sent word to Him, saying

Weighed in on other controversies for believers, why not this one: translations. As I see it, there are two viewpoints, and see if I can't be harsh to both.

The first viewpoint is that the Word is important to the literal word, that God inspired every point of grammar. Only word-for-word translations regardless of ease of comprehension convey what God wants the Word to convey. Using translations like the living Bible or the Message dilutes the Word, strips it of layers of meaning. Using translations meant to relate to the audience steals that job from the Holy Spirit, and you don't see the connection on why one choice for the word love in one chapter is different from the choice of another word for love in another chapter.

The second viewpoint is that the Word is important to better understand God, and in the same way we don't use the king's English in everyday speak now, we shouldn't let ancient grammatical structures impede our getting close to Him today. Bibles of yore were written and translated in the manner of the days in which they were translated. The living Bible and its ilk only seek to do the same for today's readers. One of the main reasons cited for irregular Bible-reading by Christians (and I'm really only speculating here) must be that some of it seems incomprehensible, or that there are chapters that seem really boring. So if a translation can remove that hindrance and draw students with short attention spans or less-educated people averse to reading, what's the harm? Aren't such translations no different than children's Bibles, and no one seems to be complaining about their existence.

My take is this: the slippery slope isn't one extreme tilting toward another. Most slopes try to convince you of that straight line mentality. But why can't it be a mountain top, with slopes falling to either side? There is an extreme to churches who believe only one translation is the one to be used. Frankly, these are in most cases the same churches who stick concretely to hymn-singing to the exclusion of real worship, so I'm not taking their advice on how to draw closer. To the other, there is a difference in removing obsolete grammatical structures, and completely destroying the sacred Word of God. Going straight to delivering the message but ignoring the word-choice will mean losing the yachid-echad beauty. Both sides lose something of God, and you don't want to be part of the losing.


to them, and give up

Memorial Day 2005: Reading these and you know there's something about sacrifices that is so glorious I can't bear it. It's why I have such respect and awe for soldiers. Putting aside the personal contact, it's the ideal and the theory that one's life is made something more when given up for something less. The Word is clear on that point, too.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." {John15:13}  Posted by Hello


continued to walk

"How God Can Use You" {Josh1:1-11}
* Let go of fear & doubt (v9)
- Comparisons will be used by liar
- Past failures also used by liar
- Throughout Word, God used people with checkered pasts
* Look for a promise
- Str
- Success (in His plan)
- Support
* Lean on God
- More than simply believing, but complete dependency
* Launch out in faith
- Unlike Red Sea, no parting; step out in faith
- What's your Jordan River?


that your faith may not fail

In 3 psalms today, four references:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" {Ps111:1}
"How blessed is the man who fears the Lord." {Ps112:1}
"You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord." {Ps115:11}
"He will bless those who fear the Lord." {Ps115:13}

Do the search on your own, but there are 303 references to the word in the Word, and just in a quick scan, the bulk of them are in reference to fearing Him. The odd thing is the seeming dichotomy between OT and NT. The bulk of the 303 rest in the OT. As most Prots have been taught, fear is the opposite of faith. Because throughout NT, Jesus repeats the mantra "Fear not" or "Do not be afraid." But it picks back up in the letters, with Paul and others referencing fearing God.

Fear is not the opposite of faith as the OT so clearly demonstrates. Fear plays a vital role to our relationship to God. The nonfear counseled by Jesus in NT is directed toward fears of the world or others, because the bulk of the fear references in NT are fear of men (Jews, Pharisees, etc.); He never contradicts fearing God.

The wonder, then, is how come I've yet to hear a sermon teaching me how to fear. For another time, a sermon on this in this space. You heard it here first.


and the eye cannot

always starts in shadows with too much darkness acting as too much light and lacking any strength in light to find darkness but lacking any darkness in darkness and finding the wrong light no reason to not fall save darkness affects all in dark and light


man must be careful how

Like that last post about Jakes, or in others where I'm harsh on the media or scientists, or even other believers, really. There's an undercurrent of vehemence that I want to clarify.

It's not spite.

Ps139 has it:

Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

Not just regular hatred, but utmost hatred. But lest I forget the rest of that Psalm:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

There's probably a little bit of spite in there for good measure. Search that out and lead me. Liar loves anger like the Dark Side loves anger. Even righteous anger can be used by liar to trip a soul. I know this.

may give an answer to those

For crying out loud. Who makes me angrier, the interviewer for his inane questions, or TD Jakes for his inane answers?

