Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Benefits of Stinging Nettle


      Many people find stinging nettle to be  a real nuisance.  I did too, but have since found it to be a blessing in disguise.  My first experience with stinging nettle was as a boy.  My mom liked roses, and Dad had planted a miniature rose on the edge of our property.  I remember the name of the rose was "Robin Hood."  It was a very tiny rose bush.  Being it was planted on the edge of the property, and my parents were so busy, the little rose bush had been neglected and had weeds growing all around it.  The weeds were very tall and thick, and I think it was a little bit of a surprise that the little rose was even alive.  Dad determined to help that little rose from its plight.  It was a pretty significant undertaking because of the magnitude of the wild plants around it, but he had help. Yes, he had me to help.  I tried to be a help, but soon found that the plants I was pulling stung my hands awfully.  I told dad, but he didn't seem to believe the nettles stung that bad, and wanted me to continue.  He was pulling the same plants, but didn't seem to feel a thing; at least nothing like I did.  Dad worked at a lumber mill at one time and often used hand tools in the garden.  His hands had become very callused, and he couldn't feel the nettles well at all.  He urged me to continue.  For me it was torture, and I started to cry.  He sent me to the house.  I ran to the house and washed and washed my hands with water trying to relieve them of the burning.  A short time later, dad came up also.  After weeding a while longer some of the nettle got between his fingers where they weren't callused and he had a little bit of an idea of what I experienced.  He washed his hands also, and apologized for having me pull them without protection for my hands.  This was my introduction to stinging nettle.  I've since learned to like it, and because of this experience, respect it.

      For years, I've studied herbs because of the many uses they have.  It is my belief that there was a plant created for every common aliment of man.  In fact, there was the tree of life that God made that had qualities to keep man alive indefinitely.  This healing tree was taken away from man because of man's rebellion towards his Creator.  We have many plants that have wonderful healing qualities, but none like the tree of life.  I believe the stinging nettle is one of the best plants available to man today.  While many search abroad for hidden treasure, the diamonds often lay buried in their own backyard.  I believe this is the case with stinging nettle.

     One of the reasons I was sold on stinging nettle is the fact that it is one of the plants that are an indicator of rich soil.  Plants like different types of soil, and if you see stinging nettle growing somewhere of its own accord, you can be pretty confident that the soil under it has lots of nutrients.  To me, it only made sense that if the soil is rich in minerals, the plants that grow in it must also share more nutrients.  This goes against the entire medical establishment and current agricultural practices.  The idea that what we eat makes a difference in our bodies health is a counter cultural idea.  I'm open to a lot of counter cultural ideas because I believe a lot of what is happening in our culture is totally backwards.  

     Years back, after seeing the lowly nettle as a friend, my belief in its value for nutrition was confirmed more from a booklet on a magazine rack at a check out counter at a grocery store.   Seeking to avoid the gaudy and sleazy publications, my eyes fell on a little booklet that gave the tip that a tea made from stinging nettle and peppermint could help those suffering with arthritis.  Stinging nettle removes uric acid from the body relieving the body of arthritic pain.  It also contains significant amounts of magnesium and iron.  One thing you will notice when you make nettle tea is that is has a vibrant green color.  This is because of the chlorophyll that it contains which makes it a commercial source of green dye.  I believe the green, chlorophyll is healthful for the body.

Other Uses of Stinging Nettle:
 
     As mentioned, stinging nettle is a source of a natural dye.  The fiber in the stalk of Stinging Nettle was traditionally used for producing a linen-like cloth.  Even the name "nettle" is derived from the term "textile plant."  The leaves are also known to be a good fertilizer.  It is used as an early spring potherb, and can be cooked like other greens.  I've dried and powdered the leaves to add some nutrition to other foods.  If you are looking for a good tea substitute, I think Stinging Nettle fits the bill.  It is my opinion that the mineral content of the tea gives it a smooth taste, without the astringency of regular tea. It is best to harvest stinging nettle in the spring as the leaves are more tender, and it is considered better to harvest it before the inconspicuous flowers bloom.

     Most the time, I harvest Stinging Nettle without gloves, but I am careful how I pick it.  I make sure to not grab the plants between my fingers where the skin is more sensitive.  I've found the broad part of the leaves don't seem to sting as bad as the stems.  I'd recommend wearing gloves for those who are unfamiliar with it.    It is a plant that requires some respect.  It is also a welcome part of spring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More Bumper Stickers!


