Showing posts from June, 2010

Sad End of Mr. Badman

Many have been blessed with a thoughtful reading of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" or "The Holy War" or "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners". Perhaps fewer have considered "The Life and Death of Mr. Badman". (1680)

Written in the form of a dialogue between two men, it traces the declension in a life, starting with the violent and debauched misdemeanours of youth, progressing through dishonesty in the workplace and in efforts to court a beautiful young heiress, adding the sins of cheating, manipulating and oppressing in business, and ending in the facade of a religious life which was totally a sham.

The two men have heard of the death, one being present for the event. He describes a passing which lacked any last-minute repentance or warnings of terror beyond the grave, quite uneventful yet terrifying. Hear now the conclusion of their conversation:

"Who would have imagined, that
had not known Mr. Badman, and yet had seen him die…


Yesterday we held a celebration funeral service in London for my father Jack Bernard Blair (1922-2010).

I had stayed overnight at the old family home and I was awake well before dawn. I put on the kettle, made some Earl Gray tea and instant oatmeal, and then went out onto the back steps to watch the morning happen, and to finish the preparation of my comments for the funeral service.

I heard the echoing wake-up chorus of robins, cardinals and finches in the mature trees, and I delighted in the fact that we were going to have a sunny, mild Monday.

Suddenly my attention was arrested by a small flashing light in bold contast to the dark tree-line behind. It flashed, and then a hiatus and movement. It flashed again and another gap, and so on. It came in my direction. A single firefly. It rose above and then disappeared over the top of my parents home and proceeded northward.

I knew with a certainty that it continued to flash and travel beyond my view, and would do so until overtaken by the fu…

The Shepherd Heart

I cannot rest,
In knowing that just one
Has left the fold.
And now the setting
Of the sun
Will leave him cold,
In some dark wood,
Deprived of all my good,
A wandering lamb.

I will depart,
And hasten to the place
Where he is trapped.
And there again I’ll
See his face,
And have him wrapped
In my warm plaid;
His heart no longer sad,
A rescued lamb.

LUKE 15: 4, 5, 6, 7
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Note: When I think of the diligence of this shepherd, I am tremendously comforted.We are told at the end…

Be Tenacious

Holding Christ Fast

Robert Murray M'Cheyne

It was a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. – SONG OF SOLOMON 3:4.

HAVE YOU found Him whom your soul loves? Have you this day seen His beauty, heard His voice, believed the record concerning Him, sat under His shadow, found fellowship with Him? Then hold Him, and do not let Him go.

I. Motives.
1. Because peace is to be found in Him.– Justified by faith, we have peace with God – not peace with ourselves, not peace with the world, with sin, with Satan, but peace with God. True divine peace is to be found only in believing, only in keeping fast hold of Christ. If you let Him go, you let go your righteousness; for this is His name. You are then without righteousness, without a covering from the wrath of God, without a way to the Father. The law will again condemn you; God’s frown wi…

Graphic Romance

"WARNING! Some scenes in this Film Festival contain incidents of graphic romance."

Then followed four delightful Cary Grant movies on the public television station. We chuckled at the humour of the ad in light of the sexual content in most films today.

But there is really a sad comment here. Modern viewers might in fact be offended by the tameness and slow, hopeful pace of these films. Current fare presents key characters in hasty liaisons of convenience and chemistry only. Desperate people in desperate times interested largely in their glands and quick gratification.

Consider also the reality shows on television, The Bachelorette, for example. I must admit that I find the dynamic of the competition to be interesting. Dozens of hopeful young men get virtually minutes to make some lasting impression upon the one woman looking for a husband. And viewers get to watch it all - the awkwardness, the stunts, the fleeting intimacy, the pathetically short monologues which represent, sup…

Approachably Holy

(Today's entry in Come Ye Apart by J. R. Miller)

The Friend of Sinners

“A woman in the city, which was a sinner, when when she knew that Jesus sat at meat—”

Luke 7:37

It is wonderful how genuine goodness draws to itself the unfortunate, the troubled, the friendless, the outcast, the fallen. Wherever Jesus went, these classes always found him out and gathered about him. It was because he was the true, disinterested friend of all men. They found sympathy in him. He would listen to their story. Though he was the sinless One, there was yet no air of “I am holier than thou” about him. He was just as gentle to an outcast sinner as to a spotless Nicodemus. No matter who reached out a hand for help, he was ready to grasp it. One of the truest things ever said of Jesus was the prophetic word concerning him, “A bruised reed shall he not break.” He dealt always most gently with sore spirits and with bruised hearts.

Those who want to be useful in this world must have the same qualities. There is a…