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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

God is nuts!

Now with real dropped food!
Ya ever think about how amazing it is that God himself gave us His word?  We can know God. No, really think about that!  We. Can. Know. God!

Then read His word!  Meet this God we can know!  He will freakin' blow your mind!  Don't believe me?  Read Song of Solomon!  Read the Gospels!  Read the lineage of Jesus and then go find out who those people are!


Then consider this.  He is doing it all for His glory and for His love of you.  Yeah.  You.

Boom. Poof.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thy Kingdom come

"Would that you would tear the heavens and come down;
    the mountains would quake before you,
as fire kindles brushwood,
    the fire causes water to boil,
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    that the nations might tremble from your presence.
When you did terrible deeds which we did not expect, you came down;
    the mountains quaked because of your presence.
And since ancient times they have not heard,
    have not listened,
no eye has seen a God except you;
    he acts for the one who waits for him.
You meet with the one who rejoices,
    one who does righteousness.
In your ways they remember you." Is 64

Monday, April 28, 2014

Amidst the sorrows of the way...

Pete says it bestest...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, into an inheritance imperishable and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for you who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, in which you rejoice greatly, although now for a short time, if necessary, you are distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more valuable than gold that is passing away, but is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, although you have not seen, you love; in whom now you believe, although you do not see him, and you rejoice greatly with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Pete 1

And because i like to peek ahead and see the end sometimes...

"What is this coming up from the desert

    like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense
    from all the fragrant powders of the merchant?
Look! It is Solomon’s portable couch!
    Sixty mighty men surround it,
        the mighty men of Israel.
All of them wield swords;
    they are trained in warfare,
each with his sword at his thigh
    to guard against terror in the night.
King Solomon made for himself a sedan chair
    from the wood of Lebanon.
He made its column of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple;
    its interior is inlaid with leather by the maidens of Jerusalem.
Come out and look, O maidens of Zion, at King Solomon,
    at the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
    on the day of the joy of his heart!"  Song of Songs 3

It conjures a vision of the Tabernacle, God with us, coming with the pillar of smoke and fire and all the camp of Israel, all of its fighting men, the faithful arrayed around it.  It is the Bridegroom coming for his bride.  Revelations 19.  The wedding supper of the Lamb.  Hang on little bride, your Husband is coming and he won't be riding no lil' mule.

Friday, April 25, 2014

If only.

"They have made their paths crooked for themselves;
    everyone who walks in it knows no peace.
Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We wait for light, but look! there is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
We grope like the blind along a wall,
    and we grope as without eyes.
We stumble at noon as in the twilight;
    among the strong we are like the dead." Is 59

"Jesus replied, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks around in the daylight, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks around in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." John 11

"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Veritas. Quid est Veritas?

i don't care what you think you know or how educated you are, if you are not grounded in the truth, all yer larnin' and shmarts will avail you naught.  Bad data or a wrong conclusion will send the most gifted scientist following imaginary rabbit trails.  Remember when all dinosaurs used to be cold blooded or the world was flat or we descended from monkeys (stay tuned, they'll figure it out)?  Bad data or a wrong conclusion will create evil outcomes.  Remember when certain races were inherently inferior or worse, not even human?  Bad data or wrong conclusions will ruin you.  Anyone remember the Great Depression?  The Dustbowl?  No?  How 'bout then the last recession?  The schemes and ruthlessness of traders who conclude the bottom line is the bottom line?  People buying houses at the very limits of or beyond their credit?

"What is truth?" Pilate asked Jesus, not realizing that had he pursued truth rather than political solutions to human problems, rather than ambition and power, rather than suborning the truth to his own short sighted necessities, he would have recognized the Truth when it was standing right before him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This is love.

No man has greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

This is love.  This is the ultimate expression of love.  i don't want hear about your needs.  i don't want to think about my needs.  #&^! rights.  Rights don't enter into love.  You want rights?  You don't want love.

Love is patient.  It waits years for the sinner to repent.

Love is kind.  It does not snuff out the smoldering wick or break the bent reed.

It does not envy or boast.  It knows what is its own.  Its tongue is full of the praises of the Lord.

It does not become conceited.  Instead it humbles itself to death, even death on a cross.

It does not behave dishonorably.  It brings honor to the Father and bestows honor on its beloved.

It is not selfish.  It lowers itself from the throne of heaven where it had everything and becomes a servant of its enemies.