   A while back, I wrote a post about bumper stickers.  It was pretty fun to write. It looks like a lot of people liked reading it too.  As I drive, I make some effort to read the bumper stickers on the cars surrounding me.  Sometimes they make me smile.  For example, there was one that said, "I'd rather be driving..."  I had a hard time making out what else it said.  Then as I got closer, I noticed it was an advertisement for a local golf course.  He'd rather be driving at the such and such golf course.  It was a fun play on words.  There seemed to be an added element of humor to it because the traffic was heavy and slow as we waited for the traffic lights to change. 

     Many of the bumper stickers I see come from the small city of Ithaca.  There are a number of "Ithaca is..." bumper stickers that have a green background with white print.  I mentioned the "Ithaca is Gorges" sticker last time.  A long while back, there was one that said "Ithaca is Not George's."  This was referring to a former president here in the United States.  If I had to pick an "Ithaca is..." sticker it would be an "Ithaca is Zone 5."  Perhaps it would be primarily avid gardeners, like me, that would appreciate that sticker.    It was a creative local business man, who owns a plant nursery,  that came up with that one.

     "Birth Control Prevents Mini Vans" was on a car touting lots of bumper stickers.  This sticker promotes the fallacy that children are an unprofitable drain on resources and the environment.  In contrast,  there is no greater and valuable asset than children.  The idea that children are not worth sacrificing for is destroying the value system of many, and leaving us with a more solipsistic environment.  Yes, children take resources, but there are not enough resources available to equate to the value of one child.  You can exhaust the resources of every bank in the world and one child is of more value by far.  Worth less than some mini vans and the resources they take?  As someone I know likes to say: "Really?!"

  Here comes a sacred cow of the day: "COEXIST."  This bumper sticker is very creative.  The word "coexist" is a representation of many religions on this sticker.  Each letter is formed as symbols of different religions.  For example, the "c" is a star and crescent which represents Islam, while the "t" looks like a cross representing Christianity.  Its meaning is more than meets the eye.  It is not about just living in peace with other religions.  The idea conveyed is that one religion is as good as another.  This is a sacred cow of the day, but it simply is not true.  It makes nonsense of logic. Christianity is exclusive in nature because Christ made it clear that He is the only way to the Father.  To put other religions on the same level would violate the first two of the Ten Commandments which say in essence: "No Substitutes!"

     Following the same vein is a bumper sticker that said, "God bless the whole world, No exceptions."  God does make His sun to shine on the good and the evil, and sends rain to the just and the unjust, but He makes it pretty clear what nations will be blessed.  "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD" Psalm 33:12.

     Here is a bumper sticker that made me think: "When injustice becomes law, Duty requires rebellion."  That is deep.  There are a lot of injustices today, and people put up with them.  The saying seems to be attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but there is no new thing under the sun.  It was ideas like this that made it possible for America to be established.  There could be an idea that rebelling is fashionable.  This, I think, is the other side of the ditch from the apathy we see.  Because God is the highest authority, there are times that obedience to God makes some ordinances of man irrelevant. 

     "Jesus Saves!"  This bumper sticker is on the car of someone I know.  It's pretty short, but it means a lot more than it looks.  I remember riding in a car by a church building with a boy.  There was a sign near the building which said, "He is Risen!"  The boy said, "That's a funny sign.  It doesn't make any sense."  You see, he didn't know Who it was talking about.  Many people do not know who Jesus is or who He is saving.   Many people that say that they know who Jesus is, don't know what He came to save them from.  Oh, there is so much wrapped up in that little slogan: "Jesus Saves!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Only The Experts



Who Are the Experts?

