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Monday, June 30, 2014

This is what the one who has the sharp, double-edged sword says...

In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out his disciples to Israel...
"And whoever does not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you are going out of that house or that town. Truly I say to you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!"

We are all called to be witnesses.  Constant witnesses, never ceasing to go throughout all the towns, all the nations calling the lost sheep.  The witness is a double edged sword.  It divides to the marrow and lays bare the soul to show what's in it.  The Word is life to those who hear and receive it with joy, but it is death and judgment to the perishing.  To the arrogant who will not repent.  Who will not agree with God that they sin or need a savior at all.  Who will not fall on their knees before the king who's sword it is.  Righteous or wicked, the sword of the word reveals us for what we are, quick or dead.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Worshiper's gotta worship.

Humans were designed to worship.  We can't help it.  It's what we do.
Worship is to ascribe weightiness, heft, worthiness, greatness, glory to something weighty, hefty, worthy and greatness to someone.  Someone you deem glorious.
Worship is an offering, a sacrifice of praise.
Offerings and sacrifices are gifts.
A gift is something you give to someone else in love.  Anything else, any other motivation makes it payment or restitution or obligation.
Worship is a gift of love.
Almost anything can be worship if it ascribes glory to one who is glorious.
We are always worshiping.  With every deed and word we are making a statement about who we love and who we think is worthy of glory.

Who are you worshiping?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sorry World Cup guys.

God has his own ideas about sport and what makes a man great.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Daddy

I will strengthen you, indeed I will help you,
    indeed I will take hold of you with the right hand of my salvation.
11 Look! All those who are angry with you shall be ashamed and humiliated;
    your opponents shall be like nothing and shall become lost.
 You shall seek them,
    but you shall not find them;
your opponents shall be like nothing,
    and the men of your war like nothing.
 For I, Yahweh your God, am grasping your right hand;
    it is I who say to you,
“You must not fear;
    I myself, I will help you.

These verses have been getting me through of late.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teach...your children well...

This modern belief that parents who believe shouldn't "indoctrinate" their kids but instead let them "find faith" on their own...

Yeah, if you don't teach your kids about the true God, then all you've done is teach them there isn't one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

If Adam didn't sin, would we still need to mow grass?

My older lad takes lunches to work occasionally.  He's a lawn mower these days.

Blessing or curse?  What does life feel like of late?

If blessing, then rejoice!  God has chosen undeserving you!  Serve him with joy and and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything.

If curse however.. then repent... and serve him with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything that is yet to come.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Yahweh is not a fluffy bunny.

God is love.  Jesus modeled that love perfectly.  Grace is amazing!  And so it is easy to think of God in these new agey, sensitive male terms.  Blow dried Jesus.  Jesus doesn't judge me, man.  Jesus is my homey.  He loves me the way i am.  Meeting Jesus is going to be like, you know, hanging out in this comfy little cottage in the woods and he's gonna tell me all about my life and we'll sip cocoa together and the room will be filled with singing fuzzy little bunnies and kittens and wallabies and we'll pet them and laugh at all the people who had it wrong and those self-righteous jerks and i'll tell Jesus, "man, i really didn't like those guys."  And he'll say, "me too."  And it'll be cool.


Only problem with that is Yahweh is not the God-of-your-understanding.  That's you making up a god.  Yahweh describes himself.  He names himself in Exodus 34.  Jesus says he is I AM seven times in the gospel of John.  Revelations shows a much different image of Jesus coming in chapter 19.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  So that means the same God who made fluffy bunnies, destroyed them in the flood.  He gave the law to Moses, the law which has the wicked beaten before the eyes of those they wounded.  That alone should give us pause.  Ever wounded anyone?  Ever been wounded?  He is the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  When he says time's up.  It's up.  When he goes to settle accounts, there will be no scales but His.  He is the one who's presence is so frightening that even when he comes shrouded in clouds of glory and partially hidden, we fall on our faces and have to be told not to fear.

And that is what is so amazing about it!  Your grandma loved you, probably.  There are few delinquent grandmas out there but in my experience, they are the exception that proves the rule.  Grandma loves you and that's nice.  But unless your Grandma was Grünhilde the Terrible, Valkyrie of Vengeance, her love isn't all that impressive.

