Death is Nigh, Peace, I Lay

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

In death, I shall lay in safety. There, I say, is sleep only. Let all God’s people face the ground with courage. Let them behold death in the face when it comes. And would they be comforted at its terror, behold, recall thus, only the LORD makest thee dwell in safety.

Death is nigh, peace, yes, I lay.

Worm in the dust,
Glory in the highest.

On Homer & the Trojan Wars

The city of Troy is destroyed by flames during the Trojan War.

The epic poem the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY, the latter, a sequel to the former, are attributed to the blind poet Homer (c. 8th century BC). Now, concerning Homer. There are some scholars who are of the idea that he (Homer) did not exist. He is a myth (to them). I shall not wave my opinion to argue with that claim. As there are those who doubt, many believe the author was no myth, nor a legend.

The German archeologist Heinrich Schiemann (1822-90) excavated a ‘site at Hissarlik in Turkey in the nineteenth century that the existence of Troy and the Trojan War was proven.’ Some scholars estimate this part of history to have taken place circa 1200 BC.

These wars broke out after Paris, son of King Priam, abducted Helen, the wife of Menelaus and brought her back to Troy. She became known as, Helen of Troy. She was very beautiful. And many men were astonished with her outstanding beauty.

Helen of Troy

Because of the actions of, Troy, {Menelaus}, the husband of Helen, his elder brother gathered a ‘fleet of 50 ships’, and an army which included the great warrior of the time, Achillies and Odysseus, King of Ithaca, and sailed their way to Troy to get Helen back. The event is full of action. Literally. A 10-year siege “ensued”, and was only ended when the Trojans were brilliantly tricked into taking a wooden horse into their own city.

The wooden horse was so big that the Greek soldiers hid themselves inside and, that is, when they were pulled in by the Trojans to their city, they immediately broke out and went and opened the gates for the whole Greek army that was patiently and tactifully waiting outside. A desperate battle followed, Troy was destroyed.

Now concerning the Odyssey, a sequel to the lliad, describes Odysseus’s subsequent journey home to Ithaca. On the way, “Odysseus encountered the one-eyed Cyclops, the enchantress Circe, the monsters Syclla and Charibdid, and the seductive Sirens.” When they arrived home after a long voyage of 20 years, Odysseus orcherstrates revenge on the ‘suitors who have pursued his wife’ Penelope.

The reader might wonder, then, what is the significance of this epic work, right? Well, if you’ve never read Homer’s classic, you should. We’ve had {preparations} of Trojan wars hiding in sophisticated names, and, alas, many seem not to recognize what is happening, or, what is about to happen. The war is set. War is before us. Help us, O LORD God!

The New Testament Christ

There has not been and will never be a Man like the New Testament Christ. He is greater than all. Greater than Muhammad, Buddha, Tao, Krishna, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Marx, etc., The New Testament Christ conquered death and rose from the grave. But those mentioned, I say, remained under. Indeed, they cause a little noise. And that’s it, a little noise.

But the New Testament Christ made the whole earth tremble and quake, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Mt. 27:51).

Who, answer, did ever a Roman soldier confess to be great but the New Testament Christ? “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).

The New Testament Christ never boasted. Never acted in arrogance. Never charged for miracles. Never turned men away by partiality. Never abused. Never dropped names. Never became proud. Never blackmailed. Never manipulated men. Never made yokes of “to-do” lists. Never of these things! Yet we are told, “He taught as one who had authority.”

Authority without arrogance. Authority without boasting. Authority without blackmails. Authority without manipulation. Authority without being prideful. Authority without making demands; but by fulfilling the demands Himself. Authority without showing partiality. Yes, this is the New Testament Christ.

The New Testament Christ could have been proud, but he chose humility. He could have been arrogant, but he chose to be polite. He could have been harsh, but he chose to be a sensible man. He could have been boastful, but he chose to stay low. He could have ordered the angels to wipe out all his enemies, but he chose to call “sinners and not the righteous.” The New Testament Christ.

The New Testament Christ stands tall among all the “greats” that have ever existed. He doesn’t need to compete for now He is seated at the right hand of the Father. Men have tried to silence Him. But he is still in the business of granting strength and endurance to his people all over the globe.

When he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18, 20), behold, he knew Himself to be the New Testament Christ!

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15, 16).

Do you know the New Testament Christ?

