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Showing posts from 2018

Bondage to Passion

This is an excerpt from The Dynamic of Service by Paget Wilkes. …you do not do the things that you wish. (Gal. 5:17) No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) If prejudice and ignorance are the prison-houses of the soul, evil passions are its chains. Everywhere we find men fettered by evil appetites. At first willing captives, imagining that silken cords are easily broken, young men and women gladly give themselves to their lust, only to discover before long that when they would be free, their slavery is complete. In dealing with such, it is important to distinguish this form of bondage from other and more hopeless cases. In reality the slavery to evil passions is more easily removed than any other, if only we know how to bring them to Christ just as they are. A striking instance will illustrate. While recently in England and staying at one of the military centers, I sought to help in one of the huts erected for the soldiers. One Sunday evening I had the privilege

The Fullness of Joy

This is a transcript of a talk given earlier this year by my granddaughter, Brooke Newman, who is a pastor's wife in the United Kingdom. "Those things didn’t cause us to lose our joy the presence of God. We lost it before that, and we replaced it with a fake, a joy that is really only moderate happiness in circumstances being how we want them, which of course is rare." Joy. Joy is my topic for this morning and a good thing to dwell on at this time of year. Today I want to talk about Christian joy. We will look at some of the things the Bible says about joy, some of the reasons we lose it, and how to regain it. I wanted to talk about this because in my life I can honestly say that the impact of just a few people really living lives of deep joy in all circumstances has changed my entire family. It started with my grandfather, who learned these lessons after he became a Christian. His joy had a profound impact on all of his children, and the trickle went from there to al

Glory to God in the Highest

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:4-6) The first Christmas happened so that we might receive the full right of sons. Thank God. We talk about the shepherds and the wise men. They were the first human witnesses of this event “when the time had fully come.” There were other witnesses of this birth on Earth of the Son of God. “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’” (Luke 2:13-14). This was not a select choral group of twenty-four angels singing four-part harmony. This was a great company of the Heavenly Host. My guess is, ten thousand times ten thousand, or one hundred million. They

The Guarded Heart

This is an article written by my wife Bessie for The Hammer magazine. Most of my articles on the heart were written to stress the importance of keeping a right heart before God, because this is what our God is concerned about. We could continue this indefinitely because the Scriptures abound with such references. However, this month we shall consider His gracious provision for the “guarded” heart. He can make our heart a garrison. This is found in a very familiar portion, Philippians 4:4-7: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." In this passage we are told to do several things: 1) rejoice, 2) be gentle, 3) reject all anxiety, and 4) present our prayers, petit

Morality in the Military: The Solution

We do not want to lower the moral standards just because the high moral standards are not being lived out. Neither do we wish to court-martial every violator. Therefore we must find a way to raise the practice of moral living. This will be doubly difficult when much of American society is living immorally and our people come out of that society. It used to be that the society was more moral, and the Navy was the place to take a moral man and make him unmoral. Now it is the other way around. We must take immoral men and try to make them moral. As a fighting unit, we do not care how they become moral, but the ways to do it are limited. There are five basic ways to accomplish this: 1. Example of the officer and petty officer corps 2. Teaching 3. Requirement by force of moral leadership 4. Peer pressure 5. Religion The military has been weak on all five of these. We should consider each in turn. 1. Example. All of us are examples. We have no choice. We are good ones or bad on

Morality in the Military: Whose Problem?

Consider the moral responsibility of the captain. The higher the moral character of a society, whether it be shipboard, or a city, or a nation, the lower the crime rate will be in that society. The lower the moral state, the higher the crime rate will be, along with a greater difficulty in enforcing the criminal code. This responsibility of the captain is not my opinion; it is the current position of the Navy. Of first importance is the article in the U.S. Navy Regulations which places the commanding officer as the chief inspector of virtue or the lack of it. 1102. Requirement of Exemplary Conduct. All commanding officers and others in authority in the naval service are required to show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination; to be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who are placed under their command ; to guard against and suppress all dissolute and immoral practices and to correct, according to the laws and regulations of the N

Morality in the Military: The Problem of Inconsistency

In OPNAVINST3120.32B, we see a few other, clear prohibitions. Article 510.46 Profane language. No person will use profane, obscene, or vulgar words or gestures on board a naval unit. Article 510.9 Card Games and Gambling. No person will: Gamble for money with playing cards, dice, or other apparatus or methods on board naval units. If you have been been aboard U.S. Navy ships, you have probably encountered profanity, much of it in excess, by both the officers and enlisted men. We have been aboard ships which have had penny-ante gambling in the wardroom and high-stakes gambling on the mess decks. We have been aboard ships where officers and men frequented houses of prostitution (though attending separate houses). I was once in the presence of a QM3 (who was on a fast attack submarine) and an admiral. The admiral asked the quartermaster how things were on the boat. The sailor responded that things were okay except for the drugs. The admiral got very upset and said firmly, very stro

