Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Laud Be to God - A Song

All Laud Be to God

By Mike Erich

To the tune of “How Firm a Foundation” (Foundation)

All laud be to God, enthroned ever above,
All perfect in wisdom with eternal love.
He is spotlessly holy with infinite grace,
With legions of angels beholding His face.

Give praise to the Father, who calls forth the stars,
And sent forth His Son to pay all our arrears.
The ultimate Ruler, o'er all things He reigns,
And none of the nations shall cast off His chains.

Give thanks to the Son, born as man us to save,
Who has borne all our sins and has conquered the grave.
He declar-ed us righteous ‘fore His judgment throne
And will come in the clouds to claim us for His own.

Sing out to the Spirit who dwells now within,
Guides us into truth, breaks the power of sin.
He seals us to God, is the Firstfruits of heaven,
To us power and gifts in Christ’s body has given.

Now let us exalt God, the great Three-in-One,
Co-equal in glory, comparable to none.
Now give Him our worship, our love, and our praise;
To Him may our heart and our voice ever raise.

(Should anyone wish to use this song, permission is granted, provided it is not altered or sold or performed for monetary gain without the author's prior agreement.)  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The One Who Is

When Moses asked God His name, He said, "I am that I am." The most probable meaning of the name of God, Yahweh (more commonly called Jehovah), is "He is." God is the one who simply is. He is eternal; there never was a time when He was not, nor will there be a time when He will not be (Psalms 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1:8). (While the Bible does not directly teach it, it makes sense to understand that God is outside time and sees things in terms of one eternal now.) He does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8). He is the faithful One (Psalms 89:1-5; 36:5,6; Lamentations 3:22-26).

Now a difficulty that immediately confronts us is, what does it mean to say that God does not change? It does not mean that God does not react to the changes of others. God responds to the behavior of people (Jeremiah 18:7-10; Jonah 3:10; 2 Kings 20:1-7). Now God does not change in His nature, His purposes, or His promises. He does not lightly change His mind, without a real reason (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; 2 Corinthians 1:20). But He does respond to the actions of people. Also, God can and does change His outer ways of working when the time comes that it is appropriate to make a change (Colossians 2:16-19; Galatians 4:1-7; Matthew 9:14-17). Therefore, when Christ came, it changed the external observances because He was the fulfillment of what these represented. But God in Himself does not change.

God is the rock bottom thing in the universe on which everything else is based. God is the rock bottom thing of our lives on which everything else is based. He makes the the universe make sense by being the the One that everything came from, rather than having something come out of nothing for no reason (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16,17). He is the source of the physical laws and the explanation of the physical world. He is also the basis of our life and the One who makes it make sense. Now that does not mean it will be easy. In fact, Scripture promises us troubles (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 1 Peter 4:12,13). But we can cling to the faithfulness of God in the midst of troubles (Psalms 46:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 8:35-37). For He is the faithful One who does not change. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Touch of Humor - A Higher Goal

Is there a tendency to refuse to believe there are things that cannot be purchased? Why? How do we avoid it?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Old Erich Proverb - Nothing

God making something out of nothing is more reasonable than nothing making something out of nothing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Voice from the Past - Spurgeon

If a man means to hang himself, he is sure to find a piece of rope somewhere; and when a man means to live in sin, he can find an argument for it even in the infinite mercy of God; but we must not stop our preaching because of that.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, Sermon 2446: "God, and Not Man," What Does It Mean?, X, Evening 3/17/1889, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit

Is this the correct attitude toward God's mercy? How should it affect our response to people?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Greatest Good

The chief modern way approaching morality is to look for the greatest good to the greatest number. This seems to make sense. And it avoids the need for God or any set of transcendent ethical principles. Now the original meaning of good here is pleasure. And this is necessary if they are to avoid adopting some transcendent idea of good. But will this work?

The first question is, how do you justify it? Now the idea has obvious attractions. To believe that what gives the most people the most pleasure is what is moral is a pleasant concept. Like the idea that a hot fudge sundae has no calories. But how do we prove this? And make no mistake, it requires proof. Most of the more traditional forms of morality question it. That does not prove the idea that what is morally right is equal to what brings pleasure is wrong. But it needs some justification. And I know of none other than we happen to find it attractive.

But there is a bigger problem. How can we really determine what constitutes the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people? Even with ourselves this is difficult to determine. Will we in the long run gain more pleasure if we use some restraint, or if we pursue self-indulgence? There is a continual choice between sophisticated and crude pleasures. And if you try to figure out what will give the largest amount of pleasure to the largest number of people, many of whom may have different opinions of what will give them pleasure, it becomes an impossible conundrum. But beyond that, there is the problem that what gives a person pleasure depends on their philosophy of life. That is not just that different people get pleasure from different things, though this is itself a complication, but that the same person with a different outlook on life would get pleasure from different things. So we end measuring how we should live by a flexible yardstick with an unreadable scale.

Also, there is the problem that if we live only for pleasure, there are a number of things that determine how much pleasure we get  from life which are simply out of our control. And particularly for a person who has serious struggles in their life, this becomes something of a mockery. To tell someone with a serious disability or who is trapped in poverty that the purpose of life is to accumulate as much pleasure as possible is a slap in the face. So we really have only two choices; we can throw out morality entirely (which most people are reluctant to do), or we can seek something higher than pleasure to base it on. But living simply for our own pleasure wears awfully thin in the end.