Russell and Duenes

Tell of His Salvation

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Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:2-3)

I’ve already mentioned the difficulties I often have “singing to the LORD.” I actually enjoy doing so, but find that the songs are missing.

But here I was struck by the words: “Tell of his salvation from day to day.” I think of my experience. I tell my kids things about God each day, but I don’t know that this includes telling of his “salvation.” I think there’s an objective telling here, meaning, we are to tell others about the saving works God does and how he does them. So telling others about God’s deeds in the Scriptures might fall under this.

But it seems there is a subjective component too. I should be speaking of God’s saving work in my own life. This is the part I don’t do “from day to day.” I don’t speak to my wife, children, neighbors or friends of God’s saving work in my life each day. So this is an area for repentance. Yet I don’t want to see it as a burden, one more thing to “check off the list” spiritually. It would seem the Psalmist is so caught up in the greatness of God and his salvation that he just naturally tells people to speak of it.

And this is not simply a local task. We are to be declaring God’s glory and marvelous deeds among all the nations, all the peoples. It is a message that should burst forth the world over. Tell of God’s glory and his great saving power far and wide.

Again, all of this is written to the people of Israel, and assumes, or exhorts, them to be the kind of people who know and cherish the greatness of God and his work in them, and thus, to exuberantly sing and speak about it to the nations. O God, make us, your church, the same. Give us such hearts, such exuberance at knowing and experiencing you. Open wide our mouths and send us to tell of your glory among the nations.



Written by Michael Duenes

May 25, 2017 at 4:12 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

Who Considers the Power of Your Anger?

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For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. . . For all our days pass away under your wrath. . . Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?” (Psalm 90:7, 9, 11).

“God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in their wickedness.” (Rom. 1:18)

We generally don’t consider the power of God’s anger. Any cursory reading of the Bible shows that God is a God who gets angry, but we do not like to consider it. In many ways, we wish it was not true (and more and more professed Christians are happy to proclaim that it is not true). It is startling in the ears of licentious modern man to hear that God “shows His wrath every day,” that it is God’s anger that brings us to an end, not just disease, accidents or old age.

Psalm 90 seems to imply that by not considering the power of God’s anger and wrath, we do not fear God as we should. The proper fear of God and reverence toward His name, the proper care in obeying Him, must entail a proper consideration of His indignation and anger toward sin and sinners.

Having a consciousness of God’s righteous anger, we can then pray like Moses: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14)


Written by Michael Duenes

May 23, 2017 at 4:04 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

Malcolm Muggeridge: There is No Escape

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In 1970, Malcolm Muggeridge wrote an essay, The Great Liberal Death Wish, which puts its finger on the pulse not merely of 1970, but of 2017 as well. Change a few historical referents, and it may as well have been written yesterday. For it lays bare the understanding of the “sexual revolution,” under which we are currently hurtling toward the abyss of human degradation and misery. He wrote:

Sex is the only mysticism materialism offers, and so to sex the pursuers of happiness address themselves with an avidity and dedication seldom, if ever, surpassed.

By “mysticism,” Muggeridge means that the secular man has sought to de-mythologize and de-spiritualize everything and proclaim that we are nothing more than highly evolved mammals brought to this point by random mutations. Yet at the same time, modern man wants to hold on to some sort of meaning, a transcendent experience beyond the grinding reality of everyday life. Having jettisoned the Triune God of the Bible, rapturous orgasms (and they are always “rapturous,” are they not!) are supposed to put us in the throes of a mystical, magical reality. It is the new god, and must be ardently promulgated and worshipped, and dissenters must be stamped out. So Muggeridge goes on:

Who among posterity will ever be able to reconstruct the resultant scene? Who for that matter can convey it today? The vast, obsessive outpouring of erotica in every shape and form; in book and film and play and entertainment, in body and word and deed, so that there is no escape for anyone.

Heh! Muggeridge didn’t even have the internet.

The lame and the halt, the doddering and the infirm, equally called upon somehow to squeeze out of their frail flesh the requisite response. It is the flesh that quickeneth, the spirit profiteth nothing; copulo ergo sum, I screw, therefore, I am – the new version of Descartes’s famous axiom.

Yes! Participation is not voluntary. Each of us is conscripted into action. You WILL respond with approval and join in the celebration. If you want to use the internet or watch the television or drive down the street or simply stand and pick your nose, you cannot avoid the new god. He’s in your face at all times!

All possible impediments swept away; no moral taboos, no legal ones, either. An orgasm a day, however procured, keeps the doctor away. Pornography, like Guinness, is good for us, as numerous learned doctors and professors have been at great pains to establish.

He goes on, but you’ll have to read it yourself. Certainly the legal landscape has been utterly rearranged so as to punish the dissenter, the Obergefell decision being one of the most momentous, lawless, and horrific, in the Supreme Court’s history.

Every paragraph in Muggeridge’s essay is eminently quotable, because accurate and pointed. If only one could find it on the internet. It’s found in the book: Things Past.



Written by Michael Duenes

May 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

When He Killed Them, Then They Sought Him

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“In spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror. When He killed them, then they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God; and they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” (Psalm 78:32-35)

The Israelites rebelled against God, sought their own selfish ends and desired their own ways, to the point that God had to kill them to get their attention. They were so hard-hearted that nothing short of putting some of them to death would effect repentance. They forgot God until they were brought to the point where they simply could not forget Him.

Must we reach the same point? St. Paul told us that what God did to the Israelites “happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (1 Cor. 10:6).

God was mad because the Israelites “did not remember His power.” (78:42). We, too, have forgotten God’s power. We do not call upon Him. We come up with all sorts of man-made contrivances, or ridiculously convince ourselves that some politician, some corrupt man like Donald Trump, will deliver us and make up for our lack of godly character.

The Israelites provoked God with their idols. They “did not keep His testimonies.” (78:56). We, too, have not been careful to keep God’s Word. We have exchanged the pursuit of God and the commendation of Christ for continual acquisitiveness, covetousness and upward mobility. We have said that we love God in our hearts, but this has meant that we have a certain “feeling” about God, rather than that we have intended to obey what He says.

Yet for all this, God still “awoke as if from sleep” and “drove His adversaries backward.” He gave them King David, and ultimately, David’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (78:65-72).

Let us turn to Jesus, not with words only, not with self-deceiving thoughts that our hearts are “all that matters,” such that we exempt ourselves from obedience, not with the mentality that “God never said I can’t have x, y and z,” but with sincere hearts that seek to honor and enjoy God in all that we do. Forgive us, O Lord! Turn our hearts to You.


Written by Michael Duenes

May 19, 2017 at 4:43 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

Your Name is Near

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“We give thanks to you, O God . . . for your name is near.” (Psalm 75:1)

“As for me, it is good to be near God.” (Psalm 73:28)

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

The “nearness” of God to those who call on Him is a very precious reality. No matter our circumstances; indeed, when our circumstances are at their worst, God promises to be near. He promises that He is “a very present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1). And God’s nearness is better than any human nearness, for God has all resources, all power to comfort emotionally and physically, all authority to keep the spiritual forces of darkness at bay.

With God near to us, we will not be shaken. So let us draw near to Him and rejoice that He is inexplicably near to us.


Written by Michael Duenes

May 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Duenes, Psalms