Payh Blog
Summer water landscap
Jul 24, 2018

Summer Lesson

“He told them this parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know summer is near. Even so, when you see these things [signs] happening you know that the kingdom of God is near.’ -Luke 21:29-31


“Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high… The arrival of summer initiates a good feeling within most of us. Thoughts of flowers blooming, summer harvest, abundance of fruit, vacation time, warm weather, sun and blue sky. It is also a season which prompts one more parable from the Lord; a season which presents another teaching moment. The arrival of spring leading into summer is noticeable to everyone; the budding of trees and the early blooms of flowers marking the passing of chilly winter while introducing the welcome of warm days.
Jesus’ parable in Luke 21 tells us to compare the obvious signs of coming summer with the signs alerting us to His return which He teaches in this chapter and also in Matthew 24, among other places. A good many exegetes claim these signs, declaring the utter destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, were fulfilled by this historical event. However, many signs the Lord speaks of here were not completely fulfilled in the first century. He must have had another time in mind – like today.
Jerusalem was surrounded by one army in 70 AD. In 2018, it is surrounded by many armies seeking Israel’s destruction. The planets and stars of the Universe have not been shaken yet, but they will be before the Lord returns. The destructive and immoral erosion of the modern-day culture is very evident to us in our day. The things of which the Lord speaks are a definite mark of today. Wars and rumors of wars; world-wide persecution of Christians, the greatest in history; the tearing apart of families with parents and children at enmity with one another, separated by belief and unbelief.
One of the mysterious verses of Luke 21 is the Lord’s prediction that this “generation will not pass away until all these signs are fulfilled. The same word for “generation is also the word for “race. The “race of which the Lord must be speaking is the “race containing every tongue, nation, and skin color who belong to Him, the “race of every believer. This race will certainly not pass away until He returns, for He comes to claim them all as His very own and gather each one still living to Himself.
The earlier historical events which appear to fulfill some prophesy are often in Scripture collated with the prophesy of future yet unfulfilled events which actually are far more intense and world-wide. Scripture is therefore applicable to every generation and especially to these last days more closely aligned with the Lord’s Second Coming.
In any case, the signs and the actual coming of summer should be a reminder to you once again of His soon return and especially His words of continuously being watchful; not distracted by the anxiety of things He has already told you to expect, but to not get entangled in the immoralities and behavior of a sinful world causing you to be pulled into its lethal trap, a trap leaving you totally unprepared for His sudden arrival. He will not fake it and then pull back, allowing you time to wake up and get prepared. No, He will come like a thief in the night; a sudden moment for which you are not necessarily ready.
Luke 21 and Matthew 24 and 25 say one very important thing to you and me, just as though Jesus is shouting the words: “BE READY! I am coming!


“See the Judge, our nature wearing, clothed in majesty divine; you who long for His appearing then shall say, ‘This God is mine!’ Gracious Savior, own me in that day as Thine.
(2nd verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders! 1774)
 

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Jul 18, 2018

Family Gone?

“God sets the solitary [the lonely] in families, he leads out the prisoners [of loneliness] with singing, but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched [lonely] land. -Psalm 68:6


Current statistics claim the most common household in America is a single person, not a family. Can this really be? Even if such statistics can be manipulated to another result, the declaration is still alarming. It is certainly not the desired social landscape God intended for human culture. The text above makes clear that loneliness is not a welcome precursor for successful living.
God created the family for the prosperity of mankind. It is the finest environment in which to grow adults from infancy. As the designer, He makes clear that any aberration from His design results in great societal failure and the increasing deterioration of people’s well-being. On the other hand, even in a fallen world, the family is a God-given antidote to the rot of loneliness and the destruction of essential disciplines.
God is three persons in one; He is triune. That means He has enjoyed infinite and eternal fellowship. Created in His image, we are made to always be in fellowship. We prosper in relationships with other creatures, human especially, but also animal. We experience a serious disconnect to life itself in the pit of temporary or more permanent solitude. “Solitary confinement is a punishment, not a relief, nor a reward.
We can only flourish in fellowship with others. We must depend on relationships to weather the storms of life, in the same way gladness is made so much deeper when it is a shared experience! Robinson Crusoe’s life, shipwrecked on a supposedly uninhabited island, was enriched greatly in the discovery of a new companion, Man Friday. Tom Hanks was forced to create a far less satisfactory companion out of a lifeless, painted-with-a-smile volleyball in his movie Cast Away. Our natural instinct as human beings, despite the few who in unhealthiness seek to live as recluses, is to relish companionship with our fellows. God did not intend for us to be solitary; but one of the great dreads, when Hell is understood in all of its absolute horrors, is the potential of being alone with no one to help.
How can you push your companions away when their companionship is essential to your happiness and to your physical and spiritual health and prosperity? It is the nature of sin! Satan wants you to be alone, and to be miserable in your loneliness. Joy is the outcome of healed and prospering relationships. This is the very reason that working on those relationships and caring for them is a chief priority of your life. The essential element in prospering relationships is having an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can bind you as one with others in your life and family. He is the only one who can bring you to God the Father, and He is the only one who can unite you with other sinful human beings; for He is the sin-slayer.
This is the very reason we at the Paul Anderson Youth Home desire and continuously work toward providing a family environment for the troubled young men God sends our way. We also seek to strengthen the families from which they come. While they are with us we want to teach them what a family should be and the essential elements to beginning and keeping a successful family, since they are themselves, in many cases, only a few years away from leading one. We are only successful in this ministry when the young men not only graduate our program, but when they navigate life after in a manner that pleases God. We pray that God truly sets them in a family in which they themselves ensure Jesus is Lord.


