Tue, Sep 26th - 3:05AM
Playing Politics with your Soul!!!
Colorado HB 1344 is a big thing around here. The spin that the supporters have put on it is that it has nothing to do with liquidating the value of marriage. Some Christian Groups (I won't name them, but if you belong to one of them, you have an opportunity here to do more good than I) endorse this proposal. And I really feel that this 'feel-good' attitude in the Church, (Masquerading like Satan does as an Angel of Light) relying on the ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ value twisted to perversion, is exactly what we are warned about again and again in the Bible. People gather together teachers and leaders that are not for God. They stand against clear indications that what they desire to do is wrong, and they persist, calling anyone ‘evil’ who would oppose them.
I am sorry. Read the words in this Proposed Law here:
From the very statement of its purpose it is “…TO PROVIDE ELIGIBLE
SAME-SEX COUPLES THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN THE BENEFITS,
PROTECTIONS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES AFFORDED BY COLORADO LAW TO
SPOUSES…“ And they say it is not for the purpose it is clearly stated for. Can a Christian attach themselves to such outright dishonesty? Read the text of it, and you will see that it grants ALL rights of marriage, just not the name. They say it is for Equal Protection. Then why is the Law Exclusively for Same Sex Couples? Why are people who may be wanting to care for each other but are not involved sexually excluded? Why not allow brother and sister to enjoy these same privileges even though they might be pure and not <<gasp>> have sex with each other? Why not allow it to be for a Grandson living with his Grandmother where they desire to take care of each other because the rest of their family has died in some great tragedy or just plain abandoned them? Why not allow the same union to apply for a Different Gender relationship where they might just not want to be called married? (I am not saying that this last one is right or endorsing it, although I will admit I am more likely to consider it possible that they may be able to do this – being essentially married before God, but disdaining the rules of man on this matter – especially in light of how the rules of man would denigrate their version of marriage – and possibly even doing this as a protest and expression of their first amendment rights)
The truth is, if this Law passes, I see little value in man’s marriage versus God’s marriage, which was actually the truth from the beginning. I mean, I don’t remember Adam marrying Eve in some solemn ceremony witnessed and signed in affirmation by other men. You may not like this attitude of mine, but regard it carefully before discarding it. The central thing is this: Is it the TRUTH? Christ was heavy on that one boy’s and girl’s. TRUTH – Don’t forget it!
P.S. I can see grounds for challenging this law on Constitutional Grounds. I’d love to see that happen, but not so much so that I am willing to vote for such outright poppycock.
Sun, Sep 24th - 11:53PM
Prophesy and God's sense of Humor... and BIG prayer request to boot!
I wrote a small poem, I called it Trite Action. Simple. Clean. To the point. And has probably been penned by someone in the past because of its simplicity, although I do not ever remember reading this verse before. So I thought: "What a great thing to share!" and so I did. I intended this post at that time (it was in my head, just not put down yet) to only ask the question of the bible scholars out there, "Do you know of any jokes or play on words that God has put in his Holy Word in the original languages it was written in?" I'd settle for a joke even in the translated version other than the naming of Isaac. I wanted another joke from God! I wanted to laugh with him at the funny things he has chosen to say! Now you might call that sacrilegious, but I am not thinking that it was or is. If God shares humor, I want to have that to laugh at as much as anything else. Call it a desire he put in me, or whatever, but I don't think it is or was wrong.
Nonetheless, I had written this short verse, pointing it outward, and Lo and Behold, it becomes prophesy back to me! So God seems to say to me: "You want humor? How about Prophesy coming from the Prophet for the very same Prophet!" I mean, I have heard it from the person delivering the message again and again about the message they are going to be teaching on being the very thing that Satan attacks them on and they receive challenges from God upon. And fool that I am, I thought that I do not preach, so this will not happen to me. Wrong! God decided to take me one step further than that and show me just how much He is in control. I post just a small little ditty and He points it right back to me and sets me on the bull's eye. I have been shot through the heart with an arrow I might say. One that God had me fashion for possibly that very purpose alone. I remember Isaac carrying the wood for the fire that he was to be sacrificed on. I hope to have as much favor as Abraham did, although I am not as worthy as he. I do not mean to insinuate that I am truly a prophet, for I do not see myself as such, but as much as I can see God's Word made alive in the tiniest things that he sends my way, I can see him using anyone and anything to make his word known! So even though I may not be a prophet, he can use me, like Balaam's donkey, to speak as he would have His Word spoken. (Numbers 22 is the place to look if you want to see what I am talking about -- if you want more humor, read it in King James Translation -- sometimes I might say that is clearly me that is described when the donkey is mentioned!)