But God... God is impressive!  When the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator God, the King of the Universe and Judge of all mankind draws you before himself, reads your list of crimes, and then sets his crown aside, comes down off the throne, off the judgment seat and lays down before you and your accusers and takes your stripes for you... that is love!  When the list of sins against you are read and the perpetrators are brought before you and you see justice done for them or to them as well by God's own hand, when God shows you how he took every slight, negligence and grievous crime against you as if it was done to Him personally... that is love!  When the King Himself, the Great I AM, calls you his precious child and puts his name on you and wipes away all your tears and lifts you up and sets you on his throne with him.... that is love!

God's love would not be the same without God's greatness, glory and justice!  God's love is frightening!  Don't believe me?  Look at the cross!  Look at your God, bloody and disfigured beyond all recognition!  For you!  That is love!

i don't think any of that would be the same if it came from a fluffy, blow-dried bunny singing songs from Frozen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heaven is where ever Yahweh is.

The longer i live,
the more i long for heaven.
There is no better seasoning than hunger.
Is 51
Rev 21

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's a bit cramped in here.

God doesn't promise you that you won't spend a few anxious nights,  fearing for your life, dwelling on your failures, alone in a cave.

He says He'll be in the cave with you.  You are alone..
   in a cave..
      with God.

Alone in a cave with your Creator.  The Creator of the whole universe.  The Master of Everything.  The Holy God, Yahweh....

Wow.  That should actually be a lot more scary than whatever you are going through, come to think of it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Now, now is the time for repentance.

One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.  That Yahweh is God and there is no other and He is justified in all He does.

The problem with philosophies like: if it feels good, it is good or if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad, is you are a really poor judge.  i came across a quote today that summed up pretty well what living in the modern world feels like to me....

" in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."  Dr. Paul McHugh, John's Hopkins University Hospital

A judge is supposed to decide right from wrong.  To discern what is good from what is bad.  To know when evil has been done and promote justice.  To correct the wrong.  To reward the right.  Counselors, politicians, therapists, teachers, parents, spouses, anyone but anyone who advises or has authority over another, has to see themselves as a judge, even if only over their own lives.

But the beginning of wisdom is the fear of Yahweh.  The respect of Yahweh.  The admission of His place.  He is God.  You are not.  He is Creator.  You are created.  If we throw this out, the beginning of wisdom, then everything that follows is by nature, madness.

The judges of this world no longer know right from wrong.  They turned their backs on that when they turned their backs on the only one who knows.  When they turned their backs on their Creator and Designer.  They threw out the manual and said, "let's see what this button does."  Worse than that, they promote a false justice.  A false order.  The inmates are running the asylum.  They are a children's band who threw out the sheet music, refuse to learn how to play their instruments correctly and instead are all playing whatever they want, whatever fool thing enters their head, and the rest of the world is dancing along to the clashing, clamoring, beatless, tuneless, noise and it doesn't look free, it doesn't look like joy, it looks like tortured, wooden marionettes in the garish light of licking flames and it's all going to come crashing down someday soon and nobody believes it even though we can see it burning, see our own lives on fire, see the lives of friends go up in flames and ash.  Bury the cinders and do it again.  Dispose of the evidence or it'll kill the buzz.  The party must go on.  The danse macabre.  

And the Designer knows, he does see and he takes pity on us.  He has compassion on us and is holding out salvation for anyone who will come, anyone who will admit it, admit they cannot dance to this cacophony anymore, anyone who sees the flames and smells the smoke and knows it's all a lie, knows this isn't what it's supposed to be and you don't have to be perfect and you don't have to have all your crap together and it's not just for good people cuz there aren't any good people.  It's for anyone who will cry out and believe in the one God sent, the maestro who knew the tune and played it perfectly for us, Jesus and the only thing that's stopping you from coming is pride. Damnable pride.

And nobody believes me but a day is coming when all will see, when the sky is rolled up and the heavens are opened and God is revealed in all his power and glory and some will look up with tears of joy because the nightmare is over, finally, finally over and their husband has come to avenge the things done to them in the darkness and take them home to mend their bodies and souls...

and some will look up and cry out in terror, cuz the lie they told themselves is over.

Monday, June 16, 2014

42 is not the answer.

This.  This is the meaning of life.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What tangled webs we weave...

