Sunday, March 4, 2018

All Out For Love (song)

Everybody loves love. The entire world's population all has that desire to love and be loved- to have someone to hold and talk to and care for and to know that this person does the same for them. It's been said that we need love like the air we breathe. But what happens when that air supply runs out? It seems for many people, they fall into love easily enough but then they later fall out of love as well. It's certainly true that feelings come and go- and that's exactly why a marriage can't be based on feelings and physical attraction. It has to be deeper than that! A marriage covenant is a vow taken before God and man that unites one man to one woman in holy matrimony until death do them part! The rise of the "no fault" divorce laws led our society away from God's standard and gave people an easy out to to avoid putting the blame on any one individual. There is no such thing as a no fault divorce- either you truly commit to giving the rest of your life to another person or you don't. God hates divorce and only allowed for it as a concession for man's hard hearts. (And Jesus further clarifies that it's only allowable in the case of marital unfaithfulness. See Matthew 19) And commitments are not often easy to keep- they take a TON of hard work and effort, but the end results are always worth it. And for those in Christ, we don't undertake this effort alone; we can only truly have a successful marriage of Godly love for each other when we are in Christ. When we have experienced the love He showed through His death and Resurrection that pays for our sins, we can then share that love with others. (1 John 4:19) And when we love, we must show that it's real by our actions! Just as the Good Samaritan literally went out of his way to cross over and help the hurt Israelite, we must go totally out of our way- give of our money freely- give of ourselves- do whatever it takes- to share the love of God with others. The example Jesus gave in His parable in Luke 10 shows us a picture of real self-sacrificing love. That's exactly the kind of love God shows us- and the love He expects us to show others. We don't fall out of love- we must go all out for love!

"All Out For Love"
(parody of "All Out of Love" by Air Supply; copyright by Nathan Ludwick 2/18/2018)
(Ruth 1:16-17, Song of Songs [or Song of Solomon] 8:6-7, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 3:16-18, John 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 13, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:8-12 and 4:19, John 13:34-35 and 15:13, Matthew 5:27-32, Philippians 2, Matthew 19, Malachi 2:13-16)

We're tying the knot 'til we're dead and we're gone
I'm linked in with you better or worse
I know I loved you but what's up now with you?
Lamenting we've drifted apart
You wish I would stare at you like that first March
Some time in our life we let go
I could beg you, "Don't leave"- what a sorrow it'd be
But baby- is it really so? Love has ceased to flow

We're all out of love- our vows have come untrue
You know that sometimes the feelings say, "So long!"
We fall out of love- it's not me, it's not you
We'll call it "no fault"- just say that our love's gone wrong

I want things to come back as they were before
The way Jesus long ago designed
Well, read Genesis 2- Do you see 24?
Go Matthew 19- quoted by Christ

And what does it say? A man and woman unite
They're wed- the two become one
Let no people break- pull apart what God's made
Let's love please with all we've got- all through God

We're all out of love- And 1 John 4:8's true
I know You define the meaning of real love
You showed how to love- Crucified; empty tomb
No love is so great as laying life down for buds

So what do you think of this?
What 10 Luke teaches us
Priest and Levite pass by
Samaritan goes to assist

Went all out for love- To go cross street to dude
You know priest, Levite- they leave him- say "So long!"
They talk about love- what is it without proof?
You must demonstrate to show it's not a gong!

It's all about love! 1 Corinthians 13
It's patient and kind- believing in all things
No self-proud with love- No envy- it's not rude
Endures everything- rejoices with Truth not wrong

(You) don't fall out of love- It hopes in all things, dude
Its own way denies- Unending- No "So long"s
(So) go all out for love! We're nothing without it, crew
Of faith, hope and love- the greatest is love- God's Love!

[Background vocals:
In 8 Song of Songs- Love's as strong as death, dude
The knots- it keeps tied....]

