As they say in the classics

I remember as a very young Christian attending Edgemead AoG before it became trendy to do so. Before Powerpoint presentations and sound systems and Hillsong (that’s how far back I go), there was Pastor Noel Cromhout and John Martin as elder in the congregation.

We would sing ye olde classic hymns that didn’t need drums and electric guitar and I think everyone was pleased with the arrangement. And though I never really spoke with elder John Martin, just from his demeanour at the pulpit and his general smoothness, I considered him a rock star and wanted one day to be like him.  He has since fallen asleep and yet the memory of him remains to this day.

There’s something about experience in life and the perspective of having been through it that is genuine and timeless. Just this past weekend I was reviewing the singing scenes from ‘The Sound of Music’ with my daughter, who has yet to enjoy some of the classics that I intend to introduce her to.  In one scene Fraulein Maria is dancing with Captain von Trapp and the subtleties of their reaction to each other speak volumes. She gets red-faced dancing with a man that she has feelings for. How demure, how realistic if you compare it with the ham-fisted, overbearing and over-the-top way of telling stories in movies nowadays.  Bad writing, CGI and near-porn is not art, no matter the budget. Several films spring to mind.

I reckon that’s why people love the classics. They have stood the test of time and date well. I also think of Clint Eastwood’s classic, ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ where the script writer came up with pearls that are quotable today, and so much more appropriate than our rap culture type of language today that relies on profanities beginning with an ‘s’ or an ‘f’.

From the movie:

Senator: Fletcher, there’s an old saying, to the victors belong the spoils.

Fletcher: There’s another old saying Senator. Don’t [pee] down my back and tell me it’s raining.

-*-

Bounty hunter #1: You’re wanted, Wales.

Josey Wales: Reckon I’m right popular. You a bounty hunter?

Bounty hunter #1: A man’s got to do something for a living these days.

Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.

-*-

Grandma Sarah: This Mr. Wales is a cold-blooded killer. He’s from Missouri, where they’re all known to be killers of innocent men, women and children.

Lone Watie: Would you rather be riding with Comancheros, Granny?

Grandma Sarah: No, I wouldn’t.

-*-

The 1993 movie ‘In The Line of Fire’ feature’s Eastwood’s character trying to get his law enforcement partner to bring back an old-fashioned word: cockamamie. Everything about Eastwood in that movie is classic.

I appreciate very much the old timers that have been through it all and have heaps of experience but almost zero the arrogance; I could only hope to be as wise some day.

Proverbs 4 advises that wisdom is really important (and from my limited experience, superior to mere knowledge):

My children,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

Of course the acquiring of wisdom comes at a cost of life experiences; failures and first chances squandered so that second chances take on new meaning, learning the lesson that only He is really in control, that our ability to manipulate things is illusory.

He is the one we should always look to…and I’ve found that the old timers are great reflections of the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom;

As Fraulein Maria says: When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.

As for me and my house

Today is one of those days when I look at the news and almost lose hope for the human race. In addition to my own personal sinful proclivities, I learned that Islamists have reportedly crucified a catholic priest over the holy weekend, along with the news that 70 or more Pakistani Christians were murdered by ‘suicide bomb’ as they were celebrating the Easter holiday in a park. Never mind the attacks in Brussels last week that took the lives of more than 30 Belgians.

It’s difficult to be able to look beyond that and connect with God in the midst of this context. How much more difficult must it be for the Christians who are directly suffering?

From an article by Joseph Scheumann on www.desiringgod.org, the author says that suffering:

  1. Is multi-faceted and complex (there are more ways of suffering than Smartie colors)
  2. Happens in a context of community; we seldom suffer alone, church is about sharing the load with fellow believers,
  3. Prepares those who have suffered to minister to those who are going through a similar crucible,
  4. Is a battleground where there are two options (a lesson learned from Job): curse God or praise Him in the midst of suffering,
  5. Prepares us for glory; after all, this world is not all there is.

Scripture says in the book of Isaiah that Jesus himself was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

Try and picture the following verses as Believers looking back on the times they may have doubted God and felt overwhelmed with their mortality and now in heaven can say the following:

Isaiah 25:8-9New Living Translation (NLT)

He will swallow up death forever!
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
against his land and people.
The Lord has spoken!

In that day the people will proclaim,
“This is our God!
We trusted in him, and he saved us!
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”

As for me and my household we will praise the Lord…

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An Introduction

On the eve of Whitmonday (the day after Pentecost) in 1865, an English school teacher and curate, Sabine Baring-Gould quickly knocked out the lyrics to a marching song for a group of kids that were to march from Horbury to Yorkshire, later apologising for the faulty lines and the speed with which the marching song was written – 15 minutes.

Today however it is one of the enduring hymns of the church. Sometimes the things with smallest beginnings endure to everyone’s surprise.

On 27 November 2009, while visiting Tracy in hospital she told us all that she had dreamt about this song and that it was for us. Tracy was in hospital because of a lung disease that was never diagnosed – she fell asleep on 11 June 2011 at 36 years of age – and in the intervening years, like soldiers, we her family have had to continue marching.

The meaning of this life and the next is found in knowing God, who created us and has a plan for all of us, and this is the truth that we walk in and the truth that Tracy walked in and is our destiny.

Meet your new manager
Meet your new manager

In Paul’s letter of 2 Timothy he says to “endure suffering along with [him], as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” The world is a fallen place and there have always been wars and there always will be wars until the return of Christ, and soldiers have therefore always been with us, as has suffering. The motto of the United States Marine Corps is the Latin ‘Semper Fidelis’, where they pledge to always be faithful to the Corps. We are in a greater army, a heavenly Corps and we will be faithful to our Commander and King. This blog is an invitation for you to consider your place in His Kingdom and continue to march as a good soldier into the future and destiny that He has laid out for you, never giving up or surrendering to temptation or despair.

Atten-hut!