Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Captain of the Sea


I am the captain of my ship
Each board, and plank, and rail.
I turn the ship at my command
And tell the rudders where to sail.

The wind, it blows me where I want
Through skill and luck and wit. 
I tell the crew just what to do,
And the sea, she listens too.

The waves, they roll up past the boat 
Each cap and trough and crest.
I push on through the endless sea
And I declare that I'm the best.

For I'm the captain of the sea,
Each fish and crab and coral.
They swim and jump at my command 
And I feed them from MY hand.

Suddenly a cabin boy, 
From the gunwale of the boat; 
"You go too far you scalawag.
You are no captain, but a goat.

If you're the captain of this ship,
Each board and plank and rail.
Who made the boards? Who made the planks?
And who fills up the sails?

The wind, it blows you where He wants,
Despite your mighty skill.
It storms and gales and pushes you
At the High Commanders will.

The waves still roll up past the boat,
But each crest can not be stopped 
Try telling one "be calm and still",
Then try walking 'cross the top.

Sure you're the captain of this ship
But the seas belong to Him. 
He made the wood, He blows the wind, 
And by His will the creatures swim.

Without The Captain of the sea 
There's ne're that you can do. 
So thank Him for the breath He gives
And the grace He shows to you.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Truly Sensible



I hear an echo on the breeze
that bounces off the rocks and trees.
It reminds me of a voice I’ve heard
within my soul, a silent bird.
Yet echoes ‘round with quiet thunder
and strikes my heart with rev’rent wonder.

I see a shadow on the hill
And reflections on the window sill
It’s hard to see, but can’t be missed
As if the sunlight could be kissed.
Yet all the same, that dangerous light
It awes my heart, a dazzling sight.

I smell a fragrance in the air
A soothing scent that’s lovely and rare.
It fills my lungs with breathless pleasure
As if I’ve smelled a priceless treasure.
And all the air around seems bent
By this exhilarating scent.

Yet all for naught these senses be
If they don’t bring me back to Thee.
The One who formed me from the Earth
My ears, my eyes, my nose, my worth.

Laurance McGraw V

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Stand Your Ground


"In the life of every believer there are moments that shape your walk with Jesus Christ.
There comes a time in your life that if you give the devil permission, whether you do it knowingly or not he will come in and take everything that is near and dear to you. A preacher once said; “give the devil an inch and he will take a mile.”

The fact of the matter is that you were born in the middle of a cosmic war, and what you need to know is that Satan tried to dethrone God and failed, and failed miserably. He knows that he can’t compete with God, therefore he was left with a conundrum, how can you face an opponent with no flaw or weakness?

That’s where we come in.

Whether you know it or not you are the object of God’s affection. Although we are made in his image, we are not perfect and the human mind and the human body can be influenced by either the power of God from above, or the power of evil from beneath.

The fact that you are the object of God’s affection puts you on the devils hit list. Understand this; the devil is out to get you. He may pretend he is there to help you but he is the master of disguise and he will masquerade as something good or enticing to get you on his side then once he has his hands on you he will seek to destroy you.

Why you may ask; because he knows God cares for you. See the devil is fully aware that he cannot win against God and the only thing that will bring him some sense of satisfaction is to take you down. I am here simply to encourage you.

Don’t let him take you down.

DON’T let him take you down.

The only way the devil can vent his hostility toward God is through you. Refuse to be a part of the devils plans. His goal is to frustrate God’s plan in your life, to block and to hinder your road to salvation, to prevent God’s fulfillment in your life, and to separate and alienate you from God and His kingdom.

Let me be straight with you, this is a war for your life, for your family’s life, for your soul. The destiny of your soul is at stake.

Now, the enemy will use every strategy that he can to enter your life, to weaken you, to frustrate you, to tempt you, to lure you, and to break you down. He does not tire, he does not stop, and he is consistently after you 24 / 7. His goal is not only to destroy you, his goal is not only to destroy your body, but his goal is to destroy your soul, rob you of your health, rob you of your wealth, everything you love he is after it.

John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal.”

Knowing what you know now are you seriously just going to sit there and let the enemy run riot in your life?

Honestly?!?

