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Saturday, May 31, 2014

All those who have ears, let them hear...


Listen!  Look!  When has anything like this ever happened?  When has a man's god ever spoke to him?  When has a man's idol ever chose him?  When has a man's god ever told him the future?  When has a man's god ever become a child of the man, died for the man and raised him up from the dead to live with God forever?  What other god is like Yahweh?  What other gods are there?  None!  Only Yahweh sent his son, his only son, the son whom he loves, to die for the worthless worms who hate him.  To die for the dead so they may have life!  Only Yahweh is worthy to be praised!  There are no other paths but the Way.  There are no other gods but the Truth!  There is no other escape from death than by the one who holds the keys to death and hades: the Life!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

... and again...

"And the angels who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling place, he has kept in eternal bonds under deep gloom for the judgment of the great day, as Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire in the same way as these, are exhibited as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1

"And now, go, write it before them on a tablet

    and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
    as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people,
    lying children,
children unwilling to hear
    the instruction of the Yahweh;
who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
    and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
    prophesy illusions,
leave the way, turn aside from the path,
    let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”" Is 30


For further reading, read this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Come ye sinners, poor and needy...

i come to this psalm a lot.  Not just because i am perpetually in the depths either.  But because it defines so elegantly the oft misunderstood phrase, "the fear of the Lord."

"If you, O Yah, should keep track of iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you is forgiveness so that you may be feared."

We often think of fearing God because of his righteous judgment and our deserved punishment.  God will smite thee, most heavily!  But that is not what the psalmist says, he says God forgives!  Therefore!  Fear him.  Come to him in humility.  Give him his due.  Know that if you remain in your sin, THEN you fear punishment but if you come to him you will find him gentle and loving and more than willing to forgive!  Sinner will this not suffice?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Come with Him if you want to live.


Art is communication.  i am not always so good with the communicating.  So i'll splain.  Upper right is a back covered in open wounds from the flagellum.  The cat o' nine tails.  The leather whip with steel and stone barbs laced in it.  It is flayed.

To the lower left is grass withering in the red-orange heat of midday.

In the center is the Word.  Where it should be.

God is to be praised not just for his mercy and grace but also for his justice and vengeance.  He is true.  He is the only one with the right to judge since only He is holy and pure and unsullied and all wise.  And he opposes the proud.  That's not me being self-righteous, that's His words.  He opposes the proud.  The unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is truth and testifies about Jesus being the only propitiation of sin, the only way to God, the true Son of righteousness.  The proud deny this.  The proud want many paths... actually, they just want one, their own, without a mediator, without hearing they are lost without God's intervention, without hearing about God condemning sinners, without hell, without judgment, without obedience.

Without Jesus.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

and again...

"And one will say, on that day,
“Look! This is our God! We have waited for him and he saved us!
    This is Yahweh; we waited for him!
Let us be glad,
    and let us rejoice in his salvation.”
For the hand of Yahweh will rest on this mountain,
    and Moab shall be trampled down under him
        as a heap of straw is trampled down in waters of a dung heap.
And it will spread out its hands in the midst of it,
    just as the swimmer spreads out to swim,
        and its pride will be brought low with the movement of its hands.
And he will throw down the fortification of the high point of your walls;
    he will bring it low;
he will send it to the ground,
    to the dust." 

Isaiah 25 is beautiful.  It begins with the salvation and praise of our God and his great deeds and the feast he is throwing on "this mountain."  That's an image used a lot in the Word.  This mountain.  What mountain?  Well, i could go on and on about the mountain image and i have but i'll just leave you with two verses now...

"“You, O king, were looking and, look, there was one great statue. This statue was huge and its brilliance extraordinary, standing there before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet, part of them of iron and part of them of clay. You were looking on until a stone was chiseled out—that not by hands—and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and it broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold all at once broke into pieces and they became like chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away and any trace of them could not be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth...And in the day of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and the kingdom will not be left for another nation, and it will bring an end to all these kingdoms, but it will stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone from the mountain was chiseled out but not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, thereby the great God made known to the king what will be in the future, and the dream is certain and its explanation trustworthy.”" Daniel 2

"Now when Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he began asking his disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it! I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven.”" Matthew 16

So Jesus is the mountain, the confession of Jesus as the true Son of the Living God, the anointed Messiah, our only savior and redeemer is the rock of faith upon which the mountain is built up.  All those ON the mountain, like Moses up Sinai, are with God.

But it doesn't look good for those UNDER the mountain.  Those who refuse to come to Zion.  "“What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Luke 20

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A fool's house.

As a fool who has attempted to build his own house, i can speak from personal experience on this one.

Truth.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bring on the dawn

Faith.

Believing God even when you receive little or no earthly evidence and possibly even a great deal of evidence to the contrary.  Persecution even.

Faith.

