Sunday, January 24, 2016

Avalon Chronicles #54: "Raising Our Young"

Avalon Chronicles #54: "Raising our Young"

by Allen B. Clark

Proverbs 22: 6 "Train a child in the way he should go,
                             and when he is old he will not turn from it."  

                            Zondervan. New International Version. Life Application Study Bible. 1991.
The practical application for this verse was found by me in the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster 1828. Introduction page 12. Available at  

"...Noah Webster's system of education included rather than excluded the influence of the American home:

(Webster wrote:)

     'All government originates in families, and if neglected there, it will hardly exist in society...The foundation of all free government and of all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth...The Education of youth, an employment of more consequence than making laws and preaching the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both law and gospel rest for success.'

     Noah Webster's own childhood had been blessed with a Christian home. His Pilgrim heritage through Governor Bradford provided him with the ingredients of Christian self-government, responsibility and work habits which would serve him well throughout a long, active life. When the family farm was mortgaged to send him to Yale College he took his parental benediction with him.

     'We wish to have you serve your generation and do good in the world and be useful and may so behave as to gain the esteem of all virtuous people that are acquainted with you and gain a comfortable subsistence, but especially that you may live as to obtain the favor of Almighty God and His grace in this world and a saving interest in the merits of Jesus Christ, without which no man can be happy.'"

     Appropriating seriously the merits of Jesus Christ can bring peace and tranquility to all to bring us as much happiness as we can possibly know in our earthly existence.

     Approximately two decades ago I procured a copy of this monumental original first edition of Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary. He had traveled to Europe, studied other languages and great literature as well as the Holy Bible to compose his dictionary. I keep it beside my study chair and refer often to it. One will not find slang or the inane terminology used by so many today in it, but one is uplifted and edified to learn the true and correct and beautiful meaning of our language. Noah Webster in my opinion can truly be considered one of the Founding Fathers of America!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Avalon Chronicles #53: "Prizes for Secular and Spiritual Discipline"

Avalon Chronicles #53: "Prizes for Secular and Spiritual Discipline"

by Allen B. Clark

Biblical Reference: I Peter (New International Version Life Application Bible by Tyndale House and Zondervan.

     Linda and I have completed our move to her deceased son's home. Our early mornings are spent in what we call our sun room with windows on two sides, where the rising sun greets us with its morning presence and the south sun lingers through the afternoon. Also it is where we converse and pray together in our recliners facing each other. The wall across from me has a framed small flintlock pistol and powder horn and a striking original painting of my childhood hero and role model Robert E. Lee as a newly-minted lieutenant graduate of West Point. Across from Linda behind me is displayed a tapestry picturing Jesus and also a framed print of Jesus. These represent, of course, the two worlds in which we have lived, for me the military and, for us both, the spiritual as Christians.
     My secular military world was defined in no uncertain terms with obedience and discipline from age eight when I had tunnel vision to study and prepare myself for a cadet appointment at West Point. In my two all male secondary prep schools, I studied literally four to five hours per night. At West Point it is a life of all-consuming obedience and strict discipline to achieve the "prize" of graduation and commissioning as an officer, where the discipline was not as intensive, but yet overarching as I received the "prize" of the pride I felt in being able to serve my country.
     In our secular arenas we constantly seek life's earthly "prizes," admission to and graduation from our first choice college, marriage to the spouse of our dreams, advancement in our career fields leading to the "prize" of financial security in our "golden" years. We discipline ourselves to save for the future. We discipline ourselves to eat healthily and exercise (in many instances less successfully than were our goals) to achieve a longer earthly existence. We are obedient and disciplined in our life's work and avocations.
     Unfortunately, for our own greater peace and satisfaction, we typically do not exercise the requisite obedience and discipline in our spiritual dimension, where the "report cards" are not as evident. The ultimate "prize" of earthly spiritual existence is eternal life exemplified in (I Peter 1: 3-4), "...In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,...." This ultimate "prize" of salvation is only achieved by those who, by faith, accept Jesus as Savior.
     In my early thirties I moved to the next plateau of my spiritual life, that of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My dear wife Linda achieved this spiritual level at a much earlier age. This is a state wherein we exert discipline and obedience reflected in lives well-lived as members of the family of God. We are summoned to holiness, "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy because I am holy.'" (I Peter 1:14-16).
     We are told to live our lives in "reverent fear," (healthy respect of a believer for the all-powerful God). Footnote (I Peter 1:17). We are advised (and in military terminology "ordered"), "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." (I Peter 2:1). In other words, to live lives of integrity and loving hearts, to become like Christ. We are to, "Live such good lives among the pagans, that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (I Peter 2:12).We are to imitate, "Christ in all (our) social roles,...husbands and wives, church members and neighbors." (I Peter 2:18-3:17).
     In I Peter 3:18-4:11 we are told by Peter that, "Christ should be our model for obedience to God...." Our greatest obstacle to a life of obedience and discipline is, as it is written, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,..." (I Peter 5:8-9).
     A unique contrast is evident in that in the secular world our "prize" comes after exertion and dedication to obedience and discipline. In the spiritual world our "prize" of knowledge of eternal life comes as early as one commits in faith with the consequent expectation from our merciful and gracious Father that in obedience with discipline we will then reflect "good" and do "good works.'