It does not become angry.  Unless, you know, you trash his Father's house and allow a bunch of robbers in to do business.  But generally speaking, see patience.

It does not keep a record of wrongs.  Cuz you know that thing you did four years ago!  You know what you said?  Neither does love.

It does not rejoice at unrighteousness.  Cuz unrighteousness isn't loving.

But rejoices with the truth.  Cuz it is truth.

Love bears all things.  Up to and including the sins of the entire world, past, present and future.

Love believes all things.  I don't think that means it's gullible.  See truth.

Love hopes all things.  Cuz it knows where its hope lies.  Or better yet, in Whom its hope lies.

Endures all things.  See patience, anger, record of wrongs, bears, believes, hopes...

Love never ends.  Cuz he's eternal!  From before the beginning and beyond the end.  Never ending, always.  I AM that I AM.  The One Who Is.

So, simple, go do all this!

Nah, just kidding.  You can't.  i've tried.  Not to say i'm the standard or anything, i'm sure there are those of you who will get much closer before failing than i did.  But here's the thing.  You can't.  You can't do it.  None of us can.  Only he who is love can love.  But here's the better thing.  He has promised to live in anyone who trusts in him and his love alone.  Abide in him and he will abide in you.  Then you'll at least have the true love in you and who knows, perhaps that'll peek out every now and then?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Amen! Hallelujah! He is risen!

And certainly not the least of these is...

It Is Finished.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is it in you?

Good Friday to you.

As we remember the Son's ultimate expression of love and obedience today it is good to remember that we have, living in us, if we love Jesus, the same Spirit of love and obedience.

How do we know we love him?  If the Spirit is giving us a will to and teaching us how to obey his commandments: forgiving others as we have been forgiven by our Father, loving others as we have been loved by the Son, doing our best to live at peace with all men, supporting and loving the Body and Bride of Christ: the church, seeking his face and our washing in the Word, doing justice for the poor and the fatherless and the widow and the alien living among us.  Not that we do these things perfectly, one was perfect, the one on the cross.  But that we express in our brokenness his strength and forgiveness and mercy and grace.  From outside, the church should look like messy people with messed up lives, confessing their messiness and repenting and loving each other and working together for the good of all.  Not pretty people pretending to be perfect.  We don't fake it till we make it.  Yes, we must always be hypocrites, because we are sinners.  Yes, our best attempts at righteousness are filthy, bloody tampons.  Yes, it will seem like work at times but remember, listen to the Spirit, He testifies not to your good work, but to Jesus' good work on your behalf!  You are a child of covenant!  You are a child of promise!  Not of what you will do for God but of what He has done, will do and is doing for you!  We don't "make it", HE. MAKES. US.


Abide in that love: the shadow of the cross, the sprinkling of his blood, the emptiness of his tomb, the glory of his throne, the hope of his promises.  Walk in His Spirit, the spirit that testifies of the Son and His Gospel, the Spirit seeks to glorify the Father through the Son, so that if He's in us, we should to!

Or, if you look at these traits and realize this Spirit isn't the one in you, if you can't see him or don't know him, get to the Cross!  Now!  While He has graciously given you time.  What better day than today?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

For i have become like one who fell asleep in the tanning bed...

This one took me a bit of research.  Afterwards it was kind of, duh, but there we are.  A wise man knows when he doesn't know.  Or so wise men tell me.

It is really simple.  What happens to leather when it is dried out?  No, i mean really dried out.  Like the top of the back seat in a seventy-six Plymouth Valiant.  It dry rots.  It becomes hard, brittle, cracked.  Not the kind of thing you want to put wine in.

This is us.  This is us without Jesus.

"But days are coming when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. But no one puts a patch of unshrunken cloth on an old garment, for its patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear becomes worse.Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the wineskins burst and the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are destroyed. But they put new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved.” Matt 9

You who have been baptized into his death through water and into his life through the coming of the Holy Spirit are a new creation.  You are a new wineskin and he is filling with living water, with the fountain of his blood of the new covenant!  Keep coming to the fountain in prayer and meditation on his Word.  Cuz the world is burning and full of smoke.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A little hell right here on earth: Bonus Wednesday Post

Nobody wants God anymore, they just want his stuff.  And for a time, times and half a time, God is content to allow this so that some would see and taste and wonder about the maker of such good stuff.  That some would see and taste and want the maker more than the stuff.  Sip the water and want the river.