“And blest the man whose age is cheered by stalwart sons and daughters fair; no enemies by him are feared, no lack of love, no want of care.
(4th verse from the Psalter, Psalm 124, “Unless the Lord Shall Build)
 

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Learning to play the guitar
Jul 11, 2018

Toe-Tapping Instinct

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! -Psalm 150:6


Music is in the mind and heart of humans. God created music and He imbued it in the heart of the beings He made in His own image. This image includes the instinct to know, love, and make music. In Genesis 4 we are told of the various talents and professions of the earliest descendants of Adam and Eve’s son, Cain. “Jubal was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Music was in the heart of God’s created beings from their very first days.
The collection of Psalms in the book that bears their name is the hymn/song book of the church from its early history. Music formed a core part of the praise of Almighty God. Among the many others, Psalm 150 sings in this final Psalm, “Praise Him with trumpet sound, praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Everything, that is, that has breath to sing or to play a musical instrument! All have breath; they can sing even if they do not have talent or skill to play a musical instrument.
The Last Supper ends with Jesus and His disciples singing a hymn. Paul writes about being “filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart… And the last book of the Bible, Revelation, has the saints in glory singing a new song, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals… Job tells of “God, our Maker, giving songs [to us] in the night. The entire Bible recounts the music in men’s and women’s and children’s hearts. It is literally synonymous with bringing praise to God. Music is a natural instinct in your God-created heart and mind.
Some music by its words, or possibly by its dissonance, is certainly not praiseworthy. However, most music, especially as it correlates to the beauty, longings, and diversity of the creation, including the vicissitudes of man’s life on earth, inspires our hearts, minds, and memories, often motivating motion in our legs, feet, and toes. We may not all dance, but we sure can and do tap our feet to the beat of the melody.
Music is one more glorious reminder of the wonders of our Maker. Just as the majesty of the spectacular and diverse colors of the universe and especially of our own Earth reflect the nature and mind, the very being, of our gracious, creative God, so too does the whole role of music reflect His endless love for His children. When your toe is tapping to the beat, be reminded of the One who is the maker and inspiration of music and melody. Your God is great and greatly to be praised! Sing to Him as you make melody in your heart, all you who have breath.


“My soul, bear now your part, triumph in God above; with a well-tun-ed heart sing now the songs of love. You are His own, whose precious blood shed for your good His love made known.
(5th verse of Richard Baxter’s rendition of Psalm 148, “You Holy Angels Bright, 1672)
 

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Light Of Heaven
Jul 03, 2018

Celebrating a Far Better Place

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. -Philippians 3:20


The Apostle Paul was a rightful citizen of a powerful earthly nation, a vast empire; namely, Rome. He called on this fact when he was being persecuted as though he was not. Yet, while he could prove such, his far more prestigious citizenship, heaven, caused a particularly heinous Caesar, current emperor of Rome, to have him executed for his faith.
We who celebrated the birthday of our country yesterday are citizens of a great and powerful nation. America has enjoyed the favor of God for a long season, nearly two and a half centuries. It is a nation in which its citizens can be proud, though there are those who relish the benefits of her citizenship while still disdaining her. Such are still unwilling to abandon that citizenship, though often promising to do so.
There are many blessings to being a US citizen, so much so that many in the world are clamoring to become one. Anyone who has had the privilege to travel the world and make comparisons is almost always more than ready to come home to her shores, stretching “from sea to shining sea. Those who were born here or adopted America as their new home are truly blessed. Things truly could be much worse elsewhere.
But many other people spread throughout the world love their own distinctive homeland, their native language, their peculiar and familiar culture, the families of which they are a part. So why yearn for something beyond? Something beyond Earth’s boundaries?
The answers are clear to those who know better. Citizenship here is temporary. “Time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away! Citizenship here is not eternal, thank God. The world is fallen, and despite the obvious blessings of creation, there are still many “thorns and thistles of every sort: physical, mental, spiritual; anguish, tears, pain, disease, evil; injustice, unfairness, and, too frequently, not a farthing of forgiveness. I think we all wonder how Methuselah could stand to live on a fallen Earth for as long as he did.
There are powerful yearnings for heaven by the community of faith. There are also yearnings for “something else from the community of the faithless. But the “something else for those who reject faith is nothing for which to yearn. Oblivion is far better than the Scripture-prescribed option. Life for every conceived person is destined for Judgment. Being a citizen of humanity is nothing trivial. Every human life is sacred. It is hard to believe of all the masses of humanity, but so it is. God makes the mundane and common by sheer numbers sacred! Every life is made important by the Creator and by creation’s Judge.
Given the declarations of an almighty and sovereign God, citizenship in heaven is the most desirable status of being created, of being human. Celebrate today beyond the birthday of a wonderful homeland; celebrate by your faith your citizenship in heaven, the home of the truly brave and the land of the truly free.


“The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks; the summer morn I’ve sighed for, the fair, sweet morn awakes; dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.
(1st verse of Samuel Rutherford and Anne Cousin’s hymn, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking, 1857)
 

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