Saturday, August 31, 2013


Albie's Note:  I have always liked this great song from Leonard Cohen's 1969 album SONGS FROM A ROOM ever since I first heard it back in college in the '80s, but only when searching for info to do this blog did I learn some of the more fascinating details about the composition.  Apparently the tune was adapted by Cohen [a Jewish French Canadian himself] from a song called "La complainte du partisan", written in London during 1943, by Emmanuel D'Astier de la Vigerie (called "Bernard" in the French Resistance) and Anna Marly.  
Cohen had apparently heard the song many years earlier on the BBC airwaves and grew up to give it new life as a '60s folk story-song.  In any case I always enjoyed this tribute to the men and women who fought a fierce guerilla war against the invading Nazis, 1940-1944.  Enjoy.

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.


Les Allemands e'taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, "Signe toi," (They said, "Sign yourself,")
mais je n'ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j'ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J'ai change' cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j'ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j'ai tant d'amis; (But I have so many friends)
j'ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache', (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l'ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just For Fun: Christian quotes about being BEARDED!

Albie's Note:  I thought these were interesting and a bit amusing.  As a bearded guy they maybe made me chuckle more than some of you clean-shaven fellas will!  Please know I do not actually find facial hair to be a spiritual issue... :)

I really thought the quote from Spurgeon was the most interesting.  I know LOTS of Male Baptists today and at least a good 95% of them are clean shaven, although most of them do love Spurgeon.  Anyway, its interesting to see how times have changed with regard to this.

How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!…For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane.
But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest–a sign of strength and rule. 2.275
This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature….It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. 2.276
It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man’s natural and noble adornment. 2.277  – Clement of Alexandria
And the Prince of Preachers said:
‎Growing a beard is a habit most natural, Scriptural, manly and beneficial. – C.H. Spurgeon
And more:
The beard must not be plucked. ‘You will not deface the figure of your beard’.  – St. Cyprian, 5.553

The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength. – Lactantius (c. 304–314, W), 7.288

There are some details of the body which are there for simply aesthetic reasons, and for no practical purpose—for instance, the nipples on a man’s chest, and the beard on his face, the latter being clearly for a masculine ornament, not for protection. This is shown by the fact that women’s faces are hairless, and since women are the weaker sex, it would surely be more appropriate for them to be given such a protection. – Augustine of Hippo, City of God (c. 410) book 22, chapter 24

Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, “You will not deface your beards.” For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men. – Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c.390, E) 7.392. (1)



Thursday, August 22, 2013

SONGS THAT TELL A STORY #3: "Hey Nelly Nelly" by JUDY COLLINS, 1963

Albie's Note: Here is a great cut by JUDY COLLINS from her LIVE AT NEWPORT album.   I always liked this story song about Civil Rights in the USA.  Say what ya want about it-- form the left OR the right-- it truly was a "long and bloody ride... "

[Click on the link below the album cover to hear it from YOUTUBE!]


Hey Nelly Nelly, come to the window
Hey Nelly Nelly look at what I see
He's riding into town on a sway back mule
Got a tall black hat and he looks like a fool
He sure is talkin' like he's been to school
And it's 1853

Hey Nelly Nelly, listen what he's sayin'

Hey Nelly Nelly, he says it's gettin' late
And he says them black folks should all be free
To walk around the same as you and me
He's talkin' 'bout a thing he calls democracy
And it's 1858

Hey Nelly Nelly hear the band a playing

Hey Nelly Nelly, hand me down my gun
"Cause the men are cheerin' and the boys are too
They're all puttin' on their coats of blue
I can't sit around here and talk to you
"Cause it's 1861

Hey Nelly Nelly, Come to the window

Hey Nelly Nelly, I've come back alive
My coat of blue is stained with red
And the man in the tall black hat is dead
We sure will remember all the things he said
In 1865

Hey Nelly Nelly, come to the window

Hey Nelly Nelly, look at what I see
I see white folks and colored walkin' side by side
They're walkin' in a column that's a century wide
It's still a long and a hard and a bloody ride
In 1963 



Albie's Note:  Paul Hutchens [1902-1977] was a preacher and the author of the famous Christian Boy's book series about THE SUGAR CREEK GANG.  His books are still widely read and for good reason: he was a great story-teller!