By now, I imagine some of you are confused. And so I share my prayer request:
My brother, Robert (who is no child, but is still my baby brother Bobby to me) has disappeared under less than good circumstances. Downright frightening, to be more accurate. I see nothing that I can do! And I do not like that. It is totally out of my hands at this point. Pray for his safety. Pray for his well being. Pray that he will suddenly appear on my doorstep, as he did once before and that I will know with absolute certainty how to handle it if he does. I am worried, although by my own professed faith, I should not be. Pray for me. Pray for me to understand and accept. Pray for me to be like Shadrach, Meshach,and Abednego to be able to say "Even if..." This is the bull's eye I am sitting upon. Pray that God will find it in His heart and will to make this something I will always be able to laugh about with great joy and not have to remember mixed with sorrow and grief!
I want to laugh! Pray that I may, in God's good grace, find it possible to do so! For right now, I fear the coming of sorrows, and am weak in taking the advice of my own silly little ditty!
Sat, Sep 23rd - 3:07AM
Because I am a "sinner" and God has shown compassion on me, I can show compassion to a "sinner". (not so easy, I might add!)
Because I am weak, and God has given me strength, I can assure those who are weak of God's Grace. (a little easier for me)
Because I am stubborn and proud, and God has opposed me for my own good, I can oppose the proud in God's name, as an instrument of his will. (easy only when I do not see myself as being hypocritical.)
Because Christ laid his life down for me, I can a little at a time, lay my life down as he would have me do. (this is the hardest!)
What other "Becauses" can you think of? Which one's does God lay on your heart the most plainly? There is a message there in what he would have you do...
Sat, Sep 23rd - 2:33AM
More bits and pieces...
It amuses me that someone should ask if I were a preacher. No, not by title, not by trade. Yet, I am one willing to stand before the assembly and say what I think needs to be said. I am not sure of my place in the body, but having no title lends to one freedom to say things that one in 'official' positions may not feel free to express as openly. I see this as part of being part of the Body of Christ. Because of this, I actually am joyful at times I have not the burden of title! I can serve in ways that they cannot!
My father, whom I am named after, is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church. We have had a few interesting conversations and debates. He also is one willing to rebel against earthly authority when it goes counter to God's Word as he sees it. When the Methodist Church was debating Gay Marriages and other related topics, he flatly said that he would abandon his ministry rather than comply with some of the evil things he was seeing proposed. I count it fortunate it did not progress to the point he felt it compelling for him to leave. His delivery is pretty dry from the pulpit, but he does delve into the fascinating and esoteric. So at times I might nod off, and at other times I might listen attentively. Sorry, but that is the truth about me. You have a hard time percieving that here in these blogs, but if I am not enraptured by what you are saying, I may not catch your message, and you can't see me about to 'fall asleep in my pew'. So it is understandable that you could more easily atribute more to me than I am truly worthy of.
One of my younger brothers (I have four) named Matthew was and might still be an elder in the body he gathers with. It amuses me to know this, for despite the fact that I know he has more formal training (they give them classes and whatnot) it is still as plain as day when he defers to what I say. I find that humbling as well, for it forces me to examine myself when noone seems ready and able to rise to that task. I am sorely inadequate in that measure, at least by my estimation, which I think is sober and right. I have, in the past, had Christian Brothers who have attempted to help me in that way. Few and far between are those moments when they really rise up and challenge me. I have gotten more of that here, from those of you who have never seen me face to face, than possibly anywhere else. I think the written form of communication softens the blunt hard edges of my extremely strong and bull headed will, at times. Whatever the reason, I am grateful for the challenges. I also think that you can be more subtle here without me missing it so easily. I may have to read it 3 or 4 or more times, but eventually I get it. Few brothers would be willing to tell me what I need to hear that many times back to back to back. Human nature. The Flesh. I should get it the first time. They should repeat it until I do. Fault? Let's not worry about that! Only God should judge.
