Selected Sunday Scriptures- #144

Today’s post will draw heavily from the Psalms. First we have Psalm 141:

I call upon thee, O Lord; make haste to me!
    Give ear to my voice, when I call to thee!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee,
    and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice!

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord,
    keep watch over the door of my lips!
Incline not my heart to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity;
    and let me not eat of their dainties!

Let a good man strike or rebuke me in kindness,
    but let the oil of the wicked never anoint my head;
    for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,
    then they shall learn that the word of the Lord is true.
As a rock which one cleaves and shatters on the land,
    so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.

But my eyes are toward thee, O Lord God;
    in thee I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap which they have laid for me,
    and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked together fall into their own nets,
    while I escape.

(Psalm 141)

I love this Psalm, as it teaches a great deal about humility. It reminds us that we must rely on God, and have no power to compel Him. We are entirely reliant on His love for us, with no means of enforcement. It cautions us about the dangers of the tongue, and how our words lead to sin. It reminds us to watch our company, and choose well. And of course, perhaps most importantly, it tells us that it can be a good thing to be rebuked, even violently. For such chastisement can also be love as well.

Then we have Psalm 146″

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have being.

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
When his breath departs he returns to his earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners,
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless;
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign for ever,
    thy God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

(Psalm 146)

This Psalm is hopeful, but also contains some important warnings. It reminds us not to trust too much in human beings, who are weak and prone to error. After all, we are all doomed to die, and with that death our plans come to nothing. At the same time, if we trust in God, we will not be disappointed. For the Lord saves us, and protects those who are vulnerable.

Finally, a snippet from the Gospel of Matthew:

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

(Matthew 19:13-15)

I find it funny, in a dark way, how many human beings act like children. But not in the way that Jesus meant. Rather than be trusting and innocent, like these children, instead people are immature and rebellious. It is a reminder that maturity is about more than just age- but how we act.

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Saturday Saints- #137

I am going to resume this series after almost 9 months of absence. Until I think of a better way of doing it, I will go alphabetical again. Our saint today is one of the early Fathers of the Church, Ambrose of Milan:

Aurelius Ambrosius[a] (c. 340 – 397), better known in English as Ambrose (/ˈæmbrz/), was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was the Roman governor of Liguria and Emilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374. Ambrose was a staunch opponent of Arianism.

Traditionally, Ambrose is credited with promoting “antiphonal chant”, a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other, as well as with composing Veni redemptor gentium, an Advent hymn.

He was also interested in the condition of contemporary Italian society.

Ambrose was one of the four original Doctors of the Church, and is the patron saint of Milan. He is notable for his influence on Augustine of Hippo.

Much, much more can be found out about this influential saint at his wiki, located here.

ambroseofmilan

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The Knowledge Base Spreads

A long time reader and commenter has clued me in to a series on the Orthodox Blog “Russian Faith” concerning attracting a spouse. The first post in the series is “How to Attract a Christian Spouse-Marriage Advice from a Christian Dad.” The author cites my LAMPS/PSALM model favorably at one point, although he adds on a final S to include Spirituality. I think I will respond to that point sometime later, as it is good to understand what my model is, and what my model isn’t.

He then wrote a follow up post, title Attractiveness: Beauty is Not Just On the Inside. It is very Un-PC in all of the right ways. A snippet from it:

A woman’s physical attractiveness is the most immediate and pressing point of interest to most men. Morally and spiritually, this can be quite dangerous — we all know very attractive women whose spiritual lives are a mess — but attractiveness itself is central to attraction by most men (whether godly or not).

A young lady may be a devout Christian, but if she is not physically attractive, the vast majority of men will pass her over.

This is absolutely true, and something which unfortunately is not taught enough in Christian circles (of any faith tradition). The reverse is of course true for men as well, and is one of the reasons why we have the Christian side of the ‘sphere.

