Saturday, 8 May 2021

John Lennon: "Mother"

 I'm glad John wrote and sang this painful song. Many children don't have the idyllic kind of upbringing which 1950s television portrayed. John's father left him when he was five and his mother didn't want the responsibility of a child. So he lived with his aunt, the same one who said he'd never make a living from his music.

Listen to the song here:

Though the Bible tells us how to raise children, reality isn't so kind. In fact, even princes had times of trouble. We read in 2 Samuel 4:4 (Bible in Basic English), "Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son whose feet were damaged. He was five years old when news of the death of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and the woman who took care of him took him up and went in flight: and while she was getting him away as quickly as she was able, he had a fall and his feet were damaged. His name was Mephibosheth."

Mephibosheth was fortunate that he wasn't killed, as the sons of some princes were, when a new king came to power.

We see how David avenged the Gibeonites, whom Saul foolishly murdered, in 2 Samuel 21:6 and 7 (BBE). The people said to David, "'Let seven men of his family be given up to us and we will put an end to them by hanging them before the Lord in Gibeon, on the hill of the Lord.' And the king said, 'I will give them.' But the king did not give up Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the Lord's oath made between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul."

Though we might have lived without a mother or father, the Lord still cares for us since he's our heavenly father. Deuteronomy 10:17 (BBE) reminds us both of his greatness and his tenderness. "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, strong in power and greatly to be feared, who has no respect for any man's position and takes no rewards: Judging uprightly in the cause of the widow and of the child who has no father, and giving food and clothing in his mercy to the man from a strange country."

If he hasn't sent Christ to bring us to himself by Monday, I hope to post about life during war time.

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Donovan: "Catch the Wind"

Have you ever had a crush on somebody but that person wanted nothing to do with you? This is what Donovan sang about in this song of unrequited love. Check it out here.

When I was a teenager, an errant church taught me that if I just had enough faith, I could get what I wanted from God. They often quoted verses like Luke 17:5 and 6 (Bible in Basic English) as their proof text. "And the twelve said to the Lord, 'Make our faith greater.' And the Lord said, 'If your faith was only as great as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this tree, Be rooted up and planted in the sea; and it would be done.'"

what they didn't understand is that God is sovereign. In fact, it's blasphemous to assume that he's obligated to give us anything.

Luke 11:2 (King James Version) tells us who's will must be done. "And he said unto them, 'When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.'"

James 1:6 (BBE) was another verse the elders browbeat me with when my eyes weren't healed. "Let him make his request in faith, doubting nothing; for he who has doubt in his heart is like the waves of the sea, which are troubled by the driving of the wind."

That accusation stung. I did my utmost to quench all doubts. No matter how hard I tried, it seemed never to be enough for God. Consequently, I turned my back on him for nine long years.

Those wicked people never took Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) to heart. ""And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

If Christ hasn't returned by Saturday, I hope to post about John Lennon's painful childhood.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: "Ohio"

This song documents the four fatalities at Kent State University on May 4th, 1970. Accounts differ regarding what cause the National Guard to fire into the crowd of protesters. Even so, it was a sad and shocking day for America.

Listen to the song here:

I'm glad Jesus made no secret that we followers would suffer persecution. As he warned his disciples in Matthew 10:17 and 18 (Bible in Basic English), "But be on the watch against men: for they will give you up to the Sanhedrins, and in their Synagogues they will give you blows; And you will come before rulers and kings because of me, for a witness to them and to the Gentiles."

Christ also warned that some deluded people will figure they're helping the Lord by persecuting followers of the Way. John 16:2 (BBE) reads, "They will put you out of the Synagogues: yes, the time is coming when whoever puts you to death will have the belief that he is doing God's pleasure."

This is nothing new. Right from the start, the haters of the righteous murdered the believers in God. We read in 1 John 3:12 (BBE) that we are, "Not being of the Evil One like Cain, who put his brother to death. And why did he put him to death? Because his works were evil and his brother's works were good. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world has no love for you."

Even Old Testament saints suffered. As Hebrews 11:37 and 38 (BBE) states, "They were stoned, they were cut up with knives, they were tested, they were put to death with the sword, they went about in sheepskins and in goatskins; being poor and in pain and cruelly attacked, Wandering in waste places and in mountains and in holes in the rocks; for whom the world was not good enough."

If Christ hasn't arrived by Thursday, I hope to post about the folly of trying to catch the wind.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

The Stampeders: "Giant in the Street"

This group, named after the Calgary Stampeders football team, had a number of hits in Canada during the early seventies. The group benefited from Canadian content laws where the nation's broadcasters had to play thirty percent of their music content from Canadians. Even so, they had solid melodies and great musicianship.

This album cut was on The Stampeders' album "Carryin' On." It's about people believing the evening news rather than being skeptical. Check it out here.

Like that rumored giant in the song, people often believe what they hear rather than investigating the matter for themselves. We see this demonstrated in Matthew 16:13-16 (Bible in Basic English). "Now when Jesus had come into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he said, questioning his disciples, 'Who do men say that the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say, John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.' He says to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter made answer and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Here's an Old Testament example of how a rumor nearly started a war. Joshua 22:11 and 12 (BBE) says, "And news came to the children of Israel, 'See, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have put up an altar opposite the land of Canaan, in the country by Jordan on the side which is Israel's. Then all the meeting of the children of Israel, hearing this, came together at Shiloh to go up against them to war."