Continuing to act on that belief, to be true to the belief even without the confirmation.  Even if the world thinks your nuts.  Even if no one joins you. For faith without works is not faith at all.  Intellectual assent which costs you nothing is not faith.  Words without deeds are not faith.

We have faith that It Is Finished...
so we do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Slaying the Hydra... again

"For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but held them captive in Tartarus with chains of darkness and handed them over to be kept for judgment, and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a proclaimer of righteousness, and seven others when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly, and condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes, having appointed them as an example for those who are going to be ungodly, and rescued righteous Lot, worn down by the way of life of lawless persons in licentiousness (for that righteous man, as he lived among them day after day, was tormenting his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he was seeing and hearing), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to reserve the unrighteous to be punished at the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who go after the flesh in defiling lust and who despise authority." 2 Pete 2

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mountain fortresses still fall.


"I promised him i would never let anything happen to him!"  Marlin cried.

"Hunh," Dori remarked, "that's a funny thing to promise."

"Whuh?  What are you talking about?"

"Well, if you never let anything happen to him, then.. Nothing would ever happen to him.  Not much fun for little Harpo." (Finding Nemo)

i read a verse like this one and i think, or would like to think that i will be protected from all harm forever.  God is surrounding me, nothing bad and no one can get in to hurt me.  Nothing can happen to me.  Then i live for more than five minutes and realize this isn't what it means.  Or it is what it means, i just have a very narrow definition of "harm."  What it means i think, is something more along the lines of this:

If God's got you in his arms, everything that happens to you is something he allowed.  And he's good and he loves you and he's more than able to keep bad things from happening so...  follow the logic brick road....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Slaying the Hydra...again...

"17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is savedwhat will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right." 1 Pet 4

Pete with the all caps button pushed.  He must have thought that line was important or something.  But he's just a patriarchal male type spewing doctrine and religion.  He must not understand grace.  He's not enlightened like us.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Slaying the Hydra

"I just can't believe a loving God would create people to send them to hell."

Universalism comes in many forms but essentially it boils down to this: everybody's in.  God is all loving so all dogs, eventually, go to heaven.  Since one has to have their ears plugged to the gospel and their eyes covered when they read the Bible to believe this, i'll stick to what Romans 1 refers to as, His invisible attributes, discerned clearly in creation.  In other words, stuff we can all see and ascertain for ourselves.

This will focus on two points.  Existence and justice.

First off, if as you say, we all go to heaven.  Then what is this life for?  Why all the hoopla?  Most folk who profess this belief obviously think the next life is better so what are we mucking about here for at all?  Pass the Kool-Aid Jim!  Vanity, meaningless!  Everything is vapor and a vain chasing after the wind!  What are we doing here?  Why waste seventy or so years in pain and suffering when utopia is sitting on the other side?  If we truly believe this, we will off ourselves immediately and get down to the real business of living.

Which brings us to why we don't.  Other than the obvious, that we don't truly believe this, and that is guilt.  Why do we have guilt?  We all have it.  We all experience it.  We call people who don't "sociopaths," though maybe we should refer to them as "enlightened."  We know some things, like suicide, are truly wrong.  We know when we've done them.  We feel bad about them.  Why?  If everyone goes to heaven, there is no punishment, so therefore there can be no real sin.  Everything is obviously permissible.  God's just gonna write that off.  So how bad can it be.  Which brings us to the problem of justice.  Because this means Hitler is gonna be knocking around heaven with the Jews he tortured and gassed.  The rapist is going to be rubbing shoulders for eternity with his victim.  The child molester too.  Everyone who has ever used their wealth, power and prestige to walk all over everyone else to get to the top and used all their resources for their own glory is ahead of the game.  They had a great ride here and now they're in heaven to boot.  The homeless fellow, well, he's better off now but how loving is it if there isn't any consolation for having lived a good life?  Wait, sorry, there is no good life.  Everyone's in.  It's all good!  Everything is awesome!  In fact, if God doesn't see a reason to separate sheep from goats, we'd better empty the prisons.  That's just mean.  Though i guess there's no real reason to, not like we'll be rebuked for it. i don't know how we came up with this idea of justice.  What a farce.  So, do as you feel, love the one your with, eat, drink and pinch Mary cuz tomorrow we go to heaven!

If only we could just silence that nagging sense of guilt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Behold, I make all things new.


i usually hear this used in the literal sense.  Pray for the city of Jerusalem.  Pray for Israel.  God's chosen people.  And i'm certainly not wise enough to say it doesn't mean that too.