     We live in a day when "expert" advice is given a high value.  Often the qualifications for the expert are primarily based on the schools the person attended and the degrees earned relating to a field. A true expert does not necessarily have degrees or come from a school that is reputable.  There is no question that for determining quickly if a person is an expert in a field that those qualifications would at least indicate a familiarity with the field he is in.  To get the best advice takes more work and more time than checking the letters printed behind a name.  We could make a difference between an expert and an authority on a subject.  An expert would imply experience in the subject, while being an authority in a matter would imply a broad knowledge in it.  We also would define an authority as one who has power over us.  For my purposes here, the terms of experts and authorities will be used interchangeably. Some people perceive our rulers are experts in the things that the citizen need most.  We want knowledgeable and wise people governing the land, but who is it that determines who is wise?  Thomas Babington Macaulay, a British historian said, "And to say that society ought to be governed by the opinion of the wisest and best, though true, is useless.  Whose opinion is to decide who are the wisest and best?"  We know that majority opinion does not necessarily mean an idea or person is wise.  Some of the worst decisions for leadership have been determined by a majority.  Some of the worst forms of art are enjoyed by a majority. There needs to be a reference point to know what is wise and best.  There is also the consideration that when evaluating a person that every person has many qualities that can not be measured by man made tests.

The Need for Experts
    
     If you are going to have heart surgery, you don't want an amateur surgeon to be working on you.  Most of us wouldn't even want a novice dentist working on our teeth.  We need experts.  The world would not be very nice without them.  If you are making a search  for information on the Internet, you want the information of an expert or someone who knows what he is talking about rather than lots of unfounded opinions.

The Danger of Trusting Experts

     The problem comes when people feel they need experts for everything.  Today, we have some people that say that parents can't make medical decisions for their children, only experts can do that. There is a subtle impression that only experts can make medical decisions, only experts can invest wisely, only experts can tell people what their vocation should be, only experts can understand issues of science, only experts can make laws, and on and on it could go. C.S. Lewis made a good observation when he said, "For who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?"

     Because "experts" have the trust of people, the natural guard that people put up is not there.  If so-and-so said so, it must be true.  I think of Dr. Benjamin Spock.  He had a book that out-sold every other book in the non-fiction category other than the Bible.  Dr. Spock had a saying for mothers that went like this: "You know more than you think you know."  I think there is a lot of truth there in regards to mothers that care about their children.  It sounds the very opposite from what you would expect from an expert.  Experts often like people to know how much they don't know.  Parents trusted Dr. Spock for his parenting advice for childcare because he was recognized as an expert.  One bit of advice he gave was that mothers should lay their babies face down.  The idea behind it was that if you lay them face down that they would be less likely to drown in their own spit up.  It is now believed that this advice is wrong and thousands of babies may have died because of being smothered by having their faces down.  People were taking "expert" advice, but it failed them.
  
The Result of Specialties Because of Experts

     There's an old saying that went like this, "Jack of all trades, and master of one."  It was originally a pretty positive saying. Someone changed it to say "Jack of all trades, and master of none."  Today we see very few Jacks of all trades, but lots experts of one specialty.  As a corporate and welfare mindset besiege us, and fewer people have a trade, many have made it their aim in life to figure out how to get other people to work for them. Butler D. Shaffer, professor at Southwestern University School of Law, observed this about the State when he said, "The State has had a vested interest in promoting attitudes that would tend to make us skeptical of our own abilities, fearful of the motives of others, and emotionally dependent upon external authorities for purpose and direction in our lives."  People will need to work for other people and get advice from authorities, but there seems to be a lot more bosses and "experts" than what are needed.   We can be glad that there are those that have a specialized skill, but there are perspectives that a man with general skills has that a specialist doesn't.  A general family doctor might not have the ability to do everything a specialist could, but he can likely see many things that a specialist couldn't.  Parents might not have all the information that an authority in child training might have, but they know their own children better than any authority or expert.
  
Maneuvering in a World of Experts

     Sometimes we just take the word of experts because we don't want to do our own homework.   Sometimes we simply don't have the means to figure things out ourselves.  It would behoove us to make decisions with the help from many counselors.    There are things that we can figure out without being an expert in every field.  Where we see "experts" diverting from tried and true principles we would be wise to think long and hard before taking their advice. G. K. Chesterton wrote about not taking a fence down unless you know why it was put there in the first place.  We live in a day when "experts" are suggesting a lot of things that contradict tried and true practices.  A lot of good fences are being pulled down. In the end I think we will be asking:
"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Cor. 1:20).

     In the first paragraph of this post, I mentioned we need a reference point to know what makes a person wise.  This reference point must be the Bible because it is there that we find divine wisdom.  As I thought on this subject, a verse resurfaced more than once: "...let God be true, but every man a liar..." Romans 3:4.   In maneuvering in a world of experts, it would be a good practice to see if the places we are getting advice from, no matter how esteemed they are, line up with principles found in Scripture.

