It is Well with My Soul

Fire and water. Fire and water and illness. Horatio G. Spafford stood by the rail of the ship and looked down into the the lightly flowing waters of the Atlantic, thinking slowly of what he did not like to think of. His only son, when only four years old, had died from scarlet fever only a couple of years before. A year later, Horatio, his wife, and his four daughters had faced financial ruin when the Chicago fire wiped out several very heavy investments that he had made. Two years later, Horatio was in New York ready to go on a vacation. Being detained, he sent on his wife and children across the Atlantic to Europe. Nine days later, he found out by telegram that all but his wife had perished from a collision with another ship. Water had claimed his daughters, fire his wealth, and illness his son.

Now, as he stood on the deck of the ship that was bearing him to go to his wife in England, he was told that the ship was very near to where his daughters had gone down. It was standing there, looking down in the face of that which stole his dearest possessions, that the Holy Spirit’s calm spoke into his heart and overflowed out into words that have stirred the hearts of many Christians since with a passion for God’s transcendent peace.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

What does this song, born out of true nearness to God in the face of tragedy, speak to us? Summed up in this beautiful hymn is the message of the book of Job. The passion with which Horatio proclaimed the goodness of God in the face of deprivation was founded in a clear understanding of what God had to offer him, and what He had already given to him.

God’s blessings to us are transcendent: they are not dependent upon worldly circumstances. His salvation is true to us, a mighty rock no matter what ill betide. His coming is sure, and without doubt. Nothing that rages against us can shake His mighty love for us, nor can it still His passionate mercy by which we draw every breath we take. God is great in our trials; He rules and reigns and does what is good; and allows us to partake of His righteous peace that passes all understanding.

But for us to partake of the eternal security of His might, we must set our affections upon Him. Without us yielding to His assurances that He is worthy, we cannot be secure from fear and trouble in our hearts. We cannot retain our treasures on earth, and still have heavenly peace! Is salvation and sanctification and God’s eternal and infinite glory and pleasurable joy your treasure? Do you love Him more than houses or wealth or children or family? Horatio G. Spafford did in the face of the loss of all those things, and we need to learn from him.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Holy Worlds Christian Fantasy Site

Greetings,

If you have read any amount of my writing, I would hope that you have noticed that I believe very strongly that God desires all men to dedicate and subject all of their lives utterly to Him. If that was not made clear, let me apologize and I will try to amend that error. I firmly believe that this word ‘all’ includes writing, and more specifically fantasy writing, both of which are things that I do prolifically. Unfortunately, the ‘genre’ of Christian fantasy has become branded with labels like shallow, preachy, insipid, and cliché. All these things are saddening to me to say the least, since it is my belief that Christians should always be doing the best at everything not sinful or wasteful. Writing fantasy is not necessarily either, although it can be made so.

So for the purpose of helping those of us who want to aid each other in uplifting and instilling in each other the very valuable virtue of quality in our Christian fantasy writing, I have launched a site dedicated to just that. The goal is to develop a Christian community of fantasy writers (and some non-fantasy writers too, if they want) that loves and strives to help, exhort, equip, train, and encourage each other in their illustrious calling. If you are at all interested in joining or supporting this group, please visit the site. If you are not inclined to either help, support, or join, then please just ignore it. 🙂

I look forward to seeing all of you there!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Essence

Greetings,

In our family we are strange. And we like it that way. We are freed up to talk about things in ways that ‘normal’ people would not even consider, and we can talk about things that do not even exist! This is very useful, but it poses some problems. Such as, how do you refer to something when you have no idea what its name is, or even if it has a name? This is something that we run into quite frequently, and so we decided to make, borrow, or steal names from languages past, present, and future in this world and others for these rascally non-named entities. Out of that decision emerged several new things that are very useful to us writers, but none so useful as Essence (hereafter to be relegated to non-caps for the sake of time).

