Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bach BMV645 - Sleepers Awake.

This is like being in heaven. What joy to listen to Bach and to hear this talented lady interpret it. It moves me to tears and never bores me. I have been listening to many versions of this many times over.

It is music fit to welcome the King of our Salvation.

Why settle for dried fish when you can get a steak?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Acts of God

A long time ago, I heard of a book authored by Rabbi Harold Kushner, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". This book begs the question in the first place, are there "good people"? Yet there is a much bigger question, "Why Good Things Happen to Bad People"? I am getting side tracked.

We can expect, the more we live longer, the more hardship we will see and experience, that is for sure.

I am a migrant to Australia, but I grew up in a country often visited by national disasters. To be specific, it is mainly typhoons that flood Manila. Last year, 2009, it got hit by no less than 4 typhoons, displacing millions with many lives lost.

When calamities strike, like the tsunamis and earthquakes we hear in today's news, we are tempted to ask, has God something to do with this?

How should you answer such a question? Would you prefer to say it was just an accident, a fluke of nature? On the other hand, I question, well, why won't God have anything to do with this? Is there something that God is not aware of? Does not God see the sparrow that falls dead to the ground? Why won't God have anything to do with such a thing? Are we not Christians, but then why do we answer such questions like Deists?

Jesus' disciples seemed to ask a similar question about well known disasters of their day in Luke 13.

Luke 13

1There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Answering the Pietist in us, I notice Jesus did not say they were worst sinners than the rest and that is the reason for their misfortune. Hence, in a way Jesus is answering Pat Robertson. In other words, you do not have to be extremely vile for bad things to happen to you, being a plain vanilla sinner is enough for you to get the disaster.

But I also see Jesus answering the Antinomian amongst us. He said unless you repent, you will, like them, perish or suffer the same fate. He did not say, it was an accident. God had nothing to do with it, Jesus did not succumb to such speculations. And mind you, labeling such calamities as shear accidents is easier and more politically correct. Telling people to repent is a bit cruel, if you know what I mean.

When we hear of disasters, should they not strike fear that such incidents can happen upon us?For clearly God had something to do with the typhoons, the earthquakes and tsunamis. Should we not ask, why are we spared (at least for now)? Humbling ourselves in front of God, we admit we are worthy of eternal and temporal punishment, we are worthy of the calamities to come upon us and a wonder, why we at the moment are in the position of helping those struck by the misfortune.

While helping our fellowmen, perhaps we should at the same time be repenting towards God and trust in the Lord Jesus that for his sake, we have the favor and mercy of God. Then, perhaps my/our disasters do not have to remain that way.

God bless.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Future side of righteousness

I was reading St. Paul on Galatians 4, when this verse struck me:

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

I have read the NT several times but as the old adage goes, it is like a treasure box, you go back to it and there is always something that it teaches you even though you might have read it countless times.

The Word of God assures us that for Christ's sake, God reckons us the righteousness of Christ upon faith in his atoning work, and not before. There is also the future aspect of this reckoning which the Word of God is assuring us - as St. Paul says, through the Holy Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. This future aspect of God's promise happened to Abraham too, he already believed God when he was promised, but there was an aspect of waiting for the fruition of that promise.

Is it not good to hear that it did not say "For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness according to works"?

If God's Word is not capable of assuring us, nothing will do. We will just be chasing our tails with no relief. I struggle with doubts from time to time and I am tempted many times to look away from where I can find peace - God's Word.

I remember a gentleman sometime ago who told me that God was already treating Abraham righteous even before Abraham believed. I objected to this, I quoted Gen 15: 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

He pointed out to me that the fact that God was speaking with Abraham, God was already treating him as righteous. Now, you will search high and low from Scripture and you will not find what this gentleman claims he believes God was doing prior to Gen 15:6. What he means is that God treats people as righteous even though they are unbelievers. Now this is a different category and all we need to do is look at John 3:16. God makes his sun shine on the just and the unjust; the fact that God's sun is shining on the unbeliever does not imply that he is treating the unbeliever no longer condemned and no longer under his wrath. IMHO, to conclude such a thing is a great blunder in logic.

The said gentleman was not arguing from Scripture, he was arguing from reason, rationalizing what could not be sustained.

To the point: It is then the Holy Spirit who helps us wait for this hope of righteousness, such a hope is created by the Holy Spirit once again, through His Word.

God be praised for he supplies what we do not have but we need - hope and righteousness.

God bless.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Careful who you like

A dear young man has been having good friendship with a young lady. He has begun to really like this young woman and the young woman likes him very much too.

I was speaking to him last week. He shared how he was so heart broken when the young woman shared what she did. She posed nude in one of those smut magazines, warts and all. I do not need to elaborate.

I felt the great hurt and disappointment of this young man as he shared with me his great sadness.

This is a porn generation.

I pity the young people today. There is no category called decency anymore. Who knows, the girl you like may have some sex video with her former beau?

The young people of today can no longer be secure.

But sometimes I wonder if I should bother, looks like they can simply get over it.