Making Love Based on Nothing at All (song)

Everybody loves love. The entire world's population all has that desire to love and be loved- to have someone to hold and talk to and care for and to know that this person does the same for them. It's been said that we need love like the air we breathe. Yet some find that air supply in the wrong way. Some don't really want love and the lifelong commitment that comes with it in the context of marriage- the union of one man and one woman to each other that God designed. Some people just want sex for their pleasure and want to enjoy it with anyone and everyone and don't want to deal with the consequences that come with sin. This is the ideals generations have grown up with, learning to give out "love" for free, but The Bible makes clear that love always has a price. It costs something of us to truly love one another with the romantic love of eros. It demands a lifetime commitment which we recognize with the ceremony and vows taken in holy matrimony before God and man. And then when our culture is betrayed by the values society has taught us, finding that "free love" also brings abuse and rape and abandonment of parental duties, we seem so perplexed to understand why. When we follow the pattern that Jesus has shown us, we are delivered from so much pain. Let's model our love on the love He showed for us by dying for us to pay for our sins and rising again. (Romans 5:8) Instead of making love based on nothing at all, let's keep love based on the standard God has set. (Philippians 2) It's really He who causes any of us to know true love or to truly love one another at all.

"Making Love Based on Nothing at All"
(parody of "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" by Air Supply; copyright by Nathan Ludwick 12/31/2017)
(1 Corinthians 13, Song of Solomon [or Song of Songs] 8:6-7, Philippians 2, Hebrews 13:1-8, 1 Corinthians 6-7, Ephesians 5, Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, John 3, Matthew 5:27-32, 1 John 4 [particularly verse 8 and verses 18-19])

You know just how God whispers
Even though you disavow the Christ
You know just where to find The Answer
But I know you love the lie
You know just how to fake it
And you know just how to scheme
I know just why you hate The Truth
'Cause it exposes your sins- come clean!
And I know that when he touches you
Even though his lines are smooth
I know when he pulls you closer
You don't know when he'll let you loose
And I know it's right hard waiting
In YOLO zeitgeist- live your life!
The world's never gonna give you everything that God will give you
Don't you know nothing really satisfies?
And I know the word "virgin" is
The world's open mark of shame
They ignore all the rules and when sin shows out and breaks 'em
Then they always go and lay out the blame
But it won't go to libido
That's been messed up by The Fall
And I mourn for how they do it

Making love based on nothing at all
Making love when there's no ring that's on
Breaking God's Ten Commandments- The Law!
Taking love out- a sex free-for-all!
Hey, "free love" 's always lying- it costs!
Babe, real love takes commitment- your all!
But your "love" 's based on nothing at all!

And the line 19 in chapter 4 of 1 John says
We love due to God's for us first
And you see love is defined by God, verse 8 says
When Christ died for unright(eous)
Redeeming Love- 1 Corinthians 13 Love
If we're goodniks without love then we're through
You can make like prophets, know all mysteries sought
And burn out like a beacon but if loveless- for naught
'Cause love's not arrogant, rude, envying with boasts
Not wrongdoing- rejoices with The Truth

Its own way denies- stays humble
Irritated it is not
Undertakes every weight, it's hope is found through all things and
Believes all- an all-enduring rock!
Love- verse 8- it lasts forever!
Prophecies (and) knowledge disappear just like tongues
And now faith, hope and love just abide- they all remain
You know the greatest of these three now is Love
But whenever you make love without Truth
What you really want is sex for free- no cost
We're delivered so much pain when first- "I do"

We're in love- matrimony- it calls
Hey, true love waits 'til rings are put on
Babe, real love waits to first tie the knot
Hey, "free love" 's always lying- it costs
Herpes, AIDS, Gonorrhea, et. al.
Maybe not- but STDs aren't all
Taints your love for everyone you hold
You can't love them as your one above all
Chaste, pure love's not a gift you can give
Faking love just like Blanche Devereaux
Making love a slut and open case for all
Shape your love like Dorothy's wise calls
Like her mom, spout truth but lovingly now
Make your love St. Olaf's innocent Rose
Golden Girls- Rose of Sharon beats all!
Proved His love- made Him nothing for all
He is God! Became servant of all
Died for love! Rose up third day, you all
Make your love Philippians 2 style
Make your love based on God's love for all!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Celibate Recovery