* Interviewer has "What do you dislike about Christianity?" as his second question?! Why not head straight to "What's wrong with Jesus?"
* What kind of idiotic question is "Why do you stay Christian?" Ummm, because it's the truth, and I'm not a fool destined for the lake like you?
* But no, Jakes answers by saying "Because my faith works for me." It works for you? It works for you? By how? Making your books bestsellers? Packing the pews each Sunday so you can preach before a packed house? Setting you up wealthy for life? But not because it's the truth, right? The interviewer had to clarify your answer to the cross for you?
* "Who's your favorite Christian?" It's like the interviewer is in sixth grade. Please check this box if you like me.
* Jakes: ". . . and anytime you're CEO over that many people." CEO, huh? Not shepherd over your flock? I must have missed that Gospel passage about pastors and their MBAs. CEOs manage money; shepherds manage believers. I guess maybe the choice of CEO is appropriate for you then.

Jakes, I'll give you one guess as to who's not my favorite Christian.


to speak in praise of

IChron23 begins with something that seems so routine, you miss it. Especially when you're in a book like Chron where names upon names and numbers upon numbers pass by, and the detail between one and the others blurs. The start of IChron23 is like that -- David and another census and a division of labor.

Census? Division of labor? Sign me up for that party!

But flippantly skimming the first half-dozen v's would make you miss the actual labor division. 4K men have a very specific task, and that task according to v5 is "praising the Lord with the instruments which David made for giving praise."

This v is amazing for two reasons. One, you have a set of instruments whose only purpose, whose only use is strictly for worship. You can imagine a king like David assigning his best craftsmen with a roomful of solid gold the task of creating the finest instruments known to man. And these were kept and polished and tuned and protected. And only used in worship.

Secondly, you have very specific directions that 4,000 men -- that's four thousand -- are charged with the task of leading worship or just worshipping. This is a king with priorities. And those priorities include designating and specifying a worship team. And those priorities include clearly delineating the central role of worship in services to God.

Churches, you can be hardhearted, too. And sticking stubbornly to ways of yore and resisting the drawing close makes you no better than the unbelievers: seated, quiet, and no closer to God.


and in the same

Frankly, it's hard to shock me, but this really does shock me. I expect things like the Orson Scott Card piece since it's a tie-in to religious beliefs. But this is simply a straight review. Why on earth would Christianity Today find it relevant to act as your local film guide?

Is it because they know that American Christians being part of this world find such things important, so they want to be able to relate? Is it because they want to act as the moral foreteller and warn interested readers what might be in store for them? Is it because the religion is so mainstream there is no difference between us and the world?

I don't know whether this disappoints me, shocks me, or hurts my heart.


yet they lean on

IChron22 is amazing in so many ways, it's hard to know where to begin. Ignoring for now v1 and the implications of liar standing against you, putting aside the image of the avenging angel and sword a mile high -- and seriously, how can you do either? -- focus on the lesson here.

The lesson here isn't just a dependence lesson. That's the easy reading to say that the census reflected a lack of trust in God, and that is why God is seemingly so harsh in response. God isn't harsh simply because of one failed dependency test.

The lesson here is in degrees of trust and extent of trust. As with Moses and the rock, David is punished for something that seems small. And the natural instinct is to make the small matter larger so that it goes down smoother. But I don't need you to rationalize His actions. He can do as He pleases.

The lesson here is that a la Stan Lee, with great power comes great responsibility. With great reliance and great promisekeeping come greater dependence. The censustaking was a small task, but because He'd been there for the bigger tasks, the smaller tasks aren't to be forgotten. The more He saves you, the more He expects you to depend on Him even for the little things.


and neither hot nor cold

pharaoh had a heart of stone and the Word speaks of a hardened heart being away and being unsurrounded and feeling isolated the metaphor feels apt but not simply the organ but the whole cold alone unfeeling stone Posted by Hello


they stood still, looking

This is really interesting, not only because I like Orson Scott Card and Star Wars. His dissection about religion in Star Wars is thoughtful and spot on (did I really just use the term "spot on"?). Similar things have been done looking for religion in the Simpsons or Winnie the Pooh.