Essence is a flexible but precise system of complex metaphors, designed expressly for the purpose of being able to efficiently and accurately communicate an artistic impression or idea, no matter how nebulous or exact it is. I like to tell people this and then watch their eyes glaze over. A few people are interested in what that means, but most are not. The few people that are interested are not interested enough to go through the process of learning how to use our little system. So do not expect me to have much practice in articulating how it works and how to use it. Also do not expect it to be very standards compliant.

There are three things that need to be impressed upon your pre-essenced mind before I prevail upon your mind to explain essence to you.

One: this system is invented entirely by us, and so you are permitted to make up and add your own variations, extensions, modifications, alterations, accommodations, laxations, restrictions, avulsions, conversions, fluctuations, deformations, transformations, transmutations, destabilizations, desolations, or devastations upon it, just as long as you don’t credit us innocent Lauser with all your ensuing monstrosities (of course if it turns out good, then be sure to note that it was we that invented it in the first place).

Two: this system was invented entirely by us, and so we have not developed it to perfection. That means that if there is something about it that annoys you unbearably, just grin and bear it! It also means that if you really like something about it, then it was entirely due to our overdeveloped imaginations and highly advanced, sensitive, artistic sense and not to any great amount of intentionally developed foresight or study. In other words, we are not professors with Ph.D.s in our own system. So do not expect us to know all the answers.

Three: this system was invented entirely by us, so if you seem to detect a similarity between our system and anything else, it is because of one of two things (or maybe somehow both). Firstly, it might be utterly a coincidence, a result of random chance, focused with premeditation upon our poor little selves with malice aforethought. Secondly, it might be a mere outpouring of a slightly demented part of your imagination. In other words: it isn’t our fault.

Ok, enough caveats (Why can’t they pronounce that word like it is spelled? (Probably because it is French, and they are trying to have and extended revenge on us Americans for Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. Weird, those Europeans. (Oh yes, I am European now too. Bother. (This is getting to be a rather long, convoluted, and unnecessarily extended obfuscation of a parenthetical statement. I will now terminate it, if I can. (I like that word, obfuscation. (Sorry.)))))). Here we go on with the system.

Anything can have an essence, literally anything. At least I have not found any exceptions. Technically, each thing can have only one essence proper, but obviously each person will perceive a different essence for each thing, and so each thing actually has the potential for several billion essences: one for each person on earth. An essence is made up of attributes, categorized into a hierarchy of three categories. There are metaphors, classes, and elements, in that order of precedence. Each attribute is made up of one or more of the attribute next below it in precedence, or optionally of one or more additional attributes of its own category. Thus you can have a class and a metaphor inside of a metaphor, but not an element, and you can have multiple elements inside of a class, but not a metaphor. See?

There are different types of each kind of attribute. These types are not fixed in stone, and you can really just invent whatever ones that you want for what you are doing. But we have compiled a list for each to get you started, which are the ones that we have generally found useful for describing pretty much everything that we have found need to describe. The syntax of an essence is structured similarly to CSS, but not utterly. Each attribute consists of an identifier that tells what type of that attribute it is, followed by a block of content enclosed in brackets. Each kind of attribute has different kinds of brackets to be more clear. I will now go through each category of attribute, describing what it is, how it works, and some of the types that we have made for it.

Metaphors basically delineate the description that it encloses to a general aspect or facet of the essence. Examples are: body, soul, spirit, mind, that which is immediately apparent (we call this the First Level), that which is just under the surface (Second Level), that which is deepest in a thing (Third Level), span of time, etc. We generally use the following syntax for Metaphors:

identifier { content }

Classes are specific, allegorical aspects of the metaphor that encloses them. Examples are: light, depth, density, motion, image/sight, scent, sound, texture, taste, balance, complexity, beauty, size, etc. We generally use the following syntax for Classes:

identifier [ content ]

Elements are simply different ways of articulating the nature of the attribute that it is in. They can either be abstract and nebulous, concrete and precise, or indirect and allegorical. There are only a few that we use, but they can be as powerful and as flexible as you have the skill to use them. There are six main kinds: color, color pair, color triad, description (a sentence, paragraph, or even a poem), percentage, or a reference. A reference is really a reference to a whole or partial essence of something else (or even another part of the same essence). These can be precise or abstract, depending on what you want. The color elements were actually the foundation of our original essence system, and are very useful, although somewhat subjective. A color is a single color taken as itself, a color pair is two colors taken together (not mingled), and a color triad is three colors taken together (also not mingled). If that makes no sense, that is fine, just use it, and it will make more sense.