But the world is getting darker and maybe it's cuz God is taking away his stuff.  Starting with light.  The definition of Hell is to be cut off from God entirely.  If you want a preview of what that will look like, read this.

"It is necessary for us to do the deeds of the one who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work! While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9

Quit squirmin'!

"Your hands have made me and established me," Yod begins.  Why oh why, do we think it's about us being holy?  Why do we think it's about us getting it right.  That if we screw up, God will cut us off?  We who have tasted the Gospel know, we KNOW that God has formed us for better things and if he formed us, He will complete us.  Abide in him is much different than be, actually, it's the same thing.  Abide in the one who is perfect, therefore, you will be perfect as he is perfect.  Those struggling to get it right are not abiding, they are trying to be like God.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cue up Stevie Ray... i prefer his version to the Beatles.

And what better time to remember the worth of our God than on the day we have to give half of our money to the authorities he has placed in our lives.  For our good!  Always for our good.  Pray for them.  Much will be expected of them.

Pray for us.  All our afflictions are for His glory.  All our struggles, all our chasing after wind is to drive us to the only one who satisfies.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pop Quiz

Being saved means:

a) agreeing with a statement or an idea?

b) making a deal?

c) a pursuit of holiness?

d) entering a committed, exclusive relationship?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Your listening to 88.3, WHUT. Whut's on your radio?

Sojourning!  Songs!  Sojourning songs!  My ipod is my personal radio station of my sojourn.  It has over 12000 of them and only a few, unfortunately, are based upon His statutes.  But God, according to Abraham Kuyper, looks on everything in creation and says, "Mine."  So even the songs not based upon His Law say something about Him or life without Him.  Culture itself isn't bad or evil, only what we make of it.  Whom we train it to serve.  After all, if we're silent, the very rocks will cry out.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

For better or worse?

Till Death Do Us Part.

These words are not a life sentence.  They are not a ball and chain, a burden to be carried until you're finally done praying for the end of time.

And unlike the way we wacko christians (we're all wacko, don't you know) are portrayed in tv crime dramas, these words are not a loophole to get us out of our commitment.

They are not a contract.  A business arrangement to be legally binding and annulled should they prove unprofitable.

They are a Promise!

They are a promise from the great God who loves us, knows what's best for us and how to give good gifts.  A promise that symbolizes His love, unchanging and eternal!  A promise that symbolizes His love, full of mercy and grace for the unworthy, and we are all unworthy of love! (That we actually are.)

You tell me your sad story of mistakes, misery, misunderstanding, shame and woe?  You tell me of his sins against you? You tell me of her unfaithfulness?  You tell me i don't know?

You're right.  i don't know your story, your specifics, how it fits into the larger story Jesus is telling.  You know, the one where he takes the greatest sin that was ever committed, His adulterous Bride seeing the promise as a contract, sentence and loophole, and torturing him, shaming him and killing him and He, turning that very sin into the vehicle of her very saving and cleansing!  That story?  Yeah, that's the one i know.  If God can do that, if God is really good, if God is really in control of all things...

Then yeah, he can handle your marriage.  It is a gift.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Oh yeah? Well....!

We may hope for what is unseen but we have down payments on the promises.  We have signs that the promiser is faithful.  We have a cross and an empty tomb.  And we have been sealed, not closed but sealed, stamped with the mark of a higher authority's symbol of ownership.  We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.  We may not have all the answers but our faith is not blind and our revelation is not general.  Trust and learn to see the specific grace in your life.  Trust and learn to see the giver of Life.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

You are what you consume.

"Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are pleasing, whatever things are commendable, if there is any excellence of character and if anything praiseworthy, think about these thingsAnd the things which you have learned and received and heard about and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Phlipp 4

"“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is sincere, your whole body is full of light also. But when it is evil, your body is dark also. Therefore pay careful attention that the light in you is not darkness! If therefore your whole body is full of light, not having any part dark, it will be completely full of light, as when the lamp with its light gives light to you.”" Luke 11

"“Ho! Everyone thirsty, come to the waters!
    And whoever has no money, come, buy and eat,
and come, buy without money,
    wine and milk without price!
Why do you weigh out money for what is not food,
    and your labor for what cannot satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
    and let your soul take pleasure in rich food.
Extend your ear, and come to me!
    Listen so that your soul may live," Isaiah 55

"Do not work for the food that perishes, but the food that remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has set his seal on this one.” John 6

Monday, April 07, 2014

Tied to the wisdom post

We here at the Fricken Coop strive every day to bring you only the very best in mediocre philosophy and theology.  Today as a bonus track and a way of saying, "t'anks" to all our four or five intermittent readers and random victims who due to a misspelling of "chicken" ended up here, we have a wisdom quote from Pappy Fricken...

