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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A bit o' observation


There is nothing angrier nor easier to provoke nor more willing to be distracted than a man waking to yet another day of a futile life.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

And the walls came down.

Full Bum of them???
A Christmas thought.

If someone is just a person you have to buy a gift for... don't.  You aren't actually giving them anything.   Your fulfilling a social contract.  Gifts are about love.  Social contracts are duties you pay so people will think well of you or so you can think well of you.  To justify yourself as a good person.

Jesus did not fulfill a social contract when he lived the life you could never live.  Jesus was not worried about what you would think of him if he didn't die for you.  He was thinking of the Glory of his Father.  He was thinking of how much he and his Father wanted to save his children.  He was thinking of you.  He didn't count the cost.  He didn't worry about what you might get him in return or whether or not you deserved it.  He wasn't trying to buy your affections.  He was thinking you would go to hell if he didn't.  He was thinking he wanted you, right beside him, on his throne, forever.  The Father gave His best.  The Son just gave.  Everything.

And just like any time someone goes all out for you and gets you something you could never repay and they had no business spending the time or resources on, all you can give in return is your humble gratitude.  Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 20, 2013

This little light of mine...

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth— Now the earth was formless and empty, and darkness wasover the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God caused there to be a separation between the light and between the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." Gen 1

"And it happened, as the sun went down, then a deep sleep fell upon Abram and, behold, a great terrifying darkness fell upon him." Gen 15

"And Yahweh was going before them by day in a column of cloud to lead them on the way and by night in a column of fire to give light to them to go by day and night. The column of cloud by day and the column of fire by night did not depart from before the people." Ex 13

"And on the third day, when it was morning, there was thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain and a very loud ram’s horn sound, and all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out from the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke because Yahweh went down on it in the fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a smelting furnace, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And the sound of the ram’s horn became louder and louder, and Moses would speak, and God would answer him with a voice." Ex 19

"Then the earth shook and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains trembled,
and they staggered because he was angry.
Smoke went forth from his nose,
and fire from his mouth consumed.
Burning coals blazed from him.
So he bowed the heavens and came down
with a thick cloud under his feet.
And he mounted a cherub and flew,
and he swooped down on wings of wind.
He made darkness his hiding place;all about him his covering
was a darkness of waters, thick clouds.
From the brightness before him
his clouds passed overwith hail and coals of fire." Ps 18




"But there will be no gloom for those who were in distress.
In former times he treated the land of Zebulun and Naphtali with contempt, but in the future he will honor the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
    light has shined on those who lived in a land of darkness." Is 9

“Arise, shine! For your light has come,
    and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you.
For look! darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples,
but Yahweh will rise on you,
    and his glory will appear over you.
And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the bright light of your sunrise.
Lift up your eyes all around and see!" Is 60

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and apart from him not one thing came into being that has come into being. In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." John 1

"And the fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened, and they began chewing their tongues because of the pain. And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pain and because of their sores, and they did not repent of their deeds." Rev 16

"And I did not see a temple in it, for the Lord God All-Powerful is its temple, and the Lamb. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon, that they shine on it, for the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. And the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. And its gates will never be shut by day (for there will be no night there), and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. And every unclean thing and one who practices detestable things and falsehood will never enter into it, except those who are written in the book of life of the Lamb." Rev 20

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AHA!

And i don't think their singing, "Take on me."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

i sense a theme...

"“This saying is hard! Who can understand it?” But Jesus, because he knew within himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Does this cause you to be offended? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?" John 6

"I continued watching in the visions of the night, and look, with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man was coming, and he came to the Ancient of Days, and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingship that all the peoples, the nations, and languages would serve him; his dominion is a dominion without end that will not cease, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed." Dan 7

"And after he had said these thingswhilethey were watching, he was taken up, and a cloud received him from their sight. And as they were staring into the skywhile he was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood by them who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven like this will come back in the same way you saw him departing into heaven!”" Acts 1


"O Yahweh my God, you are very great.
You clothe yourself with splendor and majesty,
you who cover yourself with light as with a garment,
who stretch out the heavens like a tent curtain,
the one who sets beams in the waters for his upper chambers,
who makes clouds his chariot,
who rides on the wings of the wind,
who makes his messengers the winds,
his attendants a flame of fire." Ps 104

