The Blazing Splendor
The late Dallas Willard said: "Our destiny, is to be part of a tremendously creative team effort, under unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast plane of activity, with ever more comprehensive cycles of productivity and enjoyment." This is what "eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard" in the prophetic vision. It’s worth a few dozen read-throughs.
Dallas also used to say that "God will certainly let everyone into heaven that can possibly stand it." This is another one of those statements that becomes more daunting and frightening and wonderful the more you think about it.” (John Ortberg in Christianity Today)
I heartily agree about the intensity of heaven. For a good many years I have wondered why the warning in Hebrews,
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
‘For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.’
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
I certainly have hardly ever suffered in my entire 81 years on this planet. God’s love and care have become wonderful and intimate, especially in the last ten years or so. I had no idea at all of how much “sanctification” I have needed (and still need) but God’s grace has been there every day so far. As events in the past come to mind I am amazed at how much I have been forgiven. Even though I anticipate heaven with some degree of dread. I do want to finish well. I have lots I want to do, and though I believe, “Lord, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
My Daily Life: For some months now I have been teaching Paul’s Letter to the Romans at my home church, Peninsula Bible Church of Palo Alto, CA. Audio files and class notes may be accessed from my web site at http://ldolphin.org.
I am been attempting to be a better steward of the resources God supplies. God has amazed me with the ease He supplies the extra income I need to stay afloat in Silicon Valley—the cost of living is sky high in these parts. For example: My share in prescription drugs jumped up by $640 last month under Medicare’s cost-sharing plan, which includes “a donut hole.” My share in prescription medicines is nearly $4800 per year. I do have a supplementary policy which covers items not covered by Medicare—cost: only $3500 per year.
But my current crisis is income tax. Ray Stedman once said that we owe taxes to the Lord Jesus, since He supplies us with government. I have never tried to weasel out of taxes, but I am sluggish at book keeping.
A little over a year ago some friends of mine decided to tidy up my home office so it could serve as a spare bedroom as needed. I was sick in bed that week and not able to supervise this thoughtful offer to help from good friends. But, they accidentally threw out several huge trash bags of papers and clutter that was in and around my desk. As they were finishing up, another friend, Tom, rescued the trash bags as they were about to go into the dumpster. Turns out what was rescued and saved were all my receipts and cancelled checks needed for filing incomes taxes, for he past 6 or 7 years. My once orderly papers safe, but now thoroughly randomized! My friend Tom set himself to the tedious task of resorting 6 years of receipts. It was then relatively easy to prepare tax returns for 2012, though we opted for late filing. Total taxes due: $4800. Just then the IRS sent me a notice saying they had not received my 2011 tax return! (How did that happen?)
Tom was ready to prepare my tax return for 2011 but this time we found the receipts for 2011 were scattered more widely -- farther and wider apart than receipts for other years. Tom agreed to help once again but he is still working on this. He is a great friend I have known for 40 years now and we were all thrilled when he told us last month that he is now a Christian. So there has been one bright note shining out of the otherwise bad news of my tax season this year.
This tax crisis is not something I can solve. But I have learned that the first thing to do in any crisis is to immediately commit everything to God in thorough prayer. That I have done. There are no accidents in God’s kingdom and there are always lessons to be learned from every crisis our Lord sends our way. I have been through quite a few major “incidents” in the past few years and God has always been able to bring greater good out of these times of testing. Slow and painful, often, but redemptive.
In addition to paying these two years of back taxes, I am about $3000 short in immediate expenses. Lately many of my friends and supporters are going through lean times financially, so why not me? As of today I have an empty bank account and bills to pray that I don ‘t have money for. But I am still quite alive and full of energy and in need of as much of God’s grace as I can invoke. Would you be so kind as to pray for me?*
0 To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
1 How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young--
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Contributions: The Blue Letter Bible ministry has graciously provided me am ideal channel for tax-deductible donations. If you would like a tax receipt, send your check to: Blue Letter Bible ATTN: Lambert Dolphin Ministries (LDM), 29 Rancho Circle, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (Please make your check out to "Blue Letter Bible" and mark "LDM" in the memo field of your check). Thank you very much! You may send cash contributions directly to my PayPal Account... http://www.ldolphin.org/donations.html. Such contributions (PayPal) are tax free to me, though not to you.
Book: My colleague Ron Graf and I hope you will obtain copies of our book on Bible Prophecy, Connecting the Dots... http://bible-prophecy.com/connecting.
Contacting me: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://ldolphin.org; Apologetics and Q&A: http://paracleteforum.org; Previous newsletters: http://ldolphin.org/news. I try to answer all my email, but I am not very good at returning phone calls, largely because of telephone solicitors. Everything I have written ends up on my web site. Please visit there often and write me when you see something of interest.
* P.S. I asked three friends to review my first draft of this newsletter. Too negative, they all said. But that was how I felt: depressed and doubting God would solve my present crisis. The very next day $3000 showed up in my PayPal account from a friend of a friend of mine!
May 15, 2013