, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2 NEB).

"Let your bearing toward one another arise out of your life in Christ Jesus...He made himself nothing...humbled himself...accepted death" (Philippians 2:5, 7, 8 NEB).

The woman who had hurt me had plenty of heavy burdens to bear. I knew that very well. How could I help her to bear them? Well, for one thing, by "being offended without taking offense," that is, by following my Master.

What a relief! I no longer had to plot and plan and cogitate about how to handle my feelings or how to confront my friend or just what to say. My bearing toward her would arise out of my life in Christ Jesus. I couldn't do it myself. He could, and he would enable me.

To cut the straight path a good deal of the jungle of my selfishness had to be slashed through. But it was a much shorter way home.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #472 on: March 12, 2007, 02:15:32 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


To Judge or Not to Judge - Page 1

"But everybody's being so judgmental! And you're another one,'' she complained. "Since you have chosen to be my judge, you can never be my friend."

For months Lisa had been watching Joan's behavior, which seemed to her to be very wrong. She had prayed about mentioning it. When she felt at last that she could no longer keep silent she approached her dear friend in the spirit of Galatians 6:1.

Even if a man should be detected in some sin, my brothers, the spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on the right path, not with any feeling of superiority but being yourselves on guard against temptation. Carry each other's burdens and so live out the law of Christ.

Joan, in response, was bitter, angry, and hurt. The wrong, she insisted, was Lisa's. Lisa was being "judgmental." The right, she felt, was on her side, for neither Lisa nor anyone else knew "the whole story."

The only verse about judgment in the Bible which anyone seems to have heard of these days is "Judge not." There the discussion usually ends. It is tacitly assumed that negative judgments are forbidden. That positive judgments would also come under the interdict escapes the notice of those who assume it is a sin to judge.

One morning long before dawn I sat staring out onto a starlit sea, thinking of Joan and Lisa's story and of what Christian judgment ought to be. My thoughts ran like this:

If one does right and is judged to be right, he will be neither angry nor hurt. He may, if he is humble, be pleased (is it not right to be glad that right is done?) but he will not be proud.

If one who is proud does wrong and is judged to be wrong he will be both angry and hurt.

If one who is proud does right and is judged to be wrong he also will be both angry and hurt.

If one who is truly humble does wrong and is judged to be wrong, he will not resent it but will in gratitude and humility, no matter what it costs him, heed the judgment and repent.

If one who is truly humble does right and is judged to be wrong he will not give the judgment a second thought. It is his Father's glory that matters to him, not his own. He will "rejoice and be exceeding glad," knowing for one thing that a great reward will be his, and, for another, that he thus enters in a measure into the suffering of Christ--"when he suffered he made no threats of revenge. He simply committed his cause to the One who judges fairly."

Joan was outraged that her close friend should judge her, thus disqualifying herself, Joan felt, from ever again being her friend. She failed to see that one as close as Lisa ought in fact to be the first to rebuke her, since she loves her and will be the first to notice that she needs to be rebuked. Joan, however, was sure that if Lisa could have seen the whole picture as God sees it she would have judged differently: because what she was doing was right, both God and Lisa would see it to be right. That kind of "judgment" Joan would not have minded, nor would the word judgmental have entered her head. Perceptive or discerning are words which perhaps would have come to her mind.

Joan was right, of course, that Lisa did not see the whole picture. No one but God ever sees it, for only to him are all hearts open, all desires known. We mortals often fail to see right as right, wrong as wrong. We look on the outward appearance. It is all we have access to. We therefore know only in part.

In the meantime we are given the book of standards by which to judge our own actions and those of others. "By their fruits" we know them. If we were not to judge at all we would have to expunge from our Christian vocabulary the word is, for whatever follows that word is a judgment: Jack is a fine yachtsman, Mrs. Smith is a cook, Harold is a bum. It depends on how one sees Jack, Mrs. Smith, and Harold.

