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BEAUTY FOR ASHES
Rev. Dr. Robert E. Donaldson
World Wide Web Witness Inc.
As now we watch the consummation of our Age, it is not likely to be ... nice.
This must just be faced.
When you fail to put out the garbage, so that it is near the end of its time, there is a certain non-mellow and rather indicative plight for the olfactory nerve, the nostrils quiver, the stomach has its aversions. So as history is coming towards its end for this Age, the Age of the Christian Church on earth, there is an appalling loss of integrity, morality, peaceableness, loving kindness, regard for authority, and in authority, ground for regard!
War is now virtually pandemic, and what past grievances based on atrocities - and there have been many - do not stir, then pride can inflame, passion can command and while the survival of the rat syndrome, a modern philosophy, takes an officiating position, national interests, social interests, and personal interests with other unininteresting interests raise their balding heads.
They do not agree, being selfishly and sometimes satanically construed. Satan is only one letter in spelling from satin, but the realities are far apart, except of course in those cases when that brilliant and bloated person finds it ... profitable to be polite. He knows the rules, and where his tongue does not lie, his heart can lie, and in that lying, lie yet the more (John 8:44). He, as Christ put it, is the father of lies.
Without lies ? Oh what a world! If there were only an inbuilt sensor which would exclude and debase ANY lie, before it could be uttered. Perhaps a colouring of the cheek could be a warning, and a confusion of mind the impact on the would-be liar.
Then the deliberately misleading statements could be subjected to like rigour. The world in such a state, simply could not operate, not recognisably: though the kingdom of heaven does in fact operate like that, in essence. TRUTH is king, and He being personal, is loved and followed with a passion which instead of debasing love itself, compassion and true devotion, exalts it, for in truth GOD IS LOVE!
Meanwhile, the ashes - and how closely ashes resembles asinine in sound - are there for the taking, like the watered remnant of last night's fire, when rain has come down the chimney. If there is one thing which has disrelish, this is it. The flames are gone, the warmth is no more, the comfort is a thing of the past, the wood is burnt, the very site is wet, and ashes when wet have a certain gross lack of form, smell of things not merely unpleasant and spent, but this with added slight reminder of what they once were!
Beauty in exchange for this is part of the marvel of the Gospel: it applies now to you and me, and in my own case, it has applied for Christ in you, the hope of glory, being in me, as by the covenant (John 6:50ff., Colossians 1:27), the beauty of the resident president is there, not merely distant, but such that one's eyes can even now behold the land that is very far off (Isaiah 33:17). As He declares, moreover, in John 14:21ff., abide and be blessed, for He will manifest Himself to the soul that so abides.
The beauty of holiness, which is His ? It is a beauty which flows like a fast moving stream down the alpine purities, into the sub-alpine splendour, alight with blue, slowing a little, pondering the beauties of the wild-flowers and the different herbage at height, the alpine grasses, the tender flowers that are yet hardy to withstand the cold. It is not polluted. Pollution is far removed from this place; for this is found in God, and in the knowledge of God. It replaces the misspent life which ashes represent; it restores the connection which severed, left life in its own inadequate ambit, without either the wonder or the glory of the Lord, FOR WHICH IT IS MADE! This leads to the personal, the propositional, the logical, the whole scope of understanding and knowledge that lasts, unimpeded with cultural folly or rash religions. It is compelling emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and historically, personally and totally. For many it is IMPELLING, but they are not willing. When it is realised, its beauty is infinite.
Beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3)
is the program for this volume. It is a delightful program, for the disproportion,
in this case, is the very essence of the wonder of it all. Who is He who
has the beauty but the Lord ? and what is that which is ashes but sin ? and
what is this which restores HIS NATURAL PLACE for us, but redemption, and
what is that if not lovely, a thing of beauty without parallel, sited in
love, singing with mercy, austere in bearing judgment, tender in providing
pardon, strengthening without the grossness of the steroid, delicate with
delight, the true destiny for which man is made, from which departing, his
way is rendered even as he steps, a thing of ashes, to be burnt up in the
end, as it was astray from the first (Mark 9).
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TOLD YOU SO!" SOUNDS BETTER FROM GOD!
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The Guardian, June 13, 2002
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1, June 29, 2002
The Advertiser, July 1, 2002
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DOUBLE BLIND SPOT
Scuttling and Hustling
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Water and Spiritual
Hydraulics or Hell