Note: This piece is in response to an article in Relevant Magazine entitled "The Secret Sexual Revolution". The article talked about why it was common to see even Christian singles engaging in sex and how best the church could address this. Thus, my response starts off by repeating a question asked by the article- Why are Christian singles engaging in sex? Why? Because we're sinners- and we need to come back to the Saviour. We need to trust Jesus to be better than anything else in the world- including having sex. He fulfills all our needs, including our sex drive needs- in the right way and in the right context and in the right time. 

        Why? Because we're sinners. It's very sad to see, but yes- we've all fallen so short. Not all Christians are having sex outside of marriage, but I know that notion is mocked as hopelessly outdated now. I kind of wonder how much we really value The Lord Jesus and His Word versus the voice of the world. Certainly both call to us, but we must let Jesus' voice be louder than the world's. Sex outside of marriage is sin. (Our culture has very much blurred the definitions of sex and marriage, but God still defines it as a special act of love to be performed between 1 man united to 1 woman for life. That man and that woman who have been married to each other- they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19)
       Of course, Jesus told us in Matthew 5:28 that if we even look at a woman lustfully, we've committed adultery with her in our hearts. (So His definition of adultery goes way past our human definition.)
These are depressing statistics for sure and I think they are reflective of a few things. One- a lot of Christians are heavily influenced by the world via media- movies, TV, Internet, books, music, etc. and the voice of the world is stronger and louder to them than the voice of Jesus. (In saying this, I don't mean to say it's wrong to partake of some of these media outlets- but I do mean to say that we must be discerning as to what we take in. Philippians 4:8, 1 Corinthians 10:31)
        Two- I think there may be respondents to the surveys that identify as Christian in name only and may not truly be following Christ. (Or perhaps they think they are, but their lives indicate otherwise.)
Three- I think that regardless of what pictures of sex and marriage we see in the culture, we are frail, fallible human beings who want to do what we want to do when we want to do it and don't want anyone telling us it's wrong- and we don't want to face any consequences for it. And thus, we give in to temptation and give in to sin.
         I know I have given in to lust at times and it doesn't help that the Internet is pervaded with sexual images that can be happened upon without even trying to find them. Totally innocent searches online can lead to some nasty images. Other times, I may search them out, knowing exactly where it will lead. Television and movies and Internet videos already display what at times amounts to soft-core porn just about and with sites created to help people find hard-core porn without the pesky viruses that tend to come with those sites- it's very easy to sin, unfortunately.
         And then there are the images we see in advertising and just when we see people walking down the street. Of course, as I've said before, I don't really care if women are parading down the street literally naked- men are always 100% at fault for staring and lusting after them. (I do think both men and women should be conservative in what they wear and not try to be provocative- particularly Christian women- and no, this isn't a cop-out excuse for men who lust and rape women because the women "were inviting them" with their clothing or lack thereof. Men are still 100% wrong there- take responsibility for your actions.) We can't control what others wear or don't wear, but we can control where we let our eyes roam and linger. Rather than get defeated by a momentary accidental glimpse of the forbidden, turn your eyes away and think on the pure things God would have you think upon. And pray for God's help not to give in. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
         I also wonder about why sex is such a temptation for us as Christians, so much so that we want to encourage marriage simply so that we won't be in prolonged temptation. Therefore, we get married so that we can have sex! Well, if you're getting married just so you can have sex, I think you're getting married for the wrong reason. Why do we worship sex like our god? Sin is crouching at our door, desiring to have us, but we must master it! Sex and marriage are good in the right context- the way that God created them. But neither one will ever give us the deep longing of the soul that all of us feel throughout life. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to meet that fulfillment.
        So I don't say any of this as someone who's perfect at it, but as a man who claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and seeks to follow Him, despite falling down off the path so many times, but always getting back up with His help and starting out again. I'm SO thankful that He always remains faithful even when I'm faithless. (2 Timothy 2:13) If we belong to Christ, our bodies are not our own because we were bought with a price. Therefore, we must honor God with our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6) Don't join Christ to a prostitute- don't invite Him to view pornography with you and ogle after naked girls or guys- don't tell sexual jokes to Jesus and think He'll be laughing- don't make your one night stand a threesome with Jesus there on the marriage bed. That is exactly the picture 1 Corinthians 6 paints whenever we indulge in sexual sin- we sin against our own body but we also, since our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, enjoin Jesus to sexual immorality when we enjoin our own bodies to it. As verse 9-11 talk about, some of us were sexual sinners before coming to Christ- but we were washed, cleansed and sanctified from it in Christ's blood. And even if we fall back into old habits, we have an advocate with The Father Who is praying for us and Whose grace still covers all our deepest, darkest sins and Whose forgiveness still extends to us when we come to Him in repentance and Whose love still rides like a banner over us eternally.