Encouragement to the Non-Professional

     While we could get the idea that only "big" people can see big or good results, God uses normal or "little" people that look to Him to do big things.  Jesus chose people that were recognized as being "unlearned and ignorant men" of the day to be His disciples.  The wisest man in the world, Solomon, acknowledged his lack of wisdom before being granted it.  David, a young man, not trained in war, was the one to take on Goliath.

 Take courage, and ask for wisdom.  Wisdom says, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me" Proverbs 8:17.
 
May God grant us wisdom to know when and where to get advice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Freedom From the Rat Race of Life

“Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.”
- A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men
We can find ourselves caught up in our own pursuits
which in the end will take us nowhere.  

      Idleness is the Devil's workshop they say.  There is a lot of truth to that.  Extreme busyness can also be the Devil's workshop.  How many homes might still be together if a father or mother had not spent so much time at work that was beyond what was needed?  Many people seem to be proud of the long hours they spend at their jobs.  There is a satisfaction in earning money with your own hands which is good and proper.  The danger comes when busyness puts us in a rut where we can't even stop to value the things which are most important.  This is a danger that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the sower. He explained the soul threatening dangers of several groups of people. The group that relates well to this subject of busyness is the seed that was planted among the thorns.  I tell people that this group looks like America.  Of course, the meaning of it can be seen universally.  Jesus explained the meaning of this group by saying, "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful" Mark 4:18-19.

     Different people have different situations when it comes to quiet time with God.  I remember a saying that went like this:  Those that love the "church" come to fellowship on Sunday mornings.  Those that love the pastor come to fellowship on Sunday evenings.  Those that love the Lord come together on Wednesday night prayer meeting.  I couldn't help but recognize from some of my own observations that there was some incidental truth to the saying, especially in the first two observations.  There is a danger of making another tradition out of "going to church." There can become a perception that rest of the week belongs to us.  We will find a greater satisfaction in giving God our whole week.  Going to some meeting or program is not what we need to be closer to God.  There is an undue pressure to make people feel guilty for not making it to every program.  For some, there are distractions everywhere, and coming to a program set up by a church fellowship might be just what is needed.  It could act like an oasis of quiet time in their busy lives.   Others might find themselves so divided in their time with religious programs that it takes what little time they might have with the Lord.  The programs could become a care of the world if they are not careful; this is especially true because of the nature of many church services today. For those in this situation, it would be better to scale back the programs and dedicate some time alone with God in His Word. 

     We all have the same amount of hours in a day.  Many of us tend to be very busy.  Those that have a greater demand from others have to space their activities closer together or have more things to say "no" to.  When I was a child, I desired to play piano.  It was suggested that I take lessons from a woman who was great at playing piano, but also known to be very busy.  It was decided by my parents to not ask her because of the consideration of the tight schedule the lady already had. From the considerations made in that decision, I remember my grandpa saying that if you want something to get done, ask someone who is already busy.  They'll get it done. This is speaking of the good character of many that are busy.  It is good to be busy with good things.  It involves wisdom to know what things we should be busy about, and then we all have to decide what to say "no" to.   Let's pray for wisdom.  Let's purpose to say "no" to things that would take time from things of higher purpose.  Business owners recognise that things like social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can hinder their success in business by robbing time from their business activities.  This can also be the case with all of us when it comes to our quiet time.   May we purpose to make a quiet time to be alone with God to be refreshed from Him who gives us living water.  We will find if we weed out those things which cause us unneeded cares that there will be a fruitfulness about our lives as God's word prospers in our lives unhindered by those weeds.  Let's find that quiet time with Him in order to be refreshed so that we may do great things!

The author of the following story is unknown.  It illustrates how Satan could use busy lifestyles.
The Devil’s Convention:
Satan called a worldwide convention.
In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, ’We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.’
‘We cannot keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.’
‘We cannot even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ.’
‘This is what I want you to do angels …
Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!’
‘How shall we do this?’ shouted his angels.
‘Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,’ he answered. ‘Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.’
‘Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children.’
‘As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work!’
‘Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. Keep the TV, VCR, CDs, and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.’
‘Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogues, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.’
‘Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what is important, and they will become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly!’
‘Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week’.
‘Do not let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead.’
‘Keep them busy, busy, busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions.’
‘Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning; but crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus.’
‘Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.’
It will work! It will work!
It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.
I guess the question is has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge!
 