I might be a minister at this point, and that may have not been what was best. Who then would do as I do? One reason was that I closed that door on myself by making a silly oath to God. "I will be a tentmaker." I made it only to him, but over the years, people have been made aware of that and so there is always someone who can hold me accountable to that oath, so the temptation to set that oath aside was never an issue. I knew I would be busted if I did! I was a young Christian at the time, full of zeal and not at all wise. I looked at Paul as an example and forgot the words of Christ. So, from that, I paid a price and gained wisdom to not even look to Paul as my ultimate example. Look past Paul to the one he followed, that is, Christ our Lord. If I have wisdom, it has come at a price. I do not consider myself wise, but a fool! Nonetheless, I can be that fool for Christ!
An image from a movie comes to me as I write these words. It probably has no meaning, but like a dreamer asking for an interpreter, I will tell you of it. The movie is "The Addams Family". Horrible, is it not, that such a movie would be what comes to mind as I write this? Anyways, the line is this: "They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. And with God as my witness, I am that fool!" Any interpreters want to take a whack at this one? Baffles me!
Back on subject. I tell you these things about me with a purpose, and that purpose is this: Do not denigrate the position that God has allotted for you in the body of Christ. Do not think less of yourself, because you are not <<insert what you aspire to be here>> and you are dissatisfied that you are not. If you have a desire, I see nothing wrong with pursuing it. Be a sunday school teacher. Be a music director. Be a pulpit minister. Missionary. Give it a try. How hard to pursue a specific thing like that, I cannot say, but I can say this: In everything you do, do it as to the Lord. With that in mind, give it your best shot. If God does not see fit to enable you, he must have other plans. When to stop that specific task is not for me to say. I think you'll know, if your heart is truely into pursuing it for the right reasons. If the message is not clear, I think I would be a stubborn child, and I know our heavenly father would not love me any less for that. He might be disappointed, but his love is unconditional and complete.
I leave you with that thought.
Thu, Sep 21st - 8:56PM
Freedom, the Law and the Making of Coffee...
In the place where I work, they give us free coffee. We have to brew the stuff, but it is free. There are four kinds: Three regular coffees of various strengths and one decaf. I prefer the medium regular. Only two people sit closer to the coffee than I do.
There is a little sign over the coffee and it goes like this:
“If you take the last cup of coffee please be considerate and make another pot.
Thanks from all the other coffee drinkers.”
Reasonable and not too forceful of a request, but boy do people get upset when someone else does not do this!
I look at it this way: I could just drink the coffee that I like, and if I happen to take the last cup, I make another pot. It perfectly meets the 'requirement' of satisfying the request. I could notice that I would likely run the coffee out if I took the coffee I liked, and take a different coffee instead, relieving myself of the burden to make more without guilt. There is nothing really wrong with that. I would be making a sacrifice to get an immediate gain. I could drain the last cup, and not make another pot. Noone in authority has made this a hard and fast rule. The sign is verbatim as I have it above. Clearly, it is only a request.
Some perceive that there is a Law here in this little sign. And because they do, there is a Law for them. For them to do otherwise would be wrong and make them a lawbreaker. I, however, read it for what it says plainly on the face of it. I see not one bit of a requirement, although I clearly perceive the desired goal. Should I ever take the last cup in front of another and not start a pot, I know things would be said about me. Maybe not to my face, but they would be said. Who, I ask you, would be wrong there?
In my opinion, and I think the scripture would back me up on this, we both would share the fault.
This is not what I do.
I know that some of the higher ups, (my boss's boss's boss and his boss) both drink decaf exclusively. If a pot is not brewing, I check the decaf first. If by taking a cup (and I have a BIG cup) I will make it so that I can make a fresh pot of decaf, that is what I do. I do this for selfish reasons. Keeping the boss happy makes the workplace more enjoyable. Although I have never heard them blow a gasket about there being no coffee for them, I have heard them grumble, and for me, that is enough. After that, I may or may not check the other pots. My routine varies with how much of a rush I am in. The long and the short of it is, although I am free to drink any coffee I like, I often choose to drink the coffee that I percieve as being most beneficial to those around me. I have great freedom here in this area, and this is how I choose to use it.
Gotta run or I'll miss my bus...
Mon, Sep 18th - 1:09AM
Just a little bit of lite fare...
Ok, question time. What is the greatest title you can imagine on earth? Pope? President of the United States? Queen of England? Secratary General of the United Nations? CEO or President of the Board of a Powerful Company? If you asked the average person on the street, what would they imagine? Is that in line with what you think? Just a question, although you can take this as serious or casual as you like...