Are you really just going to sit there and let the enemy steal your family, steal your wife, steal your husband, steal your children? Are you really just going to lie down and not put up a fight, no resistance, nothing?

Are you really just going to hand it over to him? Hand over your business? Hand over your health? Hand over your education? After everything you’ve been through are you really just going to hand it over without a fight? Are you really going to let the devil slap you around? Let him hang things over you?

How long are you going to go accepting things from him? Just thinking things just happen.

Well today’s the day you’re going to say; “I’VE HAD IT! I’m not taking this anymore. Everything that the devil has stolen from me, I’m taking it back.”

Fighting the enemy is no easy feat and most people haven’t developed the backbone required to go eyeball to eyeball with the enemy.

A preacher once said, “It’s difficult to fight an enemy that you just got through sleeping with.”

But the wonderful thing about Jesus Christ is that He came to the Earth as a man and when He faced the enemy, He demonstrated what we should do as men and women of God. Jesus said, when dealing with the enemy, “It is written.” The one thing that can get the enemy to run out of your life, out of your family, out of your business, is the word of God. There is a reason why that in Ephesians 6 the word of God is described as the sword. Take your sword out; you need to know what is written, and not just to know what is written for you need to SEEK what is written and speak the word.

When the enemy comes into your life like a flood, stand your ground and take your sword out in Luke 10 and go eyeball to eyeball with him and tell him “I have been given the authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm me.”

STAND YOUR GROUND

When he tries to use one of his main tactics, which is fear, tell him “For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

STAND YOUR GROUND

When he thinks you are down tell him, I’m not down Satan, “the Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

STAND YOUR GROUND

When he tells you you’re a loser tell him “I am the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

STAND YOUR GROUND

When the enemy comes after you tell him Isaiah 54 “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)

STAND YOUR GROUND

When he whispers in your ear and tells you that you can’t do this, throw Philippians 4:13 to him “I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

STAND YOUR GROUND

When the devil tries to question your purpose tell him; "I am a part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, and it is my mission to declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness and into His wonderful light."

STAND YOUR GROUND

When he comes with a spirit of condemnation and questions your salvation and says you are not saved, you did this, you did that, tell him “I have confessed with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead” I am saved.

STAND YOUR GROUND

Recognize that you’re in a fight, pick up your sword, and let the Lord use you to advance His kingdom."

-Edris Hera

Monday, August 12, 2019

Where is your brother?

“Where is Abel your brother?”

Cain: “Am I my brothers keeper?”

Me: “Yes! Absolutely yes! And of all people, YOU, his only recorded brother so far, should know where he is. In fact, you DO know where he is, you’re just a heartless monster and THAT’S why Abel’s offering was accepted and yours wasn’t.”

You see, if you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it!

We all know how the story went though. You killed your brother. 

I know it.

You know it.

Your Creator knows it. 

Cain: “Then why even ask me?”

Me: “Because your Creator is merciful to you and He is giving you a chance to grieve over your sin, admit it to Him, and turn from your evil ways with a new heart, just like He did with your Dad Adam.”

It’s too late now though because you chose to respond to your Creator with a snarky attitude and a prideful heart, as if He couldn’t and wouldn’t discipline you for your disobedience. 

Yet even in that He was merciful to you but you’re too stubborn hearted to realize it and you think that your punishment was too severe. 

REALLY?!?

Your brother is dead because of you and YOUR punishment is too severe?!?!?

You’re the one who sinned, you’re the one who picked up the stone. You’re the one who hammered your brothers skull with it until the blood poured out and yet you’re the one complaining that the trials you now have to face in this life are too severe?

...le sigh. “Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!” (Aslan)

Since intellectual acumen has all but disappeared in today’s age I’m sure I need to explain what this question has to do with us today because rest assured that the questions that our Creator Himself asks in the Bible must be relevant to us today or else they wouldn’t have needed to be written. 

With that being said; Where is your brother?

Men today: “Larry, I’ve never killed my brother with a rock.”

Me: “Well that may be true but our problem goes deeper than that. Have you ever hated your brother in your heart? Remember brother in our context is any other human being because we are all related through Adam.”

Men: “Maybe but surely that isn’t morally equivalent to ACTUALLY murdering someone.”