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and the one seated on it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and makes war. Now his eyes were a flame of fire, and on his head were many royal headbands having a name written that no one except he himself knows. And he was dressed in an outer garment dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies that are in heaven, dressed in clean, white fine linen, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth came a sharp sword, so that with it he could strike the nations. And he will shepherd them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the wine of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. And he has a name written on his outer garment and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.”" Rev 19

Friday, December 13, 2013

And this is judgment

"For God did not send his Son into the world in order that he should judge the world, but in order that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not judged, but the one who does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. And this is the judgment: that the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, in order that his deeds may be revealed, that they are done in God."  John 3

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Who dat?

Revelations one makes it clear who Jesus is.  He is God.  He is the ruler of all the earth, ruler over all the kings of the earth.  He is our great high priest who needs no covering for his head like Aaron did.  His hair is pure white.  Not to signify age but to signify his holiness, his righteousness before God Almighty.  He is standing amidst the lampstands.  The Spirits of the churches.  He is among his people and holds their very spirit in his hand.  His word is good.  His word is truth for he is truth.  The whole truth and nothing but the truth.  All things live to serve him.  All things draw their life from him.  He holds the keys to death and hell.  Even the devils must obey him.  All those who drew breath will see him.  Those who mock him and disobey him and disavow him will see him and weep and not be able to resist him nor deny him any longer.  He is God!  And he is coming!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Hope.

The battle.

Is not with the enemies all around.

The enemies without.

People never changing,
only calcifying into hardened images of their sin.
Losing all the softness, the tenderness.
Plating over, scales upon scales.
Going blind as their eyelids stiffen.
Hating, unforgiving.

The battle.

Is within.


As i struggle to not lose faith, hope and joy.
As i struggle to remember that God sees.
God knows.
God loves.

To keep pulling my own scales off as they grow.
To keep loving.
To keep believing.
Not in people.  They are as flawed and failing as i.
But in the Father.
Who sees.

And knows.

And loves.

And does not change

But is making all things new.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Oh, Hasten the Day!


“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis

"Heaven is not the lack of all desire but gratification of all desire." 

David Platt

The Bible says there is food in heaven.  Yet we have perfect bodies which do not die, therefore, do not NEED to eat.  Conclusion: we eat and drink because we WANT to!  Of course this world does not satisfy!  It's a cheap, broken imitation of the world to come!  We will not be emptied of desire in the kingdom of God, our desires, like our bodies, will be perfected!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Rock of Ages, cleft for me

Only those who have need to hide value the rock of refuge.  Only those who have run to the rock, know the trustworthiness of it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

And when my heart is overwhelmed, please lead me to the Rock...

God rocks!  There are countless mentions of God as our rock.  A rock of refuge.  The rock that gives honey and water.  A mountain stronghold.  A firm foundation, unshakeable, immovable, immutable.  What he has been, he will ever be.  If you trusted him when you were six, if you prayed and he delivered when you prayed for a red gumball out of the gumball machine, then why do you fear to bother him now?  Why do you fear at all?  If this God took time out of his day to make a red gumball drop into your six year old hand because he loves you, what makes you think that now that your sixty, he has any less love for you?  Has less interest in giving you good gifts?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Don't tread on me

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!  Belated of course.  But as the psalms show, it should be thanksgiving every day.  Maybe not with turkey, that might be a bit much.

Thought for the day:
Is God good?
No really, is he?
Is he all powerful?
Is he all knowing?
Is he your Father?

Alrighty then, the logical progression from there is that absolutely nothing "bad" can happen to you.  Period.  Nothing.  Niente.  Nichts.  Zip.  Zilch.  Zero.  Bupkiss.  Everything, everything, everything which comes to us, even the results of our sin, is for our benefit, for our growth, for our good!  No matter how dumb it may seem now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

yip

There's probably a vast gulf between how we view our problems and enemies

And how God views them.

You know how sometimes you visit some place or thing you remember from childhood and are amazed at how small it is?  You'd swear it shrunk because it was huge in your memory.  i have a feeling our problems, worries and concerns which consume us now are going to be like that when we look at them after seeing the enormity of God.  "That's what i was so worried about??  Why?"

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm melting! Melting.... melting....