Sun, Sep 17th - 11:38AM
I have been banging around a central theme in my head now for some time. I may take a stretch and put it down, but you challenge me by your very thoughts to continue to think about it, so I am on it again. I am sorry if I seem to be banging the same drum constantly, but it does not seem to me that the message is still complete, even for me, as more and more comes to my awareness from out of the scriptures.
There has been much talk about division in the Body of Christ. Few would try to deny what many see: We are different (denominationally speaking) in ways that are often times seeming more important than our unity. Some allow professing practicing homosexuals to remain in their midst without any discernment of evil. Some go so far as to allow such as these in the pulpit. Others condone abortion. Others loose what I may not see as correct to loose and bind what I think is an unnecessary burden upon themselves. You have the Mormon church, and I must say that I have severe doubts about them, but not as individuals. I think the crux of the matter is the doctrines and who they came from. If they are not from Christ, what is their value? And if I fear for them, it is more for those who teach than for those who may be misled. IF those who are misled are truly seeking the truth, they will find it, maybe not where they expected it to be. In all of this, I still have a hard time judging what is right and what is wrong. However, I have no problem saying “You will be Judged”, even as I myself and everyone – Believer and Non-Believer, will be judged.
Let me get right into it: I seem to have had the idea that the church was always united, and that there were not disagreements and issues for the early church to deal with. My eyes were opened, and I saw it. This was a lie foisted upon me by Satan, at times often coming in the guise of my fellow sheep. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are scriptures on the smooth talking of such as these. But talking about that would take me way off track, even though that is a worthy thread of thought to follow completely. Let me say this and leave it at that: there is in what we think a lack of balance, an emphasis on the feminine side of Christianity that leads to this. The overemphasis of love, compassion and support that excludes challenges and confrontation, those things that I instinctively crave because God made me that way, and indeed, many men who see no value in the comfortableness of a church. Something just seems wrong to them. Look around you. What do you see in your church? Men? How many? Women? How many? Young? Old? What makes this so?
I’ll just drop these scriptures and see what you think. You may have others. Please share!
Acts 11:1-3 (NIV)
1The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."
Acts 15:1-2 (NIV)
1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
Acts 15:36-41 (NIV)
36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." 37Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Okay, so this next one doesn’t fit in so neatly, but is in line with what I am thinking about the Pope and his comments right now. And I will get back to this.
Acts 23:6-8 (NIV)
6Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." 7When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
Notice that although Paul said something divisive, He was telling the truth! Key, in my mind.
Got to run. Sorry. More to say, but not the time to do so…
Wed, Sep 13th - 2:35AM
I am sorry but certain things keep bumping around in my head. If this comes out jumbled I pray you can make sense of it. I have prayed a small prayer for clarity, and maybe I should refrain until it comes. But I am not that wise. I hope I am being a fool for Christ!
Jared and his hat. Marsha’s post of August 8th. An unfinished post from August 29th from me. Brother Philip and Unity in the Church. Freedoms and Burdens. They and more all come together. Or so I think.
Let me start in a very familiar place for me:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
Straight to the point. This is universal, and yet unique to each and every one of us. Uniqueness is pointed out clearly here:
1 Corinthians 12 (NIV & Amplified)
1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
22But instead, there is [absolute] necessity for the parts of the body that are considered the more weak.
23And those [parts] of the body which we consider rather ignoble are [the very parts] which we invest with additional honor, and our unseemly parts and those unsuitable for exposure are treated with seemliness (modesty and decorum),
24Which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted (mingled, harmonized, and subtly proportioned the parts of) the whole body, giving the greater honor and richer endowment to the inferior parts which lack [apparent importance],
25So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another.
26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
31But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all--love].
Are you familiar with what a colostomy bag is? If you can imagine what it is like to have one, you have some idea what it would be like to go around with and worry about that bag smelling bad. It would be a poor substitute for that part of the body that was missing, a part I might add that is not often mentioned in polite company! This is what I feel Paul was talking about here. This is what I emphasized above! You have no right to exclude that part from the body. It serves a purpose, no matter how low, that must be done! Trust me. We do this horrible thing again and again. It is part of the reason we smell like a person with a bad colostomy bag! Love and care for each other. That includes most especially those we see as unlovable!