Morality and Morale

There is a common saying that "you cannot legislate morality." And yet we do legislate morality all the time. We should legislate it, and when we do, it works. We have laws against stealing, all kinds, and murder, all kinds. We have laws against drunk drivers, but not against drunks. In that case, we are selective, distinguishing between a sin and a crime. We have laws against perjury, but not against other forms of lying. Again, we are selective. However, we are legislating morality. Such legislation does not determine morality; the legislation just makes a civil law out of an intrinsic moral law that we should already know and recognize. I am speaking in legal terms, not religious terms. The Navy has some truisms, one of them being "a taut ship is a happy ship." A taut ship, of course, does not mean an over-trained, workaholic ship. Nor does it mean a "chicken" ship. It simply means a ship with laws, the infractions of which are justly and quickly

Morality: A Military Necessity

This is the first of a series of posts on the necessity of morality in the armed forces. by Jim Wilson, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1950 Vincit qui se vincit "He conquers who conquers himself." Introduction Forty years is a long time to remember. However, in the early fifties we left San Diego for WesPac. The ship was a long hull Sumner-class destroyer. We had eighteen "boots" aboard. We (probably the captain) decided that these young men needed to be protected, and should be informed of the facts of life. It was a three- pronged effort. The exec talked to the men in a fatherly sort of way about their mothers, their sisters, their hometown girlfriends, and their wives. This nostalgia was to protect them from waywardness. An "assigned" chaplain talked with them about absolute morality and sin. And finally, the medical officer and the corpsman taught them about condoms and "past event cleansing." After this thorough instruction we arriv

God the Father from the Gospel of John

The best Bible teachers in the world, although they believe the Word of God, apply it daily, and live godly lives, cannot take a strong text of the Bible and make it stronger. They can only make it weaker. The more they teach the Scripture, the weaker it becomes. It’s like adding water to the soup. We, however, have come to like it weaker. In my many years with Christian evangelicalism, I have found that the movement has adjusted the Scriptures to fit the culture, instead of conforming our lives to fit the Scripture. Conforming our lives to fit Scripture seems impossible, so we conform the Scripture to fit us. We expect our teachers to help us in the task. At the same time, we want to appear to be doing the opposite. We have an uncanny ability to have two understandings of a doctrine or a Bible text. We are bi-level. We can recite the right answers, even quote the verse - and then we have a “gut feeling” that is different from the quoted verse. For instance, if I ask for the gu

Our Sympathetic High Priest

This is an article by my daughter Heather. Often as we read the Scriptures a familiar verse can strike us with fresh insight. Recently this happened to me as I saw the significance of one verse in light of another. Together, they gave me a greater appreciation of the character of God. The first verse is Hebrews 4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." To know that Jesus was tempted in all points just like I am is a good thing to learn. He understands temptation, so He can be a sympathetic high priest. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that He was tempted like we are—but that is what the Scripture says. In fact, He understands temptation better than we do, because He successfully resisted the tempter and never gave in. Perhaps you have heard the illustration of two people out in the winds of a hurricane. The one blows over like a

Loving Awful People

You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:43-47) There is nothing distinctly Christian about loving those who love you, or loving the lovely. To convey this point, Jesus chose a class of people despised by the Jews (tax collectors) and said, “Tax collectors love like that. They are not believers and they are not moral, but they love those who love them.” So when a Christian loves those who love him, all he is doing is something that is natural to man. That is not a Christian characteristic. Rather, it is something God cr

Hardships & Complaining

This article was written by my daughter-in-law Nancy for The Hammer magazine. It is a good follow-up to Bessie's post on being critical. Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. (Numbers 11:1) What was it that the Israelites were complaining about? This verse tells us that they complained about their hardships . A hardship is something that is difficult to bear; it is some circumstance that causes discomfort or suffering. In other words, they were not complaining about petty problems, but real hardships. Often we think that complaining is wrong if it is about things that are really not so bad. We’ve all heard people who have a higher standard of living than we have complain about their finances. We tell ourselves that they have no right to complain because they are better off than we are. We think it is acceptable to complain if there really is something to complain about. We excuse the complaining

In the Eye of the Beholder (Bessie Wilson)

This is an article written by my wife Bessie for The Hammer magazine. Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:1-5) Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” We have all heard this verse quoted so often to quell criticism that our mouths are closed and the person using the quote goes away satisfied. There are two dangers in the misuse of Jesus’ statement: 1. We fail to read on to the end of verse five to see that we need to see clearly before we “remove the speck from your brother