Jesus told us to love our enemies. How are we to know who they are without judging? He spoke of dogs, swine, hypocrites, liars, as well as of friends, followers, rich men, the great and the small, the humble and the proud, "he who hears you and he who rejects you," old and new wineskins, the things of the world and the things of the Kingdom. To make any sense at all of his teachings requires, among other things, the God-given faculty of judgment, which includes discrimination.

========================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #473 on: March 12, 2007, 02:16:55 PM »

To Judge or Not to Judge - Page 2

The current popular notion that judging others is in itself a sin leads to such inappropriate maxims as ''I'm O.K. and you're O.K." It encourages a conspiracy of moral indifference which says "If you never tell me that anything I'm doing is wrong, I'll never tell you that anything you're doing is wrong." "Judge not that ye be not judged" has come to mean that if you never call anything sin nobody can ever call you a sinner. You do your thing and let me do mine and let's accept everybody and never mind what they're up to.

There is a serious misunderstanding here. The Bible is plain that we have no business trying to straighten out those who are not yet Christians. That's God's business. Alexander the coppersmith did Paul "much evil," and was "an obstinate opponent" of Paul's teaching. That description is a straightforward judgment, but Paul did not consider it his duty to deal with that man. "The Lord will reward him for what he did."

''But surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church," he wrote to the Christians at Corinth, and commanded them to expel a certain immoral individual from the church:

Clear out every bit of the old yeast....Don't mix with the immoral. I didn't mean, of course, that you were to have no contact at all with the immoral of this world, nor with any cheats or thieves or idolaters--for that would mean going out of the world altogether! But in this letter I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is known to be an impure man or a swindler, an idolater, a man with a foul tongue, a drunkard, or a thief. My instruction is: Don't even eat with such a man.

That's pretty clear. And pretty hard to obey. I have seldom heard of its being obeyed in this country, but a missionary named Herbert Elliot tells me that he has seen it obeyed many times in the little Peruvian churches he visits in remote regions of the Andes and the jungle, where Christians simply believe the Word and put it into practice. In the majority of cases, he tells me, this measure has led to repentance, reconciliation, restoration, and healing.

The key to the matter of judgment is meekness. Childlikeness might be just as good a word. Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. No one who does not humble himself and become like a little child is going to get into the Kingdom. We can never set ourselves up as judges, for we ourselves are sinners and inclined to be tempted exactly as those we judge are tempted. But if we are truly meek (caring not at all for self-image or reputation) we shall speak the truth as we see it (how else can a human being speak it?). We shall speak it in love, recognizing our own sinful capabilities and never-ending need for grace, as well as the limitations of our understanding. If we are to do the will of God in this matter, as in all other matters, we must do it by faith, taking the risk of being at times mistaken. We may misjudge, but let us be at least honest and charitable. We ourselves may be misjudged. Let us be charitable then, too, and accept it in humility as our Lord did. "When He was reviled, He reviled not in return."

I said we cannot set ourselves up as judges. It is God who sets us this task, who commands us Christians to judge other Christians. It is not pride that causes us to judge. It is pride that causes us to judge as though we ourselves are not bound by the same standards or tempted by the same sins. It was those who were trying to remove "specks" from a brother's eye when they themselves had "logs" in their own eyes to whom Jesus said "Judge not.''

"You fraud!" he said to them. "Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you can see clearly enough to remove your brother's speck of dust." The dust must indeed be removed, not tolerated or ignored or called by a polite name. But it must be removed by somebody who can see--that is, the humble, the childlike, the pure, the meek. If any of us are inclined to excuse ourselves from the responsibility to judge, pleading that we do not belong in that lovely company, let us not forget that it is those of that company and only those who are of any use in the Kingdom, in fact, who will even enter it. We must take our stand with them beneath the cross of Jesus, where, as the hymn writer says:

...my eyes at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me.
And from my smitten heart, with tears,
Two wonders I confess:
The wonders of His glorious love,
And my own worthlessness.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #474 on: March 12, 2007, 02:18:26 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Have It Your Way--Or God's - Page 1

When Lars and I lived in Georgia he took me one Saturday night to a place called "Swampland" in the little country town of Toomsboro. It comprised a barnlike eating place and a barnlike auditorium where there was a gospel singing jamboree from four until midnight.