I hope that was somewhat helpful to some of you. If it wasn’t to you, it was to me. Every time I try to explain essence I figure it out better. So feel free to ask questions!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

Joy and Glory

Greetings,

“Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.”

Jonathan Edwards’s twenty second resolution is quite possibly one of the main cornerstones (or perhaps the keystone, but whatever) of John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life. It is one of the things that led Piper into a new and passionate understanding of meaning.

God is meaning, says the common Christienese proverb. But what does that mean? It means that we take God seriously. Period (or full-stop, for whoever might be Irish here). We take Him seriously in what He says, in what He desires, and in what He is. This means that we need to take life seriously, for God cares about all of life, and not just about handing out tracts, being a bus captain, or leading a small study group (sorry).

Piper’s foundational premise is that our joy is inextricably connected with God’s glory, and that to seek the one truthfully, is to seek the other. We all are to seek joy, and we all do: we cannot help it. That is the way that we are designed. But when we take God seriously, we are able to see the eternal truth and transcendent worth of His glory, and we will dedicate all of our lives to the passionate seeking of Him and His glory.

This is good news! Not only is joy attainable that is transcendent and untouched by circumstances, but it is also infinitely amazing and inexplicable in its pleasure. No other thing on earth can equal the joys that God has to offer us on earth, and they cannot even begin to compare to what He has for us in heaven. And this is to be found by dedicating your life in service to an all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, and eternally loving God. This is the Gospel, and it needs to be lived as much as preached.

Thus: God’s service is total and all-consuming, but it is not hard: it is infinitely joyous!

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Why Politics?

Greetings,

This is an article that I posted in my forum, Liberty’s Light. I pray that it will be able to have an impact here as well.

What is important about a biblical nation?

When David saw the blasphemies of Goliath and announced his intention to fight him, he was confronted with incredulity and assertions that it was impossible. His response echoes through time. Instead of defending the “possibility” of his intention, for he knew that it was impossible, he cried out “Is there not a cause?” That was what his focus was on, for he knew that if there was a cause, there was a way in the Lord of Hosts. And now, looking at the state of the world today, I say, “Is there not a cause?” And there is a cause. When the light of liberty is dying, and those who profess to be of the bride of Christ are aiding and abetting its death by its silence, I say there is a cause. When the lies that say that the Word of God is unable to touch the very institutions that God founded, church, family, and government holds the main sway of influence in the world, I say there is a cause. When those who profess to be God’s children refuse to obey the clear commands of Scripture and stand on the inerrant nature and trustworthiness of the Word of God from its very first verse to its last in every area of life, including government, and thereby blaspheme the name of God, I say that there is a cause for us to rise up and give glory to God again. If we strive to make it known that God did institute government, and that He does have a plan for how it ought to work: that nations ought to be based utterly on the fact that government is an institution of God and not of men; that they must be free of modern sophistry and devilish philosophies; that they must do exactly what God made it to do and nothing else, then the glory of God will shine around the world and into the marches of unborn generations. Is it anything less than our duty to stand for the preservation and protection of the liberty that God loves and died for? The light of liberty must shine again!

What fundamental purpose do you have in relation to discussing a biblical nation?