Humility: Grace & Vessel

“Humility,” wrote, Gurnall, “is a necessary veil to all other graces.” How true! Yet, it is pride, the opposite of humility; which men venture unto. Them that would not be humbled by their dust mortal bodies, shall be humbled by the worms nethermost. Men can play to be humble, but their humbleness is not humility. Their humility is their pride.

From this vice, O Holy Father, deliver us. Amen.

Humility is not only a grace ‘necessary’ but a ‘vessel to receive grace.’ God does not look upon the proud face, yea, as he beats his chest up in boasts. But He (God) does behold the face of the humble, as we can see from the bowed head of the tax-collector as he cries, “O Lord, my God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.”

A humble heart “when he looks upon another that is a sinner, he considers that he has been worse than he.” He reckons himself to be worse. Not an under-rating or over-rating of oneself, but open enough to behold his own filth. He must cry with the Apostle, “I’m least of all. Chief of sinners!” There, I say, is a vessel ready for grace. Undeserved grace.

It was a succinct comment from, Robert Leighton:

“God’s choice acquaintances are humble men.”

And I add one, in a society of proudful and boastful men, be content to stay under. For under does God come best to lift men up higher unto Him. Not so erect beings. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).

What to Believe When Our Lot in Life is not Health, Wealth, & Happiness

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12, 13).

A Christian is the most happy man but at the same time, the most persecuted of all men. Indeed, they that are true Christians ‘shall suffer persecution.’ It comes not as a mistake when I say “true” before Christian. There are many subterfuges today. We must then separate the chaff from the wheat.

What, then, are we to believe when our lot in life is not health, wealth, and happiness?

That a Christian must be “comfortable” in life.

Use: The idea that a Christian must be comfortable in life as a result of his confession is nowhere to be seen in Scripture. A comfortable life is a holy life. For, if we regard this to be so, then, ah, God must have hated the New Testament saints.

That a Christian must be perfectly healthy and shall never suffer healthwise, so they preach.

Use: This, again, is a terrible lie. What injury the health gospel has done to the true gospel of Christ! “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are doing.” Men want health of body whilst their soul suffereth leprosy, yea, very sick.

That their confirmation of God’s approval of them is their wealth. What fool believes this?

Use: If this is your argument, God must be a terrible liar, then. For many a pagan man have wealth, yea, more as you in many cases, and it seems, they regard God not at all. And, do you hold that wealth is your highest regard to the faith of Christianity?

Mind you, God does give and bless man with wealth. He’s the fountain of all blessings. But it’s not the standard signature for the Christian, that is, that he must be wealthy to be a true Christian. God, too, can use wealth to curse man in their lustful greediness, as we can see in the Old Testament,

“And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” (Numbers 11:18, 20).

The greediness of Egypt shall come out of your nostrils. Not as a result of blessings, but curse.

That their objective in the Christian life is to be happy. If gloomy, then, you’re not a Christian. How foul!

Use: A Christian’s happiness is his holiness. And his holiness is his happiness.

What then must a Christian believe? In summary, a Christian must rest in that Hand of Providence that Sovereignly controls all affairs of men, be they wise or ill; for, those who are in Christ Jesus ‘all things shall work together for their good’ as they are called to His purpose.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

The Cloud of Depression

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30).

The present words from the Gospel of Saint Matthew has offered hope to many a man throughout the history of the Church of Christ. Man has been invited, “Come unto me,” that is, to Jesus Christ. He knows and feels the burden. Though heavy, He promises rest.

But what strikes more is the welcome of restless souls. As in, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The physical body may be of good stature; but we see here, the soul could be hurting simultaneously whilst the outer part appears to “cope” the cloud of depression.

Now, man does not know what depression is, or what it can do to one’s soul. At least them who haven’t experienced depression. There are some, it seems to me, who think depression only happens because of some sin committed. And they glory to force a man to confess that which is not so; but what they “think” to be so. Alas!

I reckon, to be sure, that there is a depression that comes as a resultant of sin. But I also hold that there is a kind of depression that leaves the whole man completely tarnished and broken, yea, alone in thought. Not a good place to be!

As a person who suffers(ed) greatly from depression, I would, if I could say it, is that men (especially Christians) would be slow to assume the theories of their mind, lo, especially if they know not what (as mentioned above) what depression can do to a man. Depression is a villian that can pull a man out from normal. We fight a war that seems the only way to win it, is to die.

God knows how weak my soul has suffered. Him alone knows the abyss that goes around a depressed soul. When man is quick to speak, God is gentle is mending and listening most gently. I could write longer about the issue, in detail, keenly operating the effects of depression, but alas. This is not the time, my friend.

