Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thinx 44: The Coalface

Where is the coal-face? When I'm praying, interceding for others, that's the coal-face. Whatever battles are fought in the world, they are fought first in prayer. Wherever I am praying, that is the coal-face.

I could be back serving as a missionary in PNG or Pakistan and yet be far from the place there God wants me to be; though it may appear to be for service, sometimes a change of location may be for the purpose of escape.

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2006

Thinx 43: On Dying For One's Faith

"Man, who is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.
"Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare would I wait, until my release should come. You would call, and I would answer you. You would have a desire to the work of your hands. --Job 14:1, 13-15 (WEB)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. --Phi 1:21 (WEB)
Dying for one's faith is easier than living for it.

In dying, someone comes and takes away your life -- makes your body incapable of holding life.

In living, no one comes to take away your death -- your body remains able to hold life, much as you may, from time to time, wish otherwise.

In death, you have your one moment to glorify God, before being released into his presence.

In life, you have the opportunity to glorify God day after day. He is still present but there is no release.

In death, you can set your burden down, your work on earth is done.

In life, your burden remains and your work continues.

Living for one's faith is harder than dying for it.

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2006

Thinx 42: For the Children of Wrath

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
--Rom 11:29
If the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, 'without repentance' as other translations put it, does this mean that the call to mission and service that God placed on my life in the mid 80s still applies?

One might think not. I have spent about 8 of my 45 years as a cross-cultural missionary. Some might say that I have done my dash, that now is the time to rejoin the rat-race.
Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to Yahweh for it; for in its peace you shall have peace.
--Jer 29:7 (WEB)
Vast numbers of Australians are surging over the cliff into the abyss. Can I stand by, or go along with the flow, and do nothing about the lives about to be destroyed before my eyes? At the edge of the precipice, I will fly. But others will plummet.

Can I, can we Christians, avoid being damaged by a society in decline? Australia continues to erase the name and the memory of God out of all traditions and institutions. History repeats itself, for other cultures have done this too, and have suffered accordingly.
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.
--Rom 1:18 (NLT)
If the stealing of children on their way to and from school increases, how long before it's one of our kids? If road-rage increases, how long before someone we know and love is damaged by another's anger? If corporate corruption continues, how long before we suffer the loss of savings and investments?

Are we somehow immune from societal collapse? No! We are not. If we do not actively seek the peace of the city and the soclety in which we live, we will suffer, and so will our children.
If I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I can't [contain].
--Jer 20:9 (WEB)
If I believe then I must speak, and I must act. I cannot simply care for the church and leave the outside world to take care of itself. We need pastors, preachers, and Sunday School teachers. But we also need evangelists, chaplains and SRE teachers. We're well set up for those who frequent our houses of worship. But what of those who never darken the door of a church; whose parents and grandparents are un-churched? Is there nothing to be done for the children of wrath?

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2006

Thinx 41: Chocolate and Easter

Sometimes we're so far in, we can't see. Sometimes those on the edge have better vision.

The punch line is quite late in the "Sports Journo Day" article, some distance past the discussion about a spurious ancestor of mine.

And yes, Laurie Axtens is related to me; he's one of my younger brothers.

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2006

Thinx 40: Where are the witches when you need them?

'Granny Aching would have done something about monsters in our river,' said Tiffany ... And she'd have done something about what happened to old Mrs Snapperly, she added to herself. She'd have spoken up, and people would have listened . . . They always listened when Granny spoke up. Speak up for those who don't have voices, she always said.

'Good,' said Miss Tick. 'So she should. Witches deal with things.
--Terry Pratchett, "The Wee Free Men", p. 43.
Is it only for witches to speak up for those who don't have voices? Is it only for witches to deal with things? If so, where are the witches who are speaking up for the foetuses of the world? Where are the witches who are dealing with the daily annihilation of the weak and helpless?

There are rights for everyone, even for the down-treading minority, but there are no rights for the unborn. They are alone, silently bearing, in their own tiny bodies, the cost of their parents' irresponsibility. They twist, they turn, they writhe in their agony, but no one hears, and presumably, no one cares, not even the witches.

It is a terrible thing to drown at sea, but okay to die from saline injection. It is a fearsome thing to be approached by a grim-faced soldier bearing a sword. Why is it different when the soldier is a surgeon and the sword a curette? People are appalled and think it an affront to humanity, a war-crime, when Kurds are murdered in their thousands by chemical weapons. But no one bats an eyelid when millions die from RU486.

Where are the witches when you need them? And if they are silent, who will speak up for those who don't have voices?

© Copyright Bruce M. Axtens, 2006