"The lips of a fool will bring strife, and his mouth calls out for a flogging." Prov 18:6

"“Are you also still without understanding? Do you not understand that everything that enters into the mouth goes into the stomach and is evacuated into the latrine? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile the person. For from the heart come evil plans, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, abusive speech. These are the things that defile a person. But eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person!” Matt 15

"Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a greater judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to hold in check his whole body also. And if we put bits in the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. Behold also ships: although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot wishes. So also the tongue is a small member of the body and boasts great things. Behold how small a fire sets ablaze how great a forest! And the tongue is a fire! The world of unrighteousness, the tongue, is set among our members, defiling the whole body and setting on fire the course of human existence, being set on fire by hell.

For every species of animals and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures, is being tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being is able to tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless theLord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so! A spring does not pour forth from the same opening fresh and bitter water, does it? A fig tree is not able, my brothers, to produce olives, or a grapevine figs. Neither can a saltwater spring produce fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good behavior his works, with the humility of wisdom.But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, obedient, full of mercy and good fruits, nonjudgmental, without hypocrisy, And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace among those who make peace." James 3

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hang on, this could get bumpy.

God will give you so much more than you can handle.  But never more than He can handle!  God will lead you into some frightfully scary places.  But he's leading you by the hand!  He's there!  He's got you!  This is designed!  Not random!  Not the whimsical hand of capricious, flighty fate but the awesome power and design of God who chose you and created you to bear his glory!  And his glory is manifested not in perfect people living perfectly.  Not in the American dream.  Not in keeping you safe from all harm.  Those who are going into captivity, into captivity they shall go.  Those who are going to be killed with the sword, will be killed.  This calls for the patient endurance of the saints.  For God's glory is manifested in sinners repenting!  In sinners falling on their knees before the only God of salvation!  Sinners knowing that unless God loves them and saves them and forgives and forgets all their sins, they are hopelessly lost!

"But now thus says Yahweh,
he who created you, Jacob,
    and he who formed you, Israel:
“You must not fear, for I have redeemed you.
    I have called you by your name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
    and through the rivers, they shall not flow over you.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not scorch you.
For I am Yahweh, your God,
    the holy one of Israel, your savior.
I give you Egypt as ransom,
    Cush and Seba in place of you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    you are honored, and I myself love you,
and I give people in place of you,
    and nations in place of your life.
You must not fear,
    for I am with you."
Is 43

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By the rivers of Babylon..

i yearn for a home i've never seen, for a family that has yet to be.

But i've seen glimpses.  i've heard stories.  i've had hints.

And i sing songs of her... the bride arrayed for her husband who comes to redeem her.

And i pray for the peace i will find in her.

i'm only a wayward spirit here, a sojourner.  This world, this incarnation of this world, is not my home, it's only a passing shadow of the real earth whose glory will so eclipse this we won't even be able to call the scanty wonders we see here to mind.  i'm goin'.  Will you come with me?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Come ye thirsty, come and welcome...

i'm getting the feeling that his steadfast love endures forever. ...and that i have a problem with drawing vertical lines.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A message from the weather advisory board.

i once heard a pastor after Katrina tell a refugee, "Honey, God had nothing to do with this...he loves you."


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Slaying the Hydra... at night!

i don't really have much to say about this one.  So we'll just lop off a few more heads on the Hydra of universalism and encourage those who know they have been chosen by the Spirit that resides in them and the love that is changing them so we may, as the Psalmist says, "lift up our hands in the sanctuary and bless Yahweh."

"“Yahweh loved you and chose you not because of your great number exceeding all other peoples, for you are fewer than all of the peoples, but because of the love of Yahweh for you and because of his keeping of the sworn oath that he swore to your ancestors, Yahweh brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So know that Yahweh your God, he is God, the trustworthy God, maintaining his covenant and his loyal love with those who love him and with those who keep his commandments to a thousand generations, but repaying those who hate him in their own person to destroy them; he is not slow with those who hate him in their own person; he repays them." Deut 7

"And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as though slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. And he came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one of whom had a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they were singing a new song, saying,
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slaughtered,
    and bought people for God by your blood
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”" 
Rev 5

Say to those who are hasty of heart,
“Be strong; you must not fear!
    Look! your God will come with vengeance,
with divine retribution.
    He is the one who will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf shall be opened.
Then the lame shall leap like the deer,
    and the tongue of the dumb shall sing for joy,
for waters shall break forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
And the parched ground shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water.
Her resting place is in a settlement of jackals;
    the grass shall become like reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and a way,
    and it shall be called the way of holiness.
The unclean shall not travel through it,
    but it is for them, he who walks on the way;
    and fools shall not wander about.
No lion shall be there,
    and no ferocious wild beast shall go up it.
It shall not be found there,
    but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of Yahweh shall return,
    and they shall come to Zion with rejoicing.
And everlasting joy shall be on their head;
    joy and gladness shall overtake them,
        and sorrow and sighing shall flee." 
Is 35

Monday, June 02, 2014

Let the oil of gladness flow down...

