The swirling mass of untold numbers sliding towards the abyss is what brings terror to my heart. That loved ones will be there . . . that they will be able to see the contrast of heaven . . . and there will be no relief for their parched souls . . .
Oh Father, guide me in thy will so that none will be there as a result of my disobedience. Draw them LORD! Here am I!
| 2006/10/29 1:24||Profile|
| Re: Beholding the Innocent Die|
Yesterday, when I was reading through my Matthew Henry commentary on first chapter of Job, and in particular, when Job would arise early each morning to offer burnt sacrifices for his children, I read this:
"He (Job) required his children to attend the sacrifice, that they might join with him in the prayers he offered with the sacrifice, that the sight of the killing of the sacrifice might humble them much for their sins, for which they deserved to die, and the sight of the offering it up might lead them to a Mediator." - Matthew Henry
This thought is something I've often meditated upon. It is one thing to [i]read[/i] about death, or see pictures of dead bodies, or to even go to a funeral and view a corpse dressed up in a fancy suit and cosmetized. But, dear brethren, it is another thing to [i]watch[/i] a person die, moribund, bleeding out, peering out into this fading world with eyes full of confusion and fear.
that the sight of the killing of the sacrifice might humble them much for their sins
Perhaps this is something we should take to heart. A lie, a secret lust, a proud look may not seem too serious to me. Why? Because of the failure to align our convictions with God's, the church has a tendency to take sin lightly. Because of a failure to meditate upon the precepts of a holy law, Jesus' awful sacrifice is not Spirit-illuminated to the intensity it should have within our hearts, and as a result, it becomes commonplace. "Oh, I'm just a sinner saved by grace," becomes our byword as we luxuriate in lustful thoughts and allow secret devices to kidnap our consciences. No! The dripping cross, the image of death, the desperate, innocent eyes of Jesus peering out into the godless vaccuum should be before our faces constantly. We must feast our consciences on the dying, forsaken Christ. But this we fail to do, because His death has become a common monument, and for many, just another "treat" people add to their bag of goodies in life.
We refuse to witness the slaughterhouse, yet we relish in feasting on the steak. But the process whereby a living cow is put on our plate? No, no, no. We won't hear of it. We know that the cow has died, and that is enough. Let others learn of the intricacies, but do not assault my ears with gore, with spurting blood, with slashing knives, with the filthy, mudcaked boots of the slaughterhouse floor.
I wonder how antiseptic and bloodless the Jewish altar was during the times of Joshua and the tabernacle of the congregation. If the sinner just quickly handed the animal over to the priest and turned back to where all the timbrels and dancing took place. I often think about this. I believe it would please God for us to be men and women enough to [i]look[/i] upon the slaughter, to look the innocent in the eye as it goes through the death throes, paying a wage not its own. To keep silent, not turn away, and just [i]look[/i] at what our selfish sin has wrought. Do any of you have pets? I do. I have a half-chow, half-lab little black mutt I call Smokey. I love this dog. He's just a little dog, just a mutt...but, oh, I love when I come home from work and Smokey gets up energetically from where he was laying and licks my hands and kisses my legs and tries to hop up to my lick my face!
I often think of Smokey paying my price. That, because I dealt deceitfully with my neighbor yesterday, Smokey will now have to get a shot. The horror of sin, to have to watch my innocent Smokey look at me with confused eyes as a vet holds his head down and administers the shot. His tail thumping, looking to me for help, afraid, not understanding what has happened to him, still trusting me. And I having to watch him slowly die, till at last his little tail thumps no more and eyes close in final death.
During that time, while watching my dog die, it would do me good to think about the temporal pleasure I gained from my sin. Go ahead, Paul - choke on Jacob's stew! Was it worth it? I was deceived! The pain of seeing my innocent dog killed now completely obliterates any pleasure that my sin may have afforded. I was completely tricked, to my own excruciating disadvantage and hurt, like Esau.