The trend to find religion in your interests is not unique, nor should it be. Investing yourself in a hobby or movie or TV show or book or anything is natural; obsessions reach some part of us that identifies us in some way. And we want our religious side to take part in these obsessions. What it reflects is man's internal search for God. Even atheists who claim there is no God have souls whose identities find meaning in an obsession with no God. Their religion is, in fact, one that spurns Him at all turn and at all costs.

Hardheart, the two sides of the coin are God and no God, and it's simply not possible to call one side religion and the other not. That's just dumb.


in pretense or in truth

Not sure of your timing of this. Not around any religious holiday, so why now? Low on ratings so hoping for evangelicals and skeptics to tune in? Trying to be the opposite of the liberal?

Let's get two things straight. One, there is no mystery. Mystery implies a confusion. It implies that it could have happened several ways. It implies a truth that varies by interpreter. There is no mystery -- just the critical question of faith: believe or dis.

Secondly, terming any liberal theologian a "scholar" is like calling monkey fingerpaints "art". There is no intellect involved in disbelief, simply will. It is a voluntary choice to go another way. It is dishonest to call your natural path away from God a course of mental exercise.

Not even bothering to finish or watch. It's headed where it always heads -- away from the One.


a dispute among them as to which

ICR has opened my eyes to new possibilites, understandings. The most interesting of them involves the proof of the shrinking of the world. Are all diminished realities?

2Sam21:16-22 brings us 3 giants. We hear of the most famous, but don't realize he came from a whole race of them, a bunch of them. Related to yesterday's post, much that we choose to ignore in the Word are there not to challenge us as some assert, but to present to us the reality of what was and what can be. Just because they seem like fairy tales of youth does not mean they are tales.

Take Him at His Word -- literally.


since there is no real

Ps64:7 is a v of obvious interest to me. In it, David says God shot some arrows. The violence & power interests the male in me. But the interaction of God in man's physical world interests the seeker in me.

Argue pt 1 that the arrows are metaphors. With divine help, we can defeat our foes, our problems. In the modern cynical world, it's easiest to believe He merely offers presence & strength & support during times of trial.

But to me, the better route is to argue pt 2, that the arrows were in fact real arrows. The manna and the parting and the burning bush and the cylinder of fire were all real. To disbelieve one interaction dilutes all others. Why wouldn't/couldn't He physically interact? Flatten a tire of a foe? Weaken a structure? Put an unbeliever to sleep?

Don't believe it, or won't believe it?


he who stands firm

Lots of fave v's for people in Psalms: sweet ones, powerful ones, prophetic ones, poetic ones, personal ones. Make your argument for your faves on your own page -- this one ain't listening.

For my own, very few better than Ps61:2. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Whole sermon possible on this v alone, but not for me today. Just the observation that this is the perfect daily prayer. It establishes our place & dependence on Him for strength. And you need that daily.

Terrible day? Higher rock. Place of need? Higher rock. Sadness? Higher rock. Already drawn close? Higher rock. Still searching? Higher rock.

Lead me.  Posted by Hello


cannot open the eyes of the blind

Will seem like it's postdated, but really not. On the road, away, with little time for netposting. But the recording done the old-fashioned way.

Only 3 days away, and it feels like longer. Because the closeness receding. Or rather receding from the closeness. It used to be that dailyWord and spiritlistening not important. Time with Him internal more. After experiencing them both for the past two yrs and it's clear how wrong I was.

Even more clear now while away from both what the clear link is to closeness. Drawing there motivates & requires them. Without them, much much easier to lose sight.

Lose sight.


and put it on the cross

Away, so no outline. But LC3 not far from thoughts. Thanks be to Him for the passing of the paper, but honestly mixed feelings. On one hand, you have the answer to prayer. On the other, still not 100 on the whole construction.

Understand it's for the future, and every investment towards that is a smart one. But one that assumes growth? In an area of mixed permanence? In a year when they're fleeing? Not smart.

Secondly, sorry, but you don't qualify in my book without the cross. Paul says it's a differentiator. What are we, saducees? If we're afraid of the offense, we don't understand the meaning of bearing it, we really don't. Posted by Hello


in their desire toward

What I love about Psalms is the schizophrenia displayed by David. He jumps from depression to praise to fear to awe to arrogance to confidence to every other emotion known to man. The realrawness of his heart is open for all to see.