For the last couple of years I have been struggling for freedom from a bondage to lust. I am now walking in victory by the grace of Christ, but it was not always that way. Up until my seventeenth birthday or thereabouts, I was a slave to rebellious pride. It took a mighty humbling by God for me to listen to the truths of Scripture and apply their life-giving principles to my life. In the process I dedicated my life to the helping of other young men to find liberty from lust, as well as other things. I discovered that political liberty is the same as righteous liberty, and I realized that my lifelong dream of starting a nation was actually included within the promise that I had made to God: and it was no idle promise. God has commanded us to be righteous, and I see no nation in this world that does not greatly choke out the liberty of God’s servants to do so. America used to be a nation that defended God’s liberty with blood and toil on its own and other nation’s soils, but it is no longer, and comfort and apathy have killed the well of its own liberty. Modern governments are a mockery of what God intended them to be, and I believe that it is the time to try changing that, or die trying (seriously: Christ Himself died to bring us liberty, how can we say that it is not a worthy cause to die for?). Even if I and the people who will help me don’t succeed, the effort, if it is a valiant one, will echo through the future and around the world to the glory of God. No matter what progress we make, if we stay on target, the world will be changed for the better. If every generation had fought for the cause of liberty as if they were starting a nation strictly based off of biblical principles, America would not be in the mess it is today. But the battle is the Lord’s, not ours, and so we can work knowing that He is on our side.

What methods do you consider important to implement for the furthering of that purpose?

A righteous banding together of believers of one mind who truly desire the furtherance of liberty, and thereby the gospel. The only way that any form of government can function efficiently is for the populace to be righteous. And so collaboration and banding together of biblically minded men and women of God is the most crucial aspect of any effort to defend liberty. Hence this forum: a very small, weak thing, but one which I hope will spark greater things.

What exact results do you look to see that will fulfill your purpose?

One thing that I realized is that the culture, economy, and society of a nation is entirely determined by the religion of the populace, the form of government, and any factors that affect the things that they need to do to survive. Such as, if there is no arable land, and there is plenty of fish, the government does not have to legislate that everybody fishes: the people will do it automatically. If it is cold, they will wear clothing that will reflect that (unless the government is extremely oppressive and they cannot afford it, in which case that would reflect the form of government). If the government does the grants and welfare, nobody else will be able to compete with it because the government is force. If the government does all the utilities, no one else will be able to, and if the government does not, a private organization must, even without being told to by the government: there is no other option. The point is that people are used to seeing governments doing certain things, and they don’t realize that the reason why private organizations are not able to do them right now is because the government is stopping them by doing them itself. So I envisage a government in which nothing is done by it except for what the Lord instituted it to do, totally relying on His wisdom, and not man’s.

Do we have the faith to stand against the world’s expectations? What are your thoughts?

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Joy To The World

Greetings,

Joy to the World is a very well-known Christmas song, and can seem a bit cliché to us who have heard it a lot, but it has a lot of beautiful and amazing things in it. From the bit of research that I did on it to see if there was anything interesting in its history, I discovered that some people believe that it originally came from a 1719 translation of the Psalms by Isaac Watts. It seems that the person who set the words to music (Lowell Mason) ascribed the lyrics to Handel to give it popularity (a common thing back then). Only relatively recently it was discovered that it could actually have been King David that originally wrote the words. I do not know if this is true or not, but it is interesting, and it at least leaves room for the possibility that the the beauty of the theology here came from the direct inspiration of God, though far removed.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come,
Let earth receive her king,
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.

The interesting thing that I see about this verse is the connection between the coming of the Lord God as King, and us preparing room for Him, not in an earthly kingdom, but in our hearts. We are His kingdom, and we need to show Him reverence and obedience!

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns,
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods,
Rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

Notice that in this verse the universe is repeating the songs that the men sing. We need to proclaim the glory of God that the universe bears testimony to! They do not themselves sing: we do. They bear testimony in us that we cannot with impunity ignore. We need to declare the wondrous works of God that He has made manifest in His creation!

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove,
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

God loves to bring us and the nations to sweet fellowship with Him, and to show us how glorious His righteousness is. But we often neglect to hear Him, and we refuse to hearken to His loving call. But His Truth is still true, and the world still proves His goodness through it. When we yield to Him we see this, and we also see how much He is pained to have us reject His transforming grace. Joy comes to us as we bring joy to Him.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Greetings,

I was pleasantly surprised by the exuberant and encouraging response to my challenge to abstain from unnecessary media. However, I was not surprised by the many people who began to courageously encourage people to give up many other things as well, such as: computers, secular music and books, checking email and blogs, the Rebelution, technology, Facebook, sound, texting, internet, ipods, mp3 players, and electronics. Some of these things I agree are also good to avoid, others I agree are easily misused and overused. Others I disagree are good to abstain from in every situation. But because of the type of reaction I got I wanted to write this article.