Perhaps the first time i've ever drawn a snail.
Sometimes it's fun to just quote enough of the Bible to make people go, "hey, wait!  What the heck?  Does it really say that?  And if so, why???"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

For your consideration

For those who like such things, i'm working on a story.  It's got illustrations, y'know, cuz some kids like just looking at the pictures.  But it's also got words cuz i like words.  i'll be posting my roughs over at the blog formerly known as "the Deep."  Now it's called the King of the Cockroaches.  i think. i may change that but for now, it's the working title.  Drop by, tell me what you think.  Oh, and keep in mind that it's a blog, if you just start reading from the top of the page, you're entering the middle of the story.  Might make more sense if you scroll down and start at the post titled, "Phinehas and the has-nots." Then again, it might not make more sense then either.  Making sense hasn't really been my strong suit of late.

Meanwhile the Post Office will be back on Monday.  And i hope to get to some inspirational/encouraging stuff as soon as God inspires me. ;)  Meanwhile, just go read Song of Solomon 4.  And then Hosea 3.  The one shows how God sees us, sees you, sees his church, his bride.  The other reminds us what we, his bride, are really like.  Grace baby.  It's all grace.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jeepers creepers!

My, what big teeth ya got!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

i'd rather have this bottle in front of me...


What do you think God does with the bottle?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On the wings of a snow white dove...


It's amazing how appropriate the psalms are to my life these days.  Appropriate and oh so reassuring.  i have never loved them the way i do now.  Never appreciated them the way i do now.  Who told you to stop praying?!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There is no other name, by which man shall be saved

In case it's hard to read, and it is or i wouldn't be bothering telling you so, the little words down at the bottom are "me" and "them."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Psalm 52

Lest ye think i be this great artist or at least a better artist than i am, lemme set ye straight.
Once i found the verse i wanted, i googled olive trees.
There were all sorts of pictures of cool, old, gnarly trees in deserts, vineyards and such but i knew the verse said i was in the house of the Lord so i kept looking till i found this...
That was cool for framing the shot.  So i based it on that but that little tree didn't really appear to be flourishing so i used something more like this for the tree itself...
And there you have it.  i want folk to know so no one things i'm this great concept artist.  i stand on the backs of others who have gone before.  They are probably standing on the backs of others too but i don't know.  It had to start somewhere.  Probably in a garden ;)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The metaphor is wrong but...

According to Ezekiel, God doesn't just wash the old one and give it back...

"And I will give to them one heart, and a new spirit I will give in their inner parts. And I will remove their heart of stone from their body, and I will give to them a heart of flesh, so that they may walk in my statutes, and they will keep my regulations, and they will do them, and they will be to me a people, and I myself will be to them as God." Ezek 11

And 36 says it even clearer and the reason for it. 


"“‘And I will take you from the nations, and I will gather you from all of the lands, and I will bring you to your land. And I will sprinkle on you pure water, and you will be clean from all of your uncleanness, and I will cleanse you from all of your idols. And I will give a new heart to you, and a new spirit I will give into your inner parts, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will give my spirit into your inner parts, and I will make it so that you will go in my rules, and my regulations you will remember, and you will do themAnd you will dwell in the land that I gave to your ancestors, and you will be to me as a people, and I will be to you as God. And I will save you from all of your uncleanness, and I will call to the grain, and I will cause it to increase, and I will not bring famine upon you. And I will cause the fruit of the tree and the crop of the field to increase, so that you will not suffer again the disgrace of famine among the nations. And you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourself over your iniquities and over your detestable things. But not for your sake am I acting,” declares the Lord Yahweh. “Let it be known to you, be ashamed, and be put to shame because of your ways, house of Israel."  Ezek 36


Cuz God wants to!  So God will get the glory.  When you are saved and when your heart is changed and your life shows it and you are blessed, it is so people will know God and his character.  That he would abase himself to save such as you!  That he would demean himself to save me!  That he would put his seal on us and say, "Mine!"  We are given his name, so we can speak honestly of Yahweh, because he has made himself known to us.  Not just, God bless, but "My Father, Yahweh did this!  He is good!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Pappy Fricken asks, Which would be best?


Which would be best?  Which would you prefer?

  • To know that you are lovable.
or
  • To know you are completely unlovable but wholly loved anyway.