This, good friends, is why we should ponder both the goodness, [i]and the severity[/i] of God Almighty. It [i]pleased[/i] God to pound nails into His innocent Son's body, yet I would do all I could to keep a miserable mutt from getting a shot. Give ME the shot, doctor! Please don't hurt my dog! Oh, Smokey, I am so, so sorry! My dog! My dog! But, alas, this is not God's way. The concept of God's [i]justice[/i] is mind-numbing. The innocent must give life for the guilty to [i]have restoration of life.[/i] Surely, this Eternal God is worthy to be feared...and the love we express at His unfathomable goodness and mercy should leave us in utter astonishment. As Isaac Watts puts so poignantly, "love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all"; and with divine wisdom comes naturally the fear of God, a Holy Fear which is able to transform cankerous, flesh-eating worms of death into fire-baptized royal priests to speak of His majesty.
Paul Frederick West
| 2006/10/29 8:18||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Looking, pondering...|
Brother, you are drawing out heart truth's here. Thank you for giving us a better expression to that which causes me so much fumbling with words.
I often think of Smokey paying my price. That, because I dealt deceitfully with my neighbor yesterday, Smokey will now have to get a shot. The horror of sin, to have to watch my innocent Smokey look at me with confused eyes as a vet holds his head down and administers the shot. His tail thumping, looking to me for help, afraid, not understanding what has happened to him, still trusting me. And I having to watch him die, until his tail thumps no more and eyes close in final death.
During that time, while watching my dog die, it would do me good to think about the temporal plesure I derived from my sin. Go ahead, Paul - choke on it! Was it worth it? I was deceived! The pain of seeing my innocent dog killed completely obliterates any pleasure sin may have afforded me. I was completely tricked, to my own excruciating disadvantage and hurt, like Esau.
I pray, pray that we might dwell here- [i]look[/i] as Paul stated. And look beyond, look to [i]'will it be worth it'[/i]? When sin is snapping at our heels. The 'pleasures' of sin [i]pass[/i], the payment is always rendered due ...
[i]Isa 44:20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [u]Is there not a lie in my right hand?[/u][/i]
"Oh, I'm just a sinner saved by grace," becomes our byword as we luxuriate in lustful thoughts and allow secret devices to kidnap our consciences. No!
To allow these truth's to become embedded into our very being, to become part of us, creating a true reverential fear, not one of 'cowardice' but of awe and understanding. [i]Grieve not ... the Holy Spirit of God[/i]. Saints, this is 'how' to stop sinning. To look past to ... this analogy to Smokey... My brother I can equate this and have thought very much along those same lines. In my case it's "The girl" or "Daddy's girl", our cat. She has brought such a great joy and love ... times when she is just full of this peculiar 'kitty love' to go all soft for a moment. She will go back and forth between myself and my wife and just seems to be exuding it, purring and ... On the flip side. She is also a heathen, murderous heathen! The great white hunter and we live smack dab in the middle of suburbia. Where she finds things ... This place must be crawling with rats, who knew? But to get to a small illustration... One time she got ahold of a pigeon that was practically as big as she is.
After cordoning her off and as the poor bird, wounded and struggling on the grass, trying to fight for it's life... Grabbed a towel and threw it over it and then gathered him up into my hands, praying for it's life to be sparred, [i]and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father[/i],
Father, spare this one... He seemed to be settling down and then just as soon began going into convulsions, his head went back and ... gone. Frozen in time. Stiff. Dead.
Ah Lord, Thou knowest ... In that moment it turned the thought's right back to all that you have expressed here, to Jesus ... To [i]us[/i], to the [i]cause[/i] of death itself. Heartbreaking in the one sense, that of what seemed so ... needless. The bird was innocent, what had he done? And "The girl"? Blame? Anger?
No. ... Just that ... uhh, those unutterable groanings. [i]The creation groans[/i].
(Recognize at some point the balance is needed in all this, but just not quite yet, perhaps for a change we can allow these things to really take hold of us, before moving on).
| 2006/10/29 9:33||Profile|
| Re: Balance ?|
(Recognize at some point the balance is needed in all this, but just not quite yet, perhaps for a change we can allow these things to really take hold of us, before moving on).
I think Paul has presented the holy balance quite beautifully here as is. I am very convicted by the few posts here. At this point, I don't even feel as acceptable to God ( if not in Christ) as your cat and his dog !! Pets obey humans for just a bit of food. The Christian fails to obey God with the Cross in his face !!