But Jesus is the new Jerusalem.  Jesus is our rock and city of refuge.  The answer is always Jesus.  Earthly cities are so shortsighted.  Earthly peace isn't peace at all, only a shadow and copy of heavenly peace.  Praying for earthly peace in earthly cities is like asking only some raw cocoa dust because you cannot imagine rich, dark, abundant chocolate.  It's asking for nickel when God wants to lavish upon you a fortune.  It's praying for a chance to lean against the wall and stop running for five minutes to catch your breath when God is offering a hammock by the sea with cocktails and live music.  Abraham was waiting for a city he hadn't seen.  Joshua was only a foreshadowing.  Israel has only ever been a sign post to the real thing.  Jesus was the real thing.  Jesus is the real thing.  Jesus will be the real thing.  Revelations tells us that a new Jerusalem, a new city, a perfect city where God dwells is coming. And we, the chosen of God, his adopted sons and daughters, his elect, shall dwell there in perfect peace.  No more will anyone make us afraid.  No more will we weep for the way the world is.  He himself will wipe away our tears.  He will provide for us.  He will be our all in all.  He went to prepare this place for us.  This is the peace i want.  Not the absence of war.  Not some totalitarian authority pressing us into little PC boxes so we don't risk offending anyone.  But true peace.  No more enmity with God.  No more arrogance.  No more oppression.  No more biting or kicking or quarreling.  Everyone putting the other's needs ahead of their own.  No more lack.  No more hoarding.  No more fear.  Perfect love drives out fear and Jesus loved perfectly.  Jesus loves perfectly and we shall look on his face and see it shine upon us and hear him say, "Come, enjoy the rest prepared for you since before the foundation of the world."  Amen.  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thanks mums.


For all mums ever'where.
Best.  Gift.  Evah.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Look up!

Yesterday we looked down.  Looked down into the valley and saw the black tents of warlike enemies encamped all around.  We looked down and saw wickedness.  We looked down and saw betrayal and pain.  We looked down and saw our sufferings, our failures, our sin.  We looked down and wanted to escape.  Wanted to give up.  Too long we have lived here.  How long O Lord?

But we should never look down without looking up.  There is beauty all around and it's there as a reminder.  This may be the way it is for now.  There may be thorns and thistles all around.  The curse of decay may be evident in everything we don't maintain constant vigilance over.  But there is a promise in the mountains.  A promise in the wild flowers which bloom without your oversight.  A promise in every birth.  Every laughter.  Every friend.  Every act of love.  A promise that God is good, God is gracious, God is great and God is glorious!  God is in control, he sits on his throne and laughs at the raging nations.  He looks down in anger on the proud and the contemptuous.  He looks down in pity on his people and he loves them.  He is not unable to save.  He is not unwilling.  We suffer for a moment but we will rejoice forever!  There is no such thing as Justice denied.  Only Justice delayed.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Thank God for the Psalms


There are times this world really gets me down.  This is one of the reasons i love the psalms.  Everything i feel has been felt before.  i am not new.  i am not original.  My problems had their ancient world equivalent.  This is why i cannot understand people who think the Bible is outdated or irrelevant to our times.  i can only conclude they haven't read it.... and hate peace.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Lyuns and Woofs and Bayrs, oh poop!


And thus we have come to the end of Psalm 119.  And how does the Psalmist tie it all together?  What is the conclusion of this guy's thousand verses of meditation upon the Word and Law of God?

Desperation.

"Let my cry come before you, O Yahweh;
give me understanding according to your word.
Let my plea come before you;
Deliver me according to your word.
Let my lips pour out praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
Let my tongue sing of your word,
because all your commands are right.
Let your hand be my help,
because I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Yahweh,
and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live that it may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
I have wandered like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
because I do not forget your commands."


The author knows that no matter how much he studies, no matter how much he loves this law of God's, no matter how much he wants to honor him, he, like Paul in Romans 7 is forced to cry out, "Oh wretched man am i!  Who will save me from this body of death?"

And that is also why this fellow loves the law of God, because it is clear when one reads it, we cannot do it and God knew that, knows that and has a plan.  A good plan.  A plan for mercy through sacrifice. Not of lambs!  Relax little lost sheep.  God himself will stand in your place.  God himself will keep God's law.  God himself will find you and wash you and bind your wounds and keep you and guide you, carry you lovingly home to be with him forever.  God is your savior, your inheritance and your refuge!  Praise Yahweh, Praise Yeshua!  Glory to the Spirit of God who gives Glory to the Son who gives Glory to the Father!

It.  Is.  Finished.


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Look what i found!

So the Word is Truth, and Law we can't keep and Sacrifice and blood and just wow.  So...what's there to rejoice about?  What is the treasure in the field waiting to be found?

Grace.

All the law pointed to God's holy standard, minimal requirements for admission.  Perfect as your father in heaven is perfect, in motivation and thought as well as action and speech.  You up to that?  Me neither.

All the Sacrifices were to show that there had to be a stand in.  The priests show there had to be a mediator, someone between us and God.  The people dropping dead upon touching the Ark?  One last object lesson, God is God, you are not.  The unholy and the holy do not mix.  Ever.

