Sunday, April 21, 2019

THE CROSS AND THE CROWN


FRIEND KIM RAISED THE QUESTION:  

How has the Risen Savior affected your way of thinking and living....
Easter Sunday found me awaking to the strains of Isaac Watts going through my head, time and again. It comes via his musical response to R. E. Hudson’s poetic meditation. I find it in my old 1940 Broadman Hymnal, edited by B. B.McKinney, longtime Professor at the School of Music where I was blessed to spend five years in Seminary (SWBTS (P. 112). Southwestern was not my church Family but those years affirmed a common faith all Christ Followers share in common – one faith, one Lord, one baptism (Eph 4). Read slowly … thoughtfully … personally, and note the markings.

Alas, and did my Saviour bleed?
And did my Sovereign die? 
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I have 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 creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
‘Tis all that I can do.
_____ Chorus_____

At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

But that was not the end! THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END. .  In words that may not be quite as well known as those of Watts, are those of Matthew Bridges and George J. Elvey.

Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul and sing
Of Him who died for thee;
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Thro’ all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of love!
Behold His hands and side—
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his wondering eye
At mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of life!
Who triumphed o’er the grave;
Who rose victorious to the strife
For those He came to save:
His glories now we sing,
Who died and rose on high;
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of heaven!
One with the Father known,
One with the Spirit through Him given
From yonder glorious throne!
To Thee be endless praise
For Thou, for us hast died;
Be Thou, O Lord, through endless days
Adored and magnified.

ALL BECAUSE, He stepped out of the tomb and into my life…I bow in worship.
This is walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 7, 2019

THE SPLINTER AND THE LOG


Years ago, Pastor Bill Siebert told a story I find quite ageless in its scope and application (VC/7-10-1966).  He described Jim, a man he knew, that was suffering from high blood pressure. Jim felt good and looked perfectly fine, but he had a way of tossing common sense to the four winds and indulging himself on his wife’s good cooking.

The doctor warned Jim he was overweight he needed to exercise some precaution. Nonetheless, Jim loved to eat!  Jokingly, he occasionally remarked, “Oh, well, you only live here once, you might as well enjoy good food.”

But now,  Jim was dead at forty-five. As a leader of youth in the local church, it was Jim that reminded the youth of the bible teaching that raises the question that asks, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God and ye are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19).

Jim was the leader of a teen-age group that decided to stop smoking. He said, “We have seen films on TV on lungs infected with cancer, and after talking it over we have decided to give it up. Since our parents don’t have the willpower to set us a good example by stopping smoking, we decided to set them one”

Seibert then added this observation: perhaps this will be necessary in the weight department as well! You see, Jim was but forty-five and just a week before his demise the pastor described him as “the salesman that looked more like an all-American halfback.”

Simultaneously, Jim’s two sons stood wide-eyed at poolside while dad vigorously swam the length of the local YMCA swimming pool several times.

It had only been a year since Jim and his family moved into the local community but that move had been a special blessing to the local church and to the Youth Group in particular. The Youth Group jumped from fifteen to sixty-five. That was the way it was with Jim said his boss. He described him as one with a magnetic personality - “He simply draws people to himself.”

Now Jim was dead! Pondering Jim’s departure, Seibert noted the inconsistency of quitting smoking and over-indulging with food and suggested his friend Jim had, in a very real sense, killed himself. He did it, “not with a gun or a rope around his neck” he had “committed suicide with a knife and a fork and his wife’s best cooking.”

It is too easy to emphasize a scripture teaching in one context and be very inconsistent in another context. Perhaps we all need to pray in this manner: Lord: give me the wisdom to live life consistently while also living it fully.

It is simple  to see the splinter in the other person’s eye but, oh so difficult, to see the log in our own eye. This is… walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE, IN OUTLINE

I. INTRODUCTION----------------------------------------1:1-4
II. THE SAVIOR ANNOUNCED----------------------    5—2:52 
              A. Annunciation to Zacharias                                               1:5-25                                                      
              B. Annunciation to Mary                                                        1:26-56
              C. Birth of John                                                                         1:57-80
              D. Birth of Jesus                                                                       2:1-20
              E. Jesus presented  in the temple                                         2:21-40
              F. Visit to Jerusalem                                                                 2:41-52

III. THE SAVIOR APPEARS------------------------------3:1—4:15
              A. Introduction of John the Baptist                                      3:1-20
              B. Baptism of Jesus                                                                  3:21-22
              C. The Genealogy                                                                     3:23-38
              D. The Temptation                                                                   4:1-13
              E. Entrance into Galilee                                                           4:14-15

