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MANY MEN OF SCIENCE, TOO FEW MEN OF GOD
In 1948, at an Armistice Celebration, (Armistice was the declaration of peace at the end of World War I) it was declared on November 11 at 11.00 am. So 11, 11 at 11. They did that symbolically because they felt that they were at the eleventh hour. They actually felt if the war continued, the whole world would be destroyed by it. Over 20 million people were killed in World War I. It was the bloodiest, most destructive war in history up until that time. So they declared an Armistice. Even till today some celebrate that.
Omar Bradley, one of the Generals in World War II went to World War I and he remembered it as a young man. He served in the army in the US, became a General. He actually led one of the largest armies in history during World War II. He spoke at an Armistice Day in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948. He said,
"With the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has clearly outstripped our capacity to control it. We have many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
This is our twentieth century's claim to distinction and to progress."
In the middle of 20th century, he makes this commentary and I think that history has borne his testimony to be true. After he made this speech, we had the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the whole group of other wars in the world. We do not know how to make peace.
If we are going to move into the twenty first century in confidence, if we want to give hope to our children and next generation, it must come through our commitment to our being in Christ and seeing character developed in ourselves, so that His light can shine in this very dark world.
In Dwight Pentecostís commentary on the book of Philippians he refers to an occurrence of a church split in Dallas Texas. The church split was so bad that it involved a legal suit of one side of the church against the other over who had the right of owner ship of the church property. The case went all the way to the State Supreme Court. It was dismissed on the grounds that the State Supreme Court was not going to deal with inner church issues but they would have to be dealt with by the denominational church governing body. The matter was finally settled with one side being given the ownership rights to the property. During this period of time a local news paper reporter did some investigating on the cause of this church split. He discovered that it all started during a church dinner. Apparently one of the church elders was offended when the portion of food given to him was not as large as the young person next to him. This whole church split started because someone was offended over such a petty thing.
CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE?
On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, a small businessman stood with his partner. Business was all gone, and the partner asked, "How much longer can we keep this going?"
The owner answered, "It looks as if our business has just about winked out." Then he continued, "You know, I wouldnít mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldnít mind so much if we could sell everything weíve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book--Blackstoneís Commentary on English Law, but I guess I canít."
At that moment a strange-looking wagon came up the road. The driver drove it up close to the store porch, then looked at the owner and said, "Iím trying to move my family out west, and Iím out of money. Iíve got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents."
The businessmanís eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, her face thin and emaciated. He slipped his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, "the last fifty cents I had" and said, "I reckon I could use a good barrel."
All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. The partner kept chiding the owner about it. Late in the evening the businessman walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadnít noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood dumbfounded: it was Blackstoneís Commentary on English Law.
That businessman was Abraham Lincoln. Chance or Providence?
YOU HAVE TO STOOP
The announcement went first to the shepherds. They didn't ask God if he was sure he knew what he was doing. Had the angel gone to the theologians, they would have first consulted their commentaries. Had he gone to the elite, they would have looked around to see if anyone was watching. Had he gone to the successful, they would have first looked at their calendars.
So he went to the shepherds. Men who didn't have a reputation to protect or an ax to grind or a ladder to climb. Men who didn't know enough to tell God that angels don't sing to sheep and that messiahs aren't found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.
A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus. Behind a high alter in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit by silver lamps.
You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church. You can also enter the quiet cave where a star embedded in the floor
recognizes the birth of the King. There is one stipulation, however. You have to stoop. The door is so low you can't go in standing up.
The same is true of the Christ. You can see the wo...
People who are truly thankful don’t complain, they find a reason to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
A man sent a letter to Ann Landers. He wrote, "This is for the woman who was distressed about her son. I would like to ask her some questions about the boy. Is he disrespectful? Has he been arrested for drunk driving? Has he been kicked out of college for cheating? Has he made his girl friend pregnant? Does he get failing grades? Does he steal money from your purse?"
"If you can answer `Noí to all these questions, stop complaining. You have a great kid." It was signed, "Ralph N., Oakland, CA."
I donít always agree with Ann Landers, but I do appreciate how she answered him.