No, the post-it has nothing to do with the question.  
But everything to do with the greatness of God.
He who puts desolations on the earth
will judge the earth

Psalm 50:
"The Supreme God, God, Yahweh, has spoken
and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun
to its setting.
From Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes and he is not silent.
Before him fire devours,
and around him it is very tempestuous.
He summons the heavens above
and the earth that he might judge his people:
“Gather to me my loyal ones,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens declare his righteousness,
because God himself is judge. Selah

It is not the worthy who need a sacrifice
But the unworthy.
Praise God, he provided the worthy substitute!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Who is this King of Glory?


Needed something a little less defined after some of the realism heavy posts.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

...Are Answered Prayers. (Continuation of my Sabbath Post)


 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. Yet a little time and the world will see me no longer, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commandments and keeps them—that one is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.” John 14

How is your walk with the Lord?  Do you feel his presence?  Do you feel his pleasure?  Do you hear his voice?  Is his joy in you and your joy being made complete?

No?  Join the crowd.  But before we just shake our cynical heads and plod on, shouldn’t we ask, why?  Jesus said these things were ours.  “Child, you are always with me, and everything I have belongs to you.”  And what does the Father have?  Everything.  What do we as his ungrateful children usually want from him?  Things.  Things we think we’ll make us happy.  Money, fame, power, order, comfort, peace, control, beauty, freedom, health, love.  Things.  Things we want to spend on our pleasures, to celebrate with our friends.  But what is it the Father wants to give us?

“And I will establish my covenant between me and you, and between your offspring after you, throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant to be as God for you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land in which you are living as an alien, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting property. And I will be to them as God.” Gen 17

“And I will consecrate the tent of assembly and the altar, and Aaron and his sons I will consecrate to serve as priests for me. And I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites, and I will be their God. And they will know that I am Yahweh, their God, who brought them out from the land of Egypt in order to dwell in their midst. I am Yahweh their God.” Ex 29

“And I will give to them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh, and they will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with the whole of their heart.” Jer 24

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

“and they will not make themselves unclean again with all of their transgressions, and they will be for me a people, and I will be for them as God,” declares the Lord Yahweh.” Ezek 14

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘Look! I am going to save my people from the land of the east, and from the land of the west, and I will bring them and they will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They will be my people and I will be their God in faithfulness and in righteousness.’” Zech 8

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Luke 13 

God wants to give us… GOD!  Himself!  Think of orphan stories like Annie, My Fair Lady, Oliver Twist, Cinderella, the main characters are not the heroes.  They are victims, they are damsels in distress, they are the forgotten, the forsaken, the abandoned, the hopeless.  The heroes are Daddy Warbucks, Higgins, Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Maylie, the Prince.  They could have given the victims of our stories a handout, even a large one, a gift to help them along and little Annie and Eliza and Ollie and Cindy would have been no better off, or at least not better off for long.  It was only in giving their Selves that changed the story for the orphans!  Could each of the orphans used money and things?  Of course.  Would it have changed their lives, maybe, but probably not for the better.  It was only by taking them out of their shame and victimhood and bringing them into a new family, a new home, giving them a new honor a new Name, the hero’s name, which changed everything! 

Brothers and sisters, we don’t need God’s things.  Not even the gifts of the Spirit we think we need when we’re all spiritually and stuff.  We need the Father!  This is the spirit of adoption Romans 8 speaks of.  This is why being given a new heart, a new name, being placed in a new family, a new home is such good news! 

So what does this have to do with the dead church I told you about the other day?  Glad you asked.  Do you know why the Bible’s favorite animal metaphor for God’s people is sheep?  Neither do I but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s because they’re afraid.  Weak, fearful and dumb.  Cows are dumb too but they are powerful.  You have to respect their strength.  You can yoke them for work.  Oxen are symbols of servanthood.  Sheep, not so much.  You don’t yoke a sheep.  There’s another difference between cows and sheep.  Cows you herd, you drive them before you.  You grab the lead cow and make him go the way you want and the rest follow him. 

Sheep follow.  They learn the voice of the shepherd and they trust him.  It comes back to their fearfulness.  The shepherd reassures them.  When he is near, they feel comfortable.  They follow; they keep him in sight.  If he gets up and moves, they get up and move with him. 