IV. THE MINISTRY OF THE SAVIOR------------------ 4:16—9:50
             A. Definition of Jesus; Ministry                                         4:16-44
            B. Proofs of Jesus’ power                                                  5:1--6:11
            C. Choice of Jesus’ Apostles                                             6:12-19
            D. Digest of Jesus ‘ Teaching                                            6:20-49
            E. Cross-section of Jesus’ Ministry                                   7:1--9:17                                                         F. Climax of Jesus’ Ministry    

V. ENROUTE TO THE CROSS-------------------------- 9:51—18:30
              A. Perspective of the cross                                                     9:51-62
              B. Ministry of the Seventy                                                      10:1-24
              C. Popular Teaching                                                                 10:25—13:21
              D. Public Debate                                                                       13:22—16:31
              E. Instruction of Disciples                                                       17:1—18:30

VI. THE SUFFERING SAVIOR --------------------------18:31—23:56
              A. Progress toward Jerusalem                                          18:31—19:27  
            B. Entry into Jerusalem                                                    19:28-44
            C. Teaching in Jerusalem                                                 19:45—21:4
            D. The Olivet Discourse                                                   21:5--38
            E. The Last Supper                                                           22:1-38
            F. The betrayal                                                                  22:39-53
            G. The arrest and  trial                                                      22:54—23:25
            H. The Crucifixion                                                            23:26-49
             I. The burial                                                                      23:50-55

VII. THE RESURRECTED SAVIOR -------------------- 24:1-53
              A. The empty Tomb                                                          24:1-12
             B. The walk to Emmaus                                                    24:13-35
             C. The appearance to the Disciples                                   24:36=43
             D. The Last Commission                                                   24:44-49
             E. The Ascension                                                              24:50-53

*** walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

FINISHING MY RACE

A story that resonates deeply with me is that of John Akhwari. As the story goes, only a few thousand spectators remained in Mexico City’s stadium at 7 pm, Oct 20, 1968. Mamo Wolde, was the 26-year old Ethiopian who had won the 26 mile, 385 yard marathon event just an hour earlier, then the others finished.

As those remaining prepared to leave the stadium, sirens and police whistles suddenly turned every-one’s eyes toward the gate. A long figure wearing Tanzanian colors entered the stadium. It was that of John Stephen Akhwari. Akhwari hobbled around the 400 meter track as best he could. His leg was bloodied and bandaged from a bad fall he had experienced earlier. He grimaced with every step he took.

On seeing the long figure approach the finish, the crowd remaining arose and applauded as if he were the winner. After crossing the finish line, Akhwari walked slowly away.In view of his injury and with no chance to win a medal, one curio
us soul asked John Akhwari why had he bothered to finish the race, why he had not quit the race. He only reply was this piece of wisdom: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

Your faith, mixed with good old grit and determination and common sense has brought you this far. Being a good Christian steward means much more than making a good start (cf I Peter 4:10). The biblical writer of Hebrews reminds us “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). He further reminds us (12:4) of the crowd of witnesses who have already completed the race and crossed the finish line.

And so, what is the message for us? It is the wisdom spoken by this young Tanzania: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

From walkingingwithwarner.blogspot.com
Our challenge is to finish well the race to which the Lord of our lives has called each of us.
I for one, plan to finish as best able that which I have started.

What about you?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

FOR BETTER, NOT WORSE

Kody & Liz and Austin and Kelsi --Newly-Wedded 





Pastor Boyer delivered a fervent procla-mation of the Church as the Bride of Christ and concluded by requesting a couple seated near the front of the sanctuary to step forward and stand before him. He then led them through their “I Do’s” as he officeated their wedding vows in front of 350 Sunday worshippers at Northside St Louis, MO Church of God.



Following their greeting the congregants while standing beside the Pastor, Associate Pastor Amanda Patton (retired) invited the newlyweds to dinner at her daughter’s home. A happy afternoon followed; complete with an impromptu wedding cake. Later the newlyweds returned to their suburban Belleville bedroom-with-kitchen-privileges, convinced that homes like theirs form the cornerstone of the nation. That was Spring, 1947,shortly after World War Two and we were happy to be together, although BLT sandwiches were the best we could afford at times. Following our military time, we struggled with low income jobs, major health problems and the demands of higher education. Four years into marriage we bought our first car, had our first baby, and simultaneously received that coveted first degree.