Brothers to dwell in unity.  The church.  Not a building.  Not an institution.  But a chosen race.  A particular, very peculiar people, called to be the body of Christ.  Not all the same.  Not all faking it until they make it.  Not tribes, standing up for their own rights and trampling each other.

But a community of disparate, very different people all laying down their rights and their lives to love one another.  Living with each other.  Caring for each other.  Forgiving each other.  Not because the other deserves it, but precisely because none of us deserve it...

And yet Christ, our anointed king and priest loves us so much, he laid aside Godhood, became a man, lived the life we should have lived, died the death we should have died and was raised as the firstborn of the dead to justify those who don't deserve it.  Us.

So because we are so loved, we love, God and his chosen children, our brothers and sisters and when we do, when the Spirit which is represented by the oil, lives in us and through us to do this, then we are like the anointing of our great high priest all over again.  People will see, people will ask and people will know it is all and only because of Jesus.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

You keep on using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.

A brief disclaimer to get started, i have no idea where i'm going with this.

hmm, i should probably just make that the blog heading.

i wanna talk about love.  Not that i know much about it but i'm getting a real good handle these days on what it is not.  And here's what i think since no one asked....

it would seem to me that most of the time i hear the word "love" used it is used in place of "enjoy the pleasure of ___".  It could be a sport's team, a food or in the case of people, the pleasure of their company.  "He's great!  I love him!"  "She's amazing!  I love her!  I want to be with her all the time!"  "Well, we've been together a long time and we know each other in and out, good and bad and we're still in love."

Aah.  Nice.  That's nice.

Only one problem.  i don't see that as love.  It might be acceptance.  It might be enjoyment.  But i don't think it's love and here's why:
At it's heart, it's about you.  It's about how you feel.  How that person makes you feel.  It's about taking.  The other person may not feel a loss.  They may not be losing anything to you but you are essentially just using them to feel better.  When we say it like that, we know it's not loving.  Taking and using are not words we think are synonymous with "love."  So let me float a different definition...

Sacrificing for the good of another.

It's an action, it's generous, it's selfless, do you see how it's different?  Do you see how a mother, waking up at three a.m. to a screaming infant could not enjoy the pleasure of the child's company?  Does that mean she does not love the child?  Heck no!  Love is what propels her forward, not with a pillow to smother the noise for those who think quiet is the goal, but with her own body to comfort the child, to do good for the child even though she is tired, it hurts and she gets nothing from it.  Well, little, i'm sure there are some psychological, social and spiritual benefits to suckling her baby.  But at the moment i doubt that's what's running through her heart and mind.  Yet she is loving.  The soldier who jumps on the grenade to save his brothers, or who darts out into the street after a wounded comrade even though the bullets are flying all around him is not doing it for the pleasure of the other's company. He's not worrying about whether or not these guys are acceptable to him, whether or not he likes everything about them, he's doing what he can, giving what he has for them.  And here's my last reason, love, true love, changes a person.  Yes, if someone enjoys your company you might alter some schedules to be with them, you may feel pride or elation at the thought of them liking you in that way but essentially you will want to remain the same!  If you change, they may not "love" you anymore!  But if someone sacrifices for you!  If someone gave their life for you?  You may feel a bit different.  You may want to honor the person, please the person, make them happy, live up to that level of sacrifice!  When someone goes out on a limb for you, you want to be better!  Well, at least i hope you do, maybe you don't, what do i know.  Maybe you're an entitled shmoe who just thinks the world owes you.  Thank you for jumping on that, what was your name again?  Oh well, really doesn't matter now anyway does it?  Ta-ta.

So, given these two thoughts, these two proposed definitions, and for now, they're just my thoughts, i won't throw the Bible at you but let me ask, whom do you love?  And what do you mean when you say it?