Jesus fulfilled the law, right?  We are free, right?  Fully justified by faith in him and his finished work, right?  So did you ever wonder why he then turns around and says things like, “go and sin no more,”?  Why he gives new commands?  Do we now have a new law? 

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1John 2 

Jesus has work to do.  “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”  Jesus has better pastures for us.  Jesus has better streams for us.  Jesus has other sheep he wants to gather.  Lost sheep he wants to find.  Jesus knows there are wolves about.  Jesus knows winter comes and we need to shelter in new places.  We fear the unknown.  We like the comfort we have, even when it’s uncomfortable.  Known is more comfortable than unknown.  We even think we’re smart enough to know better than he does.  We don’t see him.  We hide behind locked doors.  We busy ourselves in work we know.  Things we think we do well.  The old ways of pursuing life. 

But Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  He finds us there.  He feeds us there and then he asks, “Do you love me?”  If the answer is yes, then he says things like, “feed my sheep.”  “Go and sin no more.”  “True religion is too look after widows and orphans and keep yourself from all impurity.”  We, like Philip plead with him to show us the Father and he dissolves our church.  Why?

Because He’s answering our prayer!

To Philip, he said, ““Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14 

Do you want more of the Father?  More of the Son?  More of the Spirit?  Is this your desire?  Good!  Then follow him!  He is not here in the darkened tomb of your old life, your old way of doing things, this empty pasture, this bitter stream.  He has moved to better pastures, he is finding his sheep, he is feeding his sheep.  Do likewise and you will see him there!  Go and sin no more is not a command, it’s and invitation to join him on mission, to Come and See the place where he dwells!  Be where he is!  Do what you see him doing!  You will “discover” he is there. 

My church called itself a church of the church-damaged.  It was full of hurting people coming to get healed.  Jesus met us there and we enjoyed his fellowship, he healed us there and we rejoiced, he told us, “now, go and tell.  Go do the things you see me doing.  Take up your mat and walk!” And we wept because we didn’t want to leave the safety of the fold, the comfort of the crib, the dark, warm fellowship as we knew it.  We may have been judged, just as Israel was sometimes judged and found to be wandering far from the God who loved them.  A wife far from her husband.  A child far from their Father.  If we turn the home God gave us into a brothel or a leper colony, we shouldn’t be surprised if he burns it down.  But this is not the fury of wrath.  Jesus took all that for us!  This is the jealous rage of a righteous husband who wants his wife back and will not allow her to be abused or abuse any longer.  If all the patients in the ward are well but refuse to leave the hospital, he has to take drastic steps.  He scattered us, yes, so we would follow him again!  Our season in that place ended, winter was over and he invited us out to see the Spring!  To once again, hear his laughter and see his face!  I have better gifts than these, come and see!

“Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15

Monday, November 04, 2013

My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secluded place in the mountain, Let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.


Don't worry, i'm still working on the story of the dead church.  Meanwhile, enjoy this short intermission and meditate upon Psalm 43....

Judge me, O God, and plead my case
against an unfaithful nation.
From a man of deceit and wickedness rescue me,
because you are the God of my refuge.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?
Send your light and your truth;
they shall lead me.
They shall bring me to your holy mountain
and to your dwelling places.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my surpassing joy,
and I will praise you with lyre,
O God, my God.
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, because I will again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Some of God's greatest gifts...


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age.” Matt 28

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him—this one bears much fruit, for apart from me you are not able to do anything. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and dries up, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples.
“Just as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have spoken these things to you in order that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be made complete. This is my commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything that I have heard from my Father I have revealed to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. These things I command you: that you love one another.” John 15
A simple servant friend of the Living God who now sees her savior face to face, used to like to ask people, “How’s your walk with the Lord?”  A gentle way she had of moving to brass tacks, an expression from the upholstery trade I think, which infers, “what’s holding you together?”  “Are you holding together or are you coming apart at the seams?”

I watched a church die once.  It had been sick a long time and on life support.  It was a sincere church, like Phillip and Thomas, we honestly wanted to see the Father, to be with Jesus.  We prayed for it earnestly, we longed for a greater knowledge of Him.  We longed for a greater experience of the gospel.  We knew we were sick and longed to be healed and prayed for it fervently and fought our impending doom with bitter tears.  And lost.  In the end, level heads and sincere hearts pulled the plug and monitors recorded the last desperate beats and then the long, thin, unbroken wail of flatline.  The lights were turned out and no one mourned because everyone was in the casket.