Since then, we have observed an increaseingly mobile society decentralize our nation’s families, disconnecting many from their moral moorings. We began as two, in-creased to four, then six. Time watched us transition to nine with a tenth expected and one depart into heaven.

These were years of watching eroding and warping family values, when a quarter-million unwed mothers annually averaged sixteen years of age, forty to sixty percent pregnant on their wedding day. The widening stream of marital melancholy  broadened and deepened into an  overflowing torrent of personal grief, marital instability, abuse and mayhem.

Many Christians  no longer viewed marriage as viable, with little insight into biblical marriage and family life. One troubled teenager confessed,

“I married in haste, and I’m regretting it in leisure. I am seventeen and a half years old. I am five feet ten inches tall. I weigh one hundred forty-five pounds. Physically, I am a woman. And I would have to say – I did say, over and over-that when I married Bill … at age sixteen years and five months, I was mature.”



Marriage follows a courtship that calls for a recipe requiring three ingredients to be anything more than a half-baked cake:

1) Preparation. Look before you leap! Many people prepare better for their driver’s license than for their marriage license.

2) Commitment. The right kind of court-ships do not dock in Reno, meaning that a serious relationship must have a true commitment that results in a mutual covenant.

3) Faith. True marriage builds on a foundation of faith that reaches upward into a triangle that puts God at the apex, where he alone adds the sacredness needed in every wedding vow.

PREPARATION

One cannot make too much preparation in readying to commit one’s self. Simply said, one needs to look before leaping. Humpty Dumpty in LOOKING THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS reproached Alice for her rate of growth. “I never asked about growing,” exclaimed Alice indignantly!

“Too proud?” inquired Humpty Dumpty. “I mean,” Alice responded, “that one cannot help growing old.”
“One can’t, perhaps, but two can,” came the reply, and here is the Ode to Marriage, beautiful and true; “two can.”

Universal, compulsory, standardized views of marriage encourage today’s youth to marry and to value themselves primarily for marriageability, but many waste their energy by valuing themselves only by marital rating and adjustment. Couples contemplating marriage will, however, take comfort knowing Metropolitan Life Insur-ance reported four times as many bachelors die of tuberculosis as married men, three-to-four times as many die of influenza and pneumonia. Widowers and divorced men remain three times more accident prone than husbands.

Jackie Loughery. 1952 Miss America, revealed the innermost aspiration of most young women when she confessed,

“I concentrate on my acting career and hope everyone will forget that I once won a beauty contest. Although getting ahead in show business is my main interest in life, I know in my heart—like all women—that a career at best is a poor substitute for a loving husband.”

Comedian Jack Durant advised  Las Vegas visitors to marry early in the day so a divorce would not ruin their whole day. there is more to life than marriage and more to marriage than sex, and some should not marry until they change, but should the church accept divorce?

Paul’s interpretation of Jesus is, “Let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches” (I Cor. 7:17). The Church needs to be less negative with divorced people and far more positive about premarital preparation.

COMMITMENT

Christian marriage brings two people for-saking all others and themselves, to commit to each other permanently. The Old Testament allowed divorce only because of the madness of men’s hearts (cf Mt. 19:1-15 JBP).

The issue was not the divorce per se; under discussion was the man’s role in marriage. Jesus expected the man to make a commitment to his partner that went further than burned toast. Marriage without commitment provides a contract but builds no re-lationship. Contrary to common practice, Jesus protected the women and children, both in and out of marriage. Rabbi Hillel allowed divorce for any cause and Rabbi Shammai allowed it only in for unchastity. The Jews were divided on the issue, but Jesus never veered from his concept of commitment.

“Is divorce too easy?” writer Howard Whitman asked a judge. “I think marriage is too easy,” the judge replied.


Commitment to one’s marriage becomes an act of obedience to God. Although most people are capable of marriage, not many are prepared for it, as Jesus implied: “It is not everybody who can live up to this” replied Jesus, ‘—only those who have a special gift. For some are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made incapable by the actions of men, and some have made for themselves so for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it” (Mt. 19:12 JBP).

MOST WEDDING VOWS SAY, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Christian marriage builds a three-fold relationship that is social, physical, and spiritual. Parenthood provides fulfillment for the physical needs of marriage and the human task of replenishing the earth. As a law of creation, marriage remains open to all.