Most of us have heard full sermons centered about the chapter that comes after this one. Most of those neglect the full context of this chapter. I do not say this to shame any preacher or teacher. What they are teaching is usually quite correct, but incomplete!
Paul talked about something else before this, the Jared’s hat tie-in, if you will. He talks about freedom and what he uses it for!
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (Amplified Bible)
19For although I am free in every way from anyone's control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].
20To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to men under the Law, [I became] as one under the Law, though not myself being under the Law, that I might win those under the Law.
21To those without (outside) law I became as one without law, not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.
22To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and overscrupulous. I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ].
23And I do this for the sake of the good news (the Gospel), in order that I may become a participator in it and share in its [blessings along with you].
I imagine that Paul had quite a bit of freedom in areas that I do not. I do not suppose that there were no lines he could not cross. Rather, I suppose it was talking of sacrifice in those areas he was not obliged to do, but could and did for the sake of the Gospel. I will speak of freedom and doctrine from my own experience to illustrate what I mean.
I became a Christian in the denomination (and they would hate being called this!) of the Church of Christ. One of their fundamental ‘doctrines’ is that you become a Christian when you are baptized specifically by full immersion under water in a prescribed manner. I hold no such understanding, and I can give you scripture to support what I believe, which is that baptism is meant to be an outward proclamation and witness to the body of believers of the transformation you have already committed yourself to. That being said, that I see their ‘doctrine’ as flawed, I do not forbid them to teach it. Some may not have that freedom of understanding and to be true to God would have to stand against it. Still others would not, but by expressing their understanding, they may become branded as heretics and cast out from the body of believers that they gather with. We are human, and judgmental. There are strong words about being so. So are there about not speaking the truth. (which flawed as we are, we may see differently) These divisions arise too easily.
The other extreme is to accept all things. Apostasy! Just read the entire book of Jude. (its not that big -- you can do it) There are other verses on this. If you have a favorite, hey, I am all ears: Fire away!
And so we have freedoms. How do we use them? If it is for our own selfish gain, the Holy Spirit is not in it, and it may not be the best thing to do. And we have lines. Some of us have more than others. Understanding this is hard, but if you look into how a person crosses over the lines you must stay within, you have an idea in what guides them and whether or not you should stand against what they do! Still other lines exist that I believe none can cross. Paul caveated a lot of what he said in 1 Cor 9 above, so I am led to believe that it is very much so. I may not see which is the place to draw the line, so I try and stay clear where I am not certain of my freedom. And I fail even in that at times. Lord give me Grace that I may not do such things!
As many of you know, I am in the Military Reserves. That requires me to report for duty one weekend a month. It so happens that the body of believers I gather with has communion once a month. And the week that they do observe communion is generally on the week that I am away. If my understanding were so, I would be able to leave this body on that basis, but I do not! This is a freedom that steps outside what others see the scriptures to be saying to do, and I am possibly wrong in doing this, but it is not as I am guided to do. The last time I had communion was when someone made a mistake and they could not have communion when they planned. I fully believe that someone saw that as a mistake and even a sin! But God used that to give me the opportunity to participate in something very dear. Honestly, I believe that we should have communion every week, and I would not raise an eyebrow to anyone doing it at other times. Read the scriptures. It is laid out pretty plainly, and yet I feel that I can not abandon my brothers and sisters over this, which I could easily argue as doctrine. If I do this because I have no backbone and am weak, maybe this is not best. If I do this because I believe that I can sacrifice this out of love for God’s people and particularly those I gather with, I think it is what I must do. Freedom compels me to do what I see as best for the Gospel. Do you understand?
And about the gifts. I think we have freedom to do what we are not best suited for. This is another way to see what Paul was talking about in 1 Cor 9. I may be a good carpenter, but not so great at painting, but if God would have me paint to spread the Gospel, then I have the freedom to paint, and paint I must. I’d go into that idea further, but I need to wrap up and go to bed.
Ask, seek, knock. In the present tense. In the future tense. In the continuing tense. We have not arrived. Do not deceive yourselves about that. Continue to run the race. I leave you with this:
1 Corinthians 3:15 (Amplified Bible)
15But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.
I want the reward! Don’t you?
Your Brother In Christ,
Tue, Sep 12th - 2:11AM
Something that bugs me...