The admirable thing here isn't merely the opening for all, however, but rather it's David's continual struggle to record his struggle to closeness. The overarching theme of the Psalms is David's desire to worship in word, to draw closer and express a love that is always at the periphery of his mind if not the forefront. In struggle or otherwise, the wanting to draw close never ceases.

People have praised David's humanity, but no common humanity I know has the everwanting closeness expressed in Psalms.


He who is

Perusing Ps79 this am and my heart caught on v9. There are two appearances of "Thy name" or "Your name" depending on the version. A con search gives us 113 yournames, of which 98 of them are with the capital Y -- not a coincidence to YHWH. It's not a coincidence that the reference also appears in the great prayer of God.

Frankly, His name is a prayer.

Going back to the identity theme raised so often here, and a sermon can be preached on this subset idea: your identity is rooted in Him, ergo your reputation reflects on His reputation. And throughout OT, His reputation is important to a degree which modern believers do not understand.

Saving lions, bobsledding down hills, fighting politics -- all of these accomplish the will of the liar -- to turn away potential believers and sully the name of God. If names are important, and I believe they are, how much more important is the holiest one of them all?


that we will not find

The second half of Ps69:32 should be plastered everywhere.

"You who seek God, let your heart revive."

There's another sermon in here. Can think of a few sections. You have the demarcation of those actually seeking and those not. Easy tie in to I Sought the Lord, obviously. You have the command "let" indicating that the action must originate with you, that the reviving depends on your will. You have the connection twixt finding God and looking into your own heart. Lastly, you have the glorious imagery of a dead or dying heart.

To be fleshed out later.


the good fight of faith

Very balanced analysis of why all the fuss.

That's one view. The other view is that all is coming to an end, and this is part of the last great war.

Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men!
Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!

Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man."


You don't understand the urgency, hardheart, and it's because you've had your selfish ways for so long. No more.

No more.


justice has not allowed him to live

Back to the balance thing, I bring that all up because today's reasons make clear that focusing on just the mercy is only half of it. Many believe the John quote of God being love is the central message of the whole Bible, and focus on the cross and their new palship with Christ. And yes, the central message is redemption and what was done. But to ignore the why behind the doing, and to ignore the expectations against the continuing to sin is reading an incomplete message.

Today's readings touch on how much He condemns those who choose against Him. To choose justice without mercy, well, you'll get that.

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."

But to the wicked God says,
"What right have you to tell of My statutes
And to take My covenant in your mouth?

"For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.

"When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
And you associate with adulterers.

"You let your mouth loose in evil
And your tongue frames deceit.

"You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother's son.

"These things you have done and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.

"Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver. {Ps50:15-22}

Take note of the rending, hardheart. Please.

and stood on a level place

I don't know what the balance is, since I'm always seeking it. And the thing is, that balance is being sought by everyone throughout the OT and NT. The struggle is to find the balance between justice and mercy. Justice demands penalty for sin -- the reason for the cross. Mercy demands freedom from penalty -- the reason for the cross.

I try to find that balance here. You get plenty of the mercy, I think. Reminders of your identity in Him -- that you can be close; that you can have the drawing close despite your failings; that you, that you are weptover. And there's certainly the justice here, with the Lake of Fire references and the mocking of the fools.

Sure the weeks, months tip one way or the other, but it is really difficult walking on seesaws.


way of a fool

Do not try to couch your absence as a principled stand for truth because it's quite the opposite. Could it be that you don't have a leg to stand on? That your own group of minds differ on their beliefs? That your founder differed on his belief and yours?

The only thing rigged against you is your own profoundly large lack of credible evidence. Good luck at the Throne telling Him He had no part in the creation of what He loved.


and mother we know?

Happy Mother's Day, mom. And I'm not talking about you, Miriam (maybe a little).

"Succeeding as a Mother by Faith"
* 4 critical faith choices for moms
* Demonstrate training from day one
- Ps22:9
- Set apart for God (Jesus, Samuel)
- Never too late to start
* Train to honor her
- 13 times, obey & honor
- Instructions for parents, not for kids
- Else will potentially undermine His authority later on
* Do little unnoticed things
- ISam2:18-19 so sweet, perhaps of all OT
* Help children put Him first
- Luke2:49-51
* Connect mothering to faith in God

Can't wait for the June follow-up...


mind by way of reminder

I suppose there are different ways to view 2Sam7:8 (Or 1Chron17:7), and that depends on the Mohs value of your ticker. He begins His message to David with a reminder of where He has brought him -- field to throne (great theme for another time).