A church however is a collective organism.  A body made up of parts attached to a whole.  When the body died the parts were scattered in disarray.  They spun out into the void like asteroids of an exploded planet, searching the dark for their savior and begging a single question:

“Why?”

The answer which comes, always comes in a whisper, so soft it can often be missed for a long spell over your own wails, over the tumult of life, over the Vegas Strip of vice and distraction gauntlet the world, the devil and desire make a christian run.  The answer is always a variation of the same, simple message:

“Because I love you.”

The world asks, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Christians should ask, “Why do bad people call good things bad?”  Job asked, “Indeed, should we receive the good from God, but not receive the evil?”  The answer is of course, yes and I will tell you why:

Because it’s good.

“Therefore if you, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father from heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  How can a good God and loving Father; how can the Father that Jesus showed us and spoke of constantly give us anything but good?  No really!  Go and find a quiet place, if you can, and stew on that!  That’s the main point here, if you get nothing else you read, consider and take to heart that!  Is God good?  Is God holy?  If you’re his then your conscience will not let you answer either of those in anything but the affirmative in which case, How Can A Good God Give You Anything But Good?

“But my life sucks!”  I get it.  I hear you.  I cry that all the time too.  So let me finish the story of the dead church.  There is a stigma that attaches itself to a dead church, like any roadkill, it has a stink.  That stink is shame.  Catholics cross themselves and Protestants whistle as they hurry past our grave.  Other churches where the asteroids land, look at you like, “wow, what did you guys do wrong?”  It is the stink of judgment.  God went all Revelations on us and removed our lampstand.  Spit us out of his mouth.  We are a hissing and a desolation.  We must be forsaken.  Even I believed it.  As a recovering legalist, it is easy for me to believe.  We were a leper colony not getting better, not getting it right, God had enough.  But is that true?  Were we forsaken?

Was Job forsaken?  This is where it gets good. 

For the sake of Zion I will not be silent,

    and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not maintain a quiet attitude,

until her righteousness goes out like the bright light,

    and her salvation burns like a torch.

And the nations shall see your righteousness,

    and all the kings your glory,

and you will be called a new name

    that the mouth of Yahweh will designate.

And you shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of Yahweh,

    and a headband of royalty in the hand of your God.

It shall no longer be said of you, “Forsaken,”

    and it shall no longer be said of your land, “Desolation!”

but you will be called “My Delight Is In Her,”

    and your land, “Married,”

for Yahweh delights in you,

    and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a virgin,

    so shall your sons marry you,

and as is the joy of the bridegroom over the bride,

    so shall your God rejoice over you.  (Is 62)

But Zion said, “Yahweh has forsaken me,

    and the Lord has forgotten me!”

Can a woman forget her suckling,

    refrain from having compassion on the child of her womb?

Indeed, these may forget,

    but I, I will not forget you!

Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;

    your walls are continually before me.

Your children hasten;

    your destroyers and those who laid you waste depart from you.

Lift your eyes up all around and see;

    all of them gather; they come to you.
As surely as I live,

    declares Yahweh,

surely you shall put on all of them like an ornament,

    and you shall bind them on like a bride.  (Is 49)

God cannot forsake His own!  If he could, he would have axed Adam and Eve in the Garden.  He wouldn’t have had Noah build a boat.  He wouldn’t have brought Jacob out of Egypt.  And He Himself, would not have hung on cross and be the only living person in the history of humanity to ever cry these words and have them be true, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani!”  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  The Father forsook his own Son so he would never have to forsake you who trust in that son!  The father took the first curse, death, what could be more evil, more bad than death, and gave it to the only good person who ever lived?  When his son knelt in a garden and asked for good gifts from the Father, the Father gave him death.  The Father judged him.  The Father spit him out.  He became a hissing.  The Father removed his love and his light.

And.  It.  Was.  Good!

It was the answer to his prayer!  And that dead church which had prayed to see Jesus, to truly have the life abundant that God promises through Jesus, they got their prayer too!  How?

I’ll tell ya later…