Jesus: “Actually, it is because I care more about your heart than I do about your outward actions and I’ve seen all of your hearts. There isn’t one of them that’s righteous I assure you.”

Me: “And you (men) know this to be true because we’ve all had thoughts that made us go “eek” or we’ve made moral judgements about the words others speak.”

Men: “So I’m just stuck with this brain that has morally bad thoughts? Why even give me a “bad heart”? How unjust of you Jesus... Checkmate.”

Me: “le sigh...Well it’s too late now because you chose to respond to your Savior with a snarky attitude and a prideful heart, as if He couldn’t and wouldn’t discipline you for your disobedience.

Yet even in that He is merciful to you but you’re too stubborn hearted to realize it and you think that your punishment of a hard life is too severe. 

REALLY?!?

Jesus died and rose again because of you and YOUR punishment is too severe?!?!?

You’re the one who sinned, you’re the one who picked up the nail. You’re the one who hammered your Saviors hands with them until the blood poured out and yet you’re the one complaining that the trials you now have to face in this life are too severe?

That’s what your morally bad thoughts cost. That’s the cost He paid so that even though your thoughts and desires are as sinful as Cain’s, your Creator can be both just and merciful. 

Justice was paid by Jesus so that mercy could be shown to men. 

Your Creator is merciful to you and He is giving you a chance to grieve over your sin, admit it to Him, and turn from your evil ways with a new heart, just like He did with your Dad Adam and your brother Cain.

The reality is that Jesus is our brother and so I’ll ask you one more time; 

Where is your brother? His blood is crying out to you from the cross and you can be released from the sinful curse of Cain by answering that call. 

(Part 2 of my “Questions from the Creator” series)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Where are you Adam?

Where are you Adam?

“But the LORD God called to the MAN and said to him, “Where are you?””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭NET‬‬

Men, we need to talk. 

As I read through yet another mass shooting I can’t help but ask the same question that God did as He was billowing through the Garden of Eden looking for Adam;

Where are you Adam?

As I see yet another marriage fail due to alcohol and drugs...

Where are you Adam?

When I go to Iraq and see children playing in, bathing in, and eating in filth...

Where are you Adam?

When racism rears it’s ugly draconian head...

Where are you Adam? 

When the devil tempts your children through things they watch, things they see, and people they hang out with...

Where are you Adam?

When your wife is slaving away at home with the kids and she’s getting burnt out because her husband isn’t helping...

Where are you Adam?

When your babies are aborted because the mothers don’t feel they have the support they need to raise a child...

Where ARE you Adam?

The list goes on and on as “Adam” sits silent watching the world go by him while God CRIES OUT to him to stand and deliver. 

You see God didn’t call out to Eve in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day after they ate the forbidden fruit. No He told Adam to come stand before Him and explain himself to his Creator. 

YOU HAD ONE JOB!

Now I have thousands of them.

YOU HAD A LIFE OF EASE!

Now I deal with sin everyday in every way imaginable. 

YOU HAD A TREE OF LIFE!

Now I must die at some point...

Those are just MY points as a Man descended from Him but imagine you’re Adam for a minute and God says “Where are you?”

Where were you when your wife was tempted?

Where were you when she was taking a bite from the fruit?

Where were you when YOU took a bite?!?

Oh that’s right, you were with her in the Garden. 

So you sat by and watched as all of humanity became bent and broken because of your indifference, your passivity, and your choices.

Listen to Adams response to God’s question;

“Here I am, and yes that’s all true BUT Lord it wouldn’t have happened if YOU hadn’t given me this WOMAN.”

What a pitiful response. 

So again I ask, where are you Adam? Even I know that’s not how a Man should respond to ANYTHING, let alone his creator. The one who formed him with His breath. The one that crafted a partner for him from his very bones and breathed into her the breath of life. 

Pitiful!

...just like me. 

You see I’ve heard God calling to me for a long time saying “where are you Man?” and I have tried to run as far from that call as possible. 

I have stood by and watched as the devil has tried to take everything from me while I was hiding because I was too scared to face the call of my Creator. 

I have stood by and watched evil things happen and shrugged my shoulders as if there was nothing I could do about it all because it was easier to ignore than to face my Creator.

Where are you Larry?