One thing I found very striking about the second post is the photos. They showcase beautiful women who are very feminine and modest in appearance. Not the vulgar “sexiness” the world loves to push out.

I will be curious to see where the author takes the remaining posts. At the same time, I am already pleased to see this kind of article happen. Especially because it showcases my LAMPS/PSALM model and the understanding that goes with it. Hopefully more Christian outlets will take advantage of those kinds of resources in the future.

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A Reminder And An Update

A reader recently sent me an e-mail in which he questioned whether I should link to manosphere sites out of concern that it might other readers to occasions of sin. He suggested, at the very least, a warning message. Now, I think I have posted them in past, but the suggestion got me thinking.

Anyone who has any experience with the internet should know that it can lead to occasions of sin. There is no escaping it. Whatever the sin, you can and will easily find something to set it off. That is the danger of the internet. Therefore anyone who uses the web should be aware of this. Caveat Emptor and all that. People just need to use their smarts and understand that dangers are out there. And then take steps to compensate.

All the same, now is a good time to remind anyone reading my blog that a link, either in a post or in my blogroll, is not an endorsement of everything you will find in/on a blog. I link it because I think it has some value to my readers. Or can have value. I might disagree with everything else someone says, but that particular piece is worth reading- for whatever reason.

As for the update, I apologize for the lack of posts this whole year. I have been stretched very thin lately, between work and other matters I have very little free time. Mostly I have been focusing that small amount of time on things which relax me. Unfortunately the ‘sphere is not one of them. Hopefully I will have less burdens in the near future, and can devote more time. There is still a lot to discuss in this particular area.

In the spirit of olden times, and to generate some discussion (and controversy), I leave readers with something to ponder/discuss/debate:

Women exist in a perpetual state of contradiction.

Otherwise stated, women live their lives continuously pulled in different directions by different motive forces (appetites, instincts, desires, wishes, dreams, etc.). This explains their (to men at least) apparent contradictory and confusing nature.

 

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #143

I hadn’t realized it had been as long as it had since I posted. Hopefully no one was getting worried. The first passage today is from Acts, and is the ultimate resolution of the Council of Jerusalem:

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsab′bas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, 23 with the following letter: “The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cili′cia, greeting. 24 Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us in assembly to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

(Acts 15:22-29)

This passage is always a valuable one to keep in mind, as it shows the Apostles and elders of the Church exercising their authority over believers. In this age of everyone believing whatever they want to believe, a sign of order and authority is invaluable.

Next a passage from the Letter of St. James:

19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20 for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

(James 1:19-25)

Our faith is meant to be a dynamic, living thing. If we are not expressing it in our lives daily, then it is dead. And so are we, once our time upon this world ends.

Finally, a Psalm with a reminder about the importance of humility:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a child quieted at its mother’s breast;
    like a child that is quieted is my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and for evermore.

(Psalm 131)

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #142

I have been talking with one of my readers lately about the problem of peer groups, which are ostensibly full of “righteous” people, supporting sin and attacking those who point it out. This got me thinking about when similar situations occurred in Scripture. One example I can think of is found in the Gospel of John:

45 Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” 46 The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” 47 Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? 48 Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus[q] before, and who was one of them, asked, 51 “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” 52 They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”

(John 7:45-52)

Indeed, this is a problem which has been with the Church since the beginning. St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians had, as one purpose, correcting a situation where the church there was supporting a sinful situation.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing.[a] When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.[b]

Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister[c] who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

(1 Cor 5)

One can imagine the incredulity of Paul while writing this. One can also, I think, imagine that his letter was not well received back in Corinth. But he wasn’t concerned with whether they liked him or not. His concern was the Truth. And that should be our concern as well. And if that costs us “friends”, then I think I stand on firm ground in saying they were never true friends in the first place.

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Blog Update

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone, but work and life has kept me occupied.  Every time I try and sit down to write, something comes up that keeps me away from the computer. Hopefully I will be able to find some time this coming week to get something written.

 

In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a good Paschal season.

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