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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 7

Providences. The events of the moment are also often the wire on which good impressions come. God the Father delights through them to speak to His children. Opportunities to do good speak constantly with voices clear and strong. A death, an accident, a providential meeting, and kindred circumstances, often impress with a sense of duty, and thus all things are made to work together for our good.

Over these and other wires which are laid between soul center and the divine mind, impressions are constantly coming.

2. Impressions from Below. To drown good impressions Satan has set up his kingdom, and exerts all of his ingenuity. He, too, has laid his telegraph lines and artfully operates them.

Satanic agency is a subject concerning which little is said, and yet by its subtle might millions have been and are being drawn into sin, despair and final ruin, and millions more have been perplexed, and God's life plan for them greatly hindered or completely thwarted. God's Word repeatedly recognizes the personality, ability, rank, influence and plans of the devil. He loves to deceive people into the belief that he does not exist, as he knows people will not be on their guard against a foe in whose being they do not believe. Any who have been thus misled by him should be awakened by the manifold declarations of the Word as to His personality, power and plans. It is divinely revealed that he was cast out of heaven; cast down to hell; the author of the fall; that he tempted Jesus; perverts the Scripture; opposes God's work; works lying wonders; appears as an angel of light; that he blinds, deceives, ensnares, and troubles the wicked; that he tempts, and that he afflicts and resists the saints. The Word also tells of Christ's victory over him by resisting his
temptations, casting out his subordinates, destroying his works, rescuing his victims, defeating his conspiracy, conquering death, and banishing him and his followers forever from the presence of God and the glory of His power.

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wired on science at the recent political conventions

Wired has recently published two articles on science at the two recent US political conventions.

In the first article, there is an analysis, presented in easy-to-follow chart form, of how often various scientific and medical terms were mentioned in speeches. The result? Roughly even. You probably won't be surprised to note that Democratic speakers were more likely to mention "climate" and "climate change," or that Republican speakers were more likely to mention "energy" and "oil." Three Republican speakers used scientific terms that Democrats didn't mention at all.

The article says that the purpose of the conventions is not to talk about science, but points out that, in many cases, solutions, or at least partial solutions, to our problems are often found by applying the findings of science. The author was disappointed that more attention wasn't given to funding science, and talking about scientific priorities.

In the second article, the writer takes Hillary Clinton to task for saying "I believe in science." Why? Because, the author says, science is not a belief system. It is a way of finding things out. Clinton was using shorthand for something like "I believe that climate change is occurring, and that humans can do things to slow this down, or stop it, while my opponent claims that the climate is not changing." But that shorthand could be, and is, taken wrongly, and this leads to attempts to use scientific findings in ways that they should not be.

After a discussion of the mainstream position of scientists on climate change, and a rather sympathetic discussion of why some people might doubt the scientific findings on that subject, the article says:
To reinforce the idea of science as something you can believe or not believe, to force Americans into “pro-science” and “anti-science” camps, robs science of its power. It changes the practice of science from a method for understanding into a dangerous political weapon.

Unfortunately, both parties seem to use dangerous political weapons, and most of them have little to do with scientific findings.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sunspots 584

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: “A man cannot live one hour a godly life unless by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender, public domain.

Ken Schenck has a post (which does not refer to any particular person or situation) on the pitfalls that may beset church leaders.

Schenck also has an important post on issues Christians disagree on.

A Relevant writer says that it's no wonder that pastors of mega-churches often fall spectacularly, explains why, and says that it's also the fault of the rest of that church.

Relevant says that more Christians were killed for their faith last year than in any year in modern history.

Education: (And computing) NPR reports that students who use computers (and tablets) in college classrooms get somewhat lower grades on tests. (The test grading was automated, so there wasn't teacher bias during grading.)

Health: Listverse reports on 10 facts about the human skeleton.

Wired reports that experiencing racism threatens health.

Archaeologists are learning more about the Philistines (Goliath and Delilah were Philistines), but still don't know where they came from, according to National Public Radio.

Do you think that pink has always been a girl's color? Think again.

Politics: Wired says that some areas are un-paving roads, as a way of saving money, and of making terrible paved roads into not-so-bad un-paved ones.

