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Everything posted by Ragamuffin_John

  1. Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Carefully consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:7-8 ~ EHV - bold is mine) There are many revealing and truth-stamped Scriptures for us to learn from and follow. Verses which follow each other consecutively are particularly cementing in their emphases. Concerning the Scripture passage above, the bolded part is by far and away the most well-known, embraced, and practiced portion. The bolded can certainly stand alone for edification and teaching about the power and nature of God. It is that powerful. Yet and still, there is so much more about verse 8 to consider when it is read in its full context, that is, looked at in relation to the previous verse 7. The early Church placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of local church members modelling their lifestyles and piety based on the example set by their leaders. Clearly, this has to do with considering the lives and ministry of pastors, elders, deacons, and so on. Now, we need to ask ourselves, "How is this done?" Certainly, no modelling can be accomplished unless the object, the person of our scrutiny, is in our midst. And so, the importance of fellowship--in the church building and outside of it. Leaders need our support, and this is most highly accomplished when we surround them with our company, our attention, when we apply the principles that they teach us from the Word of God, and through our sincere adaptation of the Godly virtues displayed by our leaders. The primary blessing that followers get from imitating leaders, who themselves are obedient servants of Christ, is that the witness of leaders proves the faithfulness of God: it has in the past (yesterday), it will prove God's faithfulness now (today), and this God-given tool will always be true, just as true as God is eternal (forever). We need to daily pray for our leaders. We should get to know them so that their faith in Christ and reflection of His goodness can be imitated as well. Getting to know them is probably easier in cultures where respect for elders has been maintained as a cultural norm. Nevertheless, the Church itself is a new society that was created at Pentecost.* The mandate in the NT to respect church leaders, along with the energizing power of the Holy Spirit, gives the Church actual and enticing possibilities for living out the Faith. Following our leaders is not an abandonment or diluting of our focus on the one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Spirit-led imitation of the faith demonstrated by our leaders is a failsafe in itself, for as the Apostle Paul wrote, Be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ (EHV ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1) __________ * But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, the people who are God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (EHV ~ 1 Peter 2:9) Scripture quotations marked EHV are from the Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
  2. Thank you, Lynn. I've been trying to find one of those old "Phillips 66" gas station signs to pose for a pic. Guess I'll need to do that at Cracker Barrel
  3. After reading Hebrews Hebrews 10:5-39 Jesus was the curtain, Incarnation torn From His soul to open His Holy Place by Blood. The One, the Holy Sacrifice Once, for all has died. The One God is now One for all, Has completed the being-made holy. Draw near to the sprinkling, Provisioned to be sincere, Minds released from guilt, Bodies baptized to be pure. Spur on one another Toward love and all goodness, Since the Day approaches, Encouraged when we've met. Better, lasting things* We have if we confess,** Therefore we do not throw Away our confidence. So richly rewarded, This persevering band, We are not ones who shrink back, We believe, are saved, are glad! _____________ * Hebrews 10:34 ** That is, a confessing/witnessing trust (Matthew 10:32)
  4. Thank you, Joshua. This very much speaks to the heart and challenges.
  5. Them’s dark times. But has humanity really ever changed?
  6. Thank you for dropping by to read/encourage, Ky_Girl. So, you’ve noticed I have been reading Ephesians 1 😀
  7. Gulp! Not my cuppa, for sure. I had a near fatal bee attack years ago (paused my push mower over a ground nest of yellow jackets). I carry an Epi for just in case.
  8. Brother, I'm glad you are well on your way out the door!
  9. Stories about cowboys where the seeking of justice takes a far backseat to the drama of protagonists riding shotgun over their emotions. I get that there cannot be a dichotomy, but goodness, the cold mountain cowboys need to check into Doc Holliday’s mountain sanitarium when they get Kafka-esque feelings.
  10. News from 500 years ago See the one about Martin Luther
  11. Thank you Donald! (and Jared, for the boost 😀) My daughters listened to DC Talk, and "Colored People" has always been my favorite. I'm concerned that many believers are politicizing belief and not leaving space for this confession in front of the world, as voiced by Andre Crouch, "Through it all . . . I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God".