Does ‘busy’ mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Seeing Through And Not Just With The Eye

This past year, I saw an amazing, cloudy sky that gave me a sense of awe.  The colors could not be described with my limited vocabulary.  I snapped a picture of it.  The camera could not capture the true beauty of that sky.  As I considered the beauty of it, I thought of an atheist friend who loved taking pictures of the sky and posting the vividly colorful  photos on his social media site.  He possessed a real appreciation for color.  I thought of how color cannot be explained by vertical Evolution.  The world could function quite well without color, yet our Creator gave us color to enjoy and appreciate.  I suppose God could have given us just enough sight to grope along and not bump into things, but instead, we have been given the ability to even see things like the distant stars.  After I had gazed into that bright, cloudy sky, I thought of the thoughts of a song writer who wrote these words thousands of years ago:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
     I realized that God was sending messages to my friend that could be found in the sky if only he would have the eyes to see them.

     A poet, William Blake, described how people can see things, but miss them this way:

"This life's dim window of the soul
Distorts the heavens form pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye."

     Jesus spoke of how eyes can see things and yet the mind is not always able to see what is seen.  He, the Creator of the eye, asked His disciples, "Having eyes, see ye not?"   They had just seen some outstanding miracles, but still did not grasp those things that He wanted to teach them. 

     When you look into the eyes of a friend, you can usually tell some of how he is thinking about you because the eye has a way of communicating.  The eye is directly connected to the brain.  It is as if it is part of the brain.  When you see the eyes of someone, it is as if you are looking at the brain.  They are like a window of the mind.  John Bunyan in his classic book, The Holy War, spoke of an entryway to the soul of man called Eye-Gate.  Christ spoke of the powerful influence of the eye, and used an illustration of it to help us understand why we need to direct our attention towards Him.  He said,
 "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matthew 6:22-23.
It is sin that causes people to be unable to see God.  In our current state, we cannot see God and live, but when Christ returns and changes our bodies we will be given eyes that will see him. (1 John 3:2)
     Saint Paul encountered Christ on the road to Damascus.  He saw a great light that caused him to be blinded.  While he was blinded physically until he was prayed for by a believer, his spiritual eyes were opened in that encounter with Christ.  In that encounter, Christ gave him a mission to reach the Gentiles and stated this purpose to him...


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Elijah's God Still Lives


[For a number of years I have received papers in the mail with true accounts like this.  They are written by an older gentleman who goes by the name of Brother Norman.  He writes these articles for his local newspaper which prints them regularly. I am sharing this one for readers of this blog to enjoy also.
- Ron]

In the early 1920's a group of seven young Chinese Christian men sailed to a small island off the coast  of China to evangelize the fishing village of Mei-hwa.  It was a pagan village, the people being devoted to the worship of ancient idols that were venerated by their ancestors long ago.  As far as was known, only one Christian lived in the village---- the mid-wife lady, and it was through her urgent invitation that this missionary evangelistic team was there.  The oldest of the seven young men and the leader was destined to go on to become a well known figure in the persecuted Christian church in China and a prolific writer; many of whose books have been translated into English.  His name was Watchman Nee.

     For days this enthusiastic team of evangelists mingled with the people at the market place, preached on the streets, passed out Christian literature, but the best response they could get from the people of the village was just an aloof politeness.

    Finally the youngest of the team, Kuo-chig Lee shouted at the crowd in frustration, "Why don't you people believe on the Lord Jesus?"

    "Oh, we do believe in our great king, Ta-Wang.  He never fails us."

     Kuo-ching questioned the people further about this god and he learned that every year on January 11th they held an elaborate festival to honor Ta-Wang.  They took his massive idol from its temple and paraded it through the streets. They feasted and rejoiced and made music and worshiped this idol.  They had done this for 286 years and Ta-Wang had always provided them with beautiful weather for that day.  It had not rained on January 11th for 300 years, they boasted. 

     Impulsively Kuo-ching cried out, "Then I promise you that our God, who is the true God, will make it rain this year on January 11th," he announced in a loud voice.

      The crowd took up his challenge. Say no more," they replied, "If it rains on the 11th then this Jesus Christ you speak of is God and we will listen to what you say about Him.  Now we will see."