Later in the chapter, we find that this altar was a memorial to the two-and-a-half tribes of their faithfulness to God. Once people heard the truth, they calmed down.

We also see in Acts 22:27-29 (BBE) how the Apostle Paul's enemies jumped to conclusions. "And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the Temple, got the people together and put their hands on him, Crying out, 'Men of Israel, come to our help: this is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against the people and the law and this place: and in addition, he has taken Greeks into the Temple, and made this holy place unclean' For they had seen him before in the town with Trophimus of Ephesus, and had the idea that Paul had taken him with him into the Temple."

And if Christ hasn't returned by Monday, I hope to post about the Kent State incident and how Neil Young immortalized that tragedy in a song.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Paul Revere and The Raiders: "Kicks"

This song soared up the charts in the spring of 1967. It's about the danger of seeking thrills for thrills' sake. As the song says, they seem to keep getting harder to find.

Listen to the song here.

The Bible has much to say about overdoing pleasure. One bad effect is that intoxicants and a full belly cause one to forget God. As he said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 29:6 (Bible in Basic English), "You have had no bread, or wine, or strong drink: so that you might see that I am the Lord your God." Sadly, they were slow learners.

Getting drunk also causes a person to lose their judgement. One monarch in 1 Kings 16:8-10 (BBE) learned that lesson the hard way. "In the twenty-sixth year that Asa was king of Judah, Elah, the son of Baasha, became king of Israel in Tirzah, and he was king for two years. And his servant Zimri, captain of half his war-carriages, made secret designs against him: now he was in Tirzah, drinking hard in the house of Arza, controller of the king's house in Tirzah. And Zimri went in and made an attack on him and put him to death, in the twenty-seventh year that Asa was king of Judah, and made himself king in his place."

And Paul points out that drinking to excess is no way for a Christian to act. Ephesians 5:18 (BBE) admonishes, "And do not take overmuch wine by which one may be overcome, but be full of the Spirit;"

Solomon also reminds us in Proverbs 20:1 (BBE) that, "Wine makes men foolish, and strong drink makes men come to blows; and whoever comes into error through these is not wise."

May you remain sober and watchful for Christ's coming. If that hasn't happened by Saturday, I'll hopefully post about the danger of rumors.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Kraftwerk: "Radio Activity"

April 26th is the 35th anniversary of the tragic Chernobyl nuclear disaster. During the midnight shift, barely-trained technicians tested the number four reactor at the Vladimir I. Lenin nuclear power station. To make sure that the safety Diesel generator would turn on if the reaction dropped below half its usual power output, the men deliberately lowered the graphite rods into the core. 

That's when the power dropped rapidly. They raised the rods but the reactor became unstable. Dropping the rods didn't help because Xenon gas had built up at its top. The five-hundred-ton lid blew through the roof, releasing extreme amounts of radio activity.

The German techno band Kraftwerk updated their 1975 version of "Radio Activity," mentioning four atomic radiation events. Listen to it here:

We humans think we're so smart. But God is the one who knows all. Speaking of the wicked, he said in Deuteronomy 32:35 (Bible in Basic English), "Punishment is mine and reward, at the time of the slipping of their feet: for the day of their downfall is near, sudden will be their fate."

The Lord also said of such prideful people in Psalms 82:6 and 7 (BBE), "I said, 'You are gods; all of you are the sons of the Most High:' But you will come to death like men, falling like one of the rulers of the earth."

Likewise, Isaiah 45:7 (BBE) reminds humanity, "I am the giver of light and the maker of the dark; causing blessing, and sending troubles; I am the Lord, who does all these things."

Even with all our technology, we aren't in control of everything. Puny sinners figure they  have mastered nature. Christ's disciples found out first hand who really is in command, as we read in Mark 4:41 (BBE) after Jesus calmed the sea, "And their fear was great, and they said one to another, 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea do his orders?'"

If our mighty saviour hasn't returned by Thursday, I hope to post about how illicit pleasures never satisfy.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Canned Heat: "Let's Work Together"

 This is one band which played at the Woodstock music festival in 1969. Sadly, they didn't have many hits as a result of playing at such a legendary event.

Even so, listen to one of their songs here:

cooperation is the hallmark of Christianity. We see it in action when the Holy Spirit came upon people. Acts 2:44 and 45 (Bible in Basic English) reads, "And all those who were of the faith kept together, and had all things in common; And exchanging their goods and property for money, they made division of it among them all, as they had need."

The basis for this cooperation is in the Command Christ gave his disciples in John 13:34 (BBE). "I give you a new law: Have love one for another; even as I have had love for you, so are you to have love one for another."

And as Paul wrote in Romans 12:10 (BBE), there's no room for egos and pride. "Be kind to one another with a brother's love, putting others before yourselves in honour;"

In the next chapter, he tells his readers not to keep score. Romans 13:8 (BBE) says, "Be in debt for nothing, but to have love for one another: for he who has love for his neighbour has kept all the law."

We also must do as Hebrews 10:24 (BBE) says. "And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;"

As we cooperate in the work of spreading the gospel, we need to keep in mind the seriousness of this work. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:1-3 (BBE), "We then, working together with God, make our request to you not to take the grace of God to no purpose. (For he says, 'I have given ear to you at a good time, and I have been your helper in a day of salvation: see, now is the good time; now is the day of salvation):' Giving no cause for trouble in anything, so that no one may be able to say anything against our work."

Provided that Christ hasn't returned by Monday, I hope to post about the anniversary of the world's worst nuclear power plant disaster.