Pulpits in the past century have long been trying hard to balance sin and conscience, there is NONE. "Churches" have been sold on this false balance with either psycho-heresy or deceptive doctrines.. enjoy a little bit of sins, a little bit of happiness, a little bit of praises, just do your church stuff, you're okay and I'm okay..., generation to generation to generation..sickness, that's what it is..
For true Christians, there has been nothing on earth ever more balanced or ever will be more balanced than the left and right arms of Christ on that Cross.( Love via Judgment, Salvation via Condemnation, Life via Death, Joy via Suffering. All There !) Surely Grace has to be met with responsiblity, holiness with obedience, joy with sacrifices.. modern Christianity has far too long been cackling over "Oh, I'm just a sinner saved by grace", while abusing Grace and singing Amazing Grace.
As for pleasure, true Christians' pleasure comes from purity, holiness, and the approval of the Father. ( In no way describing myself, still trying to obey day by day, in Christ's grace). In my mind, the common cause of unhappiness in a Christian is too often sin. Reminds me of my ex-pastor at where we used to live, he'd always say " if you are not happy, there is sin somewhere in your life"..a bit harsh, but quite true.
Posts that adominish God's children to hate sin and love Christ just bless me so much! Especially from you folks on SI. (aside from the "old" paths :) )
thank you brothers
| 2006/10/29 11:01||Profile|
Santa Cruz California
As I read, the words to this wonderful hymn came into my mind
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
[b]Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine
And bathed in its own blood
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.[/b]
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creatures sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can neer repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
Tis all that I can do.
When I was younger, I lived in an agricultural area. It was not uncommon to have the slaughterer come out to kill a fallen animal whether cow, horse, sheep, pig etc.
But I remember there was one bull in particular who was special to me, he was very strong, so strong in fact that he lifted a pen off the ground with his head. Somehow though it came down upon his neck and pinned him to the ground and he suffocated.
Now I do not know if any have heard the cries of a dying animal, but it is horrific(I cannot even imagine a human being). The cries go on until they die, or are put out of their misery.
The slaughterer came with his truck and they managed to get the bull out from under the pen. Then as I watched though they began to lift the carcass up. So you know these trucks have special set ups, so they can lift, gut slice, the body of the animal. But there he was, the bull I had grown to love.
There was blood everywhere, it was dripping upon the men, upon the ground. The dirt was now a reddened mud, as these men went towork to salvage what meat they could.
That is when it struck me!!
This seemingly barbaric act is how I get food! The bull I had grown close to was going to be a life giving substance to those who partake of it!
I think the parallels are obvious.
Is it not a shame that our crosses that we take up are so sanitized when His was the epitome of humiliation, and suffering? I am humbled before you all as I say that my cross has been one of my own choosing for so long, that my flesh twinges to think that there is more to this thing we call Christianity.
| 2006/10/29 11:42||Profile|
I think I understand now. It is interesting that this thread has come to this point
Earlier this year, at a church prayer meeting, I prayed for God to show us our sins so that we would repent and turn back to Him.
Well, He answered my prayer. Within a few days I had a dream. In my dream, I reached down absentmindedly to pet our dog Alice (she is an adorable little thing kind of like a miniature Lassie). As I stroked her head, I felt something sticky, and when I looked down I saw that she was filthy! I examined her closer as she leaned weakly against my leg. Most of her fur was missing and everywhere I touched her there was blood. I could not believe that she could be bleeding in so many places. Her eyes were rolled back in agony. And her heart it was beating in an open cavity in her chest.
I awoke with a start. As I sat stunned, it slowly dawned on me that God had answered my prayer - this was my sin. I prayed to God to forgive me for being so blind. I prayed for Him to keep me from all sin. I asked Him not to show me such things for I now understood.
Must we have sin continually before us so that we do not sin? Is it not better to look to Jesus in order to avoid sin?