A Covering for Nakedness

Note: You can say this is my reflection paper on the book "Counterfeit gods" by Timothy Keller, largely inspired by it, of course.  The "cosmic nakedness" term was straight out of Keller's book. The idea about looking to idols instead of Jesus for fulfillment as our common diagnosis is largely what the book is about, but this is an idea I'd already been thinking on. Other than the cosmic nakedness term, nothing else is copied out of the book. I highly recommend reading the book- and of course, The Book! :-)    

          Right after Eve and Adam sin in Genesis 3, The Bible records this event- "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths." (Genesis 3:7)
          Notice that God confronts Adam about this and asks him who told him he was naked. (Genesis 3:8-13) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil had opened Adam's and Eve's eyes and their first realization was one of shame at their nakedness. After God doles out the judgment for sin to the serpent, woman and man- including one of the earliest Messianic prophecies (Genesis 3:15- the Seed of the woman will be bruised on the heel by the serpent's offspring and He will crush the serpent's head.)- God does an interesting thing. He makes garments of skin and clothes Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3:21) This is interesting for at least two reasons- one, if they were animal skins, then presumably an animal had to die. This is significant because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22) Even here, we have an early picture of the One who bears an animal's name, The Lamb of God, who would be slain for the forgiveness of our sins. 
         And because He rose again, we who have trusted in Him and followed Him know we will rise again too. The other significant thing to note is that God Himself clothes His creation. Why did Adam and Eve want to be clothed? Because of shame. And they tried to substitute what God alone could provide. In the same way, we in our "cosmic nakedness", spiritually speaking, desire to be clothed because we feel something missing. "For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:4)
        We cover ourselves up with counterfeit gods in an effort to hide that nakedness, but in the end they all fall apart and we are laid bare before Him to Whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
Yet Galatians 3:27 says that in that moment, there is a clothing God sees rather than our naked sinfulness..."For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Christ is our righteousness and as Colossians 3:1-4 tells us, He is our life. As the Rolling Stones lamented, though I try and I try and I try- I can't get no satisfaction. There is no lasting ultimate satisfaction to be had in life outside of Christ. Money, sex, power, love, religiosity, philosophy, ideology, materialism, family and friends, etc.- none of them will do. When we reflect on the amazing magnitude of God's love for us-a Love that would rather go through Hell for us so that we would never have to go through it- He who clothed Himself with humanity and all sins (Philippians 2:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:21) and bore the shame of our nakedness while pinned naked to the cross- and then rose again to prove His Lordship- this is the place where our idols can be replaced by the loving embrace of grace that is The Lord Jesus Christ and we can worship Him alone as God. This is a continual process on earth, ridding ourselves of the idol weights that bind us throughout life (Hebrews 12:1-4), but God is always working to do just that in us. (Philippians 1:6, Ezekiel 36:26)
       And because of our faith in the grace of Christ extended to us (through no works of our own), we can say with Isaiah (literally one day in Heaven ), "I will rejoice greatly in The Lord, my soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." (Isaiah 61:10)
       That is the unspeakable joy The Gospel brings and the message of Easter. Doff thy rags and don His riches. Take off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise. Jesus alone is worthy of all praise. Lord, forgive me for any idols in Your way- cast them out and let me always look to You alone for my joy and satisfaction. Thank You for Your amazing love and grace that still saves wretches like me.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Have Your Way, Lord Jesus (Any Way You Want It) (song)

In this journey of life there are many paths to choose. Of course, all the various paths ultimately follow along only two roads- either the broad one to destruction or the narrow one to Life. There are so many choices to make and often we want to do things our own way. Of course, that's when things all go wrong. There are many plans in a man's mind but it's the Lord's will that prevails. He knows what's best and will work things out for our good in His time. It's so much better to say now to God, "Thy will be done" and leave things in His hands any way He wants it.

"Have Your Way, Lord Jesus (Any Way You Want It)"
(parody of "Any Way You Want It" by Journey; copyright by Nathan Ludwick 3/14/2017)
(Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 13:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:11, Job 13:15, Daniel 3:16-18, Philippians 2-3, Romans 8:28, Romans 12:1-2, Psalms 16, Psalms 20 (especially v. 4), Psalms 37, Proverbs 16, Romans 9, James 4:13-17, Psalms 73 (especially verses 23-28), Psalms 84 (especially verses 10-12), John 6:68, Luke 9:23, Proverbs 19:21)

Any way You want it
That's the way I need it
Any way You want it

I love to plan
I love to dream
I try everything
Proverbs behooves
God must approve
Entrust to God your dreams

All right! All right!
Oh, 16 writes
You roll dice- hold tight
(The) Lord places rolls right

It lands
Any way You want it
Have Your way, Lord Jesus
Any way You want it
I say, And the way I want it
Might not be how I need it
Any way You want it, (Lord)

Jesus alone
My mind renews
What would God have me do?
They're all just dung
My longings
If not for God my King

All right! Psalms writes
16:6 writes
(The) Lord holds tight- my life
Oh, the lines fall nice(ly)

Any way You want it
Have Your way, Lord Jesus
Any way You want it (oh)
I say, And the way I want it
Might not be how I need it
Any way You want it (Lord)

I said, "Whoa!" "Whoa!"
I'm done! Cross on! Roll on!
(Oh,) (Luke says)
Anyone who wants to
Travel with Lord Jesus
Deny oneself (and) wants- oh, oh!
And cross weighs- you're on it
Luke 9:23-yeah
Walk the way God's calling (Oh!)

He said- And the way you're walking
That's been laid by Jesus
Godly's ways are guarded
37 Psalms, yeah
That's line 23, yeah
Go the way God wants it

Give your way to God then
Trust Him, wait and be still
And your faith's rewarded
'Cause Yahweh you're wanting
That's verse 4- so delight
Your heart craves for God then (Ohh!)

20:4 in Psalms then
Watch the way you read it
Only if God wants it (Ohh!)
Any way you want it?
That's the way we lost Eden
Monkey's Paw and Faust- no!

Any way You want it
Have Your way, Lord Jesus
Any way You want it, (Lord)
Any way You want it..........

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Prayer for the New Year

"And even though I've never seen Your face- I'm missin' You. 'Cause somewhere behind those stars is Someone who belongs to me and I know in my deepest heart- there's a place for You. Until I find the place You've made for me, I'm missin' You."
- "Missin' You" by Chris Rice
"I'll be running to Your throne with every nation, tribe and tongue- To Your arms I'll fly, I'll gaze into Your eyes- then I'll know as I am known- and Your praise goes on."
- "And Your Praise Goes On" by Chris Rice

I love You, Jesus. Thank You for loving and knowing me. Help me as I seek to know You better, Lord. (1 John 4:10-11 and 4:19, 1 Corinthians 13:12) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. (Matthew 6:9-13) Help me to be more like You each day and to represent better to the world what Your kingdom of peace looks like even as we anticipate and pray for You to come and bring Your kingdom of peace to earth one day. (Revelation 21:1-5, Revelation 22:20-21). Help us to continue in the struggle and through the suffering, knowing You went through far, far worse for our sakes- and knowing that the suffering is not worth comparing to the glory coming. (Romans 8:18-30, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:1-11) Help us to wait with patience and to endure with joy and peace, the joy and peace that only You give. (Nehemiah 8:10, John 14:27) And help us to never tire of doing what's right. (2 Thessalonians 3:13). It's all for You and for Your glory (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:23)- and by Your strength alone. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) Use me to bring Your Name glory and to help show others Your love so that they may come to know and follow You too. (2 Peter 3:9, Acts 4:20) Thank You and praise You for all Your many blessings and the comfort of knowing You are in control always and even in the midst of Your righteous justice, You also remember Your lovingkindness that is better than life and Your steadfast everlasting love that never fails. (Jeremiah 31:3, Psalms 136) And thank You for family and friends that help encourage me along the narrow path. (Psalms 133, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 18:24) Thank You for never abandoning us and for always providing for us and for leading us all the way. (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:19, Psalms 23) :-)
Thy faithful servant I fain would be- Lord, I believe- help Thou my unbelief- Thank You that You never let go (John 10:28)
Yours- Nathan.
(Romans 14:8)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

3 John (song)

As Christmas approaches this year, the classic Christmas song that I have thought about a lot that I think really sums up the main point of the holiday so well comes to mind- "Love Came Down at Christmas". Indeed, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (See John 3:16) There is no greater love than the love God has for us all. He proved that by sending Jesus to die for our sins and rise again. (Romans 5:8) And some of the most verses we have about love in The Bible come from the books of 1st. John, 2nd. John and 3rd. John. I have a trilogy of song parodies I've written about each book and I wanted to post that as a Christmas gift here this year. Funnily enough, I wrote them in reverse order- a song about 3rd. John, then one about 2nd. John and then one about 1st. John. They're all from the 1970s and so there's that theme common to them along with the theme of Love Divine. John writes one more short note in 3rd. John and offers a great model of Christian hospitality in Gaius. There's no greater joy than seeing your spiritual children walking in The Truth! The Holy Spirit uses John to go belting out another letter that hits home in the area of love. This is one of the tests of a true faith in Christ- we will see His love manifested in our lives. That's one way you can tell they're from God. Read- it's in 3rd. John.

3 John
(parody of "Your Song" written by Bernie Taupin and performed by Elton John; copyright by Nathan Ludwick 8/5/2016)
(3 John)

It's a little book, honey- quick read- 15 lines
It's just one of those that can easily slide by
Note sent from Johnny to his boy beloved
To Gaius- shout out! I rejoice at how you live

Hey Gaius, the brothers put in a good word
You're the man! Your devotion to Truth- travels, it shows
Oh, I know of your love- it's a faithful thing you do
Your gift is your home
To workers for Truth

And you can tell they're from God- read. It's in 3 John
Diotrephes' quite sinful- disallows them welcome
You know he's self-minded
He pays us no mind
But I'll put down my foot
If I come there, we'll right this- pearls trampled underfoot

A shout out from Truth- Demetrius
Well, review the 12th. verse, it's where- gave props, he's like a boss!
Like my son's been quite kind
In 1:4 3 John
When you're keeping in Truth, that
Pleases me so much

So refuse imitating
The evil men do
You see good- (then) copy it
By their deeds, we tell who's who
By the way, the verse is 1:11- read
Those who do evil? God- they've never seen

And you can tell they're from God-read; it's in 3 John
Their good deeds quite signify
Now then I'm done
I hope all's well, Guy
Your soul and your life
That I pray for you, dude
How wonderful I feel when you walk in Truth
You know I've much to write
I don't wanna just Skype
Or just put down in words
How wonderful if Christ wills- by your side I'll come...