You may ask, then, how does Jesus’ words have to do with depression? Well, these words of our blessed Lord have been used to offer comfort to many conditions around the world. Depression is not the authorial intent of the author. But the words have something for the condition.

Such an one as myself when I turn to man for a shoulder and thereof I’m deemed as “strange” I say, hurts (really hurts) but praise God I can turn to that One, the Summum Bonum, chiefest good, i.e., Jesus Christ, who welcomes and promises weak souls, rest.

He will give us His burden. Only this time it will be a light burden. It doesn’t mean that our life will now be without sorrows, no.

A Christian is called and must suffer. For, ah, how many times I’ve relapsed back to depression? Not that I crave it. God knows why my soul suffers in this way. He knows fully and accurately. And at that day all shall make sense.

So then, maybe thou art suffers in some regard as I am, yes? If so, my beloved friend, I’d encourage you as I’ve been encouraged by this text from Matthew. As one who is on the same boat as you, let us rest in the promises of Christ. I know it’s hard. I feel them to be hard. At times unbelief encompasses me. But you know what? There’s pleasure in being open with God about our state. Present.

I’m sad some men have given up on me. They have organised tents for further slander and gossip. I forgive them. But I’m most happy that today and forever, God in Christ “will never leave nor forsake me.” Even now Christ bids you thus,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

A Ruler Knelt Before Him

“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live” (Matthew 9:18).

We have here a short narrative about a certain ruler who came and knelt before Jesus. Matthew does not care to mention to us his name other than give us the name of his office—a certain ruler. Undoubtedly the other Gospel writers (Mark & Luke) give us a name. Jarius. See, Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41, 42a.

The laymen who were rulers of the synagogue presided over the affairs of the synagogue, including organizing and teaching in synagogue services. Most of them were Pharisees (on synagogues), cf. Lk. 4:16.

Note, then, who it is that comes to Christ Jesus for a needed assistance: A ruler. Jairus must have enjoyed the privileges that come with his area of occupation, for instance, giving orders and having fellow men come to him for some home-help. Like today, when a politician visits your area, many expect some good to be passed thence.

But we have here an absolute change of scenes. Despairing times calls for desperate cries. As we can see with, Jairus. “Behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.”

I love the urgency from Mark’s perspective, note:

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet. And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live” (Mk. 5:22, 23). Emphasis mine. 

The twelve year old girl had slept the sleep of death. Jesus was called and responded by hearking unto Jairus’ plea. He would have given a word and that would settle the matter.

But, no! He chose to go with Jairus. And as he was in the going, lo, a certain woman who had suffered for twelve years from blood discharge, only but touched the hem of His garment and she was made well. As Jesus was going to raise a twelve year old girl, He healed one who had suffered as long as the little girls’ entire life on earth.

He reaches the house. Men laugh at Jesus’ saying that the girl is only but a sleep. Unbelief. Indeed, Christ sees death as only a sleep. A Christian, too, should have such a mind. That death is but a sleep because they shall awake in the resurrection.

At Jesus’ command “Talitha cumi” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking and the people who were in the room were amazed. After this, Jesus strictly charged them not to say a word about what had happened, and thence, I say, told them to give her (the little girl) something to eat.

Our blessed Lord was not after the applause of men. Nor was he seduced to seek after them. His charging to the people not to speak anything shows us the humble character of our blessed Lord. Today men in the name of Christ seem to only care about their name, and not their Masters. Alas! They would do well to learn from this passage.

You cannot have a humble Master and then think to be a proud servant.

But a higher lesson, as to the headline of our piece is—rulers shall bow down to Christ Jesus. Let them that think they are so high read the New Testament most keenly, yea, prayerfully. Behold how the rulers, kings of the day, all bowed at Jesus’ feet. They recognized Him. And do you, O man, think thee to be special? If special, then, special and fitted for destruction only.

At the name of Jesus all rulers shall bow down and confess Him (Jesus Christ to be) Lord of lords and King of kings. Some in reverence. Some in utter woe and shame. Every knee will bow down at the appearance of Jesus Christ.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus Christ. Come. Come, Lord Jesus!

A Praise of Thanksgiving

God is good. All the time. O ye, peoples, come and praise the Lord. This day, O Father, we give Thee thanks for the mercies bestowed upon us throughout this year. Indeed, we’ve a lot to be thankful for than there is to murmur. I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell and write of all your wondrous deeds.

Come, then, O peoples. Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is so good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Ah! Praise the Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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” (Philippians 4:6, 7).