"Folks who think there's a schism between Faith and Reason ain't spent'nuff time ponderin' either."

Seeker sojourner, which path will you take?

There are multiple paths.
If two is a multiple.
But only one leads to God.
And it is the path which is God himself.
The path he laid down
which was his own body.
John 14

Friday, April 04, 2014

i am a poor, wayfaring stranger...

i love the word 'sojourn.'

It only means to stay overnight.  Basically it's a fancy word for guest but in my head it has the word 'journey' in it and journeyman and that conjures up all sorts of nomadic imagery in my wanderlustful heart.  This is a person who doesn't stay anywhere long because he's searching for something.  Something deeper, something hidden, something hard to find and harder to explain.

This is a pilgrim.

Our time here on earth is a sojourn.  A day's stay. A temporary lodging on our way to a better country.  A place where the fiery pillar is leading us.  A place where God has gone before us and is preparing for us.  A garden the second Adam is cleansing of serpents for us.  A perfect Eden where thorn and thistle do not grow, where tear of mourning is wiped away by our gentle Father, where the reunion does not end, loved ones do not die, where the worm and the moth and the rat do not destroy, where communion is whole and unhindered by shame or guilt or shyness or deception.  All this God will do.  All this God has accomplished.  This is what we read the word for, to remind ourselves of what God has done, not what we must do.  To remind ourselves of our helplessness and His power.  To remind ourselves that we are sinners justified by a sinless God not basically good people getting better.  Sanctification looks like seeing more of your sin and how deep it goes, not less sin in your life.  The more we grow, the more we realize our need for Jesus!

This is why the psalmist can over and over again confess his love for God's word, law, precepts, testimonies and statutes!  Because they all say, "It Is Finished!"

Amen, hallelujah!  Pass the bread and wine!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Never forget, these post-its, like Solomon's original verses in Proverbs, are for the training of a young person growing up in wisdom and admonition of the Lord.  That said, we are all young people to an infinite God.  We are his children and the words are for us all.  

The pictures on the other hand are pretty much just for my amusement.  This one was actually inspired by the artwork of one of my sons...

So what's the take-away here today?  Read your Bibles.  Read them to your kids.  “Hear, Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique. And you shall love Yahweh your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might. And these words that I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. And you shall recite them to your children, and you shall talk about them at the time of your living in your house and at the time of your going on the road and at the time of your lying down and at the time of your rising upAnd you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as an emblem between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorframe of your house and on your gates." Deut 6

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Layin' down the Law

"If you love me," Jesus said in John 14, "you will keep my commandments."  Psalm 119 is huge!  i think it was originally an acrostic style poem.  It definitely has a parallelism format, each line is like an "if/then" statement.  It reads like the father of the epileptic, "I believe!  Forgive my unbelief!"  The psalmist declares over and over his love for the Lord and confesses almost as equally, his weakness and inability to love the Lord.  i had trouble seeing this psalm as a love song when i was younger.  Words like "law" and "ordinances" and "precepts" and "commands" tripped me up.  It was the young law student's psalm.  For me, it was just a reminder that i didn't love God's law, i obeyed it, like i obeyed my parent's laws and my teachers' laws and my babysitters' laws and the daycare's laws, not out of love but out of fear.  Fear i wouldn't be loved if i didn't.  Fear i would be punished.  Fear of losing my identity as the 'good kid'.  Later i would learn the laws of my culture which i had better toe if i wanted to be cool or acceptable or at the very least, not ostracized and ridiculed.  Eventually i gave up and became a law unto myself but it didn't take away the fear, it just buried it in loneliness and despair.

There is no fear in love, John tells us.  Perfect love drives out fear.  The reason the psalmist can confess his undying affection for the law of God is because of this, simple fact....

Which i'll get to later.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

See you later, Joe.

See Joe.
See the angry mob.
See how they rage.
Rage nations, rage.
Why do they rage?
They are angry because they do not love God.
They do not want God to be God.
Joe loves God.
Joe is about to be burned.
Burn Joe, burn.
Joe is not sad.
Joe is happy.
Joe loves God.
And Joe knows something.
What does Joe know?
Joe knows God loves Joe.
And that makes all the difference.