As we sat at a long table with a lot of people we didn't know, eating our catfish and hush puppies (there wasn't much else on the menu), we noticed an odd person standing by the fireplace. He was a kind of middle-aged hippie. He had long gray hair like a broom. He was wearing baggy patched pants, a jacket with fringes (some of them on purpose and some just tatters), a pistol belt, and a hat that was so greasy Lars said it would burn for a week if it ever caught fire. Every now and then he gave the logs on the fire a poke or two, but seemed to be otherwise unoccupied.

When the manager of the restaurant came by, table-hopping, we asked about the local character.

"You mean old Rusty Russell there? You don't know Rusty Russell?"

We said no. We asked if he was the official fire-poker.

"Nope."

"What does he do?"

"Do? Don't do nothin'. Come with the place." The manager went on to tell us a little more. Seems he was from Alabama originally. His old daddy used to live with him, and when he died, Rusty wanted to bury him back home in Alabama. Dressed him up in his Sunday suit, put a Sunday hat on his head, belted him into the front seat of his old Ford car, and headed out of town.

''Health authorities caught up with him, though. It was summertime. No way was they gonna let him drive that corpse outa state.

"Old Rusty had a wife once, too. Next-door neighbor took a shine to 'er Rusty goes over, says, 'See you like ma wife.'

'' 'Yup,' he says.

" 'Want 'er?' Rusty says.

" 'Yup,' he says.

" 'What'll you give me for 'er?'

" 'Stove,' he says.

"Old Rusty says 'I'll take it.'

"He did. Traded his wife for a wood stove. Good one, too. Rusty still uses that stove, by golly. Got a good deal. Better'n the neighbor got, I reckon."

===========================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #475 on: March 12, 2007, 02:19:51 PM »

Have It Your Way--Or God's - Page 2

We loved that story. We did not love the story we heard last week--three stories, in fact, depressingly familiar, of three ministers of the Gospel who, like Rusty's neighbor, let their eyes wander to their neighbors' wives. All three liked what they saw next door (or, more accurately, in one of the pews of their churches) and, hearkening to current commercials ("You can have it all," "Do yourself a favor," "Have it your way") opted out.

Among the processes accelerating the breakdown of human structures is the flooding of imagery, produced by the mass media, "sweeping us into a chaotic and unassimilable whirlpool of influences," writes Dr. James Houston in I Believe in the Creator (Eerdmans, 1980). "We are overwhelmed by undigested data, with endlessly incomplete alternatives to every sphere of living."

Christians, encouraged by the example of Christian leaders everywhere, have begun to regard divorce as an option. There is nothing new about marital difficulties. If a man who is a sinner chooses as a life partner a woman who is a sinner they will run into trouble of some sort, depend upon it. Paul was realistic about this in 1 Corinthians 7: "Those who marry will have worldly troubles and I would spare you that."

Jill Briscoe says that she and her husband Stuart are incompatible. She told a whole audience this. "And we live with incompatible children and an incompatible dog and an incompatible cat." The point she makes is: when it comes right down to it, aren't all human beings incompatible? It takes grace for any of them to get along on an every-day-of-the-year basis. The apostle Peter, who was married, reminded us that a husband and wife are "heirs together of the grace of life." God knows our frame, remembers we're nothing but dust, and we need grace, lots of grace. This God supplies--plenteous, sufficient, enough--to those willing to receive.

If we receive that grace with thanksgiving he will enable us to make the sacrifice of self without which no human relationship will work very well. The refusal of grace is like the refusal to put oil in an engine. The machinery will break down. Prolonged friction between the parts will result in the whole thing's grinding to a halt. When, for lack of grace in one or both partners, a marriage grinds to a halt, the "world," coming at us loud, clear, and without interruption via television and other media, persuades us that we have plenty of alternatives. The Church, always in dancer of pollution by the spirit of the world, begins to choose the proffered alternatives in preference to grace, to replace "I believe" with "I feel.''

