Speaking of June Carter, her step-daughter told this anecdote at her funeral a few years ago:
“Many years ago, I was sitting with June in the living room at home and the phone rang. She picked it up and started talking to someone, and after several minutes I wandered off to another room, as it seemed she was deep in conversation. I came back 10 or 15 minutes later and she was still completely engrossed. I was sitting in the kitchen when she finally hung up, a good 20 minutes later. She had a big smile on her face and she said, “I just had the NICEST conversation,” and she started telling me about this other woman’s life, her children, that she had just lost her father, where she lived, and on and onâ€¦ I said, “Well, June, who was it?” and she said, “Why, honey, it was a wrong number.”
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. -Is. 42:16
I dread things, especially stuff at work. “Oh no, something unfamiliar is coming up this week; failure awaits!” You vainly search a barren desert for a rock to hide behind, but cannot find even a pebble.
Calvin Coolidge’s famous quote is certainly true: “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.” But it is not encouraging. What if the thing you dread is the 1 in 10?
What is encouraging are the promises made to believers, so beautifully stated by Cowper in “God Moves in a Mysterious Way:”
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
The US’s largest Lutheran denomination, the ELCA, continues down the path trod by the Episcopal Church USA and the United Church of Christ. It’s hard to tell who is ahead in the race to join these hapless forerunners at the bottom: the PCUSA, the UMC, the ELCA. All continue their long slide into oblivion. Their race for relevance (i.e. worldliness) has rendered them irrelevant. All of these churches long ago capitulated on feminism, and after you deny Scriptural truth so blatantly, why not ordain homosexuals? The “Lutheran” homosexual quoted in the article has it right on one count: the failure to discipline is “huge.” No sanctions means, in time, no church.
These mainline churches regularly lament their declining numbers. Of course, the problem is what the Catholic columnist, Bob Novak, noted of his time as a Unitarian: after attending church for a few years, he and his wife decided they might as well just stay home in bed. I mean really, why bother? You can do what’s right in your own eyes without messing with a church.
Os Guinness noted that when his son was an adolescent, they would play a game called “Spot the Lie.” When watching a TV commercial, his son would get a quarter if he could identify the lie behind a commercial. The idea of course was to inculcate discernment, to teach his son to think. (from “The Quest for Relevance”, 2007 White Horse Inn)
I have often recommended the Reformation Study Bible. Its notes are very helpful, but occasionally there is an oddity. Nahum predicts the downfall of Assyria, and verse 3:12 uses this allusion to the disintegration of its armies:
Behold, your troops are women in your midst.
Now, without further comment, let’s compare the RSB to Matthew Henry in discussing this verse:
In the face of the approaching army all the Assyrian troops are like women (i.e. not trained for warfare). -RSB
[T]hey have no wisdom, no courage; they shall be fickle, feeble, and fainthearted, as women commonly are in such times of danger and distress; they shall be at their wits’ end, adding to their griefs and fears by the power of their own imagination, and utterly unable to do anything for themselves; the valiant men shall become cowards. -Matthew Henry