  12. This was an eye-opener: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dQIQrUm8xw
  13. O’dark-thirty. The earlier the better.
  14. (Psalm 119:137-144 Tsade) Before we should faint Lest we contemplate a fall When we are inclined to mere reason Lord, your promises forestall To make our gait of conscience Align with what You have declared For like gold your ways are trusted As authentic as You Are Your Promises already tested Tell us Alpha and Omega Is stronger than our ends and means So, in all sing Hallelujah! Righteous are You Lord And your laws are right Each promise first fiery-forged And holy, tested for our lives
  15. Phillip Sandifer is a multi-talented songwriter who touches on faith and secular themes--and where they intersect, too (he also wrote songs for Disney) A few years, I listened to this song, feeling the vortex of chaos sucking the life out of civility in the society I live. It speaks to me even more now:
  16. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Signed. If she only took stock in the title that the Father has given the Son--and all that it means! "Messiah"
  17. (After reading Mark 4:1-34) Do, so you can know; till a good soil to understand. Tend the Word from parables; get plain truth out of Hand. Spurn tricks that make men eager, while Mercy’s unvarnished sayings pass By the heart calling for our response again. Catch the Wind of God blowing night to day. Rise from the fast of feasting on His food in dreams. Invoke the vow to follow, the same as yesterday, Then bridge into promises carved into the forever of His Way.* __________ * Hebrews 13:8
  18. I wrote a short hymn, after reading Mark 1:40-45 from the King James Authorized Version [bold and brackets are mine], an account about Jesus healing a leper, focusing on the last verse: But he [the leper] went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter We blaze Thy Name abroad To every corner fill By Thy sweet grace your holy Name As people flock and yield Yield then they must to Thee, These constrained countenances* Those joyful elect set free Whilst will to His Will meshes. Afterthought: I am generally a plodding reader with the archaic-sounding KJVA. But the writing is so lyrical, the verses are generally easy to memorize--and that for a mediocre memorizer as myself. I tried to create the same effect with the hymn. I confess the final two lines should please both theological Calvinists and Arminians😎 __________ * The constraining Spirit, Who "sets the captive free", is by God's design unleashed to thirsty listeners who in turn enjoy the constraining, gifting and guiding Spirit. More: Constrained by the Spirit and Freeing Captives Verses. Note: for the second link, you need to scroll down a bit to see the Bible references
  19. I am a practicing evangelical, but From my very Irish-American Catholic upbringing, I find the desire to destroy the Jesus-statues to be very disturbing. In this sense: Christians earnestly desire that God speak to the world through all means available. Statues, as reminders, can be a convicting reminder to the soul. People who want to destroy these demonstrate a disdain for the devotion of people who value the helpful art.
  20. I’m thinking of visual arts here, and I suppose the theme has been thoroughly discussed. I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis now, about how the idea of beauty from its many angles is a God-given one. It feels awkward to suggest, but there is even beauty among us during this COVID-19 pandemic. Beauty, because God is real and active. I gave the flowery opening to set up the question: Why is the graphic of a hideous virus cell (or whatever it is) so predominantly used to supplement written and visual discussion about the virus? Why can’t there be images of caring, of convalescence, of research—anything to get beyond the ominous images of a molecular hun that ravages the world and leaves people fearful and despairing? It is as if back room editors are thinking “Puff the Grief”. There need to be visual presentations that install courage, resolve and vision. I’m at the point that when I see any drawing of those impishly spiked red balls, I want to take out a golf club and drive them far off the course. Not out of denial. I just want something constructive so that during the struggle there are images that more readily move me to breathe In hope. Positive propaganda of a sort. Like, change Rosie the Riveter to a nurse.
  21. At the time, I didn't know it was the Cross, At the time, I didn't know it was the Cross, That the Lamb was made a curse, Took our punishment on earth. At the time, I didn't know it was the Cross. Over time, I heard the message of the Cross, Over time, I heart the message of the Cross, From the preaching of the Word Where holy people lived sincere. Over time, I heard the message of the Cross. Then one time, they pled, "The sinner's prayer repeat!" Then one time, they pled, "The sinner's prayer repeat!" Although it came from simple folk, I saw and heard what God's heart spoke, When one time they pled, "The sinner's prayer repeat!" In Time of times, the Son of Man will make His call, In Time of times, the Son of Man will make His call, 'Cause the trumpet shall announce 'Come up hither!", to the clouds.* In Time of times, the Son of Man will make His call. In these times, can we look back to the Cross? In these times, can we look back to the Cross? I-sai-ah so prophesied** The Son's Sacrifice is life. In these times, can we look back to the Cross? _______ *1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 11:12 **I wrote this as a folk song and used the British pronunciation for Isaiah ("Eye-zeye-ah"). See Isaiah 53
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