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A Psalm For Mr. Trump

trumpMany years ago when I was having difficulty with someone a lady referred me to Psalm 35. I had never read it before, and was amazed that someone in the Bible would be so passionate in his  denunciation of his enemies, to the point of asking God to destroy them. I found out the Bible is not all sweetness and light. But it is all truth.

The person in the Bible pleading with God for the annihilation of his enemies was King David. We don’t know exactly what experience prompted David to write this Psalm, but we do know that a number of years passed between the time Samuel the priest anointed David to be king until he actually took the throne. During those years Saul was king over Israel. Initially Saul accepted David. Saul even gave David his daughter to be his wife.

Eventually Saul developed a deep hatred of David, and tried to kill him many times. David was on the run for his life for a season. He had the opportunity more than once to kill Saul, but he wouldn’t do it. You can read about it in the Old Testament. Start in the book of First Samuel.

I suspect that it was during this time in his life that David wrote Psalm 35. I was reading it yesterday and couldn’t help thinking of Mr. Trump and his enemies. Here it is:

Psalm 35

1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

5 Let them be as chaff  before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee,  which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor  and the needy from him that spoileth him?

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22 This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

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I hope I didn’t make any enemies with my post concerning the developments arising out of the new road construction at Toxaway. I meant no harm. I am a writer, and I just gave in to the temptation presented by the blank page before me.

methodistThis post addresses a much more serious concern. A hundred years from now, will it really matter if the little store was a historic structure or simply a shack as Jack has so often referred to it? And if the rocks on the hillside continue in their place will that be significant or no? But a hundred years from now you and I will likely have entered into our eternal reward. What will that be? No matter your age, you need to ask yourself that question. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you know that.

It is really true that God came in the person of Jesus two thousand years ago to offer the inhabitants of this fallen planet eternal life and salvation from hell. I am not a preacher so I am not going to explain that. It is not very complicated if you are willing to believe. God will send you someone or something to expand your understanding of Christ’s payment for sin if you need that.

My purpose here is to issue a strong warning. Jesus is returning soon to end the present regime and to usher in the Kingdom of God. Before that there are going to wars and bloodshed, famine, disease and every kind of sorrow and destruction. Your life could be snuffed out in a moment in the chaos that is coming. You need to be ready. When your life ends the opportunity to choose your eternal destination will be gone. If you do not choose Christ ahead of time you will automatically go to hell. That’s blunt, but it is fact. (He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already….John 3:18)

Nobody wants to go to hell. Like the rich young ruler in the Bible we ask “What must I do to be saved?”  The rich young ruler made his choice. He could not be saved because he wanted his wealth more than he wanted Jesus. (See Matthew 19)

Jesus’ gift of salvation and eternal life is free and offered to everyone.You need to know beyond any doubt that no one has been left out of the circle of his love. There is no person born some place outside of God’s grace. The Bible tells us that salvation has come to all men  The opportunity to be saved comes to everyone. (See Titus 2:11)

The opportunity to be saved makes its way over the face of the whole earth. Christians have been commissioned to spread the good news of salvation through Jesus throughout the world and millions of Christians have obeyed that directive. You don’t need to be a missionary to spread the gospel. But when Christians can not or do not reach the unsaved, then Christ himself seeks out his own. He is able to go where no feet fall; he can go into the wildest jungle, or into the rudest desert hovel to speak to a heart, to give a dream, to urge a savage soul toward redemption.  Numbers of persons who never heard the gospel have been saved by a personal encounter with Jesus. He knows where you are, and seeks out those who have a heart for him.

I am not going to try to tell you how God does that beyond what I have already said. It is plain that not everyone gets saved; some do not want to be saved. Some want to be saved and at the same time live like sinners. They make their choice. You can’t have it both ways. God made us, but we make our choices. God is just and fair and righteous beyond our comprehension. He holds the planets in their places by his sovereign power; he knows the name of every star. We all come from different places and circumstances, and some of us seem to be more fortunate than the rest of us by this fallen world’s standards. But we are little and God is big. He knows more than we do. We do not see from God’s perspective. He measures by a different rule. There is no meanness, partiality, or favoritism in him. If he were not just to the nth degree, the entire universe would fly apart. Jesus offers to every person the exact same salvation that he offered his twelve disciples. He might not give us things that we think we should have or deserve, but it is not his nature to short change us, withhold from us, or deny us anything that is of eternal consequence. His purpose for each individual is different. He gives us what we need to fulfill his design for us. Your neighbor has a different purpose. His situation and abilities will be different from yours. We are all equal in God’s eyes, but we are not all the same.

