Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When My Mother Prayed (Poem for Mother's Day)

I remember from my earliest day,
The voice of my mother  when she would pray,
She would address her heavenly father,
Praying for me, my sisters, and brothers,
Her voice seemed to quiver just a little,
Fragile and worn from years in the battle,
She would pour her soul out like a river,
That’s when we’d hear the gates of hell quiver.
My mother prayed.
Devils were stayed.

Just how I survived my 23rd year
Still remains a mystery to me.
What stands between love and fornication
Heaven or hell as a son’s destination,
The patterns of causes are far too complex,
To find the true cause of  all fatal wrecks.
But from the beginning God foreordained,
The faith, fervency, and love unfeigned.
My mother prayed,
Ten thousand prayers.

As the years of my life go rolling by,
I find the temptations just multiply,
The path more narrow,  the ditches are wide,
The stakes far higher, the demons more wise,
The arrows come faster, the horses run wild,
Far greater men have never survived.
Each time I emerge from another valley,
I know for certain that two rode with me.
My mother’s prayers.
And my Lord was there.

When God’s armies are routed, the philistines rule,
The devil takes over with tyranny cruel...
God’s kingdom on a thin thread hangs,
Sitting between the wolves’ slavering fangs,
Then, a mother’s prayers, appear a mere token,
But, what? The bows of the mighty are broken,
The tides are turned when her horn is raised,
The one thing the enemy fails to calculate,
One mother’s tears.
One mother’s prayers.

- Kevin Swanson, 2014

Friday, October 18, 2013

God Does Not Owe Us Explanation

"God is the King of the universe.  When He gives a command, He requires us to obey it. God is the Creator of all that is. When He tells any of His creatures to do something, they must do it.  God gave man the moral law and He requires that we obey it.  He owes us no explanations.  Sometimes when parents or teachers tell a child to do something, the child responds with "Why?"  We have no right to ask God why we must obey His law."

- Starr Meade, "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds - Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism", 2000

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Recessional (Poem)

God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,  
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,  
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:  
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,  
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:  
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!  
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,  
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose  
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,  
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
   Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust  
   In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,  
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

- By Rudyard Kipling - 1897

Monday, April 29, 2013

History and Faith

"Give up history, and you can retain some things.  You can retain belief in God.  But philosophical theism has never been a powerful force in the world.  You can retain a lofty ethical ideal.  But be perfectly clear about one point - you can never retain a gospel.  For gospel means "good news," tidings, information about something that has happened.  In other words, it means history.  A gospel independent of history is simply a contradiction in terms."

The Bible has been viewed as a ladder "to scale the dizzy height of Christian experience," which may be kicked down when one is once safely on top.  But this figure, Machen felt, was misleading:

"The Bible is not a ladder; it is a foundation.  It is buttressed, indeed, by experience; if you have the present Christ, then you know that the Bible account is true.  But if the Bible were false, your faith would go.  You cannot, therefore, be indifferent to Bible criticism.  Let us not deceive ourselves.  The Bible is at the foundation of the Church.  Undermine that foundation, and the Church will fall.
    Two conceptions of Christianity are struggling for the ascendancy; the question that we have been discussing is part of a still larger problem.  The Bible against the modern preacher... The Church is in perplexity.  She is trying to compromise.  God grant that she may choose aright.  God grant she may decide for the Bible!"

- J. Gresham Machen, ordination sermon "History and Faith", 1915

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beware of Cowardice in Evangelism

"There are few of our Lord's instructions which it is so difficult to use rightly as this.  There is a line marked out for us between two extremes; but one that it requires great judgement to define.  To avoid persecution by holding our tongues, and keeping our religion entirely to ourselves, is one extreme.  We are not to err in that direction.  To court persecution, and thrust our religion upon everyone we meet, without regard to place, time, or circumstances, is another extreme.  In this direction also we are warned not to err any more than in the other.  Truly we may say, "Who is sufficient for these things?"  We have need to cry to the cry to the only wise God for wisdom.

The extreme into which most men are liable to fall in the present day, is that of silence, cowardice, and letting others alone.  Our so-called prudence is apt to degenerate into a compromising line of conduct, of downright unfaithfulness.  We are only too ready to suppose that it is of no use trying to do good to certain people.  We excuse ourselves from efforts to benefit their souls, by saying it would be indiscreet, or inexpedient, or would give needless offense, or would even do positive harm.  Let us all watch and be on our guard against this spirit.  Laziness and the devil are often the true explanation of it.  To give way to it is pleasant to flesh and blood, no doubt, and saves us much trouble.  But those who give way to it often throw away great opportunities of usefulness."

- Adapted from J. C. Ryle's "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Study The Streams of Civilization

"You will continue to see civilizations rise and fall; times of war and times of peace; and you will watch the world grow still smaller as technology advances. You, the potential leader of your country, have the opportunity to examine these events closely in facing the major world crises today. By so doing you ultimately may be able to influence the direction of future streams of civilization."

- Streams of Civilization, Christian Liberty Press

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Infallibility of the Bible

"...we see that science attests the infallibility of the Bible.   But notice this.  Science does not prove that the Bible is infallible.  The infallibility of the Bible is proved by its divine authorship.  It needs no human proof.   Science can show that particular statements of the Bible are true, but it can never provide an adequate foundation for our belief in an infallible Bible.  Only God can do that."

- Francis Breisch Jr., "The Kingdom Of God", 1958