Hutchen's fiction books are full of nature lore and the outdoors, so it should be no surprise to find that his actual sermons made use of nature as well.  Here is a charming excerpt from a 1943 collection that I really liked.  Hope it blesses someone else too!


AND NOW, while we are being tossed about, with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings within and fears without - while the dark clouds are a driftin' and the sound of war is riftin' the hearts of the whole world, let us think of the One, the Perfect One who shall someday - soon, perhaps, come swinging down from his glory throne, to catch us away . . .

My thoughts carry me back this morning to a beautiful blue-watered lake in Central Michigan, where on a brilliant morning in 1925, I was trolling about in my row-boat, listening for the sudden singing of my Shakespeare reel which would tell me that somewhere out there in the underwater world, a fish had struck - listening to the splashing of the waves against the prow, watching the rhythmic dip and toss of the white gulls overhead - I suppose there is no atmosphere in the world more peaceful than that.

Being towed along beside me, its strings tied to the oarlock, was a net, probably half filled with various kinds of fish. Suddenly I noticed, not more than ten yards away, a little wild creature of some sort, swimming: up and down, over the crest of the waves, down into the trough, making almost no headway. I was probably a half mile from shore, and I wondered what a squirrel was doing out there in this - to him - strange environment-, for it was a beautiful red squirrel, exhausted, sniffling, struggling against the waves.

My first thought was - perhaps because I remembered my boyhood days on the farm, when we had had many a meal with squirrel as the chief meat dish, my first thought was to kill the squirrel and take it home for dinner.

I released one of the oars from its lock, raised it, made a wide sweep in the air - and then suddenly, smitten with pity, I stopped. I dropped the oar back into its place. The squirrel was swimming desperately straight for my boat.

Fascinated, watching her struggle - over the crest, down into the trough, which must have seemed terrifying to the weary little friend, I waited.

In a minute then, she swam up alongside, crawled across the trailing net, clambered up over the edge of the molding of the side, and, shivering, panting for breath yet and probably feeling very  cold, she crouched in the seat in front of me, not making a move-.

I don't know now what my thoughts were as I rowed across the lake, to the cottage which was our temporary home, but it was a strange ride - just the two of us. All the way across, my little squirrel shivered, and trembled with fright, and, I think, with absolute exhaustion. No doubt it had been trying to get across from a bit of wooded shoreline about a mile away, to our own shore.

It was afterward that the Spirit of GOD showed me the experience as a beautiful illustration of the grace of the Lord JESUS CHRIST in bringing us to GOD. Afterward I remembered the words of the Apostle Peter, who in the third Chapter of his first letter, the 18th verse, says, "For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh . . ."


By and by as we rowed along, and all the time the little squirrel, crouching, shivering, trembling, sniffling - almost like a frightened child sobbing - by and by, the prow of my row boat scraped against the sand of the beach, Not until then, did my passenger show any inclination to move. And then, she turned, crawled along the edge of the molding of the side, over the gunwale, and out onto the shore. There was a tree - there, an oak, if I remember aright. And in a moment, lady red squirrel  was on her way up. In a flash later she was perched on the first limb, still afraid, still exhausted, unmoving but in her natural habitat.

And, my friends, I like to think of what CHRIST has done for me - what He would like to do for every weary, struggling swimmer in the waves of life.

You - out there being tossed about, with many a conflict, many a doubt. That is not the habitat GOD has planned for you. He made you for the heights. He made you for the shore - (In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore). HE, the mighty Oarsman, is rowing your way, sinner friend.