The rich young ruler had a yearning in his heart for eternal life, for cleanness of heart and soul. That’s why he was talking to Jesus in the first place. He wanted the thing that Jesus offered, but when he considered the price, he was unwilling to pay it.

Which brings us around to the point of this writing. Salvation is a free gift. It is an impartation to us from God of his spirit. It is not a promise for the future although it carries one. It is not a will of the wisp, here today and gone tomorrow. It is an unforgettable personal encounter with Jesus, King of Kings. It will change your life. If your life has not changed, if you have not grown, if you have not put away sin, it could be you are not really saved. You need to go further, dig deeper, seek more . He responds to those who genuinely seek him.

If this is you, please know I am not saying this to hurt your feelings. Nor am I saying you are not saved. Only you and Jesus know if you are saved or not. But if you are struggling, I have been where you are. It was not a one time easy trip for me to become reconciled to God. But I kept seeking and knocking, and he eventually gave me a wonderful revelation of himself that sustains me to this day.

What I want for you is encouragement and true direction. You need the truth, for nothing else will save you in the end. No amount of reform, behavior modification, or wishful thinking will substitute for a heart encounter with Jesus. Nothing but his blood sacrifice can cleanse your soul and give you eternal life. Everything else is false no matter how good and reasonable it sounds. Ignoring the facts, putting your head in the sand, taking the easy way out with a half hearted commitment will not work in the long run.Do not even consider  a temporary fix for an eternal problem. Heaven or hell; both are forever.

If you want Jesus, if you want to be saved it is not hard. The sinner’s prayer is only a few sentences, and millions perhaps have entered into salvation by saying the sinner’s prayer, from their heart. An equal number perhaps have said the words, with no results. The Bible says with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10

There are people around  who say “Well, Bless God, if you didn’t get saved the way I got saved, then you didn’t get it.” That’s like saying it’s my way or the highway. Don’t listen to people like that. You don’t need that person’s stamp of approval on your salvation experience. What you need is a relationship with Jesus. Do not stop until you find Him, in person. He said himself, I am the way…and no man cometh to the father but by me. John 14:6

More to come…..

 

 

 

 

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Standing Ground

US_Flag_WavyI wrote this article in the form of a four page booklet a few years ago, but I did not circulate it then. The message is a little more urgent now than it was at that time. But it is the same. There is hope for this nation, and I do believe we will rise from the deplorable place to which we have fallen. But it will be a spiritual solution that restores us, and not a political change.

Jesus is indeed coming soon, but shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) If you are a Christian you are supposed to be working until he comes. It doesn’t look like it is going to be easy work; and, no, he is not going to snatch us out before the trouble comes.

Standing Ground

Grandpa never served in the armed forces, but his heart was in the trenches and on the battlefield. I know because I ended up with his papers, the clippings, the notes, the drawings, and things that were important to him. I found that he followed World War II in the newspapers, aided by a very large colored world map, now bug eaten and crumbling into dust. He cared enough to be informed. DO YOU?

I must admit that I have barely begun to be informed, but already I can not help crying out, “Oh America, Wake Up, Rise To Your own Defense!”

Our country is facing more perils now than at any time in history, even the days of its origins, when wooden boats laden with vulnerable yet hopeful pilgrims came from far across the Atlantic, seeking to establish a new nation in covenant with its God.

Today, nearly four hundred years later we stand at the edge of a precipice. We are perplexed. Far on the other side lies a gleaming white city, but at our feet lies a yawning chasm. How did we ever get here? Is this the end? What has happened to our great nation?