Ever go down the street and see one of those cars just covered with all sorts of bumper stickers? You know, the ones about being kind to mother nature and that dogs are people, too. All full of platitudes about how to take care of each other in love and respect and all of that? And that gay is OK? Ones that berate Exxon or some other big mosterous company? Ones that say we should conserve energy?
And just one person is in the car. Almost every time. What do you think my thoughts are? How about if I am riding a bus at the time?
Just a small gripe,
Tue, Sep 12th - 1:56AM
A burden you can carry for me...
Don’t worry it is a small one.
Simply put, it is this: Challenge me.
Strange is it not? Most would think that I would like nothing less than for everyone to agree with me, but it is not so!
I am told by my wife who knows me very well, that I can speak with such conviction and authority on things that I even know little or nothing about, that “normal” people are afraid to argue with me. She is right! I observed something early in my life:
I believe in the Socratic Method for discerning the truth and finding understanding. In that, I mean that I get to it (understanding and truth) by examination of the arguments. That being a methodology that I employ at times, I would play the devil’s advocate to argue the other side of a matter just so that all could be weighed out, and the truth uncovered. The sad thing to realize was that there were times that I argued the point that I did not believe in (to serve this purpose) so vigorously and effectively, that I would win the argument that I thought was wrong! This was and still is a great disappointment for me.
But in matters of God’s Word, it is more than a disappointment. I do not argue the other side here, and yet I know I could be wrong! Knowing that puts a great burden upon me, that which we are told by scripture, is the measure that will be used for teachers. That is why, and almost solely why, I balk at being called a teacher. Even without allowing the title to be put upon me, I know that there are times that what I say will be taken and not examined as it should be by some of you. Don’t let me carry that awful burden!
Please be like the Bereans were for Paul! (Acts 17:11) My words are not flawless. Not everything I say is good. Rebuke me and I will rejoice that you have found me worthy enough to carry this burden for me!
Pretty simple really. I find great joy in your thoughts, even when they are opposed to mine. God give you the Grace to say as you see it, gently when you can and forcefully when needed.
Thankful for you all,
Tue, Sep 12th - 1:53AM
Another thing that bugs me...
Its those mean drivers. Those evil ones. Those ones with the symbols all over it and maybe a bumper sticker or something in the window. You know, like Calvin bowing down before the Cross. Or a whole family of little fishies all over the back. Complaining about 'Right To Life' on a bumper sticker. Oh yeah, I remember them well, especially because they just cut me off, and was that the bird they just flipped me?
Tue, Sep 12th - 1:25AM
It has been observed, on more than one occasion, that my time on the 'Net, which is when I study, is often striking one as strange. I have been told, and I do not disagree, that the best time to pray and study and have a quite time is at the beginning of the day. I hold that as wise advice, but it seems I cannot seem to get into that swing of things.
I have a glimmering of an understanding of why that is. There are a few reasons:
First of all, I am weak. When I try to get up earlier in the morning to do as I have been counseled to do, I find that I lack the strength to do so. I pray for strength, but I am still lacking. I do not understand. Lacking understanding, I feel that something is wrong, not sure if it is what I am asking for or what I am doing. So I press on, as best I can and ask for God’s Grace.
The second reason is that I am weak. After everyone has gone to bed and I am the only one up and about, it is the time of greatest temptation for me to do things that I think I should not. It does not matter if they are sin on their own or not, because if I think they are wrong for me at this time, they are wrong for me at this time. One of the greatest weaknesses is that I like to play online games, which is not wrong in and of itself, but for me, it is something I think I have not enough time to do. I am good at them, which is a strength in the world’s eyes, and even my own at times. But they draw me too deeply into them, taking too much time, like an alcoholic to drink. I find it easier to resist this if I am bouncing around in God’s Word, which honestly, the way I approach it at times, is as challenging as any game. So I gain strength in these quiet hours to do better and resist my weakness by doing as I do. In God’s Word I very literally gain strength.
The third thing is that I am weak. When I do this, I can be very passionate and driven, pushing myself to the point that I feel I can’t think anymore. But getting to that point is generally by my own strength of will. My will. When my will fails, I am so much more open to what God wants me to hear. My will breaks down. His will, through his Holy Spirit, takes over. Those are the wonderful times that I understand what I cannot on my own. So because my flesh is weak, I push it to the point of exhaustion so that the strength of its weakness may fail. I have a hard time getting to that point, but it happens from time to time.