She replied, "Your letter showed just how much times have changed. You said that if a kid today isnít on drugs, doesnít get failing grades, hasnít been arrested for drunk driving, or kicked out of college for cheating, hasnít made his girl friend pregnant, or stolen from your purse, that heís great. But you make no mention of achievement. Thereís not a word about integrity, a sense of responsibility, decency, morality or service to others."
Then she went on to add, "What a sad commentary on our times. Good Lord, where is our nation headed, & who is going to lead us there?"
John Williams III
"One of the aboriginal tribes of the South Seas has a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood called a "walkabout." A boy coming to puberty is sent into the jungle for six weeks without food, shelter or weapons. During this time, he must test all of the survival skills he has learned during childhood. He must also be creative when he meets the unexpected. Talk about final examination! One mistake and he is dead. If, however, he survives to walk out of the jungle, he returns to a celebration that honors him as a man, a hunter and a warrior". (David L. McKenna. The Communicatorís Commentary Series: Mark. Volume 2. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1982, p. 41). The testing in the wilderness was Jesusí equivalent of a "walkabout". Jesus went into His "walkabout" filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). And when Jesus left the wilderness, He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee (Luke 4:14).
THEY PAID THE PRICE
Americans, you know the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence that first 4th of July--you know they were risking everything, donít you? Because if they won the war with the British, there would be years of hardship as a struggling nation. If they lost they would face a hangmanís noose. And yet there where it says, "We herewith pledge, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," they did sign. But did you know that they paid the price?
When Carter Braxton of Virginia signed the Declaration of Independence, he was a wealthy planter and trader. But thereafter he saw his ships swepted from the seas and to pay his debts, he lost his home and all of his property. He died in rags.
Thomas Lynch, Jr., who signed that pledge, was a third generation rice grower and aristocrat--a large plantation owner--but after he signed his health failed. With his wife he set out for France to regain his failing health. Their ship never got to France; he was never heard from again.
Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harrassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay, his family in poverty and in hiding.
Vandals looted the properties of Ellery and Clymer and Hall and Gwinett and Walton and Heyward and Rutledge and Middleton. And Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised two million dollars on his own signature to provision our allies, the French fleet. After the War he personally paid back the loans wiping out his entire estate; he was never reimbused by his government. And in the final battle for Yorktown, he, Nelson, urged General Washington to fire on his, Nelsonís own home, then occupied by Cornwallis. And he died bankrupt. Thomas Nelson, Jr. had pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor.
The Hessians seized the home of Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey. Francis Lewis had his home and everything destroyed, his wife imprisoned--she died within a few months. Richard Stockton, who signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging his life and his fortune, was captured and mistreated, and his health broken to the extent that he died at 51. And his estate was pillaged.
Thomas Heyward, Jr. was captured when Charleston fell. John Hart was driven from his wifeís bedside while she was dying; their thirteen children fled in all directions for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves and returned home after the War to find his wife dead, his children gone, his properties gone. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Lewis Morris saw his land destroyed, his family scattered. Philip Livingston died within a few months of hardships of the War.
John Hancock, history remembers best, due to a quirk of fate--that great sweeping signature attesting to his vanity, towers over the others. One of the wealthiest men in New England, he stood outside Boston one terrible night of the War and said, "Burn Boston, though it makes John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it." He, too, lived up to the pledge.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes--from Rhode Island to Charles...
D. Lloyd Jones sums up Paul's position in these words, "In vv. 6-29, he explains why anybody is saved: it is the sovereign election of God. Verses 30-33 show us why anybody is lost, and the explanation to that is our own responsibility."
Source: Commentary on Romans, Vol. 9, p. 28
A medical doctor provides a physical description: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brainóthe nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet.
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
It is now almost overóthe loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical levelóthe compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissuesóthe tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
He can feel the chill of death creeping through is tissues. . .Finally he can allow his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, ďAnd they crucified Him.Ē (Mark 15:24).
What wondrous love is this?
Adapted from C. Truman Davis, M.D. in The Expositorís Bible Commentary, Vol. 8