     When the seven evangelists were all together again and Kuo-ching related what he had done, there was much consternation among them.  For one thing, January 11th was only two days away.  For another thing, this was one of those parts of the world where dry periods and rainy periods were fairly predictable---- and this was the dry period.

     Watchman Nee's first thought was to chide Kuo-ching for his impulsiveness, but instead he went aside to pray about the matter.  As he prayed, he thought of the Biblical account in I Kings, chapter 18, of the prophet Elijah challenging the priests of the false god, Baal. He proposed that both he and they would build an altar---- he to Jehovah God and they to Baal.  They would lay out wood on both altars for fuel and sacrifices on top of the wood, but neither would put fire to the wood.  "The God who sends fire to consume His own sacrifice, let Him be God," Elijah challenged. The Baal worshipers went first and yelled themselves hoarse for several hours praying and chanting and begging Baal to light their fire.  All to no avail.  Elijah first called for barrels of water to be poured over his sacrifice---- making it more difficult to burn---- then prayed a brief prayer of calm faith... and whoosh! Heavenly fire suddenly consumed water, wood, sacrifice and even altar stones!  God whispered to Watchman Nee's spirit, "I still live, I can do this."

     January 11th dawned bright and clear.  Not a cloud in the sun-lit sky.  The festivities began as planned.  The pagan priests got their idol out and started up the street with it.  Everything was set up for a triumphant celebration that would demonstrate the superiority of Ta-Wang over the "new" foreign God.

     Suddenly a huge rain drop was heard hitting a tile roof.  Then another and another!  It was a tropical deluge.  The priest toting Ta-Wang slipped and fell on the rain slick street.  Poor Ta-Wang hit the pavement so hard he broke his head and one arm off.  By the time the rain stopped, water stood in the streets level with the porches on the houses.

    Undaunted, the pagan priests patched up Ta-Wang and said they had made a mistake and the feast was supposed to have been on the 14th that year.  But at exactly the hour they named for the festivities to start on the 14th, another torrential downpour began and Ta-Wang got another undignified soaking.

     The power of false religion was broken on the island of Mei-hwa and a great number of people responded to the Gospel, resulting in a strong church.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Come, Desire of Nations, Come


When Christ first came, few recognized Him
as King, but when He comes again every
knee will bow.
     Economic ruin, crime, and politicians that make it an occupation to lie are a few of the news items we've grown accustom to.  I don't think it is just me that is ready for a change for the better.  It is exciting looking back in history and seeing times of revival where whole towns were transformed.  The broken homes were healed and vices like gambling and alcohol lost their grip on peoples lives.  These things happened because Christ came into their towns and became their Prince of Peace.  When Christ first came to this earth, he came as a servant and showed us how to live.  When he comes the second time he will come as King.     
"The government shall be upon His shoulder" Isaiah 9:6
    When things are put on the shoulder they are usually very heavy.  Christ took the heavy burden of the cross for us upon His shoulder.  This verse is the antithesis of that because Christ's shoulder in this verse is the symbol of authority.  And unlike Moses, who said he was unable to manage a great number of people, Christ is up for the task.  As we see the princes of this world say," Let us break His bands and cast away His cords from us," the Son promises that He will break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.  The warning to the rulers of men is to "kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little."  To those who humble themselves before Him they find that He is the Prince of Peace.  He came as a baby in swaddling clothes, but we will see him a man with clothes of royalty and hair that is white.  The baby in a manger is the Ancient of Days and reigns supreme. My favorite Christmas carol, Joy to the World, cries out this time of year with the words: "Let every heart prepare Him room."  Our hearts need lots of room because He has a big throne.

     The carol, Joy to the World, is not even about the first coming of Christ, but his second.   I think Joy to the World is my favorite carol because it is expresses the rule of Christ in present tense and as you sing it thinking about the words it gives the feeling of things being made right even now .  It is a little bit of a foretaste of things to come. This carol brings perspective on the first coming though.  It makes us stand in wonder at the power that Christ reserved and leaves us with the knowledge that He rightly should have been received with gladness rather than rejected.  He will yet get the glory His is due as another carol, Hark the Herald Angels, says, "Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!"  and "Come, Desire of Nations, come, fix in us thy humble home."  How humbling it is that He would make my heart His Home!