My father uses the phrase cost-benefit analysis prolifically, and for good reason. Cost-benefit analysis is one of the most important things that we can do. In simple terms, cost-benefit analysis is basically prioritizing. The name cost-benefit analysis simply helps to clarify exactly what you are doing when you are prioritizing. It is always supposed to be a comparison of all the costs and benefits involved in an expenditure of resources, and weighing them to see which one wins out.

There are of course the obvious costs involved in everything: time, money, energy, skills, thought, stress, etc. And there are the infinite variety of benefits that could be accrued from any of the possible investments out there. But the one main cost that I want to focus on here that applies to the topic at hand is opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost is very interesting: it is the relative expected benefits from one investment in comparison to another. Think about it this way: I have two options of what to do with one hour of my time. Each takes the same amount of effort and so on, but one brings about more benefits. To do the one costs me the benefits of the other, for I cannot do both. So I choose the one that has the more benefits. That is good prioritizing.

There are millions of things that we can do in this world that are very good to do. There are millions of things that we can do in this world that are very bad to do. As Christians, we can be more discerning as to what truly is good or bad to do, thankfully. What is harder to do, is to decide which good things we should be doing. We cannot do them all, as much as we would like to. So we need to test each opportunity that is presented to us, and find out not only whether it is good, but whether or not it is the best use of our resources.

The way that this applies to the subject of abstaining from anything is simply this: ask yourself whether something is worth the time you put into it. That is what I and my family have done with TV and video games, and they did not win out. Internet, Facebook, electronics, and things like that stayed because the benefits that come from them far outweighed the alternative of living without them. Almost anything can be abused and used too much (allocating a superfluous amount of resources into it), but just because it can be overused does not mean that it needs to not be used.

I do not want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for abstaining from unnecessary involvements: I am simply alerting all of you to think carefully through your priorities. I hope this helps.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Read the first post here.

Shë Aumchÿloi – The Dwarves

dwarves
Greetings,

As per many emphatic requests for the return of my Ithelak posts, I will continue on with the Dwarf Tribe.

Three years after Ëlwëth was born, there was born a boy utterly unlike his three siblings. They were all light skinned and light haired, but he was black as a moonless night reflected in a still, deep pool. His eyes were shining and black, lit from inside like strange lamps of darkness. His hair was thickly curled, also unlike his older siblings. He was tall, though, almost as tall as the paler twin brother and sister. But he was strong, very strong. And his strength only grew as he got older. He became unrivaled among his brothers for strength and endurance, and his body continued to harden and mature. He was named Keirgyndaso.

Another boy was born who was dark, but not as dark as him. Then came twin girls, utterly dissimilar. The first was beautifully dark like Keirgyndaso, but the second was golden and light-filled like Ëlwëth. The dark girl was named Gëndweidh. She grew up to be tall and stately, like Keirgyndaso, though not quite as tall as he. She was sleek and swift, and loved to run and climb. Her eyes burned from deep within with a reddish light that shone and wavered as she spoke. As she grew older and more adventurous, Keirgyndaso took to following her into the mountains as she explored, and they had great fun there. They made dams in the streams, and houses in the trees and clefts of the rocks. But they liked the rocks best. For years they contemplated and planned the construction of a great fortress in between two cliffs in the hills. It took great ingenuity and effort, but they at last created it, to their immense pride. As can be guessed, they grew to love each other more and more, and at last they wed.

They were always known for their skill with engineering and craftsmanship, and were frequently called down from their mountain retreats to help in the construction of the others’ homes and in the creation of inventions. It was by their wit and knowledge that the dragons were able to create the first explosive materials, although Keirgyndaso and Gëndweidh were the ones that used it most. Thus it was no surprise to any when they received the gifts that they did. They were given authority over stone and earth, and it was a great joy to them. With song and spoken command they would shape out clothing from pillars of solid rock that were of a special intricacy and beauty of pattern and design that was impossible to recreate on a forge. They designed amazing machines, complex and simple, driven by other machines held together and run by tiny, curiously made pieces. These became much sought after by the other tribes.

