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the iron horse 12-25-2016 12:47 PM

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For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.

~ Charles Dickens

the iron horse 01-01-2017 12:51 PM

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Happy New Year to you, your family and friends!

I want to say thank you today for taking time to read the Sunday Dispatches every week. The purpose of the dispatches is to encourage believers in their faith and to encourage those interested in the Christian faith to investigate further.

A daily dispatch is also posted on Facebook. If interested, search for public group b o r d e r c r o s s (space letters/no caps) You can easily join or unjoin.

Again, Happy New Year!

the iron horse 01-08-2017 12:47 PM

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We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.

~ Dennis Prager

Give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (The Voice)

the iron horse 01-15-2017 01:28 PM

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Grab your coat, and get your hat. Leave your worry on the doorstep Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.

~ Dorothy Fields

the iron horse 01-22-2017 02:46 PM

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Christ Holds It All Together

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

~ Colossians 1:18-20 (The Message)

the iron horse 01-29-2017 11:40 AM

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Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.

~ John Lubbock

the iron horse 02-05-2017 12:49 PM

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The Obstinate Toy Soldiers

Did you ever think, when you were a child, what fun it would be if your toys could come to life? Well suppose you could really have brought them to life. Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it. He is not interested in flesh; all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you. He will not be made into a man if he can help it.

What you would have done about that tin soldier I do not know. But what God did about us was this. The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man-a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a Woman's body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.

~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

the iron horse 02-12-2017 05:47 PM

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“Reading and naps, two of life's greatest pleasures, go especially well together.”

~ Will Schwalbe, Books for Living

the iron horse 02-19-2017 10:22 AM

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1. There is not nearly enough evidence to convince me that God exists.

First, this objection is necessarily personal. It is possible to claim that our personal, subjective threshold for evidence has not been met, but this fact would only disprove God's existence if we were certain that our personal standard of proof is correct. How do we know it is correct? And what do we even mean when we talk about the "correct" standard of proof?

A second question deals with the burden of proof. The skeptic often presumes that the burden of proof lies with the theist to prove that God exists (the evidence must "convince me" to move from atheism to theism). But why should the burden of proof not lie with the skeptic to convince the theist that God does not exist? We might answer that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." But then we are left asking who determines the definition of "extraordinary." People with different worldviews may share many presuppositions about the intrinsic likelihood of certain events, but in other areas there will be a genuine lack of agreement about what is intrinsically likely or unlikely. For instance, an atheist might consider a miracle wildly implausible. On the other hand, a theist would consider the creation of the universe ex nihilo by anything other than God wildly implausible. We need to recognize that our presuppositions are intrinsic to our worldview and are truly presuppositions. They determine what we consider plausible and implausible, prior to our examination of the evidence. Although this truth may seem unremarkable when we share basic assumptions about reality, it makes an enormous difference when we come to issues that touch on these presuppositions directly (see Resurrection and Worldview for one such example).

Finally, this objection actually addresses the theist's warrant to believe that God exists rather than the question of whether He exists. In other words, it says that the evidence is not sufficient to compel me to believe in God. But our warrant to believe in a fact does not affect the truth or falsehood of this fact. For instance, physicists in the 1910s had little warrant to believe that quantum mechanics was true. But it was true! So even if we grant that theists are not warranted in the belief in God's existence, He could exist nonetheless.

Short answer: first, this statement is personal and subjective. Second, this statement assumes that the burden of proof ought to fall on the theist; how do we know this? Third, there is a difference between claiming that belief in God is unwarranted (i.e. is not reasonable based on the evidence at hand) and that He does not exist. See also The Necessity of Faith and Resurrection and Worldview.

~ Neil Shenvi

the iron horse 02-26-2017 11:12 AM

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The idea that salvation is an idea unique to Christianity ought to shock us. After all, don't the vast majority of religions center on salvation? Buddhists long for release from suffering and the illusion of the material world. Muslims seek a heavenly paradise. Hindus desire to escape the cycle of reincarnation. But what is fascinating is that when we use the word "salvation" to describe the hope of these religions, we actually use it in a way that is in utter contrast to our non-religious use of the word.

Given that the etymological root of "salvation" is in the word "save" (both come from the Latin salvare), consider the following secular uses of this word: "A passing motorist dove into the icy water to save the drowning child", "The surgeon saved my father's life by performing open heart surgery" or even "The goalkeeper made six spectacular saves over the course of the game." Two ideas are common to these examples. The first is the idea of rescue and the second is that of inability. When we use the word "save" in a non-religious context, we assume that the object itself is utterly incapable of some action and is rescued from the natural course of events by some external intervention.

In this sense, I would argue that the word salvation is inappropriate to describe how other religions envision our reconciliation with God. If we really take "salvation" to imply "rescue", then it seems to me that this word can only truly be used to describe the Christian gospel. In fact, to avoid any confusion, I will substitute the word "rescue", "rescued" and "rescuer" for the words "salvation", "saved" and "savior" from now on to capture what Christians mean (or ought to mean!) when they use these words

~ Neil Shenvi

the iron horse 07-30-2017 12:35 PM

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I'll be brief. (It is possible)

These are "hymns." At least the way i hear them.

These "hymns" have been something like inventories, pep-talks & wrestle-lings on the way. They have been written in moments of elation & despair.
There's a lot of "worship songs" out there these days.

To my ears, a lot of it sounds like the strumm-y-acoustic-hippie-drug rock of the 70's replete with insipid lyrics of a repetitive mantra-like quality OR it sounds like 3 chords & a ripped off U-2 out-take.

I was raised on many an old Presbyterian or Lutheran hymn book. I figure that if "they" got it right the first time with their penchant for tuneful melodies & time-tested lyrics pounded off an old upright, then I wasn't going to better that.

I had something else to attend to. And so, here's what i want to say:
i learned early on that i had only one thing to bring to God. And that was my blindness, my shallowness, my emptiness & my sin.

That's still the case.

Sometimes a guitar and a song have been the only way i could "pray" to God. And as I said, these songs are some of my inventories, pep-talks and wrest-lings on the way.

Because the Good news of a Crucified & Resurrected Savior and the whole-ness He promises ONLY make sense when you know what the "bad news" is first. It's not pretty. And it's part of who you are.

"He maketh all things new."

Yes. He does get the last word...and I'm more convinced than ever that it's a good one.

But. I wrote these because, like a patient listener & loving Father, He waits to hear our words first...

~ bill mallonee

Passages from the liner notes of Hymns to the New Idolatry.

the iron horse 08-06-2017 10:34 AM

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Believe what you like, but don't believe everything you read without questioning it.

~ Pauline Baynes

the iron horse 08-13-2017 11:02 AM

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“I think it is a relief for Glen and the family. I know Glen and I are of the same faith. We are both Christian and I know where he is now. I know he is in a perfect place.”
~ Alice Cooper

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.
~ 1 Peter 1:3-5 (The Message)

the iron horse 08-20-2017 10:33 AM

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I have good news, brothers and sisters; and I want to share it. Believe it or not, my imprisonment has actually helped spread the good news to new places and populations. Word has spread through the ranks of the imperial guard and to everyone else around me that I am in prison because of my faith in the Anointed One. My imprisonment has instilled courage in most of our brothers and sisters, so they are trusting God more and have been even more daring as they speak the good news without fear.

~ Philippians 1:12-14 (The Voice)

the iron horse 08-27-2017 10:24 AM

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~ American Digest

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.
For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.
And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

~ Isaiah 21:5-9 (King James Version)

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