There is an Eternal Word which has been spoken. For thousands of years Christians have taken their stand on that Word, have driven into it all the stakes of their faith and hope, believing it to be a liberating Word, a saving Word. They have arranged their lives within its clear and bounded context.

The trouble with television is that it has no context. We sit in our living rooms or stand, as I often do, dicing carrots in our kitchens with the Sony on the counter. The program comes to us from New York or Hollywood or Bydgoszcz or Virginia Beach. The set--a corner of an elegant living room, a city street, a desk high in some skyscraper, or perhaps Cypress Gardens or a "crystal" cathedral--seems fake even if it is real. It has nothing to do with us or with what is being spoken. There is no context which embraces both my life and theirs, or it is "the context of no-context," as George W. S. Trow argued brilliantly in a New Yorker article (November 17, 1980):

The work of television is to establish false contexts and to chronicle the unravelling of existing contexts; finally to establish the context of no-context and to chronicle it....The New History was the record of the expression of demographically significant preferences: the lunge of demography here as opposed to there....Nothing was judged, only counted. The preferences of the child carried as much weight as the preferences of an adult, so the refining of preferences was subtracted from what it was necessary for a man to learn to do.

=======================See Page 3
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #476 on: March 12, 2007, 02:21:23 PM »

Have It Your Way--Or God's - Page 3

Divorce has become "demographically significant" among Christians. So have too many other things. It is because we have forgotten that our context is the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of this world (which is the kingdom of self). In the Kingdom of God the alternatives are not boundless, not so long as we live in this mortal coil. You can't have it all. You are not there to do yourself a favor. You may not have it your way. You opted out of all that when you made up your mind to follow a Master who himself had relinquished all rights, all equality with the Father, and his own will as well. You are called not to be served but to serve, and you can't serve two masters. You can't operate in two opposing kingdoms. These kingdoms are the alternatives. Settle it once for all. It is, quite simply, a life and-death choice. Pay no attention to what is demographically significant.

I receive a good many letters from young people who are utterly at sea about their life's choices college, career, marriage. They are faced with too many alternatives. The seeming limitlessness overwhelms, unsettles, often even paralyzes them. (Can I have marriage and a career? Can I have marriage and a career and babies? Can I be really feminine and be an initiator? Can I be really a man and not the head of my home?) Twenty years ago they were faced with a whole cupboard full of packaged breakfast foods and were asked by a well-meaning but unwise mother what they wanted for breakfast. They didn't know. They have been going to McDonald's ever since, gobbling up those (how many billions is it now?) hamburgers with or without onion, with or without mustard, relish, catsup, everything. They still think they can have it all, and they still don't know what they want. Why not stop bothering about what you want, I suggest to them. Find out what your Master wants.

The three ministers think they know. They married the wrong woman. A youthful mistake. They've grown apart now. The children will not be hurt if they ''handle" it properly, they say. They owe it to themselves to take this daring and creative step. God wants them to be happy. It's a leap and a risk and there's a price to pay, but look how liberating, how stretching, how redemptive. Why be threatened by traditional morality? Why be hung up? The other woman has understood and affirmed and fulfilled them as the poor wife was never equipped to do an--a line from an old song reminds them--"to waste our lives would be a sin."

Twirl those television dials. Look, for a minute, at the suffering of the world on the evening news. Twirl it off. Look at the beautiful people if you want to. There they are. You can be beautiful too. You can do what they do, go where they go. TWA will take you up, up and away. Delta is ready when you are. Become a legend. Charm a holiday party. Enhance your fragrance image. Give to thyself. Wear the Mark of Success. Try everything. Experience all the thrills.

Now it may be the flower for me
Is this beneath my nose,
But how shall I tell unless I smell
The Carthaginian rose?