Relevant says that the new UK Prime Minister is a committed Christian. God help her.

Image source (public domain)  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 6

Dreams. "In the Bible," says the Christian Standard, "we have repeated illustration of where God led His children 'by impulses. impressions, calls, messages or dreams,' as well as 'by the Holy Ghost operating on all the faculties of the mind, strengthening each to perform its function along the lines of common sense, sound reason, and a sanctified judgment.'
"Because we are often misled by impressions, dreams, etc.; because Satan often uses these ways of deceiving souls; yet it is not necessary, nor does it relieve the difficulty, to deny to the Holy Ghost the right and the fact of so leading God's people.
"Dreams may be from the devil. They may come from gluttony at the supper table. They may be generated in an overtaxed brain. They may result from many combined 'second causes. Nevertheless, if we please, or whether we please or not, God did and can and does send dreams that we may disregard to our own damage and destruction."

Few folks are so foolish as to be influenced by ordinary dreams. Yet that God has spoken to His children through special dreams no well informed person will deny. Dreamology is a science but little understood. Because fanatics have taken dreams born of indigestion or inspired by Satan, for divine revelation, others have gone to the opposite extreme, and, like Herod with the innocents, slaughtered them by the wholesale.

For this reason few people believe in such manifestations, and according to their faith so it is to them. The antidote for fanaticism from reliance on them will be noticed in another chapter. In the dimmer light of the old dispensation God more frequently spoke to His people in this way. He specifically declared that He would make Himself known in a vision and speak in a dream. Num. 12: 2.

In this way He spoke to Jacob in the dream of the ladder and ascending and descending angels; to Joseph in the dream that foretold his bondage and his final prosperity; to Pharoah's butler and baker in the dream that told of the exaltation of one and the execution of the other; to Solomon in the dream that promised him wisdom and all needful accessories; to Joseph in the dream which quieted his fears concerning Mary, the mother of our Lord, and also again in warning him to take the "young child" and flee for safety from Herod's murderous plot; to the wise men from the east warning them of the same danger; to Pilate's wife warning her of the peril of persecuting Jesus, and to many others in just as marked a manner.

While there is no warrant in the words of Jesus for people to depend on dreams for guidance, it is evident that the Holy Spirit has, and sometimes does, speak to men through this agency. The abuse of dreams will be noticed further on.

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sunspots 583

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Ken Schenck reminds us that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware reports on a program that lets you listen to radio over the internet, and record it.

Health: The New York Times reports that major causes of death are still around, but that they are striking later in people's lives, and we aren't sure why.

Humor: 19 jokes for intelligent people, mostly chemistry-oriented.

Politics: FiveThirtyEight examines the data on shootings of people by the police, and concludes that the likelihood of being so shot has not gone down, in spite of recent widely publicized cases.

Science: FiveThirtyEight discusses very loud sounds.

Listverse tells us about 10 things that our brains do for us, more or less automatically.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 5

Good Reading. Good books and papers are among the mightiest agencies which God is now using to impress men with His truth. Through them He is silently undermining the fortifications of the enemy, and building up His spiritual kingdom. They have won many who were impervious to all other appeals, and their influence is mighty and quiet, like the laws of gravity.

Angels. Impressions from above often come from holy angels.

The Psalmist declared that "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them." These, and many parallel passages in the Word are confirmed by the express declaration in Hebrews that "they are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister unto them who shall be heirs of salvation."
Wise, mighty, holy, elect and innumerable, they are among the most powerful, yet unseen and often unappreciated agencies God has given to "have charge" over His people. Sometimes their special errand is to comfort in some fiery furnace; or to cheer in some dark lion's den; or to warn of some threatening peril; or to deliver Peter from prison; or rejoice over souls newly saved; or to announce the tidings of a Savior's birth and resurrection; or to execute the judgments of God upon the ungodly; or to influence a preacher's appointment, as with Philip; or to help a seeker to obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost, as with Cornelius; or to cheer in danger and point to a promising future, as with Paul. In every instance they have human interest in their keeping, and doubtless much more frequently than is generally thought are the agents of impressions from above.