You, in your own strength can never make Heaven, never reach the land that is fairer than day. But He is rowing by. He is there now, waiting to take you on board. Perhaps you are lonely to-day. You are far from friends and loved ones. Why. not give up the struggle, quit trying to master yourself! Give up the worrying, give up the struggle to win salvation by good works, and Let HIM BRING YOU TO GOD
- That's why he once suffered for our sins (That is penal)
- The just for the Unjust (That is substitution) and

- that He might bring us to God - (That is reconciliation).


Let Him be your companion, let him take away the loneliness of your heart!

"How can I be lonely,
when I've JESUS Only?"

From: WHEN GOD SAYS 'NO' And Other Radio Addresses by Paul Hutchens; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids Michigan, 1943


Saturday, August 10, 2013

GREAT ARTICLE: "Squaring Your Life With The Bible" By D. M. Panton

Squaring Your Life With The Bible
 By D. M. Panton

David Morrieson Panton (D. M. Panton) (1870–1955) was the pastor of Surrey Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk, UK, where he succeeded Robert Govett. He was the editor (1924–1955) of The Dawn Magazine, a writer of books and numerous tracts, and a British leader amongst those pursuing Prophetic studies.

    The main body of our Lord’s teaching, and the clearest of all His instructions on practical living, are embodied for ever in the "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew, chapters 5-7; Luke, chapter 6). And His whole revelation in the sermon is based on a studied contrast of the Church’s grace with Israel’s law, thus launching a new dispensation, which is still in force.
    The emphasis with which our Lord stresses the necessity of obedience is an emphasis of "solemn awfulness," as someone has stated it. It is expressed in a vivid figure. "These sayings of Mine," says Jesus, are the foundation rock on which every believer is to construct his living. Any other foundation of conduct will, to a certainty, the Lord says, hopelessly crash in the coming storms. (See Matt. 7:24-27).
    It is first of all extremely important for all of us to master the fact that our Lord is not distinguishing between believers and unbelievers of the words He has uttered. He is distinguishing between hearers and doers of it. "Hearing" is a word He uses of faith. "He that is of God heareth the words of God: for this cause ye hear them not, because ye are not of God" (John 8:47).
    Both groups which the Saviour is visualizing listen attentively to their Lord speaking. Both recognize that there are commands to be obeyed by someone. Both then leave the Mount to live their life – that is, to build their house of conduct. One group reproduces the Lord’s words in action. The other possibly believes and warmly applauds the words – nevertheless acts, in the points named by our Lord, on other principles of conduct. He is building a house on another foundation than the "Sermon on the Mount."
    "Literally hundreds of volumes have been written about the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ yet I read it through recently in eleven minutes. You can read it quickly, but you must take a life time to try to live it, and even then you will have falls." The fact is, the difficulty of living it is enormous.
Stupendous Consequences
    A brief summary of our Lord’s main points will reveal at once both the reason of their rejection, and the stupendousness of the consequences. For example, if obeyed, there would not be any worldly Christians. In these words Christ claims absolute sovereignty. Every main section is not a counsel, or an ideal, but a command. His word is law. Here are seven of the main sections:
    (1) "It was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill…but I say unto you that every one who is angry with his brother without a cause…shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matt. 5:21-22).
    (2) "Ye have heard that it was said…Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you" that a lustful look can be adultery (vv. 27-28).
    (3) "Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt…perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all" (vv. 33-34).
    (4) "Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:" – exact justice – "but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil" – utter grace (vv. 38-39).
    (5) "Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies" (vv. 43-44).
    (6) "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (6:19-20).
    (7) "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, so do ye also unto them" (7:12).
    Our Lord summarizes the sermon as the standard of right conduct for those who belong to the kingdom of heaven. "I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees [the standard of the Law, immeasurably excelled by the standard of the sermon] ye [the disciples whom He is addressing] shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20).
Human Reasonings
