Archive for May 22, 2013

Wildflowers   Leave a comment


Above:  Wildflowers in Bloom, Between 1915 and 1935

Photographer = Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952)

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-16705



orange, purple, and yellow–

stand out from the green vegetation,

forming a visual feast

for anyone from any station

in life to enjoy when mellow.



Swollen River IV   4 comments

The Middle Oconee River,

fed by recent rains,

thunders and gurgles simultaneously,

rolling over rocks,

foaming whitely

while appearing brown

as it flows through Athens,

through the west end of town.


As I study the river

on a late Spring evening

which feels like one in the Summer,

the darkness encroaching

in the dying light of the day,

I look for rocks

(yet discover that they are mostly underwater)

and for turtles, but see none

in the fading light of the May sun.

I furrow my brow

and I wonder

where they are turtling now.





The Quest of the Supreme Good   1 comment


Above:  Some of the Possessions of Charles Foster Kane, from Citizen Kane

(A Screen Capture)



I, as a student of history and as an intellectual, have only supreme respect for history, science, and philosophy.  They do not seek knowledge selfishly, as a means to an end, alone.  There is much value in pure knowledge and applied knowledge alike.  As to seeking wisdom as a means to an end, what is wrong with that?

That said, I do recognize a superior wisdom.



Ecc. 12, 13

This book is full of placards as to the Preacher’s quest of the supreme good.  An old question but important to all.  Why not heed his conclusions, with others?

1.  The supreme good in wisdom?  In questions of history, science, & philosophy?  These seek knowledge selfishly.  It is only a means to an end.  It fails when needs are greatest.

2.  Pleasure is sought.  After it is to invite bitter disappointment & maybe shame.  Often she is an absent goddess when needed most.  A sea of shallows & full of breakers.  See the many wrecks therein.

3.  Wealth is a special temptation.  Cares increase as does wealth.  It is too insecure.  It bringeth a snare.  Can’t buy happiness.  “Gain the world & lose his own soul?”

4.  Wisdom, wealth, and pleasure combined can’t give peace.  Many who possess them are not happy.  “All my possessions for a moment of time.’

5.  This is the end of the matter.  Only those who fear & obey God are happy and all such are.

(1)  This meets every need of the heart.  This is better than gold.

(2)  This religion is the supreme philosophy of man & God, never rivaled nor supplanted.  All else is valuable only as it leads to this discovery.


Emboldened to Sin by Long-Suffering   4 comments

Ecc. 8, 11

1.  Man is in a state of trial and is free to obey God or to sin.  He does one or the other and of his own choice.

2.  Though free, he is under law that has a penalty–obey & live, transgress and die.  Every evil deed & work unrepented of shall be punished.

3.  Because God does not take speedy vengeance, men sin or set their hearts, thinking God disregards evil.  Abuse his goodness by further good.   What can become of one who sins against his only hope of salvation?  They think God, like man, will by delay forget the offense.

4.  To set one’s self to don evil is veritable folly.  See Ps. 50, 21-22; Isa. 26, 10-11; 2 Peter 3, 3-11.  His word abideth forever.  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

5.  God gives ample time to repent.  He can afford to wait, but does not forget one’s sins.  He will repay.  One may sin one hundred times, but is not more safe.

It shall be well with righteous, but not so with the wicked.  He shall not ultimately escape.  Turn to him.


Love, the All-Important Thing   3 comments

1 Cor. 13, 13

I.  The importance of love (vs. 1-3)

Nothing avails if divorced from love.  It is the sine qua non of Christianity.  Who fails here fails utterly & fatally.  Nothing can take its place.

II.  What love can do

It meets every demand of law and gospel.  Is equal to any demand of life.  Love seeks the good–the very best.  Love never fails though we live in a world of change.

III.  “Now abideth faith, hope, love.”

Faith–confidence in God.

Hope–anticipation of the future.

Love–devotion to God and the right.

These change not, and will not pass away.  Being eternal in their nature, they abide.

IV.  How great is love!

There is no Christianity without it and no holiness beyond it.  In time and eternity it abideth the same change less passion.  It is the “perfect bond” holding together all the graces of the heart.–Col. 3, 14

How we ought to strive to love more and more–1 Thes. 3, 12 & 4, 10.  We should seek to grow in this grace everyday.


Questioned Things   1 comment

1 Cor. 8, 13

1.  Every act, if known, will influence another.  We can’t help it.  Our act helps to make this world.

2.  A thing we do not regard a sin may lead another to offend against his weak conscience.  To do so is to sin against him.

3.  We dare not live unmindful of those about us, even if we have no patience with their views.  Their souls are at stake.  “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.”

4.  When we sin against our weak brother we sin against Christ.  It is fearful to offend “one of these little ones that believe in Me.”

5.  In all questioned things where the right and wrong are not clearly distinguished our conduct should be determined by our weak brother’s conscience if we know what that is.

This is Christlike in Spirit.


Christ Abolishing All Enemies   1 comment


Above:  Christ in Majesty Mosaic, Circa 1300, Florence, Italy



Based on what my grandmother told me about my great-grandfather, I know that he would have classed my communion (in the form of wine), my occasional cooking with wine, and my handful of drinks during the calendar year as an enemy of Christ and man.  Then again, the New Testament does tell me that wine is good for my stomach.  My great-grandfather did not quote that verse back in his temperance sermon (



1 Cor. 15, 26

1.  The Father has authorized the Son to administer the affairs of the kingdom.  All authority is his.  The Father has put all things under his feet, subject to him, though this authority is not acknowledged by all as yet.

2.  Hence there are enemies of Christ and man to be put down–unbelief, worldliness, selfishness, intemperance–all that oppose the reign of Christ in any life or realm whatsoever.  Even death shall finally be abolished and He shall reign supremely, by his own kingly power.

3.  This gives an impressive view of sin.  It is rebellion outright against His government; in so far as it is stubborn willed, it is treason against God.  It delays the accomplishment to God’s purpose to make Christ the actual conqueror of all opposition.

4.  We can and do help or hinder in this great enterprise.  Our duty is to see that our own lives are wholly subject to Him and then to help as best we may to abolish every enemy, to bring every soul into willing, happy subjection to Him.