“Here I am and yes Lord, its all true but if YOU hadn’t made me this way I would be just fine.”

What a pitiful response I used to give him...

Thank God there is another Adam that I haven’t talked about yet because otherwise the original Adam and I didn’t and don’t have a good enough answer for our Creator. 

Thank God there is another Adam that I can look to and say “THAT’S how it should have been done thousands of years ago in the Garden.”

When this Adam came, He didn’t need to hide, He had no shame, He talked with God openly, freely, and frequently. Just like original Adam should have done. 

He spoke up for the oppressed, defended women, and rebuked the serpent. Just like original Adam should have done. 

He didn’t eat ANY forbidden fruit. Just like original Adam should have done. 

It goes even further than that though because this Adam not only did all the right things, He also made sure original Adams debt was paid. 

He said “I will take original Adams place. I will not be silent and let him go to the grave.”

He said “Father God the cup that You have given me, I will drink.”

Then He said “Father forgive them.”

Just like Adam and I should have done and deserved.

Jesus is that second Adam, the one who fulfilled original Adams mission to be the image bearer of God and the true Ad’am (Hebrew word for man) as an example to us. 

When we look at original Adam we see blame, shame, and rejection. 

When we look at the true Ad’am we see love, life, and resurrection. 

Thank you God for showing us what true Men are like and I pray that all of the men reading this would study the life of Jesus the true Adam, and step up to His plate to live their life the way He lived His. 

-Laurance McGraw




Man or Rabbit?


"Can’t you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?' 

This is the question on which I have been asked to write, and straight away, before I begin trying to answer it, I have a comment to make. The question sounds as if it were asked by a person who said to himself, 'I don't care whether Christianity is in fact true or not. I'm not interested in finding out whether the real universe is more like what the Christians say than what the Materialists say. All I'm interested in is leading a good life. I'm going to choose beliefs not because I think them true but because I find them helpful.'

Now frankly, I find it hard to sympathize with this state of mind. One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply  for the sake of knowing. When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human. As a matter of fact, I don't believe any of you have really lost that desire. More probably, foolish preachers, by always telling you how much Christianity will help you and how good it is for society, have actually led you to forget that Christianity is not a patent medicine.

Christianity claims to give an account of facts -to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is really before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer.

If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.

As soon as we have realized this, we realize something else. If Christianity should happen to be true, then it is quite impossible that those who know this truth and those who don't should be equally well equipped for leading a good life. Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to one's actions.

Suppose you found a man on the point of starvation and wanted to do the right thing. If you had no knowledge of medical science, you would probably give him a large solid meal; and as a result your man would die. That is what comes of working in the dark.

In the same way a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live for ever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organisations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be 'good' or 'bad' simply in
so far as it helps or hinders that kind of 'happiness'

Now there are quite a lot of things which these two men could agree in doing for their fellow citizens. Both would approve of efficient sewers and hospitals and a healthy diet. But sooner or later the difference of their beliefs would produce differences in their practical proposals. Both, for example, might be very keen about education: but the kinds of education they wanted people to have would obviously be very different. Again, where the Materialist would simply ask about a proposed action 'Will it increase the happiness of the majority?', the Christian might have to say, 'Even if it does increase the happiness of the majority, we can't do it. It is unjust.' 

And all the time, one great difference would run through their whole policy. To the Materialist things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day.

The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can't both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn't fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction.

With the best will in the world . . . then it won't be his fault.

Surely God (if there is a God) will not punish a man for honest mistakes? But was that all you were thinking about? Are we ready to run the risk of working in the dark all our lives and doing infinite harm, provided only someone will assure us that our own skins will be safe, that no one will punish us or blame us? I will not believe that the reader is quite on that level. But even if he were, there is something to be said to him.

The question before each of us is not 'Can someone lead a good life without Christianity?' The question is, 'Can I ?'

We all know there have been good men who were not Christians; men like Socrates and Confucius who had never heard of it, or men like J. S. Mill who quite honestly couldn't believe it. Supposing Christianity to be true, these men were in a state of honest ignorance or honest error. If their intentions were as good as I suppose them to have been (for of course I can't read their secret hearts) I hope and believe that the skill and mercy of God will remedy the evils which their ignorance, left to itself, would naturally produce both for them and for those whom they influenced.