We must see that all creatures and all things are of God. That it is only by loving Him most that we can correctly love anything else. Our sin is in loving the created more than the Creator. Our sin is believing the lie believing that we are god.
| 2006/10/29 12:04||Profile|
Wow! Speaking of hurting dogs...Every month area people gather to pray for revival to come and last week I had asked God ahead of the meeting to show us how we should pray that day. Just as we were to go into the prayer room my daughter stopped me and pointed to outside our glass church doors. There was a pitiful sight, a young adult white dog covered with mud and burrs looking into our church and howling for all he was worth. He was obviously lost and frightened (He did not belong to anyone there) and probably very hungry, a poor wretched soul. I opened the door and called him closer, he would have none of it, though he did not leave the parking lot he backed away from the helping hand. Another woman stooped down low at the door and gently called him closer but he would not.We finally called the humane society to come and rescue him because our efforts were getting no where.
When we went in to pray suddenly we had a picture God's heart for the lost, confused, frightened, dirty souls of our prayer call area. We prayed knowing that all our efforts we would try on our own to beckon lost souls to come would be useless without praying that God come with power and authority and rescue and let us particpate with Him and to use us in any way He would in his plan for these who shy away from His salvation.
He had shown us how to pray that day. God's heart is for their rescue, but we must call Him.
"Unto him belong the issues (escapees)from death" Ps.68
| 2006/10/29 13:20||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Death|
Our little Gracie became ill with a terribly fatal disease, so common in malarious districts -- enlarged spleen. The doctors pronounced her condition quite hopeless. One day a Chinese Christian woman came in with her little child of about the same age as our Gracie, and very ill with the same disease. The poor mother was in great distress, for the doctor had told her also that there was no hope. She thought that if we would plead with the doctor he could save her child. At last Mr. Goforth pointed to our little Gracie, saying: "Surely, if the doctor cannot save our child, neither can he save yours; your only hope and ours is in the Lord Himself."
The mother was a poor, hard-working, ignorant woman, but she had the simple faith of a little child. Some weeks later she called again, and told me the following story:
"When the pastor told me my only hope was in the Lord, I believed him. When I reached home I called my husband, and together we committed our child into the Lord's hands. I felt perfectly sure the child would get well, so I did not take care of him more than of a well child. In about two weeks he seemed so perfectly well that I took him to the doctor again, and the doctor said that he could discover nothing the matter with him."
That Chinese child is now a grownup, healthy man. [i]And our child died[/i]. Yet we had prayed for her as few, perhaps, have prayed for any child. Why, then, was she not spared? I do not know. But I do know that there was in my life, at that time, the sin of bitterness toward another, and an unwillingness to forgive a wrong. This was quite sufficient to hinder any prayer, and did hinder for years, until it was set right.
Does this case of unanswered prayer shake my faith in God's willingness and power to answer prayer? No, no! My own child might just as reasonably decide never again to come to me with a request because I have, in my superior wisdom, denied a petition. Is it not true, in our human relationships with our children, that we see best to grant at one time what we withhold at another? "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."
And one of the most precious experiences of God's loving mercy came to me in connection with our little Gracie's death. We had been warned that the end would probably come in convulsions; two of our dear children had been so taken. Only a mother who has gone through such an experience can fully understand the horror of the possibility that such might come again at any time.
One evening I was watching beside our little one, Miss P--- being with me, when suddenly the child said very decidedly: "Call Papa; I want to see Papa." I hesitated to rouse her father, as it was his time to rest; so I tried to put her off with some excuse; but again she repeated her request, and so I called her father, asking him to walk up and down with her until I returned.
Going into the next room I cried in an agony to the Lord not to let Gracie suffer; but, if it was indeed His will to take the child, then to do so without her suffering. As I prayed a wonderful peace came over me, and the promise came so clearly it was as if spoken: "Before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear." Rising, I was met at the door by Miss P--- who said: "Gracie is with Jesus." While I was on my knees our beloved child, after resting a few moments in her father's arms, had looked into his face with one of her loveliest smiles, and then quietly closed her eyes and had ceased to breathe. No struggle, no pain, but a "falling on sleep."
"Like as a father pitieth ... so the Lord pitieth."
[url=http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Promises/I_Know_God_Answers.html]How I Know God Answers Prayer[/url]
| 2006/10/29 23:33||Profile|
My heart is broken for fear I would hinder my own prayer. Please God search me,
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I ordered this book, I can't wait until it comes. I had never heard of Rosalind Goforth until I came to this website. Thanks for being the connection.
| 2006/10/30 22:58||Profile|