And yet despite all of this, my weakness can still be evident. I cannot tell you how often it happens that I have something I wish to share, and I give in to that temptation to go to bed before I tell it like I am seeing it at that moment, somehow convincing myself that I will be able to regrasp that feeling and understanding in the morning or even the next night. I fail you and Christ in this, and for that, I am sorry. I am not sure that it is all that wrong. It might be, but I am unsure. If I seem to be going somewhere that piques your curiosity, question me on it if I don’t seem to be taking it as far as I can. Maybe that is what my weakness here is for. It is for you to have something to encourage me on, prodding me on gently to new horizons that I have not yet seen clearly. Again, I don’t know.
The wonderings are never going to end on this. I will get small answers, but never the complete ones. And yet, even that is as it should be, for if I had all the answers, I would no longer feel the need to seek them out. Funny thing is, I think the seeking may be more important than the answers themselves.
This could go all over the place. But, I’ll stop here for now.
Sun, Sep 10th - 1:38AM
Lamentations -- a comment
The book is not about a young harlot, but that is the imagery used. That being said, it can also translate to the concrete, standing teach to young women how easy it is to gain "friends" by being easy or promiscuous. But watch those lovers flee in the face of any danger. Indeed, watch them abandon you, since their relationship was shallow and only based upon what fleeting pleasure they could get from you at the moment. Listen to the young women in this world. You will hear them advising each other on this very thing. Some deliberately try to find a man and bind him with chains of sex! Our society reeks of this, in both the literal and the symbolic sense. Ask those who try this if it works. Those who are honest will say that it does not, or if it does, the hollowness and emptiness of such a shallow relationship is almost more painful than being alone. Tell me if I am wrong here!
Translate this back and forth from the literal to the symbolic. And teach your children what you see and learn. May God be merciful and let your children hear!
Thu, Sep 7th - 2:28AM
Confounding Worldly Wisdom -- Boy, God sure seems to love doing that...
Of course, as it usually is, the strangest scriptures are the ones that get me thinking. I was looking at the stuff about the clean and unclean animals to eat and all of that because it was in the neighborhood of the last passages I posted on my other blog. This one pooped out at me:
Ezekiel 4:12-15 (NIV)
12 Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel." 13 The LORD said, "In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them."
14 Then I said, "Not so, Sovereign LORD! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No unclean meat has ever entered my mouth."
15 "Very well," he said, "I will let you bake your bread over cow manure instead of human excrement."
I don’t know about you, but this bugged the crap out of me. I mean, really, what is the deal with cooking your food over dung or manure? But then I realized it was all about the ceremoniously unclean things. Wasn't that what brought me here? Hm?
So I looked at other ceremoniously unclean things. And this scripture popped up:
Leviticus 17:14 (NIV)
14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
Reading that, another came to mind:
John 6:53-55 (Amplified Bible)
53And Jesus said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, you cannot have any life in you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood [unless you appropriate His life and the saving merit of His blood].
54He who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has (possesses now) eternal life, and I will raise him up [from the dead] on the last day.
55For My flesh is true and genuine food, and My blood is true and genuine drink.
Wow! Remember he was saying this to Jewish Disciples who would view drinking blood as unclean, and yet he is clearly stating that you needed to take his life into you in order to gain eternal life! This was said quite plainly, and I can hear the stunned silence in that room! Covered by his blood now also means to me covered by his life, not his death! A life of unusual victory at an unusual place in an unusual way. Calvary was his blood, his life, shed so that he could give it to us! It could not be given to us unless it was taken from him. He died for us, giving up his blood, his perfect life that allowed communion with the Father, so that he could give it to us! Wow! Why have I not heard that simple symbolism before? Is it because it is still such a radical idea? Can we not grasp this?
And from that scripture my mind wandered to others. Don’t ask me why, I am not sure, but this set came to mind:
Matthew 16:18-19 (Amplified Bible)
18And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].
19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.
Matthew 18:18-19 (Amplified Bible)
18Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven.
19Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.
I am tired. My flesh fails me, but the Spirit within me gives me strength. I am best when I am weakest, when my fleshly strength is sapped and my will is fading! This ties into yet another unfinished thought and my mind reels at the boggling notions that the strangest ideas are not from me!
I will rest and get back to this, too. As always, please challenge me if I am way out on this...
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