Then God became the stand in.  Grace is God taking all the blame, all the punishment, all the requirements and fulfilling them all!  The Law is fulfilled!  Jesus did it!  The punishment is given!  Jesus took it!  He was able to do both!  The Resurrection proves it!  He is now standing forever as our mediator with God!

So this is my apology, the job of a preacher prophet poet is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.  i'm kinda better at the one job than the other.  For years, i understood Law but not Grace.  i'm  not saying my knowledge is perfected or anything but it's a heap lots better than it was!  And when i write a post-it that asks what are we warm for?  Where is our passion?  i'm trying to wake us up.  But i tend to punch us in the gut when maybe, sometimes, what's really called for is a return to,

"Would you look at this!  Holy --!  Good freakin' --!  This is too amazing to be true!  Yet it's true!

We need both for one cannot appreciate the sacrifice that paid their debt until one knows how deep in debt and poverty they were.  When we know how hopeless we are, then finding that treasure ... well, that's just ...

well, don't take my poor words for it, read, seek, taste and see!

Monday, May 05, 2014

A two part apology in two parts. But this is just the first part.

So i want to apologize.

God's word is primarily two elements: Law and Gospel.  Sometimes we refer to these as Truth and Grace.  Though Grace is true as well.  What is meant is, the Law tells the truth about us and about God.  God is holy.  We are not.  The Law told us what God expects of us.  What God has every right as our loving creator to expect from us.  What God not only expects, but needs from us.

Why does he need it?  Does he lack something?  No.  God is complete.  God does not even need company because God is three persons in one.  God has complete fellowship in himself.  This is how one being can be love.  God doesn't narcissistically love himself, the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and the Spirit is the embodiment of that love.  Perpetual, eternal, complete.

So why do i say God needs this from us?  Because He loves us and wants us to be with him.  The problem is, God is just.  God cannot overlook sin because nothing sinful can enter into the presence of divine holiness without flashing like flesh in a nuclear furnace and going poof.  As the old commercial used to say, don't go poof in a nuclear furnace, be holy.

The problem is, we can't.  We can't be holy.  So we are screwed.  Game over.  Shut off the lights and go to bed and wait for the poof.

Well, you say, why can't, you know, God just forgive us?  He's love right?

Oh yeah!  That's right!  He is love and he does just forgive us!  Yay!  Whew!  That was close.  Man...wait.  Oh shoot, he's also just.  How can he just forgive us when we've hurt so many people?  How can he repair all the damage we've done by giving everyone a free pass?  Some pretty heinous stuff is going down every minute of every day and somebody needs to pay for that.  So maybe he could just tally up a bill for us and we'll just pay the damages?  Yeah!  Good plan!

Oh.  Really?  It's that much?  Ah, yeah, okay.  Ummmm, we're gonna need a loan.  No.  We're gonna need a lot more than a loan.  We're gonna need Grace.

Reenter the Law.  God in almost the same breath as he gives us the Ten Commandments, gives us the sacrificial system.  Oh cool!  So we just slaughter some goats and sheep and cows and doves and we're good, right?  Easy peasy.  Kinda messy but that's cool.  Better them than us, right?

Well, no, not exactly.  But we'll get to that tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 02, 2014

What's the temp inside? And what is it warm for?


Rising early.  One of life's little thermometers of zeal.  We rise early for anxiety and worry and necessity that rob us of sleep.  We rise early for things we have to do, tasks and journeys we know will take all day but need to get done.  And we rise early for things we want to do: fishing, shopping, hunting, beach days; things we're excited about: Christmas morning, our Wedding day...

...worship?  prayer?  to seek the Father's face?  Anyone?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Your word is very poor. Or at least, mine is.

Wait...whut??

Ah. There.  That's better.  Much better.

So as you can see it is very easy to make mistakes.  And that proves that God is God and the Bible is his Word.

"Wait.  Whut?" you say?

Lemme explain.  No.  There is too much.  Lemme sum up.
The Scriptures are old.  Some of the oldest writings we have.  They have been copied down thousands of times.  We have thousands of these copies still.

And they're all the same!  Literally, no changes that affect the meaning!  That is staggering because as you can see from my early morning mess up here, my little screw up DRASTICALLY changed the meaning of the text!  When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, we found copies of the book of Isaiah one thousand years older than our oldest copy.

And it was the same!  Think about that.  One thousand years.  One.  Thousand.  Years.  We cannot give the same testimony about a car accident we witnessed two times in a row on the same day!  We cannot quote Abraham Lincoln without changing the words and the meaning.  And we have pictures of him!

One thousand years.  God is the same, today, yesterday and tomorrow.  The I AM that IS.  No end.  Unchanging.  No beginning.  Always.  His word is good.  His testimony is true.

Is yours?  Is mine?  Don't trust me.  Go and see for your self.  Then believe!