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sunspots 582

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: This year is the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch, who produced perhaps the strangest paintings ever painted. Here's a link to his most famous one, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Christianity: A report that thousands of Tibetans, including some Buddhist monks, have come to belief in Christ, mainly because of the unselfish work of Christians after a disaster.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware points to an article on how to use your Windows computer as a wireless hotspot.

Finance: FiveThirtyEight says that poor kids need summer jobs, but well-off kids are more likely to get them.

Science: Listverse reports on 10 very large one-celled organisms.

Listverse also presents 10 interesting facts about the planet Jupiter.

A writer in Wired considers the idea that we are not only making many species extinct, but are also doing things that make new species possible, and there have been some new species which have appeared recently because of what we have done in the environment.

Wired reports on the contents of sunscreen.


Image source (public domain)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 4

There are many different telegraph wires over which messages are transmitted from the Divine mind to our own. The following are among the number:

The Bible. This is God's will revealed in human language. Its impressions are divine. It speaks on every needed subject, and its general principles and specific applications of them are designed above all minor voices to so impress us that "being made wise unto salvation," whatsoever we do in word or deed shall be done solely for man's good and God's glory.

The Ministry. God frequently sends special and startling messages by His ministers. Impressions made by the truth as it leaps front a glowing heart are often indelible. Many, as at Pentecost, have been "so pricked to the heart," that they have found no rest until fully surrendered to Jesus. Others have thus been comforted, or strengthened, or convicted for some special work.

Personal Influence. Many messages from above are sent over this wire. The impressions thus made on my mind by letters from a dear friend awakened and led me to Jesus, and when tried in the furnace of God's afflictive fires, one of the strongest comforting impressions that came to me was caused by the following lines sent by one of earth's comforting angels:
"In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright,
But can never cease to love thee,
Thou art precious in His sight.
God is with thee,
God thine everlasting Light."
Such instances like the sands on the seashore are numberless.

Prayer. One of the mightiest influences which lead Godward and heavenward is the prayer of faith.

Under its power persecuting Sauls fall blindly to the earth, and the counsels of persecutors are overturned, and saints are comforted and led in ways they knew not of. The pressure brought to bear upon the mind of the one for whom a number unite in prayer is mighty. Who is there that has not "felt" the prayers of others in their restraining or persuasive influence?

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Sunspots 581

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Cal Thomas, a Christian, and a politically conservative columnist, who interviewed Mr. Trump a few weeks before Dobson's statement, is skeptical of his reported conversion.

A columnist in Relevant argues that when Jesus said that the poor will always be with you, He didn't mean that we shouldn't do something about them, or, really, that poverty was a necessary condition.

Health: National Public Radio reports on the use of virtual reality (VR) in seriously incapacitated patients, who seem to be responding well to VR.

NPR also reports on various kinds of gifts to doctors by drug companies and device makers, which, unfortunately, may influence those doctors to prescribe treatments that aren't in the patient's best interest. Hospitals in Southern states are most likely to have such influences.

Wired tells us that it's OK, healthwise, anyway, to eat boogers.

Politics: Wired on how the Benghazi report is presented, and interpreted, in accord with our pre-existing biases. 

Sports: FiveThirty Eight (and other sources) argues that Pat Summitt, recently deceased Tennessee women's basketball coach, was the greatest college women's basketball coach of all time. Others have gone further, and said that she was the greatest college basketball coach, period.

Image source (public domain)  

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 3

1. Impressions from Above. They all originate with God. He speaks directly by His Spirit in the heart wherein He reigns. In its "secret inner chamber" He sweetly whispers the "will of God concerning us."

Under this direct impulse from within Jesus was "led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."

Paul was thus impelled to preach the Gospel in some places but restrained from others, and Christians in all ages have been directly impressed concerning the truth and its application to their especial needs.

The Holy Spirit is the Christian's promised Guide. He makes no new revelation of truth, but explains that already revealed. His guidance is always in harmony with the Bible, of which He is the Author. His modes of guiding will be noticed further on Following His leadings is one of the marks of being a true believer. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God." His leadings are above all others, and all others are made potent by His power. Many have written ably on His exalted offices. This work will undertake to magnify Him, by warning against voices which seek to simulate His tones by substituting impressions from below for convictions from above.

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in this series is here.