You could interpret it as a stern reminder that he is nothing without Him, and wonder about an all-powerful God who reminds you of humble roots when all is going great and consider that unnecessary.

You could interpret it as a humbling reminder that he is nothing without Him, and wonder about a concerned God who reminds you of humble roots when all is going great and you're puffed up and consider that wisdom.

You could interpret it as a historical reminder that he is nothing without Him, and wonder about a living God who reminds you of consistent roots when all is going great and you're unsure of the future and consider that security.

You could interpret it as a fulfilling reminder that he is nothing without Him, and wonder about an honest God who reminds you of consistent roots when all is going great and consider that a finishing of promises.

This can join Breakfast with the Savior on the shelf. From Grass to Gold.


lifted up from the earth

Let's make this clear so there are no misunderstandings: I hate treehuggers and their ilk. To elevate flora and fauna to the same level as man is to ignore Gen1-2.

I did find fascinating, while perusing the psalms este manana, the notion of collective nature verbing. In Ps76, the whole earth feared. Rom speaks of Creation groaning. Ps77 continues with the waters seeing and the deeps trembling. Jesus makes mention that He could make the stones worship -- it's clear He was not embellishing or making use of an idiom to make His point, but rather stating what He knew seemingly inanimate objects could do.

Nature is His to command, and it acts in ways humans would act (or possibly vv?). On one hand, that should make us more conscious of our actions. On the other, let's not go overboard.


came out, wearing the crown

Today's psalms (2,15,22,24,47,68) carry a theme that meshes nicely with yesterday's thoughts on tension twixt the soul and God. Today's theme rang with the truth of the kingship of God, a fact forgotten more than focused.

Your tension is a rebellion against the king. Call him a tyrant, if you will, your rebellion is not righteous no matter the phrasing. Only two kingdoms, His and the liar's, and the choice is yours.

See, you think that the kingdom is yours. That you can pick and choose and do as you wish and that He-who-is-not-King merely sits as disinterested judge. That your overallness will somehow win out. But you'd be wrong. It's a choice of kingdoms. And there are only two. And one of them is not yours. And you are not choosing wisely. Posted by Hello


and is not jealous

Little scene in IISam6 and IChron15 illustrates how the liar turns unbelievers against believers. Michal throws a fit that David in his joy exuberantly worships in a manner she feels is unbefitting a king. David responds with humbleness knowing his kingship is not of his own choosing, and certainly less of a kingship than the one above.

Liar uses this instance to instill hatred for David within Michal. The struggle here is not really twixt Michal and David. That is a mere side effect for the real tension twixt Michal and God.

You, hardheart, can hate me all you want. But what you really hate is that you don't know what I know; you don't feel what I feel; you don't have what I have. If you got over yourself for just one second and realized that the grasping is yours for the taking, maybe you'd see the liar for who he is.


upon the mountain and a very loud

Sporadic? Yes.

Intentional? No.

It's not like I'm not having any thoughts. It's that they're all jumbled and impure, in the clarity sense not the holiness sense. Been this way for a few weeks, and combined with the nighthowlings and the dayloudness, somethings's going on. For the life of me, I don't see any bright lights ahead, so what's the prevention here? Or maybe the whole no lights ahead business is the intent?


you lift up the

I know, I know. Fewer posts recently. Stretching back a few, probably fewer of substance. Can't focus right now. Light and dark and loud and quiet and nothing. Really, lucky for any of them.

Today, not lucky. Easy.

"Transforming Your Family By Prayer"
* Under attack
- Timely enough, liar hates you. Hates you.
* Prayer powerful weap to defeat {Eph6}
* Pray for fam 5 min every day {Lam2:19}
- Taps into most powerful
- Prot from liar {John17:15}
- People (classm, assoc, friends) {ICor15:33}
- Preaching/witness {John17:20-21}
- Perception/wisdom {Col1:9-10}
- Passion
- Perseverance {Col1:11}
- Priorities {Luke12:31}
* For church fam too {ITim2:1,Matt21:13}

Sound familiar?