For one thing, time is running out, and ready or not, The Kingdom Is Coming. God has already given us a glimpse from scripture of the violence and confusion that signals the ending of the present era and the beginning of the next. The trouble is unavoidable.

We are facing economic chaos beyond anything we have ever experienced. What is going to happen when we can not obtain the goods and services we need?

The moral fabric of our nation is in tatters, and our uncomely parts are fully exposed. Lawlessness is rampant; even our little ones have become a prey.

An insidious evil is infiltrating our government, seeking to enslave us by corrupting our Constitution and forcing our courts to recognize their ungodly system as law in our land.

Spiritual and mental deception as well as outright trickery, greed, dishonesty and lies are at the root of our troubles. This has been the case since the Garden of Eden. But, these things are coming to an end. God can and will fix our troubles, but WE HAVE TO DO THE WORK.

Jesus did not tell us to close our ears and go sit on the front porch in our rockers until he comes again. Your pastor can not do his work and yours too. Jesus said YOU go. YOU can make a difference.

It is time to wake up, stand up, and speak the truth in no uncertain terms against the evils that surround us. Let us be politically wrong and morally right. The United States of America was not meant to go down the drain. Our predecessors have too much sweat, blood, and suffering invested in our country. This nation was founded on legitimate and right principles as evidenced in our earliest documents, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, regardless of how these documents have been misinterpreted in recent years. Our cause is just, and when enough of us care enough, with the help of God, we can change our land.

Let us not give in and throw up our hands and say “What’s the use!” There is no place for apathy or cowardice  in this fight. Remember the three Hebrew children who told the Babylonian king,  “Our God is ABLE to deliver us from your fiery furnace, but even if he doesn’t we WILL NOT BOW to your image.” (from Daniel 3:17-18) Let us refuse to bow to the evil forces coming against us, but resist. The Lord will walk with us though any circumstance if we will simply ask.

I do not know what the future holds, but from my study of scripture I firmly believe that the end of this world is not yet. I believe Jesus will in fact reign in the earth, for a thousand years, as is stated plainly in the Bible. Then I believe we will see the fulfillment of the prophetic words of Katherine Lee Bates from her marvelous anthem “America The Beautiful.”

     Oh beautiful for patriot dream……..That sees beyond the years.                                           Thine alabaster cities gleam………Undimmed by human tears.

But even if I am wrong, to take a stand against evil is the only thing to do. Even if our case were hopeless, to do right in the face of wrong should be our only option. We claim to be followers of Christ, but if he asks us to, will we follow him all the way to the cross? “Are ye able,” he asks, “to drink of the cup that I drink of?” (Matthew 20:22) Of ourselves we are not able.but we are promised in God’s word that we can do all things through Christ.

God sees and knows all things. Nothing is hidden from his eye. If he allows a trial to come to us, he has already provided the strength to overcome it or go through it. His grace is sufficient for us and his strength is made perfect in our weakness. (from 2 Corinthians 12:9)

…And having done all, let us stand.  (Ephesians 6:13)The_General_society_of_Mayflower_descendants;_meetings,_officers_and_members_arranged_in_state_societies,_ancestors_and_their_descendants_(1901)_(14778398032)

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From Little Panthertail Mountain:

PCard View of L.T.I looked up the lyrics of that wonderful African American folk song Go Tell It On The Mountain. Though no author was given I found the compiler was John Wesley Work, Jr. who died in 1925. Mr. Work was a collector of folk songs, and a professor of music, Latin, and history at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Go Tell It On The Mountain is primarily a Christmas song as the first three verses, the ones we are familiar with, speak of the birth of Jesus.

Here are two more. These two verses comprised the Plantation Christmas Song.

     When I am a seeker…..I seek both night and day…..I ask the Lord to help me….And he shows me the way.

     He made me a watchman…..Upon the city wall…..And if I am a Christian…..I am the least of all.

I always loved Go Tell It On The Mountain; it’s lively and fun to sing, and what a strong imperative: Go! Tell it! Isn’t that what Jesus said?