From a Christian perspective, the spiritual principle holds: only a total and absolute commitment fulfills the marriage ideal (I Cor. 7:3-4). Ideally, a couple entrusts to each other the very best of what they themselves are, all that they may become, and they leave no back doors open. While society holds the door open for all to marry, not all should marry, not without making some changes.

Christian marriage is a miracle of  God. It requires partnership with God as the medi-ator. There can be no ideal marriage with a selfish spouse. Marriage means a lifetime of sharing love unselfishly, concerning itself with the spouse as unconditionally as with one’s own self.

There can be no ideal marriage with a spouse mocking the marriage-bond by sipping irresponsibly from the cup of  love. Such sin only adds misery to the marriage; meaninglessness to men, worthlessness to women, and casualty to children.  Thinking of the immature, Rosalind Russell once quipped, Too many youngsters are setting out on the matrimonial seas before they have learned basic seamanship.”

The church that takes divorce seriously will constructively work at preparing couples for marriage. When a Christian and a non-believer marry, conflicts of faith just will naturally result (I Cor. 7:32-35). When a Christian single dates anyone s/he would not wish to marry, s/he risks emotional involvement that often leads to serious marital conflict of interest. Churches that take seriously the causes of divorce will take even more seriously the needs for preparation for marriage, since insufficient preparation is a major cause of divorce. As suggested earlier, a driver’s license seem-ingly requires more preparation than a marriage license .

Religious faith pffers another key factor. Some say couples have a six-hundred per-cent better chance to succeed when they attend the same church and when they take their religious faith seriously. Others claim common interests improve one’s chances by fifteen percent However, the divorce rate is said to increase nine times when the couple is acquainted fewer than six months.

Finance and Sex each contribute signify-cantly to marital bliss, or failure. Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg may well depend upon the chick he marries. Dr. Irving Sands concluded that premarital sex by females blighted their emotions. A certain gossip columnist reported, “For about fifteen years I have been the confidant of /broadway abnd Hollywood actors and actresses who have opportunities to live a promiscuous … life. And some of them … to the hilt … But when they trust you and let down their hair, they will confess how frustrating and unsatisfying it all is.”

The sex impulse involves the deepest emotional levels and cannot be measured by an IBM computer. Without minimizing the physical side of marriage, the marital re-lationship depends more on the merger of one spirit with the other, than upon glandular satisfaction. This suggests compatibility depends more upon emotion-al satisfaction than upon sexual adjustment.

Immaturity provides a powerful area of marital stress. When emotional adjust-ments are poor, sex problems become exaggerated. “What’s Mrs. Monday kicking about,” Mr. Monday asks. “She’s getting her share. I’m providing her a good income and paying the blls. Does she want the world with a picket fence around it.”

Marriage entitles Mrs. Monday to emotional stability with economic support, a normal sex life and children, companionship and normal social interaction. If Mr. Monday has no will to provide them, he has no right to marry. Even before marriage, experience suggests emotionally heathy girls usually reject sex without love and that persistent petting  does exist among those most neurotic.

FAITH
Looking back; we see our preparation and commitment would have been inadequate without a strong faith. Ideal marriage becomes a conspiracy with God. Greatness did not come to Moses by accident. His parents conspired with God (trusted in time of trouble) and birthed a son through whom God could initiate the Exodus.  Giving personal  priority to God’s will and faithfully maintaining one’s relationship with God does much to build a lasting relationship (I Cor. 7:29-31). Successful marriages seldom happen by accident.

Successful marital partners strive consistently for excellency of self: “Make love your aim,” advised Paul (I Cor. 13). There can be no conspiring with God without worship-ping together--regularly. The couple that marries for keeps will avoid the obvious dangers of falling out of love.

When God holds his rightful place in the marriage, the two equals can submit equally and mutually. Husbands will love their wives realistically, but sacrificially, purposefully, willfully and absolutely (Eph. 5:22-31). Wives will be subject to, but never inferior to, their husbands. He is subject to, but not superior to, his wife. The law legalizes marriage and provides a protective environment for procreation, but marital stay-ability comes only through God’s presence to make the relationship a mutual journey of faith.

The marriage that puts God first becomes a quest with each spouse walking the High-way of the Kingdom of God. Without God, marriage as man’s masterpiece easily crumbles into a meaningless muddle that lacks in preparation, in commitment, and in faith with which to maintain it.

This is walkingwithwarner

remembering the three to twelve months Medical expertise promised my bride of four months. God alone transformed months into years, until they became 70.5 years and he honored her “I do” and agreeably called her home_____