But the man who asks me, 'Can't I lead a good life without believing in Christianity?' is clearly not in the same position. If he hadn't heard of Christianity he would not be asking this question. If, having heard of it, and having seriously considered it, he had decided that it was untrue, then once more he would not be asking the question.

The man who asks this question has heard of Christianity and is by no means certain that it may not be true. He is really asking, 'Need I bother about it? Mayn't I just evade the issue, just let sleeping dogs lie, and get on with being "good"? Aren't good intentions enough to keep me safe and blameless without knocking at that dreadful door and making sure whether there is, or isn't someone inside?'

To such a man it might be enough to reply that he is really asking to be allowed to get on with being 'good' before he has done his best to discover what good means. But that is not the whole story. We need not inquire whether God will punish him for his cowardice and laziness; they will punish themselves. The man is shirking. He is deliberately trying not to know whether Christianity is true or false, because he foresees endless trouble if it should turn out to be true.

He is like the man who deliberately 'forgets' to look at the notice board because, if he did, he might find his name down for some unpleasant duty.

He is like the man who won't look at his bank account because he's afraid of what he might find there.

He is like the man who won't go to the doctor when he first feels a mysterious pain, because he is afraid of what the doctor may tell him.

The man who remains an unbeliever for such reasons is not in a state of honest error. He is in a state of dishonest error, and that dishonesty will spread through all his thoughts and actions: a certain shiftiness, a vague worry in the back-ground, a blunting of his whole mental edge, will result. He has lost his intellectual virginity.

Honest rejection of Christ, however mistaken, will be forgiven and healed - 'Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him.' But to evade the Son of Man, to look the other way, to pretend you haven't noticed, to become suddenly absorbed in something on the other side of the street, to leave the receiver off the telephone because it might be He who was ringing up, to leave unopened certain letters in a strange handwriting because they might be from Him - this is a different matter.

You may not be certain yet whether you ought to be a Christian; but you do know you ought to be a Man, not an ostrich, hiding its head in the sand.

But still - for intellectual honor has sunk very low in our age - I hear someone whimpering on with his question, 'Will it help me? Will it make me happy? Do you really think I'd be better if I became a Christian?' Well, if you must have it, my answer is 'Yes.' But I don't like giving an answer at all at this stage.

Here is a door, behind which, according to some people, the secret of the universe is waiting for you. Either that's true, or it isn't. And if it isn't, then what the door really conceals is simply the greatest fraud, the most colossal 'sell' on record. Isn't it obviously the job of every man (that is a man and not a rabbit) to try to find out which, and then to devote his full energies either to serving this
tremendous secret or to exposing and destroying this gigantic humbug? Faced with such an issue, can you really remain wholly absorbed in your own blessed 'moral development'?

All right, Christianity will do you good - a great deal more good than you ever wanted or expected. And the first bit of good it will do you is to hammer into your head (you won't enjoy that!) the fact that what you have hitherto called 'good' - all that about 'leading a decent life' and 'being kind' -isn't quite the magnificent and all-important affair you supposed. It will teach you that in fact you can't be 'good' (not for twenty-four hours) on your own moral efforts. And then it will teach you that even if you were, you still wouldn't have achieved the purpose for which you were created.

Mere morality is not the end of life.

You were made for something quite different from that. J. S. Mill and Confucius (Socrates was much nearer the reality) simply didn't know what life is about. The people who keep on asking if they can't lead a decent life without Christ, don't know what life is about; if they did they would know that 'a decent life' is mere machinery compared with the thing we men are really made for.

Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up.

We are to be re-made.

All the rabbit in us is to disappear - the worried, conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit. We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy. 'When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.'

The idea of reaching 'a good life' without Christ is based on a double error. Firstly, we cannot do it; and secondly, in setting up 'a good life' as our final goal, we have missed the very point of our existence.

Morality is a mountain which we cannot climb by our own efforts; and if we could we
should only perish in the ice and unbreathable air of the summit, lacking those wings with which the rest of the journey has to be accomplished. For it is from there that the real ascent begins. The ropes and axes are 'done away' and the rest is a matter of flying."

-C.S. Lewis