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St. Peter, preaching the gospel

St. Peter, preaching the gospel

From Little Panthertail Mountain: I have found there are various interpretations of Acts Chapter 2, which is surprising to me, for the narrative of this Chapter seems pretty plain. For that reason I am setting down what the English words as recorded in the King James version of the Bible actually say to me. And, if it counts for anything, I pursued an English major my first year in college.

For background, the first chapter of Acts tells us that after Jesus ascended to heaven there were about 120 of his followers  based at an “upper room.”  These people included Jesus’ disciples (except for Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and later committed suicide,) Jesus’ mother and other women, and his “brethren.”  These individuals “continued” with prayer and supplication, eventually selecting Matthias as a replacement for Judas. fireThey were all together on the day of the Jewish Pentecost (a festival that Jews from near and far attend each year,)  when something supernatural happened. “…suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it (the SOUND like the wind) filled all the house…And there appeared unto them cloven (split) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” (Acts 2:2-3) These 120 people heard a loud sound like a fierce wind and they saw what looked like a burning flame sitting on each of  their companions that were  in the room with them. The next verse says “…they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,…” They, the 120 people, were ALL  (not just Peter who later preached, but ALL)  filled  and ALL began to speak in other tongues. That is 120 people convened in an upper room, all speaking in other languages. Some were speaking in Greek, some in Italian, some in an Egyptian tongue, as well as many other languages as indicated in Verses 9-11.

There were quite a number of Jews from out of town present in Jerusalem that day who had come to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pentecost. We will call them tourists.  Many Jews were scattered far and wide then even as they are today. Verse 5 says that devout Jews from every nation under heaven were dwelling at Jerusalem. Verses 9, 10, and 11 list the nationalities of these Jews. They were: “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians..” (Acts 2:9-11) You can imagine the uproar produced by 120 people all speaking in different languages at once. Of course that caused quite a stir and as it continued it attracted the attention of the other residents of Jerusalem. It is no wonder some folks thought these people were drunk.

Pretty soon people began coming to see what was going on. Verse 6 says the happening was “noised abroad” and “the multitude came together.” The multitude  included the Jewish tourists attending the festival of Pentecost. The verse says they were confounded because “every man heard them speak in HIS  OWN language.” Each of the tourists heard them speak in the language of HIS country instead of the Hebrew tongue. They were “all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, are not all these (who) speak Galileans?” Jesus was a Galilean, and his disciples were local people, at least in part, for some of them were  fishermen who worked the sea of Galilee. The Galilean language was the same as the Hebrew language, which  all Jews spoke and recognized, regardless of where they lived; however, the Galilean dialect was not “pure” or “strict” Hebrew. ( In similar fashion, a Southern drawl is not exactly the King’s English.) However, these 120 Galileans were NOT speaking the Jewish or Hebrew language of the Galileans. They were speaking languages from other countries.

Verse 8 asks the question posed by the Jewish tourists: ‘How hear we…in our own tongue, wherein we were born?”  The tourists hailed from as many as thirteen areas or countries round about Jerusalem and Judea. To repeat the list already given, they were: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phyrgia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the Libyans about Cyrene, Romans, Cretes and Arabians. They said, “We do hear THEM (the 120) speak in OUR TONGUES the wonderful works of God.” They spoke in the tongues of the tourists. The tourists asked each other “What meaneth this?” (Verse 12) But others said they (the 120) were drunk. However, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, rose up and began to preach, telling the crowd that those who spoke in tongues were not drunk. Rather, this phenomenon was the fulfillment of prophecy given by Joel. Peter would have spoken in Hebrew, the one language which everyone present could understand, since they all were Jews. If he had spoken in the Egyptian language, would the Greeks have been able to understand him? No. The gift of interpretation of tongues, like the gift of speaking in tongues, is given only to born again believers.  The multitude (as mentioned in Verse 6) were not born again or saved when they came to find out what was going on at the upper room. Those present who got saved did so AFTER Peter preached the gospel of Christ to them. Verse 41 says “…the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

For folks who don’t see it as I do, we must agree to disagree. Our salvation does not depend on our viewpoint on this matter, but on our relationship to Jesus.

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