They were named the Aumchyloi, and came to be known much later as Dwarves. This was because they were rarely, if ever, seen by the common people, and since they lived underground mostly, they assumed that the Aumchyloi were short and stocky. But although the entrances and mines of the dwarves were small and unassuming (most of the time), the interiors of their living quarters were massive and full of majesty and grandeur.

When they rebelled with the dragons and men, the dwarves quickly became masters of creating weapons of destruction. They were the foremost creators of the Shivara, the Blessed Blades, and the Kinara, the RingBlades. These were swords and other weapons that had been given special properties. The Shivara were stronger, lighter, and faster than normal forged blades, and some of them were even skilled in swordplay, guiding the wielder’s hand. The Kinara were Shivara that could take the form of a ring at the will of the owner, and take its normal shape again at his willed or spoken command. There were very few of the Shivara made, only a few thousand, and even less survived the Deluge. A few were carried through by the Seven Lords, but most were destroyed. But their secret of manufacture was not lost, and many were created again for the Great War.

Over the years, the dwarves became known merely as great smiths and miners, and as they mingled with the other tribes and became crannish, they deteriorated until they were merely that. Few people remembered their former greatness, or even their true nature, except the Loremasters and the sages. But their architecture and their creations always remained, and these played a pivotal role in all of the wars.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Sir Emeth Mimetes

Unconditional Love

Greetings,

Here is another attempt at conciseness on my part. I hope that I will be more successful this time.

Unconditional love is unconditional. That is the profound thought that I gleaned from Matthew 5:41-47.

Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

If someone makes you do something, then our natural reaction is to try to get out of it. We do not like to be made to do things. But realize this: love is sacrificial and willing. So if we do only what we are made to do, then there is no love in it. So the only way to show love in that kind of a situation is to do more than is expected! Forget your pride, swallow it down, and cheerfully and mercifully show love to that person. It does not matter what he does to make you do something: do more!

Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Of course, if someone displays a need, then who are we to refuse to avail ourselves of the opportunity? Thank them for asking and help them!

Matthew 5:43-45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

It is easy to hate your enemy. But God loves everyone, despite what they are. He commands us to as well. His love is unconditional; ours ought to be as well. If we were loved only when we were on God’s side, then we would be oblivion. Period. How can we say that we are more righteous than God, which is what we would be doing if we refused to love our enemies.

Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?

The world expects us to love our friends, and to greet them civilly. Are we to cater to the world’s expectations? No! But what about when they ‘agree’ with God? Do more! God must be glorified, despite the world’s cheap love. God’s love is unconditional, and we must show love no matter what or who the person is.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

The Beatitudes Part 3: Holiness

Greetings,

Holiness is the end of the sequence. It is the completion of your goal. When these two final steps are manifest in your life, then you know that you have run the race. You are not done by any means, for you always need to be continually going through this series of steps in every area of life. But these last two mark the finishing of the promise. This is God’s reward for you on earth, strange though it seem.

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you,] and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

For the longest time, I was unable to discern why these two steps were two instead of one. They really were the same thing to me. It was not until I began this study was I able to figure it out, and the lesson was amazing!

There is one main difference between verse ten and verse eleven: the reason for the persecution. In verse ten the reason is righteousness, in verse eleven the reason is Christ.

The world will not like us if we are in it, but not of it. It will make fun of us and try to make us do things its way. It does not like non-conformists. But we need to stand strong and do right anyway. We are not to bow to it, but to God.

The world will hate us if we show them Christ in our lives. This is more than just hating us because we do not agree with them, or because we convict them by living right. We are declaring direct war upon them, and they will react in kind. But this is good, this is right, this is glorious!

John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 17:14-16 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

I hope that my study made any sense to you. It is rather clipped and short in places, for which I apologize. There is a ton of stuff to talk about in this very short passage.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser