When You See A Dog Following Two Men

“You cannot serve both God – and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

“Of the enemies of the cross of Christ, the apostle declares that they “mind earthly things.” They are only concerned about increasing their stores, and thus be able to say with the rich man of whom the Savior speaks, that they have much goods laid up for many years; on the strength of which they intend to take their ease, and eat, drink, and be merry. All their thoughts are of the earth, earthy. The things of time and sense – they regard as first and last, middle and end.

“It is impossible for the mind to be governed at the same time by two opposite principles. The love of the world – and the love of God – are diametrically opposed to each other. ‘If any man loves the world–the love of the Father is not in him.’ ‘Don’t you know that the friendship of the world – is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world – is the enemy of God.’ ‘You cannot serve both God – and mammon.’

“To borrow a quaint illustration from one of our old writers, ‘When you see a dog following two men – so long as they walk together, you do not know to which of them the dog belongs. But let them come to a parting road and there separate from each other – then it will soon be seen who is the owner, for the dog will follow his master wherever he goes.’

“Just so, an individual may pursue the world, and retain a Christian profession at the same time – and it is often difficult to ascertain whether God or the world possesses his affections. But by and bye he comes to a parting road, when God calls him one way, and the world another way – and then he will show to whom he really belongs. If God is his master – then he will follow and obey God. But if the world is his master – then he will follow after it!

“O my soul, how are you affected by the respective claims of the things of time – and those of eternity? After a few more rising and setting suns, it will be a matter of total indifference to you – whether you have been rich or poor, successful in your business or unsuccessful. But it will be of unspeakable consequence – whether you have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before you in the gospel.

“Listen, then, to the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘Do not labor for food that spoils – but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.’ ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!'”

~ John MacDuff

HT Grace Gems

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The Ninety-Five Theses in Their Theological Significance

by Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield

“A poor peasant’s son, then a diligent student, a humble monk, and, finally, a modest, industrious scholar, Martin Luther had already exceeded the half of the life-time allotted to him, when – certainly with the decision characteristic of him, but with all the reserve imposed by his position in life and the immediate purpose of his action – he determined to subject the religious conceptions which lay at the basis of the indulgence-usages of the time to an examination in academic debate.”(2) This singularly comprehensive and equally singularly accurate statement of Paul Kalkoff’s is worth quoting because it places us at once at the right point of view for forming an estimate of the Ninety-five Theses which Luther, in prosecution of the purpose thus intimated, posted on the door of the Castle-Church at Wittenberg on the fateful October 31, 1517. It sets clearly before us the Luther who posted the Theses. It was – as he describes himself, indeed, in their heading(3) – Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Theology, Ordinary Professor of Theology in the University of Wittenberg. And it indicates to us with equal clearness the nature of the document which he posted. It consists of heads for a discussion designed to elucidate the truth with respect to the subject with which it deals – as again Luther himself tells us in its heading. We have to do here in a word with an academic document, prepared by an academic teacher, primarily for an academic purpose. All that the Theses were to become grows out of this fundamental fact. We have to reckon, of course, with the manner of man this Professor of Theology was; with the conception he held of the function of the University in the social organism; with the zeal for the truth which consumed him. But in doing so we must not permit to fall out of sight that it is with a hard-working Professor of Theology, in the prosecution of his proper academical work, that we have to do in these Theses. And above everything we must not forget the precise matter which the Theses bring into discussion; this was, as Kalkoff accurately describes it, the religious conceptions which lay at the basis of the indulgence traffic.

Failure to bear these things fully in mind has resulted in much confusion. It is probably responsible for the absurd statement of A. Plummer to the effect that “Luther began with a mere protest against the sale of indulgences by disreputable persons.”(4) One would have thought a mere glance at the document would have rendered such an assertion impossible; although it is scarcely more absurd than Philip Schaff’s remark that the Theses do not protest “against indulgences, but only against their abuse”(5) – which Plummer elaborates into: “Luther did not denounce the whole system of indulgences. He never disputed that the Church has power to remit the penalties which it has imposed in the form of penances to be performed in this world.”(6) To treat the whole system of indulgences, as proclaimed at the time, as an abuse of the ancient custom of relaxing, on due cause, imposed penances, is to attack the whole system with a vengeance.

Read more…

Book Review: America Alone

Mark Steyn’s America Alone will amuse you. It will sober you. It will disturb you. But most of all, it will challenge you to look at Islam and its relation to the world in a completely different light. Conservative political commentator Michele Malkin summed it up well when she remarked, “Mark Steyn is a human sandblaster. [America Alone] provides a powerful, abrasive, high-velocity assault on encrusted layers of sugarcoating and whitewash over the threat of Islamic imperialism.”

Because Islam is a threat – a most emphatically serious threat. The future, as Steyn brilliantly shows throughout his book, belongs to the fecund and confident. Islam is both, while the West is looking ever more like the ruins of civilization.

Someday soon, you might very well be awakened by the call to prayer from a muezzin. People in Europe already are. And liberals will continue to tell you that “diversity is our strength” – while enforcers from the Taliban cruise Greenwich Village, burning books and barber shops; and the Supreme Court decides that sharia law doesn’t really violate the “separation of church and state”; and the Hollywood Left decides to stop pursuing “gay rights” in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.

If you don’t think that can happen… think again. You haven’t been paying attention.

Throughout the course of his book, Mark Steyn addresses this Islamic threat and challenges readers to take it seriously. In fact, he manages to cover quite a bit of ground in just a few hundred pages. The key factors which he deals with, however, are 1. demographic decline, 2. the unsustainability of the advanced Western social-democratic state, and 3. civilizational exhaustion. And he does it all with confidence, wit, and a liberal dose of humor.

One of my favorite passages in the book is on page 200, where Steyn brilliantly sums up the delusional way that the Western world views Islam:

Bomb us, and we agonize over the ‘root causes’. Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’. Issue blood-curdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can’t wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush and Blair. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the ‘vast majority’ of Muslims ‘jihad’ is a harmless concept meaning ‘healthy-lifestyle lo-fat granola bar’. Thus the lopsided valse macabre of our times: the more Islamists step on our toes, the more we waltz them gaily around the room.

That’s denial. Serious denial. And it can only lead to one thing: ruin. As philosopher Jean-Francois Revel wrote, “Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”

Steyn believes that America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of the family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world’s last best hope. However, I would add that putting God back where He belongs in our hearts and minds is the real starting step. He is the Beginning and the End, and if He is not put first, all other measures, however good in and of themselves, will fail.

As Christians, we must also remember that God is wholly sovereign. Nothing is outside of His control. As the Heidelberg Catechism puts it, “… all creatures are so in His hand that without His will they cannot so much as move.” We are to live and look at the world in light of this fact. However, this does not mean that we are to turn a blind eye to the danger that is seething around us. We are to be watchful and aware. And reading this book will help you be more fully conscious of the threat that Islam poses.

I will add that this book is not for readers under 16. The themes that Steyn deals with are very mature, and there is some strong and crude language scattered throughout.

If you’re looking for something to read on current events, then definitely pick this one. It’s laugh-out-loud funny while simultaneously giving you a sobering new look at the world around you.

Soundtrack Review: Inception

Inception
(Music from the Motion Picture)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Running Time: 50 min.
Released: 2010

 

 

Inception is Hans Zimmer’s first solo score for director Christopher Nolan after collaborating with James Newton Howard on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He doesn’t disappoint. Far from disappointing, Inception could very well be one of the best scores that the prolific German composer has ever written – which is saying a lot, when you think about it. What makes this even more amazing is the fact that he crafted the entire thing without seeing one single frame of the film. He simply read the script.

The score opens with Half-Remembered Dream, a bombastic number that has a somewhat sinister air to it – as if Zimmer is warning the listener that danger lurks just around the corner. The most memorable cue, Dream Is Collapsing, builds magnificently from a tense, reserved rhythm to an explosive arrangement with chugging strings and bellowing brass. Old Souls and Waiting For A Train both have a particularly ethereal feel, reminiscent of the jazz-kissed work Henry Mancini contributed to Bladerunner; while Mombasa – thanks to a pulsating accompaniment and Johnny Marr’s electric guitar – simmers with the frenetic energy of a chase scene. Time brings the score to a majestic close, soaring in a crescendo of strings, horns, and drums, and then falling suddenly to a quiet, dignified piano theme.

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