    Over against this marvelous revelation, embodying love in action, we are met with every human reason why we should not obey. Some say it is a noble ideal, but impracticable, or it is for Jewish disciples before the Church was founded, and therefore it is not for us. Others say it is a revelation of world law when the Millennial Kingdom shall be established, or the commands in it are to be taken figuratively, not literally. These reasons for non-obedience prove at once that they are merely attempted escapes from the obvious. The warning of the Apostle James (1:22) springs into light: "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves."
What Are We Constructing?
    This "Sermon on the Mount," preached wherever Christ is preached throughout the whole world and identified with Him throughout all time, faces every hearer. Every Christian hearer is constructing a building – his religious conduct, enshrining his life. Some believers are building on the sermon. They are living it. In this case the life is built out of these sayings through all the years. It is not merely believing them, nor accepting them, nor admiring them, nor even expounding and teaching them. It is doing them! This person the Lord calls a wise architect.
    "Every one which heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock" (Matt. 7:24).
    All the hearers are able to build, and all as a matter of fact are building. The foolish believer builds as carefully on the sand as the wise man on the rock. Sand can look like rock. The house we build reveals our wisdom or our folly.
    If our conduct is to stand on rock, we must simply obey Christ. "Ye are My friends, if ye" [not quote or approve or even preach, but] – "do the things which I command you" (John 15:14).
    The Lord most carefully reveals the consequences of how we build. "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house" (Matt. 7:25). Throughout all the ages the believer has had to stand up against the brunt of a hostile world. There come the subtle floods of the flesh or the hurricanes of Satan, and countless buildings within the Church crash. Rain assails the roof, winds assail the walls, and floods attack the foundations.
Sustaining Grace Confirms Obedience
    The Lord’s tremendous revelation of the value of living the sermon now shines out simply priceless. "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon the rock" (Matt. 7:25).
    This believer "digs deep." The "Sermon on the Mount" deals with the depths of our being – cutting away our lusts, our ambitions, our worldliness, and introducing an amazing standard of spiritual life. The safe depth of the structure is especially revealed in Luke: "He is like a man building a house who digged and went deep and laid the foundation on a rock; and when a flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; because it was founded upon the rock [had been well builded]" (Luke 6:48).
    He only digs deep whose living gets down to the central realities of the spirit as expressed in our Lord’s commands, and sustaining grace confirms obedience all the way. God’s grip on our conduct corresponds with our grip on Christ’s words. And the Lord’s summary reveals the enormous revelation that if we build on the sermon, and even if we are in great tribulation, our house stands. No storm can wreck it!
    So the Saviour warns us of the consequence of hearing, believing, admiring, but not doing these sayings. "Every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…and [the elements] smote upon that house, and it fell: and great was the fall thereof" (Matt. 7:26-27).
    All the hearers are equally skilled in building. Where alone they differ is on what they build. And the second class – building on anything but the "Sermon on the Mount," however high the ethics or sublime the philosophy – build, our Lord says, on sand.
    "We may build, as our little children do on the seashore, our sand houses, and we may pile them up very quickly, too, and be very pleased with them. But they will all come down as the tide advances" (C. H. Spurgeon). The consequent crash is terrific. "Great was the fall thereof." What Christ says is rock. What man says is sand.
    Thus, dropping our Lord’s figure, we have the unutterably solemn dual truth expressed elsewhere by Christ Himself in plain language.
    (1) "That servant which knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten [for naturally it is the duty of the servant of God to find out his Lord’s will] with few stripes" (Luke 12:47-48). The first servant consciously disobeyed, the second unconsciously.
    (2) Here is the golden reverse: "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me…and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him" (John 14:21).


BIG AL'S JOVIAL JUKEBOX #15: "Beware Of The Blob" by THE FIVE BLOBS, 1958

Albie's Note:  My 10 year old son Gideon and I recently DVR'd and  then watched the 1958 Horror classic THE BLOB, starring a 27 year old Steve McQueen.   First of all, I should say it was a blast!  It was actually a much better movie than I remembered and even Gid thought it was loads of fun!  [Movies precisely like this are great for father/son bonding, by the way... especially in double features and with plenty o' popcorn!]