So wrote Edna St. Vincent Millay (Collected Lyrics, Washington Square Press) decades ago. In the 1980s the possibilities seem even more endless and enticing, the unreached corners of the world ever more reachable, the pleasures of sin more innocuous. In fact, we suspect, they are not even luxuries. They have become, for the self-respecting man or woman, requirements.

There is plenty of room on the road that leads to that kingdom, and many go that way, but it is still true that the gate that leads to Life is small and the road is narrow and those who find it are few.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #477 on: March 12, 2007, 02:22:59 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:5
The Path of Lonliness


Person or Thing? - Page 1

Not long ago Time magazine reported another triumph of modern medical technology. An unborn child, found, by means of a process called amniocentesis, to suffer from Down's syndrome, was aborted (terminated? quietly done away with? killed?). It was all very safe and scientific and sterile. Not only was there little danger to the mother, there was no harm to the other twin in the mother's womb. The affected child (Is that an acceptable word? Should I say afflicted? unwanted? undesirable? useless? disposable?) was relieved of its life by being relieved of its lifeblood, which was slowly withdrawn through a long needle which pierced its beating heart. This was called a therapeutic abortion. The word therapeutic means serving to cure or heal. The strange part about this case was that nobody except the aborted child was ill. Who then was cured? Who was healed?

It seemed a huge irony that only a few weeks later the same magazine hailed another medical breakthrough: surgery to correct an abnormal kidney condition known as hydronephrosis. The amazing part about this case was that the patient was an unborn child, again one of twins. Again, a needle was inserted-through the mother's abdominal wall, through the uterus, through the amniotic sac lining, through the abdominal wall of the fetus, into the bladder. The needle was not used to withdraw blood but to insert a catheter which would drain urine, thus saving little Michael's life.

"For all its promise," Time comments, "fetal surgery poses some difficult ethical dilemmas."

Difficult indeed but only if we refuse to call the thing operated on a child.

In the first case, the mother did not want it. Whatever she called it, it had every possibility of becoming a person, and only as a person posed a threat. When it was rendered harmless, that is, when the heart no longer beat, when it was, in fact, dead, she continued to carry it to term. Then, along with its twin, it was born. Its twin had been very like itself to begin with, fully capable of becoming a person, but now very different indeed-- wanted, desirable, "useful"--and alive.

In the second case, the mother wanted both the twins, the well one and the sick one with the swollen bladder and kidneys. To her, what was in her womb was her children. Could they possibly save the tiny thing? Was there anything they could do for her baby? It was (Did the mother ever question it?) a baby.

Dr. Leonie Watson said, "If they can do surgery on a fetus, then it is in fact a baby."

We recognize how far we have departed from what nature has always told any prospective mother, when we realize that arguments must be adduced, some of them even from technical procedures like fetal surgery, to prove that the living, moving, creature about to come forth into the world is a human baby. If surgery is possible, then it's a baby.

This is, of course, where the battle lines are drawn. Is it, or is it not? What is the thing to be aborted? What is the thing to be born? What is the thing on which surgery was done? If we call it a fetus does it make the ethical dilemmas less difficult?

Dr. Phillip Stubblefield, a gynecologist at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, argues that a fetus is only a baby if it can live outside the womb.

If we can accept this assertion, may we also assume that a patient is not a person unless "it" can survive without, for example, dialysis or a heart pump? Is a machine somehow more humanizing than a womb? Is it possible seriously to believe that successful detachment from the mother is what turns an otherwise disposable and expendable mass of tissue into what we may legitimately call a baby?

Katharine Hepburn recently sent out a letter (I suppose to nearly everybody, otherwise I don't know how I would have gotten on her list) appealing for $3.6 million to stand up against what she called "repressive legislation" to limit individual rights and reproductive freedom. She listed eight reasons a certain amendment which would prevent abortion on demand should be defeated. Not a single one of her eight reasons would stand up in any court as a valid argument against the amendment if the thing aborted were called a person.

That is the question.

That is the only relevant question.

========================See Page 2
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #478 on: March 12, 2007, 02:24:31 PM »

Person or Thing? - Page 2

When what Miss Hepburn calls "individual rights and reproductive freedom" impinge on the rights of a person other than the pregnant woman, that is, on a person who happens to be hidden, helpless, and at the mercy of the one entrusted with its life, are we who object hysterical, illogical, bigoted, fanatic? Are we duped by what she calls "simple outdated platitudes of television preachers" if we cry aloud against her and her kind?

Last week there was another scandal. A woman had been running nursing homes which turned out to be what an investigator called "human sewers." She made a great deal of money off another group of defenseless human beings--the elderly, who had something in common with the "fetuses" Miss Hepburn claims the right to dispose of. They, too, were hidden, helpless, and at the mercy of the one entrusted with their lives. People were outraged. These victims had not been treated as human beings.

Why all the fuss? Suppose we apply some of the arguments used in favor of abortion to the treatment of the indigent, the friendless, the senile.

If there is brain damage or deformity, the fetus (read also the senile or the crippled) may be terminated.

If the fetus's becoming a person, i.e., being born, would be a serious inconvenience to the mother, or to other members of the family, it may be terminated. As has often been observed, there is no such thing as a ''convenient" time to have a baby. All babies (and many disabled or bedridden people) are an inconvenience. All are at times what might be called a serious inconvenience. Love alone "endures all things."

If a baby is allowed to be born, it may become the victim of brutality. One solution offered for the "battered child syndrome" is abortion. What about the "neglected octogenarian syndrome"?

A sixteen-year-old high school student who has no prospect for a stable home and whose pregnancy will end her chance for an education is counseled to abort her baby. How shall we counsel a fifty-eight-year-old divorced man about what to do with his invalid mother? Taking care of her might end his chances for a lot of things.

If we refuse to allow medically "safe" abortions, we are told that we thereby encourage "back-alley butchery," self-induced procedures of desperate women, even suicide. By the same token, if we outlaw sterile injections of, say, an overdose of morphine administered to an old man in a nursing home whose "quality of life" does not warrant continuation, do we thereby encourage less humane methods of getting people out of the way?

Miss Hepburn deplores "cold constitutional prohibitions," prefers instead individual choice based on "sound advice from the woman's personal physician.'' Some of those cold constitutional prohibitions happen to deal with the question of human life and what we citizens of these United States are allowed to do for or against it.

That is still the question. What do we do with the gift of life? Shall we acknowledge first of all its Creator, and recognize the sanctity of what is made in his image? Shall we hold it in reverence? If any human life, however frail, however incapable of retaliation, is entrusted to us shall we nourish and cherish it, or may we--by some enormously civilized and educated rationalization--convince ourselves either that it is not a person, or that, although it is a person, its life is not worth living, and that therefore what we do with it is a matter of individual choice?

What is this thing?

We are faced with only one question. Are we talking about an object, or might it by any stretch of the imagination be a person? If we cannot be sure of the answer, at least we may pick up a clue or two from the word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you for my own; before you were born I consecrated you, I appointed you a prophet to the nations." To God, at least, Jeremiah was already a person. For my part, I will try to regard whatever bears the marks of humanity as God's property and not mine.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60391


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #479 on: March 12, 2007, 02:25:56 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Images of Hell

Somehow or other North Dakota did not seem quite the place where my husband and I expected to find the sort of television program which shocked us. We were in a motel--not one of those that offers Home Box Office or other special shows for a fee, but a perfectly ordinary one. The program that stopped us in our tracks was, we discovered, a perfectly ordinary one that is shown all over the country, twenty-four hours a day. It hasn't gotten to the Boston area as far as I know, but it will. It is rock music--the screaming, thundering, pulsating, shrieking, eardrubbing, earsplitting, ear-bludgeoning kind, played by groups with names like Cheap Trick, the Boomtown Rats, the Sex Pistols, Missing Persons, The Destroyers, and The Clash. Across the bottom of the screen ran a legend from time to time, giving the name of the soloist, the title of the "music," and the group performing. Song titles were such things as "Screaming for Vengeance," "Bad Boy Having a Party," "Children of the Grave," "Escalator of Life'' ("I'm shoppin' the human mall" was a line from that one), "Combat Rock," "Maneater,'' and "Paranoid.

Songs, they're called. I had some idea that singing was supposed to touch the heart. What is the condition of the heart that is touched by titles like those? What was happening on the screen was at least as depressing. The music was being dramatized by children. They were heavily made up, of course, doing their level best to act as sophisticated, blase, and bored as adults must seem to them, but it was plain that most of them were teenagers, early teenagers. They were slinking around bars, slouching along brilliantly lighted city streets; toying with elegant wineglasses in high-toned restaurants, smoking with long, slim, shiny cigarette holders. They were gazing dully at the camera, looking up through lowered eyebrows or down through false eyelashes. They were writhing in horizontal positions, or girls were sashaying away from boys, casting over a raised shoulder the cruel come-on glance of the vamp. Boys were striding with thrust-forward pelvises toward the girls, breathing heavily through parted lips, hulking, swaying, scowling.

The camera went from these scenes to the rock groups sweating and screaming under the colored lights, dressed in rags, blue jeans, tights, sequins, undershirts, and in some cases nearly nothing. Hair was stringy, spinachy, wild--or "punk rock," dyed, partially shaved, stiff. They smashed, hammered, clobbered those drums. They doubled up in agony over their guitars, striving, twisting, stamping, and jumping. Their faces were contorted with hatred or pain, at times jeering, insolent, defiant. Back the camera would go then to the slithering kids trying to "express themselves" or to play out the lyrics which were being yelled at top decibel by whoever was clutching the microphone. (How do their vocal cords stand it?)

But oh, the faces of those kids. I was riveted to the screen, aghast, horrified. There was a terrible fascination in the very absence of reality. How had they been programmed to erase from their fresh young faces every trace of personality, every least hint of humanity? They stared with unblinking blankness, lifeless, spiritless, cold. A strange and surreal alternative to the spastic seizures, paroxysms, and nauseated retchings of the "musicians."

This, then, is what rock music is all about. Images of Hell. That's all I could think of. Hell is the place where those whose motto is My will be done will finally and forever get what they want. Hell is agony and blankness and torture and the absence of all that humanity was originally destined to be. The glory has terminally departed. It is the heat of flames (not of passion--that will long since have burned out) and the appalling lifelessness of solid ice, an everlasting burning and an irreversible freezing.

Tyndale House's little paper, The Church Around the World, cited a study by Columbia University which helps to explain why we get what we get on TV:

50% of those controlling the media have "no religion"
8% attend church or synagogue weekly
86% attend seldom or never
84% believe government should have no laws regulating sex
55% believe extramarital affairs are not immoral
95% believe homosexuality is not wrong
85% believe homosexuals should be permitted to teach in public schools

I do not plan a campaign to squelch rock music. It is simply an accurate expression of the powers that are at work in our society:

For the words that the mouth utters come from the overflowing of the heart. A good man produces good from the store of good within himself; and an evil man from evil within produces evil.... Out of your own mouth you will be acquitted; out of your own mouth you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:35, 36 NEB).

From racket, din, cacophony, and pandemonium ("all demons"), Good Lord, deliver us. Give us the strength that comes from quietness; your gentleness, Lord, your peace. And one more thing, Lord--put a new song in our mouths, even praise to our God.

____________________

This devotional is freely distributed by Back To The Bible.
Did you enjoy this devotional?
Send it on for a friend to enjoy.
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/
____________________
Logged

Pages: 1 ... 30 31 [32] 33 34 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



More From ChristiansUnite...    About Us | Privacy Policy | | ChristiansUnite.com Site Map | Statement of Beliefs



Copyright © 1999-2016 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the

Powered by SMF 1.1 RC2 | SMF © 2001-2005, Lewis Media