As for the movie itself... Is it really an allegory about creeping Communism needing to be 'frozen' ala the real-life "Cold war?"  Gosh, I'd really love to think so-- sounds like a good idea to me--  but actually I reckon it was mainly just a good ol' comic book horror story come to life... and I should note, VERY effectively filmed in all night scenes to generate a pretty undeniably high level of suspence... all of it on-- at best--  a medium budget [although this one was filmed in both widescreen and gloriously lurid '50s color!]  I can easily see why this was such a huge hit at the time.

[According to Wikipedia, "McQueen received only $3,000 for this film; he had turned down an offer for a smaller up-front sum with 10 percent of the profits because he did not think the movie would make any money and he needed the money immediately to pay for food and rent; it ended up grossing $4 million!"]

The directing was solid, the acting was superior [although every "teenager" in it had no doubt passed the 20 year mark quite prior to filming!], and really  I enjoyed the themes of  

1) not judging young folks;  

2) doing the right thing even if the authorities may misguided advise you not to, and  

3) always having a loaded CO2 fire extinguisher handy!

But you know what really stuck with me?  The amazingly [and perhaps annoyingly] catchy theme song and its brief and marvelously inane lyrics! I simply can't get it outta my head... [and so of course I must share it!]

Believe it or not, this song was composed by Burt Bacharach and Mack David, and was a top forty pop hit in '58.  To be fair, it's really a great piece of music-- the tenor sax wailing, the chord progressions, the male chorus-- surely the most finely crafted pop song to ever ever introduce a horror movie!

And so now... here it is from Youtube, complete with lyrics printed below the window.

Enjoy... but I do  feel I MUST  warn you.  This one will NOT leave your head anytime soon!

Beware of The Blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of The Blob

Saturday, August 3, 2013

HYMN TIME #13: "Mephibosheth" by SOUND DOCTRINE

Albie's note: This is another hymn that is quite modern, but very very good.  Gary Duty-- the Baptist pastor whose other song "Blessed Old Book" was featured in my hymn series a while back [see it HERE if you like]--  wrote this song and sang it with his Bluegrass group SOUND DOCTRINE back in the '90s.   That group seems to be disbanded now (at least I can no longer find the website) but their albums are all great and really worth checking out.

Here Brother Duty faithfully re-tells the beautiful story of the grace shown to lame Mephibosheth by King David in II Samuel Chapter 9, laying special emphasis on its revelation of Almighty God's greater grace to us poor flawed humans. 

Enjoy this amazing song.

In a place called Lodebar lived a young man who was crippled from a fall.
His name was Mephibosheth: the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul.
He was trying to survive; since Jonathan and Saul were slain, it seemed all hope was in vain,
And each lonely night was spent in fear of what another day would bring.
But one day King David said, "There is one thing I'd like to do.
Is there one of the house of Saul, someone I can show my kindness to?"
Someone said, "Down in Lodebar, there lives a son of Jonathan: Mephibosheth, the crippled one."
David said "Go find him, and bring him this message from the King".

Mephibosheth, forever put your fears to rest; come and be my table guest.
To you I'll be a father, and my son you'll always be.
Mephibosheth, please accept the invitation; I've made all the preparations.
Mephibosheth cried "Oh how can this be, that a King would ever love someone like me!"

Living in Lodebar, where there's no comfort for a troubled soul.
Just a place full of broken hearts; never knowing what the future holds.
But now that I've met the King, there's nothing like His love for me; now I'm part of the family,
Since someone came and knocked upon my door, with this message from the King!

Mephibosheth, forever put your fears to rest; come and be my table guest.
To you I'll be a father, and my son you'll always be.
Mephibosheth, please accept the invitation; I've made all the preparations.
Mephibosheth cried "Oh how can this be, that a King would ever love someone like me"

I rejoice when I recall the day I watched those bridges burn,
When I said goodbye to Lodebar, never to return!

2 Samuel 9
1 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?
2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.
5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!
7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.
10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.